Real reason Soviet Union Collapsed - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14500070
spodi wrote:Can I please have an idiot argue how Reagan destroyed the IDEA of communism pleeease. Or have someone tell me I'm wrong so I can pretend that I'm right and give you select generalities of how he did lol.


Apparently, the idea of communism has not been destroyed, since has been embraced at all the liberal universities and is practically a mantra of the Democrat National Committee. No one suggested that Ronald Reagan destroyed an idea. He certainly defeated the USSR. He certainly DISCREDITED the idea of communism, but that was already accomplished by Aleksander Solzhenitzen.

Reagan was the greatest president in history for two major accomplishments. Taking America from the worst economy of all time to the best economy of all time and winning the Cold War without firing a shot.
#14500110
Apparently, the idea of communism has not been destroyed, since has been embraced at all the liberal universities and is practically a mantra of the Democrat National Committee.




I'm going to double down on my recommendation that you take a political science class.


Reagan was the greatest president in history for two major accomplishments. Taking America from the worst economy of all time to the best economy of all time and winning the Cold War without firing a shot.


Not one thing in that sentence is true.

Reagan was not the greatest president in history.

He did not take America from the worst economy of all time to the best economy of all time And wait for it.

He did not win the Cold War without firing a shot.

Other than the fact that from start to finish there was absolutely nothing true in what you said, your post was brilliant. Fox News and all old white men in Georgia would be proud of you.
#14500138
He did not win the Cold War without firing a shot.


He did win the cold war, but he is not the only that contributed to the victory.
#14500155
The Soviet Union collapsed because It was the first fully realized explication of the true Christian idea in the world, with one fatal and contradictory flaw; It was an Atheist secularist State. It could not last because Atheists are incapable of any lasting progressive development, their primary psychology making corruption, feather-nesting, and hedonism the acid which burns away any good associated with them in the longer term.

That being said, the Soviet Union was the heir of the mission of the God-Bearing Russian people and their Orthodox faith, and thus an extension, transformation, and universalization of 'Moscow the Third Rome' in time. It and it's legacy is part of the larger and sacred metahistorical Russian drama.
#14557059
The real reason why the Soviet Union Collapsed was its economic system, Goverment and individual entities were able to spend resources on negative or low return projects creating dead weight, coupled with overspending with little return and civil unrest, there is no way any system and survive like that.

The funny thing is, we are reapeating what the USSR went though, we are spending more and more on negative or low return projects, as our debt levels sky-rocket.

I however understand the argument of "Reagan the reason why the Soviet Union Collapsed" as the US was able to maintain a higher level of defence spending with little or no impact on other govermental functions, forcing the Soviet Union to spend more and more leaving little left to maintain the union.
#14557123
You are all soooo wrong!

The one and only real reason why the SU collapsed is because US hawks conspired to have the Vatican elect a Polish pope. That was the end of the communist regime in Warsaw, and by extension in the whole of the Warsaw pact.

But seriously, there were a number of reasons for the self-destruction of the Soviet system and Reagan was definitely NOT one of them. The Anglos have a somewhat distorted view of history and are blissfully ignorant of Central Europe, but that is where it all happened.

If I had to resume it in a single sentence, I would say "the Soviet leadership had lost faith in its own regime." They no longer had the determination to defend the regimes by having the tanks move against their own people, like the Chinese did at Tienanmen Square a couple of years later. To say that it was Gorbachev is silly because no person ever single-handedly decides on the future of a country, and certainly not a vast conglomerate like the SU. It was a substantial section of the Soviet leadership that no longer believed that their system was capable of delivering the goods. Most top cadres were keen on visiting Western capitals for shopping or for cultural events.

Moreover, detente and Ostpolitik had led them to believe they could be part of the rich capitalist world. That is nowhere more evident than at the interface between East and West in Germany. Most East Germans wanted to live near the border with West Germany to be able to watch West German TV. Most were obsessed with the idea of freely traveling abroad, buying bananas, oranges, blue jeans and all the other goodies they could see on TV.

