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Old 04-11-2016, 11:26 PM   #6
Join Date: May 2012
Default Re: Socio-Economic Factors Influencing the Last War

I like the idea of "Pre-post-scarcity". No one's actually had a singularity yet. The idea that every major transnational state knows that every other transnational state is perhaps one breakthrough away from a hard-takeoff scenario, and is willing to fully mobilize to decades of total global war, on the very eve of the singularity, fighting desperately to make sure that they're the ones who get to imprint their culture and values on an unimaginable future that includes the entire future light cone - that's dark. A kind of dark that makes WW1 look like a high school pep rally by comparison. I like it. It's a motivation that could plausibly motivate 20+ years of total war, and that also provides an economic regime that renders 20+ years of total war economically plausible. The singularity is a prize that might just be worth this level of effort. [We agree as well on this point: shaping the singularity is, like my initial suggestion of land and territorial control, also very much something that you can't buy with a mature nanotechnological industrial infrastructure.]

We agree on the fundamentals of the technological and economic issues, as well: tanks and powersuits are cheap. Really cheap. Really unimaginably cheap by modern standards. It's a curious thing: for just about any technological artifact we can build today, we can substantially improve it if we're willing to quadruple, quintuple, or exponentiate the cost. It's difficult for us to imagine the impact on war if a bleeding edge main battle tank costs as much as a used car costs now, and it doesn't matter how much more you try to spend on it, that's as good as you know how to build. I'm trying to imagine the last time this was the case. WWII military technology may have fit this bill. At any given point, Boeing was building the best bombers they possibly could (or at least the best bomber formations they could - each individual aircraft in a WWII bomber stack is best viewed as a component of a larger composite weapon - the bomber stack, and the cost-per-aircraft isn't quite irrelevant - the formation loses effectiveness if it contains too few aircraft, no matter how awesome the individual aircraft are) with no expense spared.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, in this economic regime, logistics and diminishing tactical returns become the limit on how much materiel ends up in the field. I can visualize fairly easily how limited surface transport capacity prevents the Combine from driving ten thousand Ogres in from the continental shelf. I'm having a harder time visualizing, though, in the face of this, why Paneurope doesn't have a HVY for every single hex of the GEV map. Unless the Combine is noticeably more "pre-post-scarcity" than they are.

Last edited by HeatDeath; 04-11-2016 at 11:54 PM.
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