Prometheus: Vol 6, No 2 (1988)

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THE ‘COMMUNICATIONS REVOLUTION’ AND THE HOUSEHOLD: SOME THOUGHTS FROM THE JAPANESE EXPERIENCE
Tessa Morris-Suzuki
Pages: 237-248

ABSTRACT

In recent years there has been much debate on the likely impact of new communications media on the household. In Japan, where progress in the development and application of communications technology has been rapid, a large-scale experiment was conducted between 1984 and 1987 to test public acceptance of these media. This article examines some of the major findings of the experiment. It concludes that household use of the new media in the immediate future is likely to be very limited. In the longer run such use may expand, but a number of important technological and social changes will be necessary before large-scale expansion can occur.

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THE SOCIAL SHAPING OF A LABORATORY: THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN ANIMAL HEALTH LABORATORY
Pam Scott
Pages: 249-262

ABSTRACT

Technologies are often presented and perceived as being inevitable, natural and necessary, as if they were the products of some inner logic. As a result, there has been a tendency in the past to focus on the effect or impact a technology has on society at the expense of investigating the origin of the technology. More recently, efforts have been made to penetrate the ‘black box’ of the technological artifact in order to reveal the variety of ways technologies are shaped. This paper will discuss the economic, political and other social factors which shaped the Australian Animal Health Laboratory and which determined its proposed functions.

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THE ANALYSIS OF POLITICAL COUNTRY RISKS: OPERATIVE PROSPECTS OF POLITICS AND BUSINESS IN THE TELEMATICS AGE
Frank-Michael Bahr
Pages: 263-269

ABSTRACT

The paper provides an outline of recent progress in the advancement of telematic infrastructures in relation to foreign trade and foreign policy. By means of political risk analysis techniques, the social sciences respond to a concerted demand for forecasts from governments and international business. As a result, and due to an increasing importance gained by operative knowledge on political environments, a private market for political logistics supporting international operations has been established.

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STRATEGIC COMMITMENT, UNKNOWLEDGE AND THE NATURE OF ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY
Bruce W. Ross
Pages: 270-284

ABSTRACT

This paper argues that the essence of entrepreneurial activity is ‘strategic commitment’, which encompasses strategic thought and decision, together with commitment based on that strategy. Three distinct types of commitment are identified — resource commitment, psychological commitment and organisational commitment. The implications of a recognition of the pervasiveness of unknowledge in entrepreneurial activity are discussed. The paper also suggests that the term ‘entrepreneur’ be reserved for individuals who have demonstrated a singular aptitude for and commitment to enhancing their organisation’s relationship with its environment.

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TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE AND ITS IMPACT ON MEDIA POLICY PLANNING
Peter Wilenski
Pages: 285-295

ABSTRACT

In the media there is a complex interaction between technological change, markets and policy. The policy questions that arise are complex but not insoluble. Who should provide the technological infrastructure? Is economic, social or technical regulation required? If so, what is to be regulated? If technical regulation is required, what are to be the technical standards? We are no longer simply reacting to technological change but are actually planning ahead of change.

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FRENCH TELEMATICS: HISTORY, POLICY AND PROJECTS
Jean-Pierre Chamoux
Pages: 296-304

ABSTRACT

Telematics dates from 1978 when it was used to designate the growing overlap between computers and telecommunications. The initial phase was the provision of an electronic substitute for the telephone directory. The free distribution of Minitels was followed by the Teletel 3 V experiment which gave a test population access to a wide range of services. A special billing system had to be developed. Telematics has been extended to the industrial world and business relations.

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SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT IN ASIA: NEW TRENDS AND OLD MODELS
Reg Henry
Pages: 305-326

ABSTRACT

This paper reviews the operation of the science and technology (S&T) for development strategy in the developing countries of Asia since its introduction in the 1960s. It is particularly concerned with the performance of S&T policy-making and planning in promoting the goals of that S&T for development strategy. The various problems which the strategy has faced are discussed, and the subsequent trends, especially towards greater emphasis on S&T policymaking and planning, are explained. The paper concludes by assessing the implications of these problems and trends for the entire S&T for development strategy in the developing countries of Asia.

