Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

The FCC Helps Business Go “Online”

The use of computers was starting to become an important tool for businesses by the mid-1960s and with the introduction of timesharing, a communications component was adding value and enhancing productivity. Factories began using data processing to control chemical flows and machine tools and warehouses used them to monitor inventories. Bank branch offices started to […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 5 – Numeracy and the Power of Zero

Previously, I explored the electronic spreadsheet as a meaning-making application that was central to the financial explosion of the 1980s and its economic aftershocks. Spreadsheets framed and produced information and meaning consequential to monetary and organizational practices as they became part of the daily routines of information workers. In my last post, I explored the […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – Part 3 – Identifying the Components of a Transformative Tool

I begin a formal analysis of the spreadsheet by identifying some of its component parts, a type of Cartesian reductionism, but with the intent of showing also how they all work together to create a powerful organizational and productivity tool. Spreadsheets combine a number of technologically enhanced cognition features to create, manipulate and visualize diagrammatic rationalities. In other words, spreadsheets not only appraise aspects of reality, but are constitutive technologies that can shape perceptions and empower control over the lived experiences of people and the resources that support them.

Lotus Spreadsheets – The Killer App of the Reagan Revolution – Part 2 – Spreadsheet Capitalism Emerges

In order to understand the widespread adoption of the spreadsheet during the “Reagan Revolution” and its political-economic implications, it is important to understand the context in which it emerged. In Part 1, I identified a number of characteristics of the Reagan Revolution that allowed the electronic spreadsheet to flourish. This included wide-scale deregulation and other […]

Lotus Spreadsheets – The Killer App of the Reagan Revolution – Part 1

The major feature of the “Reagan Revolution,” according to Peter Gowan’s Global Gamble, was to “put money-capital in the policy saddle for the first time in decades.”[1] From the time of his presidential inauguration in early 1981 and throughout his eight-year tenure, Reagan’s administration sought to propel the financial sector through widespread policy changes designed […]

Reviewing Castells’ Global Automaton

In my long-term quest to find some answers as to what constitutes the techno-informational framework of the global financial system, I ran across Manuel Castells’ description of the “Automaton” a number of years ago. He wrote a chapter called “Information Technology and Global Capitalism” in Global Capitalism (2000) where he made some linkages between the […]

Revisiting Huxley and Orwell on Technology and Democracy

One of the faces I miss most from my days on the NYU campus is that of Neil Postman, a professor of media ecology at the Steinhardt school. Professor Postman died a few years ago but not without leaving behind a legacy, including one of my favorite books, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in […]

Origins of the “Information Economy”

The economic understanding of knowledge’s contribution to the economy accelerated in the 1970s and terms such as “information society” and the “information economy” began to achieve high rates of circulation by the next decade. When I was at the East-West Center in Honolulu as a graduate student during the 1980s, I was part of a […]

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  • About Me

    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

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