Why did many major inventions such as steam ships, printing presses, & firearms have their origins in Eurasia & Western Europe & not in other areas of the world?
Diamond argues that the development of technology is basically an accretive process. Technologies are developed as improvements over existing technology, and they only catch on if the society where they are invented can find a relative economic advantage for them. In addition, Diamond points out that complex technologies develop in settled agricultural societies. He spends much of the book showing how societies in Eurasia developed agriculture and the attendant technologies before other cultures for a number of reasons. These reasons, it seems, are attributible to geographic factors, like climate, ease of cultural diffusion, and the amount of domesticable plants and animals rather than any cultural explanations. Because of these geographic advantages, Europeans developed agriculture first. Because they developed agriculture first, they developed sophisticated technologies first.