Prometheus: Vol 6, No 1 (1988)

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ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS IN THE SELECTION OF GENERIC TECHNOLOGIES
Brian L. Johns
Pages: 5-19

ABSTRACT

A vast array of new processes and product innovations can arise from a single broad-based generic technology such as biotechnology. A small country like Australia faces some difficult choices in determining which science-based generic technologies should be supported and to what extent. This paper explores the economic factors that should be taken into account by firms and by Government in determining the choice of generic technology. It considers the problem of identifying ex ante the particular technologies in which Australia may have a comparative advantage. It also shows why certain facets of the existing industrial structure are relevant to the selection of generic technologies.

COMMUNICATIONS — AN ANTIPODEAN EXERCISE
Michael Kirby
Pages: 20-33

ABSTRACT

Events in Italy and the rest of the world were confirming Pareto’s predictions … [T]he national government was incapacitated by indecision … It was in this milieu that Italian fascism took root … On aggregate, people had come to feel that they should grow prosperous without having to work hard. As a consequence more energy was invested in connivance and in devising ways of transferring existing wealth than in constructive activity and the production of new wealth. With workers engaged in prolonged strikes and capitalists busy with parasitic or speculative activities yielding quick and easy money, no class was contributing to sustained growth or real property … corporate giants and organised labour were granted whatever concessions they asked for, at the expense of the general public. (C.H. Powers (ed.) in V. Pareto, The Transformation of Democracy, Transl., R. Girola, pp 17-18).

SELECTIVITY IN FUNDING: EVALUATION OF RESEARCH IN AUSTRALIA
J. Jeffrey Franklin
Pages: 34-60

ABSTRACT

Selectivity and concentration in research funding has become unavoidable in Australia today. Some of the reasons for this are reviewed relative to international economic, scientific/technical and conceptual developments. The resulting need to develop an evaluative culture in and for Australia is discussed. The reasons for undertaking evaluations are outlined, and a working definition of ‘research evaluation’ that may be suitable within the Australian context is developed. The parameters that may deserve consideration in designing an evaluation are detailed, and a series of conceptual and practical guidelines are forwarded. Several barriers to implementing evaluations that may apply to Australia are addressed. Finally, the implications of the concept ‘accountability’ for both the recipients of government support and government itself are briefly raised.

THE INFORMATION SOCIETY: COMPUTOPIA, DYSTOPIA, MYOPIA
Antony Bryant
Pages: 61-77

ABSTRACT

As the twenty-first century approaches … the possibilities of a univerally opulent society being realised have appeared in the sense that [Adam] Smith envisioned it, and the information society that will emerge from the computer communications revolution will be a society that actually moves towards a universal society of plenty … this is what I mean by “Computopia” (Masuda)

Our culture … is already committed to the proposition that the only legitimate knowledge we can gain of our world is that yielded by science. All thinking, dreaming, feeling, indeed all other sources of insight have already be delegitimated. The indoctrination of our children’s minds with simplistic and uninformed computer idolatory … is a pandemic phenomenon (Weizenbaum)2

R&D PROJECT ASSESSMENT AS AN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION PROCESS
Larry Dwyer
Pages: 78-93

ABSTRACT

The paper has three main objectives, viz, to emphasize the need for informed project assessment as central to the effective management of R&D by Australian businesses; to argue that different assessment techniques will be applicable to different stages of a project’s development; to emphasize the importance of R&D project assessment as an information and communication process which helps to promote a firm’s goals. In addressing these issues the paper highlights some of the ways in which managers of Australian companies can learn from overseas experience and outlines some of the challenges facing Australian management at this time.

A ‘MULTI-FUNCTION-POLIS’ FOR AUSTRALIA
T. D. Mandeville
Pages: 94-106

ABSTRACT

MITI has proposed a $5-10 billion ‘Multi-Function-Polis’ in Australia. The functions would include high technology, recurrent adult education, resort and leisure, and cultural exchange. It would become a forum for international technological and cultural exchange in the Pacific Rim region.

NEW MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY: ANOTHER AUSTRALIAN LOST OPPORTUNITY?
Tom Forester
Pages: 107-119

ABSTRACT

Three megatechnologies will dominate the last decade of the 20th Century: Information Technology, Biotechnology and New Materials Technology. New materials have been the least well publicized, yet they play a crucial precursor role in most other technological innovation. Developments in materials science now give us the ability to design so-called ‘advanced materials’ from scratch for specific purposes. They have a wide variety of applications. In addition, new materials technology extends the notion of choice in the production process and as such it has major implications for engineers, designers and managers.

Australia is in theory well-placed to take advantage of the materials revolution in terms of natural resources, environment and existing research strengths. But although some impressive and useful work has been done by the Department of Science in targeting fruitful areas for future research, an international comparison of materials R&D and a review of what the Australian government and private sector has done so far suggests that Australia once again is doing too little too late.

THE EFFECTIVE PATENT LIFE OF PHARMACEUTICALS IN NEW ZEALAND — A SIMULATION
John Parker
Pages: 120-133

ABSTRACT

This paper estimates effective patent life of pharmaceuticals in New Zealand (NZ EPL). A simulation technique is used based on the linking effect of the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. The simulation procedure suggests that NZ EPL is declining and will yield no protection in the fairly near future, for drugs from the USA, UK and Switzerland. Two consequences for pharmaceuticals are suggested. One, the focus of the NZ patent term is likely to shift from the normal period of 16 years to the maximum available when extensions are included. Two, applications for extensions are likely to become routine. In these terms the recommendations by the Industrial Property Advisory Committee (IPAC), at least as they apply to pharmaceuticals, that the current patent life remain unchanged at 16 years and extensions have a maximum of 4 and not 10 years, are somewhat puzzling.

