Are Corporate Bodies Really Alive? - Part III Print E-mail


BIG BODY GENESIS........................................................................................................... Here

INTRO QUOTES................................................................................................................. Here

EXPLORING GROUP SELECTION: by David Sloan Wilson........................................ Here

Introduction: How Big Bodies Evolve & Why it is Relevant to Modern Affairs....... Here

Levels of Evolutionary Selection Groups vs. Individuals...................................... Here

THE CORPORATION AND THE REPUBLIC by Scott Buchanan................................ Here

BIG BODY ANTHROCULTURE......................................................................................... Here

INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................ Here

THE ORGANIZATION MAN by William Whyte........................................................... Here

Classrooms, White Collars & the Decline of Manliness by Patricia Sexton................ Here

THE BIG BODY BLUES: History in Your Pants by WDK............................................ Here

"CASTRATION" : The Goal of Japnese Education by Masao Miyamoto M.D........... Here

CHINESE EUNUCHS The Structure of Intimate Politics by Taisuke Mitamura.......... Here

ENVIRO-HORMONES: Scientists speak on Alchemical Emasculation............... Here

Peter Myers on Our Stolen Future..................................................................... Here

                    Frederick Vom Saal on Ubiquitous Anti-Androgens...................................... Here

 Big Body Genesis


  Evolution and Taxonomy

Where the critters came from, how they got so fat and tall...




"And the evening and the morning were the eighth day. And it was said, Let the corporation be brought forth after its kind and it was seen to be good... by the owners thereof...and behold it merged and bought, with options, all the earth, subdued it and had dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth...and... the corporation beguiled us..."   Will Mische



The Group Mind
by William McDougall


Selected Excerpts

Two peculiarities of the collective mental state: in the first place, the individual, in becoming one of a crowd, loses in some degree his self-consciousness, his awareness of himself as a distinct personality, and with it goes also something of his consciousness of his specifically personal relations; he becomes to a certain extent depersonalised. In the second place, and intimately connected with this last change, is a diminution of the sense of personal responsibility: the individual feels himself enveloped and overshadowed and carried by forces which he is powerless to control; he therefore does not feel called upon to maintain the attitude of self-criticism and self-restraint which under ordinary circumstances are habitual to him, and his more refined ideals of behaviour fail to assert themselves against the overwhelming forces that envelop him...


The cultivation of group life shows itself in the many varieties of grouping on a purely artificial basis and in the practice of rites and ceremonies... Cornford writes, "When the totem-clan meets to hold its peculiar dance, to work itself up till it feels the pulsing of its common life through all its members, such nascent sense of individuality as a savage may have is merged and lost; his consciousness is filled with a sense of sympathetic activity. The group is now feeling and acting as one soul, with a total force much greater than any of its members could exercise in isolation. The individual is lost, 'beside himself,' in one of those states of contagious enthusiasm in which it is well known that men become capable of feats which far outrange their normal powers." And again "Over and above their individual experience, all the members of the group alike partake of what has been called the collective consciousness of the group as a whole. Unlike their private experience, this pervading consciousness is the same in all, consisting in those epidemic or infectious states of feeling above described, which, at times when the common functions are being exercised, invade the whole field of mentality, and submerge the individual areas. To this group-consciousness belong also, from the first moment of their appearance all representations which are collective, a class in which all religious representations are included. These likewise are diffused over the whole mentality of the group, and are identical in all its members ....


The collective consciousness is thus superindividual. It resides, of course, in the individuals composing the group. There is nowhere else for it to exist, but it resides in all of them together and not completely in any one of them. It is both in myself and yet not myself. It occupies a certain part of my mind and yet it stretches beyond and outside me to the limits of my group. And since I am only a small part of my group, there is much more of it outside me than inside. Its force therefore is much greater than my individual force, and the more primitive I am the greater this preponderance will be. Here, then, there exists in the world a power which is much greater than any individual's –superindividual, that is to say superhuman."


The other great condition of the development of the group spirit in primitive societies is the general recognition of communal responsibility. This no doubt is largely the result of the two conditions previously mentioned, especially of the recognition of an individual by members of other groups as merely a representative of his group, rather than as an individual, and of the fact that his deeds, or those of any one of his fellows, determine the attitudes of other groups towards his group as a whole...


The recognition of communal responsibility is the great conservator of savage society and customary law... By its means, the idea of the community is constantly obtruded on the consciousness of the individual. Through it he is constantly led, or forced, to control his individualistic impulses and to undertake action with regard to the welfare of the group rather than to his own private interest. Through it the tendency of each to identify himself and each of his fellows with the whole group is constantly fostered; because it identifies their interests...


And the group spirit is not only highly effective in promoting the life and welfare of the group; it is also the source of peculiar satisfactions. The individual revels in his group-consciousness...


I lay stress on the satisfaction which group self-consciousness brings..., because, I think, it has been unduly neglected as a socialising factor and a determinant of the forms of association. If we ask -- What are the sources of this satisfaction? --we may find two answers.


First, the consciousness of the group and of oneself as a member of it brings a sense of power and security, an assurance of sympathy and co-operation, a moral and physical support without which man can hardly face the world. In a thousand situations it is a source of settled opinions and of definite guidance of conduct which obviates the most uncomfortable and difficult necessity of exerting independent judgment and making up one's own mind. And in many such situations, not only does the individual find a definite code prescribed for his guidance, but he shares the collective emotion and feels the collective impulse that carries him on to action without hesitation or timidity.


Secondly, we may, I think, go back to a very fundamental principle of instinctive life, the principle, namely, that, in gregarious animals, the satisfaction of the gregarious impulse is greater or more complete the more nearly alike are the individuals congregated together. This seems to be true of the animals, but it is true in a higher degree of man; and, in proportion as his mind becomes more specialised and refined, the more exacting is he in this respect. To the uncultivated any society is better than none; but in the cultivated classes we become extraordinarily exacting; we find the gregarious satisfaction in our own peculiar set only... this shows itself in practices which accentuate the likeness of members of a group and mark it off more distinctly from other groups – for example, totems, peculiarities of dress, ornaments and ceremonies; things which are closely paralleled by the clubs, blazers, colours, cries, and so forth of our undergraduate communities.


The life of the savage, then, is in general dominated by that of the group; and this domination is not effected by physical force or compulsion (save in exceptional instances) but by the group spirit which is inevitably developed in the mind of the child by the material circumstances of his life and by the traditions of his community. Such group self-consciousness is the principal moralising influence, and to this influence is due in the main the fact that savages conform so strictly to their accepted moral codes...


The group spirit continues with us, as with the savage (though in a less effective degree) to be the great socialising agency...


For it is of the essence of the group spirit that the individual identifies himself, as we say, with the group more or less; that is to say, in technical language, his self-regarding sentiment becomes extended to the group more or less completely, so that he is moved to desire and to work for its welfare, its success, its honour and glory, by the same motives which prompt him to desire and to work for his own welfare and success and honour... Further, the motives supplied by the group spirit may be stronger than, and may overpower, the purely individualistic egoistic motives, just because they harmonise with, and are supported by, any altruistic tendency or tendencies comprised in the make-up of the individual...


In this way, that is by extension to the group, the egoistic impulses are transmuted, sublimated, and deprived of their individualistic selfish character and effects and are turned to public service...


Another noteworthy feature of the group spirit renders it extremely effective in promoting social life; namely the fact that, although the group sentiment is apt to determine an attitude of rivalry, competition, and antagonism towards similarly constituted groups, yet a man may share in the self-consciousness of more groups than one, so long as their natures and aims do not necessarily bring them into rivalry. And in our complex modern societies this principle of multiple group-consciousness in each man is of extreme importance; for without it, and in the absence or comparative lack of the natural conditions of grouping other than the occupational, the whole population would become divided into occupational groups, each fighting collectively against every other for the largest possible share of the good things of life. A tendency towards this state of things is very perceptible, in spite of the correcting cross-connections of kinship, of church and political party, and of territorial association.


But another principle of multiple group-consciousness is, perhaps, of still greater importance, namely that it allows the formation of a hierarchy of group sentiments for a system of groups in which each larger group includes the lesser; each group being made the object of the extended self-regarding sentiment in a way which includes the sentiment for the lesser group in the sentiment for the larger group in which it is comprised. Thus the family, the village, the county, the country as a whole, form for the normal man the objects of a harmonious hierarchy of sentiments of this sort, each of which strengthens rather than weakens the others, and yields motives for action which on the whole co-operate and harmonise rather than conflict...The sentiment for the part supports the sentiment for the whole.


It is of considerable importance also that in general the development of a sentiment of attachment to one group not only does not prevent, but rather facilitates, the development of similar sentiments for other groups. And this is especially true when the groups concerned are related to one another as parts and wholes, that is, when they form a hierarchy of successively more widely inclusive groups. The sentiment for the smaller group (e. g. the family) naturally develops first in the child's mind; if only for the reason that this is the group of which he can first form a definite idea, and with the whole of which he is in immediate relations. The strong development of this first group sentiment prepares the child's mind for the development of other and wider group sentiments. For it increases his power of grasping intellectually the group of persons as a complex whole; and it strengthens by exercise those impulses or primary tendencies which must enter into the constitution of any group sentiment; and, thirdly, it prevents the excessive development of the purely individualistic attitude, of the habit of looking at every situation and weighing all values from the strictly individualistic and egoistic standpoint; which attitude, if once it becomes habitual, must form a powerful hindrance to the development of the wider group sentiments, when the child arrives at an age to grasp the idea of the larger group.


The organisation of an army again illustrates these principles in relatively clear and simple fashion. In our own army the regiment is the traditional self-conscious unit about which traditional sentiment and ritual have been carefully fostered, in part through realisation of their practical importance, in part because this unit is of such a size and nature as to be well suited to call out strongly the natural group tendencies of its component individuals. On the whole, the military authorities, and especially Lord Haldane in the formation of the territorial army, seem to have wisely recognised the importance of the group spirit of the regiment...


This larger group, although of comparatively ephemeral existence and therefore devoid of long traditions coming down from the past, is in perfect and obvious harmony, in purpose and spirit and material organisation, with the battalions and other units of which it is composed; and, accordingly, the sentiment for the larger group does not enter into rivalry with that for the battalion, the battery, or other smaller unit; rather it comprises this within its own organisation and derives energy and stability from it.


In these considerations we may see, I think, a principal ground of the importance of the institution of the family for the welfare of the state. The importance has often been insisted upon; but too much stress is usually laid upon the material aspects, and not enough upon the mental effects, of family life.


It has been a grave mistake on the part of many collectivists, from Plato onwards, that they have sought to destroy the family and to bring up all children as the children of the state only, in some kind of barrack system. It is not too much to say that, if they could succeed in this (and in this country great strides in this direction are being rapidly made), they would destroy the mental foundations of all possibility of collective life of the higher type.


We touch here upon a question of policy of the highest importance. There are, it seems to me, three distinct policies which may be deliberately pursued, for the securing of the predominance of public or social motives over egoistic motives. First, we may aim at building up group life on the foundation of a system of discipline which will result in more or less complete suppression of the egoistic tendencies of individuals, the building up in them of habits of unquestioning obedience to authority. I imagine that the Jesuit system of education might fairly be taken as the most successful and thorough-going application of this principle... But, though wonderful results have been obtained in this way, the system has two great weaknesses. First, it seeks to repress and destroy more than half of the powerful forces that move men to action--namely, the egoistic motives in general--instead of making use of them, directing them to social ends. Secondly, it necessarily crushes individuality and therefore... it results in a rigidly conservative system without possibility of spontaneous development.


The second system is that which aims at developing in all members of the state or inclusive group a sentiment of devotion to the whole, while suppressing the growth of sentiments for any minor groups within the whole. This was the system of Plato's Republic and is essentially the collectivist ideal. It is the policy of those who would suppress all sentimental groupings, all local loyalties and patriotisms, in favour of the ideal of the brotherhood of man, the cosmopolitan ideal... And, though it may succeed with some persons, there will always be many who cannot grasp the idea of the larger whole sufficiently firmly and intelligently to make it the object of any strong and enlightened sentiment of attachment; such persons will be left on the purely egoistic level, whereas their energies might have been effectively socialised by the development of some less inclusive group-consciousness.


Again, the smaller group is apt to call out a man's energies more effectively, because he can see and foresee more clearly the effects of his own actions on its behalf. Whereas the larger the group, the more are the efforts of individuals and their effects obscured and lost to view in vast movements of the collective life. That is to say, the smaller groups harmonise more effectively than the larger groups the purely egoistic and the altruistic motives (except of course in the case of those few persons who can play leading parts in the life of the larger group). For, though a man may be moved by his devotion to the group to work for its welfare, he will work still more energetically if, at the same time, he is able to achieve personal distinction and acknowledgment, if the purely egoistic motives can also find satisfaction in his activities. Hence this second policy also, no matter how successful, fails to make the most of men, fails to bring to the fullest exercise all their powers in a manner that will promote the welfare of the whole. Thirdly, this system loses the advantages of the healthy rivalry between groups within the whole; which rivalry is a means to a great liberation of human energies. These are the weaknesses of the over-centralised state...


Only the third policy can liberate and harmonise the energies of men to the fullest extent; namely, that which aims at developing in each individual a hierarchy of group sentiments in accordance with the natural course of development...


The principal conditions which favour and render possible the formation of a group mind:


The first of these conditions, which is the basis of all the rest, is some degree of continuity of existence of the group. The continuity may be predominantly material or formal; that is to say, it may consist either in the persistence of the same individuals as an inter-communicating group, or in the persistence of the system of generally recognised positions each of which is occupied by a succession of individuals. Many permanent groups exhibit both forms of continuity in a certain degree; for the material continuity of a group being given, some degree of formal continuity will commonly be established within it. The most highly organised groups exhibit both forms in the highest degree.


A second very important condition, essential to any highly developed form of collective life, is that in the minds of the mass of the members of the group there shall be formed some adequate idea of the group, of its nature, composition, functions, and capacities, and of the relations of the individuals to the group. The diffusion of this idea among the members of the group, which constitutes the self-consciousness of the group mind, would be of little effect or importance, if it were not that, as with the idea of the individual self, a sentiment of some kind almost inevitably becomes organised about this idea and is the main condition of its growth in richness of meaning; a sentiment for the group which becomes the source of emotions and of impulses to action having for their objects the group and its relations to other groups.


A third condition very favourable to the development of the collective mind of a group, though not perhaps absolutely essential, is the interaction (especially in the form of conflict and rivalry) of the group with other similar groups animated by different ideas and purposes, and swayed by different traditions and customs. The importance of such interaction of groups lies chiefly in the fact that it greatly promotes the self-knowledge and self-sentiment of each group.


Fourthly, the existence of a body of traditions and customs and habits in the minds of the members of the group determining their relations to one another and to the group as a whole.


Lastly, organisation of the group, consisting in the differentiation and specialisation of the functions of its constituents – the individuals and classes or groups of individuals within the group...


We may illustrate the influence of these five conditions by considering how in a group of relatively simple kind, in which they are all present, they favour collective life and raise it to a higher level of efficiency. Such a group is a patriot army fighting in a cause that elicits the enthusiasm of its members; such were the armies of Japan in the late Russo-Japanese war; they exhibited in a high degree and in relative simplicity the operation of all the conditions we have enumerated.


Such an army exhibits the exaltation of emotion common to all psychological crowds. This intensification of emotion enables men to face danger and certain death with enthusiasm... But in all other respects the characteristics of the simple crowd are profoundly modified. The formal continuity of the existence of the army and of its several units secures for it, even though its personnel be changed at a rapid rate, a past and therefore a tradition, a self-consciousness and a self-regarding sentiment, a pride in its past and a tradition of high conduct and achievement; for past failures are discreetly forgotten and only its past successes and glories are kept in memory. This traditional group consciousness and sentiment are fostered by every wise commander...




exploring group Selection:
by David Sloan Wilson



Introductory Notes: How Big Bodies Evolve and
Why it is Relevant to Modern Human Affairs


As a biologist who studies the evolution of Big Bodies, I am delighted that the concept of human groups as organisms is finally being taken seriously again in society. This note will briefly describe the evolutionary principles and how they relate to Big Body problems in modern life. More detail can be found in the reading below and in my recent book with Elliott Sober, Unto Others: the evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior (Harvard University Press 1998).


1) For animals that live in groups, individuals can achieve evolutionary success along two broad pathways; a) by outcompeting other members of the same group (within-group selection), or b) by causing the group to outcompete other groups (between-group selection). The word competition is interpreted very broadly by evolutionists, including overt competition and aggression but also any adaptation that causes some individuals or groups to perform better than other individuals or groups. 2) The behaviors favored by within-group selection tend to undermine the adaptive organization of groups. Thus, the evolution of the group as an adaptive unit (a "Big Body") requires a process of between-group selection that is stronger than countervailing within-group selection.


3) A consensus emerged among evolutionary biologists during the 1960's that group selection, while theoretically possible, was so weak that it could be ignored. The human social sciences became dominated by a position known as methodological individualism at about the same time, although for somewhat different reasons. The last few decades could be called "the age of individualism" as far as scientific thinking is concerned, which has made the study of Big Bodies appear disreputable and even heretical.


4) Advances in evolutionary biology since the 1960's have radically altered the situation, although only now are they starting to attract a wide audience. Perhaps the most dramatic realization is that individual organisms are themselves Big Bodies, social groups of elements that previously led a more independent existence. You and I are living proof that higher-level selection can trump lower-level selection.


5) Big Bodies require mechanisms that prevent evolution from within. Genetic and developmental processes are increasingly being viewed as an enforced social contract among our previously independent parts that prevents various forms of cheating.


6) Group selection has probably been a strong force, but by no means the only force, in human evolution. As the most behaviorally flexible species on earth, we have the capacity to employ both evolutionary pathways, exploiting our neighbor or intimately cooperating with our neighbor, depending on the circumstances. Behavioral flexibility does not mean the absence of instincts, however. There is probably an immensely complicated innate psychology that orchestrates both within-group and between-group facultative adaptive strategies.


7) Hunter-gatherer egalitarianism provides the clearest picture of the first human Big Bodies, which weren't very big. Hunter-gatherers combine a strong sense of community with an equally strong sense of personal independence that prevents exploitation from within. Human nature may include a willingness to participate in Big Bodies ONLY when there are sufficient safeguards against cheating and freeloading. When Big Bodies stop working for the common good, or even demonstrate the structural potential to stop working for the common good, individuals lose their commitment and join other Big Bodies or function as little bodies as best they can.


8) Human cultural history can be interpreted as a series of coalescing events producing ever larger Big Bodies, similar to the coalescing events of organic evolution. Really Big Bodies require cultural mechanisms that have an elaborate physiology of their own, but which are not independent of the innate psychological mechanisms mentioned above. Instead, the innate psychological mechanisms provide the building blocks from which innumerable cultural forms can be constructed.


9) Big Bodies can be attractive or threatening, depending on how we look at them. Our longing for a sense of community and to be part of something larger than ourselves reflects the best of Big Bodies, which provide some of the greatest joys and comforts life has to offer. Corporations and governments should want to function as Big Bodies for less poetic reasons. On the other hand, Big Bodies do not eliminate conflict but merely elevate it to the level of between-group interactions, where it can take place with even more destructive force than before. In addition, the "harmony" that exists within Big Bodies can take the form of coercive social control in addition to warmth and togetherness. Idealists such as myself like to dream about the whole earth as a Big Body with a non-coercive physiology. Could such a dream come true? Nobody knows, but the only way to find out is to understand the Big Bodies of today with a cold eye and a warm heart.


10) I end with a plea for the scientific study of Big Bodies. The age of individualism made Big Bodies seem to disappear in evolutionary biology, the social sciences, and to a large extent the popular imagination. Books such as The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom and Nonzero by Robert Wright suggest that Big Bodies are returning to the popular imagination. However, Big Bodies will be nothing more than a fad until the scientific establishment takes them seriously again. Science is an exceptionally conservative culture (often for good reason) and it will take time for it to recognize the advances that have already taken place within its own ranks. In the meantime, businesses with an enlightened view of "research and development" and private foundations looking for important subjects currently neglected by federal agencies may well want to invest in Big Body research of the highest caliber.


Levels of Evolutionary Selection

Groups vs. Individuals


Throughout history, including the history of the social sciences, groups have been compared to individual organisms in the harmony and coordination of their parts. Aristotle compared the various classes of society to a single organism and religious communities are often described in organismic terms—the body of the church, united under the head of Christ. Almost every founder of the social sciences shared this group-level perspective, at least to a degree (Wegner 1986).


In more recent times the social sciences have become dominated by a more reductionistic perspective, sometimes referred to as "methodological individualism", in which "groups and social organizations have no ontological reality—that where used, references to organizations, etc. are but convenient summaries of individual behavior (Campbell 1994, p. 23)." In addition, evolutionary biologists reached a consensus during the 1960's that groups are highly unlikely to have evolved into adaptive units comparable to individual organisms (Williams 1966). These two developments, which occurred largely independently of each other, appeared to relegate the concept of groups as organisms to the antique shop of history.


Developments in evolutionary biology since the 1960's have led to a new consensus that is represented by the term "multilevel selection" (e.g., Frank 1998, Michod 1999, Sober and Wilson 1998). Natural selection acts on a hierarchy of biological units, from genes within individuals to groups within a metapopulation (a population of groups). Individual organisms are an upper level of this biological hierarchy, social groups that have become so functionally integrated that the whole is more conspicuous than the parts. If individuals are themselves groups, the concept of groups as individuals can no longer be regarded as theoretically improbable. In fact, an especially strong case can be made for human groups as units of natural selection (Boehm 1997). The group-level perspective is back in evolutionary biology, with profound implications for the human social sciences. However, groups can never be assumed axiomatically to function as adaptive units. Special conditions are required and opposing forces always exist, including subversion from within. The modern multilevel view can draw upon the originators of the social sciences for insight, but is not a return to the grandiose and often naïve groupism of the past.


1. Evolution and the Fundamental Problem of Social Life

Prior to Darwin, supernatural agents provided the most ready explanation of purpose and order at all levels, from celestial bodies, to human society, to the actions of individual people and other creatures. Darwin provided the first successful scientific theory of adaptations, which remains today the only theory in an ultimate sense. Human artifacts have a purpose and did not evolve by natural selection in a proximate sense, but the ability of humans to make artifacts with a purpose itself presumably evolved by natural selection. All intentional processes are probably rooted in a process of blind variation and selective retention (Campbell 1960).


Evolution explains adaptations but it is not nearly as permissive as supernatural explanations. In particular, group-level adaptations are not as easy to explain as individual-level adaptations. To see why, consider the evolution of a nonsocial adaptation, such as cryptic coloration. Imagine a population of insects that vary in the degree to which they match their background. Every generation, the most conspicuous individuals are detected and eaten by predators while the most cryptic individuals survive and reproduce. If offspring resemble their parents, then the average individual will become more cryptic with every generation. Anyone who has beheld an insect that looks exactly like a leaf, right down to the veins and simulated herbivore damage, cannot fail to be impressed by the power of natural selection to evolve breathtaking adaptations at the individual level.


