Societal collapse

collapse of societycollapsebarbarismdemographic collapsedisintegrationdownfallsocial collapsesystems collapsebreak-upbreakdown of society
Societal collapse is the fall of a complex human society.wikipedia
406 Related Articles

Human overpopulation

overpopulationexpanding human populationoverpopulated
Other factors such as a Malthusian catastrophe, overpopulation or resource depletion might be the proximate cause of collapse.
In more scientific terms, there is overshoot when the ecological footprint of a human population in a geographical area exceeds that place's carrying capacity, damaging the environment faster than nature can repair it, potentially leading to an ecological and societal collapse.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

CollapseCollapse (book)Collapse'' (film, 2010)
In his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond proposes five interconnected causes of collapse that may reinforce each other: non-sustainable exploitation of resources, climate changes, diminishing support from friendly societies, hostile neighbors, and inappropriate attitudes for change.
He then reviews the causes of historical and pre-historical instances of societal collapse—particularly those involving significant influences from environmental changes, the effects of climate change, hostile neighbors, trade partners, and the society's response to the foregoing four challenges—and considers the success or failure different societies have had in coping with such threats.

Classic Maya collapse

Maya collapsecollapseClassic Maya
Such a disintegration may be relatively abrupt, as in the case of Maya civilization, or gradual, as in the case of the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
Although the spatial patterns of societal collapse are complex, population centers continued in many coastal regions and in the northern Yucatán Peninsula, including as Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Coba, whereas most states in the central regions collapsed and landscapes were depopulated.


de-growthdegrowth movementdegrowth theory
Georgescu-Roegen was the paradigm founder of ecological economics and is also considered the main intellectual figure influencing the degrowth movement.
Moving toward a society that is not dependent on oil is seen as essential to avoiding societal collapse when non-renewable resources are depleted.


Societal collapse is the fall of a complex human society.

Easter Island

Rapa NuiIsla de PascuaEaster
For example, the failure of Easter Island's leaders to remedy rapid ecological deterioration cannot be understood without reference to the other models above.
A study headed by Douglas Owsley published in 1994 asserted that there is little archaeological evidence of pre-European societal collapse.

Dark Ages (historiography)

Dark AgesDark Agethe Dark Ages
These are characteristics of a Dark Age.
Thus the 5th and 6th centuries in Britain, at the height of the Saxon invasions, have been called "the darkest of the Dark Ages", in view of the societal collapse of the period and the consequent lack of historical records.


sustainableenvironmental sustainabilityunsustainable
Romanian American economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, a progenitor in economics and the paradigm founder of ecological economics, has argued that the carrying capacity of Earth—that is, Earth's capacity to sustain human populations and consumption levels—is bound to decrease sometime in the future as Earth's finite stock of mineral resources is presently being extracted and put to use; and consequently, that the world economy as a whole is heading towards an [[Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen#Population pressure, mineral resource exhaustion and the end of mankind|inevitable future collapse, leading to the demise of human civilisation itself]].

Mad Max

Bubba ZanettiM.F.P. (Main Force Patrol)Main Force Patrol
Set in a future Australia, the film presents a saga of societal collapse, murder, and revenge in which an unhinged policeman becomes embroiled in a violent feud with a savage motorcycle gang.

Progress trap

This prevents further progress and sometimes leads to societal collapse.

Population dynamics

growth modelHistory of population dynamicsintrinsic rate of increase
In the general study of cultural change and population dynamics, a whole system displays complex ecosystem changes.

Urban decay

urban blightblightedblight
Urban decay (also known as urban rot and urban blight) is the sociological process by which a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude.

Joseph Tainter

Joseph A. TainterTainterThe Collapse of Complex Societies
Joseph Tainter theorizes that collapsed societies essentially exhausted their own designs, and were unable to adapt to natural diminishing returns for what they knew as their method of survival.

State collapse

collapsed state
State collapse is not always synonymous with societal collapse, which often is a more prolonged process, as in the fall of the western Roman Empire.

Global catastrophic risk

existential riskdoomsdayGlobal catastrophic risks
However, civilizations vanished rather frequently in human history.

A Short History of Progress

A Short History of Progress is a non-fiction book and lecture series by Ronald Wright about societal collapse.

Behavioral sink

behavioural sink
Calhoun's work became used as an animal model of societal collapse, and his study has become a touchstone of urban sociology and psychology in general.


civilisationcivilizationsancient civilization
The British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, in his 12-volume masterpiece A Study of History (1961), theorized that all civilizations pass through several distinct stages: genesis, growth, time of troubles, universal state, and disintegration.

Energy descent

According to Rob Hopkins, energy descent is the only desirable option we have left (because reactive responses have dramatic consequences and it is likely too late for sustainable development).

Late Bronze Age collapse

Bronze Age collapsecollapse of the Bronze Agedisasters
A general systems collapse has been put forward as an explanation for the reversals in culture that occurred between the Urnfield culture of the 12th and 13th centuries BC and the rise of the Celtic Hallstatt culture in the 9th and 10th centuries BC.

Dependency ratio

Dependency ratiosAge dependency ratioaged dependency ratio
Other population imbalances may occur when low fertility rates coincides with high dependency ratios or when there is an unequal distribution of wealth between elites and commoners.