Civ­i­liza­tional collapse

TagLast edit: 13 Jun 2021 16:01 UTC by EA Wiki assistant

A civilizational collapse (sometimes referred to as social collapse or societal collapse) is a drastic decrease in human population size, or in political, economic or social complexity, across essentially the entire world, for an extended period of time. Civilizational resilience is humanity’s capacity to resist, or recover from, civilizational collapse.

In Toby Ord’s typology, unrecoverable civilizational collapses constitute one of the three main types of existential catastrophe (Ord 2020).


Aird, Michael (2020a) Collection of sources that seem very relevant to the topic of civilizational collapse and/​or recovery.
Many additional resources on this topic.

Aird, Michael (2020b) Civilization re-emerging after a catastrophic collapse, Effective Altruism Forum, June 27.

Beckstead, Nick (2015) How much could refuges help us recover from a global catastrophe?, Futures, vol. 72, pp. 36–44.

Cotton-Barratt, Owen, Max Daniel & Anders Sandberg (2020) Defence in depth against human extinction: prevention, response, resilience, and why they all matter, Global Policy, vol. 11, pp. 271–282.

Denkenberger, David & Jeffrey Ladish (2019) Civilizational collapse: scenarios, prevention, responses, Foresight Institute, June 24.

Denkenberger, David & Joshua M. Pearce (2015) Feeding Everyone No Matter What: Managing Food Security after Global Catastrophe, Amsterdam: Academic Press.

Hanson, Robin (2008) Catastrophe, social collapse, and human extinction, in Nick Bostrom & Milan M. Ćirković (eds.) Global Catastrophic Risks, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 363–377.

Jebari, Karim (2019) Civilization re-emerging after a catastrophic collapse, EAGxNordics, April 7.

Ladish, Jeffrey (2020) Update on civilizational collapse research, Effective Altruism Forum, February 10.

Manheim, David (2020) A (very) short history of the collapse of civilizations, and why it matters, Effective Altruism Forum, August 30.

Ord, Toby (2020) The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity, London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Rodriguez, Luisa (2020) What is the likelihood that civilizational collapse would directly lead to human extinction (within decades)?, Effective Altruism Forum, December 24, 2020.

Tainter, Joseph A. (1989) The Collapse of Complex Societies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Turchin, Alexey & Brian Patrick Green (2019) Islands as refuges for surviving global catastrophes, Foresight, vol. 21, pp. 100–117.

Wiblin, Robert & Keiran Harris (2018) We could feed all 8 billion people through a nuclear winter. Dr David Denkenberger is working to make it practical, 80,000 Hours, December 27.

Wiblin, Robert & Keiran Harris (2019) Should we leave a helpful message for future civilizations, just in case humanity dies out?, 80,000 Hours, August 5.
An interview with Paul Christiano.

Wiblin, Robert & Arden Koehler (2020) Mark Lynas on climate change, societal collapse & nuclear energy, 80,000 Hours, August 20.

Related entries

broad vs. narrow interventions | dystopia | existential catastrophe | existential risk | existential risk factor

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45 points
7 comments7 min readEA link

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Causal di­a­grams of the paths to ex­is­ten­tial catastrophe

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10 comments13 min readEA link

Cost-Effec­tive­ness of Foods for Global Catas­tro­phes: Even Bet­ter than Be­fore?

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23 points
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18 points
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David Denken­berger: Loss of In­dus­trial Civ­i­liza­tion and Re­cov­ery (Work­shop)

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19 points
1 comment15 min readEA link

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6 points
7 commentsEA link

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15 points
23 commentsEA link

Should we be spend­ing no less on al­ter­nate foods than AI now?

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36 points
9 commentsEA link

How you can save ex­pected lives for $0.20-$400 each and re­duce X risk

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ALLFED 2019 An­nual Re­port and Fundrais­ing Appeal

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[Question] Is there a sub­field of eco­nomics de­voted to “frag­ility vs re­silience”?

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Some his­tory top­ics it might be very valuable to investigate

MichaelA8 Jul 2020 2:40 UTC
83 points
34 comments6 min readEA link

[Question] Book on Civil­i­sa­tional Col­lapse?

Milton7 Oct 2020 8:51 UTC
9 points
6 comments1 min readEA link

AGI safety and los­ing elec­tric­ity/​in­dus­try re­silience cost-effectiveness

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29 points
10 comments37 min readEA link

ALLFED 2020 Highlights

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48 points
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56 points
18 comments4 min readEA link

Ja­cob Cates and Aron Mill: Scal­ing in­dus­trial food pro­duc­tion in nu­clear winter

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8 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Notes on “Bioter­ror and Biowar­fare” (2006)

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23 points
6 comments4 min readEA link

Luisa Ro­driguez: Do­ing em­piri­cal global pri­ori­ties re­search — the ques­tion of civ­i­liza­tional col­lapse and recovery

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8 points
0 comments1 min readEA link

Juan Gar­cía Martínez: In­dus­trial al­ter­na­tive foods for global catas­trophic risks

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0 comments1 min readEA link

Notes on Hen­rich’s “The WEIRDest Peo­ple in the World” (2020)

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32 points
4 comments3 min readEA link

William Mar­shall: Lu­nar colony

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0 comments1 min readEA link

Hu­man­i­ties Re­search Ideas for Longtermists

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108 points
8 comments15 min readEA link

[Question] Has any­one done an anal­y­sis on the im­por­tance, tractabil­ity, and ne­glect­ed­ness of keep­ing hu­man-di­gestible calories in the ocean in case we need it af­ter some global catas­tro­phe?

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9 points
5 comments1 min readEA link

W-Risk and the Tech­nolog­i­cal Wavefront (Nell Wat­son)

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9 points
1 commentEA link

13 Re­cent Publi­ca­tions on Ex­is­ten­tial Risk (Jan 2021 up­date)

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7 points
2 comments10 min readEA link

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22 points
8 comments37 min readEA link

Base Rates on United States Regime Collapse

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12 points
3 comments9 min readEA link

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24 points
2 commentsEA link

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6 points
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4 points
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