Global communications

Authored by: Heidi J.S. Tworek , Richard R. John

The Routledge Companion to the Makers of Global Business

Print publication date:  July  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138242654
eBook ISBN: 9781315277813
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315277813-20

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Abstract

The harnessing of steam and electricity in the mid-nineteenth century created a new world of possibilities in business, politics, and public life. In no realm was this transformation more momentous than in communications, an activity commonly understood at this time to embrace not only the trans-local circulation of information, but also the long-distance transportation of people and goods (Matterlart 1996, 2000). For the first time in world history, merchants could convey overseas large quantities of goods on a regular schedule and exchange information at a speed greater than a ship could sail. New organizations sprang up to take advantage of this “communications revolution,” as this transformation has come to be known (John 1994). Some were public agencies; others were private firms. Each was shaped not only by the harnessing of new energy sources, but also by the institutional rules of the game. These rules defined the relationship of the state and the market, or what economic historians call the political economy.

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