Thomas Homer-Dixon

At this web site you’ll find information about my background, teaching, research, and writing. The site includes some of my writings as well as a Forum where we can discuss issues of common interest. If you’d like to receive my newsletter, just enter your email address in the box at the bottom of the page. Enjoy your visit.

 

Featured

What’s behind these Fractured Countries? Stalled Economies

April 11, 2014, in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela. At first glance, it would seem hard to find four more different countries. But they share a striking similarity: in the last year, each has seen a surge of civil protest, including violent mass demonstrations against the national government.

Go to “What’s behind these Fractured Countries?“  (image by Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters)

 

WHAT’S NEW

April 12, 2014 

Environment and Innovation: What Are the Real Costs?

On April 12, 2014, at the Institute for New Economic Thinking  ’Human After All’ Conference, I discussed the relationship between growth, environmental damage and innovation. See the talk here.

 

December 20, 2013 

Seeing Past the Fracking Hype: It doesn’t change oil-supply fundamentals: Toronto Globe and Mail

Evidence is accumulating that hydrofracking, at least when it comes to oil, has been hyped. Yes, the US is experiencing a short-term production boom, but then its output will fall steeply. Globally, fracking isn’t going to change the fundamentals of the planet’s worsening oil-supply crunch.

Go to “Seeing Past the Fracking Hype.” (image US Energy Information Administration)

 

October 7, 2103

Uncertainty Shouldn’t Mean Inaction: The climate pause in context: with Andrew Weaver, Toronto Globe and Mail

The argument that climate uncertainty justifies climate-policy inaction is a noxious mixture of non sequiturs and selective use of scientific facts.

Go to “­­Uncertainty Shouldn’t Mean Inaction.”

 

June 1, 2013  

Oil Sands Debate: Toronto Globe and Mail

Resolved: The oil sands industry is distorting Canada’s economy and eroding its democracy in ways that will exact an enormous cost on our society over the long term.  

Thomas Homer-Dixon and Konrad Yakabuski debate the costs and benefits to Canada of the oil sands industry.  Go to “Oil Sands Debate.”

 

April 1st, 2013 

Tar Sands Disaster: The New York Times

Many Canadians want the tar sands industry stopped, because it’s relentlessly twisting our society into something we don’t like. Canada is beginning to exhibit the economic and political characteristics of a petro-state.

Go to “The Tar Sands Disaster.”

Listen to a recent related interview on CBC Radio’s As It Happens.

 

 


RESEARCH TALK

Catastrophe Response Surface

Catastrophic Dehumanization: the Psychological Dynamics of Severe Conflict

A presentation at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, April 17, 2012.

Dehumanization is arguably a defining feature of the most brutal acts of human violence, such as saturation bombardment of civilian populations, terrorist attacks on urban centers, intense battlefield combat, and genocide. I propose a psychological explanation of this phenomenon that uses a catastrophe manifold to describe a set of psychological states in an individual’s mind and the possible pathways of movement between these states. The manifold exists in a three-dimensional phase space defined by the variables identity, justice, and structural constraint. It specifies five hypotheses about the causes and dynamics of dehumanization. Taken together, these hypotheses represent an overarching theory of the nonlinear collapse of identification at the level of the individual.

View the presentation.