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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #125: January 27, 2004


Journal Name: Prometheus: Volume 21, Number 4, December 2003

Online ISSN: 0810-9028, Print ISSN: 1470-1030


The international telecommunication regime in the information age (pp399-414)
Terry Curtis
This paper examines recent changes in the international telecommunication regime. The concept of an international regime comes from the field of international relations. Although it is not universally accepted, one of the most widely supported definitions describes an international regime as, 'implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actors' expectations converge in a given area of international relations'. The 'given area' of concern here is telecommunication. Telecommunication and the principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures which are relevant to it at the international level--which have been studied extensively by communications and development economics scholars--have only rarely been the focus of international relations scholars. The objective of this paper is to use tools from the study of international relations to explore subject matter that has more frequently been the focus of scholars in communications, development economics, and information economics.
Keywords: international regime, International Telecommunication Union

Emerging electronic markets at e-Business crossroads: competitive and regulatory issues in the electricity industry (pp415-428)
Rolf T. Wigand
Natural history depicts evidence of the dynamics of evolution, while fossil records permit the examination of change over time. Such records inform us also that change is never easy and does not occur without casualties. It seems that parallel observations may be advanced as the Internet and widespread use of information and communication technologies (ICT) have brought about new organizational forms, entirely new ways of organizing, as well as enabling novel processes. One casualty reflective of an evolutionary era is the dot-com firms that have gone bust. As firms are moving along the evolutionary path of understanding and implementing these developments we need to come to grips with their design, management and impact.
This contribution examines electronic markets and related off-shoots as a coordination form and macro-structure of information and communication systems within the electric power market. The basic notion of 'electronic market' is explored briefly. We recognize several forms in which such markets manifest themselves. The author emphasizes the role of competition in electronic markets, as well as the newly found role of intermediaries.
Electronic markets in the electricity industry are examined in some detail, i.e. the electronic trading of electricity. This market demonstrates nicely the opportunities, but also potential pitfalls of electronic trading of this commodity, especially given relatively recent experiences with the electricity supply situation in the State of California, as well as the demise of Enron. A number of patterns, trading practices and regulatory concerns are highlighted. At the same time though similar underlying problems are applicable in all industrialized nations and selected examples are provided.
Keywords: electronic markets, electronic business, competition, regulation, electricity industry

Electronic commerce: conceptual pitfalls and practical realities (pp429447)
Robin Mansell
This paper offers a critical assessment of the development of business-to-business electronic commerce. Focusing particularly on the use of Internet-based 'many-to-many' electronic marketplaces, the practical reality of the experience of B2B electronic commerce for a sample of garment and horticulture sector firms in Bangladesh, Kenya and South Africa is examined. The limitations of conventional transaction cost perspectives on the development of electronic commerce are considered. A conceptual framework is applied that gives greater emphasis to institutional structures and practices and to the specific characteristics of the markets and supply chains in which firms operate. The empirical results suggest that in contrast to speculation about the benefits of Internet-based many-to-many electronic markets especially for firms in developing countries, for firms that are already engaged in international trade, the emergence of restricted access Internet-based trading and new ways of integrating supply chain information are the most significant developments. The paper considers some of the factors that are likely to influence future developments in B2B electronic commerce and the lessons for policy makers and practitioners.
Keywords: electronic commerce, global supply chains, garments, horticulture, developing countries

Competition processes and the management of innovation (pp449-465)
Michael Gibbons
This paper presents two different forms of research practices: Mode 1 and Mode 2. These forms of knowledge production are adumbrated not so much to demonstrate their radical differences, though there are some, but as a way of calling attention to the fact that, in both modes, static and dynamic competition are at work. It will come as no surprise to academics to be told that their research is carried out in a competitive context. Competition for ideas and for intellectual leadership in a particular field or sub-field is the bread and butter of academic life. In industry, too, the observation that research takes place in a competitive environment would be uncontentious were it not for the fact that researchers in business management seem reluctant to take on board the uncertainties that competition generates and to put their intellectual energies into developing specific strategies that are appropriate to two diverse forms of competition. The argument moves on to spell out the differences that specify static and dynamic competition, as they occur in the innovation process. This raises the crucial question of the importance of boundary work in generating innovation in both academic and industrial contexts. The nature of boundary work is then related to different types of competition and then to the appropriate organisational imperatives of each. The paper concludes by asking for how much longer can research into business management carry on ignoring the fact that fundamentally different approaches to management are required in these two radically different environments.
Keywords: knowledge production, competition, design configurations, transaction spaces

