Under the Rug of Process

According to Harari, money—which grows stupendously through capitalism—is “essential both for building empires and for promoting science” (Harari, p. 305). Growth in the economy leads to stronger political structures and advancements in science. This is a circular, symbiotic relationship, as the science which is promoted is used in ways which benefits empires financially. The most prominent example of the relationship between science, empire, and capitalism is the military. Empires with scientifically-advanced weapons have the upper hand in military combat, thus making them fiscal powerhouses. This money is then heavily delegated to creating even better military technology. Nowhere is this more apparent than World War II, where money poured into the Manhattan Project lead to the development of the most heinous technological weapon in world history, which America promptly used to cease the war with the Japanese (Harari, p. 262).

Harari writes that progress is “built on the notion that if we admit our ignorance and invest resources in research, things can improve”(Harari, p. 310). Humans are naturally inclined towards progress—as time goes on, our understanding of science, technological developments, and interconnected organizations will always continue to grow. However, so to will our population, causing greater rifts between people who are “different.” As will our ability to harm and destroy these people, out of either malice or apathy, aided by the same technology we champion in the name of progress. Of course this drive towards progress is integral to empire, capitalism, and science, but it is not an arrow in the strict direction of improvement, as it causes ripples whose negative effects are often brushed under the rug. Again, nowhere is this more apparent than the development of the atomic bomb, which is progress, undoubtedly, but progress with abhorrent consequences that shows not all research leads to global improvement.

1 thought on “Under the Rug of Process”

  1. Audrey, great blog post! The example you provided of the military being a prominent model of the relationship between science, empire, and capitalism is definitely valid. I thought you did a great job of explaining Harari and his idea that science, empire, and capitalism are linked. I also agree and think you made a great point of the fact that rifts between people may grow as will our ability to harm the people who are different. It is something to consider with progress, whether our technological developments will be used to improve life or to destroy it. Overall I really enjoyed reading your post.

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