Prometheus: Vol 19, No 1 (2001)

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The Anatomy of an International Cartel: Cyanide, 1897-1927
Alan Lougheed
Pages: 1-10


The development of a new product or a new process, if adopted by the market, may generate a number of economic processes including secondary innovations to promote the exploitation of the new discovery. Such technological advances may also promote new industrial ventures which may exist over many decades, enhancing economic development. The history of the adoption of the cyanide process for the extraction of gold from its ores exemplifies such developments. One outcome was the formation of an international cyanide cartel.

Trends and Prospects in Venture and Angel Investments in New Media Companies
Stephen Prowse
Pages: 11-16


How do ‘new media’ or Internet-related companies raise external equity capital? In this paper, I analyze two markets that entrepreneurs of private Internet-related businesses use in the US to raise equity: the venture capital market and the market for ‘angel’ capital. Both markets appear to be important sources of capital for private Internet-related firms. In this paper, I try to shed some light on how these markets operate with respect to investments in Internet-related companies. In particular, using data from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ MoneyTree Survey, I analyze trends in venture capital investments in Internet-related companies and make comparisons with venture investments in non-Internet-related firms. In addition, I use information and data on the angel market to investigate how important the market for angel capital is likely to be as a source of capital for Internet-related businesses. In doing so I draw on ongoing and new research by myself and others into the operation of these markets. Finally, I make some cautious predictions about how the future prospects for raising money from these two sources are likely to evolve for Internet-related firms.

The New Media Boom in Historical Perspective
Richard Sylla
Pages: 17-26


The new media technologies that began to assert themselves in the 1990s – the Internet, networked computers, and the other hardware and software that make possible the new media – have captivated both the investment community and the general public like nothing else in the memory of most people alive today. These new information technologies are changing the way we live, work, think, and make our day-to-day decisions. To the surprise of many, including economists, they have already led to large increases in productivity and the sustainable rate of economic growth of the US and other economies. By unleashing new forms of economic competition, they have also put a damper on inflation. They will continue to do these positive things for a good long time. Life as we know it will change in irreversible ways. Nonetheless, the reaction of the financial system to new media technologies is providing clear signals of ‘irrational exuberance’.

Environmental Management, Structure, Networks and Information Exchange: The Case of a Tasmanian Pulp and Paper Mill
Samantha Chadwick & Dallas Hanson
Pages: 27-43


Pulp and paper is a major impact industry, in which environmental impacts can be seen to be complex, diverse and characterised by uncertainty and interdependence. A greening process within this industry requires wide ranging environmental knowledge. Also fundamental are effective networks for information exchange and greening is therefore dependent on changes to such networks. This study investigates the issue of how greening occurs, focusing on the process at the Fletcher Challenge New Zealand integrated pulp and paper mill situated in Tasmania, Australia. It was seen that effective greening within this industry relies on information processing capabilities to access external and internal knowledge and skills, and that this is fundamentally dependent on structural arrangements. Appropriate organisational structure and external networks are therefore essential for accessing information and facilitating its dissemination and integration, thereby enhancing the firm’s ability to address environmental concerns. The study highlights interaction between the formal change process, one which sought limited change, and an informal change process that continued greening the company beyond the official aims. The reasons for this are located in the power of informal information exchange.

Why do People Pay for Information?
Robert M. Colomb
Pages: 45-53


This paper investigates the situations where there are incentives for people to pay a premium over the channel costs for information content. It concludes that there are at least four: premium low relative to channel costs and monopoly, which are less interesting as they are not specific to information; where the information need is idiosyncratic; and where the quality of the information source is critical.

The Future of Professional Engineers in the Public Service
Athol Yates
Pages: 55-7


The last two decades have not been kind to professional engineers in the public service. Numbers have been slashed, their status has declined and engineering advice does not carry the weight it once did. While it has been said that non-engineers do not appreciate the benefits of engineering advice, part of the reason for this is that engineers themselves and the engineering profession have taken a low-key approach to promoting the benefits of engineering advice. If engineers want to have a positive future in the public sector, this attitude needs to change. Engineers and the engineering profession need to be proactive in promoting the benefits of sound engineering advice, professional judgment and the skills of engineers. This paper suggests a number of ways of accomplishing these goals.

Book reviews
Pages: 75-92

Shorter notices
Pages: 93-94

Contributors to this Issue
Page: 97