Civilization: A Praxeology

…and they say praxeology is flawed…

A thought-game by L.A. Repucci

Okay; suppose civilization collapses.  Positing the end of our current human paradigm — the sum of our economic, governmental and technological works subtracted — is a non-partisan exercise.  Both ends the ideological spectrum are ever doomsday prophets, decrying an immanent collapse, undone either by means of our State or our Liberty.

‘Resources are held in Common!’ cries the socialist.  ‘Property is product of my Life and Liberty’ cries the anarchist…both claim we are robbing ourselves blind.  Let’s skip  the part of the process where the libertarians and collectivists argue about roads and markets, and just imagine the ‘end’ is behind us all, and we (any two or more parties) survived, and are left to re-establish civilization.  This proposition is essentially a ‘dropped on a deserted island’ scenario — an exercise in pure a priori, inductive inquiry.

We are left to our own devices; a natural state with no default preset values, no existing law or paper contracts, no social institution, normative or common tradition.

It’s just you, me, and the pile of radioactive rubble that previously was a long-defunct post office.

How to proceed?  What rules shall we make for ourselves, and how should we best go about the process of survival?

Please, feel free to take your turn by leaving a comment — this is an open-ended invitation to engage in the process of civilization. In the interest of intellectual honesty, I would offer that it is entirely my intention to pursue a libertarian outcome, to our mutual benefit.

Game On. =)

24 thoughts on “Civilization: A Praxeology

  1. The problem with the hypothetical is that “civilization” as a whole never has collapsed. Specific cultures fell, and others rose to take their place.

    However, if you’re talking some global post-war apocalypse that somehow manages to erase all previous boundaries and technologies to the point of necessitating a reboot? I would expect the emergence of something like Bartertown (Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome), or nomadic tribalism, or both.

    • Invisible,

      Thanks for the comment! Yes, I am supposing a post-apocalyptic world. You and I are all that is left — shall we establish some rules of conduct between us? I would propose first that we agree on a non-aggression pact of safe conduct. Would you agree?

    • Okay. Can we agree that if one should agress against the other, reprisal is t o be expected?

  2. You could agree, but all it would take is for the other guy to have a sharp stick and it starts all over.

    • Excellent! Then, in the interest of mutual safety, could we agree that my safety is my responsibility, and likewise yours is yours? Let’s both carry sharp sticks as a practical totem of this truism. Step 1 complete!

  3. I think it might be a good idea to share food, too.

    I don’t think keeping a tally would be necessary, but sharing with you might be a good way to implement an insurance policy of sorts.

    • Brandon, can you define the specific rules of your proposal to “share” food? I want to safeguard against one of us relying upon the labor and risk of the other in order to eat. For example, if I agree to “share” my food with you, what incentive would you have to collect/produce any foodstuffs?

    • Aw damn. I was hoping that, because I am lazy, you might have had some rules in mind.

      I, too, want to safeguard against risk. Yet I don’t want to get caught with my pants down in an emergency either, so cooperating with you will be in my best interest (at least I think so).

      For the time being, perhaps we could agree to share food with each other under two conditions: 1) whenever we meet we sit down and share a meal together and 2) upon request, we give what we can to the other.

      I am very open to coming up with a different set of rules, of course, but I would like to ultimately end up with some sort of insurance against a disaster.

    • Hello Terry! In anticipation of your point, please assume the answer to your question is flexible, and feel free to apply either possible response. Thanks!

    • To keep it short, we’ll start with you’re a man. Since I’m a man, there will be no subsequent generations so it’s not really a question of re-establishing civilization but rather surviving as long as I can. Step 1 is to avoid you and go far far away.

  4. To Brandon’s point first: Because it is in my interest to have a survival partner, yes — I will agree to voluntarily share food with you as a form of insurance. However, I would not be amenable to attaching consequence or enforcement of this agreement…there is no need, due to the motivating element of the logical natural consequence inherant in the proposition of your starvation. Can we agree that the sharing of food is a voluntary agreement?

    • Yeah it can be voluntary, but only because we are both allowed to carry our own sharpened sticks.

      Now that food and self-defense are out of the way, what about sexual favors? No homo here (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), so are you willing to take one for the team? Or are there, like, goats in this place? I suppose we could always take a look around and see if we missed some females.

      Also, what are your plans for shelter? What’s the weather like in this place?

      PS: Don’t let grouchy Uncle Terry get you down. I’ve heard that in real life he’s a teddy bear and also a real hoot at the office Christmas parties!

    • Brandon,

      No sweat. I am certain Terry and I would get along famously in a social setting, and frankly, I ask for it.

      As for women, my next order of business would definitely be propagation of the species. Lets agree to range for food/other people daily. If they seem friendly, invite them back to camp…but no revealing the location of the post office before some rudimentary vetting. Shelter — I’d propose we build a shelter together, and please know I plan to ‘move out’ once my own home is built near by.

    • I can agree with you on the vetting process, but what happens if there is a really hot chick that we find? Can we agree to share her? I’m okay with it if you are, but all bets are off if you build a bigger shelter than me.

    • Hoe about we pitch the hot chick on the concept and let her decide for herself? VOLUNTARYISM!

    • I can trap clean and cook small game and string a trout line. I can make fire and shelter. I play a mean guitar.

  5. To Terry: You believe that in a survival situation, your best option is sequester? It seems contrary to reason that you wouldn’t be interested in partnership and cooperation to our mutual benefit. Fortunately for both of us, the libertarian philosophy I so love absolutely allows for your free will to wander into the deep wilds to be eaten or die of exposure and starvation. Furthermore, your comment illustrates an important philosophical point — under no circumstance that comes to mind would my highest priority be my own individual survival at any cost — to embrace mere subsistance as an ultimate priority is an abbhoration to me — to my mind, a life worth living for a sentient being requires more than mere survival Were this not the case, I might as well be a single-celled bacterium.
    As an addendum, we can postulate the presence of fertile women if that will inspire you to participate — I know the biological imperative can be a great motivator for the process of civilization. Please keep in mind that this is a thought-game…games aren’t much fun when the players aim to break them.

    • @L.A. I believe that my best first option is sequester. In scenario 1, there is a unknown male in the area. I want to establish a safe haven as soon as possible. I have no problem with putting individual survival as my top priority. It’s probable that partnership and cooperation will enhance the odds of survival and the quality of life but….first things first.

    • Terry,

      Fair enough. For a recap: we now have Brandon and I building a comunal shelter, with agreements to 1) voluntarily share food, 2) not reveal our camp outright, and 3) to be armed at all times. Lets assume you are successful in construting a shelter near by, and happen upon us while foraging, and mobe forward from there.

Please keep it civil

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