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Between Progressivism and Institutionalism Albert Benedict Wolfe on Eugenics

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  • Luca Fiorito


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    Albeit concerned with the biological element in social evolution, Albert B. Wolfe was among the very few economists of the progressive era who openly expressed his concerns about certain implications of eugenic rhetoric for the social science. Specifically, Wolfe questioned the strong hereditary boundaries that more extreme eugenicists suggested about human beings. As I will attempt to show in paper, a careful examination of Wolfe’s writings reveals that his reaction was rooted in the belief that many of the social problems which eugenicists attributed to hereditary limitations, were actually imputable to the influence that the social, economic, and physical environment exercised on the individuals.

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    Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 644.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2012
    Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:644
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    1. Thomas C. Leonard, 2005. "Mistaking Eugenics for Social Darwinism: Why Eugenics Is Missing from the History of American Economics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 37(5), pages 200-233, Supplemen.
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