Prometheus: Vol 33, No 4 (2015)

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Editorial
By Richard Joseph page: 339 - 341 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281229843
Editorial
By Stuart Macdonald page: 343 - 346 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281245948
Paper
By Hans-Jürgen Engelbrecht Don Lamberton asked many questions about the nature and role of information, without expecting to be able to provide tidy or neat answers. The issues he raised have not gone away or been resolved. Some have re-appeared in modified or new form. This paper first focuses on the analysis of information at the macro-level, starting with the ill-fated ‘information sector’ studies and leading on to current attempts to use neoclassical economics to measure macro-level capital stocks in the context of the debate about sustainable development, also known as ‘wealth accounting’. Wealth accounting has no place for information-as-capital that goes beyond very primitive proxy measures for intangible capital other than human capital. Often, information-as-capital is neglected completely by denoting such capital stocks as ‘enabling assets’ that are assumed to be reflected in what turn out to be unmeasurable shadow prices. Next, an issue mostly neglected by Don Lamberton is discussed – the normative assessment of information and innovation. It is argued that neither mainstream economics nor evolutionary economics, information studies, innovation studies and so on currently has an appropriate normative theory of innovation. Increased output, innovation counts, productivity, competitiveness and consumption-related utility (what economists call ‘welfare’) are poor indicators of what really should be measured, which is the objective and subjective impacts of innovation on people’s well-being. page: 347 - 359 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281194007
Paper
By Lawrence S. Welch This paper charts the development of the knowledge-based theory of internationalisation, driven particularly by early research at the University of Uppsala, led by Sune Carlson. Information and knowledge, allied with an interest in the associated effect on risk and uncertainty, were components of a process perspective. Its essence was a focus on the restraining effects of a lack of knowledge as decision-makers contemplated international market entry or expansion requiring a commitment of resources in various forms, in different types of foreign operations (such as exporting, licensing and foreign direct investment). Lack of knowledge of a prospective foreign market (of its characteristics, culture, ways of doing business) was seen to create uncertainty so that firm decision-makers would be less prepared to commit resources. This situation was bound to change as a firm conducted operations in the foreign market and acquired experiential knowledge (learning by doing), which made the foreign market less of a mystery, in the process lowering uncertainty. As the learning process unfolded, and expanded opportunities were perceived, at some stage the firm might be prepared to undertake additional commitments to the foreign market. Empirical research at Uppsala, and in Finland, had shown a pattern of gradual expansion of foreign commitments by internationalising firms. In terms of theoretical development, a key step was relaxation of the assumption of perfect knowledge used in economics (not without critique), noted by Don Lamberton in 1974. Following the development of internationalisation theory in the 1970s, there was a range of extensions to the basic theory, such as the role of networks, the nature of inward–outward connections, and the need for knowledge to pass over language hurdles in the process of international transmission – within and outside the firm. In one sense, the internationalisation of companies was a perfect research site for an exploration of the role of information and knowledge in firm behaviour, given the additional exigencies of the diverse and demanding information environment that is the international arena. page: 361 - 374 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281207874
Paper
By William Tibben Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been associated with development programmes for many decades. A theme of Lamberton’s commentary on such initiatives focuses on the lack of attention given to information as a key factor in the development process. His writing reiterated a number of arguments that he saw as being fundamental to the application of an information perspective to development issues. With a focus on agricultural development policy in the Pacific region, the paper uses a number of propositions that are suggested by Lamberton to analyse contemporary development initiatives in Pacific Island agriculture. These propositions focus attention on information costs that can influence the transfer of information and development of knowledge. Document analysis of selected published sources from a Pacific Island development programme are reviewed to illustrate the significance of information costs for development processes. The paper addresses the contention between traditional authority and knowledge and its significance for development. page: 375 - 393 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281229850
Paper
By David Rooney I pay tribute to Don Lamberton in this paper by exploring the importance of generosity in knowledge systems. The purpose of this paper is to show that a range of important dynamics in knowledge systems are enhanced by generosity. I also argue that generosity is one of the meeting points between knowledge and wisdom, and that it should become an important consideration in the knowledge policy development process. It is important that we move knowledge systems closer to wisdom if we are to respond in the best ways to such major global challenges as climate change, a fragile global financial system, the emergence of new technologies, poverty, endemic military and paramilitary conflict, and global food and water security. page: 395 - 410 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281229851
Paper
