Those Things You Aren't Supposed To Discuss

Tau_Cetacean
Tau_Cetacean
edited January 2016 in General Discussion
"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin." - Linus van Pelt

Short version: my sci-fi campaign is still private, but contains a lot of geopolitics (cause that's one of my interests... and I don't want to wind up with very "shallow" geopolitics... e.g. read a sci-fi book by a well-known author that was like "Mercurians are all hot-headed because they are close to the Sun" which made me eye roll... like I want something more in the vein of "Mercury was colonized by {{x, y, z demographic groups}} in {{year}} because {{reasons}}")

I also want to figure out a plausible "muddle through" pathway through our current situations (Global Warming, a Rising China and the Thucydides Trap, Second Cold War with Russia, signs of an imploding European Union, emergence of totally antibiotic-resistant pathogens etc.) to where I can plausibly get to an interplanetary / interstellar scoped human / transhuman / post-human society

Since getting my wiki to a place where I feel comfortable sharing is still a year or two away... contemplating just articulating some of my questions outside of the sort of solipsistic confines of my wiki-writing

TL,DR: would people be okay with me posting political questions here? (keeping it to just this one thread, trying to be objective / civil... this is not about "what I want to happen" but "what is the most plausible scenario of what could happen") or would that be too risky / break the forums / community?
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Comments

  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285 edited January 2016
    one very generic / safe question to open with: there is the logical approach to writing sci-fi timeline / near-future geopolitical punditry... extrapolating from current events, reading sober analyses, etc.

    and then there is the fact that crazy unpredictable shit happens all the time (best articulated I think in this short video about the Umbrella Man: http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000001183275/the-umbrella-man.html )

    there is no way one person could imagine all of these crazy happenstances, so I'd like to crowd-source for suggestions along these lines...
    Post edited by Tau_Cetacean on
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379 edited January 2016
    here is a few

    think about a solar pannel revolution.

    as a world wide average, 10% efficiency is what you can expect from your off the shelf solar panel (FYI the world record lab based top cell is closer to 50%, but even Bill gates would struggle to afford a roof full of those things!)

    so here is your disrupting combination

    1 - cheap as dirt 25% efficiency solar panels.
    2 - cheap as dirt energy storage (high effcincy electrolysis for hydrogen? novel battery structures? )

    ta da- the green house effect is no longer a a worry, and the world goes to hell as all economies that are dependent on OIl/coal/gas suddenly find themselves in a very bad place indeed


    disruption number two

    shed based genetic engineering - we have got really good at genetic modification. with very little training you can do it easily, the chemicals are not that hard to get and we are still at the very early stages. 25 years from now dont be surprised if your kids science project is the regression of a chicken back to an earlier evolutionary stage! now everyone can make their own biological weapons in the comfort of their own home. Why release a computer virus when your boss fires you; when you can kill everyone in the town where he grew up? how about that for a reason to get off planet? :D
    Post edited by NikMak on
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    we may already be there - anthropogenic global CO2 emissions appear to have peaked in 2014, even before implementation of the recent Paris Agreement:
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2892.html

    (but unless we really make that ramp down steep, and figure out a way of sequestering the CO2 we already burped out... there is plenty of climate change suck in store just based on the amount of warming we've already committed to)

    in the short term low oil prices are going to wreck havoc on a few regimes anyways - Saudi monarchy, Iranian theocracy, Chavezism in Venezulea (and their dependent regime in Cuba), Putinism in Russia... I just don't exactly how quickly or in what order

    but yeah, I figure on solar revolution and battery revolution and geopolitical turbulence from collapsing petroleum regimes... and increasingly I think I need to invoke some sort of technological magic wand to scrub the CO2 out of the atmosphere (maybe genetically engineered hyper-photosynthesizing bacteria that poop graphite?)... and start a separate campaign, an alternate history that's more post-apocalyptic Mad Max-style where I use all the nifty maps showing extreme sea level rise, etc.

