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Natural Experiments of History | Jared Diamond

Natural Experiments of History | Jared Diamond

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You can't run a controlled scientific experiment to discover the economic consequences of military conquest or slavery. But you can use comparative statistics from closely related societies to discover surprising reasons for far-reaching historical outcomes.

Why is Haiti, which shares an island with the Dominican Republic, so much poorer? Diamond examines the geographic, ecological, linguistic, and political differences between the two countries that resulted in the wide discrepancies we now see on the island.

Will a careful accounting of the regional distribution of the African slave trade reveal any long-term effects of the slave trade on African economic development — differences that are evident even today?

Why did deforestation occur on some Pacific islands and not others? Why did places conquered by Napoleon become wealthier than those that were not?

Also: the development of world banking systems, Indian colonial land tenure systems, and the New World: boom and bust in settler’s societies.

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