[Marxism] How to change history (AKA Jared Diamond)

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Mon Mar 5 19:41:25 MST 2018


Yes, Diamond ignores imperialism. In one particularly disgraceful example: When “explaining” why Haiti is so poor he doesn’t mention how they had to buy their way to freedom from the French and how the US imposed “sanctions” on the country for decades after the Haitian revolution.

But, then, I didn’t read “Guns, Germs, and Steel” to understand class struggle or imperialism; I read it to try to figure out why industrialization got its major boost where it did. In this, Diamond’s explanations made sense to me. At the very least, I think Marxists cannot fault his method. He explicitly rejects any explanation that starts by putting “culture” first. For example, any “explanation” that claims that it was because those cultures involved more curiousity or some such nonsense. As he points out, even if that were true (which it isn’t), it explains nothing because then you’d have to ask why those cultures value curiousity. He also rejects explanations that center around colder climates.

I do think that his explanations that center around geography, for one, make a lot of sense. His explanations may be mistaken, but I think his method is right. 

What he has to say about social development AFTER the rise of industrialization and capitalism is a different story.

John Reimann
Sent from my iPad



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