[ExI] Really? and EP

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Apr 18 20:26:19 UTC 2009

On 4/18/09, Keith Henson wrote:
>  Extropians are concerned with the future.  We therefore need models of
>  what is going to happen.  The technological singularity is a simple
>  model of exponentially increasing computation.  At some point in the
>  not so distant future a typical desktop computer will exceed the
>  processing capacity of a human brain.  This is a relatively simple
>  model
>  Models with feedback are more complicated.  I have been a student of
>  system dynamics since the early 1970s.  On top of this I have been
>  interested in gene based evolution (Dawkins, Hamilton and co.) since
>  the early 80s and in memetics since the mid 80s.  I got into
>  evolutionary psychology (Barkow, Cosmides, Tooby, etc.) in the 90s.
>  Genes, evolutionary psychology, and fundamental biology based on
>  physics and chemistry provide insight into the system dynamics models.
>  An area with a growing population and a limited and irregular
>  production of food is a formula for disaster.  The disaster could take
>  the form of famine, but is more likely to result in human conflict.
>  (Rwanda, Darfur).

Agreed. But Europe doesn't fit into this scenario.
Food shortages are much more likely to occur first in poor countries.

The basic EP scenario, hard times = war, doesn't apply for every war.

Alexander the Great didn't conquer the known world because Greece was
starving. He and his army did it because they could. They wanted the
power and the glory and the plunder.

The British Empire didn't spread around the world because Britain was
starving. They (and other European countries) did it to plunder third
world countries that were unable to resist greater force of arms.

The same reasons apply to all the great empire expansions. If you were
powerful enough to start with, then greed for more power and plunder
and capturing slaves drove the expansion.

Just as good times may lead to empire wars of expansion, but doesn't
have to, so hard times can lead to wars of desperation, but doesn't
have to.

Humans are complex creatures. Hard times can lead to many different options.
Yes, sometimes a war of desperation.
But it may lead to many other paths. Starvation, a reducing
population, reducing birth rate, lifestyle changes to make do with
less, a time of invention to devise new survival techniques,
emigration (temporary or permanent) to many other countries, and so

To say that EP proves that hard times = war is far too simplistic.


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