FRAW site index
Free Range Library index

Free Range Library

Anarchism & Action

Climate Change



Direct Action & Protest




Extreme Energy

Extr. Energy Climate

Extr. Energy Economics

Extr. Energy Nature

Extr. Energy Pollution

Extr. Energy Radiation

Food & Agriculture

FOSS & Linux


Land Rights

'Limits to Growth'




Peak Oil

Planning System







UK Government

UK Parliament



50 most recently added files index

Free Range Library indexes last updated 13:30, 07/11/2018

This form allows you to search the resource IDs and resource titles of the files in the Free Range Library. If a full match to a key cannot be found, a list of partial matches is returned.

library logo

The Free Range Virtual Library:

Social complexity and sustainability

Ecological Complexity, vol.3 no.2 pp. 91-103, June 2006

Free Range Library News & Events

10/04/18: Library database engine updated.

28/08/17: Library database engine updated (FRAW Library should be listed on searches more easily now).

10/08/17: Further changes to the website architecture completed to allowed continued expansion of the library.

22/12/16: 14 papers have been added to the Extreme Energy, Climate Change and UK Government sections.

22/11/16: 60 papers have been added to the Extreme Energy section.

back to previous page

Resource information:
Resource IDtainter2006
Resource titleSocial complexity and sustainability
Author(s)Joseph A. Tainter
Publication/ sourceEcological Complexity, vol.3 no.2 pp. 91-103
Date publishedJune 2006
Summary text/ abstractSocial complexity and sustainability emerge from successful problem solving, rather than directly from environmental conditions. Social complexity develops from problem solving at all scales from local to national and international. Complexity in problem solving is an economic function, and can both support and hinder sustainability. Sustainability outcomes may take decades or centuries to develop. Historical studies reveal three outcomes to long-term change in problem-solving institutions: collapse, resiliency through simplification, or continuity based on growing complexity and increasing energy subsidies. The slow development of complexity in problem solving makes its effects difficult to perceive, especially over short time periods. Long-term social sustainability depends on understanding and controlling complexity. New strategies to mitigate or control complexity are offered.
Library categoriesAnarchism & Action, Economics, 'Limits to Growth', Politics, Simplicity
Download file(s):

file iconSocial complexity and sustainability [289.9 kilobytes]

back to previous page

[an error occurred while processing this directive]