Yali’s famous question from the book Guns, Germs, and Steel:
â€œAll of those things must have been on Yaliâ€™s mind when, with yet another penetrating glance of his flashing eyes, he asked me, â€œWhy is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?â€ â€“ pg 14
â€œThe, questions about inequality (Yaliâ€™s question) in the modern world can be reformulated as follows. Why did wealth and power become distributed as they are now, rather than in some other way? For instance, why werenâ€™t Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians the ones who decimated, subjugated, or exterminated Europeans and Asians?â€ â€“ pg 16
and the conclusion
â€œYaliâ€™s question went to the heart of the current condition, and of post-Pleistocene human historyâ€¦ how shall we answer Yali? I would say to Yali: the striking differences between the long-term histories of peoples of the different continents have been due not to innate differences in the people themselves but to differences in their environments.â€ â€“ pg 405
Ecosystems matter. Our environment matters. And in fact it becomes a matter of human rights in the long term. Yali was a wise man.