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Building the New Man

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Francesco Cassata

Chapter I. Between Lombroso and Pareto

The Italian Way to Eugenics

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1The First International Eugenics Congress was held in London between 24 and 31 July 1912, under the presidency of Leonard Darwin. The large Italian delegation included some of the most relevant figures of positivist science: jurist Raffaele Garofalo (1851–1934), anthropologists Giuseppe Sergi (1841–1936) and Vincenzo Giuffrida-Ruggeri (1872–1921), psychiatrists Enrico Morselli (1852–1929) and Antonio Marro (1840–1913), economist Achille Loria (1857–1943), sociologist Roberto Michels (1876–1936), and statisticians Alfredo Niceforo (1876–1960) and Corrado Gini (1885–1965). From a disciplinary point of view, it was a heterogenous group, and also contained a reasonable cross-section of political orientations, from the socialism of Loria and Niceforo to the nationalism of Gini.

  • 1 See, for example, Paolo Mantegazza, L’anno Tremila – Sogno (2nd ed.) (Milan: Treves, 1897); Paolo (...)
  • 2 See, in particular, Gaetano Bonetta, Corpo e nazione. L’educazione ginnastica, igienica e sessuale (...)
  • 3 See Bruno Wanrooij, Storia del pudore. La questione sessuale in Italia (Venice: Marsilio, 1990); G (...)
  • 4 See “Notizie,” Rivista di antropologia 18 (1913): 289.

2In the history of Italian eugenics, the First International Eugenics Congress was a defining moment, from two points of view. First, the London congress contributed to the process of organization and institutionalization of the eugenic movement. Before 1912, the Italian scientific and cultural context had seen some debate that centered around the problems of the biological regeneration of the nation. The hygienist utopia of Paolo Mantegazza, professor of the first chair of anthropology in Italy, physician and scientific popularizer of extraordinary success;1 the eighteenth-century development of social medicine;2 and the brief appearance, between 1910 and 1913, of a neo-Malthusian movement,3 clearly demonstrate the presence of a sort of Italian proto-eugenics. But it was only after the London Congress that the term “eugenics” (in Italian, “eugenia,” “eugenica” or “eugenetica”) became diffused in the scientific press and amongst the wider public. In 1912, Serafino Patellani was assigned the first university course of “social eugenics,” and in 1913 an Italian Committee of Eugenic Studies was instituted at the Roman Society of Anthropology, with Giuseppe Sergi4 nominated as president.

3Secondly, the reconstruction of the scientific paths of the most important members of the delegation allows the identification of a set of problems at the origins of Italian eugenics: these included the notion of atavism, the relationship between genius and degeneration, the anthropological heterogeneity of the Italian population, and the demographic dynamic of social exchange. All these issues reveal the intellectual influence on Italian eugenics of two intellectual figures of extreme relevance in the history of social sciences: the anthropologist and criminologist Cesare Lombroso, and the economist and statistician (not to mention sociologist) Vilfredo Pareto.

4The specificity of Italian eugenics in the international context, including its opposition—as much theoretical as ideological and political—to the Anglo-Saxon mainstream, developed from the singular convergence of these two different and conflicting streams of thought.

1. Lombroso’s Way: the Problem of Degeneration

  • 5 See, in particular, Daniel Pick, Faces of Degeneration: A European Disorder (Cambridge: Cambridge (...)

5The Lombrosian path to eugenics can be first of all identified in the particular meanings that dégénérescence assumes in the theoretical production of the well-known Italian criminologist. A great deal has been written on the importance of the concept of degeneration in the genesis of the eugenic discourse.5 Nevertheless, the degeneration–eugenics nexus varies notably according to the cultural reference scenarios.

  • 6 Francis Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development (London: Macmillan, 1883).

6In particular, the theories of atavism and born criminal do not seem to share the pessimistic belief in the omnipresence and dissemination of degeneration that induced Francis Galton, in 1883,6 to coin the term eugenics to indicate a program of planning and rationalization of human reproduction, aimed at the biological improvement of the species. Italian criminal anthropology identified the base cause of innatism to crime as arrested development. Therefore, the primary objective of the discipline was not to intervene in the reproductive process, but rather to isolate dysgenic types (antisocial delinquents) and segregate them from the rest of society. As a consequence, Lombroso’s “new criminal therapy” outlined a large reformist project of social control, developed from a complex anthropological and psychiatric taxonomy: the regulation of migratory flows and a rapid repressive justice, the segregation of habitual criminals and the control of “honest, but weak” citizens, taxes on alcohol and a protracted surveillance of youth and derelicts through “voluntary” or “compulsory asylums” and “industrial schools.” For born criminals and the criminally insane, measures were different and more serious: “life segregation,” forced work, criminal asylums and, finally, the death penalty. It was above all in relation to this latter measure that the eugenic intent was explicit:

  • 7 Cesare Lombroso, Troppo presto. Appunti al nuovo progetto di codice penale con appendici (1888; re (...)

While it is correct to consider that the roots of certain evils cannot be overcome with the death of a few felons, it is however true that crime has diminished in intensity and ferocity in the last centuries thanks in part to the death penalty. Distributed so widely and with much publicity, if it has contributed to a share of new crimes with a spirit of imitation and ferocious public spectacle, it must also have diminished many others, preventing every evasion, every relapse and heredity in criminals, doing that which nature does in the selection of the species, when, from inferior beings, it gives us the grand dominators of the globe.7

  • 8 See Francesco Cassata, “Dall’Uomo di genio all’eugenica,” in Montaldo and Tappero, eds., Cesare Lo (...)
  • 9 On the projects of recording, see Mantovani, Rigenerare la società, 50–51.

7The theory of born criminals was the subject of numerous criticisms, but the cordon sanitaire of social defense theorized by Lombroso, with its sequence of prevention, socio-economic utilization, segregation and—only as a last resort—elimination of the dysgenic elements, had a lasting influence on Italian eugenics, defining its specific position in the international context.8 Given this framework, it is not surprising that it was above all the anthropologists of the Lombrosian school who first called for a preventive recording of the population, in the conviction that the availability of data and numbers constituted the most rational techno-bureaucratic management of human material. The idea of a “biographical card” in fact came to be suggested multiple times: for the military, as desired by the medical captain Salvatore Guida in 1879; for criminals and workers, as hoped in the first decades of the 1900s by the legal physician Salvatore Ottolenghi, student of Lombroso and founder of the School of Scientific Police; and for students, according to the theories of Alfredo Niceforo in 1913.9

  • 10 Cesare Lombroso, Genio e follia in rapporto alla medicina legale, alla critica e alla storia (Turi (...)

8The atavistic model, which assumed a biological predisposition to evil, and the principle of social defense, based on the institutional practices of segregation, prevention and control, still fell within the Lombrosian theoretical scheme, with its belief in an evolutionary dimension of degeneration. From this point of view, Lombroso’s reflections on genius assume fundamental importance. Although deeming Galton’s Hereditary Genius a “valuable work,” Lombroso challenged its statistical data, declaring, in opposition to Galton, the weaker “hereditary action” of genius, compared to insanity.10

9Therefore, while on one hand a “fatal parallelism” existed between genius and degeneration, on the other, genius represented, in Lombroso’s views, a progressive anomaly par excellence: the genius action was innovating and could change the world, and degeneration could produce progress. While Galton maintained that natural selection needed to be reinforced with an artificial eugenic selection, for Lombroso, eugenics was a part of the same evolutionary mechanisms of natural selection, even in its degenerative aspects. It was not by chance that genius—carrier of degeneration, but innovator and creator of progress—represented only one aspect of the positive transgression of the norms theorized by Lombroso: revolutionary spirit, modern evolutionary criminality, and the social function of crime were others.

10Even this second dimension of Lombroso’s anthropology exercised a lasting influence on nineteenth-century Italian eugenics. On many occasions, the refusal of negative eugenics (above all, sterilization) was inspired by the Lombrosian idea that biological degeneration could in reality generate genius; that the deformed or epilepsy sufferers could be hiding a Leopardi or a Manzoni in their midst.

  • 11 See “Selezione artificiale,” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale, 34 (...)
  • 12 For a critique of the concept of degeneration in a Mendelian framework, see in particular Prospero (...)

11In 1880 Lombroso founded the journal Archivio di psichiatria, scienze penali ed antropologia criminale [ Journal of psychiatry, penal science and criminal anthropology]. In these pages, it is possible to notice the distinctive Lombrosian interpretation, and the attention with which the development of the international eugenic debate was followed is also evident. From its inception, the Archivio dealt with eugenics, informing its readers about the legislative initiatives on sterilization and castration introduced, in those years, in the United States and Europe.11 The principle source was the Eugenical News, while the most perceptive editor seemed to be Prospero Mino, voluntary assistant of the medical clinic at the University of Turin, and author, in the 1920s, of a highly informative essay on “hereditary illnesses and their etiology.”12

  • 13 Salvatore Ottolenghi and Mario Carrara, “Perioptometria e psicometria di uomini geniali,” Archivio (...)
  • 14 Mario Carrara, “La difesa sociale nel Diritto private,” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichi (...)
  • 15 Mario Carrara, “Il VII Congresso Internazionale d’Antropologia Criminale,” Archivio di antropologi (...)
  • 16 [Mario Carrara], review of L. Altmann, Die Fruchtabtreibung (Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1926) (...)
  • 17 [Mario Carrara], “Primo congresso di Eugenetica sociale,” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psic (...)

12After the death of Lombroso in 1909, Mario Carrara, his son-in-law and successor to the direction of Archivio and the Institute of Legal Medicine in Turin, oriented the periodical towards a synthesis between biology and legal medicine, in which eugenics assumed a significant role. Author of several statistical-genealogical analyses on the intelligence of “men of genius,”13 Carrara was strictly influenced by Lombroso’s theories. He was convinced that the principle of “social defense” needed to be founded on the concept of “social danger,” which came as much from an “originally deviant psychophysiological constitution” as from a constitution deviated by an “acquired postnatal illness.”14 On these premises, in 1911, Carrara rejected sterilization as a “scientific boutade,” which “everyone feels can have no practical importance,”15 although he did not exclude the adoption of that practice—with the necessary precautions and guarantees—for a very limited number of extreme cases.16 Instead he favored other measures of a eugenic nature, above all therapeutic abortion, for which he repeatedly requested decriminalization, and the “permanent segregation” of recidivist criminals.17

  • 18 For comments on the debate regarding the “two Italies” from an anthropological point of view, see (...)

