A look at the destructive history of science-for-profit, including its toll on the US pandemic response, by the author of A People's History of Science.
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.
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. In addition, he 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 compellingly argues that replacing the current science-for-profit system with a science-for-human-needs system is not an impossible utopian dream-and the first step to a better future is grappling with the mistakes of the past.
Clifford D. Conner is a historian 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.
Table of Contents
PART 1: THE CORPORATIZATION OF AMERICAN SCIENCE
1 The Big Fat Lie
2 The Green Revolution
3 From Green Revolution to Gene Revolution
4 The Tobacco Strategy
5 Fraudulent Pharma
6 Spitting in the Well We Drink From
7 Atoms for Peace?
8 The Academic-Industrial Complex
9 Think Tanks and the Betrayal of Reason
10 The Dismal Science is Certainly Dismal, but is it Science?
PART 2: THE MILITARIZATION OF AMERICAN SCIENCE
11 Science Harnessed to the Chariot of Destruction
12 A-Bombs and H-Bombs
13 Non-nuclear Technologies of Death
14 Bombers, Missiles, and Antimissiles
15 Video-Game War
16 Lethal Autonomy
17 Is Cyberwarfare Really a Thing?
18 American Exceptionalism and the Ultimate Perversion of the Behavioral Sciences
PART 3: HOW WE GOT INTO THIS MESS…
19 The Explosive Birth of Big Science
20 Operation Paperclip: The Nazification of American Science
21 The RAND Corporation: From "Fuck You, Buddy" to Doomsday
PART 4: ...AND THE ONLY WAY OUT
22 Is a Science-For-Human-Needs Possible?
Suggestions for Further Reading