Monday, April 28, 2008

Reviving Russian Ingenuity

It is easy to forget that the Russians had many firsts in the post world war two era, in space they were leaders essentially because of the brilliance of Sergei Korolev, a genius who could not be rewarded because of the system employed at the time, the work and brilliance of this individual was said to be a work of the people, yet without him, Russia would never have competed against the equally brilliant German/ American Wernher von Braun, a scientist with a strange past creator of the V2 rockets of war as well as the man who first took a rocket to space.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the take over by Yelstin Russia was on the downward spiral, Putin’s chief aim was that Russia should stabilize and become a player in global affairs, but mainly that Russia should become a somebody again. According to media in the West Russia to achieve this greatness under Putin, Russia would resort to using natural resources as a weapon, keep states in check by offering them energy or not offering them a reliable energy source.

As one who deals in knowledge economics, one would be frightened at such behavior understanding that in the long term that is detrimental policy, mainly because psychologically one becomes comfortable always knowing there is some form of income coming in. Luckily for Russia, Putin understood that Russia’s standing in the past did not come from playing around with commodities like some less developed country, Russia’s greatness came from respecting knowledge. Space, military hardware, all comes from knowledge. However in this era the Russian government had to understand, and it seems it has understood, knowledge must be commercialized.

The European Union is putting billions of dollars into the knowledge transfer process, America billions more, Japan billions, where was Russia to get billions, Yelstin had created phony capitalism selling state assets for a tenth what they were worth, If Yelstin had done a proper job, Putin would not have been needed, luckily the commodity prices shot up in the past few years, Russia too could afford billions into the knowledge foray.

Many regard nano - technology as a growth industry, the knowledge must be investigated, it costs money, Russia has put aside US$36 billion for knowledge transfer in the nano - technology sector alone, which is a lot of money for research. Ignore knowledge at ones own peril, how much money for example has South Africa put aside for knowledge transfer, or Chile, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, people need incentives, nobody, most normal people would not take research for fun or for the love of it, that takes somebody special, somebody like the Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky who gave the theory of modern rockets that allowed Sergei Korolev and Wernher von Braun to develop the rocket technology they did during the cold war, as for von Braun even during the second world war with his V2 rockets. Tsiolkovsky literally starved himself whilst doing his research in rocket theory, theory that the whole world uses today, because he understood its importance.

A society ignores knowledge at its own peril. Russia still understands that knowledge is the most important commodity, giving value to other commodities, allowing humans to identify other commodities, what ever one says, Putin is putting Russia on the right track, at least according to knowledge economic theory.

Bhekuzulu Khumalo

No comments:



Blog Archive

Bhekuzulu Khumalo

I write about knowledge economics, information, liberty, and freedom