According to Guns, Germs, and Steel, what influences caused technology to differ from place to place?

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Diamond argues that geography is the major influence that causes levels of technological achievement to differ from place to place.  He notes four major geographical factors that influence this.  Those factors are:

  • Area
  • Population
  • Ease of diffusion
  • Onset of food production

The first two of these have to do with the number of people and societies that are available to serve as potential innovators.  The larger the area and the more people there are, the more inventions can be discovered.  If diffusion is easy, the technology can be shared.  Finally, early onset of food production means that A) people can have more time to devote to inventing things and B) a complex society requires more technology.

These factors help to determine which places have high levels of technological development and which do not.

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