Alfred Machin (writer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Alfred George Fysh Machin (born 1888) was an early twentieth-century British writer on the evolution of societies. Writing at the time when Darwin's theory of evolution was being reappraised in the light of the discovery of Gregor Mendel's work and advances in our knowledge of genetics, he tries to make sense of society in evolutionary terms.

In The Ascent of Man (a title he used long before Jacob Bronowski made his famous television series of the same name), he compares the ideas of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer in particular, with reference to Benjamin Kidd. The book is notable for his theory that the ills of society, and in particular mental illness, are caused by the increasing demands of society on the human organism which is adapted for life in small, unpoliced, communities of equals, rather than the constraining power structures of modern societies which leave man anything but free. This line of thought would later be expressed by Boris Sigis and Wilfred Trotter, and by Sigmund Freud in Civilisation and its Discontents

Early career[edit]

Machin was articled to a solicitor in Hull in 1913. In 1921 he started a practice at Luton, Bedfordshire.[1][failed verification][2]


Machin was a member of the Liberal party. He was elected to Bedfordshire County Council. He was Liberal candidate for Bedford at the 1929 General Election, when he finished second.[1]


  • Darwin's Theory Applied to Mankind (1937) Longmans Greene and Co, London
  • The Ascent of Man by means of Natural Selection (1925) Longmans Greene and Co, London
  • What is Man? Evolution's Answer
  • A Substitute for Socialism, or, Short Studies in Progressive Economics (1926) Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co, London
  • Politics in the World State (1938) World State Volunteers, Oxford


  1. ^ a b The Times House of Commons, 1929
  2. ^ "Abstract of the title of the personal representatives of George Vincent deceased to land..." National Archives. 1958. Retrieved 1 August 2016.