Parasites, Pathogens, and Progress : Diseases and Economic Development - McGuire, Robert A.

Parasites, Pathogens, and Progress : Diseases and Economic Development

Robert A. McGuire

Yayınevi: MIT Press

Yayın tarihi: 10/2011

ISBN: 9780262015660

Ciltli | İngilizce | 328 Sayfa | 15,19x22,91x1,5 cm.

Tür: Ekonomi

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In Parasites, Pathogens, and Progress, Robert McGuire and Philip Coelho combine biological and economic perspectives to suggest an innovative view of American history, with implications for how we understand history as a whole. In their path-breaking examination of the impact of infectious parasitic diseases on economic development, McGuire and Coelho contend that interpretations of history that minimize or ignore the effects of the physical environment are incomplete or wrong. Integral to their story are the differential effects of diseases on different ethnic (racial) groups. The Europeanization of the Americas, for example, was brought about not so much by Europeans' superior technology and weaponry as it was by the disease-bearing microorganisms they brought with them. The massacre of Native Americans by measles, cholera, smallpox, and other pathogens had a higher casualty count than violent conflicts.McGuire and Coelho combine biological and economic analyses to explain the regional concentration of African slaves in the American South. Africans' evolutionary heritage enabled them to resist the diseases that became established in the South but made them susceptible to northern "cold-weather" diseases. Among northwestern Europeans, disease resistance and susceptibilities were the opposite. These regional disease ecologies persisted and created a breeding ground for slavery and racism.The authors emphasize the paradoxical impact of population growth on progress. An increased population leads to increased market size, specialization, productivity, and living standards. Simultaneously, increased population density provides an ecological niche for pathogens and parasites that prey upon humanity, increasing morbidity and mortality. The tension between these two continues, with progress dominant since the late 1800s.

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