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Industrial Invention: Heroic, or Systematic?

Ralph C. Epstein
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Vol. 40, No. 2 (Feb., 1926), pp. 232-272
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1884619
Page Count: 41
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Industrial Invention: Heroic, or Systematic?
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Abstract

I. Purpose of this paper: To survey the literature, to examine current practice, and to classify the facts needed for a tenable theory, 233.--II. The heroic explanation, commonly found in biographies, 237.--Inventive abilities not so rare as commonly supposed, 241.--III. Theories of successive increments, 242.--Cumulative character of contribution and discovery, 243.--This intensified by our greater willingness both to accept and to give, 251.--IV. Organized industrial research and invention on the part of large corporations, 253.--Methods by which new devices are developed, 255.--Cooperative character of the procedure, 258.--V. Materialistic explanations, 260.--The profit motive not so essential in some instances as in others, 266.--The real question: What proportion of usable inventions comes from professional inventors? 268.--VI. Conclusion: What sort of inductive study is needed, 269.

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