Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter

  1. What a rotten kid! The parent(s) of it are very inconsiderate. They are just encouraging this disruptive baby to make noise & interfere with the talk.

  2. It is rather pathetic that anyone would complain about some occasional noises from an infant. You just reveal yourself as someone who has no children, and probably no sex, either.

  3. Overshoot destroys all empires and cultures. It’s time we start facing our current conditions of overshoot and the inevitable collapse of the modern world.

  4. lawyers, politicians, police, military, abrahamic religions, real estate agents, astrololgers and other bullshit will not be required.
    Required: carpenters, medics, farmers, clothing makers, electricians, plumbers etc.

  5. He hardly attempts to explain what it is, all that complexity complexity. There’s a little bit of trying to give quantitative measures, but this whole talk is too full of dry empiricism, and there was no attempt to make clean definitions, in particular of complexity. All we seem to hear that is that it basically anything that gets somehow bigger. Interestingly he calls the establishment of heritage of land by the end of the Roman Empire a reduction of complexity. Nothing about the role of class struggle, nor about ideologies, and their flaws. I had expected to learn something about what contradictions between ruling ideas and reality opened up before a collapse. Instead we get a presentation about the Roman Empire that sounded a bit like Alan Greenspan could have written it. Because he talked almost exclusively about economics, taxation, interest, money. But these are just surface phenomena. What about culture? Was it irrelevant when the Roman Empire became Christian? There is hardly a trace of that in his talk. How did the Romans think about this, and there must have been criticism in that time, those who saw the downfall coming but were not listened to. On the bright side: the noisy kids in the background were not really a problem – the only sign of life in the audience. That talk could easily put an exhausted parent to sleep.

  6. Similarly today America's greatest expense, besides debt repayment is the military and militaristic support whilst devaluing the dollar by quantitative easing and passing the funds to oligarchs. Mean while the debts and costs are met by the increasingly squeezed masses. At the same time it interferes more and more in the politics of other nations, destabilising nations and supplying military personnel to forces antagonistic to regimes America deems as enemies!! America enacts more and more oppressive measures against its own citizens as they become increasingly uneasy, the citizens become increasingly detached from the notion of nationalism and allegiance to the ruling powers!! The wealthy bribe government officials in order to avoid taxes causing government to intensify tax burden on working citizens. Citizens rely more and more on credit to pay for necessities!!

  7. 1:10:12 – O.E.D. Define SUSTAIN
    1:10:25 – To maintain in a desired state or condition.
    1:10:40 – People will work to sustain what they value.
    1:10::52 – The science of continuity.
    1:11:00 – Steady State will lead to low employment . . . I do not advocate it .
    1:11:48 – Severe consequences to a steady state economy , given that employment depends on economic growth.
    1:14:00 – Q : Any societies which are examples of surviving by choosing systematic simplification ?
    1:14:25 – Yes . . . it was not done voluntarily
    1:15:45 – Q – What we see as true can limit . . . growth . . . technology . . . productivity . . .innovation creates jobs.
    1:16:12 W.A.T. : Jobs are created by human beings who choose to support human beings who employ human beings.
    1:17:20 – A : People respond to incentives.
    1:18:06 – Q : Competative Peer Poli-ties The era of globalization complexity
    1:18:47 – A :Short-term competition increases complexity . . . long-tern it undermines sustainability.
    1:19:15 – Q : Were there philosophical or religious justifications for this simplification ?
    1:19:30 – A :
    1:19:45 – Q :
    1:21:46 – A : One of the problems in sustainability is that humans did not evolve to be broad-scale thinkers.
    1:21:55 – _ We did not evolve to think broadly in terms of either time or space. So most of us don't.
    1:22:35 – Q : . . . Societies that have been through a collapse . . . Institutions . . . help survive
    1:23:00 – A : Local well-being is best assured through local institutions.
    1:24:25 – Q :
    1:25:10 – A : Sustainability is a function of solving problems and it takes resources to solve problems.
    1:25:35 – – – – In the future the problem may be a lack of resources on our planet or too much pollution on our planet
    1:25:40 . . . . or change in climate on our planet but we won't solve those problems by being poor
    1:26:20 – Q : I say that is impossible.
    1:26:22 – A : In the long run it is impossible

  8. Tainter says he doesn't advocate a steady state economy but acknowledges that we cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet –WTF?!? Am I reading him wrong or did he just, absurdly, contradict himself?
    What Tainter doesn't seem to realize with his talk about needing resources to solve problems is that our problems grow in scale and complexity with the ever burgeoning population. In essence, we are the source of our own problems. Failure to realize this leaves one running around in circles chasing one's own tail. The blunt fact is that the planet can support only a limited number of humans on a sustainable basis. What's so hard to understand or accept about that?

  9. As part of my research on runaway abrupt climate change and it's consequences I have been studying the collapse of complex societies. I have previously posted work by Chris Hedges (The Myth of Human Progress) and other work from Dr Joseph Tainter .
    Many civilisations have previously collapsed, few involved expected it.
    Sustaining the unsustainable is impossible, seeing it unfold is challenging but if you can't see collapse unfolding you simply aren't paying attention.
    Chris Martenson interviewed Dr Joseph Tainter recently, I'll post it below.

  10. The SOCIETIES collapse not from complexity but because generations who have build wealth make it easy for their children to live on from their parents wealth, not by working or through the fruits of their work. WORK teaches people the value of life. Also societies fall because new GENERATIONS LOOSE MORAL STANDARDS….MORAL POISIONING, WHAT HAS ENGULFED ALL THE WESTERN WORLD……or better white peoples world. Modernity gives rise to weak CHARACHTERS into power positions who BY BEING WEAK CAN'T ENFORCE TOUGH RULES, POISINING FALLS IN OF THE VALUES OF PEOPLE INVOLVED IN DECISON MAKING.

