[ExI] Free societies in space/was Re: Be nice to leftists

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Fri Jun 20 06:58:12 UTC 2014

On Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:49 PM, Dan Ust <dan_ust at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Space does have interesting political connotations. As Iain M. Banks
> pointed out in "Some notes on the Culture", once you have enough space
> industrialisation enforcing a central power becomes hard - it is possible
> to move away and set up shop elsewhere, and attacks removes value.
> ### The easy exit situation exists transiently during expansions in new
territory but in certain environmental and technological contexts it is a
stable equilibrium. If there is an influence preventing full occupation of
possible niches (e.g. high levels of parasitism, predation or small group
violence that keep population below a certain density), then easy exit is

This has evolutionary implications for modern humans: Easy exit was
transiently the norm during many population expansions - but "transient"
means here thousands of years, enough to leave a behavioral imprint on
forager populations (low tolerance for dissent - groups either split or
explode in violence). Predation and disease kept population levels low in
Africa and Australia even longer, again leaving behavioral imprints
(extreme levels of violence if living in high density settlements). The
transition to settled high-density farming ended the exit option, and over
the last 9 thousand years it lead to a reshaping of behavior in farmer
populations (docility, ability to accept hierarchy).

It's interesting to speculate which equilibrium would prevail in the Solar
system, and for how long. With nanotechnology and personality cloning all
available matter might be claimed within a relatively short time, ending
easy exit, and the farmer mentality might reassert itself quickly.

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