The Tragedy of American Science: From the Cold War to the Forever Wars (Paperback)
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, Conner 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.
About the Author
Clifford D. Conner taught history of science at the School of Professional Studies, CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of A People's History of Science (Bold Type Books, 2005) and biographies of three revolutionaries: Jean Paul Marat, Arthur O'Connor, and Colonel Despard.