Ian Morris, “Why the West Rules – For Now” (MP3 audio), Long Now Foundation, 2011/04/13

Social development as biology, sociology and geography … and historically, regional differences especially from the geography.

longnow.org/static/djlongnow_media/seminar_icons/salt-020110413-morris-Ismall.jpg

via Ian Morris: Why the West Rules – For Now – The Long Now.

Morris has devised a quantitative “social development index” based on evaluating a civilization’s energy capture, organization (size of largest cities), information management, and war-making capability. (The details of his method are online here.) When you graph human progress since the last ice age 15,000 years ago, the results show that the West led for all the millennia up till the 6th century CE, fell behind for 1,200 years, then leapt ahead again up to the present day. (The “West” for Morris is the civilizational core that developed agriculture and then cities and empires in the eastern Mediterranean, later spreading across Europe and North America. The “East” is China.)

Geography determines how and when regions develop, but new societal capabilities keep redefining what geography means. At first agriculture was limited to regions with reliable rainfall, but once societies grew able to manage large-scale irrigation, the empires of parched regions like Mesopotamia and Egypt could take off, and their rivers became trade routes. The vast steppes of north-central Asia long separated Western and Eastern empires, but once their riches became worth plundering, mounted nomads from the steppes invaded repeatedly, defeating the agrarian armies and carrying germs that unleashed waves of epidemics.

The West had the advantage of a trade highway in the Mediterranean that wasn’t matched in the East until the 6th century, when the Sui emperors built the Grand Canal 1,500 miles long linking north and south China. Everything then changed with the invention of ocean-going ships and guns in the 13th and 14th centuries.

MP3 audio

Advertisements
About

David Ing blogs at coevolving.com , photoblogs at daviding.com , and microblogs at http://ingbrief.wordpress.com . See .

Posted in Talk Audio Download

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Beyond this media queue
This content is syndicated to Twitter. For professional perspectives, look to Coevolving Innovations; for a photoblog, look to Reflections, Distractions.
  • Android PDF links
    On Android Oreo tablet, reference links on my PDF book don’t show up via Adobe Acrobat nor Google PDF Reader.  Links show up with qPDF Viewer, Foxit PDF Reader & Editor, and Xodo PDF Reader & Editor.  Presumption of basic functionality by bigger names is untrue. Advertisements
  • Kubuntu 17.10 LaTeX textgreek.sty
    Under Ubuntu 16.04, building a PDF under TeXstudio worked.  Under Kubuntu 17.10 (with pdfTeX 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.18 (TeX Live 2017/Debian)), running the same input files resulted in: ! LaTeX Error: File `textgreek.sty' not found. These seemed like an error with reported in Feb. 2015, as “texlive-latex-extra: missing dependency – textgreek.sty requires l […]
  • 2017/11/07 10:15 Donna Dillenberger, “Cognitive Blockchain”, Cascon
    Plenary #cascon @DonnaExplorer IBM Fellow, IBM Research, Global leader of Enterprise Systems This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, gra […]
  • 2017/10/25 09:30 Michael Mehaffy, “Horizons of Pattern Languages: Software, Cities, Planet”, PLoP
    Plenary @michaelwmehaffy Pattern Languages of Program PLoP2017 This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mi […]
  • 2017/10/21 08:35 Yodan Rofe, “The issue of ‘feeling’ as a criterion for choosing between different patterns or configurations (social and spatial)”, Purplsoc
    Plenary by Yodan Rofe #purplsoc Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change http://www.purplsoc.org/conference2017/ At Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official […]
  • 2017/10/20 18:05 Christian Kohls, “Patterns for Creative Space”, Purplsoc
    Plenary @chrisimweb #purplsoc Pursuit of Pattern Languages for Societal Change http://www.purplsoc.org/conference2017/ This digest was created in real-time during the meeting,based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a sing […]
Contact
I welcome your e-mail. If you don't have my address, here's a contact page.
%d bloggers like this: