枪炮病菌与钢铁 (2005)

枪炮病菌与钢铁

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  Based on Jared Diamonds Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanitys journey over the last 13,000 years - from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century.

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标题:Into.The.Tropics

作者:Computing


  In my book,germs was one of the three main forces of history and its impersonal, and its still different and it hits me to be in a place where germs are in action. Thirty years ago I set out on a journey. A quest to understand the origins of inequality in our world. I discovered that this story stretched back to the beginning of civilization, and rested on the geography of our planet. When humans first started farming, one small area in the world was lucky enough to have the best crops and animals, which gave one group of people a unique advantage in history. Europeans perfected guns and steel evolved lethal diseases and germs. They then used these tools to conquer continents and to build extraordinary wealth. I conclude that geography, and guns, germs and steel, have been the strongest forces to shape the history of our world. Here in Zambia, these forces are still shaping the world today. Tropical germs are overwhelming this country and its people, and driving them into poverty. Does that mean that Zambia will always remain a victim of these great forces of history and geography? And that Africa is condemned to a future as poor as its present? Absolutely not. And I would say that the message is a hopeful one, its not a deterministic, fatalistic one that says, forget about Africa and underdeveloped areas. It says there are specific reasons why different parts of the world ended up as they did, and with understanding of those reasons, we can use that knowledge to help the places that historically were at a disadvantage. Malaysia and Singapore are among the richest and most dynamic economies in the world. Like Africa, they are tropical countries, with the same problems of geography and health, the same endemic malaria. But both transformed themselves by understanding their environment. Fifty years ago, these countries realized the burden that geography and germs could be. Through concerted effort, they managed to almost entirely eradicate malaria from their land, transforming their economies and way of life. The story of Malaysia and Singapore shows what an understanding of geography and history can do. Explanations give you power, they give you the power to change. They tell us what happened in the past and why, and we can use that knowledge to make different things happen in the future. The government of Zambia agrees. They have set up a nationwide project to try to eliminate malaria from the country, just as in Malaysia and Singapore. New drugs, even a possible vaccine, are giving them an increasing chance of success. The control of malaria will mean an improvement in the welfare of the people, and an improvement in the welfare of the people will mean increased productivity,and increased productivity will mean that we will be a wealthy nation, because that will mean that then people will have sufficient, not only food but sufficient time to do things that make a human being complete and whole and able to lead a fulfilled life. Jared Diamonds quest has been to understand the great forces of human history. But it is still the very smallest of details, the lives of individual human beings, that lie at the heart of his work. When we talk about history we talk about development, we talk about competition between societies and the wealth of nations, it can sound intellectual, but here in Africa there are human faces on it. And for Diamond, even after 30 years of thought and enquiry,the questions behind guns, germs and steel remain as important as they ever did. Why is our world divided between rich and poor, and how perhaps can we change it? I feel that whatever I work on for the rest of my life, I can never work on questions as fascinating as the questions of guns, germs and steel, because they are the biggest questions of human history.




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