I watched 2012 today and while I did not find it a particularly enjoyable movie it made me think about the Ark Scenario that they propose in the film, which was similar to the Ark Scenario included in Deep Impact (the difference being if there was a lottery to choose people to go on the Ark or if you could buy your way on).
The fact is an Ark scenario wherein people are chosen is probably the optimal solution from a purely Darwinian perspective. The problem is that most of the people that design and orchestrate such an operation would not actually be on the (in relation to total global population) short list of people who should be included.
What follows is a list of how an Ark Scenario would most optimally be designed in regards to survival of the species by importance of occupation and know how. The maximum age limit for people allowed to board the Ark is 40 or 45 in the case of Medical Doctors. With the exception of Medical Doctors no one that is knowingly infertile should be allowed to board the Ark (Exceptions can be made for Medical Doctors who have gone through menopause.
There is no minimum age for the Ark and there should be a large percentage of children allowed on board so they can learn the trades of the populace to ensure the future propagation of the species. People in ill health or drug addicts would also be barred from boarding the Ark. The population will have enough demands for long term care as it is, we cannot afford to spend resources on someone who has a pre-existing condition that would require constant maintenance. There will also need to be a larger female population than male.
1) Farmers: Farmers become the dominant hierarchical occupation, and as many different variations of farmers as possible meaning type of food, terrain, climate, and latitude. After the cataclysm we won’t be able to anticipate what type of terrain will survive or what type of climate it will reside in so we need as many options available as possible. As society is starting over they will have to provide food for an entire species.
2) Doctors: Medical Doctors become the second most dominant hierarchical occupation and even though specialization isn’t quite as important as it once was, experience is. The preferred experience level of doctors will be 10 – 15 years worth of practice outside of medical school. This allows for a period where a doctor will be familiar with myriad symptoms and their most likely causes, but will be able to practice for the longest duration possible and can keep the populace healthy. All doctors are also teaching doctors. In this case Medical Students are important as they will soon become Doctors, but they walk an odd line between student and contributing societal member, as such they don’t hold the distinction of being a Doctor nor all the protection of being a child.
3) Mechanics: Machinery will be the relics of the world that was and the people that can keep gears turning will be not just useful, but necessary in the new world.
4) Electricians and IT: Our last vestiges of technology will stop to work after a while, but the longer we can keep them functional means the longer we can preserve the essence and memory of our past culture.
5) Botanists: People with a wide knowledge of plant life will be well suited to survive in a future world where much of the terrain will be harsh, unwelcoming and possibly deadly.
6) Chemists: Medicine will dwindle quickly as a population is confined and the ability to create new medicine will be an important skill.
7) Veterinarians: If we want to learn to continue herding animals and using them as a source of meat and milk we’ll want Veterinarians to help us keep them alive as long as possible.
8) Engineers: The ability to design new technology to meet our needs, or to rediscover old technology that had been thought lost to us is paramount to rediscovering and re-conquering a new world.
9) Child Care Workers: With a population that is largely divulged of youth there should be a number of people who are trained to work with children, especially since many of the children will be orphaned after being chosen to survive without their parents.
10) Assorted Scientist scholars: Biologists, Physicists, Mathematicians, Economists etc. These are the lower end of the sciences which are to be preserved if only for the younger generations to use to help craft and guide the future civilization, but as they don’t directly affect our survival as a species they are essentially the bottom of the barrel in the new hierarchy. Unfortunately researchers and field experience isn't a pre-requisite for this area of expertise.
Once the maximum possible volume of survivors is determined a percentage of population should be decided for each vocation. A candidate list should be compiled from each vocation that only allows people that meet all qualifications. Once that list is compiled a lottery should be held for the open spots based on the percentage of total population that vocation allows.
No one should be allowed to buy their way on as the survival of the species requires we have a strict attachment to what is best for the entirety of humanity. It should also be expected that currency would change after the cataclysm.
There is a short list of jobs that will be allowed no spaces on the Ark as these occupations are self-sustaining. They will recreate themselves from among the survivors of the cataclysm. If your job is on this list, (hey, I’m on this list) please remember, it is not personal; it is the survival of the species.
8)Customer Service Representative
9)Priests, gurus, shamans or theologians