Futures of biotechnology and geopolitics
Richard Niemeyer and Juliann Allison
Institute for Research on World-Systems
University of California-Riverside
A Paper to be discussed at the
Genencor celebration seminar, June 9, 2006 in
New lead industries have been important elements in the rise and prolongation of economic hegemonies since the Dutch hegemony of the 17th century. British cotton textile manufacturers were able to make large profits exporting their goods all over the world in the early nineteenth century. As other countries developed cotton textile manufacturing and the profits declined, the British economy managed to stay ahead of the game by exporting the machinery that made cotton textiles, and then by moving into other capital goods sectors such as railroads and steamships. Similarly,
This research project compares the contemporary
biotechnology industries with world historical patterns of technological
development and globalization over the past two centuries in order to examine
the similarities and differences between
the British and
observers contend that the information technology industry has already run
through most of the standard course of the product cycle. Technological rents
are few and globalized competition over the costs of production and services,
with IT jobs being outsourced to the semiperiphery, seems to imply that this
sector will no longer serve as an engine of
Hegemonic Rise and Fall and New Lead Industries
The three hegemonies of the modern
world-system have been the Dutch in the seventeenth century, the British in the
nineteenth century, and the hegemony
Rennstich’s analyses (2001, 2004) of the
organizational, cultural and political requisites of the contemporary new lead
industries – information technology and biotechnology – imply that the
Figure 1: New Lead Industries Since the 14th Century: The Product Cycle
Our research examines the several related parts of
the biotechnology sector and compares them with one another. The biotechnology
sector is defined as all those potentially commercializable technologies that
are based on the life sciences – biology, botany, entomology, physiology,
genetics, and their overlaps with physical sciences such as chemistry, physics, and materials science. Our project
studies both the new and the old biotechnology. The new biotechnology has been
defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce as “technologies that manipulate
cellular, subcellular, or molecular components in living things to make
products, discover new knowledge about the molecular and genetic basis of life,
or modify plants, animals, and microorganisms to carry desired traits (DOC
2002).” The old biotechnology was composed of the
earlier economic uses of living organisms that have benefited from modern
scientific research, but that were prior to the discovery of recombinant DNA
and cell fusion. A comparative historical approach is necessary for
understanding the similarities and the differences between contemporary new
lead industries and those of the nineteenth century. The international history
of the old biotechnology is quite relevant for comprehending the early
comparative advantage that the
The principal industries that employ the new biotechnology are pharmaceuticals, animal and plant agriculture, specialty chemicals and food additives, environmental products and services, commodity chemicals, energy production and bioelectronics. Of these, we will focus primarily on medical and food-producing applications because these are likely to be quite different with regard to the amount of political and consumer resistance that they generate.
Previous Studies of the Biotechnology Industry
Since the early 1980’s, several major efforts have
been made to study the development of the biotechnology sector within the
Relevant data regarding biotechnology must be
gathered so as to develop timely and accurate statistical measures of the
economic scope and size of the U.S. biotechnology industry, the level of
growth, trade and performance in biotech markets, the level of R&D and
venture capital both in use by and available to biotech companies, as well as
the nature of existing and potential barriers to future growth. Data of this
nature will play an essential role in lawmakers and policy analyst’s ability to
effectively promote the future growth and the development of the
a study by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) of the U.S. Congress (OTA
1984) compared the United States’s
competitiveness in biotechnology of the with that of Germany, Japan,
the United Kingdom, France, and
Switzerland with regard to ten factors argued to be important for
competitiveness (see below). The study
concluded that, with regard to all of these factors, the
In 2002 the United States Department of Commerce
(DOC) commissioned a new study to assess the current status of the
International agreements and institutions are also important factors that need to be taken into account in order to understand the profitability and multiplier effects of new lead technologies. It is necessary now to understand and evaluate current trajectories of international economic, political and military competition and conflict, as well as conditions and trends in the world political economy as a whole.