13The 1912 First International Eugenics Congress undoubtedly marked a turning point for the Archivio’s coverage of eugenic themes. For the transition of the Lombrosian school to eugenics, the London Congress had a double importance. In the first place, the Italian delegation was a synthesis of those disciplines—anthropology, psychiatry, criminology, legal medicine—on which Lombroso had exerted a powerful influence. A glance through the names reveal intellectual figures—such as, in particular, Giuseppe Sergi, Raffaele Garofalo, Alfredo Niceforo and Enrico Morselli—whose scientific and personal links with Lombroso are well-known. Sergi broadly shared the Lombrosian position on atavism and the biological inferiority of females; in 1880, together with Lombroso, Garofalo was co-founder of the above-mentioned Archivio; Niceforo had been controversially labeled by Napoleone Colajanni as “the latest Lombrosian” for his statistical-anthropological investigation on the “cursed race” of Southern Italy;18 while Morselli was particularly interested in Lombroso’s innovations during his early years, although this interest never translated into open adherence, and was replaced in later years by a position of complete distance. It is also worth remembering the numerous exponents of legal and military medicine, inspired by Lombroso, who took part in 1913 in the first Italian Committee of Eugenic Studies, starting with Mario Carrara and Salvatore Ottolenghi, Lombroso’s assistant in Turin from 1885 to 1893.

  • 19 Raffaele Garofalo, Criminologia. Studio sul delitto, sulle sue cause e sui mezzi di repressione (T (...)
  • 20 Garofalo, Criminologia, 419.

14But what characterized “Lombrosian” eugenics at the London Congress? Senator Raffaele Garofalo did not present a specific paper, but appeared as an honorary member of the Congress, implicitly revealing how important eugenics was for the Italian positivist school of criminal law. From 1885 in fact, the jurist had loudly supported the custody of the perpetrators of crimes against people in criminal asylums for indeterminate periods. This was because from the “precedence of other crimes, hereditary degeneration or a complex of marked psychological and anthropological characteristics, we can assume that the criminal is either a moral imbecile or an instinctive criminal.”19 Garofalo believed above all in the need for eugenic protection, which justified the restoration of the death penalty to the penal code. In the past, the death penalty had had the merit of “rendering the reproduction of criminals impossible, and therefore leading to a lower number.”20

  • 21 On this theme, see in particular Bernardino Farolfi, “Antropometria militare e antropologia della (...)
  • 22 Alfredo Niceforo, “The cause of the inferiority of physical and mental characters in the lower soc (...)

15At the London Congress, Alfredo Niceforo was president of the Italian Consultative Committee. For Niceforo, eugenics was a theoretical corollary of his research on the anthropological causes—both hereditary and environmental—of the inferiority of the Italian “southern race” and the poor classes, which he had begun to investigate in the final years of the nineteenth century.21 In Niceforo’s view, biological weakness was the principle cause of socioeconomic inferiority: “The groups formed by individuals belonging to the lower classes present, in comparison with subjects of the higher classes, a lesser development of the figure, of the cranial circumference, of the sensibility, of the resistance to mental fatigue, a delay in the epoch when puberty manifests itself, a slowness in the growth, a larger number of anomalies and of cases of arrested development.”22

  • 23 Niceforo, “The cause of the inferiority of physical and mental characters in the lower social clas (...)

16Therefore the bio-psychical characteristics of the individual were the subject of social exchange: those most endowed tended to be concentrated in the superior classes, while the weakest and defective inevitably descended the social scale. Niceforo understood eugenics as an “anthropology of the poorer classes” or “anthropology of social classes,” which studied how to facilitate the natural circulation” of “social molecules”: upwards for the superior who find themselves below, downwards for the inferior who find themselves above.23

  • 24 Giuseppe Sergi, “Francis Galton,” Rivista di Antropologia, 41, 1 (1911): 179–81. On Sergi’s eugeni (...)

17Among the Italian delegates to London, Giuseppe Sergi, who later became president of the first Italian Committee of Eugenic Studies in 1913, was the only member to have personally met Francis Galton: in 1886, when the British scientist visited Rome. He was later a guest in the Galton’s London house and met him again on the successive trips to Rome, the last of which was in 1903.24 Sergi’s approach to eugenics can be seen, in addition to his knowledge of the theories of Darwin and Galton, and in general to Anglo-Saxon scientific culture, in his specific treatment of the problem of degeneration, to which he dedicated a specific essay in 1889. In it, defining degeneration as a form of “inferior adaptation,” a sort of residuum from the process of natural selection, Sergi described various categories of degenerates, which reproduced the usual positivist approach of social pathology: the insane, criminals, suicides, prostitutes, the “serfs and the servile,” vagabonds, beggars and parasites.

  • 25 Giuseppe Sergi, Le degenerazioni umane (Milan: Fratelli Dumolard, 1889), 204.
  • 26 Sergi, Le degenerazioni umane, 223.

18In the face of this harvest of human degeneration, what sense could “regeneration” still have? With lengthy citations from Herbert Spencer, Sergi passionately denounced the dangerous effects of “sentimental altruism”: protecting degenerates only increased their chances of reproducing. The “protection of the weak” could be useful for victims of misfortune or illness, but could not be extended to vagabonds, beggars and criminals.25 Natural selection must therefore be supported by “artificial selection,” with the aim of the “regeneration” of the stock. This artificial selection had to be characterized by a double objective: “prevent the increase of degenerates” and “diminish and make existing degenerates disappear.”26 The first aspect dealt with the protection of parents, guaranteeing them “useful nutrition,” a job, “adequate rest” and the “necessary recreation.” As for children, Sergi identified various categories. For the children of “serious degenerates” (“those in advanced states of tuberculosis, rachitis and scrofula”) he hoped for “rapid elimination.” For the children of less serious degenerates, it was necessary to distinguish between “criminal” or “pathological” characteristics of degeneration, and decide the treatment accordingly. For the “children of normal parents who may lack resistance,” Sergi outlined a program of biosocial “regeneration,” that included correct nutrition, “protection from the external environment” and, above all, education.

19As for the second aspect—the diminution of existing degenerates—Sergi called for the abandonment of sentimentalism in the name of “prudent philanthropy.” This signified the abolition of homeless night shelters and maternity shelters, condemnation to work through deportation to deserted isles, prohibition of marriage and prevention of illegitimate children.

  • 27 See, for example, Cesare Artom, “Principi di genetica,” Rivista di antropologia 19, 1–2 (1914): 28 (...)
  • 28 Giuseppe Sergi, Problemi di scienza contemporanea (Milan: Remo Sandron Editore, 1904), 155
  • 29 Giuseppe Sergi, “Variazione ed eredità nell’uomo,” in Problems in Eugenics, 14.
  • 30 Giuseppe Sergi, “L’eugenica. Dalla biologia alla sociologia,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 18, n (...)
  • 31 Sergi, “L’eugenica. Dalla biologia alla sociologia,” 632.

20In the first years of the twentieth century, Sergi’s interest in the theories of hereditary transmission continued, opening up the pages of his journal Rivista di Antropologia [Anthropological review] to what could be considered the first steps of genetics in Italy.27 In the nature/nurture debate, Sergi clearly opposed the Mendelian-Weismannian paradigm in the name of the Lamarckian principle of the hereditariness of acquired characteristics, attributing the role of prime motor in the modification of the germ plasm to environmental conditions (social, economic, etc.)28 At the London Congress, Sergi contested Franz Boas’ research on the role of the environment in the modification of the cephalic index of Italian immigrants in United States, but at the same time maintained that it was necessary to carry out “new and rigorous observations in order to be able to prove decisively that human heredity proceeds according to Mendel’s theory.”29 Sergi’s skepticism regarding the risk of excessive “Mendelian” generalizations was connected to his definition of eugenics as a discipline suspended between biology and sociology, focused on the environmental role in hereditary transformations and on the centrality of “education.”30 The same positivist concept of progress was used to justify the eugenic power of education: “We must concede some value to educational power, if the education is rational and under the guidance of biology and that genetics of which we until now know very little and which has different interpretations according to different theories.”31

  • 32 Sergi, “L’eugenica. Dalla biologia alla sociologia,” 632–33.
  • 33 Sergi, “L’eugenica. Dalla biologia alla sociologia,” 632–33.

21Sergi’s sociological environmentalism was devised however, not as an alternative, but as a complement to negative eugenics: “It is not enough to eliminate the human elements that carry hereditary pathological and degenerative defects in whichever way such elimination will be carried out; it is necessary first of all to take care of the healthy elements of the race.”32 Not surprisingly, in 1914, Sergi declared the social uselessness of “education of deficients”: “The danger is not imaginary; because deficients contain the seeds from which criminals, prostitutes, the mentally unbalanced, madmen, vagabonds and beggars grow.”33

  • 34 Claudio Pogliano, “Eugenisti, ma con giudizio,” in Alberto Burgio, ed., Nel nome della razza. Il r (...)
  • 35 Enrico Morselli, “La psicologia etnica e la scienza eugenistica,” Rivista di psicologia 8, no. 4 ( (...)
  • 36 Enrico Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” Quaderni di Psic (...)
  • 37 Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” 323.
  • 38 Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” 324.
  • 39 Enrico Morselli, “La rivendicazione delle leggi di Morel,” Quaderni di Psichiatria 3, no. 11–12 (N (...)

