Jared Diamond Quotes (79 Quotes)


    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.



    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.




    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    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.

    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.


    I read that a false alarm of a tsunami in Hawaii would cost about 68 million.

    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.

    AIDS and malaria and TB are national security issues. A worldwide program to get a start on dealing with these issues would cost about $25 billion... It's, what, a few months in Iraq.

    We study the injustices of history for the same reason that we study genocide, and for the same reason that psychologists study the minds of murderers and rapists... to understand how those evil things came about.


    Tasmania lies 130 miles southeast of Australia. When it was first visited by Europeans in 1642, Tasmania was occupied by 4,000 hunter-gatherers related to mainland Australians, but with the simplest technology of any recent people on Earth. Unlike mainland Aboriginal Australians, Tasmanians couldn't start a fire.

    Tasmanian history is a study of human isolation unprecedented except in science fiction - namely, complete isolation from other humans for 10,000 years.

    With the MacArthur grant, I realized that people have high expectations of me, that they were placing me in this group of achievers. I compared what I'd actually achieved in my life with what I would like to achieve and what other people have achieved, and I found that comparison depressing.

    Guns, Germs, and Steel The Fates of Human Societies.

    Humans have been evolving for millions of years longer in Africa than in Europe, and even anatomically modern Homo sapiens may have reached Europe from Africa only within the last 50,000 years. If time were a critical factor in the development of human societies, Africa should have enjoyed an enormous head start and advantage over Europe.

    Livestock adopted in Africa were Eurasian species that came in from the north. Africa's long axis, like that of the Americas, is northsouth rather than eastwest. Those Eurasian domestic mammals spread southward very slowly in Africa, because they had to adapt to different climate zones and different animal diseases.

    The metaphor is so obvious. Easter Island, isolated in the Pacific Ocean once the island got into trouble, there was no way they could get free. There was no other people from whom they could get help. In the same way that we on Planet Earth, if we ruin

    Domesticated plants and animals yield far more calories per acre than do wild habitats, in which most species are inedible to humans.

    I'd rather spend my leisure time doing what some people call my work and I call my fun.

    Measles and TB evolved from diseases of our cattle, influenza from a disease of pigs, and smallpox possibly from a disease of camels. The Americas had very few native domesticated animal species from which humans could acquire such diseases.

    Eurasia ended up with the most domesticated animal species in part because it's the world's largest land mass and offered the most wild species to begin with.

    The United States has long thought of itself as the land of infinite plenty, and historically we did have abundant resources. But now we are gradually exhausting our fisheries, our topsoil, our water. On top of that, we're coming to the end of world resources.

    The Indian civilizations of Central and North America remained entirely without pack animals and it took thousands of years for the corn that evolved in Mexico's climate to become modified into a corn adapted to the short growing season and seasonally changing day-length of North America.

    The southward advance of native African farmers with Central African crops halted in Natal, beyond which Central African crops couldn't grow - with enormous consequences for the recent history of South Africa.

    The problem is that only a tiny minority of wild plants and animals lend themselves to domestication, and those few are concentrated in about half a dozen parts of the world.

    All of Africa's mammalian domesticates - cattle, sheep, goats, horses, even dogs - entered sub-Saharan Africa from the north, from Eurasia or North Africa.

    Eurasia's main axis is eastwest, whereas the main axis of the Americas is northsouth. Eurasia's eastwest axis meant that species domesticated in one part of Eurasia could easily spread thousands of miles at the same latitude, encountering the same day-len

    In modern times, Australia was the sole continent still inhabited only by hunter-gatherers... Native Australia had no farmers or herders, no writing, no metal tools, and no political organization beyond the level of the tribe or band.

    It's striking that Native Americans evolved no devastating epidemic diseases to give to Europeans, in return for the many devastating epidemic diseases that Indians received from the Old World.

    Science is often misrepresented as the body of knowledge acquired by performing replicated controlled experiments in the laboratory. Actually, science is something broader the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world.

    Federal elections happen every two years in this country. Presidential elections every four years. And four years just isn't long enough to dismantle all the environmental laws we've got in this country.

    Easter Island collapsed in not just an epidemic of civil war but cannibalism. Of all the collapses of the past, I find the one that grabs people the most is that of Easter Island.

    Starbucks goes to a great effort, and pays twice as much for its coffee as its competitors do, and is very careful to help coffee producers in developing countries grow coffee without pesticides and in ways that preserve forest structure.


    We're uncomfortable about considering history as a science. It's classified as a social science, which is considered not quite scientific.

    why, for instance, only 2 per cent of Europeans contract the disease as opposed to 13 per cent of African Americans, 17 per cent of U.S. Latinos and up to 50 per cent of Native Americans

    Biology is the science. Evolution is the concept that makes biology unique.

    Domestic animals revolutionized land transport. They also revolutionized agriculture, by letting one farmer plough and manure much more land than the farmer could till or manure by the farmer's own efforts.

    In the last several months I have been reading Collapse ... Guns, Germs and Steel.

    Some people have much more pull than other people. But when I say that the public has ultimate responsibility, I'm not saying it in a moral sense. I'm just saying it in the sense of what is it that's really going to bring change.

    People are not helpless in the face of big business. It's up to the public to say what it wants. Only when the public bans single-hulled oil tankers from American waters, only when the public says no more selling wood logged from old-growth forests, will companies... come up with other solutions.

    In much of the rest of the world, rich people live in gated communities and drink bottled water. That's increasingly the case in Los Angeles where I come from. So that wealthy people in much of the world are insulated from the consequences of their actions.


    More Jared Diamond Quotations (Based on Topics)


    World - History - People - Science - Time - Medicine & Medical - Society & Civilization - Education - Environment - Reasoning - Books - Efforts - Hope - Water - Money & Wealth - Learning - Past - Computers & Technology - Faces - View All Jared Diamond Quotations

    More Jared Diamond Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

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    Virginia Woolf - Victor Hugo - Helen Keller - George Orwell - Upton Sinclair - Phil Crosby - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelle - Laura Ingalls Wilder - James Allen - Alvin Toffler


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