Waves of international economic integration (trade and investment globalization) are relevant for understanding the economic consequences of biotechnology (e.g. Chase-Dunn, Kawano and Brewer 2000). If financial instability or environmental problems cause the world economy to stagnate, or if conflicts increase to the point that economic production and exchange are greatly reduced, comparative advantages due to biotechnology would be postponed and international diffusion would have a greater chance to reduce technological rents.
are several institutional and contextual differences between the
Many earlier studies of biotechnology tried to create accurate economic indicators that could be used to forecast future trends in the biotech industry. Our research project is the next logical step in the twenty-year effort to understand and document the evolution of biotechnology in the global political economy. Our project makes use of the statistical data that has emerged from earlier studies to build parameterized models that take into consideration the effects of public opinion, foreign competition, global political climate, and the historical growth curves of previous lead industries.
Our research focuses upon
the geopolitical aspects and consequences of the food-producing and medical
biotechnology industries. How will these industries affect the global
distribution of economic and military power in the next decades? Will they be big money-making successes that
will help to facilitate another round of
v Medical and food-producing biotechnology research and development,
v Medical and food-producing biotechnology firms that are developing products, and
v Public attitudes toward biotechnological research and products.
v National and global policies that are intended to regulate and test genetically engineered products, and to regulate medical biotechnology research and development.
In research we make a rough division between medical biotechnology and food-producing biotechnology, though we recognize that some firms, especially those that manufacture industrial biochemical products are involved in both of these categories. We make this distinction in order to examine how these different kinds of biotechnology may by related quite differently to public attitudes. Agricultural biotechnology is the application of genomics to create new crops, new sources of animal protein, and to protect crops, humans and domesticated animals from pests. Much of agricultural biotechnology is intended to improve the human food supply by lowering the costs of production and by improving the products. Medical biotechnology is intended to improve human health by developing new medicines and techniques for preventing diseases, curing ailments, producing products for transplants and improving the genetic makeup of individuals.
We compare the biotechnology sector with the information technology and nuclear power industries. The latter is particularly important because it is a case of a global industry that experienced a significant contraction because of public resistance and political regulation. This observation challenges the contention in the OTA study (1984) that public opinion is a relatively less important factor influencing the development of an industrial sector.
to comparing new lead industries to one another, we will examine the ways in
which new lead industries interact. Much has been written about the interaction
between information technology and biotechnology in research, and some
commercialization efforts are clearly combinations of the two, e.g.,
bioelectronics. But information technology has also lowered the cost of
long-distance communication so greatly that the “tyranny of distance” has been
massively reduced (Rosenau 1999). And this has consequences for any region’s or
national society’s efforts to garner technological rents. Scientists
communicate with each other so rapidly and effectively by means of Internet
collaboratories and email that new discoveries diffuse rapidly to all the
corners of the world. This, the internationalization of higher
education, and the willingness to pay high salaries for talented migrants, has
made it possible for new centers of biotechnology research to rapidly emerge in
places like India, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, the Peoples’ Republic of
Several scenarios regarding growth of biotech
profitability and potential impacts on
New Lead Industries and the Hegemonic Sequence
New lead technologies have long been important causes of the rise and prolongation of hegemony in the modern world-system. The political and military powers of states in the modern world-system are facilitated and sustained by competitive advantages in the production of highly profitable goods. Rising hegemons (or “world leaders” in the terminology of Modelski and Thompson 1996) manage to innovate new profitable modes of trade and production that allow them to finance political and military advantages over other states. Thus the sequence of new lead technologies and their distribution across potentially competing core states is an important subject of study for understanding both the past and the future of hegemonic rise and fall and world politics.
The hegemonic sequence has alternated between two
structural situations as hegemonic core powers rise and fall: hegemony and
hegemonic rivalry. The three hegemonies of the modern world-system have been
the Dutch in the 17th century, the British in the nineteenth century
and the hegemony of the
Recent research by Joachim Rennstich (2001, 2004) retools
Giovanni Arrighi’s (1994) formulation of the reorganizations of the
institutional structures that connected finance capital with imperial
structures to facilitate the emergence of larger and larger hegemons over the
last six centuries. Modelski and Thompson (1996) argued that the British
successfully managed to enjoy two “power cycles,” one in
the eighteenth and another in the nineteenth century. With this precedent in
mind, Rennstich considers the possibility that the
New lead industries typically follow a growth curve in which a period of innovation and relatively slow growth is followed by a period of implementation, adaptation and rapid growth as the technologies spread, which is later followed by a period of saturation in which growth slows down (Storper and Walker 1989). The logistic or S-curve is the hypothetical form, which is only approximated in the actual records of new lead industries in economic history.
