According to Harari, science, empire and capitalism are linked because science and empires were motivated by the feeling that something important awaited beyond the horizon (Harari 297), and capitalism emcompasses the ethic that economic growth is the supreme good (Harari 314). He states that scientific research is generally funded by either governments or private businesses who, before investing in a scientific project, ask if the project will enable them to increase production and products, and if it will produce economic growth. Scientific discovery was shaped by political and fiscal interests when in the sixthteenth century, for example, kings and bankers channeled enormous resources to finance geographical expeditions around world, but nothing for child psychology research. This is because they believed the discovery of new geographical knowledge would allow them to conquer new lands in order to set up trade empires, whereas they could see no profit in understanding child psychology (Harari 272).
Harari regards “progress” as having a pivotal role in the linkage of science, empire, and capitalism. He states that until the Scientific Revolution most human cultures did not believe in progress (Harari 264). Harari gives the example of lightning and that it was once believed that lightning was the hammer of an angry god, used to punish sinners (Harari 265). I agree with Harari that progress has an important role in science. Without progress such as Benjamin Franklin’s observations that lightning is just an electrical current, people may still believe that many aspects of science are the works of “gods.” Poverty is another example. People believed that poverty, sickness, wars, famine, etc. were the inevitable fate of humankind. Progress has proven that as wrong and we have moved forward in scientific discovery because of progress.