The Behavioral Sink: A Fable For Our Times, by Hardscrabble Farmer

Is humanity the subject of a giant human-scale experiment equivalent to a famous one done on rats in the 1950s and 1960s. There are definitely some similarities. From Hardscrabble Farmer at

Not long after the last of the last American soldiers returned home at the close of WWII, a little-known ethologist named John B. Calhoun set up a quarter acre pen somewhere on the outskirts of Rockville, Maryland and populated it with several dozen Norwegian rats. His experiment was meant to see just how large the population density would become if they were provided with adequate food, water, shelter and protection from predators so that all of their needs were met. Fellow researchers dubbed his experiment rat utopia and before long he had discovered the answer to his question.

When his research caught the eye of bureaucrats at the National Institute for Mental Health, they approached him with an offer of unlimited funding for another project along the same lines under stricter conditions than the bucolic environs of a pasture just north of Washington, D.C. By 1954 he had devised a complex interior setup for his rats to inhabit that divided the environment into four cells, each configured to provide a continuous supply of food, water and bedding with plenty of space for nests and open areas for social interaction. Into each of these he placed an equal number of both male and female rats and simply watched as they began to at first explore and then to colonize and dominate their surroundings.

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