By David F. Noble
"An terribly special and heavily argued exam of the institutional units that got here to hyperlink administration and engineering."--The New Republic
"One of the easiest books of the final decade....It has that infrequent stability: quiet, cumulative energy with bolts of lightning each few pages."--William Appleman Williams, Oregon country University
"One of the exceptional works of radical social technological know-how of the 1970s."--Monthly Review
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Extra info for America by Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism
Thus, in the light of these new forces of production, the relations of capitalism tend increasingly to appear anachronistic—stark and oppressive vestiges of a more primitive past, fetters upon further social development. Given the requisite revolutionary consciousness on the part of the exploited class—itself a recognition of the disparity between the actuality and the potential of social production—the contradiction erupts into revolution and the old capitalist integument is sloughed off. In Marx’s words, “Forces of production and social relations—two different sides of the development of the social individual—appear to capital as mere means, and are merely means for it to produce on its limited foundation.
The corporate structure of the Bell system was changed a number of times between 1877 and 1900. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company, established in 1885 as a subsidiary of American Bell, acquired the assets of the parent company, while the Western Electric Company, organized in 1881, became the manufacturing subsidiary of the system. 13 At this critical juncture J. P. Morgan took over the reins of the company, as he had done at General Electric, and, with Vail at the helm, instituted a successful policy of merger with independents.
Thomson-Houston, on the other hand, held some key patents needed by Edison General Electric, particularly in lighting. Because each company owned patents required by the other, neither could develop lighting, railway, or power equipment without fear of infringement suits and injunctions. 8 The major competitor of General Electric in the electrical manufacturing field was Westinghouse. George Westinghouse had invented the air brake in 1869 and founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company in Pittsburgh the same year.