Please critique my answer to a question about societal change and agents of conquest in Guns, Germs, and Steel.  Question is: How do the institutions of society change over time and how are these...

Please critique my answer to a question about societal change and agents of conquest in Guns, Germs, and Steel.

 

Question is: How do the institutions of society change over time and how are these changes related to the “agents of conquest”, guns, germs and steel?

 

I already answered this question. please tell me if i need to change, edit, or add anything! thanks.

 

 

****The institutions of our society from smallest to largest are bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and states. Over time, these institutions changed for many reasons. One reason why that the human organization changed from tribe to chiefdom was because the conflict between strangers increased in larger groups. Going from an institution of all family to a society of more strangers, increased the level of violence and conflict. However, population density has the main effect on the formation of complex societies. When the harvests of the farmers have been stored, it becomes available for political authority. Second, food production can be used to make stored food surpluses, which can benefit all the levels of a complex society. Finally, food production acquires people to adopt sedentary living, which results in people to have more time thinking about new technologies or inventions. Food production, competition and diffusion between societies are ultimate causes of a chain reaction that led to dense populations and sedentary living. Food production leads to a change in institution that makes the government more centralized and formal. Because of these causes that show how the institutions changed over time developed differently in different areas, so did “guns, germs, and steel” and other agents of conquest.

 

 

Asked on by bobmacc

1 Answer | Add Yours

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This depends a lot on how your own teacher understands the meaning of this question.  When I ask this question, I am asking much more about the second part of the question.  If this were my class, I'd say you overanswered the first part of the question and really did not answer the second part.

To me, the first part of the question can be answered simply by saying that institutions of society become more complex and more organized over time.  I'm not asking why this happened, just what the change was.

The main part of the question, then, is something like "why did becoming more complex and organized help societies get the agents of conquest."  This is something you haven't answered.  You need to talk about why a "state" (in Diamond's terms) has more agents of conquest than a band or a tribe does.  I would say that complex institutions like centralized governments make a large society possible.  A large society is capable of creating the technology that gives such societies a huge advantage over primitive societies.  It is able to create the riches that pay for these technologies.  In other words, to get "guns, germs, and steel" (and writing and other such things) you need a large society.  In order to get a large society, you need complex institutions of society.

So, I would really not spend so much time talking about what makes societies become more complex.  I would spend more time talking about why a complex society has more "agents of conquest."

We’ve answered 318,988 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question