Prometheus: Vol 19, No 4 (2001)

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The Dutch East India Company, Christiaan Huygens and the Marine Clock, 1682-95
Alfons Van der Kraan
Pages: 279-298


The story of the Dutch East India Company, Christiaan Huygens and the marine clock shows that in the seventeenth century Dutch Republic there was a tendency towards the formation of a modern partnership between business, science and technology. This emerging relationship was personified by Johannes Hudde (1628-1704) and Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), men from entirely different walks of life except for their shared interest in science, especially mathematics. It was this shared interest in mathematics which brought them together and indirectly led to the marine clock research project. Hudde was a Director of the Dutch East India Company as well as a mathematician of international standing, whilst Huygens was both a brilliant theoretical scientist and extremely skilled innovator.Through his interest in mathematics, Hudde had come to know Huygens – he had corresponded with him and was broadly familiar with the work Huygens had been doing. So when Huygens, in 1682, returned to Holland from France, Hudde conceived the idea, which was entirely novel at the time, to enlist the support of the East India Company for one of Huygens’ research projects, a project, of course, in which the Company had a direct economic interest, namely, the marine clock which it needed to find the longitude at sea.

Death and Data
Mary Sandow-Quirk
Pages: 299-314


Research into the intelligence processes in two child murder cases shows that ‘information management is no longer simply an administrative support function or technical service, but an integral part of the strategy of the organisation’. Consequently, its importance must be demonstrated in the organisation’s structure and in the resources allocated to it. Problems were caused by the divide between information specialists and detectives. This illustrates the disadvantages of a detection system which fails to preserve either information or knowledge, the tensions between detectives and intelligence officers as members of separate, incompletely integrated teams, and the importance of incorporating tacit learning-by-doing into a knowledge base accessible to both detectives and intelligence staff.

Australian Apparel Retailing Through the Net and Over the Waves
Alastair Greig
Pages: 315-331

Understanding the Digital Divide
Richard Joseph
Pages: 333-336

An International Perspective on I&C Policies: Recent Developments and Future Prospects
Hanspeter Gassmann
Pages: 337-345


The last few years have seen unprecedented growth in information and communication technologies (I&C) and products, which has led to a robust growth in the whole world, and especially in the United States. Euphoria was such that the term ‘New Economy’ was coined about 4 years ago, and was taken to mean almost the same as ‘New Technologies’, mostly information and communication technologies. These technologies are truly global. They are important instruments for further globalisation, and for reducing the international digital divide; they offer important opportunities for further world economic growth. There is increasing competition in their operation, which brings great benefits to customers in the form of reduced prices and new applications. International co-ordination of standards, trade and regulatory frameworks is increasingly necessary. PTOs and other operators need to keep constantly abreast of developments in various international fora, especially the ITU, the WTO and the OECD.

From POTS to E-commerce: What Have the Developing Countries Learnt About Property Rights Over the Last 50 Years?
J. P. Singh
Pages: 347-361


The challenge of electronic commerce is new to the developing world. Will this technology-driven initiative allow developing countries in Asia to leapfrog? Electronic commerce will trot or walk depending upon the property rights shaping its behaviour. The history of information infrastructural provision teaches us that efficient property rights can only be expected in rare circumstances, when the polity has a highly developed civil society and existing institutions produce restraint. Sequencing and the fit between domestic institutions and the types of property rights are important. Well-organized large user groups are clear winners from reforms, but universal service in countries like South Korea and Singapore resulted from state prerogatives. Three layers of an electronic commerce network along with five conditions of property rights efficiency are identified.

Asia’s Leap into E-commerce: Analysis of Developments in Some Countries
Kamlesh K. Bajaj
Pages: 363-375


The Internet is creating a global digital economy with new opportunities. Developing countries have to catch up with the developed world by establishing the required information infrastructure to overcome the dangers of isolation and polarisation. The growth path is through the development of IT industries and greater application of IT in society. These IT industries must be compatible with local conditions and conducive to industrialisation.

Rethinking Silicon Valley: New Perspectives on Regional Development
Ian Cook & Richard Joseph
Pages: 377-393


Silicon Valley in Southern California has, over the past 30 years, become a model for high technology development in many parts of the world. Associated with Silicon Valley is a common rhetoric and mythology that explains the origins of this area of high technology agglomeration and indeed the business and entrepreneurial attributes needed for success. Governments in many parts of the world (including Southeast Asia and Australia) have tried to emulate this growth through various industry and regional development mechanisms, in particular, the science or technology park. More recently, promoting developments in information technology has come to be seen as an integral feature of these parks’ activities. In this paper, we argue that the modeling process used by governments to promote Silicon Valley-like regional development has tended to model the wrong things about Silicon Valley. The models have tended to be mechanical and have failed to reflect the nature of information and information industries. While we have not sought to develop a model for Silicon Valley in this paper,we address a number of issues that require attention on the part of anyone serious about this project. After discussing problems with previous attempts to model Silicon Valley and problems associated with the activity of modeling itself, we move to consider four issues that must be addressed in any real attempt to model Silicon Valley in Southeast Asia. The first is the role of the state and the problems that state involvement may create. The second concerns the contribution that universities can make to the project. The third is the role of firms, particularly Chinese firms. The fourth is the cultural context within which the ‘model’ will sit. Since technology parks are seen as a popular way of promoting high technology development by governments, the revised history suggested in this paper provides fresh thinking about modeling Silicon Valley in the Southeast Asian region.

Book reviews
Pages: 395-407

Contributors to this Issue
Page: 409