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Prolong is killing the Solarian Union

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Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by Torlek   » Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:47 pm

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We all know that the Solarian League has several big problems, which make it's downfall in the foreseeable future likely. The MA, the corruption, the political system to name just a few.
However I would argue that none of these are the true root cause for the problems of the Solarian League. Political systems need to change to conform to changing conditions to survive in the long term. Much like a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it, political systems that are not externally controlled innovate when the young idealistic innovator has become the boss.
Since there is no external pressure to replace the de facto leadership of the Solarian League, the only way to become the boss is to be the designated heir of the old boss. Historically that meant that the Solarian leadership was "only" 40 or so years out of date.
The current leadership of the Solarian League is the first generation, that has prolong. Which means, they obtained their position after a career that would have been near its natural end in the past but are able to remain at their post for centuries. That produces two fatal problems: 1. No more innovation. 2. Less career opportunities for the following generations.
The current crises of the Solarian League is provoked, by it's leadership, which makes decisions, that are not grounded in reality. The leadership is unable to recognize reality, because they are old and set in their ways and in conflict with political and military systems, that just survived 20 years of brutal Darwinian pressure to innovate due to warfare.
I would suspect that the main reason for the rampart corruption of the SL is the fact the officials on all levels have almost no advancement opportunities, due to superiors not retiring. Therefore the temptation to at least advance oneself financially is great.
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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by Annachie   » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:39 pm

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Elizabeth Moon addressed some of that in her Famailias Regnant series, to the point of one of the big political families/factions had a rule that it's leader was banned from prolong treatments.

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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by Loren Pechtel   » Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:52 pm

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Yup, a fossilized society will end up utterly defeated by an innovative one. Example: China. Example: Japan.
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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by JohnRoth   » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:18 pm

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Torlek wrote:We all know that the Solarian League has several big problems, which make it's downfall in the foreseeable future likely. The MA, the corruption, the political system to name just a few.
However I would argue that none of these are the true root cause for the problems of the Solarian League. Political systems need to change to conform to changing conditions to survive in the long term. Much like a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it, political systems that are not externally controlled innovate when the young idealistic innovator has become the boss.
Since there is no external pressure to replace the de facto leadership of the Solarian League, the only way to become the boss is to be the designated heir of the old boss. Historically that meant that the Solarian leadership was "only" 40 or so years out of date.
The current leadership of the Solarian League is the first generation, that has prolong. Which means, they obtained their position after a career that would have been near its natural end in the past but are able to remain at their post for centuries. That produces two fatal problems: 1. No more innovation. 2. Less career opportunities for the following generations.
The current crises of the Solarian League is provoked, by it's leadership, which makes decisions, that are not grounded in reality. The leadership is unable to recognize reality, because they are old and set in their ways and in conflict with political and military systems, that just survived 20 years of brutal Darwinian pressure to innovate due to warfare.
I would suspect that the main reason for the rampart corruption of the SL is the fact the officials on all levels have almost no advancement opportunities, due to superiors not retiring. Therefore the temptation to at least advance oneself financially is great.


I haven't seen anyone who deals with life extension and the necessity to avoid overrunning the environment in a realistic fashion. If we lived for 300 years and maintained a stable population, then there would have to be some significant changes.

The result would probably not be anything we recognize. You could not, for example, have a system where one person can monopolize a position for 200 years while their "natural" successors age. See the current situation with the British royal family for an example of how this works out without life extension.
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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:53 pm

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JohnRoth wrote:The result would probably not be anything we recognize. You could not, for example, have a system where one person can monopolize a position for 200 years while their "natural" successors age.


The RMN's long-established policy of rotating officer between fleet and staff positions is the kind of policy that will mitigate some of the effects of Prolong. The requirement for a general election every five years, or less, will also mitigate some of the potential problems.

The Solarian League, Anderman Empire, Republic of Haven, and the individual oligarchies in the Talbott Quadrant will all have to make some adjustment in order to survive. Some more than others.

The biggest problem Prolong is going to cause is over-population -- most worlds described in the Honorverse are already over-populated to my mind, anyway. Without rather draconian limits on reproduction -- far more restrictive than Beowulf's "one child" policy -- eventually a planets population will expand beyond all possibility of supporting itself. Aggressive exploration and emigration policies are about the only non-dystopian path I can think of off-hand; even that could devolve into a dystopian society that uses forced exile to get rid of the evolutionary elements it would need to remain healthy.
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Answers! I got lots of answers!

(Now if I could just find the right questions.)
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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by Somtaaw   » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:01 am

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Weird Harold wrote:The biggest problem Prolong is going to cause is over-population -- most worlds described in the Honorverse are already over-populated to my mind, anyway. Without rather draconian limits on reproduction -- far more restrictive than Beowulf's "one child" policy -- eventually a planets population will expand beyond all possibility of supporting itself. Aggressive exploration and emigration policies are about the only non-dystopian path I can think of off-hand; even that could devolve into a dystopian society that uses forced exile to get rid of the evolutionary elements it would need to remain healthy.



The problem isn't really over-population, but that most of that population seems to be lazy gits. I can't remember exactly who on these forums (repeatedly) pointed out how ridiculous it is that only 1% of the Manticore binary system's 3 billion people are involved in the manufacturing, and only another few % are in the RMN or merchant guilds.

