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The Role of the Personal Computer on Economic Thought in the United States during the 1980s

Presenters Name: 
Joshua Beckman
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Kevin Driscoll
Secondary Research Mentor: 
9:30 - 10:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 9:30am to 10:15am
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Grant Program Recipient: 
USOAR Program

This semester, I am researching how the personal computer impacted people’s perspective on business, and more specifically capitalism, during the 1980s. Ultimately, the answer to this question would result in greater knowledge about how the personal computer’s functions affected economic thought in the 1980’s - when the personal computer rose to popularity. This insight would reveal how the computer’s uses had and continue to have direct implications in a business setting. This analysis was accomplished by systematically comparing an edition of a popular computer hobbyist magazine during 1982, BYTE magazine, with business literature on computers during approximately the same time period. The BYTE magazine I chose and analyzed was the October 1982 edition which focused on the role of computers on Wall Street, small business settings, and other practical business applications. The analysis has not been completed yet, but preliminary results suggest that the computer was viewed as a primary tool to assist in running a variety of operations in small business settings. It also seems like people viewed the computer as an industry-changing invention during its rise to popularity. With the outcomes and conclusions drawn from this project, there will be less speculation on the direct impacts of the personal computer’s introduction to business during the 1980s.