Some thoughts on ‘Complexity and Collapse – Empires on the Edge of Chaos’ – Part 1

9 03 2010

It was very hard to choose a specific theme for the first series of posts. Between the desire to discuss theoretical evolutionary issues that wouldn’t make any sense outside a very narrow sub-group in the underworld of academia, and the wish to apprehend something that really matters in the real world, I found in the article “Complexity and Collapse – Empires on the Edge of Chaos” (March, 2010), by Niall Ferguson, a good start point for this mental calisthenics.

Published in Foreign Affairs, a magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations, by the author of  The Ascent of Money, among other books (all of them still in my ‘should read’ list, by the way), the article is certainly catching for innumerous reasons:  by its aesthetic appeal, by the way it challenges some established perspectives about the development of historical processes and social systems, by the attempt to come to grasp to historical and modern facts in the light of this challenging view,  and by the implications for public policy it brings. It is also provoking, I may add, if some of the challenged perspectives were part of your own Personal Influences.

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