The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersRussian Reaction Blog
10 Ways Life in America Is Better Than in Russia
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

sf-bay-ocean-flag

Last week, I wrote about the 10 ways in which life in Russia is better than America.

Now it’s time for Uncle Sam to have his due.

 

moscow-commieblocks

Typical Moscow sleeper suburb.

Higher Living Standards

Although Russian prices are 2x cheaper than America’s, the blunt fact is that wages are also 4x-5x lower.

Consequently, the standard of living in the US relative to Russia is at least twice higher.

This gap widens to almost an order of magnitude so far as professionals in the state sphere, such as doctors and researchers, are concerned. Despite some lingering but much diminished prestige associated to their work from the Soviet era, most of them can barely be considered middle-class in economic terms, even by Russian standards.

The typical urban Russian lives in gray, concrete commieblocks that are comparable to American public housing in quality. The quality of construction is low, internal planning is haphazardous, and contrary to rumors, my inquiries indicates that the presence of nuclear shelters are very much the exception, not the rule. So they don’t even have survivability in the case of nuclear war going for them. At just 25 sqm a person, the average Russian has barely any more living space than the average denizen of overcrowded Japan, and three times less than the average American.

Although Russia has converged with First World levels on indicators such as cell phone ownership and Internet penetration, this is not the case with truly expensive durables. The US leaves Russia in the dust with respect to car ownership, with 797/1,000 cars per person to Russia’s 293/1,000; nor can this difference be ascribed to the centrality of automotive culture in the US, since Russia lags typical European levels of 500-600/1,000 cars per person as well.

Although there’s more far more debt in the US, that also reflects the reality that Americans have the option of taking out debt thanks to a much better-developed credit system. This enables them to take out mortgages to buy homes and raise families in them, while paying off the debt and assuming full ownership by retirement. There are mortgages in Russia as well, but interest rates tend to be prohibitively high, especially for young families with low incomes. Popular understanding of credit and home economics seems low. When I got my credit card here from state-owned banking giant Sberbank, it was marketed to me as a way to get expensive goods during the New Year holidays, whereas in the United States the talking points would be about building up a credit rating.

This reflects the fact that Russians don’t understand personal finance and have low future time orientation relative to the Anglo/Protestant world. One American who works in a Russian media organization says that bonuses are paid out to staff to coincide with the start of the holiday season, the assumption being that they would have otherwise spent it and have no money to go to the Crimea or Egypt. As an American who understands the concept of saving up, he had to push through a special exception for himself with the accounting department.

 

muslim-preacher-white-house

Washington, D.C. in 2013. Some crazed Islamist ranting in front of the White House, without getting arrested. Is there any greater and more majestic symbol of the strength of American civilization?

Freedom of Speech

Yes, you can be ostracized. Yes, you can be fired from your job. Yes, this might no longer be the case in another decade or two, if the SJWs have their way.

But at the end of the day you will not go to jail on trumped up charges of hate speech.

In this sense, America’s “Society 282” is still far preferable to Russia’s “Article 282.”

 

gun-karlin

Guns

American gun rights are enshrined in the Second Amendment and are by far the strongest of any major country in the world.

In Russia you need to fill out reams of forms just to get a hunting shotgun. All handguns, magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds, fully automatic weapons, and open carry are illegal.

 

enough-protest

Bureaucracy

The Russian bureaucracy is a *lot* better than it used to be, especially in the “My Documents” centers that have proliferated in recent years as part of a government initiative to make bureaucratic services more transparent and accessible to citizens. In comparison to 2007, there are fewer papers to fill out, many more tasks can be done online, and staff are more courteous. This is reflected in Russia moving from around 120th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings a decade ago, to 35th as of 2017.

Which still makes it a horrendous nightmare by Anglo standards.

Far fewer tasks and operations need to be confirmed with the bureaucracy in the first place, and those that do – with the notable exception of the DMV – tend to go far more smoothly.

 

volokolamsk-war-memorial

Volokolamsk Great Patriotic War memorial, summer 2017.

More Respect for Public Spaces

Outside of central Moscow, which is a SWPL paradise that wouldn’t look out of place in central Europe, public spaces tend to be unkempt, if not entirely derelict.

Although it is tempting to blame this on a shortage of funds, there’s no doubt that apathy and outright corruption play a large part in this. This summer, I went to Volokolamsk, a small town 120 km from Moscow, where I have a few relatives. There used to be a German tank, displayed as a war trophy on a pedestal, on the road into Volokolamsk. But now it was absent. According to our taxi driver, the previous United Russia mayor had sent it to Germany for maintenance – why would a hunk of 75 year old metal need maintenance? – but it later emerged that he had sold it to a German collector and pocketed the proceeds. In the ensuing scandal, he was removed, and United Russia lost the next mayoral elections to the Communist candidate. Regardless, most of the town’s historic churches remain in a dilapidated condition, and the local World War II memorial (see photo above) appears to be in a worse state than during the depressed 1990′s.

Ultimately, this is a reflection of the wider society. There is extremely little respect for the “commonweal” as it is understood in the Anglosphere – not just amongst the elites, but amongst ordinary Russians too. People throw cigarette butts from balconies onto the sidewalk, instead of getting an ashtray. Picnickers treat the reeds at the edge of the lake in a park as a garbage bin.

If Russians do not even respect themselves, why should their rulers?

 

transparency-international-gcb-2016-bribery-in-europe

Incidence of bribery in Europe, GCB 2017.

Bribery and Theft

There isn’t a lot of everyday bribery. Certainly not for routine bureaucratic services, as was not uncommon in the 1990s.

That said, there’s still an order of magnitude more corruption going on than in core Europe. Though I have personally yet to encounter a request for a bribe, I do know of a large-scale case of bribery that involves a circle of lawyers, prosecutors, and judges just a couple of degrees of separation from myself. I find it difficult to imagine that something like this is even possible in the United States in anything but singular cases.

According to acquaintances, the incidence of internal theft within corporations – especially the state owned hydrocarbons giants – is far more prevalent than in the West.

There are also far more of all kinds of scams and petty commercial tricks. For instance, a couple of months ago, a salesperson came knocking to my flat, offering to replace the windows at subsidized rates thanks to a local government initiative – but we should hurry up, because the program is on a “first come, first served” basis. A 5 minute Internet investigation made it clear that program was entirely fictive, and the company in question has endless complaints against it for false marketing and charging 50% more than its competitors (presumably, its lying salespeople have to be paid). But I can imagine them raking in profits from Internet-illiterate elderly people.

Unfortunately, this is not just a few bad apples, but reflective of general social phenomena. For instance, many foreigners have observed how easy it is to return products in the United States within the first 6 months, year, or even two years. Many ex-USSR immigrants regularly exploit these provisions, buying some expensive coffee machine only to decide they’re not that satisfied with it after 11 months and getting their money back, only to then repeat the process. This is something I have observed first hand on several occasions, and the culprit was never an indigenous American.

This illustrates why Russians can’t have nice things in Russia. Here, the typical window for returning products is two weeks to a month.

 

seattle

Seattle.

Amazon Prime

The closest Russia has to Amazon Prime is Ozon.ru, though it’s far less than comprehensive in scope, and other online shops tend to have better prices for specific categories of products (e.g. pleer for electronics, El Dorado for home repair equipment, etc).

I suppose there are advantages to a lack of monopolist, but it does make things a bit more complex for people who had settled into the one click order & delivery pattern fostered by Amazon.

A more specific feature of the delivery experience in Russia is that packages are never left at the door – you either have to pick it up in person, or answer the door yourself. Why? Because someone will inevitably steal it, as in Black (but not Latino) areas of American cities.

Fortunately there are now more and more equivalents of Amazon Lockers for those Russians who don’t partake of the NEET lyfe and can’t hang around their home all day waiting for a delivery.

 

berkeley-curry

My favorite restaurant in Berkeley.

Minor Conveniences

Just as the Anglos are no good for pickles, so Russia is the bane of the chillihead.

