Paper assigment

Posted: June 9th, 2021

Table of Contents

Title Page
Copyright Page

CHAPTER 1 – Under Montana’s Big


CHAPTER 2 – Twilight at Easter
CHAPTER 3 – The Last People Alive:
Pitcairn and Henderson Islands
CHAPTER 4 – The Ancient Ones: The
Anasazi and Their Neighbors
CHAPTER 5 – The Maya Collapses
CHAPTER 6 – The Viking Prelude and
CHAPTER 7 – Norse Greenland’s
CHAPTER 8 – Norse Greenland’s End
CHAPTER 9 – Opposite Paths to


CHAPTER 10 – Malthus in Africa:
Rwanda’s Genocide
CHAPTER 11 – One Island, Two
Peoples, Two Histories: The Dominican
Republic …
CHAPTER 12 – China, Lurching Giant
CHAPTER 13 – “Mining” Australia

CHAPTER 14 – Why Do Some Societies
Make Disastrous Decisions?
CHAPTER 15 – Big Businesses and the
Environment: Different Conditions, …

CHAPTER 16 – The World as a Polder:
What Does It All Mean to Us Today?



Jared Diamond is a professor of
geography at the University of
California, Los Angeles. He began his
scientific career in physiology and
expanded into evolutionary biology and
biogeography. He has been elected to the
National Academy of Arts and Sciences
and the American Philosophical Society.
Among Dr. Diamond’s many awards are
the National Medal of Science, the Tyler
Prize for Environmental Achievement,
Japan’s Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur
Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis
Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as

Poet, presented by the Rockefeller
University. He has published more than
two hundred articles in Discover,
Natural History, Nature, and Geo
magazines. His previous books include
The Third Sex and The Third
Chimpanzee. His most recent book,
Guns, Germs, and Steel, was awarded
the Pulitzer Prize.

Chosen as Best Book of the Year by The
Washington Post, The Boston Globe,

the Los Angeles Times, the San
Francisco Chronicle, The Economiser,

and Discover

Praise for Collapse

“Extraordinary in erudition and originality,
compelling in [its] ability to relate the digitized
pandemonium of the present to the hushed agrarian
sunrises of the far past.”

—The New York Times Book Review

“Readers learn on page 1 that they are in for quite a
ride. No reader may carp that Diamond has provided
a set of examples that is too limited chronologically
or geographically. Diamond . . . has been to most of
the lands cited, often staying for months or even
years, and what he writes about them and their
populations is informed and engagingly colored by
personal observation. The Icelanders . . . learned to

face up to reality and adapt to living within the limits
of their environments. Jared Diamond has written a
book to help us do the same.”

—Los Angeles Times

“ W i t h Collapse, Jared Diamond has written a
fascinating account of the collapse of civilizations
around the world…. A reader cannot help but leave
the book wondering whether we are following the
track of these other civilizations that failed. Any
reader of Collapse will leave the book convinced
that we must take steps now to save our planet.”

—The Boston Globe

“In a world that celebrates live journalism, we are
increasingly in need of big-picture authors like Jared
Diamond, who think historically and spacially—
across an array of disciplines—to make sense of
events that journalists may seem to be covering in
depth, but in fact aren’t. . . . Thank heavens there is
someone of the stature of Diamond willing to say

—Robert D. Kaplan, The Washington Post

“Diamond looks to the past and present to sound a
warning for the future.”


“Rendering complex history and science into
entertaining prose, Diamond reminds us that those
who ignore history are bound to repeat it.”

—People (four stars)

“Taken together Guns, Germs, and Steel and
Collapse represent one of the most significant
projects embarked upon by any intellectual of our
generation. They are magnificent books:
extraordinary in erudition and originality, compelling
in their ability to relate the digitized pandemonium of
the present to the hushed agrarian sunrises of the far
past. I read both thinking what literature might be like
if every author knew so much, wrote so clearly and
formed arguments with such care.”

—The New York Times

“Essential reading for anyone who is unafraid to be

disillusioned if it means they can walk into the future
with their eyes open.”


“On any short list of brilliant minds in the world
today, Diamond makes the cut.”

