[ExI] breakout culture (Was: ambition)

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Feb 2 12:51:08 UTC 2013

On Sat, Feb 2, 2013 at 12:10 PM, Anders Sandberg  wrote:
> Yes, I am currently tuning them using late Roman/Medieval life tables from
> South Germany (Stettfeldt). I have life tables from hunter-gatherers, but it
> was the instability of these that got the project started (sometimes
> complaining aloud about having to add fudge factors to get reasonable
> results pays off! I actually asked "Is there an archeologist in the house?"
> and got a yes answer.)
> So, yes, hightech societies are likely far more stable than low-tech ones.
> But they might be hard to initially achieve, since they require a criticial
> size of population and knowledge with the right memes.

I think you have to distinguish between the number needed for group
survival and the much larger number needed to maintain a civilisation
and the required admin systems.

I've been watching several documentaries recently about the
disappearance of ancient civilisations and I get the impression that
their demise had little to do with the size of population.

Drought, flood, soil damage (erosion, over-use, etc.), famine, crop
failure, plagues, all over a long period, ended civilisations. A few
encountered large disasters (e.g. Crete). They could cope with short
events fine, by economising and some population reductions. Many had
extensive irrigation, storage and trade routes. But events like
100-year droughts were too much. The population shrank, the
civilisation collapsed and the survivors wandered off or survived in
small groups. Eventually conditions improved and large invading
nations from outside took over the land.


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