In 1973, while the body of socialist President Salvador Allende was still warm, military officers ransacked La Moneda, the Chilean presidential palace. Inside, writes Managing Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, they found the operations room of what was supposed to be a cutting-edge experiment in computer-assisted economic control, the heart of the controversial CyberSyn project. That project's purpose, Mangu-Ward explains, was to allow powerful men to make decisions about production, labor, and transport in real time using up-to-the-minute economic information provided directly by workers on the factory floors of dozens of newly nationalized companies.
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