How NOT to Conworld.

Discussions about constructed worlds, cultures and any topics related to constructed societies.
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rupestrian
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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by почка » 01 Feb 2019 06:30

Some don'ts for a realistic conworld:

- no gender imbalance that is too high - even China, a place where artificial sex selection is performed, does not have a sex ratio of 1:200,000, 1:1000, 1:10 or even 1:2, any long-existing gender imbalance with a sex ratio surpassing something like 1:1.2 should always be avoided, at least if your conpeople are human.

- no population large than 200 people with a disproportionally high rate of developmental disorders like autism, ADHD, or any disease that would kill a person prematurely. - even Finnish people, Amish communities and pre-modern Jewish communities, which are known for the high prevalence of certain inherited congenital disorders, do not have a high proportion of their populations killed by congenital disorders prematurely.

- no peoples that are immortal or peoples that always look young before death - in real world, except for few non-sentient animals which are very unlikely to even evolve a human-level intelligence in the foreseeable future like lighthouse jellyfish, clams and lobsters, all animals get old and will die of an old age if they are not killed prematurely, and all animals that reach an old age show significant and even apparent signs of aging that can set them apart from younger individuals, therefore, if someone of your sentient species can die old age, older individuals will look old in a way obvious to your sentient species, that is, they will always know who Is old and who is young among them.

The nonexistence of universal immortality and agelessness among sentient beings should be extended to all worlds with magics, even in worlds with magics that enable immortality, immortality and agelessness should always be the privilege of a small minority of people e.g. deities or renowned wizards or alchemists. Anyone who tries to avoid aging and death in their creation simply has some forms of age discrimination, especially discrimination against old females.

Wherever there are humans and humanoids, there should be old people, including old men and old women, even magic exists.

- no shapeshifting that is hard to be explained with known biological mechanisms - if you can't find a simple or at least known mechanism to explain your conspecies, then don't even bother to try unless you are willing to have magic.

- no peoples that are physically attractive on average - while there are objective standards for beauty, there are also subjective standards for beauty, and as a result, beauty is subjective; also, anything like this only reflects the mentality of lookism of the author, and discriminations are one of the ugliest things of the world barring more serious things like crimes, lying for personal gains and direct aggression; besides, even using only objective standards for beauty, this is still utterly unrealistic, as plain looking people are always the majority of any given ethnic group.

- no pacifist civilizations that have never invaded their neighbors actively - all cultures has a dark side, and all societies invade, period. Except for aboriginals that has always been hunter-gatherers for tens of thousands of years, all cultures has replaced some other cultures, and the replacement can't always be peaceful. Civilization is forged on the anvil of death with the hammer of war and the fires of disease.

Like the nonexistence of universal immortality and agelessness, the universality of aggression among all societies should be extended to all worlds with magic, and to all societies of non-human sentient beings. Pacifist societies and sentient beings simply won't survive long enough to even have civilizations.

- no societies without crimes and discriminations - ethnocentrism is a human universal; crimes also exist in all human societies, but the creator should try not to discriminate against any people themselves.

Like the nonexistence of universal immortality and agelessness and the universality of aggression, the existence of crimes and discriminations among all societies should be extended to all worlds with magic, and to all societies of non-human sentient beings.

- no challenges on proposed human universals or near universals unless you really know how they work - while some of the proposed human universals, or the existence of human universals, is controversial, it is not a good idea to challenge them, For example, you can't have a country where most people are regularly killed at a certain age, this is simply too uneconomical even ethics are not a consideration, it is not even a good idea to kill slaves just for fun or for their meat for slaveowners with a lot of slaves, having slaves work until they can't work anymore and die naturally would always be a better choice for slaveowners; besides, governing such societies will doomed to be a nightmare for any political leader, even managing death rows, who are minorities even among criminals, has been proven more risky for guards than managing other criminals, and the cost for keeping death rows in order so that an executions will occur is high, thus governing a society where most people will regularly be killed at a certain age will be way much more difficult than managing death rows; therefore these kinds of rules will simply be ignored by the most or soon be abolished, and the killing of non-criminals would only occur in extreme circumstances.

- no societies where most people don't need to work hard to make a living - in all societies, most people if not everyone need to work hard to literally make a living, technological progression never changes this.

The fact that most people must work hard to make a living in all societies should be extended to all worlds with magic, and to all societies of non-human sentient beings.

- no countries without a change of its border throughout the history, except for newly-formed countries - ever country has ever had a change of its territory in the last 1,000 years, the territory of a country always changes from time to time, having an ultra-stable territory is simply unrealistic and ridiculous.

