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Page added on May 12, 2017

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How Western Civilization Could Collapse

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Collapsist stories in the media are pretty rare these days (even the tide of stories about authoritarian dystopias has receded since its peak after Donald Trump’s election) – however the BBC has kept the meme going with this uplifting tale – .

The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse.Such collapses have occurred many times in human history, and no civilisation, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change. Putting aside species-ending events like an asteroid strike, nuclear winter or deadly pandemic, history tells us that it’s usually a plethora of factors that contribute to collapse. What are they, and which, if any, have already begun to surface? It should come as no surprise that humanity is currently on an unsustainable and uncertain path – but just how close are we to reaching the point of no return? …

According to Joseph Tainter, a professor of environment and society at Utah State University and author of The Collapse of Complex Societies, one of the most important lessons from Rome’s fall is that complexity has a cost. As stated in the laws of thermodynamics, it takes energy to maintain any system in a complex, ordered state – and human society is no exception. By the 3rd Century, Rome was increasingly adding new things – an army double the size, a cavalry, subdivided provinces that each needed their own bureaucracies, courts and defences – just to maintain its status quo and keep from sliding backwards. Eventually, it could no longer afford to prop up those heightened complexities. It was fiscal weakness, not war, that did the Empire in.

So far, modern Western societies have largely been able to postpone similar precipitators of collapse through fossil fuels and industrial technologies – think hydraulic fracturing coming along in 2008, just in time to offset soaring oil prices. Tainter suspects this will not always be the case, however. “Imagine the costs if we have to build a seawall around Manhattan, just to protect against storms and rising tides,” he says. Eventually, investment in complexity as a problem-solving strategy reaches a point of diminishing returns, leading to fiscal weakness and vulnerability to collapse. That is, he says “unless we find a way to pay for the complexity, as our ancestors did when they increasingly ran societies on fossil fuels.”

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21 Comments on "How Western Civilization Could Collapse"

  1. Davy on Fri, 12th May 2017 6:23 am 

    “How Global Civilization Could Collapse” Either Big Gav at Peak Energy thinks the 3rd world does not matter or he is another anti-Western idiot that thinks the west can collapse and the 3rd world will remain as-is. We will collapse together and because of overpopulation and complexity overshoot. Both the 1st world and the 3rd world contain elements of both collapse variables just different extremes.

  2. makati1 on Fri, 12th May 2017 6:25 am 

    “How Western Civilization WILL Collapse”

    There. Fixed it. Not if but when. The collapse is already in motion and growing faster every day. The “frog” doesn’t realize the heat is on and his time is limited. Ditto for the West. The signs are obvious everywhere.

    “Mexico was second deadliest country in 2016”
    “U.K. Wheat Crop to Get Little Rain Relief in Key Growing Period”
    “Where have all the insects gone?” (Monsanto)
    “Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Radiation Affected Everyone On Earth” (One down. 400+ to go.)
    “Police given access to DHS’s massive biometric database”
    “Baltimore Has Become A Rotting, Decaying War Zone As A Raging Opioid Epidemic Eats Away At The City Like Cancer”
    “Auto Loan Fraud Soars in a Parallel to the Housing Bubble”
    “The Heroin Business Is Booming in America”
    “US considering sending up to 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan” (Gotta protect those opium poppies)
    “”Facts Don’t Matter” to U.S. Corporate Media”
    “When You Call 911 and Nobody Picks Up”
    “A Tour Down Homicide Lane, As Baltimore Descends Into Chaos”
    “Thousands Flee Chicago For Safer Areas Of The Country As America’s Third Largest City Becomes A Gang-Infested Wasteland”
    “Chicago Gangs Turn To “Armor-Piercing Rifles” In Police Ambush”

    And the collapse goes on…

  3. Davy on Fri, 12th May 2017 7:14 am 

    makati, please include your links so I can check the accuracy and the legitimacy of your comment

  4. onlooker on Fri, 12th May 2017 8:19 am 

    I have to agree with Davy. Collapse will be ubiquitous. Though it will play out for different reasons at different space/time intervals

  5. Hello on Fri, 12th May 2017 8:28 am 

    mak: “Chicago Gangs Turn To “Armor-Piercing Rifles” In Police Ambush”

    What did you expect when importing an uncounted number of brown and black sludge?

    Chicago is majority 3rd world. Don’t tell me you expected 1st world behavior from 3rd world people. Or did you?

