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How Not to Network a Nation
Author: Benjamin Peters

ISBN: 9780262034180
Format: Hardcover
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 16 June 2016
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.1
Between 1959 and 1989, Soviet scientists and officials made numerous attempts to network their nation -- to construct a nationwide computer network. None of these attempts succeeded, and the enterprise had been abandoned by the time the Soviet Union fell apart. Meanwhile, ARPANET, the American precursor to the Internet, went online in 1969. Why did the Soviet network, with top-level scientists and patriotic incentives, fail while the American network succeeded? In How Not to Network a Nation, Benjamin Peters reverses the usual cold war dualities and argues that the American ARPANET took shape thanks to well-managed state subsidies and collaborative research environments and the Soviet network projects stumbled because of unregulated competition among self-interested institutions, bureaucrats, and others. The capitalists behaved like socialists while the socialists behaved like capitalists.

After examining the midcentury rise of cybernetics, the science of self-governing systems, and the emergence in the Soviet Union of economic cybernetics, Peters complicates this uneasy role reversal while chronicling the various Soviet a...

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