"Something that I hadn't considered before: would it be possible to move people into target areas (before attacks) or radiated areas (afterwards) by using conventional and/or area denial weapons?"
I don't think so. Generally if you want to increase casualties you would want to have people concentrated as much as possible, so move people into already large cities. However, people during wartime (and pandemics) usually tend to move out from such places, this is shown both by historical experience and to me seems to be the logical way to act (as cities are targeted due to critical infrastructure they contain and most services cities offer become severely limited).
Even if the countryside were targeted deliberately for this effect, conventional weapons cannot be used efficiently for this kind of area denial, for such nuclear weapons seem to be the most effective, maybe alongside with chemical weapons, but those have the same limitation (fallout directed by weather conditions, wind in particular) with far less power.
I travel back in time to the 1170s and shoot Temüjin, aka Genghis Khan, before he could establish his empire.
Although there had been good policies he promoted (e.g., religious tolerance, trade), the probable upsides vastly outweigh this.
Just to name a few that I consider to be most important:
1. During the Mongol conquest tens of millions perished. This had been the approximately third bloodiest "conflict" in all human history. However, unlike e.g. the World Wars, where several large belligerents existed without a single pivotal person (e.g., even without a Hitler, a bloody Second World War could have happened, just as a first one did in the same region between the same states) and almost all of it could have been avoided if the Mongol Empire is not formed at all.
2. As part of these conquests Baghdad and it's Grand Library was destroyed, which were the center of Islamic scholarship of that time. Most likely this had been a huge factor in the decline of secularism and scientific inquiry in the Middle East.
3. The mainstream theory regarding the spread of Black Death in Europe says it arrived via Genoese traders who fled from the Mongol siege of Kaffa, Crimea, where mongols catapulted infected corpses over the city walls. If really that was the source, avoiding this could have changed the prevented/delayed the spread of the disease and deathtoll might have been much lower.
As these all would have happened about 8 centuries ago, the long term effects would be even greater.
I did not find a designated page, so I am going to test the spoiler function here.
>! test spoiler 123456
This reminds me of Seneca.
Your modern parables give a better frame for some of his advises:
"Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?”"
Good idea, I might actually try this one.
Some questions on implementation:
When do you set your daily goals? Are you doing this exercise each morning of the particular day, or are you setting these on the evening before?
Do you have specific time slots set to update the tracking or do you do that each time you complete a task?
Did you change something in the process since you started using it (e.g., something that seemed too arduous or ineffective)?
As per above, it is a difficult question. However, even if we found a good solution, the issue has become so politicised that carrying out any plan without massive disruption by interest groups is unavoidable.
Well, integrating all our best knowledge of social sciences for SciFi is hard. I am not sure if I can judge if it was successful or not in most cases. What I can point out instead is a couple of works where something like this had been attempted, as the author gave serious thought on how different technology and environment would affect society:
I think you made a very good point on why Paul Graham's example in itself is not as strong as it may seem: there are already investors and founders who are paying something similar in the form of inflation and capital gains tax.
I think you also made a not entirely fair comparison: founders of companies and stock investors are not in the same position.
For a stock investor it might not be a such a great difference if you pay your tax in one portion after 15 years or if you pay the same distributed to 15 distinct tax years.*
However, for a founder of a not-yet-public-company this is not the case. Imagine if you own 10% of a startup after you receive venture capital of 100 M USD for 50% of all stocks. That gets your 10% valued at 10 M. Still, it is entirely possible that you have hardly any cashflow and and can barely make ends meet, yet now with a 0,5% wealth tax you owe 50,000 a year to IRS. You have to get that 50k for each year until your company goes public and you can actually sell your shares, which might be 5-10 years down the road, if you ever get there.
*of course, even as a public market investor you would face additional transaction costs of converting your assets to cash when tax payment is due.
Thanks for these great ideas.
I am quite confused by the concept of willpower, which is, as you put it, "fuzzy". On one side, I encounter a lot of advice like yours, where we are urged to preserve it, like a limited resource. On the other hand, there are other advice out there that supposedly help us increase our willpower, using the same concepts that we increase our physical fitness with. These usually involve doing uncomfortable tasks, like having cold showers or focusing on specific objects.
If I assume willpower works the same way as muscles, creating a very systematic life where one barely needs to use it would weaken it in the long term. Though, it is possible that we are actually overusing so much that using systems actually gives the same kind of rest our body needs after a workout before it could get stronger.
Is there a good reconciliation of the preserve vs. develop willpower debate?