Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

To decouple communication from travel

Marshall McLuhan, call your office from The Daily Goose by Matthew
From an interview by John Miller of
Daniel Walker Howe, author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848: MILLER: Was the invention of the telegraph in 1844 more significant than the spread of the Internet today?

HOWE: The electric telegraph probably lowered the costs of business transactions even more than did the Internet, and it certainly seemed to contemporaries an even more dramatic innovation. For thousands of years messages had been limited by the speed with which messengers could travel and the distance eyes could see signals like flags or smoke. Neither Alexander the Great nor Benjamin Franklin (America’s first postmaster-general) knew anything faster than a galloping horse.

With the electric telegraph, instant long-distance communication became possible for the first time. Commercial application of Morse’s invention followed quickly. American farmers and planters — and most Americans then earned their living through agriculture — increasingly produced food and fibre for far-off markets. Their merchants and bankers welcomed the chance to get news of distant prices and credit. The newly invented railroads used the telegraph to schedule trains so they wouldn’t collide on the single tracks of the time.

The electric telegraph solved commercial problems and at the same time had huge political consequences. Along with improvements in printing, it facilitated an enormous growth of newspapers, which in turn facilitated the development of mass political parties. To sum up, then, the telegraph had many of the same effects in the 19th century that the Internet is having today: to speed up and enable commerce, to decouple communication from travel, to foster globalization, and to encourage democratic participation. The tsar of Russia worried about the democratic implications of the telegraph, just as the rulers of China worry now about the Internet.


Adam Smith on the Economics of Wine Making from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy
Mike Veseth of “The Wine Economist” Blog (‘How globalisation is Reshaping the World of Wine’) writes on ‘The Father of [Wine] Economics?’

Adam Smith wrote a good deal about wine. This was partly because he traveled in France and learned about wine markets first hand. But it was also a fact that Britain was for centuries a wine-drinking country, as John Nye’s fine book explains, just as it is so today, with a practical interest in wine market concerns.


Atanu Dey has a fantastic conversation with the spirit of Adam Smith 2:04 PM

1 comment:

  1. One of the first things that the telegraph created was the practice of systematic wide-spread lying by the powers that be, whether government and corporate.
    Especially in relation to strategic matters such as war and potential conflicts over access to and control of resources