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Collapse expert and historian Joseph Tainter has proposed that societies eventually collapse under the I’m A Grumpy Old Army Veteran My Level Of Sarcasm Depends On Your Level Of Stupidity Shirt weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Societies are problem-solving collectives that grow in complexity in order to overcome new issues. However, the returns from complexity eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. After this point, the collapse will eventually ensue.
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Another measure of increasing complexity is called Energy Return on Investment (EROI). This refers to the ratio between the amount of energy produced by a resource relative to the energy needed to obtain it. Like complexity, EROI appears to have a point of diminishing returns. crops of wheat and alfalfa. The empire fell alongside their EROI. Tainter also blames it as a chief culprit of collapse, including for the Mayan.
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In other words, the “four horsemen”: war, natural disasters, famine, and plagues. The Aztec Empire, for example, was brought to an end by Spanish invaders. Most early agrarian states were fleeting due to deadly epidemics. The concentration of humans and cattle in walled settlements with poor hygiene made disease outbreaks unavoidable and catastrophic. Sometimes disasters combined, as was the case with the Spanish introducing salmonella to the Americas.
Collapse can be defined as a rapid and enduring loss of population, identity and socio-economic complexity. Public services crumble and disorder ensues as the government loses control of its monopoly on violence. In his book The Upside of Down, the political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon observed that environmental degradation throughout the Roman Empire led to I’m A Grumpy Old Army Veteran My Level Of Sarcasm Depends On Your Level Of Stupidity Shirt falling EROI from their staple energy source.