Inspired By: Logistics: How to move humanity onto a spaceship that is being built from planet Earth?

Exactly as the title says. In the linked question, the OP is wanting to know how to move all of humanity onto a spaceship. This is a less grand version of the same thing.

A government wants to move a certain population for certain reasons of their own (ie not because of an impending natural disaster or outside forces). What would the government have to do to ensure cooperation and how could the government convince even the most stubborn of people to obey? We've all heard the stories of people dying in disasters because they refused to evacuate their homes. It happens. We know humanity can be the most obstinate animals on this planet.

How could the government get a population of people to move from one place to another with minimal resistance and unrest? The best answer should be able to explain for different population sizes (ie 100, 1000, 1 hundred thousand, 1 million) and for different population makeups (age variation, socio-economic variation, cultural variation). Additionally, the goal is to use as little force as necessary, but if needed, you can use physical force, but explain why it'd be needed.

For example, in some cases when Native Americans were asked to move from certain places, they had to be forced to move due to cultural significance of the area. I imagine if you tried to forcibly remove either Jews or Muslims from Palestine, they'd act in quite the volatile manner in order to stop you.

Government's reason could be anything, but for simplicity, let's just say the government has reason to desire the land the group is in. If you think the method would need to change based off of the reason, please include that in your answer.

The government already knows where they are shipping the people off to. They have the resources to move them. If people ask, the government can give them an answer. That said, where the government says they'll take the people vs where they are actually taken do not necessarily have to line up. They are just trying to move the people.


closed as too broad by RonJohn, elemtilas, James Nov 19 '18 at 22:24

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Don't stick a vital condition at the very end, after mentioning so many generalities; put it in the first paragraph. It still might be too broad, since moving 100 people is manifestly different from moving 1 million people. The Too Broad description is "Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer." Do that and it's reasonable that I retract the VTC. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 17 '18 at 20:51
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    $\begingroup$ And finding a place to put 100 people (with all that entails: food, shelter, sanitation, something for them to do) is orders of magnitude different than for 1,000,000 people. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 17 '18 at 20:54
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    $\begingroup$ "Finding the place is irrelevant." Sure it is. People are a lot more resistant when they don't know where they'll go versus knowing that they'd be able to take all their belongings and where they're going is comparable to where they live now. Too Broad. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 17 '18 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ @SoraTamashii this is multiple questions in one. Your question is too broad. $\endgroup$ – user49466 Nov 17 '18 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ It's not as if governments don't have a lot of practice, or that such exercises are not well documented. For example, Mr. Lavrentiy Beria, under orders from Mr. Joseph Stalin, famously deported 200,000 Crimean Tatars in 3 days (18 to 20 May 1944; and in 1942 Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the relocation and internment of 120,000 Americans who had eyes of the wrong shape, and it was carried out exemplarily. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Nov 17 '18 at 22:14

The minimal force will be clear orders for executing the process, massive reprisals for resistance.

  • Ensure the subject population has a mimimum of arms, ensure the master population has a near monopoly on effective arms.

  • Issue an edict to take effect within hours, in order to allow the subject population a minimum amount of time to organize resistance. The edict gives a clear set of instructions, provides transport, is properly staffed w/ food & water & security.

  • Drive them into holding areas/ghettos, allowed only a few hand-carried possessions, which are thoroughly checked, from where evacuation can be effected batch-wise. Any valuables/monies to be confiscated, with a pledge of return upon arrival, to minimize the bribery option.

  • Load up, ship the people out to their new destination. Ensure the necessaries await them upon arrival, to minimize rioting.

  • Do a follow-up back in the evacuation zones to round up stragglers, send them on their way in a second round, assuring all that any further resistance to expulsion will be met with immediate lethal force.

That will do it, more or less. The threat of force, the likely application of it to demonstrate its effectiveness, will be indispensable.

There is no nice/cute/tricky way to to deprive people of their homeland.

