interchangeable parts

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pages: 449 words: 129,511

The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester

Albert Einstein, British Empire, business climate, Dava Sobel, discovery of the americas, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, means of production, planetary scale, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, trade route, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Scott, The Crack-Up, 307 fixtures (devices that hold workpiece absolutely secure), 100n, 102 flatness: of surface plates, 75–76, 119–20 of Whitworth’s billiard table, 124–25 flintlocks, see muskets, flintlock flour-milling machinery, 102 f number of lens, 219n Ford, Henry, 129, 131, 155–67, 157, 276 altruistic motives of, 155–56 early years of, 156–58 first motor car experiments of, 158–59 gauge blocks, or Jo blocks, utilized by, 169–71 mass production assembly line created by, 160–67 Royce compared to, 131, 155–56, 158–59, 165–66 Westinghouse threshing engines in origin story of, 156–58 Ford Foundation, 166 Ford Model T (Tin Lizzie), 129, 155–56, 157, 160–67 decreases in price of, 165, 167 magneto assembly for, 164–65 production line for, 160–67 Ford Motor Company, 152, 155–67 complaints about SKF bearings at, 170 Edsel, 236 gauge blocks, or Jo blocks, introduced at, 169–71 incorporation of, 131, 159 interchangeable parts essential at, 161n, 166, 170 Model A, 159–60 Model T, see Ford Model T (Tin Lizzie) precision’s role at Rolls-Royce vs., 131, 166–67 production line at, 160–65 “For want of a nail . . .” proverb, 244 foundries, electronic, 278n fountain pens, 58 France: Anglo-French rivalry over inventions and, 87n automobiles made in, 137–39 British wars with, 39n, 66, 73 decimal time in, 349n postrevolutionary Republican Calendar in, 333–34 social implications of precision as concern in, 90, 92, 117 standards for length and mass created by, 334–40; see also metric system system of interchangeable parts developed in, 87–94, 97, 98, 102 Franklin, Benjamin, 90, 222–23 French Academy of Sciences, 335 French Revolution, 59, 66, 92 frequency: Doppler effect and, 260–61 units of measurement and, 347–48 friction problem, in early clocks, 32–33, 35 Gainsborough, Thomas, 38–39 Galileo, 222, 332, 348 Galileo global navigation system, 270 Gascoigne, William, 77 Gaudy Night, 105 gauge blocks, or Jo blocks, 167–71, 169 author’s introduction to, 2–4 Ford Motor Company and, 169–71 interchangeable parts and, 170 Johansson’s invention of, 167–68 gauges: go and no-go, for ensuring cannonball fit, 87 in gun manufacture, 89, 98–99, 100 gearwheels: from Ancient Greece (Antikythera mechanism), 24–27 producing, 4–5 uses for, 5–6 wooden, in Harrison’s clocks, 32–33 Gee, 259, 262 George III, King, 36, 74n George VI, King, 194–95 Germany, turbojet-powered aircraft developed by, 179, 184, 190–91, 195 Gernsback, Hugo, 181 glassblowers, scientific, 7 Glass Menagerie, The (Williams), 255 Global Positioning System (GPS), 37, 265–74 Doppler-based navigation system as precursor of, 259–65, 267 Easton’s invention of, 260, 265–68 ever-more-precise calculations of, 272–73 freed for civilian use, 269–70 major achievements of nineteenth-century cartography checked against data from, 273n military uses of, 269 other nations’ similar systems, 270 Parkinson’s vision for, 267–68, 268 run from tightly guarded Schriever Air Force Base, 270–72, 271, 272 time data for, 352–53 GLONASS, 270 Gloster Aircraft Company: experimental aircraft powered by jet engine (Gloster E28/29, or Pioneer), 190, 191–94 Gloster Meteor fighters, 192 Goddard Space Flight Center (Maryland), 234, 250–51, 294 Gould, Rupert, 34n graphene, 298 grasshopper escapement, 33 gravitational constant, 298 gravitational waves, detection of, 20–21, 300–306 see also LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) gravity: Bramah’s lock design and, 57 clock mechanisms and, 33, 354 link between time and, 354–55 pendulum swings and, 33, 333, 349 Whitworth’s measuring machine and, 121, 122 Great Britain: Anglo-French rivalry over inventions and, 87n divergent paths of industry in U.S. vs., 114–15 trading fortunes and, 31 War of 1812 and, 81–85 wars fought by, in eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, 39, 66–71 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations (London, 1851), 111–27, 112 arrangement of exhibits at, 115–16 Bramah’s “challenge lock” picked at, 112n, 124, 125–27 Crystal Palace built for, 112, 113–14 extraordinary zeitgeist of the time and, 111–13 financing of, 113 great big iron machines displayed at, 114–16, 117–18 Hunt’s concern about social implications of machines displayed at, 116–17 origin of idea for, 112–13n Whitworth’s instruments and tools displayed at, 118–23 Great Trigonometric Survey of India, 273n Greece, Ancient: astronomers from, 26n gearwheels from (Antikythera mechanism), 24–27, 36 lost-wax method in, 204 measurement of time in, 27 Greenwich Royal Observatory, Harrison’s clocks at, 30–37 restoration of, 34n winding of, 30–31 Gribeauval, Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de, 87, 89, 92, 98 Guier, William, 259–62 Gulf War of 1991, 269 guns: Blanchard’s lathe for stocks of, 101–2 both precision and accuracy crucial in making of, 105 breech-loaded single-shot rifles, 97–98 French system of interchangeable parts applied to American precision-based manufacturing of, 97–100 Johansson’s invention of gauge blocks, or Jo blocks, and, 167–68 machines first used to make components of, 98, 99–100 rudiments of mass production assembly lines in manufacture of, 161n Victoria’s opening shot in 1860 Grand Rifle Match, 107–10 see also muskets, flintlock Hall, Bishop Joseph, Works, 331 Hall, John, 97–98, 99–100, 102 handcrafting: Antikythera mechanism and, 24–25, 27 Blanc’s standardization system and, 89–90, 92, 98 eliminated in Ford’s assembly line, 165, 166–67 Japanese appreciation for, 308, 309–10, 314, 316, 319–29 machine tools vs., 35, 38, 60, 72–73, 98–99 at Rolls-Royce, 6, 131, 152–55, 165, 166 social consequences of move away from, 72–75, 89–90, 116–17 and survival of craftsmanship in France, 92 in Whitney’s gun factory, 96–97 Hanford, Wash., cleanup site, 19–20 Harpers Ferry Armory (Va.), 98, 99, 102, 161n Harrison, John, 24, 30–37, 47, 67, 105, 267n balance mechanisms in clocks made by, 33, 35 Board of Longitude prize and, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35–36 large pendulum clocks made by (H1, H2, and H3), 30–31, 32–34, 35 restoration of clocks made by, 34n sea watches made by (H4 and K1), 31–32, 34–36 testing of clocks made by, 34, 35–36, 39 winding of clocks made by, 30–31, 33, 35 Harrison, William, 35–36 Hattori, K., and Company, 311–13 Hattori, Kintaro, 310–12 Heinkel Company, 184, 195 Heinkel He 178, 190–91 Heisenberg, Werner, 212–13, 298 Die Physik der Atomkerne, 275 Herbert, George, 244n Herschel family (William, Caroline, John, and Alexander), 229–30n Hiroshima, atomic bomb dropped on, 281 Hitler, Adolf, 187, 191 Hobbs, Alfred C., 124, 125–27 Hoerni, Jean Amédée, 284–85, 286n, 287 Hooker, Sir Stanley, 139 hour: defining, 28, 334, 349 displayed by mechanical clocks, 28–29 Hubble, Edwin, 2321 Hubble Space Telescope, 229–53, 230 cost of, 232 delays in launch date of, 243n first images from (First Light), 234–35, 251 flaw in main mirror of, 234, 234–43; see also Perkin-Elmer Corporation High Speed Photometer in, 247, 248, 250 money matters and, 237n news of failure announced to press, 235–36 placed into orbit, 230–32, 233 public reverence for, 229–30 repair of, 244–51 second images from (Second Light), 251–52 size and appearance of, 232–33 teacup affair and, 238 ultimate success of, 252–53 Wide Field and Planetary Camera in (Wiffpic), 247–48, 249 Hucknall Casings and Structures plant (Rolls-Royce), 209–10, 211, 229 Hunt, Robert, 116–17 hydraulic press, 57–58 India, Great Trigonometric Survey of, 273n Individual and the Universe, The (Lovell), 215 Industrial Revolution, 39, 41, 44, 51, 73, 74n, 111, 304 integrated circuitry, 286–99 devices made possible by, 287–88 Noyce’s work in genesis of, 286, 287, 288n printing with photolithographic machines, 277, 277–78, 286–87, 294 see also microprocessor chips; transisters Intel, 288–92 ASML machines bought by, 275–76, 277, 277–78 Chandler, Ariz., fabrication plant of (Fab 42), 275–76, 277–78, 291–92 first-ever commercially available microprocessor made by (Intel 4004), 288–89, 290, 292 founding of, 288 mutual dependency of ASML and, 278 interchangeable parts, 63, 71, 105, 114, 276, 312 in Ford’s mass production assembly lines, 161n, 166, 170 for guns, 84–85, 86, 87–100 system of, developed in France, 87–94, 97, 98, 102 interferometers: classic, 300 laser, 242–43 LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), 20–21, 299–306, 303, 305 null connector as, 240–41 internal combustion engine, 158 aircraft powered by, 178–213; see also jet engines International Astronomical Union, 344 International Committee on Weights and Measures (1960), 345–46 International Metre Commission (1872), 338 International Prototype Kilogram (IPK), 339 International Prototype Meter (IPM), 339 International System of Units (SI), 16–17n, 346 iron, 38, 39 cannon making and, 39, 41–44 Japanese handcrafted objects made of, 309–10 lathes made of, rather than wood, 61, 64 machines to manufacture pulley blocks made of, 71 smelting and forging, 40–41, 43, 49 steam engines made of, 46, 48–52 Wilkinson’s cylinder-boring technique for, 42–44, 49–52, 304–6 Iron Bridge of Coalbrookdale, 41 Ito, Tsutomi, 321–22 Jacula Prudentum, 244n James Webb Space Telescope, 231n, 294, 295, 299 Janety, Marc Étienne, 336, 337 Japan, 308–29 bamboo objects handcrafted in, 325, 326 fondness for handcrafting in, 308, 309–10, 314, 316, 319–29 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in (2011), 322, 323–25 Living National Treasures of, 325–26 rigorous appreciation of perfect in, 308–9, 314 timekeeping traditions in, 310–11 urushi (handmade lacquerware) of, 326–28, 327 Westernization in, 310, 311 see also Seiko Japanese Railways, 313–14 Jay, John, 92–93 Jefferson, Thomas, 52 Blanc’s flintlock system and, 90, 92–94, 96 Whitney’s contract and demonstration and, 95, 96 Jet Age, inauguration of, 193 jet engines, 173–213 alloys for blades in, 200, 201, 203 Americans’ initial lack of interest in, 179 bird strikes and, 203n British public told of, 194 complexity within, 196–97 experimental aircraft fitted with, 190, 191–94 financial backing for development of, 184–85, 189 first passenger and freight aircraft with, 198–99 French forerunner of, 179 German development of, 179, 184, 190–91, 195 hot environment in, 187, 199–201 invention of, 178–94, 179; see also Whittle, Frank keeping blades cool inside, 197–98, 198, 199–203, 204, 206 manufacturing process for single-crystal blades in, 203–6 no tolerance whatsoever in making of, 206–7 power of piston engine vs., 182–83 propulsive jet of air produced by, 182, 187 Quantas Flight 32 and failure of, 174–78, 178, 196, 207–12, 208, 229 revolutionary novelty of idea for, 186 Rolls-Royce, 196–213, 205; see also Rolls-Royce jet engines single moving part in, 180 stress of takeoff and landing cycles on, 210 testing of prototypes, 187–90 turbine blade efficiency and, 198 Whittle’s eureka moment and, 182–83 Whittle’s patent and, 183–84 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL (Pasadena), 247–48, 350 Jo blocks, see gauge blocks, or Jo blocks Johansson, Carl Edvard, 3, 167–71 bought out by Ford, 170–71 gauge blocks, or Jo blocks, created by, 167–68 Johns Hopkins University: Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at, 259–62 Space Telescope Science Institute at, 234, 251 Johnson, Claude “CJ,” 148–50, 151 Jones, Alexander, 27 Kai Tak Airport (Hong Kong), 195–96 kelvin, definition of, 346 Kiev, author photographed with Rolls-Royce outside city gates of, 133–34 Kilby, Jack, 288n kilogram, 336–40, 346–47 cast in platinum as étalon (standard), 337, 339–40, 348 now defined in terms of speed of light, 348 relationship of meter to, 336–37 see also metric system Kilogram of the Archives, 336 Klein bottle, 7n Kodak, 237n Korean Air Lines Flight 007, shooting down of, 269 krypton, standard unit of length based on, 344–45 Kyoto, temples of, 308 landscape photography, lenses for, 226 lasers, 351 in LIGO’s measuring instrument, 301, 305, 305–6 in manufacture of microprocessor chips, 293–94, 296 presumed to be precise, 242 lathes, 61–65 for gun stocks, designed by Blanchard, 101–2 invention and evolution of, 61 iron vs. wood, 61, 64 Maudslay’s improvements to, 61–65 screw-making, 63–64 for shoe lasts, designed by Blanchard, 19n, 101 slide rest and, 62–63, 64–65 latitude, determining, 30n leadscrews: of bench micrometers, 77–78 of lathes, 61, 62–63 Leica, 221, 222, 227–28 cameras owned by author, 219–20 lenses made by, 220, 224–25, 227–28 Leitz, Ernst, 222, 227 Leland, Henry, 168 length, standard unit of, 334–40 cast in platinum as étalon (standard), 336, 337, 339–40 mass in relation to, 336–37 meridian of Earth and, 334–36, 337 now defined in terms of time, 348 pendulum swing and, 332–33 redefined as wavelength of light, 342–45 Wilkins’s proposal for, 332–33 see also metric system Lenin, V.

* The rudiments of mass production assembly lines, already established at the armories in Springfield and Harpers Ferry (a very American phenomenon, still resisted in Europe and elsewhere), had by this time also been embraced by the New England clock industry and were also revolutionizing the making in particular of three metal consumer products of the times: sewing machines, bicycles, and typewriters. Crucial to all these industries, and absolutely crucial in Henry Ford’s new automobile-manufacturing industry, was the use of interchangeable parts. It is worth noting that none of Ford’s early-model cars (the A, B, C, F, K, or N) relied entirely on its components’ interchangeability. But the Model T did, and did so in spades. Some claim that Ransom Olds was the industrialist who pioneered the use of assembly lines in the making of cars, but he managed to make industrial history confusing by not using interchangeable parts—the workers on his Oldsmobile assembly lines still filed metal pieces to make them fit. * As well as the Lincoln—and the electric starter motor, which he built after his best friend was knocked out and killed by the unexpected kickback of a large car’s starting crank

Metal pieces can be machined into a range of shapes and sizes and configurations, and provided that the settings of the leadscrew and the slide rest are the same for every procedure, and the lathe operator can record these positions and make certain they are the same, time after time, then every machined piece will be the same—will look the same, measure the same, weigh the same (if of the same density of metal) as every other. The pieces are all replicable. They are, crucially, interchangeable. If the machined pieces are to be the parts of a further machine—if they are gearwheels, say, or triggers, or handgrips, or barrels—then they will be interchangeable parts, the ultimate cornerstone components of modern manufacturing. Of equally fundamental importance, a lathe so abundantly equipped as Maudslay’s was also able to make that most essential component of the industrialized world, the screw. Over the centuries, there were many incremental advances in screw making, as we shall see, but it was Henry Maudslay (once he had invented or mastered or improved or in some other manner become intimately associated with the slide rest on his lathe) who then devised a means of cutting metal screws, efficiently, precisely, and fast.


pages: 372 words: 89,876

The Connected Company by Dave Gray, Thomas Vander Wal

A Pattern Language, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, complexity theory, creative destruction, David Heinemeier Hansson, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, Googley, index card, industrial cluster, interchangeable parts, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, loose coupling, low cost airline, market design, minimum viable product, more computing power than Apollo, profit maximization, Richard Florida, Ruby on Rails, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, Vanguard fund, web application, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

., Service-Dominant Logic M machines, The Company as a Machine–Closed and Open Systems, The Company as a Machine, The Company as a Machine, Closed and Open Systems, Closed and Open Systems, Closed and Open Systems as closed systems, Closed and Open Systems companies as, The Company as a Machine–Closed and Open Systems, The Company as a Machine, Closed and Open Systems, Closed and Open Systems purpose of, The Company as a Machine Mackey, John, It Takes Trust to Build Relationships Mailchimp (company), Strategy by Discovery management, Leading from the Edge, Managing the connected company, Management is a Support System, Designing the System–Rely on Peer-to-Peer Reinforcement Whenever Possible, Balance the Individual Freedom with the Common Good, Build Slack into Central Resources to Ensure Availability, Rely on Peer-to-Peer Reinforcement Whenever Possible, Rely on Peer-to-Peer Reinforcement Whenever Possible, Operating the System, Critical Values in Complex Adaptive Systems, Symptoms, Tuning the System–The Job of Managers, Tuning the System, Information Transparency, Density, Rate of Flow, Structural Change, The Job of Managers, The Job of Managers, The Job of Managers as support system, Management is a Support System designing system for, Designing the System–Rely on Peer-to-Peer Reinforcement Whenever Possible, Balance the Individual Freedom with the Common Good, Build Slack into Central Resources to Ensure Availability, Rely on Peer-to-Peer Reinforcement Whenever Possible, Rely on Peer-to-Peer Reinforcement Whenever Possible leadership versus, Leading from the Edge operating the system, Operating the System, Critical Values in Complex Adaptive Systems, Symptoms, Tuning the System purpose of, Managing the connected company role of, The Job of Managers tuning the system, Tuning the System–The Job of Managers, Information Transparency, Density, Rate of Flow, Structural Change, The Job of Managers, The Job of Managers maneuver warfare, Three Types of Strategy Marriott International, Connecting an Internal Group at Marriott–Connecting an Internal Group at Marriott, Connecting an Internal Group at Marriott mass marketing, product saturation and, An Age of Abundance–An Age of Abundance, An Age of Abundance, An Age of Abundance mass production, Interchangeable Parts–Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Interchangeable Parts, Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity standardization and, Interchangeable Parts–Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Interchangeable Parts, Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity Maverick (Semler), Democratic Management at Semco McCarthy, Patrick D., Freedom to Experiment, The Nordstrom Way McDonald’s (company), Reducing Variety–Absorbing Variety, Reducing Variety, Absorbing Variety, Support–Balancing the Needs of Constituents, Balancing the Needs of Constituents reducing variety, Reducing Variety–Absorbing Variety, Reducing Variety, Absorbing Variety support structure, Support–Balancing the Needs of Constituents, Balancing the Needs of Constituents McIntyre, Tim, Cascading Effects Can be Initiated by Employees McKelvey, Bill, The Red Queen Race, Adaptive Tensions Microsoft Corporation, What is a Platform?

Smith, Adam, Dividing Work, Attractors Smith, Greg, Failure of Purpose SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture), Standards Sony, Purpose Sets the Context for Organizations to Learn, Over-Controlling the Platform SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act), Adaptive Moves Can Create Opportunities for Others Southwest Airlines, Balancing Promise, Purpose, and Performance, Freedom to Experiment, Not Enough Autonomy Spector, Robert, Freedom to Experiment, The Nordstrom Way standards and standardization, Interchangeable Parts–Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Reducing Variety, Reducing Variety, Loose Coupling customers resisting, Reducing Variety interchangeable parts, Interchangeable Parts–Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity loose coupling and, Loose Coupling reducing variety by, Reducing Variety Starbucks (company), A Wake-up Call at Starbucks, A Wake-up Call at Starbucks, Something’s Happening Here, Control confidential memo leak, A Wake-up Call at Starbucks, A Wake-up Call at Starbucks, Something’s Happening Here, Control Starkweather, Gary, How Xerox Missed the PC Revolution State Department, Power in the Network Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA),, Adaptive Moves Can Create Opportunities for Others strategy, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom–A Portfolio of Experiments, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, A Portfolio of Experiments–Be Connectable to Everything, A Portfolio of Experiments, Big Bets: The Responsibility of Senior Leaders, Big Bets: The Responsibility of Senior Leaders–Be Connectable to Everything, Be Connectable to Everything, Be Connectable to Everything, Strategy by Discovery, Strategy by Discovery–Strategy by Discovery, Strategy by Discovery, Strategy by Discovery, Strategy by Discovery, Leading from the Edge–People First, People First, People First, Moral Authority being connectable, Big Bets: The Responsibility of Senior Leaders–Be Connectable to Everything, Be Connectable to Everything by discovery, Strategy by Discovery–Strategy by Discovery, Strategy by Discovery, Strategy by Discovery deliberate, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom–A Portfolio of Experiments, A Portfolio of Experiments emergent, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, Strategy by Discovery, Strategy by Discovery evolving nature of, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom for leading connected companies, Leading from the Edge–People First, People First, People First Golden Rule, Moral Authority portfolio of experiments, A Portfolio of Experiments–Be Connectable to Everything, Big Bets: The Responsibility of Senior Leaders, Be Connectable to Everything strategy decay, Strategies Don’t Last Forever strong ties, Small Worlds structural change, Structural change is necessary–Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity, Conflicting Constraints Lead to Rigidity successive approximation process, The Growth Spiral systems of systems, The Complexity Issue T Tabas, Lindsay, Balancing the Front Stage and the Back Stage tacit knowledge, Tacit and Explicit Knowledge–Learning Fields, Tacit and Explicit Knowledge, Learning Fields Target (retail stores), Every Adaptive Move by One Organization Affects Others, Net Promoter at Apple Taylor, Andy, Net Promoter at Enterprise Taylor, Bob, Cascading Effects Can be Initiated by Customers Taylor, Frederick, The Company as a Machine TED Airline, Not Enough Autonomy temperature of companies, Critical Values in Complex Adaptive Systems–Symptoms, Symptoms, Symptoms Tesler, Larry, How Xerox Missed the PC Revolution The Boy Genius Report blog, Cascading Effects Can be Initiated by Senior Executives The Elastic Enterprise (Vitari and Shaughnessy), Be Connectable to Everything The Future of Management (Hamel), Diversity Matters, It Won’t be Easy The Ghost in the Machine (Koestler), The Parable of the Watchmakers The Great Reset (Florida), The Great Reset The Living Company (de Geus), The Long-lived Company The Nordstrom Way (Spector and McCarthy), Freedom to Experiment, The Nordstrom Way The Origin of Wealth (Beinhocker), Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom The Power of Pull (Hagel and Brown), Return on Assets is Dwindling The Service Profit Chain (Heskett and Sasser), Purpose Sets the Context for Organizations to Learn, Too Much Autonomy The Seven-Day Weekend (Semler), Democratic Management at Semco The Ultimate Question (Reichheld), How Profits Can Destroy Your Company Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Cascading Effects Can be Initiated by Customers Thompson, Gav, Disrupting Full-Service Telecom at O2 thou shalt not platform, Governance tight coupling, Service Contracts, Most Companies are Not Built for Agility about, Service Contracts train on track example, Most Companies are Not Built for Agility tipping point, We are Reaching a Complexity Tipping Point, Strategy by Discovery, Build Slack into Central Resources to Ensure Availability for complexity, We are Reaching a Complexity Tipping Point for emergent strategy, Strategy by Discovery for utilization of resources, Build Slack into Central Resources to Ensure Availability top-down, leader-driven change, Top-Down, Leader-Driven Change–Launch a Pilot Pod to Shift to a New Business Model, Top-Down, Leader-Driven Change, Common Threads, Pilot Pods, Launch a Pilot Pod to Shift to a New Business Model Torvalds, Linus, What is a Platform?

