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The relationship between climate and wealth

 
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2003 07:09 am
Hmmm. I prefere the hot places (i.e., southern Italy vs. northern Italy) for these very reasons. But that may be less a climate thing than a Mediterranean vs. European culture thing (though climate may have an impace on that as well).

"Guns, Germs, and Steel" (Jared Diamond, quite a popular book a few years ago) might be pretty relevant here. It describes the "ascent" of Eurasian political supremacy as the result, essentially, of their very long east-west trade axis and their hospitable latitude. The rise of the powerful Eurasian cultures -- Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, etc. -- was largely driven by cereal grain production, which is only really viable at a certain distance from the equator. Because there is this enormous land mass (Europe, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent) situated on an east-west access, agricultural innovations can be spread across it quite rapidly. By conrast, the spread of agricultural practices across a north-south axis is very difficult -- and impossible after a certain point. Thus Incan culture (culture moving about hand-in-hand with food production practices), for instance, could never really spread too far, because it was constricted to the east and west by elevation changes and to the north and south by changes in latitude.

Certainly, though, I'm never going to be inclined to work in concrete and rebar if my bamboo and thatch house is perfectly sufficient...


(Rambling. Haven't typed stuff out in a while. Written language skills rusty, creeeeaaak....)
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2003 07:23 am
Agree with the premise and would give greater weight to the persistance of disease and internal parasites in the tropics. Like most people, when I say tropics, I am thinking of the humid and even rain forested areas. A high percentage of the tropics are in dessert and semiarid lands, and I'm not sure the same comments would apply. Fbaezer's comments on northern Mexico seem to apply.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2003 07:27 am
Definitely something to that. The great killing diseases of Europe and Asia have traditionally been borne by fleas and lice, if I'm not mistaken, and the populations of these insects fluctuates greatly and leads to epidemic rather than endemic infection. Typhus and plague had "seasons," if you will; malaria and Chagas do not...
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2003 09:44 am
I'm certain industrialization is the historical key to economic development. Some rich, industrialized nations have turned to modern services, and so have a few small formerly poor nations (Bahamas). But the pattern is to go first through the industrialization stages.

Industrialization had to do climate, historically. If we go back to the Middle Ages or the Ancient Era, we'll find that civilization grew in milder climates (Mediterranean, Middle East, India, Southern China), while the cooler and hotter regions were inhabited by "barbarians" (Vandals, Huns, Pygmies, Hottentots).

Climate counts now less than it used to. But historically, it took its toll. I put Sinaloa (hot, damps and thriving) as an exception. dlowan remembered Australia. I can add Argentina (and its underdeveloped north), Spain and the former Yugoslavia (Slovenia and Croatia relatively developed; the subsiding of the poorer regions, one of the reason for secession).
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akaMechsmith
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2003 08:28 pm
Craven, I was (and do) regard ideas as the best product of humans.
If there was a prevalence of ideas in a certain geographical area then the wealth, fairness, and future expectations resulting from them would probably correspond to your suspicions as to climate affecting the well being of hummanity.

The "Great Persons" chart was just one of my thoughts as a way to quantify or demonstrate the effects of climate upon the human organism.

You could measure growth rates of coral reefs in relation to temperature also.
Or biomass per acre. The "growing zones" map on your seed catalog is another way of forecasting a success rate due to climate.

That way would skip some of the economic biases as to climates benefits. Maybe.

Anyway I thought that your opening premise may be worth following up a bit.
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LibertyD
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2003 11:38 pm
mark
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CodeBorg
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2003 12:55 am
Never thought about it before (thanks!)
Fascinating.
Thinking...
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firstthought
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2003 06:03 pm
Craven the exception to your rule is Singapore which is 250 mile north of the Equater which at present is establishing the most comprehensible Biotech research facilities in the world.

Malaysia is a rich country with a small population it has its problems but so does everyone else.

Your comments are more pre 21st Century.

ft
0 Replies
 
BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2003 06:09 pm
Mech; best be carefull;

"Craven, I was (and do) regard ideas as the best product of humans." (Mech)

Another fine product of humanity, is 'humanity'! (me)

Is that what you mean by "biomass per acre"(Mech)? Shocked

I think the 'success' rate in parts of Africa is less than desirable, in spite of the high incidence of HIV working to reverse the effect.

Not, i think, a suitable 'scale' by which to measure temperature zone 'performance'!
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2003 06:24 pm
firstthought wrote:
Craven the exception to your rule is Singapore which is 250 mile north of the Equater which at present is establishing the most comprehensible Biotech research facilities in the world.

Malaysia is a rich country with a small population it has its problems but so does everyone else.

Your comments are more pre 21st Century.

ft


While Singapur is one of several exceptions to the rule, one must point out that it is a small enclave.

You say Malaysia is a rich country (Avg. anual GDP per capita: $9,300, in the same range as Argentina, Belarus, Botswana, Chile, Latvia, Mexico, Russia, St Kitts/Nevis or Trinidad & Tobago). That is one fourth of the US per capita GDP. I'd call that not overwhelmingly poor, but certainly not rich.
You also say it's small. 23 million inhabitants. More than Australia and almost as many as Canada.

Certainly, Craven's comments are "more pre-21st century", since services are becoming more important. The fact is that from the XV to the XX Centuries, climate did play a part and countries have started the XXI Century race from different starting blocks.
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akaMechsmith
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2003 07:32 pm
Bogowo,

No , Biomass per acre is a total of all life resident upon that acre. Mostly of interest to farmers and biologists it gives an approximat indication of "suitability for life" without worrying too much about whether or not it's intelligent

The biomass includes bacteria, worms, bugs, plants, trees, animals and people.
The "biomass per acre figure" is used with other factors to determine a sustainable harvest figure which you would be interested in if you wanted to build an ethanol plant or a sugar refinery.

