In this article I will be arguing why we can never willingly accept a partial die-off of the human species on the planet. I will argue we can’t even accept a transition to widespread disparity as a result of sharp decrease in available planetary resources. The point I will be making – any massive collapse in infrastructure, societal services (affordances) or some level of guarantee in just division or rationing of what’s left will cause the catastrophic end of all higher organic life on this planet.
In a world of constrained natural resources, increasing competition for scarce services, decreasing economic relevance of workers and sharply growing populations in some parts of the planet you are bound to get in to trouble sooner rather than later. This is nothing new – humanity has been going cyclically through periods of unsustainable populations, unsustainable consumption expectations (especially at the top) and the result was often the same – Wars were used as a mechanism to cull out the surplus ‘useless’ people (incidentally acting as genetic selection bottleneck, probably with deliberate intent) and to open up new technologies and new markets. This mechanism of engineered attrition was well known with the upper classes – in medieval times the nobility ordinarily only let the cannon fodder do the dying; noblemen didn’t directly enter deadly confrontation.
There has been a consistent cyclical pattern in human history – population growth, state development, consolidation, overpopulation and finally – shedding surplus in territorial competition.
No matter how bloody feudal competition was, it always did what it purported to be, nothing more and nothing less. In this paradigm social mobility was intentionally kept to a minimum.
The last one or two century the pattern has broken. Advent of modern technology and industrialized warfare has made it simply too dangerous to wage war, in particular too dangerous for governing elites. The trend finally died with the advent of NBC warfare technology – after the detonation of the first nuclear weapon and subsequent nuclear proliferation elites full well realize that widespread hegemonic conflicts of dominance carry the unprecedented risk of actually killing their bloodlines.