    and the genecorp that pioneered the CO2-scrubbing bacteria markets itself as the savior of the world (never mind some of the side effects, because let's face it, trying out geo-engineering on your homeworld before practicing it on other worlds is exactly the stupid shit you'd expect humanity to do), goes on to spearhead the terraforming of Venus

    good point on the DIY bio-terrorism... I tend to shy away from putting total catastrophes into the timeline (makes me feel like a genocidal prick, for one thing, switched the genre from interstellar sci-fi into planet-bound post-apocalyptic for another), but I also know this real-life group.... Voluntary Human Extinction... they have bumper stickers like "Thank You For Not Breeding"... doesn't take much to imagine a radical offshoot calling itself Involuntary Human Extinction trying to make a wipe-us-all-out virus

    and I tend to want to have a heavily colonized asteroid belt, each asteroid colony with it's own governing memeplex... e.g. any crazy cult or fringe political philosophy you can imagine has it's own "Utopia" in the belt... and general level of paranoia... the inner planets (terraformed Mars, Earth, colonized moon, terraformed Venus, colonized Mercury) paranoid about terrorists re-directing asteroids into deliberate collision course... the Belters resentful that they can't get fully get away from the inner planets with their constant naval patrols into the Belt... the fact every asteroid colony would want the do a full bio-hazard screen of any visitors only adds to that atmosphere of paranoia
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379 edited January 2016
    I like the colonised asteroid belt (check out a book called 'Heavy time' if you haven't already)

    How about self assembling factories on asteroids. Fire them off now, by the time humans get there ten year later, you find a fully stocked hab with biomes and everything. Then earth expects the fully independent asteroid miner AI and their human handlers to repay the initial investment...


    edit

    "here is the book":http://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Time-C-J-Cherryh/dp/0446362239 :) must read some more of his (her?) stuff one day
    Post edited by NikMak on
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    it's her ... she had to use a deliberately androgynous pen name to be more 'marketable' as an author of sci-fi :-(, wasn't that much of a fan of "Downbelow Station" when read it for book club, but I'll check out "Heavy Time"

    watching "The Expanse" now, which gets me in the mood, even if I doubt the homogeneous Belter culture that gets portrayed there (and don't even get me started on Bauxite being referred to as something that could exist in the asteroid belt)

    definitely have self-assembly, etc. going on (actually have a background in spacecraft autonomy, once upon a time), though I am a bit of skeptic on asteroid mining... not that it will happen, just that it won't happen at nearly the near-term timescale some people hype it up as... assorted reasons - it's cheaper to mine the seabed, or rip up the Antarctic Treaty, or recycle, or go after previously uneconomic terrestrial deposits, than it is to mine asteroids... and all of our mining technologies are based on having abundant water and oxygen, on a planet where plate tectonics and water cycle have concentrated ores... people don't generally appreciate just how completely new and different asteroid mining would have to be... aside from the refueling spacecraft (liquid oxygen) and topping off life support (oxygen, water) from chunks of ice angle, think it's more a 'next few centuries' proposition than 'next few decades'

    going back to the biotechnology topic - seeing with the Zika Virus outbreak happening now, you already have technophiles hyping up GMO mosquitoes as a way to stop transmission, technophobes / conspiracy theorists pointing to GMO mosquitoes as the reason for the Zika Virus outbreak, and climate change activists pointing to the expanding range of mosquitoes and saying "we told you so"
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    but we did tell you so ;)
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    wasn't excluding myself from that "we"
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589 edited January 2016
    h2. Space Elevators and Economical Space Ventures

    I suspect any space-bound venture (including, but not limited to, asteroid mining) will only become truly economical once we have something like space elevators in place. Battling the planetary gravity with rockets every time we come and go is not economical (and alternative propulsion types are not likely to be powerful enough to do it at all in the foreseeable future). So I would venture that a space elevator or handful of them would be significant landmarks, even if eventually was surpassed by other more advanced technologies.

