Sunday, February 21, 2010

Innovation requires freedom

This observation about the necessity of freedom seems obvious - and yet it is remarkable how often this truth is overlooked. I believe the connection between freedom and innovation is ignored in both capitalist and communist economies. Innovation can be squelched by the demand for short-term profits, or it can be smothered by central planners.

I think of this connection after reading an excellent column by Georgy Satarov. He picks apart a recent interview by a high government official, a government official describing in detail how the Putin-Medvedev administration is going to create some sort of engine for economic development and innovation. It won't happen. I have no idea about what is the future for Russia at this point, but it does not look very bright. The people running the country seem determined to close any possible space for democratic opposition. Without democratic opposition, there can be no peaceful change. And Russia vitally needs change. It plods on, its extractive industries subsidizing its maddening and oppressive inefficiencies.

The best and the brightest will always crave freedom. This is the nature of intelligent people. They seek the opportunity to exercise their intelligence. They do not want to be stifled.

Russia can continue on its current path indefinitely, but it will become increasingly uncompetitive in a global market that will not be restrained by Russia's police, bureaucrats and their criminal allies.


Dale B. Halling said...

Freedom and Innovation - you are absolutely correct. In my post “Laws of Innovation”, I attempt to prove this point starting with some fundamental principles of physics. Specifically, that all innovations are combinations of known elements. This leads eventually to the conclusion that anything that inhibits people’s ability to search our these unique combinations inhibits innovation or invention. Increases in our level of technology (inventions) are our only way to increase our real per capita income.

Anonymous said...

Good point - and interesting approach. If people are not free, their creativity is stunted and curtailed. Furthermore - creative people as a type will always be looking for more freedom.

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