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Financing Innovation in the United States, 1870 to the Present$
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Naomi R Lamoreaux and Kenneth L Sokoloff

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780262122894

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262122894.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 16 October 2019

Learning the Hard Way: IBM and the Sources of Innovation in Early Computing

Learning the Hard Way: IBM and the Sources of Innovation in Early Computing

Chapter:
(p.317) 8 Learning the Hard Way: IBM and the Sources of Innovation in Early Computing
Source:
Financing Innovation in the United States, 1870 to the Present
Author(s):

Steven W. Usselman

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262122894.003.0009

This chapter adds certain moderate adjustments to the body of work promulgated by the National Academy of Science, and also the work of David Mowery, that deals with the notion of modern computing being the product of massive public investment and government funding. The goal of the chapter, however, is to suggest that private enterprise and private capital—and not just government funding—played certain roles in influencing computing. IBM, in particular, is given more focus here to determine how the firm has contributed to the emergence and refinement of the storage capacity of the computer from the end of World War II until the development of the System/360. The conclusion arrived at is that while certain activities of the government may have benefited IBM, the government also drew IBM away from various opportunities that might have allowed them to blossom without the required intervention from the public sector.

Keywords:   National Academy of Science, David Mowery, modern computing, public investment, private enterprise, private capital, IBM, stored program electronic computer, System/360

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