The various visions of science stand on the threshold of a truly revolutionary era of discovery in which the world finds itself today. This threshold ranges from the universe’s origins to new states of matter and microscopic machines, from a new understanding of the oceans and biological connections across the earth’s species to the workings of the human brain and the origins of consciousness. This “golden age” of discovery, with frequent breakthroughs occurring virtually every field, induces far-reaching societal changes. We are experiencing a social and economic revolution that coincides with the impact of the agricultural and industrial revolutions. This is a “knowledge revolution” driven by knowledge and the technologies to process and communicate it Burawoy, M.
Knowledge is an intangible public good. It is privately produced and replaces land and machines as the main factors of production prevalent in the agricultural and industrial revolutions. This alters the terms of the debate between capitalism and socialism, leading to a human-centered state society with different types of markets, corporate structures, and financial structures. Property rights over knowledge are key. Human capital is the engine of development. Markets require an equal distribution of wealth for efficient functioning. With its voracious and unequal use of the earth’s resources, the golden age of industrial society is reaching its logical limits. A new pattern of economic growth, knowledge-intensive growth, replaced the resource-intensive patterns that prevailed since World War II. This leads to a vision of a society that is highly innovative in the use of knowledge and highly conservative in the use of the earth’s resources, a new society centered on diversity and human capital and offering the prospect of substantial economic progress without damaging the ecosystems that sustain life on earth.