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EDITORIAL: WITHER THE COMMISSION FOR THE FUTURE?
WHY A COMMISSION FOR THE FUTURE?
LOOKING BACK ON THE FUTURE
THE POLITICISATION OF FUTURES PROJECTS
GOVERNMENT FORECASTING AND ASSESSMENTS
Vary T. Coates
TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT AND FUTURES RESEARCH
A COMMISSION OF CONTEMPLATION — OR OF REAL CONSEQUENCE?
Brian W. Scott
HOW CAN SLEEPERS WAKEN — AND STAY AWAKE? SOME HOPES FOR THE AUSTRALIAN COMMISSION FOR THE FUTURE
Australian Commission for the Future
CITIZENS LOOK TO THE FUTURE
FUTURES RESEARCH — A LEGITIMATE ENDEAVOUR
THREE GREAT SOCIAL REVOLUTIONS: AGRICULTURAL, INDUSTRIAL, AND INFORMATIONAL
BIOTECHNOLOGY IN JAPAN: INDUSTRIAL POLICY AND FACTOR MARKET DISTORTIONS
Gary R. Saxonhouse
There is a widespread feeling that the Japanese government is unfairly acquiring for its economy the few really good tickets to prosperity in the twenty-first century. Foreign reactions to Japanese targeting have ranged from concern that such practices are unfair and inconsistent with the international economic system and that Japan should be forced to eliminate them, to intense admiration and a hope the other countries can somehow emulate Japan. Understanding Japanese practices, particularly as they relate to high technology industries, requires an analysis not only of the relationships between government and business in Japan, but also of the relationships between government and education and between education and business. From the perspective of an analysis of the interrelationships between these institutions, it is possible to understand the character of the market distortions and market failures with which Japanese policy has sought to cope. It should also then be possible to assess whether other countries face a similar set of problems requiring similar interventions. These analyses will proceed with particular focus on the development of the biotechnology industry in Japan and the United States.
HIGH TECHNOLOGY, EMPLOYMENT AND THE CHALLENGES TO EDUCATION
Richard Gordon & Linda M. Kimball
The contribution of employment in high technology industry to future employment growth in the US economy is estimated to be small. Much high technology employment is not professional work at all, but routine labour, and much of that performed by minority groups with few career opportunities. Most new jobs will occur in occupations requiring no more than secondary education. High technology may generate employment in other areas, but often low grade work performed in the “homework economy”. Appropriate education for employment in high technology industry and in computer-related fields is not necessarily specialised and technical; high-quality general education is probably more important. Instrumental education, ignorant of the demands of high technology, and of the demands a modern economy makes upon high technology, is likely to be counter-productive. Commercial and technical success requires a combination of cultural learning and technical skill.
TOM MANN ON TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE, UNEMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND LEISURE: A TURN OF THE CENTURY LABOUR LEADER’S VIEWS ON SOME SUBJECTS OF CONTINUING CONCERN
Technological change and employment effects are not new phenomena. This paper examines some responses to technological innovation in the work situation around the turn of the century, a period of rapid and unprecedented scientific and technological development. The views of Tom Mann, an articulate British trade unionist and labour leader, on a number of subjects relating to these developments are compared with some recent writing, and are found to anticipate much of what is currently being said on these same subjects. It is shown that Mann, together with a number of other trade union representatives, basically welcomed technological innovation as a means of reducing the physical drudgery and long hours commonly associated with nineteenth century working conditions, notwithstanding frequently found assumptions of Luddite attitudes. Some comparisons with and implications for today of these positive responses from workers in the past are suggested.
THE INFORMATION INDUSTRY, MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS AND URBANISATION IN THE ASIAN PACIFIC COUNTRIES: A RESEARCH AGENDA
R. Yin-Wang Kwok & Brenda Kit-Ying Au
The production of information has been accepted as a new economic factor for urbanisation, particularly in the industrialised world. It creates new urban employment opportunities, changes urban spatial patterns, transforms demographic structures and social patterns. This ‘new’ production activity has been introduced into the Asian Pacific region — often by multinational corporations — and now begins to make its presence felt in major cities. This paper investigates the nature of the information industry in general, the role of multinational corporations and attempts to understand especially the effects of international information demand on Third World urbanisation. More specifically, it attempts to assess their relationship to urbanisation in the Asian Pacific countries. Lastly, it hopes to formulate areas and issues for further research.
AN EXPOSITION OF THE INFORMATION SECTOR APPROACH WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO AUSTRALIA
This paper provides an exposition of the information sector approach. Concept and measurement of the information sector are discussed in detail. Findings for Australia are reported, including so far unpublished data on the labour force employed in the primary and secondary information sector. The total information sector accounted for about 41.5 per cent of the Australian labour force and about 31 per cent of value added in 1981. More than half of all the people employed in informational occupations were employed in the secondary information sector. The need for the standardisation of the measurement of the information sector is emphasised. Improvements in input-output modelling and other avenues for research are suggested.
AN ASPECT OF TECHNOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES OF THE UPPER GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT
D. P. Doessel
This paper is concerned with one aspect of the assessment of a new technology — describing the temporal utilisation of the technology in use. The technologies that are considered here are barium meal radiology and fibre optic endoscopy, two major diagnostic procedures for the upper gastrointenstinal tract. The data employed relate to private fee-for-service medicine in Australia and have been collected under Australia’s health insurance arrangements. Statistically significant differences in utilisation rates for these diagnostic procedures are found between the states of Australia. Also it is shown that per capita use of these procedures is rising at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent per annum. Although it is not possible from the data employed here to specify what factors have determined these utilisation rates, some possible explanations are considered. A secondary aspect of the paper is that it demonstrates how data from the Health Insurance Collection can be analysed despite the changes to health insurance arrangements introduced by the Commonwealth government since 1975–76.
ASPECTS OF TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT IN A DEVELOPING PETROLEUM TRANSITION ERA
Michael R. Chambers
Australia is faced with the need to augment and replace rapidly depleting indigenous petroleum. Because there are many possible solutions and wide ranging impacts associated with this problem, the use of an evaluative technology assessment framework is proposed. The purpose is to provide a means whereby likely technical, socio-economic, legal and regulatory requirements and consequences of policy options can be canvassed and appraised. Factors influencing the credibility, usefulness and efficacy of such technology assessments are examined, and methodologies appropriate to one application, viz petroleum substitution, are explored. The energy sector is used primarily here, therefore, to exemplify the value of the technology assessment approach to policy making. A systems simulation and optimal resources allocation mode is used to illustrate planning procedures and to highlight such matters as innovation needs, resource requirements and societal changes.