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In Guns, Germs, and Steel I asked why history has unfolded differently over the last 13,000 years in Eurasia, in the Americas, in sub-Saharan Africa, and in Aboriginal Australia, with the result that within the last 500 years Europeans were the ones who conquered Native Americans and Aboriginal Australians and sub-Saharan Africans, rather than vice versa. Most of that book, was concerned with comparing the peoples of different continents, but I knew that I couldn't publish a book comparing the histories of different continents and considering Eurasia as a unit without saying something about the fascinating problem of the differences of history within Eurasia. Why, within Eurasia, was it Europeans who conquered the world and colonized other people, rather than the Chinese or the people of India or the Middle East? I devoted seven pages to that subject at the end of Guns, Germs, and Steel, and I think I arrived at the correct solution. Nevertheless, since the publication of Guns, Germs, and Steel, I've received a lot of feedback, and the most interesting feedback has been about the implications of that comparative analysis of the histories of China, Europe, India, and the Middle East. In particular, in addition to the review of my book by Bill Gates, I've received a lot of correspondence from economists and business people, who pointed out to me possible parallels between the histories of entire human societies and histories of smaller groups. This correspondence from economists and business people has to do with the following big question: what is the best way to organize human groups and human organizations and businesses so as to maximize productivity, creativity, innovation, and wealth? Should your human group have a centralized direction, in the extreme having a dictator, or should there be diffuse or even anarchical organization? Should your collection of people be organized into a single group, or broken off into a number of groups, or broken off into a lot of groups? Should you maintain open communication between your groups, or erect walls between them, with groups working more secretly? Should you erect protectionist tariff walls against the outside, or should you expose your business or government to free competition? These questions about group organization arise at many different levels and for many types of groups. They arise, of course, about the organization of entire governments or countries: what is the best way to govern a country? Remember the classic arguments about whether the best government is a benign dictatorship, or a federal system, or an anarchical free-for-all. The same questions also rise about the organization of different companies within the same industry. How can you account for the fact that Microsoft has been so successful recently, and that IBM, which was formerly successful, fell behind but then drastically changed its organization over the last four years and improved its success? How can we explain the different successes of what we call different industrial belts? When I was a boy growing up in Boston, Route 128, the industrial belt around Boston, led the industrial world in scientific creativity and imagination. But Route 128 has fallen behind, and now Silicon Valley is the center of innovation. And the relations of businesses to each other in Silicon Valley and Route 128 are very different, possibly resulting in those different outcomes. Of course there are also the famous differences between the productivities of the economies of different countries: the differing national average productivities of Japan and the United States and France and Germany. Actually, though, there are differences between the productivities and wealths of different business sectors within the same country. For example, the German metal-working industry has a productivity rivaling that of the United States, so
The result was that the boats of the Tasmanians could not reach Australia. Or take Japan — we Americans are paranoid about the supposed efficiency of Japanese business. and Tasmania was part of the Australian mainland. just as Britain used to be part of the European mainland. Thus. In addition. which are really rough waters.000 years ago the glaciers melted.000 years comprises tens of thousands of different experiments. and Tasmania became cut off from mainland Australia by Bass Straits. the watercraft of the Tasmanians were washthrough rafts that got waterlogged and sank after about a dozen hours. What .000 years ago. And then 10. that the Japanese food-producing industry is less than 1/3 as productive and efficient as the American food-processing industry? Still another example: in Korea. but all other Korean industries lag behind the United States. sea level rose and cut off Tasmania from the Australian mainland. or the different organization of the Japanese food processors and the Japanese car manufacturers. and the outcomes have been very different. the places we're most likely to see that effect are the histories of those two islands off southeastern Australia called Tasmania and Flinders Island. If isolation has any effect on human societies. I propose to try to learn from human history. If an idiot were in command of Microsoft. then however superior Microsoft's organization.000 years the Tasmanians represented a study of isolation unprecedented in human history except in science fiction novels. what form of organization of human groups is best? I'm sure that there are many of you here who are involved with businesses that would like to know the answer to that question. They lie about 200 miles off the southeast coast of Australia and are separated today from Australia by Bass Straits. all other things being equal. Microsoft would be unlikely to be a successful business. and the boats of the mainland Aboriginal Australians could not reach Tasmania.the Germans are certainly capable of organizing industries well. for the last 10. but the German beer-brewing industry is less than half as productive as the American beer-brewing industry. and the fact is that the Japanese steel industry is 45% more productive than the American steel industry. Some societies have been much more productive and innovative than others. that accounts for the different productivities of these sectors within a given country? Obviously. What is it about the different organization of the German beer brewers and the German metal workers. or else in the long run. Let's learn from the extreme examples of isolation of human societies. But nevertheless one can still ask . the steel industry is equal in efficiency to American steel making. Here were 4. then. the answers to these questions about the different success of organizations partly depend upon idiosyncracies of individuals. The success of Microsoft must have something to do with Bill Gates. so their floor lay above sea level at glacial times of low sea level up to about 10. Why is it. and they remained totally cut off from any other people in the world until the year 1642. sea level rose. when Europeans "discovered" Tasmania. but those straits are relatively shallow. Each human society represents a different natural experiment in organizing human groups. Human history over the last 13. So when Tasmania and Flinders were part of the Australian mainland. Human societies have been organized very differently. What can we learn from these natural experiments of history that will help us all get rich? I propose to go over two batches of natural experiments that will give you insights into how to get rich. or else on the average. When the glaciers melted.000 Aboriginal Australians cut off on an island. The first batch of natural experiments concerns understanding the effects of isolation and of group size and of communication with other groups on the productivity of human societies. Australian Aborigines walked down to Tasmania and Flinders from the mainland. The Bass Straits between Tasmania and Australia were then dry land.
