Themes in History As Discussed by Niall Ferguson, Ian Morris, and David Landes

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In 1671, Thomas Hobbes described the natural state of mankind before organized government as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. He described a world where “every man was enemy to every man” and a constant state of fear existed whereby it would be impossible for civilization as known in his time to exist . The three authors subject of this short study; Niall Ferguson, Ian Morris, and David Landes in their works: “Civilization”, “Why the West Rules-For Now” and “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” respectively, attempt to understand how and why our ancestors were able to adapt and came to dominate their environments and the original natural, geographical and physical constraints and challenges presented by life on planet Earth. …show more content…
In the first several chapters of the book he analyzes the disparate distribution of blessings and curses that are caused by the very nature the way our planet is organized. He refers to academic work that focused on the influence and connections between the physical environment of a human group and its ability to develop economically, socially and culturally. After careful consideration of the misuses of geography to support deterministic theories of race or development, Landes reinforces the fact that, in his words, “the world has never been a level playing field, and everything costs”, and despite the technical and medical progress of the modern age, geographical constraints remain and must logically have been deeper and more influential in earlier times . He goes on to analyze climate and distribution of development in temperate zones of the world, but clearly points to the impacts of heat and its secondary effects such as insect borne diseases, “insects swarm as the temperature rises… with a resultant faster transmission of disease” . Landes analyzes climate, water: its availability, control and use as a source of power, arable land and the relationship between all of these geographical factors and the development of controlling elites, government and early civilization. Although, he discusses known and sometimes discredited theories of social progress

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