⚡ Jared Diamond Thesis

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Jared Diamond Thesis

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Direction of Expansion It's easier for a civilization to expand in a roughly east-west direction than a north-south direction, since climate is more similar east-to-west an example would be the lack of horses in South Africa until imported by sea, since they couldn't go by land through the tse-tse fly zone. Eurasia extends more east-west, and America more north-south, as does Africa.

Food Production Wheat is a better grain than corn, in terms of nutrition supplied per unit effort. The book, though, attracted criticism because it seems to relate indirectly to notions of geographical determinism that were used in German Geopolitik and incorporated in the Nazi ideology. That's a knee jerk reflex; Diamond's book links in no way geography to notions of human races, and its themes do not really apply to industrialized societies. In that sense, the guns, germs and steel culminate in the great showdown of the Columbian Exchange ; afterwards, worldwide transportation of people, goods, ideas, and of course germs tends to nullify the geographical-induced effects that Diamond expands upon.

For instance, there now is cattle in America, and I can eat oranges in winter I live in Canada Some points developed in Diamond's book are still open to lively debate; while they do not invalidate the whole book's thesis, they are worth mentioning. For instance, after some discussion, Diamond confidently asserts that there was no human being in America before about BC; this is the "short chronology" of the settlement of the Americas and Diamond uses it as an argument to support the overkill hypothesis , by which most big animals in America were hunted to death in a short time by human hunters, of which animals had not evolved to be wary.

In Diamond's book, overkill implies no suitable large animal for domestication and food production, and therefore no evolution of germs by transfer from cattle to humans. On that question of the settlement of America and of overkill, Charles Mann's , another well known and well written book, takes a different path. I encourage you to read both books, so as to get more viewpoints and then think for yourself. Generally speaking, this is how you should read all books: not as collections of Revealed Truths, but as food for personal thought.

The Wikipedia entry on the book is pretty thorough. Guns, Germs, and Steel is definitely controversial, because Diamond is writing from the perspective of an evolutionary biologist, and essentially is arguing that history is if not wholly determined by geography, at least heavily influenced by it. Guns, Germs and Steel met with a wide range of response, ranging from generally favorable to rejection of its approach. The book is well supported and well regarded. I want to add a caveat to the above answer, since the Wikipedia page doesn't emphasize this point. He is writing from a viewpoint of environmental determinism. This area of academics is having a bit of a revival right now, but environmental determinism has long been used to explain European and according to Wikipedia other races as well, depending on the author absurd and racist theories.

Therefore its people are greedy, uncouth, and warlike," and "The water of Chu is gentle, yielding, and pure. Therefore its people are lighthearted, resolute, and sure of themselves. It's therefore controversial to attempt to use the methodology at all when it may have such serious flaws. However, it is by no means useless, since there are real, quantifiable relationships between geography and development in the case of latitude, climate and access to rivers, ports and other features. Diamond discusses the controversy on his website in detail here. He rejects the accusation that his theories are only based on geographical determinism.

The book is very well regarded: it won a Pulitzer Price for non-fiction and figures in many lists of the more important books of the end of the 20th century. It's impossible to say how accurate it is regarding the truth of its main thesis: that the long-term and gross differences between societies in different continents and environments, come ultimately from geographical factors. As always with History, one can think that it's plausible, but no more.

Robinson, who in "Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty" argue that the differences in wealth and success come mainly from political and economic institutions. There is a "slow random drift" in institutions, and when a crisis comes, some regions are more likely to cope with it because they have better institutions, and the differences get bigger. In my opinion, this other theory is more plausible, at least for the short and mid-term differences in modern times the two Koreas, the two Germanies. Question: How accurate, well-supported, and well-regarded is this book Guns Germs and Steel?

Short Answer: Not that accurate, not well supported, pretty well regarded as a very ambitious project which necessarily sacrificed important detail as it brought together many different fields of study into one new interlocking amalgamation to answer a specific question. While praised by many and well received, the book "Guns Germs and Steel" has been roundly criticized by the scientific specialists which make up the fields Diamond drew upon. The criticism notes that Diamond's book is a profound oversimplification of the topics presented and thus sacrifices accuracy. Details Jarrett Diamond didn't invent the theories he wrote about in his book from He just synthesized them in a new and engaging way and applied that synthesis broadly on a specific question regarding New Guinea and Britain.

