Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Books in print as scarce resources

I’m giving a lecture on business innovation at the University of Hull Business School this week. Preparing the lecture, I thought I might start with Schumpeter. Although some of the 1934 work, The Theory of Economic Development, is available on books.google.com, the more popular 1943 work, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (which writes more about “creative destruction“) isn’t.

Jennifer took me over to the University of Hull library, where there’s a really old volume, with the following publication information.

First published in the U.S.A.

Published in Great Britain in 1943

{begin logo}

Book Production War Economy Standard

{end logo}

The paper and binding of this book comform to the authorized economy standard

Printed in Great Britain by Herson and Spaulding, London W.1

Following up on the “War Economy Standard” leads to a web page where there is a full description that …

There are many more words on each page than would be desirable in normal times: margins have been reduced and no space has been wasted between chapters.

In Britain, there seems to have been a practice of rationing that came from World War II, that ended in 1954 (so that bananas were no longer controlled).

Now that major sections of books are often available for free on the Internet, the rationing of written content is an anachronism. I was amused that the University of Hull library required that Jennifer sign me in as a visitor, because I wasn’t even permitted to browse books without authorized identification. Of course, this 1943 edition of the book is still available to readers as an actively circulating book … but I would have thought that more academics would encourage reading Schumpeter than discouraging it.


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