On Population Control of a Synarchic Minimal-Regret Population
© 2003 Joseph George Caldwell. All rights reserved. Posted at Internet web sites http://www.foundation.bw and http://www.foundationwebsite.org . May be copied or reposted for non-commercial use, with attribution. (8 July 2003)
A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a visitor to the Foundation web site. He started out, “Fascinating observations and ideas! I must admit that at first I was repelled by your idea of forcibly ending the lives of myself and 85% (I think?) of the world’s population as quickly as possible. But I’ve come to see the massive human population as the major problem of our time, and that is certainly the quickest and easiest way to solve it….” He had evidently read some of my writings a little too fast, since this is not what I had proposed. As I have stated many times, the industrial world will destroy itself – it does not need any help from me! This article clears up this misconception, and addresses a few other “loose ends.”
My correspondent had evidently come across a description of the results of various nuclear-warfare attacks in Can America Survive?. That book considered a number of different global-nuclear-war scenarios, to assess what proportion of the world’s population would be destroyed in a low-intensity nuclear war of 1,000 small nuclear weapons (e.g., “suitcase” bombs) placed on the world’s cities. The fact is that I was simply addressing the issue of what proportion of the world’s population might be destroyed as a result of global nuclear war. I never proposed starting such a war, but I did express the opinion that global nuclear war is highly likely, and I did make the observation that, from the viewpoint of saving the planet’s biodiversity, “sooner is better than later,” since the sooner such a war occurred, the more of the planet’s biodiversity would be left intact (since the annual destruction of 30,000 species would stop).
In my view, global nuclear war is not a very good long-term approach to human population control. It causes much death and destruction not only to the human species but also to the other species of the planet, and to natural habitat. What is needed is a much less violent, less chaotic, and controlled system of planetary management, and one that is ensured to have a low likelihood of destroying the human species and the other species of the biosphere. What I proposed in Can America Survive? was a “minimal-regret” population consisting of a single nation of five million high-technology people and a globally distributed population of five million hunter-gatherers. It is my view (expressed in several articles) that global nuclear war or some other global catastrophe is very likely (since dynamic systems usually fail catastrophically), and I propose that a minimal-regret population be set up after such a catastrophe. This view is the central idea behind The Omega Project, the mission of which is to disseminate information about the concept and advantages of a minimal-regret population as the basis for a long-term-sustainable human population (i.e., a population that has a low likelihood of extinction for the human species and the other species of the biosphere).
The system of government, or planetary management, that I have proposed may be described either as a “Platonic” government (along the lines that Plato described in The Republic) or a “synarchic” government (along the lines described by the spiritualist, Saint-Yves d’Alveydre). Plato calls the government rulers the “Guardians,” and Saint-Yves calls them “Enlightened Initiates.” An issue that was not addressed very satisfactorily by either of these writers is the issue of movement of the population between classes, i.e., how may a person become a Guardian (i.e., move from the “ruled” population to the Guardian class) or become an Enlightened Initiate. Plato suggests that a person would be selected by “merit” into the Guardian class, but that is about all he says about this issue. In a recent article (on the equity of a synarchic minimal-regret population), I mentioned that I would discuss at some point the issue of population movement from the high-technology society (city-state, planetary management organization) population to the low-technology society (the hunter-gatherer population). It is not clear that this issue is a pressing concern, and it may be addressed by the leaders of the planetary management organization / synarchic government at their leisure. Since this issue (class movement) seems to be of some interest, however, I will make a few observations relative to it, as well as the related issue of population control (both size control and genetic-diversity promotion).
Since the synarchic government is in charge of the planet, it may address the issues of class movement and population control any (effective) way it pleases. What would work best in the long run, however, is a peaceful and humane and just and routine means of accomplishing these processes in an effective manner. The whole idea behind the synarchic minimal-regret population is to stop damage to the biosphere and do so without war (i.e., in a controlled manner, with “synarchy,” not “anarchy”). As has been observed many times, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is far better to exercise continuous, positive population control than to allow the population size grow out of control so that collapse and global war become inevitable. (I am not going to discuss the rationale behind the minimal-regret population here, other than to note that the population size is one that has existed for millions of years without damaging the biosphere, and that with a single nation, there is no war. Local conflict between hunter-gatherer tribes is not considered “war.”)
First, I shall address the issue of population control. For the hunter-gatherer tribes, this is essentially a non-issue. It is generally accepted that hunter-gatherer tribes did a very good job of population control, without excessive violence (see, e.g., Thom Hartmann, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunshine, for more discussion on this point). All that is necessary is to forgo industrial development, and the hunter-gatherer population does very well. (More will be said later on the issue of restriction of industrial development in the hunter-gatherer population.) For the city-state, the population-control issue is replacement of lost population, not control of overpopulation. This is very clear from the recent history of humanity – the birth rate for high-technology urban populations invariably falls below the replacement level. What is proposed is that the city-state accept immigrants from the hunter-gatherer population at a rate to offset the population losses from the below-replacement birth rate.