In addition, although dividing work may make the system more efficient, by dividing work into ever-more specialized tasks, we also disconnect people from the meaning and purpose of what they are doing. From their small, constrained box, people can’t see the big picture, so they must make decisions and act with a very limited perspective. Interchangeable Parts Another core idea from the age of the industrial revolution is the concept of interchangeable parts. Standardization does make it easier to mass-produce quality products. We run into problems, though, when we try to apply standards to things that inherently have a high degree of variety—for example, a customer service call. Customer problems come in all shapes and sizes, and even problems that might seem very similar on the surface can be subject to a lot of variability based on the context.


pages: 456 words: 123,534

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris

air freight, American ideology, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, clean water, colonial exploitation, computer age, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, if you build it, they will come, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, lone genius, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, refrigerator car, Robert Gordon, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, undersea cable

The traditional source for the story that he claimed to manufacture interchangeable parts appears to be itself a partial fabrication.6 While he did have a rocky start on his first musket contract, so did many other contractors. The current consensus is that Whitney was quite a competent manufacturer and one of the earliest advocates for mass production by machinery, if not expressly for interchangeable parts—in short, a respectable figure, if not the demigod of legend. My own view is that in his early career Whitney was indeed something of a flimflam man; some recent work even raises doubts as to whether he invented his cotton gin (see Appendix). And I think the record supports the charge that he dangled the promise of machined interchangeable parts to gain extensions on his contracts. But it’s also true that he was a talented artisan and entrepreneur, and once he focused on actually building his weapons—about 1805, when he turned forty—he proved himself to be a good manufacturer and was regarded as such by his peers and armory officials.

Eli Whitney’s Reputational Thrill Ride For a century and a half after his death, Eli Whitney was virtually canonized as the Father of American Technology. According to the traditional story, Whitney was the inventor of the cotton gin, which transformed the antebellum South (and unfortunately reinvigorated the institution of slavery); he was the first person to machine-produce precisely fitting interchangeable parts for muskets and was the inventor of critical new machine tools, like the celebrated Whitney milling machine. The Whitney role in military manufacturing came under withering challenge in the 1960s. The revisionists charged that Whitney’s pretension to making arms with interchangeable parts was merely a ploy to justify extensions of his contracts. Indeed, he had little idea of how to manufacture muskets at all, much less how to blaze new trails in making them. He was unconscionably late in fulfilling his arms contract, in part because he spent so much of his time pursuing his cotton gin profits.5 That harsh view of Whitney as manufacturer has moderated considerably in recent years.

The practical methodologies evolved over many years, and the most important armory contribution came from John Hall, a gunsmith from Portland, Maine, and inventor of the Hall rifle. Mastering the interchangeability challenge was not part of Hall’s original business strategy. Rather, in the manner of Eli Whitney, when he was anxious to retain a much-needed government contract, he promised he would produce machine-made rifles with interchangeable parts—but he really did it.69 John Hall was born into an upper-middle-class family during the waning days of the Revolution. After his father’s death, he opened a woodworking and boat-building business, married into a politically connected family, and had a very close marriage with seven children. A stint in his state militia sparked a fascination with firearms, and he switched his business to gun making.


pages: 927 words: 216,549

Empire of Guns by Priya Satia

banking crisis, British Empire, business intelligence, Corn Laws, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, hiring and firing, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Khyber Pass, Menlo Park, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, rent-seeking, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, zero-sum game

Decius Wadsworth was a military engineer who knew French military engineers well; he prioritized uniformity especially because American ordnance was then so randomly assorted. In 1813, the Connecticut contractor Simeon North made pistol locks with interchangeable parts, and in 1815 the Ordnance Department acquired the teeth to implement uniformity as a general objective. It took time, however, not least because of resistance from artisans at Harpers Ferry. In 1819, the Harpers Ferry gunsmith John Hancock Hall contracted to make a breech-loading rifle he had patented in 1811. He used dozens of gauges and much machinery, showing definitively, in 1826, that his rifles could be made with interchangeable parts—the first of their kind. Legally, arms for militias had to be made by contractors, so the War Department had Hall share his technology with North. By 1834, North could make rifles that could be exchanged with Hall’s.

The scale expanded in the 1840s, and interchangeable-parts manufacturing was adopted in the machine-tool and sewing-machine industries. This “American system of manufacture” was the result of long state investment in and direction of new techniques of arms manufacture aimed at fulfilling specific American military objectives. Military sponsorship enabled the technique to evolve over decades, despite unfavorable macroeconomic conditions, until it became attractive to private manufacturers later in the century. Only the federal government could have financed and organized this sustained, complex affair. Only it could give out the contracts that enabled private manufacturers like North and Whitney to make large investments in factories with machinery for interchangeable-parts manufacturing. These American developments soon impinged on the British debate about arms making.

Similar government arms-factory projects were coming up abroad in 1794 out of different motivations. The revolutionary French government launched the Manufacture of Paris, which employed more than five thousand at its peak in thirty government-run workshops—the largest ever “crash” industrial project in Europe, aiming to produce a thousand muskets a day, six times the combined output of the ancien regime’s three armories. Uncompromising Enlightenment-minded engineers insisted on interchangeable parts production on principle, in the face of opposition from artisanal gunsmiths and arms merchants. After a year, the governing National Convention closed it, reestablishing the ancien regime “amalgam of private capitalism and statist direction.” In 1794, the Spanish government also established a factory in Oviedo, which would average more than eight hundred muskets per month by 1798. Also in 1794, anticipating war with France, George Washington sponsored a bill “for the erecting and repairing of Arsenals and Magazines” in the United States.


pages: 626 words: 167,836

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, Corn Laws, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, factory automation, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, future of work, game design, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, natural language processing, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, oil shock, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, Renaissance Technologies, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Turing test, union organizing, universal basic income, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

The superiority of this system was widely recognized during the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition in London. As one visitor observed, “Nearly all American machines did things that the world earnestly wished machines to do.… Most exciting was Samuel Colt’s repeat-action revolver, which was not only marvelously lethal but made from interchangeable parts, a method so distinctive that it became known as the American system.”7 Yet the concept of interchangeable parts was not an American invention, if it can be regarded an invention at all. Christopher Polhem, a Swedish engineer, produced a wooden clock using interchangeable parts in the 1720s. The achievement of American industry was to devise sufficiently accurate machine tools to allow uniform parts to be mass-produced. For parts to be interchangeable, they had to be identical. The ability to produce identical parts in large numbers only followed successive improvements in machine tools.

According to his own definition, which entailed the complete elimination of manual labor in the fitting of parts, he was right in thinking so.6 And like the factory system of the British Industrial Revolution, it was a technological event—it required a machine-tool industry capable of producing interchangeable parts and electric motors to drive the machines. The flood of new goods and gadgets demanded by ordinary Americans could not possibly have been produced in large numbers at sufficiently low cost without these two developments. In some ways, mass production was an extension of the factory system with new and better technologies. As the historian David Hounshell has argued, the road to mass production began in antebellum America. Eli Whitney, Samuel Colt, Isaac Singer, and Cyrus McCormick are often viewed as the pioneers of the so-called American system of manufacturing, in which complex products are assembled from mass-produced individual and interchangeable parts. The superiority of this system was widely recognized during the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition in London.

., 183 Kettering, Charles, 166 Keynes, John Maynard, 332, 334 King, Gregory, 68 knowledge work, 235, 259 Komlos, John, 115 Korea, ascent of, 289 Korean War, 180 Krugman, Paul, 12 Kuznets, Simon, 5, 206–7 Kuznets curve, 207, 212 labor, division of, 228 labor multiplier, 347 Labor Party, rise of, 268 labor productivity, gap between worker compensation and, 244 labor unions, 212; bargaining power of, 201, 277; legalization in Britain, 190 laissez-faire regime, 25, 267 lamplighters, 1–2 Lancashire riots of 1779, 90 landed aristocracy, 83 Landes, David, 9, 112, 118, 134, 343 Land-Grant College Act of 1862, 364 Latin Church, oppression of science by, 79 laundress, vanishing of, 27, 160 Lee, William, 10, 54 Lefebvre des Noëttes, Richard, 43 Leonardo da Vinci, 38, 51, 73 Leontief, Wassily, 20, 338, 343 Levy, Frank, 237, 302, 323 liberal democracy, components of, 267 Lindert, Peter, 61, 68, 114, 207, 211, 269, 271 literacy, demand for, 76 Liverpool-Manchester Railway, 109 lobbying, corporate spending on, 275 Locke, John, 83 Lombe, John, 52, 99–100 Lombe, Thomas, 6, 100 London Steam Carriage, 109 longshoremen, vanishing of, 172 Louis XIV of France, King, 84 Luddites, 9, 18, 125–31, 341; imprisoned, 20; new, 286–92; riots, 89, 92; uprisings, 265 machinery question, 116, 174–88; adjustment problems, 177; automation, employment effects of, 180; computers, automation anxiety concerning, 183; elevator operators, 181–82; musicians, displaced, 177–78 machinery riots, 9, 265, 289; absence of (America), 190; Britain, 90 Maddison, Angus, 66 Magellan, Ferdinand, 51, 67 majority-rule voting system, 270 Malthus, Thomas Robert, 4, 64, 73, 316, 345 Malthusian logic, 345 Malthusian trap, escape of, 65 Manhattan Project, 74 Manpower Training and Development Act (MDTA), 353 Mantoux, Paul, 97, 101, 126 Manufacture des Gobelins, 84 Manufacture Royale de Glaces de Miroirs, 84 manufacturing: blue-collar jobs, disappearance of, 251, 254; American system of manufacturing, pioneers of, 149; factory electrification, 151–55; interchangeable parts, concept of, 149 Margo, Robert, 135, 145 markets, integration of, 86 Marx, Karl, 26, 47, 98, 239, 364 Massey, Douglas, 256 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), 354 mass production, 147–73; American system of manufacturing, pioneers of, 149; containerization, 171–72; direct drive, 153; factory electrification, 151–55; horseless age, 164; household revolution, 156; industries, 18; installment credit, 159, 167; interchangeable parts, concept of, 149; Model T, 167; unit drive, 153 Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, 59 Maybach, Wilhelm, 166 McAfee, Andrew, 303, 339 McCloskey, Deirdre, 70 McCormick, Cyrus, 149, 168 McLean, Malcom, 171 mechanics, Galileo’s theory of, 53 mechanization, age of automation vs. age of, 227 median voter theories, 270 medieval Christianity, 78 mercantilism, flawed doctrine of, 83 Mesopotamia, 35 metals, discovery and exploitation of, 35 Michigan Antitrust Reform Act of 1985, 359 Microsoft, 306 Middle Ages: agricultural technology in, 42; feudal order of, 57; onset of, 41; technical advances of, 50; traditional crafts of, 68 middle class, descent of, 223–25; artificial intelligence, 228; automation, adverse consequences of, 240; cognitive divide, 238–43; computer-controlled machines, jobs eliminated by, 228; computers, 228–38; corporate profits, 244; division of labor between human and machine, 228; earnings gap, 230; Engels’ pause, return of, 243–48; golden postwar years, 239; Great Recession, 244; high school graduates, employment opportunities for, 237; industrial organization, fundamental principle of, 229; in-person service jobs, 235; knowledge workers, 235; labor productivity, gap between worker compensation and, 244; mechanization, age of automation vs. age of, 227; multipurpose robots, 242; rule-based logic, 228; Second Industrial Revolution, elimination of jobs created for machine operators during, 228; “symbolic analysts,” 235 middle class, triumph of, 218–222; agriculture, mechanization of, 189; automotive industry, 202; baby boom, 221; blue-collar Americans, unprecedented wages of, 220; child labor, as opportunity cost to education, 214; collective bargaining, 192; corporate giants, 208; corporate paternalism, 200; education and technology, race between, 216; end of drudgery, 193–98; Engels’ pause, 219; factory electrification, 190, 195; farming jobs, decline of, 197, 203; Great Depression, 211; “great exception” in American political history, 200; Great Migration, 205; hazardous jobs, end of, 195, 198; high school movement (1910–40), 214; Jeffersonian individualism, 200; Kuznets curve, 207, 212; labor unions, 201, 212; leveling of American wages, 211; machinery riots, absence of, 190; middle class, emergence of, 192, 292; national minimum wage, introduction of, 211; new consumer goods, Americans’ growing appetite for, 203; New Deal, 200, 212; public schooling, 214; Second Industrial Revolution, 209, 217; skill-biased technological change, 213; tractor use, expansion of, 196; urban-rural wage gap, 209; Wall Street, depression suffered by, 211; welfare capitalism, 198, 200; welfare state, rise of, 221; white-collar employment, 197, 218 Middle East, 77 Milanovic, Branko, 217, 245 mining, 194, 197 Minoan civilization, 34 mobile robotics, 342 mobility, demands for, 348 mobility vouchers, 360 Model T, 167 modern medicine, rise of, 22 Mokyr, Joel, 19, 52, 76–77, 79 Moore’s Law, 107, 301, 304 Moravec’s paradox, 236 Moretti, Enrico, 258, 262–63, 360 Morgan, J.


pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Pearl River Delta, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management, zero-sum game

He desperately needed the gun-making contract but was so distracted by ensuing litigation that he neglected to pay much attention to the enterprise. A tireless self-promoter, he managed to take and get credit for being the first to mechanize gun manufacture through the use of interchangeable parts, a distinction for which he is known to this day. Unfortunately for schoolchildren everywhere, this distinction was unearned. As one scholar put it, “Except for Whitney’s ability to sell an undeveloped idea, little remains of his title as father of mass production.” The real hero here was Simeon North, a steady and humble maker of scythes and other small agricultural implements who pioneered both interchangeable parts and its corollary, mass production. Using a manufacturing technique that would later be linked to efficiency expert Frederick Winslow Taylor, North broke down the gun-building process into a series of basic tasks and distributed the work among a group of semiskilled laborers.

This “de-skilling” of the gun-making process transformed gun smithing from a masterly craft to a well orchestrated routine, thereby growing efficiencies well beyond expectations. North not only fulfilled the terms of his contract within his deadline, but was awarded another one to produce an additional twenty thousand pistols, the components of which were “to correspond so exactly that any limb or part of one pistol may be fitted to any other pistol of the twenty thousand.” The first contract known to stipulate interchangeable parts, it was a resounding step in the inexorable march toward low price. WHITNEY’S FAMOUS GIN, though not the font of mass production he claimed, nonetheless played a critical role in lowering the price of textiles. The gin separated cotton fiber from seed, cleaning more cotton in minutes than a battalion of humans could in a day. With the adaptation of James Watt’s steam engine as a power source, cotton cleaning became almost entirely mechanized, and within a few years of the gin’s patenting in 1774, the blizzard of cotton fiber spread beyond New England’s booming textile industry to Europe and as far away as Russia.

“Old Man,” high/low pricing Hitchcock, Alfred H & M home construction Home Depot Home Shopping Network Homo economicus economic model hotel industry Hounshell, David Household Registration Law (China) Hu Jindou Hull, Brent Humphrey-Hawkins Act Humpty Dumpty hyperbolic time discounting IKEA advertising by alliances with not-for-profits bookcase catalog designing to price de-skilling of labor flat packing forestry industry and number and location of stores suppliers to illusion of objectivity imports Chinese (See China) Japanese and Asian, in 1960s, markdowns of shrimp income declines in real income, early 2000s, post-World War II boom years income taxes, under Eisenhower and Kennedy India inelastic goods and services inflation of 1970s, CPI, in 2007-2008, Feds targeting of employment to fight during World War II, Ingka Holding innovation In Search of Excellence (Peters) instant rebates insula interchangeable parts International Herald Tribune inventory management iPhone iPod Ireland Irish potato famine “Is This the Worlds Cheapest Dress . . .” (Wilson) J. C. Penney Japanese imports John Wanamaker & Co. Jones, Lee Jonze, Spike Jordan, Julie Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science just-in-time distribution K. B. Toy Outlet Kahneman, Daniel Kalish, Ira Kamprad, Ingvar Kanigel, Robert Kaufman’s Kennedy, John F.


pages: 538 words: 145,243

Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World by Joshua B. Freeman

anti-communist, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate raider, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, factory automation, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, joint-stock company, knowledge worker, mass immigration, means of production, mittelstand, Naomi Klein, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

But automobiles were of an entirely different order of complexity. It was a long road to enable such complicated machinery to be produced on a mass scale. Fordism built on two manufacturing innovations, interchangeable parts and continuous flow. Until the early nineteenth century, products with interacting metal parts, like guns or clocks, were individually made by skilled artisans, who spent a great deal of time fitting together parts, filing and adjusting them to make sure they worked together. No one finished product was exactly like the next. The standardization of parts occurred first in the United States. Generally, introducing interchangeable parts initially increased the cost of production, since it required a huge investment in specialized machines, tools, jigs, and fixtures and a great deal of experimentation to achieve the tolerances that made it possible to assemble a product from a pile of parts without custom fitting.

The military greatly valued the ease of repair allowed by interchangeable parts and cared less about costs than private manufacturers. “Armory practice” slowly spread to the making of clocks, sewing machines, typewriters, agricultural equipment, bicycles, and other civilian products.4 American conditions promoted standardization and interchangeability. A mass market existed that justified heavy capital investment and that was hard to take full advantage of without uniformity. In 1855, 400,000 brass clocks were produced in the United States. During the Civil War, three million rifles were used.5 A shortage of skilled workers and relatively high wages made it expensive and sometimes impossible to produce complex products in large quantities using traditional artisanal methods. With interchangeable parts, skilled workers were still needed to build specialized machinery and tooling, but less skilled workers could churn out parts and assemble them.6 None of this was easy to achieve.

The Singer Manufacturing Company, one of the most celebrated manufacturers of its day, illustrated the challenge. Well before the Civil War, the company emerged as a leader in the sewing machine industry, selling a high-priced model made with traditional metalworking techniques. During the war, Singer began mechanizing, but it would take almost two decades before the company fully achieved interchangeable parts. In the interim, it expanded by hiring more and more workers to make parts using some specialized machinery and employing fleets of fitters, who filed and adjusted them. The factory Singer erected in Elizabethport, New Jersey, in 1873 was reportedly the largest in the United States making one product in a single building. Journalists wrote about it, tourists visited it, it appeared on postcards.


pages: 585 words: 151,239

Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

The new technology spread rapidly across New England: by 1820, 86 firms were using 1,667 power looms while traditional spinning mills in Philadelphia and Rhode Island were forced to shut up shop.10 Production boomed from 4 million yards of cotton cloth a year in 1817 to 308 million twenty years later.11 As well as importing the idea of the factory from Britain, the Yankees pioneered a new system of production—what Europeans called the “American system of production,” and what might better be known as the system of interchangeable parts. In 1798, Eli Whitney was given a gigantic contract for ten thousand muskets from the U.S. government. When it became clear that he could not possibly meet his deadline, he came up with the idea of mass-producing muskets with interchangeable parts. Though his idea was not original—the French had pioneered interchangeable parts for muskets in the 1780s—the Americans took it to a much higher level. In France, the parts were made by craftsmen working with hand tools. In America, the parts were made by semiskilled workers who used specially designed machines that could keep churning out parts indefinitely.

One of the easiest ways to improve productivity was standardization. Standardization brings two quick benefits: it allows you to boost the productivity of relatively unskilled workers by simplifying once-complicated tasks, and it allows you to reap economies of scale and scope by expanding rapidly. Having established its lead as a manufacturing power in the nineteenth century by taking the principle of interchangeable parts further than European countries, and having then turned itself into the arsenal of democracy by taking the principle of standardization further than anyone else in the production of tanks and ships, America consolidated its position as the world’s most affluent society by taking standardization to new levels in old industries, but also applying it to new areas, such as building houses and serving food.

., steel, 312, 314–15, 315 incarceration, 398–99 income taxes, 25, 159, 184, 186, 251–52, 268, 329, 427 industrialization, 45–46, 64, 169, 427 Industrial Revolution, 15, 45, 402, 434 industrial unrest, 171–76 industrial vs. agrarian visions of America, 61–68 inequality, 168, 169–70, 295 inflation, 161, 300, 306, 307, 327, 377 information revolution, 16–17, 55=57 infrastructure, 244, 274, 390, 394–95 “installment buying,” 212 “institutional voids,” 132 integrated circuits, 351 integrated national market, development of, 212–16 Intel, 330, 351, 353 intellectual property rights, 8 interchangeable parts, 71–72 interest rates, 42, 235, 236 internal combustion engine, 103–4, 198–99 International Harvester, 144–45 International Monetary Fund (IMF), 229, 278, 377, 382 Internet, 353–56 interstate commerce, 166 Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, 166 Interstate Commerce Commission, 166, 167 interstate system, 286 Iran-Contra affair, 326 Iraq War, 267, 369, 370, 438 IRS (Internal Revenue Service), 259–60, 334 Irving, Washington, 40 isolationism, 187, 230, 343–44 IT revolution, 348–56, 402–3 Jackson, Andrew, 16, 25, 55, 68–69, 157, 267, 415 James, Henry, 182 Japanese management culture, 314, 344–45 Japanese manufacturing, 314, 316–17, 320–21 Jarvis, Howard, 310 Jay, John, 62 jazz, 203, 215 Jazz Singer, The (movie), 194 Jefferson, Thomas, 5, 8, 9, 34, 40, 43, 46, 61–67, 75 Jell-O, 92 Jensen, Michael, 337 Jiang Zemin, 371 job displacement, 21–22 Jobs, Steve, 323–24, 353, 439 Johnson, Andrew, 158 Johnson, George, 208–9 Johnson, Howard, 197 Johnson, Hugh, 255, 256 Johnson, James Weldon, 215 Johnson, Lyndon B., 25, 248, 302, 372 Great Society, 25, 303–5 Johnson & Johnson, 391 Johnson Wax, 320 Jolson, Al, 194 Jordan, Wilbur, 364 Josephson, Matthew, 170 Joule, James Prescott, 104 Journal of Commerce, 16, 55 J.P.


pages: 486 words: 150,849

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History by Kurt Andersen

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, always be closing, American ideology, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Burning Man, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, centre right, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate raider, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, game design, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, hive mind, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, Joan Didion, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, Naomi Klein, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Picturephone, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Seaside, Florida, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, Wall-E, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, éminence grise

The inventor and nail manufacturer Jefferson, who’d been excited for years about the prospect of interchangeable parts, was wildly enthusiastic. Not long after the faked demo, he wrote a letter of introduction on Whitney’s behalf to the governor of Virginia, his protégé James Monroe. Whitney “has invented moulds & machines for making all the pieces of his locks so exactly equal,” the president wrote, and thus “furnishes the US. with muskets, undoubtedly the best they receive.” None of that was true. In fact, Whitney wouldn’t deliver any muskets to the government until 1809, nine years later, and interchangeable parts weren’t perfected until after his death.*1 Whitney was absolutely honest when he admitted in 1812 that the whole point of using identical, interchangeable parts to make things in factories would be to render old-fashioned craftspeople obsolete—that is, “to substitute correct and effective operations of machinery for the skill of the artist.”

