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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD
which does not demand strength, the type of selection will alter, and
the factory workers come to lose their better physique.
The same report mentions that a fairly large sample of unemployed,
contrasted with a large sample of employed men, were slightly less
tall and distinctly less strong. These were mainly men who would
be the first to be turned off and the last to be taken on, so that selection
seems definitely to have been at work here.
This brings up the large and important question of the selective
effect of the class system as a whole in an industrial capitalist society.
As many writers have pointed out, in so far as there is any ladder of
opportunity by which men may rise or sink in the social scale, there
must be some selective action. With the passage of time, more failures
will accumulate in the lower strata, while the upper strata will collect
a higher percentage of successful types.
This would be good eugenically speaking if success were synonym-
ous with ultimate biological and human values, or even partially
correlated with them; and iftht upper strata were reproducing faster
than the lower. However, we know that reproduction shows the
reverse trend, and it is by no means certain that the equation of
success with desirable qualities is anything more than a naive ration-
alization.
Before, however, we discuss this further, let us look at some other
effects of our pattern of class-system. Once we begin to reflect, we
see that certain 'qualities are more favoured, often much more fav-
oured, in some classes than in others. For instance, initiative and
independence have less opportunity among unskilled labourers than
elsewhere. Inclinations to art, science, or mathematics will be more
favoured in the upper and upper-middle classes than elsewhere. The
result may be truly selective, for instance by encouraging types
genetically above the average in submissiveness among the proletariat.
For the most part, however, it is likely merely to mask genetic differ-
ences. The fact that an undue proportion of artists, writers and
scientists spring from the upper strata of society would then not mean
that these strata were proportionately well endowed by heredity—
merely that in the rest of society the Darwins and the Einsteins, like
the Mil tons, were mute and inglorious.
Two interesting recent studies by Gray and Moshinsky * confirm and
extend this conclusion. They show, on the basis of intelligence tests,
and without discounting any of the superior performance of upper-
class children as partly due to their superior environment, that our
present educational system leaves vast reservoirs of innate intelligence
1 Gray and Moshinsky, 1935, a and b.
38