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

Brent Neal brentn at freeshell.org
Thu Mar 15 02:34:55 UTC 2007

On Mar 14, 2007, at 14:04, Keith Henson wrote:

> 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.

I think there may also be some merit to a game-theoretical approach  
to explaining this. Someone in this thread alluded to the economics  
of war, and I think there is something to be made of that point.

"War" as in the concept of bloody conflict with the aim to secure  
capitulation seems to have decreased on a per-capita basis over time.  
No argument from me there.  "War" as a more general concept, however,  
I'm not sure actually has.  There is a case to be made that we've  
found that the most cost-effective way to engage in warfare now is  
economic, not militarily. Case in point is the Cold War, which was  
not won by guns, but rather by forcing/tricking the Soviets into  
breaking their economy. I've seen reasonable arguments that the trade/ 
currency imbalance between the US and China is such a conflict.  From  
the aforementioned game-theory standpoint, economic war makes sense  
for the modern world, because it maximizes the return on investment.

I know a modern history professor who would argue that this is a  
direct effect of the presence of nuclear weaponry, but I don't think  
that claim is substantiable.


Brent Neal
Geek of all Trades

"Specialization is for insects" -- Robert A. Heinlein

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list