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

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Mar 15 01:36:29 UTC 2007

gts writes

> Surely you agree that if the world population doubled tomorrow, it would  
> not follow that humans had become half as war-like.

No!  In that case, I'd go 100% over to Keith's explanations, and
anticipate that the world would become about two-hundred times
as warlike!  :-)

Seriously, I think that I'm finally getting Gordon's point.  (See for yourself,
below.) You are pointing out that all other things being equal, if the countries
of South America, to take a concrete example, remain constant in number
over a period of time, yet undergo population increase, then the likelihood
of war may not go up?

I see what you are saying now, and agree that that is a factor mitigating
my per-capita claims. But!  Only if you interpret my claim as being about
"wars per decade" or something like that.  Despite, perhaps, a failure on
my part to communicate it, I am really talking about on the *chance*,
or *probability*, of an individual succumbing to organized violence.
<Bad joke about European soccer matches elided>

But even so, to take South America again for the sake of concreteness,
wars as in "wars per decade" seem to have been strangely few.

Of course, if they *did* happen, then we might expect casualties in
proportion to the population, yet even recent wars seem to me to be
relatively bloodless. A German soldier in WWII could have easily
spent most of his time breaking camp, riding around in trucks, and
setting up camp, as his strategic masters move divisions across the
chessboard.  And Germany came off the worst---about 1 in 4 died
(in WWI, about 2/5 of the French soldiers died).  But in the old
days of total mayhem and hand to hand fighting, methinks the
casualties to have been much greater for an individual.


P.S.  Ah, so many great emails to read, so little time.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "gts" <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>
To: "Lee Corbin" <lcorbin at rawbw.com>; "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] War Is Easy To Explain - Peace is Not

> On Wed, 14 Mar 2007 01:16:59 -0400, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
>> I doubt it.  The trend is just too unmistakable.
> I think the trend toward peace is probably there, too. At least I  
> certainly hope it is. Also I think your hypothesis about the increasing  
> costs of war is an interesting and reasonable explanation for it if it  
> exists. I'm merely questioning whether the downward trend in  
> war-per-capita is meaningful evidence of it.
> Have you examined the possible mathematical relationship to which I  
> referred? Have you looked at the numbers? I don't have them, but I was  
> hoping you might.
> Even if you don't have the numbers, do you really doubt that the rate of  
> growth in the number of war-capable nation-states about which we have any  
> records has been lower than the rate of growth of population over the same  
> time period? I find it difficult to imagine how this could not be true,  
> and if it is true then we should expect to see a downward trend in  
> war-per-capita over recorded history even if the general propensity of  
> nations to wage war has remained unchanged.
> Surely you agree that if the world population doubled tomorrow, it would  
> not follow that humans had become half as war-like.
> -gts

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