Controls on developing technology: The U.S. commercial air transportation system during the interwar period, 1919--1939

Eric J Shaw, Salve Regina University

Abstract

This dissertation examines control of an emerging technology by investigating two contrasting views of technological progress. The pessimistic view asserts that technological development can advance beyond human ability to govern its growth. The optimistic view sees technology as neutral or positively valued; control over technological progress is a function of human activity or lack of it. At the core of the debate is the question of human freedom and the ability of human beings to exercise control over technology they create. ^ This work identifies successful and unsuccessful attempts at controlling developing aviation technology during the formative period of the U.S. air transportation system between the World Wars. These attempts are used to test tenets of the two interpretations of technological progress. The study identifies effective political, bureaucratic, business, and social controls that resulted in a manageable system of air transportation. The results apply to current technological policy questions. The study addresses these questions in the form of policy recommendations for U.S. civil and military leaders involved in technological decision making. ^

Subject Area

History, United States|Philosophy|Transportation

Recommended Citation

Shaw, Eric J, "Controls on developing technology: The U.S. commercial air transportation system during the interwar period, 1919--1939" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations (Off Campus access). AAI9996988.
http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/dissertations/AAI9996988

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