Hi there! I'm making a compilation of moral catastrophes through history. I think this compilation could help us understand better how often moral catastrophes happen and the scale of suffering they cause.
In this EA forum post, I found a definition of moral catastrophes that until now seemed satisfactory to me.
- Must be a serious wrong-doing (closer to wrongful death or slavery than mild insults or inconveniences).
- Must be large-scale (instead of a single wrongful execution, or a single man tortured).
- Broad swathes of society are responsible through action or inaction (can’t be unilateral unavoidable actions by a single dictator).
Some examples that I found:
- Deaths of Indians after the 1857 Indian Rebellion: Almost 10,000,000 Indians were killed by the British in the 10 years after the 1857 Indian Rebellion. Entire villages and towns were killed.
- The Holocaust: The systematic and bureaucratic genocide of European Jews by Germany, and its collaborators, exterminated approximately 1/3 of the global Jewish population, 2/3 of local European. Most commonly cited figures are between approximately 5.9 to 6.3 million killed.
- Holodomor: Around 3.5 million deaths. The man-made famine of 1932-1933, in which the grain of Ukrainians was confiscated to the point where they could not survive off the amount of grain they had, and were also restricted from fleeing their villages to find food under threat of execution or deportation into a Gulag camp.
This makes me wonder if current hair removal/depilation methods for women could fit the definition (or curious why they would not). We could think of them as minor inconveniences, but maybe women perceived foot binding as a minor inconvenience too (I can think of examples in which we don't categorize things as major inconveniences even when they have huge levels of pain).