Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Ruling the Waves: From the Compass to the Internet, a History of Business and Politics along the Technological Frontier Paperback – January 7, 2003
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top Customer Reviews
Much has been made about how truly revolutionary the internet is, how that its very existence breaks all the old rules, that it is going to steer the world towards a new social order, perhaps even sever the link between the market and the state. Many prophets have proclaimed how the internet will create a realm where government has no force, where big business is powerless, and where many things - such as music - will essentially be free.
Spar readily acknowledges that the net is indeed radical and that it will produce many changes in society, politics, government, and business. However, she sought through this book to show that the emergence of the internet is not without precedent, that it is perhaps just another arc along technology's frontier. By comparing the changes brought about by the development of transoceanic commerce during the Age of Exploration and the arrival of the telegraph, radio, satellite television, and publicly available encryption technology with the rise (and possible fall) of Microsoft (looking at both the issue of operating systems and web browsers) and the advent of MP3 technology, Spar showed how the worlds of government and commerce have coped again and again with what were at the time paradigm-shattering revolutionary developments. The end of the dominance of big business and government has been predicted several times before and in each case the prophets were wrong.Read more ›
The book actually opens with the story of the Vatican's dismissal of a too-liberal French bishop Jacques Gaillot to the remote Sahara outpost of Partenia. Not to be silenced, Bishop Gaillot continues his ministry and in fact expands it, by bringing his case to the internet - Partenia has thus become his soap box to be read by many more people than he ever could have reached had he be allowed to remain in France and only speak to those he came in personal contact with. Thus it has been throughout history - the new technology and the messages they carry are unstoppable.
Interwoven in this scholarly yet entertaining book are the concepts of each technologies stages of chaos, anarchy, self-regulation, deal making and deal braking, piracy, monopoly, and attempts at government control. Interestingly, in most cases the founders and early pioneers end up with little more than historical recognition.
There is no simple solution, no way to predict the future; Spar suggests a number of stages and issues that seem to repeat.Read more ›
Ruling the Waves Rules! An absolute must read!
1. Inventor/pioneer creates the technology
2. Merchant salesmen popularize the technology
3. Pirates then fight to monopolize the business
4. Responsible citizens call in a government regulator.
These stages are established via a cartoonish detour into 16th century piracy. Captain Kidd, Blackbeard and the British crown serve as exemplars, but it doesn't work. For a much better review of the relationship between technology, pirates and government, see 'The Governors General'.
Fortunately, things pick-up when we get to the real subject matter: electronic networks. The story really starts with Morse and his version of telegraphy. At this point, Spar can turn to the matters that really interest her: communication network regulations. The subject matter is of great interest and makes for easy reading.
This isn't a technical history as much as legal history. Spar isn't very interested in technical infrastructure, 19th century job descriptions or the evolution of technology packaging. Her interest seems to be 'good regulation'. I initially expected a broad brush history of electronic networks, but Spar is fairly selective in subjects. We only focus on monopolies, generally first established via a patent or government grant. The first is the telegraph monopoly of Morse, and the second Marconi's radio telegraphy monopoly. Neither Morse nor Marconi established long term monopolies. Later, she turns to less convincing monopolies in satellite television, computer operating systems, and music.
I remain unconvinced her stages have any predictive value.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Discovery, Chaos, and Wealth from the Compass to the Interne by Debora L. Read morePublished on April 8, 2003 by Justin Babb
An excellent, well-researched account of the recurring patterns that accompany technological development. Read morePublished on January 5, 2003 by Prasanna Tambe
Debora L. Spar's "Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Discovery, Chaos, and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet" is a fascinating and very well-written account of the ways in which... Read morePublished on March 27, 2002 by L. Bures