A grand total of a few hundred million people, out of 3+ billion are your entire primary industry, navy, and traders, and everyone else is doing.... what? Even all the nobility in Manticore only comes up to say forty thousand, the nobility servants might bring that upto a total of hundred thousand.

Queen turned Empress Elizabeth's servants might number another hundred thousand; if you lump in the actual servants with the general support staff we've been told Honor has working in her Harrington Steading "embassies" of Bay House and the Harrington House on Grayson.


if memory serves from those previous posts about population to manning requirements of something resembling WWII, the RMN could be putting upto 30% of the Manticore population in uniform; which comes out to almost a billion. As of one of Honor's briefings from Admiral Cortez (I think circa Flag in Exile) they only actually had a few million in uniform and/or wearing someone else's uniform.

With the manning requirements, and excluding Marines or Army, the RMN with one billion uniformed personnel could field something like the entire SLN Battle Fleet (active and reserve) of over ten thousand modern podnoughts and still have enough personnel left over for Marine and Army formations and probably even Nike battlecruisers, plus the screening LAC's, Rolands, and Saganami-C's.
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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by kzt   » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:12 am

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Back from the suspension of disbelief thread I posted this, and I stand by it.
I personally have no idea what most of the inhabitants of the SKM do. We have this tiny percentage that did all the manufacturing (tiny as in .02% of the population), a another 0.05% that supported that industry in space, and less than 1% part of the military. I'll guess another 5% are minor children, So as far as I can tell we have NO IDEA what more than 90% of the population does that is so critical to the economy and war making potential of the SKM that they can't be allowed to join the military. But David says they are.

I know there are doctors, taxi drivers (really? - but see AAC Chapter 30) and some rare expensive restaurants and bars that have actual waiters, waitresses and bar tenders, some sort of financial sector, a bunch of merchant ships with tiny crews, and people running warehouses and repair/maint shops at the junction based on the text, but how it all somehow makes a hugely prosperous economy is something that just doesn't work for me.
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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by noblehunter   » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:29 am

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kzt wrote:Back from the suspension of disbelief thread I posted this, and I stand by it.
I personally have no idea what most of the inhabitants of the SKM do. We have this tiny percentage that did all the manufacturing (tiny as in .02% of the population), a another 0.05% that supported that industry in space, and less than 1% part of the military. I'll guess another 5% are minor children, So as far as I can tell we have NO IDEA what more than 90% of the population does that is so critical to the economy and war making potential of the SKM that they can't be allowed to join the military. But David says they are.

I know there are doctors, taxi drivers (really? - but see AAC Chapter 30) and some rare expensive restaurants and bars that have actual waiters, waitresses and bar tenders, some sort of financial sector, a bunch of merchant ships with tiny crews, and people running warehouses and repair/maint shops at the junction based on the text, but how it all somehow makes a hugely prosperous economy is something that just doesn't work for me.
There's finance, agriculture, journalism, arts and entertainment, distribution, retail, artisans, design and aesthetics, and all the people to support these people.

That's good for another 1% or 2% of the population? Though most of the jobs would just be robot or AI watching.
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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by Somtaaw   » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:58 pm

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kzt wrote:Back from the suspension of disbelief thread I posted this, and I stand by it.
I personally have no idea what most of the inhabitants of the SKM do. We have this tiny percentage that did all the manufacturing (tiny as in .02% of the population), a another 0.05% that supported that industry in space, and less than 1% part of the military. I'll guess another 5% are minor children, So as far as I can tell we have NO IDEA what more than 90% of the population does that is so critical to the economy and war making potential of the SKM that they can't be allowed to join the military. But David says they are.

I know there are doctors, taxi drivers (really? - but see AAC Chapter 30) and some rare expensive restaurants and bars that have actual waiters, waitresses and bar tenders, some sort of financial sector, a bunch of merchant ships with tiny crews, and people running warehouses and repair/maint shops at the junction based on the text, but how it all somehow makes a hugely prosperous economy is something that just doesn't work for me.



I'd wanted to say it was you, but after the last time I (mistakenly) said it was you, I hedged my bet.

Even with minors, finance, agriculture, and all the other fields noble pointed out, Manticore still has a good 80%+ of it's population totally unaccounted for. And the Old Star Kingdom alone, excluding San Martin is what, around 3.6 billion around ART?

It starts getting even worse when we start trynig to figure out what San Martin's population is doing with its own highly educated, modern society. Talbott Quadrant obviously isn't upto Manticore's education standards, but they're planning to only do a small system defense component and then primarily supplying ground troops to the Manticoran military (Imperial Manticoran Forces?)
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Re: Prolong is killing the Solarian Union
Post by munroburton   » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:32 pm

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Manticore isn't exempt from the same problems. In fact, they might be exacerbated in some ways, thanks to the nature of the monarchy and aristocracy - at least the Solly bureaucrats can retire or transfer to the corporate sector. Had their respective assassins not struck, King Roger III and Duke Cromarty could have governed Manticore until the 2100s.

Much of those problems could be alleviated if society shifts to a perspective where they have children later, sometimes much later. Honor was sixty-two when she had Raoul, after all. Hamish was a hundred and one.
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