We learn in school that Whitney came up with another, more foundational piece of the industrial revolution: manufacturing things out of standardized bits and pieces, interchangeable parts, from gears and levers then to Ethernet plugs and semiconductor chips now. Coming off the success of the cotton gin, young Whitney convinced the new U.S. government that he was their man to mass-produce ten thousand muskets, even though he knew nothing about making guns. Two years later, after failing to meet his contractual deadline, he went to Washington to keep his remorseful buyers on the hook. His state-of-the-art musket was taking a bit longer than expected to get right, he told President Adams and President-elect Jefferson and the secretary of war, because it would consist entirely of fantastic new interchangeable parts, meaning that manufacture would be cheaper and faster, and repair easier.


Propaganda and the Public Mind by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, deindustrialization, European colonialism, experimental subject, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, interchangeable parts, liberation theology, Martin Wolf, one-state solution, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, structural adjustment programs, Thomas L Friedman, Tobin tax, Washington Consensus

Talking to people, I find an enormous amount of discontent with the HMOs, specifically on the issue of choice and limitations. You can only go to a specific doctor in a specific area. Sometimes that also means for a pregnancy you have to go to a hospital twenty miles away and not the one that’s two miles away. The HMOs are businesses. They’re going to maximize profit. If it turns out that they can do it the way you maximize profit in a factory, by standardization and regulation and interchangeable parts, and treating people like interchangeable parts in a machine, of course they’ll do that. Also, the HMOs have quite high costs, naturally. They’re private businesses. A lot of the money goes into things like advertising, overhead, and layer after layer of micromanagement. You have to manage the doctors. If a doctor wants to do something, he’s got to get approval from what the right likes to call “pointy-headed bureaucrats,” though the term is used only for government.

But to talk about the U.S. model as being one of rugged individualism and entrepreneurial skills, kept away from state interference —again, it’s hard to find words to describe it. Incidentally, this goes back to the origins of U.S. history. Take the American system of mass production, of manufacturing, the big new system in the nineteenth century. The basic ideas of that were worked out in places like the Springfield Armory, where they needed interchangeable parts and careful quality control. Then it was transferred into the private sector. In fact, the Reagan administration went far beyond just protecting American industry and pouring public funds into advanced technology. It also had to overcome U.S. management failures. In the 1970s, there was a lot of concern that incompetent management meant the United States was falling behind the Japanese particularly, but the Europeans, too.


pages: 224 words: 62,551

Now I Sit Me Down: From Klismos to Plastic Chair: A Natural History by Witold Rybczynski

A Pattern Language, Buckminster Fuller, Frank Gehry, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton

When the Koritschan factory was up and running, three hundred workers could turn out as many as fifty thousand chairs a year. Even so, soon additional factories were needed and three were built in Moravia as well as a fifth in Hungary. No. 14 café chair (Michael Thonet) The cover of the first Thonet catalog, published in 1859, carried the proud motto Beigen oder Brechen, To Bend or to Break. The broadsheet illustrated twenty-six products: chairs, settees, and tables. The chairs were designed with interchangeable parts, so that different models could be created by recombining assorted backs and arms. Number 14, a café chair, was the least expensive item; it sold for three Austrian florins, about the price of a bottle of good wine. Known as the Konsumstuhl, or Consumer’s Chair, No. 14 was the workhorse of the Thonet line. The design had been reduced to absolute basics. There were only six pieces: a caned seat, two front legs, a single curved piece that formed the rear legs and the back, a circular leg brace, and a curved back insert.

Photographs of him in later life show a handsome man with longish hair and a full white beard; he resembles Karl Marx, another Rhineland Palatinate native. The resemblance ends there, for Thonet was an early example of the capitalist-entrepreneur. Fifty years before Henry Ford introduced the Model T automobile assembly line in Highland Park, Thonet had already put in place the basic elements of mass production: division of labor, interchangeable parts, mechanization. As Ford would later do, he integrated his business vertically, buying forest land, laying railroad track, operating his own sawmills, and building his own machine saws, steam retorts, and iron molds. He even manufactured the bricks that were used to build the worker housing, schools, and libraries in his company towns. He must have been something of a benevolent despot, for he required his workers to use “Thonet currency” in the company stores.


pages: 429 words: 114,726

The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise by Nathan L. Ensmenger

barriers to entry, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, deskilling, Donald Knuth, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Grace Hopper, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, loose coupling, new economy, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Shoshana Zuboff, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

Such tests were obviously not intended to evaluate the skills and abilities of experienced programmers; they were clearly tools for identifying the lowest common denominator among programmer talent. The explicit goal of testing programs at large employers like SDC was to reduce the overall level of skill among the programming workforce. By identifying the minimum level of aptitude required to be a competent programmer, SDC could reduce its dependence on individual programmers. It could construct a software factory out of the interchangeable parts produced by the impersonal and industrial processes of its aptitude test regimes. It is this last consequence of aptitude testing that is the most interesting and perplexing. Like all of the proposed solutions to the labor shortage in programming, aptitude testing also embodied certain assumptions about the nature of the underlying problem. At first glance, the continued emphasis that aptitude tests and personality profiles placed on innate ability and creativity appeared to have served the interests of programming professionals.

There is no single development, in either technology or in management technique, that by itself promises even one order-of-magnitude improvement in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.54 Brook’s article provoked an immediate reaction, both positive and negative. The object-oriented programming (OOP) advocate Brad Cox insisted, for example, in his aptly titled “There Is a Silver Bullet,” that new techniques in OOP promised to bring about “a software industrial revolution based on reusable and interchangeable parts that will alter the software universe as surely as the industrial revolution changed manufacturing.”55 Whatever they might have believed about the possibility of such a silver bullet being developed in the future, though, most programmers and managers agreed that none existed in the present. In the late 1980s, almost three decades after the first high-level automatic programming systems were introduced, concern about the software crisis was greater than ever.

As early as 1962, in a RAND Corporation Symposium on Programming Languages, Jack Little lamented the tendency of manufacturers to design languages “for use by some sub-human species in order to get around training and having good programmers.”63 When the Department of Defense proposed ADA as a solution to yet another outbreak of the software crisis, it was trumpeted as a means of “replacing the idiosyncratic ‘artistic’ ethos that has long governed software writing with a more efficient, cost-effective engineering mind-set.”64 As was mentioned earlier, object-oriented programming enthusiasts advocate for “a software industrial revolution based on reusable and interchangeable parts that will alter the software universe as surely as the industrial revolution changed manufacturing.”65 Once again, the desirability of such a revolution, and its attendant implications for the character and quality of programming labor, is not universally recognized; witness the recent debate about outsourcing, which ties the history of the software crisis into a much larger and longer-running one about globalism, job protection, workers’ rights, and national identity.


pages: 231 words: 72,656

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage

Berlin Wall, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, Copley Medal, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Lao Tzu, multiplanetary species, out of africa, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade

The preindustrial way to make something was for a craftsman to work on it from start to finish. The British industrial approach was to divide up the manufacturing process into several stages, passing each item from one stage to the next, and using laborsaving machines where possible. The American approach went even farther by separating manufacturing from assembly. Specialized machines were used to crank out large numbers of interchangeable parts, which were then assembled into finished products. This approach became known as the American system of manufactures, starting with guns, and then applied to sewing machines, bicycles, cars, and other products. It was the foundation of America's industrial might, since it made possible the mass production and mass marketing of consumer goods, which quickly became an integral part of the American way of life.

This included the apparatus and raw materials to generate the gas, two fountains to carbonate the water, a bottling machine, fifty gross of bottles, flavoring extracts, and colorings. Matthews's inventions were displayed at exhibitions and won awards around the world. They epitomized the American approach to mass production: Specialized machines handled each step of the process, the bottles and stoppers were standardized, interchangeable parts, and the resulting drink, produced cheaply in large quantities, had mass appeal. Indeed, soda water, produced on an industrial scale and consumed by rich and poor alike, seemed to capture something of the spirit of America itself. Writing in Harper's Weekly in 1891, the author and social commentator Mary Gay Humphreys observed that "the crowning merit of soda-water, and that which fits it to be the national drink, is its democracy.


pages: 261 words: 16,734

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister

A Pattern Language, cognitive dissonance, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, Parkinson's law, performance metric, skunkworks, supply-chain management, women in the workforce

Why People Leave For the individuals considering a change in job, the reasons can be as many and varied as the personalities involved. For the organization with pathologically high turnover (anything over 30 percent), a few reasons account for most departures: • A just-passing-through mentality: Co-workers engender no feelings of long-term involvement in the job. • A feeling of disposability: Management can only think of its workers as interchangeable parts (since turnover is so high, nobody is indispensable). • A sense that loyalty would be ludicrous: Who could be loyal to an organization that views its people as parts? The insidious effect here is that turnover engenders turnover. People leave quickly, so there’s no use spending money on training. Since the company has invested nothing in the individual, the individual thinks nothing of moving on.

Then there is the awful thought that a tightly knit team may leave en masse and take all of its energy and enthusiasm over to the competition. For all these reasons, the insecure manager is threatened by cliques. He or she would feel better working with a staff of uniform plastic people, identical, interchangeable, and unbonded. The jelled work group may be cocky and self-sufficient, irritating and exclusive, but it does more to serve the manager’s real goals than any assemblage of interchangeable parts could ever do. 22. The Black Team The value of jelled teams will be obvious to you if you have already had the enjoyable experience of working on one. But just in case you haven’t, this chapter is intended to give you some sense of what they’re like. Presented below is the story of a legendary team that began to make its mark in the 1960s. Some of the lore of this team must surely be exaggerated, but it makes a good yarn, and at least most of it is true.


pages: 238 words: 73,824

Makers by Chris Anderson

3D printing, Airbnb, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, business process, commoditize, Computer Numeric Control, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, factory automation, Firefox, future of work, global supply chain, global village, IKEA effect, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, private space industry, profit maximization, QR code, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, South of Market, San Francisco, spinning jenny, Startup school, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize, Y Combinator

The invention of the Bessemer process for making steel in large quantities in the 1860s led to mass production of metal goods and eventually the assembly line. Combined with the rise of the chemical industries, petroleum refining, and the internal combustion engine and electrification, this next phase of manufacturing transformation is called by many historians the “Second Industrial Revolution.” They place it from 1850 to around the end of World War I, which includes Henry Ford’s Model-T assembly line, with its innovations of stockpiles of interchangeable parts and the use of conveyer belts, where products being produced moved to stationary workers (who each did a single task), rather than the other way around. Today, in a fully industrialized economy, we forget just how much the First and Second Industrial Revolutions changed society. We talk in terms of productivity enhancements, but consider what that means in terms of people’s lives. When we moved from hunter-gatherers to farmers, one person could feed many.

What BrickArms and its kin represent are examples of Maker business targeting niche markets, which are often underserved by traditional mass manufacturing. One of the triumphs of the twentieth-century manufacturing model was that it was optimized for scale. But this was also, at least from a twenty-first-century perspective, a liability. Henry Ford’s powerful mass-production methods of standardized interchangeable parts, assembly lines, and routinized jobs created unbeatable economics and brought high-quality goods to the common consumer. But they were also tyrannical—“any color you want as long as it’s black”—and inflexible. The price differences between small-batch and big-batch products were so great that most buyers could have either affordable products or wide choice, but not both—cheap, mass-produced products beat variety every time.


pages: 265 words: 74,941

The Great Reset: How the Post-Crash Economy Will Change the Way We Live and Work by Richard Florida

banking crisis, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, car-free, carbon footprint, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, creative destruction, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, falling living standards, financial innovation, Ford paid five dollars a day, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, McMansion, Menlo Park, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pattern recognition, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, total factor productivity, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

The First Reset engendered a fundamental shift in the organization of production itself. The invention of new technologies is one thing, but the ability to organize them into a workable system can lead to massive gains in output and efficiency that can revolutionize the economy. The new systems are, themselves, key factors of a Reset. The mid–nineteenth century had seen the rise of a powerful new system of production based on interchangeable parts, dubbed the “American system of manufacture.”4 This system was a huge advance over the older system of a craftsman working independently to make parts with a chisel and file, replacing that time-honored practice with machine-made parts. But it advanced only slowly, in fits and starts, and was used mainly at first for military production. Advances made during the First Reset enabled the system to spread from “firearms, then in clocks, pumps.

., and, 63–65 consolidation of, 61–63 in First and Second Resets, 108 recent emphasis on capital and lack of innovation funding, 107–113 shift of college graduates away from jobs in, 112–113 in Toronto, 89–90 Fineman, Howard, 77, 78, 81 FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate), 62–65 First Reset and Long Depression (1870s), 4, 10, 106, 107, 181 cities and changes in lifestyles and consumption, 22–24 cities and population shifts, 18–22 educational improvements, 16–17 financial sector and, 108 new energy systems, 12–15 Pittsburgh and, 79 production based on interchangeable parts, 11–12 spatial fix of, 17, 18–25, 45 transportation infrastructure improvement, 15–16 transportation technology revolution, 10–11 Florida, 92 food, percentage of budgets spent on, 23, 34, 130 Forbes, 88 Ford, Henry, 28, 45–46, 132 Four Seasons hotels, 121–122, 176 France, 164–165 Frank, Robert, 140 Frankfort, Germany, 50 Frey, William H., 96, 147, 174 Funnell, Ben, 129–130 Gainesville, Florida, 99 Gates, Bill, 183 gender division of labor, in service sector, 124–126 Georgia Tech, 17 G.I.


pages: 271 words: 77,448

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

Ada Lovelace, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Black Swan, call centre, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, Freestyle chess, future of work, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial cluster, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Narrative Science, new economy, rising living standards, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs

In some settings nonrational behaviors can cause us considerable grief, but when a team is performing at high levels, it’s in large part because ancient instincts and powerful brain chemistry are asserting their towering dominance over puny rationality. WHY TEAMS NEED TIME As we’ve observed before, we humans are not machines. We don’t entirely make sense, and this sometimes baffling quirkiness is in fact understandable and key to our effectiveness and greatest value in the changing economy. In the context of teams, it means that individuals are not interchangeable parts. We do not all bring the same social skills, and group effectiveness depends on building up social capital between group members through earning trust and helping one another. It all takes time. An important implication of these findings is that since highly effective teams are rare and valuable, not easily or quickly replicated, keeping them together, once formed, is worth a lot. Exhibit A was Apple’s top team under Steve Jobs.

The explanation, say the researchers, is “a surgeon’s familiarity with critical assets of the hospital organization . . . which may be specific employees, team structures, or operating routines.” Surgery and piloting are activities guided by strict and elaborate protocols, and the people who do them must go through years of training and rigorous certifications. Airliner cockpits and operating rooms would thus seem to be the settings in which people are as close to being interchangeable parts as they could possibly be. Yet even there, social factors, which are entirely disregarded by all those regulations and protocols, turn out to be critically important. The difference between teams whose members have learned over time how to work well together—who have built up social capital among themselves—and teams whose members have not can be literally the difference between life and death, just as it was on the savanna 100,000 years ago.


pages: 675 words: 141,667

Open Standards and the Digital Age: History, Ideology, and Networks (Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise) by Andrew L. Russell

American ideology, animal electricity, barriers to entry, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, computer age, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Edward Snowden, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Leonard Kleinrock, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, open economy, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, web of trust

The “American System” and the Ideological Origins of Cooperation For much of the nineteenth century, standardization in American industry occurred in an ad hoc manner within individual firms. The “American system of manufactures” that was born in the federal armories relied on the use of interchangeable parts to facilitate faster and more efficient production. As mechanical engineers moved from the armories to firms that made other products, including machine tools, farm equipment, sewing machines, and bicycles, they brought with them techniques and tools that could mechanize production, which they hoped would make manufacturing more efficient and profitable. Some firms did not embrace interchangeable parts but nevertheless developed their own standard practices in custom and batch production to make products such as locomotives, furniture, and jewelry. On the whole, there was a great deal of variety in American industrial standardization in the early and mid-nineteenth century.

The Post Office Act of 1792 defined standard postage rates, procedures, and penalties for interfering with the mails, but Congress declined to create the organizational capabilities needed to set federal standards for weights, measures, and duties until well into the 1830s. Americans never pursued standardization with the level of coordination employed by governments in Western Europe. Instead, de facto standards for American industrial production emerged from the practices of interchangeable parts manufacturing in a variety of machine tool–based industries.13 Rather than depending on the federal government to coordinate economic activity, antebellum Americans were prolific formers of private voluntary organizations. Some of these groups, such as the Chicago Board of Trade and the New England Cotton Manufacturers’ Association, facilitated stable relationships among a wide variety of market participants.


pages: 436 words: 125,809

The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey Into the World of Firearms by Iain Overton

air freight, airport security, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, clean water, Columbine, David Attenborough, Etonian, Ferguson, Missouri, gender pay gap, gun show loophole, illegal immigration, interchangeable parts, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, More Guns, Less Crime, offshore financial centre, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

He had something to show them.3 Like many American engineers, Colt had travelled to an England entranced by the displays of the Great Exhibition, and it was there that he planned to show off his design.4 What he presented fascinated the crowd: an invention with interchangeable parts.5 It was the Navy Colt Revolver. What captured the greater imaginations of these straight-backed and high-browed engineers, though, was that 80 per cent of the gun had been made on machines: a revolutionary departure from crafted metal gun parts traditionally lathed by hand.6 By the time that Colt had finished talking, many in the room were won over to this way of mass production.7 The awards board presented Colt with the prestigious Telford Gold Medal, and already the use of this manufacturing process to make guns was spreading from the Connecticut River Valley, where the majority of American firearms were once made, across the US and beyond.8 This production method, defined by its extensive use of interchangeable parts and mechanisation to produce them, became known as the ‘American System’.

As Colt said on that day: ‘When a new piece is required, a duplicate can be supplied with greater accuracy and less expense, than could be done by the most skilful manual labour, or on active service a number of complete arms may be readily made up from portions of broken ones, picked up after an action.’ 6. http://gundesigndotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/barbaraeldredge_missingthemoderngun.pdf 7. Mass production using interchangeable parts was actually first achieved in 1803 by Marc Isambard Brunel. But this method of working did not catch on in general manufacturing in Britain for many decades. 8. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2004/10/04/8186795/index.htm 9. http://www.remington.com/pages/our-company/company-history.aspx 10. Roy G. Jinks and Sandra C. Krein, Smith & Wesson (Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2006), p. 9. 11. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/12/23/mikhail-kalashnikovak47inventordeadat94.html; http://www.theglobalist.com/20-facts-mikhail-kalashnikov-ak-47/ 12. http://www.forbes.com/global/2003/0331/020.html 13.


pages: 345 words: 84,847

The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman, Anthony Brandt

active measures, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Burning Man, cloud computing, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, Google Glasses, haute couture, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, lone genius, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, microbiome, Netflix Prize, new economy, New Journalism, pets.com, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Simon Singh, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons, X Prize

His assembly line changed the way the cars were built: “Rather than keeping the work on assembly stands and moving the men past it, the assembly line kept the men still and moved the work.”6 Thanks to these innovations, cars drove off the factory floor at an unprecedented rate. An enormous new industry was born. But just like the iPhone, Ford’s idea of the assembly line had a long genealogy. Eli Whitney had created munitions with interchangeable parts for the US Army in the early nineteenth century. This innovation enabled a damaged rifle to be repaired using parts salvaged from other weapons. For Ford, this idea of interchangeable parts was a boon: rather than tailoring parts for individual cars, parts could be made in bulk. Cigarette factories of the previous century had sped up production using continuous flow production – moving the assembly through an orderly sequence of steps. Ford saw the genius in this, and followed suit.


pages: 286 words: 90,530

Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think by Alan Grafen; Mark Ridley

Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, bioinformatics, cognitive bias, computer age, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, Haight Ashbury, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John von Neumann, loose coupling, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, phenotype, profit maximization, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

In the sexual solution, two entire genomes come together for some length of time, then separate into two new genomes after exchanging interchangeable parts with each new genome receiving one of each part. The genome is an ephemeral collective of many Dawkinsian genes, but the rules of Mendelian inheritance ensure that what is good for one part is good for all, at least for the time that the genes are temporarily associated. (I leave to one side the complexities that arise when the ‘rules’ are broken and there is conflict within the genome.) Neither the sexual nor the asexual solution seems to apply to most complex memetic ‘texts’. Ideas recombine freely to generate each new text and there is no well-defined exchange of interchangeable parts. One idea can be adopted from a text and the remainder abandoned. Therefore, the adaptations of memes will be adaptations for the good of the individual, rarely-recombining ideas.


pages: 353 words: 91,211

The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900 by David Edgerton

agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, British Empire, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, creative destruction, deglobalization, dematerialisation, desegregation, deskilling, endogenous growth, global village, Haber-Bosch Process, interchangeable parts, knowledge economy, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

The attractions of the early petrol car were that it could be used out of range and that it was amenable to a do-it-yourself maintenance culture. The latter was a factor in the relative decline of the electric car, except in some cases of centrally-controlled fleets.15 The Model T Ford, in production from 1908 to the late 1920s, easily out-produced all other cars in its time, and provides some particularly stark examples of the significance of maintenance. A key feature of the car was that it was made from interchangeable parts. This allowed the assembly to be carried out without fitters, and it also had implications for maintenance. Henry Ford himself noted that the Model T was designed for ease of maintenance; no special skill was required for repair or replacement: I believed then, although I said very little about it because of the novelty of the idea that it ought to be possible to have parts so simple and so inexpensive that the menace of expensive hand repair work would be entirely eliminated.

