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Is CNN The Last Vestige of The Soviet Union?

Posted January 12, 2018
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During the Cold War, the world was caught between two theories of economic development - Capitalism and Communism.  

We know who won out.

But in the 50s and 60s, it was not quite so clear. In fact, in the 1961 edition of his best selling basic economics book, Paul Samuelson predicted that the Soviet Union would overtake the United States economically between 1984 and 1997. 

Didn't happen.

It didn't happen because, as it turned out, command economies, that is economies driven from one central authority, don't have the ability to evolve or innovate. 

This is an important point. They are very good at what they did when they started, but they are caught in an innovative cul-de-sac.

The Internet, as we all know, evolves at a blinding speed. That is because it is the complete antithesis of a command economy. It, in fact, has no head, no center at all.

As it turns out, the Soviets tried to create their own Internet in 1972, led by Soviet scientist Viktor Glushkov. It was called The All State Automatic System for the Gathering and Processing of Information for the Accounting, Planning and Governance of the National Economy, USSR.


It did not work out because, unlike the World Wide Web, it all ran though Moscow.

Now, we come to CNN (and NBC and ABC and the rest).

They are NOT open systems like the Internet. They are planned economies like the Soviet Union used to have. They get their orders from the top and proceed to deliver the product - in this case the news.

There is a reason that they have not changed, and not evolved really since 1962. Command economies don't. Take a look at The CBS Evening News last night and The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite from 1962. Guy at a desk reading the  news. Looks pretty much the same, more or less.

Now, look at computers in 1962 and computers today.

Big changes.

CNN et al are the last vestige of a Soviet Mentality, applied to journalism. The big man at the top gives the orders and everyone else falls into line. Like Soviet Agriculture or Science, they can deliver, but not a great product.

The reason for this is that the media tech of 1962 did not allow for anything except a command economy. The gear just cost too much. So everyone had to work on the collective farm.

Today, things are different.

Anyone who has a smart phone has all the gear you need to create all video content anyone could ever want, and for no cost.

Instead of being cogs in the Soviet Machine (or employees of CNN), anyone can now become their own 'node' of content creation - very web-like. 

A million nodes of content creation, all joined together by the web into a great network of video news.

Interesting idea.

It has the power to change, to respond, to evolve on its own.

That, by the way, is what makes Capitalism so powerful - it's a free market.

So now we can have a free market of ideas in video.


And we are going to build one in Brooklyn.


It's a small but very interesting idea.

A completely new way of creating and delivering the news.


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