Societal collapse

Societal Collapse

Societal collapse

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Societal collapse broadly includes both quite abrupt societal failures typified by collapses (such as that of the Mayan Civilization), as well as more extended gradual declines of superpowers (like the Roman empire in Western Europe and the Han Dynasty in East Asia). The general subject arises in anthropology, history, sociology, politics and other fields, and more recently in complex systems science.

In systems science it refers to the presumed organizational structures of societies and how they prevent societies from adapting to change in their circumstances. A simple example would be the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The abrupt disappearance of a global superpower in the course of a few months, without any external attack, was evidently caused by some kind of structural change in its internal complex system. That researchers, as yet, have very little ability to identify such internal structures for large distributed systems like human societies is an important scientific problem. That genuine structural collapse seems, in many cases, the only plausible explanation supports the idea that such structures exist. However, until they can be concretely identified, scientific inquiry appears limited to the construction of scientific narratives , using systems thinking for careful story telling about systemic organization and change. ...
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