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  • I think all of us have been interested, at one time or another,

    社會瓦解之謎,我相信各位都曾對此感過興趣,

  • in the romantic mysteries of all those societies that collapsed,

    那些曾經存在,但後來瓦解的社會,

  • such as the classic Maya in the Yucatan, the Easter Islanders,

    如瑪雅文明,尤卡坦半島上的古典瑪雅文明,復活節島文明,

  • the Anasazi, Fertile Crescent society, Angor Wat, Great Zimbabwe

    阿納薩齊文明,新月沃地文明,吳哥文明,大辛巴威文明等等。

  • and so on. And within the last decade or two,

    而在最近的10到20年裏,

  • archaeologists have shown us that there were environmental problems

    考古學家們向我們展示了導致這些社會瓦解的

  • underlying many of these past collapses.

    鮮為人知的的環境原因。

  • But there were also plenty of places in the world

    但是這個世界上還有很多地方,

  • where societies have been developing for thousands of years

    都有著上千年的歷史,

  • without any sign of a major collapse,

    卻從未有過徹底的瓦解。

  • such as Japan, Java, Tonga and Tikopea. So evidently, societies

    譬如:日本、爪哇島、湯加以及蒂科皮亞。顯然,

  • in some areas are more fragile than in other areas.

    與其他社會相比,有些社會更加脆弱一些。

  • How can we understand what makes some societies more fragile

    我們該如何來理解這一點呢?

  • than other societies? The problem is obviously relevant

    顯然,這個問題非常有現實意義。

  • to our situation today, because today as well, there are

    因為於當下世界同樣

  • some societies that have already collapsed, such as Somalia

    有一些已經瓦解了的社會,如:索馬里、

  • and Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. There are also

    盧旺達和前南斯拉夫。此外,

  • societies today that may be close to collapse, such as Nepal, Indonesia and Columbia.

    還有一些行將崩潰的社會,比如:尼泊爾、印尼、哥倫比亞。

  • What about ourselves?

    那麼,美國是什麼狀況呢?

  • What is there that we can learn from the past that would help us avoid

    歷史上,有這麼多的社會或者衰敗、或者消亡,

  • declining or collapsing in the way that so many past societies have?

    以史為鑒,我們應當如何避免重蹈覆轍呢?

  • Obviously the answer to this question is not going

    這個問題的答案顯然得從多方面考慮,

  • to be a single factor. If anyone tells you that there is a single-factor

    如果有人告訴你:“這些社會會崩潰,只有一個原因。”

  • explanation for societal collapses, you know right away

    那麼你應該馬上反應過來,

  • that they're an idiot. This is a complex subject.

    這人是個傻子。畢竟,這是個非常複雜的問題。

  • But how can we make sense out of the complexities of this subject?

    那麼我們該如何來理清頭緒呢?

  • In analyzing societal collapses, I've arrived at a

    在分析社會崩潰的過程中,我設計出了一個

  • five-point framework -- a checklist of things that I go through

    “五點架構”:這其實是個清單,枚舉了我為了解釋社會瓦解之謎

  • to try and understand collapses. And I'll illustrate that five-point

    而考慮的每一個因素。下面,我將通過分析格陵蘭島上的維京部落的消亡

  • framework by the extinction of the Greenland Norse society.

    來闡釋這個“五點架構”。

  • This is a European society with literate records,

    這是一個留有文字史料的歐洲社會,

  • so we know a good deal about the people and their motivation.

    所以我們可以充分理解那裏的人和他們的動機。

  • In AD 984 Vikings went out to Greenland, settled Greenland,

    西元984年,一群維京海盜登陸格陵蘭島並隨後定居下來。

  • and around 1450 they died out -- the society collapsed,

    到1450年,整個社會瓦解,

  • and every one of them ended up dead.

    最終,他們滅絕了。

  • Why did they all end up dead? Well, in my five-point framework,

    他們怎麼就全滅絕了呢?嗯,在我的“五點構架”中,

  • the first item on the framework is to look for human impacts

    第一點是:人對環境的影響。

  • on the environment: people inadvertently destroying the resource

    因為大意,人們毀掉了他們賴以生存的資源。

  • base on which they depend. And in the case of the Viking Norse,

    在這個具體的案例中,

  • the Vikings inadvertently caused soil erosion and deforestation,

    維京人由於大意導致了土壤侵蝕和森林荒漠化,

  • which was a particular problem for them because

    而之所以造成了麻煩是因為

  • they required forests to make charcoal, to make iron.

    他們需要樹木來製成木炭,再用木炭冶鐵。

  • So they ended up an Iron Age European society, virtually

    因此雖然他們是鐵器時代的歐洲社會,但當他們瓦解時,

  • unable to make their own iron. A second item on my checklist is

    他們已經不能冶煉鐵器了。在清單上的第二點是:

  • climate change. Climate can get warmer or colder or dryer or wetter.

