[LMB] Research Republic of Beta

Damien R. Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Mon, 18 Feb 2002 21:48:27 -0800

On Mon, Feb 18, 2002 at 07:20:34PM -0600, K Kuhn wrote:

>   If Beta is a society which puts research and
> > adaptability above any other religious or power structure aspects, and
> > this works to the extent of a mild Singularity, no one else can "adopt
> > that tech" without also subordinating their religion, culture and power

> But wouldn't "adaptibility" be the kind of thing a society in the Nexus
> would have to develop, simply because technology is still in a rapid

We've seen Barrayar and Cetaganda adapt, or talk about adapting.  (The
haut-ladies complaining about the constellations to Giaja, or the
Empress's plot itself.)  And obviously societies have been adapting to
new technologies.  That doesn't mean they cheerfully put the adaptability
over conflicting elements in their society, or fund research a lot, or
have sufficient numbers of people who can make proper use of huge
research funds.

> > I think "education technology" as in just getting better educated and
> > brighter people is the smaller part of my idea.  The greater part is
> > having a society which can make full use of the educated people.

> Which should presumably outcompete everyone else - so why hasn't it? 

This discussion started because Beta _has_ outcompeted everyone in
weapons tech, currency stability, and perceived lifespan (although the
haut and quaddies seem competitive.)  

> Why isn't there a Betan equivalent of "McDonalds" that other galactics
> are complaining about ruining their culture?  
We haven't heard much of Betan colonies.  In fact we've heard almost
nothing of Betan colonies, which seems rather odd, so perhaps there's a
side of Nexus politics which just hasn't come up in Miles' life.  The
Betan Commonwealth, or something, which actually acts in concert only
rather rarely.

And the Nexus doesn't lend itself to exact analogues of McDonald's.

For anything else... Betan culture just doesn't seem to spread much.  A
choice on their part, enforced through acculturation and maybe the MHB.
Plus Doylist handwaving, because if there's trouble in telling good
stories on Beta, it'd be even harder telling them if masses of the
Superior Society were marching through the Nexus.  Lois wants to tell
stories about Barrayar, not the Rational Superwomen.

-xx- Damien X-)