9780670033379

Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780670033379

  • ISBN10:

    0670033375

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-12-29
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • View Upgraded Edition

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $29.95 Save up to $15.72
  • Buy Used
    $14.23

    USUALLY SHIPS IN 2-3 BUSINESS DAYS

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The Used copy of this book is not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Summary

In his million-copy bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond examined how and why Western civilizations developed the technologies and immunities that allowed them to dominate much of the world. Now in this brilliant companion volume, Diamond probes the other side of the equation: What caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin, and what can we learn from their fates?As in Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond weaves an all-encompassing global thesis through a series of fascinating historical-cultural narratives. Moving from the Polynesian cultures on Easter Island to the flourishing American civilizations of the Anasazi and the Maya and finally to the doomed Viking colony on Greenland, Diamond traces the fundamental pattern of catastrophe. Environmental damage, climate change, rapid population growth, and unwise political choices were all factors in the demise of these societies, but other societies found solutions and persisted. Similar problems face us today and have already brought disaster to Rwanda and Haiti, even as China and Australia are trying to cope in innovative ways. Despite our own society’s apparently inexhaustible wealth and unrivaled political power, ominous warning signs have begun to emerge even in ecologically robust areas like Montana.Brilliant, illuminating, and immensely absorbing, Collapseis destined to take its place as one of the essential books of our time, raising the urgent question: How can our world best avoid committing ecological suicide?

Author Biography

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Among Dr. Diamond-'s many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Table of Contents

List of Maps
xiii
Prologue: A Tale of Two Farms 1(24)
Two farms
Collapses, past and present
Vanished Edens?
A five-point framework
Businesses and the environment
The comparative method
Plan of the book
Part One: MODERN MONTANA
25(52)
Under Montana's Big Sky
27(50)
Stan Falkow's story
Montana and me
Why begin with Montana?
Montana's economic history
Mining
Forests
Soil
Water
Native and non-native species
Differing visions
Attitudes towards regulation
Rick Laible's story
Chip Pigman's story
Tim Huls's story
John Cook's story
Montana, model of the world
Part Two: PAST SOCIETIES
77(232)
Twilight at Easter
79(41)
The quarry's mysteries
Easter's geography and history
People and food
Chiefs, clans, and commoners
Platforms and statues
Carving, transporting, erecting
The vanished forest
Consequences for society
Europeans and explanations
Why was Easter fragile?
Easter as metaphor
The Last People Alive: Pitcairn and Henderson Islands
120(16)
Pitcairn before the Bounty
Three dissimilar islands
Trade
The movie's ending
The Ancient Ones: The Anasazi and Their Neighbors
136(21)
Desert farmers
Tree rings
Agricultural strategies
Chaco's problems and packrats
Regional integration
Chaco's decline and end
Chaco's message
The Maya Collapses
157(21)
Mysteries of lost cities
The Maya environment
Maya agriculture
Maya history
Copan
Complexities of collapses
Wars and droughts
Collapse in the southern lowlands
The Maya message
The Viking Prelude and Fugues
178(33)
Experiments in the Atlantic
The Viking explosion
Autocatalysis
Viking agriculture
Iron
Viking chiefs
Viking religion
Orkneys, Shetlands, Faeroes
Iceland's environment
Iceland's history
Iceland in context
Vinland
Norse Greenland's Flowering
211(37)
Europe's outpost
Greenland's climate today
Climate in the past
Native plants and animals
Norse settlement
Farming
Hunting and fishing
An integrated economy
Society
Trade with Europe
Self-image
Norse Greenland's End
248(29)
Introduction to the end
Deforestation
Soil and turf damage
The Inuit's predecessors
Inuit subsistence
Inuit/Norse relations
The end
Ultimate causes of the end
Opposite Paths to Success
277(32)
Bottom up, top down
New Guinea highlands
Tikopia
Tokugawa problems
Tokugawa solutions
Why Japan succeeded
Other successes
Part Three: MODERN SOCIETIES
309(108)
Malthus in Africa: Rwanda's Genocide
311(18)
A dilemma
Events in Rwanda
More than ethnic hatred
Buildup in Kanama
Explosion in Kanama
Why it happened
One Island, Two Peoples, Two Histories: The Dominican Republic and Haiti
329(29)
Differences
Histories
Causes of divergence
Dominican environmental impacts
Balaguer
The Dominican environment today
The future
China, Lurching Giant
358(20)
China's significance
Background
Air, water, soil
Habitat, species, megaprojects
Consequences
Connections
The future
``Mining'' Australia
378(39)
Australia's significance
Soils
Water
Distance
Early history
Imported values
Trade and immigration
Land degradation
Other environmental problems
Signs of hope and change
Part Four: PRACTICAL LESSONS
417(109)
Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions?
419(22)
Road map for success
Failure to anticipate
Failure to perceive
Rational bad behavior
Disastrous values
Other irrational failures
Unsuccessful solutions
Signs of hope
Big Businesses and the Environment: Different Conditions, Different Outcomes
441(45)
Resource extraction
Two oil fields
Oil company motives
Hardrock mining operations
Mining company motives
Differences among mining companies
The logging industry
Forest Stewardship Council
The seafood industry
Businesses and the public
The World as a Polder: What Does It All Mean to Us Today?
486(40)
Introduction
The most serious problems
If we don't solve them
Life in Los Angeles
One-liner objections
The past and the present
Reasons for hope
Acknowledgments 526(3)
Further Readings 529(32)
Index 561(15)
Illustration Credits 576

