diamond jared guns germs and steel pdf

Diamond Jared Guns Germs And Steel Pdf

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Human history as a natural science. Robert Costanza , Portland State University.

The book attempts to explain why Eurasian and North African civilizations have survived and conquered others, while arguing against the idea that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual , moral , or inherent genetic superiority. Diamond argues that the gaps in power and technology between human societies originate primarily in environmental differences, which are amplified by various positive feedback loops.

Human History as a Natural [email protected]@@Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

The book attempts to explain why Eurasian and North African civilizations have survived and conquered others, while arguing against the idea that Eurasian hegemony is due to any form of Eurasian intellectual , moral , or inherent genetic superiority. Diamond argues that the gaps in power and technology between human societies originate primarily in environmental differences, which are amplified by various positive feedback loops.

When cultural or genetic differences have favored Eurasians for example, written language or the development among Eurasians of resistance to endemic diseases , he asserts that these advantages occurred because of the influence of geography on societies and cultures for example, by facilitating commerce and trade between different cultures and were not inherent in the Eurasian genomes.

The prologue opens with an account of Diamond's conversation with Yali , a New Guinean politician. The conversation turned to the obvious differences in power and technology between Yali's people and the Europeans who dominated the land for years, differences that neither of them considered due to any genetic superiority of Europeans.

Yali asked, using the local term " cargo " for inventions and manufactured goods, "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own? Diamond realized the same question seemed to apply elsewhere: "People of Eurasian origin Still others, he says, "have been decimated, subjugated, and in some cases even exterminated by European colonialists.

The peoples of other continents sub-Saharan Africans , Native Americans , Aboriginal Australians and New Guineans , and the original inhabitants of tropical Southeast Asia have been largely conquered, displaced and in some extreme cases — referring to Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians, and South Africa's indigenous Khoisan peoples — largely exterminated by farm-based societies such as Eurasians and Bantu.

He believes this is due to these societies' technological and immunological advantages, stemming from the early rise of agriculture after the last Ice Age. The book's title is a reference to the means by which farm-based societies conquered populations and maintained dominance despite sometimes being vastly outnumbered — guns, germs, and steel enabled imperialism. Diamond argues geographic, climatic and environmental characteristics which favored early development of stable agricultural societies ultimately led to immunity to diseases endemic in agricultural animals and the development of powerful, organized states capable of dominating others.

Diamond argues that Eurasian civilization is not so much a product of ingenuity, but of opportunity and necessity. That is, civilization is not created out of superior intelligence, but is the result of a chain of developments, each made possible by certain preconditions. The first step towards civilization is the move from nomadic hunter-gatherer to rooted agrarian society.

Several conditions are necessary for this transition to occur: access to high-carbohydrate vegetation that endures storage; a climate dry enough to allow storage; and access to animals docile enough for domestication and versatile enough to survive captivity.

Control of crops and livestock leads to food surpluses. Surpluses free people to specialize in activities other than sustenance and support population growth. The combination of specialization and population growth leads to the accumulation of social and technological innovations which build on each other. Large societies develop ruling classes and supporting bureaucracies , which in turn lead to the organization of nation-states and empires.

Although agriculture arose in several parts of the world, Eurasia gained an early advantage due to the greater availability of suitable plant and animal species for domestication. In particular, Eurasia has barley , two varieties of wheat, and three protein-rich pulses for food; flax for textiles; and goats, sheep, and cattle.

Eurasian grains were richer in protein, easier to sow, and easier to store than American maize or tropical bananas. As early Western Asian civilizations developed trading relationships, they found additional useful animals in adjacent territories, most notably horses and donkeys for use in transport.

Australia and North America suffered from a lack of useful animals due to extinction , probably by human hunting, shortly after the end of the Pleistocene , whilst the only domesticated animals in New Guinea came from the East Asian mainland during the Austronesian settlement some 4,—5, years ago. Biological relatives of the horse, including zebras and onagers , proved untameable; and although African elephants can be tamed, it is very difficult to breed them in captivity; [2] [3] Diamond describes the small number of domesticated species 14 out of "candidates" as an instance of the Anna Karenina principle : many promising species have just one of several significant difficulties that prevent domestication.

He also makes the argument that all large mammals that could be domesticated, have been. Eurasians domesticated goats and sheep for hides, clothing, and cheese; cows for milk; bullocks for tillage of fields and transport; and benign animals such as pigs and chickens. Large domestic animals such as horses and camels offered the considerable military and economic advantages of mobile transport. Eurasia's large landmass and long east—west distance increased these advantages. Its large area provided more plant and animal species suitable for domestication.

Equally important, its east—west orientation has allowed groups of people to wander and empires to conquer from one end of the continent to the other while staying at the same latitude. This was important because similar climate and cycle of seasons let them keep the same "food production system" — they could keep growing the same crops and raising the same animals all the way from Scotland to Siberia.

Doing this throughout history, they spread innovations, languages and diseases everywhere. By contrast, the north-south orientation of the Americas and Africa created countless difficulties adapting crops domesticated at one latitude for use at other latitudes and, in North America, adapting crops from one side of the Rocky Mountains to the other.

Similarly, Africa was fragmented by its extreme variations in climate from north to south: crops and animals that flourished in one area never reached other areas where they could have flourished, because they could not survive the intervening environment.

Europe was the ultimate beneficiary of Eurasia's east—west orientation: in the first millennium BCE , the Mediterranean areas of Europe adopted Southwestern Asia's animals, plants, and agricultural techniques; in the first millennium CE, the rest of Europe followed suit. The plentiful supply of food and the dense populations that it supported made division of labor possible.

The rise of non-farming specialists such as craftsmen and scribes accelerated economic growth and technological progress. These economic and technological advantages eventually enabled Europeans to conquer the peoples of the other continents in recent centuries by using the guns and steel of the book's title.

Eurasia's dense populations, high levels of trade, and living in close proximity to livestock resulted in widespread transmission of diseases, including from animals to humans.

Smallpox , measles , and influenza were the result of close proximity between dense populations of animals and humans. Natural selection endowed most Eurasians with genetic variations making them less susceptible to some diseases, and constant circulation of diseases meant adult individuals had developed immunity to a wide range of pathogens.

When Europeans made contact with the Americas, European diseases to which Americans had no immunity ravaged the indigenous American population, rather than the other way around. The "trade" in diseases was a little more balanced in Africa and southern Asia: endemic malaria and yellow fever made these regions notorious as the "white man's grave"; [4] and syphilis may have originated in the Americas.

Diamond also proposes geographical explanations for why western European societies, rather than other Eurasian powers such as China, have been the dominant colonizers. Advanced civilization developed first in areas whose geography lacked these barriers, such as China, India and Mesopotamia.

There, the ease of conquest meant they were dominated by large empires in which manufacturing, trade and knowledge flourished for millennia, while balkanized Europe remained more primitive. However, at a later stage of development, western Europe's fragmented governmental structure actually became an advantage.

Monolithic, isolated empires without serious competition could continue mistaken policies — such as China squandering its naval mastery by banning the building of ocean-going ships — for long periods without immediate consequences. While the leading powers alternated, the constant was rapid development of knowledge which could not be suppressed. For instance, the Chinese Emperor could ban shipbuilding and be obeyed, ending China's Age of Discovery, but the Pope couldn't keep Galileo's Dialogue from being republished in Protestant countries, or Kepler and Newton from continuing his progress; this ultimately enabled European merchant ships and navies to navigate around the globe.

Western Europe also benefited from a more temperate climate than Southwestern Asia where intense agriculture ultimately damaged the environment, encouraged desertification , and hurt soil fertility. Guns, Germs, and Steel argues that cities require an ample supply of food, and thus are dependent on agriculture.

As farmers do the work of providing food, division of labor allows others freedom to pursue other functions, such as mining and literacy. The crucial trap for the development of agriculture is the availability of wild edible plant species suitable for domestication. Farming arose early in the Fertile Crescent since the area had an abundance of wild wheat and pulse species that were nutritious and easy to domesticate.

In contrast, American farmers had to struggle to develop corn as a useful food from its probable wild ancestor, teosinte. Also important to the transition from hunter-gatherer to city-dwelling agrarian societies was the presence of "large" domesticable animals, raised for meat, work, and long-distance communication. Diamond identifies a mere 14 domesticated large mammal species worldwide. The five most useful cow, horse, sheep, goat, and pig are all descendants of species endemic to Eurasia.

Of the remaining nine, only two the llama and alpaca both of South America are indigenous to a land outside the temperate region of Eurasia. Due to the Anna Karenina principle , surprisingly few animals are suitable for domestication.

Diamond identifies six criteria including the animal being sufficiently docile, gregarious, willing to breed in captivity and having a social dominance hierarchy. Therefore, none of the many African mammals such as the zebra , antelope , cape buffalo , and African elephant were ever domesticated although some can be tamed, they are not easily bred in captivity.

The Holocene extinction event eliminated many of the megafauna that, had they survived, might have become candidate species, and Diamond argues that the pattern of extinction is more severe on continents where animals that had no prior experience of humans were exposed to humans who already possessed advanced hunting techniques e.

Smaller domesticable animals such as dogs, cats, chickens, and guinea pigs may be valuable in various ways to an agricultural society, but will not be adequate in themselves to sustain a large-scale agrarian society.

An important example is the use of larger animals such as cattle and horses in plowing land, allowing for much greater crop productivity and the ability to farm a much wider variety of land and soil types than would be possible solely by human muscle power.

Large domestic animals also have an important role in the transportation of goods and people over long distances, giving the societies that possess them considerable military and economic advantages.

Diamond also argues that geography shaped human migration , not simply by making travel difficult particularly by latitude , but by how climates affect where domesticable animals can easily travel and where crops can ideally grow easily due to the sun.

The dominant Out of Africa theory holds that modern humans developed east of the Great Rift Valley of the African continent at one time or another. The Sahara kept people from migrating north to the Fertile Crescent, until later when the Nile River valley became accommodating. Diamond continues to describe the story of human development up to the modern era, through the rapid development of technology, and its dire consequences on hunter-gathering cultures around the world.