The reckless introduction of capitalism and the selling off of state property under Yeltsin clearly proves this. They wanted to prosper by follow the West with a free market and with democracy. What they didn't understand is that the ideology of free-market/democracy primarily serves US imperialism. That's why Putin feels betrayed. The Russians sincerely wanted to be like us. The lesson is: never trust an Anglo imperialist, you will invariably get fucked over the head.
#14557308
annatar1914 wrote:The Soviet Union collapsed because It was the first fully realized explication of the true Christian idea in the world, with one fatal and contradictory flaw; It was an Atheist secularist State. It could not last because Atheists are incapable of any lasting progressive development, their primary psychology making corruption, feather-nesting, and hedonism the acid which burns away any good associated with them in the longer term.

That being said, the Soviet Union was the heir of the mission of the God-Bearing Russian people and their Orthodox faith, and thus an extension, transformation, and universalization of 'Moscow the Third Rome' in time. It and it's legacy is part of the larger and sacred metahistorical Russian drama.


Looking back, I can still agree with myself on this, which from my perspective is not an ordinary thing with me. I'm tired. I'm so goddamned tired of Capitalism and the kind of people that it contributes towards making, that I could scream.
#14557340
Atlantis wrote:You are all soooo wrong!

The one and only real reason why the SU collapsed is because US hawks conspired to have the Vatican elect a Polish pope. That was the end of the communist regime in Warsaw, and by extension in the whole of the Warsaw pact.

But seriously, there were a number of reasons for the self-destruction of the Soviet system and Reagan was definitely NOT one of them. The Anglos have a somewhat distorted view of history and are blissfully ignorant of Central Europe, but that is where it all happened.

If I had to resume it in a single sentence, I would say "the Soviet leadership had lost faith in its own regime." They no longer had the determination to defend the regimes by having the tanks move against their own people, like the Chinese did at Tienanmen Square a couple of years later. To say that it was Gorbachev is silly because no person ever single-handedly decides on the future of a country, and certainly not a vast conglomerate like the SU. It was a substantial section of the Soviet leadership that no longer believed that their system was capable of delivering the goods. Most top cadres were keen on visiting Western capitals for shopping or for cultural events.

Moreover, detente and Ostpolitik had led them to believe they could be part of the rich capitalist world. That is nowhere more evident than at the interface between East and West in Germany. Most East Germans wanted to live near the border with West Germany to be able to watch West German TV. Most were obsessed with the idea of freely traveling abroad, buying bananas, oranges, blue jeans and all the other goodies they could see on TV.

The reckless introduction of capitalism and the selling off of state property under Yeltsin clearly proves this. They wanted to prosper by follow the West with a free market and with democracy. What they didn't understand is that the ideology of free-market/democracy primarily serves US imperialism. That's why Putin feels betrayed. The Russians sincerely wanted to be like us. The lesson is: never trust an Anglo imperialist, you will invariably get fucked over the head.


I would disagree that the ideology of free-market/democracy primarily serves US imperialism, instead i would say the global institutions the US setted up to regulated and oversee global trade for example primarily serves US imperialism not free-market/democracy.

I would also agree that the Soviet leadership had lost faith in its own regime, however what lead them to that idea was the failing of their economic system, the people themseles also loss faith in communism because it stop being able to provide them a level of living, they saw the West was experiencing, for example domestic car production could only satisfied 45% of the domestic demand yet to prevent job being exported and not threaten Unions no import of cars was permitted. There were queues for the purchase of cars, domestic buyers often had to wait years because export had first priority..

In short i think their economic system was the reason they collapse, they couldn't keep up with rising wages and living standards of the west, and the leadership as well as the people just lose faith.
#14557421
Ahovking wrote:I would disagree that the ideology of free-market/democracy primarily serves US imperialism, instead i would say the global institutions the US setted up to regulated and oversee global trade for example primarily serves US imperialism not free-market/democracy.

