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What does Diamond believe led to the unequal distribution of wealth and power in the world?
Jared Diamond begins Guns with a prologue which sets the stage for the rest of the book.
Approached in New Guinea by his friend and local politician Yali, he is posed a question: "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own? This question brought about the thesis of his book, that environment is more persuasive on development of civilization than people may have once thought.
The film contrasts the lives of the Incas and that of the Spaniards.
While the Spanish lived in an expanse bordering other competitive cultures, the Incas lived in a valley that did not allow them to interact with other people.
Pizarro was a team leader of a Spaniard mercenary group in search of treasure. The movie then brings scenes contrasting developments in Spain as contrasted with developments in the Incas kingdom over time.
In the movie, Jared uses the conquest of the Spaniards over the Incas to illustrate how geography contributed in a big way to the development of some cultures such that they became superior over others.
In the first chapter of Guns, Diamond establishes two main arguments that will become crucial to his thesis later on in the book.
First, he goes in depth about mass extermination and further extinction of large mammals that occurred in New Guinea and Australia which were important for food and domestication, and secondly he argues that all the first civilized peoples in the world each had the ability to out develop one another, but were hindered or helped by their environment.
This book centers on food production as the main catalyst for cultural evolution, but why was this so critical?
And how does food production relate to the “guns, germs and steel” of the book’s title? It has been suggested that human inequality is the result of some types of people being biologically inferior to others. A geographical area known as the Fertile Crescent has been identified as a hotspot of early food production.