22It was a drastic position, which soon attracted accusations of cruelty from Paolo Mantegazza,34 and from another eugenicist with Sergi in London: the noted psychiatrist, Enrico Morselli. Morselli, founder of the Rivista di filosofia scientifica [Review of scientific philosophy] and illustrious exponent of Italian anthropological psychiatry, offered an original interpretation of eugenics. This was based substantially on two elements: the methodological and epistemological centrality of psychiatry to the new discipline founded by Galton, and its intrinsic links with the “doctrine of race.” At the London Congress, Morselli emphasized, first of all, the determinant role of psychology in eugenics, together with biology and sociology.35 In fact, it was the work of psychiatry to analyze and explain the principle problem of eugenics, that is, that of “pathological heredity in families.”36 Morselli’s nationalist outlook viewed Mendelism as pervaded with a “Germanic mentality affected by metaphysics”37 and unable to explain the hereditary roots of the most relevant mental pathologies. Instead of Mendel’s laws, Morselli preferred Bénédict-Auguste Morel’s “theory of degeneration,” as he claimed explicitly in 1915: “In substance, eugenics derives from the Morelian doctrine. [...] The exogenesis of illnesses is not only individual: it is becoming, through hereditary transmission, endogenesis, which is collective.”38 The entire “essence of eugenics” can be found in Morel’s laws, not only in their scientific aspects, but also in the political and social ones. In fact, since Morel believed in “a well coordinated plan of prophylactic measures for physical and moral hygiene,” Morselli felt that “if society does not want to adopt energetic means, such as the sterilization of degenerates, to arrest the physical decadence of the race and the perversion of its intellectual and moral qualities,” then the “most competent eugenicists” should at least provide for education.39

  • 40 Morselli, “La psicologia etnica e la scienza eugenistica,” 292.
  • 41 Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” 321.
  • 42 Enrico Morselli, “La lotta per l’etnarchia,” Nuova Antologia 151, no. 938 (1911): 232
  • 43 Enrico Morselli, Antropologia generale. L’uomo secondo le teorie dell’evoluzione (Turin: Un. Tip. (...)
  • 44 Enrico Morselli, “Progresso sociale ed evoluzione,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 15, no. 5 (Sept (...)
  • 45 Morselli, Antropologia generale, 1336.

23Having identified the connection between psychiatry and eugenics, Morselli came directly to a differentialist “psychology of races.” If the “destiny” of every race was marked out by the stage to which it had attained in the “psycho-physical hierarchy of man,” and if the aim of each race could be identified as the “preservation of its own ethnic type,” then eugenics must not only aim at the “realization of a uniform type of man,” but instead must “vary its practical efforts according to the natural differentiation of work among races and nations during the bio-historical period.”40 In this way, eugenics became a “doctrine and practice of prophylaxis of the race,”41 becoming a central mechanism in evolutionary anthropology and positivist racism. The “protomorphic races,” that is, those that were “enormously inferior in morphological, physiological, psychological and sociological aspects” were distinct from the “archimorphic”42 races (black, white and yellow); the “fight for ethnarchy,” that is, for racial superiority, would necessarily lead to the disappearance of the first group, and the assertion, within the second group, of the “leucodermic” groups. Morselli’s “sociological optimism” even theorized a eugenic utopia of the “future man” or Metanthropos: “a perfect being in terms of anthropinic specifications, eurhythmic in the proportions of the body, with an advantageous stature, the head always erect, in possession of complete verticality without his current damage.”43 Endowed with “superior intelligence,” the Metanthropos, thanks to technical-scientific progress, would dominate nature, but with a substantial harmony between the different ethnic groups.44 If therefore, the course of history realized the perfection of humanity, eugenics would be called to support evolution, forcing the race to follow its destiny, until it reached the utopia of Metanthropos.45

  • 46 Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” 331.
  • 47 Enrico Morselli, “Problemi di psicopatologia applicata. È socialmente utile l’educazione dei frena (...)
  • 48 Charles Richet, La sélection humaine (Paris: Alcan, 1919).
  • 49 Enrico Morselli, L’uccisione pietosa (l’eutanasia) in rapporto alla medicina, alla morale e all’eu (...)

24From the point of view of eugenic policies, Morselli, although stressing the scientific weakness of eugenics, nevertheless proposed the introduction of an obligatory premarital examination, and maintained the importance of educating individuals to have a sense of responsibility towards the collective.46 Morselli supported, although with some reserves, the education of the insane, and he insisted that it was important to prevent an approximate eugenics from cancelling the therapeutic work of psychiatry, by judging it “useless.” This was one of the reasons why he strongly opposed Sergi’s affirmations. Education of the insane, according to Morselli, if limited to those few “educable” individuals, who with hard work would be able to reach some awareness of self and the coordination necessary to carry out simple manual work, could not be considered, as Sergi suggested, as an open sore through which degenerative infection would penetrate the social body. There were very few re-educated feeble-minded who were able to re-enter the social circuit, and they usually regressed and ended up in asylums. In general, the number of “mediocre, deficient, retarded or insufficient feebleminded people,” who, “enhanced by orthophrenia,” would be able to reach the threshold of marriage, had been greatly overestimated. In Morselli’s opinion therefore, no orthophrenic “veneer” should prevent eugenics from keeping feeble-minded people at a discreet distance from marriage and procreation.47 Instead, the problem was the economic and social cost of orthophrenia compared to eugenics. Wouldn’t it simply be healthier and more economically advantageous to sterilize the “defectives”? To his friend, the physiologist Charles Richet, vice-president of the French Eugenics Society and 1913 Nobel laureate, who in 1919 had stressed the importance of a radical sélection humaine,48 and to other European and North American supporters of “elimination by death,” Morselli responded in 1923, in an essay in defense of a eugenics based not on authorized euthanasia, but on a wise program of social medicine.49

2. Pareto’s Way: the Problem of the Elite

  • 50 Vilfredo Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2 (Lausanne: F. Rouge Lausanne, 1896–97) [ed. used: (...)
  • 51 Vilfredo Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2 (Paris: Giard & Brièr, 1901–02) [ed. used, Turin: U (...)
  • 52 Vilfredo Pareto, Manuale di economia politica (Milan: Società Editrice Libraria, 1906) [ed. used, (...)
  • 53 On Pareto’s social anthropology, see in particular Terenzio Maccabelli, “Social Anthropology in Ec (...)

25Between 1896 and 1906—that is in the chronological framework in which Cours d’économie politique [Course of political economy],50 Les systèmes socialistes [Socialist systems]51 and the Manuale di economia politica [Manual of political economy]52 were published—Vilfredo Pareto developed an anthropological conception of social stratification, which constituted a significant connecting element between his economic and statistical analysis of the distribution of wealth (the well-known “income curve”) and the political and sociological theory of circulation of the elite.53

  • 54 Pareto, Manuale di economia politica, 94–95.
  • 55 Vilfredo Pareto, “La curva delle entrate e le osservazioni del prof. Edgeworth,” Giornale degli Ec (...)
  • 56 See Vilfredo Pareto, “L’uomo delinquente di Cesare Lombroso e Polemica col Prof. Lombroso,” in Gio (...)

26The starting point of Pareto’s anthropology can be identified in the concept of social heterogeneity, adopted with the intent of providing an explanation for the invariability and universality of the “income curve.” The unequal division of wealth did not depend, Pareto argued, on chance or social organization as much as on the unequal distribution of “psychical and physiological qualities” of individuals: society, Pareto declared, was composed “of elements that are more or less different, not only in their evident characteristics, such as sex, age, physical force, health, etc. but also in their less easily observable, but not less important, characteristics, such as intellectual and moral qualities, activity, courage, etc.”54 In 1896, Pareto explicitly declared that he had largely adopted the “doctrine of social heterogeneity” from the writings of Otto Ammon and Georges Vacher de Lapouge,55 important social darwinists of the late nineteenth century. However, although acknowledging his intellectual debt to anthroposociology, the economist rejected Ammon and Lapouge’s racial typology and hierarchy, maintaining that the concept of race lacked an adequate level of scientific validity. When one talked about the Latin race, or the Germanic race, etc.—Pareto declared in Cours—one was adopting an ethno-linguistic meaning of the term “race,” which had no meaning from a zoological point of view. Not surprisingly, in these same years, Pareto was involved in a controversy with Cesare Lombroso, namely about the problem of the scientific value of the concept of “race.” Although acknowledging Lombroso’s “genius,” Pareto reproached him for his lack of “scientific rigor,” in particular as regarded his use of the concept of race.56

  • 57 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 392.
  • 58 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 541.
  • 59 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 541.
  • 60 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 541.

27For Pareto, saying “that there exist in society men who possess certain qualities in higher measures than others and saying that there exists a class of men absolutely better than the rest of the population is not the same thing.”57 Social hetereogeneity did not imply a racial hierarchy, but instead fed a complex mechanism of “social selection.” Yet, as far as social selection was concerned, Pareto was still in debt to Ammon and Lapouge. In Pareto’s discourse, selection was a necessary condition for the preservation of vital organisms. Every society contained “elements unfit to the conditions of life”58 and if the activity of these elements was not contained within certain limits, then society would be “annihilated.”59 There were three possible measures, of decreasing effectiveness, that could help to avoid this danger: first, “destroy the unfit elements”; second, “prevent the harm they might do, either by instilling fear of the consequences of their actions, by taking away their liberty to act, or by placing them outside of society temporarily or indefinitely”; lastly, “amend them and modify their nature.”60

  • 61 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 542.
  • 62 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 545.

28The destruction of inferior elements, “widely used by breeders and farmers,”61 was “incontestably effective”; but, in Pareto’s opinion, inapplicable in human society. This was not only because of the “frightening abuses” that would result from its adoption, but above all because it contradicted that “sentiment of altruism and pity that is indispensable for a society to subsist and prosper.” Therefore, it was necessary to substitute direct selection with “indirect” selection: according to Pareto, there were “many means, unfortunately very imperfect, with which inferior elements can be eliminated.” Regarding the selective effectiveness of penal legislation (death penalty, exile, slavery for criminals) and of war, Pareto kept his distance from Ammon and Lapouge, expressing several reserves. Instead, the “most important selection” would be accomplished by the differential reproductiveness of different social classes. From a “qualitative” point of view—Pareto confirmed—a “higher death rate, particularly for infants, eliminated the weak and deformed in great numbers.”62 In addition, in the human species, the “death rate of adults eliminated many individuals who do not have enough self-control to resist depraved inclinations, at least when pushed to certain excesses.” A man of weak character more easily became an alcoholic, accelerating “his degeneration and that of his descendents.”

