"The most persuasive forecast of the 21st century I have seen." --E.O. Wilson, author of Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge and twice winner of a Pulitzer prize.In The Ingenuity Gap, Thomas Homer-Dixon, "global guru" (the Toronto Star), "genuine academic celebrity" (Saturday Night) and "one of Canada's most talked about and controversial scholars" (Maclean's) asks: is our world becoming too complex, too fast-paced to manage? The challenges facing us - ranging from international financial crises and global climate change to pandemics of tuberculosis and AIDS- converge, intertwine, and remain largely beyond our ken. Most of suspect the "experts don't really know what's going on; that as a species we've released forces that are neither managed nor manageable. We are fast approaching a time when we may no longer be able to control a world that increasingly exceeds our grasp. This is "the ingenuity gap" - the term coined by Thomas Homer-Dixon, political scientist and advisor to the White House - the critical gap between our need for practical, innovative ideas to solve complex problems and our actual supply of those ideas.
Through gripping narrative stories and incidents that exemplify his arguments, he takes us on a world tour that begins with a heartstopping description of the tragic crash of United Airlines Flight 232 from Denver to Chicago and includes Las Vegas inits desert, a wilderness beach in British Columbia, and his solitary search for a little girl in Patna, India. He shows how, in our complex world, while poor countries are particularly vulnerable to ingenuity gaps, our own rich countries are not immune, and we are caught dangerously between a soaring requirement for ingenuity and an increasingly uncertain supply. When the gap widens, political disintegration and violent upheaval can result, reaching into our own economies and daily lives in subtle ways. In compelling, lucid, prose, he makes real the problems we face and suggests how we might overcome them - in our own lives, our thing, our business and our societies.
About the Author
Thomas Homer-Dixon is Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Environment, Scarcity, and Violence. He lives in Toronto.
"Thomas Homer-Dixon's analysis of the environment causes of violent conflict have become much sought after in the big White House...not to mention the twin towers over in Langley, home of the CIA." The Toronto Star
"Homer-Dixon is at the forefront of a growing school of political thought that believes the environment and human conflict are often linked in a vicious and violent circle." —John Stackhouse, The Globe and Mail
"The Clinton administration has embraced Homer-Dixon's work as the intellectual framework for a new post-Cold War foreign policy."—Maclean's
"This remarkable work, based on an impressive amount of scholarship, travel, and interviews, is the most persuasive forecast of the twenty-first century I have seen. Homer-Dixon looks beyond the miracle of technological and economic growth to the vast complexities of the real world that will increasingly put even the most advanced societies at risk." — Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor and Honorary Curator in Entomology, Harvard University