Hints That Western Civilisation is Starting to Crumble

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Hints That Western Civilisation is Starting to Crumble

Postby Bad Wombat » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:45 pm

New scientist article entitled "There are disturbing hints that Western civilisation is starting to crumble" is available here:https://pastebin.com/5W6Cj5BF.

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Re: Hints That Western Civilisation is Starting to Crumble

Postby Arzosah » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:27 pm

That's an interesting article, though my brain resisted reading it quite a lot :oops:

Crisis in the 2020s predicted by models that portray the last 300 years fairly accurately :( and an interesting hypothesis about why turbulence brings about collapse at some times and not others. And the following sentence describes the conclusion of a mathematician at the Univ of Maryland: "either extreme inequality or resource depletion could push a society to collapse, but collapse is irreversible only when the two coincide".

Yikes. I think we're nearly there ...

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Re: Hints That Western Civilisation is Starting to Crumble

Postby General DeGaulle » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:16 pm

A book that goes into much detail about this is Jared Diamond's 'Collapse - how societies choose to fail or survive'


His outlook if anything is even bleaker than the New Scientist article; he includes China, India and Russia among 'western' industrialised nations. He describes a number of societies throughout the ages and how they appeared to almost consciously head towards collapse even when the problems should have been easy to solve.

For example, the Easter Islanders totally deforested their island in order to build their famous statues. When the last tree was cut down, and the last statue built, their culture immediately imploded due to mass depopulation as they could no longer build fishing boats. The one ship a year which the Greenland Vikings relied upon for their survival contained things like church bells and fine clothes for the elite, even as the 'little ice age' intensified and their population went into a terminal decline.

He doesn't include Ancient Rome in his study, pointing out that the Western Roman Empire transformed into the Catholic Church, and that the Eastern bit carried on for another 1000 years. On this I disagree with professor Diamond and agree with the New Scientist article; things definitely went belly - up very quickly in the 5th century due to a series of problems we could identify with today.

As a species we are definitely very bad at playing the long game.

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