29On a quantitative level, demographic selection had the additional advantage of acting on a much higher number of individuals, and according to Pareto, its effectiveness was clearly demonstrated by the immunizing effect of some diseases:

  • 63 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 546.

The races which were exposed to certain influences, to certain illnesses, ended up resisting them victoriously, precisely because the elements that did not resist were eliminated from selection. A race that is removed from these influences for a long time and is then suddenly exposed could be destroyed, because, not having operated the selection, this race will not have any resistance to the danger that threatens.63

30Pareto’s discourse was an attempt to reconcile selective action with “humanitarian” sentiment:

  • 64 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 554.

The problem to resolve is the following: first of all, are there some means to diminish, reduce to a minimum, the number of birth of individuals unfit to the conditions of social life? Following from this, if it is not possible to decrease these births, if the increase of the number of these individuals becomes a danger for society, how can we eliminate them, with a minimum of error in their choice and in the suffering inflicted on them, and without overly upsetting the humanitarian sentiments, which it is useful to develop?64

31To answer this question, Pareto first turned on the “philanthropists,” the “reformers,” the “humanitarians,” and in general all people who denied the innate inequality of individuals, claiming to resolve eugenic problems with the tools of education, hygiene and social medicine.

  • 65 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 559.

32Equally firm was his rejection of eugenic utopias based on rigid control of reproduction, carried out by public authority through coercive means. Although the principle of “appropriate choice of reproducers” in order to “improve the race,”65 had been recognized “in every age” (and here Pareto cited Theognis of Megara, Plato, Plutarch, Campanella, and finally, Lapouge), the difficulty lay in the “means of execution, to apply this principle to the human species.” The coercive eugenic means suggested by Lapouge were received by Pareto, in Cours, with “repugnance” and stigmatized as the final outcome of state socialism:

  • 66 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 394.

We consider it useful to see where this path ends up, which, beginning with State monopolies and keeping on with obligatory unions, obligatory insurance, collective organization of production and the constitution of a welfare state, is leading to the destruction of every individual initiative, the annihilation of all human dignity, and the reduction of men to the level of a flock of sheep.66

  • 67 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 561.

33A measure such as an obligatory premarital certificate would become, as Pareto claimed in the Systèmes socialistes, the paradigmatic expression of “medical-hygienist madness.”67 Along the same lines, Pareto cited the case of the collectivist community constituted in Oneida, in the state of New York between 1847 and 1879, as an example of the non-viability of negative and coercive eugenics:

  • 68 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 559.

This community voluntarily placed itself under rigorous discipline, and also practiced a community of goods. As was to be expected, this did not endure for long; after 33 years of existence, it had been transformed into a simple holding, and had no appreciable effect on the improvement of the race.68

34In this context, Pareto’s eugenic proposal rested on two fundamental points.

  • 69 See Gustave de Molinari, La viriculture (Paris: Guillaumin et Cie, 1897).

35First, he proposed—citing in particular La viriculture of the liberal economist Gustave de Molinari69—“automatic internal forces,” instead of “external coercive forces.” Only a radical change in individual morals could contribute to improvement of the species:

  • 70 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 561.

If the foresight of the results of the sexual act could become one of the principles of individual morals, it would be a great step towards the possible improvement of the species. This foresight would encourage the individual to not bring children into this world, if there were reasons to believe that he would transmit to them some illness or defect, and if there were no means to conveniently relieve it. G. de Molinari, with his usual elevated point of view, has dealt with the problem of automatic internal forces and their relationship with the improvement of the human species.70

  • 71 Vilfredo Pareto to Giuseppe Prezzolini, 17 December 1903, in Pareto, Epistolario. 1890–1923 (Rome: (...)

36Second, the theory of the circulation of the elite had, in Pareto’s vision, a eugenic function. In a letter from December 1903, Pareto acknowledged the influence of Ammon and Lapouge in the formulation of his theory: “From Mosca I have taken nothing. I have however taken much, a great deal, and I have clearly stated so [...] from Ammon, and a little also from Lapouge. The scholars can moreover see how I partly dissent from them, and have added things.”71

  • 72 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 416.

37Despite this intellectual debt, Pareto radically rejected the racial typological description of the elite created by Ammon and Lapouge. The “chosen” subjects—he stated in Cours—are simply “individuals whose life activity is more intense” and such activity could “be good as much as bad.”72 No empirical evidence led to the identification of “aristocracy” in the dolicocephalic blonds of Ammon and Lapouge:

  • 73 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 133.

Ammon and De Lapouge specify too much when they wish to give us the anthropological characteristics of this elite, these eugenic races, identifying them as dolicocephalic blonds. For now, this point remains obscure, and lengthy studies are still necessary before we will be able to establish whether the psychical qualities of the elite are translated into exterior, anthropometric characteristics, and before we can know precisely what these characteristics are.73

38Therefore, it was not the morphological and racial differences that fed social selection, as much as the “invisible hand” of the market, the free competition between individuals:

  • 74 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 342.

If, in fact, it were possible to recognize the character and attitudes of people from some exterior signs, such as form of the cranium, hair color, eye color, etc. the problem would be easily resolved. Unfortunately, these theories have uncertain relationships with reality, and for the moment, there are no other means to select men, if not that of testing what they can do, and putting them in competition, one against the other. This has a place, albeit a very imperfect one, in our societies, and history shows us that their progress is intimately linked to the extension of this use.74

39In particular, the dynamic interaction between economic conditions and movement of the population explained, in Pareto’s view, the circulation of the elite on which the process of social selection depended. In one passage of Cours, which focused on the opposition between the stability of the income curve and the internal mobility of the defined area of the curve, Pareto compared the social organism to a living organism:

  • 75 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 397.

The social organism in this way resembles a living organism. The external form of a living organism—for example, a horse—is almost always constant, but internally, there are ample and sundry movements. The blood circulation rapidly moves certain molecules; the processes of assimilation and of secretion incessantly modify the molecules of which its tissue is made up.75

  • 76 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 416.
  • 77 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 416.

40The circulation of social “molecules” originated from the “influence of the economic conditions on the movement of the population.”76 In the inferior social strata—Pareto declared—“this influence is a powerful agent of zoological selection”; in the superior strata it “acts at times to limit the number of births, and, in this way, further becomes an agent of selection, facilitating the chosen subjects, born in the inferior strata, to access the superior strata.”77 In the introduction to Systèmes, Pareto further defined the role of “pressure of subsistence” on the dynamic of circulation of the elite:

  • 78 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 134.

It seems highly probable that the rigorous selection that occurs in the inferior classes, above all for children, has a more important action. The rich classes have few children and almost all survive; the poor classes have many children and lose great numbers of those who are not particularly robust or well endowed. It is the same reason for which the perfected animal and plant races are very delicate, in comparison with the ordinary races.78

41From Pareto’s point of view, those who wished to persuade the higher social classes to have more children (the “ethicists”), and those who wished to reduce the infant mortality rate of the lower social classes (the “humanitarians”) were both mistaken. Both solutions ended in altering the perfect eugenic equilibrium of the circulation of the elite:

  • 79 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 135.

If the rich classes in our societies were to have many children, it is likely that almost all would survive, even the frailest and least endowed. This would proportionately grow the degenerate elements in the superior classes and retard the access of the inferior classes to the elite. If selection were to no longer exercise its effects on the inferior classes, these would cease to produce elite members, and the average quality of society would be considerably lessened.79

  • 80 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 134.
  • 81 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 396.
  • 82 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 135.

42Differing from Ammon and Lapouge, Pareto believed that the lower social classes did not represent a threat to the aristocracy, but rather constituted a reservoir for the continuous formation of the elite: the inferior classes, and in particular, the “rural classes,” were the “crucible in which, in shadow, the elite of the future are born. These are like the roots of a plant, while the elite is the flower. This flower fades and must fade, but it is immediately replaced by another, if the roots are not damaged.”80 Experience in fact demonstrated that within the inferior classes, individuals existed who were better endowed than those in the superior classes: “Whoever has spent some time among the manual workers knows that one encounters among them individuals who are more intelligent than this or that scientist, laden with academic titles.”81 And it was this—Pareto controversially emphasized—that made Candolle’s and Galton’s statistics on the genealogy of men of genius unreliable. In an attempt to explain how “first class elements” could come from the rural classes, Pareto introduced a biological hypothesis which was to have a notable afterlife in Italian eugenics: “It could be that the same fact that the rural classes develop their muscles and rest their brains has precisely the effect of producing individuals who are able to rest their muscles and excessively work their brains.”82 Consequently, preventing the circulation of the elite through the introduction of a rigid caste system could not lead to anything but “decadence”:

  • 83 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 416–17.

Modern authors, in the search for something new, have developed a great love for the institution of the Indian caste system. These authors cannot explain how this excellent system has not prevented the Indians from becoming prey to numerous conquerors, lacking all caste, nor how some thousands of British were enough to maintain British dominion over a country that counts around two hundred million inhabitants.83

  • 84 See Achille Loria, “L’antropologia sociale,” in Achille Loria, ed., Verso la giustizia sociale—(Id (...)

43At the First International Eugenics Congress in London, many of the Italian contributions revealed a clear Paretian influence. The most transparent example was undoubtedly the economist Achille Loria, who—reprising his previous criticism of Otto Ammon’s anthroposociology84—contested the relationship between the economic elite and the biological elite:

  • 85 Achille Loria, “The psycho-physical elite and the economic elite,” in Problems in Eugenics, 181–82

Economic superiority is by no means an index of superior psycho-physical aptitudes, whether because many of those who now possess that position do not acquire it by virtue of the possession of elevated mental capacity, or because all the others who have inherited these positions from preceding possessors are completely devoid of such aptitudes. Thus, economic superiority cannot in any case be assumed to be the measure or reflection of psycho-physical superiority.85

  • 86 Loria, “The psycho-physical elite and the economic elite,” 183.
  • 87 Loria, “The psycho-physical elite and the economic elite,” 183. During the Congress, Loria’s posit (...)