Now, I shall address the issue of class mobility. Note that there are two issues here: movement from the high-technology society (planetary management organization, or “government,” or “ruling class”) to the hunter-gatherer society, and vice versa. We consider first the issue of movement from the hunter-gatherer society to the high-technology society. What is proposed here is along the lines suggested by Plato, that members of the governed class (hunter-gatherers) be selected into the ruling class (the “Guardians”) on the basis of merit. It is noted that this procedure also addresses the issue of “new blood.” All human tribes know intuitively that they must accept occasional outsiders into the tribe, to maintain a diverse gene pool. By accepting immigrants from the hunter-gatherer population to address the problem of a continually shrinking population owing to a below-replacement birth rate, the issue of “new blood” is concomitantly resolved. (Without this immigration, the population of a single city-state would eventually become genetically very homogeneous, no matter how genetically diverse (heterogeneous) it started out. It is generally accepted that genetic diversity is advantageous for a species. Note that the global hunter-gatherer population will consist, as in the distant past, of many independent and rather localized and isolated tribes, so that the genetic diversity of that population is assured.)
For the issue of movement from the planetary management organization to the hunter-gatherer society, there are two mechanisms suggested. First, anyone wishing to leave the high-technology society and go to the hunter-gatherer society may do so. Second, anyone convicted of a serious crime will be exiled (banished) to the hunter-gatherer society. This is the same procedure used in the past, when Earth was less densely populated (e.g., in recent times, the exile of convicts from England to Australia). This procedure obviates the need for prisons and for the death penalty.
There is one final note concerning the issue of population control for the hunter-gatherer population. The population-moderation methods employed by hunter-gatherer populations in the past were feasible in the context of a nontechnological world. Now that technology is “out of the bag,” some tribes will no doubt attempt to develop industrially. As discussed in Can America Survive?, it is a primary function of the high-technology city-state to prevent the rise of industrial development anywhere on the planet, except in the city-state. This is a key factor relating to the control of population. It is technological development, along with the access to the energy windfall of fossil fuels, that led directly to the world’s current population explosion. An issue that must be eventually addressed is how to accomplish the global suppression of industrial development. Some “off the cuff” suggestions were made in Can America Survive?. A couple of other possibilities may be considered.
The issue is how can a small city-state, even one that is technologically advanced, control (i.e., prevent industrial development on) an entire planet. One way to simplify the problem is to allow for a city on each of the seven continents. This has the added advantage of reducing the loss of the high-technology society from a local catastrophe. There are significant drawbacks, however, to this approach. With seven cities instead of one, there is the possibility of war among the cities. Furthermore, even a population size of five million is very small for a totally self-sufficient technological society. Moving to a size of one million for a self-contained city may not be practical from a technological viewpoint. An alternative is for each city to specialize in different aspects of technology. This set-up creates an interdependency that may militate against the likelihood of war among the cities.
Another consideration is that more than one city-state may arise after global war (or other global catastrophe), from different nations. (A “nation” is an identified group of people of common interests and characteristics, such as language, religion, race, and culture.) After global war, there will probably be several continents on which a city-state may arise, e.g., South America and Australia are not likely to be completely devastated (since they have relatively few large cities). At the present time, of the world’s nations only China is taking steps to preserve its fossil fuel reserves, with a conscious national policy of remaining with large quantities after all other nations of the world run out. (See Hartmann, op. cit., pp. 78-82 for more discussion of this. Sample quote: “…When America and Europe and the Middle East have run out of oil. We will survive. There are even some who say we will then dominate the world, that that time will signal the Third Chinese Empire.”) If global war happens late in the petroleum age, then China will likely be the single nation capable of assuming control of the planet (since it will be the only one remaining with large reserves of fossil fuel). If global war happens soon, then other nations (e.g., Russia, Australia) will still possess significant fossil-fuel reserves, and could be contenders for significant planetary management roles in the post-industrial age. A reasonable global-domination strategy for China to employ is to wait until all other nations have exhausted their fossil-fuel reserves, and then destroy them utterly (and, it follows, a reasonable strategy for other nations to employ is to destroy China utterly before it has a chance to destroy them!).
If several independent high-technology city-states arise on several continents, they will likely consist of different national compositions (language, religion, race, culture), and the likelihood of war is great. At some point, it is expected that a single-nation city-state will prevail, whether comprised of a single city or several cities (e.g., one per continent). In view of the fact that there is at present only one nation, China, that is preparing for long-term global domination as fossil fuels exhaust, that nation is the most logical candidate for achieving that objective. (It is interesting to note that such a development is consistent with Biblical prophecy and the Agartha (Agarttha, Shambhala) myth.)
As the discussion above suggests, the task of suppressing industrial development globally is daunting. It is very difficult to achieve this by force. It is believed that a much more fruitful approach to this problem is to convince all humanity of the very strong desirability of restricting industrial development. As Neale Donald Walsch (The New Revelations) expressed it, “action follows belief.” Once humanity accepts that large-scale industrial development is destroying the biosphere, and once it experiences the global catastrophe that global industrialization causes, it will be profoundly motivated to prevent it from happening again. It is the objective of The Omega Project to bring about this awareness; to make certain that the survivors understand the reasons for the global collapse, the necessity of abandoning global industrial development, and the need for responsible planetary management to ensure the long-term-survival of the biosphere; and to show the leaders of the post-catastrophe world how this can be achieved (i.e., through a planetary management organization based on synarchic government of a minimal-regret population). After global war or other global catastrophe occurs to bring an end to the industrial age, it will be very clear to the survivors that global industrialization was the cause of the planetary disaster (the sixth mass species extinction, including human population collapse), and they will, following in Ned Ludd’s footsteps, know what to do. At that time, they will be very receptive to the establishment of a New World Order based on Platonic / synarchic government of a minimal-regret population. It is at that point that a great awakening to a new spiritual awareness will occur, and the dawn of a New Age – the Aquarian Age – will have occurred.