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From the Publisher
Beginning with the development of the compass, Ruling the
Waves examines a series of technological revolutions that
promised, in their time, to transform the world''s politics and
business. With Debora Spar''s gifted storytelling, each chapter
reads like an adventure tale as she recounts the histories of the
printing press and maps; of the telegraph, radio, and satellite
television; of software, encryption, and the advent of digital
music. At each of these junctures Spar suggests that invention led
to both a wave of commerce and of chaos.
Entrepreneurs such as Samuel Morse and Rupert Murdoch carved new
markets from the emerging technology and proclaimed that the old
rules no longer applied. And for a while, they were right. But
eventually--and inevitably--even cowboys need rules: rules of
property, rules of coordination, rules of competition. The
erstwhile pioneers thus turn to government, lobbying for order and
setting the stage for the next wave of discovery.
A fascinating history of business, Ruling the Waves is
also an original, thought-provoking analysis of the parallels
between past innovations and inventions and our own tumultuous