In this alternate scenario, events from 1950 to 2012 had reduced the human population from 12 billion to 500 million. They are, as follows:

  • 1950-1986: The whole continents of Africa and South America become war-torn empires run by drug lords.
  • 1965-1980: A European dictatorship that cost the lives of 78 million people
  • 1980-1986: A world war between Europe and Asia, one that would result in the death of 600 million soldiers and perhaps as many civilians
  • 1984: A solar storm so severe that auroras can be seen in the night sky on the equator for two weeks. This same storm permanently knocked out global power grids, destroying communication and driving electricity to instant extinction.
  • December 21, 2012: The eruption of Toba volcano, which would prove to be the final chapter of the Generation of Revelation.

The following settlement hierarchical classes are hit:

  • Large City (300,000-1,000,000 people)
  • Metropolis (1,000,000-3,000,000 people)
  • Conurbation (3,000,000-10,000,000 people)
  • Megalopolis (+10,000,000 people)

The survivors could be found in the rest of the hierarchy--in hamlets, villages, towns, large towns and cities.

In this postapocalyptic scenario, how would human culture, technology and civilization be affected?


closed as too broad by Kolaru, Thomas Jacobs, Hohmannfan, Josiah, fi12 Mar 8 '16 at 0:42

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    $\begingroup$ Solar storms can't permanently knock out electrical power. EMP comes in multiple forms and the type that's deadly to long distance power transmission has little effect on small devices. People with back-up generators would be OK as long as fuel lasted. Presumably some electrical companies have spare transformers to replace destroyed equipment. It would take months or even a couple of years but humanity would be able to restore power. $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Mar 7 '16 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ The possible scenarios are far too numerous. For example if all the survivors are located in China for some reason (perhaps the Asia-Europe war was really an Indian-Europe war ?), the culture and civilization will just become Chinese (with some more implication of course). But if the survivors have others origins, it will drastically change. $\endgroup$ – Kolaru Mar 7 '16 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ As it stands, I believe this question is too broad, though certainly fun in a twisted sort of way. You might consider narrowing it to a particular area and/or just "culture", etc. $\endgroup$ – Josiah Mar 8 '16 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Josiah Well, you're too late, because someone already answered for me. $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Mar 8 '16 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ The population in 1950 was around 2.5 billion. In 2012, around 7 billion. It's unclear what's different in this universe that there was 12 billion much less the other three changes. $\endgroup$ – Brythan Mar 20 '16 at 1:17

Well, to put it simply, nearly everything related to technology and research would be wiped out, unless it is some theoretical physics related stuff or advanced mathematics or something else as abstract as those.

The solar storm would be the worst of all. An end to electricity lines would mean the imminent collapse of all technological advancements we have made so far. No electricity means no computers, no production lines, no light bulbs (maybe some would go on for a while on batteries), no refrigeration ... and on the chilling side ... nearly 70% of medical services in hospitals would be rendered useless!

The world war between Europe and Asia killing around 1.2 billion people would most certainly involve nuclear bombs, rendering a lot of are uninhabitable and deserted. This would also result in massive scale water and atmosphere contamination, killing nearly all freshwater fish in the affected regions and destroying all crops. Those who did not die directly of the bombs and explosions would die a slow, miserable death out of famine, disease and lack of resources. With a life loss in the scale of a billion, you can pretty much be sure another billion or two would die due to the collapse of society and government.

So then, by 2016 the world population would be reduced to a billion or so. Most of the survivors being located in radiation free zones such as Australia, New Zealand, Africa and South America. Africa would probably be survivor paradise due to its relative abundance of food sources in the form of wild game and would be left with some shred of civilization.

Since Australia would is located so far off and does not participate in controversial warring, it too, would probably survive the catastrophe. However, due to the sudden outage of power, it would be pushed back some 200 years in terms of life standard and technology. Same applies to New Zealand.

The destruction would be long term. World, as a whole, would be pushed back 200 - 300 years in terms of technological advancement with no hope of a quick enough recovery. Asia, Europe and North America would be particularly the hardest hit regions where vast swathes of land would be rendered unusable for humans for at least 50 years or so.

If some people do survive for more than 20 years in Africa and South America (excluding Australia and New Zealand due to their extreme dependence on technology and foodstuffs imports), they would have a hope of gradually repopulating the earth and beginning the story of technological advancement all over again.

  • $\begingroup$ Nuclear weapons will make the war last six months, not six years. This is WWII on steroids--heavy-weapon tanks, heavy-weapon planes and heavy-weapon ships. $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Mar 7 '16 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, but the long term effects of social and governmental collapse would would take several years to start showing up. Medicines start expiring and there would be no working pharmacological plant making new ones. Clothes would tear up and there would be no new ginning factories or textile mills to produce new. Large populations would be decimated simply due to the unavailability of commercial foodstuff items. All these things take time to show up. Although they take time, the effects are disastrous. This second wave of collapse is what sweeps off most of the remaining populace. $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Mar 7 '16 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ Uh...what's that got to do with the world war? $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Mar 7 '16 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ World wars have a very bad tendency of destroying most, if not all core infrastructure of production units and governance facilities, resulting in the long term effects stated above. The combat itself does not tend to result in as many casualties directly as the second phase effects do. $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Mar 7 '16 at 21:38

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