New lead industries are important as the bases of hegemonic rises because they have huge spin-offs for the national economies in which they first emerge, spurring growth far beyond the original sectors in which they appear, and because they generate “technological rents.” Technological rents are the large profits that return to innovators because they enjoy a monopoly over their inventions. The first firm to market a calculator that calculated a square root at the press of a key was able to sell that calculator for several hundreds of dollars. Now one can buy these for $4.00 in the checkout line at the supermarket. Patents, legal protections of monopolies justified by the idea that technological innovation needs to be rewarded, can extend the period in which technological rents may be garnered. But all products eventually follow the “product cycle” in which technological rents are reduced because competing producers enter the market, and profits are reduced to a small percentage of the immediate cost of production. Inputs such as labor costs, raw materials, and transport costs become the major determinants of profitability as a production becomes more standardized and routine (Vernon 1966, 1971).
The ability to innovate new products and to stay at the profitable edge of the product cycle is one of the most important bases of successful core production in the modern world-system. Products typically move to the semiperiphery or the periphery as production becomes routinized. The cotton textile industry was a new lead industry in the early nineteenth century, but it spread from the English midlands to other core states and to semiperipheral locations (such as New England, and later the U.S. South), and eventually it moved on to the periphery. Thus the product cycle is important in the reproduction of the core/periphery hierarchy, but it is also important in determining relative competitive advantages within the core. Some core countries are better than others at innovation and implementation of new lead technologies, and it is the ability to concentrate these by means of strategic research and development activities, usually including important public investments and coordination of educational institutions and industry, that allows some core countries to do better than others.
Figure 2: Core States Share of World GDP, 1820-1998.
Other scholars have a different interpretation of the recent trends. The reversal of the downward trend in Figure 1 is interpreted by Arrighi and Silver (1999) as the functional equivalent of the “Edwardian belle epoque” that occurred during the salad days of finance capitalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century decline of British hegemony. Many observers have noted that the rise to centrality of finance capital has been a key element of economic globalization in recent decades (e.g. Sassen 2001, Henwood 1998). Arrighi (1994) points out that this shift from the centrality of trade and production toward accumulation based on financial services is typical of late periods in the “systemic cycles of accumulation” and signifies the decline of the contemporary hegemon. The comparative advantage of the hegemon in new lead industries declines as challengers rise, but the old hegemon is able to continue to make profits because of its monetary, financial and military advantages.
in the 1990s of the
The “new economy speak” of the last decade was typical of periods of financial speculation in which hypothetical future earning streams are alleged to be represented in the value of securities. But the stock market operates according to a middle-run time horizon. Profits need to be made within the next few years. Investments that do not pay a return sooner than a decade hence are nearly valueless in conventional financial calculations. This is why basic science is considered a public good that is usually financed by governments. It is not usually reasonable to expect a financial return soon enough for private investors, even venture capitalists, to assume the necessary risks.
An important part of the availability of public and
private investments in
High Technology Industries as New Lead Industries
High technology industries are identified as science-based industries that manufacture products while performing above-average levels of research and development (OECD 1989). Currently, these industries include aerospace, pharmaceuticals, computers and office machinery, communication equipment, and scientific medical equipment . Although no single methodology exists for identifying high-technology industries, most calculations rely on a comparison of industry R&D expenditures, the number of scientists, engineers, and technicians employed, and the total of the industry’s shipments (NSB 2004).
demand for high technology products is growing at a faster rate than other
manufactured goods, and as a result, driving international economic development
(NSB 2004). Specifically, from 1980 to
2001, production of high technology goods grew at an inflation-adjusted average
annual rate of 6.5%-and as high as 8.9% during the technological boom of the
late 1990’s- with outputs doubling from 7.7% of global production of all
manufactured goods in 1980 to 15.8% in 2001.
