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NancyLebovitz comments on Levels of global catastrophes: from mild to extinction - Less Wrong

3 Post author: turchin 27 December 2015 05:26PM

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Comment author: NancyLebovitz 28 December 2015 03:52:30PM 3 points [-]

2nd level probably needs more analysis-- I don't think it will look very much like the middle ages because so much will be left from the previous civilization. Even just having a lot of good stainless steel knives isn't nothing, and more generally, there's going to be a lot of refined metal around.

People might well remember crop rotation and sterilizing the drinking water.

Can anyone recommend a serious look at the question of what would remain and what would be likely to get rebuilt fairly quickly?

Comment author: turchin 28 December 2015 06:55:48PM 1 point [-]

Yes, middle ages is more about society "style". The main economy may be scavenging, which is very unproductive and prevent to return to manufacturing economy, as scavenging will give high quality objects for hundred of years. As a result, the skills for manufacturing will be lost. Also a lot of weaponry will remain including knifes and guns (and even nukes), which may result in Long War or Somali-style world (I think that these notations are self evident). Such Long War in scavengers world will mean very long process of degradation and population decline, which is rising chances of total extinction. A lot of postapocaliptic fantasy is trying to model such world.

Some information may be here: The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm by Lewis Dartnell
http://www.amazon.com/The-Knowledge-Civilization-Aftermath-Cataclysm/dp/0143127047

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 December 2015 03:53:39AM 1 point [-]

A knife is a tool as well as a weapon.

I think you've got a point about the loss of knowledge if people are scavenging for crucial items.

Population decline strikes me as hard to predict. My casual assumption is drastic decline during the disaster and soon after, followed by gradual increase as people move into abandoned land and grow food.

I also assume that people will be inventing new things to suit their current conditions.