Quote of the Fortnight: Jared Diamond’s Collapse

This week’s quote of the fortnight comes from Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. The quote reflects Diamond’s view of possibilism in favor of environmental determinism through his comparison of the differing successes of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which share the same island but possess vast differences in economic success.

“For anyone inclined to caricature environmental history as ‘environmental determinism,’ the contrasting histories of the Dominican Republic and Haiti provide a useful antidote. Yes, environmental problems do constrain human societies, but the societies’ responses also make a difference.”


Post image is a 1780 map of Hispaniola (the island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. LIC-PD-USA, Wikimedia Commons.

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