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book review: notes from “Collapse”

June 25, 2010

“Collapse” by Jared Diamond, published in 2005

Diamond is age 73, born in 1937. Prof. of Geology at University of CA, Los Angeles

three prior books including “Guns, Germs and Steel”

Five factors contributing to collapse of societies:

  1. Environmental damage
  2. Climate change
  3. Hostile neighbors
  4. Friendly trade partners
  1. Society’s response

Autocatalytic expansion

Thomas Malthus 1798 – population growth outpaces food production

Contributing Causes:

  1. Short memories
  1. Success leads to more of the same whereas Failure leads to change
  2. “Creeping normalcy”
  3. “Perverse subsidies”
  4. Selfish
  5. It is someone else’s problem
  6. Class clashes
  1. Invested (emotional or financial) leads to irrational behavior
  2. Discount future profits

12 problems of non-sustainability discussed starting on p 486

“Silent Spring”

Depletion is not a new problem: native Americans overharvested shellfish.

From → Books

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