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HOSPITAL COSTS AND INFORMATION THEORY CASE MIX INDEXES: RESULTS FOR QUEENSLAND
J.R.G. Butler
Pages: 327-350

ABSTRACT

The use of information theory as a basis for the construction of scalar case mix indexes for hospitals is well established but to date no results arising from an application of these indexes to Australian hospitals have been published. This paper provides a simplified explanation of the information theory approach and constructs the indexes for Queensland public hospitals. The usefulness of the indexes is then demonstrated with two applications. First, they are used to explain the variation in average cost per case between the hospitals in the study and are found to account for a small but statistically significant amount of such variation. Second, they are employed to provide estimates of state mean average and marginal costs by case type in Queensland. The resulting estimates are all both positive and plausible, characteristics not commonly found in estimates obtained using other techniques.

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TECHNOLOGY IN TURMOIL
A. Baklien
Pages: 351-367

ABSTRACT

The paper evaluates and extrapolates the theory of techno-economic pulses to suggest that the world is unlikely to see major technological innovations on a broad front until the end of this century. The technological understanding by managers and the supply of highly qualified scientists and engineers will be critical. Australia is not well positioned to become a high technology manufacturing nation.

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THE ADVANCED INFORMATION SOCIETY: A SUITABLE UTOPIA FOR AUSTRALIA?
Alan V. Watt
Pages: 368-381

ABSTRACT

This paper considers the nature of the information society and its perception as utopia or anti-utopia. Australia is already an information society, and in technological terms, is moving towards an advanced information society. However, recent evidence on the decreased rate of growth of the information sector in the United States, the growth in importance of such areas as biotechnology, and the rapidity with which distinctly different and important problems can appear, may cause the advanced information society to be relegated to just another rejected image of perceived future societies. Thus Australian policy-makers should be cautious about selecting it as a goal.

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Review Article
UNDEMOCRATIC VISTAS
Martha Nussbaum
Pages: 382-400
Review Article
THE ROBYN WILLIAMS PHENOMENON
Rosaleen Love
Pages: 401-406
Book review
Challenger: A Major Malfunction by Malcolm McConnell (Macmillan, London, 1987), pp. xii + 228. ISBN 0-333-44198-2
Serge Cipko
Pages: 407-409
Book review
Challenger: A Major Malfunction by Malcolm McConnell (Simon and Schuster, London, 1987) pp. xv + 269, ISBN 0-671-65439-X
John P. van Gigch
Pages: 409-413
Book review
Industry and Ideology: I.G. Farben in the Nazi Era by Peter Hayes (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1987), pp. xxviii + 411. Cloth $99. ISBN 0521 32948 5
John Laurent
Pages: 414-416
Book review
Pharmaceutical Economics edited by Björn Lindgren (Liber Förlag, Malmo, 1984) pp. 286, ISBN 91-38-61372-7
J.R.G. Butler
Pages: 416-419
Book review
Manufacturing Matters: The Myth of the Post-Industrial Economy by Stephen S. Cohen and John Zysman. (Basic Books, New York, 1987), $19.95, ISBN 0-465-04384-4
John de la Mothe
Pages: 419-421
Book review
Industry Assistance: The Inside Story by Alf Rattigan (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1986), pp. xi + 289. ISBN 0522 84 313 1
Kenneth Wiltshire
Pages: 421-423
Book review
Comparative National Computer Policies Edited by Harold Sackman North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1986), pp. xi + 486, $59.25, ISBN 0-444-70056-0
Beth Krevitt Eres
Pages: 423-425
Book review
Recurrent Education: A Revised Agenda by Ed Davis, Jack M. Wood and Barry W. Smith (Croom Helm, Sydney, 1986), pp. vi + 292, $29.95, ISBN 0 949614 24 6
C. Selby Smith
Pages: 425-428
Book review
The Defence Science and Technology Organisation and National Objectives: A Report to the Prime Minister by the Australian Science and Technology Council [ASTEC] (Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1986), pp. vii + 70, ISBN 0-644-05488-3
Michael McKinley
Pages: 428-431
Book review
International and Comparative Industrial Relations edited by GregBamber and Russell Lansbury (Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1987), pp. xvi + 289. Paper $17.95. ISBN 004 327096 4
Gill Palmer
Pages: 432-434
Book review
Education and Technology by Task Force on Education and Technology (Australian Education Council, Melbourne, 1985), pp. 79
Paul Berry
Pages: 434-435
Book review
A Bright and Savage Land: Scientists in Colonial Australia by Ann Moyal (Collins, Sydney, 1986), pp. 192, $45.00, ISBN 0 00 217555X
Ian Inkster
Pages: 435-436
Book review
The Economics of Time and Ignorance by Gerald P. o’Driscoll if. and Mario J. Rizzo (Blackwell, Oxford, 1985), pp. X + 261, 8.50, ISBN 0-631-15484-1
Bruce Oakman
Pages: 437-438
Book review
Economic Appraisal of Health Technology in the European Community edited by M.F. Drummond
Colin Burrows
Pages: 438-441
Book review
The New Industrial Organization: Market Forces and Strategic Behavior by Alexis Jacquemin (The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1987), pp. 217, paper US$ 12.50, ISBN 0-262-60014-5
J.L. Enos
Pages: 441-442
Book review
Subscription Television: A Study for the Home Office by Booz Allen and Hamilton International (UK) Ltd. (HMSO, London, 1987), pp. 213, 9.50, ISBN 0-11-340855-2
Chee-Wah Cheah
Pages: 443-446

