Respected author's book condemned by Survival International as 'completely wrong, both factually and morally'A fierce dispute has erupted between Pulitzer prize-winning author Jared Diamond and campaign group Survival International over Diamond's recently published and highly acclaimed comparison of western and tribal societies, The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?The controversy threatens to expose a deep rift in modern anthropology, with each claiming the other has fallen into a delusion that threatens to undermine the chances for survival of the world's remaining tribal societies.On a book tour of the UK last week, Diamond, 75, was drawn into a dispute with the campaign group after its director, Stephen Corry, condemned Diamond's book as "completely wrong – both factually and morally – and extremely dangerous" for portraying tribal societies as more violent than western ones.Survival accuses Diamond of applying studies of 39 societies, of which 10 are in his realm of direct experience in New Guinea and neighbouring islands, to advance a thesis that tribal peoples across the world live in a state of near-constant warfare."It's a profoundly damaging argument that tribal peoples are more violent than us," said Survival's Jonathan Mazower. "It simply isn't true. If allowed to go unchallenged … it would do tremendous damage to the movement for tribal people's rights. Diamond has constructed his argument using a small minority of anthropologists and using statistics in a way that is misleading and manipulative."In a lengthy and angry rebuttal on Saturday, Diamond confirmed his finding that "tribal warfare tends to be chronic, because there are not strong central governments that can enforce peace". He accused Survival of falling into the thinking that views tribal people either as "primitive brutish barbarians" or as "noble savages, peaceful paragons of virtue living in harmony with their environment, and admirable compared to us, who are the real brutes".He added: "An occupational hazard facing authors like me, who try to steer a middle course between these two extremes, is the likelihood of being criticised from either direction."But Survival remains adamant. "The clear thrust of his argument is that there is a natural evolutionary path along which human society progresses and we are simply further along it," said Mazower. "That's extremely dangerous, because it is the notion that they're backward and need to be 'developed'. That thinking – and not that their way of living might be just as modern as any other way of living – is the same thinking that underpins governments that persecute tribal people."Mazower pointed to tribes in north-west Amazonia who are nomadic hunter-gatherers but live among settled peoples. "Clearly, they have had the opportunity to adopt a more settled way of life if they wanted to," he said. "They have been on an enormously complicated journey, through wildly different environments, ways of life, beliefs, languages to get to this point."Diamond's reasoning, he said, was "pernicious" and "leads to the kind of remark the former president of Botswana made about the Kalahari bushmen: 'How can you have a hunter-gatherer living in the age of computers? If the bushman wants to survive he must change, otherwise, like the dodo, he will perish'."However, Diamond says Survival's condemnation of his book is driven by something other than facts. He argues its protectiveness toward tribal societies has led it to deny practices including warfare, infanticide, widow-strangling and abandoning the elderly. "Well-meaning defenders of traditional peoples, including apparently Corry, feel it necessary to deny the existence of those practices," he said. "That's a very bad idea – 'extremely dangerous', to use Corry's words where they really belong."Mistreatment of tribal peoples should be condemned not because you claim that they are peaceful when they really are not. It should instead be condemned on moral grounds: the mistreatment of any people is wrong."Diamond said his manuscript was reviewed by dozens of expert anthropologists without objection and named several scholars who concurred with him. "They all conclude that the percentage of a population meeting a violent death per year, averaged over a long period of alternating war and peace, is on the average considerably higher in tribal societies than in state societies."But that is unlikely to satisfy Survival, which believes tribal societies are societies like any other with their own sets of faults and virtues and which need to be able to make their own choices without interference or encroachment on their land."If Diamond's book had been published in the 18th or 19th century, they would have been called 'primitive savages'," said Mazower. "He's just dressed that up with a lot of pseudo-scientific language and some unexceptional stuff about what we can learn from them."Jared DiamondIndigenous peoplesAnthropologyEdward Helmoreguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
