In Harari’s eyes, there could be no scientific progress without capitalism and imperialism. Science is an inherently unbiased system, all research serves to better understand some facet of the world, thus it requires outside influence from political and social ideologies to determine which scientific research is actually “worth pursuing”, which ties in directly with capitalistic imperialism. This is perhaps most evident in an example like captain James Cook’s voyage to Australia. Ostensibly this voyage was a scientific undertaking to learn about the region, yet it could never have occurred had the British government not chosen to fund it. They did so because of the imperial ideology that the west was caught up in at the time, which urged them to expand across the sea and conquer new lands for the empire. Here, scientific progress was spurred on by a political agenda, even as technology developed by science made that agenda possible.
For Harari, this idea of progress plays a prominent role in connecting these elements, and I feel that he makes a solid argument. Each significant advancement in science, in imperialism, and in capitalism, can be linked to progress in one of the others. A capitalistic society allows for individuals outside of the nobility to take increased interest in the sciences, thus a british captain chooses to take Charles Darwin to the Galapagos islands, which leads to the theory of evolution. A nation with advanced sciences has access to better technologies like guns and ships capable of navigating the world, thus allowing James Cook and his crew to conquer the Tasmanians in the name of imperialism. An imperial society strives to achieve dominion over other territories, thus a capitalistic businessman like Cecil Rhodes felt obligated to create the nation of Rhodesia in South Africa. In this way progress begets progress.