44According to Loria, only this argument could inspire a “decisive” and “rational” eugenics,86 which would not nourish classist prejudices, but on the contrary, would lead to “a minute and positive examination of individual characters.”87

45Roberto Michels’ contribution also reflected on elite theory. Although an exponent, in those years, of the nascent neo-Malthusian movement, at the London Congress, socialist Michels propounded the general criteria of a eugenics based not so much on birth control as on the organization of the mass party. On this latter topic Michels had focused a few years earlier his most famous essay The sociology of the political party in modern democracy, a fundamental contribution, along with Gaetano Mosca’s and Vilfredo Pareto’s works, to the elite theory of political power. According to Michels, the organization of modern parties favored the selection of a new psychoanthropological type—that of the political leader—characterized by oratory ability and physical good looks, and additionally, by a series of psychological endowments:

  • 88 Roberto Michels, “Eugenics in party organisation,” in Problems in Eugenics, 234–35.

Firstly, energy of will which enables them to dominate weaker characters; secondly, superiority of knowledge, which compels respect; “catonian” depth of conviction, a force of ideas which often borders on fanaticism and which, from its intensity, commands the admiration of followers; self-confidence pushed even to the point of self-conceit, which has the power, however, of being communicated to the mass; in certain rarer cases, finally, goodness of heart and disinterestedness.88

  • 89 Michels, “Eugenics in party organisation,” 237.

46Selecting a form of superiority not linked to income, but to physical and psychological gifts, party organization had a double eugenic function: it guaranteed self-made men from the working classes social access to leadership roles in worker movements; and it favored the affirmation of socialist leaders, indirectly feeding the realization of a social policy which would be more effective eugenically, as it would reduce the economic-social inequality and re-establish “the struggle for life on a more healthy and more natural basis, and allow a greater quantity of men to occupy in society the place to which their special and inborn qualities and their cleverness and energy give a kind of moral and logical right.”89

  • 90 Michels, Problemi di sociologia applicata (Turin: Bocca, 1919), 4.
  • 91 Michels, Problemi di sociologia applicata, 14
  • 92 Michels, Problemi di sociologia applicata, 14.
  • 93 Roberto Michels, “Sulla teoria e sulla pratica dell’Eugenica,” Echi e Commenti 3, no. 27 (1922): 1 (...)

47Not surprisingly, Michels dedicated a collection of articles entitled Problems in applied sociology to Pareto, which was published in German in 1914, and then in Italian in 1919. The first chapter of this essay was specifically devoted to eugenics. The proletariat (or better, the “people”), because of its numeric consistency and the “sad biological conditions in which it finds itself,” should be, according to Michels, the subject of specific eugenic study and activity. Product of a synthesis between biology and political economics, eugenics had the crucial job of understanding to what point the inferiority of the poor classes derived from an “unyielding anthropological base”90 or whether it was a product of economic consequences. Eugenics’ objective therefore did not consist in the “artificial production of supermen,”91 but rather in the “biological improvement of the race,” pursued through two principle activities. These were, first, negative measures discouraging the “physically unfit or morally inferior elements” from reproducing (for example, the obligatory sterilization of carriers of hereditary illnesses and of sexual criminals), and, secondly, a social reform policy, aimed at “improving the economic and social conditions of mankind.” In particular, it was this last aspect that Michels identified as the “pivot of eugenic work.”92 Not surprisingly, this last form of positive eugenics was to mark in Michels’ progressive shift from socialism to fascism. No longer a supporter of birth control and sterilization, but of the eugenic and demographic value of Italian emigration, in the 1920s, Michels did not hesitate to protest against E.W. MacBride, vice-president of the British Eugenics Education Society, guilty of having defined the Southern Italians as a “ethnic group close to Negroes.”93

48Along the same lines of Pareto’s anthropology, but with a level of scientific originality far superior to that of Loria or Michels, we also find Corrado Gini’s eugenics. Gini’s eugenic discourse could not be adequately understood, if not within the systematic process of statistical and demographic revision with which, between 1907 and 1912, he treated the problem of the differential birth-rate of the social classes.

  • 94 In 1907, the thesis was awarded the Vittorio Emanuele Prize for social and political sciences at t (...)
  • 95 Corrado Gini, Il sesso dal punto di vista statistico. Le leggi della produzione dei sessi (Milan: (...)

49Already in his graduating thesis, published in 1908 with the title Il sesso dal punto di vista statistico [Sex from a statistical point of view],94 Gini dealt with the issue of the “circulation of social classes and populations,” introducing for the first time the hypothesis that the cause of differential birth rate could be reduced to the environmental influence on “germinal elements.” Animals kept in captivity demonstrated, according to Gini, that “the maturation of the germinal elements is obstructed by captivity, as it impedes muscular activity, makes the environment uniform, and greatly reduces the reactions of the organism.”95 In the same way, in the human species, the “development of sex” appeared favored by those conditions—muscular work, “active rural life,” sport—that “command in the organism, and through it, in the germinal cells, a lively reaction, which is obstructed on the other, by the opposite conditions of health and tranquility.” This physiological reason could explain, therefore, in Gini’s view, the lesser prolificacy of the aristocracy compared to the lower social classes and the decreasing birth rate of the “white races”:

  • 96 Gini, Il sesso dal punto di vista statistico, 458–59.

If the stimulus to procreation has lost its intensity, that is due above all, I believe, to the diffuse economic well-being, the decreased physical activity, the broadening and accentuating of that complex of characteristics that we call civilization, the final limit of which is a beatific state, in which every desire is sated and every effort suppressed.96

50In October 1908, just a few months after the publication of Sesso, Gini gave a contribution to the Second Meeting of the Italian Society for the Progress of Science, titled The different growth of the social classes and the concentration of wealth. This was later published, in 1909, in Il Giornale degli Economisti [The economists’ journal]. This essay explicitly proposed the objective of providing the “statistical proof” of the different growth of the social classes. In researching the probable causes of this demographic phenomenon, Gini challenged Pareto’s Systèmes Socialistes, claiming that it had exclusively emphasized the action of natural selection, without giving enough attention to the role of the environment. On the basis of De Vries’mutation theory, Gini again accentuated the importance of environmental influence:

  • 97 Corrado Gini, “Il diverso accrescimento delle classi sociali e la concentrazione della ricchezza,” (...)

In a bad environment, a selected race will worsen, in spite of the most active selection; in a good environment, a race improves, even if subjected to reverse selection. This phenomenon has been ascertained for plants, and seems to hold true for all organisms, and, in particular, for man.97

  • 98 Gini, “Il diverso accrescimento delle classi sociali e la concentrazione della ricchezza,” 37.

51As in Sesso, the cause of the “lesser reproductive activity” of the rich compared to the poor was here attributed to their “lower force of sexual instinct.” This conclusion, Gini argued, was “in harmony with the facts of biology, zootechnics and medicine, which demonstrate how the sexual functions are favored, in superior species, by a life of physical fatigue, and in inferior species manifest themselves in alternate generations, under the stimulus of unfavorable environmental conditions.”98

  • 99 Gini, “Il diverso accrescimento delle classi sociali e la concentrazione della ricchezza,” 33.

52Having delineated the different growth of the social classes as a “biological law valid for all human societies,”99 Gini listed the possible applicable consequences of this theoretical result. First of all, Pareto’s circulation of the elite was substantially confirmed, although Gini preferred to refer to it as “social exchange,” because, on a demographic plane, the upward current did not correspond to a parallel downward current. Also from a eugenic point of view, Pareto’s ideas were reaffirmed by Gini, in direct opposition to Karl Pearson’s eugenic arguments. In contrast to the beliefs of British mainline eugenics, the poor classes did not in fact constitute a biological threat, but rather a necessary resource:

  • 100 Gini, “Il diverso accrescimento delle classi sociali e la concentrazione della ricchezza,” 38.

The great mass of population is constituted by those whom we call the poor classes; from them, as if from an immense breeding ground, the elect originate, in relatively small numbers, either through personal merit or through force of circumstances. They originate, arise, shine and are extinguished, like rockets; only insignificant traces fall to earth.100

53A further consequence was relevant for the anthropological field: following the mechanisms of social exchange, the physical and psychological characteristics of the lower classes would be extended to the rest of the population, contributing to the change of their anthropological and cultural characteristics.

  • 101 On this topic, see Jean-Guy Prévost, A Total Science. Statistics in Liberal and Fascist Italy (Mon (...)

54Finally, in the economic field, Gini proposed an alternative to Pareto’s wealth distribution curve (or Pareto’s law), according to which the income distribution was constant in space and time. Gini’s new index was based on a mathematical method that took into account not only the number of recipients within the various classes of income or fortune, but also the total amount of their income or fortune. Gini’s index, δ, described a general tendency to the concentration of income: it was the first outline of the wellknown index, still today referred to as the “Gini index.”101

55Describing the differential growth of the social classes as a universal biological law with several eugenic, anthropological and socio-economic implications, Gini distanced himself from Pareto’s influence and paved the way towards the vast research program in demography, biology, statistics and eugenics that he would progressively realize in the following years.

  • 102 Corrado Gini, Indici di concentrazione e di dipendenza (Turin: UTET, 1911), 5. The book was part o (...)

56Between 1908 and 1912, Gini extended his methodological reflections to the statistical phenomenon of concentration, creating a wider and more abstract statistical theory of distributions and relations. In 1908, as seen above, the index δ was introduced to analyze an empirical problem, linked to the economic consequences of social exchange. In 1910–11, Gini proposed to “find indices of distribution and relation amongst quantitative phenomena, with enough sensitivity and applicability to usual statistic data, without excessively laborious calculations and without hypotheses too distant from reality.”102 The objective was the development of polyvalent statistical instruments, to utilize not just in economic analysis, but also within the plurality of biological and demographic phenomena, such as, for example, matrimonial prolificacy; the relationship between matrimonial productivity, duration of marriage, and age of the spouses at time of marriage and time of death; the relationship between legitimate fertility and the duration of the marriage or age of the mother.