  11. I would only add that culture does play a much greater role in decision making, and thus collapse, than Dr. Tainter believes. Rome was a very martial society; glory in Roman society by and large was earned through military service. To be of the military class, you had to pay for your own equipment, was of great esteem. Caesar conquered Gaul for glory and the emperors that followed him conquered Britannia, Central Europe, and the Balkans outside of Greece and Dalmatia was driven by glory. These regions required more resources than they produced. There is also internal consequences of culture as elites possessed a large share of the wealth of Rome but contributed little to Rome's maintenance. As the power of the Emperors fell their ability to get elites to cooperate and contribute funds diminished. A more equal society would have been more taxable, more cohesive. The collapse of modern civilization, a world phenomenon with every country on Earth a member, has been made possible not only by development but the careless way development has been placed in the hands of the private market, made exacerbated by inequality of wealth and glory, and made inevitable by social discord. The collapse will take several centuries but the crisis will arrive in a decade or two.

  12. He is so caught in the box of the Roman Empire and monetary economy. The past presents us with lessons to learn, but it does not predict the future.

    Intractable problems are created by this constant seeking of wealth and growth, that is 'sustaining' the status quo.

    Steady state economics will present a whole new set of problems that demand a whole new set of solutions (and one of those solutions such as RBE doesn’t even involve money).

    There is a serious lack of vision and imagination here.

  13. Collapse is never inevitable. Complexity is enabled in modern times, the apps on your iPhone enable solutions with increasing complexity at lower and lower costs. The cost of record-keeping has dropped by orders of magnitude and with A.I., solutions will be forthcoming with increasing parsimony as well.

  14. Your slide showing profitability of advances with team size, suggesting greater benefit from lone wolf scientists, lone geniuses without great laboratories, bureaucracies, equipment and assistants suggests that lowering support for science may lead to the desperation that germinates greatest innovation, genius, like me.

  15. The financial crisis of the Great Recession was not caused by financial products, nor by the lack of regulation. George W. Bush went to Harvard for his MBA with the intension of learning how to throw a monkey wrench into the American financial system, which was liquidity. George learned how to mop up liquidity sufficiently to gob the system to a near halt. George did this for Barack Obama, his mole in the Democratic Party. Barack Obama began working for the Bushes immediately after Harvard Law School, under Henry Kissinger. They gave him support covertly, they managed his political races to the POTUS. Afraid that his protege would not be able to defeat a solid candidate like the Senator from Arizona, McCain, George summoned his Treasury Secretary and NY Fed chair and strangled the system by withholding liquidity. Simultaneously he had his ally, Saudi Arabia, squeeze oil prices into the stratosphere. (I know all this because George and I planned it together in May of 1971.) That was the political cause of the Great Recession. Who am I? I provided the concept of Quantitative Easing to the US Federal Reserve Board early in 2009, a policy deploying monetary tools to a condition of 0% interest and deflationary conditions for the very first time.

  16. I often wonder if importing large numbers of low IQ populations will collapse the USA. Can our country exist with a majority with an average IQ of sub 90? Racial Differences:

  17. Brillant and scary lecture… esp. considering that we have elected completely numbskulls to run this country into the ground.

  18. Innovation in ideas such as the 3 field farming system adopted by Europeans required no fossil fuels. The invention of the horse yolk required no fossil fuels yet enabled people to plow bigger fields. The speakers anti oil agenda bleeds through from the very start. Many of his historical facts are just plain false.

  19. “PEOPLE OF THE SEA: A Novel of The Promised Land.” Sciences show Sea Peoples/Philistines carrying an ancient positive heritage from Minoan Crete into Palestine. When their families met the earliest Israelites, whose “promised land” had a chance to foster peace? “PEOPLE” by Jack Dempsey (at Amazon) tells their human stories & wild adventures for the first time. Excerpts/photos/more in multimedia at Ancientlights dot o-r-g, Facebook, and jackdempseywriter at WordPress.

  20. That clown Augustine was also at the head of the lobbying push for NATO expansion towards Russia. "Now that you're a NATO member, you have to get on-line by buying this, this, and this," along with "Oh, Russia won't feel threatened…"

  21. The solution to medical care is improved nutrition, most of modern Allopathic medicine is a criminal enterprise fraud. Thinking requires a commitment to the idea that the truth matters and is ultimately the most important issue.

  22. I don't like his definition of collapse. We could simplify our society without losing vast populations. Just because sustainable societies have not developed before doesn't mean they're impossible. To me, collapse means that population, technology and knowledge are lost on a large scale. Using the Romans as the sole or main example is shallow thinking. Jared Diamonds book Collapse has many more instructive examples. The root causes are almost always due to resource overuse and uncontrolled population growth, leading to a loss of food supply.

  23. Save yourself 90 minutes and skip this lame ass lecture. Necessity drives innovation. Big government destroys society.How many times does it have to happen, before you give up on "rulers" ?

  24. 45 minutes in and the baby noises got so annoying I had to stop listening to this otherwise awesome lecture. In future, ensure very small and misbehaving children are left with minders so the presentation is not ruined by their wailing.

  25. Why the hell do we not have scientists like this in cabinet positions? Everything that this guy is saying is over the head of Trump's cabinet picks, and honestly, the Democrats don't do that much better.

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