Author Topic: Recruitment/contributions thread  (Read 33008 times)

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Recruitment/contributions thread
« Reply #120 on: October 21, 2007, 05:31:22 PM »
Riptokus:

Those of us living outside the United States regret to inform you that the United States is only leading in technology in their own minds.  Everybody in the United States seems to confuse complexity for superiority, such that a very complex and expensive device is considered better even if it does not actually work as well as a cheap simple one.  Most of the world (including myself) thinks this is pretty funny to watch.

Also, Japan and China were neither one all that isolated.  Both had periods where they tried to reduce unwanted outside political influence, but these really did not slow other types of interactions that significantly.  The reasons for them getting militarily "behind" at certain points generally involved either other countries just spending a lot more money on building up a military (i.e. British take Shanghai and Hong Kong with the world's largest navy), or setbacks not related to their political isolation (like just coming out of a war that destroyed a lot of industry).  The cause-and-effect between tech level and political isolation is really not there.

Now, the Aztecs were isolated from Europe for a very long time because each did not know the other existed.  That's a very different situation, and did create some very different developments.  However, once put back together, it really didn't take long for this curve to flatten out.

Offline hayate666

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Re: Recruitment/contributions thread
« Reply #121 on: October 22, 2007, 05:27:46 PM »
Ron:

Good points about Japan and China. Trade was indeed flourishing at the time, so there was plenty of opportunity for cultural exchange.

Now about societies. Perhaps "hard to predict" was too strong a word for what I was trying to say, but what I meant is that some occurences will have consequences that are hard to forsee for future generations. The whole rise and decline of the Soviet Union started with Karl Marx writing down some ideas that appealed to revolutionary minds in the country. A revolution would have been very likely in that country, but the contents of it and the effect it would have even until present day was only possible to guess at when Marx wrote his book.

What I was referring to earlier was some kind of 'What if' scenario, about what would have happened if for example the Aztecs were able to experience Spanish culture before being wiped out. Adapting? Rejecting? Mixing it up a bit? It might even be possible they would have been able to defend themselves sufficiently. Still, you're right about the part that human behaviour is pretty easy to forsee, but it also has an inherent chaos factor in it which might very well turn things out a lot more different than you'd believe beforehand. I believe WWII to be the biggest example of this. I mean, what did it do for woman's rights? The use of automobiles by the general public? The complete model for world economics? The freedom of colonial states? The general culture in occupied countries that have seen a lot of war damage?

Riptokus:

If big technological advances were only made during war or in the US, then we would be a very backward world indeed. Still, a lot of technological/engineering advances are made in the face of adversity. Most of the Dutch innovative barriers against great floods were built after the great flooding disaster of 1953. Washed away the whole southwestern part of the country. Other things were done just because someone wanted to figure them out or there was a need for them. Celluloid was invented because some investor put up a contest to come up with a replacement for ivory. The guy made explosive snooker balls with it, before stability issues were resolved. Most advances in medicine aren't made because of some war. Discoveries like that are mostly made while the country isn't involved in any (big) wars.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Recruitment/contributions thread
« Reply #122 on: October 22, 2007, 06:30:13 PM »
That's a very good specific that we need to consider when designing this game ... How much of European culture would the Aztecs accept, and how much would they reject?

Based on how other tribes reacted, we have a few guidelines.  It's safe to say that they would welcome Europe's technology, as everyone else did....

As for the culture as a whole, it would purely depend on the degree of relatively friendly interaction.  Had Velasques had his way and replaced Cortez, it's very likely that a trade relation would have developed resulting in the Aztec accepting a good portion of the Spanish culture.  (For reference, French and English influence on the Cherokee, Muskogee Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw ... the classic "civilized tribes" in the United States, who have done pretty well for themselves by strategically assimilating.)  In contrast, had Cortez continued his little war but failed to take over, it would have probably gone the other way and resulted in wholesale hatred of everything European  (Refer to Mapuche in Chile, and the Sioux Nation in the United States, as well as the Zulu wars in Africa).  This is not an absolute certainty, as there were rather strong conflicts of interest particularly in religion that could have influenced the pattern, but it's a good general rule.

(Note that cultural assimilation probably takes longer than the scope of this game.  It took more than a hundred years for the Cherokee to drift from looking like a bunch of indians to looking like a bunch of white plantation owners.)

As for the comparison to Marx and the revolutions in Europe ... conditions of the industrial revolution meant that some type of violent economic rebellions were inevitable.  Marx was a detail - the guy who wrote down the version that, as history would have it, was then used as a standard when those revolutions came.  Revolt by workers was about as hard to predict as the sunrise (which is why governments and industrialists were caught completely off guard... although squirrels and other small animals probably realized it was coming).  That's what I mean that certain events are very predictable - the exact details are always different, but the pattern usually doesn't take a lot to foresee.

Offline hayate666

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Re: Recruitment/contributions thread
« Reply #123 on: October 23, 2007, 06:04:25 AM »
You're right that the events in itself are not that hard to predict, but don't underestimate the importance of (relatively) minor details for consequences on a very large scale. The details dictate the directions of a grand social change in the long term. Perhaps a revolution is likely and easily predictable, but if it is a communist revolution, it would have very different consequences than if it were a revolution by militant ecologists. Removing the right or wrong person from power can make or break a country or cause. 

What I was trying to say by naming Marx, was that it was inevitable revolutions would have happened. People were being exploited on a terrible scale that's really beyond believe for most, it really was just a matter of time before people wouldn't stand for it anymore. Capitalism in its worst form. Most governments started making their own laws for the better treatment of the working class to remedy just that. Perhaps what happened in Russia served as a deterrent for them.

The thing that was needed in the case of the Russian revolution, was a relatively minor detail such as one book by a German philosopher on how to reform society that inspired Lenin. There were other examples available or usable on how to remake a society (Nietsche is one example, who would later be used as a basis for facism), but it was Marx that was chosen. If something else would have been chosen, maybe communism would have never happened as we know it, but a revolution certainly would have.

Offline Ron Losey

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Re: Recruitment/contributions thread
« Reply #124 on: October 23, 2007, 06:14:36 AM »
We're working on a computer game, not writing tax law.  Simply getting close enough to say that a major event would be likely - that's close enough to make our what-if scenario play out.  Since the actual details are relatively random in the real world, random is easy to simulate once you get the probability of major events nailed down.

And as for a takeover by militant ecologists, it's called the "global warming debate" ... that's not a what-if, it's happening right now.