Based on Chapter 7, is it best to characterize JD as a cultural historian?
dastice | Certified Educator
Jared Diamond could more accurately be characterized as an environmental historian than as a cultural historian. He explains societies' tendencies to move toward food production as the result of the potential of their land to sustain life in this manner. If a region could only offer a couple types of plants and/or animals worth domesticating, then its people would not reap any benefit from farming these products as they would not provide a balanced diet. In other words, the cost would outweigh the benefit. In such cases, it made more sense for the society involved to stick with hunting and gathering. Conversely, if a society lived in a region that was fertile and could provide them with enough variety in its edible plant life and the livestock it attracted, it made much more sense for the members to focus their energies on food production. The benefits of farming would outweigh the costs. Ultimately, Diamond argues, a society moved toward the domestication of local wild plants and animals only when the environment supported it as a primary means of obtaining all of the society's dietary needs.