There are approximately four shops selling a full variety of Indian spices (they are appropriately named “Indian Spices“) in Moscow. They also have one shop in Saint Petersburg. Otherwise, that’s it. Similar situation with Indian restaurants. There are a couple of good ones in Moscow, and one good one in Saint-Petersburg (by “good” I mean acceptable by London or SF Bay Area standards).

Tropical Hyperborea can’t immanentize fast enough!

Russian wines have been improving rapidly, as tastes change from Soviet vodka-swilling towards greater refinement. Even so, even Moscow is very far from France or California. To say nothing of the provinces.

One other small thing that annoys me is the near complete absence of lined/college-ruled paper. The only ones I have been able to find were German imports.

 

american-culture

Globally Dominant Culture

The United States is at the center of global science and culture.

It publishes the most scientific papers, hosts the most famous brands, and incubates the most hi-tech startups. Everybody has heard of 23andme, nobody has heard of Genotek.

Around 95% of scientific publishing takes place in English – if a paper doesn’t have an English version, at this point in history, it might as well not exist.

Everybody watches American films, follows American shows, and plays American video games.

With the small exception of literature, where it continues to produce a modest amount of high quality original content, Russian culture is now but a footnote to global American culture.

For all intents and purposes, the United States has won a global Cultural Victory, and its culture is dominant even within Russia.

Historically, the best of the best traditionally flocked to the imperial metropolis – two millennia ago, it was Rome; now, it is Boswash and Silicon Valley.

There are real benefits to be derived from being located at the global center of cultural and scientific dynamism, from having early access to the latest electronic toys and medical treatments (FDA obliging) to rubbing shoulders with highly accomplished people and thereby raising your own chances of success.

There is only a faint echo of this in Moscow, while the rest of Russia might as well be a desert.

Addendum

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy my comprehensive comparison of life in Russia, America and the United Kingdom that I wrote in 2011: http://akarlin.com/tag/national-comparisons/ .

 
Show 273 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. One important point of comparison that you should have mentioned in either this post or in the previous post, one that has great impact on almost all other spheres of modern life, is of course the discrepancy in the number of high quality roads that dominate in the U.S., and that are sorely lacking in Russia. This very feature should be considered as the calling card of any truly highly civilized country.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Roads in remote places are worse. Airports are of similar quality (major ones in Moscow are better than the ones in the US). Railways in Russia beat American ones hands down. Public transportation in America is complete crap. So I don't know, my personal experience (as someone who does not enjoy 'roadtripping') Russia is better in this respect.
    , @jnc
    Is Belarus a "truly highly civilized country"?

    While I can't say to have tried the roads there myself, I know someone who did and he was amazed by how good they were and how noticeable was the transition when you crossed the border to Russia or Ukraine.

    Regarding on of the issues Anatoly does raise, he also commented about how well public spaces were maintained and how clean everything was (at least in Minsk).
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Roads are much better than they were 10-20 years ago, in my experience. That said, for now I can only speak for Moscow and Moscow oblast.

    It's not something that (yet) affects me personally since I don't have a car, and don't plan on getting one anytime soon.

    I found US roads to be okay, but very much subpar to German and French ones. Their main advantage (and it's a cardinal one) is the frequency of rest stops, most of which work 24/7.
    , @Dain
    Mixed bag. The roads in Alabama were surprisingly good when I was there in 2005. Better than what I'm used to even in the that state's most remote areas. They're pretty bad in the Bay Area and in other older urban locales suffering from dilapidation.
    , @Kam Phlodius
    I have lived in Germany and South Korea, and the roads in these two countries are of significantly, observably, undeniably higher quality than the roads in the U.S.A. Does this make the U.S.A. an uncivilized country? I would say yes, but we know how sensitive and deluded you Americans are. You expect and demand flattery.
    , @Tom Welsh
    Don't forget that the horrible state of the roads very probably made the difference between Nazi Germany conquering the USSR and failing to do so. (Along with the railways having a different gauge).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    In Europe deliverymen don’t just drop boxes in front of your house as well. I actually prefer it this way. In America it horrified me when the mailman just abandoned my really expensive delivery at my front door, just to sit there open to the world (and the weather).

    In the Netherlands we have an option to pick it up at the nearest post office usually.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    In Europe deliverymen don’t just drop boxes in front of your house
     
    In Hungary, they usually don't (though depending on the place etc.), but in some other countries like Switzerland or Germany they often do. (Maybe it's changing?)
    , @Dave Pinsen
    When I left my apartment today, there was a stack of Amazon boxes outside my door. The delivery man (usually either Amazon's own or FedEx) must have buzzed another apartment in the building to get in.

    Amazon is working on a service where you'll have some kind of electronic lock on your door and the delivery man will bring the stuff into your home. I'm not sure how they'll handle pets running out though.
    , @RadicalCenter
    You have the option, here in the USA, to pick up packages at the UPS or USPS facility.

    You also have the option of requiring a signature for delivery at your home address, I.e. telling the carrier not to leave the package unattended.

    No shipping option is unavailable in the USA that is available in eurabia, I mean Europe.
    , @Ilyana_Rozumova
    Was that package a rubber doll?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. Hack
    One important point of comparison that you should have mentioned in either this post or in the previous post, one that has great impact on almost all other spheres of modern life, is of course the discrepancy in the number of high quality roads that dominate in the U.S., and that are sorely lacking in Russia. This very feature should be considered as the calling card of any truly highly civilized country.

    Roads in remote places are worse. Airports are of similar quality (major ones in Moscow are better than the ones in the US). Railways in Russia beat American ones hands down. Public transportation in America is complete crap. So I don’t know, my personal experience (as someone who does not enjoy ‘roadtripping’) Russia is better in this respect.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Mainly thanks to Russian airports being newer - the old Russian airports (if Sheremetyevo are anything to go by) are nothing to write home about.

    I don't think Russian railways are superior to American ones. They are not any newer or faster (apart from a few high speed routes, mainly to SPB). Main advantage is that they are massively cheaper. However, train stop facilities leave much to be desired, especially outside the major cities.

    Public transportation is indeed generally better in Russia, though with the advent of Uber-Lyft/Yandex Taxi, my impression is that international differences on this score are getting papered over in general.
    , @unpc downunder
    Even in high income countries, it tends to be difficult to provide quality roads in lightly populated areas, and Russia also has to contend with big seasonal fluctuations in weather. Extreme snow and frost in winter, mud bogs in spring and autumn. Canada has good interstate highways but almost all the good roads in Canada are close to the US border. Australia doesn't have many interior roads across the desert and New Zealand only has a two-lane highway linking its major cities.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. @Anon
    In Europe deliverymen don't just drop boxes in front of your house as well. I actually prefer it this way. In America it horrified me when the mailman just abandoned my really expensive delivery at my front door, just to sit there open to the world (and the weather).

    In the Netherlands we have an option to pick it up at the nearest post office usually.

    In Europe deliverymen don’t just drop boxes in front of your house

    In Hungary, they usually don’t (though depending on the place etc.), but in some other countries like Switzerland or Germany they often do. (Maybe it’s changing?)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Germany they often do
     
    Haven't experienced it myself.
    So far, it was either me, a family member, a neighbor or the nearest post received the stuff delivered to me.
    , @German_reader

    but in some other countries like Switzerland or Germany they often do.
     
    Where I live (middle classs suburb of a moderately big and fairly "diverse" West German society) postmen usually try to hand over packages etc. to neighbours and leave a note informing you about that. Has occasionally happened though that they put it under the stairs or some other semi-hidden place, don't know if that's against their instructions though.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. “There are also far more of all kinds of scams and petty commercial tricks”

    Is there any way to quantify that? I’ve been pestered by salesmen who tried to scam me as well (though that happened only once in more than ten years, so far also no burglaries, though acquaintances haven’t been that lucky), seems difficult to generalize from such a single case.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Is there any way to quantify that?... seems difficult to generalize from such a single case.
     
