Re: Traditional China as a counterexample to "spikism"

From: Steve Davies (
Date: Tue May 15 2001 - 08:36:24 MDT

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: 11 May 2001 18:20
Subject: Re: Traditional China as a counterexample to "spikism"

In a message dated 5/11/01 8:41:27 AM, writes:

> The best known case is the
>collapse of classical civilisation in the 5th/6th centuries but the most
>spectacular is the sudden demise of Mayan civilisation. So I wouldn't
>nothing can go wrong. I'm not worried by kooks like Zerzan as much as
>selfish and short sighted elites - they are more dangerous because they
>have the power!

What do you think of the recent paper in Science claiming these major
collapses of civilization were linked to major detrimental climactic change?
(usually extended droughts, IIRC)

I find this persuasive but only up to a point. The impact of major climactic
change on civilisation is seriously understudied - my udergraduate history
tutor Geoffrey Parker was an early exponent of the idea that we ought to pay
more attention to the history of the weather. The problem I have is that not
all civilisations collapse or regress when faced with a serious natural
disaster or climate change so there has to be another element in the
explanation as well. The Mayans are a good case in point: they clearly faced
serious ecological problems but they had other problems as well, to do with
their social/political organisation.

Steve Davies

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