THE REPUBLIC OF TECHNOLOGY by Daniel J. Boorstin

THE REPUBLIC OF TECHNOLOGY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A thin collection of uneven and often unrelated essays on America's historic, current, and future condition by the noted historian and Librarian of Congress. Boorstin, previously with the Smithsonian, deals at greatest length with technology, positing it as a variable of modernization radically altering without necessarily improving American life. One questions, however, his repeated categorization of technological change as ""mysterious and unpredictable"" and ""without purpose."" Far from regarding technology's diffusion as mystical (per Joseph Schumpeter), a great many economists now tie it directly to the decisions of management--mixing the factors of production, sometimes delaying new processes, often confronting resistant consumers. Three chapters are unrelated to the theme of technology. One on the Constitution restates the author's long-held enthusiasm for the non-ideological ""experimentalism"" of American government, a much-attacked position he chooses not to defend but to reiterate. A second celebrating the diversity of education evinces his related sympathy for America's escape from European forms. Another section provides an able, if predictably cheery and easily disputable, view of immigration. As is his wont, Boorstin appears happier about where we've been than where we're headed. It is less clear why he refuses to test worn hypotheses--or why these incidental pieces need be preserved altogether.

Pub Date: July 5th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row