Capitalism-the beginning and end of humanity

  1. Harari addresses the multifaceted relationship between science, technology, and fiscal institutions by describing the thing that all of these things have in common: humans. As we gained language, this led to an increase in interactions between peoples. Because we began to industrialize the world, productivity and greed took precedence over our earlier occupations of simply having enough sustenance to survive (278). The idea behind this is actually similar to the “Guns, Germs, and Steel” article; as we developed and aimed to conquer differing lands, we needed a way to send resources to those aiming to create new civilizations in other parts of the world. Imperialism started the rise of capitalism, intertwining with science and technology (302). Myths started language but also initiated the development of tech and science, furthering our need for knowledge and creating social classes. Our need for increased resources led to implementation of a fiscal entity, fueling our need to progress our finances as well as our technological/scientific capabilities.  
  2. I think that Harari’s argument is extremely convincing because it portrays this idea that as we continue down this path of improvement, we further entangle ourselves in the web of science, tech, and capitalism. Harari’s entire chapter on greed solidifies that humans would aim to cut production costs as low as they can whilst increasing their profit margins elsewhere. The only stipulation that I have in my agreement is that Harari states that progress is hindered on the idea that admitting ignorance can improve the whole of humanity (310). I do not think that this adds to his argument whatsoever. In fact, I think that it quasi implies that humans are humble beings and that the improvements that we may, albeit have unintended consequences, are for the betterment of ourselves and the world. This phrase does not parallel the remainder of his argument, but it is the largest part that I disagree with.

2 thoughts on “Capitalism-the beginning and end of humanity”

  1. I like how you related this week’s reading to a previous one. I’m a little confused about your stratification point. I understood Harari’s point about stratification to be the result of the agricultural revolution and a central control of agricultural surplus, not necessarily a thirst for new knowledge. Granted, power/imperialism controls the discourse of knowledge as well as who has access to this knowledge. So, I’d agree that knowledge promoted stratification around the scientific revolution but not around the origins of humanity. I agree with your stipulation that the progress of knowledge is based in admitting ignorance. I also think this implies we are morally obligated to move past our ignorance, but that the powers that be often make this transcendence difficult or impossible for the populations lowest on this stratification, which hinders progress. So, I guess if we really want to progress, we have to move past greed and not just ignorance.

  2. Great post, I agree with you in the fact that ignorance doesn’t always mean progress, however, do you think that the acceptance of not knowing everything helped spur the need to know more? For example, when the Greeks saw lightening storms, they didn’t think about the science behind how they happen, they just accepted that Zeus was angry and sending lightening down.

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