Prometheus: Vol 20, No 1 (2002)

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Are We Eating our Seed Corn?: Basic Research in the US Corporate Sector
Roli Varma
Pages: 1-14


Since the mid-1980s, industrial research in the United States has gone through major organizational changes. Funding for centralized corporate research laboratories in the high technology industry, which leads in research, has shifted from corporate sources to business divisions. Research has been either transferred into individual business units or organized along product lines for well-known markets. As a result, support has shifted to low-risk, mission-oriented, and short-term research, and an extensive involvement of business elements in research activities. Basic research projects seem to be completely gone from centralized corporate research laboratories. In the long run, the shift away from the untargeted inquiry can be problematic to the company, as well as to the country.

Accelerating Technology: The Pace of Transmission Systems
A. Michael Noll
Pages: 15-20


The growths in capacity of various generations of transmission technology were studied. The results show that the growth rates for different transmission technologies are themselves increasing, which means that the pace of transmission technology is accelerating. What is somewhat surprising is that long-distance rates are not decreasing more steeply. What is not surprising is the bandwidth glut in backbone networks. However, the increasing availability of transmission capacity in the bandwidth-rich world of the future could herald a return to circuit switching for data telecommunication.

Patterns of Telecommuting Engagement and Frequency: A Cluster Analysis of Telecenter Users
Patricia L. Mokhtarian & Ravikumar Meenakshisundaram
Pages: 21-37


Cluster analysis of sign-in log data for 115 users of California telecenters was conducted to identify patterns of telecommuting engagement and frequency over a six-month window. Three engagement clusters were identified: Persisters, Decliners, and Dabblers. Four frequency clusters were identified, classified as Low, Medium, High, and Erratic. Nearly half of the Persisters belonged to the Low Frequency cluster, highlighting the need to count not just telecommuters, but telecommuting occasions. Variables significantly associated with cluster membership were identified. Consistent with other research, management-related issues seem to play a substantial role in affecting both the engagement in, and frequency of, telecommuting.

Acceptance and Leadership–Hegemonies of E-Commerce Policy Perspectives
Brian J. Corbitt & Theerasak Thanasankit
Pages: 39-57


This paper presents an analysis of the e-Commerce policies developed and implemented in the USA, Canada, Australia, Victoria, Finland, Norway, the UK, Ireland, the EU (by the OECD), Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region). The paper shows that e-Commerce policy adopted is generally trying to achieve two fundamental aims: 1. to minimize regulatory environments for e-Commerce; and 2. to ease logistical problems in doing e-Commerce – i.e. in paying electronically, in delivery of goods and in customs, tariffs and duties. These strategies are designed to create an environment where e-Commerce is adopted by business and government in these countries to achieve ‘best practice’, to become ‘modern’, to gain ‘efficiencies’, because ‘it is the way to go’, because ‘we must have it, because everybody has it’, and because they ‘perceive the benefits of it’. In essence it is being used to gain hegemony in the economic competitiveness of the geopolitical environment created by the Internet. This paper argues that differentiating types of policy is related to ideology and hegemony in the various countries.

Perspectives on the Scientific Systems of the Post-Soviet States: A Pessimistic View
Igor Egorov
Pages: 59-73


This paper deals with the research and development/science and technology situation in the post-Soviet states. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, these countries have chosen different ways to transform their S&T systems but all have so far failed to reach positive results in this process. Key features and problems of science in the main post-Soviet states, Russia and Ukraine, are the focus of this analysis. The conclusion is that further decline in S&T in these countries seems inevitable in the near future.

Book reviews
Pages: 75-84

Contributors to this Issue
Page: 85