I've built a country with a culture that is somewhat progressive for today (i.e. men and women having equal roles in society, some religious tolerance and culturally-integrated acceptance of homosexuality) but have chosen to balance that out by making it believe in Social Darwinism (i.e. heavy competition within said society, powerful beliefs in ethnic supremacy [racism], heavily capitalist and with very little social welfare).

What I want to know is "What would be the negative effects of this particularly in the economic and political spheres?". (Please disregard moral and ethical arguments [subjectivity in general], I'd like to see the material and political effects)

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    $\begingroup$ Since men are, on the whole, bigger, stronger and more aggressive than women (otherwise you'd have a lot more battered men's shelters), the concepts of gender equality and Social Darwinism are antithetical. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Apr 29, 2018 at 14:03
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    $\begingroup$ Also, "moral and ethical arguments" directly impact "the material and political", and vice versa, since humans create both. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Apr 29, 2018 at 14:05
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    $\begingroup$ You need to be a little more clear than just "social darwinism", dynastic monarchy and aristocracy could be considered the ultimate expression of social darwinism. You need to define the structure of the society more clearly. You might be better off asking about the individual aspects of your society like a lack of social welfare which will drag down production, general health, and innovation. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 29, 2018 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ It may be called "Social Darwinism", but the concept was proposed by Herbert Spencer. It should be called "Social Spencerism" instead. There is nothing in it that is truly "Darwinian Evolution." Darwin doesn't deserve the slur on his reputation of this socially regressive Just-So story. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Apr 30, 2018 at 2:25
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    $\begingroup$ The biggest problem has always been who decides who is fittest, that and the fact that environment has a much bigger impact than genetics. it quickly becomes a a form of aristocracy, and a means to justify prejudice, if not an outright class system. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Sep 23, 2018 at 2:50

7 Answers 7


Modernish genetics is well aware on the importance of genetic diversity, and that how much it sucks if a species somehow losses it. (The classic example is the cheetah) So I don't think a truly darwinist society would try to exterminate racial, ethnic, cultural or religious minorities. Their attitue would be more like "Borg-style" assimilation. Under that I do not mean physical transformation via nanobots, but the general attitude of trying to evolve by seizing the information of others and integrating it into the Group.

So for example they will allow other races to migrate, but would by no means suffer them to maintain their cultural identity. They will even go as far as seizing children from their parents and bringing them up by native citiziens in order to preserve the unity of their society while strengthening it by freshening the gene pool.

So in general they would eagerly suck in ideas, technologies, individuals and groups, but only in such a manner that their identity as Progressive Socialdarwinist Gals/Guys remains strong enough that they continue to exist as an 'unit of evolution'. If they deem that some outside group has nothing to offer that would make Them stronger, or poses a real threat, they would readily react by use of force. (First they get your best scientists, engineers, philosophers, athletes and whatever, and then, when you are 'sucked out', nuke your country.)

As of actual effects:

  • Forced growth in fear of being outstripped by unknown competitors At any stage of their development they will fear that over the next mountain/on the other continent/on the other planet/in the next star sytem... there is an other society being more advanced than Theirs, which would soon exterminate Them, so they would pursue getting stronger by all means, using up resources in a totally unsustainabe way, and mismanaging development by focusing their minds too much, not giving themselves time to experiment, play, become acquitted with their newly acquired capabilities. (This also holds for the lower levels, not only the whole society: companies would be the most expansive, abusing their employees and not building up trust and experience, young people would overwork and exhaust themselves while competing with their peers, etc...)

  • Either overregulated or overmonpolized economy Depending on how they interpret the line "free competition drives evolution" they would either let already established companies divide the market and kill off new competitors, or their authorities would constantly intervene to prevent monopolies and keep the race fair, so that the "really better" wins, and not those, that just happen to be in an advantageous situation.

  • Transhumanism They would constantly try and artifically alter their bodies, either by the inclusion of machines or by genetic hacks. This would definitely bring some extra powers, but could also lead to divergence, loss of identity and eventual decay and secession.

  • Misjudging what helps and what not They would constantly judge other people/things/ideas etc. over whether they all worth assimilating or should be exterminated, but since they are not omniescent, they would often fail, and kill off traditions, alleles and theries that could later be usefull.


Social Darwinism was developed to explain human history. The idea posits that competition and dominance among societies is essentially the default mode of the human race. Our history is full of assumptions that lead to genocide, repression of minority cultures, colonialism, and so on. It is only in the 20th and 21st centuries that I know of any widespread movements toward multiculturalism — there may be earlier attempts, but I cannot cite any beyond a local few cultures banding together against a larger society threatening them. Counter-citations welcome. (Note: even the early US efforts at melting pot were generally described, in historical documents I’ve read, as a way to make us all into one culture, more an alloy and less a mixture, to use a chemistry analogy.)

Only recently has an ecological view developed. In a multicultural belief system, a society would see minority cultures as having inherent value to the system overall: a source of alternate ideas for rare problems or a cache of alternate practices that help us survive if our environment changes. The US and a few other places occasionally pays lip service to that goal, but it is an aspirational goal at best at this time.

So your negatives about Social Darwinism are all around you. The question — still widely debated — is whether any alternative is really viable. That’s a question Gene Roddenberry explicitly explored in Star Trek, and various writers since then have tried to support or reject the hypothesis.

