Essay on Collapse Final

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Collapse Final

Question One In his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond outlines five factors that may lead to a societal collapse: climate change, hostile neighbors, loss of trading partners, environmental damage, and a society’s response to its problems. The climate change Diamond is talking about here refers to natural fluctuations in weather; fifty years of great weather can lead to a population boom, but followed by fifty years of bad weather it can lead to collapse caused by lack of food. Before things were written down, word of mouth was how information got passed down; there is a time limit to living memory and a society could forget that the climate of the place they inhabited didn’t
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All of these factors, with the exception of the introduction of alien species, are rooted in overpopulation relative to the capacity of the environment. According to Diamond, there are two methods to prevent collapse; the bottom-up method and the top-down method. The Bottom-up method is most effective in small societies where everyone knows and is accountable to their neighbors. This allows for the community to create and implement a solution to its own issues. The Top-down method is meant for bigger societies with bigger government, like the U.S. Unlike with the bottom-up method, the people are not concerned with the well-being of the entire group; they do not have an overview of the entire society. However, a ruler does, and also has the ability to impose rules and regulations on their society to preserve the environment for future generations. Societies that choose to implement these methods have a better success rate than those that do not. Also factored into the success of a society is the fragility of the environment, and choosing an economy to fit that environment. As discussed in class, Diamond uses the method of cherry-picking to prove his theories. Basically, he picks and chooses which facts to include in his book to best support his theories. It is impossible for him to list all of the evidence for the collapse of a society