Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Monday, December 16, 2019

Why Collapse is not always a bad thing: the new book by Ugo Bardi

If you wish to receive a review copy or want to interview the author, please contact:
Elizabeth Hawkins | Springer Nature | Communications
tel +49 6221 487 8130 |  
Press Release
Why collapse is not always a bad thing
New book provides an analysis of the process of failure and collapse, and outlines principles that help us manage these challenges in our lives
Heidelberg | New York, 12 December 2019
Image: © Springer Nature

Everyone experiences collapse in their lives: you may lose your job, get sick, or a close friend or family member may die. Collapse also happens to structures such as buildings, and on a larger scale affects whole systems like companies, communities or even civilisations. In his latest book, Before the Collapse: A Guide to the Other Side of Growth, Ugo Bardi sets out an approach for facing failure and collapse on all scales. He calls his method the “Seneca Strategy” based on the teachings of the ancient Roman philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Bardi draws on Seneca’s philosophy to explain why collapse is a necessary part of our lives and the world, and why trying to avoid it may lead to bigger problems later on. Seneca recognised that growth is slow but ruin is rapid, yet sudden collapse does not have to take us by surprise. In six concise chapters, Bardi outlines the science behind the collapse of complex systems, how the future can be modelled, and gives numerous examples of past and possible future collapses. Some of the cases Bardi lists include natural disasters, like Florence’s Great Flood, the collapse of a business such as the bankruptcy of the video rental service Blockbuster, as well as famines, epidemics and depopulation. As Seneca famously said: “Nothing that exists today is not the result of past collapse.”

Despite the subject matter, Before the Collapse is not a pessimistic book. Although Bardi emphasizes that technological progress might not prevent collapse, he stresses that the best strategy of coping with collapse is not to resist at all costs. It is possible to rebound after collapse, argues Bardi, and the new condition that arises may even be better than the old. The book finishes with a self-help style reference list summarising the six key things we should know before a collapse is imminent.

The practical tips in this book will appeal to any readers seeking a philosophical self-help guide for coping with collapse in their lives. Before the Collapse also provides general readers with a scientific analysis of local and global disasters and offers a pragmatic approach for preparing and weathering difficult times.

About the author

Ugo Bardi teaches physical chemistry at the University of Florence in Italy. He is interested in resource depletion, system dynamics modeling, climate science and renewable energy. He has an English language blog called "Cassandra's legacy" and is also the author of two other books: Extracted: How the Quest for Global Mining Wealth is Plundering the Planet (Chelsea Green 2014) and The Limits to Growth Revisited (Springer 2011).
Further Information
About the book: Before the Collapse
Services for Journalists
Journalists can request an electronic review copy of Before the Collapse
The author is available for interview.
Elizabeth Hawkins | Springer Nature | Communications
tel +49 6221 487 8130 |   

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1 comment:

  1. Collapse not a bad thing, eh.
    I have personal experience of Collapse, Uruguay in the 1970s, we can put 1973 as the date because the military coup happened in 1973 but it was a constant slid to the bottom thing, sometimes fast, sometimes not so fast but steadily down. 1973 was also the year of an Oil Crisis in the world, and 1973-1974 the three day week in UK also happened, we didn't know about these things at the time, still less in Buenos Aires and Montevideo.
    Things have changed now, improved in some ways -green electricity, for example, legal marihuana, benefits for the very poor- but now Montevideo is like Tombstone in 1880, but without the sheriff four or even ten people are murdered every day, shot, crime is rampant, taxi drivers murdered for their small takings, boys murdered to steal their bicycle or small things like that, no it didn't happen before, no you don't improve after collapse even if some people do.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)