    氣候變化:或變暖、或變冷、或變乾、或變濕。

  • In the case of the Vikings -- in Greenland, the climate got colder

    在這個案例中,14世紀晚期,尤其是15世紀,

  • in the late 1300s, and especially in the 1400s. But a cold climate

    氣候變冷。但寒冷的氣候並不是決定性的因素,

  • isn't necessarily fatal, because the Inuit -- the Eskimos inhabiting

    理由是當時愛斯基摩人同樣住在格陵蘭島上,

  • Greenland at the same time -- did better, rather than worse,

    面對變冷的氣候,他們的表現就挺不錯的。

  • with cold climates. So why didn't the Greenland Norse as well?

    那麼,為什麼維京人沒能做到呢?

  • The third thing on my checklist is relations with neighboring

    在我的清單上的第三點是:

  • friendly societies that may prop up a society. And if that

    與周邊友邦的關係,這些友邦可以提供必要的援助。

  • friendly support is pulled away, that may make a society

    而一旦這種來自友邦的援助終止,通常會使

  • more likely to collapse. In the case of the Greenland Norse,

    這個社會瓦解。在這個案例中,

  • they had trade with the mother country -- Norway --

    他們一直在與母邦,挪威,進行貿易往來,

  • and that trade dwindled: partly because Norway got weaker,

    然而,一方面因為挪威逐漸衰弱,

  • partly because of sea ice between Greenland and Norway.

    一方面因為兩地航道間的海水漸漸結冰,這種貿易與日俱減。

  • The fourth item on my checklist is relations with hostile societies.

    在我清單上的第四點是:與敵國的關係。

  • In the case of Norse Greenland, the hostiles were the Inuit --

    在這個案例中,他們的敵國是因紐特人

  • the Eskimos sharing Greenland -- with whom the Norse

    以及愛斯基摩人,他們與維京人是格陵蘭島上的“室友”,

  • got off to bad relationships. And we know that the Inuit

    但他們並不遭維京人待見。而且我們知道,

  • killed the Norse and, probably of greater importance,

    他們有時會屠戮維京人,此外,可能更重要的是,

  • may have blocked access to the outer fjords, on which

    他們擋住了維京人到出海口的路,

  • the Norse depended for seals at a critical time of the year.

    而每年的特定季節,維京人是需要通過這個峽灣出海捕獵海豹的。

  • And then finally, the fifth item on my checklist is the political,

    最後,在我的清單上的第五點:

  • economic, social and cultural factors in the society that make it

    一個社會的政治、經濟、社會和文化因素,

  • more or less likely that the society will perceive and solve its

    這些因素能促使一個社會意識到並解決它所遇到的環境問題。

  • environmental problems. In the case of the Greenland Norse,

    在這個案例中,

  • cultural factors that made it difficult for them

    因為文化的原因,維京人很難解決遇到的問題,具體而言:

  • to solve their problems were: their commitments to a

    維京人是信仰基督教的,

  • Christian society investing heavily in cathedrals; their being

    他們將大量的人力物力花費在建築大教堂上;此外,

  • a competitive-ranked chiefly society; and their scorn for the Inuit,

    作為一個極其爭強好勝的社會,他們瞧不起因紐特人,

  • from whom they refused to learn. So that's how the five-part

    因此他們拒絕傳授技術。綜上,這就是“五點構架”

  • framework is relevant to the collapse and eventual extinction of the Greenland Norse.

    如何解釋社會瓦解的以及格陵蘭島上維京人消亡的原因。

  • What about a society today?

    那麼當今的社會又是如何的呢?

  • For the past five years, I've been taking my wife and kids to

    過去的5年裏,我和我的家人造訪了蒙大納州的西南部,

  • Southwestern Montana, where I worked as a teenager

    在那裏,每當乾草收割時,

  • on the hay harvest. And Montana, at first sight, seems

    我像個年輕人一樣工作。乍一看,

  • like the most pristine environment in the United States.

    蒙大納州貌似是全美境內環境最自然的州。

  • But scratch the surface, and Montana suffers from serious problems.

    但深入研究後,會發現其實它也面臨著許多嚴重的問題。

  • Going through the same checklist: human environmental impacts?

    同樣用我的“五點架構”法來檢驗。第一點:人類對環境的影響。

  • Yes, acute in Montana. Toxic problems from mine waste

    是的,這種影響在蒙大納州極為嚴重。

  • have caused damage of billions of dollars.

