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『Guns, Germs, and Steel』(1998)
－a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years
／ Jared Diamond
The Rise and Spread of Food Production
□chapter 11 lethal gift of livestock
All those military histories glorifying great generals
oversimplify the ego-deflating truth: the winners of the
past wars were not always the armies with the best generals
and weapons, but were often merely those bearing the
nastiest germs to transmit to their enemies.
Why did the rise of agriculture launch the evolution
of our crowd infectious diseases? One reason just mentioned
is that agriculture sustains much higher human population
densities than does the hunting-gathering lifestyle - on the
average, 10 to 100 times higher. In addition, hunter-gatherers
frequently shift camp and leave behind their own piles of feces
with accumulated microbes and worm larvae. But farmers are
sedentary and live amid their own sewage, thus providing
microbes with a short path from one person's body into
another's drinking water.
□chapter 12 blueprints an borrowed letters
□chapter 13 necessity's mother
Technology, in the form of weapons and transport,
provides the direct means by which certain peoples have
expanded their realms and conquered other peoples.
That makes it the leading cause of history's broadest pattern.
But why were Eurasians, rather than Native Americans or sub
Saharan Africans, the ones to invent firearms, oceangoing
ships, and steel equipment? the differences extend to most
other significant technological advances, from printing
presses to glass and steam engines. Why were all those
Technological advances seem to come disproportionately
from a few very rare geniuses, such as Johannes Gutenberg,
James Watt, Thomas Edison, and the Wright brothers. They
were Europeans, or descendants of European emigrants to
America. So were Archimedes and other rare geniuses of
ancient times. Could such geniuses have equally well been
born in Tasmania or Namibia? Does the history of technology
depend on nothing more than accidents of the birthplaces
of a few inventors?
The starting point for our discussion is the common
view expressed in the saying "Necessity is the mother of
invention." That is, inventions supposedly arise when a
society has an unfulfilled need: some technology is widely
recognized to be unsatisfactory or limiting. Would-be inventors,
motivated by the prospect of money or fame, perceive the
need and try to meet it. Some inventor finally comes up with
a solution superior to the existing, unsatisfactory technology.
Society adopts the solution if it is compatible with the society's
values and other technologies.
□chapter 14 from Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy
↑Thank You for One Click
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