The Collapse of Western Civilization

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KMG did a book review last week Collapse of Complex Societies


Was going to stick in my general thread, can move.

The general theme that complex societies are rare, most societies were not complex and have been based around family not territorial relationships, and the very complex society we are in now has never been seen before.

Reminds me of I, Pencil - Wikisource, the free online library but where the issue is that there is no single person can create a pencil from scratch. And as people seem to be getting dumber by the decade, and we are being invaded by people that are coming from societies that are much simpler and so cannot in general function normally within our society, let alone keep it running, we will get to a point where the number of people that can keep it going will not be large enough to do so. And as the economic growth is no longer there to maintain our increasingly complex society, and diminishing returns on the energy we are putting into it to keep it going, especially as new technology is being directed to selling people things they dont need, or for personal needs rather then for actual progress of the society as a whole, we must debase our currencies and drown the local populace in debt to stop the wheel falling off.

Either way as society declines, devoid of any normal moral centre to unite its people, coercion will be used temporarily to keep the populace in line, e.g. political correctness etc..., but eventually this will fail, and the time in which we could have done something to counter the faults in the system is squandered by virtue signalers, the greedy and the stupid. We need to decentralise, reduce the complexity in the system, to remove the concept of too big to fail, rethink what is for the benefit of those within your own borders/ethnic group etc... or else the eventual collapse in one these interconnected sub system will bring down everyone else.

Complex societies are problem-solving organizations, in which more parts, different kinds of parts, more social differentiation, more inequality, and more kinds of centralization and control emerge as circumstances require. Growth of complexity has involved a change from small, internally homogeneous, minimally differentiated groups characterized by equal access to resources, shifting, ephemeral leadership, and unstable political formations, to large, heterogeneous, internally differentiated, class structured, controlled societies in which the resources that sustain life are not equally available to all. This latter kind of society, with which we today are most familiar, is an anomaly of history, and where present requires constant legitimization and reinforcement.

The process of collapse, as discussed in the previous chapter, is a matter of rapid, substantial decline in an established level of complexity. A society that has collapsed is suddenly smaller, less differentiated and heterogeneous, and characterized by fewer specialized parts; it displays less social differentiation; and it is able to exercise less control over the behavior of its members. It is able at the same time to command smaller surpluses, to offer fewer benefits and inducements to membership; and it is less capable of providing subsistence and defensive security for a regional population.
It may decompose to some of the constituent building blocks (e.g., states, ethnic groups, villages) out of which it was created.

The loss of complexity, like its emergence, is a continuous variable. Collapse may involve a drop between the major levels of complexity envisioned by many anthropologists (e.g., state to chiefdom), or it may equally well involve a drop within a level (larger to smaller, or Transitional to Typical or Inchoate states). Collapse offers an interesting perspective for the typological approach. It is a process of major, rapid change from one structurally stable level to another. This is the type of change that evolutionary typologies imply, but in the reverse direction.

...

Despite an institutionalized authority structure, an ideological basis, and a monopoly of force, the rulers of states share at least one thing with chiefs and Big Men: the need to establish and constantly reinforce legitimacy. In complex as well as simpler societies, leadership activities and societal resources must be continuously devoted to this purpose. Hierarchy and complexity, as noted, are rare in human history, and where present require constant reinforcement. No societal leader is ever far from the need to validate position and policy, and no hierarchical society can be organized without explicit provision for this need.

Legitimacy is the belief of the populace and the elites that rule is proper and valid, that the political world is as it should be. It pertains to individual rulers, to decisions, to broad policies, to parties, and to entire forms of government. The support that members are willing to extend to a political system is essential for its survival. Decline in support will not necessarily lead to the fall of a regime, for to a certain extent coercion can replace commitment to ensure compliance. Coercion, though, is a costly, ineffective strategy which can never be completely or permanently successful. Even with coercion, decline in popular support below some critical minimum leads infallibly to political failure (Easton 1965b: 220-4). Establishing moral validity is a less costly and more effective approach.

Complex societies are focused on a center, which may not be located physically where it is literally implied, but which is the symbolic source of the framework of society. It is not only the location of legal and governmental institutions, but is the source of order, and the symbol of moral authority and social continuity. The center partakes of the nature of the sacred. In this sense, every complex society has an official religion (Shils 1975: 3; Eisenstadt 1978: 37; Apter 1968: 218).

The moral authority and sacred aura of the center not only are essential in maintaining complex societies, but were crucial in their emergence. One critical impediment to the development of complexity in stateless societies was the need to integrate many localized, autonomous units, which would each have their own peculiar interests, feuds, and jealousies. A ruler drawn from any one of these units is automatically suspect by the others, who rightly fear favoritism toward his/her natal group and locality, particularly in dispute resolution (Netting 1972: 233-4). This problem has crippled many modern African nations (cf. Easton 1965b: 224).

...

Sacred legitimization provides a binding framework until real vehicles of power have been consolidated. Once this has been achieved the need for religious integration declines, and indeed conflict between secular and sacred authorities may thereafter ensue (see, e.g., Webb 1965). Yet as noted, the sacred aura of the center never disappears, not even in contemporary secular governments (Shils 1975: 3-6). Astute politicians have always exploited this fact. It is a critical element in the maintenance of legitimacy.

Despite the undoubted power of supernatural legitimization, support for leadership must also have a genuine material basis. Easton suggests that legitimacy declines mainly under conditions of what he calls 'output failure' (1965b: 230). Output failure occurs where authorities are unable to meet the demands of the support population, or do not take anticipatory actions to counter adversities. Outputs can be political (Eisenstadt 1963: 25) or material. Output expectations are continuous, and impose on leadership a never-ending need to mobilize resources to maintain support. The attainment and perpetuation of legitimacy thus require more than the manipulation of ideological symbols. They require the assessment and commitment of real resources, at satisfactory levels, and are a genuine cost that any complex society must bear. Legitimacy is a recurrent factor in the modern study of the nature of complex societies, and is pertinent to understanding their collapse.

...

In the early eighteenth century Giambattista Vico postulated a cyclical theory of history which proceeded from First Barbarian Times to Civil Societies, and back to Returned Barbarian Times. The factors responsible are changing relations of dominance between elites and the populace, class conflict, and pursuit of self-interest. In a civil society, discord fanned by demagoguery leads to the abandonment of civic responsibilities for the pursuit of individual goals. This in turn leads to barbarism: '...through obstinate factions and desperate civil wars, they shall turn their cities into forests and the forests into dens and lairs of men' (Bergin and Fisch 1948: 381).
Anyway i found it interesting.

As an aside, I see brexit as such an example, they want to leave and the everyone else makes it sound like the sky is going to fall in, well if this is the case it looks like the EU is a highly unstable and overly centralised entity that could use a hair cut.
 
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SwordOfStCatherine

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KMG did a book review last week Collapse of Complex Societies


Was going to stick in my general thread, can move.

The general theme that complex societies are rare, most societies were not complex and have been based around family not territorial relationships, and the very complex society we are in now has never been seen before.

Reminds me of I, Pencil - Wikisource, the free online library but where the issue is that there is no single person can create a pencil from scratch. And as people seem to be getting dumber by the decade, and we are being invaded by people that are coming from societies that are much simpler and so cannot in general function normally within our society, let alone keep it running, we will get to a point where the number of people that can keep it going will not be large enough to do so. And as the economic growth is no longer there to maintain our increasingly complex society, and diminishing returns on the energy we are putting into it to keep it going, especially as new technology is being directed to selling people things they dont need, or for personal needs rather then for actual progress of the society as a whole, we must debase our currencies and drown the local populace in debt to stop the wheel falling off.

Either way as society declines, devoid of any normal moral centre to unite its people, coercion will be used temporarily to keep the populace in line, e.g. political correctness etc..., but eventually this will fail, and the time in which we could have done something to counter the faults in the system is squandered by virtue signalers, the greedy and the stupid. We need to decentralise, reduce the complexity in the system, to remove the concept of too big to fail, rethink what is for the benefit of those within your own borders/ethnic group etc... or else the eventual collapse in one these interconnected sub system will bring down everyone else.



Anyway i found it interesting.

As an aside, I see brexit as such an example, they want to leave and the everyone else makes it sound like the sky is going to fall in, well if this is the case it looks like the EU is a highly unstable and overly centralised entity that could use a hair cut.
Have you ever read the so-called Unabomber manifesto?
 
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Western Rome circa 470.

all of Us today.

spot the difference : additional

- heavily dependent upon a fragile logistics network.......the disruption of which could cause mayhem.

- old mores and norms being undermined by the arrival of a whirlwind new religion from the Middle East.
(and in the case of Byzantium 1450............ demographic change making the locals feel like foreigners in their old lands )

- a new belief system making women more assertive of their rights than previously.....to the frustration and confusion of many men ( christianity and feminism respectively ).

- the poverty and hunger of the outsiders at the gates, them then permitted to enter, and then they revolt against their masters.

- the Roman SuperState being despised, mistrusted, scorned etc.

- the fall of the Roman Superstate beginning in Britannia.

scary isn't it ?
 
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