A big-hitting historical analysis of technology which uses the computer as a can-opener to expose the inequality innate in capitalism.
Intro About the Author Acknowledgements Title Page Copyright Contents Foreword Introduction 1. Technofatalism and the future - is a world without Foxconn even possible? Two paradoxes about new technology Humanity began with technology Technology emerges from egalitarian knowledge economies The myth of creative competition Why capitalism inhibits innovation Capitalism didn't make computers… but took computing down the wrong path 2. From water mills to iPhones: why technology and inequality do not mix Egalitarian hopes for computing The return of medieval economics The first modern environmental crisis An unequal society is a dangerous place for powerful ideas Water mills, and how new technology can be a curse Firearms take a European turn 3. What inequality does to people Inequality reduces life expectancy Equality and the Soviet Union Autonomy and solidarity: the essential nutrients Inequality makes people shorter Today's inequality will damage future generations 4. The environmental cost of human inequality Are the rich destroying the earth? Inequality turns humans into a geological force Malthus's mistake: not too many babies, but too much debt Ehrlich's last gasp: technology and 'eye-pat' The power to choose a low-impact life 5. Ever greater impact, ever less benefit: high-tech capital's mysterious lack of growth 'Keep your nerve' or 'tough it out' Why computers have grown nothing but themselves Inequality: the elephant in the room 6. The invisible foot: why inequality increases impact Technology plus inequality equals meltdown 'Positionality' and 'human nature' Traffic waves and why faster is slower Computers and the positional economy: obsolescence gone mad. The rise of financial services, trailed by women in old cars Putting a girl on the moon: the cost of education How 'e-learning' rebounded on the poor 7. Enclosure in the computer age: the magic of control The supernatural enters everyday life: the magic of commodities Power over the future: the magic of intellectual property Computers and the making of money The world gets smaller and hotter Closing the technological frontier (or trying to) Other routines are possible! 8. Sales effort: from the automobile to the microchip The all-steel automobile as an energy sump How the sales effort shaped the chip Moore's self-fulfilling prophecy: chips with everything Dictating the future The visionary turn Embracing carnage: faith in disruption 9. Technoptimism hits the buffers The toxic deWmands of purity Obsolescence and e-waste: a total system Displacing the problem to Africa Entropy: measuring what's possible Maxwell's demon: the spoiler in the green growth dream Puncturing the weightless economists 10. The data explosion: how the cloud became a juggernaut Forced migration: corporate flight into the cloud How the web became an entropy pump The cost of the dotcom bubble and Web 2.0 11. 'The least efficient machine humans have ever built': how capitalism drove the computer down a dead end The buried world of analog computing Clocks: why today's computers mostly do nothing, but very quickly Soviet computing: diversity under scarcity and bureaucracy Time-sharing: another abandoned road Competitive pressure narrows all options 12. Planning by whom and for what? The battle for control from the Soviet Union to Walmart The benefits and dangers of centralized planning Electrification of the Soviet Union: heteronomous planning becomes the global norm. Linear programming, with and without computers The curious incident of the capitalist calculation debate Connection-making and the ecology movement Operational Research and cybernetics Variety engineering: the difference between amplification and shouting 13. A socialist computer: Chile, 1970-1973 A global crisis of inequality The Unidad Popular: a moderately egalitarian program Stafford Beer and 'cybernetic socialism' How much computer hardware does a viable society need? Cheap, radical technology 'War' is declared 14. Utopia or bust Envisioning Utopia: the world turned right way up Utopian practicalities: food and work Beauty and lower impact, from the bottom up Shrinking roads, expanding diversity Putting babies and children at the heart of the economy Shared work: Utopia's powerhouses Community is stronger than we think: 'Disaster Utopias' The Right knows the power of solidarity, even if the Left doesn't Equality, truth and the experience of being believed The 'apparatus of justification' Index.
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Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, Michigan : ProQuest Ebook Central, 2021. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest Ebook Central affiliated libraries.