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Thread: Technology and population

  1. #1 Technology and population 
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    I was wondering which precedes which? Does a large population result in new technology due to a) increased need to create technoglogy and b) increase in amont of people creates an increase in ideas.

    Or does technology result in a large population since technology increases the population limit.


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  3. #2  
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    I think a population can only expand so much without technology. Technology is needed for large populations (such as that of Japan) in a small area because without technology a society can only expand up to the amount the food sources allow them to. With technology there is more food available and therefore a larger population.


    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt" - Bertrand Russell
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  4. #3  
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    Well, most of the modern technology we have today originated in Europe, or its satellite cultures. I would argue that technology is caused by prosperity. It's only those people who have free time on their hands that can step back from the day to day living and imagine alternatives.

    Everyone else is living hand to mouth.

    Take Newton, for example. Do you think he'd have had time to come up with derivative mathematics if he'd actually had to work for a living?
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  5. #4  
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    Put bluntly: breeders are not thinkers.

    I'm a breeder, essentially, so value banal time spent with family more than "higher achievements".

    A society that ...cares less for... children, will be productive in terms of technology, material output, tangible wealth. Care is a funny word here, 'cause one may "care" without spending much personal time "caring". I don't mean to disparage industrial societies. Underdeveloped countries spend a great portion of hours per capita caring for children.

    Procreation vs. productivity.

    There are different cultural solutions to the trade-off. So a population can have children and absorbing careers. For example the Chinese solution is for older generations to raise children. In other words natural parents don't shoulder the role of parenting until they become grandparents, then it's a full time job pushing baby 'round in the stroller and so forth. The stay home housewife is another solution - she finally starts a career after kids grow independent. Tomorrow I will drop my son off at "summer day camp" so the wife and I can work. All these solutions involve childcare specialists.

    Kindergarten was invented in Germany, mid 1800s.



    A kindergarten in Afghanistan. What are their parents doing?
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  6. #5  
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    Hunter-gatherers filled up the world.

    Then they had to reduce their reproduction rate, or - something else.

    The something else was technology. More people in the same square-miles.

    It's debatable whether this was a good idea for human.
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  7. #6  
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    Well, the "something else" was tribal warfare for a while. People got tired of killing each other and started looking for a way to just have enough to go around.

    Trouble nowadays is some very hopeless optimists think we can do away with the killing/not-having-so-many-kids part altogether and the scientific community is just going to magically pull more and more technological solutions out of their rabbit hat to make up the difference.
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  8. #7  
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    In those two views above, technology does come from magical hat tricks i.e. prosperity/technology just happened to Europeans and they ran with it. I'm suggesting that prosperity/technology has a cause, that is based in the family unit. It's cultural.

    A huge portion of human effort goes to the family. In terms of material prosperity that is wasted effort. Very minor tweaks in culture, that free up some individual's time - for the factory, for the lab, etc. cause (directly cause) more tangible prosperity and technological advancement. This should be self evident.

    Now, historians, being of that unencumbered class themselves, rather discount the hours of time spent by normal human beings just caring for their families. It goes unaccounted. They prefer to look for prosperity's source in great ideas or even weapon technology. I find this incredibly narrowminded and immature. And we could go 'round forever saying less people equals more stuff until we've perfectly inverted the actual course of human progress.

    The "trouble nowadays" is that a people can't gain prosperity without FIRST making painful cultural sacrifices. That elderly woman shivering by the fire, she's a waste of time, better pack her off to a home. This is hard.

    I'm not even sure my values accord with this necessary evil for the sake of material prosperity & a good rating by historians, though my particular culture excuses it.
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  9. #8  
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    Well, the low population thing allows you to feed everyone by gathering the "low hanging fruit". No need to plow and cultivate the mountainsides, or reclaim desert areas...... etc. Just farm the easy terrain, and most fertile.

    And.... once you've got food solved, you've pretty much got everything solved. The easier we fill our bellies, the more time we have on our hands to do greater things, if we want.
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  10. #9  
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    kojax,

    Well, the "something else" was tribal warfare for a while. People got tired of killing each other and started looking for a way to just have enough to go around.

    We seem to have not got tired of that yet. So obviously that is not a special feature of Hunter-gatherers.


    Well Pong, in those two views above, technology does come from magical hat tricks i.e. prosperity/technology just happened to Europeans and they ran with it.

    “Guns Germs and Steel” is a (large) good book about why “Whites” came to rule the world. It’s a Leftist anti-racist tract, but contains a lot of good stuff too.