A friend of mine surveys creeks and rivers with a similar object in mind.

I run across it occasionally in magazines directed to the agricultural community.

I mentioned it only as another way of charting (showing) graphically Cravens "surmisions". (love that word) Best,M
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2003 07:54 pm
akaMechsmith wrote:
Craven, I was (and do) regard ideas as the best product of humans.


That can be argued but for the purposes of this discussion it'd be helpful to use more quantifiable criteria. I spoke of industrialization and wealth.

akaMechsmith wrote:
The "Great Persons" chart was just one of my thoughts as a way to quantify or demonstrate the effects of climate upon the human organism.


Yes, but I never made any argument that the climate effects the human organism in that way. Never did I say cooler climates make humans great.

akaMechsmith wrote:
You could measure growth rates of coral reefs in relation to temperature also.
Or biomass per acre. The "growing zones" map on your seed catalog is another way of forecasting a success rate due to climate.


Question I could also count mosquitoes and then the tropics would win. Smile I said nothing about "success rate". In warmer climates many organisms thrive. I spoke of economical success due to industrialization, again, not related to anything-that-can-be-described-using-the-word-success.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Aug, 2003 08:05 pm
firstthought wrote:
Craven the exception to your rule is Singapore which is 250 mile north of the Equater which at present is establishing the most comprehensible Biotech research facilities in the world.


Craven de Kere in his firts post wrote:
I do not pose the following as a rule with no exceptions.


ft,

I have lived in both nations you name and currently do business with Malaysia daily (I work for a company that is a subsidiary of a Malaysian glove manufacturer).

I know the countries well and as fbaezer points out Malaysia is not exactly a picture of wealth. My memory of Malaysia (I had my first coconut there) is not dissimilar to other moderately poor Asian nations.

In any case, I never said there were no exceptions to this trend and I never posited it as a rule. I also avoided the dependance on anecdotal evidence.

In other words that's like pointing at a guy with long hair and trying to deny that the current trend is toward short hair.

Of course there are exceptions. Heck there are exceptions to the trend of inductrialization determining wealth as well. Any region whose economy is primarily fueled by tourism is a good start. Many of them are located in warm climates.


firstthought wrote:
Your comments are more pre 21st Century.


Certainly! Industrialization is a passing fad. As fbaezer notes it's all about services. And since services are now cross border (think tech center in India answering tech support for American firms) regional limitations will be far less important.

As fbaezer notes climate affected the start of the race and interestingly in the cooler nations the cultures generally have more means (e.g. air Conditioning) to fight the elements.

With the rise in the importance of services climate will be irrelevant and technical capability and competitiveness will be key.

In that I couldn't agree more.
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firstthought
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 12:02 pm
Temperate against Tropical populations
fbaezer you appear to be quoting statistics probably from the World Fact Book compiled by the CIA. Malysia is split into two parts The old Federation of Malaya and North Borneo. To understand that particular part of the world one would have to consider the history and the politics.

I was an ex-pat and headed up the electrical group for Sime Darby Holdings a British Merchant Company until I had to give it up because of an illness. That company is now Sime Darby Berhad the oldest of the old merchant companies and is probably the largest of the Malaysian congolmerates with a market value of some several billion $US.

Craven your pondering is quaint why haven't you put in your 10 cents worth Laughing Laughing Laughing your old friend


ft.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 01:31 pm
I have. I'm still wondering why you take the most flimsy of anecdotal evidence and deposit it as yours.

Any chance you'll make a deposit about the trend besides pointing out exceptions that were already conceded before this was posted?

Because anecdotal evidence about an exception to the trend is of no consequence. After all, I once saw a rich guy in a sauna... Rolling Eyes
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firstthought
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 07:48 pm
There is an simple natural law which seems to be ignored or not considered 'the Natural Law of Evolution' = "everything changes" evolution does not just apply to living organisms but to everything objective and subject.

Do you use the word 'anecdotal' as an interjection? I have developed a strong lay interest in lexicology.

As far as the tropics are concerned, technology has taken over, they had airconditioning for 40 odd years or so.

bye the bye i love your logo

ft Rolling Eyes
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 07:52 pm
In the tropics air conditioning is not as prevalent. I use anecdotal as a qualifier. As in, my comment about air conditioning is anecdotal.
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firstthought
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 08:14 pm
Really I suggest you make a vist to Kuala Lumper and all the major cities and townships in the Malay Peninsular and i do not write anecdotially but give you fact which can be established by discriptive import statistics.

Havn't change much have you (sujrectively I mean Razz

but then your a veteran and I am just a newbie on his site Smile

See you are stiil in good shape.

ft
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2003 08:29 pm
Damn, that's so many kinds of pulling rank. ;-) In any case telling me to go see something is a bit anecdotal, is it not?

And does not air conditioning lack in relevance anyway? It is, after all, only recently in widespread use and after our modern cultures' nature had been established.
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step314
 
  1  
Reply Sun 31 Aug, 2003 12:34 am
climate
A fertile region can support both slaves and overseers. A region that is not fertile can't support both slaves and overseers, and thus can't easily support the slave system. Slavery impedes industrialization. Such was De Toqueville's observation (in Democracy in America), and he gave as example the large amount of industrialization that existed on the Ohio side of the Ohio River and the small amount of industrialization that existed on the Kentucky side.

Slavery is bad.
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