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James Garcia
James Garcia

Ancient Frontier Steel Shadows-CODEX



There follows some discussion of the Soviet Union and China. Both did this well, but the Soviet economy stagnated anyway in the 1970s. Allen seems kind of unsure about why this happened, and is willing to entertain both the possibility it was random and contingent (maybe the planners made a mistake in trying to pour so much investment into parts of Siberia that weren't really habitable), and the possibility that planned economies are fundamentally better at catch-up growth than at the technological frontier (central planners can force people to make steel mills if you know steel mills are next up on your tech tree, but if you don't know what's next on the tech tree it's hard to plan for it). This wasn't a very conclusive section, but I appreciated the confirmation that the Soviet economy actually worked pretty okay until 1970 or so, then became a basketcase for kind of unclear reasons. The author is most impressed with China, which seems to have gotten this part right (maybe by accident): they communismed until they reached the technological frontier, then uncommunismed in time to get on the path to being a normal developed country. GEH:VSI isn't very big on prescriptions, but I think it would probably suggest having a pretty heavily planned economy while you're playing catch-up, and then unwinding it once you're close to where you want to be.




Ancient Frontier Steel Shadows-CODEX

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