Decolonising Science Reading List
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

“This complicates .. discourse around whether science is fundamentally wedded to Euro-American operating principles of colonialism, imperialism and domination for the purpose of resource extraction.”

First, I would be surprised to run across someone believing it is.

Secondly, you a make a very strong claim and bury it as the backdrop of the sentence. ‘I claim that Euro-American operating principles consist largely of colonialism, imperialism and domination for the purpose of resource extraction.’ and even less obvious but implied anyway: ‘These are not generally (have not generally been) the operating principles of other parts of the world when they found themselves relatively more powerful for whatever reason. Hence I am calling them the “Euro-American operating principles” as opposed to “continental norms throughout history”. Would you claim any activity by any Euro-American country in the last thirty years, even the Iraq war, was as clearly devoted to exploitation and (largely uncompensated) resource extraction as much of what China is doing now in Burma and Africa? No. I think the world is being very slow to see China (under its current government as the singly self-centered country that it is). Euro-American nations have been working like crazy to give back. Everything from non-proliferation to doctor’s without borders — including leaving colonized countries peacefully instead of getting more economic and brutal and going for payoffs. China will not do these things. The further you pull back to look at the arc of history, Euro-American domination was a blip. The real story is “How did China get to be the biggest country on earth to begin with? That’s not a contiguous land mass like the Indian subcontinent, which has even maintained peaceful coexistence WITHIN such a mass, including a couple dozen major languages and peoples.” If we look at North Korea, Myanmar, or Tibet we see how another group even bigger than “Euro-America” does it when they have relatively more power. Or what about the former USSR? Anyway your implication that the West’s way is craven exploitation despite decades of behavior to the opposite coupled with the even subtler subtext that this terrible stuff is unique to the evil West… require a serious double-take. Western countries, the US in particular, put a lot of sincere resources and efforts into using diplomats and international intelligence into sincere efforts to help countries deal with modernization and a plethora of problems from functioning courts to flood control. Russia, China, and most of the world would not try this. There’s a reason countries wanted to be IN NATO and out of USSR. There’s a reason that all the countries with borders with China keep the Chinese expat community down to under one percent. (Thailand excepted, executed carefully, and not with the Han Chinese). Japan and Russia and India and South Korea all within a few miles or a hundred miles, 0.5% Chinese. But they let in all the “evil Westerners” (especially Americans) they can get. Your whole premise that the West was built on colonizing and stealing is wrong. It did occur, but much less so than with all other dominant powers who found themselves (for whatever reason) more powerful than those around them for a time. Greek Roman Sumerian Turk Russia all of them, on and on and on. Full scale enslavement and raping and taking of absolutely everything. Now you are trying to claim science itself is part of this evil empire. Anyway, various regions get ahead for a hundred-plus years for whatever reasons, like Romans did. I claim none have been as obsessed with trying to give back some as the West. Will the Bill Gates and Warren Buffet of China give 100 billion!! dollars to Africa to make up something. Funneling mountains of expertise and money into conquered nations to help them heal and be independent is a decidedly American trait.

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