A new study says that global industrial civilization may collapse in mere decades due to unequal wealth distribution and increased strain on the planet's resources.
The report, funded by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, investigates factors which may be most closely linked to civilizations' downfalls, including Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy, The Guardian reports.
Together, these factors can create resource strain and a wide gap between rich and poor.
The study, led by mathematician Safa Motesharrei, goes on to say the the rich, or 'Elites,' may be responsible for both problems, the Guardian notes.
'...accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite,' it says. 'The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.'The report they cite is located here (PDF download).
Furthermore, technology also 'tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction.'
It also cites the downfall of other major, highly advanced civilizations, including the Roman, Han, Gupta and various Mesopotamian empires as evidence that they can be 'fragile and impermanent.'