    Not sure, but it's unlikely that they are comparable, due to the much lower culture of honesty in Russia relative to Hajnal Europe (as can be proxied by things such as bribery incidence, etc.).

    Only 9% of Russians expect a stranger to return their lost wallet, versus typical figures of ~30% for core Europe: http://news.gallup.com/poll/102346/many-world-citizens-trust-neighbors-more-than-police.aspx
    , @Patrick Armstrong
    Yeah I baulked at this one a bit. The current scams in Ottawa are frightening calls pretending to be from the tax man saying you're in real trouble (would terrify lots of people); people coming to the door with a once in a lifetime chance to replace your water heater, innumerable phone calls that don't pick up. So we have it too.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. @reiner Tor

    In Europe deliverymen don’t just drop boxes in front of your house
     
    In Hungary, they usually don't (though depending on the place etc.), but in some other countries like Switzerland or Germany they often do. (Maybe it's changing?)

    Germany they often do

    Haven’t experienced it myself.
    So far, it was either me, a family member, a neighbor or the nearest post received the stuff delivered to me.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. @reiner Tor

    In Europe deliverymen don’t just drop boxes in front of your house
     
    In Hungary, they usually don't (though depending on the place etc.), but in some other countries like Switzerland or Germany they often do. (Maybe it's changing?)

    but in some other countries like Switzerland or Germany they often do.

    Where I live (middle classs suburb of a moderately big and fairly “diverse” West German society) postmen usually try to hand over packages etc. to neighbours and leave a note informing you about that. Has occasionally happened though that they put it under the stairs or some other semi-hidden place, don’t know if that’s against their instructions though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @animalogic
    In Australia, deliveries by Australia Post (ie beyond the simple letter) almost invariably must be retrieved from a local Post office: a standard postcard is delivered instead, giving the appropriate details. Annoying but safe.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. Two notes of dissent. Freedom of speech and global culture. On freedom of speech, Russia may have more draconian laws but America’s freedom of speech, especially on issues such as white nationalism is de facto just as bad.

    One point Mike Enoch makes, successfully I think, is that America’s strong laws on freedom of speech derived from a culture of freedom, which extended to freedom of speech and that is now being lost. This is manifested not in new laws but through another route. Put simply, American corporations – including Silicon Valley ones – have essentially entered into a sort of quasi-PPP(public-private partnership) on policing thought and speech. So the USG gets to wash its hands but it has in effect delegated the repression to private entities such as Google who then crack down on dissent.

    Libertarians will say “hey, corporations have a right to which opinions they want to host” but that is a form of autism, because it ignores that Google is a virtual monopoly on search for instance, and they actively manipulate what you find through searching (same is true on Youtube recommendations and the like). And that’s the mild stuff. Account shutdowns are routine. People getting fired is routine. Therefore, while America’s on-the-books laws are better, the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was. That lunatic you showed in the picture is no threat to the system, he’s just a yelling madman. How the USG responds, through its delegated proxies in the private sector, to a more systematic/sustained challenge is more revealing and it’s all repression. People can and often do lose their jobs, we saw this in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Again, it’s public pressure on private businesses but the climate of fear and repression is the same. Laws in this context is of secondary importance.

    As for ‘global culture’, this is hard to justify, too. Americans are no longer a tight-knit people, bound together by a common ethos, history or frankly future. They are consumers in a giant shopping mall. A wealthy shopping mall, but a shopping mall nonetheless. The price for influence is that your culture becomes watered-down and commoditised, to use an expression favoured by many Marxists. Thus, being ‘in the center’ doesn’t have as many benefits because large swaths of Americans have little in common with each other. In order to reach the many, you must spread yourself thin and shallow.

    Secondly, and on the same subject, I find most American ‘culture’ to be gross and vulgar, and frankly negrified. Most American pop culture is gansta rap and the like. Though I’ve heard that hip-hop is big in Russia, but it’s not a huge thing in Poland (though there are wannabe’s). Furthermore, even in traditionally US-compliant nations like Germany, TV shows such as ‘Empire’(somekind of hip-hop meets godfather fantasy) flopped by huge margins. So even in countries which are desperate to become like the US, there is often a general dislike of this type of Africanised content.

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
     
    A good movie is also part of high culture, and in this area the Americans beat everyone. In literature, the achievements of Americans, huge, very huge.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Therefore, while America’s on-the-books laws are better, the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was.
     
    Article 282 vs. Society 282. Pick your poison, I guess.
    , @Brabantian
    Polish Perspective above is absolutely correct re the USA -

    the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was
     
    In the USA people often have their speech banned, but the method is a 'gag order' by bribe-taking judges, and the jailing is thus for 'contempt of court' without what you think of as a trial or evidence or a 'conviction' ... people have been held like that for 14 years

    There are a lot of 'sideways' attacks in the US, they add a layer of complexity to hide the repression ... they pick up a dissident and claim they found '100 gigabytes of child porn' on his computer, which the gov themselves planted, so the conviction seems 'unconnected' to the politics ... and the judges lock up the victim's bank accounts on day 1 to prevent expert help, plus issue an immediate 'gag order' preventing the victim from publicising what is happening, US judges call people up on the phone and tell them they are going to jail if they say anything, the victim is fooked & helpless

    USA lawyers are instantly disbarred, jailed as well sometimes, if they say anything in court papers or to the media about the judge corruption, 'contempt of court' again, so even with money the US lawyers won't really fight for the victim, and typically sell people out to the more well-connected party

    One of the fascinating things about US media control, is that even a person like Anatoly Karlin who lived there a good while, was unaware of the pervasive USA bribery and judicial corruption culture ... Until they bump into the US legal corruption in a personal way, most US residents think their legal system is like in the Hollywood movies

    But actually the US courts have a higher conviction rate than Hitler's 3rd Reich, there is almost never a 'jury trial' for small fry. The US-gov-supplied 'lawyer' tells the black kid or Mexican or poor white dude or dissident, 'Look here's the deal, you take a plea, you're in jail for 3 years, you go to trial, it's 25 years, whaddaya wanna do?' The guy takes the plea and the sentence is 10 years 'But we had a deal' 'Not by me' says the judge.

    And that's when people find out that the totally corrupt ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union, is not interested in legal system victims, they're too 'busy' with getting trans-genders into ladies' rooms, supporting elite paedophiles and the 'Man-Boy Love Association' ... the victim is slandered because 'even the ACLU wouldn't help him'

    In Russia Anatoly Karlin saw


    a large-scale case of bribery that involves a circle of lawyers, prosecutors, and judges just a couple of degrees of separation from myself
     
    But that is business as usual in the USA ... you know this if you know people in the increasingly-shrinking area of USA small business, people who've been mauled in US divorce case extortions, US people who've had their assets seized via some bribed judge, the families of the hundreds of thousands of innocent amongst the USA's 2.3 million prisoners, 25% of all the prisoners of the world ... all those people know ... but Google is blocking their stories very nicely

    Although in all fairness, per capita, Russia is nearly as big a jailer of its own citizens as the USA, they both jail about 1 out of every 150 people (vs 1 out of 1000 in Western Europe)

    But try to talk about a specific judge bribery case in the USA, the lawyers hit you with papers, instant 'gag order' by the bribed judge, plus 'orders to Google' to hide the info ... the media leaves Americans themselves in the dark about what is really going on in US courtrooms ... the bribed judges gladly give 'orders to Google' including a gag order to all parties and to Google itself, to hide that such an order was given ... Google, a heavy user itself of bribed judge 'favours', is always glad to do some extra service for their judges and law firms tied to the oligarchs

    , @Anon 2
    " Most American pop culture is gangsta rap and the like"

    True, pop culture in the U. S. is not what it used to be.
    But in the 1950s-'80s when the U.S. was at the height of its
    self-confidence and had a strong middle class, its pop culture
    was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. One advantage
    of living in a huge country with a 325+ million population
    is that you can pick your own niche, and even that small niche
    may have a potential fan base of 50 million people.

