Eugenics and American Economics in the Interwar Years: The Case of Thomas Nixon Carver

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The aim of this paper is to explore in some detail Carver’s eugenic ideas with a main, albeit non-exclusive, focus on the interwar years. Although his major contributions had all appeared prior to 1918, Carver remained particularly productive throughout the 1920s and 1930s, publishing several articles and eight books, which include The Principles of National Economy (1921), and The Essential Factors of Social Evolution (1935)—two works which contain significant traces of eugenic reasoning. Just as important, Carver’s interwar activities were not limited to academia. After his retirement from Harvard in 1932 he became involved in the activities of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, while in view of the 1936 Presidential elections he took active part in the organization of the Research Division of the Republican National Committee. As we will document below, these activities gave Carver an opportunity to promote his eugenic beliefs at the national level.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHayek: A Collaborative Biography, Part IX, Eugenics, ‘The Market’ and the Fatal Conceit
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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