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*norwegian explorere Thor Heyerdahl
i put 'in the short run' in quotation marks, because the anasazi did survive in chaco canyon for about 600 years, considerably longer than the duration of european occupation anywhere in the new world since columbus's arrival in a.d. 1492. during their existence, those various southwestern native americans experimented with half-a-dozen alternative types of economies. it took many centureis to discover that, among htose economies, only the pueblo economy was sustainable 'in the long run,' i.e., for at least a thousand years. that should make us modern americans hesitate to be too confident yet about the sustainaiblity of our first world economy, especially when we reflect how quickly chaco society collapsed after its peak in teh decade a.d. 1110-1120, and how implausible the risk of collapse would have seemed to chacoans of that decade.
winston churchill used to describe russia 'a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma'
*joseph tainter 'the colapse of complex societies'