[extropy-chat] War Is Easy To Explain - Peace is Not

gts gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 14 18:51:03 UTC 2007

On Wed, 14 Mar 2007 13:45:35 -0400, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net>

> Gordon, the point is not that frequency of violence is a function of
> population size...

Of course that is true, Jef, and that is exactly my point:

As a statistic, 'war-per-capita' is not very useful. Wars are not waged by
individuals acting alone, (we're talking about war here, by the way, not
simple violence), so why should the number of individuals on earth be in
the equation? Wars are waged by individuals acting collectively, in what
I've been calling 'war-capable nation-states'.

This is not to say Lee's observation that global war-per-capita is
decreasing is not something for us all to be happy about. It's great news,
but unfortunately it seems to say as much about the human propensity to
have children as it does about the human propensity to wage war. We're not
interested here in the human propensity to have children.

> ...but that evolutionary and developmental processes
> that have contributed to larger sustainable systems of human
> organization tend to exploit principles of cooperative advantage,
> which are antithetical to violent behavior.

But you can't know that directly from measures of war-per-capita.

A more meaningful statistical observation to support Lee's hypothesis that
the world is trending toward less war and more peace might be, for
example, a downtrend over all of recorded history in
'wars-per-nation-state', or something similar.


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