New Ideas in the Tradition of Galbraith
Edited by Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 14: Privatization and the Management of Intellectual Property Rights: The Case of the British Defence Research Establishments
Jordi Molas-Gallart and Puay Tang In the nature of the market, one organization or enterprise sells to another, and the boundaries between the two are sharp. This same delineation characterizes the private firm selling, say, powdered milk to the Department of Agriculture. But when planning replaces the market and identification and adaptation supplement pecuniary compensation, matters are very different. No sharp line separates government from the private firm; the line becomes very indistinct and even imaginary. … Each organization … is an extension of the other. John Kenneth Galbraith The New Industrial State 4th edn, pp. 324–25 1. INTRODUCTION The study of economic and political activity would be easier were we able to distinguish clearly between the spheres of government and private activity. Public policy analysts strive to establish a sharp distinction between the concepts of public and private,1 while economists usually assume the existence of such a division. In political discourse the dichotomy is also very convenient, either to depict a state (public) threatening individual (private) freedoms, or supplying a communal solution to the excesses of private greed. Yet more than three decades ago John Kenneth Galbraith argued that this distinction was either very tenuous or simply non-existent. This was particularly the case in areas like defence procurement (Galbraith 1985, p. 322). Here, following Galbraith, the need to plan and manage the acquisition of complex systems, leads to complex decision processes in which the ‘technostructure’2 of the supplying corporations and their peers in the public agencies work together through...
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