Book Review: Jared Diamond and Vietnam

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How is it that civilizations are able to surpass others technologically? Jared Diamond, in his book Guns, Germs and Steel grapples with this question and theorizes the answer has something to do with the natural resources and geography that societies are given. If confronted with Vietnam Jared Diamond would be able to extrapolate this to answer yet another question; why is Vietnam technologically inferior to many first world countries? When focused on Vietnam the answer is clear. Vietnam has little trade with other societies at similar latitudes and a lacking of domesticated species, which has resulted in a rural society with negligible advancement. It has been difficult for the Vietnamese to trade both goods and ideas with other societies because Vietnam is entirely engulfed in jungle that runs only north and south. The transference of trade goods to Vietnam has been nearly impossible for much of the nation’s history. With only ocean and a small parcel of land west and east of Vietnam, Jared Diamond would surely agree trade has thus far been a daunting task (Diamond 177). Receiving technological goods such as clothing has been difficult without trade partners at a similar latitude. Moreover, with no access to other cultures with the same climate it is incredibly difficult to collect knowledge useful to the Vietnamese. Jared Diamond suggests that ideas are rarely communicated to others if no trade exists between them (Diamond 176). The less trade routes that exist, the fewer ideas there are to be transferred by the people who move on them. Furthermore, almost all of Vietnam is home to either a mountain range or thick jungle. Natural barriers such as these can additionally inhibit trade and movement among the Vietnames... ... middle of paper ... .... To solve these problems the world must act proactively instead of reactively. Vietnam’s poor must be housed and fed and technology must improve the lives of its citizens if the world even hopes to prevent another Vietnam War from occurring. Works Cited Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1991. Print Gilbert, Marc Jason. "Vietnam War." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2010. Web. 28 March 2010. . “Literacy.” Central Intelligence Agency. 2002 and 2003. Web. 28 March 2010. “Vietnam.” Australian Government. 9 December 2009. Web. 28 March 2010. .

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