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  #41  
Old 04-03-2012, 12:44 PM
Oden Oden is offline
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Wouldn't the borderlanders be happy to have neighbours who can aid them?
I've got the impression that the trolloc raids can occur south of the borderlands and that the people living there want a protective ruler. The other countries don't want to spend gold on defending those areas.
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  #42  
Old 04-03-2012, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karak Norn Clansman View Post
Yes, but it is incorrect that it is "too late" to do anything about it. A basic fact of the real world is that it's never too late (because such an attitude is defaitistic). It's essentially a matter of family planning and changed attitutdes, something that may well happen in the close future. The 1930s saw a decline in birth rates, yet the 1940-50s saw markedly higher figures. Too late? Was it too late for China to regain a dominant economic position after its 19th century decline? Of course not, things are looking quite fine for the Chinese. Was it too late to build a better future once the second world war had ruined large parts of Europe? Of course not. And neither is it too late to stabilize the population. Japan for one have plans to do so, and its politicians have waited several decades in order to let their crammed population decrease to a less dense level.

Besides, if I viewed the current developments as something else than only pretty temporary historical ones, pure honesty would force me to view them as a slow, drawn-out implosion of the species as a whole, if the trend persists for centuries to come. But since that seem unlikely and ridiculous, I don't view the current trend as a suicide of the species as a whole (which the case seem to be for imaginary Randland, if the theories about the population decline in WoT are correct). I didn't start this thread to discuss real life politics, however.
A couple of points. First, the coming labour shortage is our problem, now. So yes, to fix it is too late. It can be "fixed" for future egnerations, but not for us. Now, I'm sure we'll deal - it's not all doom and gloom, but you simply can't make more people of the right age appear like magic. The damage was done by the Baby Boomer generation, and themnot having enough kids. Not to mention the fact that the downward trend of declining ppulation and the factors that contribute to them (level of education in women, among many) is not going away and the problem continues into the foreseeable future. Now, when the Baby Boomers all die, we'll reach more of an equilibrium, but for quite some time the people of retirement age will FAR outweighh those of employment age.

And with regards to Randland's trends, population decline has been ongoing since at least the beginning of this Age. It has been for centuries. We know that women have had leadership roles in society since the Breaking, and we know that huge wars affecting all relevant populations ripped through Randland with regular frequency whenever a dynasty or coalition became tolo lage and threatened to overturn the trend of declining birth rates.

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Originally Posted by Davian93 View Post
The easiest solution is already being done...we simply outsource those jobs to cheaper foreign labor where the birth rate is till high...companies win, western citizens lose.
Ah, but there's the rub, Dav. That's not actually the case in the long-term. The trend in the labour market is towards knowledge and sphisticated manufacturing work - all requiring higher education of some sort. As I mentioned earlier - almst all developed countries have a declining birth rate and actually need their own folks to their own work in their own countries. The people they don't need are the ones that we don't need - the undereducated, masses from the "developing" countries (am painting with HUGE brush strokes here). That trend can't continue for much longer, since the labour shortage will affect everyone very soon.
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  #43  
Old 04-03-2012, 01:19 PM
Cortar Cortar is offline
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
One explanation would be that nations in that sense did not exist until we got modern technology.

Another one is that you seem to be forgetting some examples, such Switzerland, Tibet, Austria (which didn't have sea ports for quite a while, I think), Russia for a long time (the Arctic ocean don't count, I hope). Then there were some (how many probably no one knows) in Africa. May have been more in Asia too, but I am not very well versed in the history of that region.
Switzerland is relatively new. Tibet never was very successful. Austria is a bad example because since its inception in 1804, it was not landlocked. It was only landlocked since its loss of territory and new borders.

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There have been several land-locked lands and empires throughout history, the Aztec being among them, as well as the Savanna/Sahel African kingdoms, not to mention Ethiopia. Despite having a long coastline, the Inca empire was pretty landlocked, since it only had small fishing villages by the sea, and used great roads in the mountains instead for most of their transports and communications. The Inca had stafette runners that could bring the Inca ruler high up in the mountains fresh fish from the seashore. Many ancient Middle Eastern and Chinese states flourished despite lacking a coast line, or having very little to do with coastal seafaring. Navigable rivers and coastlines were great assets, but not necessary for creating countries. There were states on the steppes in Central Asia without a single mile of coastline (eg. the Kwarezm).
Aztecs weren't landlocked, but then it doesnt matter because its not like they even had the ability to trade via the water. I wouldn't count African savanna "countries" because they were never that, "countries." They were just groups of people with almost no technology. Inca's are the same as the Aztecs, they weren't landlocked and it wouldn't have mattered. What do you mean by "Chinese" states? Most of their population is near the coast and I can't imagine a time when China didn't have access to ports.
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  #44  
Old 04-03-2012, 02:19 PM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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Originally Posted by Cortar View Post
Switzerland is relatively new.
Only about 700 years old, admittedly.
Still, that's older than the USA, isn't it? Actually, not all that many modern countries are significantly older.

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Tibet never was very successful.
It did have an empire for a couple of centuries.

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Austria is a bad example because since its inception in 1804, it was not landlocked. It was only landlocked since its loss of territory and new borders.
I have to admit that I was not very accurate, here. I was thinking of the Habsburg possessions there, which started out land locked and gained access to the sea only a lot later.
I probably should've mentioned Hungary instead.