bought these two guns for $10. . had been used to fighting by standing up in front of their armies and making a graceful speech. What happened was that the Samurai.happened during those 10. The Polar Eskimos lost the kayak. and bone tools disappear from archeological record about 3. but to other very isolated human societies.000. A Japanese nobleman happened to be there. and then they had one-on-one combat. and yet the Tasmanians went about either naked or just with a cape thrown over the shoulder.000 years of isolation. So the Samurai realized that guns were a danger because they were such an equalizer. then ten guns a year. and then they licensed fewer factories. until by the 1840s when Commodore Perry came to Japan. they did not have boomerangs. and shot a duck on the wings. And then. the other opposing Samurai made an answering graceful speech. were inventing things that the isolated 4. Japan no longer had any guns. There are other examples. and lost pottery. the easiest case to understand is Japan. was very impressed. How do we account for these cultural losses and non-inventions of Tasmanian society? Flinders Island was even more extreme — that tiny society of 200 people on Flinders Island went extinct several millenia ago. Tasmania is at the latitude of Vladivostok and Chicago: it's snowy in the winter. That represents the loss of a very powerful technology. To understand these losses in extreme isolation. Guns arrived in Japan around 1543 with two Portuguese adventurers who stepped ashore. What accounts for this extreme simplicity of Tasmania society? Part of the explanation is that during the 10. who numbered about 250. it had technologically the simplest. Japan had more guns per capita than any other country in the world. the Tasmanians actually lost some technologies that they had carried from the Australian mainland to Tasmania. archeological investigations have shown one other thing: during those 10. they did not have multi-piece stone tools. That result applies not just to Tasmania and Flinders.000 years? When Europeans discovered Tasmania in the 17th century. Evidently. Japan gradually abandoned guns. and then they said that only three factories could repair guns. Dorset Eskimos lost dogs and bow drills. totally isolated human society that causes either very slow innovation or else actual loss of existing inventions. which originally supported a population of 200 cut-off Aboriginal Australians? — what happened to that tiny isolated society of 200 people during those 10. Most Polynesian societies lost bows and arrows. most "primitive" human society of any society in the modern world. the Tasmanians arrived in Tasmania with bone tools. there is something about a small. The Samurai first restricted the licensing of gun factories to a hundred factories. and Japan lost guns. The Samurai discovered that the peasants with their guns would shoot the Samurai while the Samurai were making their graceful speeches.000-person society? And what about nearby Flinders Island. they did not have spear-throwers. and then they said that those three factories could make only a hundred guns a year. the Aboriginal Australians. though. then three guns a year.000. they did not have bone tools.000 years of isolation. Incredibly. That's incredible. such as boomerangs. over the course of the next century. and they did not even know how to fish.000 years ago.000 Tasmanians were not inventing. and had his sword-maker imitate them. and by the year 1600 Japan had the best guns of any country in the world. and with needles you can have warm clothing. because with bone tools you can have needles. the warrior class in Japan. pulled out a gun. Within a decade. they did not have axes with handles. Native Tasmanians could not light a fire from scratch. It took place in a literate society. Notably. because the loss of firearms in Japan was witnessed and described.000 years to that isolated 4. The Torres Strait islanders between Australia and New Guinea abandoned canoes.
First. As of the year 1400. Why is it that China in the Renaissance fell behind Europe in technology? Often people assume that it has something to do with the Confucian tradition in China supposedly making the Chinese ultra-conservative. porcelain. within a short time the prince next door who did not ban firearms either walked in and conquered.This loss was possible only in Japan because of its isolation. China led the world in innovation and technology in the early Renaissance. The other lesson that I would like to draw from history concerns what is called the optimal fragmentation principle. Then. whereas the Judeo-Christian tradition in Europe supposedly stimulated science and innovation. or else as a result of the society with the fad. ocean-going ships in the world. compasses. to Arabia. or else the prince who banned firearms quickly realized his or her mistake and reacquired firearms from next door. Societies either adopt practices that are not profitable or for whatever reasons abandon practices that are profitable. Namely. and there were European princes who banned printing. if you've got a human group. and where there were no neighbors from whom to reacquire the technology. stern-post rudders. China had by far the best. So that's one of the two sets of lessons that I want to draw from history. The banning of the guns could work only in isolated Japan. just ask Galileo about the simulating effects of the Judeo-Christian tradition on science. paper. like those European princes who gave up the guns. Between 1405 and 1432 the Chinese sent 7 ocean-going fleets. By fads I mean a custom that does not make economic sense. And secondly. Well. Only in an isolated society. and down the east . printing. kites. out from China. there were no other neighbors threatening Japan. as a result of the societies next door without the fads out-competing the society with the fad. in any society except a totally isolated society. whether the human group is the staff of this museum. When a prince in the middle of Europe banned firearms. In short. or is it best organized as a number of small units. but you can guess what happened. any society undergoes local fads. So these stories of isolated societies illustrate two general principles about relations between human group size and innovation or creativity. cast iron. or Route 128. realizing they're making a big mistake and reacquiring the fad. there were European princes who similarly banned firearms. is that group best organized as a single large unit. deep drilling. first of all. gun powder. to the east coast of Africa. just consider the state of technology in medieval Confucian China. to India. where there's no competition and no source of reintroduction. where there were no neighbors as a threat. why did Renaissance China lose its enormous technological lead to late-starter Europe? We can get insight by seeing why China lost its lead in ocean-going ships. When firearms arrived in Europe. they had total crews of 20. or is it best fragmented into a lot of small units? What's the most effective organization of the groups? I propose to get some empirical information about this question by comparing the histories of China and Europe. rather than being conceived within that society. each of those ships dwarfed the tiny ships of Columbus. But usually those fads are reversed. can one of these fads result in the permanent loss of a valuable technology. or the German beer industry. secondly. about what happens in a really isolated society and group. Chinese inventions include canal lock gates. most innovations come in from the outside. and the largest number of. So the real question is. and those gigantic fleets sailed from China to Indonesia. competition between human societies that are in contact with each other is what drives the invention of new technology and the continued availability of technology. or your business. Those fleets comprised hundreds of ships. the biggest. and wheelbarrows — all of those innovations are Chinese innovations.000 men. the so-called treasure fleets.
