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Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 1) 569

I'll address both points:

1. People who "lived there" tend to hate the system, and not be able to think logically about advantages and disadvantages. This goes doubly for people who immigrated, as they have been on the edge of the receiving end.

As a result, you'll get a very skewed view of what totalitarianism in USSR represented. Imagine asking people currently backing Trevor Martin about "equality in US" and taking their opinion as factual truth.

2. I would be intrigued to see the evidence you cite, considering that USA and USSR essentially countered one another on tech, as a result building dramatically different weapon systems to the point where copying one another would have been largely pointless. USA went for surface navy and aerial dominance with large strategic bombers to suppress the USSR's heavy tank based ground force. USSR countered with long range tactical maritime bombers, extremely advanced SAM systems and essentially "flying SAM" aircraft.

Again, I'm not sure what kind of drawings your saw, but if you want to see the comparable tech where USSR was (and likely still is to some degree) decades ahead of NATO, look at what they developed for their kind of warfare (supersonic bombers, extremely complex anti ship missiles, extremely long range air to air aircraft and surface to air capability, tanks, etc), and compare it to the NATO variants which were several decades behind.

If you want to see an example of extremely complex long fighter jet where USSR tech was worlds ahead of USA, take a look at MiG-31. Decades later, USA gave up on trying to make a similar aircraft after utterly failing with F-14 because their long range radar and missile tech was simply too far behind. MiG-31 was the most complex and expensive fighter in existence since its arrival in 1970s and until introduction of F-22. It pioneered several cutting edge technologies which were copied by West, such as PESA radar and ability to use one aircraft's radar to guide missiles fired by another.

Another great example is once again the F-35 project, which still struggles to implement the tech copied from MiG-29. Tech that was in use by USSR MiG bureau back in the 80s.

About the only way to argue that USSR's fighter tech was "low tech knockoff" was the propaganda that came after MiG-25 was acquired and noted to use vacuum tubes in its electronics instead of transistors. Not only were USSR's fighters extremely advanced and pioneering in many aspects of the field, they were also very much DIFFERENT causing problems similar to those currently experienced by F-35 project when attempting to copy improvements made by other side.

On the other hand you could compare things that US weighted as important and see that they were decades ahead of USSR in those (decades ahead in air to ground attack capability, surface fleet and naval aviation, military logistics).

Essentially it is easy to draw comparison of "side x was decades behind side y" using one aspect that side x didn't view as their forte and part of their doctrine. This particular road goes both ways.

Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 1) 569

And this is why I tend to keep answering these threads. The common misunderstanding among the Western audience, drilled into them by decades of indoctrination is that "our financial system is better at everything".

It is not, no by a long shot. When it comes to long term projects, our system requires massive government intervention to function. Consider all the large infrastructure projects in US. All of them are government-funded, in one way or another. Free market requires immediate response, rather than long term viability. Long term viability without immediate response is judged as a failure by free market. This is the real and tangible weakness of free market economy.

Totalitarian systems on the other hand excel at long term projects. Your rather strange claim of "correlation, not causation" about the issues stated above shows your lack of even basic understanding of relevant historical facts. Well documented example: during Holodomor USSR was selling approximately five million tons of grain every year to foreign countries. Essentially all of the money gained from these exports were used in two ways:
1. Purchase of raw materials needed for industrialization of the entire country. Specifically steel, copper, various other raw elements needed to electrify and connect the world's largest country. Essentially all of these raw materials were used to build electric and telephone lines, railroads, roads and so on. Massive amount of political convicts was doing the actual work, which was brutal and lethal. And also necessary to uplift the country.
2. Purchase of technology and technological know-how. Vast majority of locomotives on the newly build USSR railroads for example, where of German origin. Many of technological designs were purchased for build of their own versions, and massive factories were erected across the nation in the process of industrialization.

Would this kind of operation be possible in a free market economy? Of course not. Free market would not have allowed for massive losses incurred in the construction process. This kind of build up required a totalitarian system, because that kind of buildup is what totalitarian system EXCELS at. It enables exhaustive, rather then efficient use of resources, which is often necessary to build up entire country from complete destruction. The usage is not efficient because much of resources used in this process is destroyed or damaged beyond repair. This ranges from people themselves (tens of millions dead reasons ranging from hunger to dying from exhaustion working on roads) to locations damaged beyond repair for a long time as a byproduct of industrialization.

It is important to realize that our system is weaker in terms of economic viability in certain aspects to totalitarianism, and understand that we need to compensate for these flaws, typically through mix of regulation and incentives. This has been largely understood by planners in the post WW2 and Cold War West, which erected strong government-backed projects to build excellent infrastructure at a staggering loss, but protected from destructive short term viability judgment of free market by government's backing.

Free market on the other hand excels at utilizing the already built infrastructure to its fullest potential by removing inefficiencies. This is why our system was so much more efficient than that of USSR - they had a very strong build-up, but totalitarian system does not allow for easy optimizations to the already initiated process. Free market system on the other hand excels at this. In the end, they themselves realized it in the 1970s and 1980s and tried to correct it by introducing some reforms to enable something remotely resembling a free competition between large governmental corporations. However the lack of necessary entrepreneur culture in the nation combined with the requirement for maintaining strong totalitarian control over everyone essentially doomed these attempts to failure.

