Prometheus: Vol 18, No 2 (2000)

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Privacy Protection-A New Beginning?
Michael Kirby
Pages: 125-132


Privacy is universal value. But according to The Economist in 1999 it is finished – killed off by the remarkable capacity of information technology to analyse, trace and re-assemble personal data: affording an unprecedented insight into individual attitudes and activities. Based on the progress made in implementing the OECD Guidelines on Privacy (1980), the author, who chaired the OECD group that devised those Guidelines, reviews their impact, the need to update them and contemporary proposals for new privacy protections suitable to the current technologies. He concludes that the capacity to uphold human values in the context of new technologies, such as informatics and genomics, presents one of the largest ethical questions for the 21st century.

Entrepreneurship in Science: Case Studies from Liquid Crystal Application
Peter Armstrong & Anne Tomes
Pages: 133-147


Current UK policy on the knowledge-driven economy places a heavy weight of expectation on the fostering of entrepreneurial attitudes amongst university scientists. Interviews with the owner-managers of innovative companies in liquid crystal technology suggest that scientist-entrepreneurs are not simply scientists who have become imbued with the entrepreneurial spirit. They are also characterised by particular approaches to science and market intelligence. As scientists, they are fascinated by science-based effects (rather than science as a body of knowledge), knowledge of which tends to be acquired through interpersonal networks. Their knowledge of markets, similarly, tends to be acquired by networking with users. The result is a dynamic mental landscape in which application possibilities constantly churn against user needs to yield a stream of new product concepts, and in which there exists the possibility of insuring against the risks of career moves and strategic changes of direction. Assuming these findings can be replicated in further research, the implication is that the formation of scientist-entrepreneurs may need to foster ‘concrete’ attitudes towards science and a networking style of operation.

Technology Transfer from Publicly Funded Research for Improved Natural Resource Management: Analysis and Australian Examples
Clem Tisdell
Pages: 149-160


Considerable public funding is provided for research and development intended to improve the management and use of shared natural resources, such as water. In Australia, the Land and Water Research and Development Corporation (LWRRDC) and Environment Australia are significant providers of such funds. These providers tend to judge the value of R&D projects supported by them on the basis of whether or not significant technology transfer and adoption takes place. Researchers involved in these projects are expected to be the prime movers of such transfer. However, it seems that research funders have been guided by over-simplified models of processes of technology transfer and by false analogies with the transfer of industrial technology. There has been a failure to recognise that much of the new technology developed to improve the management of shared resources, such as water, affects the supply of social or collective commodities, a factor which materially alters the technology transfer process. Here, processes of transferring publicly funded intellectual knowledge are discussed and modelled, dynamic patterns of adoption of new technology are considered along with factors influencing adoption rates and barriers to adoption, particularly when the supply of social or collective commodities such as water, are involved. Some points from the analysis are illustrated by observations from a sample of LWRRDC-supported research projects.

Internet Adoption and Use
Gary Madden , Scott J. Savage & Grant Coble-Neal
Pages: 161-173


Network economics suggests that Internet growth may be explained by an externality. This study empirically tests for the presence of such an externality, and analyses a cross-section of Internet subscribers to identify adopter characteristics, and applications fuelling early subscription. The results confirm that the establishment of a secure base of commercial users generates endogenous growth. Further, the analysis of Internet subscribers suggests that access pricing and the availability of valued applications are important factors for inducing subscription.

The Intervention That Wasn’t: A New Look at the McArthur-Forrest Cyanide Patent Conflict in Western Australia
Naomi Segal
Pages: 175-196


The patented McArthur-Forrest gold extraction process played a significant role in facilitating gold recovery in Western Australia after 1897. The patent-holders failed, however, both to obtain income commensurate with their efforts and to extend their patent rights in Western Australia. This paper revises existing historical accounts of the cyanide royalties dispute in Western Australia in the light of new sources and focuses on industry-state relations and the respective strategic roles that industry and the state played in the resolution of the dispute. The paper also provides a new conclusion to the dispute’s resolution in Western Australia.

Book reviews
Pages: 197-227

Shorter notices
Pages: 229-230

Pages: 231-232

Contributors to this Issue
Page: 233