The Political Economy of Science: Ideology of / in the by Hilary Rose

By Hilary Rose

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Motion was seen as the inherent attribute of matter, whereby everything in the natural world was in a constant process of transformation. Thus Engels quoted approvingly the Greek perception of the universe of 'all is flux' contrasting this unfavourably with the fixed and constant universe of the schoolmen, where all of nature had its God-ordained place and was in it. Motion and its laws of the dialectic are not, however, confined to the natural world, but are seen to extend over to the human. ' 24 Replacing the concept of practice with that of motion is the first step along a path which denies humanity any active part in transforming itself, making it instead merely the puppet of the mechanical laws of nature, and hence history.

While during the peak of the highspending years both technological and pure-science projects were dreamed up and sponsored with reckless abandon (Greenberg 12 was able to document some of the more notorious projects in pure science in the United States such as the Mohole or the Linear Accelerator), as the economic climate chilled a greater financial and scientific caution prevailed. None the less particular areas of 'pure' science have 18 THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF SCIENCE been seen both by governments and industry as integral to their political or economic purpose.

That modern science was born in late Renaissance Europe and not early China (which looked in principle a more likely society, as Joseph Needham points out) 2 requires either a materialist explanation involving the level and kind of economic and social development, or an internalist explanation turning on 'chance', or a racist assumption of the inherent intelle~tual superiority of Western man. However, while academic theorists of scientific development were internalist, scientists and 'policy-makers' were hurried along by history (and particularly the Second World War) into a pragmatic externalism.

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