What are the four vehicles of diffusion (ways that ideas or items move) given by Diamond in Guns, Germs, and Steel?

1 Answer

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The answer to this can be found in Chapter 11, on p. 256 in the paperback edition of the book.  There, Diamond lists four main ways in which ideas diffuse from one society to another.  The vehicles of diffusion are:

  • Trade.  A society can receive new technologies simply by buying them from other countries.
  • Espionage.  Sometimes, societies spy on others and steal their secrets.
  • Emigration.  At times, ideas and items move from one country to another when people move between those two countries.  
  • War.  At times, one country gains ideas from another by defeating the other country in a war.