What was Yali's question in Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond?

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In the book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, author Jared Diamond argues that some civilizations acquired technology and power more rapidly than others not because of any inherent genetic superiority but rather due to their geographical locations and other environmental factors. As Diamond explains in the book's prologue called "Yali's Question," the inspiration for the book came from a question posed to him during an hour-long walk in New Guinea with a local politician named Yali.

At the time, Diamond was working as a biologist and studying the evolution of birds. They talked about birds and then about New Guinean politics. Yali eventually posed the question that became the basis of Guns, Germs, and Steel:

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?

By "cargo" Yali was referring to the material goods that white colonizers brought to New Guinea such as clothing, steel axes, matches,...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 662 words.)

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