09 August 2006

Technology: Our Disposable Legacy Unmasked

Knowledge@Wharton is an online business journal published by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It is a great resource for a variety of topics from management and leadership to current trends in business and research. This week, K@W published its summer reading list, complete with reviews of the books they featured. One title that caught my eye was Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade.

Here is a teaser from the review:
Canadian writer Giles Slade was checking out a touring exhibit called "Eternal Egypt" with his 10-year-old son a few years ago when he had an epiphany. The Egyptians, he realized, designed great monuments to endure for countless generations, while here in North America, nearly everything produced is made to break.

And that's no accident. Slade's Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America (Harvard University Press), is a painstakingly researched story of 20th century technology through the lens of disposability, a concept born, bred and nurtured in America. Made to Break is the history of an industrial strategy that has come to define this country -- a strategy that has taught us to buy, throw away and buy again, and that now must change because we have run out of room to safely dump all our unwanted, used-up or obsolete possessions.

Read the full review: K@W Review

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