Quote:
Aztecs weren't landlocked, but then it doesnt matter because its not like they even had the ability to trade via the water.
They did have some boats, but they didn't really use the sea all that much. To them, it was mostly a boundary. That said, they did start out from living in an inland swamp/lake and then conquering much of present day Mexico.

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Inca's are the same as the Aztecs, they weren't landlocked and it wouldn't have mattered.
How do you mean "the same"?
They were the same in the sense that they were effectively landlocked in that they did not use the sea for more than some incidental fishing. They were decidedly different in that they were a different people living hundreds of miles apart.

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What do you mean by "Chinese" states?
That is probably a reference to the time (times) that China was not one country, as it is now, but was made up out of a whole bunch of countries, quite a few of which were indeed without access to the sea.

And, of course, there's always the Mongols, who managed to acquire the largest empire ever without using many sea going boats at all. The only times they did that I can remember ended in rather bad disasters (that's where the Japanese got the word "kamikaze" from).


And back to the original topic, more or less:
Fashion may also play a role in this.
In Randland, the most powerful women (AS) in general do not have children. This sets the standard for women to not have all that many children.
In Seanchan, the most powerful women (the Empress for instance) do have quite a few children, generally, and this is then copied by the commoners.
Amongst the Aiel, both roofmistresses and wise ones generally do have children, and the other Aiel women copy that.
Thus, Aiel and Seanchan have a population surplus as a result of fashion, while Randlanders have a deficit.

There, ain't you lot happy that I've explained this?
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  #45  
Old 04-03-2012, 03:11 PM
Vanadis Vanadis is offline
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Originally Posted by Cortar View Post
I wouldn't count African savanna "countries" because they were never that, "countries."
I don't know what your definition of "country" is, but if you consider the Aztek's and Mayan's as countries, perhapes the Nok civilization counts? As well as the Ethiopian Empire, the kingdom of Aksum, and the Kingdom of Zimbabwe?
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  #46  
Old 04-03-2012, 03:26 PM
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suttree suttree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
In Randland, the most powerful women (AS) in general do not have children. This sets the standard for women to not have all that many children.
I'm not sure that really follows...
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  #47  
Old 04-03-2012, 04:41 PM
Cortar Cortar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
Only about 700 years old, admittedly.
Still, that's older than the USA, isn't it? Actually, not all that many modern countries are significantly older.
Well let me clarify. Modern Switzerland has only been around for a 150 years. You are right though, but Switzerland is almost a special case since its unique geography allows it to be somewhat isolated which means it isn't as threatened by its neighbors as most countries.

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It did have an empire for a couple of centuries.
Well the Tibetan empire here has ocean access.

Quote:
I have to admit that I was not very accurate, here. I was thinking of the Habsburg possessions there, which started out land locked and gained access to the sea only a lot later.
I probably should've mentioned Hungary instead.
Even so, Hungary is relatively close to sea trade, especially considering how far Andor is from any sort of sea based trade.

Quote:
They did have some boats, but they didn't really use the sea all that much. To them, it was mostly a boundary. That said, they did start out from living in an inland swamp/lake and then conquering much of present day Mexico.

How do you mean "the same"?
They were the same in the sense that they were effectively landlocked in that they did not use the sea for more than some incidental fishing. They were decidedly different in that they were a different people living hundreds of miles apart.
I think we can disregard SA cultures in this discussion because I meant this to be about cultures with the technology level of Randland.

Quote:
That is probably a reference to the time (times) that China was not one country, as it is now, but was made up out of a whole bunch of countries, quite a few of which were indeed without access to the sea.

Quote:
And, of course, there's always the Mongols, who managed to acquire the largest empire ever without using many sea going boats at all. The only times they did that I can remember ended in rather bad disasters (that's where the Japanese got the word "kamikaze" from).
Mongols are an exception, though to be honest their empire didn't really survive very long...
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  #48  
Old 04-04-2012, 11:40 PM
Great Lord of the Dark Great Lord of the Dark is offline
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Default Population decline not a problem

The main reason people seem to think population decline is a problem is that our pension funds cannot be sustained without more suckers entering than claiming from the pot.

Without a need to have children -labor for farms, overcome losses to disease, a status symbol - there is no reason other than personal preference to dictate birth rates. Comparisons to old times are not valid, they had no modern health care (which keeps deaths at historic lows) and no modern contraception with extremely high rates of efficacy and accessibility. Given these two factors, every industrialized country has had plunging birth rates below replacement rate, and there is absolutely no incentive for this to change. The only place where these factors have had no effect so far is sub-saharan Africa.

The birth rate will continue to fall in place swhere it hasn't already, and people will have babies if they want them, and for no other reason. People will live longer, so population may rise for a while yet, but population declines seem plausible, and do not have to result in sever dislocations.

Back in the Wheel of Time, there is no reason that population can't have been consistently growing. Disease is the biggest factor in population decrease, not war, or famine. All Ishamael's contrivances to kill and pillage can be undone with a few germ-free centuries. Who's to say that there's even been a decline, there could just as easily have been eligration from the inhospitable areas to other nearby nations.
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