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Men, Machines, and Modern Times$
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Elting E. Morison

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262529310

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262529310.001.0001

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Introductory Observations, Personal and Otherwise

Introductory Observations, Personal and Otherwise

(p.1) 1 Introductory Observations, Personal and Otherwise
Men, Machines, and Modern Times

Elting E. Morison

The MIT Press

In this introduction, the author reflects on how he began to think about problems and questions related to the nature of technological change and society's reaction to that change. He recalls how he discovered a series of papers in a house built by a great-uncle, who wrote the volume in the 1890s under the title The New Epoch. The thesis of this volume was that humankind's unprecedented ability to manufacture power would usher in “an era of destruction…” Drawing on the ideas of The New Epoch, the author has come up with this book, the main topic of which is innovation, and more specifically, the hyper-production of change that is the cause of the coming era of destruction. Throughout the book, the author keeps returning to the conflict between innovation and conservation. While he emphasizes the stupidity of culture-bound resistance to change, he also appreciates the logic of such resistance.

Keywords:   technological change, The New Epoch, power, destruction, innovation, conservation, resistance to change

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