The tools used in this vast complex were rudimentary – there were hammers, spanners in incomplete sets, files and screwdrivers. Adjustable spanners did not last long; anvils were improvised.20 The number of machine tools in this vast complex was in single figures.21 The most elaborate tool in common use was the electric welding kit, which would be central to the manufacturing side of the magazine. How could such a place maintain and repair the products of an industry which was all interchangeable parts, precision engineering and elaborate maintenance manuals? The answer is that in some sense it did not – these magazines could not maintain such cars, lorries and buses so that they remained as they had been when made. There was a mismatch between the car or truck as new and the support infrastructure available. New, imported motor vehicles were degraded by accidents, shortages of lubricants and, importantly, lack of maintenance.


pages: 116 words: 32,712

Making a Killing: The Deadly Implications of the Counterfeit Drug Trade by Roger Bate

global supply chain, interchangeable parts, RFID, Sam Peltzman, supply-chain management

Other problems, from petty theft of drugs by nurses and doctors to widespread “leakage,” reveal myriad vast holes through which fake and substandard drugs enter middle-income and poor countries.9 Solutions to such problems may be rooted in reducing corruption in the public sector rather than attempting to combat fake drugs directly.10 Complex Supply Chains Encourage Fakes It stands to reason that any complex system with many interchangeable parts is especially susceptible to being breached—it has more vulnerabilities than a simpler system. This applies to the pharmaceutical supply chain. Having a secure source of sound drugs is no guarantee of safety if the supply chain is full of weaknesses and holes. Today’s supply chains offer many openings to counterfeiters, from diffuse and little-regulated wholesale systems in the United States and the EU to misguided trade barriers in developing countries.


Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe by Noam Chomsky, Laray Polk

American Legislative Exchange Council, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, energy security, Howard Zinn, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Malacca Straits, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

China provides a support system for development of green technology.67 The United States does too, but a lot is for the support of military technology. That’s actually a change from the past, a regression from the past. The actual US economy since the colonies has relied quite substantially on government intervention. That goes right back to the earliest days of independence, and for advanced industry in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The American system of mass production, interchangeable parts, quality control, and so on—which kind of astonished the world—was largely designed in government armories. The railroad system, which was the biggest capital investment and, of course, extremely significant for economic development and expansion, was managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. It was too complicated for private business. Taylorism, the management technique that essentially turns workers into robots, came out of government and military production.


pages: 385 words: 111,807

A Pelican Introduction Economics: A User's Guide by Ha-Joon Chang

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, discovery of the americas, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global value chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberation theology, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, post-industrial society, precariat, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, working-age population, World Values Survey

Unlike the technologies of the Industrial Revolution, which had been invented by practical men with good intuition, these new technologies were developed through the systematic application of scientific and engineering principles. This meant that, once something was invented, it could be replicated and improved upon very quickly. In addition, organization of the production process was revolutionized in many industries by the invention of the mass production system. The use of a moving assembly line (conveyor belt) and interchangeable parts dramatically lowered production costs. This system of production is the backbone (if not the entirety) of our production system today, despite frequent talks of its demise since the 1980s. New economic institutions emerge to deal with growing production scale, risk, and instability During its ‘high noon’, capitalism acquired the basic institutional shape that it has today – the limited liability company, bankruptcy law, the central bank, the welfare state, labour laws and so on.

By working with the suppliers to raise the quality of the parts they deliver (the so-called ‘zero defect movement’), it vastly reduces the need for rework and fine-tuning at the end of the assembly line which had plagued Fordist factories. It also uses machines that allow quick change-overs between different models (e.g., by allowing a quick exchange of dies) and thus can offer a much greater variety of products than the Fordist system does. Unlike the Fordist system, the Toyota system does not treat workers as interchangeable parts. It equips workers with multiple skills and allows them to exercise a lot of initiative in deciding work arrangements and suggesting minor technological improvements. Improvements thus generated are believed to have been crucial in establishing Japanese technological superiority in industries in which quality is important. Productive capabilities beyond the firm level are also very important Important as they are, improved technologies and better organizational skills at the firm level are not the only things that determine an economy’s productive capabilities.


In the Age of the Smart Machine by Shoshana Zuboff

affirmative action, American ideology, blue-collar work, collective bargaining, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, data acquisition, demand response, deskilling, factory automation, Ford paid five dollars a day, fudge factor, future of work, industrial robot, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, job automation, lateral thinking, linked data, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, old-boy network, optical character recognition, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Shoshana Zuboff, social web, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, zero-sum game

Samuel notes that labor-saving machinery spread more rapidly in America, owing to a scarcity of labor and consequent higher wages. However, the historian of technology David Hounshell has recently shown that in some of the largest and most successful American firms, handwork and skilled machine work prevailed during most of the nine- teenth century. For example, the Singer Sewing Machine Company was not able to produce perfectly interchangeable parts. As a result, they relied on skilled fitters to assemble each product. The McCormick Reaper Works employed crude manufacturing techniques. Production depended upon skilled machinists, blacksmiths, carpenters, and mold- ers. 54 In 1 911 an observer of the American steel industry tried to con- vey the notion that skilled work did not imply diminished physical ex- ertion: "New skills, like the puddler's, the catchers, or the machinists 40 KNOWLEDGE AND COMPUTER-MEDIATED WORK included very heavy manual work.

Effort is simplified (though its pace is frequently intensified) while skill demands are reduced by new methods of task organization and new forms of machinery. A distinction can be made between the new technologies for the organization of production, which allowed management to control the pace of the assembly line (and, thus, the intensity of effort), and the introduction of new forms of machinery that could reduce the require- ments for both effort and skill. The continuity of assembly depended upon the production of interchangeable parts for uniform products. A new generation of automatic and semiautomatic machine tools moder- ated the physical demands on the machinist as they transferred skill from the worker to the machine. The new workers hired to operate these machines "had no skills and simply placed a piece in and removed it from the machine.,,76 In the second decade of the twentieth century, when these develop- ments were being debated, the fast-growing automobile industry faced shortages of skilled workers.

., 33 Hand technology, 37, 39 Harding, Warren, 40 Harvard University, 232 Havelock, Eric, 176, 181 Hidden Injuries of Class, The (Sennet and Cobb), 239 Hierarchical authority, 221-22, 413, 448n40; and communicative behav- ior in computer medium, 372-86; computers as threat to, 266-67; de- velopment of, 235-40; limits of, in informated organization, 285-314; performance opportunities limited under, 207-8; and visibility in com- puter medium, 337-41; see also Executives; Management; Middle management Honeywell Corporation survey, 283 Hopf, Harry, 109 Horizontal integration, 399 Hounshell, David, 39 Howard, Robert, 283 How to Do Business as Business Is Done in Great Commercial Centers (Eaton), 100-101 How to Win Friends and Influence People (Carnegie), 111 Hughes, Everett, 454n12 Hypotheses, generating and testing, 197-202 Imagination, 86-88, 437n7 Imperative control, 221, 400; beliefs necessary to maintain, 250, 410- 11; managerial authority and, 224, 234, 236-37, 250, 254, 313, 356; reciprocity in maintenance of, 360- 61; traditional environment of, 390-91,394 Implicit knowledge, 79, 196; limits of, 60 Incentive payment schemes, 43, 45, 414 Individualistic orientation, 131, 202- 3,238 Individual rights, 406 Index Inductive reasoning, 93 Industrialization, 37-42,227 Inferential reasoning, 72-73, 75, 92- 96, 169 Informal communication, 362-86 Informating power of computer tech- nology, 390-91, 440n6; automa- tion and, 9-11; autonomy of, 30 I- 10, 385-86; communicative behav- ior and, 362-86; office work and, 156-71; reskilling and, 57 Informational role, 103-4 Information technology: and abstrac- tion of industrial work, 58-96; col- lective responsibility in, 355-61; managerial authority and, 245-84; mastery of, 174-218; office work and, 124-73; problem of meaning in, 79-96; scope of, in modern workplace, 3-5, 11-12, 415-22; visibility within, 315-19, 322-61, 363-72 Innis, Harold, 176 Intellective rate busting, 410 Intellective skills: action-centered skills compared with, 76, 81; cogni- tive demands of, 185-95, 216-17; development of, 191-94; division of labor and, 393; education and, 443- 44n28; impediments to competence and performance in, 206-8; mana- gerial role and, 396-99; need for, 76, 182, 253; operational compe- tence and, 286-87; pooling, 196- 200; and problem of meaning, 79- 96; social-psychological signifi- cance of, 195-206 Interchangeability of personnel, 46 Interchangeable parts, 47-48 Internal Revenue Bureau, 11 5 International banking, 160-71 International Congress for Scientific Management, Sixth, 109 International Labour Organization, 120 Invisible work, 290-96 Ironmaking, 38-40 Isenberg, Daniel, 103, 109, 196 Isolation, 125-26, 139, 141, 151-56, 171, 440n6 463 Jaikumar, Ramchandran, 283 Japan, 420-21 Johnson, Mark, 454nll Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, 43 Judeo-Christian theology, 25 Kanter, Rosabeth, 103, 109, 111-12, 122,196 Katz, Harry, 241-42 Knowledge, 166-67; class system and distribution of, 444-45n36; cleri- cal, 126, 133-50, 172; computer- mediated expansion of, 182-83, 395; depletion of, 391; diminished importance of, 133-36; experience- based, 36-42; hierarchical access to, 394; implicit, 60, 79, 196; informal communication and, 362-86; oral culture and, 174-78; power and, 266-67; sentience dissociated from, 61-70; withheld from workers by management, 250-54, 264, 278- 80; see also Tacit knowledge Kochan, Thomas, 241-42 Kohlberg, Lawrence, 428 Kotter, John, 102, 109, 177 Labor discipline, 33-36, 46 Labor militancy, see Trade union movement; Unions Labor statutes, assumptions common to, 237 Labor-withholding practices, 35- 36 Lakoff,George,454nll Leadership activity, 104 Leather trades, 38 Leffingwell, William Henry, 11 7-1 9, 125-26,151 Leontief, W assily, 420 Locke, John, 225 Lockwood, David, 114 Lodge, George, 226 Logical- mathematical reasoning, 193-94 Long-term memory, 192 464 Lordstown, Ohio, autoworkers strike, 241 Lynd, Helen Merrell, 240 Lynd, Robert S., 240 McCormick Reaper Works, 39 Machine dependency, 166-67, 269, 271-73 Machine tools, numerically con- trolled, 419-20 McKersie, Robert, 241-42 McLuhan, Marshall, 176 Mallet, Serge, 54 Management: action-centered skills involved in, 102-6, 112, 360-61; automation and, 245-84; and col- lective responsibility in computer- based environment, 355-61; con- trol techniques used by, 313-14, 323-27, 389, 392, 400, 404-5, 452n10; cost data and, 255-67; data access policy and, 356-61; decision making by, 104- 5; development of role of, 224-29; and etiology of white-collar work, 97-99; knowl- edge withheld from workers by, 250-54, 264, 278-80; and limits of hierarchy in informated organiza- tions, 285-314; and operator mis- trust of symbolic medium, 89; or- ganizational skill base and, 392-99; of posthierarchical organizations, 399-402; professionals and, 375- 76, 383-86; rationalization of work of, 437-38n55; recent challenges to authority of, 240-43; as science, 229-35; and social division of labor, 235-40; of socially integrated work- place, 404-12; and visibility of workers' social exchange in com- puter medium, 362-63, 372-86; workers' know-how expropriated by, 42-44; see also Executive work; Hierarchical authority; Middle man- agement; Scientific management; Worker-manager relations Man in the Moone (Godwin), 26 Manual labor, see Body Index Manufacturing, see Production Manufacturing resource planning, 412-22 March, James, 354 Martin, James, 441 n 10 Marx, Karl, 30, 221 Mass-production facilities, 43, 47-48, 51,421 Mayo, Elton, 234-35 Mead, George Herbert, 423 Meaning, problem of, 79-96 Meaningful work, 134, 273 Memory, 192 Mental imaging, 86-88, 435n7 Mercantilism, 25 Merleau-ponty, Maurice, 423 Methodology, 14, 423-29 Microcomputers, 417-18, 420 Middle Ages, 25-27 Middle management: and demands of acting-with, 110-13; etiology of, 98, 107-9; hierarchical pressures on, 249-51; and origins of clerical work, 113-23; as repository for ex- plicit knowledge of organizations, 232 Middlemen, 31 Middletown study, 240 Millar, Victor, 415 Mind, Self and Society (Mead), 423 Minicomputers, 418 Mintzberg, Henry, 103-7, 109, 177 Modern Business, 11 5 Monitoring systems, 43 Montgomery, David, 41 More, Thomas, 26 Nation, The, 229 National Academy of Sciences, 421 National Labor Relations Act, 238 National Research Council, 308 Natural attitude, 13 Natural selection concepts, 228-29, 447nl7 Neisser, Ulric, 187 New Deal legislation, 240 Newell, A., 192 New York Post, 229 Index New York Telephone Company, III Noble, David, 283 Obedience, 6, 291, 313, 431 n30, 445n2 Occupational identity, 62-63; disrup- tion of, 185-86 Offe, Claus, 236 Office, The, 12 1 Office machinery, 115-16, 118; com- puter systems compared with, 1 72 Office Management: Principles and Practice (Leffingwell), II 7 Office work: development of, 113-23; feminization of, 115-1 7; manage- rial role and, 437-38n55; mechani- zation and automation of, 115-23, 439n4, 439-40n5; on-line, 124-73; rationalization of, 113, 116-17; routinization of, 115-16; scientific management of, 117, 119-21, 123, 126, 151, 215; scope of computer applications in, 416-1 7 Oil refining, 59, 417-18 IIOld boy's network," 383 On Civility in Children (Erasmus), 26 Ong, Walter, 176 On-line offices, 124-73 Operations research, 109 II Optimology," 1 09 Oral culture: action-centered skills in, 174-78, 196,204,215; computer medium and, 362, 370-72; erosion of, 392-93; social exchanges sur- rounding professional work as, 376-86; written word mistrusted in, 77-78 Orality and Literacy (Ong), 176 Organization and Control (Gerstenberg), 447nl7 Owner-managers, 99-101, 109, 225, 227 Panoptic world view, 320-61 Parry, Adam, 176 465 Parry, Milman, 176 Participative management, 413 Partitions, 124-25, 140 Passive resistance, 352 Passivity, 69 Passwords, 353 Paupers and convicts, 225, 320 Payment systems, 46, 48-50, 273, 298-300; incentive-based, 43, 45, 50, 414; and status groupings of white-collar workers, 114 Peasants, 25-27; insurrections by, 31 Personal contacts, 333; devaluation of, 358; office work and, 439n4 Personalism, 61, 106 Personal style, 359-60 Physical labor , see Body Piaget, Jean, 428 Piece-rate workers, 32, 225; differen- tial pay for, 45 Pierenkemper, Toni, 114 Polanyi, Michael, 186 Pollard, Sidney, 99, 114,227,431 Porter, Michael, 41 5 Posthierarchical relationships, 399- 402 Pottery work, 38 Poulantzas, Nicos, 236 Power, 452n9; authority as spiritual dimension of, 221-23; division of labor and, 405-6; knowledge and, 266-67; technique as material di- mension of, 313-14 Preindustrial Europe, 25-31, III, 313-14 Printing industry, 51, 53-54 Privacy, 370; of social exchange in computer medium, 378-86; see also Surveillance Problem solving, 241, 286, 360; joint, 197-200,204,206 Procedural reasoning, 23, 75, 92, 156, 169,282 Production: abstraction of, 58-96; body's role in, 19-57; industrializa- tion and, 37-42, 227; scope of com- puter applications in, 418-22; skilled craft as root of, 36-42, 98 Production quotas, 46 466 Professional culture, differences with managerial culture, 375-76, 383- 86 Professionalization of managerial class, 230, 232 Professional schools, III, 116, 232 Protestant asceticism, 225, 233 Psychological disorders, 439-40n5 Psychological individuation, 207 Psychological issues, see Social-psycho- logical issues Pulp and paper mills, 2-5, 19-22, 42, 58-76,80-96,418-19,424 Quality circles, 241 Quality of Work Life movement, 241- 43 Quit rates, 34 Religion, 226, 229, 233 Research and development (R & D), 363-66 Ritualistic utterances, 247-48 Robot Institute of America, 420 Robots, 8, 419-21 Sabotage, 7 Saint Monday tradition, 32 Sampling, 425-26 Samuel, Raphael, 37, 39 Schrank, Roben, 50,238 Schuck, Gloria, 410 Schutz, Alfred, 430n I Schwartz, Barry, 454nll Scientific management, 99, 178; exec- utive work as approached by, 106- 10; history of, 230-35; information systems used to reproduce logic of, 283, 303; managerial control estab- lished by, 302-3; of office work, 117, 119-21, 123, 126, 151,215; philosophy and methods of, 41-44; workers' responses to, 44-45 Index Seavey, Jane, 115 Secretarial function, 122-23; see also Office work Self-made man, ideology of, 227, 446n5 Self-managing work teams, 241-42 Sennett, Richard, 239 Sentience, 61-70, 106 Service sector, 41 7-18, 424 Shaiken, Harley, 283 Shared context, 196, 204-5 Shaw, George Bernard, 248 Shirkers, 334-35 Side effects, 120, 141 Siemens, Werner von, 108 Silicon-integrated circuit (chip), 415 Simon, Herbert, 192, 354 Singer Sewing Machine Company, 39 Site visits, 333 Skills: automation's effect on, 23, 47- 49; continuous-process production and, 51-53; executive, 99-107, 43 6n 13; pay differential and, 50; production work and, 36-42, 51- 53, 98; sentient involvement and, 60; worker control and, 45; see also Action-centered skills; Craft work; Deskilling; Intellective skills Slavery, labor associated with, 25 Slichter, Sumner, 36 Smith, Adam, 221, 225-26 Smith, Jonathan Z., 247-48 Social Darwinism, 228-29, 231, 235, 238, 446-47n15 Social exchange: in computer me- dium, visibility of, 362-63, 372-86; isolation from, 139, 141, 151-56, I 71, 440n6; joint problem solving and, 197-200, 204, 206; reduced, in on-line offices, 136-50 Social integration, 25; automation and, 53-54; craftsworker's knowl- edge as source of, 41, 50, 53-54; in- dustrialization and, 227; and scope of computer applications, 403-12 Social-psychological issues: continu- ous-process production and, 51- 53; intellective skills and, 195-206; office work and, 126 Index Social stratification: class struggle and, 283; distribution of knowledge and, 444-45n36; and erosion of class dis- tinctions, 240, 250; physical labor and, 25-30; rigidified by manager- worker education differences, 228- 29,231,235,238 Sociolinguistics, 204 Soldiering, 35 IIS pan of control" concept, 452- 53n15 Spatial intelligence, 193-95, 435n7 Spencer, Herbert, 228-29 Standard operating procedures, 43 Steam power, 31, 34, 37, 39 Steel industry, 39-40,419 Stockbrokers, 438n55 Storage-and-retrieval systems, auto- mated, 41 9 Stress, 143, 440n5; of invisible work, 292; and mechanization of office work, 120-21; and symbolic refer- ence,89 Structure of Behavior, The (Merleau- Ponty),423 Supervision methods, 35-36, 294-95, 326,329-37, 340-41; circumvent- ing, 352-54; see also Management Supervisory process-control systems, 419 Surveillance, 7, 400; larger social con- text and, 319-22; managerial au- thority maintained by, 313; of social exchange in computer medium, 378-86; unilateral, 354-56, 361 Symbolic reference, 442n5; liberating aspects of, 180-81; and problem of meaning, 79-92; shared action con- text and, 196; stress generated by, 89; trust of, 76-79 Systematic management, 44 Tacit knowledge, 186-88; intellective skill development and, 192-93; re- placed by algorithms, 246 Taylor, Frederick, 41-43, 45-47, 109, 230-32,302-3,349 467 Taylor Society, 11 7 Team-based organizational structure, 203, 275-76, 346, 360, 413-14; self-managing, 241-42 Telephone, 131 Terminations, 225, 326, 431 n30 Theory-based reasoning, 93-96 Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, 201 Time-and-motion study, 42-43,46 Time study, 42-43,47 Top-down perceptual processing, 95, 169 Touche Ross International, 440n9 Touch-sensitive screens, 418 Toyoda Machine Tool Co., 421 Trade union movement, 35, 226; in- dustrialization and, 37-38; manage- rial authority and, 228, 233, 236, 240-42; Social Darwinism and, 228; see also Unions Training, 258-60, 286; division of la- bor and, 455n14; lack of, 250-54 Troubleshooting, 197-200, 286 Tucker, Josiah, 35 Turnover rates, 34, 241 Typewriter, 115-16, 1 72 U-curve hypothesis, 53-54 Ulman, Lloyd, 36 Unions, 46, 334; cost information available to, 265-66; job security and, 265; and prospect of socially in- tegrated workplace, 403-4, 406; Taylorism and, 45; see also Trade union movement United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 241 United States Steel Corporation, 35 University of Pennsylvania, 232 Unmanned factories, 422 Unreality, sense of, 79-92, 130-31 Urwick, L.


pages: 607 words: 133,452

Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin, David K. Levine

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, business cycle, cognitive bias, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, financial innovation, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of radio, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jean Tirole, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, linear programming, market bubble, market design, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, new economy, open economy, peer-to-peer, pirate software, placebo effect, price discrimination, profit maximization, rent-seeking, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, the market place, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Y2K

Between 1794 and 1807, they went around the South bringing to court everyone in sight, yet received little compensation for their strenuous efforts. In the meanwhile, and thanks also to all that “pirating”, the Southern cotton-growing and cotton-ginning sector grew at a healthy pace. Ironically, Eli Whitney did eventually become a rich man – not through his efforts at monopolization, but through the wonders of competitive markets. In 1798, he invented a way to manufacture muskets by machine, having developed the idea of interchangeable parts and standardized production. Having probably learned his lesson, he did not bother to seek patent protection this time, but instead set up a shop in Whitneyville, near New Haven. Here he manufactured his muskets and sold them to the U.S. Army. So it was not as a monopolist of the cotton gin, but rather as the competitive manufacturer of muskets, that Whitney finally became rich. Agriculture Among economists the reaction to the idea that economic progress is the fruit of competition is varied.

