Four Factors Guns, Germs and Steel Question 2

            Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond, is a book that focuses on the development throughout every society on earth and how it differs according to multiple factors. The four factors presented in the text are diseases, writing, technology, and tribes. Diamond tries to explain how these four factors contribute to the development of societies, while also promoting Eurasia as the fastest and most efficient developer in the world. Eurasia is the commonality between all four of these factors, and is the focus of Diamond’s argument.

            For all four factors, Diamond states that in general, the development of a community depends on its location and size. Both the community’s size and its location play a huge role in all four of the factors. Diseases spread out faster in bigger communities but are more likely to eliminate small ones. Its location can affect the community’s ability to gain support or find vaccines. Its location’s size can also affect on how fast the disease can spread due to the density of the location or its diversity. The size of the community will not have a huge impact on its writing development, although the more people the bigger the chance a new discovery might arise. The location of the community plays a massive role on its writing development, due to the isolation vs support. Writing can be influential when in a compacted area, and it can be transferred quickly, which will cause the specific community to be developed in that area. This also applies to the technology advancement in societies. The size contributes to the actual discoveries, while the location contributes to the influence and the advancement caused from support from other communities. For the tribe’s factor, both the size and location play a huge role. The tribe’s factor mostly talks about conquering each other and having miniature tribes within each community. It can be easily inferred that the bigger the band, the bigger the chance it has to dominate others. The location also matters because an isolated community will not have its tribes change at all. It will remain constant, not having to fight any battles and just being isolated. Other communities in compacted areas will have to fight, having the chance of survival or death. The victor of course, is the survivor, which will in fact be the biggest band in that certain location. Both the size and location play a huge role in all four of the factors mentioned in the text by Diamond.

            Diamond also tries to promote Eurasia, a combination of Europe and Asia. Using the four factors and accounting for its size and location, Eurasia is ahead in all four categories. Eurasia is a fairly dense place, consisting of many European countries and Asian countries. It is by far the biggest chunk of land ever on earth, so its location is fairly advantageous in terms of tribes, technology, and writing. Diseases can spread fairly quickly but the proportions will remain the same, meaning that there will still be a lot of people remaining. Also, vaccines can be created to help fight off the diseases, and they can be easily transferred due to the closeness of their locations. Eurasia is what Diamond is arguing for and trying to promote, so all of his arguments and facts will revolve around Eurasia.

            The only obvious difference between the four factors has to do with the other factors concerning those four factors. What I mean by this is the factors concerning diseases can be different from tribes. Diseases are created from an unstable environment and will not affect immune people. People can develop some sort of immunity after their ancestors fight off the disease over time. Writing has to do with intelligence and unity. People don’t just simply figure out the best type of writing, they find a simple type that everyone can understand, thus creates conformity throughout nations. Technology has to do with the cause-and-effect experiments. Technological advancements revolve around the economy and the social prestige earned by the society. The tribe’s factor mainly focuses on the government and strength of the community. It is basically like war, the bigger the army the bigger the chance to win. However, it cannot be easily inferred that the bigger army will always win, but the more soldiers a tribe has, the more people the opposing team will have to kill in order to be successful. Although there are similarities between these four factors, there are also huge differences that help distinguish them.

            Development can be different for different societies. One may develop faster and one may develop slower. Diamond wrote this book to help illustrate the four major factors to explain why there is a gap in development between different communities. The four factors are germs, writing, technology, and tribes. Diamond also connects all these four factors with Eurasia, and explains why Eurasia develops the faster in terms of these four factors. These four factors connect as they focus on one major part, but differ in terms of their own factors.


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