Science & Technology

 

 

A perfect storm of private sector profiteering, reckless production practices, environmental destruction and underinvestment in medical research has made global pandemics more common, and undermined our capacity to deal with them. Capitalism not only gave rise to this invisible and deadly enemy – it is the biggest obstacle in our fight against it.

The coronavirus crisis has had immense impacts on the airline industry, which is now on its knees. Billionaires like Richard Branson are calling for government handouts to keep their companies afloat. We say: nationalise without compensation!

"If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going". Up until recently, this was the slogan many pilots and passengers had adopted when flying or boarding an aircraft. It was a nod of respect for the Seattle aircraft manufacturer that brought America into the jet age with airliners like the 707, the three-engine 727 that followed, and the “Queen of the Skies” – the 747. How times have changed!

The pharmaceutical industry is a very profitable business, particularly if you lack a moral compass. Jazz Pharmaceuticals 15-folded its value in seven years on the back of one drug, for which it charged through the roof.

Boeing is in trouble. The American aviation giant finds itself in the middle of a storm that has culminated in the worldwide grounding of its latest aircraft model, the 737 MAX. There is an emerging picture of a major manufacturer botching a new aircraft design, with more than 300 people dead as a result. This follows two fatal accidents in the space of five months that seem to have occurred under similar circumstances.

“The ocean is rising, and we are too.” So read one placard at the recent #YouthStrike4Climate in London. Young people across the world are taking to the streets to address the burning issue of our epoch: the impending climate catastrophe. Starting in Sweden last August with the weekly protests of one school student, Greta Thunberg, the youth strikes have rapidly spread internationally. In every country the situation is the same: a new, radicalised generation is entering into political activity, demanding action and system change to avert environmental destruction.

If asked 'what is the least proletarian profession?', many might place ‘video game designer’ pretty close to the top. Until quite recently, that opinion might well have been shared by a majority of game designers themselves. But now this is changing rapidly. A snowballing of awareness is taking place about the extreme exploitation that the video games industry is based upon.

In this article, Ben Curry explains the development of scientific thought from a Marxist perspective. Ben introduces the dialectical materialist outlook, explains how it applies to the natural world and demonstrates how the ancient philosophers of Greece and Rome laid the foundations for modern science. Science is always rooted in class society, and the lack of a dialectical materialist perspective has led some modern scientists back to the idealism and mysticism that the bourgeoisie railed against in its revolutionary phase.

We previously published a review of The Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – And the Unexpected Solutions, a book by Swiss-British writer and journalist Johann Hari, in which he attempts to re-examine the way that society views depression. However, while Hari raises some valid criticisms, his critique ends up being exaggerated and one-sided.

In the last 48 hours, liberal news outlets (in particular Britain's Guardiannewspaper), have made a scandal out of the exposé into Cambridge Analytica. This is a shadowy peddler of influence that has been exposed by an employee-turned-whistleblower for its use of masses of digital data to target political adverts.

As with all production under capitalism, scientific production is not democratically controlled by the working class. We argue that the workers can and should be the drivers of scientific advancement.

This article, written for Socialist Appeal, was published a matter of days before Bitcoin's value collapsed by half overnight. This catastrophic downturn proves everything we have written about Bitcoin and how it reflects of the general crisis of capitalism.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will stop research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and is expected to lay-off 300 research and development staff in Massachusetts and Connecticut, in a move that could severely hamper progress towards effective treatments for these illnesses – proving that critical medical research cannot be left in the hands of capitalist profiteers. Corporations like Pfizer should be expropriated and their assets, data and equipment placed under democratic control, to be used for the betterment of mankind.

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