See also copyright; suggestions for short-run improvements intellectual property; non-compete in, 248–251 clauses; patents threat of to freedom and prosperity, 97, and costs of innovation, 150–151 264 discouragement of imitation by, 146 types of, 8 discouragement of new entrants by, 185 as unnecessary evil, 6–7 P1: KXF head margin: 1/2 gutter margin: 7/8 CUUS245-IND cuus245 978 0 521 87928 6 April 29, 2008 10:0 Index 293 use of private contracts to enforce, Levine, D. K., 129 252–253 Levinstein and Co., 88 voluntary relinquishment of, 17, 18 Library of Babel, The (Borges), 154 intellectual property law, 157, 260. See also licenses, revenues from, 76 patent law licensing, 250–251 interchangeable parts, 51 life-cycle of industries, literature on, 64 intermediaries for trading patents, Lilienthal, Otto, 206 Internet Linux, 18, 21–22, 248–249. See also pornography and growth of, 37 open-source software web browser, 17 literacy, 23 Internet radio, 251 literature, 31. See also books; publishing investment industry in countries with low intellectual Lo, Shih-Tse., 194–195 property protection, 186 Lodge, Oliver, 203, 204 and intellectual property protection, 192, long-run, 159 195–197 risks in relying on intellectual property machinery, 191 for, 196 Machlup, Fritz, 11, 243 investment bankers, 57–59 mail-order business, 47 IP-efficiency, 4 Manes, Stephen, 5 IP-inefficiency, 69, 70, 75, 78 Mann, R., 197 Iraq, 81 Marconi, Guglielmo, 203–206 Iraq Study Group, 25–26 marginal cost, 131, 133, 159 Italy marketing, 60, 233 Benetton, 56–57 market size, increase in, 174–176 pharmaceutical industry in, 216, 222–223 market without patent or copyright, 126 Massachusetts, labor law in, 199–200 Jackson, Henry B., 203–204 Maurer, Stephen, 201–202 Jensen’s Inequality, 90 medical discoveries, fundamental, 228–230 medical equipment industry, 62–63 Kamen, Dean, 138–139 medicine.


pages: 197 words: 49,240

Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders by Reihan Salam

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bonfire of the Vanities, charter city, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, ghettoisation, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mass immigration, megacity, new economy, obamacare, open borders, race to the bottom, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, two tier labour market, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor

And that’s how the Industrial Revolution spread. Now imagine what would have happened if English employers had access to a truly inexhaustible supply of labor. It is possible that humanity might never have escaped its impoverished pre-industrial state. Closer to home, labor scarcity has been the historical secret to America’s prosperity. Why did American industry devise so many laborsaving technologies, such as interchangeable parts and the assembly line? Unlike in hidebound Europe, where employers had enjoyed access to a captive and comparatively low-cost source of labor, free American workers had the escape valve of the frontier, and so industrialists had little choice but to pay higher wages. Manufacturers responded by economizing on the scarce labor supply by dreaming up new ways of doing business. Immigration has helped ease America’s labor scarcity.


pages: 166 words: 53,103

Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom Demarco

Brownian motion, delayed gratification, Frederick Winslow Taylor, interchangeable parts, knowledge worker, new economy, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Yogi Berra

So a company that extrudes aluminum moldings, for example, would certainly want to adopt a standard way to run all its extrusion stations, regardless of which of the many different molding patterns is being extruded at each one. This standardization of manufacturing process was the particular interest of an early-twentieth-century mechanical engineer named Frederick Winslow Taylor. His 1911 book, The Principles of Scientific Management, set out to do for the human aspect of factory work what the principle of interchangeable parts had done for rifles half a century earlier. Taylorism called for rigorous standardization of manual factory activity so that the human pieces of the process would be as interchangeable as the parts of the products. Beyond Taylorism With nearly a century under its belt, Taylorism is still alive and well in the manufacturing sector today. I shall argue below that it is particularly ill suited to knowledge work, but there is no question that it is in common use in today’s factories.


Programming Android by Zigurd Mednieks, Laird Dornin, G. Blake Meike, Masumi Nakamura

anti-pattern, business process, conceptual framework, create, read, update, delete, database schema, Debian, domain-specific language, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Google Earth, interchangeable parts, iterative process, loose coupling, MVC pattern, revision control, RFID, web application

AVDs are configured by the SDK and AVD Manager, which sets parameters such as the size of emulated storage devices and screen dimensions, and which enables you to specify which Android system image will be used with which emulated device. AVDs enable you to test your software on a broader range of system characteristics than you are likely to be able to acquire and test on physical devices. Because QEMU-based hardware emulators, system images, and the parameters of AVDs are all interchangeable parts, you can even test devices and system images before hardware is available to run them. QEMU QEMU is the basis of AVDs. But QEMU is a very general tool that is used in a wide range of emulation systems outside the Android SDK. While you will configure QEMU indirectly, through the SDK and AVD Manager, you may someday need to tweak emulation in ways unsupported by the SDK tools, or you may be curious about the capabilities and limitations of QEMU.

Instead of relying on the user to directly start each application, the components themselves invoke one another to perform interactions on behalf of the user. Activities, Intents, and Tasks An Android activity is both a unit of user interaction—typically filling the whole screen of an Android mobile device—and a unit of execution. When you make an interactive Android program, you start by subclassing the Activity class. Activities provide the reusable, interchangeable parts of the flow of UI components across Android applications. How, then does one activity invoke another, and pass information about what the user wants to do? The unit of communication is the Intent class. An Intent represents an abstract description of a function that one activity requires another activity to perform, such as taking a picture. Intents form the basis of a system of loose coupling that allows activities to launch one another.


pages: 243 words: 65,374

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

A. Roger Ekirch, Ada Lovelace, big-box store, British Empire, butterfly effect, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jacquard loom, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Live Aid, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, planetary scale, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, walkable city, women in the workforce

Once again, an increase in our ability to measure things turned out to be as important as our ability to make them. Potrait of Aaron Lufkin Dennison That power to measure time was not distributed evenly through society: pocket watches remained luxury items until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a Massachusetts cobbler’s son named Aaron Dennison borrowed the new process of manufacturing armaments using standardized, interchangeable parts and applied the same techniques to watchmaking. At the time, the production of advanced watches involved more than a hundred distinct jobs: one person would make individual flea-sized screws, by turning a piece of steel on a thread; another would inscribe watch cases; and so on. Dennison had a vision of machines mass-producing identical tiny screws that could then be put into any watch of the same model, and machines that would engrave cases at precision speed.


pages: 251 words: 66,396

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

business process, interchangeable parts, Silicon Valley

He began to think about his business like an engineer working on a pre-production prototype of a mass-produceable product. He began to reengineer McDonald’s decades before the word and the process came into fashion. He began to think about McDonald’s just like Henry Ford must have thought about the Model T. How could the components of the prototype be constructed so that it could be assembled at a very low cost with totally interchangeable parts? How could the components be constructed so that the resulting business system could be replicated over and over again, each business working—just like the Model T—as reliably as the thousands that preceded it? What Ray Kroc did was to apply the thinking behind the Industrial Revolution to the process of Business Development, and to a degree never before experienced in a business enterprise.


pages: 232 words: 71,024

The Decline and Fall of IBM: End of an American Icon? by Robert X. Cringely

AltaVista, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, business process, cloud computing, commoditize, compound rate of return, corporate raider, full employment, if you build it, they will come, immigration reform, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Paul Graham, platform as a service, race to the bottom, remote working, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Toyota Production System, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application

Both of which followed the same model IBM has been employing for the past several years: 1) Not recognizing that the least expensive sale that can be made is the second (and third) license of a product to a very happy customer, 2) Not realizing where the real revenue is coming from – maintenance and upgrades, and not investing in current highly profitable product line to keep that revenue stream healthy. 3) Thinking that the front line technical staff is interchangeable parts. 4) The belief that “we can acquire our way out of stagnation.” This model is often seen in companies where the executives have been away too long from the trenches, so they don’t accept responsibility for complete delivery of a product. Where failure is glossed over at the top levels, and brutally punished in the ranks. IBM can return to a position of preeminence in the technical world.


pages: 645 words: 190,680

The Taking of Getty Oil: Pennzoil, Texaco, and the Takeover Battle That Made History by Steve Coll

business cycle, corporate governance, corporate raider, financial innovation, interchangeable parts, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, jitney, North Sea oil, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan

Glanville was an experienced merger partner who specialized in the oil business, and was considered as capable and aggressive a banker as any. His senior partner in the Lazard merger division was Felix Rohatyn, perhaps Wall Street’s most celebrated investment banker. Rohatyn had made his reputation working for the trailblazing conglomerate ITT during Wall Street’s so-called go-go years, the 1960s. In that era, ITT bought and sold subsidiary companies in unrelated businesses as if they were interchangeable parts of some great industrial kaleidoscope. Rohatyn earned millions shepherding the deals. During the 1970s, through his stewardship of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, Rohatyn gained equally prodigious fame by rescuing New York City from bankruptcy. Later he took charge of the Lazard merger division and began to contribute long essays to the intellectual press about the terrible dangers of merger mania, even as he continued to broker deals for his firm.

In his Pierre Hotel suite overlooking Central Park, as a cold mist fell on the city, the Getty scion contemplated the spoils of his victory. Maligned for so many years by his family and by the company’s shifting management, Gordon finally was empowered over all of them. Naïvely, he believed that Getty Oil Company belonged to him. 21 A “Manly” Place For perfectly understandable reasons, the great majority of Americans in the early 1980s regarded the nation’s large oil companies as the more or less interchangeable parts of a monolithic, nearly omnipotent enterprise known colloquially as Big Oil. To the average consumer of gasoline and motor oil, the differences between Exxon, Texaco, Chevron, Gulf, Shell, Mobil, and the rest seemed largely cosmetic—a matter merely of corporate logos, advertising jingles, and celebrity spokesmen. Gordon Getty was typical: when Pennzoil announced its tender offer in December 1983, all Gordon knew about the company was that it employed a legendary golfer, Arnold Palmer, as its television pitchman.


pages: 249 words: 77,027

Glock: The Rise of America's Gun by Paul M. Barrett

airport security, forensic accounting, hiring and firing, interchangeable parts, offshore financial centre, Pepto Bismol, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, union organizing

Two years later, Walker, by then an officer in the Army, collaborated with Colt to develop a .41-caliber model. The US government ordered one thousand of the “Walker Colts” for use in the Mexican-American War, allowing Sam Colt to get his company aloft. Colt built one of the most advanced factories of the era, a facility in Hartford that was the first in the firearm field to take full advantage of mass-production techniques, such as the manufacture of interchangeable parts. It was only in the 1850s that urban police departments in the United States began to allow officers to carry handguns, especially following the riots that accompanied the economic panic of 1857. Eager to serve this new market, Colt came out with the New Model Police Revolver, one of the last new products his factory made before its founder’s death in 1862. The Police Revolver was an inexpensive, lightweight six-shooter with a three-and-a-half-inch barrel, making it easy to conceal.


pages: 267 words: 72,552

Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, banking crisis, basic income, Bayesian statistics, bitcoin, blockchain, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, cognitive bias, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, gig economy, Google Glasses, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, land reform, lone genius, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, market design, market fundamentalism, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Future of Employment, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, universal basic income, William Langewiesche, Y Combinator

Many of the assemblers also made it clear that they were not going to enter into exclusive contracts with any one supplier. That would be too constraining. They wanted the freedom to buy the same or similar components and modules from multiple sources, to be able to switch and swap based on availability and demand, and to respond to new information about the features consumers found most appealing. With millions of interchangeable parts being churned out in Chongqing, even small “mom-and-pop” shops could get into motorcycle assembling, dramatically expanding the number of market participants. Using this modular, market-based production process, the price of a motorcycle plummeted to under $200. By 2005, Chinese manufacturers accounted for half of the global production of motorcycles, and in several emerging markets, they overtook Japanese brand names.


pages: 254 words: 76,064

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito, Jeff Howe

3D printing, Albert Michelson, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, fiat currency, financial innovation, Flash crash, frictionless, game design, Gerolamo Cardano, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Singularitarianism, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, universal basic income, unpaid internship, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks

In 1864 an enterprising machinist named William Sellers delivered a paper to fellow inventors at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. He proposed that all screws should have a flattened tip and a thread profile of precisely 60 degrees. The U.S. government adopted the “Sellers Thread,” and the railroads followed suit. This simple proposal—the standardization of that most modest of industrial components—inspired the development of interchangeable parts.14 “He helped spark the second Industrial Revolution,” says Tom Knight, the MIT synthetic biologist. “You can’t overstate the importance of standardization to the creative process. An inventor wants to invent, not worry about the threading of his screws.” Tom Knight, Drew Endy, and Ron Weiss were in a quandary. By 2004 scientists at MIT and a handful of other institutions were demonstrating the ability to synthesize simple genetic sequences.


pages: 287 words: 80,180

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim, Renée A. Mauborgne

Asian financial crisis, borderless world, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, endogenous growth, haute couture, index fund, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, market fundamentalism, NetJets, Network effects, RAND corporation, Skype, telemarketer, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

In 1909 it dropped to $609, and by 1924 it was down to $290.4 In comparison, the price of a horse-driven carriage, the car’s closest alternative at the time, was around $400. A 1909 sales brochure proclaimed, “Watch the Ford Go By, High Priced Quality in a Low Priced Car.” Ford’s success was underpinned by a profitable business model. By keeping the cars highly standardized and offering limited options and interchangeable parts, Ford’s revolutionary assembly line replaced skilled craftsmen with ordinary unskilled laborers who worked one small task faster and more efficiently, cutting the time to make a Model T from twenty-one days to four days and cutting labor hours by 60 percent.5 With lower costs, Ford was able to charge a price that was accessible to the mass market. Sales of the Model T exploded. Ford’s market share surged from 9 percent in 1908 to 61 percent in 1921, and by 1923, a majority of American households owned an automobile.6 Ford’s Model T exploded the size of the automobile industry, creating a huge blue ocean.


pages: 537 words: 200,923

City: Urbanism and Its End by Douglas W. Rae

agricultural Revolution, barriers to entry, business climate, City Beautiful movement, complexity theory, creative destruction, desegregation, edge city, ghettoisation, Gunnar Myrdal, income per capita, informal economy, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, manufacturing employment, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, Peter Calthorpe, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Saturday Night Live, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white flight, Works Progress Administration

From the 1840s onward, Jerome had used steam and skilled labor to stamp out the metal gears for clocks previously made singly as castings, thereby precipitously driving down the world price of shelf clocks. Jerome Manufacturing sent its products into markets across the globe and sold them in the hundreds of thousands on the basis of value for money. Here is a telling story about his pricing policy and its relation to British markets: Around 1840 Chauncey Jerome, a Connecticut clock maker, used interchangeable parts to produce a one-day brass clock for less than fifty cents. He exported some to England in 1842. English customs reserves the right to confiscate goods at their invoice valuations to protect themselves against undervaluation. The clocks were clearly undervalued by English standards, and they were confiscated. This was fine with Jerome; he had sold his shipment at full price quickly and easily.

This is a manufactory of india 53 U R B A N I S M rubber shoes, in which machinery is applied as far as practicable, and with 175 hands 2,000 pair are daily produced.48 The authors were seeing characteristic Yankee ingenuity applied to complex manufacturing under conditions of cheap energy and expensive labor—with the substitution of machine force for hand craft at every turn, and with increasing reliance on the so-called American system of interchangeable parts. For New Haven, as for many cities sharing its strategic position, this was only the beginning of economic expansion. RAILROAD DEVELOPMENT AND CASCADING CENTRAL CITY INVESTMENT Trains became pivotal at this stage. Steam-powered rail transport appears to have had several birthdays between 1803 and 1812 in the United Kingdom, but the first commercially useful U.S. railroad was evidently the Mauch Chunk Railroad, which carried Pennsylvania coal, as early as 1826.


pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

Most creativity emerges when different points of view are held in reciprocal tension, so that they play off one another, eventually evolving into a new idea. The idea for Henry Ford’s revolutionary moving assembly line did not simply spring to life in his head in a darkened room after months of inner reflection. Ford’s innovation came from a team who borrowed and blended ideas and techniques: from a machine-tool industry that used interchangeable parts; from meat-packing which used a moving line to cut up carcasses; and – for scheduling techniques – from the railroads. Most advances in 20th-century science came from creative conversations that blended ideas. Werner Heisenberg’s conversations with Neils Bohr and other physicists in Copenhagen in the 1920s paved the way for quantum mechanics and other theories that led not just to the nuclear bomb but to many advances in modern electronics.


pages: 294 words: 80,084

Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler

Albert Einstein, Alexander Shulgin, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Burning Man, carbon footprint, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, epigenetics, gravity well, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, North Sea oil, Oculus Rift, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, private space industry, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, theory of mind, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

“Despite its significant financial resources, dedicated personnel, motivation, and freedom from the scrutiny of the Japanese authorities, Aum was unable to achieve its objectives.” That was then. Now, two trends have changed the game. The first emerged in 2004, when the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition was founded at MIT. iGem’s goal is for teams of high school and college students to build simple biological systems from standardized, interchangeable parts. These standardized parts, known as BioBricks, are chunks of DNA code with clearly defined structures and functions, allowing them to be easily linked together in new combinations, a little like a set of genetic LEGO bricks. These designs are collected in the Registry of Standard Biological Parts, an open-source database accessible to anyone who is curious. Over the years, iGEM teams have not only pushed technical barriers but creative ones as well, turning bacterial cells into everything from photographic films to hemoglobin-producing blood cells to miniature hard drives, complete with data encryption.


pages: 406 words: 88,820

Television disrupted: the transition from network to networked TV by Shelly Palmer

barriers to entry, call centre, commoditize, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, hypertext link, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, James Watt: steam engine, Leonard Kleinrock, linear programming, Marc Andreessen, market design, Metcalfe’s law, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Skype, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Telecommunications Act of 1996, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, yield management

During this technological transition, Armies and Navies were still using tactics developed at a time when you needed to see your enemy to kill them. Unfortunately, the generals of the day did not fully understand the power and accuracy of the newer weapons they were using. The Model 1861 Springfield Musket was one of the shoulder arms of choice for the Civil War foot soldier. It had a rifled bore, interchangeable parts, percussion cap ignition and it was extremely accurate and dependable. Weighing just 9.25 lbs, this 58.5 inch workhorse came with a particularly nasty, triangular 21-inch socket bayo-net. The unique attribute of this most lethal weapon was the .58 calibre conical minie ball that it fired at a remarkable 950 feet per second. This weapon was deadly accurate at 800 yards and passably accurate at 1,000 yards.


pages: 224 words: 12,941

From Gutenberg to Google: electronic representations of literary texts by Peter L. Shillingsburg

British Empire, computer age, double helix, HyperCard, hypertext link, interchangeable parts, invention of the telephone, means of production, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Saturday Night Live, Socratic dialogue

The disadvantage of industry standards, generally speaking, is that as research and development take place, regardless of the field, situations will arise in which one will want to do something that was not foreseen when the standards were set and that is not allowed by those standards. The advantage of standards, if they are flexible and versatile enough, is that they make it possible to share services and interchange parts without affecting the functionality of the whole or of other parts. A modular approach to the functions of an electronic edition/archive/knowledge site may help us achieve the flexibility and compatibility we want. An outline of the editorial and reader functions and the types of materials and sets of information that affect either the editing or the reading process is set out here as an indication of the areas for which software is needed.


The Manager’s Path by Camille Fournier

failed state, fear of failure, hiring and firing, hive mind, interchangeable parts, job automation, Larry Wall, microservices, pull request, risk tolerance, Schrödinger's Cat, side project, Steve Jobs, WebSocket

Successful groups can be as large as 10 or 15, but only when they are in fact composed of several smaller subgroups which perform specific parts of the task, and whose members overlap with each other so that knowledge of what the different subgroups are doing can be passed around easily. 4. There is a low degree of skill specialization. Not everyone has to be able to do everything, but everything must be able to be done by more than one person. Thus no one is indispensable. To a certain extent, people become interchangeable parts. Here Freeman describes a common scenario for many early-stage startups. Even when the overall company grows beyond the small group, the engineering team often pushes itself to stay unstructured. Hiring “full stack” engineers who are exclusively sourced from the professional and social networks of the current team results in low skill specialization and high homogeneity. Forcing the team to be collocated lowers communication barriers.


pages: 363 words: 94,139

Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products by Leander Kahney

Apple II, banking crisis, British Empire, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Computer Numeric Control, Dynabook, global supply chain, interchangeable parts, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, race to the bottom, RFID, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, the built environment, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple

Soon after completing the Lindy project, Jony had an idea to simplify the design of Apple’s bulky cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors, which were perhaps the least sexy of Apple’s products and among the most expensive to manufacture. Because of their size and complexity, the molds for each of the plastic monitor housings—and there were dozens of models at the time—could cost more than a million dollars to tool. To save money, Jony came up with the idea of a new case design with interchangeable parts, which could be adapted for several monitor sizes. Previously, monitor cases came in two parts: the bezel (a face frame that cradles the front of the cathode-ray tube) and the bucketlike housing that encloses and protects the CRT’s back. Jony’s idea was to split the case into four parts: the bezel, a mid-bucket and a two-part back bucket. The modular design would allow the mid- and back bucket to remain the same across the product line.


pages: 338 words: 92,465

Reskilling America: Learning to Labor in the Twenty-First Century by Katherine S. Newman, Hella Winston

active measures, blue-collar work, business cycle, collective bargaining, Computer Numeric Control, deindustrialization, desegregation, factory automation, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job-hopping, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, performance metric, reshoring, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, two tier labour market, union organizing, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, Wolfgang Streeck, working poor

They brought together nine teams, partnering CTE and math teachers from schools and districts throughout the state who worked together to formulate a new curriculum in the “Industrial and Engineering Systems career area.” Aimed at students interested in manufacturing, construction, and engineering, the curriculum embeds as much math as possible into the kinds of practice problems real workers in these fields encounter. For example, they wanted students to figure out how “manufacturers determine the precision of measurement needed for the production of interchangeable parts,” or how to use what they learned about energy transfer and conservation to determine what kind of insulation is most efficient and cost-effective in a building.13 Instructors designed problem sets that required students to figure out how three-dimensional items are produced from two-dimensional patterns, how to use math to design a set of stairs within a specified area, or how to calculate the electrical power needs of an office tower.


pages: 332 words: 89,668

Two Nations, Indivisible: A History of Inequality in America: A History of Inequality in America by Jamie Bronstein

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

Many also expressed fears that African Americans would somehow come to dominate the political system or that political integration was a gateway to social integration and miscegenation. Ironically, at the same time that these conventions excluded blacks and women from political participation, they began to acknowledge the personhood of corporations.89 For most antebellum Americans, the exclusion of enslaved African Americans required little justification. Historian Edward Baptist emphasizes that enslaved African Americans were considered to be completely interchangeable parts in the system of Southern agricultural production no matter what skills they might possess. For example, when it served their financial calculations, plantation owners forced slaves to migrate away from their families. By the 1820s, slave traders had become professionalized, purchasing enslaved people in large numbers from the upper South and selling them to areas like Georgia and Louisiana in which there was large demand for forced labor.90 Whether working as cotton field hands or overseeing other crops, slaves generally worked under the gang labor system, from sunup to sundown, between five and six days a week.91 To maintain productivity, planters used physical punishment to create levels of productivity among enslaved workers that would later be unknown among free workers doing the same tasks.92 Economic inequality was especially severe in the antebellum South.


pages: 323 words: 90,868

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century by Ryan Avent

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, post-work, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, very high income, working-age population

At the time, Ford bought most of the parts used in his cars from suppliers. The trained mechanics would then go to work on the parts, reshaping them to fit each automobile: cutting, smithing and welding, repeatedly, in a process that was slow and very expensive.4 Henry Ford was famously determined to wring inefficiency out of this process. He settled on one design of automobile and mass-produced identical, interchangeable parts to a high degree of precision. He then borrowed an idea from the meat-processing industry. At the time, meat packers in Chicago worked along a ‘disassembly line’. Carcasses hanging on hooks attached to a powered belt travelled past successive butchery stations. At each, lines of cleaver-wielding workers hacked off specific cuts of meat. As the animal moved through the factory its carcass grew smaller and smaller, while the meat removed from it was packaged and prepared for sale.


