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Jared Diamond Quotes (79 Quotes)


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  • Much of human history has consisted of unequal conflicts between the haves and the have-nots.
    (Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies")

  • Not until the beginning of the 20th century did Europe's urban populations finally become self-sustaining: before then, constant immigration of healthy peasants from the countryside was necessary to make up for the constant deaths of city dwellers from crowd diseases.
    (Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies")

  • One way to explain the complexity and unpredictability of historical systems, despite their ultimate determinacy, is to note that long chains of causation may separate final effects from ultimate causes lying outside the domain of that field of science.
    (Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies")

  • Rhino-mounted Bantu shock troops could have overthrown the Roman Empire. It never happened.
    (Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies")

  • The history of interactions among disparate peoples is what shaped the modern world through conquest, epidemics and genocide. Those collisions created reverberations that have still not died down after many centuries, and that are actively continuing in some of the world's most troubled areas.
    (Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies")


  • When you have seen the errors in which you live, you will understand the good that we have done you by coming to your land by order of his Majesty the King of Spain. Our Lord permitted that your pride should be brought low and that no Indian should be able to offend a Christian.
    (Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies")

  • With the rise of chiefdoms around 7,500 years ago, people had to learn, for the first time in history, how to encounter strangers regularly without attempting to kill them.
    (Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies")

  • If one of those friendly societies itself runs into environmental problems and collapses for environmental reasons, that collapse may then drag down their trade partners.
    (Jared Diamond)

  • The main thing that gives me hope is the media. We have radio, TV, magazines, and books, so we have the possibility of learning from societies that are remote from us, like Somalia. We turn on the TV and see what blew up in Iraq or we see conditions in Afghanistan.
    (Jared Diamond)

  • Population densities of farmers and herders are typically 10 to 100 times greater than those of huntergatherers. That fact alone explains why farmers and herders everywhere in the world have been able to push huntergatherers out of land suitable for farmi
    (Jared Diamond)

  • Until the end of the last Ice Age around 11,000 B. C., all humans on all continents were still living as Stone Age huntergatherers.
    (Jared Diamond)

  • Tasmanians actually abandoned some technologies that they brought with them from Australia and that persisted on the Australian mainland. For example, bone tools and the practice of fishing were both present in Tasmania at the time that the land bridge was severed, and both disappeared from Tasmania by around 1500 B. C.
    (Jared Diamond)

  • I personally am not conscious of my accent.
    (Jared Diamond)

  • I read that a false alarm of a tsunami in Hawaii would cost about 68 million.
    (Jared Diamond)

  • If you gave me 10 million dollars, I wouldn't live any differently. Although nowadays I guess you'd have to raise that to 20 million to mean anything.
    (Jared Diamond)


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