Don't take me too seriously on this issue. I have to finish off every argument with a dig at US imperialism, otherwise it doesn't seem complete. And then I can't find the right emoticon to indicate exactly how much is serious and how much is humor.

I would also agree that the Soviet leadership had lost faith in its own regime, however what lead them to that idea was the failing of their economic system, the people themseles also loss faith in communism because it stop being able to provide them a level of living, they saw the West was experiencing, for example domestic car production could only satisfied 45% of the domestic demand yet to prevent job being exported and not threaten Unions no import of cars was permitted. There were queues for the purchase of cars, domestic buyers often had to wait years because export had first priority..

In short i think their economic system was the reason they collapse, they couldn't keep up with rising wages and living standards of the west, and the leadership as well as the people just lose faith.

We basically agree, except that I think that the economic demerits of the Soviet system are largely exaggerated. If we look at the GDR during the 80s, it wasn't doing that much worse than, for example, the UK. In public services including schooling, child care, healthcare, employment, etc., the GDR easily outperformed many Western countries.

What handicapped the Soviet bloc countries first and foremost was the exclusion from the world markets. Let's not forget, the US was waging economic war against the Soviet bloc like it has waged economic war against Cuba for all these years. Without the US blockade, a communist Cuba could be a very prosperous country.

While West Germany was able to import/export worldwide under the pax-Americana and had easy access to bananas, raw materials, electronic components from the far East, etc., East Germany (the Soviet bloc countries) had to make everything themselves. While West Germans were spending their holidays in Italy or Spain, the East Germans felt cloistered in in their little garden colonies on the Baltic sea. There is nothing wrong with spending your holidays on the Baltic, but this feeling of being imprisoned for life (only pensioners were allowed to leave) just ate at people.

But in the end, it was the loss of faith in the leadership. They didn't believe in their own system any-longer. And that is exactly the lesson the West needs to learn. The West is not inherently superior, like many seem to assume. Many in the West start to loose faith in their own system. There is no way we can justify military interventions in Iraq or Libya. There is no way we can justify destabilizing Syria or Ukraine with millions of refugees. There is no way we can justify secrete detention camps, torture or unlawful renditions. There is no way we can justify a financial system that is out off control and increasing inequality. These are so many maggots eating away at the Western narrative.
#14557464
Atlantis wrote:What handicapped the Soviet bloc countries first and foremost was the exclusion from the world markets. Let's not forget, the US was waging economic war against the Soviet bloc like it has waged economic war against Cuba for all these years. Without the US blockade, a communist Cuba could be a very prosperous country.

One thing I’d point out about this is that there’s quite a difference in geographical size and diversity between Cuba and the Soviet Union. Cuba is a small island and has no choice but to trade externally for prosperity. The same can’t really be said for the Soviet Union which looks like it was only surpassed in size by the British and Mongol Empires. The Soviets were almost unrivalled in their ability to be self sufficient.
Atlantis wrote:But in the end, it was the loss of faith in the leadership. They didn't believe in their own system any-longer. And that is exactly the lesson the West needs to learn. The West is not inherently superior, like many seem to assume. Many in the West start to loose faith in their own system. There is no way we can justify military interventions in Iraq or Libya. There is no way we can justify destabilizing Syria or Ukraine with millions of refugees. There is no way we can justify secrete detention camps, torture or unlawful renditions.

If the Soviet people had lost faith in their system, I would think it was because of a lack of forceful propaganda (or just force in general). Gorbachev had given them a taste of a change of style of government and when the old establishment tried to change it back to the old style, the people weren’t willing to accept it and the government weren’t willing to employ the necessary measures to put down the rebellion.

The West does have a lot of lessons to learn but lack of military intervention wouldn’t necessarily be something I’d go along with. Intervening, having a change of government on the part of the invading country (ie Republican to Democrat) and then having that new government withdraw the military before you have finished your task is something the West needs to avoid doing. I agree to an extent about Syria though and would have armed Assad instead of dreaming up some idea that arming Islamists would somehow be advantageous all round.
Atlantis wrote:There is no way we can justify a financial system that is out off control and increasing inequality. These are so many maggots eating away at the Western narrative.