Inventors had lots of chances. or to printing. Columbus was an Italian. but the emperor said "Stop. And Columbus then went to another duke of Spain who also considered it a waste of money. and Britain did not want anything to do with electric lighting until the 1920s. The new emperor decided that spending all this money on ships is a waste of money. it was never the case that there was one idiot in command of all Europe who could abolish a whole technology. who said this is stupid. yes. while China had no island big enough to become an independent society until the . Okay. There was a new emperor in China in 1432. In contrast. as a result of Columbus having shown the way.000 principalities. France." and so that was the end of the water-powered machinery in China. So Columbus went across the border to a duke of Spain who considered this stupid. all right. you can have three ships. China has a smooth coastline. in certain principalities for a while printing was suppressed. Essentially the same thing happened in China with clocks: one emperor's decision abolished clocks over China. the Iberian peninsula. and he wanted an ocean-going fleet to sail across the Atlantic. or to guns. came back. there was also isolationism in the United States in the 1930's. Now contrast that with what happened with ocean-going fleets in Europe. Denmark. is that this abandoning of fleets in China was final. In 1432. Columbus sailed across the Atlantic and. there's nothing unusual about that in China. and Norway/Sweden. independent ethnic group. but they were small ships. China was a virtual gigantic island. where everybody considered it a stupid idea and wouldn't support it. The essence of these events is that Europe was fragmented. Cortez and Pizarro followed him and brought back huge quantities of wealth. 11 European countries jumped into the colonial game and got into fierce competition with each other. the Greek peninsula. as we all know. So Columbus went to the next country. China was also on the verge of building powerful water-powered machinery before the Industrial Revolution in Britain. such as one finds in the histories of many countries. with the new emperor. It looked as if the Chinese were on the verge of rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Europe has an indented coastline. Italy. On his sixth try Columbus went to the king and queen of Spain. Within a short time. So Columbus went to Portugal. and colonizing Europe. and independent experiment in building a society: notably. because China was unified under one emperor. Europe had two big islands that became important independent societies. and China's tradition of building ocean-going ships was lost because of the decision by one person. like Tasmania. the other states saw the opportunity and adopted it. there was always competition between different states. and when one state tried something out that proved valuable. coming up the west side of Africa. Britain and Ireland. Finally. Well. But because Europe in the Renaissance was divided among 2. Columbus went back to the king and queen of Spain. on the seventh try. China's tremendous fleets came to an end through a typical episode of isolationism. When that one emperor gave the order to dismantle the shipyards and stop sending out the ships. that order applied to all of China. why was China chronically unified. so Columbus had many different chances. Just picture a map of China and a map of Europe. where the king of Portugal considered it a stupid idea and wouldn't support it. who said. In China there had been a Navy faction and an anti-Navy faction. So the real question is. the anti-Navy faction gained ascendancy. and each big indentation is a peninsula that became an independent country. discovered the New World. And. The difference. and why was Europe chronically disunified? Why is Europe disunified to this day? The answer is geography.coast of Africa. Everybody in Italy considered this a stupid idea and wouldn't support it. and brought the news to Europe. though. in Europe there were princes who said no to electric lighting.
The German metal-working industry and the German steel industry are equal in productivity to those of the United States. In China the two big rivers flow parallel to each other. Instead. that a too-unified society is a disadvantage. In Europe big rivers flow radially — the Rhine.modern emergence of Taiwan. the lesson I draw is that competition between entities that have free communication between them spurred on Europe. but India was not technologically as innovative as Europe. or when China was taken over temporarily by an outside invader. and were quickly connected by canals. India was geographically even more fragmented than Europe. What about the German beer industry? Well. Carpathians — China does not have mountain ranges that transect China. the Europe Union is having difficulties bringing any unity to Europe. then. innovation proceeds most rapidly in a society with some intermediate degree of fragmentation. the Germans are very efficient in some of their industries. I'll give you two examples. You've seen that effect even in modern times. These two examples involve the German beer industry and the Japanese food-processing industry. whereas for geographic reasons Europe was never unified. And that's not true. and the Elbe — and they don't unify Europe. that Europe's fragmentation was a great advantage to Europe as far as technological and scientific innovation is concerned. are separated by low-lying land. Let me give you two examples from case studies carried out by the McKinsey Corporation. On the average. an economics study industry based in Washington. Augustus couldn't do it. but the German beer-producing industry has a productivity only 43% that of the United States. Does this mean that a high degree of fragmentation is even better? Probably not. and since their industrial organization works so successfully for steel and metal. the Rhone. Let's apply this to some affluent modern industries and companies. We fantasize that the industrial productivity of Japan and Germany is greater than that of the United States. and a too-fragmented society is also a disadvantage. Charlemagne couldn't do it. we take along an extra suitcase specifically for the purpose of filling it up with bottles of German beer. related to differences in organization — and those differences are very instructive. Instead. and has stayed unified most of the time since then. But that average figure conceals differences among the industries of the same country. This suggests. Europe is transected by mountain ranges that split up Europe into different principalities: the Alps. the Pyrenees. For those geographic reasons. which we take back and dole out to ourselves for the year after each of our trips to Germany. a few idiots in control of the world's most populous nation were able to shut down the educational system for one billion people at the time of the Great Cultural Revolution. China was unified in 221 B. So. Whenever my wife and I go to Germany. In China one despot could and did halt innovation in China. the Germans make wonderful beer. The first example concerns that image of productivity that we Americans have as we look toward Japan. and Napoleon and Hitler couldn't unify Europe. And this suggests that there is an optimal intermediate degree of fragmentation. Why. can't they achieve a successful industrial organization for beer? . American industrial productivity is higher than the industrial productivity of either Japan or Germany. And it's not that the Germans make bad beer. whereas it's impossible for a few idiots to shut down the educational system of all of Europe.C. the Danube. since the Germans make such great beer. let's now start to apply all this to what we should do if we want to try to go out and get rich. Okay. China's experience of technological innovation came during the times when China's unity fell apart. To this day. then. Twenty years ago.
producing 23 billion liters of beer per year.000 food processing companies in Japan. although the U. The bigger the refrigerator unit for making the beer. There's no competition. French. In the beer industry. production costs decrease greatly with size. The other example that I want to tell you about is the Japanese food-processing industry. nor are they exposed to foreign competition. So it's difficult for foreign breweries to compete on the German beer market. What is the reason why the Japanese food-processing industry. big German companies compete with each other and they compete internationally. I mentioned that we Americans are virtually paranoid about the efficiency of the Japanese.000 major beer breweries. The United States has 67 major beer breweries. The Japanese are fanatics for fresh foods.S. there are only 21. produces 31 times more beer than the average brewery in Germany. as in other industries. consists of small companies with local monopolies? It turns out to be basically the same two reasons as with German beer: namely. so the average food-processing company in the United States is six times bigger than its Japanese counterpart. The result is that German beer is not exported very much.It turns out that the German beer industry suffers from small-scale production. producing only half as much beer per year as the United States.S. and the longer the bottle-filling line. but not for their food-processing industry. Any of you who like to buy Lowenbrau in the U. and it's not what American. There are 67. and Swedish breweries like to put into beer. There. like German beer industries.S.-bought Lowenbrau is not brewed in Germany. and government policies. The result is that the German beer industry cannot profit from economies of scale. has double Japan's population. There are 1. and not surprisingly what can go into beer is what German breweries put into beer. And any of you who have been in Germany know that Germans love their local beer and loathe the beer that comes from next door. That fact results from German local tastes and German government policies. it's brewed on license in the United States with American productivity and American efficiencies of scale. of Germans having their local beer loyalties. Japanese processed food is produced with an efficiency 32% of American processed foods. local tastes creating local monopolies. their companies are not exposed to competition with each other. and therefore they are forced to acquire best international practices through competition. But that disadvantage is not true for the German metal-producing industry or steel industry. is reinforced by German government law. and so they do not acquire the best practices of international industry. most German beer is consumed within 30 miles of the place where it is brewed.000 in the United States. and it's true for some Japanese industries. the cheaper is the cost of brewing beer. So these tiny German beer industries are relatively inefficient. shielded from competition with each other because each German brewery has virtually a local monopoly.S. And so there is no national brand of beer in Germany. and shielded from competition with imports. That outcome. Any of you who have been to . The German government makes it hard for foreign beers to compete on the German market. The German soap industry and the German consumer electronics industry are also inefficient. should look at the label in the supermarket: your U. Germany has 1.000 local monopolies. analogous to Budweiser or Miller or Coors in the United States. There you have an example from the German beer industry about the disadvantages of having lots of small groups that are secretive and don't compete with each other. The same inefficiency turns out to characterize some other German industries. The German government specifies exactly what can go into beer.000 little local beer companies in Germany. German beer drinkers are fiercely loyal to their local brand of beer. The German government has socalled beer purity laws. Instead. there are just 1. That's to say that the average brewery in the U.
