Guns, Germs, and Steel Analysis
“Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people have little cargo of our own?” This question was posed by a local politician named Yali to Jared Diamond in the early 1970s. 25 years later Diamond wrote Guns, Germs, and Steel to answer this question. Diamond seeks to understand why certain societies developed and grow to dominate other societies that are more stagnant. In chapter 2 Diamond explains how 500 Moari armed with guns, clubs, and axes killed the Moriori people. How and why did this happen? This example helps to explain a critical part to answering Yali’s question. The Moari and Moriori lived on islands relatively close to one another. Diamond wants to answer the question of why did the Moari conquer the Moriori and not the other way around?
An essential part in advancing a people is the transition from being hunter-gatherers to being farmers and producing excess. This leads to specialization and a division of labor. The Moari lived in the northern part of New Zealand, which was suitable for farming. As a result of this there population swelled to 100,000. The Moriori, on the other hand, lived on the Chatham Islands, a small cold group of island unsuitable for farming. Without the use of farming the Moriori population only reached 2,000, all of which hunter-gatherers. The Moari could easily field a larger, better armed, and better trained force compared to the Moriori who had all but renounced warfare altogether. This small test helps us to understand that farming is a critical part in answering Yali’s question and Diamond’s thesis. Another critical piece to answering Yali’s question is a two part answer. Eurasia, as Diamond refers to Europe and Asia, has an East to Westward axis while the Americas and Africa have a North to Southward axis. While this may not seem important, it played a critical role in the Europeans colonization of the Americas and Africa....
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