The Study of Man: Government by Manipulation
Everyone within reach of a radio loudspeaker or a newspaper headline knows of the tremendous advances made by science during the war: atomic bombs, radiocontrolled planes, rockets and radar, DDT, new ways of preventing disease, better ways of curing them, etc., etc. But even a very careful reader of magazines would get almost no notion of what the social sciences did and learned in the war, if anything.
It is not merely that the social sciences are backward; they simply do not lend themselves to obvious dramatics. They do not offer staggering figures (“one bomb equals 20,000 tons of TNT”), or pictures (“a gadget that can stop a tank”), or immediate personal relevance (“this may save you from cancer”). Their most important discoveries are as simple, nontechnical, and “common-sensical” as their detractors say they are. So were the discoveries of the 16th-and 17th-century physicists and doctors that helped destroy a feudal order and create a bourgeois one. Today key posts in Western society are increasingly occupied by “managers,” whose power is derived from their skill in handling men and machines rather than from any direct control over our economy. This being so, the social sciences, with their war-developed techniques, may well influence future history as importantly as have the physical and biological sciences.
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