I agree with this.
Anyway, something that I don’t think anyone has mentioned explicitly here is that the Soviets didn’t use the supply and demand price mechanism- they seemed to set the price for everything instead of letting the market do it for them. Some of you posted about inefficiency and I would completely agree that this is the major stumbling block. One of the main reasons the Soviet Union industrialised so quickly under Stalin (and in difficult circumstances) was the use of prisoners for slave labour. When this stopped, the Soviets didn’t have such an easily gained source of income.
#14557508
Paul Sanderson wrote:One thing I’d point out about this is that there’s quite a difference in geographical size and diversity between Cuba and the Soviet Union. ... The Soviets were almost unrivalled in their ability to be self sufficient.

I'm aware that the SU was much bigger and that it had the size to be self-sufficient in many ways, but not in all. I think you don't fully appreciate how the international division of labor determines the modern world. According to your argument, it could also be said that Europe is big enough to be self sufficient (leaving aside energy and raw materials), but if we were to be cut off from the Far East, for example, it would virtually destroy European industry. We simply wouldn't be able to make all the electronic components we import from the Far East.

I remember in the 80s, Europe's largest electronic manufacturers (Siemens and Phillips) joined forces to develop a 1M DRAM with enormous subsidies from the German and Dutch governments. They did not succeed! Oh, they did of course develop a product, but it could never have competed with Japanese products. In the end, they decided to import Japanese DRAMs. The East Germans too developed a 1M DRAM at the time, we will never know if it was any good because it never went into production; anyways, unlike their Western counterparts, they were prevented from importing all these things, which severely hampered their industrial development.
#14557530
Atlantis wrote:According to your argument, it could also be said that Europe is big enough to be self sufficient (leaving aside energy and raw materials), but if we were to be cut off from the Far East, for example, it would virtually destroy European industry. We simply wouldn't be able to make all the electronic components we import from the Far East.

Not to start with, and I wouldn’t recommend it either. But why wouldn’t we be able to make them ourselves?
Atlantis wrote:Europe's largest electronic manufacturers (Siemens and Phillips) joined forces to develop a 1M DRAM … but it could never have competed with Japanese products. In the end, they decided to import Japanese DRAMs…anyways, unlike their Western counterparts, they were prevented from importing all these things, which severely hampered their industrial development.

I’d think that it wouldn’t be so impossible for the Soviets to get hold of this new technology and copy its design. They managed to develop the nuclear bomb a few years after the United States through spying on the work of the Americans and it would only seem rational that the Americans would go to some lengths to prevent the Soviets getting that information (they wouldn’t even cooperate with the British on it despite the British being their closest allies and doing a lot of work on the Manhattan project). In comparison a microchip for a computer or something similar isn’t going to be hard to come by. The Chinese are particularly good at stealing design information these days I hear.
#14557678
Paul Sanderson wrote:Not to start with, and I wouldn’t recommend it either. But why wouldn’t we be able to make them ourselves?

I have given the answer in my previous post. Look at the example of Siemens/Phillips and the Soviets/GDR each trying to develop a 1M DRAM during the 80s! Both were capable of developing such a chip. But it wouldn't have been able to compete with Far Eastern chips. In the scenario of a closed Soviet or closed European economy, you can build that chip even if it has half the performance and cost twice as much as a comparable Japanese chip. You cannot export it, but you can force domestic industry to use your inferior and uneconomic chip. The result is that all of your domestic industry that has to use inferior and uneconomic parts becomes non-competitive. Since more and more of your domestic industry becomes non-competitive, you need to increase protectionist measures, which again results in even worse products. This is a downward spiral.

Every "closed" economy using protectionist measures has made this experience. For example, when the Spanish economy was liberalized after 40 years of protectionism under Franco, most of it was useless, and technology had fallen behind other countries. They never really recovered even today and still depend on real estate to drive the economy. The Spanish made cars roughly 70 years before the Koreans, yet due to protectionism (i.e. a closed economy) they fell back technologically. Something similar happened to Soviet bloc countries.