    A huge portion of human effort goes to the family. In terms of material prosperity that is wasted effort.

    With hunter-gatherers, they had to space their growth-rate with the environment.

    With post-H.Gatherer. society, the pattern is clear. It’s a smooth curve: the more kids you have, the more ‘money’ you make. Past a certain level of ‘prosperity’, the more kids you have, the money it costs. That’s why most Western nation’s natural population increase is negative, and why the United Nations forecasts a near-future peak, and then a FALL in the global population.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Well, the low population thing allows you to feed everyone by gathering the "low hanging fruit". No need to plow and cultivate the mountainsides, or reclaim desert areas...... etc. Just farm the easy terrain, and most fertile.

    And.... once you've got food solved, you've pretty much got everything solved. The easier we fill our bellies, the more time we have on our hands to do greater things, if we want.
    I'll pretty sure babies stem directly from the family unit, not the fertile mountain landscape or low hanging branches. Why seek indirect explanations?

    When people are preoccupied - being industrious for example - they have less time and energy to screw around and raise children. So they don't. It's that simple.

    Of course the image of young men off fighting battles and away at sea for months is established. Women also have traditional preoccupations, for example caring for other family members, this being the greatest "industry" by far in poor countries. While a young woman's auntie can't walk to the toilet on her own, that girl cannot marry, cannot go to school, cannot pursue a career outside the home. She's so frigging unproductive you guys won't even try to account for it! It sounds shabby and it is... most peoples' destinies are guided by such pathetically banal concerns. I too wish our major conditions could be scenic ones fit for making sim games of, conditions we could master if only Leonardo da Vinci were here. But for most people today and more so historically the bulk of energy must go to extended family, a world apart from your relatively carefree state-supported upbringing and perhaps professional bachelorhood.

    Well a soldier will tell us that technology comes from war. He has his own experience to project.

    Perhaps from having some experience in common with these poor folk under discussion, my understanding of them is clouded? Biased certainly.

    @Vexer. You may as well take my little rant too, as I can't believe babies spring from national cost/benefit curves either. Does human intellect flow from the national IQ average?
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  12. #11  
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    Well, most divorces (family break-ups) are based on finances. Kids are seen as a burden when they can't contribute to the family's survival. In most of those backwoods countries the kids are either working to help support their siblings/parents or it's anticipated that they'll be able to in the future.

    Granma makes sure to love her grandkids when she's worried she might get crippled later on. Probably 90% of all this TLC stuff people are doing would be easier with machines.

    Is it better to artificially generate purpose by doing things inefficiently?


    A huge portion of human effort goes to the family. In terms of material prosperity that is wasted effort.
    With hunter-gatherers, they had to space their growth-rate with the environment.

    With post-H.Gatherer. society, the pattern is clear. It’s a smooth curve: the more kids you have, the more ‘money’ you make. Past a certain level of ‘prosperity’, the more kids you have, the money it costs. That’s why most Western nation’s natural population increase is negative, and why the United Nations forecasts a near-future peak, and then a FALL in the global population.
    The answer to overpopulation, then, is to find a way to make it not beneficial to have more kids in the 3rd world. (Or maybe elevate them to our level of prosperity, if it's even possible to do that).



    Quote Originally Posted by Vexer
    kojax,

    Well, the "something else" was tribal warfare for a while. People got tired of killing each other and started looking for a way to just have enough to go around.
    We seem to have not got tired of that yet. So obviously that is not a special feature of Hunter-gatherers.
    Yeah, and we probably won't any time soon, unfortunately. We still have to keep it under control so we don't have total war, what with the A bomb and all.
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  13. #12  
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    Pong, what you said hardly qualifies as a ‘rant’. (Strange how expressing oneself in more than three sentences can be thought of as a rant, these days). No, rants require a lot more Certainty, CAPITAL letters, and EXCLAMATION points!!!!!



    I can't believe babies spring from national cost/benefit curves either

    Not ‘national’ - personal. I think ‘the figures’ support my rant. Families do what they figure is best for them (to the best of their ability), not the nation.


    Does human intellect flow from the national IQ average?

    Huh?

    If you’re an early-agricultural/pastoralist, each kid is a low a maintenance work unit that can be put to weeding, fire-wood collecting, minding-the-goats (and hence – being productive), very early. For them, kids make, ‘money’. The more you can keep alive, the better.

    If you’re a Soccer Mom, each kid will not make any money (be productive for the tribe) until they’re… what? Mid twenties? The cost of childcare (not low-maintenance), education, game-boys, etc. It’s a net loss to the family unit.
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