2014: Societal Collapse

Motesharrei fig 6b“How real is the possibility of a societal collapse?”

We conducted a series of experiments with the HANDY model, considering first an egalitarian society without Elites (xE = 0), next an equitable society (κ = 1) where Non-Workers and Workers are equally paid, and finally an unequal society whose Elites consume κ times more than the Commoners….the results of our experiments…indicate that either one of the two features apparent in historical societal collapses – over-exploitation of natural resources and strong economic stratification – can independently result in a complete collapse. Given economic stratification, collapse is very difficult to avoid and requires major policy changes, including major reductions in inequality and population growth rates.

Safa Motesharrei, et al., “Human and nature dynamics (HANDY): Modeling inequality and use of resources in the collapse or sustainability of societies” (here)

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