- no larger countries without a standing army - if a country has a population that surpasses that of Costa Rica, or is an inland country that is not a city state like San Marino, it will always have a standing army to defend the border, even the military regularly involves in politics and causes political instability. Foreign invasion is always a bigger concern than political instability and civil wars, and unless there are no known foreign threats and maintaining the military is too expensive, all countries will always have a standing army, and only very small countries will find the military too expensive to maintain.

- no "land of mediocre" - every country or society has its heroes and contributions to the world, your countries' contribution to the world in science, technology and culture will be in proportion to the total population and the development level. Even Canada, a country jokingly known as the "land of mediocre", has Nobel Prize winners.

- no illiterate people near a place that invented writing system - if your people lived near a center of early literate civilizations and had their own country, they would sooner or later adopt writing before modern times, peoples that are against writing down their own languages, like the Jemez people, don't normally have complex societies like countries, and it is high questionable whether any belief against writing will continually be held once peoples against writing their own language have their own countries.

- no bloodsucking flies that disable animal husbandry - human beings keep a variety of animals, no known diseases can completely deter animal husbandry from an area. Bantu peoples that had migrated to the south of the areas of tsetse flies, i.e. the Nguni people, still keep cattles.

- no underrepresentation of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group in human-based conworlds, for example, having no East Asian looking peoples in your conworld - this is unrealistic, considering human genetics, you will simply get peoples that look broadly similar to any known ethnic groups. The avoidance or prohibition of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group should always be avoided in a collaborative conworld.

- no a priori organisms far away from their relatives, unless their real-life relatives are cosmopolitan - having a priori organisms exist in an area far away from the areas of their relatives is very unlikely to happen, and thus is unrealistic, and doing so in order to make a con-society look like whatever you want can be seen as a form of godmodding, especially in collaborative conworlds.

- no fantasies in serious worldbuilding - trying to make a world or a society that completely fulfills your own fantasies, including sexual or non-sexual ones, or trying to make a world or a society that is a totally dystopic to you, will always fail. All elements for a serious world-building, including those for all realistic conworlds and all reasonable fantastic worlds, will always be double-sided, and all societies in those worlds will always be in somewhere between an utopia and a dystopia, they will always have goods and bads, no matter how you define an utopia and a dystopia, and what kinds of fantasies the you have.

- no refusal of direct loanwords if they are in-world reasonable - this has nothing to do directly with realism, but it is still worth mentioning, all languages borrow, including Chinese, refusing to add reasonable loanwords in your own conlang is not only unrealistic, but is also against collaboration.

- no refusal of changes - this has nothing to do directly with realism, but it is still worth mentioning, as it is a part of all serious worldbuilding. If you do a collaborative conworld, or you want to sell your things to the public, you can't place your personal preferences above realism or consensus at all, always put your personal preferences aside and learn to compromise when you collaborate, and never take anything in-world personal.
Last edited by почка on 01 Feb 2019 07:09, edited 3 times in total.

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rupestrian
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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by почка » 01 Feb 2019 06:44

one thing more:

- no countries or societies without symbolism - all societies use symbolism extensively, and all countries have symbols representing the country, either it is a national flag, national anthem, national flower, etc. Symbolism always exists in all societies, and even societies that are against idolatry, like Islamic countries, have symbols representing organizations and the country.

In collaborative worlds where a national flag, coat of arms, a national anthem, etc. is used for concountries, all countries will have them, and no reasons to reject their existence, and people taking parts in such collaborations need to take times figuring out the flag, the national anthem, etc. for their concountries.

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by elemtilas » 01 Feb 2019 14:39

почка wrote:
01 Feb 2019 06:30
Some don'ts for a realistic conworld:
Really?

Anyone who isn't making a setting literally on the actual Earth ought to take these points with multiple grains of salt!!

By that I mean there are differing meanings of "realistic". And therefore different ways of how NOT to worldbuild. If I want a world that is "Earth-realistic", i.e., having realism that concurs with the experience we have in the primary world, then I agree with you almost entirely. This is the especial province of romance, historical fiction, mystery and so forth --- non-fantastic fictional(ised) settings. But if I have a fantasy or soft-sci-fi world with a number of these factors in play, I can still (and might ought try to) strive for realism, even though I may rightfully throw all of your points out the window. I'd be striving for a realism that is appropriate for the setting. Every single one of your points exists, to some degree or other, in very many works of fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, horror and other kinds of settings and I dare say in most of the worlds folks around here come up with (myself included).

