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You might also ask why these people from the steppes also created so much havoc in CHINA. Because they are really two sides of the same coin. In "economic" terms, there are two reasons: 1) "comparative advantage" and 2) "incentives."

To use a model derived from Civilization II (I like to play the Russians and the Mongols on the "real world" map), there are three major items: food, trade, and resources.

By definition, the steppe people are deficient in food and trade, but are comparable to more "settled" and civilized people in resources, and ultimately, weaponry. (At least until the modern age when technology becomes a major factor in weaponry.) "Comparative advantage" suggests that steppe people will specialize in weaponry and war-making, while others with more natural resources will spend more efforts developing agriculture, trade, and, education. Also, the steppe people are more likely to use horses, because the steppe is so poor in food that they have to wander to get enough of it, giving them a further advantage in war.

The other issue is incentive. The impoversished steppe people have every incentive to raid wealthier people for food, resources, and technology. FarmersEven if they are better armed, farmers and more settled people aren't likely to uproot their lives for the dubious privilege of chasing steppe people on the plains. Even the Teutonic knights conquered Prussia over one generation, and had they succeeded with the other Baltic states, it would have been one generation at a time. It took Prussia two generations to get three "slices" of Poland. For the Mongols, each "piece" might have represented one YEAR, not one generation, of campaigning.

The danger in the Civilization II game for the Russians and the Mongols is that they will eventually fall behind in technology. That's what happened to the Mongols in "real life." If they can use their military power to stay even in technology and trade (by conquering or coercing more civilized people), while maintaining a military advantage, they can become very powerful, like the Russians.

You might also ask why these people from the steppes also created so much havoc in CHINA. Because they are really two sides of the same coin. In "economic" terms, there are two reasons: 1) "comparative advantage" and 2) "incentives."

To use a model derived from Civilization II (I like to play the Russians and the Mongols on the "real world" map), there are three major items: food, trade, and resources.

By definition, the steppe people are deficient in food and trade, but are comparable to more "settled" and civilized people in resources, and ultimately, weaponry. (At least until the modern age when technology becomes a major factor in weaponry.) "Comparative advantage" suggests that steppe people will specialize in weaponry and war-making, while others with more natural resources will spend more efforts developing agriculture, trade, and, education. Also, the steppe people are more likely to use horses, because the steppe is so poor in food that they have to wander to get enough of it, giving them a further advantage in war.

The other issue is incentive. The impoversished steppe people have every incentive to raid wealthier people for food, resources, and technology. Farmers and more settled people aren't likely to uproot their lives for the dubious privilege of chasing steppe people on the plains. Even the Teutonic knights conquered Prussia over one generation, and had they succeeded with the other Baltic states, it would have been one generation at a time. It took Prussia two generations to get three "slices" of Poland. For the Mongols, each "piece" might have represented one YEAR, not one generation of campaigning.

The danger in the Civilization II game for the Russians and the Mongols is that they will eventually fall behind in technology. That's what happened to the Mongols in "real life." If they can use their military power to stay even in technology and trade (by conquering or coercing more civilized people), while maintaining a military advantage, they can become very powerful, like the Russians.

You might also ask why these people from the steppes also created so much havoc in CHINA. Because they are really two sides of the same coin. In "economic" terms, there are two reasons: 1) "comparative advantage" and 2) "incentives."

To use a model derived from Civilization II (I like to play the Russians and the Mongols on the "real world" map), there are three major items: food, trade, and resources.

By definition, the steppe people are deficient in food and trade, but are comparable to more "settled" and civilized people in resources, and ultimately, weaponry. (At least until the modern age when technology becomes a major factor in weaponry.) "Comparative advantage" suggests that steppe people will specialize in weaponry and war-making, while others with more natural resources will spend more efforts developing agriculture, trade, and, education. Also, the steppe people are more likely to use horses, because the steppe is so poor in food that they have to wander to get enough of it, giving them a further advantage in war.

The other issue is incentive. The impoversished steppe people have every incentive to raid wealthier people for food, resources, and technology. Even if they are better armed, farmers and more settled people aren't likely to uproot their lives for the dubious privilege of chasing steppe people on the plains. Even the Teutonic knights conquered Prussia over one generation, and had they succeeded with the other Baltic states, it would have been one generation at a time. It took Prussia two generations to get three "slices" of Poland. For the Mongols, each "piece" might have represented one YEAR, not one generation, of campaigning.

The danger in the Civilization II game for the Russians and the Mongols is that they will eventually fall behind in technology. That's what happened to the Mongols in "real life." If they can use their military power to stay even in technology and trade (by conquering or coercing more civilized people), while maintaining a military advantage, they can become very powerful, like the Russians.

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You might also ask why these people from the steppes also created so much havoc in CHINA. Because they are really two sides of the same coin. In "economic" terms, there are two reasons: 1) "comparative advantage" and 2) "incentives."

To use a model derived from Civilization II (I like to play the Russians and the Mongols on the "real world" map), there are three major items: food, trade, and resources.

By definition, the steppe people are deficient in food and trade, but are comparable to more "settled" and civilized people in resources, and ultimately, weaponry. (At least until the modern age when technology becomes a major factor in weaponry.) "Comparative advantage" suggests that steppe people will specialize in weaponry and war-making, while others with more natural resources will spend more efforts developing agriculture, trade, and, education. Also, the steppe people are more likely to use horses, because the steppe is so poor in food that they have to wander to get enough of it, giving them a further advantage in war.

The other issue is incentive. The impoversished steppe people have every incentive to raid wealthier people for food, resources, and technology. Farmers and more settled people aren't likely to uproot their lives for the dubious privilege of chasing steppe people on the plains. Even the Teutonic knights conquered Prussia over one generation, and had they succeeded with the other Baltic states, it would have been one generation at a time. It took Prussia two generations to get three "slices" of Poland. For the Mongols, each "piece" might have represented one YEAR, not one generation of campaigning.

The danger in the Civilization II game for the Russians and the Mongols is that they will eventually fall behind in technology. That's what happened to the Mongols in "real life." If they can use their military power to stay even in technology and trade (by conquering or coercing more civilized people), while maintaining a military advantage, they can become very powerful, like the Russians.