> Suppose one can project that are the same reasons Russia today can't do
> without massive technology support from outside.
I am not doing youtube so do not know what author claims.
Usual western explanation is that communist system was
inefficient and hostile to innovation. This explanation
has some merit, but management problems in communism
and in big western companies are similar so IMO it is
only partial explanation.
However, one can also look at fundamentals. Soviet
economy was smaller than western economy. At its best
times soviet block claimed to be about half of western
block. More important, advanced sectors formed much
smaller part of Soviet economy than in western economy.
In advanced part of economy there are very strong scale
and multiplier effects. Namely you pay developement
cost once, with moderate influence of resulting production
volume. By multipler effect I mean that to develop
advanced technology you need advanced parts and tools.
So speed at which you are able to develop advanced
technology depends very strongly on your techonlogy
level. And western embargo meant that Soviet block
could not import curucial advanced technology, it has
to develop its own. Since Soviet block was way behind
west in advanced technology, it also developed slower so
distance to west at best remainded fixed and in
many cases increased.
In central planning economy there is naive belif
that assigning more resources to critical sectors
will lead to faster developement and consequently
allow overtaking "unplanned" economy. However,
first of all, one needs to correctly identify
critical sectors, which is tricky. Second, more
resources does not mean more effect: sector must
be able to usfully "consume" added resources.
For example, if your semiconductor manufacturing
is limited by lack of knowledge and your research
is limited by lack of scientific instruments, you
get rather long delay from critical place to
desired effect. Third, every leading country now
has some level of planned economy and there is
state support for long term projects.
Another question is how much demand for computers
was in Soviet block. Computers were needed for
bomb and rocket research, but AFAICS Soviets
had this covered. Various report show that in
Soviet block computer centers frequently operated
one shift only. If there were pressing need
they should operate them at least two shifts.
Recently I have read Polish report (but Russian
thinking was probably similar) about
computer trends from 1969. One claim was that
in USA there is enough computers. Argument was
as follows: computer manufactures had free
production capacity and if there were more need
users would order more. So report predicted
that computer use would saturate at level similar
to USA in 1969. They also observe that to get
economic benefits from computers one had to
simultaneously improve orgranization, comuication,
etc. That needed time so report claimed that there
is no rush to increased computer use: one should
improve all things at their natural pace.
Of course claim about "saturated" computer market was
quite wrong, they did not predict that falling
computer prices would lead to much wider use. But
Soviet block planners were not the only ones to
make such mistake. Internal IBM documents from
1972 shows that IBM was quite scared that failing
manufacturing costs would lead to low prices for
computers and effectively "collapse" computer
I think that it is hard to compare Russia now to
Soviet times. On one hand Russion economy now
is much smaller part of word economy than Soviet
economy was in Soviet times. And Russion seem
to be much more dependent on imports. OTOH
western embargo needed quite a long time to
have effect. And in modern times it is not
just Russia and west. In particular China has
a lot of technologies that Russia needs. I think
that China advanced sector is still significantly
smaller than western advanced sector. And China
is dependent on imports of western advanced
products. So China do not want confrontation
with west (at least just now). But if pressed to
hard they can make common block with Russia
just as self-defence.