While I don't see the need to counter them one by one, I dó see rather too much of perhaps your own particular opinion on the matter. Nearly every bullet point contains how one "should" do something or how a "serious" worldbuilder goes about it!

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by Salmoneus » 01 Feb 2019 17:42

почка wrote:
01 Feb 2019 06:30
Some don'ts for a realistic conworld:

- no gender imbalance that is too high - even China, a place where artificial sex selection is performed, does not have a sex ratio of 1:200,000, 1:1000, 1:10 or even 1:2, any long-existing gender imbalance with a sex ratio surpassing something like 1:1.2 should always be avoided, at least if your conpeople are human.
Maybe my conpeople aren't human.

- no population large than 200 people with a disproportionally high rate of developmental disorders like autism, ADHD, or any disease that would kill a person prematurely. - even Finnish people, Amish communities and pre-modern Jewish communities, which are known for the high prevalence of certain inherited congenital disorders, do not have a high proportion of their populations killed by congenital disorders prematurely.
Autism and ADHD need not be correlated with premature death, at least outside of the most extreme manifestations.

- no peoples that are immortal or peoples that always look young before death - in real world, except for few non-sentient animals which are very unlikely to even evolve a human-level intelligence in the foreseeable future like lighthouse jellyfish, clams and lobsters, all animals get old and will die of an old age if they are not killed prematurely, and all animals that reach an old age show significant and even apparent signs of aging that can set them apart from younger individuals, therefore, if someone of your sentient species can die old age, older individuals will look old in a way obvious to your sentient species, that is, they will always know who Is old and who is young among them.

The nonexistence of universal immortality and agelessness among sentient beings should be extended to all worlds with magics, even in worlds with magics that enable immortality, immortality and agelessness should always be the privilege of a small minority of people e.g. deities or renowned wizards or alchemists. Anyone who tries to avoid aging and death in their creation simply has some forms of age discrimination, especially discrimination against old females.
Now you're not even pretending to talk about 'realism', but just your personal taste. If you can have magic agelessness, there's nothing more or less "realistic" about giving it to 90% of the population than in giving it to 1% of the population.
Wherever there are humans and humanoids, there should be old people, including old men and old women, even magic exists.
*rolls eyes*
- no shapeshifting that is hard to be explained with known biological mechanisms - if you can't find a simple or at least known mechanism to explain your conspecies, then don't even bother to try unless you are willing to have magic.
This is just a tautology. Sure, every shapeshifter will either use biological mechanisms or won't. The point being?
- no peoples that are physically attractive on average - while there are objective standards for beauty, there are also subjective standards for beauty, and as a result, beauty is subjective; also, anything like this only reflects the mentality of lookism of the author, and discriminations are one of the ugliest things of the world barring more serious things like crimes, lying for personal gains and direct aggression; besides, even using only objective standards for beauty, this is still utterly unrealistic, as plain looking people are always the majority of any given ethnic group.
You condemn "lookism", and then concoct the 'rule' that "plain looking people are always the majority" - something that says more about how you value people than about "realism"...
As for your moralisms, they seem to have no value, since they're just statements of your own personal tastes, and have nothing to do with the value of art. Many great works of art have addressed immoral themes.
- no pacifist civilizations that have never invaded their neighbors actively - all cultures has a dark side, and all societies invade, period. Except for aboriginals that has always been hunter-gatherers for tens of thousands of years, all cultures has replaced some other cultures, and the replacement can't always be peaceful. Civilization is forged on the anvil of death with the hammer of war and the fires of disease.
Fantasy need not be historically accurate. Again, this is just your own personal tastes masquerading as advice on 'realism', but really nothing more than boorishness.
Like the nonexistence of universal immortality and agelessness, the universality of aggression among all societies should be extended to all worlds with magic, and to all societies of non-human sentient beings. Pacifist societies and sentient beings simply won't survive long enough to even have civilizations.
Clearly nonsense. In a world in which all societies are pacifist, there's no reason why pacifists would spontaneously die off.

- no societies without crimes and discriminations - ethnocentrism is a human universal; crimes also exist in all human societies, but the creator should try not to discriminate against any people themselves.
Maybe my conpeople are not humans. In any case, my conpeople are fictional, and so I can't "discriminate" against them. In any case, that instruction seems like nonsense - all fiction is discriminatory. If the Ababians are more populous than the Babacians, and the Babacians inhabit the desert whereas the Ababians get to live on fertile grasslands, aren't you discriminating against the poor Babacians?