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    $\begingroup$ The ancient chinese traded with and shared other cultures, despite the capability to trounce them resource wise. $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2018 at 21:43


  1. Pure capitalism. Why help the weak when you can make the strong stronger?
  2. Tax reduction for "perfect genes" couples to bring more children


  1. Small group of promising born individuals (by inheritance factors) will be raised to be the country next leaders\scientists\etc... while must of the people will get the same basic education and will be leaded to their "normal" jobs, the sons of grate leaders will be sent from early age to spacial expensive education in order to maximize their potential as "born leaders"
  2. Laws to force women to abort pregnancies with deform babies.
  3. Laws to determine how many children every "gene group" allowed to bring

Yes, i did take some of this from the Nazi policies (Aryan families got economic number 2 during their time).

Yes, i do support some of this policies, but some\must of the people today will find them as "negative" so i wrote them for you.


Basically, Everything Wrong With Human History, But x1000.

  • All of the major "groups" that society has divided itself into will constantly be at war with each other due to each group's pathological need to prove that they're better than everyone else.
  • Any babies born with disabilities are either thrown off cliffs Spartan-style or thrown out on the street to fend for themselves. Not pleasant.
  • The societal groups who are disadvantaged will be used as slaves by those in power.
  • All of this world's nations will be extremely nationalist
  • The poor are left to fend for themselves. Welfare and charities do not exist.
  • Anyone who is deemed physically or mentally "too weak" for their uber-nationalist countries will be deported to a country that their country looks down upon or will be executed.
  • The lazy will be put to death out of "mercy".
  • Eugenics will be mandatory.
  • Short people will suffer extreme discrimination if not execution. So will fat people and ugly people.
  • Any man who cannot hit a target from 20 yards will be used for target practice.
  • Those with terminal illnesses will be left for dead. Cancer treatment is only for those who can survive.
  • Sorry, but women's equality and social darwinism are antithetical because of the physical differences between men and women. In this dark scenario you have created, women who choose to live near men are raped. Those who CAN are forced to live together in unisex concrete bunkers, completely isolated from males. Your society would function a lot like Gazorpazorp from Rick and Morty in terms of gender relations.

'Crippling' inefficiency

I have a simple answer for you. Look at the Skaven from Warhammer. They're basically a social Darwinist society. They're a race of ratmen that can swarm the world with sheer numbers, are one of the most tech savvy races, adept mage users, capable of creating complex tunnel systems that allow their armies to strike from below and masters of chemical and biological warfare.

Skaven incursions are amongst the worst possible thing any faction in the Warhammer world has to deal with. Skaven have numbers, technology, magic,...by all means these guys should not only be winning, but curbstomping their opponents. They do curbstomp enemies in battle, but they don't win the wars.

Why? Simple, they're a bunch of backstabbers. How does a Skaven advance in society? He kills the guy above him. This of course doesn't matter much on the bottom ranks (slaves), but the moment say a soldier kills a commander a problem usually occurs. The soldier rat could have been a good soldier, but it doesn't mean he's a good commander. And usually the newly promoted commander rat gets killed before he can learn his new tasks by another soldier rat and the cycle begins anew.

Killing the guy above you and grabbing his position doesn't mean you're good at actually performing the duties that come with the new job. This leads to an overall loss of efficiency and competency. The Skaven are their own worst foe. They start out good, then they start killing each other and weaken their overall army and then the humans, elves,... win against the weakened army.

It's the same problem Stalin had with his new officer corps when he killed the old one off. The new guy doesn't have the same amount of experience as the veteran.

This society overall would have a serious issue with efficiency. It's not just the military. The new accountant could kill the CFO (Chief Finance Officer) of a company, but that doesn't mean he or she is going to be a good CFO.


From an economic standpoint, That means little or now welfare and few artificial barriers to new people becoming wealthy.

You would see more boom/bust cycles and the wealth strata would get churned more regularly.

The economics would be much more chaotic as there wouldn't be any companies that were "too big to fail." In fact, people and businesses failing would be seen as a social benefit. The weak are removed and the strong rise; making society stronger.

Suicide would likely be seen as the ultimate expression of failure but would likely be seen as beneficial (culling the weak).

While it is likely that the society would see a higher average economic growth (boom and bust would generally trend up), it is also likely that there would be fewer "scam protections." the feeling would probably be: if they let themselves get scammed, they weren't good custodians of their money. So some percentage of the societies wealth will be sidetracked to non-productive ventures.



Many behaviors which normal society would deem criminal would be not only legal, but commonplace and in fact encouraged. Murder would be one such example. Not only would murder be legal, but the sheer brutality of murder is free to remain unregulated. Improvised explosive devices, chemical weapons, and even stealing nuclear bombs are fair game.

The military of this group would likely be an imperial state, killing civilians and using the rest as either slaves, targets for propaganda, baby machines, or just biomass.

Every other country would see this place as a threat, and would likely destroy it through sabotage. It is also very easy to engage in espionage activity in the country and cause havoc.

The country may have regulation for ensuring that overwhelming presence doesn't position someone on a pedestal, such as a 100% inheritance tax, but it would be run by criminal organizations that know how to bend the rules.


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