Now consider the same process for a social adaptation, such as members of a group warning each other about approaching predators. Imagine a flock of birds that vary in their tendency to scan the horizon for predators and to utter a call when one is spotted. It is not obvious that the most vigilant individuals will survive and reproduce better than the least vigilant. If scanning the horizon detracts from feeding, the most vigilant birds will gather less food than their more oblivious neighbors. If uttering a cry attracts the attention of the predator, the sentinel places itself at risk by warning others. If these suppositions are correct, then birds that don't scan the horizon and that remain silent when they do see a predator will survive and reproduce better than their more vigilant neighbors.


These two examples show that the evolutionary concept of adaptation does not always conform to the intuitive concept, especially at the group level. It is easy to imagine a bird flock as an adaptive unit and to predict its properties. We would expect members of the flock to adopt the creed "all for one and one for all". We might expect sentries to be posted at all times to detect predators at the earliest possible moment and to relay the information to feeding members of the flock. Unfortunately, individuals who possess these behaviors do not necessarily survive and reproduce better than individuals who enjoy the benefits and do not share the costs. Since Darwin's theory explains adaptations only on the basis of differential survival and reproduction, it appears unable to explain groups as adaptive units. This can be called the fundamental problem of social life. Groups function best when their members produce benefits for each other, but it is difficult to translate this kind of social organization into the currency of biological fitness. Evolutionary theory has difficulty explaining any kind of group as an adaptive unit, including those that might be found in our own species.


2. Darwin's Solution to the Fundamental Problem

Darwin was aware of the fundamental problem of social life and proposed a solution. Suppose there is not just one flock of birds but many flocks. Furthermore, suppose that the flocks vary in their proportion of vigilant callers. It is true that vigilant callers do not have a fitness advantage within a single flock, but groups of vigilant callers will be more successful than groups whose members do not look out for each other. Darwin used this reasoning to explain examples of apparent altruism in nonhuman species, such as the bee's suicidal sting, and also human moral virtues that appear designed to promote group welfare. In his own words, "At all times throughout the world tribes have supplanted other tribes; and as morality is one important element of their success, the standard of morality and the number of well-endowed men will thus everywhere tend to rise and increase (Darwin 1871, p. 166)." Darwin's solution is elegant and perhaps even obvious in retrospect. If adaptations evolve by differential survival and reproduction, it makes sense that the evolution of adaptive groups requires the differential survival and reproduction of groups. Adaptation at each level of the biological hierarchy requires a corresponding process of natural selection at that level. However, Darwin's solution only shows that adaptive groups can evolve in principle. Conditions are required that may or may not exist in the real world. In addition, the adaptations favored by group selection can be opposed at other levels. In the case of our birds, group selection favors vigilance but selection within groups favors nonvigilance. If we wish to explain bird flocks as adaptive units, not only must we demonstrate a process between-group selection, but we also must show that it overpowers within-group selection.


Darwin's solution has another disturbing implication, which demonstrates that the biological concept of adaptation remains limited, even in its multilevel form. We have already seen that adaptations at one level of the biological hierarchy can be highly maladaptive at other levels. A male lion that displaces another male and systematically kills his rival's offspring so that he can proceed to mate with the females is behaving adaptively, in a narrow biological sense of the word. However, this adaptation is good only for the individual male—not for the vanquished male, the females, the group, the species, or the ecosystem. It is possible to imagine a process of group selection that favors noninfanticidal males. After all, groups with noninfanticidal males might grow larger by producing more cubs, enabling them to outcompete groups with infanticidal males. However, this would not eliminate conflict so much as elevate it up the biological hierarchy, to the level of between-group rather than within-group competition. The most that group selection can do is evolve groups that are like organisms in the harmony and coordination of their parts. We already know what individual organisms do to each other and nothing different can be expected of groups. Harmony among groups would require a process of natural selection operating at a yet higher level.


3. Evolutionary Theory's Wrong Turn

I have portrayed group selection as a process that can occur but which also must contend with other forces that pull in other directions. As previously mentioned, a consensus emerged among evolutionary biologists in the 1960's that group selection is such a weak force that it can be ignored for most purposes. Even though it is theoretically possible for groups to evolve into adaptive units, it almost never happens in the real world. Of course, group selection could not be rejected without alternative theories that explain apparent group-level adaptations in more individualistic terms. The theories that became the foundation for the evolutionary study of social behavior were kin selection (Hamilton 1964, Maynard Smith 1964), in which individuals evolve to benefit copies of their genes present in genetic relatives, and reciprocal altruism (Trivers 1971, Maynard Smith 1982, Axelrod and Hamilton 1981), in which individuals indirectly benefit themselves by helping others. With these theories, "biologists seemed to have little further need for the metaphor of society as an organism (Konner 1999 p 31)."


The rejection of group selection was hailed by evolutionary biologists as a great accomplishment but subsequent developments have shown it to be a massive wrong turn from which the field is only starting to recover (see Sober and Wilson, 1998 for a detailed historical and conceptual analysis of this period). We can see why by returning to our bird example. Suppose that uttering a cry does not increase the risk of being attacked by an approaching predator. On the contrary, it tells the approaching predator that it has been spotted by the crier and that a less vigilant member of the group should be targeted. If these are the facts of the matter, then the evolution of so-called warning cries could be explained entirely by within-group selection. Individuals who call survive and reproduce better than individuals in the same group who do not call. The function of the adaptation is not to warn other members of the group but to communicate with the predator in a way that actually endangers other members of the group. We would be right to reject group selection in this case. But now suppose that our original story was correct; crying is selectively disadvantageous within groups and evolves only because groups of criers fare better than groups of noncriers. It is still the case that the average crier in the metapopulation is more fit than the average noncrier—that is just another way of saying that the crying behavior evolves—but the evolutionary force that causes the average crier to be more fit is group selection, not selection among individuals within groups.


It follows that distinguishing levels of selection requires several steps. First we must compare the fitnesses of individuals within groups. Then we must compare the fitnesses of groups in the metapopulation. Finally we must combine these effects to determine the bottom line of what evolves. It turns out that many evolutionary models do not follow this procedure. Instead, whatever evolves in the model is vacuously defined as the product of "individual (or gene) selection", despite the presence of groups and counteracting selection pressures within and among groups. A good example is n-person evolutionary game theory, which has become the framework for studying reciprocal altruism (Dugatkin and Reeve 1998). The term "n-person" signifies that a large population is broken into groups of size n within which social interactions occur. The fitness of an individual is given by a payoff matrix and is determined by its own behavior and the behavior of other members of its group. Our bird flock example could easily be modeled with n-person game theory, in which the fitness of an individual depends on whether it is a caller and on the number of other callers in its group. Despite the presence of groups and fitness differences within and among groups that are plain to see in the payoff matrix, the standard procedure in evolutionary game theory is to average the fitness of the alternative behavioral types across groups and to say that the type with the highest average fitness evolves by individual-level selection. Another example is kin selection theory, which implicitly assumes that a large population is broken into groups of genetic relatives, within which social interactions occur.


Elliott Sober and I call the vacuous practice of defining anything that evolves the product of individual- or gene-level selection "the averaging fallacy" (Sober and Wilson 1998). Avoiding the averaging fallacy has two major implications for evolutionary theories of social behavior. First, kin selection and reciprocal altruism become examples of multilevel selection theory rather than alternative theories. When the groups are identified in these theories, it becomes clear that the prosocial behaviors being modeled (e.g., cooperation and altruism) are selectively disadvantageous within groups and evolve only because groups with prosocial members outperform other kinds of groups. Second, not only does multilevel selection theory include kin selection and reciprocal altruism as special cases, but it goes further to explain other cases are beyond the imagination of these theoretical frameworks. This is fortunate, because kin selection and reciprocal altruism have always seemed poorly suited to explain the kinds of prosocial behaviors that take place in human groups.


4. Ancestral Human Groups as Adaptive Units

Our species evolved in small groups that are roughly approximated by the hunter-gatherer societies of today. Prior to the resurgence of multilevel selection theory, evolutionary biologists found it difficult to envision human groups as adaptive units. Genetic relatedness among members of ancestral human groups was only moderate and the principle of reciprocal altruism has always been difficult to extend beyond pairwise relationships. However, modern multilevel selection theory enables human groups to be seen as potent units of selection. Extant hunter-gatherer societies around the world are remarkably egalitarian. It is not that hunter-gatherers lack selfish impulses, but rather that selfish impulses are effectively controlled by other members of the group. This form of guarded egalitarianism has been called "reverse dominance" by anthropologist Chris Boehm (1983). In many animal groups, the strongest individuals are usually able to dominate their rivals, taking a disproportionate share of the resources. This is within-group selection, pure and simple. In human groups, an individual who attempts to benefit himself at the expense of others is likely to encounter the combined retaliation of the rest of the group. In most cases even the strongest individual is no match for the rest of the group, so self-serving acts are effectively curtailed. Boehm's survey of hunter-gatherer societies includes many examples of reverse domination, ranging from ridicule to ostracism to assassination, of those who attempt to impose their will upon others. Hunter-gatherer societies are first and foremost moral communities with a strong sense of right and wrong that organizes the practices of the group.


The concept of a human group as a moral community shows how much has been missed by the concept of genetic relatedness. In a kin selection model, behavioral uniformity within groups can be achieved only by genetic uniformity. In a moral community, behavioral uniformity can be achieved (or at least approached) by a shared belief in what constitutes right behavior and an ability to effectively discourage wrong behavior. Social norms can create a degree of behavioral uniformity within groups and differences among groups that could never be predicted from their genetic structure and which radically shifts the balance between levels of selection in favor of group selection. The concept of a human group as a moral community also shows how much has been missed by the concept of reciprocal altruism. Consider a moral community whose members believe that it is right to help others in proportion to need rather than the likelihood of return benefit. Individuals who abide by the norm are rewarded, those who violate the norm are punished, and the group (let us say) prospers compared to groups whose members restrict helping to those who will return the favor. It is true that giving according to need appears less altruistic when enforced by social controls, but social control itself emerges as a group-level adaptation when analyzed in multilevel terms (Boyd and Richerson, Sober and Wilson 1998). Causing others to provide a public good is itself a public good, as economists have long realized (Heckathorn 1993).


Moral communities have both a cultural and an innate psychological component. The specific content of social norms can be modified on the basis of experience and socially transmitted from one person to another. On the other hand, the emotional reactions associated with rightdoing and wrongdoing are almost certainly innate and evolved by genetic multilevel selection. Finally, it should be obvious that wrongdoing remains as much a part of human nature as rightdoing, ready to surface in at least some individuals whenever the maintenance of social norms becomes lax. For this reason alone, human groups can never be axiomatically assumed to function as adaptive units.


Many of these principles that emerge from multilevel selection theory are supported by social psychology experiments that simulate social dilemmas (e.g., Ostrom, Gardner and Walker 1994). In a typical experiment, members of a newly created ten-person group are each given ten dollars, which they can keep or anonymously put into a central pot where it will be doubled and redistributed to all members of the group. If everyone cooperates they can double their money. However, a single individual who defects keeps his ten dollars and gets eighteen dollars back from the central pot, providing a powerful incentive to cheat. If everyone cheats the benefits of group life are lost and no one increases their money. If a single individual cooperates in a group of cheaters, he gets a paltry two dollars for his investment of ten dollars, providing a powerful incentive not to cooperate. This is the fundamental problem of social life in a nutshell.


Most people in this experiment initially display a moderate degree of generosity, putting about half their money into the pot, but there is variation around the average. As soon as they realize that others are cheating, the more generous members of the group become both angry and stingy. Of course, there is no outlet for anger within the framework of the experiment so the level of giving quickly drops to zero. In a modified version of the experiment, the members are allowed to contribute their money, not only to the first pot, but also to a second pot that is used to punish the cheaters. Those who contribute to the second pot are second-order public good providers. They enforce contributing to the first pot at their own expense. Nevertheless, when this outlet for righteous indignation is provided within the framework of the experiment, the second pot overflows with contributions!


Generalizing from these experiments, we can provisionally envision a human nature that is reluctant to give in ways that can easily be exploited but is willing and even eager to contribute to building and maintaining a social system that realizes the advantages of social life while preventing exploitation from within. Of course, a well-protected social system is required because at least some people, and perhaps all people some of the time, are inclined to exploit the generosity of others. Furthermore, the whole purpose of a group unified by a well-protected social system may be to exploit other groups. This complicated mix of rightdoing and wrongdoing, and behaviors that change their moral status depending upon the level at which they are viewed, may be the legacy of thousands of generations of multilevel selection operating on human populations that were subdivided into small foraging groups.


5. Modern Human Groups as Adaptive Units

A theory that explains small-scale human societies as (largely) adaptive units is an enormous advance over previous theories that seemed restricted to groups of genetic relatives and narrow reciprocators. However, more work is required to explain the nature of human societies at a scale above a few hundred or at most a few thousand individuals. Large-scale societies did not even exist before the advent of agriculture, which is a short (although not negligible) period of time as far as genetic evolution is concerned (see Durham 1991, Wilson 1994 for discussions of genetic adaptations to modern environments). Nevertheless, this has not prevented cultural processes from creating a parade of new social forms that succeed or fail on the basis on their properties.


Superficially, large-scale human societies appear much less egalitarian than hunter-gatherer groups but the apparent inequalities can be interpreted in two very different ways. On the one hand, social control mechanisms are probably strongest in small groups in which everyone knows and depends on everyone else. Many inequalities that exist in large-scale societies are therefore exactly what they seem—some individuals profiting at the expense of others within the society. These inequities should not be interpreted as group-level adaptations but rather as individual-level adaptations with consequences that are often dysfunctional at the society level. On the other hand, purely from the group-level functional standpoint, societies must become differentiated and hierarchical as they increase in size. Thirty people can sit around the campfire and arrive at a consensual decision. Thirty million people cannot. It is therefore an open question whether extreme status differences and other seeming inequalities in large-scale societies represent pure and simple domination or design features that enable the society to function at a large scale, especially in competition with other societies. There can be little doubt that the scale of a society itself is a group-level adaptation. Larger societies tend to replace smaller societies unless their larger size is offset by problems of coordination and internal conflicts of interest. It is possible to imagine human history as a process of multilevel cultural evolution in which smaller groups coalesce into larger groups, just as for long-term biological evolution.


6. Conclusion

Despite its turbulent history, the concept of human groups as organismic units can be partially justified by multilevel selection theory. The implications extend the length and breadth of the social sciences; from cognition as a group-level process (Wilson 1997), to individual differences in prosocial and antisocial behaviors (Wilson, Near and Miller 1996), to historical and cultural studies (MacDonald 1994) to modern economic policy (Bowles and Gintis 1998). Social scientists have every reason to question the dominance of methodological individualism and to revisit the perspective of the originators of their own disciplines in the light of modern evolutionary theory.


- END -



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The Corporation and the Republic
by Scott Buchanan


As we look for the shapes of our liberties as reflected in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, we are struck by their thin outlines and the great spaces that are left empty. Years ago, Lord Bryce noted these omissions with admiration and attributed them to the wisdom and skill of the authors, to their shrewd avoidance of controversy, to chance, and to a kind providence that inhibited the Founding Fathers. As we now try to face our contemporary problems, we can add the hindsight of more history and congratulate our forebears on having been born in the eighteenth century, when clear and distinct ideas had not yet met the realities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


The eighteenth century knew the corruptions of tyranny and power, but it did not clearly imagine party politics, pressure groups, and congressional committees. It proposed federation as the cure for big government and its inherent imperialism, but it did not anticipate big business and big labor. The Constitution is silent when it comes to corporations, with which the age of reason was very familiar. And more is the wonder, since it was in this age that the social contract, its theory and its practice, had transfigured many private corporations into state governments, whose constitutions were the models for the federal Constitution. It is even more wonderful that Adam Smith thought the business corporation had no significant future. It is said that the eighteenth century philosophers had more faith in posterity, that is, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, than they had in God. It seems that now we must learn to put their and our trust in the corporation in which we live, and move, and have our being.


Our new awareness of the corporation is evidenced daily in the news we read, and in weekly commentaries and business reports. As we look to these mirrors of our lives, we must realize that it is not only the business corporation, the private corporation for profit, in which we have invested our lives and fortunes. The business corporation has old and familiar companions. It is immediately connected, as donor, to the charitable corporations in which we worship, learn, and exercise our private charities: the church, the school, the "voluntary organization." The business corporation often becomes the public utility, serving our common life and submitting to rules that ensure that service. These familiar organizations of the economic world operate under charters that are granted by the public corporations that we recognize as mature governments: city, state, and national. All of these, save the business corporation, have long histories, and together they divide and unite the jurisdictions in our free society.


Clearly we have some new thinking to do if the intelligence that freedom requires is to be effective. I should like to propose a principle and a hypothesis for some of the new thinking to pursue.


The principle is that the loss of freedom in a society is due in part to a failure to understand its own vital processes. Habits of feeling, action, and even thought are established and accumulated unawares. Until they are recognized and understood, they cause frustration and disorder similar to those complexes that cause hysteria in individuals. The hypothesis is not a new one, but the reframing of it seems to cut across many lines of cliche and orthodoxy, and for that reason it encounters resistance. It is that the corporation, taken in its generic sense to include the separate kinds mentioned above, has for a long time been generating and nurturing a set of habits of feeling, action, and thought that are only now becoming recognizable and articulate; and, as they are at present expressed, they appear to be incompatible with our understandings of the principles of the Bill of Rights by which we think we have been living our common life.


This formulation bristles with questions that need further definitions and answers. It may therefore call for an attempt to understand the principles in the Bill of Rights as they bear on the twentieth century. An initial explication of the hypothesis will seem amateurish in the sense that established proverbs, precepts, and rules that govern the treatment accorded to corporations may seem to be torn from their context and transferred to the comparatively unprofessional contexts and methods of philosophy and history. For instance, it was often said in the last generation that the business corporation -- to take one form of corporation for the moment -- is a government, private and invisible perhaps, but also touched with public interest. The warning is often given that this is a metaphorical statement, not therefore to be taken literally. It will come very close to the central purpose of this memorandum to take this statement literally, to explore what it means, and to draw the fire of professional criticism, and, perhaps, professional attention.


If corporation is a genus, it has many species and varieties; in fact, it has an elaborate and complicated evolutionary tree. With out tracing the long and detailed history or exhausting the specific differences between the presently extant forms of the family tree -- both tasks being impossible in the present state of our knowledge -- we can identify the varieties of the form and the threads of heredity and kinship that bind the varieties together. Sir Henry Maine in his half-forgotten classic, Ancient Law, seems to have made the best judgment, guess and myth though it may be, about the origin of the corporation in the Roman republic. He judges that it arose on those frequent occasions of crisis when the father of the family died, and the family with its sons, daughters, adopted children, and slaves had to be reorganized in order to perpetuate the property and the civil functions of the members of the family. It was perhaps in this context that the fictional "legal person" first raised its fearsome head. Some such historical image must have been in Justice Marshall's mind when he wrote his opinion in the Dartmouth College Case:


 A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible and existing only in the contemplation of the law. being the mere creature of the law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers on it, either expressly, or as incidental to its very existence. These are such as are supposed best calculated to effect the object for which it was created. Among the most important are immortality, and, if the expression be allowed, individuality; properties by which a perpetual succession of many persons are considered the same, and may act as a single individual. They enable a corporation to manage its own affairs, and to hold property without the perplexing intricacies, the hazardous and endless necessity, of perpetual conveyances for the purpose of transmitting it from hand to hand. It is chiefly for the purpose of clothing bodies of men, in succession, with these qualities and these capacities, that corporations were invented and are in use . . .


It may be well, in stretching one's mind to comprehend under one conceptual unity the Roman family, Dartmouth College, and the modern business corporation, to recall Maine's thesis that the connecting theme in the history of the law is the passage from status to contract; that is, from natural to artificial association. It may be time to stretch our minds to another concept -- the adopted or artificial son in a Roman family, a Dartmouth student, and a worker in the Chevrolet plant as members of their respective corporations.


Between the corporate families in the Roman republic and the big corporations of the American republic there have been many intermediate forms, some leaving fossils that are now being dug up. F. W. Maitland in his introduction to Gierke's Political Theory of the Middle Ages lists the forms in a section of the evolutionary tree:


 Let us imagine -- we are not likely to see -- a book with some such title as English Fellowship Law, which in the first place describes the structure of the groups in which men of the English race have stood from the days when the vengeful kindred was pursuing the blood feud to the days when the one man-company is issuing debentures, when parliamentary assemblies stand three deep above. Canadian and Australian soil and "Trusts and Corporations" is the name of a question that vexes the great Republic of the West. Within the se bounds lie churches, and even the medieval church, one and catholic, religious houses, mendicant orders, nonconforming bodies, a presbyterian system, universities old and new, the village community which germanists revealed to us, the manor in its growth and decay, the township, the New England town, the counties and hundreds, the chartered boroughs, the guild in all its manifold varieties, the inns of court, the merchant adventurers, the militant companies of English condottieri who returning home help to make the word "company" popular among us, the trading companies that became colonies, the companies that make war, the friendly societies, the trade union, the clubs, the group that meets at Lloyd's Coffee House, the group that becomes the Stock Exchange even to the one-man company, the Standard Oil Trust and the South Australia statutes for communistic villages. The English historian would have a wealth of group life to survey richer than that which has come under Dr. Gierke's eye, though he would not have to tell of the peculiarly interesting civic group which hardly knows whether it is a municipal corporation or a sovereign republic. And then we imagine our historian turning to inquire how Englishmen have conceived their groups; by what thoughts they have striven to distinguish and to reconcile the manyness of the members and the oneness of the body. The borough of the later middle ages he might well regard with Dr. Gierke as the central node in the long story. Into it and out from it run most of the great threads of the development, economic and theoretical. The borough stretches one hand to the village community and the other to the freely formed companies of all sorts and kinds.


This catalogue of ships with its startling categories and epithets is only a middle section of the long history, but it should be associated with an earlier section in which the threat of ecclesiastical splits caused lawyers and philosophers to precipitate a dialectical and speculative consideration of the proper government of the church as the Mystical Body (corporation) of Christ. The exploration of the possibility of the church becoming a Christian republic planted the seeds of republican political theory throughout Europe, the harvest of which is still being reaped outside the church in far-away places. Maitland also divined the future in which the giant business corporation elbowed its way to the top, where it shares with the nation-state the honor, power, and glory of having no superior.