    為解決廢礦產生的有毒物質問題,已耗費了數十億美元。

  • Problems from weeds, weed control, cost Montana nearly

    而為了除去雜草,以及控制其擴散,蒙大納州每年幾乎都要花費

  • 200 million dollars a year. Montana has lost agricultural areas

    2億美元。此外,蒙大納州的可耕土壤面積還不斷在減少,

  • from salinization, problems of forest management,

    原因包括:土壤鹽鹼化、森林管理失調

  • problems of forest fires. Second item on my checklist:

    以及森林大火問題等。接著考慮我的清單上的第二點:

  • climate change. Yes -- the climate in Montana is getting warmer

    氣候變化:是的,蒙大納州的氣候逐漸變得更加乾熱,

  • and drier, but Montana agriculture depends especially on irrigation

    蒙大納州的農業主要是依靠雪水灌溉,

  • from the snow pack, and as the snow is melting -- for example,

    因為氣候變暖,雪水漸漸消融,我們可以看到,

  • as the glaciers in Glacier National Park are disappearing --

    國家冰河公園的冰川正在逐漸消失,

  • that's bad news for Montana irrigation agriculture.

    這對蒙大納州的農業來說,絕對是個十足的噩耗。

  • Third thing on my checklist: relations with friendlies

    我的清單上的第三點:與可以提供援助的友鄰的關係。

  • that can sustain the society. In Montana today, more than half of

    在當今的蒙大納州,居民收入的一半以上

  • the income of Montana is not earned within Montana,

    都不是產生於州內,

  • but is derived from out of state: transfer payments from

    而是源自於州外,主要包括:

  • social security, investments and so on --

    社會保險的款項轉賬,各界的投資等等。

  • which makes Montana vulnerable to the rest of the United States.

    這就使得蒙大納州成為了美國最脆弱的州之一。

  • Fourth: relations with hostiles. Montanans have the same problems

    第四點:與敵國的關係。這一點上,蒙大納州面臨的問題

  • as do all Americans, in being sensitive to problems

    與其他州一樣,都受到海外反美勢力的威脅,

  • created by hostiles overseas affecting our oil supplies,

    在一些問題上尤為敏感:如干擾我們的石油供應,

  • and terrorist attacks. And finally, last item on my checklist:

    恐怖襲擊等等。最後,在我清單上的最後一點:

  • question of how political, economic, social, cultural attitudes

    一個社會的政治、經濟、社會和文化因素如何來解決

  • play into this. Montanans have long-held values, which today

    其所遇到的問題。蒙大納州一致奉行“長期持有”的觀點

  • seem to be getting in the way of their solving their own problems.

    如今似乎正在妨礙他們解決所遇到的問題。

  • Long-held devotion to logging and to mines and to agriculture,

    “長期持有”的價值觀致力於伐木、採礦以及種植、

  • and to no government regulation; values that worked well

    以及非政府管理。這一價值觀

  • in the past, but they don't seem to be working well today.

    在過去對他們經濟發展的幫助成效顯著,但如今卻似乎難以奏效。

  • So, I'm looking at these issues of collapses

    當我在思考社會瓦解的問題時,

  • for a lot of past societies and for many present societies.

    不管是過去的或是當下的社會,

  • Are there any general conclusions that arise?

    我不禁問自己,我能得到什麼普適性的結論麼?

  • In a way, just like Tolstoy's statement about every unhappy marriage

    在某種程度上,正如托爾斯泰所言:不幸的家庭各有各的不幸。

  • being different, every collapsed or endangered society is different --

    同樣的道理,每一個瓦解或者行將瓦解的社會都是不同的。

  • they all have different details. But nevertheless, there are certain

    它們的瓦解各有各的原因。儘管如此,

  • common threads that emerge from these comparisons

    我們還是可以得到一些共識的,通過對比

  • of past societies that did or did not collapse

    歷史上那些崩潰了和沒有崩潰的社會,

  • and threatened societies today. One interesting common thread

    這些共識於今也有借鑒意義。在眾多社會瓦解的案例中,

  • has to do with, in many cases, the rapidity of collapse

    可以發現一個有趣的相似點:這個社會發展到其鼎盛時期,

  • after a society reaches its peak. There are many societies

    突然急轉直下,然後瓦解。歷史上,許多社會的發展軌跡

  • that don't wind down gradually, but they build up -- get richer

    並不是逐漸衰弱然後消亡,而是國力逐漸強盛,

  • and more powerful -- and then within a short time, within a few decades

    勢力逐漸擴大,最後達到鼎盛期。突然,在一個極短的時間裏,

  • after their peak, they collapse. For example,

    如幾十年間,他們就瓦解了。比如說,

  • the classic lowland Maya of the Yucatan began to collapse in the

    尤卡坦半島的低地古典瑪雅,他們瓦解於

  • early 800s -- literally a few decades after the Maya were building

    9世紀早期,而正是在此之前的數十年,瑪雅人

  • their biggest monuments, and Maya population was greatest.

