Saturday, March 30, 2024

Interactions of Value

Interactions between groups can be used as a measure of people’s values. We can use changes in the amounts of people, habitat, and waste resulting from an interaction as measures of how much they are valued by the people involved in the interaction. 

Globally over history, the amounts of people and waste have grown at the expense of habitat such that the amount of waste exceeded the amount of people, and then waste exceeded the amount of habitat. Humanity will become effectively extinct soon after the amount of people exceeds the amount of habitat. 

In simulated world called “Green” that is based on historical data, waste exceeded people by 1940. Waste began exceeding habitat in 2015. By 2018, some members of the world population needed more resources for survival than there was habitat in their accessible environment. By 2025 as many people will be dying as are being born (the population will peak) and half the world’s total resources will be waste, after which there will be net death as increasing waste replaces more habitat. Overall, people will exceed habitat by 2037; and extinction will occur by 2041.

ABOVE: Amounts of resources over time.

People, habitat, and waste are not distributed equally within the world’s population. If they were, then there would be effectively one group of people cooperating to live the same way. In the simulation, a simplified version of reality based on measurable behavior such as economic activity, resources are moved and stored by people throughout the population based on available habitat and produced waste. The world is divided into thousands of environments, each a group with its total resources (“capacity” or size) composed of people (represented by the habitat they consume for survival), habitat (other species and what they produce and can consume), and waste (resources not consumable by people or other species). Changes in the distributions of resources within these environments are indicative of the interactions between them.

If we look at the world’s resources as environments with their capacities adding up (accumulating) based on increasing ratio of people to habitat (habitat ratio), we can see how their distributions compare with each other as a function of their size. This order is chosen because groups with close habitat ratios are similar enough to naturally interact with each other, as found in statistical analysis of economic activity (which, by definition, involves movement of resources) and correlations of life satisfaction. 

Environments with the most waste as a fraction of their capacity have the fewest people as a fraction of their capacity. As the total amount of waste increases, waste occupies more environments, and those environments have larger fractions of people in them. Another way of looking at this is that the groups with fewer people are at war with the groups that have more people (who are consuming), forcing them to move and grow into other environments by flooding them with waste and thereby depriving them of habitat until the habitat can’t support them (domination). Continuing growth of waste (exploitation) results in collapse, with the entire population having too little habitat to survive in environments that are essentially the same (except for one in the simulation, where one person has no waste and too little habitat to survive).

ABOVE: Stacked fractions of resources in each environment as a function of cumulative capacity shown for each decade since 1900 and projected through 2040 in simulated world Green.

In terms of value, interactions tend to favor waste more than people, and habitat only to the extent that it contributes to increasing people and waste by decreasing until it becomes critically low, which is too late to salvage it.