It seems an absurd generalization, but still a good guess, that there's no human purpose or treasure that the corporation has not carried, or can carry. This does not mean that society has ever trusted its whole burden to the corporation in its many forms, nor that it ought to, but it does mean that it could happen, there is nothing in the nature or principle of the corporation that would limit its capacity to serve human purposes. It also suggests the many historic instances when a small business corporation became a colony and then a nation-state -- James Bryce cited the United States and India as the familiar examples. Not only is there great variety in the possible forms, but any individual is capable of continuous development through all these forms, with chance circumstances and small acts of choice building the series of contracts that are periodically sealed with charters of approval by reigning sovereigns of church or state. There is a great deal in this story that parallels the Darwinian story of biological evolution, but the fact that human reason and will have always been the prime movers in the evolution would seem to argue that the individual organisms in the series are persons in more than an artificial legal sense, and that the survival of ancient forms in the present species is due to more than accidental causes, or merely natural selection.


As corporate forms, the church and the nation-state are so familiar, so massive, and so pervasive that we take them for granted and forget that their chronic troubles are and always have been struggles for corporate existence, or coexistence. The nation-state is conceded to be the model of the corporation without-superior; there might be a controversy about the church, whether in its unity its superior was only God, or whether in its disunity it gels its many charters from many states. But these two corporate forms, the church and the nation-state, have been the sources from which chartered authority for the other forms has been derived. Corporations without superior would seem to have a uniquely procreative capacity; they give birth to lesser corporations and serve as their superiors, and in these cases the offspring can choose their parents by petition. Four natural persons sitting in a room at a stated place can call a meeting, outline their purposes, elect officers, record minutes, and petition the secretary of state; this is the act of conception. The secretary of state consults substantial citizens; this is gestation. He then grants a charter and records it; this is parturition and baptism. There is a new person with a habitation and a name, who can perform acts: to wit, make contracts with other persons, natural or artificial, with an official seal. Delaware is said to be the most prolific of the states of the American Union, and the street in Wilmington where the charters are filed is said to be the most densely populated area in the world. The birthrate of corporations in this country in the last fifty years is said to be the highest in all history.


But the main trunk of this evolutionary tree -- formerly the church and now the state -- does not breed true, and the species do not follow even the laws of formal logic. One can only speak of varieties, grouped in flexible classes. Churches, for instance, are now subvarieties of the general class styled private and charitable, along with universities, colleges, schools, hospitals, orphan asylums, foundations, and some welfare associations. Tax laws have recently been throwing all these into doubtful classes. In a complementary class are the so-called business corporations, legally classified as corporations for profit. These are the most numerous, the most lively, and the most familiar -- so familiar, in fact, that in the popular mind they are synonymous with the generic corporation and the capitalistic enterprise that is, or was, their purpose. Latterly, these corporations have been acquiring vicariously "the conscience of the King," have been showing charitable tendencies and a concern for educating themselves and their members. (They are also worrying the tax collectors. )


Historically considered, the boroughs or municipalities are the nodes into which all forms merged and out of which they emerged, but the surviving members of this variety are tending to return to the protection if not the apron strings of their mothers, the nation-states, or the states in the American republic They are the unruly, corrupt, and sometimes underprivileged arms of the larger units of government. James Bryce in 1888 called these American municipal corporations "the schools of corrupt politics," which trained the then-small class of professional politicians to which the citizens delegated their powers. This suggests the weak political habits that all citizens now acquire by the parting and parceling out of their lives and persons to the many corporations to which they belong. The corporation is the perpetual adult school of our society, as cities like Athens have been in the past.


Perhaps the most instructive variety at present is the public utility corporation. This was apparently invented to cure the ills and counter the threats of corporations whose functions were by nature monopolistic. Many public utilities started as private corporations for profit, but if they dealt in water, gas, electricity, or sewage, their technical systems had to be united or consolidated. This threatened competition, which is the life of profit, and the supposed protection of the citizen, so their charters became heavily impregnated with public regulatory prescriptions. By a thin distinction they are not public, but they operate under a cover of public law. By the extension of legal logic and association, public utility corporations have suggested corporate inventions, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and the New York Port Authority, which serve public purposes -- the welfare of the people of a region, and the order of the port -- but they do this under quasi-private charters and in a style of business management.


The public utility corporations and these "authorities" imply, or at least suggest, what seems to be the major, perhaps fateful, development in corporation theory and practice; namely, the identification of business management and governmental ad ministration with a consequent confusion of public and private purposes. Private corporation practices touched with public interest and competitive teamwork in government bureaus are now hard to distinguish on any level of operation: directors, managers, and membership. This could be the deeper reality that lies back of the slogan, Corporations are governments, and the origin of the frustrations in our civil life.


The three-hundredth or four-hundredth anniversary of the invention of the private corporation for profit should be celebrated by emblazoning on a medal the likeness of n sailing vessel. Although sailing vessels were often built and operated by the sovereigns of corporations-without superior -- whence comes the designation, ships of state -- they soon caught the eye and enthusiasm of the private investor, and what could not be done by the individual was done by the company. The companies were chartered because "the objects for which a corporation is created are universally such as the government wishes to promote." These were risky enterprises in terms of credit and bankruptcy and of wind and wave.


The masters of the ships were rugged fellows, able to persuade investors and to command obedience of seamen. They could become privateers, convert their ships from merchantmen to men-of-war and vice versa, and exchange their roles with pirates if need be. Their character and their authority were derived almost wholly from their knowledge of the nature and technology of the sea, and their jurisdiction extended from the home port to the limits of their voyages. When the steam engine took the place of sails, the authority and discipline of the shipmaster was transmitted back through the prime mover to the factory master, who also persuaded investors, navigated a land ship, and was a captain of industry.


The picture and symbol can be rapidly brought up to date by substituting the airplane for the sea vessel, with its leviathan body, wings instead of sails, its gas or jet engines generating its own wind. The substitution emphasizes two important points: the adaptability of the corporation to science and technology, and the easy convertibility from private to public purpose or from peace to war. To be the mediator between nature, science, and technology, on the one hand, and private and public purpose on the other -- this is the basic function that the modern private corporation for profit has demonstrated it can perform.


For any organized study of the corporation, the multiplicity, the high birth- and death rates, and the current diversity of forms pose a numerical problem. The best guess from tax information places the number of business corporations alone in this country between half a million and a million. How many private charitable corporations, public utilities, and public or governmental bodies there are depends on definitions and distinctions of units. How many quasi-corporate entities there are, not legally incorporated but imitating corporate organization and operations, and so treated by the courts, is not an easy matter of public knowledge. It is not certain that this kind of numerical knowledge is important. A more significant basic knowledge can be had by a kind of parody on pollster methods. Take a group of moderately well-informed people and ask them how many corporations they belong to as members. In a trial run with a class of teachers of current issues, with no agreement on a sharp definition of membership, but with considerable conviction, the average person claimed membership in 150 corporations of all kinds. But the network of contractual and treaty-like relations that enmeshes the corporations and the individual members makes membership and the habits it generates hard to interpret. Any case in corporation law and the questions it raises for the mind not trained to keep to legal channels illustrate the maze.


The Marxist would speak here of the stage of finance capitalism at which we have arrived, and he would point out the mergers, the holding companies, the federations, the cartels, and the government contracts that tie together the mixed economies of the world. If these are economies, what is the shape of the market or markets? If these are governments, what are the shapes and structures of the authority, purposes, and responsibility that the corporations distribute?


The Marxist used to speak vividly, if not too accurately, about the concentration of capital and the expropriation of the worker. If the dialectic is still working, he ought now to point out the next stage or moment when the labor union applies for corporate membership in the big corporation whose directors grant annual tenure and salaries, pensions, and the power of veto on the policy of the corporation instead of the right to strike. As a result, the corporation is a government by and with the consent of the workers as well as the stockholders. As Adolf Berle puts it in The 20th Century Capitalist Revolution, creeping socialism has become galloping capitalism, and, we might add, corporate communism, free world variety.


In the seventeenth century the Earl of Shaftesbury was engaged with Titus Oates and King Charles II, with the Popish Plot and the reformers, with the establishment of the powers of Parliament and the foundation of the Whig Party. He had John Locke as secretary writing charters for trading companies and sailing ships, charters for colonial commonwealths, and treatises on government. These activities occasioned a great sorting of corporate categories in the light of the new theory of the social contract. Out of this came many written constitutions and bills of rights. Viewed from this distance, the main theme of these thinkings and writings seems to be the separation of governmental powers and the distribution of many of them to individuals and groups generated in the ferment of voluntary association. More than we realize, our liberties are implicit in the separation and quasi-autonomy of self-governing corporations.


We may then be coming close to a diagnosis of our present discontents if we note that the political, economic, and social phenomena of the twentieth century are marked by the mixing and confusion of corporate forms and functions. This may be partly due to the closing of the world, each part of which is in effective contact with every other part, all parts of which are penetrated and heavily influenced by our Western civilization, with its corporate structure and style of operation; the result may be the congestion of corporations. There is no longer an unincorporated frontier; corporations everywhere meet and either conflict or coalesce, and consequently lose their identity and independence. Such a mixing and confusion of corporate forms may be comparable to the breakdown of the villages and the drift to the great cities that have marked the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe and America.


It is more likely that both these drifts, from villages to cities and from the separate corporations to mergers and affiliations, are due to the great integration of technologies that we are witnessing. From the stage when the hand and the tool of the craftsman were moved by the bodily energy of the individual, to the stage when many metal fingers were attached to one machine of wheels and levers and moved by steam power, and on to the stage when hundreds of such machines were combined in a factory, we are now rapidly moving to a stage when the factories are energized by one electric grid. The prime movers, factories, machines, and tools organize human beings horizontally as workers and vertically as managers. Although they are together called the means of production, and therefore should be subordinate to ends and human direction, they are all too often master automatons. With thinking machines and automation they can be autonomous autocrats, and a few more steps in the integrative process will bring into view the possibility of one master autocrat, with a further question whether leviathan is human or subatomic.


The development of the modern corporation has been parallel with the building of this monster. In some subtle way, perhaps describable by a Samuel Butler, the corporation has been the collective builder, not only of the machines and the factories but also of the craft guild, the factory company, and the giant corporation itself. By contracts, licenses, and franchises that attach to chartered bodies for the buying of raw materials, the selling of products, and the hiring and organizing of workers and managers we all, one way or another, contract ourselves into the technological system. We belong to the corporations as we earn or enjoy our living. We have become socialized in the building process, and we are not sure whether we are masters or slaves of the resulting organization. If the corporate structure is a person, as it is made of persons, it may assert mastery of the technology. At present it is fair to .say that the person has not yet made up its mind whether to master or to succumb to the apparent technical necessities. It would seem that we are already past the point where centralization and decentralization, pluralism and totalitarianism, are things we need worry about nothing short of genuine political invention can inform the artificial corporate mind.


The twentieth-century phenomena mentioned above can be described in corporate terms as corporate linkages or affiliations. The Church created schools in our civilization, and the filial relation has lasted longer than many such. But the schools have labored long to be free by setting up boards of directors or trustees for themselves. The personnel of the boards and the financial support they represent have generated strong bonds of affiliation to the business corporation, and when this has not worked the state has taken over. The schools are the orphan charities of the private profit and the public governmental corporations. Universities, addicted as they are to idle curiosity in their laboratories, as Veblen would say, have supplied the basic science for the factories. Reluctantly, and sometimes from bad conscience, the business corporations have increasingly tried to pay a debt of gratitude by donations to the universities. Two world wars have channeled tax funds into government contracts and veiled the laboratories in secrecy for reasons of security that have also dictated the choice of personnel in the laboratories. This affiliation and contagion of corporate forms has raised the question of academic freedom and autonomy in a new and acute way.


Heretofore, corporations-for-profit could be sued by stock holders if they made donations to charitable corporations. In the last twenty years states have passed new laws that permit such donations, and these laws, together with tax exemptions, have resulted in the formation by both business Corporations and colleges of weak federal associations for collective bargaining leading to donations. There are law firms that specialize in merging colleges with businesses into one mixed corporate form, with resulting headaches in the tax division of the U. S. Treasury Department.


Business firms have long known the profitability of pure research and have increasingly established not only laboratories but research villages for universities to envy. They have recently recognized the low estate of liberal education as evidenced in its graduates, and they are now either sending their employees back to the universities or setting up their own liberal arts colleges beside their own laboratories.


I shall not enter the web of filiations between business and government. We are far beyond the issue of regulation or control that Woodrow Wilson explored in the public interest. We do not know which regulates or controls which, when it comes to government and business. The newspapers and the reports of commissions such as that on the freedom of the press reveal an all-enveloping web. All this -- the private corporations, charitable and for profit, the public utilities and the "authorities" that are budding from them here and abroad, the public corporations from incorporated towns and municipalities to the super states and federations, the myriad associations that imitate the explicit charters in both internal organization and external operation -- all these artificial social organisms in which we live and move and have our being are before us for a gigantic attempt to understand them, if the Republic in its full function is to survive. The corporate idea has been a leading principle in arriving at such an understanding on at least two previous occasions in Western history: at the time of the transformation of the Roman republic into an empire, and at the time when the government of the church was threatened by the Great Schism. On both occasions, the idea of the corporation was not only the hypothesis guiding diagnosis; it was also the idea that, by being stretched to receive new light and invention, was renewed and led to a new epoch. The Earl of Shaftesbury and John Locke probably led a similar great dialectical and practical reconsideration. Our own time and our discontents would seem to need like treatment.


There is much material ready for further treatment: the work of Beatrice and Sidney Webb on the English poor laws, the local governments, and the trade unions, not to mention their controversial study of the Soviet Union; the study and thought and pleading that went into Justice Brandeis's cases and opinions; the many reports of Congressional committees, particularly the work on the concentration of economic power; and finally, hut not least, the work started by Berle and Means in The Modern Corporation and Private Property. Perhaps one should add the studies that have been done by Fortune and the Harvard School of Business Administration. These studies have been made for various purposes -- the Fabian Society, the Progressive movement of the first decade of the century, the New Deal, and for the comfort of the business executive. They all have a split mind about the corporation, preventing the comprehension that may become possible from a study of the generic corporation, for here the distinction between the corporation as an economic institution and the corporation as a political institution can be transcended.


This schism between economics and politics must be healed if we are to consider the current problems of mixed economies, integrated political economies, and even the foreshadowing of the economy of abundance, as these are presented in such a study as Gunnar Myrdal's An International Economy. To the eighteenth century mind, which sought to ensure its liberties by separating governmental powers and trusting them to rational debate, the addition of economic powers money, industry, and welfare to the fragile political forms of the republic is letting the bull loose in the china shop. Russian Communism has done just this. But we might get a clearer view of this, as well as of our own politics, if we tried to see some reasonable distribution of these powers to the various corporate forms that are at present performing similar services for us. Russia has invented three separate but coordinated giant corporations and entrusted the whole social burden to them. Other socialist countries have invented other forms to meet their needs. It is not to be supposed that we are lacking in inventive imagination.


This brings us to the problematic area where one can see only shadowy lines of research and study, lines that at present pass through knots of paradoxes. What about the lines of authority, responsibility, loyalty, and consent that pass from the Defense Department to the General Electric Company or General Motors, from them to the IUE and the UAW, and from them to the citizen worker? These lines are the traces of contracts made by corporate bodies, and their junctures are conflicts of laws that reach constitutional foundations, economic conflicts that are loaded with weights of welfare and security, and moral dilemmas to paralyze citizens. We have watched congressional committees test these lines at various points and trespass on fundamental law in their attempts to find new statutes. Then there are the tax courts that cast doubt on all charitable corporations because tax evaders have invented corporate labyrinths for the charity that begins at home.


These are the deeper, almost invisible processes that work behind corporate veils, and the individual sees a conspirator in every neighbor and suspects himself when he looks in the mirror because he does not know the underground network that he joins when he buys, contracts, or gets a job. It is no wonder that we project this habitual suspicion on the giant public corporations with which we fight cold and hot wars.


It was from a like suspicion and an accompanying fear of civil war that Thomas Hobbes in seventeenth-century England made two prophetic observations on the new style corporations that were then exploring and organizing the new world. He said they were "worms in the body politic," and that they were "chips off the block of sovereignty." By the first he meant that they were private associations that were taking on a kind of spontaneous autonomy in their parasitical way of life; by the second he meant that they were no longer mercantile arms of the state, but had taken some of the power of the government into their own management. He was foreseeing what we have come to recognize as the corporate veils and legal fictions under which corporations carry on their vital private governments. Our courts have become familiar with certain procedures in corporation law which they call "piercing the corporate veils." The purpose of this procedure is to discover and designate the individual responsibility for obscure and puzzling corporate behavior that may be touched with public interest.


Now that we have realized many of the possibilities that Hobbes only suspected, it might be well if we looked through the corporate veils to the political realities that have been developed in private corporate operation and have filled the empty spaces and thickened the lines of our public constitutional liberties. The analogy between public and private governments suggests the application of two principles of federal government as criteria for judging the legitimacy and health of corporate bodies. The Constitution says that the federal government assures to each constituent state a republican form of government. It may be recalled that this was the alternative chosen in place of the direct exercise of police power as a check on undue growth or irresponsible use of state and factional powers against the federal government. In effect, this constitutional provision implies that the justice and freedom not only of the individual state but also of the whole community will be secured if the orderly processes of republican government are ensured to the constituent parts. It would be important to find out whether republican forms of government are ensured to and upheld by our respective corporations.


The other principle is the now much misused principle of states' rights, that the states retain all rights not explicitly delegated to the federal government. The principle might better be stated and understood as the principle of federation; namely, that there should be explicit formal recognition of the separate powers, rights, and duties of the parts of government. It is the chief genius of our government that this principle has been honored in the original allocation of powers and that it has been extended beyond its original meaning in the discovery and recognition of the implied powers. On the other hand, we have not been able to see the principle working under the veils of corporation law, where there is potentially another branch of the public government.


The charters of private corporations are remarkably reticent concerning the rules required for their internal government; each corporation improvises its bylaws and its table of organization beyond the minimal requirement that there be a president, a vice-president, a treasurer, and a secretary. When charitable corporations grow in size and function they tend to differentiate their organs and function more or less in the pattern of their predecessor and mother, the church. They provide for executive, legislative, and even judicial divisions. The business corporation shows, on the other hand, the pattern of an amoebae increasing to the size of a whale, but with no sharp differentiation of organs -- either this or a series of fissions and fusions into colonies, such as the parts of General Motors, each with strong oligarchic controls within and weak federal connections with each other. It may be that there is still the implication of oligarchy in a plutocracy, and an incompatibility with democracy, but it would be interesting to see if replacing the Sherman antitrust law by the ensurance of a republican form of government to all private corporations would not take the strain off the heavily pressed executive and hasten the present tendency of the business corporation to accept more community responsibilities.


The analogue of the states' rights or federal principle would redraft the categories of corporations according to their distinctive functions, ensure them separation of powers and independence of one another, and restrict, or strictly define, the contracts and treaties ( cartels ) they are empowered to make. Agencies like the Federal Trade Commission might even be expanded and given permanent powers to revise corporation law.


These suggestions are proposed not as cures for diseases, but rather as procedures of explorative and diagnostic therapy. Before they are applied, there should be a preliminary study of the notion of membership. This would involve the further exegesis of the text from 1 Corinthians often quoted by the church in its study of corporation theory: "Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members of members." Civil liberties, as formulated in the amendments to the Constitution, are mainly concerned with the notion of membership. Many of our present frustrations in this field are due to the fact that our memberships have been confused, therefore also our loyalties, our duties, and our consents to our many tangled governments.


There is ample evidence in our Bill of Rights to show that the political principles it enunciates are derived from antecedent historic situations and metaphysical as well as religious doctrines. Some of the erosions of their meaning show in the opinions of the Supreme Court following the two world wars. There have also been attempts on the part of historians, philosophers, and theologians to recall and repair what has been forgotten. But something is still missing in this research; it is not reaching the nerve of present political thought, either on the professional level or in the citizen's conviction. The elegant eighteenth-century words and propositions do not mean what they have always seemed to mean, and the bottom has fallen out of our political courage. This memorandum is suggesting the missing term: the corporation seen as a body politic, within which the terms of the Bill of Rights need redefinition. What are the rights of a member of a corporation, or of many corporations, those pyramiding structures in which members of members can be discerned?


Both the Stoic Emperor Marcus Aurelius and the Stoic slave Epictetus thought of themselves as citizens of the cosmopolis, the universe as a polity. The Christian likewise thought of himself as a member of the kingdom of heaven. But both Stoic and Christian entertained these thoughts as reasons justifying their withdrawal from many of the institutions of their times. There were frustration, futility, and chaos in the pluralism over which the Roman empire brooded. For many, Roman citizenship was a solution, a kind of center of gravity around which a multiplicity of other roles could be organized, but as the empire lost its internal freedom and order, a deeper strategic retreat from the community was needed to save personal integrity. It was then that the universe was discovered as the great community that was governed by natural law. This was the notion that was revived in the eighteenth century and accepted as the self-evident basis for self-government. The trust in this vision made it possible to draft constitutions with thin lines and many open spaces, few laws chartering many freedoms. The sentiments of one community including all men as members were expressed in many state papers.


But, as we have noticed at the start, these empty spaces have been filled in by older surviving institutions and many new inventions, most noticeably at present by corporations of all kinds. Something like what happened in Rome is happening to us, living as we do in super-states. We are withdrawing and detaching our selves from many of our institutions, but we are not yet retreating to the wider community the Romans discovered. Rather, we are developing a passion for indiscriminate togetherness and trying to find the one subcommunity into which we can put our hearts and souls. Some of these subcommunities arc trying to meet our needs, particularly the big business corporation that claims to be one big family, perhaps a revival of the Roman family from which the corporation originally grew. The current discussion of this development reveals a deeper worry inside the new artificial family. In many respects it is not a family, in spite of the fact that it provides many social securities; it is a public institution, and as such its life is shared with government, education, religion, and many other affairs, not all of which share its essential purposes. So we have what pluralisms usually exhibit: each separate part of the social pattern tries to take on the functions of all the others. The corporate linkages and affiliations become a labyrinth within which the individual loses himself.


The great community imagined by the Stoic, the Christian, and the eighteenth-century philosopher-citizen is a community in whose membership the individual can identify himself as a whole man. The communities and subcommunities of which we are now members are communities to which we distribute ourselves in parts, in which we dismember ourselves, and then shrink to one of these congested parts. We become identified with aspects of ourselves, masks that we put on and take off as our roles change from day to day, sometimes from moment to moment. Inside we are hollow men, zero members of "the lonely crowd," shadowy participants in the American way of life.


