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Impact of Science on Global Economies

Instructor: Denmark Mondonedo
Science is a crucial factor in aiding our lives. This lesson will show the revolutionary impact of science in modern world practices, making transportation easy, and newly developed inventions. Updated: 04/12/2022

Science and the Economy

Can you spend science? No- it's not an actual form of currency. It does, however, have economic value. Science has long played a major role in world economies, but as we become more reliant on various forms of technology, this becomes even more true. Who knows? Science may just become the currency of the future.

Science and Technology

Let's start with perhaps the most obvious impact of science on the economy: technology. Scientific discoveries lead to the development of new technologies, which then enter into international markets as highly desirable products.

While humans have always traded technologies, the relationship between technological development and economic growth really dates back to the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. This was the first time that products were being produced on a massive scale, and it was new technologies in steam engines that allowed this to happen.

The Industrial Revolution changed the global economy
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As people produced more goods, they developed more complex networks of economic exchange across the world. In fact, our modern ideas about free-market economies and capitalism actually date back to this same time period.

Our modern technologies and our modern economies developed simultaneously. We couldn't have one without the other. Today the United States' economy is very largely dependent on the exportation of communications and digital technologies. Its place in the global economy is not defined by its agriculture or raw products, but by its technologies.

Science and Production

Of course, the invention of new products is not the only way that science impacts the economy. Scientific processes and discoveries have been used to greatly impact the productivity of economic networks.

Through scientific, methodical experiments and research, researchers have found problems in transportation networks, rates of exchange, types of investments, and the efficiency of factories. By identifying these issues, they can find new solutions that allow economic networks to become more productive.

This concept doesn't just apply to technological production. Scientific solutions can increase productivity in a range of economic sectors. One of the best examples of this is something we call the Green Revolution. From the 1930s through 1960s researchers developed new, scientific models for agriculture. This included the management of crops and soils, as well as the introduction of new plants that thrived better in certain climates.

These changes were so effective that agricultural production around the world increased exponentially. Not only did this greatly benefit the economies of agricultural nations, but scholars estimate that up to a billion people around the world may have been saved from starvation.

Norman Borlaug, architect of the Green Revolution
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Science and the Culture of Production

So, science can increase productivity and strengthen economic networks. That's great, but there is a darker side to this. As cultures become more reliant on science to maintain their economies, there has been a trend across history where production becomes a new morality.

One place we really see this is back in the late 19th century. Factories were becoming larger than they'd ever been, the economies of industrial nations were more powerful than ever before, and people started thinking about their entire society purely in scientific terms.

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