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Innovation Brought Us the Subprime Mortgage

Boris Kagarlitsky in today’s Moscow Times picks apart the current fad for talking about ‘innovation’ in Russia’s political sphere.  Former and current finance ministers Anatoly Chubais and Alexei Kudrin have been bandying the term about this week, and President Dmitry Medvedev has made the word a regular feature of his public speeches in recent months.  But what exactly does it mean?

Let’s not forget that innovation brought us the subprime mortgage, Kagarlitsky writes

[…] the principle of an innovative economy suggests an endless flow of answers to questions that don’t actually exist. Scores of improved or original ideas might demonstrate the limitless imaginations and mental adroitness of their authors, but they leave us, as before, face to face with our unresolved and collective problems. Unfortunately, technical gadgetry is no substitute for meaningful scientific breakthroughs, and private initiative cannot replace qualitative social change.