Science & Technology

 

 

We find ourselves today surrounded by a plethora of new technology, automated processes, and time-saving devices. And yet, at the same time, productivity growth is slowing, the economy is stagnating, and inequality is rising. It is clear that the system has broken.

Since the 1930s a dominant trend has existed within the scientific community and popular science that explains quantum mechanics with all kinds of idealistic and mystical interpretations. Dominant within this school of idealism has been the “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics, which originated with academics such as Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg who were based in the Danish capital.

In this longer article, Adam Booth examines the rise of the sharing economy, which has featured heavily in the media because of firms like AirBnB and Uber. These new models are presented as offering a revolutionary new dynamic phase in the life of capitalism. But the reality under capitalism is far from this utopian promise.

Flight, and later space travel, were viewed as an indication of humanity’s progress and ability to overcome even the most enormous of obstacles, in this case, the Earth’s gravitational pull. But the recent explosion of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket on October 28, and the explosion of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo just a few days later seem to highlight the primary obstacle in the way of humanity’s development today: the private ownership of the means of production.

Since the dawn of civilisation, humans have questioned the workings of the natural world around them and their own place in the Universe. Through a long process of investigation over millennia, mankind has built up an understanding of Nature and the wider cosmos. Each successive generation has expanded the horizon of our knowledge and in the process extended the boundary of the known Universe. From Ptolemy and Copernicus and through to the modern day, at every stage scientific discoveries have refined and redefined our picture of the Cosmos and our place within it.

A spoof Daily Mail front page is currently circulating on the internet, screaming that giant Islamic spiders are spreading Ebola in Britain and, what's more, at taxpayers’ expense. It won’t be long before we see life imitating art.

Americans’ dysfunctional relationship with food is regularly lamented or mocked in the media and in academia. What is never explained is the root cause of this dysfunction. Marxism explains that conditions determine consciousness. Your physical and social environment heavily influences the choices you make by limiting the very choices that are available to you.

Centuries of scientific research and investigation have helped to propel society forwards and improve the lives of millions. This strength of the scientific method and its ability to discover and innovate has been so great that it has created a mystical sense of infallibility surrounding science. But, as with all other areas of society, the senility and decay of capitalism is now being reflected in the question of science also, and many are starting to worry about the reliability of research.

Karl Marx has been decried by mainstream economists and news outlets as dead, irrelevant and/or outdated. A new study published by the world’s most reputed scholarly journal, Nature, once again shows that despite the hue and cry of naysayers and those who would revise history, his specter cannot be exorcised.

Quantum physics occupies a fascinating place at the cutting edge of modern scientific research. First developed in the early 20th Century, quantum theory is allowing today’s scientists to plumb new depths when it comes to matter and motion. A new book, Quantum Social Science, by Andrei Khrennikov and Emmanuel Haven argues that applying the logic of quantum theory to social systems can take our understanding of human society to a whole new level.

The development of genetically-modified organisms (GMO) has opened up whole new possibilities for improving the nutrition of humanity.For the first time, humans are able to genetically engineer species or organisms by transferring DNA between totally different organisms, potentially allowing for food to be grown in harsher climates, for example, or for existing crops to yield more food. However, under capitalism, GMOs are being abused by large agro-corporations, such as Monsanto, to maximize shareholders’ profits at the expense of ordinary people around the world.  Instead, GMOs have reduced the safety and security of the food system for billions of people. What is a working-class

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The Marxist analysis of history – that is, the dialectical and materialist analysis of history – explains that the main motor force in history is the need for society to develop the productive forces: to increase our knowledge of and mastery over nature; to reduce the socially necessary labour time needed to produce and reproduce the conditions of life; to improve lifestyles and raise the standards of living.

As Julian Assange and Bradley Manning have discovered, being a whistle-blower is not for the faint hearted. Now Edward Snowden has become the latest fugitive of US imperialism, his only crime being that he told embarrassing truths about the US government.

Capitalism has become an absolute fetter on the development of the productive forces. This also affects the development of science, which is geared to the profit motive. After the October 1917 Russian Revolution the arts and science experienced a short-lived period of freedom, as the Bolshevik leadership under Lenin and Trotsky understood that this was the only way of moving forward. But as the revolution, isolated in a backward country, underwent degeneration under Stalin, this also affected these recently won freedoms. The fate of Nicolai Ivanovich Vavilov, a brilliant Russian geneticist who ended up in Stalin’s gulags highlights this process.

Last week, Edward Snowden became the latest in a long line of whistleblowers. It has been revealed that the US National Security Agency has been given backdoor access to telephone exchanges and a long range of online accounts from major service providers, underlining how the state breaches users’ privacy on a massive scale in order to get intelligence.