Russia

How backward is Russia compared to Europe and the United States and when will it catch up?

Below is a chart of the scientific output productivity of a number of important countries. Scientific output productivity refers to the number of scientific research papers published by a certain country divided by its population. A higher number indicates that the country is more “scientifically productive”, meaning that it is prosperous and advanced enough to have a large number of citizens busy doing scientific and scholarly research. In 2017, Russia’s scientific output per capita was 561. It published 80796 scientific papers and had a population of 143.9 million. Dividing the two numbers, we get 561, the number of scientific papers published by the country per million citizens. In 2008, Russia published 36419 papers. Ten years later its output had more than doubled, reflecting the fact it is investing heavily in science and has many more professors and researchers busy doing research at universities and research institutions. Still, its output per citizen is still below Iran, and it is almost half of Malaysia. Russia’s scientific output is almost exactly one third of the US, which stands at 1684 papers per million citizens.

The scientific output of the US peaked in 2014 and has only declined since. This is likely a trend that will continue. Russia, in the meantime, will likely continue growing barring a nuclear war, so that by 2028 it will likely reach South Korea’s output level, and soon after that of France (whose output is also declining). The forecast above assumes a 9.35% annual growth in scientific output for Russia, which is what its annual growth was between 2008 and 2017, so I am assuming a continuation of the same trend now since the Russian rulers appear to have finally realized the crucial importance of scientific research for national power and prestige and will likely continue investing  heavily in it.

We can expect the scientific output of the United States and Europe to stagnate and decline due to their aging native populations. Immigrants can help stave off some of the fall in output, but due to their generally lower educational attainment, it is unlikely that they will be able to undo the trend unless the countries only allow in highly educated immigrants.

Russia’s 2017 output was where Spain was in 1996 and where South Korea was 2003. We can expect Russia to reach European levels of scientific output by 2028.

Spain: It is interesting to note that Spain is today publishing more science per capita than either the United States or France, despite its population having a median age five years higher than that of the US and two years higher than that of France.

The United Kingdom: The UK’s scientific output is amazing. It publishes almost 1000 more papers per million citizens than many other European countries, reflecting an extremely well-funded and well-organized post-graduate system.

Below is a similar forecast done for Iran. If Iran continues at the rate of scientific output growth it had from 2008 to 2017, it will reach European output levels by 2028. I expect it to slow down its growth and to closely track that of Russia, perhaps being somewhere slightly below it by 2028.

Data from the United Nations and Scimago.

Ending technological servitude: On the need for tariffs on Internet companies (and others)

Aircraft engines for airliners are some of the world’s most advanced technological products. Only a few Western nations can make them. China founded the Aero Engine Corporation of China in 2016 with $7.5 billion in funding to put an end to its reliance on Western-made engines.

In my view the most important reason why protectionism is necessary, or at least one of the most important reasons, is the prevention of technological servitude. A simple example illustrates the point: Your country cannot be a pioneer in aerospace technologies if your country is not producing airplanes. If all of your airplanes come from China, the research and development will happen in China. By buying any technological product from overseas, you are subsidizing research and development pertaining to that product in that country.

Most of the world’s countries are presently in a position of technological servitude when it comes to the products offered by internet companies like Google and Facebook. Short-sighted politicians think that it is sufficient to tax these companies in order to ensure that they partake in the local economy on a balanced basis. This is nonsense. When Google sells hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ads in the Philippines, this helps subsidize research and development in California. The technology and know-how to serve ads, to analyze data, to run data centers and networking hubs, all of these involve extremely advanced skills and tens of thousands of skilled workers, and most of them are going to be in California. The Philippines, by letting Google operate in the country without tariffs, is literally paying cash to Google to train people and develop technologies and ecosystems in California that helps it continue to maintain its technological edge over the rest of the world.

There is no way for a Filipino company to compete with Google in a free market, because Google is vastly ahead both in technology and in economies of scale. Without tariffs, the rest of the world will be stuck in a position of permanent technological servitude, the United States will always be ahead; it will have the most advanced technologies AND it will have tens of thousand of highly trained engineers with years of experience in using and developing these technologies. The United States becomes the “brain of the world” where all the interesting things happen, and every other nation has to beg it for its high-tech products, which it can use to force them to comply with its foreign policy.

In order to help create a Filipino innovation ecosystem in Internet advertising, the country will have to place tariffs on every ad Google sells in the country, making it more expensive to advertise in the country using Google’s services. This will help Filipino companies grow, hiring more people, but most importantly slowly acquiring the technological knowledge to innovate.

Instead of tariffs, the Philippines could ask Google to open engineering centers in the country. While that will certainly help in some ways, only a very small portion of Google’s skill-set will be transferred to the locals in this way, because the services Google offers in the country will still greatly rely on US infrastructure. To properly implement this, the country will have to require Google to serve the Philippines’ market entirely from inside the country, through data centers and networking and engineering hubs all inside the Philippines. But this may not be doable, because Google will have to replicate all of its major teams and technologies for the Philippines’ market (such as its search product). If this is done, it would create tremendous value for the country, helping create thousands of “Google veterans” who can go on to launch other technology companies.

