“Post-Apocalyptic Economics”

Imaginary Worlds: “Economics of Thrones and Starships” Just catching up with IW podcasts. This one stood out for me.

Why? Captain America, “The Walking Dead”, and “Seven Samurai”.

Was thinking last weekend, while mowing the lawn (a tedious, futile waste of time and energy; other people find joy/satisfaction in this form of work,I don’t), using the other 3/4 of my mind not involved in the task, to play with a nerdy fanboy question: “Which 3 of the warriors of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” might Captain America embody?” [I might share that later. Yes, I know Steve “Captain America” Rogers can’t ’embody’ other fictional characters. It was just a kind of ‘thought experiment’.]

Later that day (Sunday), watching AMC’s “The Walking Dead” marathon, part of the run-up to the season premiere. Was mulling over Negan, his ‘taker-tactics’; he lays claim to everything any survivor group has, demanding half in tribute. You work for him, or you die.

“Seven Samurai” popped into my head, the bandits threatening the village. Started thinking of the defense of the village. [SPOILER ALERT] The flooding of the fields after the harvest. The barricades. The deliberate weakness they left in the defense of the main gates, the intent being that they could fend of *most* waves of attacks as the villagers and out 7S’s but that some Bandits would invariably get through. Since they assumed some would get through with each attack, they sealed off the buildings, and turned the center of this tiny village into a ‘kill box’. Quickly kill what bandits get through, take whatever weapons they have, arm more of the villagers with them, immediately reinforce the defenses, prepare for the next wave.

The bandits were starving (they were a huge group, well-armed, made up of rogue elements of other armies, during period of war), low on ammunition for their muskets and arrows for bows. The villagers were few in comparison, a limited amount of weaponry, fearful, relying on the stalwart 7S. Much death, on both sides.

Anyway, Loved the IW episode above. Made me wonder again if Robert Kirkman’s zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world’s survivors can rebuild the world. Because Negan represents certain short-sighted “Alpha behavior” to me: He’s making sure he has what he needs to survive, he makes sure he keeps his loyal lieutenants fed, everybody else he drains. Uses them. they produce, or he kills them. And I’ll bet he and his best-buds are using up a lot, fast. Faster than any group of survivors can hope to replenish. Negan takes.

The episode above also makes me think of the “I am Legend” movie, and its roots in a 1960’s paperback. Where’s Kirkman going with TWD’s world? I mean, did he/does he have an “ending” in mind from the start, like the guys who rebooted “BattleStar Galactica”? The BSG creators had, like, a 90%-planned-out ending, so the series was all about the stories in between, about the journey.

If Kirkman doesn’t have a plan, would like to know how all those rotting zombies keep going while rotting, appearing to gain no sustenance/energy from feeding. Aside from survivors getting killed and reanimating, seems like the TWD timeline has advanced three or four years, and some of the ‘walkers’ should be rotting away to a point where they aren’t, you know, walking.

To me, that means something else has to evolve in some way. Unless Kirkman is leaning on a Biblical/magical thing — just distracting us with any attempt at pseudo-scientific technobabble on how the ‘rotters’ work this long after the “outbreak” — and everyone is dead in the end, period. Humanity dies a long slow death-march to extinction.

So, if there’s a virus, does it change? That’s where “I Am Legend” comes to my mind. Instead of robotically-viral ‘walkers’ mostly just bite-transmitting some some disease that triggers existing ‘seeds of destruction’ within the humans of TWD, turning them into ‘walkers’, could the virus evolve? Maybe turning humans into IAL’s rat-mutant/”Nosferatu”-like “Darkseekers”? The “Darkseekers” were feral and ravenous, but some were showing signs of regaining human-level intelligence.

They can’t eat everybody. They’ve gotta start farming.

Also, fun listening today: Backstory Radio: “American Horror Story” Vampires, Wendigo, Ghosts, and what these ‘constructs’ and stories reflect in us.