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Guns, Germs, and Steel

by Jared Diamond

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What keywords in Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" capture the strategies allowing some communities to survive while others do not?

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The one key word that captures the major strategy that allowed some communties to survive is "agriculture."  Really the major thrust of this whole book is that the early development of agriculture (Diamond tends to call it "food production") is what allows some societies to come to dominate others.

A second possible key word is something that arises in societies that have agriculture.  That is "writing."  Diamond argues that writing allows knowledge to be passed down from generation to generation quite easily.  This increases the amount of technology that can be developed as one generation can build on others.

Finally, I think you could say that "competiton" is another important strategy.  Communities that are forced to compete with other societies (for example in Europe) tend to develop more technology and "better" systems than those societies (like China) that are not forced to compete.

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What are three key words that capture the strategies that allowed some communities to survive and others not to in Guns, Germs and Steel?

The problem with this question is that it seems to infer that the success of one nation over another was due to the strategies adopted as a result of a conscious choice by various nations. Part of the strength of this work lies in the way that it shows how environmental factors played the key role in determining the success of various nations over another, rather than the specific strategies that were adopted, therefore I would challenge this question.

However, the key factors that Diamond talks about are firstly farming. Diamond gives a convincing explanation of how societies that are based around hunting and gathering are not able to develop in the same way that agricultural societies can. This gives societies an advantage in so many ways over their counterparts who are hunter-gatherers.

Secondly, location is a key factor in terms of the animals that can be domesticated and the advantages that this gives society in terms of the way that agricultural output can be boosted and trade can be utilised. This of course also is linked to the third and perhaps most important point, which is the way in which the domestication of animals exposes people to germs and disease, allowing them to build up a greater resistance and immunity than other nations which have fewer animals.

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In Guns, Germs, and Steel, what are some key words that capture the "strategies" that allowed some communities to survive and others not?

The major point of this book is that agriculture is the key to creating a strong and wealth society.  Therefore, we should probably say that "agriculture" would be the most important key word to capture such a strategy.

Another key word to capture such a strategy might be "receptivity."  Diamond says that communities that thrive are those that are willing to use new technologies to which they are exposed.  Such societies end up stronger and wealthier than those that are resistant to change.

Finally, you could use the key word "innovation."  It is important for societies to innovate so that they can create new technologies rather than simply having to borrow technologies developed by others.

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