During this same time period, the inflation-adjusted average annual rate
for all other manufactured goods grew at a mere 2.4%. Until the year 2000, the
technology industries are driving economic development because of their
consistent ability to produce products with greater levels of added value above
and beyond other manufacturing industries and increased tendency to be more
successful in foreign markets (NSB 2004). This value added revenue to high technology
products is thus results in higher wages for workers, higher profits for
investors, and increased R&D after production costs are covered. Higher profits and increased R&D tend
also to allow for expanded business opportunities and the development of future
innovations. In the
In order for
biotechnology to function as a new lead industry that could serve as a basis
for a new round of
Both the OTA
(1984) and the DOC (2002) identified several possible
factors that could be key to
Ø Financing and tax incentives for firms;
Ø Government funding for basic and applied research;
Ø Personnel availability and training;
Ø Health, safety and environmental regulation;
Ø Intellectual property law;
Ø University/industry relations;
Ø Anti-trust law;
Ø International technology transfer, investment, and trade;
Ø Targeted public policies in biotechnology; and
Ø Public perceptions.
This is a good list of factors, though some important things are missing and it may turn out that relegation of public perceptions to the bottom of the list was a mistake. Our study considers these additional contextual processes and trends along with the factors specified by the OTA and DOC.
Figure 3 illustrates our key hypotheses about factors that influence the likelihood of the
biotechnology industry serving as a basis for a new round of
Figure 3: Diffusion and Resistance Lower the Impact of Biotechnology
Allegedly high start-up costs of
biotechnology research and development should retard the emergence of
competitors. This relationship is
widely regarded as part of the explanation for why biotechnology
research, development and commercialization in Europe and
of technology may also be increased through cross-industry and cross-national
technology linkages. Since the 1980’s,
the speed, complexity, and multidisciplinary nature of scientific research has
increasingly encouraged technology alliances for the purpose of increased
innovation and long term competitiveness.
The outsourcing and collaboration created by these alliances are
attempts to reduce costs, expedite projects, and complement internal R&D
capabilities. Between 1991 and 2001,
of these international alliances are fostered by the continually increasing
internationalization of higher education.
Along with generating these cross-national technological linkages, U.S.
trained foreign born researchers who return to home greatly enhance the quality
and competitiveness of their countries science and engineering industries.
The emergence of
Another factor that may affect the
profitability of commercialized biotechnology is consumer resistance to genetically
modified foods (Buttel 1999). Japanese consumers have refused to purchase
genetically modified soybeans, and
Despite their success abroad, campaigns to raise awareness have so far not been very successful in the
We have already noted that information technology may have made technological rents much harder to concentrate within a single nation. It may also be the case that the low cost of transnational communication due to advances in information technology makes it much easier for transnational social movements to mobilize resistance to controversial new technologies, and this may play an important role in the future of biotechnology.
We make the distinction between medical and food-producing biotechnology in the diagram produced in Figure 2 because we believe that it is likely that public opinion will affect these subsectors differently. People’s food preferences and choices are highly conditioned by cultural beliefs and practices, as well as collective and individual identities. People are not usually willing to take risks regarding food consumption, except under famine conditions. In most of the world today, but especially in the large markets of the core, food purchases are discretionary, and so they can easily be influenced by public opinion and attitudes. Medicinal choices are rather different. Doctors prescribe the most profitable pharmaceuticals, and people are not likely to object to the use of a drug that is produced by biotechnology if the drug is alleged to be effective in the treatment of acute medical problems.
In a cross-national study involving Europe,
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that, upon specific triggering, posses the ability to become specific cells. This unique ability allows for the development of cell based therapies, known as regenerative or reparative medicine, which will allow for the treatment and prevention of diseases, disorders, and birth defects through the creation of new, healthy cells. Stem cells can be found in two types, embryonic and adult (somatic). As indicated by the nomenclature, embryonic stem cells are derived from in-vitro fertilized human embryos while somatic stem cells can be found in adult organs (although they are rare and difficult to find). Although both types have their pros and cons regarding research, embryonic stem cells are generally considered to be more useful given their ability to be come any type of cell (not just the type from the organ they are derived from) and they can be easily harvested (relatively) through human cloning. Ironically, the very traits that make embryonic stem cells so useful, makes both them and the science itself extremely unpopular (NIH).
