Strategic Risk Chart

This interesting item


showed up, via “Strategic Risk” at Dennis Dimick’s this morning.

I don’t think it fully captures the interconnectedness of everything; how health or decline in one area really brings down the robustness of the whole thing. After all, the links are crudely drawn as symmetrical and the sign of the reinforcement is not shown. It’s a bit too crude.

And, astonishingly, long term energy supplies are not well represented. Pollution is completely missing. Also, the sorts of political instability and increasing incompetence that we are now seeing in the west aren’t represented at all. And why does China merit a special bubble of her own?

But it’s a start which is a good deal better than nothing. Anyone know of a more serious effort along these lines?


12 thoughts on “Strategic Risk Chart

  1. Dan Olner says:

    The UK government's own foresight programme is actually pretty good; certainly worth a poke around the website.Not sure of the value of this pic: isn't it just a list of very important things, but with arrows between everything?Vaguely connected: I'm wondering how the game Fate of the World modelled its apparently huge relations and outcomes, and if it was fairly arbitrary. Almost tempted to get it and have a go…

  2. Hmmm… Somebody is using somebody else's work!In any event, there are some interesting presentations from the World Economic Forum 2011 (with contributions from Marsh and McLennan, Swiss Re, Wharton, Zurich Insurance)…If you look in the "Data Explorer" section, you will find this same graph, formatted slightly different. You can play with it some, and see how the risks rank in terms of impact and likelihood. @ Dan Olner. For what it's worth, not everything links to everything…

  3. Aaron says:

    It is based on perceived likelihood. As Hans Rovling reminds us (, perceptions tend to be wrong.

  4. As I squint more closely at the original graphic, it is in fact sourced from the WEF report I link to.The WEF risk report – which I had bookmarked in "to be read" way – in turn, seems pretty "high level"… Which is maybe all this sort of thing can be…

  5. byron smith says:

    When you say that pollution is completely missing, do you mean pollution other than air pollution, which gets its own node next to CC?There is no soil degradation, introduced species, resource depletion (including fossil fuels, of course, but also phosphorous and various minerals), habitat destruction, fisheries depletion or alteration of the nitrogen cycle either.

  6. Greg says:

    OT – Yay, MT's Shared Items are back!(Thanks, however you fixed that.)

  7. Of course China gets its own bubble.Haven't you been keeping up with the news?:-)

  8. byron smith says:

    Oh, ocean acidification too, of course.

  9. Byron, that's the spirit!

  10. byron smith says:

    I'm keeping my own list, though the links (while crude) is a useful addition to seeing how impossible it is to "solve" this predicament piecemeal.

  11. Byron, would you care to share?

  12. byron smith says:

    It's an informal list of ecological and resource crises (hence it doesn't cover as much ground as the graphic above), and I'd love any further suggestions.

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