Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

In this daringly innovative book, author Jared diamond posits a thesis that in the last 13000 years of evolutionary history of the continents, environmental and geographical factors effected a far greater influence in deciding the course of events that finally led to the world of today than a set of biological,moral or inherent genetic factors. He beautifully draws together diverse fields of knowledge such as bio-geography, history, archeology, evolutionary biology and presents a very cogent argument.

Jared contends that owing to the then prevailing environmental factors such as continental areas and axes, isolation and internal geographic barriers, Eurasian continent got a head start; especially in the area of plant and animal species suitable for domestication and an early development of farming which subsequently led to societal transformation unlike that seen by continents such as Australia, south America and Africa due to unavailability of similar conducive factors in favor of such developments. Moreover, these early farm based societies instinctively progressed into large complex societies of industrial and military dominance and began conquering those socially and economically disadvantaged societies that were either left behind in this transformation or did not get across the minimum threshold to trigger it.

In essence, Author talks about three crucial factors that were largely responsible for this eventual pre-potency of Eurasia over North America, Australia and Africa. These were the Guns (Military technology), the Steel (Industrial technology) and germs (immunity to diseases).

His arguments seem plausible, convincing and radical to a large extent in the light of various examples sited in the book...However, a weakness in the approach is that the whole argument seemed to be Euro-centric and no consideration has been given to important cultural or political .dimensions.........but then that's where i feel the book is worthy of being given a sincere consideration...I enjoyed it to the hilt!!
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P.S. while i understand that the author has chosen a very wide canvas to cover as much possible as part of this monumental effort ...however i feel that it does not answer all questions...in fact some of them as intellectually overwhelming as the the central subject of the book such as how the climate variation across Indian continent may explain the degree of difference between the mannerisms, the food habits and the enterprenuriaship across the wide expanse of India.....the Indian continent, where i feel, has not been a serious or detail treatment in the book and thats where lies another weakness of the book...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4008293090480628280#

There is a 3 part video series as well.

-Kaustubh

Aaditya.khare said...

Thanks Kaustubh for reading my post and your comments!
Yes, there's a 3 part doc series also on this...but again it is not up to the par with the book as its difficult to cram so much into a 3 hr doc...

Amatya Rakshas said...

Opinion of the great acharya of manastaramgini on GGS; found in the below posts-


http://manasataramgini.wordpress.com/2006/02/18/incomplete-men/


http://manasataramgini.wordpress.com/2007/08/21/the-manufacture-of-opinion-and-suppression-of-freedoms/

Be cautious while reading, some very loaded codes found there, indecipherable to those outside his 'mandali'

Shubhechchha

Aaditya.khare said...

Thanks AR. 'twas like thinking from a new perspective..a nice read indeed...and agree on most points on RD and JD...as you would know these men and their ilk are controversial anyways...btw may i ask wo's the author of this blog?