Famed Social Sciences Author Jared Diamond Predicts 49 Percent Chance of Civilization Collapse

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of (See all articles...)
Tags: human history, civilization, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) Jared Diamond is no doom-and-gloomer; he's a Pulitzer Prize winning author of thoughtful, carefully researched books about the rise and fall of societies. Diamond is best known for Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed ( and Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (, both of which are among my top-recommended books of all time.

When you read these books, you'll quickly realize that Diamond is perhaps the world's top expert on what might be called the "holistic, interdependent nature of complex societies." Rather than limiting his perspective to immediate, short-term actions and consequences (as most national leaders and corporations do), Diamond intelligently examines the long-term, interdependent factors that lead to any society's success or failure.

I've personally read both of Diamond's books mentioned above, and they have strongly influenced my own views about the future (or lack thereof) of western civilization. What Diamond and I both agree on is that complex civilizations are quite fragile, and short-terming thinking can easily doom a society or civilization to irreversible collapse. (Another interesting book to read on this subject, although it's quite technical and a bit older, is The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter.)

Collapse can come from many vectors. Many collapses are environmental, such as the collapse of the Anasazi Indians in North America or the collapse of the Tiwanaku in South America (

Other causes of collapse include man-made accelerations of environmental change; the classic example being the rampant deforestation of Easter Island by its inhabitants (

It is the Easter Island example that perhaps most closely resembles the short-sightedness of modern western civilization. At the expense of future generations, today's CEOs, bankers and politicians are destroying our future in so many ways (financial, chemical, environmental, plundering of fossil fuels, etc.) that it is a challenge to imagine a scenario where western civilization even survives in its current form.

Jared Diamond, in fact, has publicly declared he sees only a 51 percent chance of western civilization surviving. You can hear this from his own mouth in this video interview:

Peak Oil and other threats to human civilization

This is no casual number-tossing game from a newbie. Jared Diamond has studied the success and failure of world societies more closely than anyone living today. He describes himself as "cautiously optimistic" but worries that the outlandish financial decisions being made by the world's leaders have put us all in a precarious position from which western civilization may not emerge intact.

In my own view, the financial challenges facing our world are, indeed, quite severe. And they may yet bring down the entire global banking system. But in the medium term, I see Peak Oil as being the far greater threat to the continuation of human civilization as we know it. Cheap, plentiful fossil fuels discovered in the last hundred years (or so) spurred a food bubble, which led to a population bubble. Cheap oil, in other words, created the temporary conditions necessary to support a runaway population explosion that is, without question, unsustainable without cheap energy.

But cheap oil is finite. And based on all reasonable accounting, world oil production is already in a state of substantial decline. That means oil will become increasingly scarce and expensive with each passing year, precisely as the world's hunger for oil reaches unprecedented heights (cars in China, India, etc.).

When the era of cheap oil ends, the food bubble made possible by mechanized agriculture will also end. And that will usher in an era of rapid human depopulation. Long-term, in a post-Peak Oil scenario, most experts expect the planet to only be able to support about one billion people.

Massive depopulation of the human species

The current population on the planet is about 6.7 billion people ( That means we are likely to see a die-off of about 5.7 billion people, or roughly 6 out of every 7 people.

A loss of 6 out of 7 people -- even in the long run -- means a great de-specialization of complex societies and a return to a far more agrarian society. There is only ONE nation on Earth that has the experience and culture to handle this transition without much loss of life, and that's Papua New Guinea ( Many nations like Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Bolivia and certain Pacific Island nations may also fare well, given that gardening is still a way of life that's taught there (and their climates are especially conducive to easy food production).

For everybody else, the transition will be quite devastating.

The loss of population density and specialization means a collapse of technology multipliers such as mechanized agriculture, just-in-time manufacturing systems and complex industrial logistics that manufacture and deliver products quickly and cheaply. The long, complex supply lines that characterize modern society will collapse, becoming local. For example, right now fish caught in Canada are shipped to China to be filleted by low-cost laborers, then they are shipped back to Canada to be sold as fish fillets. Such outrageous examples of the wasteful use of energy (and long supply lines) will vanish almost overnight in a post-Peak Oil scenario.

