By Gérard Roland (eds.)
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Extra resources for Economies in Transition: The Long-Run View
1 Revolutionary new products The complex process of technical progress is composed of several subprocesses. 1 Revolutionary innovations Innovation Year Country Company 1961 1963 1966 1970 1971 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1980 1981 1981 1983 1983 1984 1994 2000 2003 2004 2005 USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA Estonia USA USA Fairchild AT&T Xerox Corning Bowmar Wang Intel IBM Hayes Microsoft Hard disk drive Xerox Epson Hewlett-Packard Motorola Apple WebCrawler IBM Skype Facebook YouTube 2007 USA Apple Tea bag Hair dryer, hand-held, electric Wall plug Spin dryer Automatic pop-up toaster Steam electric iron Electric refrigerator Air-conditioning, home Neon light Instant coffee Electric clothes dryer 1920 1920 USA USA Joseph Krieger Hamilton Beach 1920 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1938 1938 1938 UK USA USA USA USA USA USA Switzerland USA Nylon Espresso machine (high pressure) Microwave oven 1939 1946 USA Italy Rawlplug Co.
While under socialism competition was eliminated in the centralized, bureaucratically managed civilian economy, the Soviet Union and its allies were deeply involved in the military race with the West, primarily with the USA. This competition put the innovative process under sufﬁcient pressure for generating great innovation. The ﬁrst satellite, Sputnik, was created by the Soviet Union. The sluggishness of technical progress in the civilian sector was overruled by the overall objectives of the leadership, to keep pace with, or even ahead of, the development of the Western military forces.
3 My study cannot penetrate deeply in this exciting subject because I would like to cover a wider set of innovations. Around 60 of 89 in the list are innovations unrelated, or not closely related, to the revolution in the information–communication sphere. Admitting wholeheartedly the extraordinary importance of information and communication, there have been, and will be, innovations in many areas outside this area. For the poorest inhabitants of a poor Albanian or Siberian village, the introduction of the refrigerator or the appearance of a supermarket might contribute to relevant changes in lifestyle—the use of the computer might come later.