    Similarly, you could use the introduction and increasing use of space elevators as a organizing force in developing your timeline. Maybe even derive some drama from it with disasters/conflicts surrounding space elevators and access to them.

    Some of the other "inner planets" would probably need them as well. Belter colonies would have something of an economic advantage (after a certain point of technological sophistication) in that they won't have much gravity to overcome in travelling to and from their homes.

    h2. Cultural Influence

    If you want to talk about waves of cultural influence, the earliest (and therefore most influential) cultures will probably be rooted in the most economically developed Earth nations. G7 nations would have the longest histories in space (and most widespread cultural influence), followed by BRIC (or BRICS, depending on your thoughts on South Africa's prospects) nations, then "Next 11" nations, etc... You can only take this so far, but its something concrete to base cultural spread on.

    Assuming Belters (and maybe Mercury) were the last to be developed, they are more likely to have eclectic cultural influences (from Next 11 and beyond). Whereas Mars and Venus, presumably as earlier developments, are likely to be dominated by the established earlier space-faring nations (G7 and BRIC).

    h2. Moons of Jupiter and Saturn

    This is a bit beyond your question, but are you going to be using the various potentially habitable moons for anything?

    Europa (around Jupiter) and Titan (around Saturn) are the most likely to be "useful". Enceladus, Callisto, and Io are also potentially useful.

    A convenient Wikipedia list of potentially habitable (or terraform-able, or at least colonizable) moons and asteroids: "Potentially Habitable Moons":https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_potentially_habitable_moons

    h2. Natural Challenges

    Back to your question, plausible paths to "muddle through" our emerging problems. I don't have much specific to say on that, but a few general thoughts.

    Most of the natural challenges (climate change, food supply for an exploding population, hyper-resistant bugs) are going to require multiple paths to "solve": a mixture of societal change, engineering innovation (technological evolution), and scientific advancement (technological revolution).

    h2. Conflicts

    In terms of national conflict, the world today is even more interconnected via alliances and economic ties than during the early 20th century (just prior to the World Wars), so "big" wars are going to be even harder to start, but even bigger when they do happen. However, I honestly think smaller-scale conflicts with rogue nations are going to be more the norm than big conflicts. If you do go the route of a big "World War III" type conflict, have only one, and make it big enough to set up the rest of your timeline. Most likely a US/NATO/EU block versus a Russo-Chinese alliance of convenience. India may be an interesting locale/player in that conflict as they have strong emerging ties to the West but are geographically and historically closer to those Eastern powers; and they are an emerging power in their own right, so maybe a deciding factor in that war.

    Depending on whether this war happens before or after the initial expansion into space, might have consequences for which cultures are in space (either through control of space travel, or forced out as refugees).

    Also, keep in mind that the US spends about as much on military expenditures as the next 7 or 8 nations combined (some of whom are US allies anyway), so its going to take a significant shift in the balance of power (US changing its priorities, losing allies, or other nations ramping up military extensively) for the US block to lose. This might happen if the US shifts its priorities to helping solve the "natural challenges", so maybe that's a useful switch to turn on and off (US can either help with natural global problems (and lose the big war), or remain an military-industrial giant and win the big war (but suffer global resentment for not helping enough with natural challenges).
    Post edited by Basileus on
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    I've toyed with Space Elevators, keep seeing articles both for and against (not against building them, but that x, y or z issues means that they can't work) - don't feel qualified to judge who is right... but obviously if I were to abandon hard-nosed realism, Space Elevators would be in by the Rule of Cool

    Am somewhat aware that Europa orbits Jupiter... that was the moon my almost-PhD dissertation was on, it's also doused in fatal levels of radiation from the Jovain magnetosphere, and warming anything in the outer solar system to habitable temperatures leaves you with 100% ocean cover, so I kind of doubt the "habitability" part... terraforming Mars and Venus will be hard enough

