[extropy-chat] The Lopez War (War of the Triple Alliance)

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Thu Mar 15 01:49:53 UTC 2007

Keith quoted a 1965 book [Kolinski  (1965) p. 198], and I got my figures
from the Encyclopedia of Military History (Dupey and Dupey, 1986).

Here is what wikipedia has:

"The outcome of the war was utter Paraguayan defeat. After the Triple Alliance defeated Paraguay in conventional warfare, the 
conflict turned into a drawn-out guerrilla-style resistance that would devastate the Paraguayan population, both military and 
civilian. One estimate places total Paraguayan losses - through both war and disease - as high as 1.2 million people, or 90% of its 
pre-war population.[2][3] A perhaps more accurate estimate places Paraguayan deaths at approximately 300,000 people out of its 
500,000 to 525,000 prewar inhabitants.[4] "


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Keith Henson" <hkhenson at rogers.com>
To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: [extropy-chat] War Is Easy To Explain - Peace is Not

> At 11:51 PM 3/13/2007 -0700, Lee wrote:
> snip
>>But enough of North America---why has South America (again, per
>>capita) been so peaceful the last century or so?  Those countries really
>>used to know how to go at each other, e.g., the Lopez War in the late
>>1860s, in which Paraguay's population went from 1.4 million to 200,000
>>due to trying to take on Brazil, Argintina, and Chile simultaneously.
> The Old Testament stories of the Israelites may not be entirely accurate
> history, but they do provide typical accounts of wars in a time closer to
> hunter-gatherer culture, when war was a serious element of population
> control.[11]  For a recent historical example of population reduction by
> war, in 1864 Paraguay went to war with 3 of its neighbors. They
> were--needless to say--defeated.
> "Few defeated nations in the world's military history exhibited such a
> degree of devastation as the Paraguay of 1870. Its population, now
> estimated at only 221,000, had suffered war casualties of at least 220,000
> people. Among the survivors there were only 28,000 men; women over fifteen
> were said to outnumber men at a ratio of more than four to one." [Kolinski
> (1965) p. 198].
> I don't see "why war" as a complicated question.  It is simple mathematics.
> With a more or less static technology, the environment can feed a certain
> number of people.
> Therefore in the long run there cannot be births in excess of deaths.  In
> primitive tribes the percentage of adults who die by violence from other
> people goes as high as 60%.  (See the Azar Gat paper
> http://cniss.wustl.edu/workshoppapers/gatpres1.pdf)  This puts a lid on the
> population level.  I claim that there is a mechanism originated in the
> human EEA which turns on war mode in response to perception about the future.
> With improving technology to feed people (and supply other needs) as long
> as the improvements in technology stay ahead of population growth there is
> no reason for wars to keep the population down.
> It helps a great deal if the population growth is low.
> The last century and especially the last 50 years have seen technology
> staying ahead of population growth.
> When and if that falters, you should expect wars to reduce the population
> to whatever the long term carrying capacity of the environment can support.
> Simple as that.
> Keith
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