Re: META: Memes and War [was: Tomorrow is a new day]

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue Nov 09 2004 - 01:40:48 MST

At 07:22 PM 08/11/04 -0500, List Sniper wrote:

>This post is more suitable for wta-politics or the Extropy list. Let's
>keep the thread more focused.
>- List Sniper

Let me see if I can warp it back. In reply to this:

>On Nov 8, 2004, at 4:44 PM, David Clark wrote:
>>I really have a problem with people talking about the "distribution of
>>wealth". Do you believe that "wealth" occurs naturally like fruit on the

Well at one time it *was* the fruit on trees.

>>There was a time, before the 20th century, when wealth mostly
>>accrued from farming.

There was an even early time before farming in which we evolved where it
took a lot more land to support a tribe. When the tribe's populations
would exceed the carrying capacity of the land, the tribes fought which
reduced the population. They did this for enough millions of years it
became one of our conditionally expressed psychological traits.

The point to my stuff was about stressed human populations being a fertile
media for war memes.

Now being of a libertarian bent and thinking that I would like to keep it
*all* if I became a billionaire, I can see that side of it.

But I can also see the side that a substantial fraction of a population is
going to feel stressed and seeing a bleak future if the income per capita
is redistributed away from some parts of the population to other parts.

To put a specific example on the table, the US has gone from a nation with
a big bulge in the middle income distribution to one where there more like
an hour glass, there being rich folks and poor folks and not much in between.

Regardless of my or your political leanings, this is conducive to the
stressed fraction of the population (large!) being susceptible to war memes
and going into war mode.

I am not even saying this is *bad*, just if you don't want it, keeping the
income per capita steady or rising in all segments of the population is the
way to stay out of that psychological mode.

Now this applies to CV, a subject certainly on topic, because we sure has
heck don't want the CV to advocate wars.

I think it might be worth adding to having lots of smarts, information and
time to think about what's desirable, you might want the people
contributing to the CV to have improving income per capita to keep war mode
switched off.

As to how wealth should be distributed, that's a hard question. Much as I
don't like it, having the rich pay a lot of taxes might be the least
disruptive method. The point is to get substantially all of the population
to expect an improving future.

Keith Henson

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