Jared Diamond is the guru of collapse. Collapse is the title of one of the books that have made him a world-famous academic. It is a theme that captures the Zeitgeist: markets have collapsed, banks have collapsed and confidence, even in the capitalist system itself, has collapsed.
Diamond’s celebrated book – which added to the reputation he earned through Guns, Germs and Steel, a Pulitzer prize-winner about why some societies triumph over others – sought to discover what makes civilisations, many at their apparent zenith, crumble overnight. The Maya of Central America, the stone-carving civilisation of Easter Island, and the
Soviet Union – all suddenly shattered.
The question lurking in Diamond’s work is: could we be next? Could the great skyscrapers of
one day become deserted canyons of a bygone civilisation, a modern version of Ozymandias’s trunkless legs of stone? Manhattan
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