Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail

Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail

Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail

*Immoderate Greatness* explains how a civilization’s very magnitude conspires against it to cause downfall. Civilizations are hard-wired for self-destruction. They travel an arc from initial success to terminal decay and ultimate collapse due to intrinsic, inescapable biophysical limits combined with an inexorable trend toward moral decay and practical failure. Because our own civilization is global, its collapse will also be global, as well as uniquely devastating owing to the immensity of its population, complexity, and consumption. To avoid the common fate of all past civilizations will require a radical change in our ethos—to wit, the deliberate renunciation of greatness—lest we precipitate a dark age in which the arts and adornments of civilization are partially or completely lost.

From Kirkus Reviews
“Ophuls’ clear writing, thorough research and elegant logic make his treatise a thoughtful, discussing-provoking work.”

Review
"Ophuls superbly synthesizes a huge amount of literature and presents the synthesis in an easily accessible format with beautifully clear prose. He doesn’t sugarcoat his message. There's no false optimism here. The patient (modern human civilization) is critically and perhaps terminally ill, and Ophuls explains why with enormous skill."

Thomas Homer-Dixon,...

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