Re: Why the West has 'won'.

Anders Sandberg (
Sat, 16 Aug 1997 21:36:56 +0200 (MET DST)

On Fri, 15 Aug 1997, Robin Hanson wrote:

> To me, the by far most interesting question in this area is what are
> the chances that our new global civilization will befall a similar
> fate. In the past the relative isolation of civilizations mean that
> progress could continue even when most civilizations eventually seem
> to grow rotten. But now with an integrated global civilization, we
> can't rely on sheer numbers - we have to make this one work. Note
> that within old civilizations, if one part of the civilization fell,
> so did the rest of it.

A good point. On the other hand, a global civilization may be more
resilent than a local civilization. Previously, most civilizations
have been monolithic administrative systems; empires, states or
closely allied states. But today we are seeing a civilization more
defined by a global economic, scientific and political framework. Of
course, if the world economy would break down then we would be in big
trouble (this was the disaster scenario we came up with in our
scenario planning meeting).

Another thing that comes to mind is that a large civilizations may be
more stable because they contain more people, see the discussion
about Tasmania in (Why Did
Human History Unfold Differently On Different Continents For The Last
13,000 Years? by Jared Diamond) which I found very intriguing.

As a final thought, I would guess that the global civilization we are
speaking of will not really be western. It will be based on western
civilization, but in time I expect it to take on a character on its
own as (say) China and India emerge as fully industrialized and
net.connected nations.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y