[LMB] FW: Betan Technological Superiority.

Damien Raphael phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Mon, 11 Feb 2002 17:29:22 -0800

On Tue, Feb 12, 2002 at 01:22:06PM +1300, Mandos D Shadowspawn Esq wrote:

> I would have thought the only area's that the US is ahead in are Weapons
> Tech, GE Grain Technologies and some pharmacuticals.
How many computer chip companies aren't American?  AMD, Intel, HP, and
IBM are all American.  

Or there's airplanes, though that gives us Boeing vs. Airbus.  

Even back in the 1980s, when people were afraid Japan was going to buy
up the United States, the complaint wasn't that we just sucked, but that
we'd invent stuff but Japanese companies would bring it to market.

And US research universities seem a cut above the rest of the world, or
are at least considered to be so.

> Not wanting to argue the technological leads of individual nations it just
> seems a little simplisticly defined in LMB's books that Beta is ahead at
> just about everything and makes most of their export monies from
> technological export.

Simplistically described, Betan culture seems to have research and
discovery, or from another angle information processing, as its central
focus.  Barrayar is focused on the Vor and the military and
terraforming.  Cetaganda is focused on the aesthetic and genetic
concerns of the haut.  Jackson's Whole and Komarr are focused on profit,
in different ways.  Lairouba might be focused on Islam.  A bunch of
"agricultural planets" are focused on scrabbling in the dirt.  Athos is
focused on... I don't know, just getting on with life.

Beta maxes out everyone's education, and has ready access to
information, and heavy public investment in research and exploration,
and a culture of free-wheeling thought and questioning, with few
blinders (and the constraints we've seen don't seem likely to get in the
way of research, except for Ryoval/haut-style stuff.)  It's a giant
social engine for research.

Well, I'm extrapolating somewhat from the text.  But this seems like
reasonable justification.

Earlier there was discussion about the constitutional bounds on the
Betan military.  Never mind that; what about constitutional guarantees
of research and education funding?  The BAS might get more
constitutional text than the BDF.

> That would be more believable as regardless of governmental systems very few
> environments involving people stay static for very long and staying ahead
> for that long is unlikely :-)

Staying _behind_ for that long is historically likely.  Why not ahead?

-xx- Damien X-)