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Edited by Alan B. Albarran

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Jim Skea, Renée van Diemen, Matthew Hannon, Evangelos Gazis and Aidan Rhodes

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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

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Patrizio Bianchi, Sandrine Labory and Clemente Ruiz Durán

The beginning of the twenty-first century is turning out to be full of disruptions and challenges for economies and societies. Climate change, world population growth, migratory pressures, are pressing challenges; the financial crisis has had a dramatic effect and many economies have had difficulties in recovering their pre-crisis development level. Meanwhile, innovation and technological changes are accelerating, in various fields including genomics, nanotechnologies, information and communication technologies (ICTs) and big data, robotics and artificial intelligence, new materials, and others. ICTs, with the Internet of Things (IoT), the Cloud, big data, are allowing hyper-connection of people and objects and digitisation of production processes. The change induced is so disruptive that there is quite wide consensus that we are experiencing an industrial revolution, the fourth one. New means of production and new products are appearing and will continue doing so, changing individuals’ life in important aspects, namely economic, social and cultural.

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Trent J. MacDonald

Much has been said about the vices and virtues of democracy. Democracy, said Benjamin Franklin, is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. Lord Acton warned that democracy is susceptible to a ‘tyranny of the majority’. Winston Churchill told us that democracy is actually the worst form of government . . . except for every other form that has been tried. Not without irony, he also said that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. H. L. Mencken described democracy as the theory that people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. These quotes speak to the majoritarian dimension of democracy and the reality that even in the best-of-functioning systems 49 per cent of the people can remain unhappy. To be sure, in most modern democracies even a less-than-majority popular vote can carry an election, due to the peculiarities of electoral systems.5 Democracy, in other words, is a system to ensure that some people get what they want; it is not a system to allow everyone to do so.

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Trent J. MacDonald

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Patrizio Bianchi and Sandrine Labory

This introductory chapter to the book reviews global trends in markets, focusing on globalisation and digitalisation. It is argued that the global economy seems to have entered a new phase after the financial crisis, whereby flows of goods no longer exponentially rise while data flows boom. This new phase can therefore be called ‘digital globalisation’, spurred by the fourth industrial revolution, the meaning and implications this book aims at analysing, especially regarding industry and industrial policy.

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Patrizio Bianchi and Sandrine Labory

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Marina van Geenhuizen, J. Adam Holbrook and Mozhdeh Taheri

This chapter presents the theme, theoretical approaches and overview of the chapters in the book. The theme is the contribution of cities (their actors) to increased sustainability in social-technical systems, eventually by accelerating sustainability improvements. The selected systems are energy, transport and healthcare. Cities may act as the cradle of key inventions, as places of up-scaling and commercialization and as places of quick adoption, though few individual cities take up all these roles. Next, several urban innovation theories are introduced, including agglomeration and cluster theories, and the relational (collaboration) approach, with the aim to ‘position’ the chapters. Specific attention is given to the entrepreneurial ecosystem approach. Complementary approaches are institutional and governance perspectives, in particular with respect to cities acting as institutional innovators. A final approach is the evolutionary approach, as invention, up-scaling, commercialization and adoption of new technology are concerned with long time-lines and manifold uncertainties.

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Shin-yi Peng, Han-Wei Liu and Ching-Fu Lin

This chapter will explore the interplay between law and technology, focusing on the pertinent trade issues within megaregionals. As globalization has created markets that cross borders, there is an increasing reliance on diverse types of international legal instruments to govern science and technology. The reality is that the differences in regulatory regimes become more significant as trade obstacles. Manufacturers or service suppliers often confront challenges when attempting to comply with diverse national regulatory measures. At the forefront, the questions to ask are whether the emergence of various bilateral or megaregionals help promote regulatory cooperation/coherence? Or, has such phenomenon raised more questions than it has answered in terms of regulatory divergence? What mechanisms do the multilateral, plurilateral, or bilateral economic integration arrangements design to reduce regulatory divergence? We will engage in a critical review on pertinent law-making and jurisprudence to offer a systematic examination on regulatory convergence of technology law.