Study Questions for Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, Chapter 14

1)  What was the key point (regarding conflict resolution) Diamond made in relating the story of the Fayu tribes in New Guinea?

 

2)  Describe a) the leadership structures and b) the systems of tribute/taxation of the various political structures.  Be sure to understand the meaning of "egalitarianism" and how it related to each.

~Band

 

~Tribe

 

~Chiefdom

 

~State

 

Be sure you read and fully understand the chart on pgs. 268-9.

 

 

3)  What is a "kleptocracy" and why is it that commoners sometimes don't rebel against chiefs or heads of state? 

 

4)  What is the "most fundamental distinction" of the state, mentioned on pg. 280?

 

5)  What are the two advantages of centralization, mentioned on pg. 281?

 

6) Describe the "hydraulic theory" of state formation.  Why is Diamond unhappy with such an explanation?

 

7)  What are three reasons that intensive agriculture led to complex societies? (pg. 285)

 

8) Briefly summarize the 4 basic factors that made chiefdom and state structures "inevitable" among populations with high densities.

 

9) Do you agree?  Can you imagine the United States made of 50 independent units? 150? 1,500?  Why or why not?

 

10)  What are the two ways in which "amalgamation" (small units coming together to create bigger and more complex political organizations) occurs?

 

11) Give examples of each.

~Cherokee

 

~Zulu