I’d think that it wouldn’t be so impossible for the Soviets to get hold of this new technology and copy its design.

That's not how technological innovation works. You can reverse-engineer a state of the art product. But by the time you get your product line up and running it is already old technology and your competitor has put the next generation onto the market. Some of the Asian technology conglomerates put a new generation on the market every 2 years and a new version every 6 months. No Western company can compete with that. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. The unions wouldn't allow it, and the shareholders looking for a fast return on investment won't allow it.

As an aside, it is rather funny that France and other Latin countries look towards protectionism because they have a hard time keeping up with the competition. It is so obvious that protectionism will only make them less competitive.
#14557711
Atlantis wrote:I have given the answer in my previous post. Look at the example of Siemens/Phillips and the Soviets/GDR each trying to develop a 1M DRAM during the 80s! Both were capable of developing such a chip. But it wouldn't have been able to compete with Far Eastern chips.

My question was why we wouldn’t be able to do it ourselves, not why wouldn’t we be able to do it to the same standard. You will never be able to outperform everyone at everything but you could still innovate, manufacture and steal technology to a high standard with a population the size of Europe and a country with the population and geographical reach of the Soviet Union.
Atlantis wrote:In the scenario of a closed Soviet or closed European economy, you can build that chip even if it has half the performance and cost twice as much as a comparable Japanese chip. You cannot export it, but you can force domestic industry to use your inferior and uneconomic chip.

There’s no reason why it would be half the standard (whatever that is) when you consider the technological achievements of the Europeans and the Soviets. That last sentence you wrote is true though.
Atlantis wrote:The result is that all of your domestic industry that has to use inferior and uneconomic parts becomes non-competitive. Since more and more of your domestic industry becomes non-competitive, you need to increase protectionist measures, which again results in even worse products. This is a downward spiral.

You assume that everything this hypothetical country (or the Soviet Union) makes is substandard and could never be exported. Remember, as others have pointed out the Soviets made a lot of scientific breakthroughs in their time and they weren’t totally isolated from the rest of the world. Where they may have trailed in some areas they excelled in many others.
Atlantis wrote:Every "closed" economy using protectionist measures has made this experience. For example, when the Spanish economy was liberalized after 40 years of protectionism under Franco, most of it was useless, and technology had fallen behind other countries.

I don’t think any economy is fully closed off, not even North Korea. Protectionism isn’t necessarily going to be the reason behind stagnating technology or science. We could probably point towards the economies of quite a few countries that were very open and market orientated that lagged behind the Spaniards couldn’t we? Also, Spain is a minnow compared to the Soviet Union. As pointed out, the Soviets could draw on a wealth of people, resources and internal competition as well. Their problem was that they didn't have the price mechanism to tell them which industries and products were worth keeping and developing and which were worth removing.
Atlantis wrote:That's not how technological innovation works. You can reverse-engineer a state of the art product. But by the time you get your product line up and running it is already old technology and your competitor has put the next generation onto the market.

Again I have to ask, do you need your technology for everything to be absolutely state of the art for your country not to implode like the Soviet Union did? Is “good” just not good enough to avoid catastrophe? And how do you know it takes that long to reverse engineer a state of the art product? If Russian spies and scientists can figure out how to build a nuke in the 1940’s using stolen information in a matter of a few years (and this being the most highly guarded information you can get), why would it not be possible to do this in a matter of months in the 90’s? Especially when you get accustomed to doing it time and time again and the technology doesn’t change that much. In fact, this scientific investigation into the new technology would spur innovation skills for the Soviets themselves.
Atlantis wrote:Some of the Asian technology conglomerates put a new generation on the market every 2 years and a new version every 6 months. No Western company can compete with that. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. The unions wouldn't allow it, and the shareholders looking for a fast return on investment won't allow it.

