Utilitarian genocide is one of five forms of genocide categorized and defined in 1975 by genocide scholar Vahakn Dadrian.[a] Utilitarian genocide is distinctly different from ideologically-motivated genocides like the Holocaust and the Cambodian genocide. This form of genocide has as its aim some form of material gain, such as the seizure of territory in order to gain control of economic resources for commercial exploitation. Two given examples of this form are the genocide of indigenous peoples in Brazil and the genocide of indigenous peoples in Paraguay.
This form of genocide was highly prominent during the European colonial expansions into the Americas, Oceania, and Africa. The colonial expansion into the Americas was markedly different in its approaches to the accumulation of wealth. The French colonization of the Americas through exploitation and the fur trade had a minor impact on the indigenous peoples. The Spanish colonization of the Americas however was devastating to the indigenous population, as was the British colonization of the Americas. Dadrian has also given as further examples of utilitarian genocide the murders of Moors and Jews during the Spanish Inquisition and the killing of Cherokee Indians during the colonial expansion of the United States.
This type of genocide has continued into the twentieth century, with the ongoing genocide of indigenous tribes in the rain forests of South America primarily due to progress and the development of resources within their territories; these regions are exploited for economic gain the indigenous peoples are considered a "hindrance" and are forcibly relocated or killed.
- "The pioneer genocide scholar Vahakn Dadrian introduced the concept of "utilitarian genocide" in a landmark 1975 article, "A Typology of Genocide." He identified five "ideal types" of genocide, based mainly on the primary objective of the perpetrator:
- cultural genocide, aiming at assimilation;
- latent genocide, a by-product of war;
- retributive genocide, localized punishment;
- utilitarian genocide, to obtain wealth;
- optimal genocide, aiming at total obliteration".
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