A time for war.

From: Keith Henson (hkhenson@rogers.com)
Date: Fri 18 Mar 2005 - 05:51:03 GMT

  • Next message: Agner Fog: "Re: A time for war."

    [Posted this on another list, but since it mentions memes . . . .]

    Re several threads on this list, I make a case rooted in the stone age that a lot of the populations of the world are either now stressed (such as those who dropped out of the middle class in the US) or are anticipating the world getting worse.

    Exceptions are the Chinese, and a few other countries where economic conditions are improving and look like they will for a while.

    Sometime during the millions of years human ancestors lived as hunter gatherers predators quit being effective controls on hominid populations. So when human groups overloaded the ecosystem (every few decades) evolved mechanisms induced the hominids to be their own predators.

    This mechanism, which I propose turns up the "gain" setting for the propagation of xenophobic memes, is modulated by how people feel about the future. If things look bleak, memes to dehumanize neighbors get going and eventually the warriors kill enough to bring the population back to where the ecosystem could feed the population.

    This is the kind of situation where neocon and/or nazi type memes do well.

    "Good times," where the future looks good, turns off the mechanism. This is where classical liberal memes do well.

    If the kind of memes that propagate well depend on the economy (more like income per capita) then technological improvements to the economy are the way to turn the US and other countries from an increasingly vile future.

    The real question is if such things as nanotube based space elevators to tap solar energy can be developed and built before wars sap the economy so much we can't get out short of a massive die off.

    Interesting times.

    Keith Henson

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