Like the nonexistence of universal immortality and agelessness and the universality of aggression, the existence of crimes and discriminations among all societies should be extended to all worlds with magic, and to all societies of non-human sentient beings.
Or, alternatively, bollocks to that.
- no challenges on proposed human universals or near universals unless you really know how they work - while some of the proposed human universals, or the existence of human universals, is controversial, it is not a good idea to challenge them, For example, you can't have a country where most people are regularly killed at a certain age
*looks around, checks whether the police are coming*
Yeah, actually, turns out I can if I want to.

, this is simply too uneconomical even ethics are not a consideration, it is not even a good idea to kill slaves just for fun or for their meat for slaveowners with a lot of slaves, having slaves work until they can't work anymore and die naturally would always be a better choice for slaveowners
You don't understand the nature of slavery, which is rarely purely economic in function. Societies in which (at least certain classes of) slaves were killed for fun are amply attested on Earth.

; besides, governing such societies will doomed to be a nightmare for any political leader, even managing death rows, who are minorities even among criminals, has been proven more risky for guards than managing other criminals, and the cost for keeping death rows in order so that an executions will occur is high, thus governing a society where most people will regularly be killed at a certain age will be way much more difficult than managing death rows; therefore these kinds of rules will simply be ignored by the most or soon be abolished, and the killing of non-criminals would only occur in extreme circumstances.
The killing of non-criminals never happens - if they're executed, they must have been criminals. But you can declare anyone you want to be a criminal. At one time in much of Europe, for example, being genetically Jewish was considered a crime against the state punishable by death.

- no societies where most people don't need to work hard to make a living - in all societies, most people if not everyone need to work hard to literally make a living, technological progression never changes this.
*rolls eyes*
Your religious dogmas are not reality; they're certainly not binding on fiction.
The fact that most people must work hard to make a living in all societies should be extended to all worlds with magic, and to all societies of non-human sentient beings.
Or, and bear with me hear, perhaps fuck off.

- no countries without a change of its border throughout the history, except for newly-formed countries - ever country has ever had a change of its territory in the last 1,000 years, the territory of a country always changes from time to time, having an ultra-stable territory is simply unrealistic and ridiculous.
Many countries have not changed their territories - chiefly, island states. If I have twenty people living on an island, each with a life-span of 12,000 years, there's no reason why they would periodically redefine this peninsular or that beach as not being in their territory.

What is ridiculous is concocting these absurd, arbitrary rules for everyone else to follow, with no firm basis in reason, but only in personal tastes.

- no larger countries without a standing army - if a country has a population that surpasses that of Costa Rica, or is an inland country that is not a city state like San Marino, it will always have a standing army to defend the border, even the military regularly involves in politics and causes political instability. Foreign invasion is always a bigger concern than political instability and civil wars, and unless there are no known foreign threats and maintaining the military is too expensive, all countries will always have a standing army, and only very small countries will find the military too expensive to maintain.
"Absurd" and "ridiculous" are not strong enough terms with which to reject this lunacy. Most European countries did not have standing armies for most of their history. Standing armies are a historical abnormality.

For those who don't see the trick he's trying to pull here: 'Costa Rica' isn't a random pick, it's an attempt to finesse a "rule" that's patently nonsense - because, as he knows, Costa Rica, like dozens of other modern countries, has no standing army. For what it's worth, 5 million people is pretty big by historical standards anyway.
- no "land of mediocre" - every country or society has its heroes and contributions to the world, your countries' contribution to the world in science, technology and culture will be in proportion to the total population and the development level. Even Canada, a country jokingly known as the "land of mediocre", has Nobel Prize winners.
Nobody thinks of Canada like that except obnoxious American imperialists. Everyone else knows that Canada has an excellent educational system. Most countries, however, do NOT have Nobel Prize winners.
- no illiterate people near a place that invented writing system - if your people lived near a center of early literate civilizations and had their own country, they would sooner or later adopt writing before modern times, peoples that are against writing down their own languages, like the Jemez people, don't normally have complex societies like countries, and it is high questionable whether any belief against writing will continually be held once peoples against writing their own language have their own countries.
SURE, there are no illiterate people in the Middle East, I'll have to remember that...
- no bloodsucking flies that disable animal husbandry - human beings keep a variety of animals, no known diseases can completely deter animal husbandry from an area. Bantu peoples that had migrated to the south of the areas of tsetse flies, i.e. the Nguni people, still keep cattles.
Lot of cattle in Darien, are there?

