Monday, June 2, 2008

Development Denied

Just finished a large essay detailing various theories behind why some states are rich and some are poor. I don't find myself buying completely into any given theory, but rather ordering the various theories into a hierarchy of development-denying or development-fortifying happenstances.

If geographic determinism is the root, then all other theories will use that as a foundation. In my studies, I have found the work of Jared Diamond especially exciting. On a related note: I had the great opportunity in April 2007 to hear Dr. Diamond present a lecture on his book "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" at Elmhurst College. He spoke without notes or a podium for exactly 100 minutes, just like he said he would. It was fascinating.

Past the geographic/climatic factors, I then move to disease, which has quite obviously had a huge effect on world history. Then it's an easy segue into imperialist abuses at the hands of Western powers. It gets tricky when you start to throw in stuff about culture and religion. I feel inclined to include them because in their own way, they are valid attempts to understand why some places suck more than others.

Now we have to figure out how to fix all of this...