—San Jose Mercury News

“Read this book. It will challenge you and make you

—Scientific American

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York,
New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite
700, Toronto,

Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin
Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a

division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road,

Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia

Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre,

Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North

Shore 0632,
New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,

Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London

WC2R 0RL, England

First published in the United States of America by Viking

Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 2005
Published in Penguin Books 2006 This edition with a new

afterword published 2011

Copyright © Jared Diamond, 2005, 2011
All rights reserved

Maps by Jeffrey L. Ward

Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed / Jared

Diamond. p. cm. Includes index.
eISBN : 978-1-101-50200-6

1. Social history—Case studies. 2. Social change—Case

3. Environmental policy—Case studies. I. Title.
HN13.D5 2005

304.2’8—dc22 2004057152

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via
the Internet or via any other means without the permission

of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please
purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not

participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted
materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Jack and Ann Hirschy,

Jill Hirschy Eliel and John Eliel,
Joyce Hirschy McDowell,

Dick (1929-2003) and Margy Hirschy,
and their fellow Montanans:

guardians of Montana’s big sky

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stampt on these lifeless things,
The hand that mockt them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

“Ozymandias,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1817)


A Tale of Two Farms
Two farms ■ Collapses, past and

present ■ Vanished Edens? ■ A five-
point framework ■ Businesses and the

environment ■ The comparative
method ■ Plan of the book ■

A few summers ago I visited two dairy
farms, Huls Farm and Gardar Farm,
which despite being located thousands
of miles apart were still remarkably
similar in their strengths and
vulnerabilities. Both were by far the

largest, most prosperous, most
technologically advanced farms in their
respective districts. In particular, each
was centered around a magnificent state-
of-the-art barn for sheltering and milking
cows. Those structures, both neatly
divided into opposite-facing rows of
cow stalls, dwarfed all other barns in
the district. Both farms let their cows
graze outdoors in lush pastures during
the summer, produced their own hay to
harvest in the late summer for feeding
the cows through the winter, and
increased their production of summer
fodder and winter hay by irrigating their
fields. The two farms were similar in
area (a few square miles) and in barn
size, Huls barn holding somewhat more

cows than Gardar barn (200 vs. 165
cows, respectively). The owners of both
farms were viewed as leaders of their
respective societies. Both owners were
deeply religious. Both farms were
located in gorgeous natural settings that
attract tourists from afar, with backdrops
of high snow-capped mountains drained
by streams teeming with fish, and
sloping down to a famous river (below
Huls Farm) or fjord (below Gardar

Those were the shared strengths of the
two farms. As for their shared
vulnerabilities, both lay in districts
economically marginal for dairying,
because their high northern latitudes
meant a short summer growing season in

which to produce pasture grass and hay.
Because the climate was thus suboptimal
even in good years, compared to dairy
farms at lower latitudes, both farms
were susceptible to being harmed by
climate change, with drought or cold
being the main concerns in the districts
of Huls Farm or Gardar Farm
respectively. Both districts lay far from
population centers to which they could
market their products, so that
transportation costs and hazards placed
them at a competitive disadvantage
compared to more centrally located
districts. The economies of both farms
were hostage to forces beyond their
owners’ control, such as the changing
affluence and tastes of their customers

and neighbors. On a larger scale, the
economies of the countries in which both
farms lay rose and fell with the waxing
and waning of threats from distant enemy

The biggest difference between Huls
Farm and Gardar Farm is in their current
status. Huls Farm, a family enterprise
owned by five siblings and their spouses
in the Bitterroot Valley of the western
U.S. state of Montana, is currently
prospering, while Ravalli County in
which Huls Farm lies boasts one of the
highest population growth rates of any
American county. Tim, Trudy, and Dan
Huls, who are among Huls Farm’s
owners, personally took me on a tour of
their high-tech new barn, and patiently

explained to me the attractions and
vicissitudes of dairy farming in
Montana. It is inconceivable that the
United States in general, and Huls Farm
in particular, will collapse in the
foreseeable future. But Gardar Farm, the
former manor farm of the Norse bishop
of southwestern Greenland, was
abandoned over 500 years ago.
Greenland Norse society collapsed
completely: its thousands of inhabitants
starved to death, were killed in civil
unrest or in war against an enemy, or
emigrated, until nobody remained alive.
While the strongly built stone walls of
Gardar barn and nearby Gardar
Cathedral are still standing, so that I was
able to count the individual cow stalls,

there is no owner to tell me today of
Gardar’s former attractions and
vicissitudes. Yet when Gardar Farm and
Norse Greenland were at their peak,
their decline seemed as inconceivable as
does the decline of Huls Farm and the
U.S. today.

