The Collapse of Complex Societies. Joseph A. Tainter. Cambridge University Press.

The Collapse of Complex Societies Book Cover The Collapse of Complex Societies
Joseph A. Tainter
Cambridge University Press
March 30, 1990

Any explanation of political collapse carries lessons not just for the study of ancient societies, but for the members of all complex societies in both the present and future. Dr. Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory that accounts for collapse among diverse kinds of societies, evaluating his model and clarifying the processes of disintegration by detailed studies of the Roman, Mayan and Chacoan collapses.

The theoretical insights of the book and the case-studies the author examines together raise a whole series of new and important questions about the direction and future of all industrial societies. The volume will interest and inform a wide range of archaeologists, social anthropologists, classicists and economic historians, but many outside the specialisms will also find it stimulating reading.