Editor John Harding’s statement in a recent editorial — “social engineering” is a favourite of “left-leaning politicians” — is wrong.
For over 100 years, since its development by the British at the end of the 19th century, then its refinement by British/American collaboration during the First World War, its most pervasive use has been in nominally democratic capitalist societies to ensure the privileged position of our socio-economic elite won’t be threatened through the occasional election.
Edward Bernays outlined this in his 1928 classic Propaganda.
The term comes from his 1947 article Engineering of Consent.
Since the 1970’s global corporations intensified their use of social engineering.
How else do you think we came to believe “markets know best and are the best way to allocate resources?”
Or, governments can’t be a part of a solution only the problem, even in a democracy?
Or, agreements giving global corporations the right to sue them in secret courts if they respond to the needs of their citizens are “free trade?”
All are the result of clever social engineering campaigns.
Social engineering uses insights gleaned from anthropology, sociology and psychology to scientifically manipulate how a people understand a situation in order to influence their behaviour… without them knowing they are being manipulated.
People know something is wrong. They are fearful and angry.
In order to divert attention from constructively addressing the cause of people’s valid fears and anger, those benefiting from our engineered social disorder manipulate them through adding a toxic brew of hate and scape-goating.
Brexit and the 2016 U.S. election are examples of this.
We all need to become skilled at recognizing how we are being manipulated so together we can find ways out of the mess socially engineered by our global economic elites.