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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD
main things. It means that we must plan for a capitalist class-system,
and for a nationalist system. We accept the division of society into
economic strata, with large differences in standard of living, outlook,
and opportunity between the different classes; and we accept all the
implications of the principle that the earning of a return on capital
is the primary aim and duty of business and finance, whatever minor
modifications and regulations may be found desirable or opportune.
We accept individualist competition, however much toned down in
practice, as essential. Further, we accept the division of the world
into nationalist states, which, however their sovereignty and independ-
ence of action may be modified or curtailed by international agree-
ments, will be competing as well as co-operating with each other, and
must in certain eventualities be prepared to resort to war.
Coming down to results, we accept the economic and spiritual
frustrations of the system also—that is to say, we accept the necessity
of some degree of unemployment, for without that there can be no
approach to a free market for labour; we accept the continuance of
trade cycles of boom and slump, even though they may be toned
down in amplitude. We accept the need for restriction of output
whenever surplus interferes with profit. We accept the existence of a
cheap supply of unskilled and semi-skilled workers; we accept the
need for man-power in case of war.
If so, then we must plan our eugenic policy along some such lines
as the following:
First comes the prevention of dysgenic effects. The upper economic
classes are presumably slightly better endowed with ability—at least
with ability to succeed in our social system—yet are not reproducing
fast enough to replace themselves, either absolutely or as a percentage
of the total population. We must therefore try to remedy this state
of affairs, by pious exhortation and appeals to patriotism, or by the
more tangible methods of family allowances, cheaper education, or
income-tax rebates for children. The lowest strata, allegedly less
well-endowed genetically, are reproducing relatively too fast. There-
fore birth-control methods must be taught them; they must not have
too easy access to relief or hospital treatment lest the removal of the
last check on natural selection should make it too easy for children to
be produced or to survive; long unemployment should be a ground
for sterilization, or at least relief should be contingent upon no further
children being brought into the world; and so on. That is to say,
much of our eugenic programme will be curative and remedial
merely, instead of preventive and constructive.
Then, in systems like the present, man-power is important, and for
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