The Elites Were Living High. Then Came the Fall [Annalee Newitz/The New York Times]

Modern cities can learn from the fate of collapsed Bronze Age civilizations at Ugarit and Mycenae, thousands of years ago.

… the Bronze Age was also a time of extreme inequality. Cities were ruled by wealthy urban aristocrats who controlled trade, relied on various kinds of forced labor, and placed heavy tax burdens on their client states and agricultural villages. When times got hard, the commoners in Ugarit and Mycenae felt the squeeze….

Given what’s known about these societies … the city’s lower classes may have gotten fed up and burned it all down.

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