SCIENCE POLICY MANAGEMENT
Anne B. Pedersen
Pages: 134-141

ABSTRACT

Development of the Pacific region depends upon communication and education of scientific and technological manpower as one aspect of human resource development. Statistical data to guide policy are lacking. Coordinated efforts within the Pacific community are needed to collect data and develop appropriate policies.

Review article
ECONOMIC PSYCHOLOGY
Peter E. Earl
Pages: 142-149

Review article
AUSTRALIA RECONSTRUCTED: A SYMPOSIUM; AUSTRALIA RECONSTRUCTED: AN AMBITIOUS REPORT
Edward M. Davis
Pages: 150-158

Review article
AUSTRALIA RECONSTRUCTED: A EUROPEAN VIEW
R. F. Elliott
Pages: 159-166

Review article
AUSTRALIA RECONSTRUCTED: STRATEGIC ADVANTAGES FOR STAKEHOLDERS
Arthur D. Shulman
Pages: 167-173

Book review
How the West Grew Rich: The Economic Transformation of the Industrial World by Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Bridzell (I.B. Tauris, London, 1986), pp. xii + 353. $70. ISBN 1-85043-016-0
Peter E. Earl
Pages: 174-176

Book review
Financial Incentives and Entrepreneurial Medicine: Problems and Solutions by J. Richardson School of Health Administration, Sydney, 1987, pp.vi + 127
Malcolm C. Brown
Pages: 176-180

Book review
Electronics and Industrial Policy: The Case of Computer Controlled Lathes by Staffan Jacobsson. (Allen & Unwin, London, 1986) pp. XX + 252, $87, ISBN 0-04-338138-3
Peter Stubbs
Pages: 180-182

Book review
International Industry and Business: Structured Change, Industrial Policy and Industry Strategies by R.H. Ballance (Allen & Unwin, London, 1987) pp. xxi + 357, Paper $45, ISBN 0-04-339038-2
John Forster
Pages: 182-183

Book review
Democracy in Australian Unions: A Comparative Study of Six Unions by E.M. Davis (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1987) pp. xvi + 243. ISBN 00-4-320205-5. $19.95
H. Richards
Pages: 183-184

Book review
Land Degradation Problems and Policies edited by Anthony Chisholm and Robert Dumsday (Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1987) 404 pp., $39.50 hardcover, ISBN 0521-340799
Brian Roberts
Page: 185

Book review
Work, Leisure and Technology edited by R. Cassell, D. Lewis and J. Mangan (Longman Cheshire, Melbourne, 1986) pp. 273. ISBN 0 582 71151 7
N. Whiteside
Pages: 186-188

Book review
Telecommunications and Equity: Policy Research Issues edited by James Miller (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1986) pp. vii + 348, ISBN 0-444-70013-7
Chris Trengove
Pages: 188-190

Book review
Technology Assessment in Australia by Senate Standing Committee on Science, Technology and the Environment. (Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1987) pp. 111. ISBN 0-644-05265-1
Stewart Carter
Pages: 190-192

Book review
Marketing of Technology: An Australian Perspective by Peter Link (Nelson Wadsworth, Melbourne, 1987), pp. xiv + 285, ISBN o-1700703-4
Lawrence S. Welch
Pages: 192-194

Book review
Radioactive Waste Management and Disposal 1985 edited by R. Simon (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986) pp xi + 734, $178.50, ISBN 0-521-32580-3
Ian Lowe
Pages: 194-195

Book review
The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society by James R. Beniger (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1986), pp. 493. ISBN 0-674-16985-9
Ann Moyal
Pages: 195-197

Book review
Australian Made: Success Stories in Australian Manufacturing since 1937 by Brian Carroll (Institution of Production Engineers Australian Council, Parkville, Victoria, 1987) pp. ix + 230, ISBN 0-909546-10-X
Jhon Laurent
Pages: 197-199

Book review
Computerization and Development in Southeast Asia — A Study of Five Asean Countries by Syed A. Rahim and Anthony J. Pennings (Asian Mass Communication Research and Information Centre, Singapore, 1987) pp. xi + 165, S$15 (Asia), US$11 (Others). ISBN 9971-905-27-2
Per Lind
Pages: 200-201

Book review
The Legal Implications of Disclosure in the Public Interest: An Analysis of Prohibitions and Protections with Particular Reference to Employers and Employees by Yvonne Cripps (ESC Publishing Limited, Oxford, 1987) pp. xx + 299, 35.50 pounds, ISBN 0-906214-40-8
M. D. Kirby
Pages: 201-205

Shorter Notices

Scitech Technology Directory, 1987-88 Edition, compiled by Jane Ford ISSN 1030-4649. Available from Scitech Publications Pty Ltd, GPO Box 1915, Canberra, ACT 2601
Page: 206

Dilemmas of Development by John Toye (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1987) pp. ix + 177, $29.95 paper, ISBN 0-631-14571-0
Page: 206

Microcomputers and Financial Management for the Smaller Business by June Gleeson (Longman, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1986) pp. xv + 247, ISBN 0-582-93958-5
Page: 206

Microcomputers and Financial Management for the Smaller Business: Solutions Manual by June Gleeson (Longman, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1986), pp. ii + 22, ISBN 0-582-93963-1
Page: 206

Shock Wave Lithotripsy: A Technology Update by The National Health Technology Advisory Panel (Australian Institute of Health, Canberra, 1987) pp. vi + 7, ISBN 0-642-13183-X
Page: 207

Usage of Endoscopy in Australia by The National Health Technology Advisory Panel (Australian Institute of Health, Canberra, 1987) pp. vi + 36, ISBN 0-642-12165-6
Page: 207

News

Introducing the European Foundation
Page: 208