Prometheus: Vol 33, No 2 (2015)

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By Stuart Macdonald page: 95 - 96 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281139328
By Peter Senker Neoclassical economics dominates modern economics and provides an important theoretical basis for neoliberalism. Among its inadequacies are failure to take sufficient account either of technological change or of marketing activities, both of which are central features of modern capitalism. Neoliberals believe that the state should be confined to safeguarding individual and commercial liberty and strong property rights. But in practice, corporations’ dependence on states has been pervasive for at least 100 years. Corporations aim to secure higher profits. They lobby international organizations, as well as states, both to create conditions more favourable to their own individual interests, and also to increase the proportion of economies in which private corporations are allowed to operate. This may apply, for example, to privatization of health and education services which is not always in the public interest. This paper outlines several examples of interactions among corporations, technological change, marketing, state support and international organizations. Examples include huge state support for road construction, which facilitated the domination of cars over land transport; the role of marketing and technological change in the food and agricultural industries; and state support for scientific and technological change in semiconductors and the Internet, and for the development of biotechnology. In conclusion, the paper suggests an alternative approach to studying the dynamics of the modern world economy, viewing it as complex networks of interlocking systems. This might produce more useful analyses than those based on obsolete theories. page: 97 - 111 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281070482
By José Quesada-Vázquez This article analyses the design and implementation of a cluster organisation, the Andalusian Furniture Technology Centre (CITMA). The case of CITMA illustrates how policy processes are inherently political and far more complex than portrayed in conventional accounts based on the linear model of innovation. Policies are, in fact, unpredictable and fraught with uncertainty, opportunity and local specificity. However, acknowledging this complexity is not enough; it has to be unpacked to foster policy learning. To this end, we have opened the black box of the organisation to understand the political process underlying its creation and dissolution. Through this narrative, we shall witness how the technology centre, initially conceived and approved as a publicly funded organisation with the aim of raising SME’s absorption capacity by providing technological services, turned into a semi-public consulting firm focused on selling business services to big companies. The outcome of this policy was precisely the opposite of what had been intended with this initiative and the consequence or the result of a top-down policy approach in which the regional ministry failed to take into account the needs, interests and resistance of the different stakeholders by unilaterally changing the project and the funding model approved by its predecessor. The CITMA case highlights the lack of a multi-disciplinary approach to innovation policy in Andalusia and the fact that innovation policies have been defined and implemented in a hierarchical and siloed fashion with little attempt at policy alignment across different areas and levels of government. page: 113 - 137 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281095976
By Richard Joseph This paper presents an autoethnographical account of the events associated with the author’s redundancy from a tenured academic position at Murdoch Business School, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia. It is argued that managerialism, a social philosophy that sees the management of a university to be little different from the management of a for-profit business, provided university management with a rationale for a course of action that imposed heavy costs on individuals and undermined core academic values. The apparent weakness of the protection provided by tenure is highlighted by the mechanisms through which university management exerted control over the academic employment relationship. The cost of imposing management’s will to win at all costs corrodes valuable aspects of academic work, such as collegiality, trust and the sharing of information. The paper shows that the various mechanisms of control imposed by a university management that adheres to managerialist principles can destroy much of what is worthwhile in the university. What is left is something with little spirit and nothing worthwhile to manage. page: 139 - 163 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281092213
By Mario Coccia Technological innovation is a vital human activity that interacts with geographic factors and the natural environment. The purpose of the present study is to explain the relationship between climate zones and innovative outputs in order to detect factors that can spur technological change and, as a consequence, human development. The findings show that innovative outputs are high in geographical areas with temperate climate. In effect, warm temperate climates are an appropriate natural environment for humans that, by an evolutionary process of adaptation and learning, create complex societies, efficient institutions and communications systems. This socio-economic platform supports the efficient use of human capital and assets that induce inventions, innovations and their diffusion. page: 165 - 186 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281095979
By Lucy Resnyansky Social media (SM) are fast becoming a locus of disaster-related activities that range from volunteers helping locate disaster victims to actions that are malicious and offensive, from sincere expressions of empathy towards affected communities to consuming disaster imagery for mere entertainment, from recovery support funds being collected to online marketers preying on the attention afforded to a disaster event. Because of the diversity and sheer volume of both relevant and irrelevant information circulating throughout SM, prioritising an affected population’s needs and relevant data is an increasingly complex task. In addition, SM data need to be interpreted as manifestations of social processes related to community resilience, diversity and conflict of interests, and attitudes to particular response strategies. The use of SM in disasters generates a growing need for domain-specific technological solutions that can enhance public interests as well as address the needs of both disaster managers and the affected population. This task requires integrating social sciences into the development of tools that enable disaster SM data detection, filtering, analysis and representation. The aim of this paper is to contribute to a critical-constructive dialogue between social scientists and developers of SM analytic capabilities. In the context of historical, anthropological and sociological research on disaster, this paper outlines concepts of the disaster paradigm, data as a product of social and representational practices, and disaster context, and discusses their heuristic significance for the analysis of disaster SM as a manifestation of social and cultural practices. page: 187 - 212 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 2 SKU: 0810-90281102497