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- Civilization allows increasing complexity and connectivity, resulting in increased efficiency. But this connectivity and complexity increases the fragility of the system. Demarest gave the example of a slowdown in China causing pizza parlors to close in Chile.
- This complexity also leads to increased maintenance costs, and overhead. And eventually maintenance expands to the point where there’s very little room for innovation and no flexibility to unwind any of the complexity.
- When civilizations get in trouble they often end up doubling down on whatever got them in trouble in the first place. Demarest gives the example of the Mayans who built ever more elaborate temples as collapse threatened, in an effort to prop up the rulers.
- A civilization’s strength can often end up being the cause of its downfall.
- As things intensify thinking becomes more and more short term.