Diffusion of Computing Starts in the United States

James W. Cortada

in The Digital Flood

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199921553
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980406 | DOI:
Diffusion of Computing Starts in the United States

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Wide adoption of computing began in the United States in the early 1940s and this chapter takes that story to the massive adoption of the Internet in the 1990s. The chapter explains the role of government, the Cold War, technological innovations, and economic preconditions that made rapid diffusion of IT possible in North America. The chapter describes the diffusion of information about computing around the country and how that propelled innovations and adoptions of the technology. The chapter argues that the American economy made the first and most aggressive investments in IT because it had the knowledge and need for this kind of technology, a perfect match in a capitalist economy that proved prosperous over the course of the second half of the twentieth century.

Keywords: United States; information technology; Cold War; Internet; IBM; Federal Government; knowledge; universities; Department of Defense; computer scientists

Chapter.  22732 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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