Reader Review: An excellent resource for understanding the challenges we are facing in the 21st century. Homer-Dixon's book is accessible, precise and provides strong recommendations for preparing for the future.
"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
“Human beings have been smart enough to turn nature to their ends, generate vast wealth for themselves, and double their average life span. But are they smart enough to solve the problems of the 21st century?” -- Thomas Homer-Dixon
Can we create ideas fast enough to solve the very problems -- environmental, social, and technological -- we’ve created? Homer-Dixon pinpoints the “ingenuity gap” as the critical problem we face today, and tackles it in a riveting, groundbreaking examination of a world that is rapidly exceeding our intellectual grasp.
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 in its 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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Ingenuity Gap|
|Release Date: 05-15-2001|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Ingenuity Gap|
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The Ingenuity Gap
CAREENING INTO THE FUTURE
At 3:16 p.m. on 19 July, 1989, the jet's tail engine blew apart. Twelve thousand meters above the U.S. Midwest, shards of the engine's fan rotor cut through the rear of the aircraft, shredding its hydraulic systems. As fluid bled from hydraulic tubing, the pilots in the front of the plane lost command of the rudder, elevators, and ailerons essential to stabilizing and guiding the craft. Immediately, the plane twisted into a downward right turn. United Airlines Flight 232 from Denver to Chicagowith 296 people aboardwas out of control.
By itself, the failure of the tail engine was not catastrophic: the dc-10 had two other engines, one under each wing. But cockpit gauges showed a complete loss of hydraulic quantity and pressure. When the first officer tried to halt the right turn, the plane didn't respond. As the rightward bank became critical, the captain took over, pulling back on the control column and turning the wheel hard leftbut still there was no response. In a last-ditch effort to regain command, he cut power to the left engine and boosted it to the right one. The right wing slowly came up, and the plane rolled back to a horizontal position. The right turn stopped.
Yet the situation remained critical. The plane was no longer turning, but it was still losing altitude. The captain sent crew members to look out of the windows in the passenger cabin. They saw that the inboard ailerons were slightly up, the spoilers were locked down, and the horizontal stabilizers were damaged. None of the main flight-control surfaces were moving. An...