Unless some cheap energy supply is quickly discovered that can magically replace oil, virtually all food will eventually become local, which means that anyone living in a region that cannot produce its own food will either starve or leave. Las Vegas, Phoenix and virtually the entire American Southwest will be mostly abandoned by humans. You can expect a mass exodus of people from virtually all cities. Los Angeles would likely become a gang-infested war zone that resembles Somalia more than America.

Those who master the skills of agriculture (and who can protect themselves from the desperate masses leaving the cities) will live and reproduce. Those who deny reality and hope for some government to save them with silly economic stimulus bills will starve and die. It is the ultimate application of Darwinian Natural Selection, on a grand and merciless scale.

In the end, about 1 out of 7 people will remain. They will be the healthy, resourceful people who are willing to work in order to survive. The masses of medicated, junk-food-eating, entitlement-minded citizens of western nations who insist someone else should save them will be removed from the human gene pool through natural processes.

Deniers who foolishly think oil will never run out, or that the global banking system can be saved by printing free money from nothing, or that western civilization will last forever will also be removed from the human gene pool.

Can it be prevented?

A dire scenario? No more dire than all the previous civilization collapses that have occurred on our planet. The history of human life on Earth is full of arrogant, short-sighted societies that believed they would last forever. Arrogance quickly crumbles into dust in the face of ecological reality (or perhaps in this case, economic reality).

Of course, all of this could be prevented if the leaders of modern nations had any real intelligence (defined as having long-term vision and understanding the future implications of present-day decisions). Human life CAN be sustainable on our planet, but only if the people are willing to elect leaders who make decisions today that protect the future instead of selling it out. Such decisions, however, are never popular with the short-sighted people living today.

Sadly, there is hardly a single example of a future-minded politician in America today. Rep. Dennis Kucinich may be one of the rare ones on ecological issues, and Rep. Ron Paul is of course right-minded on financial issues. I cannot think of another elected representative (nor any Senator) that has any real long-term view of a sustainable society.

Nor do most people think beyond their own paychecks and immediate circumstances. How many people are actually taking great steps to reduce their ecological footprint? How many are investing in nutrition and superfoods for healthy babies? How many are truly growing their own food and solving the problems of seed saving, irrigation, food storage and soil erosion?

Remarkably few. Most people in society today live in artificial worlds defined by indoor lighting, air conditioning, processed foods, chemical medicines, artificial wood furniture, television programming and online social networking.

None of these have anything to do with reality.

Reality is the soil, the rivers, the air, sunlight, plants and seeds. It is found in the animals, microbes, forests and aquatic ecosystems. Reality cannot be negotiated with, nor bargained with, nor put off. Reality is shaped by our decisions and actions, and what we see unfolding in the world right now -- global warming, chemical contamination, depletion of fossil fuels -- is merely a reflection of the destructive actions being mindlessly taken by people living today.

It is often said that in a Democracy, people get the government they deserve.

On a large scale, this related thought is also true: On our planet, the people get the results they create!

And it is this choice that Jared Diamond so graciously reminds us to consider. We have a choice to decide our collective future. Today's decisions create tomorrow's results.

There is absolutely no question that the decisions being made right now across the nations of western civilization will create a future world with a greatly reduced capacity for human population. If that is what modern people wish to create, they are right on track with it.

But if modern people want to create a different outcome -- a sustainable world that future generations might enjoy without a population collapse and all the suffering that goes with it -- serious changes in behavior are immediately needed in many areas: Economic, ecological, cultural, medicine, agriculture and more.

Do not be led to believe that modern civilization is anything more than an erratic blip of temporary insanity on the chart of human history.

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

About the author: Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

In addition to being the co-star of the popular GAIAM TV series called Secrets to Health, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

In 2013, Adams created the Natural News Forensic Food Laboratory, a research lab that analyzes common foods and supplements, reporting the results to the public. He is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.