Essay on An Examination of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

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An Examination of Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Yali posed an interesting question. Why did Europe come to dominate the rest of the world after 1500? Jared Diamond, in his book Guns, Germs, and Steel, concludes that geography is the defining factor in all of human history. While some people may disagree with his conclusion, that is only because it might not seem to take individual choice into consideration, which makes a person feel uncomfortable to say the least. Why would a person be inclined, even before they learn the facts, to disagree with his theory? What are the other theories, and why would people choose to believe them over this one? And finally, what makes this theory
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This may be hard to swallow as of yet, but the examination continues.

A popular conflicting belief is called the “Big Man Theory,” in which they state that history is driven and decided by a few “Big Men” with big ideas. Surely Columbus was part of history, but wouldn’t the Americas be discovered eventually anyway? Here lies the logical fallacy of the “Big Man Theory.” It is impossible to go back in time and find out how history would be different without certain individuals, but is it not true that someone probably would have filled the vacuum had Columbus been killed before his journey? And so, the historical geocentrics, and Jared Diamond is one of many, have come to believe that the great men do make choices, and that great men do take power, but that there are great men in every culture, just waiting to be recognized and have their views expressed such that when a slot becomes open there is always someone to fill it. Each culture produces its own amount of “slots” available for big-manship, so the frequency of radical change, as often occurs with a “Big Man” in power, is directly influenced by geography. Furthermore, “Big Men” only stay in power if they are working in the best interest of the state. This is in accord with Jared Diamond’s statement that each culture

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