or whatever arrives at the supermarket and the date says ten days old.m. Germs.Japan. Since my book "Guns. because of the several days in transit from Hokkaido. in Japan. but what we did not realize until we were brought into a supermarket by my wife's Japanese cousin is that chicken in Japan costs $25 a pound. they're all local monopolies. northern Japan. with a Kyushu producer. their car-part industry. And because the Japanese care about food that was produced that very day. do not apply the best practices. And the result is that. in southern Japan. I mentioned that when I was growing up. Silicon Valley consists of lots of companies that are fiercely competitive with each other. and despite the competition there is a free flow of ideas and a free flow of people and a free flow of information between these companies that . and they don't learn the best methods in the international trade for producing food. and Steel" was published. and the Japanese beer industry. The Japanese steel industry. If milk had been produced at 11:59 p. but nevertheless there's a lot of collaboration. The result is again that Japanese food-processing industries enjoy local monopolies. the date by which you're supposed to throw away that bottle of milk. which reinforces these local monopolies. when you go to the supermarket. a milk producer up in Hokkaido. So the result is that milk production in Japan always starts at one minute past midnight. The Japanese government obstructs the import of foreign processed food by slapping on a ten-day quarantine. will remember what it says on Japanese containers. The result is that Japanese food-processing industries are not exposed to domestic competition. I've spent a lot of time talking with people from Silicon Valley and some from Route 128. the Japanese really care about the dates. and these dates are in big letters. as my wife and I were in October. My wife and I had heard about that before we went to Japan. and no Japanese person would buy it. and no Japanese person would buy it. Route 128 outside of Boston led the world in productivity for an industrial belt. the milk company would have to stamp on its container that this milk was made yesterday. But the Japanese soap industry. they're not exposed to foreign competition. Obviously. and the Japanese computer industry. and then there's the date when the milk should be thrown away. the Japanese metal industry.. And the second thing is Japanese government policy. Now let's finally apply these lessons to comparing different industries or industrial belts within the United States. And there are other restrictions that the Japanese government imposes on foreign imports. the people will read on the container that this milk is three days old. and they tell me that the corporate ethos in these two industrial belts is quite different. so that the milk that goes to market that morning is today's milk. Japanese beef costs $200 a pound. but Route 128 has now fallen behind Silicon Valley. In Japan there are three dates on the container: there's the date when the milk was manufactured. In the United States. and so have ended up with productivities below those of corresponding industries in the United States. the Japanese car industry. is not going to be able to compete in Kyushu. The reason the Japanese can get away with that is that Japanese chicken producers are not exposed to competition with super-efficient American chicken producers. the Japanese are not very enthusiastic about buying those American products. naturally by the time that American beef. are not exposed to competition. By the time a carton arrives in Kyushu. there's one date on the container. and there's the date when the milk arrived at the supermarket. Now all those features are not true for some other Japanese industries. chicken. like the Japanese food-processing industry. and their electronic industries have productivities greater than our American counterparts. So that's one thing that creates local monopolies for food production in Japan: Japanese fanaticism about really fresh food.
as well as on the unusual organization of Microsoft. and at the end of the month the bigger income-producer will keep on with the job. "Darling. you do not want your air force. but. One restriction is.compete with each other. but then IBM acquired a new CEO who changed things drastically. which is quite distinctive. And those I see as the overall principles of how to organize a business and get rich. I've acquired friends at Microsoft. There are other considerations in organized human groups. but instead you want during a war more centralized control than you do in peace time. For example. "Sweetie-pies. So what this suggests is that we can extract from human history a couple of principles. But. There are conditions where more centralization may be appropriate. because most groups get most of their ideas and innovations from the outside. In addition. Microsoft has lots of units. and each of those units may have five to ten people working in them. I mentioned at the beginning. instead. he's forgot — but but but. who says that within human groups competition is what spurs productivity and innovation. For the next month let's see which of us earns a bigger income. I don't want you to go home tonight and each of you to say to your spouse or significant other. I heard this talk today by this guy Jared Diamond who enunciated some principles that I think would be really good for rearing children. what you say about IBM was quite true until four years ago: IBM did have this secretive organization which resulted in IBM's loss of competitive ability. "all other things being equal".. and I've learned about Microsoft's organization. the Raleigh-Durham area industrial belt. And there are also human groups for which productivity and differential money-making ability are not the overriding consideration. let's go back to those but-but-buts. whichever one of you comes closer to . We're going to see what your grades are at mid-term. and say. during a war. and navy to be fiercely competing with each other. Again. you want your human society or business to be broken up into a number of groups which compete with each other but which also maintain relatively free communication with each other.. and IBM now has a more Microsoft-like organization. contrasts with the organization at IBM. with free communication between units. Second. on the unusual qualities of Bill Gates. when I was talking in the industrial belt of North Carolina. since my book was published. what about the contrast between Microsoft and IBM? Again. and based on those grades. Jared."— Yes. I've just heard this guy Jared Diamond. That unusual organization at Microsoft. I'm told. army. and so I think we need to follow his advice in our household. First. Obviously the best organization is not going to help with an idiot as a CEO. which until four years ago had much more insulated groups. and you can see it. I don't want you to go home to your several children. Or again. I met someone who is on the board of directors of IBM. and the success of Microsoft certainly depends. I've been talking about conditions to maximize productivity and creativity and moneymaking ability. and that person told me. broken up in to a lot of semi-independent units competing within the same company. and the one of us who has lower income and is less efficient can turn to scrubbing the floors and shopping at the supermarkets. let me conclude by emphasizing some obvious restrictions. In contrast. and insulated from each other like Japanese milk-producing companies. the principle that really isolated groups are at a disadvantage. "But. they are allowed a great deal of freedom in pursuing their own ideas." That just illustrates: there are other considerations in a marriage than optimizing productivity. I'm sure all of you are already thinking to yourselves. A month ago. and there are conditions under which productivity is not the thing you're most interested in. but. but the units are not micro-managed. I'm told that the business of Route 128 are much more secretive.. at least in part. I also derive the principle of intermediate fragmentation: you don't want excessive unity and you don't want excessive fragmentation. in the improvement in IBM's innovativeness.
see which businesses went bankrupt. by looking to natural experiments of history. industrial belts. and to a considerable degree. .getting all A's. whatever you need. productivity is not the appropriate consideration for judging the best organization of the group. a hundred businesses. we could perform natural experiments. whereas those of you who get poor grades can start jobs as a shoe-shine boy or girl" — No! In a family. college. and in some other human groups. I hope that some of you will be able to apply these lessons to acquiring the wealth that has so far eluded me. But that's an inefficient way to do it. if we were rich enough. Nevertheless there are some human groups where productivity is indeed a significant consideration. private schools. In order to understand how to organize these businesses. countries. and after 20 years figure that we now have the correct industrial organization. organized a hundred different ways. that one we will support to the hilt. And that certainly includes businesses. We could set up. We can instead learn from the comparative approach.
. and linguistics. biology. he points out. Jared comes to this question as one who is accomplished in two scientific areas: physiology and evolutionary biology. In so doing he takes on race-based theories of human development. But perhaps the main reason why people resort to racist explanations. he notes. history is closer to an art. the second. Or being human ?that they're different from us. they don't get training in statistics. and they'll often say that history is not a science. "In parts of the world ?so called educated.000 years. The situation is even more extreme because. he brings together history and biology in presenting a global account of the rise of civilization. Why did history take such different evolutionary courses for peoples of different continents? This problem has fascinated me for a long time. Why Did Human History Unfold Differently On Different Continents For The Last 13. racism involves the belief that other people are not capable of being educated. Racism is the big social problem in the United States. archaeology. "'They' are smarter than we are. plant and animal genetics and biogeography." he says. is never far from history. and they're less than human." he says.Why Did Human History Unfold Differently On Different Continents For The Last 13. including molecular biology. is that they don't have another answer." which includes history. and members of the National Academy of Sciences come up to me afterwards and say. on all the continents. "Evolution is the concept that makes biology unique.000 Years? A Talk By Jared Diamond I've set myself the modest task of trying to explain the broad pattern of human history. Until there's a convincing answer why history really took the course that it did. He notes the distinction between the "hard sciences" such as physics. they're so primitive. and astronomy ?and what we sometimes call the "social sciences. "Biology is the science. Historians don't get training in the scientific methods. but it's now ripe for a new synthesis because of recent advances in many fields seemingly remote from history. people are going to fall back on the racist explanation. government." he says. "Most people are explicitly racists. Jared believes that the big world impact of his ideas may being in demolishing the basis for racist theories of history and racist views. Racism is one of the big issues in the world today. don't consider history to be a science. but native Australians. but nevertheless I've given lectures on this subject. In particular many of the socalled hard scientists such as physicists or biologists. economics. even historians themselves don't consider history to be a science. and so often we don't express racist views. for the last 13. It was through his work in New Guinea for the last 30 years that convinced him that it's not true. they don't get training in the experimental method or problems of doing experiments on historical subjects." In his new theories of human development. The first is a laboratory science. so-called western society ?we've learned that it is not polite to be racist.000 Years? A Talk By Jared Diamond Introduction by John Brockman The biggest question that Jared Diamond is asking himself is how to turn the study of history into a science." So why are people racists? According to Jared. The social sciences are often thought of as a pejorative.
In fact. Parts of Eurasia. While Aboriginal Australians and many Native American peoples remained Stone Age hunter/gatherers. 1500. peoples of the different continents already differed greatly in technology and political organization. the biggest unsolved problem of history. are no longer even masters of their own lands but have been decimated. which constitutes the strongest reason for tackling this uncomfortable subject. Other peoples. subjugated. metallurgy. and the Pacific islands. especially peoples of Europe and eastern Asia. Why did history turn out that way. genocide. survived. were still living as farmers or even still as hunter/ gatherers with stone tools. have spread around the globe. and have thrown off European domination but remain behind in wealth and power. or exterminated by European colonialists. and many peoples of the Americas and subSaharan Africa. we study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide.As we all know. Until we do. .000 B. So. assume that the answer involves biological differences in average IQ among the world's populations. But each of these new developments appeared earlier in Eurasia than elsewhere. and then to use that understanding so as to prevent their happening again.D. and southern Africa. Obviously. Even to ask the question why different peoples had different histories strikes some of us as evil. the Incas and Aztecs. to A.D. Two Native American peoples. and rape. Different rates of development on different continents. and Aboriginal Australians the ones who conquered or exterminated Europeans and Asians? This big question can easily be pushed back one step further. some of them on the verge of industrialization. including most Africans. too can be easily pushed back a further step. or even most people. Still other peoples. because of its apparently racist overtones. 1500. Parts of sub-Saharan Africa were divided among small indigenous Iron Age states or chiefdoms. from 11. Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents for the last 13. we can finally rephrase our question about the evolution of the modern world's inequalities as follows.D.D. 1500. just reflect on the underlying reason why so many people accept racist explanations of history's broad pattern: we don't have a convincing alternative explanation. 1500? This question. Historians tend to avoid this subject like the plague.C. all humans on all continents were still living as Stone Age hunter/gatherers. were what produced the inequalities of A.000 B. By the year A. Many people. Eurasians. the Americas. Empires with iron tools conquered or exterminated tribes with stone tools. 1500 were the immediate cause of the modern world's inequalities. and complex political organization. people will continue to gravitate by default to racist theories. In case the stink of racism still makes you feel uncomfortable about exploring this subject. Until the end of the last Ice Age around 11. including the original inhabitants of Australia. instead of the opposite way? Why weren't Native Americans. and many peoples of the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa. ruled over empires with stone tools and were just starting to experiment with bronze. because it appears to be justifying what happened in history. those differences as of A. and one small area of the Americas. most Eurasian peoples. herding. despite the fact that there is no evidence for the existence of such IQ differences. murder. That leaves us with a huge moral gap.D. gradually developed agriculture. Much of Eurasia and North Africa was occupied then by Iron Age states and empires. with the help of written histories and archaeological discoveries. the approximate year when Europe's overseas expansion was just beginning. But all peoples of Australia. developed indigenous writing as well. Africans. to dominate the modern world in wealth and power. but instead to understand how those evil things came about.C. New Guinea.000 years? Those differing rates constitute the broadest pattern of history. and my subject today. But how did the world evolve to be the way that it was in the year A. and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists: not in order to justify history..
