by Mario Rizzo
This my letter as it appears in today’s Financial Times (July 10, 2013):
Sir, John Kay (“Darwin’s humbling lesson for business”, July 3) makes good points about evolutionary theory and the social sciences. But he is wrong about Herbert Spencer, the noted English philosopher and evolutionist. Spencer was not a Darwinist of any kind nor an advocate of eugenics. He had his own theory of evolution that predates Charles Darwin’s publication of Origin of Species by a few years. Spencer was broadly speaking a Lamarckian.
In other words, he believed in the heritability of acquired characteristics. He further believed that a free market would produce a discipline on individual actions that would, at once, make them more efficient and more moral. Since these traits could be passed on to future generations, there was no need for eugenics.