That’s true of the modern day European Union maybe, but we’re talking about why the Soviet Union collapsed. Shareholders wouldn’t exist in a communist country and I’ve got doubts about union power in a nondemocratic country.
#14557712
I would agree with the opinion that the political leadership lost faith with the system as the principal reason the Soviet Union collapsed.

Neglecting the civil economy in favor of military production certainly did not help the cause along with being very ideologically inflexible when it came to dissent, baggage from WW2 and Stalin really.

Paul Sanderson wrote:One of the main reasons the Soviet Union industrialised so quickly under Stalin (and in difficult circumstances) was the use of prisoners for slave labour. When this stopped, the Soviets didn’t have such an easily gained source of income.


For the DRAM example, there's no technical barriers to European production (I would say the political barriers like lack of will are more relevant) of this or any other technology. It is just that Asian workforces are more readily exploited (like Soviet slave labor). If European social costs were added to Asian production they would be no more competitive than a European workforce.

Atlantis wrote:Some of the Asian technology conglomerates put a new generation on the market every 2 years and a new version every 6 months.


Intel's tick-tock?
#14557822
For the DRAM example, there's no technical barriers to European production (I would say the political barriers like lack of will are more relevant) of this or any other technology. It is just that Asian workforces are more readily exploited (like Soviet slave labor). If European social costs were added to Asian production they would be no more competitive than a European workforce.

This is a convenient excuse used by Europeans to explain their own failure. The fact is that Asian workers (in particular Japanese and Koreans) do have a high standard of living. Thus, there is no exploitation. There is, however, a willingness to make a collective effort (for the nation or for the company) that we don't have in the West. But that is not exploitation. This willingness to make a collective effort has paid off in that it led to a strong industry and a prosperity for all.

There is also a difference in company culture, while Western companies look at short term profits (shareholder value), Eastern company looks for the long-term objective of conquering market share. I have known companies of the Mitsubishi group in Japan that were operated at a loss for more than 10 years because the group decided it was of strategic importance to get into a particular market segment. No Western company could afford to do that.

Intel's tick-tock?

The strength of Asian manufacturers is in mass storage devices. Western companies managed to keep a lead in processors and specially designed chips. But I think China will change that. The Chinese are bound to get into processors sooner or later.

Paul Sanderson wrote:My question was why we wouldn’t be able to do it ourselves, not why wouldn’t we be able to do it to the same standard.

We ARE able to do it, both East and West Germany developed a DRAM, but it wasn't any use because it couldn't compete with the state of the art. So investment into the development was wasted.

You will never be able to outperform everyone at everything but you could still innovate, manufacture and steal technology to a high standard with a population the size of Europe and a country with the population and geographical reach of the Soviet Union.

No, you can't. The experience of the SU proves it. A "closed" Europe would encounter the same fate.

There’s no reason why it would be half the standard (whatever that is) when you consider the technological achievements of the Europeans and the Soviets.

It doesn't matter if the performance is half, as long as it is inferior, it can't compete, and in the "closed" economy that sends you on the downward spiral I described.

Both the Soviets and the Europeans are better at satellite launchers than the Japanese; however, that didn't prevent the Soviet economy from falling behind the West. In the same way, a "closed" Europe would also fall behind the rest of the World.

You assume that everything this hypothetical country (or the Soviet Union) makes is substandard and could never be exported. Remember, as others have pointed out the Soviets made a lot of scientific breakthroughs in their time and they weren’t totally isolated from the rest of the world. Where they may have trailed in some areas they excelled in many others.

But that is what effectively happened. The GDR was probably the most developed Soviet country, yet after the fall of the wall, it was found that most of its industry couldn't compete. They made most things in the SU, it just wasn't up to Western standard.

If you design something, a TV, a car, a washing machine, no matter what, you will source the best parts you can get for your money. Some steel from Sweden, some chips from Japan, some LCD device from Korea with LCs from Germany, a processor from the US, and so on. In the closed economy of the SU you couldn't do that, you would have do make do with whatever second rate parts you could get from within the closed system. The result will invariably be substandard.

