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The Manufacture Of Evil: Ethics, Evolution, and the Industrial System Paperback – July 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071452929X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714529295
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,982,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rutgers anthropologist Tiger (Men in Groups, etc.), believes that our ethics are biologically rooted in the extended family circle, but that industrialization, a very recent development, has weakened the family, isolated individuals, fostered exploitation and loss of craftsmanship. Today's evils, he argues, stem largely from an impersonal, vast industrial system that thwarts social and parental instincts and mutes our biologically conditioned morality. As many as one-fourth of North American women will never become mothers, he notes, and more people are living alone than ever. A "psycho-industrial complex" that holds sway in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. treats social life and the human psyche as products to be manipulated by Pavlovian conditioning, ideology, advertising or some combination thereof. Tiger offers no solutions, but his evolutionary perspective is innovative and provocative.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This latest book by Tiger, an anthropologist, takes up the subject of evil as an outcome of the industrial system, and how we, as primates, coexist with it. What does Tiger mean by the term "evil"? He tells us it is the "miserable outcomes nobody desires" such as alienation, impersonality, and materialism. And why does he use this term? He says: "Partly of course because the term is showy. It attracts attention. It conveys the scale of the issue." These remarks capture the essence of this worka topic of epic proportion discussed in a tone that is often not far from glib. There is a mind-boggling array of subject matter, from allusions to Peking Man, to an anecdote about the sociology of summer living on Fire Island. A rambling, eclectic discourse. Joan W. Gartland, Detroit P.L.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Caton on December 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I reviewed this book for a science journal not long after its publication. Rated it four out of five. Why come back eighteen years later? Charting the paths followed over the past three decades toward the goal of a `biosocial science' brought me back. The author is the collaborator with Robin Fox on the best-seller, The Imperial Animal, which explores the evolutionary roots of male behaviour. Among anthropologists of those days, talk about biological roots of cultural behaviour was against the grain. Add the additional negative that the authors seemed to be saying that patriarchal attitudes and behaviour are evolutionary destiny, and you've got serious heresy.

This book is more of the same. The theme is the fit and misfit between our industrial mode of social organization and the natural sociability that evolved for hunter-gatherer existence. The title derives from the circumstance that Tiger's assessment turns up more misfits than fits, which is to say that we're not well adapted to the urban habitat that we've created over the past couple of centuries. These misfits are what he styles `evil'. `My concern', he says, `is principally with behavioural pollution, with the ways in which the natural behaviour of our species is restricted, thwarted, distorted, stretched, disallowed, or otherwise harshly or uncongenially molded by a way of living and earning'. But like other aspects of human behaviour, evil is denatured in the industrial system. The natural way of moral thinking personifies evil and attributes it to a malignant will. The industrial system, by contrast, is beyond the control of individuals and groups who operate the system and routinely generates `vast outcomes that no one wanted'.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Edit of 22 Dec 07 to add links.

The recent black-out that plunged Canadian provinces and many US states, notably New York, into darkness, while producing disturbing pictures of millions exiting New York on foot across its automotive bridges, can be understood by reading several books, among them this book. Others include Charle's Perrow's "Normal Accidents: Dealing with High Risk Technologies", Norman Cousins, "The Pathology of Power", and the variety of books that focus specifically on corruption and deception by electrical utility companies around the world, but generally in the US, UK, and Australia.

Summing the book up in one sentence: the industrial system disconnected the ethics of kinship and community from the production process. It allowed "objective" industrial management to devise complex processes in which each individual plays a functionalist role with minimalist information, and no one person can see the relationship between their "objective" task, and the massively dysfunctional, pathological, and corrupt outcomes of the total industrial system.

This is an erudite, well-documented, well-reasoned book. It carefully addresses the manner in which sociopathological organizations--including militaries and the corporations that create them in their image--undermine national security and the national commonwealth. It concludes on a positive note: restoring group governance, and restoring the connection between kinship, community, ethics, and the manner in which national security and national economic decisions are made, can reverse this destructive evil trend, and restore mankind to a state of grace among men and between men and nature. This is an inspiring important work.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
Equal to the analysis of human behavior and ethics as presented in "An Historian's Approach to Religion" by Arnold Toynbee. Grabs the rational mind and feeds it with information about why our current society causes so much internal stress in our daily life.
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