Humanities Demographic problem

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lwarmonger
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Humanities Demographic problem

Post by lwarmonger » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:15 pm

In SotS, mankind has suffered through a number of calamities, mostly self-inflicted with some hiver inflicted, that has dramatically reduced the human population up to SotS 1. However after that it would seem that mankind begins to spread out among the stars in a fairly aggressive and ruthless bid for galactic supremacy (or survival... I guess it kind of depends on how you look at it).

My question is, where are the people doing this expanding coming from?

No, I don't need anyone to instruct me as to how babies are made. Let me explain. Since 1750, humanity has seen a population explosion occur. In between 1750 and 1950 the world saw its total population increase from approximately 1 billion to approximately 3 billion. Between 1950 and 2000 population doubled again from 3 billion to 6 billion. However, there is significant evidence that that population growth trajectory is not only slowing, it is screeching to a halt. UN projections estimate that the world population is only expected to grow by about 50% in between 2000 and 2050, halving the overall growth rate of the last 50 years. This has been due in large part not only to dramatically falling birthrates in the industrialized world (only a few of whom, the United States among them, are anywhere near replacement rates), but also a steep drop off in the birthrate of the developing world as well. UN studies have put the average birthrate (world wide) in 1970 at 4.5 children per woman. By 2000 that had fallen to 2.7, and is continuing to drop. However the industrialized world has seen the most significant falloffs, and by the SotS era most of the human race should be up to (and should be well past) 1st world standards of living today. That means that there would be a significant opportunity cost for women to have, say, the five or six living children needed to rapidly grow a population.

So my question is where are the children coming from? It seems like women are as empowered, if not more so, in the society SolForce draws recruits from as they are in ours, so what is causing all the children to be born? Where is the advantage for the couples, especially the females, involved to have a lot of children instead of only one or two? Or is it a forcing function by the governments of colony worlds (by simply forbidding the import and use of birth control for example)? Or is the population in the SotS universe not rising, and they are simply acquiring more space to live without actually increasing numbers?

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by Dafmeister » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:01 pm

It would require a combination of technological advances and governmental policy shifts, I think, working to mitigate the opportunity cost you refered to. On the technological side, a form of mechanised gestation, such as the tubing system used in the Honorverse, would remove the need for the mother to carry the child to term. Taken further, it could even remove the need for a mother at all; we already have the technology to combine egg and sperm into a viable embryo, which could then be transferred straight into the tube. Depending on the nature of the government involved, you could even have vast numbers of children being created through IVF techniques and raised in government facilities, without any parents at all (legally, at least, if not biologically), and trained to serve as warship crews, ground troops, or colonisation cadres.

As for policy (and I want to make it absolutely clear that I'm talking theory here, not my personal political/economic views), you could take a carrot and stick approach, favouring one side or the other according to ideological preference. Reducing or eliminating childcare costs would be one option on the carrot side, as would providing free education at all levels. As for the stick, assuming you're not willing to go as far as compulsory impregnation, it would perhaps be implemented through the tax system, with an additional tax on fertile women who don't have at least three children (or four, or five, depending on the rate of population growth you want).
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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by Erinys » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:11 pm

This is one of the unanswerable questions that emerges because SotS is a series of games, rather than "reality simulators" as Zedf put it. I have said, for example, that the population of the planet Earth took a serious dip when the Hivers bombarded from orbit--but in the canon universe, this "reduced" population was still significantly higher than the population of the Earth today, which is already approaching seven billion.

The canon population numbers of the Earth will never appear in a working game session of Sots, however. Why? Because it would be unfun and unbalanced in the extreme to play the reality of the first years of the Hiver war. The underlying premise of SotS is that all civilizations represented have a roughly equal chance of victory, but in reality of course this is never the case. The pain that humankind went through during the first 20-30 "turns" of the "game", especially on the Eurasian continent and in the refugee camps built to try and house the survivors of the floating cities of the Pacific, would be more than the vast majority of players could stand.

"20 million people died this winter of starvation and exposure. You could do nothing about it, but the Consortia have recruited even more police" is not the sort of message that we want you to have to read on the news ticker, just because that was the paperwork crossing over Ashilde Falke's desk at the time.

