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1 calochortus  Thu, Aug 2, 2012 8:50:08am

Yes, but how many of us have actually read both of those books-and remember specifically what they said?

My somewhat hazy recollection of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is that it did cite culture as a very important reason some societies did better than others, although there was no explanation of what might give rise to those cultural differences, or of why a country's culture would change drastically to cut off innovation.

I have no clue as to how Guns, Germs, and Steel relates to the differences between Israelis and Palestinians.

2 wrenchwench  Thu, Aug 2, 2012 9:07:25am

re: #1 calochortus

Yes, but how many of us have actually read both of those books-and remember specifically what they said?

My somewhat hazy recollection of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations is that it did cite culture as a very important reason some societies did better than others, although there was no explanation of what might give rise to those cultural differences, or of why a country's culture would change drastically to cut off innovation.

I have no clue as to how Guns, Germs, and Steel relates to the differences between Israelis and Palestinians.

I have read GG&S, but not the other one. GG&S does not relate to the differences between Israelis and Palestinians. I'm glad Jared Diamond is calling him out. I like the end of his editorial (and recommend reading the whole thing for a brief synopsis of his book):

What does this mean for Americans? Can we assume that the United States, blessed with temperate location and seacoasts and navigable rivers, will remain rich forever, while tropical or landlocked countries are doomed to eternal poverty?

Of course not. Some tropical and subtropical countries have become richer despite geographic limitations. [...more good stuff left out here...] Our geography won’t keep us rich and powerful if we can’t get a good education, can’t afford health care and can’t count on our hard work’s being rewarded by good jobs and rising incomes.

Mitt Romney may become our next president. Will he continue to espouse one-factor explanations for multicausal problems, and fail to understand history and the modern world? If so, he will preside over a declining nation squandering its advantages of location and history.

3 b_snark  Thu, Aug 2, 2012 9:20:36am

re: #2 wrenchwench

I have read GG&S, but not the other one. GG&S does not relate to the differences between Israelis and Palestinians. I'm glad Jared Diamond is calling him out. I like the end of his editorial (and recommend reading the whole thing for a brief synopsis of his book):

Another of Jared's books, 'The Third Chimpanzee' talks about how close the relationship between the two Pan species and the Homo species are in appearance and action. I believe traditionally, the third monkey, going from left to right, has his hands over his eyes. This describes the position of the RWNJ when it comes to physical and economic reality.

Diamond understands the RWNJ mentality better than they do.

4 Destro  Thu, Aug 2, 2012 9:24:04am

The Republicans always do this because I assume they assume their base does not read books like this.

Jared Diamond did us a service in calling out the way the right wing ghost writers (Romney did not write his book nor does Glenn Beck nor does Rush nor does Sean Hannity - they use ghost writers that work for right wing think tanks) distort books for the right wing to use - usually in racist ways.

5 calochortus  Thu, Aug 2, 2012 10:14:57am

re: #2 wrenchwench

I have read both books, and my point was (however poorly stated) that most people will think Romney cited scholarly sources for his overly simplistic view of why people are economically successful.
I'm not sure how much I agreed with Landes' explanation since it didn't give any obvious cause for the cultural differences driving economic success-the cultural differences could be a result rather than a cause, or totally unrelated.

And I, too, am glad Diamond called Romney out as there doesn't seem to be any connection between the thesis of GG&S put forward and what Romney was saying.


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