Diamond touches on why the dominant powers of the last years have been West European rather than East Asian especially Chinese. The Asian areas in which big civilizations arose had geographical features conducive to the formation of large, stable, isolated empires which faced no external pressure to change which led to stagnation.

Europe's many natural barriers allowed the development of competing nation states. Such competition forced the European nations to encourage innovation and avoid technological stagnation.

Many were killed by infectious diseases such as smallpox and measles. Similar circumstances were observed in Australia and South Africa. Aboriginal Australians and the Khoikhoi population were decimated by smallpox, measles, influenza and other diseases. How was it then that diseases native to the American continents did not kill off Europeans?

Diamond posits that most of these diseases were only developed and sustained in large dense populations in villages and cities; he also states most epidemic diseases evolve from similar diseases of domestic animals. The combined effect of the increased population densities supported by agriculture, and of close human proximity to domesticated animals leading to animal diseases infecting humans, resulted in European societies acquiring a much richer collection of dangerous pathogens to which European people had acquired immunity through natural selection see the Black Death and other epidemics during a longer time than was the case for Native American hunter-gatherers and farmers.

He mentions the tropical diseases mainly malaria that limited European penetration into Africa as an exception. Endemic infectious diseases were also barriers to European colonisation of Southeast Asia and New Guinea.

Guns, Germs, and Steel focuses on why some populations succeeded. His later book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed , focuses on environmental and other factors that have caused some populations to fail. In the s, the Annales School in France undertook the study of long-term historical structures by using a synthesis of geography, history, and sociology.

Scholars examined the impact of geography, climate, and land use. Although geography had been nearly eliminated as an academic discipline in the United States after the s, several geography-based historical theories were published in the s. In , Jared Diamond already considered the question of "why is it that the Eurasians came to dominate other cultures? Many noted that the large scope of the work makes some oversimplification inevitable while still praising the book as a very erudite and generally effective synthesis of multiple different subjects.

Paul R. Ehrlich and E. Wilson both praised the book. Northwestern University economic historian Joel Mokyr interpreted Diamond as a geographical determinist but added that the thinker could never be described as "crude" like many determinists. For Mokyr, Diamond's view that Eurasia succeeded largely because of a uniquely large stock of domesticable plants is flawed because of the possibility of crop manipulation and selection in the plants of other regions: the drawbacks of an indigenous plant such as sumpweed could have been bred out, Mokyr wrote, since "all domesticated plants had originally undesirable characteristics" eliminated via "deliberate and lucky selection mechanisms ".

Mokyr dismissed as unpersuasive Diamond's theory that breeding specimens failing to fix characteristics controlled by multiple genes "lay at the heart of the geographically challenged societies. However, Mokyr still argued that Guns, Germs, and Steel is "one of the more important contributions to long-term economic history and is simply mandatory to anyone who purports to engage Big Questions in the area of long-term global history".

GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL: THE FATES OF HUMAN SOCIETIES, Jared Diamond

In Guns, Germs, and Steel , Jared Diamond outlines the theory of geographic determinism, the idea that the differences between societies and societal development arise primarily from geographical causes. The book is framed as a response to a question that Diamond heard from Yali , a charismatic New Guinean politician. In Part One of the book, Diamond sketches out the course of recent human history, emphasizing the differences between civilizations. Beginning about half a million years ago, the first human beings emerged in Africa, and eventually migrated around the rest of the world in search of game and other sources of food. About 11, years ago, certain human beings developed agriculture—a major milestone in human history. By the 15th century A.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution. Rent this article via DeepDyve. Andreasen, N. Intelligence and brain structure in normal individuals. American Journal of Psychiatry, , —


Diamond, Jared, Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13, years. my own book scans preserved. In this Pulitzer.


Guns, Germs, and Steel PDF Summary

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Atenea Concepc. ISSN What are the factors for the differing development rates of the world's societies since the Neolithic revolution? Many argue for biological, "racial" differences while others stress cultural differences or historical contingency as leading causes for the uneven development of human history. In this article we engage with the argument presented by Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies , where he convincingly argues for ecological and geographical differences between the continents as the fundamental causes.

Start growing! Boost your life and career with the best book summaries. A professor of geography at UCLA, he is one of the most influential public intellectuals in the world. For example, why almost all of the hunter-gatherer societies disappeared even though the ones we could study until recently seemed non-violent, lawful in the absence of laws, egalitarian, and, for all intents and purposes, more content than us? Why did practically every technological innovation you can think of was made either by a European or a Chinese for millennia?


GUNS,. GERMS AND. STEEL. THE FATES OF HUMAN SOCIETIES. Jared Diamond. W. W. Norton & Company. New York London.


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Voiceover: Modern history has been shaped by conquest — the conquest of the world by Europeans. The Conquistadors led the way. A few hundred men came to the New World and decimated the native population. The secret of their success? Guns, Germs and Steel.

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