Shorter Notices

The Australian Economy in the Long Run edited by Rodney Maddock and Ian McLean (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1987), pp. xii + 237, $29.95 paper, ISBN 0 521 33933 2
Page: 447
Cases in Business Policy by B. Kenny, E. Lea, S. Sanderson and Goo Luffman (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1987), pp. x + 538, $49.95 paper, ISBN 0 631 155449
Page: 447
Security on Movable Property and Receivables in Europe edited by M.G. Dickson, Rosener and P.M. Storm (ESC Publishing, Oxford, 1988), pp. viii + 227, 27.50 paper, ISBN 0 906214 49 1
Page: 447
MRI Assessment Program: First Interim Report by The National Health Technology Advisory Panel (Australian Institute of Health, Canberra, 1987), pp. vi + 32, ISBN 0642 12181 8
Page: 448
MRI Assessment Program: Second Interim Report by The National Health Technology Advisory Panel (Australian Institute of Health, Canberra, 1988), pp. vi + 66, ISBN 0642 13503 7
Page: 448
Consensus Statement on Clinical Efficacy of MRI by The National Health Technology Advisory Panel (Australian Institute of Health, Canberra, 1988), pp. iv + 11, ISBN 0642 137366
Page: 448
Dry Chemistry Pathology Trial Part 1: Pre-TrialInstrument Evaluations by The National Health Technology Advisory Panel (Australian Institute of Health, Canberra, 1987), pp. vii + 46, ISBN 0641 12166 4
Page: 448
Dry Chemistry Pathology Trial Part 2: Hospital WardSide Room Study by The National Health Technology Advisory Panel (Australian Institute of Health, Canberra, 1988), pp. viii + 41, ISBN 0642 12167 2
Page: 448
Wealth From Skills: Measures to Raise the Skills of the Workforce by The Australian Science and Technology Council (AGPS, Canberra, 1987), pp. vi + 47, ISBN 0644 07250 4
Page: 449
Wealth From Skills: Measures to Raise the Skills of the Workforce — Appendix by The Australian Science and Technology Council (AGPS, Canberra, 1987), pp. vi + 73, ISBN 0 644 07245 8
Page: 449

Miscellany

NEWS
Page: 450