Harari’s Scientific Revolution

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.

2 thoughts on “Harari’s Scientific Revolution”

  1. Hi Hunter! How’s it going? I like your post and the way you portrait the relations between science, empire and capitalism. I totally agree with the dependence you show of each element with each other. It is true that, for instance, people neither would not be able to investigate and invest in science, nor to start a mission to conquer other lands. I also like the example you comment on, as it really reflects the consequences of enjoying of these three elements.

    According to the idea of progress, I also wrote something related to what you have posted. So I think we have the same opinion about the idea that without this important triangle, empires would not have conquered other territories.

  2. Great post Hunter! This is well done. I like how you began your blog because it displays where Harari’s mindset is at regarding the Scientific Revolution. Your post lets the readers know that without capitalism and imperialism than there never would have been scientific progress. I totally agree with your statement in paragraph two that each significant advancement in science, imperialism, and in capitalism being linked to progress. I like how you tied in capital, and science into your story about Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands. He had many more options while exploring the islands because of this. I think one of your best points in your post was when you explained how nation’s with advanced sciences had better access with technologies. These nation’s had guns and ships, and many other progresses in technologies. This completely makes sense to me. The countries that had these advances in technology were able to explore the world to a greater degree.

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