I’ve been watching the documentary “Guns, Germs and Steel“, based on the book of the same name by Jared Diamond. My understanding is that it argues that the eventual domination of the West over the rest of the world is the result of the combination of various beneficial factors, such as geographic location and the availability of effective crops and livestock. These enabled the creation, dissemination and adoption of technologies that gave the Europeans an edge in building what we’ve come to call “Western Civilization”.
There are numerous criticisms that can be raised to the book and the documentary. Many of them can be found in the wikipedia article, and include eurocentricism, lack of consideration for the factors that gave birth to modernity and others. It must be noted however that Diamond seems to take care to definitively distance himself from any notions of “white supremacy” and any moral justifications for colonialism.
However, even with these criticisms in mind, I think that Guns, Germs and Steel, still holds some value to it. It may well be incomplete, lacking in many respects, but it is in my view a nicely popularized account of some basic concepts of the marxist notion of Historical Materialism.
I might very well be wrong in saying this, but at any rate, the documentary is also a nice piece to watch!