It is true that tariffs cause inefficiencies and require reinventing wheels already invented in other countries. It is extremely costly to develop a local aerospace industry in a developing country. Why not just buy all of your airplanes from the US or Europe? Because that puts you in a position of permanent technological servitude. You will always have to go begging when you need new airplanes, as Iran and Turkey have to do today. No self-respecting nation should allow the US or Europe to hold this club over their heads.

Today, Iran and China are the two countries that recognize these facts better than any other country. Iran produces most of its cars locally, an industry that accounts for 10% of the country’s GDP and employs 700,000 people. It is true that this industry leads to various inefficiencies and the need to reinvent the wheel that could be avoided by importing foreign cars and helping subsidize German and US automakers. But so what? Iran’s car industry helps provide jobs for thousands of scientists and researchers in materials, electronics and robotics.

To be a technological slave or a technologically independent nation

Developing countries have two choices: either to remain technological slaves of developed economies and be treated with the usual contempt these countries have for developing nations, or use tariffs to build local technological innovation ecosystems.

What the US and Europe want from developing nations is free markets that enables them to keep these nations in a position of permanent technological servitude. This achieves four very important goals:

  • Providing markets for US and European products
  • Helping subsidize the jobs of hundreds of thousands of scientists and researchers in the US and Europe who will go on to build the next generation of technological products
  • The ability to use the threat of withholding these products as enforcement tools for making these nations do your bidding
  • Helping ensure US and European military superiority over these nations, since by lacking a powerful technological-industrial base, developing nations will be forever begging the US and Europe for military technology (and will own airplanes and satellites with US/European back-doors and vulnerabilities built in that prevents them from being a threat)

The attitude of the US and Europe toward countries like Indonesia is “We would love for you to develop, but don’t you dare develop in a way that makes you our equal!”

President Trump is really upset about China’s Made in China 2025 initiative because it is designed with the exact goal of escaping technological servitude. Until recently it was easy to dismiss China as a backward copycat that couldn’t innovate. The US and Europe incessantly made fun of China for its technological servitude, while using every tool in their toolbox to ensure that China remained that way.  This is the default Western attitude toward the rest of the world. China eventually took notice and decided to hit the US/Europe where it hurts by working to be an equal.

The problem with an equal is that an equal can hurt you. The West does not want equals, it wants the whole world to be one big family with them as the big brothers holding clubs over everyone else’s heads.

China, Iran and to a lesser degree Russia seem to be making the right decisions for escaping technological servitude. It remains to be seen whether other countries can follow their example.

The Gene-Culture

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The phrase “gene-culture” expresses the idea that there is no such thing as a culture independent from genes, or genes independent from culture. It enables a researcher to think of human evolution in accurate, realistic terms. At a population level, it is not individual humans, or specific genetic backgrounds, that are most relevant to natural selection, it is the gene-culture.

Examples of gene-cultures are WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants), Lebanese Christians, the Amish, Malaysian Muslims, and Ashkenazi Jews.

In order for children to grow up, prosper, and reproduce, in addition to requiring healthy and capable genes, they require healthy and capable cultures. They need a culture where there is rule of law, where there is sufficient social support to overcome the fear of the financial risk posed by having children, and where there is sufficient knowledge and health care to feed, clothe and care for these children.

The reproductive prosperity of a population relies on both genes and cultures. The two are inseparable. And when either of them is unfit, reproductive fitness is diminished.

The Japanese are extremely fit genetically. Intellectually they have the capacity to provide sufficient food and care for their offspring. But their culture is unfit. The reproductive fitness of their genes doesn’t make a difference when the culture part is unfit; the gene-culture as a whole becomes unfit and fails to reproduce effectively.

What is unfit about Japanese culture is the fact that they fully embraced the West’s neo-Liberal Usurer Economics, which, through the Risk-Profit Differential, constantly pushes the nation’s wealth into the hands of the super-rich, increasing poverty among the lower classes, and causing stagnation in the middle class.

Any culture that is not resistant to usury will eventually suffer stagnation, declining birth rates and population shrinkage. This is happening in most, if not all, of the developed world.

Just as a population that is genetically prone to a plague can be wiped out by it, a population that is culturally prone to usury will be wiped out by it.

The idea of the gene-culture enables us to view matters of cultural (economic and religious) practice in Darwinian terms. Just as a harmful genetic mutation reduces a population’s viability, a harmful cultural mutation (in the case of Japanese, embracing Western-style usury) reduces the population’s viability.

The idea of the gene-culture also contains the important implication that culture affects genes and genes affect culture. Among animals, genetic fitness is the most important factor in their survival, most animals have negligible cultures (exceptions being higher primates like orangutans). Humans, however, due to their intellectual complexity, are extremely reliant on culture, so that culture makes up about half of the picture when it comes to examining a population’s reproductive fitness.