    For someone older like me (I was born and raised in Poland
    but have spent most of my adult life in a technical field at an
    American university) the entire repertoire of American/British
    pop music and films from the '60s-'80s that I'm intimately
    familiar with is available at a moment's notice, and you can also throw in
    20th century American literature from Hemingway, Fitzgerald, through
    Henry Miller, Kerouac, Updike, Pynchon, etc That's more than enough
    for one lifetime. No wonder the U.S. is so navel-gazing. Its cultural output
    is so vast that it barely notices that the rest of the world even exists.

    When it comes to the latest stuff, I learn it from my students. Being
    a university professor in America is like running a small country: you
    have a budget, grants, and a battalion of assistants, both male and female.
    The guys are typically into bands that nobody my age has heard of. My
    female assistants (who often treat me like a father confessor and entrust
    me sometimes with intimate details of their sex lives) tell me they are into
    J-POP or K-POP because the U.S. music scene no longer provides them
    with the romance that they crave. Some may follow bands like Phish but
    that's mostly to please their boyfriends. There is no better life in America
    than being a college professor! Where else do you get 3 months of vacation
    (although much of it is filled with research and conferences)? And in a technical
    field you're beyond politics because nobody can understand what it is that
    you actually do - the jargon and the math are too impenetrable
    , @Logan
    Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on.

    How much "high culture" created in Europe today is worthy of the term? Seems to me most actual high culture is reproduction of stuff originally produced 50 to 100 years ago or more.

    To be sure most of that was produced in Europe originally, but it's now part of the common culture of the West.

    What great plays, symphonies, ballets, etc. have been created in Europe in recent years?

    (Not that US produces much legitimately high culture either.)
    , @Mulegino1
    Polish Perspective is entirely correct with respect to "American" culture- it is Weimar Berlin on steroids! Media culture for the most part is a sick and disgusting spectacle, a glorification of perversion, thuggery, political correctness, mindless violence, ugliness and race based vindictiveness. or those of European Christian descent- an exercise in ethnic masochism and cultural suicide- all brought to you by Le Happy Merchants of Hymiewood. The "American" entertainment industry is a kosher, pestiferous sewer and it is deadly to all forms of traditional culture.

    If "American culture" is dominant throughout the world, this is merely a sign of the times- the complete degradation of tastes, and, as Rene Guenon would have put it, the "reign of quantity" over that of quality.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. I don’t live in Russia or America, but for me of the two America is by far the scarier place, by scary I mean the sheer cult levels of zealotry the general population adopts. Take the banning of alcohol for example, I doubt even Stalin could have gotten away with such a drastic measure, but in the supposed land of the free this is exactly what they did. Or how about the sheer speed on how they went from being Christian to hounding people that don’t want to serve homosexuals, America was certainly not the first country to push gay politics, but they are much scarier how they push their politics.

    As for the freedom of speech, it looks inevitable that they will ban things allowed now with future laws, but even now if one says anything on the growing list of forbidden topics your life is destroyed. I don’t know what the Russian law is if you for example if you say n*gger on Facebook, but in America it means your life is pretty much destroyed, so you will not go to jail (what is the jail sentence for this in Russia?), but what does it matter if you are banished from doing anything in society?

    Finally, the whole standard of living thing, you should clearly know that if you hang out at sites such as Unz.com, places like Detroit or the massive changes in states like California are the future for all of America. You might try isolate yourself as best you can, but the ring of third worldom (boosted by the American zealotry), that surrounds places like Silicon Valley, will eventually overwhelm the O ring you mentioned that sustains it.

    Reading this I have to also ask what others have already done here, are you black pilled? Do you want to become American?

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on
     
    Is that really still true today?
    And while I think much of US popular culture is pretty horrible, I think AK is right, there really is a problem here, European countries produce nothing that is even remotely competitive with US mass culture. Europe feels old, exhausted and culturally stagnant today, nothing new is produced, and we're losing sight of our own cultural traditions (e.g. just see the decline of Latin in European school systems). And all the while Americanization relentlessly continues, with the most pernicious notions of US public discourse like "white privilege" now turning up in Europe as well and the US's racial politics seen as a model to be imitated by us (instead of a cautionary tale what not to do).

    EDIT: Oops, I made a mistake, that was meant as a reply to "PolishPerspective", sorry.

    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Take the banning of alcohol for example, I doubt even Stalin could have gotten away with such a drastic measure...
     
    Russia/USSR were dry by law from 1914-25.

    I don’t know what the Russian law is if you for example if you say n*gger on Facebook, but in America it means your life is pretty much destroyed, so you will not go to jail (what is the jail sentence for this in Russia?)...
     
    None (see #2).
    , @RadicalCenter
    Agree with most of what you say.

    But what are you talking about when you refer to banning alcohol in the USA? Some States give the people of counties and towns the right to prohibit the sale of alcohol entirely or on Sundays.

    There aren't many places that prohibit local alcohol sales entirely. Even then it is legal to buy alcohol elsewhere and bring it home, I.e. From a neighboring town, county, or State that doesn't have the same law.

    I don't agree with such restrictions, but they're not not common in most States and there is NEVER a ban on possessing and drinking alcohol on any day of the year, anywhere.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. @Mr. Hack
    One important point of comparison that you should have mentioned in either this post or in the previous post, one that has great impact on almost all other spheres of modern life, is of course the discrepancy in the number of high quality roads that dominate in the U.S., and that are sorely lacking in Russia. This very feature should be considered as the calling card of any truly highly civilized country.

    Is Belarus a “truly highly civilized country”?

    While I can’t say to have tried the roads there myself, I know someone who did and he was amazed by how good they were and how noticeable was the transition when you crossed the border to Russia or Ukraine.

    Regarding on of the issues Anatoly does raise, he also commented about how well public spaces were maintained and how clean everything was (at least in Minsk).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Last that I checked, Belarus was not Russia. Also, you could fit approximately 75 Belaruses inside of Russia, making it much easier to pave with decent roads. Almost 70% of commercial freight in the US is dominated by the trucking industry - with the advent of semis running strictly on electrical power, I can only see this trend increasing into the future. And what about Russia?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. @Polish Perspective
    Two notes of dissent. Freedom of speech and global culture. On freedom of speech, Russia may have more draconian laws but America's freedom of speech, especially on issues such as white nationalism is de facto just as bad.

    One point Mike Enoch makes, successfully I think, is that America's strong laws on freedom of speech derived from a culture of freedom, which extended to freedom of speech and that is now being lost. This is manifested not in new laws but through another route. Put simply, American corporations - including Silicon Valley ones - have essentially entered into a sort of quasi-PPP(public-private partnership) on policing thought and speech. So the USG gets to wash its hands but it has in effect delegated the repression to private entities such as Google who then crack down on dissent.

    Libertarians will say "hey, corporations have a right to which opinions they want to host" but that is a form of autism, because it ignores that Google is a virtual monopoly on search for instance, and they actively manipulate what you find through searching (same is true on Youtube recommendations and the like). And that's the mild stuff. Account shutdowns are routine. People getting fired is routine. Therefore, while America's on-the-books laws are better, the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was. That lunatic you showed in the picture is no threat to the system, he's just a yelling madman. How the USG responds, through its delegated proxies in the private sector, to a more systematic/sustained challenge is more revealing and it's all repression. People can and often do lose their jobs, we saw this in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Again, it's public pressure on private businesses but the climate of fear and repression is the same. Laws in this context is of secondary importance.

    As for 'global culture', this is hard to justify, too. Americans are no longer a tight-knit people, bound together by a common ethos, history or frankly future. They are consumers in a giant shopping mall. A wealthy shopping mall, but a shopping mall nonetheless. The price for influence is that your culture becomes watered-down and commoditised, to use an expression favoured by many Marxists. Thus, being 'in the center' doesn't have as many benefits because large swaths of Americans have little in common with each other. In order to reach the many, you must spread yourself thin and shallow.

