The Role of Science in Capitalist Society and Social Change
Part 1 of 2

Leftist Critic

Publisher:  Dissident Voice
Date Written:  29/04/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20729

With its Republican allies in Congress, the Trump administration plans to cut scientific programs while feeding more fuel into the ravenous, murderous, and imperialistic war machine of the United States. Trump's hate of scientists is clearly universal as demonstrated by the sanctioning of 271 Syrian scientists by the Treasury Department despite the fact these scientists have not engaged in any hostile acts aimed at the United States.



There is no doubt that climate change/global warming, or what should be more accurately called climate catastrophe, is happening. Science itself, whether in its social (“soft”) or natural (“hard”) realms, is not only vital to understanding social change, connecting with Marxist analysis, but important for the development of social science as a whole. As some have put it, rightly, human history is a continuation of natural history. As it stands now, nature and all things considered natural are “commonly glorified and the feats of the engineer…are considered meddlesome, if not dangerous” with this attitude reinforced by certain scientific interpretations, saying that “human beings must concede to nature” with some arguing that the “loss of faith in [scientific] progress…explains today’s loss of faith in science.” As Chilean Marxist Marta Harnecker put it in a recent interview, “the conscious technical application of science” has been applied to the general production process and used to exploit available soil.

But there is a more direct threat. It’s not the testing of genes, but the reactionary backlash against science, with the bourgeois media portraying it as a “debate” between climate scientists and deniers, when there is no debate at all. Some elements of capitalist class ultimately want a climate catastrophe as it will increase their profits, while others take weak steps to “stop” it, even though it is evident that with capitalism’s destruction of nature, human-induced climate change can only be mitigated by a broad socialist revolution and complete overhaul of the system, not just tinkering.

We are facing, in advanced capitalist society, at least, a dilemma. Many scientific projects are bourgeois in character, not proletarian, with corporate and military funding dominating their structures.
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