In the above chart, I’m counting the material environment in which the genes exist toward the gene side. The contribution of culture toward the reproductive fitness of humans varies a great deal from environment to environment, and the average amount of its contribution might be less than 50%.

Imagine a hundred Japanese middle class families in Tokyo adopting a hundred Haitian children from soon after birth. The children will grow up in a Japanese world, learning Japanese customs and ideals. But they do not have Japanese genes. Victorian romantics and modern proponents of “environment is everything” (junk 20th century social scientists, which is nearly all of them) would imagine that these children would grow up and make perfect Japanese citizens who will only be held back by racism.

What actually happens is that their Haitian genes will mutate Japanese culture, so that no matter how hard they try to be authentically Japanese, there will be clear manifestations of differences in their understanding and application of Japanese culture (which is not a bad thing, it is a simple fact of biology).

But the most interesting thing is the children of these children. These children will create a Creole Japanese culture that will seem quite foreign to the average Japanese. It will have aspects of Japanese culture and Haitian culture, even if the children and their parents know nothing about Haiti and its people. Haitian culture is partly a result of its population’s genetics. And if this population is made to grow up in Japan, these genes will ultimately show through, tearing Japanese cultural conditioning apart and creating something new and interesting out of it.

A Shortcut to (Edible) Mushrooms

When a tribe that has never seem mushrooms before wanders into a shire where mushrooms abound, some brave souls will experiment with this new potentially edible stuff. If someone eats a particular mushroom, gets sick and dies, this will not lead to a genetic adaptation against eating such mushrooms. It leads to a cultural adaptation. The culture will recognize such mushrooms as unsafe to eat, perhaps first beginning by considering all mushrooms unsafe (if the first experiment with mushrooms goes really badly).

Genes are a response to topology. Cultures, too, are responses to topology. When tribe is placed in that particular environment, it responds, modifying its culture to adapt to it, in this particular case by accumulating knowledge regarding which mushrooms are safe and which ones are not.

If this tribe’s descendants move on to a city a few generations later, they may carry with them extensive knowledge of mushrooms that is going to be largely irrelevant, since this knowledge was an adaptation to pressures from another environment. For this reason this knowledge will slowly be lost unless someone writes it down.

This process of a culture adapting to a new environment, then losing the adaptation once it goes into a new environment, is the same as a genome adapting to a new environment then losing the adaptation once it goes into a new one. Except that cultural adaptation is much, much faster, and increases the species’ adaptation power by orders of magnitude. Humans do not need genetic adaptations to poisonous mushrooms when they have the power of overnight cultural adaptation.

Russia

An interesting expression of the gene-culture came from Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia’s president, the Wall Street-friendly drunkard Boris Yeltsin, took off all of Russia’s defenses and threw it to Wall Street’s fattest and ugliest usurers, who, in just a few years, managed to plunge the country into the worst demographic disaster in its history. Russia started to resemble a third-world backwater rather than a proud Euro-Asiatic country. Regardless of the genetic fitness of Russia’s population, removal of its cultural defenses against usury destroyed its reproductive fitness.

Once Vladimir Putin took over, he kicked out the usurers and started the process of repairing Russia’s cultural fitness through reviving the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian industry. The usurers, in turn, launched an all-out financial and propaganda war on him from Wall Street that has continued to date. Regardless of Wall Street and Washington’s chest-pumping, Russia has continued its demographic recovery. Christianity is back on the rise, culture is flourishing, life expectancies increase and technological innovation grows.

The above is, of course, a gross simplification of what happened in Russia. But to the gene-culture this is not an issue, since the gene-culture is a high-level construct that enables researchers to examine human history from a Darwinian perspective. No facts are ignored or thrown out to fit reality into the theory (as is done by junk sociologists on the one hand, and certain evolutionary psychologists on the other), as the theory encompasses all facts. Dysfunctions in politics are affected by, and affect, the gene-culture. Russia’s gene-culture leads to Czars, Arab and African gene-cultures lead to dictators, and Western Europe’s present gene-culture leads to usurer-controlled democracies. Cultures select for genes and genes select for cultures.

Feminism

The gene-culture also sheds light on the effects of feminism. Feminism reduces fertility in many ways, such as encouraging women to spend their most fertile years working to enrich the usurer class. A gene-culture that is not immune to feminism will be infected and mutated by it, so that its reproductive fitness decreases. Meanwhile, gene-cultures that are immune to feminism will not be harmed by it, and will reproduce faster than the infected populations. This process will naturally eliminate feminism from any large population that contains a significant minority gene-culture that is resistant to feminism.

The gene-culture could also be called the gene-meme, or geme for short. But this gets too technical and only social scientists would understand it. I chose “gene-culture” since it is easier to imagine and comprehend. By “culture” I mean everything carried by a human population apart from genes and epigenetics. This includes language, religion, law and political institutions.