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

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Thu Mar 15 00:55:55 UTC 2007

At 08:13 PM 3/14/2007 +0000, BillK wrote:

If the function of war is to reduce the population, then such side effects 
just improve the efficiency.

>In the Paraguayan War the majority, possibly two thirds, of the
>mortality was due to bad food, bad hygiene and cholera.
>But apart from that point, I feel that Keith is straining to fit every
>war into his theory. EP has a lot going for it, but it doesn't explain
>*every* war.

If EP accounts for the origin of the species-typical behavior we know as 
war, then it does account for every war.  Now the details of what led up to 
the war are going to be different in each case, and it may be hard to map 
it into the kinds of situation that were behind wars in the stone age, but 
that just detail.

>In 1864 Paraguay was a land-locked country under a ruthless
>dictatorship, where the dictator was rumoured to own up to half the
>land. The country was *under-populated*, if anything, out-numbered
>about ten to one by its neighbours.

The absolute population is not important for the model.  Can you say 
anything about which way the income per capita was going at the time 
leading up to the war?  And perhaps even more important, how the average 
person felt about how bright or bleak their future was?  At the start of 
the war it should be noted that Paraguay had more and better equipped 
troops than all of those it fought.

>"Landlocked, isolated, and underpopulated, Paraguay structured its
>economy around a centrally administered agricultural sector, extensive
>cattle grazing, and inefficient shipbuilding and textile industries".
>The dictator Lopez had taken over from his father just two years
>before and was a very inexperienced politician. (That's generous, -
>some said he was crazy - he certainly was mad by the end of the war).

Reading the Wikipedia article, the case for going to war was not as bad as 
you make it.  Of course one of the thing I claim for the model is that 
humans caught up wars loose much of their ability to think rationally.

>Everybody in the country worked for the Lopez family, or they starved.
>The country didn't go to war - Lopez did.

"The Paraguayan people had been fanatically committed to López and the war 
effort,"  (Wikipedia)

>Read about the war - the whole thing was a total shambles.

Though the data would be hard to obtain, I would bet decent odds that the 
EP conditions that are the ultimate cause of war prevailed.

Keith Henson

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list