Crisis, collapse etc

All your base are belong to dust

Normal accidents at an existential-risk scale. Capitalism’s end game.

Eliezer Yudkowsky, Moore’s Law of Mad Science

Every eighteen months, the minimum IQ necessary to destroy the world drops by one point.

Fun but implausibly simple differential equation models of civilisational implosion.

Interesting collapses

Greenland Norse

Colliding crises leads to collapse thesis: Tim Folger, Why Did Greenland’s Vikings Vanish? quotes Tim McGovern “You can do a lot of things right—you can be highly adaptive; you can be very flexible; you can be resilient—and you go extinct anyway” Blames economic collapse due to plague, climate change effecting the harvest, increased rates of drowning in sea storms, and the loss of trade with Europe, because their extractionist economy was brittle (Dugmore et al. 2001; Dugmore, Keller, and McGovern 2007)

Alternative stressor: Greenland’s Vikings may have vanished because they ran out of water (Zhao et al. 2022).


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Dai, Lei, Daan Vorselen, Kirill S Korolev, and Jeff Gore. 2012. Generic Indicators for Loss of Resilience Before a Tipping Point Leading to Population Collapse. Science 336 (6085): 1175–77.
Diamond, Jared. 2004. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Viking Adult.
Dugmore, Andrew J., Christian Keller, and Thomas H. McGovern. 2007. Norse Greenland Settlement: Reflections on Climate Change, Trade, and the Contrasting Fates of Human Settlements in the North Atlantic Islands.” Arctic Anthropology 44 (1): 12–36.
Dugmore, Andrew J., Christian Keller, Thomas H. McGovern, Andrew F. Casely, and Konrad Smiarowski. 2001. Norse Greenland Settlement and Limits to Adaptation.” In Adapting to Climate Change, edited by W. Neil Adger, Irene Lorenzoni, and Karen L. O’Brien, 1st ed., 96–113. Cambridge University Press.
Gonza, Tej, and David Ellerman. 2019. Worker Ownership and the Current Crisis.” In Sukobi.stabilnost.demokratija?
Holling, C. S. 2001. Understanding the Complexity of Economic, Ecological, and Social Systems.” Ecosystems 4 (5): 390–405.
Maher, Timothy M., and Seth D. Baum. 2013. Adaptation to and Recovery from Global Catastrophe.” Sustainability 5 (4): 1461–79.
Palen, Leysia, and Kenneth M. Anderson. 2016. Crisis Informatics—New Data for Extraordinary Times.” Science 353 (6296): 224–25.
Pershing, Andrew J., Michael A. Alexander, Christina M. Hernandez, Lisa A. Kerr, Arnault Le Bris, Katherine E. Mills, Janet A. Nye, et al. 2015. Slow Adaptation in the Face of Rapid Warming Leads to Collapse of the Gulf of Maine Cod Fishery.” Science 350 (6262): 809–12.
Pezzey, John C V, and John M Anderies. 2003. The Effect of Subsistence on Collapse and Institutional Adaptation in Population-Resource Societies.” Journal of Development Economics 72: 299–320.
Tainter, Joseph A. 1988. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambrige: Cambridge University Press.
Tainter, Joseph A. 2006. Archaeology of Overshoot and Collapse.” Annual Review of Anthropology 35 (1): 59–74.
Vojtko, Radovan, and Dominik Cisár. 2020. Bitcoin in a Time of Financial Crisis.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3557575. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.
Zhao, Boyang, Isla S. Castañeda, Jeffrey M. Salacup, Elizabeth K. Thomas, William C. Daniels, Tobias Schneider, Gregory A. de Wet, and Raymond S. Bradley. 2022. Prolonged Drying Trend Coincident with the Demise of Norse Settlement in Southern Greenland.” Science Advances 8 (12): eabm4346.

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