Planetary max populations for all races in the game are capped at a nice, low, neat, safe limit for the most part. But the lack of the "demographic problem" you are describing is something you must simply accept as an abstraction which underlies the existence of humanity's ability to compete. If there were not enough people, there would be no conflict at all. If humanity were not willing, able, and experienced in the art of Breeding Like Flies, we would simply have ceased to exist when we bumped into the Hivers, much less the Hivers AND the Tarka. Fortunately, there is not going to be a shortage of humans any time during the SotS Prime or SotS ][ eras. You'll have all the cannon fodder you could want. :wink:

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lwarmonger
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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by lwarmonger » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:18 pm

Fantastic! I would hate to fight one war and be out of 18 year olds (sadly like Japan today). I'm not going to lie, most of my victories in SotS are extremely bloody. In fact I can't think of any conflicts I've fought in this game where I have not lost billions of people in my mad rush for galactic domination. I take the Zap Brannigan approach to leadership most of the time.

I'd actually been pretty interested to see if you had a way to turn around demographic collapse or not. I can think of several, but none which really match up with the "hands off" SolForce approach to planetary governance.

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by ZedF » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:19 pm

lwarmonger wrote:So my question is where are the children coming from? It seems like women are as empowered, if not more so, in the society SolForce draws recruits from as they are in ours, so what is causing all the children to be born? Where is the advantage for the couples, especially the females, involved to have a lot of children instead of only one or two? Or is it a forcing function by the governments of colony worlds (by simply forbidding the import and use of birth control for example)? Or is the population in the SotS universe not rising, and they are simply acquiring more space to live without actually increasing numbers?

We have from Erinys that societal controls on things like reproduction are still pretty strict on the SolForce core worlds (Terra in particular) but much looser on less developed worlds. One of the main draws to migration away from the core worlds is you can actually have children without the bureaucracy standing in your way. I would expect, on the core worlds, that family sizes would almost never be larger than replacement rate, but that on developing worlds, family sizes over 10 would be more the norm than the exception. It's not that long ago that families of 10 were considered fairly normal in North America; under the right conditions where the pressure to reproduce is high, I would expect that a high birth rate could become considered normal again.

I doubt technology has much to do with it, beyond better medical support for pregnant mothers and young children in general.
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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by lwarmonger » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:26 pm

ZedF wrote:We have from Erinys that societal controls on things like reproduction are still pretty strict on the SolForce core worlds (Terra in particular) but much looser on less developed worlds. One of the main draws to migration away from the core worlds is you can actually have children without the bureaucracy standing in your way. I would expect, on the core worlds, that family sizes would almost never be larger than replacement rate, but that on developing worlds, family sizes over 10 would be more the norm than the exception. It's not that long ago that families of 10 were considered fairly normal in North America; under the right conditions where the pressure to reproduce is high, I would expect that a high birth rate could become considered normal again.

I doubt technology has much to do with it, beyond better medical support for pregnant mothers and young children in general.


That would denote a pretty significant change in cultural roles for the women then. A woman who is having and raising 10 children is not having much of a career... while I can think of a few females I know who are ok with that, I can think of a lot more who would spit in my face for suggesting it.

Since birth control gives women the choice about whether or not they get pregnant (I kind of take the having sex part as a given, birth control or not), birth rates have declined dramatically throughout the world. I am kind of hard pressed to see why that would reverse itself naturally to extremely explosive population increases as long as birth control remained widely available.

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by ZedF » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:44 pm

lwarmonger wrote:That would denote a pretty significant change in cultural roles for the women then. A woman who is having and raising 10 children is not having much of a career... while I can think of a few females I know who are ok with that, I can think of a lot more who would spit in my face for suggesting it.

Define "career." ;)

Don't forget that this would largely be a self-selection kind of system here. If you want lots of kids, you move out to a developing colony. If you want a career... well obviously you don't move. The women of the core worlds would still be mostly very career oriented -- and there are generally a lot more people on the core worlds than on the developing ones.

