The American System: A Schumpeterian History of Standardization
Andrew L. Russell
Johns Hopkins University
March 5, 2007
Progress & Freedom Foundation Progress on Point Paper No. 14.4
While governments as far back as the ancient Egyptians have implemented industry standards, their economic importance grew with the spread of industrialization. Throughout the 1800s, the rise of nationalism, a greater emphasis on accuracy and precision science, and the steady march of industrialization further underlined the importance of standards for establishing competitive advantages in the industrial age. In the Information Age, The U.S. government has played specific roles in the system of standardization: investment and leadership in basics standards to relieve some financial burden from firms; specific research and development funding for information technology; and policies that support standards built through industry consensus. While a few exceptions exist where the U.S. government has played a direct role in standards setting, policymakers have preferred to rely on standards set by private firms and collaboration. This market-oriented approach to industrial standards greatly increases the chances of such standards being widely adopted and implemented.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: standardization, individualism, industrial revolution, entrepreneurship, information age, competition, standards, de jure, capitalism, creativity, creative destruction, innovation, Schumpeter, socialism, bureaucracy, enteprise, state ownership, antitrust, metric system, measures, weights,
JEL Classification: B20,L5,N00,D70,O14,E11,O3,O31,O32,O38,L40,L51working papers series
Date posted: March 27, 2007
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