    Secondly, and on the same subject, I find most American 'culture' to be gross and vulgar, and frankly negrified. Most American pop culture is gansta rap and the like. Though I've heard that hip-hop is big in Russia, but it's not a huge thing in Poland (though there are wannabe's). Furthermore, even in traditionally US-compliant nations like Germany, TV shows such as 'Empire'(somekind of hip-hop meets godfather fantasy) flopped by huge margins. So even in countries which are desperate to become like the US, there is often a general dislike of this type of Africanised content.

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    A good movie is also part of high culture, and in this area the Americans beat everyone. In literature, the achievements of Americans, huge, very huge.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    I’m curious what you think are some good American movies and books.
    , @Polish Perspective
    Americans dominate mass market movies, but that's another thing than the quality segment. There are many very good films being made on small budgets but who never get a big audience. Most people are not aware of them. I wouldn't say that Americans "dominate" the quality film segment.

    As for literature, Americans certainly have their fair share of good authors. I personally like Twain the most. But I'm not talking of past greats. I'm talking of the here and now.

    And it's not even about the authors *themselves*. It's about the audience. How easy is it for me, as someone who enjoys high culture, to go to shows/plays etc? Russia just beats America out of the water for someone who is not rich. Sure, the elite in the US have a good selection but high culture is accessible in Russia for a reasonable sum for those who are interested. There will still only be a minority who are, but at least they won't be limited by the size of their wallet nearly to the same extent as in the US. Plus, as I already mentioned, most of the high quality plays, operas, ballets etc are imported from Europe. Even if you were only to limit yourself to Russian-origin plays/operas/ballets and vice-versa but in the US, you'd end up with a much better selection in Russia, especially in ballet.

    But for me it's not even an e-peen contest. I don't mind watching an Italian opera in Moscow. What matters to me is how easy it is in terms of A) cost(I'm in my 20s and it matters for me. Student income is not high and my family is not rich) B) convenience and C) quality. Pound-for-pound, Russia beats the US, easily, when you look at all three combined.

    , @дулебг
    Which good American movie would you mention, please? American literature after J.Updike?!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. @neutral
    I don't live in Russia or America, but for me of the two America is by far the scarier place, by scary I mean the sheer cult levels of zealotry the general population adopts. Take the banning of alcohol for example, I doubt even Stalin could have gotten away with such a drastic measure, but in the supposed land of the free this is exactly what they did. Or how about the sheer speed on how they went from being Christian to hounding people that don't want to serve homosexuals, America was certainly not the first country to push gay politics, but they are much scarier how they push their politics.

    As for the freedom of speech, it looks inevitable that they will ban things allowed now with future laws, but even now if one says anything on the growing list of forbidden topics your life is destroyed. I don't know what the Russian law is if you for example if you say n*gger on Facebook, but in America it means your life is pretty much destroyed, so you will not go to jail (what is the jail sentence for this in Russia?), but what does it matter if you are banished from doing anything in society?

    Finally, the whole standard of living thing, you should clearly know that if you hang out at sites such as Unz.com, places like Detroit or the massive changes in states like California are the future for all of America. You might try isolate yourself as best you can, but the ring of third worldom (boosted by the American zealotry), that surrounds places like Silicon Valley, will eventually overwhelm the O ring you mentioned that sustains it.

    Reading this I have to also ask what others have already done here, are you black pilled? Do you want to become American?

    Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on

    Is that really still true today?
    And while I think much of US popular culture is pretty horrible, I think AK is right, there really is a problem here, European countries produce nothing that is even remotely competitive with US mass culture. Europe feels old, exhausted and culturally stagnant today, nothing new is produced, and we’re losing sight of our own cultural traditions (e.g. just see the decline of Latin in European school systems). And all the while Americanization relentlessly continues, with the most pernicious notions of US public discourse like “white privilege” now turning up in Europe as well and the US’s racial politics seen as a model to be imitated by us (instead of a cautionary tale what not to do).

    EDIT: Oops, I made a mistake, that was meant as a reply to “PolishPerspective”, sorry.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @S3
    You say that nothing new is produced. Could it be because there are no longer any aristocrats with spare time on their hands and a guaranteed standard of living?
    , @Art Deco
    And while I think much of US popular culture is pretty horrible,

    You've almost certainly never been exposed to it. See Anthony Esolen on the distinction between popular culture and mass entertainment. Popular culture consists of the songs people sing with their own voices and play on their own instruments (or the literature they read on their own time). Things can start out as mass entertainment and be adopted by the public at large, of course.
    , @jason kennedy
    "European countries produce nothing that is even remotely competitive with US mass culture"

    You appear not to have heard of the UK, which has regularly spawned entire new genres of popular music.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. @neutral
    I don't live in Russia or America, but for me of the two America is by far the scarier place, by scary I mean the sheer cult levels of zealotry the general population adopts. Take the banning of alcohol for example, I doubt even Stalin could have gotten away with such a drastic measure, but in the supposed land of the free this is exactly what they did. Or how about the sheer speed on how they went from being Christian to hounding people that don't want to serve homosexuals, America was certainly not the first country to push gay politics, but they are much scarier how they push their politics.

    As for the freedom of speech, it looks inevitable that they will ban things allowed now with future laws, but even now if one says anything on the growing list of forbidden topics your life is destroyed. I don't know what the Russian law is if you for example if you say n*gger on Facebook, but in America it means your life is pretty much destroyed, so you will not go to jail (what is the jail sentence for this in Russia?), but what does it matter if you are banished from doing anything in society?

    Finally, the whole standard of living thing, you should clearly know that if you hang out at sites such as Unz.com, places like Detroit or the massive changes in states like California are the future for all of America. You might try isolate yourself as best you can, but the ring of third worldom (boosted by the American zealotry), that surrounds places like Silicon Valley, will eventually overwhelm the O ring you mentioned that sustains it.

    Reading this I have to also ask what others have already done here, are you black pilled? Do you want to become American?

    Take the banning of alcohol for example, I doubt even Stalin could have gotten away with such a drastic measure…

    Russia/USSR were dry by law from 1914-25.

    I don’t know what the Russian law is if you for example if you say n*gger on Facebook, but in America it means your life is pretty much destroyed, so you will not go to jail (what is the jail sentence for this in Russia?)…

    None (see #2).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. @jnc
    Is Belarus a "truly highly civilized country"?

    While I can't say to have tried the roads there myself, I know someone who did and he was amazed by how good they were and how noticeable was the transition when you crossed the border to Russia or Ukraine.

    Regarding on of the issues Anatoly does raise, he also commented about how well public spaces were maintained and how clean everything was (at least in Minsk).

    Last that I checked, Belarus was not Russia. Also, you could fit approximately 75 Belaruses inside of Russia, making it much easier to pave with decent roads. Almost 70% of commercial freight in the US is dominated by the trucking industry – with the advent of semis running strictly on electrical power, I can only see this trend increasing into the future. And what about Russia?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Almost 70% of commercial freight in the US is dominated by the trucking industry ...
     
    This doesn't seem right - contrary to popular stereotypes, freight in Europe is much more automotive than in America: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=11847

    According to Panorama 2009, 46 percent of EU-27 freight goes by highway while only 10 percent goes by rail, while in the U.S. 43 percent goes by rail and only 30 percent by road. (In both cases, nearly all of the rest is waterways and pipelines.)
     
    Basically, all the US railways continue to function, but have virtually all been converted to freight transport, whereas in Europe and Russia they continue to serve dual passenger and freight roles.

    Figures for Russia: http://www.gks.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosstat_main/rosstat/ru/statistics/enterprise/transport/

    7,695 million tons transported in 2016, of which 1,325 by rail (17%) and 5,138 by road (67%).

    I.e., Russia has a European profile in this respect.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. @Mr. Hack
    One important point of comparison that you should have mentioned in either this post or in the previous post, one that has great impact on almost all other spheres of modern life, is of course the discrepancy in the number of high quality roads that dominate in the U.S., and that are sorely lacking in Russia. This very feature should be considered as the calling card of any truly highly civilized country.

