Last night, I went to hear Thomas Homer-Dixon talk in downtown Guelph. It was a packed house, which is great to see. Homer-Dixon is currently on a book tour, promoting his new book, The Upside of Down. Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization.
From the book’s website:
“In The Upside of Down, political scientist and award-winning author Thomas Homer-Dixon argues that converging stresses could cause a catastrophic breakdown of national and global order — a social earthquake that could hurt billions of people. But he shows that this outcome isn’t inevitable; there’s much we can do to prevent it.”
“Drawing parallels between the challenges we face today and the crisis faced by the Roman empire almost two thousand years ago, Homer-Dixon argues that these stresses and multipliers are potentially a lethal mixture. Together, they greatly increase the risk of a cascading collapse of systems vital to our wellbeing — a phenomenon he calls “synchronous failure.” Societies must do everything they can to avoid such an outcome.”
“On the other hand, if people are well-prepared, they may be able to exploit less extreme forms of breakdown to achieve deep reform and renewal of institutions, social relations, technologies, and entrenched habits of behavior. This is likely our best hope for a prosperous and humane future.”
I just put the book on reserve at the local library. Unfortunately, I’m 26th in line.