Saturday, July 11, 2009

Vaclav Smil

I'm having a look at a recent book by Vaclav Smil: Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years . I'm very surprised to find that there is no Wikipedia article on Smil. I'm also a bit shocked by his criticism of other authors. On Jared Diamond's Collapse, he writes: "a derivative, unpersuasive, and simplistically deterministic book". Almost at in the same class as Taleb. The book is a lot more reasonable than George Friedman's efforts. Generally, I agree with most of Smil's assessments of current and future trends - for example peak oil is probably less imminent and less serious a problem than the doom and gloomers think - though I find myself somewhat less pessimistic - for example on the relative decline of the United States.

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