Monday, April 5, 2010

Refined Technique: The Future of Industrial Man, Chapter 8

This is a difficult chapter to connect with software and technology. Drucker does have a nice quote. “Up to the last war – and even beyond it- there was a growing tendency to identify freedom and even free society with refinements in technique.” (p 154)

We live in an era in which the refinement of technique is considered important and hence this comment may be of relevance to us. However, this chapter is largely about how the American revolution of 1776 differs from the French revolution of 1789. He argues, as one might expect, that the 1776 revolution was more important for Europe than for the US and that it was a liberal revolution in the sense that it promoted liberty.

All of this is fine and good but for this project it only resurrects the question that he poses in the first chapter. How did the industrial climate that developed in the years that followed the second world war reflect the principles of that war. From the business literature, we know that the businessmen of 1944 and 1945 were deeply concerned about this question. At the same time, we know that the principles of the war involved massive, coordinated production that demanded substantial records, computation and planning. We also know that the computer provides a means for keeping those records, doing that computation and making those plans.

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