The Impact of World War I on Tractor Adoption: Reflections on the Industrial Ideal
19 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2013
Date Written: November 26, 2013
While economists generally assume that producers adopt new technology when it makes sense to do so, historians do not necessarily agree; and the views of the latter may have greater influence over popular thought. Deborah Fitzgerald, a historian of technology at MIT has argued that farmers were essentially bamboozled into buying tractors in the 1920s by “the industrial ideal” – a set of progressive ideas spread by business leaders, economists, engineers, and the county extension agents of land grant universities. This paper takes issue with the Fitzgerald thesis.
Keywords: Tractor, Progressivism, WWI
JEL Classification: N5, O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation