Environmental Challenges Promote the Development of Science and Technology
The environmental challenges largely determine the development of technology and science as a way of adjusting to new conditions. Diamond shows that the uneven development of different human societies worldwide is not an accident but a pattern caused by climate, the availability of animals suitable for domestication, and many other factors (“Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies,” 1997).
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For example, the Spaniards who colonized America succeed primarily due to the European diseases brought with them: the natives did not have immunity from them, while Spanish science was advanced enough to combat with them. As noted by McNeil (2001), the Europeans who significantly increased food production as a result of sedentary lifestyles wanted to expand their control over other countries, which pushed them to the improvement of technology based on steel and guns.
The example of New Guinea, which only recently adopted innovations, shows that their living habits, namely, gathering and hunting, required no critical advancement in technology. The Europeans who arrived at the mentioned country found that they still live in primitive communities and practice traditional ways of production (Frum, 1998). In this connection, the culture may either promote or impede technology and science development. When the Spaniards and Portuguese came to America, it was a collapse for the Native population that was not equipped with guns, thus having little chances to survive (Conquest, 2004; Into the tropics 2004; Out of Eden 2004).
At the same time, the situation with New Guinea demonstrates that peaceful relationships are also possible between less and more advanced societies (“Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies,” 1997). This occurs because every nation has its own cultural peculiarities that identify its attitudes, behaviors, and principles with regard to others and potential change.
Military Success: Technology, Motivation, and Leadership
Technology offers a great variety of weapons and other military innovations that allow conquering other nations and controlling them. While the Europeans were making their colonies, their military success largely depended on technology. In addition, ideological motivation and leadership should also be noted among factors that led emperors and kings to victories. For instance, the effectiveness of maritime China in the 1400s was also caused by the intention to promote commerce with many countries, thus increasing production (Andrade, 2010).
One of the central places in military ideology belongs to a set of criteria for evaluating phenomena in terms of justice or injustice, support or protest, which compose a moral compass in the military sphere. Adas (2015) states that the ideal images of global and national life follow from the identified rationale. In other words, the very idea of a state that aimed at the expansion should be substantial to compete with technology in terms of future success.
The opposing viewpoint is that leadership may even overcome technology if it is supported by such essential factors as devotion and potential benefits. As an example, one may focus on Lockard (2015), who describes the shift from the Chinese domination in the Middle Centuries that reduced steadily due to a lack of effective leaders (“Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies,” 1997). At the same time, the conquests of Mecca and Medina turned out to be shaded by the European ascent in terms of military affairs.
A range of factors may decrease the impact of a leader, including excessive murder, violence, and inconsistent actions (Taylor, 2018). On the contrary, a strong idea, as well as proper appeal to the public, is likely to help a leader in integrating people and heading them on the way to success.
Adas, M. (2015). Machines as the measure of men: Science, technology, and ideologies of Western dominance. New York, NY: Cornell University Press.
Andrade, T. (2010). Beyond guns, germs, and steel: European expansion and maritime Asia, 1400-1750. Journal of Early Modern History, 14(1/2), 165-186.
Conquest. (2004). Web.
Frum, D. (1998). How the West won: History that feels good usually isn’t. Foreign Affairs, 77(5), 132-135.
Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies. (1997). Web.
Lockard, C. (2015). Societies, networks, and transitions: A global history (3rd ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
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McNeil, J. R. (2001). The world, according to Jared Diamond. History Teacher, 34(2), 165-175.
Out of Eden. (2004). Web.
Taylor, R. L. (2018). Military leadership: In pursuit of excellence. New York, NY: Routledge.
Into the tropics. (2004). Web.