Public opinion in
Tendencies to support or not support stem cell research tend to track closely with opinions of abortion, as well as with level of conservatism and religiosity of the respondent (themselves highly correlated). In a Time Magazine national telephone poll, 20% of respondents agreed with President Bush’s restrictions on embryonic stem cell research ( 29% of which identified as born again Christian), 22% agreed that government funding should not be used to support embryonic stem cell research (29% identified as born again Christian), and 37% did not believe other states should take California’s lead in creating state sponsored initiatives (49% identified as born again Christian). On the contrary, 50% of respondents agreed with the Californian initiative (33% identified as born again Christian), and 53% believed other states should follow suit (41% identified as born again Christian).
The effects of religious conservatism on
of the recent attention paid to the international aspects of agricultural and
medical biotechnology impacts has focused on North/South issues about patenting
of genomes and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the effects of the
industrialization of agriculture on peasantries in the
(2001) cites European backlash against biotechnology and GMOs as a response to
workers’ frustrations against
globalization and the United States‘s
dominance in the production of new technologies. Because many of the emerging biotechnology
To the extent that the causal relations in Figure 3 are future outcomes we cannot test them; however, we can quantify trends in recent decades and see how they interact temporally and spatially with one another using time-series analysis, and these examinations will be used to parameterize alternative models of the future. The main unit of analysis for our research is the world-system as a whole, especially those countries and transnational networks that are engaging in biotechnology research and product development, but also those countries that may become important markets for biotechnology products. We are studying trends in public opinion regarding genetically modified organisms and public policies regarding research, product testing, and regulation of both the biotech industry and of imports of genetically modified organisms. Large retailers of food products have been noticeably important players in the drama of resistance to transgenic foods because of their susceptibility to consumer boycotts, and so they need to be studied as well.
One of the
causes of hegemonic decline has been the reluctance of older economic elites to
allow the emergence of new kinds of business enterprises that are perceived to
threaten the older interests. Rennstich (2000) contends that the United States should suffer less from
this problem than did Great Britain because it is so large and is composed of
quite different regions, and also that there is some institutional separation
between old and new industries. As an example he points to the NASDAQ stock
exchange that specializes in new technologies, while older firms are listed on
the New York Stock Exchange. Of more relevance, perhaps, are episodic
efforts by the
Much has been made of the fact that only the United States has seen the emergence of a large crop of “new biotechnology firms” (NBFs). These are small start-ups funded mainly by venture capital and the scientific entrepreneurs who start them to commercialize biotechnology. Other competing countries have sought to incubate NBFs because they seem to be more innovative and dedicated than the research and development divisions of larger firms. In contrast, Borrus and Millstein (1984) point out that these start-ups have little ability to bring products to market on a large scale, and so they usually affiliate with, or are bought by, older large firms in the relevant industries. In the case of biotechnology there has been little government anti-trust effort to counter-act the tendency of the older firms to sit on new products that threaten their profits in established product lines. Whether or not these factors can account for some of the slowness associated with parts of the biotechnology industry in becoming productive and profitable is a matter that bears investigation.
Our project employs two different research strategies in order to answer the questions described above. The first is a strategy of historical incorporated comparisons of industrial sectors in the core and non-core countries of the modern world-system since 1850, and the second utilizes a more formal and quantitative approach to the study of the new biotechnology in the global system since 1980.
The historical incorporated comparison part of the
project compares both the old and new biotechnology with the other main new
lead industries of the British and
We will also use the historical incorporated comparison method to study the post World War II emergence and development of information technology and nuclear energy with an eye to both comparison with and interaction with the new biotechnology. In practice, we will rely on the evidence that has been produced by those business, economic, and technology historians and social scientists who have studied these industries. We shall also search for relevant primary data sources, but what we find will probably be too patchy to allow for a systematic quantitative approach.