- no underrepresentation of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group in human-based conworlds, for example, having no East Asian looking peoples in your conworld - this is unrealistic, considering human genetics, you will simply get peoples that look broadly similar to any known ethnic groups. The avoidance or prohibition of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group should always be avoided in a collaborative conworld.
This is UTTER BOLLOCKS. The specific phenotypical combinations that characterise notable real world populations are A TOTAL COINCIDENCE. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why, for example, there has to be one population with straight hair and a lack of epicanthal folds - this is just a coincidence. Likewise, the fact that there are no black-skinned, blue-eyed people on Earth is purely a coincidence (given that such a population used to exist).
- no a priori organisms far away from their relatives, unless their real-life relatives are cosmopolitan - having a priori organisms exist in an area far away from the areas of their relatives is very unlikely to happen, and thus is unrealistic, and doing so in order to make a con-society look like whatever you want can be seen as a form of godmodding, especially in collaborative conworlds.
Not unlikely in the slightest - see, for example, the presence of animals in the americas whose nearest relatives live in australia...
- no fantasies in serious worldbuilding - trying to make a world or a society that completely fulfills your own fantasies, including sexual or non-sexual ones, or trying to make a world or a society that is a totally dystopic to you, will always fail. All elements for a serious world-building, including those for all realistic conworlds and all reasonable fantastic worlds, will always be double-sided, and all societies in those worlds will always be in somewhere between an utopia and a dystopia, they will always have goods and bads, no matter how you define an utopia and a dystopia, and what kinds of fantasies the you have.
If people want to fantasise, it seems to me that Fantasy is an entirely appropriate place to do it. Why are you even here? I'm sure you can find some no-fun-allowed alternative home on the internet where you won't be disturbed by people incorporating fantasy in their make-believe...
- no refusal of direct loanwords if they are in-world reasonable - this has nothing to do directly with realism, but it is still worth mentioning, all languages borrow, including Chinese, refusing to add reasonable loanwords in your own conlang is not only unrealistic, but is also against collaboration.
MY conworld is not collaborative, so that seems like a plus point...
- no refusal of changes - this has nothing to do directly with realism, but it is still worth mentioning, as it is a part of all serious worldbuilding. If you do a collaborative conworld, or you want to sell your things to the public, you can't place your personal preferences above realism or consensus at all, always put your personal preferences aside and learn to compromise when you collaborate, and never take anything in-world personal.
Ironic, after a thread composed of nothign but your own personal preferences. But no, actually, *looks around* it turns out I CAN put my personal preferences above "realism" and "consensus", because it's none of your fucking business. I conworld by myself, for myself, and being in "consensus" with you is actively LESS than worthless to me. Indeed, this thread has made me want to incorporate all sorts of things into conworlds, simply to ensure I avoid the degrading humiliation of being found to be in "consensus" with you on anything.


Your post is not, as you label it, "some don'ts for a realistic conworld"; it's "uncalled for insulting of everyone who isn't me because I'm the God of Conworlding and only my opinion matters apparently". It's not just irritating, it's actively disgusting.

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by alynnidalar » 01 Feb 2019 18:36

Sal spent a great deal of time rebutting each point quite well, so I'll just say that I thoroughly agree with him--and with elemtilas. You seem very concerned with "realism", or at least a form of realism that happens to place a lot of value on things you find important, but you've missed that "realism" can mean many different things. You seem very interested in what we might call "biological realism" (e.g. evolutionary history, human immune systems, etc.), but personally, I value what you might call "social realism"--I put a lot of emphasis on culture, political systems, etc. in my worlds. And even there, it's less about "is this exactly the same way as it works in the real world", and more "do these things logically follow from the premises I have established".

We've had the same debate over conlangs before, and I think it all comes down to three different camps:
- Earthlike realism (that is, only things that are actually attested in the real world)
- naturalism (that is, things that are plausible or are a logical progression from certain premises, even if they aren't directly attested)
- not caring about realism or naturalism at all (that is, things that don't make any attempt to be "explainable"; they simply are)

There's nothing wrong with falling into any of these camps, which are a continuum anyway. But there is a great deal wrong with acting like any individual position is the One True Way To Conlang/Conworld. (and there is also a great deal wrong with assuming that your particular set of preferences is the One True Way to have Earthlike realism, as Sal has demonstrated several of your points do not actually reflect the real world)

Frankly, it seems like you have a bunch of beefs with someone or something specific--perhaps people in a collaborative conworld you're a part of?--and haven't realized that these are not broadly applicable to all conworlds, not even all "realistic" ones.