    Currently reading "Better Angels of our Nature" about historical decline in violence... makes me question how many wars I should have (e.g. that following geopolitical punditry is heavily biased towards a whole bunch of potential wars and odds are few of them will actually happen)

    "US/NATO/EU block versus a Russo-Chinese alliance of convenience" - more or less my thoughts, but the question there is whether or not it goes nuclear, in which case - genre shift to post-apocalyptic

    (I do have an alternate history campaign slot where nuclear war happened, but it's right now gathering dust...)
    !https://db4sgowjqfwig.cloudfront.net/campaigns/78920/banners/257491/1983_Banner.jpg?1396945511!

    India I am a little pessimistic about (lived in New Delhi during the Kargil Crisis -- left me with the feeling Indo-Pak nuclear war is inevitable -- but that would be a sharp repudiation of the "Better Angels" hypothesis that war is on the decline in a systematic way), but I also have this latent child-of-the-1980s thing going on (lived on both sides of the Iron Curtain) where it seems like a nuclear war is inevitable, and maybe a sub-global nuclear war (like India-Pakistan) is the only way we'll ever get nuclear disarmament and avert a global thermonuclear war
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589 edited January 2016
    Yeah, I don't think terraforming is even in the realm of possibility for those moons, but in the sense of "habitable" I believe they are referring to here, there are sufficient natural resources to sustain a colony in a controlled environment. In terms of imagery, we're talking about stations inside shielded containment domes (or similar) pumping up water from subsurface oceans, as opposed to people walking around outside in an earth-like environment.

    Dome gets cracked by a rock? Fix it before everyone [cooks in the radiation/vents into space/gets infected with moon-cooties]!

    EDIT: Of course, like the asteroid belt, the assumption is that there is something sufficiently valuable on those moons to make the effort of building a station there worthwhile. Unobtainium?
    Post edited by Basileus on
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,728
    Ah, it is a while since I heard of that valuable substance, Unobtanium.

    twigs

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    what about new antibiotics as your unobtanium? we keep talking about antibiotic resistance... what if the microbial life on Mars/Europa etc became the key to maintaining the microbe-icidal society we know and depend on? would people pay that much for antibiotics in the future... maybe; who wants to live in a world where cutting yourself shaving has a 5% death rate, when a little xeno-bio-exploration can uncover the effective antibiotic we need for the next two years? (before the 'Hyper-MRSA' evolves to render that new martian antibiotic useless)
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    shying away from Unobtainium in the sense of purely fictional material, but carbon-nanotubes for space elevators, or room-temperature superconductors (for magsails) are in the cards... and (geology geek alert) I actually have seen some geophysics papers positing that super-earths could have superconducting phase beyond post-Perovskite in their lower mantles... maybe call it post-post-Perovskite? that gets closer to the "Avatar" scenario where you have a planet with floating mountains filled with Unobtainium that's worth travelling interstellar distances for... but I still have problems with the Unobtainium being at the surface, or inside floating mountains above the surface... and especially with this being on the moon of a gas giant that's in a binary star system too closely spaced to allow for the formation of gas giants in the first place... (/geology geek alert)

    other candidates for Unobtanium / tie-in with a separate question: wtf is dark matter / dark energy? (realizing we're not about to become Nobel Prize winning physicists here, just needing a plausible answer and timeline for what "the answers" are, when human physics uncovers them, what the practical (and philosophical / societal) implications are... and what "the answers" might imply about the technological ladder / what older alien civilizations have done before we got onto the scene

    microbial life on Mars/Europa - maybe (as general scientific interest, and "if we understand how much life can be different than what those 'tards back in the 2010s thought of as 'life as we know it', than we can unlock whole new avenues of genetic engineering / biotechnology"... but xeno-microbes acting as antibiotics for Earthlings stretches my credulity more than a bit... but going with the idea that some mega-corp made a killing with genemod microbes scrubbing carbon dioxide from the Earth's atmosphere and is now terraforming Venus... definitely want interplanetary biotech megacorps to be a thing)

    most of the interplanetary economy will be considerably more "boring":

    ice - for water (life support) and breaking down into oxygen (life support and rocket fuel) and hydrogen (rocket fuel, and, with industrial-scale mass spectrometry, deuterium for fusion reactors) - most efficiently mined from low-mass comets or extinct comet-type asteroids

