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Management Science

Donald G. Perrin

The printing press brought us out of the dark ages by making knowledge transportable and freely available. It made newspapers and recreational reading possible for the masses and stimulated a universal desire to learn how to read and write.

The industrial revolution increased productivity 100 fold through introduction of machines. Horse drawn barges moved the products to the cities for unprecedented low cost. Factories developed wealth that defied hand carriage of gold by stage coach and banking was born. The steam engine enabled factories to be set up anywhere, and gave us railroads and the internal combustion engine. Innovations in production and transportation changed the world and made goods and travel affordable for larger populations. In the process, dissidents in England became the trainers, educators and technocrats for the new economy.

Forests consumed to operate the factories were replaced by coal, coke, natural gas and petroleum. Electricity made energy transportable. Chemical energy (dry cells and rechargeable batteries) made it portable. Renewable energy resources such as hydroelectric, wind power and solar panels provide supplemental power for homes, businesses, factories, and places of learning.

Communications underwent its own genesis. Art was expanded by photography and theatre was enlarged through motion pictures. Messaging graduated from smoke signals, semaphore, couriers and town criers to electronic communications – Morse-code, telephone, phonograph, radio and television. Wire was supplemented and sometimes replaced by wireless communications.

The Hollerith (punch card) machine to store and process information was replaced by electronic computers. The mainframe with a network of dumb terminals became a distributed broadband network of powerful PCs. The ARPA defense network became the peoples’ Internet and the computer stimulated its own revolution in the search for knowledge and ability to interactively share information in any electronic format. Expert systems, management science, artificial intelligence, and robotics represent the next wave of innovations.

Innovations and paradigm shifts have exponentially increased productivity compared to methods used before the industrial revolution. Business, industry, government, health care, military and community gain added benefits through Management Science which mathematically optimizes resources and processes for the greatest profit. Agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, communications, and energy continue to increase their productivity through management science and technology.

Now for my questions:

  1. Is it possible to have the same increase in productivity in education (communications, intelligence, critical thinking, problem solving, teaching and learning) that we have seen in other sectors of the economy?

  2. Is education as implemented today adequate to meet the human and technical needs of this and future generations?

  3. Is collaboration and teamwork our preferred growth path because of finite limits and constraints for individual learning and human development?

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