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InterNyet: why the Soviet Union did not build a nationwide computer network

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Abstract:

This article examines several Soviet initiatives to develop a national computer network as the technological basis for an automated information system for the management of the national economy in the 1960s-1970s. It explores the mechanism by which these proposals were circulated, debated, and revised in the maze of Party and government agencies. The article examines the role of different groups - cybernetics enthusiasts, mathematical economists, computer specialists, government bureaucrats, and liberal economists - in promoting, criticizing, and reshaping the concept of a national computer network. The author focuses on the political dimension of seemingly technical proposals, the relationship between information and power, and the transformative role of users of computer technology.

Keywords: Soviet Union; computers; cybernetics; economics; management; networks

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07341510802044736

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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