Anthony J. Pennings, PhD


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 […]

World Statistics Day

“On this first World Statistics Day I encourage the international community to work with the United Nations to enable all countries to meet their statistical needs.” – BAN KI-MOON Secretary-General of the United Nations Message on World Statistics Day, 20-10-20 Our book Computerization and Development in Southeast Asia, while not specifically about statistics, pointed to […]

The Smith Effect II: From Political Arithmetik to “State-istics” to IT

This is the second in a four part exploration of Adam Smith and how his ideas laid the foundation for information technology (IT). Drawing on Michael J. Shapiro‘s Reading “Adam Smith” (2002), I argue that this reconceptualization contributed to 1) an understanding of “market forces” and the importance of labor; and 2) the development of the a wide field of measurements that transformed “political arithmetik” into “state-istics”, the science of numbers in service of governing the nation-state. In particular, the philosophical and empirical work on developing the census, its rationale, and its techniques, led directly to the creation of information machines and computers.

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  • About Me

    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. 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, digital economics, and strategic communications.

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    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers, past or present.