Lecture_Notes_Weeks_1-10-1 - Outline of Lecture 1 the...

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Outline of Lecture 1: the Wealth of Nations Why are some countries rich, while other countries are poor? An example: the comparison of Zambia with the Netherlands. The usual answer of economists: differences in human institutions that do or don’t promote wealth. Yes – but – there are also other factors: 1. The origins of complex institutions stemmed ultimately from the development of agriculture, which arose at different times in different parts of the world. 2. Geographic variables: Tropical countries tend to have lower agricultural productivity than temperate countries. Public health problems tend to be more serious in tropical than in temperate countries. Landlocked countries tend to be poorer than countries with ocean transport. 3. Non-geographic factors: The paradoxical curse of natural resources The burden of colonialism, “reversal of fortune” 4. Economies can collapse as well as grow, partly for geographic reasons.
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Outline of Lecture 2: Agriculture, Geography, History Re-summary of Lecture 1: differences within the modern world, in standard of living and in political power. Those modern differences resulted from differences in the world as of AD 1492: differences in technology, political organization, writing, and agriculture and cities and population. How do those differences as of 1492 arise? World history up to 11,000 BC, summarized in two minutes. The consequences of farming, after 11,000 BC. Why farming didn’t arise everywhere: only certain wild animal and plant species could be domesticated. The local origins of farming around the world. Geographic expansions of farming around the world, from those local origins.
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Outline of Lecture 3: Sub-Saharan Africa The paradox of Africa’s human societies: ancient but poor. African biogeography. (The world is divided into six biogeographic regions: Nearctic, Neotropics, Australian, Ethiopian, Oriental, and Palaearctic). The boundary between the Ethiopian and Palaearctic Regions is the Sahara, not the Mediterranean. African people as of AD 1492. Caveats about “racial divisions”. Five broad groups of African peoples, of whom the smallest groups are the pygmies, Khoisan, and Asians of Madagascar. African language families: Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Khoisan, Austronesian, and Niger-Congo (including Bantu). Some language names: Aramaic, Berber, Semitic, Hadza, Sandawe, and !Kung. African deep history, from six million years ago.
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