    Roads are much better than they were 10-20 years ago, in my experience. That said, for now I can only speak for Moscow and Moscow oblast.

    It’s not something that (yet) affects me personally since I don’t have a car, and don’t plan on getting one anytime soon.

    I found US roads to be okay, but very much subpar to German and French ones. Their main advantage (and it’s a cardinal one) is the frequency of rest stops, most of which work 24/7.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Roads are much better than they were 10-20 years ago, in my experience. That said, for now I can only speak for Moscow and Moscow oblast.
     
    In St. Petersburg and the surrounding area is the same.

    I don’t think Russian railways are superior to American ones.
     
    I live in a town in the forest - something like Gravity Falls (but alas, without the monsters). In the photo the houses in the background - this is my town

    http://imagesait.ru/photos/aHR0cDovL3MtcGIuaW4vaW1hZ2VzL3N0b3JpZXMvcmVsYXgvYXR0cmFjdGlvbi9zY2h1Y2g1LmpwZw==/shchuche-ozero-spb.jpg
    But i go to work in the center of St. Petersburg. The car I don't need: 40 minute train, and I'm in the center of St. Petersburg.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  16. @Anon
    Roads in remote places are worse. Airports are of similar quality (major ones in Moscow are better than the ones in the US). Railways in Russia beat American ones hands down. Public transportation in America is complete crap. So I don't know, my personal experience (as someone who does not enjoy 'roadtripping') Russia is better in this respect.

    Mainly thanks to Russian airports being newer – the old Russian airports (if Sheremetyevo are anything to go by) are nothing to write home about.

    I don’t think Russian railways are superior to American ones. They are not any newer or faster (apart from a few high speed routes, mainly to SPB). Main advantage is that they are massively cheaper. However, train stop facilities leave much to be desired, especially outside the major cities.

    Public transportation is indeed generally better in Russia, though with the advent of Uber-Lyft/Yandex Taxi, my impression is that international differences on this score are getting papered over in general.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  17. @melanf

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
     
    A good movie is also part of high culture, and in this area the Americans beat everyone. In literature, the achievements of Americans, huge, very huge.

    I’m curious what you think are some good American movies and books.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    I’m curious what you think are some good American movies and books.
     
    A very short list
    Movies:
    "Gone with the wind", "Cabaret", "Watchmen", "Fight club". Perhaps "the Lord of the rings". The TV Series "Dr. House".

    Books:
    "The Chronicles of Amber" (The Corwin cycle), "Dying of the Light" (this is the story of George Martin: I would write here A Song of Ice and Fire, if George stopped at the third volume), "Dandelion Wine", the short stories of Robert Sheckley.

    I can add that American literature was read and appreciated by Alexander Pushkin - he even wrote a remake of a story by Washington Irving.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  18. @German_reader

    "There are also far more of all kinds of scams and petty commercial tricks"
     
    Is there any way to quantify that? I've been pestered by salesmen who tried to scam me as well (though that happened only once in more than ten years, so far also no burglaries, though acquaintances haven't been that lucky), seems difficult to generalize from such a single case.

    Is there any way to quantify that?… seems difficult to generalize from such a single case.

    Not sure, but it’s unlikely that they are comparable, due to the much lower culture of honesty in Russia relative to Hajnal Europe (as can be proxied by things such as bribery incidence, etc.).

    Only 9% of Russians expect a stranger to return their lost wallet, versus typical figures of ~30% for core Europe: http://news.gallup.com/poll/102346/many-world-citizens-trust-neighbors-more-than-police.aspx

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  19. @Polish Perspective
    Two notes of dissent. Freedom of speech and global culture. On freedom of speech, Russia may have more draconian laws but America's freedom of speech, especially on issues such as white nationalism is de facto just as bad.

    One point Mike Enoch makes, successfully I think, is that America's strong laws on freedom of speech derived from a culture of freedom, which extended to freedom of speech and that is now being lost. This is manifested not in new laws but through another route. Put simply, American corporations - including Silicon Valley ones - have essentially entered into a sort of quasi-PPP(public-private partnership) on policing thought and speech. So the USG gets to wash its hands but it has in effect delegated the repression to private entities such as Google who then crack down on dissent.

    Libertarians will say "hey, corporations have a right to which opinions they want to host" but that is a form of autism, because it ignores that Google is a virtual monopoly on search for instance, and they actively manipulate what you find through searching (same is true on Youtube recommendations and the like). And that's the mild stuff. Account shutdowns are routine. People getting fired is routine. Therefore, while America's on-the-books laws are better, the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was. That lunatic you showed in the picture is no threat to the system, he's just a yelling madman. How the USG responds, through its delegated proxies in the private sector, to a more systematic/sustained challenge is more revealing and it's all repression. People can and often do lose their jobs, we saw this in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Again, it's public pressure on private businesses but the climate of fear and repression is the same. Laws in this context is of secondary importance.

    As for 'global culture', this is hard to justify, too. Americans are no longer a tight-knit people, bound together by a common ethos, history or frankly future. They are consumers in a giant shopping mall. A wealthy shopping mall, but a shopping mall nonetheless. The price for influence is that your culture becomes watered-down and commoditised, to use an expression favoured by many Marxists. Thus, being 'in the center' doesn't have as many benefits because large swaths of Americans have little in common with each other. In order to reach the many, you must spread yourself thin and shallow.

    Secondly, and on the same subject, I find most American 'culture' to be gross and vulgar, and frankly negrified. Most American pop culture is gansta rap and the like. Though I've heard that hip-hop is big in Russia, but it's not a huge thing in Poland (though there are wannabe's). Furthermore, even in traditionally US-compliant nations like Germany, TV shows such as 'Empire'(somekind of hip-hop meets godfather fantasy) flopped by huge margins. So even in countries which are desperate to become like the US, there is often a general dislike of this type of Africanised content.

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Therefore, while America’s on-the-books laws are better, the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was.

    Article 282 vs. Society 282. Pick your poison, I guess.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Article 282 vs. Society 282. Pick your poison, I guess.
     
    I pick the one where I can have guns. Lots of guns. And enough ammunition for them. All delivered by the case loads by FedEx.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  20. A word about culture.

    At this time in my life, I divide my time between scientific work and playing with children, so I am most familiar with Anglo-Saxon and Russian children’s books, magazines, and animated films. While there is a venerable and still vigorous tradition of children’s literature in English, Russia too has plenty to be proud of in this respect. On the other hand, Russian children’s magazines and short animated films far outshine anything that I’ve seen from the Anglosphere. (Unfortunately Russia doesn’t have the budget for making multiple feature animated films each year.)

    I believe this is a very positive sign about the trajectory of Russian culture.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  21. @Mr. Hack
    Last that I checked, Belarus was not Russia. Also, you could fit approximately 75 Belaruses inside of Russia, making it much easier to pave with decent roads. Almost 70% of commercial freight in the US is dominated by the trucking industry - with the advent of semis running strictly on electrical power, I can only see this trend increasing into the future. And what about Russia?

    Almost 70% of commercial freight in the US is dominated by the trucking industry …

    This doesn’t seem right – contrary to popular stereotypes, freight in Europe is much more automotive than in America: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=11847

    According to Panorama 2009, 46 percent of EU-27 freight goes by highway while only 10 percent goes by rail, while in the U.S. 43 percent goes by rail and only 30 percent by road. (In both cases, nearly all of the rest is waterways and pipelines.)

    Basically, all the US railways continue to function, but have virtually all been converted to freight transport, whereas in Europe and Russia they continue to serve dual passenger and freight roles.

    Figures for Russia: http://www.gks.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosstat_main/rosstat/ru/statistics/enterprise/transport/

    7,695 million tons transported in 2016, of which 1,325 by rail (17%) and 5,138 by road (67%).

