Bits of Books - Books by Title


Guns Germs and Steel

Jared Diamond

Up until end of last Ice Age, about 11,000BC, all people everywhere were hunter-gatherers. But by 1500AD radical differences in technological and political organisation. No suggestion that Civilization is "better" - modern states have higher standard of living and longer lives, but much less social support, which we've identified as the source of most human happiness.

More books on happiness

Possible that the average European is actually less intelligent than average New Guinean. Forces of natural selection blunted in most modern societies by eradication of disease and war, which removed the weak and the unlucky from the gene pool before they could reproduce. Whereas in places like New Guinea far more ruthless selection for smartness genes in terms of finding food and avoiding murder

Political correctness actually harms debate. For example, everyone is well aware that it was the white Europeans who conquered the brown Africans and Americans, not the other way round. It seems logical to assume that this is due to some innate differences. Of course, we're told that it's not polite to talk about this, but this prevents a search for any explanation, so most people continue to (privately) suspect that the racist explanations actually correct.

More books on Politics and Political Correctness

Population density a crucial starting factor. Low density societies are egalitarian - the chiefs work and dress the same as everyone else. Higher populations can support craftsmen such as canoe builders and tattooists and chiefs who do no work at all.

Chieftain societies introduce fundamental dilemma of all centrally governed states - how to balance out the transfer of wealth from commoners to upper classes. The difference between a wise statesman and a kleptocrat is only one of degree.

An elite has to keep control of population to avoid being overthrown. 1) Disarm populace; arm elites 2) Redistribute some of the tribute received 3) Maintain public order and curb violence 4) Start a religion.

Religion most important. Old supernatural beliefs didn't support elite or justify tribute. But by institutionalising these beliefs, the new priestly class functions to justify leaders and tribute (now renamed 'taxes')



More books on Religions











Books by Title

Books by Author

Books by Topic

Bits of Books To Impress

Reputation Control ....................................................................................................................................................................Client