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THE ECONOMICS OF URANIUM ENRICHMENT
A. D. Owen
A number of factors which determine the demand for enrichment services are identified and projections of enrichment capacity and requirements to the year 2000 are discussed. An outline of the nuclear fuel cycle is given. The prospects for the establishment of an Australian enrichment supply industry during the 1990s are considered. It is concluded that those prospects are limited by the depressed state of the world market and the lack of a domestic market.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS IN AUSTRALIA: AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, 1854-1930
Australian history has been conspicuously short on the examination of the history of technical subjects and of the role technological development has played in the country’s evolution. As early as 1961, Geoffrey Blainey observed: “We historians are uneasy outside the old triad of political, social and religious history; we are inclined to avoid the history of technical subjects even more than did the historians of the last century with their narrower compass of history.” The comment remains valid today. The history of technology in Australia stands as a broad and relatively empty canvas on which to depict the major underpinnings – and their social interconnections – of an increasingly industrialised society.
DIVERSITY, ECONOMICS AND THE AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY
Diversity of newspaper outlets and diversity of newspaper ownership are both generally conducive to economic efficiency within the newspaper industry. A review of the economics of newspaper publishing reveals two major factors concerning the structure and ownership of the press. The first is that scale economies of production are largely responsible for the tendency of newspaper markets in cities and towns to be dominated by a single title. The second is that the combined effect of economies of scale and newspaper firms’ drive towards growth is likely to bring about a high concentration of newspaper ownership. It is argued that economic theory lends qualified support to policy proposals to prevent mergers between newspaper firms and to require divestiture of newspaper titles.
THE TRANSFER OF INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY TO WESTERN PACIFIC DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Hal Hill & Brian Johns
This paper reviews recent evidence on technology transfer to the rapidly growing Western Pacific region, where most developing countries have adopted relatively liberal policies towards the importation of technology and equity capital. In recent years Japan has emerged as a major supplier of technology to the region. Moreover, there have been important changes in the international technology market, which has become larger and more competitive. Nevertheless, many aspects of technology imports have been criticised, including the conditions attached to its sale, and its appropriateness for low income countries. The arguments for limited regulation of technology flows are assessed and the economic and administrative difficulties pointed out. From the host country viewpoint, the policies influencing diffusion of technology within the country seem to be at least as important as the policies directly bearing on technology transfer from overseas.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND WELFARE IMPLICATIONS OF TRANSBORDER DATA FLOWS
All countries are finding their economic growth determined increasingly by investment in information technology. In the ultimate analysis, the welfare effects will be determined by which industries are strengthened or weakened. Whether the technology is benign or not depends on the objectives of international communication systems and the policies for achieving them. International policy must be geared to specific objectives.
BROADCASTING IN THE 1920s : GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE INTERESTS
Australian broadcasting has always been subject to government regulation. This paper identifies fundamental changes in regulatory rules in the formative years of the 1920s and relates them to the interests they affected. Pressure by radio dealers determined the character of initial regulation and therefore the early shape of the broadcasting industry: private firms dependent on revenue from government-imposed listeners’ licence fees. Government initiative, quite independent of private lobbying, ended that system. Seeking to subsidise broadcasting in small States and rural areas, it ‘expropriated’ the pioneers in 1929 and replaced them with a single Australia-wide revenue-supported private program contractor using transmission facilities provided by the PMG Department – an immediate forerunner to the creation of the ABC in 1932.
THE INTERNATIONAL REALPOLITIK OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY
Reasons are considered for growing government intervention in scientific and technological progress, justifications for such interference and variations in the objectives sought by developed nations through their science and technology policies. Many governments of developed countries now place high priority on using science and technology policy to maintain and enhance the international competitiveness of their industries. It is hoped thereby to increase their living standards and reduce unemployment. The belief is widespread that to be effective such policies should be directed towards encouraging selected industries and technologies, as in Japan and Germany. Since Australian policies broadly have not been industry specific and technology specific, they need to be re-assessed in the light of these developments.
AUSTRALIA’S DEPENDENCE ON IMPORTED TECHNOLOGY – SOME ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION
This article assesses the extent of Australia’s dependence on imported technology and discusses the effects this way have had on domestic research and development expenditure. Drawing upon recent studies of the operations of subsidiaries and branches of US multinational enterprises, some comments are made concerning their contribution to Australia’s technological development. In conclusion a number of policy issues are raised.
INFORMATICS AND LAW REFORM
The Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission identifies science and technology as one of the main factors necessitating reform of the law in Australia. The way in which informatics, one of the most dynamic technologies of today, has penetrated Australian society is described. The implications of this technology for two major projects before the Australian Law Reform Commission are then outlined. The first is the design of new laws to protect privacy of the individual in the growing computerisation of personal data. The second is the adaptation of the law of evidence, from a system highly dependent on oral testimony to one responsive to computer and computer generated testimony. The author then outlines a number of future issues concerning the interface between informatics and the law. He proposes the establishment of permanent machinery to examine the mosaic of computer law topics. Finally, he examines impediments to the computerisation of land information systems – as a species of the way in which the growth of informatics will present challenges to lawmakers, administrators and law reformers in Australia.
TECHNIQUES FOR GUIDING THE ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES AMONG RURAL RESEARCH PROJECTS: STATE OF THE ART
Jock R. Anderson & Kevin A. Parton
Diverse methods are available for evaluating benefits and costs of rural research projects. They have been developed in response to a felt need for information in a highly uncertain environment. These formal evaluation schemes are compared in an attempt to show whether any offer useful guidelines for rational allocation of research funds. The outcome is a series of conjectures on the level of effort to devote to research evaluation, and hence on the techniques which should be used. In most circumstances encountered in Australian rural research the optimal type of evaluation would be relatively unsophisticated.
THE NATURE OF AUSTRALIAN REGIONAL INPUT-OUTPUT MULTIPLIERS
R.C. Jensen & G.R. West
This paper presents the first general analysis of the multipliers derived from twenty-nine Australian regional (GRIT) input-output tables, ranging from metropolitan areas to quite isolated regions. The study attempts to summarise the formidable array of results, aiming to provide an empirical reference point for research into regional multipliers, to identify any regularities in the multiplier components and to suggest conclusions for general policy purposes.