Norman Foster: A Life in Architecture by Deyan Sudjic

Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Frank Gehry, interchangeable parts, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, low cost airline, Masdar, megacity, megastructure, Murano, Venice glass, Norman Mailer, Pearl River Delta, Peter Eisenman, sustainable-tourism, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, University of East Anglia, urban decay, urban renewal, white flight, young professional

This memory of the avant garde of the 1920s was blended with a flavour of the house that Charles and Ray Eames designed for themselves in Santa Monica in the 1940s, and given a sharp new twist for the 1970s. Like the Maison de Verre, every piece of the Foster house would have been purpose made. Like Charreau, who was fascinated by pivoting mechanical screens and partitions and used them to transform the interior of the Maison de Verre, Foster treated furniture as a kit of interchangeable parts. Like the Eames house, Foster’s project was conceived as a kind of proving ground, putting new ideas to the test in laboratory conditions before adapting them for everyday use. The house would have had a single main volume, with a five-metre-high ceiling, allowing for mezzanine levels. The walls would be made from blocks of glass, and the steel structure, punched full of circular holes, would be left on show.


pages: 790 words: 253,035

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Donald Trump, family office, interchangeable parts, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, obamacare, out of africa, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, union organizing

From a business point of view, this created a real economic upside, as all the rights and territories were uncross-collateralized, creating different potential streams of revenue, so a success in the U.S. or France or Japan would pay dividends without reference to how it does in the rest of the world. Once I was at CAA, I began to see that the intimacy with my clients that I had always valued wasn’t so valued there. It seemed that once the artist became a client of CAA, the individual agent was a bit faceless. They set it up so it’s the agency that represents you and the client has a lot of interchangeable parts. Well, I didn’t want to be an interchangeable part of a big company that somebody else owned. I want to be close with my clients and a passionate advocate for them. I see a continuum for any agent. There’s the artist on one side, and the world of finance and distribution on the other side. At CAA, most of the successful people are in the middle; I have always placed myself more at the artist’s side. STEVE ALEXANDER: Heath and I were very close.


pages: 355 words: 63

The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics by William R. Easterly

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, business climate, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, endogenous growth, financial repression, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, income per capita, inflation targeting, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, large denomination, manufacturing employment, Network effects, New Urbanism, open economy, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

On the Continent, in contrast, the Germans introduced their Tecknische Hockscku2e.22The American spinning industry went ahead with the introduction of the new technique of ring spinning, while Lancashire stuck with the old technology of mule spinning.23After three worker strikes in the 1850s, the English prohibited the introduction of the sewing machine into shoemaking in Northampton. Workers in the Birminghamgun-makingindustry blocked the introduction of the great breakthrough of interchangeable parts. English workers also blocked newmachinery in carpetmaking, glassmaking, and metal~orking.~~ Thenwe see the same thing happening to America, losing its lead to Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. Now Japan is stagnating, and America-after a big shakeup-is in the lead again, although both America and Japan are growing more slowly than they were a few decades ago. We can think of the conflict between the old and the new technology as an intergenerational conflict.The old are those who were trained in the old technology, and their skills may be highly specific to that technology; they have every incentive to oppose new technologies.


pages: 409 words: 105,551

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, Chris Fussell

Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Black Swan, butterfly effect, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Chelsea Manning, clockwork universe, crew resource management, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global supply chain, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, job automation, job satisfaction, John Nash: game theory, knowledge economy, Mark Zuckerberg, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nate Silver, Pierre-Simon Laplace, RAND corporation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban sprawl, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben (often referred to as Baron von Steuben), a profane Prussian-born officer who joined the troops at Valley Forge, introduced a training program for drill that was credited with transforming the efficiency and battlefield effectiveness of the fledgling Continental Army. To achieve efficiency and predictability, armies have long dressed, drilled, and disciplined men into becoming interchangeable parts of a military machine. Beginning at enlistment, conscription, or sometimes impressment, soldiers are groomed and outfitted to look as much alike as possible. Uniforms, besides allowing easy identification on the battlefield, also impact behavior. Frederick the Great affixed otherwise useless buttons to the sleeves of uniform coats to stop his soldiers from wiping their noses with them. Today’s uniforms enforce erect posture and bearing.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Joan Didion, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

The web has given the world a place where the audience is the publisher and what we are witnessing (and hopefully participating in) is the personalization of media. It will manifest itself in many strange and wonderful ways. And I am embracing it; for me, for my kids, and for the rest of my life. I guess you see what you want to see. When I look around MySpace I don’t see much that’s strange and wonderful—or deeply disturbing, either. I wish I did. What I see is a dreary sameness, a vast assemblage of interchangeable parts. Everything feels secondhand: the pimps-and-hoes poses before the cameraphone, the cliché-choked babbling. It’s sad to see so much effort put into self-expression with so little to express. Humanity in the raw? No, this is humanity boiled to blandness in the tin pot of personalization. There was another blogger who responded to Scott Karp’s post by comparing the effect of MySpace to that of Elvis’s gyrating hips back in the fifties.


pages: 326 words: 106,053

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

AltaVista, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Cass Sunstein, coronavirus, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, experimental economics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Howard Rheingold, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, interchangeable parts, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market design, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, offshore financial centre, Picturephone, prediction markets, profit maximization, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

In economic terms, after all, anything tailor-made has the advantage of locking in customers. If someone bought a lathe from a machinist, that person had to come back to the machinist for screw repairs or replacements. But if screws became interchangeable, customers would need the craftsmen less and would worry about the price more. Sellers understood the fear. But he also believed that interchangeable parts and mass production were inevitable, and the screw he designed was meant to be easier, cheaper, and faster to produce than any other. His screws fit the new economy, where a premium was placed on speed, volume, and cost. But because of what was at stake, and because the machinist community was so tight-knit, Sellers understood that connections and influence would shape people’s decisions.


pages: 419 words: 109,241

A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel Susskind

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, natural language processing, Network effects, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, precariat, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor, working-age population, Y Combinator

Andrew Ure, an influential figure who acted as a sort of early management consultant to manufacturers, called for taking away tasks from “the cunning workman” and replacing him with machines so simple to use that “a child may superintend” instead. (He did not mean this metaphorically: child labor was an acceptable practice back then.)13 And as the economic historian Joel Mokyr notes, this trend was not confined to the world of cotton and cloth: “First in firearms, then in clocks, pumps, locks, mechanical reapers, typewriters, sewing machines, and eventually in engines and bicycles, interchangeable parts technology proved superior and replaced the skilled artisans working with chisel and file.”14 At the turn of the twenty-first century, then, the conventional wisdom among economists was that technological progress was sometimes skill-biased, at other times unskill-biased. In either case, though, many economists tended to imagine that this progress always broadly benefited workers. Indeed, in the dominant model used in the field, it was impossible for new technologies to make either skilled or unskilled workers worse off; technological progress always raised everyone’s wages, though at a given time some more than others.


pages: 489 words: 111,305

How the World Works by Noam Chomsky, Arthur Naiman, David Barsamian

affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, capital controls, clean water, corporate governance, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, glass ceiling, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, land reform, liberation theology, Monroe Doctrine, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, single-payer health, strikebreaker, Telecommunications Act of 1996, transfer pricing, union organizing, War on Poverty, working poor

An aerospace industry analyst at Merrill Lynch pointed out that “this effort to broaden the industrial base that supports the military has been going on for a couple of years, but the Pentagon’s decision [about the new Joint Strike fighter] was a major milestone in this trend.” In fact, “this effort” has been has going on not for “a couple of years” but for half a century, and its roots lie much deeper, in the crucial role of the military in developing the basic elements of the “American system of manufacturing” (standardization and interchangeable parts) in the 19th century. In other words, a major purpose of military production and procurement, along with research and development in government labs or publicly funded private industry (by the Department of Energy and other agencies, as well as the Pentagon) is to subsidize private corporations. The public is simply being deluded about how they’re paying for high technology. By now this stuff is described almost openly—usually on the business pages but sometimes even on the front page.


pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, lateral thinking, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, working-age population, Y2K

The idea is to “play Nature,” to reverse-engineer the tangled genetic code of eons and “refactor” it—write fresh genetic code that is manageable, that actually does have intelligent design instead of the infinity of moronic kludges and patches that timeless evolution confers. George Church, a leading molecular geneticist at Harvard, says that biology is at last becoming “an engineering discipline, with interchangeable parts, hierarchical design, interoperable systems, specification sheets—stuff that only an engineer could love.” Rob Carlson reports that the minimalist approach to genome design is paying off: “Most synthetic DNA constructs are usually composed of just a few genes, with cutting edge designs topping out at about 15 genes. Amyris Biotechnologies is using genetic circuits of this size in modified microbes to process sugar into useful compounds, including malaria drugs, jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline analogues.”


pages: 404 words: 118,759

The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Ben Tarnoff

California gold rush, interchangeable parts, Kickstarter, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, new economy, New Journalism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South of Market, San Francisco, South Sea Bubble, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman

Dime novels were the lowbrow equivalents of Harte’s tales: lurid morsels of frontier melodrama, wrapped in cheap paper and popular in eastern cities. They offered parables of rugged individualism and wide-open spaces to urban readers whose lives were increasingly absent of both. They appealed to an era in which tenements and factories and corporations and bureaucracy were aggregating human beings into a mass of interchangeable parts. They provided a national epic of conquest, of white settlers subduing the wilderness and the Indians, to men whose masculinity seemed to be crumbling under the assault of the machine age. As the nineteenth century wore on, America’s infatuation with the “Wild West” would only grow. This set the scene for Harte’s success with eastern readers. What distinguished his stories from their pop-cultural competitors wasn’t just the quality of the writing.


pages: 436 words: 114,278

Crude Volatility: The History and the Future of Boom-Bust Oil Prices by Robert McNally

American energy revolution, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, collective bargaining, credit crunch, energy security, energy transition, housing crisis, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Induced demand, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, joint-stock company, market clearing, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, price discrimination, price stability, sovereign wealth fund, transfer pricing

Fuel oil was also much easier to store and manage; up to three-quarters of the crew of coal-fired ships were needed to carry fuel from storage to the furnaces—drawback that was especially onerous during longer battles.4 Finally, oil-powered ships could travel faster and carry more cargo than their coal-fired counterparts; however, early evaluations concluded fuel oil was too costly. So it was not until 1913, when Winston Churchill convinced Britain’s navy to switch from coal to oil, and the U.S. Navy soon followed suit.5 While ships got the jump on oil use, automobiles quickly caught up and soon became the dominant users of oil in the transportation sector. Henry Ford, with the introduction of the assembly line and interchangeable parts, made the first mass-produced, affordable cars and catapulted the United States to the top of the world’s automobile producers and consumers. The Model-T appeared in 1908; in 1910, gasoline sales outpaced kerosene and other illuminant products for the first time. The amount of gasoline refined from a barrel of crude oil (the “yield”) increased from 10 percent in 1880 to 35 percent in 1926.


pages: 395 words: 116,675

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, AltaVista, altcoin, anthropic principle, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Corn Laws, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, endogenous growth, epigenetics, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, George Santayana, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hydraulic fracturing, imperial preference, income per capita, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, land reform, Lao Tzu, long peace, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Necker cube, obamacare, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, price mechanism, profit motive, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, twin studies, uber lyft, women in the workforce

In his book The Rebirth of Education, Lant Pritchett quotes the frank admission of a nineteenth-century Japanese education minister: ‘In administration of all schools, it must be kept in mind, what is to be done is not for the sake of the pupils, but for the sake of the country.’ Crowding out private schools Some years later the British went down the same route, mainly to create clerks to run their empire. The British, as Sugata Mitra said in his remarkable 2013 TED lecture, set out to create a big computer with which to operate their far-flung possessions, an administrative machine made of interchangeable parts, each of which happened to be human. In order to turn out those parts, they needed another machine, an educational one, which would reliably produce people who could read quickly, write legibly, and do addition, subtraction and multiplication in their heads. As Mitra put it, ‘They must be so identical that you can pick one up from New Zealand and ship him to Canada and he would be instantly functional.’


pages: 352 words: 120,202

Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology by Howard Rheingold

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, card file, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, popular electronics, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

Babbage outlived her by decades, but without Ada's advice, support, and sometimes stern guidance, he was not able to complete his long-dreamed-of Analytical Engine. Because the toolmaking art of his day was not up to the tolerance demanded by his designs, Babbage pioneered the use of diamond-tipped tools in precision-lathing. In order to systematize the production of components for his Engine, he devised methods to mass-manufacture interchangeable parts and wrote a classic treatise on what has since become known as "mass production." Babbage wrote books of varying degrees of coherence, made breakthroughs in some sciences and failed in others, gave brilliant and renowned dinner parties with guests like Charles Darwin, and seems to have ended up totally embittered. Bowden noted that "Shortly before Babbage died he told a friend that he could not remember a single completely happy day in his life: 'He spoke as if he hated mankind in general, Englishmen in particular, and the English Government and Organ Grinders most of all.'"


pages: 369 words: 121,161

Alistair Cooke's America by Alistair Cooke

Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, double entry bookkeeping, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, interchangeable parts, joint-stock company, Maui Hawaii, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, urban sprawl, wage slave, Works Progress Administration

But for nearly three years there were no muskets at all, and he was a joke in New England and something of a fraud in Washington. But Whitney had seen a labor problem where formerly there was none, and he had aired the method of solving it. Within ten years a man named Hall, subsidized by the government in one of its ordnance factories, produced the assembly line product. The production of interchangeable parts – screws and threads for muskets, tackle blocks, and planking for ships – had already been accomplished in England and France. Yet these were still being handled by skilled men, and Whitney’s standardized parts could be fitted by drones with no other skill. He had, in fact, introduced in his factories a wholly new system: division of labor, a system unwelcome in Europe since it threatened the craftsmen and the long tradition of apprenticeship.


pages: 424 words: 119,679

It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, air freight, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, coronavirus, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, factory automation, failed state, full employment, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Lyft, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Chicago School, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, uber lyft, universal basic income, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, working poor, Works Progress Administration

As World War II began, Germany and Japan relied on disjointed manufacturing systems that produced a large range of aircraft and armored vehicles that were hard to maintain, because each model required specialized spare parts, and hard to train for, because there was little uniformity. In Why the Allies Won, historian Richard Overy called the fact that the Luftwaffe had 425 aircraft types while the US Air Force (then with a different name) had fifteen one of the deciding aspects of the war. What in the nineteenth century was dubbed the “American system of manufacturing” focused on standardized machine tools and jigs that rolled out products with interchangeable parts. By the onset of World War II, democracies had switched to this system; Germany did not adopt American-style manufacturing until 1943, when it was too late; Japan did not adopt standardized manufacturing until after the war. As the Northwestern University historian Michael Sherry wrote in 1987, “Fascist totalitarianism produced far less centralization than the Allies achieved.” Nothing’s perfect, but for the most part, citizens of democracies voluntarily discipline themselves, which is good for organization and teamwork; fearing punishment, citizens of dictatorships rarely show initiative.


The Future of Technology by Tom Standage

air freight, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Clayton Christensen, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, creative destruction, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, double helix, experimental economics, full employment, hydrogen economy, industrial robot, informal economy, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, labour market flexibility, Marc Andreessen, market design, Menlo Park, millennium bug, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, railway mania, rent-seeking, RFID, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart grid, software as a service, spectrum auction, speech recognition, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, technology bubble, telemarketer, transcontinental railway, Y2K

The craftsmen who made them liked it this way, because many of their customers were, in effect, locked in. Yet it was one of these craftsmen’s leaders who set America’s machine-tool industry on the path of standardisation. In 1864, William Sellers proposed a “uniform system of screw threads”, which later became widely adopted. Without standardised, easy-to-make screws, Mr Sellers’ argument went, there could be no interchangeable parts and thus no mass production. Not every technology sector had such far-sighted leaders. But railways, electricity, cars and telecommunications all learned to love standards as they came of age. At a certain point in their history, it became clear that rather than just fighting to get the largest piece of the pie, the companies within a sector needed to work together to make the pie bigger.


pages: 502 words: 125,785

The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War by A. J. Baime

banking crisis, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, Ford paid five dollars a day, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, housing crisis, interchangeable parts, Louis Blériot, mass immigration, means of production, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker

They stamped out bomber parts—the sound of each stamping as sharp and loud as a car smacking into a tree. The presses were continuously lubricated by 1,500 gallons of oil each day, the tanks located underneath the floor. Willow Run was designed to build Liberators in five subassemblies—the center wing, the nose and cockpit, the aft fuselage, the tail, and the outer wing—then bring them together for the final product. The interchangeable parts made their way around the plant on a system of twenty-nine miles of conveyors on the ceiling, like upside-down railroads, some rated to carry five tons, some fifteen. The metallurgical laboratory was situated in the southwest area of manufacturing; here bomber parts were heat-treated, chemical-tested, plated, and painted. Alloys were mixed like ingredients in a bakery. Foundry workers melted aluminum and stirred it with precise amounts of copper, chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, vanadium, and most commonly carbon.


Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City by Richard Sennett

Buckminster Fuller, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, creative destruction, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Downton Abbey, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, housing crisis, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, open borders, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Richard Florida, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen

The design exemplified that aspect of a closed system in which the parts are homogeneous and additive. The lack of distinctiveness has become reality in the towers of Madame Q’s Shanghai, or in the new cities in South Korea whose identical buildings are identified by huge numbers displayed on flags outside so that people can know in which building they live. In systems terms, such an environment is closed because of its interchangeable parts. An open system, by contrast, has parts which cannot be substituted for one another. But imagine a city of five million people with, say, 10,000 centres each of which looks nothing like any other: that variety of forms no designer could devise and no urbanite could make sense of. So how can you make places distinctive in a big city, instead of impossibly unique? It’s possible to give a space character by punctuating it just as one would a piece of writing.


pages: 378 words: 121,495

The Abandonment of the West by Michael Kimmage

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, City Beautiful movement, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global pandemic, global supply chain, Gunnar Myrdal, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Peace of Westphalia, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Thomas L Friedman, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, Washington Consensus

Conrad had to appropriate the English language before he could write his decentered fiction in it. An itinerant life among empires confronted Conrad with modern politics in his maritime career and with the human consequences of imperialism, which gave him his great fictional themes. Conrad the fiction writer was an ideal object of scrutiny for Said the critic and scholar. Conrad’s 1899 novella Heart of Darkness laced the conquering, unsettling West with ambiguity, making interchangeable parts of civilization and barbarism, and as for so many late-twentieth-century readers, Heart of Darkness was commentary on the Vietnam War for Said. In 1979, Conrad’s literary-political parable was reworked into the archetypal Vietnam film Apocalypse Now.25 Said published his own deconstruction of the West, Orientalism, in 1978. It was a detailed study of British and French colonialism, of Western imperialism, though anything but a standard history of empire or a standard work of literary criticism.


Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David S. Landes

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, business cycle, Cape to Cairo, clean water, colonial rule, Columbian Exchange, computer age, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial intermediation, Francisco Pizarro, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, income inequality, Index librorum prohibitorum, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, land tenure, lateral thinking, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, Murano, Venice glass, new economy, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, out of africa, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Scramble for Africa, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game

By the time the South went to war against the Union in 1 8 6 1 , firearms production in the North outweighed that in the Confederacy by 32 to l . One sees in these early gunshops a hint o f things to come: so great was the demand for weapons that long before powered machine tools became available, division o f labor was enhancing productivity. The later interest o f the young American republic in the mass production of small arms using interchangeable parts was anticipated well before the revolution. Thus the colonists imported and copied models of European devices and machines, and skilled machinists and craftsmen were invited, or 8 9 10 299 FRONTIERS sought on their own account, to move to high American wages. Here the North American colonies were helped by their anglophone culture: Britain boasted the most inventive society in Europe, and British im­ migrants felt at home in a society speaking the same language.

All of this meant that the indigenous population was uprooted re­ peatedly to make way for land-hungry newcomers. The Indians fought back, the more so as settler expansion entailed repeated violations o f ostensibly sacred and eternal agreements—as long as the sun would shine and the waters run. The white man broke faith at will, while the natives were slandered as "Indian givers." Here, too, technology made the difference. Repeating weapons, batch- or mass-produced with roughly interchangeable parts, multiplied the firepower o f even small numbers and made Indian resistance hopeless. Of course, many Americans are sorry now, while Europeans invite Indian chiefs to Paris and Zurich to recount the litany of white wrong­ doing. Hollywood films, once cowboy-and-Indian clichés, now re­ mind us and others o f the misdeeds o f the invaders. Meanwhile the American government has fitfully tried to recompense the descendants of the dispossessed, hiring economic historians to calculate the value of native land at the time it was taken; and well-meaning people offer help with the preservation and reinvention o f "Native American" culture.

Some potential competitors dis­ played quality and taste that made their products unbeatable: French silks, Saxon porcelains, or vintage wines, for example. But that was an old story, perfectiy comprehensible in a regime of inherited skills, nat­ ural favors, and comparative advantage. More vexing were signs o f non-British technological superiority in a branch that Britain tended to see as its own—the production of machines and machine-made objects. The first hints of trouble came in American clocks and firearms, massproduced with quasi-interchangeable parts. In 1854, the British gov­ ernment sent a mission to the United States to look further into this "American system." Back came the message that, yes, the British had to start learning again. 17 18 19 450 T H E W E A L T H AND POVERTY OF N A T I O N S Serious unease set in toward the end of the century. It was linked to political changes signaling a shift in the balance of power: Germany's sudden rise to primacy on the Continent; its defeat of France in 1870 and establishment of a Deutsches Reich; its colonial ambitions in Africa and the Pacific; its projects of railway construction and trade in the Ot­ toman empire, which the British saw as threats to the India lifeline; the departure of the prudent, sagacious Bismarck and his replacement by a chauvinistic emperor who bullied his political advisers and resented his British cousins (so much for family ties); finally, Germany's decision to build a big navy, that is, to challenge Britannia's God-given right to rule the waves.


pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Airbnb, Akira Okazaki, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, British Empire, business cycle, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, Costa Concordia, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Ferguson, Missouri, fundamental attribution error, Georg Cantor, George Akerlof, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Hans Rosling, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, immigration reform, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, lake wobegon effect, land reform, liberation theology, lone genius, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, North Sea oil, Occupy movement, open economy, out of africa, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Philip Mirowski, pink-collar, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, rent control, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, very high income, wage slave, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yogi Berra

It was not until well after British electricity and then the telegraph in the 1840s, or German organic chemistry and then the artificial dyes and the medicines in the 1890s, and Italian radio and the communication with the masses in the 1920s, that Science started to pay back seriously its debt to Technology. Merely “started.” Not a great deal of the economy was involved until late in the twentieth century.24 Until well into the nineteenth century the most important changes in technique had little to do with scientific theory. Railways. Interchangeable parts. Sewerage in cities. Iron hulls of ships. Assembly lines. Bituminous pavement. The classic case is the steam engine. Although the discovery of the atmosphere clearly played a role in the early steam engine, most of its betterments were matters of tinkering, and high and low skills of machine-making. Eastern science perhaps could just as well have formed the basis for an industrial revolution, and until the late seventeenth century it was clearly better than the European.

