What is Jared Diamond arguing in Guns, Germs, and Steel?

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In the Pulitzer-prize winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, author Jared Diamond argues that environmental differences rather than inherent differences between races are responsible for some cultures becoming dominant in the modern world. As Diamond explains in his prologue to the book, the impetus for his study came while he was walking on a beach in New Guinea with a local politician named Yali, who posed the question: "Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?" As Diamond explains:

Although Yali's question concerned only the contrasting lifestyles of New Guineans and of European whites, it can be extended to a larger set of contrasts within the modern world.

To explain why geography was overwhelmingly responsible for the variations in the speed of development of civilizations, Diamond uses arguments from the fields of biology, zoology, social sciences, and microbiology....

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 877 words.)

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