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Old 04-30-2020, 07:29 AM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

The rebuilding of civilization following the Apocalypse/Long Night/Post-Atomic Horror/et cetra is a theme in a number of ATE-type settings, and some SF settings are themselves what you might call 'post-ATE.' Both Star Trek and the late-1970s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century TV series have Earths that have completely rebuilt or are in the process of rebuilding after World War III (and the original Buck Rogers stories were also post-apocalyptic, though civilization, at least in North America, probably hadn't rebuild nearly as far as it had in the TV show). How to go about this is an interesting and important question. Part of the reason I'm starting this thread is because my Psi Trek thread is about a post-ATE setting, and it occurred to me that the process of rebuilding might be of interest to people, whether they care about that setting or not (so if it isn't clear, while I'm using Psi Trek as an example, this thread is not limited to that).

To very briefly summarize Psi Trek, it's an attempt to create a Star Trek-like setting using GURPS, with some focus on the Psionics books (Psionic Powers, Psi-Tech, Psionic Campaigns, and Psis). The transtator in the Psi Trek setting, as in some of my other psi-related ideas, is the most basic component of psychotronics, a device that converts electrical energy into psychic energy, and vice-versa.


Vague Psi Trek Genetics Wars/After the End/Rebuilding Civilization timeline

2020s: Earth's population approaches 7.8 billion in 2020, and no humans live long-term or permanently in space, though a few visit Earth orbit, sometimes for many months. Several countries relax restrictions on human genetic research. Human Enhancement Project begins. Colonization of the Moon and of Earth orbit begins. Human exploration of Mars begins. Transtator is invented.

2030s: Earth's population approaches 8.5 billion in 2030, and 47 humans live long-term or permanently in space, all of them on Luna or in Earth orbit; hundreds of others visit, sometimes for months or years. Pushed by political and corporate interests, Human Enhancement Project scientists begin making designer babies available to those who can afford them, despite concerns about the mental health of the enhanced children. Transtator-based inertia manipulation is invented. Colonization of Mars, Martian orbitals, Phobos, Deimos, and Near-Earth Asteroids begins.

2040s: Earth's population exceeds 8.9 billion in 2040, and 61,024 humans live in space, most of them on Luna or in Earth orbit, though a significant fraction live on Mars. Colonization of the Main Belt asteroids and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn begins. Martian Colonial Police founded to deal with inter-colonial crimes and mobile criminals, as well as performing search-and-rescue work; Creeping Featurism sets in, as the MCP provides all emergency services outside of colonies that have their own (and some that do, if the emergency is bad enough). First meeting of what will become the Martian Assembly takes place over the Martian internet. University of Mars founded at Olympus Mons.

2050s: Earth's population exceeds 9.5 billion in 2050, and less than one million humans live in space, most of them on Luna or in Earth orbit, though nearly a third live on Mars. Genetics Wars begin, as many 'young supermen,' the children designed by the Human Enhancement Project, seize power in various countries. They rapidly begin to quarrel among themselves, and to provoke their neighbors. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons will all be used by the time the wars end. Lunar and Earth-orbital colonies are unable to avoid being pulled into the wars, along with some, but not all, of the Near-Earth Asteroids. More distant colonies watch in horror, and either take in what refugees can reach them, or force them to move on, sometimes at gunpoint; some refugee ships are simply destroyed, and not always by accident. Lunar Colonial Militia formed. First physical meeting of the Martian Assembly occurs at Olympus Mons. Several more universities and colleges are founded on Mars, including one at Utopia Planitia.

2060s: Earth's population estimated to be 5.2 billion in 2060. Nearly two million humans live in space, most of them on Mars. Offworld colonies are effectively cut off from the homeworld, forced to survive on their own; Earth-appointed governors lose power to colonial assemblies and such, and in several cases are assassinated or executed. Genetics Wars end. A few of the 'young supermen' hide among humanity. Others do not, and in most cases are killed. The Post-Atomic Horror begins on Earth. Martian Space Patrol begins delivering aid to the surviving Lunar Colonies and Earth-orbital space stations. Ceres Summit opens on April 5, 2063. Solar Cooperative Agreement signed later the same year. Solar Cooperative begins Project Triage: a survey of the various regions of Earth, to determine which need help that they can give (and what help, and how much), which do not seriously need help, and which are beyond any help the colonies can give in the foreseeable future. Volunteers joining the project are carefully monitored for psychological stress, where possible. In 2066, the warlord controlling the region around Los Angeles, California, is the first to put a written 'kill all the lawyers' edict into effect... but far from the last. The Capital Station of the Solar Cooperative becomes operational on April 5, 2068.