Why Britain and New Guinea had such different histories. The theories Diamond presents to answer this question are from many different fields of study and widely regarded individually to be good science. However; if their is one criticism of Jarrett Diamond's work it is that the broad use of these works and use as an amalgamation leads to oversimplifications of the original theories and thus inaccuracy. Neumann of the London School of Economics and Political Science Einar Wigen of University of Oslo "while empirical details should, of course, be correct, the primary yardstick for this kind of work cannot be attention to detail.

Eskov wrote an article about the book in his blog in , which was later reprinted in several online journals, e. I'm not aware of any English translations of it though. In short, the main reason for the rebuke is the alleged cherry-picking of facts which fit into Diamond's theory, while ignoring contradicting facts. While African and American plants and animals may be not as good or as numerous as what is found in Eurasia, species suitable for domestication do exist, and the reason why they weren't domesticated or didn't become a factor in the development of the civilization could not be adequately explained by Diamond's theory. The prime example is the potato, which is native to South America, and which played a key role in the elimination of hunger in Europe when it was introduced there, yet it didn't give Aztecs or Mayas a significant advantage.

While other native American and African plans and animals are not as good as their European counter-parts, they are still good enough for domestication given no other option. For instance, Eskimos domesticated reindeer in the absence of horses and cows, and it's not clear why e. Eskov makes a comparison between such "second-grade" domestication candidates and Russian car models, which didn't stand a chance against West-European cars when the USSR fell and the border was open, yet served their purpose rather well while the country was in isolation behind the iron curtain. The geographical barriers described by Diamond are either not as solid as one may assume or weren't true the past:. South America is dominated by the Andes mountain chain which creates several climatic zones on each latitude.

As a result, many such climatic zones span from North to South along the Andes, making migration and sharing of domesticated species possible. The fact that the Panama jungle was impassable at the time couldn't prevent economical links via ship navigation and cabotage, which was known to the ancient Americans. The Sahara was not a desert at a time when domestication started, and in later times was not impassable as the Nile Valley served as the equivalent of the Silk Road. Yet those technologies were never put to good use. The last argument goes against the claim that germs helped Europeans conquer other civilizations which had no immunity for them. In fact, while germs give a tactical advantage to the side which is immune to them during a war, those same germs strongly disadvantage the civilization which has them by slowing down development.

Considering how badly Aztecs were affected by European infections such as smallpox, we cam assume that those infections also cost hundreds of years to the early European civilizations which first contracted them. I was delighted by the book and used to keep it in great regard. The only problem that after one malicious person started to fact check all the premises, big part of reasoning and my faith in Jared Diamond started to crumble.

Yes, Europe was revolutionised by an American plant because it was bringing higher yields per hectare. Somehow I also was shocked that I overlooked that contradiction with whole premise of book. Thus following the theory it should have doomed Europe. By contrast, wheat comes in at about 4 million calories per acre, soy at 6 million. Rice is also very high-yielding, at 11 million, and potatoes are one of the few crops that can rival corn: They also yield about 15 million although record corn yields are much higher than record potato yields. Source: Washington Post. If, as LangLangC this is a comparison of modern species - US settlers were planting corn for its higher yield than wheat Even if one moved corn to Spain in premodern times and foreign environment it had similar yields to wheat.

Yes, it has nasty character. On exactly what premise are we assuming that wild, undomesticated horses millennia ago were nice? Domestication puts very strong evolutionary pressure on animals, including making their brains smaller and their behaviour much more docile. Instead it was "jumping" in weird way, showing that some other factors were dominating. According to historical accounts extinct in XVIIth century they were not only fearsome challenge for hunters but even people did not fully grasped that were related to cows. In other words unless in this case, against Jared Diamond claims, it was not being lucky in getting nice animal, but millennia of domestication. There is a third kind, consisting of those animals which are called uri. These are a little below the elephant in size, and of the appearance, color, and shape of a bull.

