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They negotiated as a united front with shippers. They collaborated in labor strategies such as jointly funding institutions for training workers and maintaining sectoral unity against workers' activism. The third category, the "specialist auxiliaries," provided goods and services to other producers and solidified sectoral competence on a metropolitan scale.


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Endless Novelty takes a central place in the efforts to complement the historiography of big business that might as well be called the Chandler School. Recent efforts by Mansel Blackford, Jonathan Bean, and others have outlined the contours of small-business history in America, and now Scranton offers a conceptualization of the vast middle ground between truly big and genuinely small.

By taking in the specialty businesses of vast enterprises such as General Electric, as well as extending the model to fit the numerous, mostly small, "specialist auxiliaries," Scranton also points toward an encompassing, operations-based approach that addresses business large, small and in-between. As often happens in pioneering studies, the demands of revisionism sometimes extend the argument unnecessarily. These illuminating observations regarding batch producers cannot replace Chandlerian analyses of how certain sectors spawned large, oligopolistic, market-controlling firms and how their methods of management made those firms tremendously durable.

Scranton studies sectors and firms that do not fit that model. He is correct in stressing that both approaches are necessary for a comprehensive understanding of American industrial and business history. Endless Novelty also addresses, to varying degrees, the history of technology and urban history. The metaphorical power of the Ford assembly line might make historians of technology particularly vulnerable to the fallacy of reading the past backward from a known result, such as describing the lack of mass-production technology in nineteenth-century woodworking as a "failure.


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We might also infer from Scranton that the "flexible mass production" at General Motors in the s had a number of precedents among the metal- using industries and was not simply a response to and elaboration of Fordism. Despite his fresh perspective, the author misses a few opportunities to connect with his predecessors. Nathan Rosenberg's venerable but still cogent observations on the machine-tool industry are, strangely, absent from the book.

Scranton's emphasis on product diversity might seem at first to contradict Rosenberg's thesis of technological convergence, in which tool builders applied solutions devised for one set of clients to the problems of other sectors. Scranton also discerns, however, the practice of standardizing sub-assemblies within a strategy of client-specific product specifications.

Perhaps others will explore the fruitful line of inquiry that would incorporate both the Scranton and the Rosenberg views in a new reading of the complex and influential machine-tool sector. Scranton offers a tentative typology of industrial cities, informed principally by Jane Jacobs's idiosyncratic writings on urban economies.

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He means to start a discussion, not end one, and in that light there is little to fault. He is correct to suggest that distinguishing among types of industrial cities makes an excellent point to initiate dialogue between business history and urban history. Too much of the historiography of American cities begins with the idea that industrial growth produced a monolithic urbanization, which then becomes the focus of study. As these last comments suggest, Scranton succeeds admirably in the goal of connecting the stories of shop floors and cluttered offices with broader themes in American history.

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Scranton points out how that literature has not yet mined the promising topic of shop culture. Consumerism and the rise of consumer society? The principle of a novelty budget applies within Haskell too, both at a language level and in your choice of libraries. Sum types, parametric polymorphism and typeclasses already put the language way ahead of almost everything out there, and you can build very solid apps without using any extensions.

Treat it as an a la carte menu, not a buffet.

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Home Atom Feed shimweasel. Why are we indulging in so much novelty anyway? Suggestions choose something boring like Ubuntu or Debian, rather than a fancy hardened BSD variant or exotic unikernel. Process When I can, I run my development processes on GitHub via pull reviews, issues, and the rest of that stack: possibly there is a better solution for parts of it, but the more you can stay in the boring zone, the lower your chances of a catastrophic failure.

Startups are different though, right? Article PDF first page preview. Issue Section:.

Novelty Tab - Thanks and Missing Tonics (post patch)

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