Full text: Problems in eugenics

A. Loria.Sociology and Eugenics.181 
average income, which naturally does not exclude some disparity amongst the 
individuals possessing that income. This divergence amongst the average 
incomes of the various groups, as of the individuals in each group, can 
easily exist, even assuming that their individual capacities were identical, 
since it can arise simply from the possession of more fertile land, or more 
generally from property situated in more favourable physical conditions. 
Now, amongst these individuals thus furnished with diverse incomes, there 
breaks forth a furious economic struggle, which is carried on with methods 
of violence, fraud, and monopoly, and has as its result the ascent of the 
conquerors to a sphere of superior income, and the descent of the con­ 
quered into a sphere of inferior income. So, as the intensity of the struggle 
is in direct relation to the amount of income, it will be greater in the spheres 
of superior incomes, hence in these spheres there will be the greater number 
of income-holders who will be cast down. 
Therefore, supposing that at the beginning of the period of observation 
the various groups contained an equal number of income-holders, or that 
the entire number of the income-holders of various grades presented the 
figure of a square, the struggle amongst the income-holders would gradually 
bring about a progressive thinning of the spheres of the superior income- 
holders, and hence transform the original square into a pyramid. Now, 
those who come to find themselves at the summit of this pyramid do not 
find themselves there through the possession of superior capacity, but 
solely by the blind influence of the struggle amongst the income-holders. 
It may certainly be said it is possible that some of them are equipped with 
superior mental capacity, but it may also be possible that the large 
majority of them are composed of degenerates, and that no section, of them 
excludes this class. 
The history of great fortunes goes to show that most often great patri­ 
monies are created, not so much by supreme genius, as by shameful and 
iniquitous practices. 
The historical family of De Lazareff in Russia has for head of the race 
an Indian slave, a guardian in the temple of Siva, who one night steals one 
of the colossal diamonds forming the eyes of the god, and with this flies 
into Russia, where he sells the precious gem to Catherine for a million and 
a half roubles. And Myers, in his recent work upon great fortunes, 
has endeavoured to show how the property of American millionaires 
has frequently been obtained by means of frauds and the most odious 
defalcations. Besides, if the founders of great fortuntes should by chance be 
gifted with superior capacity, it is certain that their descendants should 
be wanting in these, because with regard to them that law of “ return to the 
mean,” which Galton has successfully established, would apply. Thus, at 
any given moment, 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

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