See betterment innovism: accumulation and, 101, 105; trade-tested betterment, 93–94 Inoue, Kyoko: on jinkaku, dignity, xiv, 651n2 institutions: as cause, xii; conclusion on, 650; conservative, 361; dance, 115; without ethics, 665n5; informal, 114; neo-institutionalist definition, 113; Searle and, 125; and social ethics, xxiv, xxvi, chaps. 13–15. See also North, Douglass intellectual property: and entry in the third act, 40; NBER and blockaded entry, 559. See also copyright; patents interchangeable parts, 649 intersubjectivity: Taylor on conjective, 664n18 investment. See accumulation of capital Iowa: ethics in public administration, xxiv, 138; social ethics, xxiv Iowa City, 230, 599 Ireland: Common Market subsidies of, 140; English conquest of, 106; Malthusian case, 16; potatoes, 16. See also Mokyr, Joel; Ó Gráda, Cormac iron hull, 479, 649 Israel, Jonathan: collective action problem, 340; Dutch charity, 341, 342; radical enlightenment, 694n4 Issenberg, Sasha, 697n4 Italian Constitution: property, 406 Jacob, Margaret: acknowledged, xxxviii; disagreement with, 657n6; egalitarianism, 363; elite, 525; French engineers, 436; French state and economy, 435; ideational approach to economic history, 94; labor saving, 471; naturalness of market, 383; open source, 395; Radical Enlightenment, 694n4; science and economy, 517; 1680s, 411; steam, 649; tinkerers, 649, 652n31 Jacobs, Jane: guardianship, 531; ideational approach to economic history, 94 James, C.


pages: 1,373 words: 300,577

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin

"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

For the most part, the government is today the primary generator of basic R&D in the United States, not only for energy but, with the exception of pharmaceuticals, for most everything else as well.4 The federal government’s role in stimulating innovation, going back to the beginning of the republic, was often directly for national defense. In 1794 George Washington, unhappy with the performance of muskets, established a group of national armories, thus launching what was the first R&D initiative by the U.S. government. The objective was to replace rifles that were laboriously handmade by individual craftsmen with ones that were produced with interchangeable parts, thus greatly simplifying and speeding up the manufacturing of rifles. This innovation in interchangeable parts became known as the American system of manufacturing and was critical to America’s rise as an industrial power.5 But it was only after World War II that the government took on a much broader responsibility for supporting basic research and the whole R&D system. THE PUBLIC GOOD Spending on R&D has generally been recognized as a government responsibility because it is a public good.


pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Via peer-reviewed correspondence and, later, journals, science offered a method of extracting reliable information, testing it, and then linking it to a growing body of other tested, interlinked facts. This newly ordered information—what we call science—could then be used to restructure the organization of matter. It birthed new materials, new processes for making stuff, new tools, and new perspectives. When the scientific method was applied to craft, we invented mass production of interchangeable parts, the assembly line, efficiency, and specialization. All these forms of informational organization launched the incredible rise in standards of living we take for granted. Finally, the latest transition in the organization of knowledge is happening now. We inject order and design into everything we manufacture. We are also adding microscopic chips that can perform small amounts of computation and communication.


Jennifer Morgue by Stross, Charles

call centre, correlation does not imply causation, disintermediation, dumpster diving, Etonian, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, planetary scale, RFID, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, stem cell, telepresence, traveling salesman, Turing machine

What do they have to do with things" "If you'd ever studied knife fighting, one of the things your instructors would have drilled into you is that you always clean your blade after using it, and if possible sharpen and lubricate it, before you put it away. Because if you want j to use it again some time, you don't want to find it stuck to the scabbard, or blunt, or rusted. When you use a tool, you take care to maintain it, boy, that's common sense. From the organization's point of view ... well, you're not just an interchangeable part, a human resource: we can't go to the nearest employment center and hire a replacement for you just like that. You've got a unique skill mix that would be very difficult to locate — but don't let it go to your head just yet — which is why we're willing to take some pains to help you get over it. We used you, it's true. And we used Dr. O'Brien, and you're both going to have to get used to it, and what's more important to you right now — because you expect to be used for certain types of jobs now and again — is that we didn't use you the way you expected to be used.


pages: 372 words: 152

The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin

banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, cashless society, collective bargaining, computer age, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, full employment, future of work, general-purpose programming language, George Gilder, global village, hiring and firing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land reform, low skilled workers, means of production, new economy, New Urbanism, Paul Samuelson, pink-collar, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, strikebreaker, technoutopianism, Thorstein Veblen, Toyota Production System, trade route, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

Ellis's car, like the few hundred other automobiles made each year by Panhard and Levassor, was unique and drawn up to meet the very exacting standards of an individual customer. Ellis became the first Englishman to own an automobile. 13 Less than twenty years later Henry Ford was producing thousands of identical cars each day at a fraction of the cost Ellis paid for his handcrafted vehicle. Ford was the first automaker to mass produce a standardized product using interchangeable parts. Because the individual components were always cut and shaped exactly the same, they could be attached to each other quickly and simply, without requiring a skilled craftsman to put them together. To quicken the process of attachment, Ford introduced a moving assembly line to the factory floor-an innovation he first observed in the giant slaughterhouses of the Chicago stockyards. By bringing the car directly to the worker, he shaved precious time off the production process and was able to control the pace of movement in the factory.


pages: 588 words: 131,025

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands by Eric Topol

23andMe, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Anne Wojcicki, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, bioinformatics, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, connected car, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data acquisition, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Firefox, global village, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize

Jan Walker, one of the project’s researchers said, “In a way we feel like we are in the Model T stage of this type of transparency. OpenNotes is like a new medicine that is beneficial to most patients but will harm some; how can we identify those patients and then address the situation openly and honestly?”11 The Model T analogy may be too optimistic. At least that car was practical, affordable, versatile, and transformational. It was a single product with interchangeable parts—to reduce waste and make it possible for unskilled workers to mass-assemble cars. In contrast, we have over one thousand certified EMR vendors in the United States, each with proprietary software that usually won’t work with records created by different software. With the fragmentation of health care in the United States, the majority of individuals see physicians in multiple health systems with different EMR vendors.


pages: 444 words: 130,646

Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci

4chan, active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AltaVista, anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, citizen journalism, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, index card, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, invention of writing, loose coupling, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, pre–internet, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks

Epilogue: The Uncertain Climb THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, where I completed my graduate work, has one of the fewer than fifty surviving copies of the Gutenberg Bible, one of the first major printed books in the Western world. It is truly beautiful, with intricate gilded drawings framing each page. The printing press was the center of a world-historical transformation involving forces of production, communication, and media, in some ways like the one we have been living through. Gutenberg’s moveable type heralded the Industrial Revolution and the gains in productive power possible with interchangeable parts and mechanical reproduction. However, the book’s gorgeous hand-drawn decorations—the paintings with gold leaf called illuminations and the beautiful colored letters called rubrication—were actually an effort to stay anchored in the past—an effort that would prove futile. If you were Gutenberg or a cardinal of the Catholic Church around the 1450s, you might have boasted about how this invention was going to greatly empower the Catholic Church.


pages: 742 words: 137,937

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind, Daniel Susskind

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, Atul Gawande, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Bill Joy: nanobots, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, Clapham omnibus, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, death of newspapers, disintermediation, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, lifelogging, lump of labour, Marshall McLuhan, Metcalfe’s law, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, optical character recognition, Paul Samuelson, personalized medicine, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Skype, social web, speech recognition, spinning jenny, strong AI, supply-chain management, telepresence, The Future of Employment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, young professional

And, in Chapter 7, we address several major topics—the potential and limitations of increasingly capable machines, the impact of technology on employment, and whether emerging models of sharing expertise are in fact feasible. We conclude by asking and answering the question—what future should we want? 1 See Chapters 2 and 3 for references and further details of these examples. 2 We use the terms ‘increasingly capable systems’ and ‘increasingly capable machines’ interchangeably throughout the book. More generally, unless the context indicates otherwise, we also use ‘systems’ and ‘machines’ interchangeably. Part I Change 1 The Grand Bargain There are two possible futures for the professions. The first is reassuringly familiar. It is a more efficient version of what we already have today. On this model, professionals continue working much as they have done since the middle of the nineteenth century, but they heavily standardize and systematize their routine activities. They streamline their old ways of working.


pages: 436 words: 141,321

Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness by Frederic Laloux, Ken Wilber

Albert Einstein, augmented reality, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, different worldview, failed state, future of work, hiring and firing, index card, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kenneth Rogoff, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, post-industrial society, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, the market place, the scientific method, Tony Hsieh, zero-sum game

Bosses are good at making these decisions. Workers do not want to be responsible for their actions or for decisions that affect the performance of the organization. Workers need care and protection, just as children need the care of their parents. Workers should be compensated by the hour or by the number of “pieces” produced. Bosses should be paid a salary and possibly receive bonuses and stock. Workers are like interchangeable parts of machines. One “good” worker is pretty much the same as any other “good” worker. Workers need to be told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Bosses need to hold them accountable.45 These assumptions sound harsh when they are put into words, and yet they are the basis for the structures and practices we have in organizations today. If this view of employees is true, leaders are prudent to build in controls, rewards, and punishments; only a fool would trust workers to make decisions using the advice process.


pages: 377 words: 21,687

Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight by David A. Mindell

1960s counterculture, Charles Lindbergh, computer age, deskilling, fault tolerance, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, more computing power than Apollo, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Silicon Valley, Stewart Brand, telepresence, telerobotics

A new idea developed at the IL, called ‘‘Q-guidance,’’ allowed much of the computational load to be undertaken by ground-based digital computers ahead of time, enabling use of simpler machines in the missile itself.12 The Polaris electronics were not particularly complex, but making them work with the required reliability, robustness, and light weight challenged Hall and his IL engineers. They recognized the effective use of electronics to be as much about mechanical packaging as about circuit design.13 Hall explored new areas in construction, stacking modules like ‘‘welded cordwood,’’ and wire-wrapping the interconnections. Hall also designed the computer circuits so they all shared a single type of germanium transistor—effectively implementing the interchangeable-parts philosophy that had characterized mechanical manufacturing for more than a century. Transistors, barely a ‘‘Braincase on the tip of a firecracker’’ 99 decade old at this point, could still be suspect in reliability, requiring rigorous qualification to be included in military hardware. In Hall’s design, only one type of transistor would have to meet the intense testing and support criteria for the missile.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

For Varian, the big breakthroughs of the industrial revolution happened only after, and only because of, a new substrate of interoperable technological components that were invented first. In a 2008 interview, he described this process of “combinatorial innovation”: “if you look historically, you’ll find periods in history where there would be the availability of . . . different component parts that innovators could combine or recombine to create new inventions. In the 1800s, it was interchangeable parts. In 1920, it was electronics. In the 1970s, it was integrated circuits. Now what we see is a period where you have Internet components, where you have software, protocols, languages, and capabilities to combine these component parts in ways that create totally new innovations.”37 Focusing on the inputs to technology innovation instead of the outputs tells a very different story of how earlier breakthroughs came about, the technological and economic significance of the Internet, and the prospects for a new age of innovation in our own future.


pages: 440 words: 132,685

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World by Randall E. Stross

Albert Einstein, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, death of newspapers, distributed generation, East Village, Ford paid five dollars a day, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Livingstone, I presume, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, urban renewal

Who would have guessed that the announcement of the phonograph’s invention would be sufficient to propel him in a matter of a few days from obscurity into the firmament above? Any one of dozens of technical breakthroughs that had come before had much greater impact on the U.S. economy. Their creators were more likely candidates for the top rank of fame. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, or his muskets made with interchangeable parts, Robert Fulton’s steamboat, John Jethro Wood’s iron-tipped plough, Cyrus McCormick’s reaper, Charles Goodyear’s rubber-manufacturing process, Samuel Morse’s telegraph, Elisha Graves Otis’s elevator, Lucien Smith’s barbed wire, and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, which appeared one year before the phonograph—these were prior inventions that fundamentally changed the U.S. economy. Why would the phonograph, of all things, have made its inventor famous beyond imagining?


pages: 872 words: 135,196

The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security by Deborah D. Avant

barriers to entry, continuation of politics by other means, corporate social responsibility, failed state, hiring and firing, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, rolodex, The Nature of the Firm, trade route, transaction costs

Regional Organizations and the Consolidation of Democracy,” American Journal of Political Science Vol. 46, No. 3 (July 2002): 611–22. 114 The Market for Force The US government has a long history of contracting for military services.166 Up until the beginning of World War II, most of these services were in the area of logistics support and weapons procurement. Contractors were used to supply basic rations, make uniforms, transport supplies, etc.167 Also, as the arms industry began to grow, the government turned to private suppliers for small arms, bayonets, and ramrods (the most famous of these contractors was Eli Whitney, who supplied interchangeable parts.)168 During World War II, the US government contracted out additional services such as constructing airfields and training pilots.169 With the advent of the Cold War, US interest in stabilizing foreign governments under siege from communist insurgent forces opened more opportunities for private firms. In many cases, the stabilization of foreign governments included military assistance and training and some of this was contracted out.


pages: 488 words: 144,145

Inflated: How Money and Debt Built the American Dream by R. Christopher Whalen

Albert Einstein, bank run, banking crisis, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, debt deflation, falling living standards, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global reserve currency, housing crisis, interchangeable parts, invention of radio, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, non-tariff barriers, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, women in the workforce

The businessmen were enthroned, the arbiters of taste, the prelates of a civilization that had salesmanship as its art.29 The imagery raised about the growing role of the machine and of mass production of all types of goods in American life is an important part of understanding why the WWI period was such a powerful inflection point for the country. Whereas the English model of industry placed the primary focus on building complex and exquisite tools used by craftsmen to manufacture goods by hand, the American model of industry focused instead on adding speed and productivity to the procedure of transformation from raw material to finished products. The growing use of standardization and interchangeable parts in American industry in the later part of the nineteenth century allowed the country to increase production rapidly to meet the needs of WWI—something that never would have been possible in the United Kingdom or in Europe. The “American System” of mass production provided a source of inexpensive consumer goods, from clothes to automobiles to aircraft, the like of which the world had never seen.30 Henry Ford is held up as the great icon of mass production during this early period of American industrialization, but his company actually began its operations assembling kits manufactured to Ford’s design by the Dodge Brothers.


pages: 532 words: 155,470

One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility by Zack Furness, Zachary Mooradian Furness

active transport: walking or cycling, affirmative action, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, back-to-the-land, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, conceptual framework, dumpster diving, Enrique Peñalosa, European colonialism, feminist movement, ghettoisation, Golden Gate Park, interchangeable parts, intermodal, Internet Archive, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, place-making, post scarcity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sustainable-tourism, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, working poor, Yom Kippur War

Cycling historian ross petty develops a number of these concepts in his careful research, including bicyclists’ collective role in the development of U.S. traffic laws, the bicycle industry’s development of mass marketing, and the use of bicycles by U.S. postal Service and Western Union employees.7 Glen norcliffe similarly explicates the influence of Colonel albert pope’s innovative model of mass production on the ensuing automobile industry, specifically crediting pope with a number of the innovations typically attributed to famed automobile mogul, and failed colonialist Henry Ford, including the modernization of the labor process, the vertical integration of production, the creation of machines with interchangeable parts, and the construction of mass markets for transportation technologies.8 as much as this body of work helps to explain how the bicycle era “prepared the way for the automobile,” there have been few attempts to critically interrogate the cultural formations linking the bicycle era and the automobile age.9 norcliffe provides a valuable point of entry for this task because he locates the meaning of bicycle technologies and the practice of cycling in the broader context of modernization, suggesting that the dominant paradigm of modernity—namely, scientific rationalism, a focus on individual autonomy, and a fascination with newness—prompted the technological innovations that gave rise to the bicycle and subsequently framed it as a symbol of modern life: a technological expression of progress.10 Bicycles, according to his argument, gained meaning within this cultural context just as cycling—a performative and spectacular expression of the modern ethos—became one of the principal means by which modernity was “locally embedded” in north america.11 norcliffe helps to construct a more complex view of bicycles and cycling that ultimately draws attention to mobility as a crucial paradigm for thinking through the pitfalls and prospects of modernity, though he falls into the pattern of most cycling historians who either perpetuate a sharp division between the cultural assemblages of the bicycle and those of the automobile, or largely ignore the twentieth century altogether.12 recent scholarship on automobility complements cycling history because it effectively maps the cultural trajectories that inform and are informed by mobile practices and mobile ontologies in the modern era.


pages: 509 words: 153,061

The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 by Thomas E. Ricks

amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Berlin Wall, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, interchangeable parts, open borders, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, traveling salesman

There were plenty of people at the Pentagon paid to take care of the Army. Casey’s mission was very different, he said. His job was to win the war. “Not all generals are up to the task,” he advised, knowing, for example, that well over a dozen division commanders had been relieved during World War II. Yet the Bush administration handled its generals as though they were all equally successful, interchangeable parts. “Not a single general has been removed for ineffectiveness during the course of this war.” The Army needed a push here, he noted. “The current promotion system does not take into account actual effectiveness in counterinsurgency. We need not great guys but effective guys. Routine promotion and assignment systems for generals in wartime is a disaster.” Keane, speaking second, was also emphatic.


pages: 650 words: 155,108

A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the S.S. United States by Steven Ujifusa

8-hour work day, big-box store, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, computer age, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, interchangeable parts, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Mercator projection, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, trade route

Gibbs thought for a moment, and said, “Sixty would be a start.”9 Relieved, the British delegation presented Gibbs & Cox with specifications for a basic tramp steamer developed about thirty years earlier. The challenge for Gibbs was to take the design for the tublike vessel and translate it into construction drawings that American shipyards could use. And the answer was a prototype for a simple-to-assemble vessel with interchangeable parts. The hull would be welded rather than riveted. To save on machinery costs and construction time, the 10,000-ton, 442-foot vessels would be powered not by steam turbines, which were too complicated and expensive to mass-produce, but by old-fashioned, reciprocating engines that would drive the ship at only 11 knots—fast enough to make headway in the Atlantic, but slow enough to make them easy pickings for U-boat commanders.


pages: 459 words: 144,009

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis by Jared Diamond

anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, clean water, correlation coefficient, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, interchangeable parts, invention of writing, Jeff Bezos, medical malpractice, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, post-work, purchasing power parity, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, The Spirit Level, traffic fines, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

As a result, the U.S. leads all the rest of the world combined in every major field of science, as measured by articles published or Nobel Prizes won. Half of what are generally considered the world’s top-10 scientific research universities and institutions are American. For almost a century-and-a-half, we have held a big competitive advantage in inventions, technology, and innovative manufacturing practices—as exemplified by Eli Whitney’s mass production of interchangeable parts for muskets; Henry Ford’s assembly-line factories; the Wright brothers’ powered airplanes; Thomas Edison’s alkaline storage battery, incandescent light bulb, motion picture equipment, and phonograph (Plate 9.7); Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone; and, more recently, the Bell Telephone Laboratories’ transistor, men on the moon, cell phones, the internet, and e-mail. Our last advantage to be mentioned is one that, nowadays, many Americans don’t consider an advantage at all: immigration (Plate 9.8).


pages: 519 words: 148,131

An Empire of Wealth: Rise of American Economy Power 1607-2000 by John Steele Gordon

accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buttonwood tree, California gold rush, clean water, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, failed state, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, global village, imperial preference, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, margin call, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, postindustrial economy, price mechanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Yom Kippur War

The plows of colonial days were little different from those in use in medieval Europe and were made of wood. They worked well enough in the light soils of the eastern United States, but were useless in the rich, heavy soils of the developing Middle West. Thomas Jefferson studied the plow and attempted to devise a better one. In 1797 Charles Newbold began manufacturing plows made of cast iron, and in 1814 Jethrow Wood designed a plow with interchangeable parts, making it much easier to repair. But even iron plows were useless in much of the Middle West because the soil would not turn over but rather fell back in place once the plow passed. A blacksmith named John Deere was a Vermonter who had joined the New England diaspora and settled in the oddly named Grand Detour, Illinois. There, while engaged in fixing the broken plows of farmers, he began experimenting with new designs.


pages: 528 words: 146,459

Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost

Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional

The advocates of software engineering emphasized the need to impose industrial discipline on informal and idiosyncratic craft practices of programmers. They rejected the notion that large software projects were inherently unmanageable and recommended, instead, that software developers adopt methods and techniques borrowed from traditional manufacturing. The ultimate goal would be a kind of “software factory” complete with interchangeable parts (or “software components”), mechanized production, and a largely deskilled and routinized workforce. The tools used to achieve this goal included structured design, formal methods, and development models. The most widely adopted engineering practice was the use of a “structured design methodology.” Structured design reflected the belief that the best way to manage complexity was to limit the software writer’s field of view.


pages: 540 words: 168,921

The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism by Joyce Appleby

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Firefox, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francisco Pizarro, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, land reform, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, Parag Khanna, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

The human loss in dollars and disappointments was significant, but the young economy was resilient enough to snap back. The lifting of colonial restrictions on manufacturing unloosed as well Yankee ingenuity. In the generation born after the Revolution many a poor boy discovered his talent for making clocks, buttons, industrial wire, textiles, shoes, hats, pianos, vulcanized rubber, and steam engines of various kinds. Eli Whitney, who invented the cotton gin, also originated the principle of interchangeable parts in manufacturing when he got a contract to build rifles for the army. Specialization offered commercial opportunities to whole communities. Wethersfield, Connecticut, for instance, annually sent to market one and a half million onions.16 Levi Dickinson invented a broom from corn. By 1833 the townspeople of Hadley, Massachusetts, were producing half a million brooms a year. One English traveler noted that he had never “overheard Americans conversing without the word DOLLAR being pronounced.”


pages: 552 words: 168,518

MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, business climate, business process, buy and hold, car-free, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collaborative editing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, don't be evil, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fault tolerance, financial innovation, Galaxy Zoo, game design, global village, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, hive mind, Home mortgage interest deduction, information asymmetry, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, medical bankruptcy, megacity, mortgage tax deduction, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shock, old-boy network, online collectivism, open borders, open economy, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, scientific mainstream, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social web, software patent, Steve Jobs, text mining, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, value at risk, WikiLeaks, X Prize, young professional, Zipcar

All that’s about to change, insists Jason Kelly, cofounder of OpenWetWare and a new company called Ginkgo BioWorks that has been set up to capitalize on the field of synthetic biology. “A lot of what has been done to date is really just tinkering,” he says. “You sort of get in there and you hack around. You make some changes that are really unpredictable. You don’t know what’s going to happen.” Kelly argues that what genetic engineering really needs now is a set of standardized, interchangeable parts with standardized interfaces for assembly. A bit like Lego bricks, these components would be engineered so that the whole library of complementary BioBricks could fit seamlessly together in a more complex life form, perhaps something as complex as a human. If successful, it will pave the way for advances in medicine, agriculture, and energy we scarcely anticipate today. “Biology is a ridiculously powerful technology,” says Kelly, “it’s just we’ve been really horrible at engineering.”


pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, different worldview, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

Yet the matter is not so cut-and-dried. Humans and human-like beings are complex; but artificial agents could have relatively simple architectures. Artificial agents could also have simple and explicitly characterized motivations. Furthermore, digital agents in general (whether emulations or artificial intelligences) are copyable: an affordance that may revolutionize management, much like interchangeable parts revolutionized manufacturing. These differences, together with the opportunity to work with agents that are initially powerless and to create institutional structures that use the various abovementioned control measures, might combine to make it possible to achieve particular institutional outcomes—such as a system that does not revolt—more reliably than if one were working with human beings under historical conditions.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Today, it’s opening day at Wrigley, and tomorrow it will be spring break for Chinese students in Hong Kong, Iranian reunions in Dubai, and breadwinners flying home on weekends to Mumbai. The aerotropolis is a time machine. Time is the ultimately finite commodity setting the exchange rates for all the choices we make. Monstrous in size, infinitely scalable, and endlessly repetitive—machines for living with interchangeable parts—Kasarda’s aerotropoli are as foreign to us as O’Hare or Heathrow would have been to a passenger aboard a clipper ship. But they may be necessary to make these occasions as common and as memorable for families in Chennai as in Chicago, and they won’t be denied. Cubs win! The song “Go Cubs Go” echoes off the scoreboard as my mother and I sway back and forth, singing along. An hour later, I’m on a plane bound for New York.


