Saturday, January 22, 2011

Specialization and the Exchange of Ideas

"Australia has an unusually unstable climate. It can be sure of getting terrible floods and droughts, but it cannot be sure when. This made it unsuitable for early agriculture, which is why aborigines sensibly did not invent it (as their New Guinea neighbors did when their climate became more stable after the end of the last ice age).

This circumstance made it difficult for Australian hunter-gatherers to form the dense demographic concentrations that gave rise to technological civilization through specialization and the exchange of ideas. If Earth's climate had remained as unstable as Australia's, and as unstable as it was all over the planet during the last ice age, then the radio would never have been invented and the Earth would still be silent. Stability is key."

Matt Ridley Links Planet Kepler 10b and Australian Floods | Mind & Matter -

No comments: