2008 December 21 Sunday
Locusts Swarm To Starve Predators

This report has lessons for people who want to escape Robin Hood government and parasites.

By applying an old theory that has been used to explain water flow through soil and the spread of forest fires, researchers may have an answer to a perplexing ecological and evolutionary problem: why locusts switch from an innocuous, solitary lifestyle to form massive swarms that can devastate crops and strip fields bare. Their report, published online on December 18th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, concludes that once the insects' ranks grow to a certain threshold size, banding together prevents predators from moving from one patch of insects to the next and easily picking the bugs off one by one.

"A predator can only move continually across a landscape, consuming locusts as it goes, if there is a landscape-spanning pathway of connected, high-yielding patches containing locusts in abundance," said Andy Reynolds of Rothamsted Research. "If the locusts were to remain dispersed when their numbers become sufficiently high, then such predator-sustaining pathways would always exist. By grouping together, locusts can reduce the number of connections between patches, and there is a significant probability that the predator will locate too few locusts to sustain itself."

If the most productive are too thinly spread then the majority and a corrupt elite can feed on them. Highly productive people need to be able to form their own governments and basically exclude predators and parasites. Concentrate together where predators can't feed and control the borders. Too late for the United States.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 December 21 02:34 PM  Economics Predation

averros said at December 22, 2008 1:02 AM:

The "highly productive people" never were in majority. The problem is that in the late 19th century they bought the bullshit that all people are created equal - and started to behave accordingly, with unvariably bloody results.

If they didn't we'd still have monarchy... which was (and still is) much better than democracy. Way less taxes and interference with private life, no total wars and wholesale murder of noncombatants, and the best part - no way for the common morons to participate in the government.

In fact, it was neglect of genetic diversity which brought the Family down, not the purported prowess of revolutionary leaders (who were bumbling idiots - so their common fate was becoming victims of their comrades).

Wolf-Dog said at December 22, 2008 2:00 AM:

But in this current case, some of the predators were the oil companies and other monopolies who used every dirty trick in the book to impede the development of electric cars and new energy sources. The Iraq war was also instrumental for the predators to block the development of new energy sources and batteries for electric cars.

Wolf-Dog said at December 22, 2008 2:03 AM:

Averros, only a small number of monarchies imposed low taxes. Most monarchies imposed absolutely back-breaking taxes on the subjects, and in many monarchies, serfs had very few rights. Currently, it is much easier for intelligent kids born to poor families to move up.

AndyK said at December 22, 2008 8:47 PM:

Perfect description, I couldn't agree more. Your three class system of producers, predators, and parasites could also be seen as a productive class, a bureaucratic class (government), and a dependent class.

At present we have a system where the bureaucratic class now manages the dependent class, while relying on the productive class to provide the costs.

For example, decades of mass 3rd world immigration, with the ideology of Multiculturalism supporting it, has given us a large number of poor people along with excessive diversity, which has lead to group conflict. This requires a large & growing bureaucratic class to manage the conflict, as well as redistribute wealth & power amongst the groups.

It is my belief that should the dependent class become the majority, its demands and needs will overwhelm what the productive class can contribute, and the system will fail, along with the government.

And I think that day is coming soon, in about 20 years or less.

averros said at December 23, 2008 12:45 AM:

Wolf-Dog - I think you miss the fact that tyranny and monarchy are two completely different forms of government. They don't teach that in schools nowadays (though this was understood since times of Aristotle by every educated person... which most modern university graduates aren't).

Monarch, basically, is an owner of the government - but he is also subject to common law (i.e. he is respecting property rights of his subjects). What do you think the persistent problems of French monarchs with finances meant? Why do you think they were forced to borrow from the third estate (giving some of their rights away in exchange?)

A tyrant is, basically, a robber - taking from his subjects at will. The ability of monarchs to turn tyrants was always limited by the very simple fact that subjects were never associating themselves with the monarch (unless, like feudal lords, they were bound by the oath of fealty) - so they were ready to oppose the tyrrany. The monarchs were quite aware of that - and had to be very careful of how they conduct their affairs (thus the famous dictum by Montesquieu: "Honour is the principle of monarchy"; see also "The Trew Law of Free Monarchies" by James VI which explains what the divine right of kings is - which is not a right to plunder at will as most modern ignoramuses assume).

The cause for the American revolution was spelled quite clearly in the Declaration of Independence: the colonists raised against British Empire because they considered George III not a monarch but a tyrant. There's nothing anti-monarchist in the text.

> Currently, it is much easier for intelligent kids born to poor families to move up.

Really? Nowadays intelligent kids feel so repulsed by the brainwashing and penitentiary nature of the public education that they start doing drugs, retreat into infantile pursuits (video games, fantasy, high school popularity contests), etc. Very few come out of it with any honour left.

They can get rich by chance (i.e. joining the right startup at the right time), or by brownnosing in the corporate world, sure, but it was understood long time ago that merely being rich doesn't mean moving up. A rich nobody is still nobody. There's no more "up" in this world - the old system of social promotion by acceptance from elite is dead, nowadays in any decent person the "elite" causes a strong desire to puke (who the fuck belongs to American elite? Bush? Gore? Tom Cruise? Eminem? I won't sit to shit next to any of these.)

Wolf-Dog said at December 23, 2008 2:42 AM:

"the old system of social promotion by acceptance from elite is dead"

It agree that it is a good idea to promote people on the basis of their achievements and abilities. For instance, a In in U.K., besides Christians like Newton, many Jewish and Arab scientists were also given the title of "Sir", etc, and these people did contribute to the administration of the country. But the problem is that genetic engineering is not yet available to guarantee that the children of the aristocrats will have the same abilities. Many of the children of great achievers, can become total failures. This is the cause of the degeneracy of the monarch system in most cases.

averros said at December 23, 2008 11:13 PM:

Yes, there are no guarantees from genetics. (In fact, the Family paid too little attention to it - so now its offspring is suffering from a lot of genetic defects; more than half people of royal blood are mentally deficient.) The trend changed in the last century, and now it is not unusual for aristocracy (and even royalty) to marry commoners (to resolve conflict with old salic law these commoners are usually made noble just before the marriage).

But as a human genetic experiment the Family managed to produce some truly spectacular results - I have an acquaintance who comes from a very old noble family. She used to be a top model and a national-level athlete; got several masters degrees and speaks a bunch of languages. And she's natural alpha - doesn't need to do anything, others immediately recognize her as a superior, from the first sight. She also got an uncanny sense for detecting people who would be a trouble and a keen sense of smell for things which shouldn't be eaten. Many generations of being on top with all attendant backstabbing and politics selected for survivor genes.

I think the right approach would be some combination of meritocratic and aristocratic approaches to quality... essentially, an aristocratic system of social stratification, but insisting on selection of mates by both merit and ancestry. This would both promote successful genetic patterns from the commoner pool and concentrate and preserve them within the nobility. Something like Jeffersonian "natural aristocracy".

Wolf-Dog said at December 24, 2008 4:06 AM:

In French politics, it is a tradition that most politicians are educated at one of their top schools like "L'Ecole Nationale d'Administration" and other similar elite schools. Their current president Sarkozy is an exception to this rule, in the sense that he comes from a more mediocre school. Once the American culture becomes ready to accept nerds as policy makers, then the situation will improve. There will be no need to establish a hereditary aristocracy to rule the country, all we need is to select politicians who are not stupid (or selfish, or both.)

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