Category Archives: Symposium on JoAnne Yates and Craig N. Murphy’s “Engineering Rules”

The Authors Respond, by JoAnne Yates and Craig N. Murphy

by Guest Blogger — Friday, Oct. 11, 2019

Pierre Larouche is right, but it is not just legal scholars: almost everyone who encounters the vast (but rarely noticed) world of private standard setting ends up like the blind men and the elephant of the fable. Most scholars of standardization, and even standards setters themselves, can only describe those parts with which they have […]

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Private Standards and Public Governance, by Cary Coglianese

by Guest Blogger — Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019

Law is often thought to provide the bedrock of order in modern society. But as important as law can be, social and economic order also emerges from a host of non-legal norms and non-governmental institutions. In their new book, JoAnne Yates and Craig Murphy trace the history of non-legal institutions dedicated expressly to producing order: […]

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The Visible Hand?, by Brian L. Frye

by Guest Blogger — Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019

Adam Smith famously observed that self-interest serves the public interest, because markets act as “an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.” To which Finley Peter Dunne offered a rather less sanguine response: “A lie with a purpose is one of the worst kind, and the most profitable.” In […]

Review by Justus Baron, Northwestern University

by Guest Blogger — Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019

JoAnn Yates and Craig Murphy compiled a compelling and enjoyable history of private standardization from the late 19th to the earliest 21st century. I read the book from the perspective of an empirical economist who studies today’s Standards Development Organizations (SDO). Economic analysis is often oblivious of the history of the organizations it studies, and […]

Engineering Rules, a Review by Peter L. Strauss

by Guest Blogger — Monday, Oct. 7, 2019

“Engineering Rules” is a clever triple entendre, evoking rules (the industrial standards that are its concern), the emergence of engineering (the profession largely responsible for their creation) and the consensus processes developed over time (the engineering) by which they have been created.  The book is an extraordinarily detailed history of the movement from national to […]

Engineers as Visionaries?, by Tim Büthe

by Guest Blogger — Monday, Oct. 7, 2019

Yates and Murphy’s Engineering Rules: Global Standard Setting Since 1880 provides a fascinating account of almost a century and a half of standard setting; of many of the men – and the few women –who were the drivers of these rule-making processes and who in many fields took them to the international level as early […]

Engineer Rulers?, by Nina Mendelson

by Guest Blogger — Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

“Engineering Rules” by Joanne Yates and Craig Murphy recounts stirring tales from the noble brotherhood of engineers, on a mission to improve the world through standard-setting. The engineers tackle nonuniform screw threads, creating the first national screw thread standard (the appealingly named “Whitworth thread”), address railway cars of varying sizes and shapes, and devise the […]

Engineering Rules – A Major Contribution to the Early History of International Standardization, by Jorge L. Contreras

by Guest Blogger — Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

JoAnne Yates and Craig N. Murphy’s new book Engineering Rules: Global Standard Setting Since 1880 (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2019) offers a comprehensive and detailed institutional history of international standardization from its origins in the nineteenth century through the present day. Especially with regard to its treatment of early- and mid-twentieth century standardization efforts and […]

When IBR Meets APA, by Alan B. Morrison

by Guest Blogger — Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

Engineering Rules: Global Standard Setting since 1880 [1] is a fountain of information about the origins, use, and changes in the world of standard setting.  To even the casual reader, it makes a convincing case that those who started convening groups of knowledgeable volunteers have performed a very useful service by creating standards for many […]

The Blind Legal Scholars and Standardization, by Pierre Larouche

by Guest Blogger — Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

Over the past years, as standardization took an increasing place in my research agenda, I frequently thought of the ancient Indian fable of the Blind Men and the Elephant.[1] In this story, a number of blind men observe an elephant: each of them comes into contact with one part of the elephant only, leading each […]