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by WeepingElf » 01 Feb 2019 20:01

As for Elves - my main conpeople are Elves, but then they really aren't. They are neither Tolkien nor D&D-style Elves, let alone Christmas elves, Harry Potter house-elves or fairies. They are perfectly ordinary humans. Huh? Why then call them "Elves"? Because I fancy them to have been the people who inspired the Germanic and Celtic traditions of Elves. (Also, they serve to narrate my personal feelings about the human condition and the meaning of life.)
... brought to you by the Weeping Elf

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by Salmoneus » 02 Feb 2019 01:22

I'd like to go into a bit more detail on one point: the idea that most people, in any possible society, must work in order to eat.


Why does almost everybody work?

It's not some sort of fundamental requirement to make sufficient resources. It's a reflection of our economic system, which is, as it were, a sort of bargain...

Most tradable goods have two requirements: the possession of 'capital' (the stuff you need for making stuff - in most of history, primarily land; later, also machines); and the application of 'labour'.

In our system, we have two classes: the labouring class, and the capital-owning class. As good require both labour and capital, neither class can produce anything by itself. A deal is thus worked out: the labouring class provide labour, the capital-owning class provide capital, all the goods are given to the capital-owning class, and in return the capital-owning class supply adequate food and entertainment to the labouring class.

But there are some issues with this.

Firstly, the required ratio of labour to capital is not fixed. Instead, the productivity ratio is a reflection of the availability of resources and technology. In crude terms, you need fewer labourers to get grain out of each acre once you've invented the combine harvester. As the "multiplier" increases, the economic value of labour decreases. As a result, a higher and higher percentage of the profits is able to be acquired by the capital-owning class.

Secondly, as the multiplier increases, the number of labourers required to support the needs of one consumer decreases. In other words, the number of non-labourers each labourer can support increases. In our system, we have three types of people: capital-owners; necessary labourers; and the unneeded. The first and third categories are sustained by the second; the bigger the multiplier, the more of the first and the third can be sustained.

The function of labour in modern society is not actually primarily to make enough goods - in the developed world, we have large surpluses of goods. Instead, the function of labour is moral/political: following the deal that the capital-owning class give away goods to those who have laboured, everyone must labour in order to obtain goods. Not because the labour is necessary to create the goods - because most of the workforce is ultimately surplus to requirements in that sense - but because labour is necessary, under the terms of the Deal, to prove worthiness to receive goods.


------------

But this deal is not economically necessary - only politically. It's possible to conceive of other societies working differently.

First, a SF society - even a near future one - can use mechanisation and digitalisation to reduce the number of genuinely necessary labourers to a tiny fraction of the population. Indeed, this has already happened - agriculture in the UK, for instance, requires under 2% of the working population, while manufacturing requires 8%. The remaining 90% are engaged in "services" that are a) largely make-work creating goods of little ultimate value, and b) largely replaceable by machines. This employment is politically driven. [people need wages to eat, so they are willing to work for low wages, so service companies are able to spend little on wages, so their goods are cheap, and since most of the population still have wages high enough that they have a big surplus after eating enough, they buy these cheap service goods because why not]. This doesn't even consider the huge segments of the population who don't have to work (in the economy) at all (the young, the old, students, housewives and the rich).


Once the necessary workforce is small, the real question stops being how we make enough to survive, and instead becomes how we redistribute goods away from the capital-owning class who would otherwise own everything. Several political options spring to mind:

- decentralised ownership (bourgeois society): everyone owns capital, more or less equally. Only a relatively small number of people must then labour, while everyone else lives off the interest from their capital-ownership.

- collective ownership (communist society): the state owns the capital. Only a relatively small number of people must then labour, while everyone else lives off basic income payments from the state.

- regulated ownership (socialist society): there is a capital-owning class, but dominated by the state, who take most of the profits for redistribution. Only a relatively small number of people must then labour, while everyone else lives off basic income payments from the state.

- monopsonist bargaining (syndicalist society): there is a capital-owning class who trade goods for labour as at present. However, unionisation of labour to create a single voice in negotiations, combined with monopoly-busting that prevents the capital-owning class from doing the same, radically renegotiates the terms of this bargain, so that almost all the profits are redistributed to labour. Only a relatively small number of people must then actually labour while everyone else lives off dividens paid by their union.

- non-labour value (feudalist society): the capital-owning class gives goods to the rest of society, not for their labour in the traditional sense, but for some other exchange - such as debt (potential obligations), voting rights, etc. An example of this is the way that in modern society, the workers are given money in exchange for the workers taking on increasing debt and transferring the value of their own capital (houses, etc) to the capital-owning class. This essentially is the capitalists paying the workers to put themselves in a position of subservience to the capitalists, and to forego the possibility of aquiring their own capital.


In each of these cases, a small working population and a large non-working population could alternatively be replaced by a large population that works at very low intensity.


