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Accurate Death Toll of 20th Century

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Dec 31, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    If you consider it rude to reduce human suffering to cold statistics, you don't have to. Turn away now.
    On the other hand, if you believe that numbers matter, then you'll probably want to know the correct numbers [n.1]. On these pages, I have collected a variety of body counts for all the major atrocities of the 20th Century and set them out for you to examine. I have tried to keep commentary to a minimum, although I would have to be a robot to avoid passing occasional judgement on the accuracy of some of these estimates. (You might want to read my introduction on the uncertainty of atrocity statistics, and my footnote on the morality of atrocity statistics, if you haven't already.)

    I haven't had time to look deeper in to this, but interesting stuff nevertheless.
    Death Toll Stats.
  2. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    I ran across that site some time back, debating elsewhere. It does appear to be legitimate research and it's quite sobering.
  3. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    <small>Quoted from the page,</small>
    "...one out of every 22 (or 4.5%) human deaths during the 20th Century have been caused by fellow humans."

    If ever there was an obscene figure to behold, this is it. There is neither adequate explanation nor excuse. With 2003 quickly approaching and talk of imminent war, let us hope we can drastically reduce this statistic in the coming year lest we ourselves be reduced to numbers on a list.
  4. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I doubt we will.

    Did you see the website? I mean, I have a lot of those conflicts catalogued in my brain but to see it page, after page, after page, this country and that, final tally, that country, and its own people, final tally.

    100 Years and what was the total? 200 million dead? 2 million per year.
  5. -Ken

    -Ken Guest


    I could only stand looking at a couple of pages.
    I believe I saw one estimate of 186,000,000 and started to wonder how big a pile that is?

    Does it cover Texas three deep? Maybe I should have chosen a smaller state?

    How much did it cost? How much did it cost humanity in resources to exterminate almost the entire US population? Are we really any better off for it?

    Or most importantly, who is next in line and how can my family, my friends and I stay off that list? After all, there are priorities!
  6. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I don't think there's any safe place left on earth. There are degrees, but nothing is out of question any longer.
  7. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    While no one deserves deserves to die prematurely (well, maybe a small minority do), the bottom line is every person who was ever born, either has or will die. I truly believe all of us are on this planet for only a very short time, whether you die at age 9 or 90. The numbers you have shown are impressive, but I believe there are more people (as a percentage of the total populations) living until a natural death in the 20th century than in any other time in history. I have no figures to back this up, but I can't think of any other time that was really less violent. The only problem with this would be that our technology this last century allowed for more death during warfare, but I'm not sure if that is enough to make a difference. I'd be interested on your thoughts on this. Has humanity's ability to wage technologial war outpaced our medical advances? Interesting question.
  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Whoa, excellent post, InsAgt. Some hard questions there as well.

    I FELT that 20th century saved more than it killed. Vaccinations alone has saved millions, but there were other, more darker times like with AIDS. A completely new virus that goes after the heart of the immune system. See Africa's death toll for the devastation there.

    How many wars and devastation has the 19th century have? We have had some big wars (Civil, Europe was ravaged by Napoleon, etc...).
  9. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    We're so able to slaughter each other with impunity now, you'd think there was no comparison between muskets and laser guided weaponry. Still, if you were shot by a musket in the 17th century, you'd be more likely to die than shot by a .308 AK round today because we can do so much more medically. I can't even begin to imagine going up against one of Rome's legions, but their battles weren't as big in scale as those in the last century. The 19th century really had a little of both worlds. Battles on a more massive scale, and relatively poor medical care. Probably combined for the least favorable conditions to survive.
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Well now, yah, I agree. But what about the 20th century trench wars? The diseases, the amputations, the gangrene, etc...
  11. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Until the advent of antibiotics and other 20th century medical advances, amputation was thebest lifesaving method for many gunshot wounds. Like I said, I have no hard facts, but I feel even with our enhaced ability to slaughter and maim, more survived in the 20th century than (as a percentage of those in harms way) than in previous centuries. You must adjust everything for the tremendous population growth which has occurred for this to be true.
  12. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    From a slightly different perspective, humans have only two natural predators of any worth left:

    1. Disease
    2. Other humans

    Wild animal populations are kept in check by the availability of food (related to land area), the presence of disease, and predation.

    Humans can feed themselves, political shortcomings aside. Our medicine allows us to sustain high population densities without widespread epidemics, while at the same time extending life expectancy and increasing fertility.

    The only check on our population is warfare. For no other reason, I don't think we'll see any utopian vision of peace and harmony, ever. The death toll from warfare will increase.

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