2070s: Earth's population estimated to be less than 3 billion in 2070. About 2.1 million live in space, mostly on Mars. Lunar colonies are recovered to the point of being able to join and contribute to the Solar Cooperative. Earth's colonies (still generally called that, despite being free and independent states, and planning to remain that way) have improved manufacturing and resource extraction to the point that they can offer significant aid to the peoples of Earth. Project Manna begins: single-use landing-craft, almost always unmanned, are loaded with supplies and sent to various locations selected by Project Triage. Spacetime warping experiments begin at Utopia Planitia University.

2080s: Earth's population estimated to be less than 2.47 billion in 2080. Roughly 2.5 million live in space, mostly on Mars. Lunar Provisional Government ceases to exist, replaced by Lunar Commonwealth. New Zealand is the first Earth territory to join the Solar Cooperative. Test-capsule Phoenix achieves a pseudovelocity of just over light-speed on September 8, 2086.

2090s: Earth's population estimated to be less than 2.4 billion in 2090. Around 3 million live in space, mostly on Mars and Luna. 79 Earth territories have joined the Solar Cooperative. Mass production of spacetime warp drives connects the Solar System like never before. In 2096, Earth's population rises for the first time since the Genetics Wars, from 2.37 billion to 2.38 billion. The Post-Atomic Horror ends, not with a bang, but a whimper. (The rebuilding on Earth is far from complete, but the downward spiral is halted, and the light at the end of the tunnel is no-longer the lamp of an oncoming train.)

2100s: Earth's population estimated to be more than 2.5 billion in 2100. Around 3.7 million live in space, mostly on Mars and Luna. The last 'kill all the lawyers' law is repealed in 2104, in the city-state of Singapore. Spacetime warping allows explorers to visit the Alpha Centauri trinary star system, and other nearby stars. First landings on Proxima Centauri b occur, though the planet will not be colonized for some time.

2110s: Earth's population estimated to be more than 2.9 billion in 2110. Around 4.2 million live in space, mostly on Mars and Luna. A peaceful First Contact with Vulcan explorers occurs in orbit of Alpha Centauri A. After a volunteer agrees to telepathic contact, communication speeds up significantly. The Solar Cooperative establishes trade and mutual non-hostility treaties with the Interplanetary Confederacy of Vulcan by the end of the decade.


As you can see, the post-Genetic Wars population crash was bad, and took a fair bit of time to stop getting worse. This particular ATE setting was lucky, in that they had a somewhat intact extraterrestial branch of their civilization helping them, but even without the colonies, they likely would have rebuilt eventually. During the period of the Post-Atomic Horror, you would have had a lot of places looking like Bozeman in ST: First Contact, a lot of others being like Mad Max or the setting implied by the trial scene in the ST TNG pilot 'Encounter at Farpoint,' many regions that were basically uninhabitable, and a few others that looked almost normal.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-30-2020, 07:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

After the End Recoveries are weird because once the thing killing people goes away, you're often left with a huge wealth of resources.
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

Or a whole bunch of contamination/pollution. For example, a full scale nuclear war would leave some areas radioactive for centuries. A full scale biological war could have remnants that last for centuries as well, killing off large populations when someone is unfortunate enough to stumble over them.
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Old 04-30-2020, 11:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

Only some resources would be plentiful. The scarce things (besides, as AlexanderHowl said, anything directly damaged by the disaster) would be the ones that need human labout to produce. You'd have (radioactive fall-out or whatever permitting) lots of land and mineral resources to go around, wild plants and animals too, and all the non-perishable food stocks and things like clothing and paper until they ran out, all shared between fewer people. But the crops you could grow and the minerals you could mine on all that land would be limited by how many people could get organised to work on it - and further by how many of them knew what they were doing and whether any of the machinery was still usable.

But this is all basic stuff and you'll see it described better than I have in any well-thought-out post-apocalyptic science fiction book. The Day of the Triffids, for instance, is a marvel on that.

What was PrinceCharon asking for thoughts on, specifically?