But the point is: a capitalist society (in which the capitalist-owning class only transfer goods when workers can prove they have performed acts of labour) is not the only way a society can structure itself, particularly in a SF scenario. It's absurd to demand that all fiction only ever discuss capitalism.

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by Ser » 03 Feb 2019 01:37

Salmoneus wrote:
02 Feb 2019 01:22
[...]
Salmoneus, I find these posts you've been writing in this thread extremely interesting. Do you recommend any particular books or authors where I could read more about the interaction of economics and birthrates, economics and the value of people (men or women, capital-owners or labourers), and speculation on the future of our societies where hardly anyone has anything meaningful to do (due to enormous technological development)?

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by Khemehekis » 06 Feb 2019 06:03

почка wrote:
01 Feb 2019 06:30
Some don'ts for a realistic conworld:

- no peoples that are physically attractive on average - while there are objective standards for beauty, there are also subjective standards for beauty, and as a result, beauty is subjective; also, anything like this only reflects the mentality of lookism of the author, and discriminations are one of the ugliest things of the world barring more serious things like crimes, lying for personal gains and direct aggression; besides, even using only objective standards for beauty, this is still utterly unrealistic, as plain looking people are always the majority of any given ethnic group.
I think the vast majority of (young) Korean people look beautiful . . . does that disprove your statement?
- no societies where most people don't need to work hard to make a living - in all societies, most people if not everyone need to work hard to literally make a living, technological progression never changes this.

The fact that most people must work hard to make a living in all societies should be extended to all worlds with magic, and to all societies of non-human sentient beings.
I doubt it. In his essay at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic ... J8D263mPH4 , Ryk E. Spoor says that it's having people need a job in distant-future SF that's unrealistic:
Automation and intelligent systems have an even greater impact in other areas; in Grand Central Arena I follow some of the current research to logical conclusions that result in what amounts to a post-scarcity society where few people have anything resembling a "job" and people are mostly independent entities from almost everything (very little significant government, etc.); what "work" people do is something that
they WANT to do, that's FUN for them.

This unfortunately makes for a difficult-to-grasp environment; many people either have a hard time understanding it, or simply don't believe
it could work. And in the latter case they may be completely right, for various reasons.

Such advances, however, also can be very bad for maintaining drama. The modern reader understands the idea of needing a job, of working at some
particular task or in some specific category, and keeping at least some of that element present provides a good anchor for the reader as they encounter more outré elements of the story.

Moreover, with super-AIs to do everything for you, and replicator-type technology to give you all the "stuff" you want, the setting is kinda
boring, potentially. So in the Arenaverse I make it so that a lot of that stuff DOESN'T WORK because the Arena's rules are set up to force
*people* -- of all species -- to do the work.
: no refusal of direct loanwords if they are in-world reasonable - this has nothing to do directly with realism, but it is still worth mentioning, all languages borrow, including Chinese, refusing to add reasonable loanwords in your own conlang is not only unrealistic, but is also against collaboration.
What about Navajo?
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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by LinguistCat » 31 Mar 2019 19:25

I think to put this somewhat back on topic, a way I have personally found is a bad way to conworld is to keep changing your mind so that nothing is ever set and you can never actually do anything with it, not even presenting it by itself as a conworld! Try not to do this if at all possible!

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by Khemehekis » 07 Apr 2019 08:52

BTW, I was curious as to what kind of person Pochka was, so I checked out their history of posts, and I found this.

It certainly gives context to this point of theirs:
почка wrote:
01 Feb 2019 06:30
- no underrepresentation of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group in human-based conworlds, for example, having no East Asian looking peoples in your conworld - this is unrealistic, considering human genetics, you will simply get peoples that look broadly similar to any known ethnic groups. The avoidance or prohibition of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group should always be avoided in a collaborative conworld.
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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by elemtilas » 09 Apr 2019 18:14

Khemehekis wrote:
07 Apr 2019 08:52
BTW, I was curious as to what kind of person Pochka was, so I checked out their history of posts, and I found this.

It certainly gives context to this point of theirs:
почка wrote:
01 Feb 2019 06:30
- no underrepresentation of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group in human-based conworlds, for example, having no East Asian looking peoples in your conworld - this is unrealistic, considering human genetics, you will simply get peoples that look broadly similar to any known ethnic groups. The avoidance or prohibition of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group should always be avoided in a collaborative conworld.
This kind of proscription doesn't make much sense, especially in context. Essentially what it boils down to is if I have humans in a fantasy or sci-fi world, I have to "represent" every ethnicity. Eurasians were no foregone conclusion here on Earth, why must I have either in another world with different pressures and different outcomes?

