Article ID: CBB727906214

The Engineer as Economist: Sewers and the Making of the Water Consumer in Colonial Cairo, 1890 (2023)


Modern sewage systems were once a cutting-edge innovation that transformed how people consumed water. This article examines a debate among a group of British engineers involved in a sewage system scheme in late nineteenth-century Cairo, when Egypt was under British colonial rule. Assessing the project's economic feasibility, the engineers came to different conclusions regarding the future users of the system and, by extension, future consumers of water. Reconstructing the debate sets up a dialogue between engineering and economics to show that engineers could be economists too. This debate represents a type of economic analysis that public works engineers pioneered in the mid-nineteenth century. The engineers reached novel conclusions by centering consumers as the foundation for calculating economic realities.

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Authors & Contributors
Melosi, Martin V.
Halliday, Stephen
Tam, Stephanie
Schneider, Daniela Ribeiro
Vandersmissen, Jan
Fonseca, Alberto
Radical History Review
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology
Icon: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology
Technology and Culture
Sutton Publishers
University of Pittsburgh Press
The MIT Press
University of Michigan
MIT Press
University of Pennsylvania Press
Civil engineering
Water resource management
Water supply
Bazalgette, Joseph William
Ağa, Esiri Hasan
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
18th century
United States
London (England)
Great Britain
Paris (France)
Los Angeles (California)

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