Journal of the History of Biology 42 (3):399 - 416 (2009)
When socio-economic contexts are sought for Darwin's science, it is customary to turn to the Industrial Revolution. However, important issues about the long run of England's capitalisms can only be recognised by taking a wider view than Industrial Revolution historiographies tend to engage. The role of land and finance capitalisms in the development of the empire is one such issue. If we historians of Darwin's science allow ourselves a distinction between land and finance capitalisms on the one hand and industrial capitalism on the other; and if we ask with which side of this divide were Darwin and his theory of branching descent by natural selection aligned, then reflection on leading features of that theory, including its Malthusian elements, suggests that the answer is often and largely, though not exclusively: on the land side. The case of Wallace, socialist opponent of land capitalism, may not be as anomalous for this suggestion as one might at first think. Social and economic historians have reached no settled consensuses on the long-run of England's capitalisms. We historians of Darwin's science would do well to import some of these unsettled states of discussion into our own work over the years to come.
|Keywords||Darwin Wallace Malthus natural selection capitalism land finance empire industry industrial revolution class political economy population|
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References found in this work BETA
The Development of Darwin's Theory: Natural History, Natural Theology & Natural Selection 1838-1859.Dov Ospovat & Michael T. Ghiselin - 1996 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 18 (3):363.
The Cambridge Companion to Darwin.J. Hodges & Gregory Radick (eds.) - 2003 - Cambridge University Press.
Darwin's Keystone : The Principle of Divergence.David Kohn - 2009 - In Michael Ruse & Robert J. Richards (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the "Origin of Species". Cambridge University Press.
Revolution of the Space Invaders: Darwin and Wallace on the Geography of Life.James Moore - 2005 - In David N. Livingstone & Charles W. J. Withers (eds.), Geography and Revolution. University of Chicago Press.
Citations of this work BETA
The Spontaneous Market Order and Evolution.Naomi Beck - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
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