Control of Technology Within
the Modern Corporation
THE work-force-priority approach outlined in the preceding chapter brings us back to the doors of the major firms. In essence, the planning motif has three basic requirements: first, expansion of the labor force qualified for progressive-sector employment; second, reestablishment of anticipations of general growth so as to renew the processes that generate productivity change; and, third, guidance over the design of new industrial techniques so as to cultivate a predisposition to employ the existing work force. Clearly, to meet the second and third of these conditions, it is necessary to establish a significant degree of control over the activities and propensities of the major firms which have dominating weight in the progressive sector. Of course, these enterprises possess the resources (and probably the inclination) to resist controls to the utmost. The question before us now concerns whether or not it is practicable to effect such control.
To examine this issue we will run through a lengthy list of behaviors and attributes of progressive-sector firms relating to the use of technology, competitive and noncompetitive actions, and susceptibility to influence. Again, the basic picture is one in which the dominant firms and the personnel associated with them form a coherent, self-contained and self‐ sustaining subeconomy. When left to itself, this subeconomy exhibits certain operating characteristics including particular rates of productivity change within its boundaries and particular patterns of technical adaptation which result in greater or less assimilation of population from the