South America. political organization.Let's proceed continent-by-continent.D. Infectious diseases introduced with Europeans. and guns. to develop oceangoing ships and empires and writing first. let's consider the collision of the Old World and the New World that began with Christopher Columbus's voyage in A. to motivate later explorers. There are two straightforward reasons for this gross imbalance. in return for the many devastating epidemic diseases that Indians received from the Old World. The result is that Europeans came to settle and dominate most of the New World. Native Americans might have been the ones to develop steel swords and guns first. those European ships were backed by the centralized political organization that enabled Spain and other European countries to build and staff the ships. Second. First. sailing directions. Why did these proximate advantages go to the Old World rather than to the New World? Theoretically. and Europeans had had time to develop both genetic and immune resistance to them. guns. That role played by infectious diseases in the European conquest of the New World was duplicated in many other parts of the world. like smallpox and measles. including maps. and killed an estimated 95% of the New World's Indian population. we've identified a series of proximate factors behind European colonization of the New World: namely. spread from one Indian tribe to another. We're also familiar with the gruesome details of how other Europeans conquered other parts of the New World. Those diseases were endemic in Europe. I'll now give you a summary and interpretation of the histories of North America. and writing that brought Europeans to the New World. Europeans had such ships. let's try to push the chain of causation back further. Also. and horses. steel swords. while the Native American population declined drastically from its level as of A. which arose much earlier in the Old World than in the New World. ships. Invading Europeans had steel swords. there is still another set of proximate factors to consider. The populations of each of those empires numbered tens of millions. far in advance of Europeans themselves. How is it that Pizarro and Cort? reached the New World at all. Finally. Now. guns. while Native Americans had only stone and wooden weapons and no animals that could be ridden. recent studies of microbes. 1492. 2_ minutes per continent. before Aztec and Inca conquistadors could reach Europe? That outcome depended partly on technology in the form of oceangoing ships. while the Aztecs and Incas did not. and horses weren't the sole proximate factors behind the European conquest of the New World. and accounts by earlier explorers. Europe. It's striking that Native Americans evolved no devastating epidemic diseases to give to Europeans. southern Africa.D. So far. Here we go: Most of us are familiar with the stories of how a few hundred Spaniards under Cort? and Pizarro overthrew the Aztec and Inca Empires. and many Pacific islands. but Indians initially had no such resistance. back to Europe. and horses that gave Europeans a big advantage on the battlefield. As our first continental comparison. Why did it happen that way? Why didn't it instead happen that the Emperors Montezuma or Atahuallpa led the Aztecs or Incas to conquer Europe? The proximate reasons are obvious. have shown that most human epidemic diseases evolved from similar epidemic diseases of the dense populations of . most of our familiar epidemic diseases can sustain themselves only in large dense human populations concentrated into villages and cities. and Asia from my perspective as a biogeographer and evolutionary biologist ?all that in ten minutes. Those military advantages repeatedly enabled troops of a few dozen mounted Spaniards to defeat Indian armies numbering in the thousands. Equally crucial was the role of European writing in permitting the quick spread of accurate detailed information. including Aboriginal Australia. Nevertheless. 1492. The part of that question that's easiest to answer concerns the reasons why Eurasia evolved the nastiest germs. European germs that killed most Indians before they could reach the battlefield. to be mounted on domestic animals more terrifying than horses. and to bear germs worse than smallpox. steel swords. because the proximate factors involved in that outcome are well understood. by molecular biologists.
so you might initially suppose that the Americas offered plenty of starting material for domestication. are qualitatively similar to t hese differences in domesticated mammals. perhaps exterminated by the first arriving Indians. and lack of a tendency to panic when fenced in. wheat. The Americas had very few native domesticated animal species from which humans could acquire such diseases. Also.000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. goats. horses domesticated in the Ukraine quickly spread eastward to China. though the difference is not so extreme. cattle. That preexisting difference was magnified 13.Old World domestic animals with which we came into close contact. In contrast. Differences between the Old and New Worlds in domesticated plants. Domesticated plants and animals yield far more calories per acre than do wild habitats. in which most species are inedible to humans. and smallpox possibly from a disease of camels. a willingness to breed in captivity. Another reason for the higher local diversity of domesticated plants and animals in Eurasia than in the Americas is that Eurasia's main axis is east/west. llamas and alpacas never spread from the Andes to Mexico. especially in large-seeded cereals. the turkey never spread from its site of domestication in Mexico to the Andes. population densities of farmers and herders are typically ten to a hundred times greater than those of hunter/gatherers. humans domesticated every possible large wild mammal species fulfilling all those criteria and worth domesticating. a rapid growth rate. chickens and citrus fruit domesticated in Southeast Asia quickly spread westward to Europe. measles and TB evolved from diseases of our cattle. Domestic animals revolutionized land transport. That fact alone explains why farmers and herders everywhere in the world have been able to push hunter/gatherers out of land suitable for farming and herding. In fact. hunter/gatherer societies tend to be egalitarian and to have no political organization beyond the level . influenza from a disease of pigs. Eurasia's east/west axis meant that species domesticated in one part of Eurasia could easily spread thousands of miles at the same latitude. whereas the main axis of the Americas is north/south. a social structure involving submissive behavior towards dominant animals and humans. and it took thousands of years for the corn that evolved in Mexico's climate to become modified into a corn adapted to the short growing season and seasonally changing day-length of North America. As a result. They also revolutionized agriculture. As a result. Eurasia's domesticated plants and animals were important for several other reasons besides letting Europeans develop nasty germs. Let's now push the chain of reasoning back one step further. leaving them only with the llama and alpaca as a domesticate. Why were there far more species of domesticated animals in Eurasia than in the Americas? The Americas harbor over a thousand native wild mammal species. with the result that there have been no valuable additions of domestic animals in recent times. the north/south axis of the Americas meant that species domesticated in one area couldn't spread far without encountering day-lengths and climates to which they were not adapted. encountering the same daylength and climate to which they were already adapted. by letting one farmer plough and manure much more land than the farmer could till or manure by the farmer's own efforts. Native Americans inherited far fewer species of big wild mammals than did Eurasians. For example. when most of the large mammal species of North and South America became extinct. despite the efforts of modern science. and barley of the Fertile Crescent quickly spread both west and east. because domestication requires that a wild animal fulfill many prerequisites: the animal has to have a diet that humans can supply. so that the Indian civilizations of Central and North America remained entirely without pack animals. As a result. and the sheep. a tractable disposition. Eurasia ended up with the most domesticated animal species in part because it's the world's largest land mass and offered the most wild species to begin with. Thousands of years ago. As a result. only a tiny fraction of wild mammal species has been successfully domesticated.
