Thursday, 11 December 2008

Guns, Germs & Steel, & Europe

I read Guns, Germs and Steel over the summer and found it very interesting and, as we're facing into another Lisbon vote, I'm reminded again of one of Diamonds theories as to why Europe rose to dominance in the past few hundred years after centuries in the Dark Ages;
Diamond also touches very briefly on why the dominant powers of the last 500 years have been West European rather than East Asian (especially China). The Asian areas in which major civilizations arose had geographical features conducive to the formation of large, stable, isolated empires which faced no external pressure to correct policies that led to stagnation. On the other hand Europe's many natural barriers divided it into competing nation-states and this competition forced the European nations to encourage innovation and avoid technological stagnation.[1]