The Collapse of Everything

Casti, J. L.

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The modern industrialized world is a complex system on a scale never before witnessed in the history of humankind. Technologically dependent, globally interconnected, it offers seemingly limitless conveniences, choices, and opportunities. Yet this same modern civilization may be as unstable as a house of cards, fear complexity scientists like John Casti. All it would take to "downsize" our way of life is a nudge from what Casti calls an "X-event," an unpredictable occurrence with extreme, even dire, consequences. When an X-event strikes--and scientists believe one will--finance, communication, defense, and travel will stop dead in their tracks. The flow of food, electricity, medicine, and clean water will be disrupted for months, if not years. This book provides a tour of the catastrophic outlier scenarios that could quickly send us crashing back to the preindustrial age.--From publisher description.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow ; Enfield : Publishers Group UK [distributor], c2012.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0062088289
Characteristics: ix, 326 p. ;,24 cm.


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Jan 16, 2014
  • StarGladiator rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

The good news: based upon Casti's writing, the likelihood he is correct about anything is infinitesmally miniscule. The bad news: this guy's CV. John Casti, Ph.D., RAND Corporation, faculty at Princeton University, the Santa Fe Institute. These might be thought to recommend Casti, but instead Casti serves as a warning to the intelligent to be most skeptical of people from these outfits! He ascribes complexity to those items he simply doesn't understand, and justifies heinous criminal behavior, either because he doesn't understand or refuses such exists! "When bank assets are so complex that nobody inside or outside the bank can understand them...." Oh, give it a rest, Casti, you utter ignoramus!!! They understood it, they got rich off of it, while the originators got even richer, and they pay crooked congresswomen and men, and PR firms to suggest a case of sudden stupidity! Casti's explanation for the global economic meltdown was as stupid as it was simpleton! Whenever Casti discusses a scam, he either is dissembling, or because he can't understand it, ascribes it to to much complexity! At one point, he cites a scam Bankers Trust was running on its investor/customers, and again ascribes it to "complexity" - - Casti is either a fraud or complete farce!!! He does cite the brilliant Joseph Tainter, who understood and explained the economic fall, or rather self-destruction, of the Roman Empire, but either Casti hasn't read enough Tainter, or didn't fully comprehend him? He calls credit default swaps (CDS) "exotic" instruments" (now where have we heard that before, ad infinitum, ad nauseum?) but again doesn't understand the what and how they were criminally used individuals made a fortune after fortune peddling them, but with trillions of dollars of CDSes sold, with potential payouts of hundreds of trillions of dollars (and such sums do not exist in our galaxy), the scam was finally realized and shutdown commenced! Negative rating for poorly understood, by author, subject matter!


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