dense. and so on ?for the conquest of the Americas by Europeans. To the student of human evolution. even dogs ?entered sub-Saharan Africa from the north. we can ask why guns and ships and so on ended up being developed in Europe rather than in sub-Saharan Africa. Those Eurasian domestic mammals spread southward very slowly in Africa. like that of the Americas. germs. If time were a critical factor in the development of human societies. it's striking that the sole animal domesticated within sub-Saharan Africa was [you guess] a bird.000 years. Let's next examine whether this scheme. steel. swords. Those crops couldn't spread south in Africa beyond Ethiopia. swords. stratified societies made possible by agriculture.of the band or tribe. But domesticated plants and animals also led more indirectly to Eurasia's advantage in guns. that outcome largely reflects biogeographic differences in the availability of domesticable wild animal and plant species. But it couldn't happen. oceangoing ships. by supporting craftspeople who didn't raise their own food and who could instead devote themselves to developing metallurgy. since we now think of Africa as the continent of big wild mammals. They were all disqualified by one or another problem such as: unsuitable social organization. I'll concentrate on the history of sub-Saharan Africa. and even anatomically modern Homo sapiens may have reached Europe from Africa only within the last 50. and east/west axis. sheep. the livestock adopted in Africa were Eurasian species that came in from the north. Just think what the course of world history might have been like if Africa's rhinos and hippos had lent themselves to domestication! If that had been possible. Instead. and guns. because it was much more isolated from Eurasia by distance and climate than was North Africa. slow growth rate. African cavalry mounted on rhinos or hippos would have made mincemeat of European cavalry mounted on horses. which I'll summarize in five minutes. and so on. The difficulties posed by a north/south axis to the spread of domesticated species are even more striking for African crops than they are for livestock. Those proximate factors seem to me ultimately traceable in large part to the Old World's greater number of domesticated plants. none of those famous big wild mammal species of Africa proved domesticable. Africa should have enjoyed an enormous head start and advantage over Europe. At first that sounds astonishing. Remember that the food staples of ancient Egypt were Fertile Crescent and Mediterranean crops like wheat and barley. whose history is closely linked to Eurasia's history. that question is particularly puzzling. helps us understand the broadest pattern of African history. The chain of causation is most direct in explaining the Old World's advantages of horses and nasty germs. political organization. politically centralized societies with governing elites. and writing. The proximate factors were the same familiar ones of guns. Thus. we can similarly ask why Europeans colonized sub-Saharan Africa before sub-Saharans could colonize Europe. sedentary. Here we go again: Just as we asked why Cort? invaded Mexico before Montezuma could invade Europe. from Eurasia or North Africa. Again. intractable behavior. the Guinea fowl. Those food surpluses also accelerated the development of technology. derived from the collision of Europeans with Native Americans. goats. All of Africa's mammalian domesticates ?cattle. much greater number of domesticated animals. political organization. because they had to adapt to different climate zones and different animal diseases. whereas the food surpluses and storage made possible by agriculture permitted the development of stratified. Africa's long axis. we began by identifying a series of proximate explanations ?guns. But again. horses. oceangoing ships. In fact. Taking first domestic animals. as I mentioned. all of which were products of the large. beyond which the rains come in the summer and there's little or no seasonal variation in . which require winter rains and seasonal variation in day length for their germination. because humans have been evolving for millions of years longer in Africa than in Europe. is north/south rather than east/west. and writing. writing.
000 hunter/gatherers related to mainland Australians. Unlike mainland Aboriginal Australians. even to this day no native Australian animal species and only one plant species (the macadamia nut) have proved suitable for domestication. and most of it can support only small human populations because of low rainfall and productivity.000 years ago. In short. Ironically. Australia. Tasmania lies 130 miles southeast of Australia. the Tasmanians didn't catch or eat fish.000. But why had all Native Australians remained hunter/gatherers? There are three obvious reasons. incredibly. they lacked sewing to make sewn clothing. but it was the most extreme outpost of the most extreme continent. The resulting advantages of Europeans in guns. no metal tools. for the last time. When it was first visited by Europeans in 1642. Instead. The southward advance of native African farmers with Central African crops halted in Natal. Here we go again. those crops of Central Africa were for the same reason then unable to spread south to the Mediterranean zone of South Africa. Those. no writing. consider the Australian island of Tasmania. and writing permitted Europeans to colonize Africa. Australia is the smallest continent. were decisive in African history. a north/south axis. Tasmania was occupied by 4. they acquired valuable domestic animals only later. of course. Tasmania is just an island of modest size. though they lived mostly on the sea coast. are the reasons why European guns and germs destroyed Aboriginal Australian society. they had no boomerangs. adapted to Central Africa's summer rains and relatively constant day length. but with the simplest technology of any recent people on Earth.day length. In modern times. they couldn't cut down a tree or hollow out a canoe. To get an idea of the significance of that small population size and isolation for the pace of development in Australia. The sole outside contacts of Aboriginal Australians were tenuous overwater contacts with New Guineans and Indonesians. There still are no domestic kangaroos. they had no bone tools. and a paucity of wild plant and animal species suitable for domestication. Australia was the sole continent still inhabited only by hunter/gatherers. Finally. and no political organization beyond the level of the tribe or band. despite Tasmania's cold winter climate with snow. ships. How did those enormous gaps in Tasmanian material culture arise? The answer stems from the fact that Tasmania used to be joined to the southern Australian mainland at Pleistocene times of low sea level. and it illuminates a big issue in the evolution of all human societies. First. the development of agriculture in the sub-Sahara had to await the domestication of native African plant species like sorghum and millet. just as they were in Native American history. where once again winter rains and big seasonal variations in day length prevailed. which had the most extraordinary human society in the modern world. spear throwers. Australia is the most isolated continent. Tasmanians couldn't start a fire. and. rather than Africans to colonize Europe. or shields. beyond which Central African crops couldn't grow ?with enormous consequences for the recent history of South Africa. People walked out to Tasmania tens of . political organization. Second. Although native Africans domesticated some plants in the Sahel and in Ethiopia and in tropical West Africa. and no compound tools like an axe head mounted on a handle. no specialized stone tools. from the north. That makes Australia a critical test of any theory about continental differences in the evolution of human societies. Native Australia had no farmers or herders. until that land bridge was severed by rising sea level 10. Let's now conclude our whirlwind tour around the globe by devoting five minutes to the last continent. Hence the total number of Australian hunter/gatherers was only about 300.