  6. Davy on Fri, 12th May 2017 9:51 am 

    “New Ebola Epidemic Declared After Three People Die In DR Congo”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-12/new-ebola-epidemic-declared-after-three-people-die-dr-congo

  7. Cloggie on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:07 am 

    Rome lasted 1000 years and within that period the Roman empire 4 centuries.

    It came down for many reasons:

    – most important: feminine pussy religion Christianity taking over from masculine warrior mentality (Christianity as leftism of Antiquity)
    – imperial overstretch
    – decadent population resulting from too much prosperity and circuses
    – Rome became overrun (multicult) by folks from all over the empire in search for prosperity. This was not the same tough material as that had built the original republic
    – Germans as opponents is generally bad news. It is absolutely no coincidence that Germania was never conquered but that Britannia remained a meek vassal of the Roman empire until the very last moment.lol

    http://www.euratlas.net/history/europe/index.html

    The American empire will last from 1945-202x and there is only one real reason for this short life span: massive immigration from the third world.

    “Complexity” has little to do with it.

  8. farmlad on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:27 am 

    Cloggie Its great to have such a great historian to explain to all us pee ons how it all went down. Glad to know it wasn’t anything to do with complexity. Hopefully had nothing to do with depleted soils, lead pipes, fat asses, or abusing the masses.

    Great to be reassured that anyone who goes against the Germans will not succeed.

  9. Cloggie on Fri, 12th May 2017 11:19 am 

    Great to be reassured that anyone who goes against the Germans will not succeed.

    The people of German descent are still the largest “tribe” on US soil. If I were a Beltway imperialist wannabee I would keep an eye on those deplorables. Before you know it they ransack Washington. Rome 476 all over again.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odoacer

    US Odoacer?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq-LnO2DOGE

    And then there are these continental Europeans (including the Germans) who could come to their aid. They (French, Dutch) did it before in 1776.

    https://www.amazon.com/First-Salute-View-American-Revolution-ebook/dp/B0053CSRDW/ref=sr_1_1

    In those days it were the British that needed to be removed from power. Today we are dealing with a different tribe.

  10. green_achers on Fri, 12th May 2017 12:15 pm 

    Clog has been reading his Gibbon. Still worth reading if you haven’t, but only a fool still buys it as an accurate map of any kind of causality.

  11. Boat on Fri, 12th May 2017 12:28 pm 

    Clog,

    Yes indeed in was German on German in WWII. In spite your hate of Muslims and Jews who have almost no population it is the Mexicans who will surpass the Germans. It’s ok, love that spiced up food. Much better than German cooking. Swedish to for that matter

  12. Cloggie on Fri, 12th May 2017 12:44 pm 

    Yes indeed in was German on German in WWII.

    I would annotate that a little. First of all it was Germans against Poles, French, British, Dutch, Norwegians, Yugoslavs and Greeks. Your Americans only showed up when the show was almost over, although they did bomb Germans women and children from safe altitude beforehand.

    It were Germans who had managed to kick a certain tribe out against those “huddled” Germans, who couldn’t make it in Germany decades before and who were operating under the command of said tribe.

    In spite your hate of Muslims and Jews who have almost no population it is the Mexicans who will surpass the Germans. It’s ok, love that spiced up food. Much better than German cooking. Swedish to for that matter

    Translation: you are ready to offer your Swedish a** and your country (and the future of your children, if any) to any tribe who has some food for you on offer. What says that about you and your non-existing identity?

  13. Boat on Fri, 12th May 2017 2:39 pm 

    Clog,

    Tribalism is so 1945. Time to move on. That food ain’t offered dude. I buy it with money I earn. The capitalist American Dream. The food pantry is the world. Long after the Germans got their ass handed to them by the Germans there was plenty of war left. PS just as a tip, don’t over extend yourself and own the sky.

  14. Cloggie on Fri, 12th May 2017 2:56 pm 

    Tribalism is so 1945.

    Sure, it is all around you, but you fail to notice what the last election was about. That’s what you get if you have these media-induced ideological egalitarian blinders on. It was most certainly not about exchanging recipes between the very diverse ethnic groups, the US has enriched itself with.

  15. Boat on Fri, 12th May 2017 3:20 pm 

    Clog,

    Most US elections are decided by a small percentage. The country has been split politically for decades. There is no sweeping political change sweeping the country. No capturing the imagination of the masses. Your just hearing political hacks trying to keep their jobs. Wanna make a bet on the Reps losing some seats in the midterms just like the Dem’s did? US politics are rough and tumble. Nothing new.