    Helium-3 - for fusion reactors - most efficiently mined from the lunar or asteroidal regolith,

    solar power - the closer you are to the sun the better, especially for energy-intensive endeavors like making anti-matter (fusion might be far safer, but for applications like interstellar ships, you want higher energy density / less mass)

    rock - eventually we develop new mining technologies to extract the metals, etc. that we want from asteroids, but it's primarily to service off-world colonies (e.g. anything you can make in space is cheaper than making it on earth and lifting it up the gravity well)
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    maybe you just want increase your time line a little and make things a bit more incremental - have things carry on as they are for a century or so, and then there is an eventual tipping point where NASA (or whoever it is by then) works out a way to make it cheaper to make their satellites, and all the supporting infrastructure and resources, in space rather than on earth. Give it another century or so and almost by accident you end up with your first permanent off world settlement.

    Their economy used to be based on servicing the Terran Astro-tech corps, Government Agencies and NGOs; but now they reach a tipping point where they are living and dying in space like any other self sustaining community (time for a Boston tea party perhaps?) . No need to reference any sort of earth based commerce anymore. People are out there anyway, and happily making all their own resources thank you very much. No major single step technological advance, drama or 'big push' required: It just sort evolves out of pragmatic accountancy!
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    increasing my timeline isn't the issue - it's already supposedly centuries and centuries into the future - but resisting the tendency to cram a bunch of stuff into the next few decades / this century - for sure (this applies to geopolitics as well as it does to space exploration timeline)

    if you buy the NASA timeline, we're landing humans on Mars in the 2030s... but that's dependent on political will... and right now I don't really see that as all that forthcoming... the GOP generally wants to cut non-military spending, the only candidate who's really spoke favorably about space stuff was Jeb! (and he's now polling in the single digits), Bernie Sanders has a record of rhetoric along the lines of "let's solve all our problems on Earth first" when it comes to NASA funding, Hillary mostly mentions NASA in context of the anecdote that she wrote to them as a girl in the 1960s and was told women can't go into space

    I've thought about China as a catalyst - their program, simplistically speaking, is about proving they are more of an equal to the USA than the USSR ever was (did the Ruskies put a man on the moon? nyet!!! but see here now!!! Taikonauts on the Moon!!!") and the US jumping into a Mars Race to prove "we still got it"

    however:
    a) this might be extrapolating / recycling too much from the Cold War and the Moon Race
    b) have a separate set of questions about how stable the Mao Dynasty really is...
    i) their GDP is growing up and up towards the point where traditionally middle-income nations have transitioned to democracy
    ii) they probably switched from One Child Policy to Two Child Policy too late... as the current generation of workers retires, and not enough new workers come up to replace them... the economy slows... and the basic "you shut up and we'll grow the economy" bargain they struck with their people after Tienanmen Square Massacre becomes unglued early in the 2020s
    iii) look at what's been going on with their stock market lately...
    iv) other issues: corruption, pollution, the gigantic industrial accident that just happened in Tianjin, etc.

    !https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/2015_Tianjin_explosion_-_Crop.jpg!

    maybe I'm being unfair on China... I notice in this formulation they are damned for growing too much (i), and damned for slowing down (ii)... and just because the Mao Dynasty collapses, doesn't mean what follows is a nice happy democracy...
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589
    bq. maybe call it post-post-Perovskite?

    "P3 superconductors"?

