The year is 2187. Though global warming proved to be a cruel hoax back in the early 21st century, the world is soon to be destroyed. Scientists have detected a string of asteroids headed straight for our solar system. There is nothing we can do but wait for the end.
A year before the asteroids are predicted to hit the earth, the world's governments are unexpectedly contacted by an advanced alien race that offers us a glimmer of hope: human resettlement on a earth-like planet. But there's a catch. Their technology, though far beyond anything we could dream, is limited. They can transport only 1,000 people to this new planet.
The mode of transportation is something akin to the transporter device used in the old Star Trek TV series. Matter is converted to energy, stored as data, and then reassembled as matter in another place. This mode of transportation has an unnerving, unavoidable side-effect. The people who go into the device come out radically changed. Every characteristic possessed by an individual is altered--physical appearance, mental capacity, personality traits, propensity to disease, skill sets; even basic beliefs, prejudices, habits, inclinations, and quirks.
The aliens assure us that since the device uses the 1,000 people stored as a template for reassembly, that no one will be rematerialized as anything but basically human, including every potential for good and evil. However, every other indicator of sex, race, skin color, personality-type, etc. will be changed. No one will arrive on the new planet with the same characteristics that he or she left with.
A computer-generated program selects 1,000 people that best represents the human race. You are one of these people. Once selected, all 1,000 of you gather on the alien vessel for briefing on the new world. The aliens tell you that the trip to the new earth will take about two years. During that time, they suggest that the group begin thinking and planning for your lives once transported to the surface.
Your first task: establish the basic political and social structure of your world. Given that no one in the group will arrive on the planet as the same person who left Earth, what will be the fundamental socio-political principles that guide the development of this new civilization?
To assist the group, the aliens lay down a few inviolable rules:
1). All 1,000 members of the group must remain together in the new settlement. There can be no "colonies" of like-minded individuals splitting off from the main group until all of the original settlers have died.
2). Until all 1,000 settlers have died, the aliens will ensure that the new constitution of the settlement is enforced. They will become involved only in the most fundamental decisions of the settlement.
3). Once all the original settlers have died, the aliens will withdraw and allow the settlement to continue on unimpeded.
So, the question is: what will be the fundamental socio-political principles that guide the development of this new civilization?
*adapted from John Rawls' "veil of ignorance" thought-experiment
Follow HancAquam ------------>