Let me make clear: in drawing these
parallels between Huls and Gardar
Farms, I am not claiming that Huls Farm
and American society are doomed to
decline. At present, the truth is quite the
opposite: Huls Farm is in the process of
expanding, its advanced new technology
is being studied for adoption by
neighboring farms, and the United States
is now the most powerful country in the
world. Nor am I claiming that farms or

societies in general are prone to
collapse: while some have indeed
collapsed like Gardar, others have
survived uninterruptedly for thousands
of years. Instead, my trips to Huls and
Gardar Farms, thousands of miles apart
but visited during the same summer,
vividly brought home to me the
conclusion that even the richest,
technologically most advanced societies
today face growing environmental and
economic problems that should not be
underestimated. Many of our problems
are broadly similar to those that
undermined Gardar Farm and Norse
Greenland, and that many other past
societies also struggled to solve. Some
of those past societies failed (like the

Greenland Norse), and others succeeded
(like the Japanese and Tikopians). The
past offers us a rich database from
which we can learn, in that we
may keep on succeeding.

Norse Greenland is just one of many
past societies that collapsed or
vanished, leaving behind monumental
ruins such as those that Shelley imagined
in his poem “Ozymandias.” By collapse,
I mean a drastic decrease in human
population size and/or
political/economic/social complexity,
over a considerable area, for an
extended time. The phenomenon of
collapses is thus an extreme form of

several milder types of decline, and it
becomes arbitrary to decide how drastic
the decline of a society must be before it
qualifies to be labeled as a collapse.
Some of those milder types of decline
include the normal minor rises and falls
of fortune, and minor political/
economic/social restructurings, of any
individual society; one society’s
conquest by a close neighbor, or its
decline linked to the neighbor’s rise,
without change in the total population
size or complexity of the whole region;
and the replacement or overthrow of one
governing elite by another. By those
standards, most people would consider
the following past societies to have been
famous victims of full-fledged collapses

rather than of just minor declines: the
Anasazi and Cahokia within the
boundaries of the modern U.S., the Maya
cities in Central America, Moche and
Tiwanaku societies in South America,
Mycenean Greece and Minoan Crete in
Europe, Great Zimbabwe in Africa,
Angkor Wat and the Harappan Indus
Valley cities in Asia, and Easter Island
in the Pacific Ocean (map, pp. 4-5).

The monumental ruins left behind by
those past societies hold a romantic
fascination for all of us. We marvel at
them when as children we first learn of
them through pictures. When we grow
up, many of us plan vacations in to
experience them at firsthand as tourists.
We feel drawn to their often spectacular

and haunting beauty, and also to the
mysteries that they pose. The scales of
the ruins testify to the former wealth and
power of their builders—the boast
“Look on my works, ye mighty, and
despair!” in Shelley’s words. Yet the
builders vanished, abandoning the great
structures that they had created at such
effort. How could a society that was
once so mighty end up collapsing? What
were the fates of its individual citizens?
—did they move away, and (if so) why,
or did they die there in some unpleasant
way? Lurking behind this romantic
mystery is the nagging thought: might
such a fate eventually befall our own
wealthy society? Will tourists someday
stare mystified at the rusting hulks of

New York’s skyscrapers, much as we
stare today at the jungle-overgrown ruins
of Maya cities?

It has long been suspected that many
of those mysterious abandonments were
at least partly triggered by ecological
problems: people inadvertently
destroying the environmental resources
on which their societies depended. This
suspicion of unintended ecological
suicide—ecocide—has been confirmed
by discoveries made in recent decades
by archaeologists, climatologists,
historians, paleontologists, and
palynologists (pollen scientists). The
processes through which past societies
have undermined themselves by
damaging their environments fall into
eight categories, whose relative
importance differs from case to case:
deforestation and habitat destruction,

soil problems (erosion, salinization, and
soil fertility losses), water management
problems, overhunting, overfishing,
effects of introduced species on native
species, human population growth, and
increased per-capita impact of people.

Those past collapses tended to follow
somewhat similar courses constituting
variations on a theme. Population growth
forced people to adopt intensified means
of agricultural production (such as
irrigation, double-cropping, or
terracing), and to expand farming from
the prime lands first chosen onto more
marginal land, in to feed the
growing number of hungry mouths.
Unsustainable practices led to
environmental damage of one or more of

the eight types just listed, resulting in
agriculturally marginal lands having to
be abandoned again. Consequences for
society included food shortages,
starvation, wars among too many people
fighting for too few resources, and
overthrows of governing elites by
disillusioned masses. Eventually,
population decreased through starvation,
war, or disease, and society lost some of
the political, economic, and cultural
complexity that it had developed at its
peak. Writers find it tempting to draw
analogies between those trajectories of
human societies and the trajectories of
individual human lives—to talk of a
society’s birth, growth, peak,
senescence, and death—and to assume

that the long period of senescence that
most of us traverse between our peak
years and our deaths also applies to
societies. But that metaphor proves
erroneous for many past societies (and
for the modern Soviet Union): they
declined rapidly after reaching peak
numbers and power, and those rapid
declines must have come as a surprise
and shock to their citizens. In the worst
cases of complete collapse, everybody
in the society emigrated or died.
Obviously, though, this grim trajectory is
not one that all past societies followed
unvaryingly to completion: different
societies collapsed to different degrees
and in somewhat different ways, while
many societies didn’t collapse at all.

