Ask DNA: High-tech caste systems are not just possible, they are likely

Social Mstter put up a very literate, holistic, humanistic perspective on caste, including gems such as the following:

…when a guttersnipe of the Nile like Crispinus —-a slave-born denizen of Canopus —-hitches a Tyrian cloak on to his shoulder, whilst on his sweating finger he airs a summer ring of gold, unable to endure the weight of a heavier gem—-it is hard not to write satire. For who can be so tolerant of this monstrous city, who so iron of soul, as to contain himself when the brand-new litter of lawyer Matho comes along, filled with his huge self; after him one who has informed against his noble patron and will soon despoil our pillaged nobility of what remains to them—-one whom Massa dreads, whom Carus propitiates by a bribe, and to whom Thymele was made over by the terrified Latinus; when you are thrust on one side by men who earn legacies by nightly performances, and are raised to heaven by that now royal road to high preferment—-the favours of an aged and wealthy woman?

the openness of a class system, which reduces all social order to that of wealth and popularity … creates the opportunity for the erosion of social values and cultural goods by removing one of the core limits on superbia, the overweening ambition of the opportunist.

It is a thought-provoking piece on social class, or social caste, and why social mobility can spell suicide for the collective.

I think that piece has missed the obvious 20th century shock that disrupts holism, namely genetics.

The piece is at:

But while it is very literate and very well-written, I don’t see any mention of genetic screening, plasmids, DNA, etc.


The caste systems of the 21st century are likely to deal with gene pools rather than races, tribes, or communities. The 21st century does not need to say, “You, Harald, are the son of Hroggi the swordsman, so you must try to eat lots of meat to grow stronger, until one day you are tall enough to swing your father’s sword.”

The 21st century caste system will probably say something more like, “You, Citizen 788782324123327657, have no obvious mutations. However, your genetic expression and phenotypic development have not met the government’s expectations. You are definitely not fit to breed, and the government has authorized euthanasia in your case. Don’t worry about your job, we have robots coming online who can do it better than you can. No one owes you, no one’s to blame, except for bad genes and DNA.”

See also:

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