[Marxism] Marx Was a Neuroscientist

Ben Campbell neurodialectics at gmail.com
Mon Feb 18 13:41:11 MST 2013

Manuel, I agree with your general sentiment — of course everything is done
for profit, and of course medical benefits rarely seem to "trickle down" to
the working class. But rarely does not mean never, and science has to be
considered globally — medical advances do aid the working class to a
greater extent in the remaining European welfare states. Second, scientists
and engineers are workers themselves, so the capitalist government
supporting them in doing something reasonably interesting and
non-destructive is something that should be supported. Third, my interest
in neuroscience is largely driven by basic scientific curiosity, and this
basic knowledge is one thing that science has generally given to much of
humanity (although there are obvious accessibility issues).

Finally, neuroscience is a long-term project. This type of basic research
will lay the groundwork for significant medical advances in 30-40 years —
by the dictatorship of the proletariat :)

On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 3:05 PM, Manuel Barrera <mtomas3 at hotmail.com> wrote:

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> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
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> 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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