By popular demand, we welcome Joseph Tainter, USU professor and author of The Collapse Of Complex Societies (free book download here).
Dr. Tainter sees many of the same unsustainable risks the PeakProsperity.com audience focuses on — an overleveraged economy, declining net energy per capita, and depleting key resources.
He argues that the sustainability or collapse of a society follows from the success or failure of its problem-solving institutions. His work shows that societies collapse when their investments in social complexity and their energy subsidies reach a point of diminishing marginal returns. That is what we are going to be talking about today, especially in regards to where our culture is today, the risks it faces, and whether or not we might already be past the tipping point towards collapse but just don’t know it yet.