Encoding the American Empire

Marija Radovanovic, SUNY Binghamton

This paper explores the historical trajectory of the digital computer, and the method developed from it known as systems thinking/systems dynamic as an encoding system undergirding the American world hegemony. Systems thinking developed from a method of war management to management of labor/urban environments to the management of planetary nature. During the WWII, cybernetics and digital computer were developed as a command and control methods of warfare, starting with the antiaircraft defense, turning into a nuclear defense program and the subsequent software of the American Cold War strategy. During the late 1940s, systems dynamics was understood as describing all systems, living and otherwise, as self-regulating, and operating through a feedback loop. As the Cold War officially commenced in 1950 and the US politics of development – a combination of foreign resource extraction and population (labor) management - was launched, by mid-1950s, systems thinking moved into industrial management, named industrial dynamics, reshaping business enterprise seen as analogous to warfare and production management through feedback loop analysis. The rising unrest in the American cities – strikes, the anti-war movement, the Civil rights movement - in the 1960s was codified by a study of urban population management, the “urban dynamics”, particularly focusing on management of labor and housing. Finally, by 1972, at the clear signs of the stagnation in the global rate of profit and the beginning of a decline of American world supremacy, the business elite Club of Rome commissioned from MIT a report on the "world dynamics, Limits to Growth, that proposes management of world population and resources through the systems dynamic method. In 1999, Nature magazine published an endorsement for “planetary nature management”.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 201. The Encoding and Monitoring State