  • 103 Corrado Gini, “Variabilità e mutabilità. Contributo alla studio delle distribuzioni e delle relazi (...)

57Two years later, in 1912, Gini introduced a new statistical procedure—the mean difference—to study the variability of quantitative characteristics (“variability index”) and qualitative (“mutability index”). The intent was to provide appropriate methodological instruments for the application of statistics to “biology, demography, anthropology and economy.”103 The examples listed by Gini regarding some possible uses of the mutability index were, in this sense, quite explicit:

  • 104 Gini, “Variabilità e mutabilità,” 113–14.

Having a measurement of homogeneity for eye or hair color of the inhabitants of a region is no less important, to be able to make a judgment on the purity of races, or on the influence of the environment on human characteristics and other anthropological problems, than having a measurement of homogeneity for certain quantitative somatic characteristics, such as thoracic perimeter, stature, weight, etc.
Similarly, it could be interesting, in many aspects, to have a measurement of homogeneity for religion, for marriage status, for nationality, for profession etc. of the citizens of a nation; it could be interesting to determine the homogeneity of marriages celebrated by day of the week, or month of the year, the homogeneity of births per month of the year and whatnot.104

  • 105 Corrado Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni (Turin: Bocca, 1912).
  • 106 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 3.

58The methodological theory of the variability indexes on one hand, and the statistical and demographic investigation into the dynamics of social exchange on the other, merged in 1911–12, to become a general theory about the cyclical evolution of nations. The pillar of this theory was the differential fertility and birth rate between social classes.105 Presented for the first time in 1911 at the Minerva Society in Trieste, Gini’s theory provided a scientific response to the nationalist and irredentist anxieties of the Trieste Italians, menaced by the “invasion of the Slavs.”106

  • 107 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 3.

59Gini opened the conference with a provocative question: why should “a race rich in intelligence, wealthy, nourished on noble traditions, animated by high ideals” (that is, the Italians) not be able to triumph over “another race, intellectually more limited, economically poorer, for whom the glories of the past can not be a prod for glories in the future”107 (that is, the Slavs)? Gini’s reply was contained in the exposition of his cyclical theory of nations, which can be summarized as follows:

  • 108 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 105.

60From the point of view of the theory, Italy—which was characterized by an excess of emigration—risked a future of decadence: incessant emigration partly reduced and partly transformed the lower classes of the population, from which the nation was renewed, making social exchange progressively difficult and leading to a period of “demographic and military senescence first, then economic senescence, from which it will be extremely difficult to re-emerge.”108

  • 109 Corrado Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 16 (...)

61Gini’s contribution at the First International Eugenics Congress further developed this statistical and demographic outlook. Following in the wake of Pareto, Gini’s eugenics radically opposed the Anglo-American position. Instead of artificial selection, he proposed the return to the state of nature; instead of biological protection of the elite, the necessity of social exchange; rather than neo-Malthusianism, a pronatalist policy. In Gini’s view, the task of eugenics did not consist in selecting the perfect race, but rather in re-introducing to “civilized society” those “primitive customs” regulating, in the most natural conditions possible, the procreation and raising of children.109

62Having identified “prolificacy” as the primary biological value of the species, Gini listed several factors of counter-selection: the reduced distance between births; the recourse to artificial breast milk; the advanced age of marriage; “the systematic defense of the weak and degenerate.” However, the “low reproduction of the higher classes,” the nightmare of Anglo-American eugenics, could not be considered as a degenerative factor. In fact:

  • 110 Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” 381.

Until it is shown that the children of the lower classes—if they were brought up from conception in the same surroundings as the children of the higher classes—would turn out inferior to these, it is not proved that, by stimulating the reproductiveness of the higher classes, one would improve the race more than by leaving their place to be occupied by the children of the working class.110

63The elite were not degenerate in themselves, but in the fact that their germ plasm was more evolved, and therefore would be the first to decay. Taking the theory of decadence of the germ plasm from Nägeli, and in part from Lamarck, Gini implicitly criticized Mendelian-Weismannian hereditary determinism. On this theoretical basis, he positively welcomed the rapid crisis of aristocratic blood:

  • 111 Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” 383.

Artificially to stimulate the reproduction in the higher classes, and check that of the lower ones would be equivalent to trying to improve society by increasing the duration of the life of the old and preventing new generations from taking their place.111

  • 112 Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” 384.

64The renewal of the higher classes by the action of the lowest social classes constituted a biologically justified “normal phenomenon of human societies.”112 While it might generate social conflict, it would not have negative results for the “physical and intellectual characters of the race.” The best means for improving the race in Gini’s eugenics can be easily summarized: greater intervals between births, natural breastfeeding, earlier marriages, and obstacles to the reproduction of the weak and degenerate.

65Seen in the light of the cyclical theory of nations, Gini’s eugenics presented two possible interpretations. A first particular aspect reconnected the rise of eugenics to the last stage of society—that of senility—as an extreme attempt to slow down decadence:

  • 113 Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” 370.

Nations would produce, at the beginning of their civilization, stronger, more intelligent, and happier children; but these advantages would slowly be lost with the progress of the nation and with the rise of marriageable age. Progress in medicine and hygiene, greater care at home, a higher and more intensive and rational education would be more than sufficient to compensate for such physiological impoverishment of the race: but the latter would show itself when progress of this kind came to a standstill, and would contribute towards the decadence of the nation. It is a common custom to speak of young populations and of old populations; and we all feel that in such a phrase there is more than a simple metaphor.113

  • 114 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 107.
  • 115 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 107.
  • 116 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 139.

66A second general meaning led to the interpretation of the life cycle of the population as a sort of natural eugenic process. The biological metaphor adopted by Gini in 1912 to describe the eugenic role of emigration was, from this point of view, enlightening. Like the germinal cells of the organism, emigrants also constituted the “least differentiated” and “most reproductive” elements of the population they were a part of.114 Although emigration determined the demographic and economic decadence of a nation, nevertheless it was at the same time the “cause of its regeneration in the future nations.”115 Even if the European nations were destined to “extinguish themselves on the shores of Europe,” they would—thanks to emigration—be revived “in blood, in language, in thoughts, in the sentiments of the populations of entire new continents.”116

  • 117 Corrado Gini, “L’uomo medio,” Giornale degli Economisti e Rivista di Statistica 48, no. 1 (January (...)

67On his return to London, Gini had the opportunity to further develop his reflections in the eugenic field. In fact, during the prestigious occasion of the inaugural lecture for his course of statistics at the University of Padua in 1913, Gini identified Quételet’s homme moyen as the “general type of the race,” intended as a statistical generalization and aesthetic ideal.117

  • 118 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 13.
  • 119 Gini, “L’uomo medio,”23.

68Regarding Quételet’s model, Gini believed it could not be considered valid as a “type of physical equilibrium,”118 since this would contradict Darwinian evolutionism. Nor could it be considered the “moral ideal,” because this would negate every “stimulus to progress.”119 At any rate, it represented yet another point of reference as a logical construction:

  • 120 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 10.

The average man, and the average soldier, and the average child, and the average newborn, as they respond to the needs of the systematic average, also respond to the facts: respond to the facts, meaning, as all generalizations based on a statistical analysis can and must respond to the facts, that is, not in single cases, but in mass cases.120

  • 121 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 22.

69But beyond a logical-mathematical point of view, the “average man” also constituted an effective “aesthetic ideal.”121 In highlighting the difference between the “average” man and the “handsome” man, considering different races, Gini’s cultural relativism revealed a precise racial hierarchy:

  • 122 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 22–23.

What is there more repugnant for us than the long, pug nose of the Negroes or the Australians, and more distant from the long, straight nose of the Anglo-Saxons? Therefore, when the English disembarked in Australia, the indigenous there derided them for their sparrow-hawk noses. And what is uglier than their swollen lips? [...] And what is said can be repeated for the eyes: eyes which to us seem swine-like appear wonderful to oriental populations, and their natural length industriously lengthened still more with paint is disgusting for us.122

70According to Gini, the tendency to imitate the aesthetics of the superior social classes and races influenced the formation of the aesthetic ideal:

  • 123 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 24.

The fact that all the populations who have come into contact with European civilization have, sooner or later, more or less completely abandoned their national costume, to adopt our monotonous clothing, is further proof of the influence that the imitation of a superior race exercises on the formation of the aesthetic ideal.123

  • 124 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 21.

71Conceived as a kind of universal aesthetic ideal, in Gini’s approach, the “average man” became a sort of “pendulum,” swinging, driven by the ethnic tendency to stylize racial characteristics on the one hand, and the imitation of superior races, on the other: “In the formation of our aesthetic ideal, the average man acts as a centripetal force, while the tendency to stylize race and sex or to imitate superior models acts as a centrifugal force in many ways.”124

3. The Italian Committee of Eugenic Studies

  • 125 On the Comitato Italiano di Studi Eugenici, see Mantovani, Rigenerare la società, 75–85.

72The Italian participation at the International Eugenics Congress in London had an immediate corollary, the next year, in the constitution of the first Italian Committee of Eugenic Studies (Comitato Italiano per gli studi di Eugenica).125

73Giuseppe Sergi and Alfredo Niceforo promoted the new committee, during the sitting of 21 March 1913 of the Roman Society of Anthropology (Società Romana di Antropologia). The scope of the committee was that of

  • 126 “Atti del Comitato Italiano per gli Studi di Eugenica,” Rivista di antropologia 18 (1913): 543–44.

studying the factors that could determine the progress or the decadence of the race, both in terms of physical aspect and psychical aspect, carrying out, for example, research on the normal or pathological heredity of characteristics, on environmental influence and the life regime of parents on the characteristics of the children, on the importance of the momentary conditions of the organism in the act of reproduction, or the environment in which the new organism develops.126

  • 127 See “Atti del Comitato Italiano per gli Studi di Eugenica,” 543–46.
  • 128 See “Atti del Comitato Italiano per gli Studi di Eugenica,” 550–52. In particular, every member wa (...)
  • 129 See “Atti del Comitato Italiano per gli Studi di Eugenica,” 546–49. The list comprised the followi (...)

