Information Revolutions in the History of the West

by L. Dudley

Can new information technologies explain the discontinuities in the history of the West? This innovative volume presents evidence of an overall pattern generated by radical changes in media, arguing that the major social revolutions in the West have been preceded by innovations that drastically alter the relative importance of informational scale economies (the impact of production volume on unit cost) and network effects (the gain to each member of a network when a new agent joins). These factors establish the optimal structure of a society by determining whether decision-making is centralized, decentralized or instead distributed across multiple agents. Dudley contends that an innovation that alters the balance between scale economies and network effects initially has a dramatic result, blasting apart existing interpersonal networks; however later, out of the debris, a new society emerges. The latest of these innovations - the integrated circuit - is currently generating a wave of creative destruction that is spilling over into the rest of the world.

  • Edward Elgar Publishing; June 2008
  • ISBN: 9781848442801
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Information Revolutions in the History of the West
  • Author: L. Dudley
  • Imprint: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited