Effects of Social Engineering

Mechanical Philosophy

  • made possible the industrial revolution
  • “Human Resources” = specialized tools

Compulsory Schooling

  • 1818 Originated in Germany
  • 1848 started in Massachusetts
  • less about knowledge, more about control
  • Provisional Self-Esteem


  • Science of controlling human behavior
  • Humans as part of the machine, in the new industrial revolution
  • Adjustments to behavior via (positive or negative) stimulus
  • 1890s – Conditioned Reflex – Pavlov’s Dog

John Watson

  • 1906 – study on rat behavior & control
  • “give me a baby, and I can make any kind of man”

Division of Labor

  • Scientific Management
  • Tasks broken down into units
  • Increased Efficiency
  • Control of knowledge, skill and power of workers



Hawthorn Experiment

  • If you let a worker talk about their feelings, they work better
  • even if the conditions aren’t changed
  • Western Electric plant in Cicero, Illinois
  • Between 1924 and 1927


  • Worker owned business

Herbert Spencer

  • Disliked Darwin
  • created theory of ‘Social Darwinism’
  • Created the expression “Survival of the Fittest”
    – to undercut the research results of Darwin’s research
  • wrote – Principles of Biology

Displaced Aggression

  • 1939 – Frustration Aggression research at Yale
  • 1941 – Hobart Mower – Rat Experiment
    – showed rats would re-direct their aggression when manipulated
  • Endless News that feeds the narratives

Cognitive bias

  • “subjective reality” based on choices offered
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