There is no royal road to science and only those who do not dread of its fatiguing climb have a chance of gaining its luminuos summits.
-Karl Marx

Feb 28, 2009

Science in service of capital

Science originated because of the need of fulfilling the requirements of advanced human society. Advancement of human society gave imputes to the development of science which in turn further advanced the society to a higher level.
The role of science in advancing the society is connected to its role in increasing the productivity of labour, or in other words, to develop the productive forces. The rise and development of present capitalist society cannot be imagined without unprecedented progress of science. As the science progressed the new machines and technologies came into being which advanced the productive forces and increased the production to a larger extent than ever before. With the increase in production large industries came into existence and big capitalist class arouse. This started the whole new concept of “free market competition” and the tendency of extracting as much profit as they can to increase their private property. The new heavy machinery and technologies helped these capitalists in decreasing the number of workers in the process of production; thus decreasing the cost of production and increasing the profit; the gap between mental labour and manual labour, rich and poor started widening; unemployment, starvation and malnutrition of large masses became common problem and science became a property of only rich classes, far from the reach of common masses. Development of science became concerned only with increasing the private profit and creating the things for the comfort and amusement of rich classes.
In fact, science in itself is of no interest to the capitalists but only through its application in the more efficient production of commodities. With the further advancement in science and productive forces the concept of patent monopolies and cartels originated which helped these capitalists to establish their monopoly over market. In this era of monopoly capitalism and imperialism, scientific research is more highly organized than ever before, but always with an overriding aim of private profit. The monopolization of market to get more and more profit supports only those inventions and discoveries which are able in decreasing the cost of production of commodities and devoted increasingly to war and producing arsenal for protecting the private property. Thus in the capitalist society science became ‘a productive force distinct from labour and pressed into the service of capital’.
The training of a natural scientist is so departmentalized as to make it difficult for them to acquire a theoretical grasp of natural science as a whole and, even more, they receive no training at all in the study of human society. Conversely, social science and historical studies are so organized as to exclude the natural science. Economics is separated from history and both from politics. In the natural sciences student may know nothing of Marxism, yet at least he recognizes dialectical processes in nature, even though he doesn’t know them by that name; but the laws of dialectics mean nothing to bourgeois historian, who doesn’t even recognize the class struggle.
This contradiction in the bourgeois educational system between the study of nature and study of human society reflects the conflict in bourgeois consciousness between the need to develop science as a productive force and the need to conceal true relationship between capital and labour. This contradiction is also the base of metaphysical and idealistic approach of bourgeois scientists towards reality and this marks an upper limit on the development of science in capitalist system.
Thus to attain the full and unrestricted use of research laboratory and modern technology, developed in capitalist society, it is necessary first to remove private control over the modern technologies and scientific research and development; to reunite the science with labour as a force devoted to produce use-values in the service of people and to use science in the progress of whole human society and not for only the rich classes. This can be achieved only by the abolition of capitalist ownership of all the means of production and by establishing the dictatorship of proletariat class over them, that is, the establishment of socialism.

The Fleeting Capitalism

Since the last year capitalism is fearful, fearing of what it has done, running away from its very own shadow. Searching remedy for its incurable disease, “economic crisis” is this incurable disease of capitalism, the crisis of overproduction. The crises arise because of antagonistic contradictions present in capitalism itself. This can be understood by considering the history and fate of present day crisis, and by identifying correct contradictions present in today’s capitalist system. Current Economic crisis will prove (is proving) to be greatest crisis after crisis of 1930s decade. Its symptoms started to appear in mid 2007, and till the end of 2007 foreclosures started to affect the economy. During 2008 it first consumed many giant banks, financial organizations and insurance companies and then spread to the global world market. Stimulus packages and bailouts were injected to stabilize the economy but crisis is still developing tyrannously, spreading to new branches of the industry and to new districts, and is becoming more and more acute as a result of failure of more banks. The bubble filled with speculations, greed couldn't last very long, at last it touched the surface of reality, and its busting destroyed capital on a very large scale while on the other hand with the fiscal and financial crises worsening, inflation, higher taxation, relatively falling real wages, and relative reduction in the purchasing power of the masses have inevitably further aggravated the economic crises of overproduction. Those bourgeois economists who first claimed it to be minor crash are now blaming on few individual capitalists for this crisis and are prescribing various “injections” to recover from it. But all these are wasting their wasteful ideas, rather if we look at the projections of world economy as predicted by World Bank which although optimistic are more realistic; it says that in 2009 the economic growth of world economy will only be 0.9% falling from 2.8% in 2008, and was 4.0% in 2006. UN report is also similar to that. Overall it can be said that even if national governments intervene to save the financial organizations it won’t be possible for world economy to recover till 2012.

Economic crises are not new, capitalism in old capitalist countries or rather we should now say imperialism is very much familiar with this chronic disease, whatever “injections” are given can relieve for time being but like steroids are shortening its life, it is a capitalist vicious circle in which same events repeat itself like summer and winter, and one need not to be prophet to foretell the next round of crash. In this capitalist cycle each recovery period of crisis sews the seeds of next round of crisis which is more severe and more frequent than earlier one. The rotation is more of a spiral than circle as Engels said “this circle is gradually narrowing; that the movement becomes more and more a spiral, and must come to an end, like the movement of the planets, by collision with the centre.” The current crisis itself is temporary phenomenon of this vicious spiral and not isolated or unique. It all started in 2002 when Fed reduced the interest rate to an unprecedented level, and injected capital into market in order to recover from dot-com crash. From this point onward starts the story of housing boom, real estate replaced the risky stock market and served as new “casino” for quick profit obsessed gamblers. After the crash people were reluctant to buy or invest, to increase the costumer sale “wealth effect” was created by providing easy loans, and dreams of owing house were filled, with the help of media and cheap bourgeois intellectuals like David Lereah who chew the bones thrown by real estate lobby to them, in people’s mind. Investment banks after the saturation of prime loans, to make more profit, started giving subprime loans blindly. Investment banks devised new methods to sell these dangerous (subprime) loans in packages. These packages were sold to other financial organizations like hedge funds, banks and insurance companies so as to distribute bad loans and avoid their accumulation at one place which could have been explosive. Various institutes gave these loans good credit history, but with the rise of subprime loan interest rate hedge funds and banks realized about the poisonous weed they bought and this inaugurated the bankruptcy of banks and hedge funds and thus started the subprime crisis.
The housing boom and then subprime crisis started with the end of dot-com crash, which itself was followed by boom during blowing of dot-com bubble, but story does not start from here, this boom was actually followed by 1997 crisis of East Asian economies for which Fed bank reduced the interest rate that time and helped in getting start-ups for companies like e-biz, e-commerce. The cyclic nature of crisis is inherent characteristic or rather contradiction of capitalism and even presently sciophobic capitalism in order to recover from depression will prepare base for even more severe crisis.

The vicious spiral of crises in capitalism has its origin in basic contradiction of capitalist system, contradiction between social production and capitalist private ownership. Economic crises fully expose the transitory nature of capitalism; reveal the existence of antagonistic contradictions between its productive forces and production relations. Whether it is East Asian crisis, dot-com crash or subprime crisis, all are capitalist crisis of over production and concentration of capital. Crises occur with increased “frequency and intensity” but with different faces. The overproduction and lack of options in investment results in rise of speculations and then finally to crash. The remedy to this disease does not lie in this system but only in crushing this illogical system, and replacing it with a system in which productive relations are compatible to socialized productive forces, then and only then this world can be saved from plundering of greedy capitalists, this task awaits us, to torch the oppressed class on the path of revolution against this profit based system.