WILLIAM ZEBINA RIPLEY (October 13, 1867 – August 16, 1941) was an American economist , lecturer at Columbia University, professor of economics at MIT, professor of political economics at Harvard University, and racial theorist. Ripley was famous for his criticisms of American railroad economics and American business practices in the 1920s and 1930s and later his tripartite racial theory of Europe. His work of racial anthropology was later taken up by racial physical anthropologists, eugenicists and white nationalists and was considered a valid academic work at the time, although today it is considered to be a prime example of alleged scientific racism .
* 1 Early life
* 2 The Races of
He was born in
Medford, Massachusetts in 1867 to Nathaniel L. Ripley
and Estimate R.E. (Baldwin) Ripley. He attended the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology for his undergraduate education in
engineering, graduating in 1890, and he received a master's and
doctorate degree from
From 1893 to 1901, Ripley lectured on sociology at Columbia
University and from 1895 to 1901, he was a professor of economics at
MIT. From 1901 onwards, he was a professor of political economics at
He was a corresponding member of the Anthropological Society of Paris, the Roman Anthropological Society, the Cherbourg Society of Natural Sciences, and in 1898 and 1900 to 1901, he was the vice president of the American Economic Association .
THE RACES OF EUROPE
Ripley's map of cephalic index in Europe, from The Races of
In 1899, he authored a book entitled The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study , which had grown out of a series of lectures he had given at the Lowell Institute at Columbia in 1896. Like many Americans of his time, at every level of education, Ripley believed that the concept of race was explanatory of human difference. Even further, he believed it to be the central engine to understanding human history, although his work also afforded strong weight to environmental and non-biological factors, such as traditions. He believed, as he wrote in the introduction to Races of Europe, that: "Race, properly speaking, is responsible only for those peculiarities, mental or bodily, which are transmitted with constancy along the lines of direct physical descent from father to son. Many mental traits, aptitudes, or proclivities, on the other hand, which reappear persistently in successive populations may be derived from an entirely different source. They may have descended collaterally, along the lines of purely mental suggestion by virtue of mere social contact with preceding generations."
Ripley's book, written to help finance his children's education,
became a widely accepted work of anthropology, due to its careful
writing, compilation of seemingly valid data, and close criticism of
the data of many other anthropologists in
Ripley based his conclusions about race on his attempts to correlate anthropometric data with geographical data, especially using the cephalic index , which at the time was considered a reliable anthropometric measure. Based on these measurements and other socio-geographical data, Ripley classified Europeans into three distinct races:
* Teutonic — members of the northern race were long-skulled (or dolichocephalic), tall in stature, and possessed pale eyes and skin. * Alpine — members of the central race were round-skulled (or brachycephalic), stocky in stature, and possessed intermediate eye and skin color. * Mediterranean — members of the southern race were long-skulled (or dolichocephalic), short in stature, and possessed dark eyes and skin.
In his book, Ripley also proposed the idea that "Africa begins beyond the Pyrenees", as he wrote in page 272 : " Beyond the Pyrenees begins Africa. Once that natural barrier is crossed, the Mediterranean racial type in all its purity confronts us. The human phenomena is entirely parallel with the sudden transition to the flora and fauna of the south. The Iberian population thus isolated from the rest of Europe, are allied in all important anthropological respects with the peoples inhabiting Africa north of the Sahara, from the Red Sea to the Atlantic."
Ripley's tripartite system of race put him at odds both with others
on the topic of human difference, including those who insisted that
there was only one European race, and those who insisted that there
were at least ten European races (such as
The Races of Europe, overall, became an influential book of the era
in the then-accepted field of racial taxonomy. Ripley's tripartite
system of racial classification was especially championed by the
Ripley worked under
Ripley was the Vice President of the American Economics Association
1898, 1900, and 1901, and was elected president of it in 1933. From
1919 to 1920, he served as the chairman of the National Adjustment
Commission of the
Starting with a series of articles in the
Atlantic Monthly in 1925
under the headlines of "Stop, Look, Listen!", Ripley became a major
critic of American corporate practices. In 1926, he issued a
well-circulated critique of
However, after an automobile accident in January 1927, Ripley
suffered a nervous breakdown and was forced to recuperate at a
He was unable to return to teaching until at least 1929. However, in
the early 1930s, he continued to issue criticisms of the railroad
industry labor practices. In 1931, he had also testified at a Senate
banking inquiry, urging the curbing of investment trusts. In 1932, he
appeared at the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, and demanded
public inquiry into the financial affairs of corporations and authored
a series of articles in the
New York Times
Ripley died in 1941 at his summer home in East Edgecomb ,
His book, Railway Problems: An Early History of Competition, Rates and Regulations, was republished in 2000 as part of a "Business Classic" series.
* ^ Cravens, H. (1996). "