Prometheus: Vol 36, No 1 (2020)

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Editorial
We’re back! Prometheus has not been published since 2017, when Taylor & Francis dropped the title as a solution to the challenges posed by our debate on shaken baby syndrome. Prometheus editors wanted the debate published: Taylor & Francis managers did not and justified their stance in terms of the risk of defamation litigation. Taylor & Francis’s lawyers beavered away for months, eventually declaring all eleven debate papers risk-free. Nothing daunted, the same managers immediately recruited new lawyers and these ultimately declared all eleven papers likely to be libellous. Dropping Prometheus avoided the risk. Taylor & Francis would not be alone among the large academic publishers in ensuring that huge profits should not be imperilled by free speech. page: 5 - 6 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360101
Paper
By Ryan Robinson and Sarah Gent We discuss the feasibility of the regeneration of Prometheus’ liver: would cells be able to regrow fast enough to allow Prometheus’ liver to be eaten every day by an eagle? A simple model is constructed that incorporates the eating habits of eagles – how much food they eat in a day – as well as the natural regeneration time of a human liver. Our calculations have shown that if Prometheus’ liver was the only food source of the eagle (300g consumed per day), it would take approximately 2 days for complete regeneration. page: 7 - 9 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360102
Paper
By Yao-Su Hu Allyn Young’s concept of increasing returns (not to be confused with static, equilibrium constructs of economies of scale and increasing returns to scale) is applied to analyse how and why increasing returns arise in the production (generation) and use (application) of knowledge and big data, thereby driving economic growth and progress. Knowledge is chosen as our focus because it is said to be our most powerful engine of production, and big data are included to make the analysis more complete and recent. We analyse four mechanisms or sources of increasing returns in the production of knowledge, and four in the use of knowledge. Turning to big data, we analyse increasing returns in the functioning of digital platforms and increasing returns in machine learning from gigantic amounts of training data. Concluding remarks concern some key differences between big data and knowledge, some policy implications, and some of the social negative impacts from the ways in which big data are being used. page: 10 - 29 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360103
Paper
By José Miguel Natera, Soledad Rojas, Gabriela Dutrénit and Alexandre O. Vera-Cruz Health innovation studies and the health disciplines highlight the importance of using knowledge to improve human welfare. However, these disciplines rarely yield discussion about this issue. The objective of this paper is to establish a dialogue between health innovation studies and the health disciplines, and to reveal the complementarities between these approaches. We present a revision of selected models of health knowledge use. From health innovation studies, we consider two models focused on the nature of health innovation, and two others that orient health innovation studies towards addressing inclusive development issues. From the health disciplines, we analyse translational research and knowledge translation models. Using a systemic perspective, we structure our analysis of complementarities on four analytical dimensions: (i) The actors, proposing the recognition of the public sector, the productive sector, the scientific community, and health services providers. We also define two dynamic actors: knowledge users and knowledge beneficiaries. (ii) The interactions, considering them as asymmetrical to facilitate knowledge flows. (iii) The process, based on specific models of healthcare activities and a broad set of validation mechanisms (not only market-related). (iv) The institutional framework, proposing consideration of formal institutions (e.g. regulations) and informal institutions (e.g. socio-cultural background). page: 30 - 50 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360104
Paper
By Dimitris Xenos A centralized and federal patent system in the EU changes economic and constitutional law structures by creating a ‘nationalized’ international patent. As the underlying economic policy has concentrated on the development needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), accounting for 99% of all businesses in Europe, statistical analysis and data of their patenting activity and patent ownership are used to assess whether the new regime can help or hinder SMEs and the states in which they are based. Due consideration is given to the monopoly effect of patents and the adversarial nature of the judicial, federal system that is introduced in the absence of a federation of states. Although there are always costs and benefits in such a system, new legal/institutional developments amplify existing imbalances in technological and economic capacities between and within member states, and between them and non-EU states. page: 51 - 68 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360105
Review Essay
By Peter Swann The ancient Greeks believed that the swan reserves some of its most beautiful songs for its final days; hence the term ‘swan-song’. The Robot Revolution is John Hudson’s ‘swan-song’ – completed just before he died in July 2018. It is certainly a beautiful work in empirical economics, though there is an element of Greek tragedy in the story. For all the many clever and useful things that robots will be able to do for us, Hudson argues that their  introduction will carry considerable risks for our economy and society. page: 69 - 75 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360106
Book Review
By Jennifer K. Alexander Reckoning with Matter is an essential book in an era obsessed with computing and rapidly losing sight of its mechanical heritage. Matthew Jones reveals the essential materiality and mechanicity of early computing machines, built by masterful craftsmen who put mathematical logic into mechanical terms as parts and linkages. Much of recent computing history has focused on computing logics and software rather than hardware. Yet materials did not, and do not, do what is logically expected of them: as Jones notes, computer chip designers cannot even now predict many characteristics of a working chip, sometimes even its heat and speed. page: 76 - 77 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360107
Book Review
By Alan Cottey This is the first volume in a new series dubbed ‘the case for’ in the political economy section of Polity Press. The author, Sam Pizzigati, has a long track record of criticism of extreme economic inequality and advocacy of a ‘maximum wage’. The latter is a social innovation worthy of much more critical study than it has received to date. Pizzigati is a labour journalist with a  prodigious and continuing output of articles on this subject, as well as several earlier books. His language is generally polemical rather than academic. The book is informed mainly by his long experience of the United States and his concern for justice there. I think his powerful critique of the enormous and still rising inequality everywhere will be found useful by the many who are  concerned at this state of affairs. page: 78 - 81 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360108
Book Review
By Charles Oppenheim The author is a well-known professor of economics in the United States. In this book, well researched and supported by numerous references, his philosophy of life is made clear – and a rather worrying philosophy it is, as we shall see. The book addresses the question of how to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in an advanced economy such as that of the United States. page: 82 -83 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360109
Book Review
By Auke Pols Innovation in Energy Law and Technology is a decent and solid book that achieves exactly what it aims to accomplish. I consider this to be both praise and (mild) criticism, as I explain below. page: 84 - 86 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 1 SKU: 360110