Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail. So the central institution of civilization exists, and can only exist, by systematically exploiting its. Civilization, for all its wonders and advantages, is destined to collapse due to its nature, writes Ophuls in this meticulously argued treatise. The concept of the world as a narrative came back to my mind when reading “ Immoderate Greatness, Why Civilizations Fail”, a book by William.

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For example, once over exploitation causes fish stocks to decline below a critical, but unquantifiable, level they can no longer reproduce. Open to the public To revert to our financial metaphor, to prevent busts, one must stop booms from happening in the first place by taking away the punchbowl of credit well before the party has gotten out of hand.

Amazon Renewed Refurbished products with a warranty. And there is also no escape from the succession of generations; each new cohort grows up in altered circumstances that incline it to move further away from the original values, virtues, and ideals of the civilization.

The author admits that he sees no feasible solutions because he doesn’t believe that civilisations can escape the dynamic processes that lead to its collapse. They travel an arc from initial success to terminal decay and ultimate collapse due to intrinsic, inescapable biophysical limits combined Schumacher’s excellent little book “A Guide for the Perplexed” for a pithy explanation of how our view of reality itself is shaped by the mental maps that we’ve been given by society and mostly never bother to revise.

Rome did it until it could expand no longer. The higher the level of economic development, the more money tends to become an abstraction rather than a counter for something concrete. The outcome is a positive feedback loop in which changed material conditions engender mental changes that foster still more material change, and so on, until the civilization declines into decadence. Gifting of the Kindle edition at the Kindle MatchBook price is not available.


And one suggestion for what yreatness say in ten words or less for those who may be too stressed to think of something? Upon reflection, it seems to be a chicken-and-egg question. For example, salinization due to inappropriate irrigation wjy many ancient civilizations and continues to be a problem today. Technology is not a source of energy: Apparently there is still plenty of booze though. When not at his writing desk, he spends his time rambling in nature, either in his native California or in the mountains of Europe.

IMMODERATE GREATNESS by William Ophuls | Kirkus Reviews

Please try again later. Stranger rated it liked it. Nor does the city live by bread alone. I have read many of the sources cited in Mr Ophuls book. For instance, the Incan civilization is believed to have risen and fallen on the back of climate change, whereas the fall of the Roman and British Empires stems more from imperial overreach.

June 2, at When it sinks, the rgeatness, if any, will wjy ill provisioned, and no one will come to its rescue. Nevertheless, he is right in pointing out that the increase in wealth eventually spoils the population who get used to ‘bread and circuses’.

It was perestroika immodwrate glasnost that allowed the stupendous fabric of the USSR to implode. For me the crucial factor is the ever-increasing complexity.

Rent and save from the world’s largest eBookstore. Thin soils or poor seeds will stunt crop growth even if all the other factors are present in abundance. It takes vast energy resources to implement the technological solutions that enable our complexity.

With lots of references to relating works if one wants to delve deeper. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Print edition must be purchased new and sold by Amazon. One of these items ships sooner than the other.


He talks of being lost in Soviet era Moscow looking on his “official” street map for the huge Orthodox cathedral taking up a whole block in front of him – and being advised by his guide that, for purposes of the official maps, “cathedrals don’t exist”.

Hence planning to avoid breakdown or to make a gentle and controlled transition from one stable state to another may be next to impossible.

Cassandra’s Legacy: Immoderate Greatness: the narrative of collapse

It needs water, so it must build dams and aqueducts. I highly recommend it to everyone.

And the more devastating for that. But as civilizations develop, they tend to overuse and misuse their water supplies, immoxerate consequences that can be serious.

The human brain cannot cope with the problems of resource use, population growth etc. And even the electricity dissipates into the environment as waste heat once it has done its work. It needs wood for fuel and timber, so it must chop down forests. Moreover, civilisation has a constant need for change and that cannot geeatness stability.

[PDF] Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail [Online Books]

Showing of 64 reviews. Hence the motivation to plan for shipwreck is lacking. As it develops, a civilization accumulates an investment in physical and social infrastructure that increasingly wht its freedom of action, and it adheres to a certain way of thinking that increasingly limits its greztness of choice. This book would be good material to scare a bunch of college freshmen who don’t know anything about it. It’s either that or mirrors and smoke signals.

I agree with Ophuls.