Corrado Gini and the Scientific Basis of Fascist Racism


  • Daniele Macuglia Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine, The University of Chicago, 1126 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA


Corrado Gini , Degeneration , Eugenics , Fascist racism


It is controversial whether the development of Fascist racism was influenced by earlier Italian eugenic research. Before the First International Eugenics Congress held in London in 1912, Italian eugenics was not characterized by a clear program of scientific research. With the advent of Fascism, however, the equality “number = strength” became the foundation of its program. This idea, according to which the improvement of a nation relies on the amplitude of its population, was conceived by statistician Corrado Gini (1884-1965) already in 1912. Focusing on the problem of the degeneration of the Italian race, Gini had a tremendous influence on Benito Mussolini’s (1883-1945) political campaign, and shaped Italian social sciences for almost two decades. He was also a committed racist, as documented by a series of indisputable statements from the primary literature. All these findings place Gini in a linking position among early Italian eugenics, Fascism and official state racism.