|QUOTE (shaboobala @ Jul 18 2009, 06:29)|
Sure, information is important for capitalism, but most of it is not gleaned from spying, it comes about on it's own through free exchange. In 1980, the USSR had 2 million Russian operatives alone. This is not counting the millions of Warsaw pact/Communist operatives and all their informants. The fact that the KGB had an operational staff and budget that was far beyond anything in the US, Britain or anywhere in the Western world, makes it pretty obvious that gathering foreign intellignece was a huge priority for the Soviet Union. So logically, any useful information gathered could then be imitated and adapted for the different needs of the USSR. Yes, Capitalism and Socialism both can support an environment of innovation and imitation (America surely nicked a lot of ideas from Nazi Germany) but a Socialist system naturally favors imitation more strongly.
It's hard to measure the effect of Socialism on innovation unless you take it all the way. So, a subsidized research program in an otherwise free country provides a poor example. The scientists who go into these programs have spent their entire lives in an atmosphere of free thought and free exchange. They are free to move from place to place and interact with their colleagues around the nation and the globe. Ideas can come and go. There's a difference between government-funded and government -controlled. A scientist in the Soviet Union was a much more of a state tool. He was censored and manipulated. Sometimes forced, coerced and extorted into working because of the political climate. As such his ability for intellectual maneuvering was more limited. He may have been brilliant but his brilliance was muzzled. And what was his reward if he succeeded? Well, socialism doesn't generally show much favour to an intellectual. So certainly, the scientist in a Socialist system will have much less capital incentive to succeed. If anything, he would want to escape, most likely to the West where he has more freedom and more incentive.
I don't really aim to comment on the current US situation or even advocate a pure capitalist system. Honestly, I don't know enough about economics to get into it. I'm comparing two different systems(C&S) and their effects on innovation separately. I can't really say what kind of effect sprinkling a bit of socialism into a capitalist mix will have on innovation. What I'm saying, more or less, is that being given more personal freedom means you can be more creative. Whereas a collectivist or communal mentality stifles creativity and encourages imitation. This is reasonable no?
As for the conditions in Eastern Europe, yes, it had a lot to do with Communism. As I said, a centralized government spread over a massive area is wildly ineffective at gauging and managing the needs of it's own people. The farther you stray from the core cities, the more neglected everything becomes. This trend is still really, really evident in lots of places. Add to that, the notions of self-sufficiency being thrown around and oftentimes the government itself more or less persecuted it's own people. Are you familiar with the Holodomor? Or the mass rationing of food that occured constantly throughout Eastern Europe? You can hardly say that the food shortages in Poland could be blamed on persecution by the Western world. In fact, the West(especially the US) offered aid to Poland numerous times, yet it was oftentimes refused on the "official" grounds that it was serving subversive, capitalist-imperialist agendas.
A lot of good points, but much of the reasons and results you're listing are not central to communist, socialist, or Marxist ideals at all. The censorship of ideas, political persecution, and religious persecution are not innately communist, socialist, or Marxist. These are not a result of the ideas, rather the means to which certain groups were willing to go to force these ideas on people. They saw certain ideas as against their understanding of the philosophy and decided to eliminate them, rather than change them.
This has really nothing to do with Capitalism vs Socialism, as a capitalist society is just as able of such atrocities and persecutions of freedoms as any other society. I could sit here all day and say capitalism caused the continuation of racism in the United States throughout the 20th century (as many Communists did) but that'd be no more true than saying mass starvation was a result of communism, rather than mismanagement by government agencies and a poorly-planned rationing system.