Monday, June 26, 2006

Dwayne Day's Cosmos Aritcle

From page two:

To take another example, why did the Soviet Union win the Sputnik race and the race to put a man in orbit but then lose the race to the Moon? Of course one could find a half dozen explanations for the Soviet loss of the Moon race: the Soviet leadership took a long time to recognize that the Americans were serious; they never provided adequate funding for the project; bureaucratic infighting hobbled the effort; bad technological choices (like not developing hydrogen engines) hurt them; and lying and incompetent bureaucrats prevented adequate oversight and program management. But is there a systemic-level explanation that can incorporate all of these individual explanations? There is good reason to search for one, because we might naturally assume that democratic capitalism would be worse at mobilizing resources for government purposes than a command-driven economy like the Soviet Union. But that assumption can be tested and the places where it passes compared to the places where it fails. We could argue that the Soviets lost the Moon race for the same reason that their political economic system ultimately collapsed, but can this argument shed any greater light on the two systems? Perhaps the answers can be supplied by political economists, or other experts outside of the fields of political science and history.
[Emphasis added]

It's a good read. Dwayne's always been interesting and a good writer at least since I've known him on years ago.

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