The notion of privacy is a further consequence of this division of the individual soul. Only a part of the man is received into these bodies politic; the rest is not received and is private. The First Amendment to the Constitution may be suffering a confusion on this point. If no law can be made that abridges freedom of speech, it may mean that speech is not a property of the individual as citizen but a private power at the individual's disposal, merely a privilege. This is probably not the correct interpretation in the context. It may mean quite the contrary -- that the legal person or the citizen has the duty in a democracy to exercise his freedom of speech in playing his part in self-government, and that Congress should protect this right as the source of its own power to legislate.


Freedom of religion would seem to be a case where that aspect of the individual that is not assimilated to the body politic is reserved for his membership in a church, where his religious freedom should be exercised. Again, religion is not merely some thing that Congress should not abridge but something that it must protect if wisdom is to be available to the legislators and the electorate.


If our society has a corporate, or quasi-corporate structure, that is, if it is made up exhaustively on a certain level of corporations, then freedom of association, freedom to join and resign from corporations, may be as important as education, or may be essentially educational. One of the original aims of the free public educational system for the young was to prepare the individual for maximal diversity of skills and functions, and this implied the wide range of social mobility that is the mark of free Western civilization. There are signs now that both our educational system and our society are favoring specialization of skills and functions and the narrowing and hardening of the channels of social movement. The free, spontaneous circulation of the individual may well be something that the government wishes to encourage and promote as its own lifeblood.


These points would seem to argue that our civil liberties are degraded when they are understood as privileges merely; civil liberties of members of corporations are touched with public interest.


Montesquieu said that freedom, political freedom, is the assurance that you can do what you ought to do, and that you will not he forced to do what you ought not to do. To us in the twentieth century this assurance connotes economic power, and it seems to be the condition that underlies all our other powers of freedom. As Charles Beard has said, the Constitution and particularly the Bill of Rights need economic underwriting. This could mean direct governmental appropriations to meet the cost of public information, elections, and legal counsel for the poor, but he probably meant indirect legislative action to control large concentrations of money and credit and the redistribution of wealth. Autonomy and self-government for the corporations that manage and control wealth would seem to he implied, on the principle that, although unjust power corrupts, just or legitimate power ennobles; and justice is ensured in our society by the continuous and all-pervasive practices of republican principles.


But all devices of this kind seem weak before the massive power of money and technology that now is identified with the processes of free speech and assembly. Mass communication has become more and more massive, and less and less communicative, partly because public communications now have to pass through the physical facilities of giant, unwieldy bodies politic, incorporated newspaper chains and broadcasting systems, whose public functions are not yet sufficiently distinguished from their private business interests. As we understand and practice freedom of the press, it should not be supported or controlled by either the private corporation for profit or the public corporation of government, but these are the only two organizations that have the economic power to operate the means. This would seem to be the critical problem in the general field of economic underwriting for the Constitution.


The main weight of the considerations in this short essay has been put on the questions whether the political nature of the corporation has been recognized and whether it would not be good for our whole political life if the recognition were formalized in the body of corporation law. These questions are hidden in the phrase private or invisible governments. The answers to these questions have been in the negative for more than a generation. The evidence has not been clear enough, and when parts of it have been clear, they have pointed in too many different directions, often indicating restriction and regulation of corporation activities rather than giving them measures of self-government. But the evidence is rapidly accumulating and demanding under standing not only by lawyers and economists, as in the past, but also by sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and journalists. New evidence raises new questions, and finally directors, managers, trustees, administrators, and various categories of members are asking themselves questions about the corporations that they work with.


Many of the new questions concern the kind of human beings that are being formed by the corporations they belong to. These are difficult questions to answer, but they should be asked, and they can be answered if they are kept in order. This essay leads to one of these new questions: how do the political habits formed by members of corporations fit with the habits that republican forms of government have developed in their citizens heretofore? The answers to this question are not definite or final; such as they are, they can best be summarized by a sharp observer of a few years ago, Mark Twain: "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have these unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either." It may be that the corporation is the school of political prudence in which we learn not to practice what the political republic has always preached.

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 Originally published as a pamphlet in April 1958 in connection with The Fund for the Republic's discussion of the Free Society. © 1958 Fund for the Republic There are no restrictions on the use of this work.


Big Body Anthroculture

Psychosomatic Conditioning for Terminal Incorporation

Creating the Ultimate Insider


Corporate anthroculture is hardly a new field. For millennia, religious and military bodies have used fear, exhausting disciplines, ascetic ordeals, and enforced celibacy to dry out male hormones and render their members more submissive, "groupy" and obedient. All ruling hierarchs of these ages seemed to be at least subliminally aware that prolonged stress effectively "unmanned" their followers and conditioned them to accept a lifetime of subordination without rebellion or complaint. Unfortunately, such conditioning was time-consuming and not always successful.


Pragmatic peoples like the ancient Chinese, therefore, cut incisively to the heart of the matter and simply snicked the balls from Big Body aspirants right off the bat. By the Ming era, the Chinese empire was thus administered by over 100,000 highly educated eunuch-bureaucrats who were the very model of modern "team players". Smart, selfless, and obedient to a fault, these early "organization men" reminded observers of "playful yet wondrously disciplined childe-men" (cf., MacArthur's parting reflection after running the Allied Occupation, that Japan was "a nation of 12-year-olds.") As Big Bodies grew up in other fields, even in China the bureaucratic blade fell out of favor (it was not after all the meat that hierarchs objected to, just the insubordinate sentiments its secretions fostered).


Although stress and fear soon regained their former status as testosterone terminators of choice, we are now aware from recent research that other factors also abetted psychological emasculation. Certain foods, for instance, like soybeans, buckwheat, chickpeas and hops are now known to be rich in female hormones (which devastate male hormones and make males not feminine but juvenile) and are, interestingly enough, traditional staples in many under-class foods and drinks around the world. Fat, it turns out, also converts the Big T to female hormones in the body and perhaps explains Caesar's instinctive fear of Cassius' "lean and hungry look." ("Let me have men about me that are fat!")


The latest addition to this psychosomatic alchemy are the so-called Endocrine Disruptors or "environmental hormones" that plastics and agro-chemical Big Bodies have been swamping the environment with. Endocrine disruptors are generally synthetic constitutuents or byproducts of pesticides, herbicides, plastics or other industrial chemicals, that attack animal/human immune, nervous and/or reproductive systems with particularly dire results for males. (They were first identified in Florida where alligator penises had shriveled to one-third their normal size, and later implicated in the recent plunge in sperm counts in many corporate-intensive societies.)


There are of course also educational strategems -- like large authoritarian classes, angst-boosting competition, and incessant anaesthetic desk days -- to precondition youth for Big Body service. But all means serve the same collective end and correspondingly cripple our individual capacities for sensuality, spiritual experience, and legal/medical/economic self-defense.


In any event, you would think such an erotically and evolutionarily fateful area would attract swarms of research but as Dr. Schultz et al note below, "Inhibition of sex hormones is a relatively neglected area of stress research." Since Big Body interests and funding largely determine Big science's research agenda, its is perhaps not surprising this touchy little secret is profesionally ignored. Like fear and southern chakra suppression, stress is just too valuable an adhesive for Big Body builders to reveal its magic to the crowd.


As Anita Amussen meticulously documents in "Workplace Stressors in Corporate Systems.":


"Stress in the corporate workplace is a modern-day fact of life (Warshaw, 1984). Indeed, 59% of employees in large corporations report feeling substantial stress at work (Filipczak, 1994), and in many cases this stress carries into their private lives (Wyatt & Hare, 1995). The current cost of job stress in the United States has been estimated to be $200 billion annually, while stress-related injury claims on the job have increased by 300 percent in the past fifteen years (Grazian, 1994). As many as 90 percent of patients treated by healthcare professionals suffer from stress-related symptoms and disorders (Gibson, 1993). As mental health practitioners affiliate more often with managed care firms, they can expect to receive more referrals from corporate settings." (Dr. A unfortunately neglects to ask whether this is entirely accidental, because for efficient corporate command and control, ball-busting stress is Good!)


Although it takes pretty high doses of stress-induced and estrogenic molecules to enduringly alter male tissues and erectile functions, (as in modern chemical castration of habitual sex offenders), social behavior is much more sensitive and susceptible to their influence. The willingness to back down, give in, bend, bow, yield, avoid a scene, or simply stay cowed - all empower corporate function (and obedient consumption) and require only small shifts in the internal hormone economy. For lifelong "subordinates" these shifts are actually "adaptive", as they say in ethology, because by "cheerfully" submitting to inequality, you avoid confrontation, friction and consequent higher stress levels that could further threaten your reproductive and even immune systems. By genially resigning yourself to the subordinate child-like status that corporate settings demand, you may sacrifice maturity and individuation but you attain some transient security and a great toy budget. Most importantly, you get to keep a little sexual pleasure (unlike many hapless others who remain conflicted about their perpetual dependence and arrested development and nearly neuter themselves with stress). The acceptance or embrace of this child-like state is one form of neoteny, the state in which still larval organisms develop marginal sexual functions without ever metamorphosing into an adult.


Such pubertal neoteny is both epidemic and most perfected in corporate Japan and damn near all of Singapore, but it is also increasingly cultured in every Fortune 500 look-alike. Though most Big Science still industriously neglects anthroculture's most used and useful mechanisms, some odd papers do offer oblique insights and have been dumped for your offensive/defensive reference below. For further insights, see also the Anthroculture Reading List ( or a hundred thousand Japanese middle managers sniggering over S&M comics on their 10:00 commuter trains each eve.


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The Organization Man
by William H. Whyte, Jr.


Selected Excerpts

This book is about the organization man. if the term is vague it is because I can think of no other way to describe the people I am talking about. They are not the workers, nor are they the white-collar people in the usual, clerk sense of the word. These people only work for The Organization. The ones I am talking about belong to it as well. They are the ones of our middle class who have left home, spiritually as well as physically, to take the vows of organization life, and it is they who are the mind and soul of our great self-perpetuating institutions. Only a few are top managers or ever will be. In a system that makes such hazy terminology as "junior executive" psychologically necessary, they are of the staff as much as the line, and most are destined to live poised in a middle area that still awaits a satisfactory euphemism. But they are the dominant members of our society nonetheless. They have not joined together into a recognizable elite – our country does not stand still long enough for that – but it is from their ranks that are coming most of the first and second echelons of our leadership, and it is their values which will set the American temper.


The corporation man is the most conspicuous example, but he is only one, for the collectivization so visible in the corporation has affected almost every field of work. Blood brother to the business trainee off to join DuPont is the seminary student who will end up in the church hierarchy, the doctor headed for the corporate clinic, the physics Ph.D. in a government laboratory, the intellectual on the foundation-sponsored team project, the engineering graduate in the huge drafting room at Lockheed, the young apprentice in a Wall Street law factory.


They are all, as they so often put it, in the same boat. Listen to them talk to each other over the front lawns of their suburbia and you cannot help but be struck by how well they grasp the common denominators which bind them. Whatever the differences in their organization ties, it is the common problems of collective work that dominate their attentions, and when the DuPont man talks to the research chemist or the chemist to the army man, it is these problems that are uppermost. The word collective most of them can't bring themselves to use – -except to describe foreign countries or organizations they don't work for – but they are keenly aware of how much more deeply beholden they are to organization than were their elders. They are wry about it, to be sure; they talk of the "treadmill," the "rat race," of the inability to control one's direction. But they have no great sense of plight; between themselves and organization they believe they see an ultimate harmony and, more than most elders recognize, they are building an ideology that will vouchsafe this trust.


It is the growth of this ideology, and its practical effects, that is the thread I wish to follow in this book. America has paid much attention to the economic and political consequences of big organization – the concentration of power in large corporations, for example, the political power of the civil-service bureaucracies, the possible emergence of a managerial hierarchy that might dominate the rest of us. These are proper concerns, but no less important is the principal impact that organization life has had on the individuals within it. A collision has been taking place – indeed, hundreds of thousands of them, and in the aggregate they have been producing what I believe is a major shift in American ideology...


In their own countries such Europeans as Max Weber and Durkheim many years ago foretold the change, and though Europeans now like to see their troubles as an American export, the problems they speak of stem from a bureaucratization of society that has affected every Western country.


 It is in America, however, that the contrast between the old ethic and current reality has been most apparent – and most poignant. Of all peoples it is we who have led in the public worship of individualism. One hundred years ago De Tocqueville was noting that though our special genius – and failing – lay in co-operative action, we talked more than others of personal independence and freedom. We kept on, and as late as the twenties, when big organization was long since a fact, affirmed the old faith as if nothing had really changed at all.


Today many still try, and it is the members of the kind of organization most responsible for the change, the corporation, who try the hardest. It is the corporation man whose institutional ads protest so much that Americans speak up in town meeting, that Americans are the best inventors because Americans don't care that other people scoff, that Americans are the best soldiers because they have so much initiative and native ingenuity, that the boy selling papers on the street corner is the prototype of our business society. Collectivism? He abhors it, and when he makes his ritualistic attack on Welfare Statism, it is in terms of a Protestant Ethic undefiled by change – the sacredness of property, the enervating effect of security, the virtues of thrift, of hard work and independence. Thanks be, he says, that there are some people left – e.g., businessmen – to defend the American Dream.


He is not being hypocritical, only compulsive. He honestly wants to believe he follows the tenets he extols, and if he extols them so frequently it is, perhaps, to shut out a nagging suspicion that he, too, the last defender of the faith, is no longer pure. Only by using the language of individualism to describe the collective can he stave off the thought that he himself is in a collective as pervading as any ever dreamed of by the reformers, the intellectuals, and the utopian visionaries he so regularly warns against.


The older generation may still convince themselves; the younger generation does not. When a young man says that to make a living these days you must do what somebody else wants you to do, he states it not only as a fact of life that must be accepted but as an inherently good proposition. If the American Dream deprecates this for him, it is the American Dream that is going to have to give, whatever its more elderly guardians may think. People grow restive with a mythology that is too distant from the way things actually are, and as more and more lives have been encompassed by the organization way of life, the pressures for an accompanying ideological shift have been mounting. The pressures of the group, the frustrations of individual creativity, the anonymity of achievement: are these defects to struggle against – -or are they virtues in disguise? The organization man seeks a redefinition of his place on earth a faith that will satisfy him that what he must endure has a deeper meaning than appears on the surface. He needs, in short, something that will do for him what the Protestant Ethic did once. And slowly, almost imperceptibly, a body of thought has been coalescing that does that.


I am going to call it a Social Ethic, with reason it could be called an organization ethic, or a bureaucratic ethic; more than anything else it rationalizes the organization's demands for fealty and gives those who offer it wholeheartedly a sense of dedication in doing so – in extremis, you might say, it converts what would seem in other times a bill of no rights into a restatement of individualism...


Let me now define my terms. By Social Ethic I mean that contemporary body of thought which makes morally legitimate the pressures of society against the individual. Its major propositions are three: a belief in the group as the source of creativity; a belief in "belongingness" as the ultimate need of the individual; and a belief in the application of science to achieve the belongingness.


In subsequent chapters I will explore these ideas more thoroughly, but for the moment I think the gist can be paraphrased thus: Man exists as a unit of society. Of himself, he is isolated, meaningless; only as he collaborates with others does he become worth while, for by sublimating himself in the group, he helps produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. There should be, then, no conflict between man and society. What we think are conflicts are misunderstandings, breakdowns in communication. By applying the methods of science to human relations we can eliminate these obstacles to consensus and create an equilibrium in which society's needs and the needs of the individual are one and the same...


I speak of individualism within organization life. This is not the only kind, and someday it may be that the mystics and philosophers more distant from it may prove the crucial figures. But they are affected too by the center of society, and they can be of no help unless they grasp the nature of the main stream. Intellectual scoldings based on an impossibly lofty ideal may be of some service in upbraiding organization man with his failures, but they can give him no guidance. The organization man may agree that industrialism has destroyed the moral fabric of society and that we need to return to the agrarian virtues, or that business needs to be broken up into a series of smaller organizations, or that it's government that needs to be broken up, and so on. But he will go his way with his own dilemmas left untouched.


 I am going to argue that he should fight the organization. But not self-destructively... Every decision he faces on the problem of the individual versus authority is something of a dilemma. It is not a case of whether he should fight against black tyranny or blaze a new trail against patent stupidity. That would be easy – intellectually, at least. The real issue is far more subtle. For it is not the evils of organization life that puzzle him, but its very beneficence. He is imprisoned in brotherhood...


People do have to work with others, yes; the well-functioning team is a whole greater than the sum of its parts, yes, all this is indeed true. But is it the truth that now needs belaboring? Precisely because it is an age of organization, it is the other side of the coin that needs emphasis. We do need to know how to co-operate with The Organization but, more than ever, so do we need to know how to resist it..


The energies Americans have devoted to the co-operative, to the social, are not to be demeaned; we would not, after all, have such a problem to discuss unless we had learned to adapt ourselves to an increasingly collective society as well as we have... But in our attention to making organization work we have come close to deifying it. We are describing its defects as virtues and denying that there is – or should be – a conflict between the individual and organization. This denial is bad for the organization. It is worse for the individual. What it does, in soothing him, is to rob him of the intellectual armor he so badly needs. For the more power organization has over him, the more he needs to recognize the area where he must assert himself against it. And this, almost because we have made organization life so equable, has become excruciatingly difficult...


The unity they see between themselves and The Organization has deeper roots, however, than current expediency. Let's take the matter of ambition as further illustration. They do not lack ambition. They seem to, but that is only because the nature of it has changed. It has become a passive ambition. Not so many years ago it was permissible for the ambitious young man to talk of setting his cap for a specific goal – like becoming president of a corporation, building a bridge, or making a million dollars. Today it is a very rare young man who will allow himself to talk in such a way, let alone think that way. He can argue, with good grounds, that if it was unrealistic in the past it is even more so today. The life that he looks ahead to will be a life in which he is only one of hundreds of similarly able people and in which they will all be moved hither and yon and subject to so many forces outside their control... that only a fool would expect to hew to a set course.


But they see nothing wrong with this fluidity. They have an implicit faith that The Organization will be as interested in making use of their best qualities as they are themselves, and thus, with equanimity, they can entrust the resolution of their destiny to The Organization. No specific goal, then, is necessary to give them a sense of continuity. For the short term, perhaps – it would be nice to be head of the electronics branch. But after that, who knows? The young executive does not wish to get stuck in a particular field. The more he is shifted, the more broad-gauge will he become, and the more broad-gauge, the more successful... If The Organization is good and big, to put it another way, there will be success without tears.


For the executive of the future, trainees say, the problem of company loyalty shouldn't be a problem at all. Almost every older executive you talk to has some private qualifications about his fealty to the company; in contrast, the average young man cherishes the idea of his relationship with The Organization... Their attitude toward another aspect of organization shows the same bias. What of the "group life," the loss of individualism? Once upon a time, it was conventional for young men to view the group life of the big corporation as one of its principal disadvantages. Today, they see it as a positive boon. Working with others, they believe, will reduce the frustrations of work, and they often endow the accompanying suppression of ego with strong spiritual overtones. They will concede that there is often a good bit of wasted time in the committee way of life and that the handling of human relations involves much suffering of fools gladly. But this sort of thing, they say, is the heart of the organization man's job, not merely the disadvantages of it. "Any man who feels frustrated by these things," one young trainee with face unlined said to me, "can never be an executive..."


To say that we must recognize the dilemmas of organization society is not to be inconsistent with the hopeful premise that organization society can be as compatible for the individual as any previous society. We are not hapless beings caught in the grip of forces we can do little about, and wholesale damnations of our society only lend a further mystique to organization. Organization has been made by man; it can be changed by man. It has not been the immutable course of history that has produced such constrictions on the individual. It is organization man who has brought them to pass and it is he who can stop them.


The fault is not in organization, in short; it is in our worship of it. It is in our vain quest for a utopian equilibrium, which would be horrible if it ever did come to pass; it is in the soft-minded denial that there is a conflict between the individual and society. There must always be, and it is the price of being an individual that he must face these conflicts. In seeking an ethic that offers a spurious peace of mind, thus does he tyrannize himself... The danger, to put it another way, is not man being dominated but man surrendering.



What kind of society is to be engineered? Some critics of social engineering are sure that what is being cooked up for us is a socialistic paradise, a radically new, if not brave, world, alien to every tradition of man. This is wrong. Lump together the social engineers' prescriptions for the new society and you find they are anything but radical. Boiled down, what they ask for is an environment in which everyone is tightly knit into a belongingness with one another; one in which there is no restless wandering but rather the deep emotional security that comes from total integration with the group. Radical? It is like nothing so much as the Middle Ages...


The job, to paraphrase, is to re-create the belongingness of the Middle Ages. What with the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and other calamities, the job is immensely more difficult that it was in those simpler days. But with new scientific techniques we can solve the problem. What we must do is to learn consciously to achieve what once came naturally. We must form an elite of skilled leaders who will guide men back, benevolently, to group belongingness.


The father of the human-relations school is Elton Mayo. Mayo, professor of industrial research at the Harvard Business School, was concerned with the anomie, or rootlessness, of the industrial worker. Ever since he first started studying industry in Australia in 1903 he had been looking for a way to reconcile the worker's need for belongingness with the conflicting allegiances of the complex world he now finds himself in...


In the Middle Ages people had been disciplined by social codes into working well together. The Industrial Revolution, as Mayo described the consequences, had split society into a whole host of conflicting groups. Part of a man belonged to one group, part to another, and he was bewildered; no longer was there one group in which he could sublimate himself. The liberal philosophers, who were quite happy to see an end to feudal belongingness, interpreted this release from the group as freedom. Mayo does not see it this way. To him, the dominant urge of mankind is to belong: "Man's desire to be continuously associated in work with his fellows," he states, "is a strong, if not the strongest, human characteristic."


Whether the urge to co-operate is in fact man's most dominant drive, it does not follow that the co-operation is necessarily good. What is he going to co-operate about? What ends is the group working toward? But these questions do not greatly interest Mayo, and he seems to feel that the sheer fact of "spontaneous" cooperation carries its own ethic. "For all of us," Mayo states, "the feeling of security and certainty derives always from assured membership of a group." (Italics mine. )


Suppose there is a conflict between the individual and the group? Mayo sees conflict primarily as a breakdown in communication. If a man is unhappy or dissatisfied in his work, it is not that there is a conflict to be resolved so much as a misunderstanding to be cleared up. The worker might not see it this way, and most certainly the unions do not, but we have already been told that the individual is a nonlogical animal incapable of rationally solving his own problems or, in fact, of recognizing what the problem is.


At this point the human relations doctrine comes perilously close to demanding that the individual sacrifice his own beliefs that he may belong. The only way to escape this trap would be through the notion that by the process of equilibrium, a clarification of which never seems to detain anyone very long, what's good for the group is good for the individual. In speaking of the primitive group Mayo writes, "The situation is not simply that the society exercises a forceful compulsion on the individual; on the contrary, the social code and the desire of the individual are, for all practical purposes, identical. Every member of the group participates in all social activities because it is his chief desire to do so."


How to get back to this idyllic state? The goal must he "an adaptive society" – a society in which we can once again enjoy the belongingness of primitive times but without the disadvantages of them.


This won't come about naturally. What with the mischief caused by the philosophers of individualism, most contemporary leaders are untrained in the necessary social skill to bring the adaptive society to pass. What is needed is an administrative elite, people trained to recognize that what man really wants most is group solidarity even if he does not realize it himself. They won't push him around; they won't even argue with him – unfettered as they will be of "prejudice and emotion," they won't have any philosophy, other than co-operation, to argue about. They will adjust him. Through the scientific application of human relations, these neutralist technicians will guide him into satisfying solidarity with the group so skillfully and unobtrusively that he will scarcely realize how the benefaction has been accomplished...


Who is the hero in human relations? In the older ideology, it was the top leader who was venerated. In human relations it is the organization man, and thus the quasi-religious overtones with which he gratefully endows it. The older ideology provided an unsatisfactory view of the system for the large and growing bureaucratic slice of management. The human-relations doctrine, however, not only tells them that they are important, but that they are the key figures. As sociologist Reinhard Bendix has observed, in the new managerial ideology, it is not the leaders of industry that are idealized – if anything, they are scolded – but the lieutenants. The people that the workers are to co-operate with are not the top employers but enlightened bureaucrats.


The point I am trying to make is not that the corporation, or any other specific kind of organization, is going to be the citadel of belongingness. The union of Frank Tannenbaum, the community of Lloyd Warner, the corporation of Elton Mayo – each is in conflict as to which group is going to furnish the vital belongingness, and these three by no means exhaust the roster of groups proposed. Spokesmen in other areas have similarly bewailed the lack of an encompassing, integrated life, and in an excess of good will have asked that their group take over the whole messy job. Many a contemporary prescription for utopia can be summarized if you cross out the name of one group and substitute another in the following charge: Society has broken down; the family, the church, the community, the schools, business – each has failed to give the individual the belongingness he needs and thus it is now the task of XXXX group to do the job. It is fortunate there are so many groups; with such competition for the individual psyche it is difficult for any one of them to land the franchise.


But ideologically these pleas do not cancel each other out. For there is always the common thread that a man must belong and that he must be unhappy if he does not belong rather completely. The idea that conflicting allegiances safeguard him as well as abrade him is sloughed over, and for the people who must endure the tensions of independence there is no condolence; only the message that the tensions are sickness – either in themselves or in society. It does not make any difference whether the Good Society is to be represented by a union or by a corporation or by a church; it is to be a society unified and purged of conflict.


To turn about and preach that conflicting allegiances are absolute virtues is not justified either. But at this particular time the function they perform in the maintenance of individual freedom is worthy of more respect. Clark Kerr, Chancellor of the University of California, at Berkeley, has put it well:


The danger is not that loyalties are divided today but that they may he undivided tomorrow .... I would urge each individual to avoid total involvement in any organization; to seek to whatever extent lies within his power to limit each group to the minimum control necessary for performance of essential functions; to struggle against the effort to absorb; to lend his energies to many organizations and give himself completely to none; to teach children, in the home and in the school, "to be laws to themselves and to depend on themselves," as Walt Whitman urged us many years ago – for that is the well source of the independent spirit.



It is the organization man, then, more than the worker whom he wishes to serve, who most urgently wants to belong. His quest takes many forms; in this chapter I would like to examine the most concrete one: his growing preoccupation with group work. The group that he is trying to immerse himself in is not merely the larger one – The Organization, or society itself –but the immediate, physical group as well: the people at the conference table, the workshop, the seminar, the skull session, the after-hours discussion group, the project team. It is not enough now that he belong; he wants to belong together.


One reason that he is so fascinated with group work, of course, is the simple fact that there is now so much more of it. Organization life being what it is, out of sheer necessity he must spend most of his working hours in one group or another, and out of self-defense, if not instinct, the committee arts must become reflex with him. But more than necessity is involved. Where the immersion of the individual used to be cause for grumbling and a feeling of independence lost, the organization man of today is now welcoming it. He is not attempting to reverse the trend and to cut down the deference paid to the group; he is working to increase it, and with the help of some branches of the social sciences he is erecting what is almost a secular religion.


There are two bases for this movement, one scientific, the other moral. The scientific basis can be stated very simply. It is now coming to be widely believed that science has proved the group is superior to the individual. Science has not, but that is another matter. Mistaken or not, the popularized version of the science of the group is a social force in its own right, and it holds that experiments have shown that in human relations the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts and that through "interaction" we can produce ideas beyond our capabilities as individuals. The new dynamism, furthermore, is not to apply merely to the day-to-day work of getting things done; it is, presumably, going to envelop creative work too, and in areas until recently considered sacrosanct to the individual it is already having some effect. The scientific genius, for example. There is a growing thought that he is an anachronism – a once valuable, but now unnecessary, prelude to the research team. And not an idle thought; in the name of science, administrators are taking some practical measures to insure that he will in fact be an anachronism.


Obviously, the study of group dynamics need not be antithetical to the individual, and here let me again make the distinction between analysis of a phenomenon and deification of it. One can study the group aspect of a man without deprecating his other aspects, and while many students of group dynamics have crossed the line, they don't have to. The more we find out about how a group actually behaves – and the scientific method is of immense help here – the more sophisticated we can become about its limitations, the more armed against its defects. But this won't be done unless there is a far more rigorous questioning of the value premises which underlie most current attacks on the problem. Consider the abstractions that are so taken for granted as good – such as consensus, co-operation, participation, and the like. Held up as a goal without any reference to ends, they are meaningless. Why participate, for example? Like similar abstractions, participation is an empty goal unless it is gauged in relation to the job to be done. It is a means, not an end, and when treated as an end, it can become more repressive than the unadorned authoritarianism it is supposed to replace.


And why should there be consensus? Must consensus per se be the overriding goal? It is the price of progress that there never can be complete consensus. All creative advances are essentially a departure from agreed-upon ways of looking at things, and to overemphasize the agreed-upon is to further legitimatize the hostility to that creativity upon which we all ultimately depend...


It would be a mistake to confuse individualism with antagonism, but the burdens of free thought are already steep enough that we should not saddle ourselves with a guilty conscience as well. The hunch that wasn't followed up. The controversial point that didn't get debated. The idea that was suppressed. Were these acts of group co-operation or individual surrender? We are taking away from the individual the ability even to ask the question.


In further institutionalizing the great power of the majority, we are making the individual come to distrust himself. We are giving him a rationalization for the unconscious urging to find an authority that would resolve the burdens of free choice. We are tempting him to reinterpret the group pressures as a release, authority as freedom, and that this quest assumes a moral guise makes it only the more poignant. Of all the forms of wanton self-destruction, the Englishman A. A. Bowman once observed, there is none more pathetic than that in which the human individual demands that in the vital relationships of life he be treated not as an individual but as a member of some organization.




The Feminized Male
 Classrooms, White Collars and the Decline of Manliness
by Patricia Sexton


Selected Excerpts

Defining masculinity is not easy. The general neglect of this sensitive topic did not make it easier. I found only a very skimpy body of knowledge to stand on, but I searched, and I looked at everything.


There were dictionary definitions. Webster offers these synonyms for "masculine": virile, robust, manly, vigorous, powerful. For "virile," synonyms are energy-drive, unusual strength and vigor, decisive-forceful... Webster also defines "masculine protest" as a tendency to compensate for feelings of inferiority or inadequacy by exaggerating one's overt aggressiveness. So we have a definition of the quality itself, and the sham, masculine protest, which is common enough.


Then there is the opposite of masculinity. Being manly has always been of enough concern to men themselves so that they have invented many words, usually epithets, for the opposite. The word "sissy" is the most common in English. Webster says that a sissy is a timid or cowardly person, an effeminate male. Webster associates "effeminate" with: a pampered darling, a spineless weakling, or to treat with fond indulgence, protect and cater to, pamper, spoil; lacking manly strength and purpose, exhibiting or proceeding from delicacy, weakness, emotionalism...


Henry James refers to "the masculine firmness, the quiet force of the male style," and Webster says the word "male" suggests inner qualities of a man, especially courage, independence and mature physical characteristics, or mental firmness or forthrightness; while "virility" suggests something even stronger: marked aggressiveness, masterfulness, forcefulness, or specifically, male sexuality or procreativeness.


These definitions are to some extent simply a bag of epithets and stereotypes. But they give us clues as to where our society places the opposite ends of the masculinity-femininity continuum. At one extreme is the very tough, aggressive, and fearless; at the other is the very weak, passive, and fearful...


So much for dictionaries. How do men and women describe themselves? What do they think are their own identifying features?


Men are more likely than women-significantly so-to check these adjectives as applying to themselves: resourceful, mature, logical, adventurous, realistic, deliberate, efficient. (The respondents here are full-grown men, not boys.)


Women are significantly more likely to check these: emotional, affectionate, pleasant, temperamental. Male college students in one study were significantly more likely than females to favor these qualities: adventurous, aggressive, ambitious, independent, pleasure-seeking, rugged, self-confident, shrewd, wise, masculine. The women more often favored: affectionate, dreamy, generous, honest, kind, moderate, religious, sensitive, sentimental, sincere, soft-hearted, sympathetic, tactful, well-mannered...


Masculinity, it appears, is both genetically and socially determined. Genes produce physical sex characteristics and society sets the norms for behavior... The work men do affects their personality and behavior... Office jobs and organization life demand unmanly amounts of submission and inactivity. Schools prepare boys for these emasculating white-collar jobs by confining them to deodorized hothouses, rewarding the best desk-sitters, and, when not antagonizing them, converting the more restless males to the clerical way of life...


Though run at the top by men, schools are essentially feminine institutions, from nursery through graduate school. In the school, women set the standards for adult behavior, and many favor students, male and female, who most conform to their own behavior norms – polite, clean, obedient, neat and nice ones... The chance of getting feminized men (as teachers) in the school are fairly good because those eligible and willing, given present hiring codes and salaries, are usually those who made it through a feminine school system without conflict or failure.


One is inclined to say that the younger the student, the more feminine the tone of the school seems to be. But, then, some graduate programs seem far more oppressive to the male temperament than do kindergartens, even though there are more female teachers present in the latter. What does seem clear is that the system is spun round, like a cocoon, with threads woven by women and feminized males. The signs are found everywhere, in curriculum, standards, values, systems of reward, methods of instruction, personnel, remoteness from power and reality...


The schools mainly teach the words and number symbols of reading, writing and arithmetic. One hardly ever sees the things these symbols stand for. Deeds and action are rarely the substance of school instruction, activity being viewed as disruptive of academic study. Schools set the standards – followed too religiously by others who judge people – by which people are measured. They are the academic measures of ability to deal with symbols on paper, rather than measures of performance or creativity.


Active word usage, as in speaking, is usually discouraged in school; students are expected to speak only when addressed. Talking – a far more aggressive act than reading, listening, even writing – is a favorite mode of male verbal activity. Even boys who refuse to read or write usually like to talk, but on their own terms. It is the school’s most troublesome job to suppress most forms of spontaneous expression, and to keep boys quiet and in their seats...


An active mind in an inactive body may be as damaging to both as a killer shark contained in a plastic bubble. In the end, we risk the health and safety of both the mind and its inseparable vessel, the body... Though physical fitness is known to aid mental performance and stimulate a zest for learning, the average American usually performs very poorly on most tests of physical fitness and is notoriously overfed and underexercised. The neglect of the body begins in school...


Methods of school instruction require little more than passive receiving and repeating. The student listens to the teacher. He reads the book. He memorizes and repeats what the book and the teacher have said. His “learning” is passive and feminine, not active. He sits, listens, reads, writes, repeats and speaks when spoken to. Thus learning is reduced to a body of facts to be noted and stored, rather than a method of active and rigorous inquiry and a way to examine and master one’s environment.


The feminized school simply bores many boys, but it pulls some in one of two opposite directions. If the boy absorbs the school’s values, he may become feminized himself. If he resists, he is pushed toward school failure and rebellion. Increasingly, boys are drawn toward female norms. The attraction is the rainbow that lies at the end of graduation with honor, the school diploma, the college degree. More than ever before in human history, a boy’s fate will be determined by the number of diplomas he gets and where he gets them. As long as society and employers generally regard diplomas as the badge of merit, boys will be pulled ever deeper into a system that rewards conformity to feminine standards...


One would assume, based on partly on speculation and some psychological evidence, that freedom and consent nourish the masculine temperament and are as essential to natural sex growth as protein is to body growth...


We do not know to what extent masculinity is a matter of hormones and genes, but we do know that upbringing can profoundly affect masculinity. Some physically normal boys have even been raised as girls and have accepted the role...


I wanted to find out how well masculine boys were doing in school compared to others, and what boys who failed were like compared with those who succeeded. Thus, I chose the ninth as the best grade to take a closer look at boys. By this age (fourteen or fifteen) boys have reached puberty, but they have not yet begun to drop out of school en masse.


Because they tend to know the "whole" student better than others in the school, counselors and coaches in Urbantown were asked to rate the thirty highest- and the thirty lowest-achieving boys on personal qualities with which they were most familiar. Coaches also rated a randomly selected sample of 150 boys.


The coaches scored each boy according to how much the boy-in his general assertiveness or fearfulness-behaved like a “mama’s boy" or a "sissy" in sports activity. The higher academic achievers were rated much more "sissified" by the coaches. Forty-seven percent of the low achievers were rated not sissified at all. None of the high achievers were so rated. "Toughness" – initiative in sports, willingness to take risks, fearlessness – was another quality on which coaches rated boys. Low academic achievers were rated much more "tough" than high achievers. Forty-eight percent of low achievers and three percent of high achievers were given the highest toughness ratings. Coaches rated boys for “fear of bodily harm” – fear of getting hurt or roughed up in sports; 48 percent of low and 4 percent of high achievers were given the highest fearlessness ratings.


They rated boys on whether or not they would permit themselves to be "pushed around by others, physically or verbally"; 63 percent of low and 3 percent of high achievers got top ratings (indicating they would not be pushed around).


Rated for "obedience," 100 percent of high and 50 percent of low achievers got high ratings. On "perseverance and willingness to push themselves to exhaustion," high achievers rated higher than low achievers. High achievers seem to try hard anyhow. Apparently high achievers have, as in academic subjects, the will to succeed but perhaps lack the physical courage or toughness to compete in some sports.


On "heterosexual interest" – interest in girls – the low achievers scored much higher: 45 percent of low and 10 percent of high achievers indicated the greatest interest in girls. High achievers scored much higher in "neatness of appearance.'' (Low achievers were more likely to have "facial hair growth," though they were not as a group older than others.)


Schools do not rate students for such qualities as toughness, independence, courage, except indirectly in some physical-education classes. Nor are ratings or honors given for other virtues in which low achievers and masculine boys excel...


As I have stated, I have harbored for many years the strong suspicion that boys who are real boys – masculine types – have a tougher time in school than those who look and act more like girls. I have felt that the school makes sissies out of many boys and feminizes many more by insisting that they act like girls. While it is true that school makes no impression at all on many boys, it is also true that as the value of school diplomas inflates, as it has in recent years, boys will be more likely than ever to go out for them and try to win honors in school. The more a boy gives in to what the school wants, the more feminized he will become...


Most modern jobs – in fact virtually all of them – can be performed by women... We sit at desks more, and we work more with words than ever before. The computer in particular and the automation in general, have destroyed many masculine jobs and created many others in programming, button watching, etc., that are essentially clerical in nature... This is the age of the white-collar man – desk-sitter, memo writer, clean-cut, geared to the chain of command. We have a softer life and we have bosses to please and an organization to deal with...


As for the demands of organization life, while most of us know they exist, few of us are pleased about the excesses. Conformity is like a sleeping pill – a small dose is all right in order to rest the organism, but too much is lethal. Too much conformity can crush the individual... We should not, then, be too fatalistic and accepting of the changing nature of jobs, but should insist that work suit the nature of free men and that organizations be more subject to the will of participants... Democratizing social institutions and giving participants more authority and control will strengthen and masculinize both the institution and the participants...


Why does a woman write about the emasculation of men? If my data and analysis are valid, it is not likely that a man would write on this subject. Many men who write are honored products of the educational system. Thus they would naturally be reluctant to acknowledge the connection between school honors and feminization, or to inquire into whether their success can be attributed more to acceptance of female norms than to brilliance or superior intellectual endowments. Many are victims of the system, but few feel victimized; they feel more like heroes and victors.


I have found strong resistance to this book's thesis among many academic and "intellectual" men. Because of my observations about feminized males, some sensitive men in high academic office, who do not bother much with evidence, have accused me of anti-intellectualism. In response I must insist that it is my regard for the magical and prodigious potential of the mind – and certainly not any antagonism to it – that inspires this volume. I revere the powers of the mind. I wish to see these powers put to good use, and applied to creative rather than destructive or wasteful tasks. And I wish very much to see real men join the ranks of an invigorated intelligentsia. To claim that criticism of the academy amounts to anti-intellectualism is like saying that criticism of inequities in our society amounts to anti-Americanism.


- END -

© 1969, New York, Random House


History in Your Pants
by WDK

The Rectification of Memes


Bio-Social Glossalalia

CORPORATE ANTHROCULTURE (shachiku kogaku): The breeding, training & developmental retardation of humans for life-long incorporation .

KI THEFT (ki no dorobo): Uncompensated arrogation of attention, vital energy and growth potential, either stealthily or with force, intimidation or commercial media .

MEMETIC EMASCULATION (mimuteki kyosei): Altering humans to preclude emission/propagation of seminal ideas or cultural innovations.

SOCIAL ENDOCRINOLOGY (shakai naibunpigaku): Study of hormonal influences on cultural creativity, economic performance, political behavior, societal evolution, etc.


Curiously, the hottest underground topic around Kyoto's prodigally uninspired celebration of 1,200 years of elegant splendor was glands. Well, hormones actually, endangered male hormones in particular, and their curious effects upon local reality.


The topic is not that new.


Historically, Japanese were a people comfortable with sensuality, and freely appropriated sexual metaphors to describe other social phenomena. Kyoto, for example, was not merely the cradle of Japanese culture, she was long regarded as the genitalia of the body politic. For over a millennium, she gestated and propagated all the nation's memetic progeny, both those cultured from early Sino-Korean intercourse, and those from the seminal contributions of ardent local genius.


As with many flowerings, Kyoto's procreative power was hermaphroditic. The feminine side nurtured and protected, offering grounding and continuity. The masculine injected innovation, risk and creative surprise. The aristocracy and wealthy connoisseurs maternally nourished tradition, but the force of the yang was with the craftspeople. And as a town of rich and complex craft communities, there was always enough ambient professional rivalry to keep both masters and journeymen aroused and fertile. The audacious vitality of the neighborhoods even infected city policy. As Meiji Japan opened to the world, Kyoto embraced foreign meme-bearers with a passion, spawning the country's first tramways, electric plants and public schools.


As an isolated city-state, Kyoto might have survived as a spirited and convivial community. But as the lower chakra center of a body politic increasingly hypnotized by the military and money-minded, she was systematically sapped of her juice, her jazz, her youth. Government policy, propaganda and later mass media drove national energy and aspiration to the northern cerebral bureaucratic chakras where it was more easily regimented and controlled. Education in the individualized nexus of apprenticeship was banned in favor of mass instruction for mass production, mass mobilization and mass consumption.


It was all quite rational. In the new industrial order, craftspeople were an egregious pain. They had their own anachronistic canons of quality and, working so close to home, archaic commitments to family and community that often interfered with "production." They also had nasty political habits. Like the American colonial artisans who led the Boston Tea Party and many skirmishes of the revolution, craft masters not only had an unhealthy passion for liberty and autonomy, they had the balls to vent it. Japan's corporatist leaders thus set about exorcising their fractious spirits with the Modernization Mantra: "Craftsman bad; Worker good; (Robot best!)"


Mantras work, by the way, especially when amplified by massive media. Japan's industrial work force is now famous as the most disciplined, diligent and docile on Earth. Meanwhile the average age of Kyoto craftspeople is now topping sixty with few apprentice aspirants in sight. Production of her once celebrated textiles, ceramics and other craft ware has largely been either mechanized or shipped offshore to sweat shop operations in China and Korea. And with chants of "public safety," Japan's multinational construction firms sumptuously lobbied Fire Department bureaucrats to stifle new wooden architecture in favor of cement, effectively idling the most skilled and gifted carpentry community in the world.


As if all the cultural emasculation wasn't dispiriting enough, local women started to notice funny things about their men. As modernization progressed, Kyoto manhood and its proud accolade of *ichinin-mae* ("one fully arrived man") slowly lost their traditional connotations of independence, paternity and creativity. The modern definitions helpfully proffered by Tokyo's Education Ministry were all about security, consumption and the sexiness of your corporate mother's body. This was new. Earlier, in art, craft and agriculture, men often collaborated, but also labored fiercely to distinguish themselves as individuals. Now men were being urged to earnestly compete to extinguish their selves in life-long corporate fusion. Among the "winners" at least, this entailed a microcosmic polar shift of their own existential centers of gravity upward, away from the assertive, sensual lower chakras, toward the cooler, collectivizable chakras in the head.


This all had immediate social repercussions. Among the terminally incorporated, the office bond became the power obligation of life, exerting incessant suction on the soul and demanding full attention. These coercive claims quickly drained away the energy available to animate other relationships in the community, neighborhood or even the home. "Corporate alienation of affection" thus became a well discussed topic among young women, and an oft cited reason for the increasing numbers actively avoiding marriage.


What was happening to men? Or more precisely, what was happening to salarimen? Nobody but the aging Misses seemed to care. After all, production and profits were up, and labor strife down. In industry, science and pop culture, the creativity shortfall was easily offset with imported memes filched on the cheap. And the loss of masculine potency in civil society and grassroots politics certainly wasn't lamented by any known bureaucratic authorities.


Whenever asked what was going on, establishment experts on nihonjinron ("theories of Japaneseness") would invariably respond, "Nothing. We Japanese are just naturally groupy, placid and tractable. Always have been. Centuries of huddling, harmonious agro-villaging are in the blood. True Japanese are therefore happiest in faceless crowds and factories. (And if you're not, you are obviously not truly Japanese and will kindly keep your mouth shut.)"


The shut-up-&-sit-down crowd held the floor for quite a while, but then finally went too far. Alarmed at an unexpected side-effect -- the plummeting national birthrate -- they started to denounce "over-educated women" for the fallowness of the conjugal futon. This blame-the-victim gambit did not sit well. Already fully burdened with the demands of home care, aging parents, children's education and side work, plus furnishing 90% of the "manpower" to local environmental/human rights/political reform movements, women began to stand up and shout, "Where the hell are the men?" When the only answer forthcoming was "busy," they dusted off their excessive educations and began to explore for themselves. One early clue came from their gynecologists.


