[Marxism] Marx Was a Neuroscientist

Manuel Barrera mtomas3 at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 18 13:05:21 MST 2013

Ben: " although I imagine that like the human genome project it will be overhyped, and thus appear to be a letdown when it falls far short of what it couldn't possibly deliver on. With few examples, neuroscientific advances are quite long-term projects."

More likely, as with the Human Genome Project, the marketing will be one of intermittent behavioral reinforcement by the medical industry on both the government and the populace; provide just enough "progress" to continue getting funding (progress defined as what it will take successive administrations to sign checks). 

It does indeed take much to map human genetics or neurobiology. It is also true that the cost would be high because of the mechanisms, never mind the intellectual capital in the form of current, emerging, and new scientists. Hence, all "promise", in our current reality (sic) for mapping the brain, like the HGP, and virtually every form of advanced science, will not be the product of science but of a) profit and b) military advantage as long as it is in the hands of the profit-driven industries and funded by capitalist governments. 

I wouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that there is any real promise of human progress either on the minds of those who will actually fund or implement these projects or how scientists will come to be motivated to engage in this work. Much like doctors and lawyers, medical scientists are created and educated in accepting the capitalist motivation for engaging in science. That some rebel against this reality is only a testament to the actual promise of science and the difficulty--for the capitalist class--of using human beings to do this work.
Any new innovations that may bleed down to real people will be a function of how such innovations can be "monetized".  Rentiers are, after all, rentiers. 

Proof? What exactly has been "won" by the HGP for the mass of working and oppressed people? The "promise" of genetic innovations in their healthcare? Sure, if one can afford it. The promise of eradicating the fundamental health outcomes of a poor diet; obesity, diabetes, environmental diseases, cardio-pulmonary? Yes, there have been great innovations in using genetics, but all of them are based on how they can become profitable; hence, G-M foods, but no G-M cures. Even pharmaceutical improvements like anti-biotics are profit-driven and only mediated by the effects of class struggle (like union healthcare plans, the social safety net--a product of the earlier class struggles).  Why would anyone wax prophetic about the promise of improved neuroscience in the hands of the capitalist class? It's like window-shopping at a restaurant when you have no money to  eat.


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