Their strength and speed are extraordinary; they spare neither man nor wild beast which they have espied. These the Germans take with much pains in pits and kill them. The young men harden themselves with this exercise, and practice themselves in this kind of hunting, and those who have slain the greatest number of them, having produced the horns in public, to serve as evidence, receive great praise. But not even when taken very young can they be rendered familiar to men and tamed. The size, shape, and appearance of their horns differ much from the horns of our oxen.

These they anxiously seek after, and bind at the tips with silver, and use as cups at their most sumptuous entertainments. In last century Russians were running a breeding experiment and managed to domesticate fox as pet as they were selecting friendlier and friendlier generations. Yes, maybe a bit pointless from practical perspective, but that's exactly the point. If one does not need some domesticated animals then does not put the effort. In consequence whoever managed the domestication of useful animals first would get and edge and manage to spread them, thus making later domestication of similar species pointless. The problem is that both species had been driven in to extinction by early hunter-gatherers.

Nothing unique. In Eurasia we managed also to more or less drive in to extinction wild horses there are some semi-wild reintroduced like tarpan or Przewalski's horse , aurochs or wild dromaders. So equally well we may use the same data and ask whether one bothers to domesticate a specie before driving it in to extinction, and reach a conclusion that the differentiating factor was some seemingly minor decision at key divergence point. Those were as accurate as possible when the book was written, and are not substantially different in , even if some data has changed. However the main theory advertised by the book remains is based on environmental determinism, which is not an objective way to approach history.

Whenever comparing 2 groups of people that have diverged in any characteristics looks, abilities, power, technology , there are common categories of factors that might explain the difference, environmental factors geography, climate, terrain, resources, climate change , biological factors available animals, plants, diseases , catastrophes volcanoes, droughts, floods, pests , cultural factors language, law, religion, politics, trade, economy , genetic factors, important personalities Alexander the Great, Aristotle , inventions and discoveries, important battles, wars, outbreaks of epidemics.

Those are not even all, just examples. When historians create theories to explain causality of events, the safest bet is to say "It's a combination of factors, it's complicated". That way, the differences of power of populations until CE all appear to be derived from the environment. Also question is, what are the 5 checkpoints that Diamond say cause societal collapse? Diamond identifies five sets of factors that precipitate societal collapse : environmental damage like deforestation, pollution, soil depletion, or erosion; climate change; hostile neighbors; the withdrawal of support from friendly neighbors; and the ways in which a society responds to its problems, be they.

Also, what would cause society to collapse? Common factors that may contribute to societal collapse are economical, environmental, social and cultural, and disruptions in one domain sometimes cascade into another. Other factors such as a Malthusian catastrophe, overpopulation or resource depletion might be the proximate cause of collapse. Collapses of past societies Diamond identifies five factors that contribute to collapse : climate change, hostile neighbours, collapse of essential trading partners, environmental problems, and the society's response to the foregoing four factors.

Jared Diamond's basic theory is that some countries developed more rapidly than others and were able to expand and conquer much of the world because of geographic luck. Who is Jared Diamond and what does he study? Jared Diamond is one of America's most celebrated scholars. A professor of Geography and Physiology at the University of California, he is equally renowned for his work in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology, and for his ground-breaking studies of the birds of Papua New Guinea. What are the eight types of environmental damage listed by Diamond?

The processes through which past societies have undermined themselves by damaging their environments fall into eight categories, whose relative importance differs from case to case: deforestation and habitat destruction, soil problems erosion, salinization, and soil fertility losses , water management problems,. Where did Jared Diamond go to college? Who wrote Guns Germs and Steel? Jared Diamond. What is one of the reasons Jared Diamond believes caused the collapse of Norse society in Greenland in the s?

In the case of the Greenland Norse, cultural factors that made it difficult for them to solve their problems were: their commitments to a Christian society investing heavily in cathedrals; their being a competitive-ranked chiefly society; and their scorn for the Inuit, from whom they refused to learn. What would happen if society collapsed? As population increases, the supply of labour outstrips demand, workers become cheap and society becomes top-heavy. How do you survive the collapse of civilization? Check out the following and get started to preparedness. Preparing for a civilization collapse. Check if it's really a civilization collapse. Store and stock on supplies.

Stock on water. Sanitize everything. Have a contingency plan. Learn of basic survival skills.

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