[ExI] Resources and politics (was: Re: Is the USA doing too much to prevent COVID-19?)

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Mon May 4 11:43:52 UTC 2020

On 04/05/2020 09:33, Keith Henson wrote:
> John Clark<johnkclark at gmail.com>  wrote:
> snip
>> But other than that I can't think of any stone age
> traits that could be extrapolated to explain why one state was blue and
> another was red.
> Economics.  Every one of the states that went red had a population
> that was facing a bleak economic future, unlike the blue states.  Not
> bleak in absolute terms, but humans respond to relative stimulations.
> For a long list of reasons, the average life prospects in those
> populations were not as good as they had been for their parents.
> People in the stone age facing a resource crisis (or a looming one)
> would fight with neighbors. At the individual level, going to war was
> irrational, but at the gene level, it was not.  So if conditions
> called for war, the tribe members have the psychological traits to
> find an irrational leader attractive.
> You do need to be careful in extrapolating evolved stone age
> psychological traits to the present day, though one example.
> http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Capture-bonding  is obvious.
> I would also say that it is clear from history that people under
> stress from falling income per capita switch on the same mechanisms
> that stone age peoples did for a resource crisis.  These include
> spreading xenophobic memes and supporting irrational leaders.
> Assuming the above analysis is correct, does anything jump out at you
> as to how to prevent what happened in the red states?

I certainly hope you're right, Keith.

If so, and we do manage to fumble our way to an abundance economy, it 
will have an enormous impact on the political spectrum, shifting it 
towards one colour or another (I get confused with american concepts of 
right/left/blue/red. Over here, red is the colour of Labour/Socialist 
tendencies, and blue is Conservatives. Not that these labels are all 
that significant anyway, these days).

But an abundance economy (or just 'more stuff, and less economic 
uncertainty for everyone', if you don't like the term 'abundance 
economy') would lead to more tolerance, less authoritarianism, more 
general sanity, and a safer world, is the message I'm getting.

Ben Zaiboc

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