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The Collapse of Western CivilizationA View from the Future$
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Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169547

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169547.001.0001

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(p.51) Epilogue
The Collapse of Western Civilization

Naomi Oreskes

Erik M. Conway

Columbia University Press

This epilogue discusses the outcome of the Great Collapse. As the devastating effects of the Great Collapse began to appear, the nation-states with democratic governments were initially unwilling and then unable to deal with the unfolding crisis. As food shortages and disease outbreaks spread, and sea level rose, they found themselves without the infrastructure and organizational ability to quarantine and relocate people. However, the situation was different in China. When rising sea levels began to threaten coastal areas, China rapidly built new inland cities and villages, and relocated more than 250 million people to higher and safer ground, increasing their survival rates to more than 80 percent. China's ability to weather disastrous climate change justified the necessity of centralized government.

Keywords:   Great Collapse, democratic governments, food shortages, disease outbreaks, sea level rise, China, centralized government

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