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Old 12-10-2014, 07:40 PM   #11
Sindri
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
A few likely common threads: there will either be formal rules, or informal but iron customs, to maintain genetic spread, the moreso because population presumably can't be allowed to grow, so it's 2.1 kids per fertile female on the average, everything else being equal.
For customs to maintain genetic spread, I know that there are some mostly isolated settlements that have developed widespread genetic issues. Does anyone know how common these are compared to ones that haven't? Either way they won't be without customs for genetic spread but they probably won't have as extreme as we could imagine people coming up with to intentionally handle it.

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Children are likely to be highly protected in a 10,000 person society, because they are precious and you can't risk having very many 'extras' around. Which means that parents will be expected to raise their kids in accordance with social standards that are likely to be pretty strict. The details could vary widely, but this won't be a society very tolerant of eccentric behavior. It won't have that luxury at 10,000.
For that matter they may be expected to not raise them at all. That has fictional precedent.

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
We can't just handwave the details, the form of the society will depend heavily on the details of the situation.
A society will. I'm hoping for speculation within the general theme not developing a single setting.

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Originally Posted by LokRobster View Post
City of Ember gives a neat treatment of the Enclosed City.

Strict control is often seen as the only way for a small society to continue reliably. Inventiveness and individuality seem to fight against what is needed to sustain the small society, but then are necessary for a small society to survive. It's an interesting dilemma.

The Time of the Great Freeze is a novel (author Robert Silverberg) from the 60s that I remember quite well. The decaying underground survivalist civilization is portrayed in the first couple of chapters, and the rest is the adventure to 'see what's out there' above the glaciers. The society is similar to Ember in its decline.
I think I saw City of Ember, I haven't read The Time of the Great Freeze.

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Originally Posted by nerdvana View Post
I wonder if the OP meant Cities in Bottles more literally...
I mean cities in metaphorical bottles, but Kandor qualifies.
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

Charlie Stross recently reported on a tropical resort in Germany that should give you some ideas for a city in a bottle. I'll also echo the observations that if you're in a tight ecosystem there will be strict rules on individual behavior. Not necessarily a dictatorship - you could easily have a democracy. But you can't let people do their own thing if that will imperil society as a whole.

For low tech versions, I'd study isolated island cultures. Which I don't really know much about so I can't help you much there.

Note if you have a small population without advanced genetic technology, you might have a lot of strict mating taboos and mandates to insure genetic diversity and health and/or oddball genetic conditions becoming common.
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by Infornific View Post
Charlie Stross recently reported on a tropical resort in Germany that should give you some ideas for a city in a bottle. I'll also echo the observations that if you're in a tight ecosystem there will be strict rules on individual behavior. Not necessarily a dictatorship - you could easily have a democracy. But you can't let people do their own thing if that will imperil society as a whole.

For low tech versions, I'd study isolated island cultures. Which I don't really know much about so I can't help you much there.

Note if you have a small population without advanced genetic technology, you might have a lot of strict mating taboos and mandates to insure genetic diversity and health and/or oddball genetic conditions becoming common.
That's an interesting article, thanks for the link.
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by Infornific View Post
Charlie Stross recently reported on a tropical resort in Germany that should give you some ideas for a city in a bottle. I'll also echo the observations that if you're in a tight ecosystem there will be strict rules on individual behavior. Not necessarily a dictatorship - you could easily have a democracy. But you can't let people do their own thing if that will imperil society as a whole.
This is an important point, and it needs to be emphasized. The fact that a 10,000 person isolated society will have to strictly regulate personal behavior does not in itself imply a dictator! In fact, if a dictator is the source of the restraining force, the society is not likely to survive long, because it's highly dependent on a single potential point source of failure.

Such a society would probably be regulated by tradition and culture, it would internalized expectations and restraints that most people, most of the time, would not even give much thought to. It could be almost any sort of government, but the policies would have to be what they have to be no matter what the form of the state.

The population issue, assuming human beings using traditional means of reproduction, is going to be almost impossible to evade or dodge. In our hypothetical 10,000 member group, for ex, you can't let the population grow much, but you also can't afford for it to shrink much, even temporarily, because that implies loss of genetic diversity and loss of learned knowledge and skills, too.

So almost all the women are going to have to have those 2 kids, and only those 2 kids, for the society to keep going over time. A handful might have more than 2, and a handful fewer, for whatever reasons, but that average cannot move much above or below 2.1 for more than a generation or two without Big Trouble.