I don’t think any economy is fully closed off, not even North Korea. Protectionism isn’t necessarily going to be the reason behind stagnating technology or science.

That doesn't matter, the economy that is relatively more closed or protectionist will invariable suffer disadvantage.

We could probably point towards the economies of quite a few countries that were very open and market orientated that lagged behind the Spaniards couldn’t we?

You have to compare what is comparable. It wouldn't make much sense to use, for example, Zimbabwe as a base for comparison. I compared Spain to South Korea (not the SU) because Spain did have car manufacturing and other industries many years before Korea, yet due to decades of protectionism it fell back behind Korea.

As pointed out, the Soviets could draw on a wealth of people, resources and internal competition as well.

I have to insist, they where still "relatively" closed off from the international market. The US imposed restrictions on things that could not be sold to SU countries. SU space launches, the one field were they excelled, could not be exported. Finally, they didn't have foreign currencies. The GDR, for example, had a constant shortage of Western currencies, which prevented them from trading. They tried everything to get foreign currencies, they even sold dissidents and prisoners for hard cash. The US controls international trade and global financing.

Their problem was that they didn't have the price mechanism to tell them which industries and products were worth keeping and developing and which were worth removing.

I think the problem runs deeper than that.

Again I have to ask, do you need your technology for everything to be absolutely state of the art for your country not to implode like the Soviet Union did? Is “good” just not good enough to avoid catastrophe? And how do you know it takes that long to reverse engineer a state of the art product? If Russian spies and scientists can figure out how to build a nuke in the 1940’s using stolen information in a matter of a few years (and this being the most highly guarded information you can get), why would it not be possible to do this in a matter of months in the 90’s?

Again, as I explained before, your whole production goes into producing second rate stuff if you are closed off from accessing state of the art components.

It doesn't matter how long it takes to do reverse engineering, you'll always be too late because by the time you can reverse engineer the product on the market, your competitor is already preparing the market launch of the next generation. And you can't copy production technology, which puts you at a severe disadvantage because a lot of innovation is in production technology.

Especially when you get accustomed to doing it time and time again and the technology doesn’t change that much. In fact, this scientific investigation into the new technology would spur innovation skills for the Soviets themselves.

No, the speed of technological change is astonishing. Forget about "scientific investigation"; technological innovation is incremental and happens in the factory. You improve the product by producing it. The more you sell the more you produce, the more you improve your product.

That’s true of the modern day European Union maybe, but we’re talking about why the Soviet Union collapsed. Shareholders wouldn’t exist in a communist country and I’ve got doubts about union power in a nondemocratic country.

I was replying to your question about why a "closed" Europe wouldn't succeed. I wasn't comparing conditions in Europe to the SU.


We don't have to speculate about how the SU could have succeeded economically. We can simply look at what happened in China. China succeeded economically the moment it decided to "modernize" by opening to the outside world. There is a story about how the Chinese tried to develop a car industry under Mao. They bought one Mercedes Benz and one Cadillac, took the cars apart and copied all parts to build a Chinese car. In other words, exactly the method you recommend. That obviously didn't succeed in building an efficient car industry. What did work was to become part of the international economy, joining the WTO (the Russians still haven't been admitted), and letting foreign investors into China. With the foreign companies came foreign technology. They are now following the same way the Japanese and Koreans modernized before. They are learning the technology from their foreign joint venture partners, then they build their own domestic products, which in time will be improved to compete on the international markets.
#14557972
Atlantis wrote:We ARE able to do it, both East and West Germany developed a DRAM, but it wasn't any use because it couldn't compete with the state of the art. So investment into the development was wasted.

By “wasn’t any use” do you mean “chose not to use it because something else was available”? There’s quite a difference.
Atlantis wrote:But that is what effectively happened. The GDR was probably the most developed Soviet country, yet after the fall of the wall, it was found that most of its industry couldn't compete. They made most things in the SU, it just wasn't up to Western standard.