  16. energy investor on Fri, 12th May 2017 5:29 pm 

    Cloggie,

    May I suggest you actually read Joseph Tainter’s book, “The Collapse of Complex Societies”.

    Tainter is an eminent archaeologist who studied the major post ice age societal collapses before writing his book about the common threads between them.

    Then you can review your criticism of the conclusions he has reached.

    Then we may be interested in your opinions.

  17. DerHundistlos on Fri, 12th May 2017 7:18 pm 

    Boat,

    Sorry to disappoint, but a good number of German-Americans supported (financially while others returned to Germany for conscription) the German war effort. I know this to be true from my own family history. Naturally, this is all hush hush. Not good for US propaganda.

  18. Boat on Fri, 12th May 2017 8:55 pm 

    DerHund

    Of course with German population that size in the US Hitler would have supporters. In Germany itself many moved into a corner of the country because they didn’t support the fatherland. It’s the same in any war.

  19. DerHundistlos on Fri, 12th May 2017 9:20 pm 

    Boat

    According to German conscription records, 279.000 German Americans returned to Germany for service beginning in 1938. That’s not a trivial number.

    Do you care to translate the meaning of, “In Germany itself many moved into a corner of the country because they didn’t support the fatherland.”

  20. Boat on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:30 pm 

    DerHund,

    I googled opposition to hitler a while back but I don’t remember the link. I read from many links. The link had a map of Germany and a small section highlighted in red. It was a migration based on fear.

  21. Cloggie on Sat, 13th May 2017 2:35 am 

    TheLoseHound has in the past shown himself to be a fine US imperialist. But in his latest remarks about the raping of German women by the Anglo-Soviet invaders… um make that “liberators”… he showed that underneath that star-spangled surface there is still some closet affinity for his ancestral homeland. If you dig deep enough, you always arrive at true identity.

    Then we may be interested in your opinions.

    Yet another one who thinks he has a mandate to speak for the entire group.

    Most US elections are decided by a small percentage. The country has been split politically for decades. There is no sweeping political change sweeping the country. No capturing the imagination of the masses. Your just hearing political hacks trying to keep their jobs. Wanna make a bet on the Reps losing some seats in the midterms just like the Dem’s did? US politics are rough and tumble. Nothing new.

    Absolutely wrong. This was the first time in decades that the US elections were about a real issue, namely whether the US will remain a majority white country or not, where before 2016 no Republican candidate had seriously suggested that demographics were a real issue. Because in Washington, both Reps and Dems know who is really the boss in the US and these bosses want to see whitey go.

    The consequence is that now the US political system + media is exposed to the whole world and the American population in particular. All of a sudden everybody begins to see the contours of the “deep state”, that before had been carefully hidden. And now everybody understands that US demockressy had been fake all along and that the US “Anglo-Zionist” establishment does what it wants, regardless of what the majority white population thinks of it.

    And now all of sudden we have an American Mussolini, who broke into that system and temporarily defeated the Sanhedrin of the American Trotsky wannabee George Soros (some patterns never change in white history).

    Since 1848 we have the communist movement. Since then it has been “Jewish lead communism” against the white upper classes.

    Russia: after 1917 the Red Army of Trotsky defeated the Czar and his (mostly Germanic) aristocracy. Although the revolution had been simmering for decades, the Russian defeat in the war against Germany in 1917 made all the difference.

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v14/v14n1p-4_weber.html

    Europe: in the thirties, communism was blocked by hyper-nationalism (fascism, national socialism) everywhere. Only in Germany, that was cornered by the fine British and French and their Versailles strangulation, it was a close call, but eventually, after a decade of struggle, the NSDAP (nationalists) got they upper hand over the DKP (communists) in 1933.

    America: this country was always too prosperous for a communist movement (thanks to oil). In contrast to Europe and Russia, with its centuries old solid establishments, America could be taken over from the top, rather than via a violent overthrow using mass movements. The way forward here was via banking and media. The weak upstart WASP establishment turned out to be no match for the highly organized and smart tribe from Eastern Europe, that began to subsidize the communist uprising in Russia from the beginning., while rapidly advancing themselves in America.By 1933 they owned the US government and teamed up with the USSR… and the gun was aimed at Europe.

    Meanwhile, thanks to Dolfie and Joe, J-power no longer exists in Europe and Russia, only in the US it is alive and kicking, while until November that was. Now it is J-power that is with the back against the wall. It was an interesting 20th century. The only interesting question now is: who gets what from the US empire after its downfall.

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