Chapter 14: From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy
The thesis of this Chapter from “Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Jered Diamond, describes the development of civilized mankind from the last Ice Age until modern times: the ways in which people evolved from small groups called “Bands,” to the way almost all of us live today, which is in “States.” The topic is interesting but the author rambles his way through this evolution. I think that this chapter could be improved by the use of Sub Heads, rather than just one extra space, when a new theme begins. There are so many themes and the first sentence of each theme often doesn’t explain what the author is about to explain. In other words, it does not adhere to the basic rule of good essay-writing: “Tell them what you are going to tell them. Then tell them. Then tell them what you just told them.” It’s simple and it works.
The chapter is interesting in spite of this problem. The author tries to be amusing by starting off with a story about a friend called Doug. Doug flew in by helicopter to meet a band called the Fayu. Doug had a remarkable story to tell but there was no dramatic description of how the event ended. “Doug prayed that the visit would not end in violence” but we never did find out if it did or not. The author was trying to get the reader involved by using an interesting story about his personal friend. It would have worked better had he told the whole tale.
The chapter then went on to describe many things and suggested that archaeology answers some of the questions we all have about how mankind developed into its present state. Actually, the present state is “State.” We have evolved from Bands to Tribes to Chiefdoms to States.
The first part of the chapter describes each of the four stages. For example, Bands (the Fayu is a Band) are comprised of “dozens of people” who are nomads because they have no resources, for example seeds. If they had seeds...