War in a dystopian setting

2018-05-30 09:02:28

In a world where there is ever-declining population due to a phenomenon that has no satisfactory explanation, what could cause war or large-scale armed confrontations between countries or sections of the society?


No births have happened for a while. No new pregnancies are


The cause for this population decline is unknown and there

is no apparent cure/solution.

The decline is unstoppable; humanity

will soon be extinct.

Given that humans realize they will soon be gone for good, what could create a situation where human lives are intentionally harmed?


I noticed that I need to word my question better, so I'll add here what I posted in a comment.

Most of the answers so far assume the worst of humanity; stuff like "Might as well do anything I want, since I'll die one day". The thing is, that is true for all humans even now. Why would the possibility of there being zero humans a few decades from now foment conflict today?

For addition

  • Moral superiority / Fear

    So if people are behaving like savages, and creating a civil war, still stable nations might fear that this behavior will lead to an earlier end of themselves and wage war against those nations in faster decline.

    (Religious) fanatism

    Think of the islamist idea of jihad or kamikaze attacks by the japanese. Humans will easily throw their life away if the apokalypse is coming and they do it for what they believe is a greater cause.

    2018-05-30 09:19:58
  • Loss of hope and collapse of civilization.

    If the world is going to end, why not do what you want and damn the consequences? You'll see suicide, crime and increasing apathy increase over the years. Then as the last generation becomes teenagers and young adults, they'll ask themselves why they should do jobs that ultimately don't matter? Why they should obey rules from a dying government? Why they should care about anything at all?

    Revolutions will bring down governments. Hordes of like minded people will rove across the cities and land, taking what they want, destroying what they don't want, and fighting others for ever declining resources and to end their lives in a shower of blood and glory.

    When you have no future, why not make sure no one else has one either?

    2018-05-30 09:51:32
  • Decreasing population means less people available to produce resources and technologies.

    Scarcity implies higher value, higher values attract greed. If group A has two cows and group B not, group B will attack group A to take the cows.

    Better be killed trying to get food/water/shelter than reaching a slow death by simply waiting.

    2018-05-30 10:20:26
  • If you ask me the causes of war are ususally:


    Philosophical disagreements (By which I mean ideas about the nature of god, proper governance of the nation, the right to oppress other people and/or the distribution of wealth)


    Scarcity of resources. (example: Oil, Precious metals and/or space)

    Philosophical differences is probably the easiest sell. A war could easily start over a sect of any major religion (or a new one) deciding that the human die off is God's will and either want to help out or hope to change the divine mind by appeasing it. ("We all must conform to these simple rules about food and clothes, then God will make us fertile again" ... basically the setting for Handmaids Tale thought... so I might end up feeling derivative.)

    As other users have already pointed out general hopelessness may very well cause an outbreak of violence. Look at, for example, Children of Men which has a rather similar scenario as the one described.

    Scarcity is trickier, with

    2018-05-30 10:50:58
  • A rumour that that other country(or whatever else) has fertile women or men and some government decides that they have the military power to acquire them for their own country.

    If the rumour is not actually true, the war can last even longer because "they are hiding them from us".

    I believe there have been several films with similar plots where there was one pregnant woman who had to be transported from one place to the other and everyone was trying to capture her.

    2018-05-30 10:54:40