Karl Arnold Belser
25 October 2016
| I am interested in public policy with regard to how a society (a nation or city state) might survive in the long term.
Jared Diamond introduced me to the idea of the Optimal Fragmentation Principle in his 1999 lecture to the American Museum of Natural History called How To Get Rich. The key is optimal competition and the principle is:
innovation proceeds more rapidly in a society with some optimal intermediate degree of fragmentation: a too unified society is at a disadvantage, and so is a too fragmented society - from the LYON blog.
I have pointed out many times in my blog posts how central control might cause mismanagement of the resources of a society. I would say that I am biased to favor minimal government and letting the free market weed out the productive ideas from all other ideas. I think of the weeding out process as macro economic survival of the fittest. On the other hand I realize that government is needed for implementing and or maintaining the commons.
It seems pretty clear that the nations on Earth are not managing the commons (like money, air quality, potable water, mineral supply, fisheries and global temperature) well with the survival of the human race in mind. This is essentially the Tragedy of the Commons.
What is clear is that there are presently too many human beings on Earth for the resources available to support them at a reasonable standard of living. So survival of the human race does not mean survival of everyone in the human race.
If globalization becomes reality then the increasing world population will put survival pressure an every country on Earth. To deal with this possibility I think that it will be necessary for individual nations to separate themselves from the global population and individually strive for survival.
Garrett Hardin discusses this situation in his book Living Within Limits. Hardin points out that exponential growth can't continue forever. There have to be limits, and today human beings have eliminated many of the natural limits to human population like from predators or disease. We still have war and famine to limit population growth. Both war and famine can be mitigated by good governmental policy within a nation state that is strong and has good borders. A strong nation can also decide if it can afford to keep everyone alive by limiting medical coverage.
I did not include birth control or human instigated culling of the population based on some criteria because almost certainly these processes will not eliminate the least fit. i note that today birth control is practiced most by educated, intelligent people while the less educated and less intelligent people often go on procreating, hoping to get a free ride from society at large., which in many cases they are getting. These later people think that they are entitled. Such population control processes might be dysgenic. Only survival by some sort of real-life existential test is adequate proof of survivability
Humanitarianism or the idea that we, the members of the human race are entitled to live is central to the survival problem. It is religious ethics that drives the charity of humanitarianism. I think that only when people realize that they, personally are going to suffer will the urge diminish to save everyone.
Consider the following situations:
1. Suppose that all anti-abortion activists had to register and agree to adopt and raise the unwanted children rather than placing the burden on society at large.
2. Europe is now accepting a plague of immigrants with a non Judea-Christian ethic. Many of these immigrants are free riders which is inflaming the far-right politics of Europe.
If people feel the consequences of over population more directly they are likely to let reason override emotion.
I think that the concept of humanitarianism will have to be challenged and modified. The nations of the world will have to fragment and hunker down to survive. This probably means that war will occur at some point. It appears to be the only out.
Last updated October 26, 2016
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