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Let's make sure we're talking about the same thing.  By "dissipative" I mean major and minor changes effectively cancel each other out, leaving the system intact.  

Look at the good old classic example: Chaco Canyon.  They built a system under marginal conditions using a technology that increased population requiring a further deployment of that technology.  For a couple of hundred years they were able to meet and solve adverse weather conditions - no rain - by intensifying the use of that technology.  Then they ran into a situation were the challenges they had to meet could not be met with the level of technology they had developed.  The result was a collapse of the Chaco Canyon culture, the population it supported, and an abandonment of the area by the remaining population.

It's possible to find "steady-state" societies, a good one is New Guinea.  But these can only continue over long periods of time under isolation with minor, non-system affective, technological development.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Apr 15th, 2010 at 12:28:13 PM EST
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