IBM and the Holocaust both represent power, ideology, and rational administration. We view one as logical and commendable, the other as pathological and deplorable, and both as a manifestation of instrumental rationality. IBM and the Holocaust (Black 2001) explores the connect between IBM and its dynamic leader, Thomas J. Watson, and the program of genocide carried out against European Jewry over the 12‐year reign of Germany's Third Reich. Those who controlled, applied, and supported IBM's information processing technology are implicated in operationalizing the lethal ideology of the National Socialist German Workers (Nazi) Party. Considering relationships between the fascist and the capitalist extremes provides a starting point in a dialogue that challenges the privileged position of instrumental rationality in evaluating choices related to the development, implementation, and application of information technology. The investigation of IBM and the Holocaust illustrates the potential for technology to reinforce, and be reinforced by, a prevailing ideology through the tangible manifestations of instrumental rationality: machines, professionals, and administrative structures. The ends to which the technology and its manifestations are applied by those implementing and supporting it become lost in striving to efficiently accomplish the immediate, intermediate tasks. The technological manifestations and their complicity in the Holocaust illustrate the inability of instrumental rationality to adequately incorporate the requisite ethical and moral dimensions, a lacuna no less present, though not so obvious, in actions undertaken within the current economic and political spheres by those employing the same tangible manifestations of instrumental rationality. The inability of those most directly implicated to reflexively consider the alliance of technology and ideology assures the continuing propensity of both good and evil. Unfortunately, the social systems that spawned the impressive technological developments do not provide adequate means for discerning and ethically evaluating the destructive and the creative potential.

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