Science, technology and innovation are increasingly influential and ubiquitous aspects of contemporary social life. With the emergence of so-called ‘knowledgebased economies’, they are also interwoven, ever more tightly, with the production and distribution of wealth and poverty, capacities and incapacities, power and disempowerment, i.e. with issues of political economy. Moreover, over the course of the last generation, the funding and impacts of science, technology and innovation have become progressively commercial and proprietary, thereby undermining the very productivity of knowledge production upon which the ‘new’ economy seemingly depends. And this ‘crisis’ in knowledge production is but one aspect of an interrelated ‘triple crisis’ of the emerging limits of the global political economy of neoliberal capitalism and a gamut of ecological crises, including ‘global heating’ (Lovelock 2006, Monbiot 2006). These developments are thus of central importance to the future course of history and on a global scale. Under - standing them (as best we can) is thus an essential, if insufficient, step towards effective efforts at forging an alternative future, a ‘better world’.