How Persistent is Prosperity? (Optional)

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There has been so much interest in the Jared Diamond video that we thought we would update that discussion with some new material. Since the publication of Diamond'

There has been so much interest in the Jared Diamond video that we thought we would update that discussion with some new material.  Since the publication of Diamond's book, what else have we learned about the relationship between geography and development?  To what extent is the current prosperity of a nation the heritage of a more distant past?  How much is prosperity determined by the distant past?  These fascinating questions still await further investigation, but here is the scoop on where the frontier is at right now.

 

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I would guess that once some knowledge has been gained by a people they will find it easier to apply that to somewhere new than other people would find it to start from scratch. For example if they have learned basic agricultural techniques they will try to apply or adapt them to their new environment.

Going further I would imagine that more complicated ideas such as the development of institutions will give people a big leg up, so for example when settlers arrived in the new world they understood not only agricultural techniques but also how to build, how to organise towns, how to store food, how to read and write, etc, which was a big advantage that was not dependent upon the local geography.

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