01: Vulnerabilities: Why do civilizations collapse?

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    Jared Diamond’s 2005 New York Times Bestseller Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and National Geographic’s 2010 documentary “Collapse,” based on Diamond’s book, brought public attention and interest to societal failure.  Diamond defines collapse as a “drastic decrease” in a civilization’s population and structure “for an extended time.”  There is no one single cause for a society’s collapse, rather a combination of several vulnerabilities that lead to failure.  Vulnerabilities are ways in which a society is susceptible to damage or injury.  Diamond outlines five general vulnerabilities which lead to societal collapse:

    • human environmental damage
    • climate change
    • hostile neighbors
    • loss of neighboring friendly societies
    • failure to adapt to vulnerabilities

    To watch Jared Diamonds talk about societal collapse at TED, click HERE.

    To watch the "Collapse" documentary, click HERE.

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