The second research design employs a quantitative time-mapping approach to the new biotechnology as we have defined it above. We use the definitions of new biotechnology and the firms that are commercializing it developed by the DOC (2002). The main strategy is to time-map the emergence of biotechnology research, education, commercialization, and profitability on a global scale, along with the consequent critical discourse about biotechnology issues.
This effort involves globally geocoding and time referencing the emergence and growth of basic and applied biotechnology-related programs in institutions of higher learning, and government agencies from 1980 to 2005. We code the dates these institutions were founded, as well as their sizes and their headquarters and subsidiary locations. This process will allow us to track the rate and locations of diffusion of biotechnology research and development. We update previous studies and recode them for purposes of testing our hypotheses. In addition, we expand our study to all the countries of the world that have research and development programs in basic and applied biotechnology.
We will use a similar approach to the formation of firms that are involved in biotechnology commercialization. Here we use the definitions of biotechnology-producing firms developed by the OTA (1984). We code firms according to size, degree of specialization, date of foundation (and termination), and the type biotechnology they are working on. Again, we will update and expand previous studies to include all the countries of the world that have such firms. We study the distribution of small and large firms involved in biotechnology research and production in each country, but will not study firms that supply biotechnology-producing firms. One important data-set on biotechnology firms is the Bioscan Database (n.d.), which reports the number of employees, major investors, foundation date of the firm, date of beginning biotech research and development, current products, size of facilities, products in development and stock history.
We intend to time-map basic and applied research that is both publicly and privately funded, though, in practice, information about private research funding is usually proprietary. Efforts to gather internationally comparable data on investments in biotechnology research and development were begun by the OTA (1984), and the United Nations Agenda 21 (UN 1995) initiative asserted the desirability of such comparable statistics. Not much has been accomplished, however, and so it is necessary to use proxy measures of investment in order to build measurement models for estimating the growth and diffusion of biotechnology development. We will also use other standard measures for crossnational comparisions such as patents granted, and scientific articles published. We will use the structural equations approach to multiple indicator measurement error modeling that combines the several different indicators of biotechnology activity for crossnational comparisons. This approach will help to reduce the errors that are due to important national differences in the meaning of individual indicators.
We study both large and small biotechnology companies, their products and sources of income and the similarities and differences across structures of biotechnology industries in different countries, and in comparison with other industries. We also study trends and international differences in public attitudes toward biotechnology as well as the emergence of government regulations regarding biotechnology.
We will rely on industry studies and national accounts statistics to estimate changes in the contribution of biotechnology industries to the GDP of all the countries that have biotechnology research, development or commercialization. We will study the network of international trade (both imports and exports) since 1980, with attention to the product categories within which biotechnology products are imbedded. It is impossible to distinguish with currently available trade statistics (e.g., International Monetary Fund Direction of Trade data) that portion of, for example, the trade in seeds that is composed of genetically modified seeds. But analysis of the changing structure of world trade in pharmaceutical products, grains, seeds for planting, and specialized and industrial chemicals that are know to be produced through biotechnology will allow us to estimate the changes in the size of the potential markets, the current market shares of the United States and competing countries, and to examine the international trade impacts of events such as the Japanese ban on genetically modified soy bean imports. This research will allow us to produce a global time-map of the temporal and geographical expansion of the biotechnology sector.
The second major focus of our quantitative research will be on public attitudes toward biotechnology research and products. Here we will content analyze articles that have appeared in newspapers and magazines all over the world since 1980 that report on activities in the biotechnology sector and on issues raised about the benefits and costs of biotechnology research and commercialization. We rely on the NexisLexis service to locate these articles. We code expressions of opinion that indicate positive, negative or neutral attitudes toward different kinds of biotechnology using the typologies listed above. These articles are geocoded and time-coded so that we are able to track trends and changes in attitudes in all the countries of the world. We also pay special attention to protest events, as well as to public and private conferences that are relevant for public discourse about biotechnology. We also intend to study the emergence of transnational and international nongovernmental organizations that are involved in issues regarding biotechnology.