At international medical conferences on menopause, Japanese doctors habitually reported conspicuously fewer cases of patient distress or demands for estrogen replacement therapy than other nationalities. Their standard explanation: Japanese women are just stronger and more stoic than their soft, whiny western counterparts.


Suspecting there might also be less chauvinist factors involved, one Dr. Adlercreutz from Finland - where women aren't exactly cream puffs - flew to Japan, teamed up with a Kyoto research group, and raced about the countryside dipsticking the national urine. Their surprising results (reported in the Lancet 5/16/'92): Japanese excrete (and thus contain) 100 to 1,000 times more plant estrogens than any other tested population. They traced the cause to the naturally occurring estrogenic molecules in soybeans, and Japan's ravenous appetite for *tofu, miso, shoyu, atsuage,* etc. Concluding that these remarkable hormone concentrations offer a more credible explanation for the serenity of the national menopause, they rested their case. A few local feminists, however, persisted: "That's all well and good for aging women, but what effect does a chronic estrogen bath have upon our men, our sons or society?" "Interesting research topic," team members agreed, "but who is going to fund it?"


By chance, the dietary estrogen revelations converged with a renewed public interest in another anti-androgenic influence: the intense school stress endured by Japanese children. Increasing press reports of child suicides, peer bullying, classroom violence, and the 18-hour "work" days many middle schoolers endure, coincided with last year's political debate on whether or not Japan should finally sign the UN's Declaration of Children's Rights. (The new coalition government did eventually ratify it, but as it was staunchly opposed by the educational bureaucrats charged with enforcing it, the victory remains moot.)


A number of anxious activist mothers decided not to wait around and started searching for new tactics to break the curse of "examination hell" on their kids' minds and bodies. Some with science backgrounds combed research journals for studies on chronic stress and child development, but turned up surprisingly little. They did, however, find mountains of data on stress in every other kind of vertebrate. On mammals and adult humans, in particular, there were hundreds of reports detailing how chronic stress (from fear, exhaustion, etc.) flushes the body with cortisol and other adrenal secretions that quench male hormones, suppressing masculine functions and behavior. One universal point of these reactions - now abracademicized as the "General Adaption Syndrome" - is to "adapt" the individual's self- assertion molecules to levels compatible with his actual strength and status in the group - for most in a hierarchy, that is, to levels low enough to meekly bear the chronic ache of subordination. Ball-busting, it's called in the vernacular, and among organized adults it has indisputable survival value.


High stress levels in social confrontations always betray a risky mismatch of aspiration and assurance. In such cases, a) you are very likely to get stomped or humiliated; b) you probably shouldn't have thrust your self into the situation in the first place; c) rather than prolong conflict or gut-caustic resentment with someone you can't beat, it makes perfect survivalist sense to douse your thrusters a little with estrogen, rendering you more serene, submissive and safer. "Say what? You want my spot/catch/wench? Well, you just do what you have to, sire - don't you mind (or bite) me."


Low ranking males of most primate, canine and avian troops combat the stress of constant interaction with superiors by knocking their own androgen levels down so low that they lose sexual identity altogether. (Cf, Lyndon Johnson's favorite boast of power over a man, "I got his pecker in my pocket.") Human victims tend to retreat to prepubertal psyches, to an age when submission and sexlessness were "natural" or at least not demeaning. They thus forfeit adulthood, but are compensated with group security and the indulgence [*amae*] afforded "perpetual (non-threatening) kids." In Japanese tradition, these are the master's "lads" or the lord's boisterous retainers. And like classic westerns, samurai movies brim with the neutered equivalents of Jingles, Pancho, Tonto, and Gabbie Hayes. (S/F has added new dimensions to the sidekick role with consorting computers, robots and wookies, but their abiding asexuality remains a telling constant.)


The inquiring mothers quickly grasped these biochemical/behavioral equations, and calculated that between the soy foods, school stress and militaristic dress/hair/behavior codes their boys were being insidiously preconditioned for enduring corporate neoteny. Alerted by the research, they began to see evidence for "anthroculture" all around them. For example, the so-called "capon effect" wherein anti-androgens administered to young males prolong bone growth and increase the fat to muscle ratio - yielding taller, heavier, but physically weaker boys - an adolescent trend cited in almost every national health report for the last two decades. Also, over the same period, they noted Japanese professors' widespread adoption of the sobriquet "broilers" to describe the tall, aimless and obedient boys crowding into their classrooms.


Despite the discouraging academic and anecdotal news, no one is hollering "conspiracy" yet. Kyoto reformist mother, Hiroko Kasai: "I don't think anyone believes the kids' hormone levels are being consciously 'engineered.' Education Ministry bureaucrats just aren't that smart. But they do know the kind of compliant workers and submissive citizens they want as 'product,' and tend to retain practices that empirically work. And they have been tinkering with this system at least since Meiji."


Not everyone even thinks it's a bad idea. Optimists, including many of Japan's "education mamas," hold that having a "low testosterone culture" is probably a good thing, contributing to the unique safety, diligence and economic success of Japanese society. Critics, on the other hand, contend that low T also explains many of less happy aspects of salariman society - corporate workers' life-long addiction to comics, fads and silly games; their timid pubescent preference for "power sex" fantasies (S/M, bondage & degradation pornography) over sensual erotic encounters; and their chronic indifference to familial and societal responsibilities.


(One interesting point of agreement: women's instinctive recognition that the average yakuza or even samurai, while physically menacing, is also a low T phenomenon. "Obedience to the death for a meal ticket!" one acidly observed, "lacks certain macho resonance." Recently, Japanese women, especially mothers, have become less cowed by yakuza posturings, and far more aggressive than men, especially policemen, in trying to close down gang offices in their neighborhoods. They point out that since most "tough guys" are totally organized and submissive to their group hierarchies, they are still essentially children whose permitted limits of masculine maturity differ little from their salariman brethren.)


Meanwhile, concerned parents around Kyoto are now promoting remedies ranging from short-term fixes like testosterone supplements for middle school boys to long-term plans to extend compulsory education through high school. (Besides the regimentation, 6-day weeks and ubiquitous cram schools, one other crucial difference between the systems in the U.S. and Japan is that American kids usually don't start feeling the pressure until around age 15 when college entrance competition begins and puberty is ending. Since all Japanese kids must also fight their way into high schools, the crunch hits them much earlier and in far more psychosomatically sensitive terrain.)


At any rate, an important debate is at last emerging in Japan on the hormonal golden mean. How much T is enough - to sustain a healthy appetite for personal growth, familial ties, democratic rights and creative individuality? And how much is too much - triggering the aggressive stupidities, greed and megalomania of Rambos, rapists and arbitrage brokers? The corollaries also intrigue. If Japan's T levels rise, will her fabled corporate harmonies and trade surpluses fall? Can an economy so reliant upon mass consumption survive its members' individuation? Will increasing lower chakra energies recharge civil society and cultural fertility? Can Kyoto's ancient potency be aroused and rise again?


At the moment, Japan's anthroculture controversy is still an intensely local affair. But considering stakes and implications, it deserves the poignant interest and participation of everyone deeply affected by this country - whether as cultural votary, economic victim or politically awakening animal. It will make a difference.

 - END -




"CASTRATION" : The Major Goal Of Japanese Education
By Masao Miyamoto M.D.



Paper Presented At University Of Oxford And University Of Cambridge

October 20th And 23rd, 1995 Oxford And Cambridge, England


When Dr. Masao Miyamoto passed away in 1999, it ended an official Japanese nightmare or at least a nightmare for Official Japan. As a defrocked bureaucrat, stinging government gadfly and best-selling author, he fashioned a boisterous new career internationally exposing the corruption, misfeasance and bullying totalitarian mentality in Japan's once sacrosanct bureaucracies. As a respected Western-trained psychiatrist and Establishment insider "gone bad", Miyamoto explained in telling detail how the Japanese system works to psychologically "castrate" both the general public and the members of the Great Bodies that rule them.


In a wide range of essays, articles and speeches, he not only described how and why this emasculation is carried out in Japan, he also skillfully correlated the consequences with local political events and social phenomena. In short, Dr. Miyamoto made major contributions to the study of corporate anthroculture, and when the history is finally written, will doubtless be recognized as a true pioneer in the field.


Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This is my first opportunity to speak in England, and I am very excited about this experience. I have strong respect for the British for their ability to embrace change yet at the same time place importance on tradition. Japan also places importance on tradition, but one of the significant differences between Japan and England is that the Japanese psychological setting has not changed for at least the last 400 years. Let me be more concrete. Henry VIII distanced England from the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, which from a psychological point of view brought change to individuals. England, as a country, was able to become independent. Later, John Locke spread the philosophy of freedom, which had a strong political impact not only in Britain, but also on the formation of the American and French constitutions.


Individuals such as Henry VIII and John Locke who emphasized the importance of independence and freedom never appeared in Japan. On the contrary Japanese society, particularly for the last 400 years appreciated people who valued the status quo. Therefore it is fair to say that although Japanese society underwent significant changes in the last 100 years, they were only surface changes and the internal core retains its tradition of feudalism. The concept of freedom has never been a part of Japanese society.


I cannot tell you what one book does. "Straitjacket Society ", the book describing the Japanese bureaucracy has changed my life completely. Now I am asked to speak by many different organizations both in Japan and abroad, which I never expected three years ago when I first published this book. Through giving these speeches I have noticed something interesting, and that is that there is a significant gap between the places where I speak in Japan and the places where I in foreign countries. When I am invited to speak in Japan it is usually to small groups who are interested in changing Japanese society, yet they are on the fringe and so they have no power towards the bureaucracy. Yet in foreign countries I am often invited by major universities, research institutes or government organizations, where their opinion can easily be heard by the current administration. So the question is why is there such a big gap. It is because Japan as a system is ambivalent about embracing the concept of freedom.


In Japan, to be true to yourself, to be original, to be creative, to be independent is not perceived positively. In essence being free as an individual is a foreign idea for many Japanese.


30 years ago I was fascinated by the music of the Beatles. They revolutionized the world of POP music. The reason why their music has reached to that level was because of their originality; Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin group, brought about a change. in the music and aviation industries. People can now fly with more comfort and less expense and purchase CD's for less money than before. What the Beatles and Richard Branson have in common is their ability to challenge the system.


When you think about Japan, is there any one individual or group who is equivalent. The answer is no, because the Japanese educational system discourages. people from challenging the preexisting order.


The topic of my speech today will focus on deregulation. Since deregulation is connected with challenging the existing order and more importantly, the concept of freedom, and the concept of freedom has been regulated under the Japanese educational system, what I would like to do is to point out the goals of the Ministry of Education and how this conflicts with deregulation.


 Before going into the main subject I would briefly like to mention why I am here today speaking to you. In 1986 when I returned to Japan, I assumed the position of Deputy Director of Mental Health at the Ministry of Health and Welfare. For those of you not aware of my background, let me familiarize you with my battle with the Japanese bureaucracy.


It all started with my taking a two-week vacation to go to Europe three years after returning to Japan. This action was perceived as foreign, and in the beginning my superiors tried to talk me out of taking a long vacation. I refused to comply. Given that Japan is a hierarchical society with a kind of militaristic structure, not complying with my superiors gave them the impression that I was a rebellious misfit. However, my superiors and colleagues tried to rationalize my behavior by saying that I had been in America for too long. They tried to persuade me that since I was now back in Japan, I should alter my behavior and embrace the philosophy of sacrifice. I was also subtly threatened that if my behavior did not change, I would be subjected to a transfer to the Division of Quarantine, which is a dead end job for a career bureaucrat.


Two years after this vacation incident I wrote an article for Monthly Asahi about how difficult it is to take a vacation if you are inside the system. I never expected that this article would become a turning point in my life. The article received a positive response from readers, but the ministry's reaction was the exact opposite. When I showed a draft copy to my superiors, their response was, "Resign at once! Ask the newspaper company to stop printing!" After listening to my superiors' comments, I thought that their demands were a violation of freedom of expression, so I decided to put their comments together in an article for the following month's issue. Again I received a positive response from readers, so I was asked to write a series of articles. These were a clinical analysis of the psychology of the Japanese bureaucracy, and the major theme was the importance of freedom and individuality. I began to receive both domestic and foreign media attention, including an interview with the Independent and the BBC, and the more media attention I received, the greater the ministry's pressure on me to resign. The bureaucrats feared my thinking would be contagious, and they quarantined me as Director of Quarantine.


The publication of my first book in Japanese, which was published in English as "Straitjacket Society" brought even greater tension with the ministry, because it revealed the bureaucrats' interpersonal exchange and daily lifestyle to non-Japanese. The modus vivendi of the Japanese bureaucracy is "see not, hear not and speak not" and I trampled on this taboo. If speaking the truth to the Japanese public brought shame, revealing these things to a foreign audience brought even greater shame.


Therefore, it was no surprise that the. Ministry of Health and Welfare was looking to get rid of me. They finally succeeded this past February after I went to Washington, D.C. to give a lecture at the National Press Club. I did not get permission to go abroad, and the ministry used this technicality to fire me. But if I were to have told my superior, a staunch defender of bureaucratic tradition, that I was going to Washington to give a speech that was critical of the bureaucracy, permission would not have been granted.


It became apparent that my battle with the ministry, as the French newspaper Liberation put it, is a fight between freedom and conformity. I agree with their assessment. However, the ministry stated that the reason they dismissed me was a matter of personality, not of principles, but if it was just a clash of personalities, there was no reason for the ministry to continue to pressure me after I was dismissed. There are many examples to illustrate my point, but since time is limited I am only going to describe one incident.


Last November I was asked to be the keynote speaker at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Library of Congress in April of this year, and I accepted. The Japanese bureaucracy expressed its concern to the organizers that "maybe Dr. Miyamoto is not the most appropriate speaker for this conference." They tried to have me removed as keynote speaker, and because of this pressure the Library of Congress almost canceled the conference.


This incident created an uproar to the extent that a U.S. congressman got involved and placed counter-pressure on the Library of Congress. The BBC also showed interest in this matter, and when a representative called the Library of Congress, the Library of Congress denied any pressure from the Japanese government and said the conference would be held as scheduled. But this was a lie because the BBC at that time had a document in hand which indicated that the conference might be canceled, that the Library of Congress was under great pressure.


This indicates that the bureaucracy is fearful of having the reality of Japan known to non-Japanese, and it is a sign that the system's existence is threatened.


The bureaucracy is synonymous with regulations, therefore, deregulation would mean downsizing the bureaucracy. 8 years ago when I entered the Ministry of Health and Welfare, I was told by my superior that the most important thing as a bureaucrat was the maintenance of the system. Even if the position to which I was assigned was considered unnecessary, I was told that I should try my best to convince the budget department that my division was important. In other words you may have to come up with a good story, and if you can preserve the s stem, as a reward you will be promoted. What this means is that if you can come up with a justification for maintaining the system, even if it is a waste of taxpayers' money, it is okay to waste it.


The word for deregulation in Japanese is "kisei kanwa". This is not the right translation. The right translation is "kisei teppai". When you translate "kisei kanwa" into English it becomes relaxation of regulations. One might say that this is just a matter of translation, but since my profession is psychoanalysis, I place importance on details, and particularly the nuances of words. The question is raised why the translation is not deregulation but relaxation. I looked into the dictionary for the difference between "kanwa" and "teppai". What became apparent is that "kanwa" or relaxation will maintain the present condition, whereas "teppai" or deregulation brings a nuance of confrontation and dispute.


When you observe the communication pattern of Japanese society, you will recognize the ambiguity of yes and no. In fact you often will not hear "no". The reason behind this is because there is a belief in Japanese society that one should try to avoid any kind of dispute or confrontation. Perhaps one might say that this is the strongest belief of Japanese society.


Many of you are aware that the Japanese place importance on harmony. I myself respect harmony a great deal, but upon my return to Japan I noticed that what I think harmony is and what Japanese society perceives as harmony is quite different. In my mind the concept of harmony means an acceptance of differences, but when the Japanese talk about harmony it means a denial of differences and an embrace of sameness. Sameness in interpersonal relations means a reflection of the other, the basic concept of which derives from narcissism. When you want to attain harmony in Japan, people within the group must behave as if they were Narcissus staring at his reflection in the water. In the case of Narcissus' reflection a small ripple can destroy the reflection. For the Japanese, because the reflected image of sameness functions as a cohesive element for the group, even a small dispute or confrontation could shatter the narcissistic identification. This is the reason why Japanese society places such importance on harmony and why the Japanese do their utmost not to bring out aggression in interpersonal exchange, since aggression, just like the ripple, will destroy the reflected image. The Japanese are taught not to complain, to give up their desires and to communicate with ambiguity, all as a way to prevent ripples.


I do not want it to be thought that I advocate dispute, but when harmony becomes the final goal to the point that one has to close their eyes to reality, then I think it is a problem since it means that the group can only function in a world of illusion. In order for society to change, confrontation and challenge are inevitable, which means that each individual must develop the capacity to deal with aggression.


When you took at the Japanese proclivity to avoid dispute, one could say that Japan as a system does not want to change. The Japanese want to stay in a world of reflected images, where the competitive principle or concept of freedom, which functions as a ripple, would not enter.


America and Japan have been trying to diminish their trade disputes, and for the last 20 years negotiations have been taking place, and with each negotiation statements have been given by both governments. I had an opportunity to read the statements of President Clinton and former Prime Minister Hosokawa in both Japanese and English.Theoretically the contents of the, statements should be the same. But I recognized that in the process of translation from English to Japanese nuances started to appear. When you read the English version of the statement you can feet a significant change will take place in the Japanese market, but when you read the Japanese version, substantial change will be left up to the bureaucrats. After all the statement was written by the bureaucrats and Mr. Hosokawa was merely the person who read . the statement in front of the TV cameras. I can we why trade negotiations hit a deadlock. In my assessment, for the last 20 years Japanese bureaucrats have been taking a protectionistic approach so major structural change, such as Japan becoming a free market, has not taken place. The bureaucrats function as a breakwater for the competitive principle and the concept of freedom.


When you analyze the words that Japanese bureaucrats use, there is a message given that as much as possible they want to keep the Japanese market closed to foreign competition. For the past nine years I was a part of the Japanese bureaucracy, and through this experience I have recognized how Japanese bureaucrats place importance on words and their nuances to prevent structural changes from taking place to keep Japan a state - first, people - second, society.


Let me give you an example to underline my point. When you hear Japanese bureaucrats saying the word positively, ardently, zealously, it means they will not do anything. For example, if a bureaucrat tells you we will seriously consider and zealously investigate the matter, nothing is going to happen. In other words the bureaucrats choose words so that they can manipulate the public, politicians and foreign governments. So let's go back to the words relaxation vs. deregulation. Using the word relaxation means that no significant change will take place in the Japanese market.


What is interesting about the Japanese bureaucrats is that when it comes to maintaining the system, their creativity is stimulated. Recently there was a demand from the public for deregulation, and the bureaucrats said they would make an effort for flexible enforcement of the regulations. But there is a trick in these words. Through the flexible enforcement of these regulations, in Japanese danryoku teki unyo, the regulations will not be abolished, and regulatory power will be retained in the hands of the bureaucrats.


Right now the Japanese bureaucracy is under pressure to restructure the organization, so they are trying to give a better image to the public by saying that they will be happy to be more flexible in the use of regulations. But suppose criticism subsides, things will revert back to the way they were. Furthermore, if the bureaucrats are determined to maintain the system they can come up with a defiant attitude saying that it is a policy not a regulation, and the public cannot argue since it is the bureaucrats who control Japan and right now nobody can dismiss them.


In Japan, although politicians are elected by the people, they are not the policy makers. The real policy makers are the bureaucrats. The major problem with this structure is that when people become unhappy with the bureaucrat's policy, since the politicians do not have power to dismiss the bureaucrats, no one can dismiss the bureaucrats.


I have come to recognize that through the analysis of the words relaxation and deregulation there is a significant difference in philosophy behind these two words. Deregulation fosters change, particularly fundamental social change, which will bring freedom to the Japanese people. And freedom will bring significant change to the system. On the other hand the philosophy behind relaxation is that bureaucrats can maintain a conformist environment.


When you took at the power structure of Japan, the bureaucrats hold more than 90% of the power. Therefore, the real purpose of deregulation is not just to relax the regulations, but to take away the bureaucrats' power in order to bring Japanese society in line with the democracy stated in the Japanese constitution. If deregulation takes place, people will live in a new environment that revolves around free competition. What this means is the downsizing of the bureaucracy. Furthermore, the concept of competitiveness, to which bureaucrats have an aversion, will spread throughout Japanese society. The major reason for the existence of the Japanese bureaucracy has been to protect the system. However, if the competitive principle is introduced into Japanese society, it will lead to the abolishment of protectionism, and the current bureaucracy will become obsolete. Japanese society will change and priority will be placed on people, not the system. This is the reason why the words "kisei teppai" or deregulation are not used.


It is important to recognize that the words "kisei kanwa" or relaxation are deceptive to both the Japanese and foreign businesses that want to enter the Japanese market. Relaxation will bring little change to society, but even relaxation faces resistance from the bureaucrats. So what happens if people start to use the words "kisei teppai," the real meaning of deregulation? The degree of resistance will dramatically increase.


When the public demands freedom and uses the words "kisei teppai," the bureaucrats will no longer be able to hide behind ambiguity, and they will reveal that the system is more important than the people. The public must realize that the system can be manipulative and places more importance on itself than on the people. The best example of this is observed through the way people were victimized during W.W.II. Yet even with this devastating experience many Japanese have not developed the ability to question authority. Why do the Japanese behave so innocently towards authority? The answer is because the Japanese have been castrated psychologically through education.


Now let's focus on the Japanese educational system. Driving through the English countryside you see many sheep grazing on the hillside, which brings a feeling of peacefulness. This peacefulness is exactly what the bureaucrats want to obtain in Japanese society. But I want to emphasize that they want this peacefulness because their ideal image of the public is one where people are submissive and subservient. With such a group people are easy to control, and the system does not have to change. How do the bureaucrats manage to castrate the Japanese so effectively? The school system is the place where they conduct this process. In order to he a castrated individual one has to cultivate masochism, and this is why the concept of self-sacrifice has penetrated Japanese society to such depths. Self-sacrifice can be seen in such behavior as not taking a long vacation, a willingness to participate in unpaid overtime, the absence of a personal life and death from overwork. What self-sacrifice does to people is that because people, have a lack of free time, it becomes extremely difficult for them to accumulate knowledge. As Francis Bacon said, "Knowledge is power," but the system prevents people from accumulating knowledge on their own, the kind of knowledge that has the capacity to lead to change.