The risk of such collapses today is
now a matter of increasing concern;
indeed, collapses have already
materialized for Somalia, Rwanda, and
some other Third World countries. Many
people fear that ecocide has now come
to overshadow nuclear war and
emerging diseases as a threat to global
civilization. The environmental
problems facing us today include the
same eight that undermined past
societies, plus four new ones: human-
caused climate change, buildup of toxic
chemicals in the environment, energy
shortages, and full human utilization of
the Earth’s photosynthetic capacity.
Most of these 12 threats, it is claimed,
will become globally critical within the

next few decades: either we solve the
problems by then, or the problems will
undermine not just Somalia but also First
World societies. Much more likely than
a doomsday scenario involving human
extinction or an apocalyptic collapse of
industrial civilization would be “just” a
future of significantly lower living
standards, chronically higher risks, and
the undermining of what we now
consider some of our key values. Such a
collapse could assume various forms,
such as the worldwide spread of
diseases or else of wars, triggered
ultimately by scarcity of environmental
resources. If this reasoning is correct,
then our efforts today will determine the
state of the world in which the current

generation of children and young adults
lives out their middle and late years.

But the seriousness of these current
environmental problems is vigorously
debated. Are the risks greatly
exaggerated, or conversely are they
underestimated? Does it stand to reason
that today’s human population of almost
seven billion, with our potent modern
technology, is causing our environment
to crumble globally at a much more
rapid rate than a mere few million
people with stone and wooden tools
already made it crumble locally in the
past? Will modern technology solve our
problems, or is it creating new problems
faster than it solves old ones? When we
deplete one resource (e.g., wood, oil, or

ocean fish), can we count on being able
to substitute some new resource (e.g.,
plastics, wind and solar energy, or
farmed fish)? Isn’t the rate of human
population growth declining, such that
we’re already on course for the world’s
population to level off at some
manageable number of people?

All of these questions illustrate why
those famous collapses of past
civilizations have taken on more
meaning than just that of a romantic
mystery. Perhaps there are some
practical lessons that we could learn
from all those past collapses. We know
that some past societies collapsed while
others didn’t: what made certain
societies especially vulnerable? What,

exactly, were the processes by which
past societies committed ecocide? Why
did some past societies fail to see the
messes that they were getting into, and
that (one would think in retrospect) must
have been obvious? Which were the
solutions that succeeded in the past? If
we could answer these questions, we
might be able to identify which societies
are now most at risk, and what measures
could best help them, without waiting for
more Somalia-like collapses.

But there are also differences between
the modern world and its problems, and
those past societies and their problems.
We shouldn’t be so naïve as to think that
study of the past will yield simple
solutions, directly transferable to our

societies today. We differ from past
societies in some respects that put us at
lower risk than them; some of those
respects often mentioned include our
powerful technology (i.e., its beneficial
effects), globalization, modern medicine,
and greater knowledge of past societies
and of distant modern societies. We also
differ from past societies in some
respects that put us at greater risk than
them: mentioned in that connection are,
again, our potent technology (i.e., its
unintended destructive effects),
globalization (such that now a collapse
even in remote Somalia affects the U.S.
and Europe), the dependence of millions
(and, soon, billions) of us on modern
medicine for our survival, and our much

larger human population. Perhaps we
can still learn from the past, but only if
we think carefully about its lessons.

Efforts to understand past collapses have
had to confront one major controversy
and four complications. The controversy
involves resistance to the idea that past
peoples (some of them known to be
ancestral to peoples currently alive and
vocal) did things that contributed to their
own decline. We are much more
conscious of environmental damage now
than we were a mere few decades ago.
Even signs in hotel rooms now invoke
love of the environment to make us feel
guilty if we demand fresh towels or let

the water run. To damage the
environment today is considered morally

Not surprisingly, Native Hawaiians
and Maoris don’t like paleontologists
telling them that their ancestors
exterminated half of the bird species that
had evolved on Hawaii and New
Zealand, nor do Native Americans like
archaeologists telling them that the
Anasazi deforested parts of the
southwestern U.S. The supposed
discoveries by paleontologists and
archaeologists sound to some listeners
like just one more racist pretext
advanced by whites for dispossessing
indigenous peoples. It’s as if scientists
were saying, “Your ancestors were bad

stewards of their lands, so they deserved
to be dispossessed.” Some American
and Australian whites, resentful of
government payments and land
retribution to Native Americans and
Aboriginal Australians, do indeed seize
on the discoveries to advance that
argument today. Not only indigenous
peoples, but also some anthropologists
and archaeologists who study them and
identify with them, view the recent
supposed discoveries as racist lies.