    完成了他們最大的紀念碑,而且,人口數量也達到了史上最多。

  • Or again, the collapse of the Soviet Union took place

    同樣的,蘇聯的瓦解亦然。

  • within a couple of decades, maybe within a decade, of the time

    在蘇聯瓦解的前幾十年,甚至可能僅僅在其前10年,

  • when the Soviet Union was at its greatest power.

    他們還處於史上最輝煌的時期。

  • An analogue would be the growth of bacteria in a petri dish.

    有一個現象倒是與此種情形很相似:培養皿中細菌數量的增加曲線

  • These rapid collapses are especially likely where there's

    這些社會之所以暴斃,極有可能是因為

  • a mismatch between available resources and resource consumption,

    他們能夠獲取的資源已無法滿足他們的需求,

  • or a mismatch between economic outlays and economic potential.

    或者他們在經濟上入不敷出。

  • In a petri dish, bacteria grow. Say they double every generation,

    在培養皿中,細菌繁殖。每隔一代,數目翻倍,

  • and five generations before the end the petri dish is 15/16ths empty,

    只需五代,便告終結。起初,培養皿會有15/16的空白區域,

  • and then the next generation's 3/4ths empty, and the next generation

    而一代之後,只剩下3/4的空間,再下一代,

  • half empty. Within one generation after the petri dish still

    只有一半。當培養皿還有一半空間時,只需要再有一代,

  • being half empty, it is full. There's no more food and the bacteria have collapsed.

    培養皿就被占滿了。因為沒有了更多的食物來源,這個細菌社會於是瓦解。

  • So, this is a frequent theme:

    由此可見,在短時間內,

  • societies collapse very soon after reaching their peak in power.

    一個社會由盛轉衰繼而消亡的現象是很常見的。

  • What it means to put it mathematically is that, if you're concerned

    這個現象用數學思維可以這樣理解:如果你要考慮一個當今的社會,

  • about a society today, you should be looking not at the value

    你最該關心的並不應該是這個數學函數的值,

  • of the mathematical function -- the wealth itself -- but you should

    具體而言,即一個社會的GDP;你應該留意的,

  • be looking at the first derivative and the second derivatives

    應該是這個函數的一階導以及二階導。

  • of the function. That's one general theme. A second general theme

    以上便是得到的瓦解社會的共性之一。其二,

  • is that there are many, often subtle environmental factors that make

    總是會有許多微妙的環境因素使得

  • some societies more fragile than others. Many of those factors

    一些社會較之其他更為脆弱,而這些環境因素

  • are not well understood. For example, why is it that in the Pacific,

    目前我們尚未能完全理解。比如說,為何在太平洋中,

  • of those hundreds of Pacific islands, why did Easter Island end up as

    在數以百計的島嶼中,只有復活節島

  • the most devastating case of complete deforestation?

    因為徹底的森林荒漠化而完全荒蕪繼而消亡?

  • It turns out that there were about nine different environmental

    結論是這大約涉及到了9種不同的環境因數,

  • factors -- some, rather subtle ones -- that were working against

    每一種都異常微妙,這些因數都給復活節島帶來了

  • the Easter Islanders, and they involve fallout of volcanic tephra,

    消極的影響,這些因數涉及火山噴發產生的沉降物,

  • latitude, rainfall. Perhaps the most subtle of them

    所在地的緯度以及降雨量。也許這些因數中最微妙的一個,

  • is that it turns out that a major input of nutrients

    是沉降在島嶼上的那些主要來自亞洲的大陸塵埃,

  • which protects island environments in the Pacific is from

    這些塵埃,附帶著大量的營養物質,

  • the fallout of continental dust from central Asia.

    而正是這些營養物質,保護著太平洋上這些島嶼的生態環境。

  • Easter, of all Pacific islands, has the least input of dust

    在恢復土壤肥力的過程中,所有太平洋的島嶼都能從來自亞洲的大陸塵埃獲利,

  • from Asia restoring the fertility of its soils. But that's

    但唯有復活節島,因為距離原因,獲利最少。

  • a factor that we didn't even appreciate until 1999.

    這一現象,我們居然一直到1999年,才開始察覺。

  • So, some societies, for subtle environmental reasons,

    所以說,有一些社會,由於這些微妙的環境因數,

  • are more fragile than others. And then finally,

    比其他社會更加脆弱。最後,

  • another generalization. I'm now teaching a course

    我將闡述第三個共識。 因為目前不才正執教於

  • at UCLA, to UCLA undergraduates, on these collapses

    加州大學洛杉磯分校,給那裏的本科生們講授關於社會瓦解的課程。

  • of societies. What really bugs my UCLA undergraduate