An Example of a Standard - Where to Drive
Standards like on which side of the road to drive, traffic signs, automobile saftey and environmental standards, etc. are indispensable for the use and operation of technologies.
Early decisions are long-lasting, and costly to change. The legacy of British colonial rule is clearly discernible on the map. Few countries changed their standard from left- to right-hand-side driving because of the costs involved. (Austria and Italy even maintained both standards for a transitional period in the 1920s and 1930s). Technology systems frequently "lock-in" early-on in particular configurations that subsequently may turn out to be suboptimal. Pioneering conceptual and modeling work on this topic was done at IIASA in the early 1980s by Brian Arthur
and Yuri Ermoliev