Some of the indigenous peoples and
the anthropologists identifying with them
go to the opposite extreme. They insist
that past indigenous peoples were (and
modern ones still are) gentle and
ecologically wise stewards of their

environments, intimately knew and
respected Nature, innocently lived in a
virtual Garden of Eden, and could never
have done all those bad things. As a
New Guinea hunter once told me, “If one
day I succeed in shooting a big pigeon in
one direction from our village, I wait a
week before hunting pigeons again, and
then I go out in the opposite direction
from the village.” Only those evil
modern First World inhabitants are
ignorant of Nature, don’t respect the
environment, and destroy it.

In fact, both extreme sides in this
controversy—the racists and the
believers in a past Eden—are
committing the error of viewing past
indigenous peoples as fundamentally

different from (whether inferior to or
superior to) modern First World
peoples. Managing environmental
resources sustainably has always been
difficult, ever since Homo sapiens
developed modern inventiveness,
efficiency, and hunting skills by around
50,000 years ago. Beginning with the
first human colonization of the
Australian continent around 46,000
years ago, and the subsequent prompt
extinction of most of Australia’s former
giant marsupials and other large animals,
every human colonization of a land mass
formerly lacking humans—whether of
Australia, North America, South
America, Madagascar, the
Mediterranean islands, or Hawaii and

New Zealand and dozens of other
Pacific islands—has been followed by a
wave of extinction of large animals that
had evolved without fear of humans and
were easy to kill, or else succumbed to
human-associated habitat changes,
introduced pest species, and diseases.
Any people can fall into the trap of
overexploiting environmental resources,
because of ubiquitous problems that we
shall consider later in this book: that the
resources initially seem inexhaustibly
abundant; that signs of their incipient
depletion become masked by normal
fluctuations in resource levels between
years or decades; that it’s difficult to get
people to agree on exercising restraint in
harvesting a shared resource (the so-

called tragedy of the commons, to be
discussed in later chapters); and that the
complexity of ecosystems often makes
the consequences of some human-caused
perturbation virtually impossible to
predict even for a professional
ecologist. Environmental problems that
are hard to manage today were surely
even harder to manage in the past.
Especially for past non-literate peoples
who couldn’t read case studies of
societal collapses, ecological damage
constituted a tragic, unforeseen,
unintended consequence of their best
efforts, rather than morally culpable
blind or conscious selfishness. The
societies that ended up collapsing were
(like the Maya) among the most creative

and (for a time) advanced and successful
of their times, rather than stupid and

Past peoples were neither ignorant
bad managers who deserved to be
exterminated or dispossessed, nor all-
knowing conscientious environmentalists
who solved problems that we can’t
solve today. They were people like us,
facing problems broadly similar to those
that we now face. They were prone
either to succeed or to fail, depending on
circumstances similar to those making us
prone to succeed or to fail today. Yes,
there are differences between the
situation we face today and that faced by
past peoples, but there are still enough
similarities for us to be able to learn

from the past.
Above all, it seems to me

wrongheaded and dangerous to invoke
historical assumptions about
environmental practices of native
peoples in to justify treating them
fairly. In many or most cases, historians
and archaeologists have been uncovering
overwhelming evidence that this
assumption (about Eden-like
environmentalism) is wrong. By
invoking this assumption to justify fair
treatment of native peoples, we imply
that it would be OK to mistreat them if
that assumption could be refuted. In fact,
the case against mistreating them isn’t
based on any historical assumption about
their environmental practices: it’s based

on a moral principle, namely, that it is
morally wrong for one people to
dispossess, subjugate, or exterminate
another people.

That’s the controversy about past
ecological collapses. As for the
complications, of course it’s not true that
all societies are doomed to collapse
because of environmental damage: in the
past some societies did while others
didn’t; the real question is why only
some societies proved fragile, and what
distinguished those that collapsed from
those that didn’t. Some societies that I
shall discuss, such as the Icelanders and
Tikopians, succeeded in solving

extremely difficult environmental
problems, have thereby been able to
persist for a long time, and are still
going strong today. For example, when
Norwegian colonists of Iceland first
encountered an environment
superficially similar to that of Norway
but in reality very different, they
inadvertently destroyed much of
Iceland’s topsoil and most …

Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:
error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
You can contact our live agent via WhatsApp! Via + 1 3234125597

Feel free to ask questions, clarifications, or discounts available when placing an order.