6 Responses

  1. r_vinny January 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm |

    David Correia is too much into either-or thinking: either environment controls everything, or people can control everything if they are smart and hardworking enough. A perfect example is where he talks about the Mongols: He says:

    According to researchers, wet conditions would have been particularly advantageous to nomadic Mongol herders.
    Well maybe, but more likely the rise of the Mongols had something to do with the enormous size of Khan’s army.

    But the wet conditions would have provided the necessary material resources in an agricultural society to build and support an enormous army. So the two causes are complimentary, not mutually exclusive. Everything has multiple causes, and this is especially true in the areas of the environment and society.

  2. EnviroEquipment.com January 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm |

    One best examples of Environmental Determinism was thefall of the once great Peruvian Inca empire which was destroyed due to a gradual drying out of their rich farm lands.
    Makes one wonder what’s in store for our 21st century society due because of climate change.

  3. Ian Angus January 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    1. ConsumerTrap January 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm |

      Diamond certainly has a few big blind spots, but his work is 1,000 times more useful that that of Louis Proyect, whose main question always seems to be who is or isn’t “one of us.” Anybody who would dismiss GGS is a fool. That is one of the 10 or 20 best books of the 20th century, and is a dense and utterly convincing proof of, among other things, Marx’s theory of primitive accumulation.

  4. ConsumerTrap January 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

    This is silly stuff insofar as it applies to Jared Diamond. One wonders if the author has bothered to read Diamond, in fact. If has has, he knows that out-of-control ruling classes is one of Diamond’s main explanations of why collapses occur. And Diamond is pretty obviously writing what he writes in hopes that we will rise up and act to prevent our own collapse. He may have a naive view of how that could happen, but he is neither a crude thinker nor a fatalist. Not even close. We Marxists could learn a lot of lessons from his attention to details and contexts.

    As for “determinist snake oil,” that’s a pretty interesting jibe for a scholar who professes admiration for history’s foremost historical materialist.

  5. Jeff_White January 25, 2013 at 1:51 am |

    OMG! Best article I’ve read in a month! Thank you for finding this, Ian!

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