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INSIDE THE BLACK BOX: A LOOK AT THE CONTAINER
Joshua S. Gans
The containerisation revolution, despite being centered on a relatively simple technology, did not take over the cargo shipping industry until the 1960s. This paper argues that the timing of its introduction was determined by organisational as opposed to technological factors. This argument is developed by looking at the events leading up to the introduction of containers into cargo shipping. The rapid spread of containers and the role of standards are also considered. Nonetheless, given the nature of finding coherent organisational patterns and complementarities, it is argued that informational externalities were most probably responsible for any delay in the container system’s introduction.
REGULATORY SYSTEMS DESIGN
D. M. Lamberton
If the broad purpose of regulation is to replicate the results of a competitive market, we need to be clear what are those results. It is a reflection of the difficulty of that task that competition has been given so many labels, ranging from perfect to managed; and can relate to products, processes, locations, firms, nations, technologies and systems.
Modelling in which the collection, processing and use of information is continuous is needed. This approach has to be carried into the design of regulatory systems. In particular, the information processes in which the regulator and firm participate must not be locked away in ‘black boxes’. Learning, knowing and having information are complex matters, giving rise to lock-in and diversity, and affecting key concepts like technology, information, cost and profit.
MOVING BOUNDARIES: TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE INTERFACE BETWEEN ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTS
The transformation of the interface between academic institutions and their environment can be depicted in terms of moving boundaries: the academic-commercial, managerial and university work. These movements represent fundamental transformations of universities, in structure, referent external objectives, meaning and work. It is of great importance to realise that whilst these changes may appear from close up to be unique to changes within the Australian scene, they are not. Instead, the movement of the three boundaries is set within shifts that are currently going on within global society. Representing as they do, deep penetration of commercial market parameters into the very premises of acadaemia, these changes represent the impact of postmodernism on contemporary academic work.
ALTERNATIVE GOVERNMENT POLICIES FOR GENERAL PRACTITIONER LOCATION: INFORMATION, PRICES AND INCOMES
L.B. Connelly & D.P. Doessel
The Commonwealth Government has recently implemented a scheme which involves financial incentives for general practitioners to relocate from urban areas to rural/ remote areas of Australia. The purpose of this scheme is to redress differential provision and utilisation of general practice services across space. This paper describes systematic differences in the prices and quantities of general practitioner services and general practitioner incomes provided in different regions of the State of Queensland for 1991–92. More specifically, it is found that prices and incomes are higher in more remote regions of the state. The paper concludes with a consideration of an alternative policy, i.e. relocation could be effected by the dissemination of information on the regional differences in prices and incomes.
AUSTRALIAN JOURNALISTS’ REACTIONS TO NEW TECHNOLOGY
The new technology which has revolutionised newsrooms over the last decade has been generally accepted by Australian journalists, who believe the quality of their work has improved and time savings have occurred. Older journalists are somewhat less enthusiastic, but when controlling for age there are no sex differences in reactions to technology. Journalists who are stressed and those who admit to being cynics are less sanguine about the benefits of technology, while those who are job-satisfied and optimistic about the future are more pro-technology.
THE AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL AND THE INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR IN THE HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Unlike other Western democracies, Australia makes negligible provision for scholars, who work largely outside institutions, notwithstanding the fact that much valuable research is produced and published by such individuals. This exclusion is symptomatic of a much grosser distortion in the general administration of research funding.
This paper addresses firstly the apparent perception of the nature and value of research on the part of the Department of Employment, Education and Training and their political masters in the context of government policy as a whole in the tertiary sector; secondly, the impact of this policy on the life of the academic, especially the academic in the humanities and social sciences; and thirdly the likely impact of the policy on the nature and quality of current research.
THE POLITICS OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS REFORM IN NEW ZEALAND
This paper presents an historical account of the reforms to New Zealand’s telecommunications policy which have occurred since 1986. The history is set around three stages: the period leading up to the review of the New Zealand Post Office in 1986; the corporatisation and subsequent privatisation of Telecom New Zealand in 1990; and, the implementation of the so-called ‘light-handed’ regulatory regime since 1990. This paper focuses on the period up to 1990 to address the question why telecommunications reform took place in New Zealand. It is argued that the ideological disposition of the New Zealand Treasury was very influential in determining the outcomes of the reform process. This paper also makes some observations on the broader political aspects of the reform process.