Guns Germs And Steel Analysis

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American born Jared Diamond is a Professor of Geography and author of many popular science books. His best known piece ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ written in 1997 won the Pulitzer award and discusses the factors that lead to the development of successful societies. ‘Collapse; how societies choose to fail or survive’ (2005) is regarded as a sequel to ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ and was so successful that National Geographic released a documentary based on the book. ‘Collapse’ explores the factors that contribute to the demise of a society by using examples of previous fallen civilisations and then discussing modern day societies including; Rwanda, Dominican Republic, China and Australia and the problems they are currently facing. Diamond applies a 5 point checklist that he says are the ultimate causes to a societies demise,“ self-inflicted environmental problems, exogenous climate change, problems with or of neighbouring friendly trade partners, problems caused by neighbouring enemies, and the society’s own political, economic, and social institutions”(Diamond, 2005). In the chapter ‘Modern Australia’, environmental issues are the common theme throughout but he also touches on cultural factors including governments and connections with other societies. Land degradation, soil salinization, water management problems, overexploitation of our fisheries and forests, pollution and the impact of non- native species are all well known environmental issues in Australia and Diamond goes into great detail to explain the cause and effects of each one. The root cause of many of these problems is due to a growing population demanding and consuming resources unsustainably and exceeding our carrying capacity. Overconsumption is normal practice in Austr... ... middle of paper ... ...f the current state of the Australian environment certainly is not pretty, Diamond writes in a positive and sympathetic manner that gives the reader knowledge and hope rather than despair. Instead of deeming Australia as facing an imminent downfall, he rather discusses the main components leading to a societal collapse and links our nation’s current situation giving us more of a warning than a prediction. I believe the only downside to the chapter was that it went into too much detail in places which made it hard to follow and made me begin to ‘skim’ read. That said, I found the main arguments extremely informative and made me think about the future of our nation. I feel that we are in a time of greed, where material objects and wealth are what deems us to be happy or sad, and as a society we need to change towards a more intrinsic value system if we are to prosper.
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