74At the beginning of April, the Board of Directors of the Roman Society of Anthropology nominated an internal Commission to create a program and gather support. The Commission consisted of Giuseppe Sergi (president), Umberto Saffiotti (secretary), Antonio Marro, Alfredo Niceforo, Corrado Gini and Giovanni Mingazzini. The first general meeting of the Italian Committee of Eugenic Studies took place on 17 November 1913, with 16 members present, as indicated in the first—and only—issue of the minutes, published in the Rivista di Antropologia, which had become the organ of the Committee.127 On this occasion, the statute was approved, nominating the Committee Board of Directors for the 1914–15 term (president, Giuseppe Sergi; vice-president Sante De Sanctis; secretary, Umberto Saffiotti) and promoting (particularly by Corrado Gini) the constitution of an Italian section in the International Catalogue of Eugenic Studies, planned in London in August 1912.128 On the 17 November 1913, the committee counted 83 members. Compared to the London Congress, the members included experts in physical anthropology (and related disciplines, such as psychiatry, legal medicine and military medicine), demography and statistics; the most interesting novelty was represented by the many members coming from clinical medicine, particularly gynaecologists and hygienists.129

75Although a part of the Roman Society of Anthropology, headed by Giuseppe Sergi, the Italian Committee of Eugenic Studies was quickly influenced by the figure of Corrado Gini. It was Gini who kept in contact with the Permanent International Eugenics Committee in London, and participated at its first meeting in Paris in August 1913. It was again Gini who promoted, in 1914, the first—and only—scientific initiative of the young Italian committee.

  • 130 Corrado Gini, “Nuove osservazioni sui problemi dell’eugenica. La distribuzione dei professori dell (...)
  • 131 Gini, “Nuove osservazioni sui problemi dell’eugenica,” 215.

76The project consisted of a statistical survey of the members of the Italian academic system (people “who excelled due to physical or psychical characteristics”), in order to evaluate the relationship between order of birth, biological value of offspring and prolificacy of families. Gini’s statistical inquiry was based on 445 responses given to a questionnaire sent to all the professors in Italian universities, assumed to be samples of eugenic value. The results appeared to only partially confirm Gini’s theories: in fact the effective number of university professors who were first-borns was greater than predicted in the theory, but for those who were higher in the order of birth, the number of professors was much lower.130 It was Gini’s intention that the Committee extend the survey to other categories, “in literary, artistic, military, bureaucratic, commercial, banking, political and all sporting fields.”131 But the initiative, judging by current archival evidence, was never carried out.

  • 132 See Marcello Boldrini, “Sulle famiglie con pazzi e sulla variabilità del primo nato – ricerche sta (...)
  • 133 Felice La Torre, “I fondamenti dell’eugenica,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 19, no. 2 (March–Apr (...)
  • 134 Corrado Gini, “Genetica e statistica rispetto all’eugenica,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 19, no (...)

77Gini’s unique approach to eugenics influenced the studies of several of his students,132 but was strongly criticized by the gynecologist Felice La Torre, who contested the statistical methodology, claiming instead the eugenic role of prenatal care and assistance of pregnant women.133 Gini did not hesitate to reply: it was not gynecology, but genetics and statistics that must be the pillars of eugenics.134

78The conflicting positions of Gini and La Torre, published in the pages of Rivista italiana di Sociologia [Italian review of sociology] in 1915, were nevertheless the last, brief flame of activity of the Committee of Eugenic Studies. Its dissolution coincided with the entrance of Italy in the First World War.

Notes

1 See, for example, Paolo Mantegazza, L’anno Tremila – Sogno (2nd ed.) (Milan: Treves, 1897); Paolo Mantegazza, Un giorno a Madera. Una pagina dell’igiene dell’amore (Florence: Salani, 1910).

2 See, in particular, Gaetano Bonetta, Corpo e nazione. L’educazione ginnastica, igienica e sessuale nell’Italia liberale (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1990) and Mantovani, Rigenerare la società, 87–114.

3 See Bruno Wanrooij, Storia del pudore. La questione sessuale in Italia (Venice: Marsilio, 1990); Giorgio Rifelli, Per una storia dell’educazione sessuale (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1991).

4 See “Notizie,” Rivista di antropologia 18 (1913): 289.

5 See, in particular, Daniel Pick, Faces of Degeneration: A European Disorder (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); Soloway, Demography and Degeneration. The information available on Cesare Lombroso is vast: for a recent overview, see Silvano Montaldo and Paolo Tappero, eds., Cesare Lombroso cento anni dopo (Turin: UTET, 2009). See also Mary Gibson, Born to Crime. Cesare Lombroso and the Origins of Biological Criminology (London: Praeger, 2002).

6 Francis Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development (London: Macmillan, 1883).

7 Cesare Lombroso, Troppo presto. Appunti al nuovo progetto di codice penale con appendici (1888; repr., Turin: Bocca, 1889), 23–4.

8 See Francesco Cassata, “Dall’Uomo di genio all’eugenica,” in Montaldo and Tappero, eds., Cesare Lombroso cento anni dopo, 175–84.

9 On the projects of recording, see Mantovani, Rigenerare la società, 50–51.

10 Cesare Lombroso, Genio e follia in rapporto alla medicina legale, alla critica e alla storia (Turin: Bocca, 1882).

11 See “Selezione artificiale,” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale, 34, (1913): 468; “Sterilizzazione di criminali in America,” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale 34 (1913): 613.

12 For a critique of the concept of degeneration in a Mendelian framework, see in particular Prospero Mino, “Sulle malattie ereditarie e sulla loro etiologia (continuazione e fine),” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale 43 (1923): 5.

13 Salvatore Ottolenghi and Mario Carrara, “Perioptometria e psicometria di uomini geniali,” Archivio di psichiatria, scienze penali ed antropologia criminale 13 (1892).

14 Mario Carrara, “La difesa sociale nel Diritto private,” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale 44 (1924): 7; see also Carrara, Lezioni di medicina legale (Turin: Litografia A. Viretto, 1913); Carrara, “Influenze della biologia sulle leggi,” La Parola (September 1925) offprint.

15 Mario Carrara, “Il VII Congresso Internazionale d’Antropologia Criminale,” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale 32 (1911): 664.

16 [Mario Carrara], review of L. Altmann, Die Fruchtabtreibung (Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1926), Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale 46 (1926): 731; [Mario Carrara], review of G. Sampaio, A estarilizaçäo eugenica e a deontologia medica (1928), Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale 49 (1929): 732; [Mario Carrara], review of O. Kankeleit, Die Unfruchtbarmachung aus rassenhygienischen und sozialen Gründen (1929), Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale 50 (1930): 787.

17 [Mario Carrara], “Primo congresso di Eugenetica sociale,” Archivio di antropologia criminale, psichiatria e medicina legale 45 (1925): 72.

18 For comments on the debate regarding the “two Italies” from an anthropological point of view, see Vito Teti, La razza maledetta: origini del pregiudizio antimeridionale (Rome: Manifestolibri, 1993); Claudia Petraccone, Le due Italie: la questione meridionale tra realtà e rappresentazione (Rome: Laterza, 2005).

19 Raffaele Garofalo, Criminologia. Studio sul delitto, sulle sue cause e sui mezzi di repressione (Turin: Bocca, 1885), 449–50.

20 Garofalo, Criminologia, 419.

21 On this theme, see in particular Bernardino Farolfi, “Antropometria militare e antropologia della devianza (1876–1906),” in Franco Della Peruta, ed., Storia d’Italia. Annali, vol. 7, Malattia e medicina (Turin: Einaudi, 1984), 1181–1222.

22 Alfredo Niceforo, “The cause of the inferiority of physical and mental characters in the lower social classes,” in Problems in Eugenics: Papers Communicated to the First International Eugenics Congress held at the University of London July 24th to 30th (London: Eugenics Education Society, 1912), 187.

23 Niceforo, “The cause of the inferiority of physical and mental characters in the lower social classes,” 189.

24 Giuseppe Sergi, “Francis Galton,” Rivista di Antropologia, 41, 1 (1911): 179–81. On Sergi’s eugenics, see also Luca Tedesco, “‘For a healthy, peace-loving and hardworking race’: anthropology and eugenics in the writings of Giuseppe Sergi,” Modern Italy 16, 1 (February 2011): 51–65.

25 Giuseppe Sergi, Le degenerazioni umane (Milan: Fratelli Dumolard, 1889), 204.

26 Sergi, Le degenerazioni umane, 223.

27 See, for example, Cesare Artom, “Principi di genetica,” Rivista di antropologia 19, 1–2 (1914): 281–410. On the initial phases of genetics in Italy, see Alessandro Volpone, Gli inizi della genetica in Italia (Bari: Cacucci, 2008).

28 Giuseppe Sergi, Problemi di scienza contemporanea (Milan: Remo Sandron Editore, 1904), 155

29 Giuseppe Sergi, “Variazione ed eredità nell’uomo,” in Problems in Eugenics, 14.

30 Giuseppe Sergi, “L’eugenica. Dalla biologia alla sociologia,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 18, no. 5–6 (September– December 1914): 630.

31 Sergi, “L’eugenica. Dalla biologia alla sociologia,” 632.

32 Sergi, “L’eugenica. Dalla biologia alla sociologia,” 632–33.

33 Sergi, “L’eugenica. Dalla biologia alla sociologia,” 632–33.

34 Claudio Pogliano, “Eugenisti, ma con giudizio,” in Alberto Burgio, ed., Nel nome della razza. Il razzismo nella storia d’Italia, 1870–1945 (Bologna: il Mulino, 1999), 426–27.

35 Enrico Morselli, “La psicologia etnica e la scienza eugenistica,” Rivista di psicologia 8, no. 4 ( July–August 1912): 290.

36 Enrico Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” Quaderni di Psichiatria 2, no. 7–8 (July–August 1915): 322.

37 Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” 323.

38 Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” 324.