On the last note, you seem to think that Soviet technology was somehow "lower tech". You could not be more wrong in general, unless you were of course talking some particular tech instead of in general. They had the fields in which they excelled far better then West and fields where we excelled far better then they did. As a result, this argument could be made by both sides. One good example of this is the very visible debacle with F-35, which is attempting to implement technology that was lifted from MiG-29s acquired by Luftwaffe in merging of Germany. Said technology (HMD + illumination radar able to track at angle in which pilot looks) has existed on soviet planes since the 80s. It took best minds in US 15 years to even try to get it to work to the similar degree in this decade, 30 years later. They were also known to be far more advanced in some aspects of aerospace technology, vastly superior in radar technology and so on. Reading Jane's during the years after USSR breakdown was really interesting, because they had a lot of cases where best Western specialists would be allowed to take a glimpse at what USSR had, and the evaluation tended to be "they're 20 years behind us in this, and 20 years ahead of us in this". There are countless of examples of this, ranging from their known superiority in missile avionics (AIM-120 vs R-77 for example) to their unique use of P2P logic in weapon systems (P-700)

As I recall it, the "russian tech is low tech" propaganda message was spread after the defection of Belenko to Japan, and initial evaluation of his MiG-25 aircraft which used vacuum tubes instead of transistors . Latter evaluations had a completely different note after the actual functionality and purpose of the aircraft became clear (vacuum tubes were used because they were far more tolerant to extreme altitude conditions that aircraft was designed to operate in and did not require separate climate control as transistor-based electronics would have).

Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 1) 569

I'm intrigued how you can make those claims. It's a historical fact that USSR has:

1. Raised the extremely poor, utterly huge country out of rural economy and devastating improvershment caused by WW1 and civil war and pushed it into an industrial giant in record time (post Russian civil war, pre WW2, massive human sacrifices and incredible rise to prosperity of the nation).
2. Raised the country utterly devastated by WW2 occupation into an industrial and scientific giant for the second time, again in record time, to the point where it beat US in the race to space among other things. This in spite of US having no need to do territorial post-war recovery work and no destroyed infrastructure.

Fact is, USSR style totalitarianism certainly did work, and it did work WELL. Something that is very disturbing to any person with any kind of belief in humanity and basic freedoms so many of us get to enjoy today in part thanks to the collapse of USSR. And arguably, if they had an economic base on par with that of NATO and no massive economic shocks of Afghanistan and Chernobyl, they would have stood a very good chance of winning the cold war.

Frankly, we got very lucky they did not have those. And that is one of the reasons why, in my humble opinion, work on things like human rights in totalitarian countries must be actively supported even in face of their opposition. Because these parts of our values are important for humanity as a whole, and if possible should be pushed even at detriment to economic advancement.

Comment Re:Torvalds being foul-mouthed again? News at 11. (Score 4, Insightful) 1501

Hilariously, I smell envy that even poster himself likely doesn't realize to be his/her motivator in this one. Fact is, he managed to get himself into the position where he doesn't have to care about office politics, political correctness or any other similar things that most of us have to deal with, regardless of our actual desire to do so. Most of us can only dream of ever reaching such a point in our lives.

And he has an excellent point - much of the office backstabbing does come from buildup of being unable to call someone who is an asshole or a bitch just that to the face to reduce the pressure. So instead you get typical office crap that every one of us who works in the office has likely had to put up with where people hold grudges unable to act on them until they can do something REALLY nasty. As in something that would actually impact life and work performance, instead of just calling someone a bad word and moving on.

If I were ever given a choice, I'd sure rather go for nasty expletives. But I wasn't. Linux on the other hand gets a choice, and he made it.

Comment Re:Give them an inch... (Score 1) 142

Technically most of the Europe has not so much "free speech" as "privileged speech". I.e. most of the speech cannot be banned unless it meets very certain criteria (nazi propaganda for example). In some countries it works quite well. In some, not so much.

But arguing that it's a "joke", you may wish to compare UK right to free speech to one in USSR or DPRK for example. It most certainly is NOT a joke.

Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 1) 569

There was a form of communism that was not totalitarian back in stone age when it was a necessity for survival.

In large numbers of today, it's likely impossible to implement even with the full agreement of populace (which is unlikely to be ever acquired in the first place and mandatory for such implementation) simply due to greed. In larger numbers, greed easily escapes the only thing that can control it - direct peer pressure.

On the other hand I'm somewhat confused as to how US isn't capitalist right now. It used to be using a mix of capitalism for top end and socialism for bottom end of populace, which is currently the best-performing system we have tried, as it allows both risk and social mobility for low end as well as provides incentives for high end to not "sit on the money and collect profits".

Unfortunately as long as there are more capitalist regions that offer less socialism for low end, that system will suffer economic drain, as happened with entire West and globalization. This is essentially the same as with North-South pre-civil war cituation, slave labor (or near slave labor) is simply too profitable for high end people to pass on. Essentially you could argue that where perfect communism is simply impossible to implement, perfect capitalism may be possible to implement as long as it's held in check by extremely tight regulation and is backed by social mobility-enabling socialism on low end (Nordic model) but it is self-destructive by its nature when even one of these checks fails (current situation in US).

Comment Re: Do good ... (Score 2) 569

Indeed. Perfect forms of government never existed. However adaptation of these did. Difference being that US does in fact adapt a form of capitalism, whereas USSR did not adapt any form of communism. Instead it adapted a form of totalitarianism that it chose to call "communism" to gain acceptance from the masses.

If you ever really want to find what I'm talking about, find a translated version of "Industrial communism" if there is one. It's a damnably think book that anyone getting higher education in USSR essentially required to know by heart and not getting high marks on exams on that book killed your career chances. It is a wonderful thesis on stalinism, which explains that oppression of people of the nation by party is not actually oppression but "meaningful and necessary guidance".

It's essentially how communist party of USSR indoctrinated those who were gifted enough to potentially join its ranks. Compare to: current DPRK. Note how that particular country calls itself "democratic". Should we assume that DPRK is in fact a model of democracy?

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