enismirdal: (Bee!11)
[personal profile] enismirdal
OK, so thought experiment...

A magic portal opens up between you and a magical parallel universe that's pre-industrial (or near-as) - think Narnia, Arda, Damar, Valdemar, pick your poison - and you get to control what influence from our collective Earth culture goes through. What do you introduce, and what do you intentionally deny/spare them?

I mean, we need to make a few assumptions: do they have polio? Is it the same as our polio? If the new world has preventable diseases that are like ours, and we have vaccines/treatments, I couldn't in good faith hold them back. I mean, could you really say, "Sorry, we want to keep your culture and world pure, so your daughter is just going to have to get polio, oh well"?

And I guess if they grow, say, potatoes, and we grow potatoes, and we have better yielding varieties, I'd want to introduce the new varieties, because how can you really refuse a community the option of increasing their yields by 200% or something? But you'd have to do it without introducing all the associated pests and diseases.

But they probably have their own crop pests and diseases. So do you introduce pesticides? If I met a culture and I wanted to help, could I, in good conscience, say, "Look, here's lambda-cyhalothrin, I'll sell it to you"?

Of course, then it gets more complicated. If they had massive reserves of a trace metal, like vanadium or something and an unnamed other Earth government approached them, bypassing you, saying, "Look, if you let us mine your vanadium, we'll build you nice roads and sell you cheap cars and cool gizmos," how hard do you argue with the hypothetical magic Queen that no, she really doesn't want that to happen to her country and the road-building will involve introduction of invasive plants, the quarrying will rip out sections of forest and grassland and they won't be the same for millennia, etc.

Makes me want to write a novel. I guess the Sparrow and Children of God touched on some of the ideas, but were really about other matters.

Perhaps I'll doodle some scenes about it...
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enismirdal: (Default)

May 2017


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