    I.e., Russia has a European profile in this respect.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I used numbers from a Wikipedia article that relied on statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2002).If anything, the stats should be even higher now, 15 years later with the economy humming at almost record highs. Besides commerce, good roads help to bind a country together in many other ways too, travel by road is ubiquitous here in the states (as you probably know). Just for comparison, I had my own family, hand me down, Ford Falcon as a 16 year old boy. In my twenties, I purchased my first new car a Chevy Nova, with some family assistance. By the time I was in my 30's, a new car was something I could readily afford, by taking out a loan from my local Credit Union. I'm assuming that you're somewhere in your 30's, quite intelligent with marketable skills and still find it difficult to buy and maintain your own car? How about the other mass of Russian citizenry who don't command the skills and knowledge that you possess (just trying to point out some differences)?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trucking_industry_in_the_United_States
    , @hackberry
    A few points:
    The vast majority of US rail freight is bulk commodities like coal, ore, grains etc .. which log fewer ton-miles in Europe. It's better to compare mode share where trucking is actually competitive with rail: container traffic.
    Secondly Europe's rail network isn't at all like America's. There are gauge breaks, different couplers and different signaling systems across countries, it's also a lot more fragmented with each country having it's own rail network, quite different from the continent spanning (ok half-continent spanning) networks like BNSF/UP.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  22. On the topic of mass pop culture, I am curious how popular Star Wars is in places like Germany, Poland or Russia? In Germany, I would guess that they simply emulate everything that comes out of America. In Poland or Russia, since the new Star War is now explicit SJW propaganda and openly anti white (the makers of the movie are admitting this), is the average proto SJW there still going to accept this pop culture product even if it is very clear now that white organizations are being demonized as villains and the diverse as heroes?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    My estimate is that showings of Star Wars 8 were approximately three times as frequent as that of Legend of Kolovrat - at least that was the case in the cinema I visited to watch the latter.
    , @German_reader

    I am curious how popular Star Wars is in places like Germany
     
    It's certainly popular (I've played Star wars-themed video games myself and enjoyed them, even though I regard the Star wars universe as pretty silly on the whole), but my impression is it's nothing like in the US...there seems to be a near-religious worship of those stupid movies in the US (or at least among a certain generation of Americans) that probably isn't equalled anywhere else imo, e.g. you have people as different as the cretinous Rod Dreher over at The American conservative (regarding Star Wars VII two years ago) and Richard Spencer talking about those movies as if they should be taken seriously. Can't really imagine that with journalists or political activists in Germany.
    Star wars VIII started in German cinemas on December 14, over the 1st weekend apparently 1,6 million people saw it (so obviously a lot), can't find any more recent data right now.
    , @AP
    I've heard complaints from Polish people that Star Wars has become ridiculously PC.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  23. @neutral
    On the topic of mass pop culture, I am curious how popular Star Wars is in places like Germany, Poland or Russia? In Germany, I would guess that they simply emulate everything that comes out of America. In Poland or Russia, since the new Star War is now explicit SJW propaganda and openly anti white (the makers of the movie are admitting this), is the average proto SJW there still going to accept this pop culture product even if it is very clear now that white organizations are being demonized as villains and the diverse as heroes?

    My estimate is that showings of Star Wars 8 were approximately three times as frequent as that of Legend of Kolovrat – at least that was the case in the cinema I visited to watch the latter.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  24. @neutral
    On the topic of mass pop culture, I am curious how popular Star Wars is in places like Germany, Poland or Russia? In Germany, I would guess that they simply emulate everything that comes out of America. In Poland or Russia, since the new Star War is now explicit SJW propaganda and openly anti white (the makers of the movie are admitting this), is the average proto SJW there still going to accept this pop culture product even if it is very clear now that white organizations are being demonized as villains and the diverse as heroes?

    I am curious how popular Star Wars is in places like Germany

    It’s certainly popular (I’ve played Star wars-themed video games myself and enjoyed them, even though I regard the Star wars universe as pretty silly on the whole), but my impression is it’s nothing like in the US…there seems to be a near-religious worship of those stupid movies in the US (or at least among a certain generation of Americans) that probably isn’t equalled anywhere else imo, e.g. you have people as different as the cretinous Rod Dreher over at The American conservative (regarding Star Wars VII two years ago) and Richard Spencer talking about those movies as if they should be taken seriously. Can’t really imagine that with journalists or political activists in Germany.
    Star wars VIII started in German cinemas on December 14, over the 1st weekend apparently 1,6 million people saw it (so obviously a lot), can’t find any more recent data right now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral

    Rod Dreher over at The American conservative (regarding Star Wars VII two years ago) and Richard Spencer talking about those movies as if they should be taken seriously
     
    Since most here are talking about mass pop culture, then one should take them seriously to a degree. You may not like it, but what Star Wars does has as much impact on the world as a Papal encyclical would have had in the middle ages, this means that what it preaches should be treated as a serious matter even if you are not a true believer or even opposed to it.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  25. @Anatoly Karlin
    Roads are much better than they were 10-20 years ago, in my experience. That said, for now I can only speak for Moscow and Moscow oblast.

    It's not something that (yet) affects me personally since I don't have a car, and don't plan on getting one anytime soon.

    I found US roads to be okay, but very much subpar to German and French ones. Their main advantage (and it's a cardinal one) is the frequency of rest stops, most of which work 24/7.

    Roads are much better than they were 10-20 years ago, in my experience. That said, for now I can only speak for Moscow and Moscow oblast.

    In St. Petersburg and the surrounding area is the same.

    I don’t think Russian railways are superior to American ones.

    I live in a town in the forest – something like Gravity Falls (but alas, without the monsters). In the photo the houses in the background – this is my town
    But i go to work in the center of St. Petersburg. The car I don’t need: 40 minute train, and I’m in the center of St. Petersburg.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  26. @German_reader

    I am curious how popular Star Wars is in places like Germany
     
    It's certainly popular (I've played Star wars-themed video games myself and enjoyed them, even though I regard the Star wars universe as pretty silly on the whole), but my impression is it's nothing like in the US...there seems to be a near-religious worship of those stupid movies in the US (or at least among a certain generation of Americans) that probably isn't equalled anywhere else imo, e.g. you have people as different as the cretinous Rod Dreher over at The American conservative (regarding Star Wars VII two years ago) and Richard Spencer talking about those movies as if they should be taken seriously. Can't really imagine that with journalists or political activists in Germany.
    Star wars VIII started in German cinemas on December 14, over the 1st weekend apparently 1,6 million people saw it (so obviously a lot), can't find any more recent data right now.

    Rod Dreher over at The American conservative (regarding Star Wars VII two years ago) and Richard Spencer talking about those movies as if they should be taken seriously

    Since most here are talking about mass pop culture, then one should take them seriously to a degree. You may not like it, but what Star Wars does has as much impact on the world as a Papal encyclical would have had in the middle ages, this means that what it preaches should be treated as a serious matter even if you are not a true believer or even opposed to it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Of course one should take them seriously in the sense that they have mass appeal, and are now used for transporting messages I disapprove of (the newest movie does indeed seem to be anti-white, like so much else in US popular culture nowadays). But all those discussions about mythology, narrative concepts etc. in Star wars are just silly. Even the original movies were dumb kids' stuff.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  27. @Anatoly Karlin

    Almost 70% of commercial freight in the US is dominated by the trucking industry ...
     
    This doesn't seem right - contrary to popular stereotypes, freight in Europe is much more automotive than in America: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=11847

    According to Panorama 2009, 46 percent of EU-27 freight goes by highway while only 10 percent goes by rail, while in the U.S. 43 percent goes by rail and only 30 percent by road. (In both cases, nearly all of the rest is waterways and pipelines.)
     
    Basically, all the US railways continue to function, but have virtually all been converted to freight transport, whereas in Europe and Russia they continue to serve dual passenger and freight roles.

    Figures for Russia: http://www.gks.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosstat_main/rosstat/ru/statistics/enterprise/transport/

    7,695 million tons transported in 2016, of which 1,325 by rail (17%) and 5,138 by road (67%).

