Past societies collapse
I. Jared Diamond’s Main Thesis (“Collapse”) Jared Diamond’s “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” discusses why certain societies (Chapter 9) succeeded while others (discussed in previous chapters) failed. The idea that people in the past did things which largely contributed to their decline remains as a major controversy; however, to mistreat them according to Diamond is acceptable if the idea can be refuted. He discussed environmental problems of southwestern Montana and offered an imagery of what has happened in the remote past societies.
Furthermore, Diamond talked about past societies which did collapse; these were arranged based on levels of complexity of his five-point framework (Diamond, Jared M. ; 2005). Despite the fact that these societies were small and peripherally located, socially isolated and geographically bounded, their processes unfolded faster and reached extreme outcomes – indeed, the reason for their collapse was not the size, location and population but how they rapidly progressed in a short span of time (Diamond, Jared M. ; 2005).
Diamond’s main thesis states that the four factors namely environmental damage, neighbors, climate change and trade partners may not be relevant in certain societies; however, the society’s response to environmental problems according to Diamond “always” proves to be significant and this is one of the major reasons why some societies succeeded while others failed. II. Personal View Personally, I completely agree with Diamond’s assertion that the success or failure of societies mainly depends on how one adopts, copes and responds to challenges with respect to the four factors identified.
Different problems may arise and these may be in the form of natural or environmental damages brought about by men’s carelessness which may eventually lead to conflicts between neighboring societies. Furthermore, these may be in the form of economic problems; for instance, withdrawal of trade partners, low production and population growth (Lorey, David E. ; 2003). On such note, how one society adopts to these problems, so to speak the efficiency of methods and procedures chosen and utilized, determines whether that society is capable of sustaining and solving issues or not.
Diamond is convinced by the idea that although problems may pile up (regardless the level of intensity) as caused by environmental problems, the main point is on how to go about of solving them in the first place. If the purpose of technology is to enhance the quality of living, then it is just appropriate for societies to identify what possible effects it may bring which could cause their downfall sooner or later. III. Argument Based on Three Citations
Science plays a huge role in studying collapses of societies. Diamond defined “collapse” as a drastic decrease in human population size and/or social, political and economic complexity at a given time (Diamond, Jared M. ; 2005). Following his definition of collapse, he identified parameters and indicators of a collapsing society. According to him, these can be measured (in numerical means) and can be relatively used to compare one society from another with respect to natural situations.
According to Diamond, the past societies have affected themselves due to environmental factors. His argument was supported by the following facts (Diamond, Jared M. ; 2005): (1) Easter Island had a “pure” ecological collapse due to total deforestation and population die-off; (2) Henderson and Pitcairn Islands collapsed due to loss of support from friendly neighboring societies and local environmental damage which triggered the collapse of their major trade partner; (3) the Anasazi, a Native American society in the U. S.
Southwest, collapsed due to combined environmental damage, population growth and climate change (4) the Maya decline was caused by similar factors only without the role of its neighbors and (5) Norse Greenland (Chapters 6-8) collapsed due to cultural differences (the Norse and Inuit societies). The above indicated societies have definitely contributed to their own collapse. These are among the most developed and relatively complex societies which have reached the highest possible development within a short span of time.
Due to lack of environmental consideration, however, their advancement led to their disappearance (Clark, Robert P. ; 2000). On the other hand, Diamond classified Iceland as one of the societies which succeeded based on the following supporting premise: Iceland was Europe’s most ecologically ravaged and poorest country after Norwegian colonists destroyed much of its topsoil (Wilson, John D. ; 1998); however, unlike in the previous discussed societies, Icelanders have learned from the past and have adopted environmental protection methods.
Now the nation is one of the world’s highest in terms of per-capita national average incomes. One Citation from “Guns, Gems and Steel” Diamond identifies food production and the domestication of plants and animals as the central key to understanding human history (Diamond, Jared M. ; 2008). Some groups were prepared to innovate; for instance, the hunter-gatherers have a better understanding about potential plants within their environment. There were groups, however, which resisted change and remained conservative.
As climate favored annual plants, the Fertile Crescent produced a mix of large-seeded self-pollinating grasses which made protein-rich cereals and pulses (Diamond, Jared M. ; 2008); unlike the innovative groups, the conservatives (Eastern United States and New Guinea) failed to acquire this type of crop. IV. Conclusion Societies capable of adopting and responding to environmental problems are most likely to succeed than those who are not.
It is suffice to say that past societies which failed to adapt to environmental problems and those societies which resisted change in the natural setting have contributed to their downfall and disappearance in oppose to those which recognized the importance of environmental coping and flexibility. It would also be more appropriate to conclude that technological innovation can only be efficient for societies that “adapt” rather than “resist” to changes (the former recognizes its effects and the latter does not). Works Cited Page Diamond, Jared M. (2005); “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”; Penguin Books: Book
Diamond, Jared M. (2008); “Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies”: Book Lorey, David E. (2003); “Global Environmental Challenges of the Twenty First Century”; Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data: Book Clark, Robert P. (2000); “Global Life Systems: Population, Food and Disease in the Process of Globalization”: Book Heinberg, Richard; (2006); “The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies”: Book Wilson, John D. (1998); “Magill’s Literary Annual 1998: Essay-Reviews of 200 Outstanding Books”; Vol. 1. Order_Description (received as attached_file).Sample Essay of PaperDon.com