The GDR wasn’t a Soviet country but I’m sure you wrote that by mistake. “Most of its industry couldn’t compete”. So they had a few industries that were world beaters (mechanical engineering etc) and some that weren’t? Like every other country.
Added to this, from what I’ve read, East Germany wasn’t subject to anything like the trade restrictions with the West compared to the Soviet Union. Something the GDR lacked though (like the Soviet Union) was the price mechanism.
Atlantis wrote:If you design something, a TV, a car, a washing machine, no matter what, you will source the best parts you can get for your money. Some steel from Sweden, some chips from Japan, some LCD device from Korea with LCs from Germany, a processor from the US, and so on. In the closed economy of the SU you couldn't do that, you would have do make do with whatever second rate parts you could get from within the closed system. The result will invariably be substandard.

This would depend on how much you’re willing to invest in research and development and how isolated you really are. The Soviets weren’t the North Koreans so they had access to so much different technology from inside the Soviet Union and with those who weren’t directly hostile. While you may have a point that it helps to have access to international markets to short cut having to design your own things, this doesn’t explain why you would crumble if you didn’t have such free access. It would if you were Cuba or North Korea, but the Soviets are a different case.

Atlantis wrote:You have to compare what is comparable. It wouldn't make much sense to use, for example, Zimbabwe as a base for comparison. I compared Spain to South Korea (not the SU) because Spain did have car manufacturing and other industries many years before Korea, yet due to decades of protectionism it fell back behind Korea.

You compared Cuba to the Soviet Union earlier which is a pretty wild comparison. Anyway, when you’re making a statement about how Spain’s industry (and maybe even how the country itself) was behind others because of protectionism and how suddenly it revived itself because of a lack of protectionism, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t look at African countries and say “they have open economies, yet they are still a complete mess but nevertheless carry on without imploding”. Corruption and lack of stability and ability to govern themselves comes into it. Do you think the Soviets or East Germans had anything like the terrible living standards or lack of industry of a sub Saharan African country? The key point is the question of why it collapsed. Not “why didn’t some of its industry compete so well as Japan’s or the United States’?”
Atlantis wrote:It doesn't matter how long it takes to do reverse engineering

It clearly does matter.
Atlantis wrote:you'll always be too late because by the time you can reverse engineer the product on the market, your competitor is already preparing the market launch of the next generation. And you can't copy production technology, which puts you at a severe disadvantage because a lot of innovation is in production technology.

The Soviets actually did copy production technology from the United States. The production line itself was one of them. It depends on the sophistication of the production technology, but even in spite of this, why could the Soviets not use spies to copy production technology as they did with nuclear power? Still though, why would you just collapse like that because you didn’t have the absolute cutting edge technology the moment it came out? No one’s going to die because they don’t have the latest iPhone
Atlantis wrote:No, the speed of technological change is astonishing. Forget about "scientific investigation"; technological innovation is incremental and happens in the factory. You improve the product by producing it. The more you sell the more you produce, the more you improve your product.

I don’t know if it is that astonishing anymore. There was a time when it went very fast, like from the horse and cart to the steam engine in a couple of years whatever. But has transport changed that much since 5 years ago? Communications technology also- how do mobile phones and computers differ much from 5 years ago? 2010 wasn’t the dark ages.
Atlantis wrote:There is a story about how the Chinese tried to develop a car industry under Mao. They bought one Mercedes Benz and one Cadillac, took the cars apart and copied all parts to build a Chinese car. In other words, exactly the method you recommend. That obviously didn't succeed in building an efficient car industry.

What do you think would happen if the Kenyans tried to do the same? Suddenly create a rival for BMW and Ford? Could the Chinese make cars using stolen designs, yes. Did they develop their own to the standard of the US or Germany, I doubt it. I don’t want to keep repeating myself but we’re not really talking about why they didn’t excel in certain industries but why they completely collapsed. Having the money to invest in R&D as noted before, would have been achieved more easily with efficiency savings from not having central planning. Then not only would they have avoided collapse, but they could have had even more world competitive industries than just a few.

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