Forces of Production: A Social History of Industrial Automation / Edition 1

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Overview


Focusing on the postwar automation of the American metal-working industry--the heart of the modern industrial economy--this is a provocative study of how automation has assumed a critical role in America. David Noble argues that industrial automation--more than merely a technological advance--is a social process that reflects very real divisions and pressures within our society. The book explains how technology is often spurred and shaped by the military, corporations, universities, and other mighty institutions. Using detailed case studies, Noble also demonstrates how engineering design is influenced by political, economic, and sociological considerations, and how the deployment of equipment is frequently entangled with certain managerial concerns.

A provocative study of how automation is a technological as well as a social process that reflects very real divisions and pressures within our society.

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Editorial Reviews

Book News Inc.
“[P]rovides a new generation of readers access to this important critique of blind adoption of"improvements" and the deeper cultural and economic implications of technology." —
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195040463
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/25/1986
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 427
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Transaction Edition ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Part 1 Command and Control

Chapter 1 The Setting: The War Abroad 3

Chapter 2 The Setting: The War at Home 21

Chapter 3 Power and the Power of Ideas 42

Chapter 4 Toward the Automatic Factory 57

Part 2 Social Choice in Machine Design

Chapter 5 By the Numbers I 79

Chapter 6 By the Numbers II 106

Chapter 7 The Road Not Taken 144

Part 3 A New Industrial Revolution: Change without Change

Chapter 8 Development: A Free Lunch 195

Chapter 9 Diffusion: A Glimpse of Reality 212

Chapter 10 Deployment: Power in Numbers 230

Chapter 11 Who's Running the Shop? 265

Epilogue: Another Look at Progress 324

Appendices 355

Notes 367

Index 399

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