The Fates of Human Societies

by Jared Diamond

Read 2018-9-26, Rating 6/10

Questions about inequality in the modern world can be reformulated as follows: why did wealth and power become distributed as they now are?

History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples environments not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.

Overkill hypothesis or climate hypothesis

The tragedy of the Moriori resembles many other such tragedies modern and ancient world, pitting numerous well equipped people against few ill equipped opponents

What unfolded at kalamarka that day is well known because it was recorded in writing by the Spanish participants. Excerpts from six of Pizarro companions including his brothers Hernando and Pedro

In that way, Atahualpa was captured and the governor took Atahualpa to his lodging, the Indians carrying the litter and those escorting Atahualpa never abandoned him. All died around him.

How did the farmers win out, over the famous warriors?

Domestic animals became the societies major source of animal protein, replacing wild game.

The birth interval for many farmers is two years, half that of hunter gatherers.

The humans who domesticated animals, were the first to be exposed with germs. Germs thus acquired from domestic animals played a decisive role in the European conquest…

What cave woman or cave man ever got the idea of domesticating a plant?

Why among the areas where agriculture did arise independently did it develop in some than others?
Problems with local people or Problems with the locally available plants?

Did the problem really in the Indians or with the apples?

The fertile crescent is by far the most intensively studied and best understood part of the globe as regards to the rise of agriculture.

The crops and animals of the Fertile Crescent’s first farmers came to meet humanity’s basic economic needs carbohydrates protein fat clothing traction and transport.

Indigenous crops from different parts of the globe were not equally productive

The modern world’s leading crop, sugar cane, nearly equals 2 and 3 wheat and corn.

Anna Karenina principle

First sentence from Anna Karenina Tolstoy

“Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”

We tend to seek simple easy explanations for success
Success actually means avoiding many failures

The ultimate cause of food production led to the proximate cause of germs literacy technology and centralized government

The trend in human society has been the replacement of smaller less complex units than larger more complex ones

Decision making by the entire adult population is still possible in villages where news and information quickly spread to everyone… and that everyone who wants to speak at a meeting can do so.

A group meeting is no way to solve problems for a group of thousands of people

Zulu – Dingiswayo

We take this seeming unity of China so much for granted, that we forget how astonishing it is.

Big and little languages – Map of languages

Ethic Chinese already felt culturally superior to non Chinese barbarians. North Chinese tended to regard south Chinese as barbarians.