How does Guns, Germs, and Steel's concept of "co-evolution" explain why Africa did not get a head-start in terms of economic development?
The concept of co-evolution in Guns, Germs, and Steel explains Africa's delayed economic development as a consequence of the lack of resources in their environment. Western natural resources allowed them to create a culture of surplus, while Africa's environment only allowed a minimal, survival-based existence.
Jared Diamond argues that the growth and development of human civilization is fundamentally tied to the ecological milieu in which it is enmeshed. “Co-evolution,” in this sense, means the evolution of society along with and besides the environments—physical, ecological, social, etc.—that surround it. In turn, those civilizations that have access to an abundance of natural resources at their disposal will use them in order to expand at an extraordinary rate. This can give them a “head start” relative to people living in other, less ecologically rich parts of the world.
Diamond argues that this was exactly the situation in post-agricultural Africa. Humans enjoyed a...
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