This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land…

Harari claims that science, empire and capitalism are linked. He argues that capitalism has been vital for building both empires and science (pg. 305). Harari goes on to say if it hadn’t been for businessmen seeking new sources of revenue, Columbus wouldn’t have sailed for the Indies and found America. Without science, it is doubtful that Europeans would have become dominant. There is a symbiotic relationship between science, empire and capitalism. Scientists brought back information and made technological advances, and were funded for explorations by empires. Without this support from empires, modern science wouldn’t be where it is today. If it hadn’t been for capitalism, empires and science wouldn’t have had the success they did. An example of how science was shaped by (and shaped) political and fiscal interests is Columbus’s search for a new trade route (pg. 316). Columbus approached many countries searching for funding, finding it in Spain. The crown invested in the voyage, which enabled the Spanish to conquer America, which led to the establishment of gold and silver mines, and tobacco and sugar plantations. This led to the enrichment of many, including the crown, merchants, and bankers. Following Columbus’s voyage, more credit was extended to explorers, as there was increased capital available from the profit earned from American ventures. Credit meant exploration, which meant colonies, and profit, and trust, which turned into more credit.

I would agree with Harari that progress plays a role in science, empire and capitalism. His argument is that when modern culture admitted that there were important things that there were no answers for, that’s when science began to make real progress and that science is funded because of political, religious or economic goals. I agree that scientific progress is a driving force in the advancement of empires, and thus capitalism.

One thought on “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land…”

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about the “symbiotic relationship” that capitalism and science have. Each one drives the other towards progress, which is definitely how the Europeans became so successful. I think it’s interesting to also think about how these different fields can act completely independent of each other. Finding scientific answers for the sake of science, or making political changes to better oneself or a population of people. While both science and capitalism normally interact with one another, their independent progress is also something to marvel at.

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