Mental Floss

Jared Diamond on Why Societies Collapse

Chris Higgins

If you've gotten enough election coverage, why not spend eighteen minutes watching Jared Diamond talk about societal collapse? You may know Diamond from his books Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse. Aficionados admire his spectacular combover. But anyway, Diamond's greatest contribution is his studious framework for understanding societal collapse. (Although in this talk he has five areas in his framework, by 2005's Collapse it's up to eight.) Hear Diamond talk through an example of his framework, examining the Greenland Norse societal collapse in this TED Talk from February 2003. (He also discusses this collapse in detail in Collapse.)

Highly recommended for students of history, ecology, migration, and sustainability.