The Chomsky Reader by Noam Chomsky

American ideology, anti-communist, Bolshevik threat, British Empire, business climate, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, feminist movement, Howard Zinn, interchangeable parts, land reform, land tenure, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, theory of mind, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, War on Poverty, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Libertarian socialists, at least, looked forward to a “federation of free communities which shall be bound to one another by their common economic and social interests and arrange their affairs by mutual agreement and free contract,” “a free association of all productive forces based upon co-operative labor, which would have for its sole purpose the satisfying of the necessary requirements of every member of society.” In such a society, there is no reason why rewards should be contingent on some collection of personal attributes, however selected. Inequality of endowment is simply the human condition—a fact for which we may be thankful; one vision of hell is a society of interchangeable parts. It carries with it no implications concerning social rewards. In a socialist society, as envisioned by the authentic left, a central purpose will be that the necessary requirements of every member of society be satisfied. We may assume that these “necessary requirements” will be historically conditioned in part, and will develop along with the expansion and enrichment of material and intellectual culture.


pages: 823 words: 206,070

The Making of Global Capitalism by Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin

accounting loophole / creative accounting, active measures, airline deregulation, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, continuous integration, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gini coefficient, global value chain, guest worker program, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, inflation targeting, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, late capitalism, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, oil shock, precariat, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, union organizing, very high income, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

By placing limits on the degree of exploitation employers could impose, in spite of the high rate of immigration of new workers, this spurred more capital-intensive production; it also provided levels of income that allowed some craftsmen to start their own factories, and forced factory owners to promote the development of labor-saving innovations in machine technology and factory organization. Two other factors reinforced this trend. One was the system of protective tariffs that, in spite of Northern merchant and Southern planter opposition, was in place from the 1820s onwards. Another was the initiation and coordination by the federal government, acting through the War Department’s federal armory, of new production methods using interchangeable parts, precision gauges, specialist machines operated by relatively unskilled labor, and management control information systems—the “American System of Manufacturing” so much admired in Europe by the middle of the nineteenth century.11 After the defeat of the plantocracy in the Civil War, the vast inland domain stretching to the Pacific provided unparalleled space for industrial capitalism’s expansion in what was already emerging as the largest domestic market in the world.


The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East by Andrew Scott Cooper

addicted to oil, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Boycotts of Israel, energy security, falling living standards, friendly fire, full employment, interchangeable parts, Kickstarter, land reform, MITM: man-in-the-middle, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Yom Kippur War

It was the same with the Shahbanou, a title that translates as the “Shah’s Lady.” Farah Pahlavi was both queen and empress, the later title granted after the couple’s joint coronation in 1967. Asadollah Alam referred to her in his diaries as “HMQ” or “Her Majesty the Queen,” and the Shah usually referred to his wife as “the Queen.” In domestic and foreign media Farah’s titles, like her husband’s, tended to be interchangeable. Part One GLADIATOR 1969–1974 “If someone wraps a lion cub in silk, A little whelp, who’s not yet tasted milk, It keeps its nature still, and, once it’s grown, Fights off an elephant’s attack alone.” —Abolqasem Ferdowsi, The Persian Book of Kings Chapter One A KIND OF SUPER MAN “Your Majesty, you’re like the radiant sun Bestowing light and life on everyone: May greed and anger never touch your reign And may your enemies live wracked with pain.


pages: 797 words: 227,399

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Atahualpa, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bill Joy: nanobots, blue-collar work, borderless world, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, cuban missile crisis, digital map, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, friendly fire, game design, George Gilder, Google Earth, Grace Hopper, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of gunpowder, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, pattern recognition, private military company, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Yogi Berra

But to the scientists and businessmen gathered in the hotel conference room in Georgetown, they were the real stars of the robotics industry convention. The four had recently served in Iraq and had used their robots nearly every single day. The “Warfighters’ Perspectives” panel was the ultimate opportunity for customer feedback. For the next ninety minutes, the soldiers talked about their experiences with robots in Iraq and various suggestions they had for improvement. They asked for better batteries and interchangeable parts that could be fixed in the field, rather than always having to send a broken robot to the robot repair yard. Army staff sergeant Robert Shallbetter even offered feedback on the robots’ colors. Having robots painted black made them stand out as targets and the 140-degree heat in Iraq made them hard to even touch. Plus, “Heat and computers don’t mix well.” The audience’s ears perked up when the soldiers began to talk about which robots they liked more, knowing that this sort of feedback could determine their programs’ and companies’ futures.


pages: 879 words: 233,093

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hedonic treadmill, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, off grid, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, scientific worldview, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, social intelligence, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey

Separating the alphabet into standardized units of type that were uniform, interchangeable, and reusable made print the first modern industrial process. With print, objects are uniformly spaced by positioning type on a chase and locking the chase onto a press. The composite type then can be reproduced over and over, each copy identical and indistinguishable from the original. Assembly, uniform and interchangeable parts, predictable positioning of objects in space, and mass production were the foundation stones of the industrial way of life. Print organizes phenomena in an orderly, rational, and objective way, and in so doing encourages linear, sequential, and causal ways of thinking. The very notion of “composing” one’s thoughts conjures up the idea of well-thought-out linear progression of ideas, one following the other in logical sequence, a mode of thought very different from that in oral cultures, where redundancy and discontinuity in thought often are the rules.


pages: 976 words: 235,576

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, asset-backed security, assortative mating, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Emanuel Derman, equity premium, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, high net worth, hiring and firing, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, medical residency, minimum wage unemployment, Myron Scholes, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, stakhanovite, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, traveling salesman, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

Between 1811 and 1911, Greater London grew from around 1 million to over 7 million inhabitants, Greater Manchester grew from around 400,000 to 2.5 million, Greater Birmingham from around 250,000 to 1.75 million, and Greater Liverpool from around 150,000 to 1.4 million. The central innovations of industrial production all targeted and exploited (and at the same time stimulated) this new labor source. The new style of production used standardized outputs, composed of interchangeable parts, to fragment previously integrated manufacture into discrete steps. This allowed unskilled workers, doing simple repetitive tasks coordinated by industrial engineers, to make goods whose production previously required the integrated efforts of a skilled artisan. Along the way, the innovations displaced older artisanal methods and the highly skilled workers who once deployed them. Early industrial technology’s bias against skill therefore responded directly to the shape of the human resources that it engaged—to the balance of skilled and unskilled labor available in industrializing England—just as early agricultural technologies responded to the balance of natural water resources that they might engage.


pages: 851 words: 247,711

The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War by Norman Stone

affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, central bank independence, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, illegal immigration, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, long peace, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, V2 rocket, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, éminence grise

It had quite long origins: even in the 1830s, Stendhal, for instance, has throw-away and dismissive lines about American business and dollar worship, and the Teamsters, a famous union mainly on the docks, took their name from the mule-drivers of yore. In the 1850s Sam Colt was able to assemble a first-class gun in thousands, because he made each part the same, to within a thirty-second of an inch to start with, and then a five-hundredth, so that they were interchangeable, and Linus Yale, of locks fame, goes back to that period. Machines were soon made with interchangeable parts, and the tools that produced these became an American specialty, keeping British war industries going in both of the world wars. Henry Ford famously transferred this to motor cars that were therefore cheap. Various explanations have been offered: unskilled immigrant labour, needing to be given simple and repetitive tasks within their capacity; expensive labour, putting pressure on firms to diminish their costs by use of machinery; practical education, such as was plentifully on offer; the peculiarly classless atmosphere in the USA, where ordinary workmen would co-operate on friendly terms with an owner when it came to reporting faults and taking an interest in machines, whereas elsewhere workmen regarded them as an enemy and in Britain were notoriously reluctant to accept them, because they would be tended by fewer workmen and might depress wage rates.


pages: 956 words: 267,746

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion ofSafety by Eric Schlosser

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, impulse control, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, life extension, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, Stewart Brand, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche

More important, the nuclear core was stored in the plane’s cockpit during takeoff and inserted through a trap door into the nose of the bomb, midflight. As long as the core was kept physically separate from the rest of the bomb, it was impossible for a plane crash to cause a nuclear explosion. The days of handmade nuclear weapons were over. At Sandia the Mark 4 was now being manufactured with standardized, interchangeable parts—and so was its replacement, the Mark 6, a lighter, sleeker weapon with a yield as much as ten times larger than that of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Once a weapon was assembled at Tech Area II, it was shipped to Site Able, an AEC storage facility tunneled into the nearby Manzano Mountains, or to Site Baker in Killeen, Texas, or to Site Charlie in Clarksville, Tennessee. The storage sites were located near SAC bases, so that in an emergency bombs could be quickly retrieved and loaded onto planes.


The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, interchangeable parts, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Socratic dialogue, traveling salesman, yellow journalism, zero-coupon bond

Lopwitz had never forgotten how a butler had come in from time to time to put a log on the warm and toasty pungent fire in the fireplace. It was so…how should one say it?…so baronial, it was. Lopwitz had felt like a fortunate little boy who had been invited to the home of a great man. Home. That was the ticket. The British, with that ever sure class instinct of theirs, realized that if a man was at the top in business, he should not have the standard business office, which made one look like an interchangeable part in a large mechanism. No, one should have an office that looked like the home of a nobleman, as much as to declare: “I, personally, am the lord, creator, and master of this great organization.” Lopwitz had ended up in a terrific fight with the tower’s owners and the management company that ran it for them and the city’s Building Department and Fire Department, and the construction of the flues and vents had cost $350,000, but he had finally had his way, and Sherman McCoy now stared reflectively into the mouth of that baronial hearth, fifty floors above Wall Street, off the bond trading floor of Pierce & Pierce.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the sewing machine, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, undersea cable, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management

Nearly all the American machines did things that the world earnestly wished machines to do—stamp out nails, cut stone, mold candles—but with a neatness, dispatch, and tireless reliability that left other nations blinking…. Cyrus McCormick displayed a reaper that could do the work of 40 men…. Most exciting of all was Samuel Colt’s repeat-action revolver, which was not only marvelously lethal but made from interchangeable parts, a method of manufacture so distinctive that it became known as the American system.2 The upper classes of Britain and Europe viewed America with trepidation. One did not need multiplication tables to infer that with rapid population growth resulting from its high birth rate and unfettered immigration, the United States would soon have a population greater than that of any European nation.


pages: 1,197 words: 304,245

The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wootton

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, British Empire, clockwork universe, Commentariolus, commoditize, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, germ theory of disease, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, lone genius, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Philip Mirowski, placebo effect, QWERTY keyboard, Republic of Letters, social intelligence, spice trade, spinning jenny, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Brown, Jean Domenique Cassini and His World Map of 1696 (1941), 39, 47, 58–60; Brotton, A History of the World in Twelve Maps (2012), 306. 17. Pumfrey, ‘O tempora, O magnes!’ (1989); see also Waters, ‘Nautical Astronomy and the Problem of Longitude’ (1983). 18. Sobel, Longitude (1995). 19. Allen, The British Industrial Revolution (2009), 173. 20. Allen, The British Industrial Revolution (2009), 204–6. On the introduction of interchangeable parts, see Alder, ‘Making Things the Same’ (1998). 21. This line of argument is foreshadowed in Koyré, ‘Du monde de l’ à-peu-près à l’univers de la précision’ (1971), first published in 1948. 22. Landes, ‘Why Europe and the West?’ (2006). 23. Latin text of letter to Herwart von Hohenburg quoted in Koyré, The Astronomical Revolution (1973), 378; translation from Snobelen, ‘The Myth of the Clockwork Universe’ (2012), 177 n. 24.


pages: 1,073 words: 314,528

Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Black Swan, British Empire, business process, butterfly effect, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collective bargaining, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, defense in depth, desegregation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, endowment effect, Ford paid five dollars a day, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, lateral thinking, linear programming, loose coupling, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mental accounting, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Torches of Freedom, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, unemployed young men, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Too many claims had been made, too much money had been spent, and too much resistance was growing—largely because of the association of re-engineering with layoffs—and it had all been accompanied, according to Davenport, by too much “hype.” “The Reengineering Revolution” took potentially valuable innovation and experimentation but added exaggerated promise and heightened expectation leading to “faddishness and failure.” The “time to trumpet change programs is after results are safely in the can.” Most seriously, the fad treated people as if they were “just so many bits and bytes, interchangable parts to be reengineered.” Dictums such as “Carry the wounded but shoot the stragglers” were hardly motivating, while young consultants with inflated salaries and even higher billing charges treated veteran employees with disdain. Whether or not this was a moment of historic change, employees were naturally inclined to think about protecting their own positions rather than enthuse about broad and expansive visions for the future of the company that could leave them without a job.


pages: 1,087 words: 325,295

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

anthropic principle, cellular automata, Danny Hillis, double helix, interchangeable parts, nuclear winter, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, pattern recognition, phenotype, selection bias, Stewart Brand, trade route

He did a new thing with a new set of people every day of his life. And that made him just as different from the people in the traffic jam as I was. So I looked with fascination at those people in their mobes, and tried to fathom what it would be like. Thousands of years ago, the work that people did had been broken down into jobs that were the same every day, in organizations where people were interchangeable parts. All of the story had been bled out of their lives. That was how it had to be; it was how you got a productive economy. But it would be easy to see a will at work behind this: not exactly an evil will, but a selfish will. The people who’d made the system thus were jealous, not of money and not of power but of story. If their employees came home at day’s end with interesting stories to tell, it meant that something had gone wrong: a blackout, a strike, a spree killing.


Eastern USA by Lonely Planet

1960s counterculture, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, bike sharing scheme, Bretton Woods, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Donald Trump, East Village, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, immigration reform, information trail, interchangeable parts, jitney, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Mason jar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, the built environment, the High Line, the payments system, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Works Progress Administration, young professional

History In 1633 the Dutch built a small settlement at current-day Hartford, but it was the English, arriving en masse in the following years, that shaped Connecticut. Thanks to the industriousness of the citizenry, the Connecticut Yankee peddler became a fixture in early American society, traveling by wagon from town to town selling clocks and other manufactured gadgets. Connecticut etched a leading role in the Industrial Revolution when Eli Whitney built a New Haven factory in 1798 to produce firearms with interchangeable parts – the beginning of modern mass production. In 1810 America’s first insurance company opened in Hartford and by the 1870s the city boasted the highest per capita income in the USA. Two of America’s leading literary figures, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) and Mark Twain (1835–1910), were Hartford neighbors for 17 years. CONNECTICUT FACTS »Nicknames Constitution State, Nutmeg State »Population 3.6 million »Area 4845 sq miles »Capital city Hartford (population 124,775) »Sales tax 6% »Birthplace of abolitionist John Brown (1800–59), circus man PT Barnum (1810–91), actress Katharine Hepburn (1909–2003) »Home of the first written constitution in the US; the first lollipop, Frisbee and helicopter »Politics Democrat-leaning state »Famous for starting the US insurance biz and building the first nuclear submarine »Quirkiest state song lyrics Yankee Doodle, which entwines patriotism with doodles, feathers and macaroni »Driving distances Hartford to New Haven 40 miles, Hartford to Providence 75 miles Information There are welcome centers at the Hartford airport and on I-95 and I-84 when entering the state by car.


pages: 2,323 words: 550,739

1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die, Updated Ed. by Patricia Schultz

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bretton Woods, Burning Man, California gold rush, car-free, Charles Lindbergh, Columbine, Donald Trump, East Village, El Camino Real, estate planning, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Guggenheim Bilbao, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, Mason jar, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, out of africa, Pepto Bismol, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, sexual politics, South of Market, San Francisco, The Chicago School, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, wage slave, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, éminence grise

Instead the small force was decimated within 36 hours and Brown was executed for treason six weeks later. Today, Harpers Ferry’s narrow streets are remarkably well preserved, with a history far more complex than a single event or individual. Not only did great men like George Washington, Robert E. Lee, and Abraham Lincoln pass this way, Harpers Ferry also witnessed the first industrial production of rifles using interchangeable parts; the first successful American railroad; the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War (during which it changed hands eight times); and the education of former slaves in one of the nation’s first integrated schools. Try to book one of the three rooms at Jackson Rose, a 1795 redbrick B&B where West Point graduate and West Virginia native Colonel Thomas Jonathan Jackson (not yet the legend known as “Stonewall” for his cool-headed ability to hold a line under blistering fire) established his headquarters in April 1861.


pages: 1,799 words: 532,462

The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication From Ancient Times to the Internet by David Kahn

anti-communist, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cuban missile crisis, Fellow of the Royal Society, Honoré de Balzac, index card, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Louis Daguerre, Maui Hawaii, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, pattern recognition, place-making, popular electronics, positional goods, Republic of Letters, Searching for Interstellar Communications, stochastic process, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, union organizing, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

Colonel Decius Wadsworth, then 49, was a Yale graduate who twice quit the Army (once to seek his fortune in the fur trade) and twice rejoined when wars with France and Britain threatened; how and why he became interested in secret writing remains unknown. But his attraction to mechanical devices may well have fostered his friendship with Eli Whitney, whose cotton gin he admired and whose muskets with interchangeable parts he inspected and approved for use by the Army. When, in 1812, he became the first chief of ordnance of the U.S. Army, he again backed Whitney strongly. Illness forced him to resign this post and his commission in June of 1821, and Whitney, remembering, brought him to New Haven. Here Whitney could visit him daily and ensure his good care. But on November 8 Wadsworth died. His innovation was to make the plaintext and ciphertext alphabets different lengths.


Europe: A History by Norman Davies

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, centre right, charter city, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of DNA, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equal pay for equal work, Eratosthenes, Etonian, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial independence, finite state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, global village, Honoré de Balzac, Index librorum prohibitorum, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land reform, liberation theology, long peace, Louis Blériot, Louis Daguerre, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, Peace of Westphalia, popular capitalism, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, spinning jenny, Thales of Miletus, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Transnistria, urban planning, urban sprawl

It was the successor to an ancient line of Chinese woodblocks, metal engraving plates, and stone lithographs. Even so, it launched a revolution in information technology. Like many inventions, it created an original process through the combination of several existing techniques, including those of the Roman wine-press, the goldsmith’s punch, and impressionable paper. Also, through the use of movable metal type cast in replica moulds, it saw the first application of ‘the theory of interchangeable parts’—one of the basic principles of a later machine age. It possessed the inestimable facility for the text of a book to be set up, edited, and corrected before being reproduced in thousands of identical copies. Gutenberg is probably best remembered for his 43-line and 36-line Bibles. But in some ways his printing of the Catholicon or ‘Book of Universal Knowledge’ represents a more distinctive milestone.


USA Travel Guide by Lonely, Planet

1960s counterculture, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, big-box store, bike sharing scheme, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Burning Man, California gold rush, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Donald Trump, Donner party, East Village, edge city, El Camino Real, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, global village, Golden Gate Park, Guggenheim Bilbao, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, immigration reform, information trail, interchangeable parts, intermodal, jitney, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Mars Rover, Mason jar, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, Menlo Park, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, off grid, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, starchitect, stealth mode startup, stem cell, supervolcano, the built environment, The Chicago School, the High Line, the payments system, trade route, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional, Zipcar

History In 1633 the Dutch built a small settlement at current-day Hartford, but it was the English, arriving en masse in the following years, that shaped Connecticut. Thanks to the industriousness of the citizenry, the Connecticut Yankee peddler became a fixture in early American society, traveling by wagon from town to town selling clocks and other manufactured gadgets. Connecticut etched a leading role in the Industrial Revolution when Eli Whitney built a New Haven factory in 1798 to produce firearms with interchangeable parts – the beginning of modern mass production. In 1810 America’s first insurance company opened in Hartford and by the 1870s the city boasted the highest per capita income in the USA. Two of America’s leading literary figures, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) and Mark Twain (1835–1910), were Hartford neighbors for 17 years. CONNECTICUT FACTS » Nicknames Constitution State, Nutmeg State » Population 3.6 million » Area 4845 sq miles » Capital city Hartford (population 124,775) » Sales tax 6% » Birthplace of abolitionist John Brown (1800–59), circus man PT Barnum (1810–91), actress Katharine Hepburn (1909–2003) » Home of the first written constitution in the US; the first lollipop, Frisbee and helicopter » Politics Democrat-leaning state » Famous for starting the US insurance biz and building the first nuclear submarine » Quirkiest state song lyrics Yankee Doodle , which entwines patriotism with doodles, feathers and macaroni » Driving distances Hartford to New Haven 40 miles, Hartford to Providence 75 miles Information There are welcome centers at the Hartford airport and on I-95 and I-84 when entering the state by car.