Dear Editor,
Subject: Book proposal
Date:  12/4/07

 “For Peace Two* Is Too Many”

The rapid population decline solution to human conflict

(*two children per family)

If mothers in the USA are a little worried that Johnny's reading and math curricula are shaky, they would be hysterical if they thought the current conflict conditions in Baghdad were coming to their hometown.

Mothers would be distraught if they learned their institutions and leaders could do little to prevent it.

Their stomachs would turn into pretzels if they realized their deeds to slow, climate change, oil depletion, pollution, and species extinction, do little to stop the arrival of local anarchy.

In this book, I predict a Baghdad type conflict will soon arrive in every city. I explain why. I describe why normal thinking: can not see the conflict coming, or identify the behavior that would stop it, and can not create the motivation to take that behavior even when proof of the conflict's coming is presented by others.

Given these cognitive limitations, I forego using causal simulations to make arguments. Instead I use short essays to help the reader create a belief that anarchic social conflict is humankind's worst problem. I explain why rapid population decline (RPD) is humankind's medicine to avoid such conflict. I focus on creating a belief that one child per family (OCPF,) universally taken by all future parents globally, implements the necessary RPD to avoid it. I explain why most of the alternative processes humankind has to manage such conflict will be insufficient.

My focus is to transfer these beliefs to all mothers and other stake holders like fathers and grand parents for it is their children and grandchildren that will live in these conflict torn cities and raider filled country sides.

However, since these people are finished having children this belief, in and of itself, does not change any procreative behaviors. Procreative behaviors are subsequently changed when these 3 billion stake holders, believing in the utility of RPD to limit conflict, use Garrett Hardin's "mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon," to coerce the needed OCPF behaviors from each future parent.

If you are not a parent or grandparent, you my still want to read this book. Especially if you believe “greening” of industrialized societies will stop environmental destruction and improving institutions and technology will be able to prevent civilization collapse. For you, the author explains that you cling to these fantasies, which will be wiped away by social conflict, because parts of the human condition don't register on your consciousness.

For example, "humankind's diminishing viability" fails to make your most important problem list. Total human footprint colliding with global carrying capacity is not one of your working concepts.   Even if your are a person who knows that all species have collisions with their respective carrying capacities, you fail to appreciate that the human collision (being different because “most-humans-live-above-subsistence”) produces civilization crushing social conflicts.  

Few see that global civilization, hobbled by anarchy, can neither maintain old infrastructure and technology nor produce new. Few see that the mix of institutional, technological, and personal behaviors, that helped humankind survive such crises, will no longer be able to do so in the coming conditions. On the contrary, that mix will exhaust and destroy the global environment that supports us.

In the final section of essays I describe a three year process that assembles a coalition of 3 billion people who believe that RPD/OCPF is the needed solution. The 3 billion, in a few more years, learns to coerce most new parents on the globe to choose it.  

The process, successfully implemented, results in a global population that halves every 30 years. For example, we can expect a population of 3 billion in the year 2050 and 1.5 billion in the year 2100. While this rapid population decline will not prevent climate change, or oil exhaustion, it will reverse the forces creating civilization-destroying social conflicts.

The 40 essays (300 to 3000 words each) were written over the last 5 years as SKIL Notes, OP-Ed pieces, and short papers. One, SKIL Note 38, is a 2-hour seminar “Higher Intellect Required” (an audio and video presentation that could be included in the jacket cover as a DVD.)  Similar essays can be found at

My qualifications for writing these essays include a lifetime using causality instead of correlation in making analyses of nonlinear systems. And an uncommon sequence of experiences which revealed why nonlinear systems are so difficult for normal individuals to grasp and to choose behaviors that achieve their expectations.

For example, as an engineer in 1968 I designed seatbelts that reduced the probability of dying in a car accident from 1 in 200 to 1 in 20,000; only to find that most people did not appreciate the utility of wearing them and didn't. When I realized that the benefit of the polio vaccine was about the same as wearing a seat belt and that almost everyone got vaccinated, I quit engineering to study this incongruity in the human thought process.

I became a learning theorist (what is now called a cognitive scientist.)  At Stanford University, I directed the Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory 78’ to 88.’ Now I direct SKIL a not for profit educational foundation. At the lab I study how people learn to make predictions and how they learned to let their predictions influence their behavior.  I found these capabilities in individuals so underdeveloped (independent of educational level) the resulting collected behaviors of 6 billion such people were diminishing the viability of the human experiment.

Recently, as the public has become more focused on large intractable problems (climate change, resource exhaustion, species extinction and social conflict) and as they recognize the limitations of existing institutions and technology to deal with them, they have become more accepting of “the meaning of procreative behaviors” as the dominate force in any solution. The goal of this book is to illustrate that rapid population decline, using universal one child per family behaviors, is the appropriate response to both the problems seen on the evening news and the less expected but approaching social conflicts.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Jack Alpert

Director -- Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory

13517 W 48th Street
Shawnee, Kansas 66216


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