Systems within Systems

Reading about Harari’s ideas of how science, empire and capitalism have been closely linked through history has been really interesting to me and I believe he does a great job explaining himself through many examples. What stuck in my head most was his discussion on the military-industrial complex or as he suggested to refer to it as the “military-industrial-scientific” complex due to what we saw happening in the first and second world wars. Furthermore, Harari says, “military forces initiate, fund and steer a large part of humanity’s scientific research and technological development” (p. 290). The examples which he gives are the development of combat aircrafts, poison gas, and the atomic bomb which had gotten support from scientists because there were other rumors of Germany developing things such as the V-2 rocket (p. 290-291). Although the connection of science, industry and military are quite obvious in recent history it is extremely interesting how Harari clearly explains that this was not the case prior to the Industrial Revolution and the interest in capitalism.

Later in the reading Harari goes into great depth on how “progress” is very closely involved within the links of others having political, economic or religious/ideological goals. This is what Harari believes we must keep in mind when we get carried away with the idea that all things having a technical solution which science can solve because there are other systems which greatly influence what we do with our scientific research. In response, I do believe we live in a very complex society with many interconnected systems which affect the way we use the limited resources presented to us. With that said I also do believe science, politics, economics and ideology could become more holistically understanding of the interconnectedness in order to better allocate how and why we should approach progress.