It sounds to me much more like a political ideology, founded in "sensitivity" and a false sense of compassion for oppressed groups, rather than a way of doing art or enjoying a creative hobby.

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by eldin raigmore » 15 Apr 2019 04:17

LinguistCat wrote:
31 Mar 2019 19:25
I think to put this somewhat back on topic, a way I have personally found is a bad way to conworld is to keep changing your mind so that nothing is ever set and you can never actually do anything with it, not even presenting it by itself as a conworld! Try not to do this if at all possible!
How not to, though?

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by elemtilas » 15 Apr 2019 04:24

eldin raigmore wrote:
15 Apr 2019 04:17
LinguistCat wrote:
31 Mar 2019 19:25
I think to put this somewhat back on topic, a way I have personally found is a bad way to conworld is to keep changing your mind so that nothing is ever set and you can never actually do anything with it, not even presenting it by itself as a conworld! Try not to do this if at all possible!
How not to, though?
:mrred:

I guess, just buck up and present it anyway...?

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by eldin raigmore » 15 Apr 2019 04:27

Khemehekis wrote:
06 Feb 2019 06:03
почка wrote:
01 Feb 2019 06:30
- no peoples that are physically attractive on average - while there are objective standards for beauty, there are also subjective standards for beauty, and as a result, beauty is subjective; also, anything like this only reflects the mentality of lookism of the author, and discriminations are one of the ugliest things of the world ...., as plain looking people are always the majority of any given ethnic group.
I think the vast majority of (young) Korean people look beautiful . . . does that disprove your point?
I, OTOH, have found that a noticeably greater fraction of mixed-race people are physically attractive, going by looks, than of pure-race people. While I am under the impression that this applies more so to children, it definitely and markedly also applies to young adults, and even to youngish-middlish adults.

And it’s an observation, not a prejudice. So it could surely be subjective, and maybe biased by the fact that so many of my thirty-years-younger and forty-years-younger relatives are mixed-race, it’s not a prejudgment.

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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by Khemehekis » 15 Apr 2019 05:00

elemtilas wrote:
09 Apr 2019 18:14
Khemehekis wrote:
07 Apr 2019 08:52
BTW, I was curious as to what kind of person Pochka was, so I checked out their history of posts, and I found this.

It certainly gives context to this point of theirs:
почка wrote:
01 Feb 2019 06:30
- no underrepresentation of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group in human-based conworlds, for example, having no East Asian looking peoples in your conworld - this is unrealistic, considering human genetics, you will simply get peoples that look broadly similar to any known ethnic groups. The avoidance or prohibition of peoples that resemble any real-world ethnic group should always be avoided in a collaborative conworld.
This kind of proscription doesn't make much sense, especially in context. Essentially what it boils down to is if I have humans in a fantasy or sci-fi world, I have to "represent" every ethnicity. Eurasians were no foregone conclusion here on Earth, why must I have either in another world with different pressures and different outcomes?

It sounds to me much more like a political ideology, founded in "sensitivity" and a false sense of compassion for oppressed groups, rather than a way of doing art or enjoying a creative hobby.
I agree.

In fact, none of Pochka's points evince an accurate grasp on what is and isn't realistic in conworlding. I debunked some of them, and Salmoneus did a good job of debunking pretty much all their points above. Seems like the Dunning-Kruger effect to me.
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Re: How NOT to Conworld.

Post by Salmoneus » 15 Sep 2019 23:26

Ser wrote:
03 Feb 2019 01:37
Salmoneus wrote:
02 Feb 2019 01:22
[...]
Salmoneus, I find these posts you've been writing in this thread extremely interesting. Do you recommend any particular books or authors where I could read more about the interaction of economics and birthrates, economics and the value of people (men or women, capital-owners or labourers), and speculation on the future of our societies where hardly anyone has anything meaningful to do (due to enormous technological development)?
*cough*
Seven months isn't an abnormally long time to reply to a question, is it?

Sadly, and a little embarrassingly, no, I don't have any particular recommendations.

The core observation that I repeatedly trot out (relative price of labour and land) is from a book I read at university that compared and contrasted systems of slavery around the world... but I don't remember its name, unfortunately. On the theoretical side, I've kind of placed that in a system of analysis deriving from basic economics and a dash of Marxism; on the practical side, from assorted readings (usually more websites and articles than scholarly texts, with a few occasional exceptions) about social and economic history, mostly European.


I'd say, when it comes to speculation, on our world or another, I'd try to think in terms of analysing situations from basic principles. Like: what is it valuable to have, and who has it?

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