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Vital minimum : need, science, and politics in modern France Preview this item
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Vital minimum : need, science, and politics in modern France

Author: Dana Simmons
Publisher: Chicago ; London : The University of Chicago Press, cop. 2015.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
What constitutes a need? Who gets to decide what people do or do not need? In modern France, scientists, both amateur and professional, were engaged in defining and measuring human needs. These scientists did not trust in a providential economy to distribute the fruits of labor and uphold the social order. Rather, they believed that social organization should be actively directed according to scientific principles.  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Dana Simmons
ISBN: 9780226251561 022625156X
OCLC Number: 933756436
Description: 1 vol. (243 p.) : ill. ; 24 cm.
Contents: [Contents] 1. Introduction – 2. Subsistence – Pigs on a balance – Scarcity – Bread and meat – Recycling and reproduction – 3. Social Reform – Scale balances – Air rations – Maintenance rations – 4. Family, Race, Type – Welfare and comparative zoology – Family and race – Socialism and statistics – 5. Citizens – Useless mouths, get out! – Meat or bread – 6. Vital Wages – Socialism, statistics, and the iron law – The fever of needs – Vital wages – 7. Science of Man – Biosocial economics – Rationing – The vital minimum wage – The science of man after 1945 – 8. Human Persons – Incompressible needs and the SMIG – Human persons – An impossible standard – 9. Need, Nature, and Society
Responsibility: Dana Simmons.

Abstract:

What constitutes a need? Who gets to decide what people do or do not need? The author traces the history of this concept, revealing the intersections between technologies of measurement, such as  Read more...

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"An impressive study, drawing upon a range of neglected or unknown evidence, Vital Minimum is the first book to bring the important historical themes of consumption, nutrition science, and statistics Read more...

 
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Who gets to decide what people do or do not need? In modern France, scientists, both amateur and professional, were engaged in defining and measuring human needs. These scientists did not trust in a providential economy to distribute the fruits of labor and uphold the social order. Rather, they believed that social organization should be actively directed according to scientific principles. They grounded their study of human needs on quantifiable foundations: agricultural and physiological experiments, demographic studies, and statistics. The result was the concept of the \"vital minimum\"--the living wage, a measure of physical and social needs. In this book, Dana Simmons traces the history of this concept, revealing the intersections between technologies of measurement, such as calorimeters and social surveys, and technologies of wages and welfare, such as minimum wages, poor aid, and welfare programs. In looking at how we define and measure need, Vital Minimum raises profound questions about the authority of nature and the nature of inequality.<\/span>\" ;\u00A0\u00A0\u00A0schema:description<\/a> \"[Contents] 1. Introduction \u2013 2. Subsistence \u2013 Pigs on a balance \u2013 Scarcity \u2013 Bread and meat \u2013 Recycling and reproduction \u2013 3. Social Reform \u2013 Scale balances \u2013 Air rations \u2013 Maintenance rations \u2013 4. Family, Race, Type \u2013 Welfare and comparative zoology \u2013 Family and race \u2013 Socialism and statistics \u2013 5. Citizens \u2013 Useless mouths, get out! \u2013 Meat or bread \u2013 6. Vital Wages \u2013 Socialism, statistics, and the iron law \u2013 The fever of needs \u2013 Vital wages \u2013 7. Science of Man \u2013 Biosocial economics \u2013 Rationing \u2013 The vital minimum wage \u2013 The science of man after 1945 \u2013 8. Human Persons \u2013 Incompressible needs and the SMIG \u2013 Human persons \u2013 An impossible standard \u2013 9. 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