Abstract for: Modeling Cases from Jared Diamond's “Collapse”

Throughout history some societies, including the Maya, Anazi and Easter Island, have collapsed, while others facing similar challenges, such as New Guinea and Japan, have succeeded. The Maya and New Guinea cases were taken from Jared Diamond's study, "Collapse," to create a system dynamics model capable of producing both the collapse and success behavior. The endogenous pressures described by Diamond were used to develop the feedback story. Policy interventions undertaken in by the society in the model were controlling family size, increasing farming intensity, reducing resource usage and composting. In the initial attempt the society enacted these interventions in response the cues of food shortages, perceived environmental degradation and falling crop yields (an indicator of soil quality). However, this version of the model was incapable of creating the success behavior mode, ruling out these cues as ones successful societies could have used. In version two, the society used a target land fraction occupied as its main cue and the gap between needed food production per acre and actual food production per acre as the drive to increase composting. This version was able to produce success behavior, which establishes these cues as possible cues a successful society could have used.