[ExI] States

Robert G Kennedy III, PE robot at ultimax.com
Sat Dec 15 19:56:29 UTC 2018

IIRC, in Diamond's /Guns Germs & Steel/ (1997) the political taxonomy 
(as a function of size / cultural maturity) is:
1. family-groups/clans
2. tribes ruled by Big Men
3. city-states ruled by kings
4. empires (of which a key feature is being polyglot).

If you read books like Diamond's, then you're probably going to 
encounter William McNeil's /Plagues and Peoples/ (1976), and Zinsser's 
/Rats Lice & History/ (1935, 1960).

Which is my way of suggesting that we all should consider the role of 
disease, too.  Zinsser wrote "disease was the single most significant 
military factor for all human history" a phrase that stuck with me ever 
since I read it.


On 2018-12-15 00:38 in extropy-chat Digest, Vol 183, Issue 9, Keith 
Henson wrote:
> "In short: the psychological traits that lead to wars evolved in
> the long course of human evolution. War was a prime factor in
> keeping human populations in demographic balance with the
> ability of the ecosystem to feed them. Typically, populations
> built up, competed, and were periodically reduced by wars."
> The last stages to the current political situation are tribes,
> chieftains, city-states, and our current states.  The functions of a
> State are to reduce the violence internally and to defend its borders
> or to attack beyond them.  Competition for scarce resources didn't
> stop when states emerged.
> But this makes me wonder. The leaders of tribes to nations may have a
> wired in need--perhaps even responsibility--to keep their populations
> ready to fight.  We have not had states long enough for evolution to
> have had a lot of effect on human psychological traits, so if it
> exists at all, it must have come from previous social organizations,
> tribes and such.
> *IF* war is largely a bottom-up process that starts with a recognition
> of a bleak future, then the wide discussion of a resource crisis and
> of future bad weather may be setting the world up for a coming war.  A
> bad economic downturn would make a bad situation worse.
> I think there is a remarkably simple way to model wars, clear back to
> the stone age.  For a constant environment, the human population can't
> exceed the capacity of the environment to feed it.  William Calvin in
> _The Ascent of Mind:_ goes into the problem using bears as an example
> of an animal (like humans) with few predators.  Unlike bears, humans
> have figured out how to increase the productivity of the environment.
> Like bears, they expand to the limit anyway.
> There is lots of material, for example, "Climate Change and War
> Frequency in Eastern China over the Last Millennium"
> https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/46520148/Climate_change_and_war_frequency_in_East20160615-13363-ayvnfy.pdf
> Keith

Robert G Kennedy III, PE

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