Since birth control gives women the choice about whether or not they get pregnant (I kind of take the having sex part as a given, birth control or not), birth rates have declined dramatically throughout the world. I am kind of hard pressed to see why that would reverse itself naturally to extremely explosive population increases as long as birth control remained widely available.

Birth rates still would be low in places where there are significant social pressures toward not having kids, but birth rates would be high in places where having kids is both incentivized by the government and expected as a matter of course. Birth control has very little to do with it beyond being an enabler of the lifestyle choice most women who choose to live on the core worlds would make, and most women who choose to live on developing worlds would choose not to make.
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Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by fiendishrabbit » Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:11 pm

Even if you have 6 children (I don't know about 10) it's still possible to have a career (although not the "work before family" type of career) if society provides adequate support in the form of day care.


Which gives rise to an interesting thought.
In WWII the number of people involved in the war-effort compared to the number of soldiers on the frontlines approached a 10-1 ratio. For every 10 individuals directly involved in the war effort, only 1 of them served on the frontlines. The rest were involved in keeping that guy supplied with arms, food, fuel etc and moving the fighting soldier to where he was supposed to be.
In SOTS that number approaches what....10000-1?
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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by lwarmonger » Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:29 pm

ZedF wrote:Define "career." ;)


Ha! In the same way that an evil man, such as myself, could enjoy (mercilessly exploiting the workers that are in existence because women are having 10 children of course)

Don't forget that this would largely be a self-selection kind of system here. If you want lots of kids, you move out to a developing colony. If you want a career... well obviously you don't move. The women of the core worlds would still be mostly very career oriented -- and there are generally a lot more people on the core worlds than on the developing ones.


That would work for a single generation I suppose... but after that the self-selection ceases, and you are back to the face that most women aren't necessarily going to be all about staying home with the kids.

Birth rates still would be low in places where there are significant social pressures toward not having kids, but birth rates would be high in places where having kids is both incentivized by the government and expected as a matter of course. Birth control has very little to do with it beyond being an enabler of the lifestyle choice most women who choose to live on the core worlds would make, and most women who choose to live on developing worlds would choose not to make.


Infant mortality provided the population curbs prior to the industrial era. Once advances in living standards and available medicine dramatically reduce infant mortality the population exploded. That population explosion only ended with the advent of birth control, and as feminism (in the form of job opportunities) has spread (along with urbanization and the increasing cost of having children) birth control has dramatically curbed population growth to well below replacement rates. I'm hard pressed to think of a society after its population has gained widespread access to birth control (as in I can't think of a single one) that has managed to maintain replacement rates.

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by ZedF » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:22 am

lwarmonger wrote:
Don't forget that this would largely be a self-selection kind of system here. If you want lots of kids, you move out to a developing colony. If you want a career... well obviously you don't move. The women of the core worlds would still be mostly very career oriented -- and there are generally a lot more people on the core worlds than on the developing ones.


That would work for a single generation I suppose... but after that the self-selection ceases, and you are back to the face that most women aren't necessarily going to be all about staying home with the kids.

Realllly? Most young women raised on a new colony where:
  • the majority of potential role models came because they wanted kids,
  • almost every immigrant is coming because they want children,
  • they got lots of horror stories fed from their parents and grandparents about bureaucratic regimentation on core worlds,
  • growing up they got to experience firsthand the joys of being surrounded by a loving family,
  • they have lots of practical experience taking care of younger siblings,
  • they are living on a world where the government encourages and subsidizes family growth and values,
  • the need for more people to expand the colony and work more of the land is obvious...
would NOT want to have their own kids? Seriously? :bangdesk:

The entire nascent culture of a new colony, like any boom town, will be centered around growth first and foremost. I don't think encouraging women to want to have children on a new colony world would be a problem at all... and the few women that want to place their career first would hardly put that much of a dent in the population growth rate, even assuming they moved back to core worlds where corporate career opportunities might be more available.

Infant mortality provided the population curbs prior to the industrial era. Once advances in living standards and available medicine dramatically reduce infant mortality the population exploded. That population explosion only ended with the advent of birth control, and as feminism (in the form of job opportunities) has spread (along with urbanization and the increasing cost of having children) birth control has dramatically curbed population growth to well below replacement rates. I'm hard pressed to think of a society after its population has gained widespread access to birth control (as in I can't think of a single one) that has managed to maintain replacement rates.

