Synopses & Reviews
Despite a facade of brilliant technological advances, American science has led humanity to the brink of interrelated disasters. In The Tragedy of American Science, historian of science Clifford D. Conner describes the dual processes by which this history has unfolded since the Second World War, addressing the corporatization and the militarization of science in the US. First, he examines the role of private profit considerations in determining the direction of scientific inquiry and the ways those considerations have dangerously undermined the integrity of sciences impacting food, water, air, medicine, and the climate. Second, Conner explores the relationship between scientific industries and the US military, discussing the innumerable financial and human scientific resources that have been diverted from other critical areas in order to further military aggrandizement and technological development.
While the underlying problems may appear intractable, Conner compelling argues that replacing the current science-for-profit system with a science-for-human-needs system is not an impossible, utopian dream. But to get there, we'll need to grapple with this important history.
The tragedy of American science is that its direction is determined by private profit rather than by the desire to improve the human condition. As a result, Connor argues, Big Science has been irredeemably corrupted by Big Money. This corruption threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the medicines we take.
The Tragedy of American Science explores how the U.S. economy 's addiction to military spending distorts and deforms science by making it overwhelmingly subservient to military interests. The primary motive driving American science and technology has become the search for new and more efficient ways to kill people. This transforms science from the classic ideal of a creative force for the advancement of humankind into its destructive and antihuman opposite. That those trillions of dollars in resources and scientific talent are not devoted to solving the problems of poverty, disease, and environmental destruction is one of the greatest tragedies of our times.
While the underlying problems may appear intractable, Conner compellingly argues that replacing the current science-for-profit system with a science-for-human-needs system is not an impossible, utopian dream. But to get there, we 'll need to grapple with this important history.