Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The three bombs

Nonlinearity and uncertainty - great editorial in the NY Times by Tom Friedman - describing the three bombs of the nuclear, climate, and debt threats. I hadn't heard the debt bomb described that way before, but certainly seems like a plausible mechanism to me. Perhaps the first part of that threshold is the shift to price oil in something other than US$.


  1. The debt bomb, it can be argued, is directly related to our consumption exceeding capacity (see, for instance, Brian Czech's Shoveling fuel for a runaway train...). Humanity is beyond the biotic capacity of the planet, by some estimates, as much as 30%. Any ecologist understands what happens when a population exceeds the carrying capacity of their environment. The population either institutes regulatory mechanisms to move them back to or below capacity, or they have that mechanism imposed upon them by a degraded environment. Our creation of the largest extinction spasm of the last 65 million yrs and that 1 in 8 people is malnourished is evidence that it is being imposed on us. The larger 'bomb' we face is human overpopulation and the resulting degradation of our habitat.

  2. Yeah - good point. Probably contributes to the climate bomb as well. Human Population growth - the fourth bomb.