absent from Tasmania but present on the opposite Australian mainland. complete isolation from other humans for 10. for all human societies except those of totally-isolated Tasmania. First. and will either outcompete the societies that lost it. it also has to be maintained. the rate of human invention is faster. because both Tasmanians and mainland Australians lacked watercraft capable of crossing those 130-mile straits between Tasmania and Australia. What sense can we make of these cultural losses? The only interpretation that makes sense to me goes as follows. bone tools and the practice of fishing were both present in Tasmania at the time that the land bridge was severed. instead of being invented locally. they could have rediscovered the value and techniques of fishing and making bone tools that they had lost. i n areas occupied by many competing societies with many individuals and in contact with societies elsewhere. we can surely conclude at least that Tasmania's tiny population didn't invent them independently. or else will be there as a model for the societies with the taboos to repent their error and reacquire the practice. It's also likely to contribute to the differences that I already discussed between the farmers of sub-Saharan Africa. Whenever such economically senseless taboos arise in an area with many competing human societies. when it was still part of Australia. while people of other continents were adopting agriculture and metal. If this interpretation is correct. It probably provides part of the explanation why native Australians. so one expects the evolution of technology to proceed most rapidly in societies most closely connected with outside societies. we should expect to see that effect in Tasmania. . All human societies go through fads in which they temporarily either adopt practices of little use or else abandon practices of considerable use. though. were invented by Australians within the last 10. In short. and the rate of cultural loss is slower. and both disappeared from Tasmania by around 1500 B. and the farmers of the still larger Eurasia. technology has to be invented or adopted. If population size and isolation have any effect on accumulation of inventions. Astonishingly. Second. where cultural losses became irreversible. All other things being equal. the farmers of the much larger Americas. most technological innovations diffuse in from the outside. If Tasmanians had remained in contact with mainland Australians.C. remained Stone Age hunter/ gatherers. But that couldn't happen in the complete isolation of Tasmania. If all those technologies that I mentioned.000 years. the greater the chance of any given invention being conceived and adopted somewhere there. Once that land bridge was severed. Human societies vary in lots of independent factors affecting their openness to innovation. Finally. there was absolutely no further contact of Tasmanians with mainland Australians or with any other people on Earth until European arrival in 1642. the message of the differences between Tasmanian and mainland Australian societies seems to be the following. Other societies will retain the useful practice. That represents the loss of valuable technologies: fish could have been smoked to provide a winter food supply. only some societies will adopt the taboo at a given time. Tasmanian history is thus a study of human isolation unprecedented except in science fiction ?namely. on the world's smallest and most isolated continent. technology not only has to be adopted. For example.thousands of years ago. Tasmania had the smallest and most isolated human population in the world. and bone needles could have been used to sew warm clothes. then it's likely to be of much broader significance. Hence the higher the human population and the more societies there are on an island or continent. the archaeological record demonstrates something further: Tasmanians actually abandoned some technologies that they brought with them from Australia and that persisted on the Australian mainland.000 years.
the differences between human societies on different continents ?seems to me to be attributable to differences among continental environments. including astronomy. India. The broadest pattern of history ?namely. we seek knowledge by whatever methodologies are available and appropriate. which in turn contributed decisively to the rise of human population numbers. and most of the other social sciences. For that reason I'm optimistic that we can eventually arrive at convincing explanations for these broadest patterns of human history. That's the reason why we're uncomfortable about considering history as a science. The same objection can be raised against any of the historical sciences. But it's now time to summarize the overall meaning of this whirlwind tour through human history. or impossible. technology. I've said little or nothing about the distribution of domesticable plants (3 chapters). Nevertheless. In particular. population densities. The objection can of course be raised against the whole field of history." In science. because introspection and preserved writings give us far more insight into the ways of past humans than we have into the ways of past dinosaurs. As a biologist practicing laboratory experimental science. geology. with its unequally distributed guns and germs. I'm aware that some scientists may be inclined to dismiss these historical interpretations as unprovable speculation. by determining the number of competing societies. and the ease with which those species could spread without encountering unsuitable climates. and that I do discuss in my book. about the fascinating reasons for the differences within Eurasia between China. In addition. evolutionary biology. about the precise way in which complex political institutions and the development of writing and technology and organized religion depend on agriculture and herding. we can still gain considerable insight into these historical fields by other means. and about the effects of individuals. and paleontology. illegal. There are many fields that no one hesitates to consider sciences even though replicated laboratory experiments in those fields would be immoral. and of cultural differences unrelated to the environment." but instead from the Latin word "scientia" for "knowledge. may have been another important factor in human development. It's classified as a social science. contributed decisively to the varying rates of rise of agriculture and herding. and Europe. and political organization. and we can't experiment with designing and evolving dinosaurs. For example.Naturally. the availability of wild plant and animal species suitable for domestication. which is considered not quite scientific. We can't manipulate some stars while maintaining other stars as controls. and not to biological differences among peoples themselves. there are many important factors in world history that I haven't had time to discuss in 40 minutes. writing. because they're not founded on replicated laboratory experiments. . Then we should surely be able to understand human history. the histories of Tasmania and Australia warn us that the differing areas and isolations of the continents. on history. we can't start and stop ice ages. which in turn contributed decisively to the development of epidemic infectious diseases. the Near East. and food surpluses. But remember that the word "science" isn't derived from the Latin word for "replicated laboratory experiment.
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