Excerpts

COLLAPSE PROLOGUE A Tale of Two Farms Two farms Collapses, past and present Vanished Edens? A five-point framework Businesses and the environment The comparative method Plan of the book A few summers ago I visited two dairy farms, Huls Farm and Gardar Farm, which despite being located thousands of miles apart were still remarkably similar in their strengths and vulnerabilities. Both were by far the largest, most prosperous, most technologically advanced farms in their respective districts. In particular, each was centered around a magnificent state-of-the-art barn for sheltering and milking cows. Those structures, both neatly divided into opposite-facing rows of cow stalls, dwarfed all other barns in the district. Both farms let their cows graze outdoors in lush pastures during the summer, produced their own hay to harvest in the late summer for feeding the cows through the winter, and increased their production of summer fodder and winter hay by irrigating their fields. The two farms were similar in area (a few square miles) and in barn size, Huls barn holding somewhat more cows than Gardar barn (200 vs. 165 cows, respectively). The owners of both farms were viewed as leaders of their respective societies. Both owners were deeply religious. Both farms were located in gorgeous natural settings that attract tourists from afar, with backdrops of high snow-capped mountains drained by streams teaming with fish, and sloping down to a famous river (below Huls Farm) or 3ord (below Gardar Farm). Those were the shared strengths of the two farms. As for their shared vulnerabilities, both lay in districts economically marginal for dairying, because their high northern latitudes meant a short summer growing season in which to produce pasture grass and hay. Because the climate was thus suboptimal even in good years, compared to dairy farms at lower latitudes, both farms were susceptible to being harmed by climate change, with drought or cold being the main concerns in the districts of Huls Farm or Gardar Farm respectively. Both districts lay far from population centers to which they could market their products, so that transportation costs and hazards placed them at a competitive disadvantage compared to more centrally located districts. The economies of both farms were hostage to forces beyond their owners? control, such as the changing affluence and tastes of their customers and neighbors. On a larger scale, the economies of the countries in which both farms lay rose and fell with the waxing and waning of threats from distant enemy societies. The biggest difference between Huls Farm and Gardar Farm is in their current status. Huls Farm, a family enterprise owned by five siblings and their spouses in the Bitterroot Valley of the western U.S. state of Montana, is currently prospering, while Ravalli County in which Huls Farm lies boasts one of the highest population growth rates of any American county. Tim, Trudy, and Dan Huls, who are among Huls Farm?s owners, personally took me on a tour of their high-tech new barn, and patiently explained to me the attractions and vicissitudes of dairy farming in Montana. It is inconceivable that the United States in general, and Huls Farm in particular, will collapse in the foreseeable future. But Gardar Farm, the former manor farm of the Norse bishop of southwestern Greenland, was abandoned over 500 years ago. Greenland Norse society collapsed completely: its thousands of inhabitants starved to death, were killed in civil unrest or in war against an enemy, or emigrated, until nobody remained alive. While the strongly built stone walls of Gardar barn and nearby Gardar Cathedral are still standing, so that I was able to count the individual cow stalls, there is no owner to tell me today of Gardar?s former attractions and vicissitudes. Yet when Gardar Farm and Norse Greenland were at th

Rewards Program

Write a Review