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    $\begingroup$ Of the answers, this seems like the best one. While I want to afford opportunity to other users, I'll wait til 24 hours from asking to select best answer, but if no better answers appear, I will select yours. $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Nov 18 '18 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ its sort of the common sensical apporach i think. the threat of force, a willingness to use it, would seem absolutely necessary, since getting a large number of people to do something very much against their interest, enforced by a smaller number, cannot be a thoroughly gentle process. $\endgroup$ – theRiley Nov 18 '18 at 5:56
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    $\begingroup$ Also important for this: that the rest of the population is enthusiastic or at least cooperative of this process. A massive propraganda drive through state-controlled media to demonize the designated group might be in order. And I heard striped pyamas are all the rage these days. $\endgroup$ – Borgh Nov 19 '18 at 8:00

A government wants to move a certain population for certain reasons of their own (ie not because of an impending natural disaster or outside forces).

Yes because of a disaster. An unnatural, staged disaster.

This is the method used in Close Encounters of the Third Kind to get citizenry out of the alien rendezvous site: a fake train derailment with some toxic threat. This is what your government can use. Best thing - it does not need to be fake. Have it happen. A Bhopal-scale industrial disaster of some sort will get people moving. If citizens skeptical of their government decide to sneak over and check it out they will return with wide eyes, ready to grab their families and go.

The government entities organizing the containment and evacuation do not need to be in on the master plan. They know there was a bad accident and they will work to contain it. Persons trying to evacuate the citizenry know there was a bad toxic spill and are trying to keep people safe. It will all ring true because it will be true.

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    $\begingroup$ A clever means of getting people to move of their own accord. While it would definitely get people out, that wouldn't necessarily get people to go where the government wants them to, but that wasn't stated as a critical feature. I like this answer for its cleverness and ingenuity. $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Nov 19 '18 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ Please refrain from answering questions that are very clearly too broad. $\endgroup$ – James Nov 19 '18 at 22:29

Convince the people that the move is temporary.

Willingly convincing people to abandon their homes is a lost cause. No matter what you promise them, there will be some who will believe that the home they are losing is worth more than the future they will be receiving.

But a vacation doesn't come with the same sort of loss associated with it. I can take a month cruise while my town is being fumigated without losing my home - it will still be there when the cruise is over.

And if the cruise ship turns into a spaceship and flies off, well at that point it's too late to do anything about it.

  • $\begingroup$ I see making use of the Sunk Cost fallacy. Clever! $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Nov 19 '18 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ @SoraTamashii not so much sunk cost as hidden cost. For the first leg of the journey th ey don't know that they won't be able to return home. By the time that they do know, you've taken away their means to go back. $\endgroup$ – Arcanist Lupus Nov 20 '18 at 7:15

The government will intentionally leave behind those that don't want to come.

The effect of this selection is that they now have a population of commonsensical and/or obedient subjects in the new place, which will make both governing more easy and the community more communitarian.

This answer is based on the premise of my question which inspired this question, where the goal is not to depopulate the old land for a new purpose but to save the population and survive in a new place.

  • $\begingroup$ Well the goal in this question was left vague with an example goal being given for people who need something to work with. Haha $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Nov 19 '18 at 22:05

They're led to believe the new place will provide significantly more riches, happiness, "peace and love" maybe in the form of a promised land (religion is a great motivator), a utopia of sorts (ideology is a great motivator) - even if it's just a lie -
They're led to believe the current area they inhabit will become / is toxic, even deadly
They realise, those remaining in the area in question will somehow be looked down on by society or outcast (arguably, this could be part of B)
They "understand" that resistance to move will be met by overwhelming force

In conclusion, no matter what approach, there will always be resistance that will have to be met with bribery and / or force.

History has told many of these stories so far and they usually were involuntary, brutal, often almost eradicating those that resisted or were dislocated.

Human nature doesn't do radical change too well especially when it isn't for the better and even more so when it comes to ones home, the nest we built or other property as well as personal freedom.

If the force (or threat thereof) is strong enough people will submit but eventually there will be uprising if the grand promises weren't kept or the situation becomes unbearable, even if it takes decades or centuries, so good luck with your peacful relocation!
...why can't governments just leave people be...always meddling smh (;


Pay them.