    There's a good chance you've already seen this, but if you're looking for some interesting discussion of a variety of Sci-Fi topics from the more "hard science" end of the spectrum, check out "Atomic Rockets and Project Rho":http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/. Just scroll to the index at the bottom of the page and select something that sounds interesting. There are also lots of bright colors and fancy charts and pictures, so my toddler brain is entertained.
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    I love the name P3, totally see that as asteroid miner slang

    double checking with geophysicist friend, not sure if P3 would be meta-stable at low pressures/temperatures (the way diamonds are), or if, say, blowing up a Super-Earth with a P3 lower mantle results in a bunch of asteroids, the ones made out of P3 experiencing rapid decompressive phase changes from P3 to non-superconducting minerals

    yep, already familiar with Atomic Rockets site
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    Re China: working on the basis of history repeating, I suspect China will still be going strong when US and the EU are a history lesson each :)
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    well, China will be a thing, my question is whether the People's Republic of China will still be a thing... how and when does the Mao Dynasty fall, and what comes after...
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    Interesting question: i have heard it argued that it is already falling, and turning back into a traditional Chinese beurocracy as we speak :)
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589 edited January 2016
    Totally traditional! Why, I was in the Chinese DMV just the other day, and the guy who told me I was in the wrong line after waiting for an hour and a half was wearing this hat:

    !http://static2.bigstockphoto.com/thumbs/8/9/1/large2/19824107.jpg!

    Then, after I'd filled out a form 37-b, I was told that they only accept 37-a forms while the Black Tortoise of the North is visible. It was terrible.
    Post edited by Basileus on
  • twiggyleaf
    twiggyleaf
    Posts: 1,728
    At least he didn't make you wait for the Grey Rabbit of the South.....

    twigs

    "I met a traveller from an antique land....."

    CotM May 2016: Mysteria: set in Wolfgang Baur’s MIDGARD.

    Previous CotM Aug 2012: Shimring: High Level Multiplanar Campaign

    Inner Council Member

  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    "here you go":http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2015/04/17/chinas-levels-of-bureaucracy-have-gotten-ridiculous-premier-says/ :)
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    that seems to be vestige of Communism (I consider modern China to be CINO - communist in name only) than traditional Confucian bureaucracy... not discounting Confucianism as a cultural touchstone that China goes back to as they continue to ditch Communism... but after the Xinhai Revolution, Chinese Civil War, World War II, Cultural Revolution, etc., think there has been quite enough of a discontinuity between the Confucian bureaucracy and the modern Chinese bureaucracy

    one of the problems with how Chinese history gets told, or got told, is that this whole Confucian idea of the Mandate of Heaven became really circular - why do dynasties rule? because of the mandate of heaven... how do dynasties fall? because the emperor acts improperly, the mandate of heaven falls, bad shit happens, like the Great Man Theory of history on steroids... how do you avoid acting improperly? read the Confucian classics, listen to (and fund) the Confucian scholars.... who is writing this version of history? why, the Confucian scholars, why do you ask?

    it winds up being a very tidy explanation for some very messy history (one of the dynasties was actually a Mongol occupation, for example)... bad shit never happens on its own, bad shit happens because the emperor was bad... end result is we get a false impression of a continuous sequence of dynasties and great stability, when in fact there was more traditional chaos - invasions, civil wars, etc. going on during each dynastic turnover

    all that said - one idea that I'd seen is part of the reason that the PRC freaked out so much about the Falun Gong is that crazy cults gaining traction are a traditional sign of a dynastic failure in progress (the bloodiest conflict of the 18th century wasn't the Napoleonic Wars, it was the Taiping Rebellion - a peasant claiming to be Jesus Christ's younger brother and his followers running amok in rural China)
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    interesting. I dont disagree, but thats not the version I was taught many years ago. To simplify the lesson we get (got? its a long time since I studied this) was that even though China gets invaded and overrun, or has its leadership replaced by internal forces that are effectively the same as an external invading force that replaces the leadership; the longer narrative is that China always subverts the invader into behaving as the Chinese bureaucracy needs them to, returning the status- quo. A new hand on the tiller, but still plotting the same course. i.e. nothing really changes, other than the last name of the emperors family after the first 100 years or so.

