(Conversation Recorded on June 15, 2022)
On this episode we meet with anthropologist, historian, and Professor at Utah State University, Joe Tainter.
What are the key differences between complicated and complex? How can we better understand energy and society through these key distinctions? Tainter explains our current predicament based on decades of research and offers pathways for our collective future.
About Joe Tainter
Joe Tainter has been a professor at Utah State University in the Environment and Society Department since 2007, serving as Department Head from 2007 to 2009. His study of why societies collapse led to research on sustainability, with emphasis on energy and innovation. He has also conducted research on land-use conflict and human responses to climate change. He has written several books, including The Collapse of Complex Societies and Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma.
02:00 – Living in the Future’s Past (Movie with Jeff Bridges)
04:13 – Optimal Foraging Theory
07:20 – EROI/Energy Gain
16:57 – Underpaying for fossil carbons
20:09 – Paul Maidowski Twitter
22:11 – Maximum Power Principle
23:38 – Joe on the Byzantine Empire (pg. 63)
32:50 – Climate Change
34:33 – Thomas Malthus
35:45 – George H.W. Bush on Climate
36:24 – Tragedy of the commons
38:25 – Petroleum and WW2
42:11 – Freeport LNG explosion
42:31 – Natural gas prices
42:45 – Fracking
54:45 – Steady State economy
1:10:55 – Montessori education
Teaser photo credit: By Petar Milošević – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60402597