So what? You are looking at a system where the world already has plenty of population. You can't use a planet with 6 billion people already on it as a model for what would happen on a new colony world with a few thousand, or even a few million. :lol:
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Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by Ryoku » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:14 pm

Personally I don't see how a woman having lots of children in the future would loose out on their careers. First off, being pregnant wouldn't prevent you from doing A LOT of jobs today, the Humans of the SOTS timeline are fitter and healthier then Humans today after all. So long as your not doing anything physical you can work until about a month before you give birth, and are usually back on your feet a month after giving birth (though I have no first hand knowledge :P ). Humans are designed to give birth and not being out of it for long. The main problem for 21st century women wanting to have a career and children is that they HAVE to have their maternity leave. This could be easily remedied by having both parents have time off for the first month or two when they have a child like normal, then the rest of the maternity/paternity leave can be used by either parent, with the women being able to go back to work early so long as a doctor signs off on it. Our current system is kinda archaic and is in need of a review imho to keep up with the emerging equality between the sexes.
As to getting the incentive for larger families? The main problem is that today people (in developed countries) want a higher lifestyle then they can afford without children, let alone with :lol: , so they don't have children as a lifestyle choice. On a new world, there are VASTLY more resources then on a developed world, so you can have a high quality of life while still being able to have the large family, so populations would tend to favor larger families. Government tax cuts would help stimulate this further. Then you have career child raisers, who get given a dozen children to look after, and do that as a job, I'm sure this must have happened on Earth after the Hiver attack, what with all the orphans left after the attack. This 'profession' could be sustained further still with the use of artificial wombs and artificial fertilization using donor eggs and sperm, allowing a couple to raise a dozen new citizens every 20 years :twisted: . Human mass production ftw :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by Mecron » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:20 pm

If only we could capture one of these "women" creatures and actually ask them!

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by lwarmonger » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:48 pm

Mecron wrote:If only we could capture one of these "women" creatures and actually ask them!


Well, my fiance (sitting right next to me) is convinced she can have five kids and be back on her feet and at work within a month of having each one... but she has yet to have a first kid, much less five, so she doesn't really know. And I would really say that I am continuing to "trick" or "conn" her rather than "capture".

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by lwarmonger » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:55 pm

ZedF wrote:Realllly? Most young women raised on a new colony where:
  • the majority of potential role models came because they wanted kids,
  • almost every immigrant is coming because they want children,
  • they got lots of horror stories fed from their parents and grandparents about bureaucratic regimentation on core worlds,
  • growing up they got to experience firsthand the joys of being surrounded by a loving family,
  • they have lots of practical experience taking care of younger siblings,
  • they are living on a world where the government encourages and subsidizes family growth and values,
  • the need for more people to expand the colony and work more of the land is obvious...
would NOT want to have their own kids? Seriously? :bangdesk:


People had lots of experiences with this prior to modern times, and they still began voluntarily restricting the size of their families pretty much as soon as access to birth control became widespread.

The entire nascent culture of a new colony, like any boom town, will be centered around growth first and foremost. I don't think encouraging women to want to have children on a new colony world would be a problem at all... and the few women that want to place their career first would hardly put that much of a dent in the population growth rate, even assuming they moved back to core worlds where corporate career opportunities might be more available.


Most boom towns don't generate their own population through larger families, but receive it in the form of population migration from elsewhere.

So what? You are looking at a system where the world already has plenty of population. You can't use a planet with 6 billion people already on it as a model for what would happen on a new colony world with a few thousand, or even a few million. :lol:


Why not? There are plenty of places where people aren't particularly cramped here on earth. Australia, the United States, Canada, ect... I don't see how the relatively low population densities of these areas, as compared to say, Germany, Japan or China, don't accurately reflect this difference. And then there is Russia, with plenty of space relative to population (even discounting uninhabitable Siberia), which is falling off of a demographic cliff.

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Re: Humanities Demographic problem

Post by ZedF » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:39 pm

:| Apparently, one can lead a horse to water but not make him drink. :P
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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