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Any predictions for Russia?
Author:  Date: 2000-09-12 00:00
This new theory of cultural choice based on r/k dichotomy seems interesting, as well as the new millennium predictions based on it. However I was surprised not to find any predictions for Russia, is this because Russia is so unimportant in the new millennium or because Russia still remains unpredictable?

Some other comments. There was an example in the book or in the paper, it referred to, that pictured Former Soviet Union as being more interested and expansion and other r-business and not so much in the peaceful economic growth, etc, as compared to the K-type USA. Consequently, as the paper puts it "Soviet Union lost the cold war to the US". This may be true though again if the Fall of Soviet Union was an immediate consequence of the Cold War and the direct pressure from the US, it should have been predictable for at least several months before the so-called "perestroika" and "glasnost'" started, but frankly who was able to predict the "1984"? And when Gorbachev started moving on toward the end of Communism, who had been able to predict what his next step would be, even he obviously did not understand what was happening.

But apart from the predictability of Russia, how can the theory explain the investments Former Soviet Union made in apparently such peaceful things as chess, education in general, fundamental sciences, literature (and not only r-literature but also Russian XIX century literature. But was really Russian literature of XIX century truly K-literature? How would the r-K theory classify say Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky with their strange mixture of extreme individualism (K-thing!) and extreme authoritarianism (r-thing). You can say that Russian individualism is different from Western, well everybody knows that, but again how the r-K dichotomy would help us to better understand and predict? Interestingly, literature was not even mentioned in the plan of the book among other kinds of art (say music).

I understand that a simple and rational explanation of the Former Soviet Union high expenditure on "culture" and sport was that it was used (or misused) as a tool in the Cold War. Evidently so, maybe misused, but not simply reduced to a tool. Yes, Boris Spassky had to play better than Bobby Fisher for the ideas of Communism to spread wider and help the r-principles win the Cold War eventually. But how do you explain the enthusiasm of those dedicated Russian teachers who truly existed and worked as hard as they could to teach math, literature, chess, whatever. I grew up in Soviet Union and I remember them very well. Did they operate on r-principle or K-principle? Were they like rats who are trying to spread their litter as far as they could or maybe they were more like huge animals doomed to extinct who would nevertheless continue raising their few offspring as they believe they should, continue doing what they though was a decent and reasonable thing to do even if the environment around them was wild and inhuman? How can you explain that almost spiritual commitment of those people to high standards and honest work? Fear? Perfectionism, love to small details, replicating the "big idea" in small pieces, so typical to totalitarian or r- ideological system? I doubt that this would suffice to explain everything. My main point is that probably it is not possible to reduce all the cultural and spiritual values to the r-K dichotomy. On the contrary, art, literature and other forms of human activity, I believe, cannot be reduced to this dichotomy as they operate at a higher (meta-) level and can absorb the theory of cultural choice, that pretend they can explain and predict everything.

thread Any predictions for Russia? - Ilya Lipkovich - 2000-09-12
replythread Re: Any predictions for Russia? new - Agner Fog - 2000-11-20
reply Re: Any predictions for Russia? new - Herb Williams - 2002-02-07
last replythread Re: Any predictions for Russia? new - Joseph - 2006-07-03
last reply Re: Any predictions for Russia? new - Agner - 2006-07-04
reply Any predictions for Russia? new - L.Risinger - 2002-05-13
last replythread Any predictions for Russia? new - Carl - 2004-07-12
last replythread Any predictions for Russia? new - Ivan - 2006-11-01
last reply Any predictions for Russia? new - Agner - 2006-11-02