[extropy-chat] technological equilibrium

Dan Clemmensen dgc at cox.net
Tue Jul 13 13:29:58 UTC 2004

Spike wrote:

>This evening's insight was on why it is I have such
>a hard time imagining advance tech equilibrium: on this
>planet, every society that is currently in or has ever 
>reached technological equilibrium is primitive!
>Well, duh.  Obviously.  Has anyone a counterexample?  Has 
>anyone a suggestion, or a mechanism for how an advanced 
>society can establish pre-singularity technological equilibrium?
As I understand it, most historians consider that several complex 
societies stagnated. This includes the Japanese Shogunate, the Chinese 
imperium, society in India during several periods, and Egypt. In each 
case, the society was highly advanced relative to the rest of the earth 
at the time it went static. These societies went static because they had 
each achieved perfection by their own definitions. In several cases the 
society in question was the most technologically advanced society on the 
planet when stasis occurred.

In each case the society was eventually kicked out of stasis by external 
forces. In the Japanese case, the external force was fairly benign, and 
the Japanese essentially decided that they had to adapt. In the Chinese 
and several of the Indian cases, the external force was brutal invasion 
and war.

The major consequence of each society that achieved stasis was massive 
environmental damage as the land reached the bitter edge of its carrying 
capacity. The only exception to this that I know of was ancient Egypt, 
where the annual Nile flood renewed the arable land.

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