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POLISCI 244D: Societal Collapse (CLASSICS 187)

Sustained economic growth is an anomaly in human history. Moreover, in the very long term, sustained economic decline is common. Following a historical and cross-cultural perspective, we will study the causes of economic decline, the social and political consequences of that decline, and the path that led to the collapse of some of the most prosperous societies in human history. Among the episodes we will cover are the Late Bronze Age collapse in the Eastern Mediterranean, the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and the Classic Maya collapse. We will compare these ancient episodes with recent cases of socioeconomic decline, including the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the downfall of Venezuela under Chavismo. We will use the past to reflect on the fundamentals of harmony and prosperity in our society and the challenges that they will face in the future.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI
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