This philosophy was clearly observed at a retirement party for one of my superiors. During his farewell address, he pointed out to the crowd that he had never taken any vacation days during his entire 25-year career. If he were to take all of his accumulated vacation days it would amount to two years off. It became very clear that he was proud of not having taken his vacation days, and most people listening to his speech admired his self-sacrificing ability. I myself thought he was crazy. I would like to point out that the philosophy of self-sacrifice is nothing new. Fifty years ago the same mentality led to the infamous kamikaze attacks.


When you remove the democratic cover of Japan you start to observe conformity, mercantilism and a communist-like society. But the Japanese socialistic and communist-like approach is a little different from the Soviet model. They try to communize ability. Let me explain. The Japanese educational system discourages creativity and originality. There is a famous saying that the nail that sticks out will be hammered down. People who are ordinary are given power to pull down those who have more ability than the others. Since this value prevails in Japanese society, it becomes extremely difficult for people to become creative or challenge the system. Envy is used as a powerful toot to castrate people who are talented.


Envy is a psychological energy. Beginning in the Edo period the Japanese government realized that condoning envy would preserve the system. To condone envy has been very effective since there is a limitation to one's psychological energy. If people are permitted to bring out their envy, it is very easy to lash out but at the same time they recognize they have to protect themselves from other people's envy. They end up using most of their energy to conform to the group's norms. People embrace the illusion that once they belong to the group their ability will be the same. This is where I view envy as a tool to psychologically castrate individuals. Through condoning envy, what happens is that people hide behind the image of sameness.


However, to reach the goal of communization of ability is not an easy task because the fact is that each human being is different. Ibis is where to teach that you look, think and act the same becomes important. This kind of sameness is clearly an illusion, so how can people embrace an illusion? Mind control is the answer, and the educational system plays a major role in this process. Once you belong to the educational system of Japan teachers reject the principle of individuality. What is frightening is that teachers are not aware that they are rejecting individuality. Despite molding students with conformity, they think that they are encouraging individuality. This means that mind control extends even to the teachers. Acknowledging individuality would permit the recognition that even if you are Japanese each individual can be different, and the illusion that the bureaucrats want the Japanese to maintain will be shattered. Let me illustrate how the Japanese educational system tries to discourage individuality.


One of my friends placed her child in kindergarten and the teacher instructed the mother that for lunch to bring steamed rice. She was confused with this instruction and asked the reason why. The teacher's response was, "If children bring fried rice or sandwiches some other child may want to have that, and it is not a good idea for children to feel they want something different. If everyone brings steamed rice then nobody is going to wish for something they cannot have. Even at the age of four, the discouragement of individuality or the mind control of conformity begins. The message that the kindergarten gives to the child is that "we all eat the same food, take the same action and think the same." The idea of the communization of ability is drilled into you from early on in your life.


in order to achieve the goal of the communization of ability, in addition to mind control, to control the individual through regulations is very important. As all of you are aware, communist countries, such as the former Soviet Union, are countries of regulations. Although not to the same extent, the same principle applies to Japan. The Ministry of Education imposes regulations on schoolchildren, and the regulations increase as age increases. In other words, as the child goes through elementary school, junior high and senior high, the older they become, the tighter the school regulations. Universities are the only exceptions. There one is freed from regulations. However, by the time he reaches age 18, the Japanese child has become a perfect sheep. As sheep on the meadow are not concerned with freedom, to most university students in Japan, freedom as a concept is not important. One could say that Japanese universities are a place to finalize the goal of castration, and the proof of this is that critical thinking is not encouraged. Students are submissive and it is unusual for students to challenge their professors. When you took at this from the perspective of group psychology, which is based on narcissistic identification, since critical thinking will create a ripple it is understandable that professors do not encourage it. Japanese universities are a kind of oasis where few demands are made on the students.


There are many schools in Japan where the school regulations demand that boys have closely cropped hair. This regulation has a very strong psychological implication. One place I know where closely cropped hair is demanded is jail. Closely cropped hair is a sign of castration. Jail is obviously a place to be psychologically castrated. The Japanese educational system is obviously not a jail, however if one goes through this process, students will be behind invisible bars.


So what happens to the girls in terms of castration? As much as Japan as a system maintains the dogma that man is superior over woman, when it comes to psychological castration women receive equal treatment. For girls in junior or senior high the regula-tions range from hair length, skirt length, the number of pleats in their skirt, to the point that the color of their underwear is checked. Of course manicures or pierced ears are banned.


Psychologically speaking hair symbolizes power, and at the same time it is an expression of one's thoughts, emotions and conflicts. So there is a good reason for the Japanese school system to place importance on hair. For example, if a child, regardless of sex, has light colored or curly hair, he or she either has to dye their hair black or to have a straight perm, or to present a certificate from their parents that the condition of their hair is natural. Therefore, imposing regulations on hair has a significant implication for the process of psychological castration. As you may recognize, through hair, the educational system demands that students share the illusion that all Japanese are the same.


As I mentioned earlier, the goal of education is to castrate individuals and to make them obedient, yet this is a difficult goal to achieve. Therefore regulations extend beyond the school setting. The majority of Japanese junior and senior high schools have a regulation that students must wear uniforms. Some schools demand that students must  wear their uniforms when they go out in public after school or on weekends. In addition, there is a regulation that even if students are thirsty on their way home from school, they cannot buy drinks from vending machines. They have to persevere with their thirst until they go back home. Many public and private schools in Japan observe a seasonal change in clothing, which has been set for June 1, for winter clothes to summer clothes, and October 1, for summer clothes to winter clothes. If either before or after these dates there is some significant temperature differences, if one feels either hot or cold, you cannot respond flexibly and wear the appropriate clothes. As you may recognize, uniforms are used as a way to teach perseverance and how to endure masochism, and to persevere together will unite the group. In Japan the uniform has been utilized as a tool for conformity. These are just a few examples, but you can find hundreds more school regulations to control students so they do not have a chance to breathe the air of freedom.


The goal of castration is overseen by the Ministry of Education and their justification for this is that acknowledging individual differences will hurt the feelings of those students who do not have ability. The ministry thinks that it is preferable to avoid this kind of situation, and to place importance on being empathic with those children who are below average. The children with ability should persevere. I find this way of thinking to be strange since if you place importance on empathy, it is equally important to be empathic to those children who have ability. However, since castration is the goal, children who exhibit ability must suppress their talent. In fact, Japan is the only industrialized nation where people with ability or creativity become victims.


The problem with this kind of highly regulated educational environment is that students will not develop independence. The feeling of dependency will be perpetuated so that they will not move away from childlike grandiosity and students' pride will be inflated to an unrealistic level. So what happens is that students who receive a Japanese education place the most importance on not getting hurt. Self-protection becomes the major goal in their life. What fragile pride does to individuals is to prevent them from taking an action. From the bureaucrats' perspective, for Japan to be filled with this kind of individual is a plus because the bureaucratic goal of maintaining the status quo will be achieved.


Placing importance on the status quo can be observed through Japanese education where challenge is not valued. What is emphasized is memorization. When people go through the process of castration, their feelings become anesthetized, and although they may be able to recognize problems, they are unable to complain. So even if people are frustrated they cannot take any action. Furthermore, it becomes extremely difficult to encourage creativity or enrich one's individual potential.


One of the significant differences between Japan and the West is that art is not a part of everyday life for the Japanese. Some of you may argue that there is art in Japan, but it is not art that has the potential to change one's thinking or challenge the established order. Noh, kabuki and the tea ceremony are all art, but art that supports the current system, and it is only such art that can be a part of Japanese daily life. This indicates that there is a strong psychological castration within Japanese society. From a psychoanalytic point of view, what castration in education does to people is that their identity integration cannot mature, which makes it very difficult for people to control their impulses such as aggression. It is a well known fact that there is an ambiguity in Japanese yes and no, and this is connected to the fact that the Japanese have not developed a mature capacity to control their impulses. If people are confronted with no, it is inevitable that they will have a wish to fight back or to protect their opinion. In order to do this intelligently, one has to develop a capacity to debate issues in a logical manner. But in order to have this ability one has to have a capacity to regulate one's impulses.


When castration continues to be the goal of education, if people face competition, their dependency will be stimulated and they will develop anxiety. When people face competitiveness they try to remove themselves from the competitive environment and look for someone who can protect them. Therefore, the educational goal of castration further reinforces the bureaucracy. The system is astonishing in having successfully manipulated the psychology of people to control them, thereby preserving the system.


To be castrated is to be enslaved, and so far the Japanese have been enslaved under the system of Japan. I do not believe in Plato’s view in the "The Republic" where value is placed on totalitarianism. But I do think that the parable of the cave resembles the issue of freedom and regulation in Japanese society. Prisoners chained inside a cave are only permitted to see the shadows of objects on a wall. They inhabit a world of illusion. They are not allowed to turn their heads and see the source of light, or reality.


What happens if all of a sudden the prisoners are given freedom, and they can finally see the light? It will bring shock and distress. Reality will be too painful and they will wish to return to the cave.


Freedom demands responsibility. As Erich Fromm described in his book "Escape from Freedom," deep inside people's hearts there exists a tendency to escape from freedom and become blindly obedient to power. The Japanese bureaucracy has successfully manipulated this element through education, and does not allow the Japanese to develop the capacity to stand on their own two feet, which is why they are obedient and submissive to the bureaucracy. There is irony in the Japanese bureaucracy in that the system so effectively traps people in the cave, but at the same time enslaves the bureaucrats. In fact one could say that the bureaucrats are the biggest victims of all.


It is about time for the bureaucracy to accept the brightness of the light. Introducing perfunctory deregulation means going back into the cave. But this is not the answer. The answer is, as painful as it may be, the bureaucracy must accept the need for restructuring the system of Japan. There is only one way to restructure and that is deregulation, "kisei teppai," not "kisei kanwa".


What will be demanded of Japanese society is for the Japanese people to liberate themselves from the psychological castration imposed by the bureaucracy. Therefore, instead of the bureaucrats controlling people, the people will develop a capacity to control themselves. After all the bureaucracy is there to enrich the lives of the people. The people do not exist to maintain the bureaucracy.

 - END -




Chinese Eunuchs
The Structure of Intimate Politics
by Taisuke Mitamura


Selected Excerpts

Several pages of history and suggestive description to be included here followed by:


Eunuch-like Men in Modern Times

Can it be claimed that eunuchs are now only a nightmarish part of the past? This may sound ridiculous, but it bears consideration.


As Sun I Jang pointed out, both China and Turkey--lands of eunuchs--perished because of internal weakness at the turn of the century, and countries in which eunuchs were never known dominate today's world. Moreover, since humanism and rationalism have come to be the guiding principles of our age, the rebirth of a eunuch system is inconceivable.


Eunuch-like men, however, are still among us today. Returning briefly to the origin of eunuchs, it will be recalled that in the theocratic Yin dynasty, where the rulers were considered sacred, eunuchs were employed to preserve secrets. These eunuchs not only served as secretaries but formed cliques. The word "secretary" derives from the word "secret;" thus eunuchs may be called the first secretaries in history...


Since there was no place in the theocracies of China and Turkey for rationalism and humanism, the creation of eunuchs was a natural result. Based on this reasoning, there is no room for eunuchs in our modern world. Yet I cannot help feeling that the ghosts of eunuchs are still active today. If it is true that eunuchs were the product of power structures, then it should be equally true that people similar to the eunuchs exist today, for such power structures still exist, although altered in form.


Dehumanization by castration is out of the, question today, but it seems that we, as men, are being stripped of our manhood in the sense that we are becoming only part of a system. We are woven into large organizational nets in one form or another in all areas of society. Large firms employ enough people to populate a town or a city, and they have organized them through scientific management. As a result, such men now constitute only units or numbers in huge organizations.


It might be pointed out that in America, asexual tendencies have become a subject of concern. Dehumanization of the organizational man can no longer be dismissed as just a theory. Perhaps it can be said that we are fast becoming eunuchs in a psychological sense.


Many are inclined to believe that absolute rulers wielded tremendous power, but by present-day standards, their power was considerably limited. This is suggested by the remark of a subject under autocratic rule: "When the sun rises I till my land, and when it sets I rest. The emperor's power means nothing to me." In comparison, the power of today's great organizations is tremendous.


When we remember that the eunuchs functioned best in the T'ang dynasty, which had the best administrative organization in Chinese history, it can be seen that secretarial bodies do not clash with well-organized institutions. We can assume that organs directly attached to management will play increasingly important roles.


The question is whether modern secretarial groups can escape the stigma that was attached to eunuchs. One reason for arrogance on the part of eunuchs was their deep involvement in the private lives of the emperors. In this respect, it should be noted that the spirit of harmony has long served as the guiding principle in Japanese organizations, that enterprises are communities and government offices are large families. And eunuch-like existence in the form of groups directly attached to those in power are by no means alien to our modern age.

 - END -




corporate enviro-hormones:
Scientists Speak on Alchemical Emasculation


Peter Myers, coauthor
  "Our Stolen Future"


Selected Big Medicine Interview Excerpts

This debate on hormone disrupters or environmental hormones, as the Japanese call them, is suddenly everywhere - on the talk shows, in the newspapers. What are environmental hormones and why should we be concerned about them?

Pete Myers: Well, I think it is appropriate that the concept should be everywhere because environmental hormones are everywhere. Let's begin with that. Environmental hormones or endocrine disrupters or hormone disrupters are compounds, many of which are synthetic, that interfere with the natural role of hormones in regulating the development of organisms as they grow from an embryo to adulthood. A developing human fetus, for example, is like a sponge for chemical signals telling him how to grow, what to become. Those signals come from its genes, and they come from his mother under normal circumstances. The embryo receives them and they help that embryo decide in a sense whether or not to become a male or a female, or figure out how many fingers to have, or how to wire its brain. These chemical signals naturally coming from the genes are absolutely crucial in determining the organization of that individual as he or she or it is growing to maturity.

Environmental hormones or endocrine disrupters - at least some of them - are compounds that humans have synthesized and we have relatively recently discovered interfere with that message system, that chemical messaging system, which is directing the development of life. It is kind of like if you driving in a car and you have a cell phone, I don't know if this metaphor will work in Japan, but if you have a cell phone and you don't know where to go and so you decide to call who ever it is whose house you are going to. You say tell me how to make it through the next intersection or how to reach your home. And so you are driving along and they say turn right and then they say turn left and keep on straight for four blocks, and all of a sudden there is a big burst of static just at a crucial moment as you are driving and so instead of turning right you turn left. That is the disruption of a signal that leads, in this case, to a car taking a wrong path. Fortunately that car can turn around and you can go back.

What happens when a chemical disrupter interferes with chemical messages that are naturally telling the fetus how to grow is they push the developing fetus off in the wrong direction and it can't go back. Development is not a process that you can reverse. These are permanent changes in development. What they do, what they have the potential of doing depending upon the nature of the chemical, the amount of the chemical, and the timing of its delivery is that if they can have an impact on intelligence and behavior, on reproductive capacity and on the ability to resist disease. In shorthand, they can make you sick, sterile and stupid.

They don't all do that and frankly the science on a lot of this is quite uncertain, but we have seen enough evidence from wildlife and from laboratory experiments with animals to know that they are very plausible end points.

That then takes me to the question of where is it appropriate in society to be doing these experiments. Here we are releasing chemicals into the environment - because they are getting into the environment and they are getting into mothers and they are being transferred to the fetus. We have had a number of papers here, and there are posters here, that document that. By default we are performing experiments in our developing kids. I don't think that that is an appropriate place to do it. I think it is much more appropriate for the people who are interested in using those compounds or in making money from those compounds to be performing exhaustive experiments, laboratory demonstrations of safety prior to releasing the compounds into the world.

What is your involvement in this?

Myers: It's a long path. My background is as a research ecologist. I study the population biology of birds, that is what my Ph.D. is in, and in the early seventies I was studying in California at the University of California at Berkeley. And I had a colleague who was at UC Davis, and he had discovered that when small levels of DDE were injected into the eggs of gulls, it feminized the gulls that were exposed to that compound. The male embryos that were exposed in this experimental situation grew up partially feminized, partially deformed etc. This study had been done because it had been noted in the field, in the area around Los Angeles, particularly around the channel islands, that there were colonies of birds in which there were females pairing with females. So when they found female-female pairing, people were asking why is this happening?

For a while they were thinking that it might be some natural evolutionary response to the shortage of males for whatever reason. It happened that that area was already known as being heavily contaminated by DDT because there was a big plant producing DDT in Los Angeles. Throughout the fifties and the sixties it was releasing DDT into Los Angeles, into the ocean near Los Angeles. That DDT concentrated in the food chains in these islands and the contamination led to large-scale declines in a number of bird species.

So there were people studying this contamination. The person who noted this female-female pairing asked some questions, thinking well maybe it is related to this contamination. And so a neuro-pharmacologist from Davis stepped in and performed these very, very important experiments. And I saw that, because I knew the people doing the work.

I was fascinated, because it rang a whole bunch of bells for me, you know, what does this mean for people? What does this mean for other species who are exposed if this type of contamination can affect things that are as profound as the determination of whether an organism grows up to be a male or a female. That is pretty fundamental. I had spent a bit of time - this was in about 1975 - asking, "well, do we know enough at this moment to extrapolate from these data to people or to mammals?" And we didn't.

I didn't want to be a chemist at the time and I moved to another area of research. But that issue moved along a bit and it appeared to be resolved that contamination did have to do with the decrease in the numbers. The female-female pairing was a result of a decrease in the numbers of functional males. The number of functional males had been decreased by this feminization process in the population.

By the late eighties, I was studying bird migration and I was studying a species of bird that had decreased by ninety percent. It was a species that migrates from the high North American Arctic to Chile and Peru. I was working on them in Chile and Peru and tracking their migration pathways to the Arctic, wondering, or trying to figure out why this population decline had occurred. As I was there I came to learn that these birds concentrated at the mouths of river valleys in Peru that were heavily agriculturized. It was quite striking, because you would walk along the coast and you knew you were getting close to a river valley because you were overwhelmed by the smell of pesticides. You could smell it, it was that thick.

I began to think about the physiology of migration in birds. In essence, a bird puts on a lot of weight prior to migration and then it burns the fat during migration. That is how it energizes itself, it is the fuel it uses to fly. This particular species fly three or four days non-stop - seven thousand miles. And as it does that it reduces its weight by almost fifty percent by burning the fat. Well, these pesticides concentrate in the fat. OK, now the bird eats something that is contaminated with pesticide. They pick up the pesticides that have chemical characteristics such that they concentrate in the fat. And as they burn the fat during flight, the pesticide is liberated. Well, in a bird when you are decreasing body fat and you let these compounds loose in the blood, they concentrate in the brain, because the brain is the other big source of lipids, where the compounds concentrate.

So I began to ask, "well, to what degree might this disappearance be related to a decline in migratory competency? Are they just going off in the wrong direction, falling in the ocean?" I began to look at that. Again there was no research and there still isn't enough research to answer that question, but at that time I was giving lectures about this and I met a woman named Theo Colburn who came up to me after a lecture and said, "we have got to talk because you are talking about things I am very interested in." And that started a ten-year collaboration with Theo, who is the senior author in Our Stolen Future.

She was at the time looking at a variety of wildlife debilities in the Great Lakes region in the U.S. and realizing that they were falling outside the focal concern of the moment which was how contaminants cause cancer. These things were not suffering from cancer, they were suffering from developmental disabilities that have nothing to do with cancer. In essence, I started working with Theo. I created a job for her at the foundation that I direct She and I worked there for several years together and began to learn a lot about the science you are hearing about today.

Japan's incredibly intense interest in this can essentially be dated from the translation of your book Our Stolen Future which came on the Japanese shelves when, in August or September of 1997 ...

Myers: No, actually it hit Japanese shelves in December of '97. I came here to Kyoto a year ago for COP 3, and I had twenty advance copies of the book. I couldn't get anyone to take them. I had twenty advance copies of the Japanese edition, and I couldn't find anyone who wanted them, so I gave them to some people I knew, people from Friends of the Earth .....

But the book has spurred incredible interest in the Japanese public recently and this has ramified through the government till now you have this big conference here. Could you explain the central thesis of the book and what trouble you ran into after publishing it, how it was received?

Myers: The basis of the book is evidence coming from wildlife and laboratory studies and isolated populations. It is well studied small populations of people who were exposed through industrial accidents or medical mistakes - the evidence coming from those three different sources tells us that certain types of chemical contaminants, endocrine disrupters, are capable of causing developmental disruptions in people that relate to disease resistance, intelligence and fertility and reproductive capacity. And the book reviews the well known science coming from those sources and then asks a series of questions.

In essence, we say if this is true, then what pattern should we be looking for in people at large? And we raised a number of questions. We identify the relevant science and try to identify the uncertainties about what can be concluded from that kind of science about people in general and what can't, what research would be useful to help resolve the unknowns that we acknowledge remain.

The book has a section which in a sense says, "look, these risks are plausible and in some cases they are well demonstrated." Many people might wish to reduce the risks they themselves run personally. And so there is a section in the book about different steps that people can take to lower their exposures. There is also a section about recommendations that we make for additional research and appropriate governmental policies given what is known and what is not known at this time. That is the basic outline of the book.

The reaction in the U.S. was quite different from what it was here. We were hit by industry even before the book published. They got an advance copy of the book somehow. They had press releases out before the book came out. They engaged in a full scale disinformation campaign trying to undermine the thesis of the book and they were really effective.

Industry being?

Myers: Industry being representatives of the manufacturers of polyvinyl chloride, the trade associations such as the Chemical Manufacturers Association, the Vinyl Chloride Institute, the Chlorine Chemistry Council. Trade associations especially of those industries whose products include a number of things that have been clearly identified as endocrine disrupters. They looked at pieces from the book and they recognized that there are some fundamental aspects of the science about endocrine disruption that differ markedly from traditional toxicology and represent much larger threats to their way of doing business then anything they have encountered in the past.

Those key differences have to do with the level of exposure, the nature of the impacts, and also the fact you can't predict low dose effects from high dose experiments. The whole regulatory structure in the U.S. is structured around simplifying laboratory experiments by using high doses on laboratory animals over a short period and assuming that that gives you a picture of what low dose effects will be.

What we know from the science - and you will hear Fred Vom Saal talk about it later today - is that there are certain types of effects that only appear at low doses. And this is a very complicated issue. It is a new part of toxicology and in fact it comes about because the science of endocrine disruption merges endocrinology and toxicology. It is one of these classic examples where something at the interstices of two disciplines hasn't been looked at.

Endocrinologists by and large weren't interested in toxicology. Toxicologist didn't know much about endocrinology. It was only when you created an interface between those two fields that you began to ask some very sophisticated questions about the non-traditional impacts, the non-cancer endpoints, and non-cell death impacts of contaminants. Does that make sense?

So what was the final effect? The industry came out against you, they started circulating disinformation and discrediting you...

