Monday, March 16, 2015

The State & Capitalist Science and Technology

“The state, largely in the form of the federal government, has had an important background role in providing the environment in which the biotechnology industry could be created. Numerous state interventions made the formation of the biotechnology industry possible. Federal government funding of NIH [National Institutes of Health] and NSF [National Science Foundation] research built the basic scientific knowledge from which commercial biotechnology developed. The entire history of molecular biology is that of federal funding of ‘basic’ research that was meant to create the technical base necessary to understand and cure diseases.” Martin Kenney, Bio-technology: The University-Industrial Complex (Yale University Press, 1986): 241.
“It’s no surprise that Apple’s tremendously successful line of products—iPads, iPhones, and iPods—incorporate twelve key innovations. All twelve (central processing units, dynamic random-access memory, hard-drive disks, liquid-crystal displays, batteries, digital single processing, the Internet, the HTTP and HTML languages, cellular networks, GPS system, and voice-user AI programs) were developed by publicly funded research and development projects.” – From Tony Smith’s article, “Red Innovation,” in the latest issue of Jacobin (Spring 2015). Smith, a professor of philosophy at Iowa State University, is the author of, among other books, Technology and Capital in the Age of Lean Production: A Marxian Critique of the “New Economy” (SUNY Press, 2000).


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