    Im sure I read recently that the government used to try and purge out the Confuscionist schools, but they are having a major resurgence and this includes classic-medieval bureaucrat training! However I cant recall the reference... maybe it was BBC documentary? will post the reference if i can remember it
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    I think that's true to a degree - especially with the Mongol invasion dynasty - but the Confucian bureaucracy has a vested interest in writing history to exaggerate the continuity... especially in the case of the per-Confucian dynasties (the oldest one of which was entirely fictional)... take any 2,000 year old institution - the Catholic Church for example, and you will see an exaggerated narrative of continuity - but don't want to digress into all the weird stuff I've learned about medieval papacy here

    and I remember similar stories about a Confucian comeback - but there's a difference between reaching back to Confucianism to give yourself legitimacy as you junk Communism... and bringing back the entire exam system of the Confucian bureaucracy which was a pretty intensive lifestyle... would venture that the modern Chinese bureaucracy is still more like the Soviet Union than it is like the Qing Dynasty

    if/when the Mao Dynasty cracks, think there are three, maybe four poles around which people can rally: 1) Neo-Confucianism, 2) Ultra-Nationalism (overlaps with 1, but can also be more 'modern' in it's flavor, with the army being a big contender here and the danger being a war over the South China Sea, or Taiwan, or those islands they dispute with Japan), 3) Neo-Maoism ("the party has betrayed our founding principles" sort of thing... especially among the rural and inland provinces that have been left behind by the economic growth of the CINO era), 4) "westernized" dissidents - pro-democracy, like the kids at Tienanmen Square who had a big replica of the Statue of Liberty... I put westernized in scare quotes because you have plenty of Asian democracies - Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India already
  • NikMak
    NikMak
    Posts: 379
    Fair enough :)
  • Basileus
    Basileus
    Posts: 589 edited February 2016
    RE: China

    Someone may have already mentioned this... They are going to have a lot of internal economic and demographic pressures in the next few decades, due to:

    1) 36 years of the One-Child policy, so they are going to have one of the worst issues with a suddenly aging population (impacting workforce and who is drawing on social services - they have those in China, right?)
    2) Preference for male children, so particularly in rural areas, men outnumber women, meaning those areas aren't going to easily correct the aging workforce imbalance.

    bq. take any 2,000 year old institution – the Catholic Church for example, and you will see an exaggerated narrative of continuity – but don’t want to digress into all the weird stuff I’ve learned about medieval papacy here

    I warn you, if you go down that road, you won't expect our response. In fact, our chief weapon is surprise... surprise and fear... fear and surprise. Our two weapons are fear and surprise... and ruthless efficiency. Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency... and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope. Our four... no, amongst our weapons... amongst our weaponry are such elements as fear, surprise- I'll start over.

    Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope... and nice red uniforms... Damn!
    Post edited by Basileus on
  • weasel0
    weasel0
    Posts: 405
    Enough of your heresies! Cardinal Fang! Fetch...THE COMFY CHAIR!
  • Tau_Cetacean
    Tau_Cetacean
    Posts: 285
    yep, mentioned 1) at the outset... knew about 2, but didn't mention it... it's an even bigger problem in India...

    and sociologically speaking, young, unmarried males are responsible for a lot of dysfunction, crime and so forth... though we could posit that sexbots will be a thing in the coming decades and allay some of that problem (sociologically speaking)

    NOT THE COMFY CHAIR!!!

    (seriously though, google the Cadaver Synod and see what I mean... Pope exhumed the body of predecessor and put his corpse on trial...)
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