The Progress of Progress

According to Harari, “Science needs . . . the mutual reinforcement of politics and economics” (pg 250). When he says this he is stating that the three: science, capitalism, and empire are all reliant on one another to make progress. A good example of this was the space race or rather the moon landing specifically. The race to the moon (or the space race) allowed world powers to use their industries and economies to express their power and dominance; however, this display of economic authority began the research of technologies to allow man to get to the moon. With the advanced technologies the United States was able to achieve the political status of “Super Power” when it sent people to the moon. I believe this to be a prime example of how scientific research was shaped by the fiscal and political interests of the United States during the Space Race.

I would very much agree with Harari in saying that progress plays a vital role in the linkage of science, capitalism, and empire. Without progress, Harari says that “human cultures . . . thought the world was stagnant” (pg 264). Harari then elaborates on how after humans admitted their ignorance and that once they began to solve one problem after another they realized that progress drove development (pg 264-266). Once they had their realization they were able to progress at an exponential rate. As previously stated the the progress of technology is accompanied by the progress in political and fiscal relations. With all that being said I completely agree with Harari’s assessment of progress pivotal role in the Scientific Revolutions Feedback Loop.

2 thoughts on “The Progress of Progress”

  1. I really like how you used the space race as an example of how science, empire and capitalism tie in to each other. Although I do believe other factors influence the idea of a super power, the space race had its involvement. The want to reach the moon led governments to funnel billions of dollars into research and development of space craft. This is a great example of small bursts of big scientific advancement. When someone or groups of people want to do something first they funnel money into it so they can try and show off what they can accomplish. As well for your second paragraph I completely agree with your thoughts on the connection of progress and the scientific revolution. Once humans find they want to progress they learn that science is a key factor in aiding that movement.

  2. Great post. I like how you mentioned how humans made progress after realizing their potentials. Before, rulers would never consider investing in scientific research and focused more on recruiting, training troops, and war tactics. Harari gave the example that if Napolean’s army went against most armies today he would struggle to compete even if he was more technologically knowledgeable than any modern army (Harari p. 284). The differences in technology would be too great to compensate for. It was only after world leaders also saw the potential of scientific research that more and more was being invested into research. Like you said, the progress of technology is accompanied by political and fiscal relations, and only after science has appealed to investors can it advance at the speed it does today. Unfortunately, this also means that fields of study that provide no foreseeable economic or political benefit to investors will also be underrepresented in the scientific community.

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