Regarding Star Trek specifically, I've often thought that this is why humans have gained such a reputation as the do-gooders of the Alpha Quadrant - they rebuilt their own civilisation, and not that long ago (compared to, say, the Vulcans), meaning they know a lot about this, and they probably have a fellow feeling for other crashed civilisations.
When I've read about people studying this question, running simulations and the like, they nearly always say that in a total collapse of society those who co-operate a lot, share what resources they have and help each other out actually stand the best chance of survival. It's not even just about "the weak shall perish", because nobody can guarantee to be strong ALL the time. If you're weak, whether old or sick or disabled or just not very physically tough, and you try to go it alone, you probably die, and the people who left you to fend for yourself while they looked out for themselves probably only then realise that you were the last person with the particular expert knowledge they needed left alive within fifty miles. If you're strong, then you may get by all right with your huntin', shootin' and fishin' until you break your leg or get sick from poisoned water - then, with nobody to bring you food, you're in trouble. And the man who hides out alone in the woods or in his house with a stash of tinned food and a gun will very likely be murdered for them, by some looter who's as altruistic as he is and quicker on the draw. There's strength in numbers. Perhaps that's where United Earth actually gets its all-for-one-and-one-for-all ethos from, or the beginnings of it - they, or their ancestors, were the ones who co-operated and survived, and having once got a society like that started they kept it going?
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Old 04-30-2020, 11:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

The BBC version of The Day of the Triffids was an interesting show, though a little odd. Anyway, the background of Star Trek is pretty clear that humanity suffered from multiple catastrophes before TOS. There was the Eugenic Wars (TL12 genetic engineering in the 1960s leading to a series of global wars that presumably used weapons of mass destruction), World War III (a global war in the mid-21st century using weapons of mass destruction and resulting in atomic horror), and the Earth-Romulan War (an interstellar war in the mid-22nd century that used weapons of mass destruction against various colonies).

In any of the above, there would have likely been horrible consequences for the survivors (though Earth was shielded from the majority of the consequences in the Earth-Romulan War, though the colonies were not). Given the fact the TL12 genetic engineering existed in the 1960s (otherwise Khan could not have existed), there were likely biological weapons of frightening design and effectiveness released in the Eugenics Wars and World War III, in addition to nuclear weapons. Given the maximum population growth of humanity of 2.3% per year, the Eugenics Wars could have killed off 70% of humanity, and the population at the time of World War III would have been higher than the population at the time of the Eugenics Wars. World War III could have killed off 85% of humanity, and the population at the time of the Earth-Romulan War would have been higher than the population at the time of World War III.
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inky View Post
What was PrinceCharon asking for thoughts on, specifically?
It's a general 'How does a civilization recover and rebuild from After the End, and how do we game that out?' thread. Of course, it depends a lot on which End occurred and which consequences that End had.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inky View Post
Perhaps that's where United Earth actually gets its all-for-one-and-one-for-all ethos from, or the beginnings of it - they, or their ancestors, were the ones who co-operated and survived, and having once got a society like that started they kept it going?
That makes a lot of sense, IMHO, and likely applies to Psi Trek as well, since the colonies would not have done so well, and might have died, if they hadn't started working together, and that would have delayed Earth's recovery.
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Or a whole bunch of contamination/pollution. For example, a full scale nuclear war would leave some areas radioactive for centuries. A full scale biological war could have remnants that last for centuries as well, killing off large populations when someone is unfortunate enough to stumble over them.

As I said, once the thing killing people goes away.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Inky View Post
Only some resources would be plentiful. The scarce things (besides, as AlexanderHowl said, anything directly damaged by the disaster) would be the ones that need human labout to produce.

I suppose it depends on how general you consider "resources". I was talking about land and unmined minerals and so forth. You have a lot to go around, even if you can't use it, and that generally leads to wealth.


The points about disasters that kill vast swathes without killing over 90% and about people working together are good ones.



I think a setting where societal disasters are common and teamwork helps people get out of them is extremely star trek. Its a really good setting element to add and emphasize.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

If that's what you're meaning by resources, then I suppose you could also say that water in general was a resource and would be plentiful (fewer demands on it with a lot of factories, irrigated farms, and such like shut down), but clean, pathogen-free water, or most of it, was in fact a man-made product and therefore it made sense that it would be scarce. How clever.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

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If that's what you're meaning by resources, then I suppose you could also say that water in general was a resource and would be plentiful (fewer demands on it with a lot of factories, irrigated farms, and such like shut down), but clean, pathogen-free water, or most of it, was in fact a man-made product and therefore it made sense that it would be scarce. How clever.

I think its important to distinguish between raw resources and manufactured resources. We can make more manufactured resources, but we can't make more land, its really hard to get more water in a desert, and if we don't have any copper ore, too bad.

This is not to say that labor and manufactured goods and unimportant, nor that the life of a post-apoc survivor from a 99% plague has a better life than me. Its to say he has more access to raw resources than I do, and that strongly effects the economic progress he can supply to his community.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: [After The End] Rebuilding Civilization

You also have things like lower demand so you can limit farming to good places, get enough meat from grazing without needing to grow lots of feed for animals. This all saves on labor freeing it for other things.
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