$cience, for Profit and Power

One might suspect that science, empire and capitalism are three completely separate entities unrelated to one another. It is difficult to imagine how powerful their connection and its influence in the shaping of our society. Harari really breaks it down for us and gives us a real understanding as to why the link between science, empire and capitalism is so influential. Harari explains, “Most Scientific studies are funded because somebody believes they can help attain some political, economic, or religious goal” (Harari 272). An example of this outlined in Harari’s text talks about two biologists, one biologist wants to study and cure a disease that affects the utters of cows and the cows ability to produce milk. The second biologist wants to study how a cow may be psychologically impacted when her calf is taken away. Harari’s question is which biologist would receive the funding if they were competing? The biologist who can cure a disease in cows that results in more milk production and more money? Or the biologist that wants to understand the cows mind? Clearly the first biologist would receive the funding because his study would have a much greater financial return. Throughout history, science has been used to grow empires and fuel our capitalistic societies. The level of importance we place on scientific research is directly related to how great of an impact it can have financially or how much power the scientific discovery can generate.

I agree with Harari and his idea of progress and its role in the linkage of science, empire and capitalism. I think that the more we succeed as a society, and the more power we behold as a result of scientific achievements, the more emphasis we place on scientific discovery. We have the ability to create nuclear bombs that can wipe out entire continents in the name of empire and rule. We have robots in factories replacing humans, self-driving cars, artificial intelligences… all in the name of capitalism and profit. Financial and political interests as well as empire and capitalism will always have a major influence on the scientific endeavors we choose to undertake.

3 thoughts on “$cience, for Profit and Power”

  1. I love that you bring up the biologist funding analogy because it nicely sums up the division of funds for science since the start of the revolution favoring monetary gain. I agree with most of your post aside from the idea that the more we support science the more we emphasis we place on it. Today we have disregard or straight up ignore science but our researchers still research. This has been true for most of the period since the scientific revolution as science is occasionally at odds with religion yet science still progresses regardless of the bounds of science.

  2. It’s interesting to see just how much technology plays a role in everything we do. Before I did some of this reading, I had science and new advancements in that field separate then economy and other money related topics. I agree that empires use science to put themselves ahead of the other civilizations. I think we still do this, especially with other nations and even within our own. After reading this I can see the link between the 3 and how one another influence the others.

  3. Hello Jacob, I enjoyed your title! I do agree that it is hard to imagine how much science, empire, and capital play such a large part of our society. When the cow milk study was used as an example, it made sense to me of which experiment will receive the most funding because society will care more about what will make them happier and what helps the economy. Without one of science, empire, and capital, none of these could prosper. I also agreed with Harari and wonder what next will become the next scientific discovery because of our economy and the power of the United States.

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