Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Ends of the World as We Know Them

.....Why weren't these problems obvious to the Maya kings, who could surely see their forests vanishing and their hills becoming eroded? Part of the reason was that the kings were able to insulate themselves from problems afflicting the rest of society. By extracting wealth from commoners, they could remain well fed while everyone else was slowly starving.

What's more, the kings were preoccupied with their own power struggles. They had to concentrate on fighting one another and keeping up their images through ostentatious displays of wealth. By insulating themselves in the short run from the problems of society, the elite merely bought themselves the privilege of being among the last to starve.


This is a portion of Jared Diamond's cautionary Op-Ed in yesterdays New York Times. Give it a read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As you read Jared Diamond the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, keep in mind the diversity of his positions, such as his published work in Nature on ethnic differences in testis size.