Prometheus: Vol 23, No 1 (2005)

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‘Genius’, ‘faction’ and rescuing intellectual property rights
Pages: 3-25


Intellectual property rights have been driven relentlessly towards a unitary system for the entire world, originally through passive copying of flawed United States arrangements, but more recently as a result of determined lobbying by American interests. But diversity and competition have the same beneficial potential for institutions themselves as they have for the economic development they can foster or hinder. A financial dimension in measuring grants, protecting innovation directly, compulsory technical arbitration of disputes, and some positive discrimination in favour of smaller firms could contribute to moving the balance back towards the diversity in rights that other countries need.

Technology‐related factors contributing to labour intensification of surgical production
Pages: 27-46


The late 1980s heralded the start of what is widely acknowledged as a period of enormous technological change in surgery, particularly, but not limited to, minimum access surgery either displacing conventional open surgical techniques or providing new opportunities for surgical treatments. This article discusses the main technology‐related factors contributing to the significant, but unanticipated, labour intensification of surgical production within operating departments—reasons that are not consistent with the pervasive theme of the techno‐economic literature that generally equates ‘new technology’ with automation, labour displacement, work simplification, and the economic benefits accruing to an organisation.

European explorers, entrepreneurial selection and environmental thresholds
Pages: 47-61


This article examines the activities of two early European explorers, Christopher Columbus and Henry the Navigator, in light of modern theories on entrepreneurship. These were Schumpeter‐type entrepreneurs who revolutionised the world of trade and commerce. Their eventual success was the result of a number of factors including technology, access to capital, access to information, their skill‐base, social/motivational factors and luck. All of these factors, in turn, were determined by their environment. Their reliance on knowledge and technology show these entrepreneurs as being one stage in a technological trajectory and growth of knowledge. This stage represented a major threshold in which a window of opportunity was opened. This illustrates a process of environmental selection whereby entrepreneurial success is determined by changes in the environment.

A taxonomy of public research bodies: A systemic approach
Pages: 63-82


Nowadays the governments of industrialised countries, in the presence of reduced public resources, have to assign clear objectives to public research laboratories to increase the competitiveness of firms. The purpose of this article is to analyse the public research bodies of the National Research Council of Italy in order to pinpoint the main typologies operating in the national system of innovation (NSI). This research shows four main types of research institutes as drivers of NSI. The results can supply useful information to policy makers on the behaviour of these structures and on their strengths and weaknesses.

Review article
America’s market polity of knowledge and Ferguson’s stumbling colossus
Pages: 83-99

Review article
an essay of the state of knowledge management
Pages: 101-116

Book review
Pages: 117-122

Contributors to this issue
Page: 123