These days, China and Russia are more famous for stealing, pirating, and copying foreign technology than for meaningful homegrown innovation.
Europe Can Innovate
Over the past 6 centuries, Europe and its diaspora have been the global centre of innovation. European technological innovation was reflected in the virtual conquest of territories covering the entire world. There are many reasons for the explosion of innovation that took place across Europe over the past half millenium, but the most significant aspect of this innovation is that it was applied in a vigorous and progressive manner.
China Was Once the Global Emperor of Innovation
The Chinese invented gunpowder, the compass, the waterwheel, paper money, long-distance banking, the civil service, and merit promotion… China has the potential to set the kind of economic policies and build the kind of education and research institutions that propelled the U.S. to technological dominance. But will that potential be realized? We see considerable challenges.
These days, China is most famous for stealing, pirating, and copying foreign technology than for meaningful homegrown innovation. A flood of foreign investment triggered by economic liberalisation in the 1970s and 1980s has reversed itself, and is turning into an all-out rout of retreat by foreign (and domestic) investors. It is difficult to innovate when investors are sending their money elsewhere.
The above table reveals the continuing high level of innovation in Europe and its satellites in comparison to “emerging nations” such as China and Russia.
Russia Was Never Much of an Innovator
Russia has always been more of a borrower and thief when it comes to technologies, than an innovator. That trend continues to this day. This failure of homegrown innovation occurs in spite of Russia’s past ability to produce world-class mathematicians, physicists, musicians, and chess masters.
“The fact that our country has demonstrated outstandingly high intellectual results and can show them in mathematics, physics, astrophysics, chess, but failed to develop [effective and innovative] modern industry is a paradox that needs to be explained,” Alexander Auzan, dean and professor of the Lomonosov Moscow State University’s Faculty of Economics told Russia Direct during a conference in mid-October.
… Most Russian academic professors have little understanding of the commercial value of their ideas, and this can be the case with scientists from anywhere in the world as this is how scientists are trained to think and assess their ideas. This is quite normal. They are not prepared for these conversations and they can hardly be expected to speak directly with any investors as they don’t know how. ___ http://www.russia-direct.org/qa/how-russia-can-overcome-its-innovation-challenges
Like China, Russia has almost always been a “top-heavy” overly centralised command economy. This form of economic organisation has not allowed for the type of entrepreneurial, “bottom-up” grassroots economic growth that seems to feed broad society-wide innovation.
The leadership of both China and Russia remain terrified of allowing ordinary citizens the opportunity to innovate and build economic and information networks that are independent of existing government structures and ancillary criminal groups. Without that level of economic freedom to citizens, engineers, scientistis, and other potential innovators and entrepreneurs, China and Russia remain mired in stasis and decline.
World’s Most Innovative Universities
|2||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||USA|
|4||University of Washington||USA|
|5||University of Michigan System||USA|
|7||University of Texas System||USA|
|8||University of Wisconsin System||USA|
|9||University of Pennsylvania||USA|
|10||Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST)||South Korea|
|11||Imperial College London||England|
|12||Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)||South Korea|
|13||University of California System||USA|
|14||University of Southern California||USA|
|15||University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill||USA|
|19||Johns Hopkins University||USA|
|20||California Institute of Technology||USA|
|21||University of Illinois System||USA|
|23||Georgia Institute of Technology||USA|
|24||University of Tokyo||Japan|
|25||University of Cambridge||England|
Russia has no universities that rank in the top 100. China has only 1. Where is a nation’s innovative technology and science going to originate, if its own universities fail to make the grade? In Russia, unfortunately, a once-impressive educational system is collapsing from neglect — along with most of the rest of the nation’s critical infrastructure (with the exception of propaganda networks, nuclear missile systems, cyber-mischief, and other military and espionage organisations).
It is crucial to point out that most of China’s genuine (as opposed to phantom bubble) economic growth was based upon foreign investment and technology transfer. That particular bird has flown, in the face of Xi’s aggressive and corrupt power grabs — and significant changes in global economies. Most foreign investors and manufacturers who previously considered China a prime location to build and invest, are now changing their minds and finding more rational and less thieving locations for outsourcing. This is leaving China in the lurch — forcing the dragon to intensify its technology theft operations via cyber-espionage and other means.
Russia faces demographic disaster and collapse at the same time that China faces the prospect of growing old while remaining poor. Both emerging nations require massive injections and dispersion of productive innovation in order to prevent rapid decline, much more so if they wish to advance their status. Unfortunately, the tyrants that lead both nations have chosen to regress to further misallocate capital in the form of aggressive militarism, global propaganda, and brute-force intimidation of smaller, weaker neighbors. They are choosing the opposite path to that which might have led their people to a brighter future.