Robert Bannister Neo Darwinism

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From another perspective, Robert Bannister, author of Neo-darwinism and the Crisis of the 1890s, observes that social Darwinism “described a variety of evils” from its first appearance in Europe around 1880 to the time it found its way into American thought twenty years later. For example, while some early commentators identified social Darwinism as “brutal individualism” similar to that advocated by Herbert Spencer, others insisted that it provided a new rationale for socialism and the class struggle or an explanation for the “rising tide” of imperialism and militarism in the late 19th century. Such individualism can be found in the laisse faire system of economics first utilized by American businessmen. American businessmen found in darwinistic …show more content…

Hofstader continues to quote that “Successful business entrepreneurs seemed to have accepted almost by instinct the Darwinian terminology which had emerged from the conditions of their existence.” The American Gilded Age and the economic policies surrounding it, were considered all a result of darwinistic perspective and exploitation of theories to defend laissez faire. To put it simply, Thomas C. Cochran and William Miller argued that men of affairs in post-Civil War America found a much-needed philosophy for industrial progress in the Spencerian system: "To a generation singularly engrossed in the competitive pursuit of industrial wealth, it gave cosmic sanction to free competition. In an age of science, it scientifically justified ceaseless exploitation. Precisely attuned to the aspirations of American businessmen, it afforded them a guide to faith and thought perfectly in keeping with the pattern of their workaday lives.” As a result, there are a number of influences from Spencer's work that have trickled down into economics, even into 20th century thinking about markets and …show more content…

Pantaleoni is credited with being the first to apply marginalist analysis to public finance. He was also the author of a famous textbook, the first to systematize marginalist thought and his paper on economic dynamics was discussed in a session of the American Economic Association’s annual conference, contributing to the spread of social darwinistic economics overseas. Nitti, in turn, conditioned Italian economic culture and found important reviews. These two important Italian scholars, whose impact on the discipline in Italy was enormous, were on opposite sides with regard to economic methodology, as well as on the issue of government intervention in the economy. However, they both found their divergent inspiration in Spencer. To note just one, Pantaleoni uses biology to validate the premise of marginalism: “the sensations of pleasure – he writes, citing Spencer – are such only insofar as they are appropriate to the preservation of life”. This concept is reiterated in his well-known Pure Economics, through the words of Spencer himself: “pleasure giving acts are life-sustaining acts.” Pantaleoni verses many of Spencer’s words, which in turn contributed to success among economists. Soon after, Pantaleoni abandons static analysis, and takes to exploring beyond the confines of economics as a discipline: on the one

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