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Comment Free enterprise used to be legal in 1910 (Score 5, Informative) 157

From the Twentieth Century Magazine, Vol II, 1910


A VALUED friend, Mr. Arthur E. Harris, of Boston, has kindly given us the following impressive illustration of the difference between a public utility controlled by a modern commercial corporation, and the same monopoly under co-operation. In the one instance we have avarice as the master spirit actuating the promoters, huge dividends for the favored few and poor service for the people being the result. In the other case we have a fine illustration of fraternalism in business, in which the interest and benefit of the people is the first concernâ€"something that should ever be insisted upon in a government that pretends to represent the rule and interests of the people.

"Some twelve or more years ago," says Mr. Harris, "in the town of Mercer, Maine, where I was born, and where my father still lives, a telephone system was installed among the farmers as a branch of the New England Telephone Company. Stock was sold and the rent for an instrument and the use of the line was fixed at $10 per year.

"Several of our neighbors bought some of the stock and took great delight in boasting to the less fortunate in the neighborhood that it was paying 18 per cent dividends.

"But they were not satisfied with making that profit by the exploitation of their neighbors and began to talk of raising the rental fee.

"The promoter, a man from an adjoining town who had the line put in and who was a member of the trust, was overheard to say: 'We've got to get this up to $15 before we quit.' ' But,' he was asked, 'will the people stand for it?' 'Of course they will. They like it and can't get along without it. We've got themâ€"now squeeze them.'

"Well, in the country money does not come easily and some, including my father, felt that they could not afford to pay any more, much as they wanted to keep the telephones.

"They talked it over and an indignation meeting was called.

"There were two Socialists present, who organized the farmers and put in an independent line upon a Socialist basis - for use, not for profits.

"Each member contributed $25 in money, material or labor, and received an instrument which he owned, and was entited to one vote at all business meetings.

"This amount ($25) from each member of the organization paid all the expense of putting in the new line and left something in the treasury. It was a success in every way and has been running about ten years and costs less than $2 per member each year to maintain it.

"They bought instruments that were much better than those put in by the trust - in fact, two-fifths better.

"In the place of six, as with the trust line, 20 could now talk without the use of the switch, and could hear better than the six could with the trust line because of the superiority of the instruments.

"There are no restrictions upon its use and all are satisfied and contented; whereas with the trust line they were kept in a state of irritation by the mean acts of the managers, who were always on the watch for every penny they could grind out. If company - a visitor or a friend - was heard talking, the question promptly came from central 'Who's that talking?' 'Well, collect ten cents.' Their methods and purpose were like those of all big corporations and trusts - their motto, 'First profits, last use'; or, in other words, the maximum profits for the minimum service.

Submission + - World's First IC Microcomputer Found (

Tokolosh writes: It’s not often that a YouTube video on a technical topic gives one goosebumps. And it’s not often that someone unpacking a computer makes history.

Francois Rautenbach a computer hardware and software engineer from South Africa achieves both with a series of videos he has quietly posted on YouTube.

It shows the “unboxing” of a batch of computer modules that had been found in a pile of scrap metal 40 years ago and kept in storage ever since. Painstaking gathering of a wide range of evidence from documents to archived films had convinced Rautenbach he had tracked down the very first Guidance and Navigation Control computer used on a test flight of the Saturn 1B rocket and the Apollo Command and Service Modules.

Apollo-Saturn 202 or Flight AS-202 as it was officially called was the first to use an onboard computer – the same model that would eventually take Apollo 11 to the moon. Rautenbach argues that the computer on AS-202 was also the world’s first microcomputer. That title has been claimed for several computers made in later years from the Datapoint 2200 built by CTC in 1970 to the Altair 8800 designed in 1974.

The AS-202 flight computer goes back to the middle of the previous decade.

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