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Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/03/2009 5:29 PM

My friends and I have a disagreement on what would happen if 40% of the general population in the United States died within a 30 day span of time. Any thoughts on this subject?

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#1

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/03/2009 9:30 PM

For one thing, short of cremating all the bodies, the place wouldn't smell very pleasant after a while . Long term though, if the population doesn't recover, then there'll be a great reduction in resource consumption.

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#10
In reply to #1

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 11:58 AM

I heard that 10% of all people that ever lived, are alive today...

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#2

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/03/2009 9:35 PM

It would be easier to find parking close in for those of us who survive, and it might also be possible to make more than three quality technical sales calls to clients in Chicago in a single day as the traffic and toll booth back-ups would be reduced.

If by 'General Population,' you meant the population of US Generals, Well, the answer would be promotions of full bird Colonels to fill the vacancies.

And the pensions for the 40% of the retired Generals who woke up deceased would be discontinued, so perhaps a taxcut?

On a somewhat more serious note, if you meant US population in general, I expect declaration of force majeur in almost every contract, and the end of the concept of "insurance" as a business. Finding counterparties to offset risks will once again be with 'bookies.'

last but not least. Should be able to fly coast to coast with noone in the middle seat...

milo "If you think this could happen, maybe you should buy stock in tissue companies and florists as people use a lot of tissues and flowers at funerals over here."

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#3

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 12:45 AM

What would happen in large part depends on why it happened. Would there be cause for panic? Or would it bring us more together? What part of the population was most affected, or why did the rest survive? Did the San Andreas fault give us a new west coast? Swine flu or fallout? I think people would react differently to each of these.

If cooler heads prevailed, if we guarded against opportunistic hegemony, the adaptable will survive.

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#4
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Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 1:57 AM

If a pandemic spread quickly across the country, or electrical power suddenly vanished, and ultimately 40% of men, women, and children died within 30 days, what would happen?

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#5
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Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 3:03 AM

Why are you asking this?

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#6
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Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 6:03 AM

I'm in the process of writing a sci-fi book. The question came up while discussing plot lines. I was surprised at the variance of answers among the crowd, and that some people got upset by my viewpoint. I wondered what a more scientific group would have to say about this subject.

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#7
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Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 6:15 AM

Try watching the Dustin Hoffman movie "Outbreak" for ideas as to how the government may try to contain a pandemic of a lethal disease. One thing for certain would be that the conveniences of life that everyone takes for granted will suddenly be gone.

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#8

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 9:10 AM

The answer, in part, depends upon which 40% of the U.S. population perished.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 12:21 PM

I'm not sure there is a "which" involved in this question. If four out of ten of your closest relatives, neighbors, business associates, and friends died in the next four weeks, what would happen?

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#14
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Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/05/2009 3:22 AM

Would the USA's greenhouse gas emissions drop by 40%?

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#9

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 10:34 AM

Not to be gruesome, but long and short term consequences can be extrapolated by examining AIDS in northern Africa.

Since AIDS targets(?) a fairly specific age/gender blend, you will need to compensate for your particular pandemic.

Christian Science Monitor did a series on the subject - and being CSM there were hosts of links to the authoritative studies. But AIDS has basically taken an entire generation's most productive years off the chart, so there are shortages of teachers, post men, parents...

Hope it helps - and glad to hear you don't know something we don't (wow that sounds strange)

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#12

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 2:18 PM

You could probably add another 40% on top of the figure you created within a few months after the 30 days have elapsed.

Frugal living would eventuate after 12 to 24 months.

An anomaly would be the invasion of the remaining populace by a foreign power...further reducing population numbers.

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#13
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Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/04/2009 2:43 PM

I'm agreeing with your evaluation. I don't think this economy (or government) would survive such an event.

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#15

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/05/2009 5:32 AM

This was a popular sci fi theme in the 60's and early 70's.

Generally, centralized government would collapse under it's own weight and the fact that all assumptions under which government works would no longer be valid.

Some form of de facto feudal government would probably emerge as this seems one of the most stable forms of civilization in turbulent times. The weak seek protectors, the protectors require their allegiance so a feudal system develops

The population drop in Europe during the early middle ages was a strong factor favoring the development of feudalism.

The majority of services we take for granted would no longer function and people would be forced back to a subsistence or semi-subsistence lifestyle. (Somewhat like the greens want to foist on us now.)

I agree that in the next year or so, probably at least half the survivors would be dead.

A sudden change in population would cause immense social dislocation and a large rise in lawlessness as gangs took what they wanted.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Long-term Consquences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/05/2009 1:19 PM

I had reached the same conclusion, but had not yet come to equate it with the middle age. Certainly it would be an apt example.

The panic in urban centers, the rush to leave overly populated areas, will certainly cause its own casualties. Roads exiting cities would quickly become blocked, and anyone who did get out would not be welcomed in outlying communities.

The number of dead bodies alone will poison water supplies, trigger disease, and create a whole new pattern of fatalities.

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#17

Re: Long-term Consequences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/11/2009 2:30 PM

If this happened suddenly, without warning, a certain percent of the population would turn toward their faith for an answer. But crime would spike. The monetary system would fail and barter would become the norm.

Certainly marshal law would kick in. Government would have to become almost fanatical to survive and provide essential services where it could.

Some of the other outcomes would depend on which 40% of the whole died. For the baby boomers, it feels a little like that is happening with their parents. But it is a long way from 40%. Regulations on polution would be relaxed as the need for utilities, heat, refridgeration, etc. would remain in high demand. There would probably be some factions similar to the guys on the old oil tanker in Water World.

A lot of the response would come from how it happened. But war would be likely as the nasty nature of people came out. Access to resources would drive this.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Long-term Consequences of Major Reduction in U.S. Population

05/11/2009 5:47 PM

It would certainly, in the short term anyway, turn into a dog-eat-dog world. I'd guess within a year or so, some sort of tribal or small community centers would unify, probably around strong leaders and defensible positions. If "war" developed, it would probably be on a localized front, unless, of course, we were the only country affected. However, in this global economy, something on this scale would almost certainly be a world-wide event, or at least have world-wide consequences.

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CraziestOzzy (1); DVader1000 (3); edignan (1); Kizmet (6); Milo (1); NotUrOrdinaryJoe (1); PWSlack (1); Quobaldt (1); sceptic (1); Steve Melito (1); Tippycanoe (1)

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