The third major focus of research is a survey of formal public regulation of biotechnology as it has developed since 1980. Local, provincial and national state-level and international organization regulations are coded as revealed in news articles and formal reports of governmental and legislative agencies in all the countries of the world. We also track changes in patent laws and their enforcement and disputes about regulation.
the number of technology patents as an indicator of success in a particular
industry has several limitations. First,
many inventions in various countries are not patented at all due to already
existing protection of industrial trade secrets. Second, different industries and technology
areas do not exhibit the same propensity to patent their innovations, thus
making cross comparisons difficult.
Finally, the relative importance of inventions patented to a particular
field is not always consistent. The 1980
U.S. Supreme Court decision Diamond v. Chakrabarty established the precedent
that genetic information could be patented.
The problem was genetic information was being patented even though it
had no known use or function. Thus, in
2001 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office required that all genetic organism
patents requests must first establish at least one credibly and useful
utility. Europe and
In an attempt
to address these inconsistencies, a new database was recently created through
an international partnership of patent offices in the
The results of these three quantitative
research efforts will allow us to study the spatio-temporal relationships
between the expansion of the biotech sector and the emergence of both support
for and resistance to biotechnology. Then we shall use these results to
construct alternative scenarios of the future growth and spatial expansion of
commercialized biotechnology, and
its impact on the world economy and on the relative position of the
During the preliminary stages of our research project, we have been able to locate a large collection of primary and secondary data sources that will be drawn upon during our study. These data sets currently run from 1985 to 2003, and many will be updated annually through out our study so as to provide the most up to date data possible.
Data regarding public opinion of biotechnology will be drawn from the National Science Board Science & Engineering Indicators 1996-2002, and the European Union Eurobarometer 2002. Both are excellent sources providing data for opinions on agricultural and pharmaceuticals biotechnology separately, as an industry and science, as well as legislature involving the labeling of biotechnology products. Responses are also broken down by education, sex, and in the case of the Eurobarometer, country of origin.
Science & Engineering Indicators
will also serve as a data source for
Analysis of the relative competitiveness of various countries will be based upon their national orientation toward technological development (level at which business, government and culture encourage high technology development), their socioeconomic infrastructure (underlying physical, financial, and human resources needed to support the development of a high technology industry), their technological infrastructure (level of R&D available and ability to link R&D to industry) and their productive capacity (availability of skilled labor, number of indigenous high-technology companies). These assessments, including the raw data for their conclusions are available through Science & Engineering Indicators, and will also be expanded to include countries not currently within its scope.
employ formal network analysis, time-series analysis and spatio-temporal
structural equations modeling to study changes in the position of the
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 Time-mapping is the geocoding and temporal coding of events and observations of attributes.
 In 1984 the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment defined biotechnology as the industrial use of recombinant DNA, cell fusion and novel bioprocessing techniques (OTA 1984).
 As political
geographer Peter Taylor (1996) so wittily puts it, the
 The most important of these studies are those of Boswell and Sweat (1991), Modelski and Thompson 1996, Thompson (2000) and Arrighi and Silver (1999).
 “Power cycle” is Modelski and Thompson’s term for what Arrighi (1994) calls “systemic cycles of accumulation” and Chase-Dunn (1998) calls the “hegemonic sequence.”
(2004) does not rely entirely on biotechnology as the key new lead industry
that will fuel another round of
 See Chase-Dunn et al 2002.
In designating these high-technology industries, OECD took into account both
direct and indirect R&D intensities for 13 countries: the
 Gross value added equals gross output minus the cost of intermediate inputs and supplies.
 Philip McMichael (1990) has developed the strategy of historical incorporated comparison that compares the development of institutions within their world historical context. This is distinct from the more usual strategy of comparative history that emphasizes variation finding across cases. Historical incorporated comparison examines similarities and differences as well as temporal and geographical connections among cases. A fine recent example of this kind of research Beverly Silver’s (2003) study of global labor unrest since the 1840s.
 Special attention will be paid to the
 For example, patents of biotech processes have been
used to indicate the growth of economic activity, but this may be a problematic
indicator for purposes of crossnational comparison because some countries (e.g.
 NexisLexis will allow us to search the whole text of articles from the Associate Press, BBC, Japan Economic Newswire, Latin American Newsletters, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Xinhua News Service from 1980 to the present.