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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Unfortunately, it will not receive such attention because humanity, as Ophuls brutally describes, is hard-wired for self destruction and ultimately terminal decline. In so doing they will reject or marginalise competing narratives shy might challenge their current worldview. June 2, at 4: I have just finished reading it.

Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail

For the last ten years I have been studying how energy, the environment and economics interrelate. This is a well-written, thought-provoking book, and definitely worth reading. Buy the selected items together This item: Not only are some of his supports weak like applying scientific laws to society as if it ain’t no thang or having to take his word on everything because the book is so short but I found him to be unduly critical of humanity in general not a huge surprise since he is trying to be objective while also being a doomsayer.

They travel an arc from initial success to terminal decay and ultimate collapse due to intrinsic, inescapable biophysical limits combined with an inexorable trend toward moral decay and practical failure. Thus complexity breeds more of the same, and each increase in complexity makes it harder to cope, while at the same time escalating the penalty for failure.


To make a car requires not only many direct inputs—steel, copper, fuel, water, chemicals, and so forth—but also many indirect ones such as a factory and labor force as well as the matter and energy needed to sustain them.

The irony of the Titanic metaphor is that we may be sunk by a lack of icebergs. This isn’t about the sky is falling, it’s about a simple premise that all civilizations grow then die. Nonetheless, he fails to prove this other than through personal analysis, his evidence isn’t as straight forward as some other texts on ecological failure relating to the fall of civilization.

Open Preview See a Problem? In addition, as previously noted, those in power instinctively understand fqil reforming a corrupt polity can precipitate chaos and collapse, so they legitimately fear embarking on change.

For example, salinization due to inappropriate irrigation plagued many ancient civilizations and continues to be greahness problem today. Abbey Road rated it liked it Sep 19, These 3 locations in All: I couldn’t disagree more. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Thus the entropy of the system has increased. It does remind Tainter. Finally, however, resources are either effectively exhausted or no longer repay the effort needed to exploit them.

The narrative of hubristic self esteem appears to be written in philosopher-speak, not grratness language that resonates well with the common man.

Our civilisation has expanded until the last corners of the Earth. For example, to grow cereals takes soil, seeds, fertilizer, and water as well as labor.

Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. As a process, civilization resembles a long-running economic bubble. East Dane Designer Men’s Fashion.

Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail: William Ophuls: : Books

This is a short 70 pagehighly readable book summarizing why complex civilizations fail. So the question is actually pretty simple: June 2, at Indeed, ironically, it may be the very effort to reform that precipitates the collapse.


This book is concise and aimed at a wide audience. Third, by deliberately debasing the currency—that is, consciously adopting a policy of inflation.

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

Showing of 64 reviews. In short, denial, evasion, and procrastination are all but inevitable. Planning for the long term becomes an unaffordable luxury. 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.

The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. To avoid the common fate of all past civilizations will require a radical change in our ethos—to wit, the deliberate renunciation of greatness—lest we precipitate a dark age in which the arts and adornments of civilization are partially or completely lost.

Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Peter February 22, at 4: The author only points out that humans were not made to handle the complexity of a civilisation. Best Regards, Russ Day. Yes, very likely but is that next year ummoderate in the next 50 years? For if you remove one constraint, renewed growth quickly pushes the civilization up against the next one, and so on, until it buckles under the strain. Step Back February 14, at 4: These may be hard truths for the believers in the grand narrative of Progress.

Rather, empires behave like all complex adaptive systems. I would highly recommend it.