Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The New Eugenics
At least since the Enlightenment, people charged with the management of others, and especially those charged with the operation of states and large economic enterprises, have sought to apply the principles of animal husbandry to the perfection of the human herd from which they extract productive work, or using the more traditional if feudal terminology, compulsory service, in return for a wage (if to employer) or the varied benefits of citizenship (if to the state).
(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2013)
A more scientific set of efforts to improve the human condition was organized by public and private elements in the most civilized states of the time, including the United States. The science was crucial, of course, to the legitimacy of the policy decisions extracted therefrom. The idea was to help create a better, healthier and improved human, more fit for the occupations to which he or she appeared to be intended in emerging 20th century industrial society, one in which these individuals were also expected to have a modest role in political governance. Emblematic were three International Eugenics Conferences were organized and took place in Europe and the United States in 1912, 1921 and 1932. To further these scientific pronouncements, so indisputable at the time, it was only necessary for the captains of industry and the leaders of state to turn science into policy for the aggregate welfare of the state and the industries that enriched it and those fortunate enough to work within these forward looking industrial and social complexes.
This post considers the way the eugenics efforts of the early part of the 20th century now have reappeared within the structures of private markets globalization and the way they appear now to abstract and manage the creation of a "better employee" through health and wellness programs. Science combines with institutional needs to produce a usefully exploitable worker. . . and university professor! Read more HERE.