The underlying force behind most developments we now see is very simple: overpopulation. But there’s something more to it. In a world that has had lowered levels of violence and modern medicine for awhile, there’s simply too many men. Normally men die off at a higher rate than women which frees up some extra space. Under these circumstances it’s easier to have a functional social contract where men cooperate instead of compete. Without the usual forces of attrition, we end up with a massive sausage fest. Add to that a declining economy, rampant elite overproduction, hostile state ideologies and it’s now hard for all but apex males to make it. As the struggle for scarce success slots grows more intense, it drives coalitions of millions of men into direct competition for women and treasure. As such conflicts grow in intensity, they eventually flare into open violence. And of course, part of the deal is the violence clears out some of the dead wood freeing up some breathing room for the rest. Anyone who doubts this principle has only to learn how the black plague ushered in a golden age in Renaissance Europe and Ming China. When there’s just too many people, even randomly killing 1 out of every 3 improves life for the rest and allows people the space and leisure they need for innovation and achievement. An environment always saturated to carrying capacity wallows in perpetual stagnation. When there’s no more frontiers and empty continents to fill up, humans resort to other timeless safety valves, and when all others fail, war tends to erupt sooner or later. The justifications people make up for history books come after the fact.
War is a gentleman’s agreement. Two men who stand little chance of securing a pretty woman or property within their clan sometimes agree to risk their lives against a neighboring tribe to take control of scarce resources by conquest. If both succeed, they both get a payoff, but chances are in war there will be casualties. So in effect they wager that if they succeed one man will perish in the endeavor and the other reaps all the dividends. They may fail and both perish of course, but they agree to take the risk because if they try to play it safe at home, they pass the rest of their miserable lives struggling for mere survival, trod on by the successful as unwanted surplus population. Since the dawn of time, when the incentives are right, groups of men have made the gentleman’s agreement with the tacit understanding they are betting the other guy gets shot while they survive to profit from his efforts. And of course those most closely related might behave altruistically with less reservation as worker ants devote their being to the genetic code of their queen. Nature is harsh and living things must often undergo desperate measures against overwhelming obstacles to succeed and continue the species. So until a transhuman era, humans will be thrust into the Darwinian melee by the necessities of competition for mates and scarce resources whether they will it or no. Until then, only intelligent stewardship of human societies and the establishment of workable balances of power both internationally and internally makes peaceful times possible. The foolish elites of Western nations have spent decades undermining a once stable system out of devotion to blind ideology and now act surprised when finally the inertia shifts and the system begins to tip towards entropy.