According to Harari, “[Cognitive revolution] Depends on the mutual reinforcement of science, politics and economics.” (Harari, 250) This is because when a government finds the need for something, they will invest fiscal resources into it to develop a scientific breakthrough. For example, on page 260 Harari says “When World War one bogged down into interminable trench warfare, both sides called in scientists to break the deadlock and save the nation. The men in white answered the call, and out of the laboratories rolled a constant stream of new wonder-weapons: combat aircraft, poison gas, tanks, submarines, and ever more efficient machine guns, artillery pieces, rifles and bombs.” (Harari, 260)
This shows how political and fiscal interests shaped scientific discovery by demonstrating the relation of a governmental interest (breaking the deadlock) and securing fiscal resources, which ultimately leads to a scientific discovery. This pattern is seen throughout history. Afterall, Americans only traveled to the moon after being motivated through the cold war with Russia.
Starting from page 259, Harari makes a thorough argument on the linkage of science, empire, and capitalism. Since he analyzes both the relation of previous thought (I.e. deities, gods, etc.) to modern thought (focusing on the scientific advancements made throughout the past century.) I believe Harari is right by linking the three because progress is made by cognitive revolution which is developed through competition. (Which in my opinion drives both human and technological development, and ultimately the progress of the world.)
Thank you for reading!
When do you believe humans are most motivated to create scientific advancements?
Harari, Yuval N., et al. Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind. Harper Perennial, 2015.