According to Guns, Germs and Steel, what are some factors that historians have identified as catalysts for the creation of technology?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The answer to this can be found in the middle of Chapter 13.  It is on pages 249 through 251 in the paperback edition of the book.  Since there are no fewer than fourteen such factors, we cannot list all of them here.  Let us summarize the ideas behind these theories, and you can refer to the book to get all of the details.

The first factor is a standalone.  It is long life expectancy.  Long lives give inventors time to invent and allow them to live long enough to gain the economic benefits of their inventions.

Diamond lumps the next five factors together under “economics or the organization of society.”  Essentially, what these factors say is that some societies have rules or conditions that make it either beneficial or pointless to invent things.  For example, the US has much stronger patent laws than China, making it more profitable to invent in the US than in China.

Diamond categorizes the next four factors as “ideological.”  He says that some historians believe that different cultures or religions are more open to change and innovation.

Finally, there are four more proposed factors that seem to help innovation and times but to retard it at others.  These are wars, strong central governments, climate, and the abundance or scarcity of natural resources.

Again, please consult the book for all the details on these proposed factors.

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