Myers: Yes, which has continued until today. As recently as a month ago, there was a major broadside against us in an article in Forbes magazine called 'Truth Imposters,' misrepresenting the book and misrepresenting the science of a number of people here.

So what was the impact?

Myers: Fortunately, well, the impact took place at two levels. The disinformation, which was done very, very intelligently I think, managed to squelch any broadscale public interest in the book. In particular there was an article in the New York Times that appeared in April of 1996, about a month after the book came out, that criticized some of the book's material on changes in sperm count. It was written in a way that ignored a lot of the science around the issue and focused on several skeptics who are purported to have data showing there is no sperm count decline.

That article then discouraged mass media from carrying stories about the book, even though the sperm count issue was only a small part of what was in the book. Even though the New York Times coverage dramatically misrepresented what the real state of scientific understanding was, that in essence changed how the book itself was received.

On the other hand, the scientific community was really stimulated both by the book and by the increasing attention being paid to some of the issues, some of the science that we wrote about in the book. That has not stopped, that has increased. That if anything gives me some degree of optimism about what is going to happen as long as public moneys remain available for research on this issue, at least in the U.S.

Just as in Japan, in the U.S. there has been a big expansion in the public moneys available for research on this issue, and at least in the U.S., I have some confidence about the way that that's being applied by the National Institute of Environmental Sciences - they are the research wing of the EPA - and by the academic labs that are receiving public money. I have less confidence in those places that are receiving moneys from industries to carry out the research.

I think while there are certainly some good scientists who work for companies, the irrefutable picture overall is that, on average, research coming out of companies - out of scientific labs funded by companies that have vested interests in the findings - they tend to find results that minimize the health impacts of their products.

How do you understand the apparently enthusiastic response of the Japanese government to this field?

Myers: I'm not sure, I look at it and marvel. I find it encouraging at one level. And I think it must ultimately rest in the interest in the Japanese people. I can't imagine that the Japanese government by itself would take an interest unless there was some sense there was real public interest in the issue. I monitor the Japanese press from the States, at least what is published in English magazines and newspapers. It is clear there is interest, dramatic interest, so I think the government is responding to that.

So then the question really becomes, why is there such dramatic interest in the Japanese public? And you can tell me if this is right or wrong, but my sense is that there has been a cultural experience in this country of a number of cases, dramatic cases, that have involved widespread fetal deformities - well understood, undeniable things like the Minamata and Hiroshima cases where people saw their babies being deformed. And my sense has been that it is very deeply understood by a broad sweep of the Japanese public. So this issue fell upon that cultural context and made sense.

That is one thing. Secondly, there is undeniably contamination in Japan by endocrine disrupters. Some of the dioxin levels that are being measured here are very high. A part of this whole story is plastic, and the fact that we are discovering that certain types of plastics leach endocrine disrupters into the food. Well, I doubt whether there is a country in the world in which plastic plays a more ubiquitous role in the lifestyle than here.

You know, you raised some issues in your question yesterday about societal changes that are taking place (juvenalization, political apathy, sexual dysfunction) that are actually valid if you look at the behavioral research on people. The studies that were reported yesterday on kids growing up around Lake Aswego and the latest studies on animals - there are pieces within that science which are consistent with the caponization hypothesis which you put out there.

All those factors contribute, I think, and my understanding is that there is ground level sensitivity in Japan to the fact that there have been some fairly big changes in how people relate to one another here. So I think that there are a number of factors like that that meant there was a pre-existing cultural receptivity for the message of our book and it basically lit the fire for which the fuel is already present.

The Japanese industries are reacting fairly rapidly as you probably know. There are already piles of disinformation on the press tables here and you have encountered so much industry resistance. How much is this going to cost them? I mean, what kind of economic impact is cleaning up environmental disrupters going to have?

Myers: I think It depends upon how you measure economic impact. In fact it can be a boon to the economy because people will buy the replacement products. I speak a lot to the public on these issues. I accept invitations from industries to address industry trade associations. My wife insists when I do that I wear a bulletproof vest except that she forgets that I am making jobs for all these people, for all the PR flacks and lawyers who are trying to defend the companies. A lot of people have gotten jobs attacking the book.

So I accept speeches and I will never forget one speech that I gave to something called the Society for Plastics Engineers in Camden, New Jersey about two years ago, and it was a very confrontational interaction. I gave my usual set of comments and there were people seated in the audience to hit me with the usual questions that seem to follow me and my other co-authors around quite predictably.

After this interaction most people left but two men remained. They were quite large, and they started coming towards me, and this was Camden, New Jersey. I remembered Camden's probably most famous for being a good place to wind up in concrete in the river. So I was wondering if we were moving into a new phase of interaction but they came forward and said, "we really like what you are doing."

It didn't instantly compute. I said, "excuse me, you what?" They said, "well, we like what you are doing. You are making certain plastic commodities unsellable in the market, and we got the replacements, and we are going to make a lot of money."

So I think there will be product lines that will be discontinued, but there will be other product lines that are started again with better information. A part of the problem is because no one was thinking of a toxicology model that combines endocrinology and toxicology, there is a whole series of questions that weren't answered, end points which weren't examined, which meant that people weren't designing products with the right designing criteria.

I am convinced that at least a part of the solution involves giving companies a better set of design criteria, saying we don't want endocrine disrupting compounds in products that we bring into our homes and expose our kids to. And if we are clear about that, and the science is adequate, those products can be designed and companies will continue to prosper by providing things for people that they want.

So I think that the economic arguments against dealing with this in a forthright way are surmountable.

Science can conceivably respond in terms of future products, but we are also talking about the retroactive effects and the clean-up, the potential class action suits, doesn't that pose a major threat to a lot of people ...

Myers: I don't know what the numbers are. It may. It very quickly moves outside of the realm of pure science and becomes an ethical issue. It becomes an issue as to what society is willing to impose on its citizens, particularly on the most vulnerable portions of that citizenry, particularly on children, and it becomes a question as to what we are willing to pay

But industry is actively attending this conference, for example, and you saw their flyer out in the hall saying that styrene cups for cup noodles are no threat whatsoever.

Myers: That is an interesting paper. I can't read Japanese but I understand that is being promoted first as contradicting Our Stolen Future, because they say Our Stolen Future called styrene estrogenic. Well, in fact we do not call it estrogenic. It is not estrogenic in so far as I know. It does have neuro-endocrine effects, however. Their study simply addresses that one suite of hormone end points, it addresses estrogen effects. It ignores completely the effects it does have. In fact, the reason why Our Stolen Future mentioned styrene was not because it had estrogen effects. It is a classic example of industry holding up the flag in one area when the truth lies over in another place, and using that flag to distract people from the truth.

OK, one of the major audiences for the book has been the NGOs that have been working in environmental reclamation and protection What kind of information flow is there right now between the scientists and the NGOs? How do you see them maximizing the effects of your research?

Myers: NGOs in a number of countries, a range of NGOs are absorbing information about this issue and instructing their memberships about this stuff so they can take steps as people to avoid risks, as well as organizing efforts to change public policy. Probably the most constructive efforts on changing public policy right now relate to transparency issues. I don't know how this plays in Japan, but in the U.S. there is a big push on to implement what are called right-to-know laws. In essence, to get back to plastics for a moment, you go to the supermarket and you have a choice of plastic containers to buy. You live in a microwave society so you are going to use these things to microwave your food in. But right now you go to the supermarket and you can't tell from the label whether the plastic used in this one or that one are safe to use in a microwave. Some probably are safe, some almost certainly are not. But you as a consumer don't know which ones are and which ones are not, and that is true not just for plastics used in microwaves but for a wide variety of consumer products. Like whether kids toys contain or don't contain plasticizers, of course they are a wide range of products.

We think that one of the most effective tools for creating an environment in which industry responds appropriately to these issues is ensuring there are product labels that allow people to choose, because mothers will choose things that will minimize the risk for their kids, period. Mothers will act in the face of uncertainty to minimize risk in general. That's an incredibly powerful tool sending economic signals to industry about what it is consumers want to have and the things they are buying.

In California there has been a ballot initiative called Proposition 65, which basically has developed these right-to-know laws in the context of cancer causing compounds. And there has been a huge effect in terms of shifting the design of products away from things that include materials that cause risks. That is true in California. There is an effort now being made to extend that nationally. It would also be quite an useful step here, particularly given the wide scale public interest in this issue.

OK, but there is also a strong industry push in the other direction. For example, Monsanto has lobbied the government heavily to suppress any information about the use of their recombinant bovine growth hormone in dairy cattle.

Myers: I know that there is pressure in the opposite direction and that is one of the things that the NGO community is expecting to fight for all it is worth. In the U.S. quite recently, at least in these last couple of months, there has been a big battle waged on plasticizers in kids' toys and it reached a boiling point about a month ago when the ABC show 2020 had an expose on plasticizers used in kids toys and the role of government and particular companies in pushing European countries not to ban thallide, the plasticizer, in kids toys.

As shooting for that show was coming to a close and ABC was attempting to interview the heads of Mattel and other toy manufacturers, manufacturer after manufacturer made public commitments to get thallides out of kids' toys, because they were concerned that the consumer response to their products would be devastating. So it can work and it works through a committed combination of public education and NGO organizing around issues like that.

I don't know the NGO community here or how well they function in efforts like that. My understanding is that it is far less confrontational, far less effective...

Yeah, the groups are very vegetarian around here. But since such a large portion of this is information and enlightenment activity, the mass media's role would seem exceedingly important. What has been their track record so far in the States?

Myers: It has been mixed. I mentioned the New York Times earlier and unfortunately the New York Times is the seal of approval for a lot of mass media. They follow the lead of New York Times. This coverage has been all over the map. There have been excellent stories in virtually every big paper including the New York Times. There have also been bad stories. I am encouraged given the fact the stories continue to come out, showing that the risks aren't going away, showing in fact that there is a consistent pattern, that we are discovering new risks.

We are thinking about new systems, we are asking new questions, and the science that is coming out is even identifying places where this risk may not be as large as we had thought. For example, the conference discussion today of the role of excreted contraceptives in feminizing fish - this shows there are other things clearly involved in all this, but the picture that is emerging is that the risks are real.

The science is growing and I think if I were in industry and I was looking at the range of laboratories that are working on this issue, I would be scared because they are each going to nail different parts of the problem.

Personally when you look at the problem what gives you the greatest feeling of urgency? What would you like to see tackled hardest and quickest?

Myers: The two things that give me the greatest sense of urgency - one has partly been mentioned here, one hasn't been... No, both have barely been touched on here, and they have to do with the effects on disease resistance and on intelligence and behavior. I think that based on the work by Tom that was presented yesterday and related things I think levels in the human population at large are high enough now to have contributed to an erosion of our ability to deal with complex problems just at a time when our societies need to be smart and sharp and on top of things as possible.

You mean it is dumbing us down?

Myers: Yeah. I think so. Now the science on that is uncertain, but as I look at what is out there, particularly as I look at Darvil's work, Jacobson's work, and you compare the levels at which they are seeing effects to average levels in the population, I think ...

Could you summarize it in a few words for people who cannot read the research?

Myers: What some very excellent studies have found is that relatively low levels of PCB exposure experienced by the developing fetus, levels that are not that much higher than the average population exposures in the US, cause reductions in IQs, cause slower learning ability, as much as two-year retardation in reading ability at the age of eleven in the US. I also think that there are serious animal data suggesting attention deficit disorder is related to certain types of contaminations - clearly related to lead, probably related to PCBs. All those behavioral issues, they are a lot of the things that make me worry. I think the effects are probably real.

And for young people, well, for anyone, but particularly for young people who are old enough to be aware of these things, could you summarize just how they might reduce their exposure or risk? Or is it too late?

Myers: No, no. I think they need to think about their children. A girl who is ten or twelve needs to be thinking about her children right now and constructing a lifestyle that minimizes the risk for that as yet unconceived child.

What are the features of that lifestyle?

Myers: Eating low on the food chain, avoid animal fats - that is the principal source of dioxin in the diet. Dioxin and PCB - the principle source is animal fat. I would demand that my local water supplier test the water for endocrine disrupters and then I would find sources of water that didn't have them. I'd eat fruits and vegetables in season, because the ones that are out of season are being imported from areas where the standards of pesticide regulations by and large are going to be less stringent then they are here in Japan or in the United States. So there are a lot of dietary things that one can do to minimize one's risks and for the kids that are yet to be born. The thing about the PCB contamination study was that the relationship was between intelligence and lifetime consumption of fish, contaminated fish, prior to pregnancy. You can eat uncontaminated fish. Find out where your fish is from. Deep ocean fish is fine.

I guess because of your interest in migratory patterns, you have also taken quite an international interest in this problem. We noticed yesterday that most of the research shows American statistics or European statistics, and then everybody else is thrown into one big bag. What kind of impact do you see on the Third World, knowing their agricultural chemical policies?

Myers: The impact is enormous. There was an amazing study that was published last year that will stagger any mother or father looking at it. It was of kids living in Mexico in two adjacent areas, one that was more or less ranch land and one that was agricultural land. The kids on the agricultural land were living in the midst of very intensive spraying, and the researchers did a very simple test. They asked the kids at the age of four to draw people, "draw me a person." The kids living on the ranch land, who were ethnically the same as the ones living on the agricultural land and had more or less the same diet, those kids could draw stick figures just like any normal kid can. But the four-year-olds living in the agricultural fields you couldn't recognize what they were drawing at all. It was so evocative...

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Frederick Vom Saal on Ubiquitous Anti-Androgens


Selected Big Medicine Interview Excerpts

How did you get involved with the endocrine disrupter issue?

Vom Saal: It started by talking to Theo Colburn about an idea that was just forming in her mind at the time. She noticed the work that I was doing on very low doses of hormones and how they alter development, and thought if that was possible then low doses of environmental chemicals could also have an effect. She said she wanted to have a meeting to discuss this, and that was the Wingspread meeting and we have been working on this issue ever since.

I took a look at the information at that time and said that there is obviously a very serious problem here that no one has ever recognized, and that is how I got involved in endocrine disrupters, because they are chemicals in the environment that act like hormones and I am an expert on hormone action and so for me studying these chemicals is studying them as hormones....

Isn’t your research facing an entire range of hostile corporate activity?

VS: Absolutely. This is a very serious problem.

Yet Japan's Environment Agency yesterday basically followed the industry line and declared that there is not a problem with low dose effects...

VS: Yes, let me address that. This is what we call "double think". What is very interesting in the process of calculating the risk of a chemical, you have four components. You identify the hazard, what hazard does it cause? A reproductive damage, a brain damage? You determine how much exposure there is in the population. Then in experiments you test different doses of that chemical in laboratory animals. And then you put all of that together and you characterize risk as a political decision, including the economic consequences of the chemical. This is what the public doesn't understand. This is not based on the science. This is based on economic considerations, the last part.

But the interesting thing that I point out is that the dosage used in the testing studies, in laboratory studies, are not based on any information provided about how much we are exposed to. They are based on the assumption that you can test massive amounts of these chemicals in animals and then predict effects at the very low doses that we are exposed to. My research shows that with hormones you cannot do that. That is a false model. You cannot go from a very high dose effect to a low dose effect.

Anybody who is trained in endocrinology, anybody who is trained in neuro-biology, knows for chemicals that communicate between cells like hormones or neuro transmitters, that doesn't work because high doses shut down the response system. Everybody knows that. Every doctor uses that clinically, and there are loads of drugs used at high doses because they can stop the ability of the body to respond. So you actually at high doses block response, and at low doses stimulate response. That is an absolutely known fact in medicine, endocrinology and neuroscience. And yet the absence of that happening is the foundation of toxicology. It is based on an absolutely invalid, totally false, totally disproven concept. And what they are now saying is, "We are going to now continue testing these very high doses to predict the effects of the amount of chemicals you are exposed to. And we are going to tell you that you are absolutely safe to be exposed to these low amounts of chemicals. And we absolutely refuse to ever test those low doses directly to see if they really are safe." And that is double think.

The chemical industry is fighting low dose testing while telling you the low doses are safe. They can't have it both ways. My response to them is, "Prove it. Do an experiment. Every time I do a low dose experiment I show these chemicals are dangerous." They are saying they don't believe the results, and yet what was not reported yesterday is there are, I think, up to seven articles published on bisphenol A showing that there is the possibility of getting effects within the range of human exposure. But they are claiming I am the only one that has done this. That is not true. That is just not true. There is actually more and more evidence accumulating. None of it is industry generated. It is all coming out of academic laboratories and the government.

So there is a campaign to discredit the testing of low environmentally relevant doses, because the moment they start doing that, these chemicals are going to get thrown off the market. They don't want people to find out the real truth about what low levels of these chemicals can do. It is just an incredible situation, they are saying low doses are safe, but we refuse to test that directly.

Could you give a quick remedial explanation of what the potential effects are from some of these chemicals?

VS: Yes. The kinds of effects we see are on the brain. We see changes in aggression. Animals exposed to very low doses of currently used pesticides that have estrogenic activity are more aggressive, they are more territorial. Now when you change aggression and territoriality you disrupt the entire social structure.

We are changing the whole pattern of growth and development of these animals. We see in females early puberty from exposure to pesticides, and we have actually seen early puberty in bisphenol A exposed animals -- at the levels people are exposed to, at the levels that Dr. Mori is seeing in the blood of human fetuses. In animal studies, those levels damage the development of animals. This has been demonstrated. We have published these findings.

We see a decline in sperm count in the male offspring. We see damaged prostates. The entire reproductive system, every reproductive organ is abnormal, every single one.

We see changes in enzyme activity in the liver that controls the way our liver functions, the way we clear drugs and control hormone levels in our bodies. There is nothing normal about these animals as a result of exposure to very low doses of these chemicals. These are clearly unacceptable adverse consequences of exposure to these chemicals...

How would you evaluate current corporate damage control efforts?

VS: It is up and down. Some of it clearly backfires on them. And the reason is because of the disclosure by the tobacco industry that they lied to the public and manipulated the science for decades and successfully blocked any attempt to regulate cigarettes in the United States. The public in the United States is very skeptical of what we call "tobacco science", and the chemical industry is trying to do exactly the same thing and find people who will stand up in conferences like this and misrepresent information.

This is leading to tremendous skepticism and reaction in the United States where people are saying, "We will not except this type of behavior from industry. We want independent studies not controlled by the chemical industries to be conducted, and only independent studies will be accepted." Any studies done by the chemical industry are going to be assumed to be tainted by the fact that there is so much money involved.

Somebody asked me recently, 'How could you expect Dow Chemical or General Electric or Exxon, that between them probably make more than five billion dollars a year on bisphenol A, how could they possibly design and conduct a study that they really expect to show that this chemical is dangerous, and that they should not make this five billion dollars of profit? Do you think that is likely?'

Given those facts, though, and the scale of the economic problem and the threat to corporate structures and profit flows, the opposition will be staggering. And you are just depending on individual university laboratories and academic freedom to generate enough truth to fend them off?


VS: This is an extremely serious problem. At the moment the answer to your question is yes, because there is very little money available to do this type of work. One of the problems is that there are people in the government hierarchies everywhere who are resistant to allowing their agencies to really focus on this problem.

Everybody is aware of what we call the "revolving door", where people move from government into industry and back into government. The greatest examples of this have been in the Energy Department where people move back and forth between the nuclear industry and the regulating body that regulates them. This also occurs in the drug industry. This is a very serious problem.

There is not a strong desire every place to have these questions answered. We have estimated that it is possible that bisphenol A generates a million dollars an hour in income for the chemical industry and they want to buy time. They know that eventually this is a chemical that will not be in commerce, but every hour that it is, they make a million dollars, and so it is a holding action. And they just keep drawing different lines in the sand and hold on for as long as possible. And this is something that is really scary from my perspective, because in the meantime not only is everybody being exposed to this chemical, we are disposing of it without thought to its toxic effects.

Back in the nineteen fifties, sixties and seventies, flame retarding material and insulating material containing PCBs were thrown away in the landfill. It is estimated that only five percent of the total PCBs have actually leached into the waters, because it migrates very slowly through soil. That is already enough to see a relationship between PCB levels in fish, the eating of fish, and a drop in intelligence in the babies produced by mothers who ate fish from the Great Lakes of the United States.

We are throwing away two billion pounds of bisphenol A-containing products a year. Two billion pounds, into landfills. It is already being detected in drinking water. As it degrades over time -- we are told these plastics don't break down. That is nonsense. Everything breaks down. And they are releasing these endocrine disrupting chemicals, and they will be for the rest of time. When you think about billions and billions of pounds of these plastic products in landfills all over the world -- because they are just being thrown everywhere, floating in the oceans and everything -- we are going to have them releasing these chemicals into our water forever, and they are going to be in all life forms, and then there will never be anything we can do about it. The disposal issue is an incredibly serious aspect of endocrine disruption.

So as you are pursuing the science and trying to spread the word about these chemicals, what kind of help are you getting from the NGOs to fend of these big corporate bodies?

VS: This is something that has been very interesting. There have been some very successful actions taken by non-governmental organizations -- the National Environmental Trust, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and many other organizations that might not be as well known but are very active in doing this. They are coordinating their efforts and recently the United States managed to get toy manufacturers to remove what is clearly a dangerous chemical, DINP, which is the plasticizer used in the little toys that babies suck on and teething rings that babies stick in their mouths and release this chemical. Essentially they are sucking this chemical out of these plastic polyvinyl products. Now that chemical has been voluntarily removed by all manufacturers, and that was due to NGO action and pressure on the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the United States. Without that pressure this would not have happened. In fact it is the combination of independent science and the NGOs and concerned members of the legislature that is leading to a gradual change here.

But here you are talking about individual consumer end-users, parents, mothers. What happens when both the producers and end-users are corporate? I mean, when you have petro-chemical and agro-chemical firms feeding directly into big agro-businesses, well, you are not likely to get the same kind of concern or response.

VS: It is very interesting. There is now accumulating information that farmers using pesticides have lower fertility. This is based on work done in Minnesota and other places. Not only that, they're not producing male babies. That gets people's attention. The data on this are really quite interesting, quite shocking.

There are pesticides in use today that are damaging the testes of males, and they are reducing the sexual ability of men. Not only are they reducing the ability to reproduce, but the incidence of abnormal sperm is going up. A lot of people say, "Who cares? We have too many people, so this is great if sperm count is declining." But it isn't just that sperm counts are declining, the proportion of abnormal sperm being produced is astronomically higher today than it was fifty years ago. The probability of a deformed baby is going up tremendously, and the incidence of deformities in babies is going up.

It was just reported that deformities of the reproductive organs, visible at birth, have doubled in the United States in the last twenty years, and that is across the entire United States, based on information from every hospital provided to the government Center for Disease Control, because they publish this. So there is real concern that this is a direct consequence of these chemicals, and damage is now being seen in the absolute pathology of people's babies. And that is going to get peoples' attention.

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