As human beings, we are born with a creative impulse, with an innate desire to use our imagination to better the world around us. Yet, all too often, our organizations end up being less innovative than the people within them. The dozens of in-the-trenches innovators who responded to our Innovating Innovation Challenge embody the first assertion and are working relentlessly and fearlessly to overturn the second. We asked for real-world case studies and bold new ideas that will help us make innovation a deep-rooted, systematic competence in every kind of organization. In other words, how do we make innovation more of a natural act and less of a happy accident? Of course, that's easier said than done. The disciplines of management were invented, more than a hundred years ago, to drive variety out of organizations. The goal was to excise the irregularities, in an effort to ensure conformance to work rules, quality standards, timetables and budgets. Today, though, it's the irregular people with their irregular ideas and irregular methods who create the irregular successes and profits. All too often, the quest to routinize the irregular ends up squelching innovation. The goal? Organizations that are paragons of penny-pinching efficiency and bastions of rule-busting innovation. We received more than 140 entries from a diverse group of thinkers, practitioners and experimenters from around the world in pursuit of that goal. The judges and the MIX editorial team pored over the stories and hacks looking for depth, boldness, originality, clarity, and the ability to inspire and instruct in equal measure. We found those qualities in abundance — and are delighted, along with our partners at Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company, to announce 24 finalists (in alphabetical order): Don't Use Your New Innovation Project to Change Your Business Model — Build On What You Do Well and Ensure Your Success Hack by Jean Angus, Saint-Gobain Managing for 21st Century Crime Prevention in Memphis Story by Toney Armstrong, Memphis Police Department Democratizing Entrepreneurship: Village Capital's Peer Selection Model Story by Ross Baird, Village Capital iMentors — Innovation belts spreading innovation within the organization Story by João Manuel Brito Martins, co-authored by Jose Alberto de Oliveira Pereira, EDP Brazil Keeping the Start-Up Spirit Alive at Red Gate Story by Alice Chapman, Red Gate Software Shell GameChanger — A Safe Place to Get Crazy Ideas Started Story by Russ Conser, co-authored by Hans Haringa, Henk Mooiweer and Wim Schinkel, Shell Case Coelce — Inspiring Innovation for Traditional Work Environments Story by Luiz De Gonzaga Coelho Junior, co-authored by Odailton Arruda, Coelce Fail Forward Story by Ashley Good, Engineers Without Borders Canada Making Innovation part of the DNA Story by Jens Hauglum, co-Authored by Bente Mari Kristiansen, Bjørn Henrik Vangstein and Eyvind A. Larre, FINN.no Blank Checks: Unleashing the Potential of People and Businesses Hack by Sanjay Khosla, Mondelez, co-authored by Mohanbir Sawhney, Kellogg School of Management Sustainability as Innovation Strategy: How Sustainability and Innovation Drive Each Other and Company Competitiveness at Danone Story by Monica Kruglianskas, Danone, co-authored by Marc Vilanova, ESADE Business School Innovation as a Business: How to Create a Repeatable and Sustainable Innovation Engine Story by Lawrence Lee, PARC Transforming Corporate Culture through Pervasive Innovation at KT Story by Misook Lim, Korea Telecom Democratise Innovation — for sustained Innovation culture Story by Lalgudi Ramanathan Natarajan, Titan Industries Whirlpool's Innovation Journey: An on-going quest for a rock-solid and inescapable innovation capability Story by Moises Norena, Whirlpool Unleashing Inclusive Innovation at Cisco Story by Kate O'Keeffe, co-authored by John Marsland, Carlos Pignataro and Lisa Voss, Cisco Global solutions, local failure — Overcoming barriers in implementing open innovation Hack by Frank Piller, co-authored by Patrick Pollok, David Antons and Dirk Lüttgens, RWTH Aachen University Project Bushfire — Focussing the might of an entire Organization on the Consumer & Customer Story by Stephen Remedios, The Stephen Remedios Company, co-authored by Aswath Venkataraman, Sandeep Ramesh, Shruti Kashyap and Shashwat Sharma, Hindustan Unilever 21st Century Play Dates: How USC Annenberg's Innovation Lab brings together diverse communities to provoke innovation Story by Susan Resnick West, co-authored by Erin Reilly and Jake de Grazia, USC Annenberg School Innovation is not coincidence; it is built systematically every day and everyone can take part in it Story by Óscar F. Rodríguez, Banco Davivienda Is managed innovation an oxymoron? Story by Kumar Sachidanandam, Cognizant Crafting one of the world's largest ideapreneurship — seeding a grassroots revolution in service innovation Story by Pranay Shah Singh, co-authored by Puneet Ramaul and Annu Talwar, HCL Technologies "Ever Forward" Extreme Makeover — DPR Construction Rebuilds their Continuous Improvement Process from the Foundation Up Story by Dan Tran, DPR Construction Innotribe — a tribe of innovators in the financial industry Story by Peter Vander Auwera, SWIFT Please check out the finalist stories and hacks and add your comments and ratings ̬ they'll make a difference as finalists update and build on their entries for final judging. We'll announce the winners of the challenge here the week of February 11th.