Twenty-five years of evolving information privacy law--where have we come from and where are we going? (pp467-475)
Michael Kirby
The author chaired two Expert Groups of the OECD including that on privacy, whose guidelines form the basis of the legal regimes in Australia, New Zealand and many other countries. He reviews the success of those guidelines and the defects disclosed by time and by the remarkable advances in information technology since the guidelines were adopted in 1980. He then explores the revival of interest in the protection of privacy in the courts as a common law entitlement, instancing the recent decision of the Australian High Court in the Lenah Game Meats Case. The difficulty which the common law faces in responding to the challenge of informatics is then explored by reference to the decision in Dow Jones v Gutnik concerned with liability for defamation on the Internet. Finally, the author considers two contemporary problems: genetic privacy and terrorism. On the latter, he concludes with a reminder of the need to uphold civic rights, including privacy, so as to ensure that the terrorists, although losing, do not win.
Keywords: privacy, relevance of advances in technology, Australian acceptance of a tort of privacy, genetic data privacy and its protection, terrorism and privacy, protection of basic human rights whilst combating terrorism

Review Articles

The Prometheus school of information economics (pp477-486)
Jason Potts
This paper reviews 20 years of information economics in Prometheus. It finds broad coherence about the theme of information as knowledge-capital, as distinct from information as a message in a market-space. The paper suggests that micro-foundations for the Prometheus school of information economics should be based in evolutionary micro-economic theory rather than in neoclassical micro-economic theory.
Keywords: information economics, evolutionary economics, growth of knowledge

Prometheus unbound: 20 years of communication policy research (pp487-496)
Gerard Goggin
In this article I review 20 years of writing on communication policy in Prometheus. I examine the contribution Prometheus has made to three areas of knowledge about communication policy: communication itself, its histories, and broad notions of communication policy; telecommunications; and new communication technology. I suggest that it is in the latter two areas focusing on the technological dimensions of communication policy, that the journal has consistently contributed genuinely innovative work. Here the journal has fostered interdisciplinary writing and enquiry where policy and technology developments most required critique and new ideas.
Keywords: communication policy, telecommunications, new communications technology, communication history

Innovation: principles, processes and policy. a review of the contribution of Prometheus in its first 20 years (pp497-508)
Peter Hall
This paper reviews the contribution that Prometheus has made over the past 20 years to the literature on innovation, innovation policy and technological change. I offer first a necessarily subjective view of how the research literatures of innovation and innovation policy have developed in recent decades. I then compare that account with an interpretation of the emphases and trends in the corresponding areas in Prometheus. The research literatures involved are vast, located in many specific discipline areas and cross many discipline boundaries. While my 'home' discipline is economics I believe much can still be learned from the flexible and imaginative use of economics to frame research inquiry in the innovation area.
Keywords: innovation, innovation policy, technological innovation, technological change, economics, Prometheus.

Science policy: two views from two decades (pp509521)
Susan E. Cozzens
Science policy, as the theme appears in Prometheus over the last 20 years, has been represented by discussions of industrial competitiveness. Many comparative articles have appeared under this theme, as well as evaluations of policies aimed at innovation. By the mid-1980s, articles in Prometheus were tracing the emergence of the knowledge economy, with some of its associated issues. The issue of human resources for the knowledge economy has received scant attention, however, but Prometheus authors have discussed public participation in science policymaking and setting priorities. Finally, authors have noted and analyzed the closer management of Australian science to direct it toward economic ends. Overall, Prometheus has tracked the dominant themes of science policy in other OECD countries well, and also given space to issues that are less prominent but nonetheless important.
Keywords: science policy, competitiveness, human resources, priorities, management

Some notes on 20 years of book reviews in Prometheus (pp523-534)
D. P. Doessel
After considering several alternative ways of approaching the task of 'reviewing book reviews', this paper presents some descriptive data on the book-reviewing function in Prometheus during the 20-year period from 1983 to 2002. It is shown that the average annual number of reviews is approximately 32 and that there is approximately one review article per annum. The proportion of total pages devoted to the book-review function is also calculated. A disaggregated analysis of the books reviewed, in terms of the five themes of Prometheus, i.e. Technological Change, Innovation, Information Economics, Communication and Science Policy, is also presented.
Keywords: Prometheus, book reviews, technological change, innovation, information economics, communication, science policy

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