Friday, February 13, 2009

49% chance of our society collapsing

NewsHour's economics correspondent Paul Salmon interviewed Jared Diamond tonight. Diamond isn't an economist, he's a biogeographer (see: anthropologist) who has traveled all over the world looking at civilizations. He wrote the bestsellers Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. I read both of those books several years ago, Collapse is one of the best books I've ever read. (Guns, Germs, and Steel was incredibly boring, but one of my professors loved it).

Tonight Diamond said (mp3) "I would be cautiously optimistic about the United States...51% I like our chances (of not collapsing)."

So, an expert on the collapse of civilizations says there's a 49% chance our society collapses.


1 comment: said...

I like Diamond's work. I'll have to check out the clip. I guess I have two questions:
-What is the time-frame?
-What are the definitions? To a patient without health insurance who is dumped on LA's skid row - it might seem that society already has collapsed.
But - I suspect he answers those questions in the interview.