Note the above comment about skills, too. A closed society is going to have to make sure that it uses its human capital effectively, and that necessarily skills are maintained and passed down. It's going to need innovation, probably, but avoiding loss will be more important overall than adding new.

So it's likely in a 10,000 person society that education starts early, and I don't mean preschool glorified babysitters. Kids would have to start learning practical skills early, and would probably be expected to be taking at least some part in the actual work force by their mid-teens at the latest. Education would likely continue on past that point, of course, in a high-tech enclave, but it would be working education.

That combined with the necessity of everybody reproducing might or might not mean that the first child would be typically born to teenage parents. I could see arguments either way about the survival cost/benefit ratio on that.
I do suspect that marriages would be likely in place by the end of the teens more often than not, though. Time would be a valuable resource in this society.
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:56 AM   #15
Michele
 
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
For customs to maintain genetic spread, I know that there are some mostly isolated settlements that have developed widespread genetic issues.
Yes. In other words, while I think that we all see what Johnny1A.2 is getting at, we also know of actual examples where the problem was not dealt with as he says it should.

I believe that much will depend on the temporal horizon, too. If we are in one of a hundred generational spaceships, and once we reach the new planet in 100 solar years or so our grandsons will find the granddaughters of the other spaceships, then maybe for the time of our generation and our children's generation we won't care all that much about genetic problems. On the contrary, if we are all that's left of our species and the spaceship is going nowhere fast, then the concerns described by Johnny1A.2 will be high in our list of priorities.
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:02 AM   #16
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by Infornific View Post
Note if you have a small population without advanced genetic technology, you might have a lot of strict mating taboos and mandates to insure genetic diversity
I don't know if "a lot" of taboos would be needed. If the population is 10,000, you might have 5 2,000-person tribes or 10 1,000-person ones, and you can marry any woman you want provided she's not from your tribe. It's exogamy.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:14 AM   #17
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
[...]
So almost all the women are going to have to have those 2 kids, and only those 2 kids, for the society to keep going over time. A handful might have more than 2, and a handful fewer, for whatever reasons, but that average cannot move much above or below 2.1 for more than a generation or two without Big Trouble.
[...]
That combined with the necessity of everybody reproducing might or might not mean that the first child would be typically born to teenage parents. I could see arguments either way about the survival cost/benefit ratio on that.
I do suspect that marriages would be likely in place by the end of the teens more often than not, though. Time would be a valuable resource in this society.
[...]
Why are you thinking in terms of a Modern-Western Nukular Family? It seems to make more sense for collective families, where people work, give birth, teach children, but those are not necessarily always the same people as the other group. That actually gives more flexibility to the society, as it can now opt to diversify or specialize its members depending on what makes sense at the moment.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:17 AM   #18
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
I don't know if "a lot" of taboos would be needed. If the population is 10,000, you might have 5 2,000-person tribes or 10 1,000-person ones, and you can marry any woman you want provided she's not from your tribe. It's exogamy.
Again, that actually assumes something close to our ideas of love, marriage, sex and reproduction. Those things can go hand in hand, or they can be largely independent of each other.
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Old 12-11-2014, 06:42 AM   #19
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by nerdvana View Post
I wonder if the OP meant Cities in Bottles more literally...
Apparently not:
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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
Also "city" shouldn't be taken too literally.
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:08 AM   #20
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Default Re: Cities in Bottles

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
For customs to maintain genetic spread, I know that there are some mostly isolated settlements that have developed widespread genetic issues. Does anyone know how common these are compared to ones that haven't? Either way they won't be without customs for genetic spread but they probably won't have as extreme as we could imagine people coming up with to intentionally handle it.
There are very few real examples that are completely, 100% isolated. Even one additional geneset injected every generation or so is enough to maintain the genetic diversity of a 10,000-person population indefinitely.

Pitcairn Island, uninhabited before being settled by the survivors of the Bounty mutineers, had developed fairly severe inbreeding by the time it was rediscovered by the British.

I am not convinced that any natural population (vs., say, the complement of a generation ship) would realize the necessity of genetic controls or implement them successfully without severe, dictatorial intervention for several generations. The problem is too remote and too abstract to provide an emotionally satisfactory justification for the hardships required. In a setting before 1980 or so, or too small to have a college faculty, it is unlikely that anyone would have the tools to even recognize the problem a priori, much less propose and impose the necessary solutions.
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