“Capitalism has always had its skates on.”

Or so claimed the Economist in a 2016 article on the pace of business.1 More than 25 years earlier, George Stalk Jr. and Thomas M. Hout of the Boston Consulting Group had lauded the benefits of speed in new product development and production with their book, Competing Against Time (reportedly a favorite of Apple boss Tim Cook). Today, the notion of speed is bandied around corporate offices as the key to competitive success: “We are putting a premium on speed and competitiveness versus perfection,” wrote GE chief Jeff Immelt in his 2014 letter to shareholders. Certainly it frequently feels like the world is accelerating: the 2016 Economist article pointed to the shortening technology ...

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