39 Enrico Morselli, “La rivendicazione delle leggi di Morel,” Quaderni di Psichiatria 3, no. 11–12 (November– December 1916): 278.

40 Morselli, “La psicologia etnica e la scienza eugenistica,” 292.

41 Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” 321.

42 Enrico Morselli, “La lotta per l’etnarchia,” Nuova Antologia 151, no. 938 (1911): 232

43 Enrico Morselli, Antropologia generale. L’uomo secondo le teorie dell’evoluzione (Turin: Un. Tip. Ed., 1911), 1335.

44 Enrico Morselli, “Progresso sociale ed evoluzione,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 15, no. 5 (September–October 1911): 528.

45 Morselli, Antropologia generale, 1336.

46 Morselli, “L’eugenica e le previsioni sull’eredità neuro-psicopatologica,” 331.

47 Enrico Morselli, “Problemi di psicopatologia applicata. È socialmente utile l’educazione dei frenastenici?,” Quaderni di Psichiatria 2, no. 5 (May 1915): 223–31.

48 Charles Richet, La sélection humaine (Paris: Alcan, 1919).

49 Enrico Morselli, L’uccisione pietosa (l’eutanasia) in rapporto alla medicina, alla morale e all’eugenica (Turin: Bocca, 1923).

50 Vilfredo Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2 (Lausanne: F. Rouge Lausanne, 1896–97) [ed. used: Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1961].

51 Vilfredo Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2 (Paris: Giard & Brièr, 1901–02) [ed. used, Turin: UTET, 1974].

52 Vilfredo Pareto, Manuale di economia politica (Milan: Società Editrice Libraria, 1906) [ed. used, Milan: EGEA-Università Bocconi, 2006].

53 On Pareto’s social anthropology, see in particular Terenzio Maccabelli, “Social Anthropology in Economic Literature at the End of the 19th Century. Eugenic and Racial Explanations of Inequality,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 67, no. 3 ( July 2008): 481–527.

54 Pareto, Manuale di economia politica, 94–95.

55 Vilfredo Pareto, “La curva delle entrate e le osservazioni del prof. Edgeworth,” Giornale degli Economisti 13, no. 10 (1896): 443.

56 See Vilfredo Pareto, “L’uomo delinquente di Cesare Lombroso e Polemica col Prof. Lombroso,” in Giovanni Busino, ed., Écrits sociologiques mineurs (Geneva: Droz, 1980), 111–25.

57 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 392.

58 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 541.

59 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 541.

60 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 541.

61 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 542.

62 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 545.

63 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 546.

64 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 554.

65 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 559.

66 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 394.

67 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 561.

68 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 559.

69 See Gustave de Molinari, La viriculture (Paris: Guillaumin et Cie, 1897).

70 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 561.

71 Vilfredo Pareto to Giuseppe Prezzolini, 17 December 1903, in Pareto, Epistolario. 1890–1923 (Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1973), 1, 507. See also Pareto, Manuale di economia politica, 302 (with reference to Ammon and Lapouge) and Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 131 (with reference to Ammon).

72 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 416.

73 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 133.

74 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 342.

75 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 397.

76 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 416.

77 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 416.

78 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 134.

79 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 135.

80 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 134.

81 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 396.

82 Pareto, Les systèmes socialistes, 1–2, 135.

83 Pareto, Cours d’économie politique, 1–2, 416–17.

84 See Achille Loria, “L’antropologia sociale,” in Achille Loria, ed., Verso la giustizia sociale—(Idee, battaglie, apostoli) (Milan: Società Editrice Libraria, 1908), 562–73.

85 Achille Loria, “The psycho-physical elite and the economic elite,” in Problems in Eugenics, 181–82.

86 Loria, “The psycho-physical elite and the economic elite,” 183.

87 Loria, “The psycho-physical elite and the economic elite,” 183. During the Congress, Loria’s position garnered the approval of the anarchist philosopher Kropotkin.

88 Roberto Michels, “Eugenics in party organisation,” in Problems in Eugenics, 234–35.

89 Michels, “Eugenics in party organisation,” 237.

90 Michels, Problemi di sociologia applicata (Turin: Bocca, 1919), 4.

91 Michels, Problemi di sociologia applicata, 14

92 Michels, Problemi di sociologia applicata, 14.

93 Roberto Michels, “Sulla teoria e sulla pratica dell’Eugenica,” Echi e Commenti 3, no. 27 (1922): 14.

94 In 1907, the thesis was awarded the Vittorio Emanuele Prize for social and political sciences at the University of Bologna.

95 Corrado Gini, Il sesso dal punto di vista statistico. Le leggi della produzione dei sessi (Milan: Remo Sandron, 1908), 454.

96 Gini, Il sesso dal punto di vista statistico, 458–59.

97 Corrado Gini, “Il diverso accrescimento delle classi sociali e la concentrazione della ricchezza,” Giornale degli Economisti 2, no. 37 ( January 1909): 35.

98 Gini, “Il diverso accrescimento delle classi sociali e la concentrazione della ricchezza,” 37.

99 Gini, “Il diverso accrescimento delle classi sociali e la concentrazione della ricchezza,” 33.

100 Gini, “Il diverso accrescimento delle classi sociali e la concentrazione della ricchezza,” 38.

101 On this topic, see Jean-Guy Prévost, A Total Science. Statistics in Liberal and Fascist Italy (Montréal: McGill-Queen University Press, 2009).

102 Corrado Gini, Indici di concentrazione e di dipendenza (Turin: UTET, 1911), 5. The book was part of the prestigious Biblioteca dell’Economista series. A synthesis was presented the previous year at the 3rd meeting of SIPS.

103 Corrado Gini, “Variabilità e mutabilità. Contributo alla studio delle distribuzioni e delle relazioni statistiche,” Studi economico-giuridici pubblicati per cura della Facoltà di Giurisprudenza della R. Università di Cagliari 3, part 2 (Bologna: Tipografia Cuppini, 1912), 17; offprint.

104 Gini, “Variabilità e mutabilità,” 113–14.

105 Corrado Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni (Turin: Bocca, 1912).

106 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 3.

107 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 3.

108 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 105.

109 Corrado Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 16, no. 3 (May–August 1912): 385.

110 Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” 381.

111 Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” 383.

112 Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” 384.

113 Gini, “Contributi statistici ai problemi dell’Eugenica,” 370.

114 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 107.

115 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 107.

116 Gini, I fattori demografici dell’evoluzione delle nazioni, 139.

117 Corrado Gini, “L’uomo medio,” Giornale degli Economisti e Rivista di Statistica 48, no. 1 (January 1914); offprint.

118 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 13.

119 Gini, “L’uomo medio,”23.

120 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 10.

121 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 22.

122 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 22–23.

123 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 24.

124 Gini, “L’uomo medio,” 21.

125 On the Comitato Italiano di Studi Eugenici, see Mantovani, Rigenerare la società, 75–85.

126 “Atti del Comitato Italiano per gli Studi di Eugenica,” Rivista di antropologia 18 (1913): 543–44.

127 See “Atti del Comitato Italiano per gli Studi di Eugenica,” 543–46.

128 See “Atti del Comitato Italiano per gli Studi di Eugenica,” 550–52. In particular, every member was sent a circular that requested them to insert their own publications into a predefined bibliographical scheme, subdivided into “theoretical eugenics” and “applied eugenics,” and to send a copy to Corrado Gini’s Padua university address.

129 See “Atti del Comitato Italiano per gli Studi di Eugenica,” 546–49. The list comprised the following categories:

  • anthropologists: Giuseppe Sergi, Sergio Sergi, Fabio Frassetto, Vincenzo Giuffrida-Ruggieri, Enrico Tedeschi;
  • legal physicians: Lorenzo Borri, Mario Carrara, Antonio Cevidalli, Salvatore Ottolenghi;
  • military physicians: Placido Consiglio, Ridolfo Livi,;
  • psychiatrists: Paolo Amaldi, Carlo Ceni, Ugo Cerletti, Ettore Fornasari di Verce, Augusto Giannelli, Giovanni Marro, Giovanni Mingazzini, Giuseppe Ferruccio Montesano, Gian Battista Pellizzi, Augusto Tamburini;
  • psychologists: Giulio Cesare Ferrari, Sante De Sanctis, Federico Kiesow;
  • clinical physicians (particularly gynaecologists): Mariano Carruccio, Giacomo Cattaneo, Achille De Giovanni, Stefano delle Chiaje, Luigi Mangiagalli, Ernesto Pestalozza, Gaetano Pieraccini, Luigi Pagliani, Tullio Rossi-Doria, Pasquale Sfameni, Pietro Sirena, Pasquale Sorgente, Giuseppe Vicarelli, Giacinto Viola;
  • physiologists/zoologists/anatomists: Cesare Artom, Silvestro Baglioni, Paolo Enriques, Carlo Foà, Luigi Luciani, Mariano Patrizi, Achille Russo, Guglielmo Romiti;
  • jurists: Guido Cavaglieri, Raffaele Garofano, Raffaele Majetti;
  • statisticians: Corrado Gini, Alfredo Niceforo, Franco Savorgnan;
  • economists: Achille Loria, Roberto Michels.

130 Corrado Gini, “Nuove osservazioni sui problemi dell’eugenica. La distribuzione dei professori delle Università secondo l’ordine di nascita,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 18, no. 2 (March–April 1914): 214.

131 Gini, “Nuove osservazioni sui problemi dell’eugenica,” 215.

132 See Marcello Boldrini, “Sulle famiglie con pazzi e sulla variabilità del primo nato – ricerche statistiche,” Rivista di Antropologia 19, no. 1–2 (1914): 411–31; Giovanni Dettori, “Di alcuni caratteri dei neonati secondo l’ordine di generazione e l’età della madre,” Rivista di Antropologia 19, no. 1–2 (1914): 443–572.

133 Felice La Torre, “I fondamenti dell’eugenica,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 19, no. 2 (March–April 1915): 196–218.

134 Corrado Gini, “Genetica e statistica rispetto all’eugenica,” Rivista italiana di Sociologia 19, no. 2 (March–April 1915): 218–22.

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