By Christopher Noble This paper theorises that a person’s mindset is a commonplace trait that has an impact in economic systems. A mindset contrasts with other theoretics which use choice and information sets to limit the economic actor’s decision-making by focusing on the description of a person’s knowledge rather than on available options. The persistent way a person thinks about the world influences their treatment of information and further development of knowledge. The mindset concept accommodates the complexity of individuals and their idiosyncrasies, whereas a standard economic approach simplifies these characteristics. In this paper, Lamberton’s discussion of mindsets is extended from information sharing, cultural embeddedness and lock-in to the necessity of a mindset held by each person, change in a person’s knowledge and the impact on groups of people. Instead of being a statement about the limited capacity of a person to think, a mindset is a consequence of history and the build-up of knowledge through disjointed experiences. It is argued that a mindset does not necessarily restrict a person to set economic activity, but instead preserves wider economic structures. Through some examples of mindsets, such as the entrepreneurial mindset, this discussion moves away from the acquire-then-use understanding of how people use information towards an economic person with a mind sense constructed through situated learning. page: 411 - 420 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281199379
Paper
By Ruth F.G. Williams Dissent and assent contribute to new information and knowledge in that they foster ideas, avert errors and counter misplaced beliefs. Although intended to facilitate progress, innovation and creativity, dissent may be opposed by the closed mind and defensive mindset. Don Lamberton encountered a specific mindset in his own duties to scholarship in economics. Thus, the perspective of dissent is a fitting way to pay homage to his scholarship. However, this paper is also a lament. It gives an interpretation of from political philosophy which depicts Antigone rocking an ideological boat harboured by the . The silencing of Antigone’s voice results in unexpected losses in the . This is the sort of tragedy threatening critical and innovative scholarship in the twenty-first century. page: 421 - 430 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281229852
Paper
By Hazel V.J. Moir In 1984, Don Lamberton wrote a two-page disclaimer to a review of the Australian patent system, pointing out that there was nothing economic about the review and that it simply pandered to special interest groups. Some 30 years later, the Productivity Commission has been given a shorter time frame (one year) and a broader remit (all intellectual property). This paper reviews the issues addressed in the Industrial Property Advisory Committee (IPAC) review of 1984. Since it was completed, substantially more empirical evidence has become available, while room for policy improvement has been curtailed by international trade treaties. While the Productivity Commission will take a sound economic approach, the breadth of its remit may prevent full appreciation of the critical issues in patent policy. This paper considers the options remaining to the Commission to recommend improvements in the national interest. Whether these will be taken up depends on the priority given to the interests of small but powerful lobby groups. page: 431 - 443 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281229853
Paper
By Tom Mandeville When I first met Don, I was already an established research fellow in regional economics. Don’s subsequent influence directly helped me follow my dreams, passions and interests. Thus, my academic career grew, developed and transformed from regional economics, to information economics, and eventually to evolutionary economics. This reflection traces that evolving process, illustrating Don’s influence throughout. page: 445 - 449 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281229858
Paper
By David Court Don Lamberton’s research interests were broad. They centred on information and innovation, those elusive drivers of growth and change in the economy, as well as life. Information and innovation require some degree of receptiveness – openness – and Don was always open. His openness permitted me to become his student, as a mid-career practitioner in the film industry. It was, in a sense, his principal teaching. Under his tutelage, I began a reading program that led me a long way from my starting point, and taught me to question views that had seemed settled. Openness, of course, is a fundamental issue in information policy. To what extent should information be proprietary? And when should it be free? These questions were central to my research, which was about copyright and its consequences for authors. The policy tensions in copyright turn exactly on this question of degree of openness. As I studied the question, Don’s example came to matter. I mean the way he personally modelled scholarship: his willingness to listen, his constant sifting, his mode of freely sharing books, data and connections. This was scholarship as openness, and it was persuasive. page: 451 - 455 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281194006
Paper
By D.P. Doessel It is sometimes said that Don Lamberton was weak on ‘standard’ microeconomic theory. This was not my experience: he introduced me to some important theoretical developments in the discipline of economics. In my academic career, I have undertaken various studies on issues that interest me, studies which have been influenced by literature brought to my attention by Don Lamberton. My perspective on Don Lamberton is that of, not exactly an outsider, but someone not in the inner circle: my position in the Lambertonian landscape was on the periphery. The paper concludes with some reflections on two issues outside economics. page: 457 - 463 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281207873
Paper
By Richard Joseph Don Lamberton’s enthusiasm for the study of information economics has played an influential role in many academic careers. This paper searches for those attributes that distinguish Don Lamberton as an influential academic. Lamberton’s influence was not solely grounded in the ideas that he promoted; it was also evident in the way he practiced his scholarly craft. The idea of the academic as a master craftsman is developed to explore this important yet often neglected aspect of Don Lamberton’s working life. He was a master craftsman who invited and encouraged followers to join with him in a quest to appreciate and understand the role of information in the economy. page: 465 - 474 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 33, Issue 4 SKU: 0810-90281229861