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How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive

Jared Diamond

Just  by touching the book prompts me a reminiscent wave of thrilling history  rides through dozens of civilizations, some of which were thriving,  flourishing, collapsed while others are around today fighting to their  predicaments. From the ancient civilizations of Easter Island, the  Mayans, Norse Greenland to modern states of Rwanda, Dominican Republic,  China, and Japan, professor Diamond proved to be adept at pulling  different data points and integrating several disciplines highlight his  five-point framework of how a society thrive in the face of hostility.  While most of us are living in a state of what Peter Thiel called  “indefinite optimism,” in which people faithfully believe in a good  world without knowing how it will happen, Collapse provides some hints  to the most challenging of uncertainty: Is the society model that we are  building is sustainable or is it heading to an end?

Collapse  worth more attention than just a thrilling adventure to some exotic  parts of world history. It is a collection of case studies from which  the author expect some destructive patterns would be seen through,  thoroughly inspected so that we, as one human race will not follow into  the footsteps of our ancestor.

Some folks will unavoidably  mistrust the credibility of this historical method, questioning if old  society models are still applicable to the contemporary massively  interconnect world where one hardly falls without tremendous support  poured from all sides. True! It is undeniable that the isolated  civilizations are no longer prevailing thanks to the development of  technology and international trading bridges. However, as Jared voices  his concern, we are approaching 8 billion, with many emerging  communities joining the lavish lifestyle of the first world countries.  We are facing more complicated environmental issues and different  political conflicts than before. So it is almost like a positive  correlation between the advancement of our intelligence and the size of  the problems. In this way, Collapse is a valuable book of reference.

The  reason I don’t give Collapse 5 start is that its data is outdated,  provided that it was written in the 2000s. This should not be taken  seriously, though, because the 20-year gap is relatively short compared  to the hundreds of years of length in the development process of  societies discussed in the book.

Autumn 2020

September 1, 2020 at 3:00:00 PM


history, socialscience


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