Monday, January 2, 2012

Jared Diamond's Stages of "Collapse"!

And a happy 2012 to you as well!

I thought I'd kick off the new year with another of the gleanings from my desk-cleanings. Only rather than quote myself (if I don't do it, who will?), I want to bring your attention to the Four Stages of Collapse identified by Jared Diamond in his noteworthy book, "Collapse."

I'll simply cite them here, and leave each of us to ruminate on the obvious questions the list suggests (such as, I wonder how this might apply to the United States? to my company? to the social fabric? and other such questions).
So, here are the stages:

1. Failure to anticipate a problem before it arrives. (Because of a lack of prior experience or a tendency to forget prior experiences)

2. Failure to perceive a problem after it arrives. (Because managers are too far away to detect the signals; or it is a slow trend that is masked by wide up and down fluctuations; or because of "creeping normalcy" that makes the problem seem like "the new norm."

3. Failure to attempt to solve a problem after becoming aware of it. (Because even though it's bad for you, it's good for me; or because of the "tragedy of the commons" makes it hard to take action; or because the problem pits the interests of the power elite versus the masses; or because of a tendency to cling to values/mindset/beliefs/behaviors even after they no longer work; or because of groupthink and broad denial)

4. Problem becomes insolvable. (Too little, too late; too expensive to remedy; or it's simply beyond anyone's capacity to deal with).

Four Stages of Collapse: something to think about at the start of a new year!

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