They have a choice. Move voluntarily and get a nice free house and a big pile of spending money to start their new life. Or, resist, and be moved by the military and get nothing. Its not as uneconomical as it sounds, when you consider the cost of bringing the military in to move people.

  • $\begingroup$ True, in the US at least there's a precedent called imminent domain where the government can buy what you own at a price they decide is fair. They need to justify it as a necessary expense for the betterment of the people or some nonsense like that, but at least in the US the idea isn't unheard of. $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Nov 19 '18 at 22:03

Gold Rush

That was my immediate thought upon reading the title. How to get a large amount of people to move from one place to another? Offer them a new chance at a better life, be that through riches, land, or some other means.

If the people already have a great life, steadily make their life worse, through such nonviolent means as economics and hobbled police forces (and make the new life look better). As long as they don't find out, they'll just assume the area they're in is getting worse on its own, and it's time to move.

It's understandable that some people won't want to leave, either because they don't want to leave the house which has been in their family for generations, or because they have a great job, or any other of a host of reasons. All the government has to do is find the reason, and remove it. They're staying because of the house? The house mysteriously catches fire while they're at the supermarket. They're staying because of a job? They get laid off, or the job becomes un-enjoyable because of the new coworker. You get the idea.

The government should rarely if ever have to rely on force. If, as you suggest, the humans never actually end up in the 'better life', you can easily make the new life as appealing as you want by spreading rumors and stories. Even have a few 'settlers' 'return' with their 'stories' of how great things are.

Humans are governed largely by desires - logic only comes into play later. Play with those desires, and the whole population becomes your puppets.

*Any indication that I am secretly plotting to control the world should be ignored.

  • $\begingroup$ Just be careful that the Witches Council doesn't decide to turn you into a cat, Mr. Salem Saberhagen. $\endgroup$ – Sora Tamashii Nov 19 '18 at 22:08

There is no way

There is no way to gain 100% compliance without invariably using raw totalitarian force. The problem simply comes down to the diverse human psychee.

  • There is always a percent of a population at any given time who distrusts everything the authority says.

  • some people feel they have nowhere to go and rather face death

  • some people are blindly optimistic that nothing bad will happen to them.

  • some see the chaos as an exploitable moment to loot, madly preparing for when things get better.

  • finally some people are so attached to their material possessions that they cant leave them undefended.

These personalities are so polarizing that a solution to one inherently worsens another.

The most effective thing you can do is claim a disaster and then cause the disaster accepting inevitable casualties. Like a "gas leak".

Cooperative people are easier to move then uncooperative people


Declare the land property of the residents ethnic blood enemy

The land in question is occupied by the Hutu. The government declares that this land will now belong to the Tutsi. The Hutu, meanwhile, are given a piece of land to occupy over there. Sine the Hutu have long known that the Tutsi will kill every last Hutu that they find themselves in control of, the Hutu would be wise to leave.

Substitute Hindu and Muslim above, and you get the real life events of the Partition of India. The governments of the respective successor states did not force people to leave (India still has some ~200 million Muslims), but around 14 million people did choose to leave their homes to live in a nation run by their co-religionists.

Declare the land irradiated

Fake a massive nuclear catastrophe. Make sure a few people die of "radiation poisoning", which can be handily simulated with Polonium. Tell everyone else that they must leave or die of cancer within 5 years.

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    $\begingroup$ Or the Hutu try to defend their land. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 17 '18 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn How well did that work the last time? $\endgroup$ – kingledion Nov 17 '18 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ The Hutu didn't move, and genocide is the anti-definition of "ensure cooperation" and "Minimal Force". $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 17 '18 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn There is zero force applied by the government. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Nov 17 '18 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ Even if minimal force "applied by the government" is the correct interpretation instead if total minimum force, genocide still violates the "and unrest" clause of "minimal resistance and unrest". The problem with your answer isn't your answer, but the poor question. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Nov 17 '18 at 21:49

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