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In my story, there is a war between humans and a slightly more advanced and clever species. The humans outnumber the other species and end up winning the war because the humans spread a virus to the species that wipes out even more of its population. The humans are the only ones that could develop a vaccine for the virus.

Humans and this species are very similar, but members of that species are larger, stronger, and more quick-thinking than humans. Individually, an educated member of that species could outsmart an equally educated human.

Humans have a slight advantage because they can reproduce faster and require a bit less resources than the other species. After winning the war, the humans are able to reverse engineer a lot of the tech from the other species.

Would humans be able to enslave a cleverer creature? How could they control this species enough to enslave its members? Would going through the trouble to enslave the species be economically worth it?

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closed as too broad by Mołot, 011358 smell, Alex2006, Elmy, John Jan 31 at 14:48

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  • $\begingroup$ Too many questions in one post, and some are hardly answerable: look at the last one. How can we estimate the economical convenience of an option when you fail at providing the slightest hint on the economic system in which these two species interact? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 31 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ "Humans have a slight advantage because they can reproduce faster and require a bit less resources than the other species" You've just given a plausible argument against instituting slavery for this species, one of these slaves has a built in overhead greater than a human slave, if the humans want slaves they'll use other humans & unless there's some other plausible reason to keep some of them alive (some of the humans find them sexy & want an exotic sex toy or some such) then this species will simply be the recipients of genocide. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Jan 31 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ I note that there are about 90 other large brained mammal species on Earth, and it is uncertain exactly how intelligent they are, so that it is somewhat possible that some of those species have average intelligence levels equal to or possibly even higher than that of humans. Almost all of those species are larger and stronger than humans. But humans have captured and "enslaved" members of many of those species, from apes to elephants to many of the smaller cetaceans ranging in size up to killer whales. It isn't totally certain that humans have intelligence superior to all of those species. $\endgroup$ – M. A. Golding Jan 31 at 18:06
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The numerical advantage the humans have at the end of the war allows for the establishment of a social order of slavery, and that's all that's really required. Individual differences of ability, on the ground, between slaves and masters aren't that important to the institution of slavery. After all, historically household slaves were often left to the direction of women and children who had no physical ability to impose their will on masses of slaves.

The slave must know that if he disobeys his master, he is subject to physical injury or death, and that this will be enforced (if necessary) by the society at large and by the police power. He must also know that in a dispute with his master he has no legal recourse. If those two things are true, the institution of slavery can be maintained, and the intelligence and strength of individual masters is of no consequence.

Highly intelligent and strong slaves would have an advantage in undertaking a system-wide revolution or slave rebellion, but those are relatively rare events - and harder to undertake against a well-organized and technologically advanced state. Slaves could rise in Haiti and win, because they had an overwhelming numerical advantage and because the masters had a very difficult logistical situation. Slave rebellions in the United States were much less successful. A slave rebellion against a "future tech" state would face a steep uphill climb.

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The Aliens must have a weakness that makes the enslavement feasible. Something like the Jotoki from Larry Niven, who bond themselves to their Parents and when the Kzinti enslaved their former masters, the bond to the Kzin they see at first and have to obey them.

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  1. Numbers. We've done it in the past, we overwhelmed several Hominids to become the dominant species.
  2. Divide and conquer. Get them fighting with/hating each other more than they hate the humans.
  3. Treat them nice. The reason there were so few slave revolts in Rome was largely due to the fact that slaves had rights, could not be made to do certain things, were often paid, and could eventually buy their own freedom
  4. The humans have the food. Bigger brains need more food, humans can take advantage
  5. Propaganda. Drive it into their heads that they started the war, committed many atrocities, and the humans showed mercy in not killing them all.
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  • $\begingroup$ "we overwhelmed several Hominids to become the dominant species" : several? there's only two other hominids that we appear to have coexisted with, & the evidence appears to support the idea that we absorbed them into our own population through interbreeding rather than killing them off or outperforming them in some other way. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Jan 31 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore We overran, defeated and absorbed the survivors of the Neanderthals, who had larger brains, and it looked like we may have done the same to the Boscops, who, given their brain capacity, would have had IQs areound 150. The theory that we just absorbed them is one theory of several. $\endgroup$ – Richard U Jan 31 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking of the Neanderthals & the Denisovans, "Boscops", never heard of them? Ah, just found a wikipedia article for them, it says they're modern bushmen not a separate hominid species & not extinct. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Jan 31 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore there were more, I'm just trying to work from memory while at work..... filters and all that. $\endgroup$ – Richard U Jan 31 at 15:44

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