    I.e., Russia has a European profile in this respect.

    I used numbers from a Wikipedia article that relied on statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2002).If anything, the stats should be even higher now, 15 years later with the economy humming at almost record highs. Besides commerce, good roads help to bind a country together in many other ways too, travel by road is ubiquitous here in the states (as you probably know). Just for comparison, I had my own family, hand me down, Ford Falcon as a 16 year old boy. In my twenties, I purchased my first new car a Chevy Nova, with some family assistance. By the time I was in my 30′s, a new car was something I could readily afford, by taking out a loan from my local Credit Union. I’m assuming that you’re somewhere in your 30′s, quite intelligent with marketable skills and still find it difficult to buy and maintain your own car? How about the other mass of Russian citizenry who don’t command the skills and knowledge that you possess (just trying to point out some differences)?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trucking_industry_in_the_United_States

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Besides commerce, good roads help to bind a country together in many other ways too, travel by road is ubiquitous here in the states (as you probably know).
     
    Yes, even though I like trains (favorite mode of transport), I agree that the American arrangement - cars for passengers, rail for freight - is superior to the European one (the inverse).

    I’m assuming that you’re somewhere in your 30′s
     
    29

    ... and still find it difficult to buy and maintain your own car?
     
    The point is that is that I don't need one. We have a dacha 120 km from Moscow, but it's reachable by train or bus + Yandex Taxi. I visit it maybe twice a year. Why do I need a car for this?

    How about the other mass of Russian citizenry who don’t command the skills and knowledge that you possess (just trying to point out some differences)?
     
    Did you read this post?: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/10-ways-usa-better-than-russia/#p_1_8:1-75
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  28. @neutral

    Rod Dreher over at The American conservative (regarding Star Wars VII two years ago) and Richard Spencer talking about those movies as if they should be taken seriously
     
    Since most here are talking about mass pop culture, then one should take them seriously to a degree. You may not like it, but what Star Wars does has as much impact on the world as a Papal encyclical would have had in the middle ages, this means that what it preaches should be treated as a serious matter even if you are not a true believer or even opposed to it.

    Of course one should take them seriously in the sense that they have mass appeal, and are now used for transporting messages I disapprove of (the newest movie does indeed seem to be anti-white, like so much else in US popular culture nowadays). But all those discussions about mythology, narrative concepts etc. in Star wars are just silly. Even the original movies were dumb kids’ stuff.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  29. @Mr. Hack
    I used numbers from a Wikipedia article that relied on statistics from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2002).If anything, the stats should be even higher now, 15 years later with the economy humming at almost record highs. Besides commerce, good roads help to bind a country together in many other ways too, travel by road is ubiquitous here in the states (as you probably know). Just for comparison, I had my own family, hand me down, Ford Falcon as a 16 year old boy. In my twenties, I purchased my first new car a Chevy Nova, with some family assistance. By the time I was in my 30's, a new car was something I could readily afford, by taking out a loan from my local Credit Union. I'm assuming that you're somewhere in your 30's, quite intelligent with marketable skills and still find it difficult to buy and maintain your own car? How about the other mass of Russian citizenry who don't command the skills and knowledge that you possess (just trying to point out some differences)?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trucking_industry_in_the_United_States

    Besides commerce, good roads help to bind a country together in many other ways too, travel by road is ubiquitous here in the states (as you probably know).

    Yes, even though I like trains (favorite mode of transport), I agree that the American arrangement – cars for passengers, rail for freight – is superior to the European one (the inverse).

    I’m assuming that you’re somewhere in your 30′s

    29

    … and still find it difficult to buy and maintain your own car?

    The point is that is that I don’t need one. We have a dacha 120 km from Moscow, but it’s reachable by train or bus + Yandex Taxi. I visit it maybe twice a year. Why do I need a car for this?

    How about the other mass of Russian citizenry who don’t command the skills and knowledge that you possess (just trying to point out some differences)?

    Did you read this post?: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/10-ways-usa-better-than-russia/#p_1_8:1-75

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I enjoy train travel as well. If I ever decide to semi-retire to Ukraine (a lot depends on the behavior of the Russian nationalist hordes to the north), perhaps train/bus travel will suffice. Although several members of my family do own and travel by car?...

    It's really none of my business, but have you been able to land a steady gig in Russia yet? With your background, I'd think that several doors would be open for you? Journalism, computer science, even government work (trade/teaching/commerce)? If somebody of your caliber is having a hard time of it (finding a job), this speaks volumes about the state of affairs in Russia.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  30. @The Big Red Scary
    I’m curious what you think are some good American movies and books.

    I’m curious what you think are some good American movies and books.

    A very short list
    Movies:
    “Gone with the wind”, “Cabaret”, “Watchmen”, “Fight club”. Perhaps “the Lord of the rings”. The TV Series “Dr. House”.

    Books:
    “The Chronicles of Amber” (The Corwin cycle), “Dying of the Light” (this is the story of George Martin: I would write here A Song of Ice and Fire, if George stopped at the third volume), “Dandelion Wine”, the short stories of Robert Sheckley.

    I can add that American literature was read and appreciated by Alexander Pushkin – he even wrote a remake of a story by Washington Irving.

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral
    I need to question how much one can consider Lord of the Rings an American movie? It is based on a non American book and directed by a non American, the funding might be American, but other than that there was no overt insertion of US pop culture into the movie, which is probably why it was such a good movie.

    I also need to add the fact that when Tolkien was writing, WW2 was happening, I read that he wanted to avoid blending those current affairs into his stories. Now compare this to the usual Hollywood movie that needs to insert every latest political drama into their preachy movies, which does make them become dated very fast.

    , @fnn
    There once was a lively and fairly large cineaste culture in the US. People went to see films by Fellini, Bergman, Rohmer, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Satyajit Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Roberto Rossellini, Bertolucci , Werner Herzog, Costa-Gavras and other furriners.
    , @dearieme
    I agree that Cabaret was good.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  31. @Anatoly Karlin

    Besides commerce, good roads help to bind a country together in many other ways too, travel by road is ubiquitous here in the states (as you probably know).
     
    Yes, even though I like trains (favorite mode of transport), I agree that the American arrangement - cars for passengers, rail for freight - is superior to the European one (the inverse).

    I’m assuming that you’re somewhere in your 30′s
     
    29

    ... and still find it difficult to buy and maintain your own car?
     
    The point is that is that I don't need one. We have a dacha 120 km from Moscow, but it's reachable by train or bus + Yandex Taxi. I visit it maybe twice a year. Why do I need a car for this?

    How about the other mass of Russian citizenry who don’t command the skills and knowledge that you possess (just trying to point out some differences)?
     
    Did you read this post?: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/10-ways-usa-better-than-russia/#p_1_8:1-75

    I enjoy train travel as well. If I ever decide to semi-retire to Ukraine (a lot depends on the behavior of the Russian nationalist hordes to the north), perhaps train/bus travel will suffice. Although several members of my family do own and travel by car?…

    It’s really none of my business, but have you been able to land a steady gig in Russia yet? With your background, I’d think that several doors would be open for you? Journalism, computer science, even government work (trade/teaching/commerce)? If somebody of your caliber is having a hard time of it (finding a job), this speaks volumes about the state of affairs in Russia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Oh, and I'd add that you'd be a perfect researcher too. We hear so much about Russian 'grant eaters' taking their ques from Western sponsors. But what about Russian grants to perform research to substantiate or explore areas of your competency? With the Russian economy starting to turn the corner, the 'grant eater' profession must be on the up?
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    First, I don't blog here for free, and have a couple of other minor Internet-based income sources.

    Second, I am not actively looking for a job. However, based on people with similar profiles to me, I think chances are high that I will be able to find something in the 150,000-250,000R range if I really had to. I'm not particularly interested in that right now, since I don't have a pressing need for it, and rather appreciate my NEET lyfestyle (no schedules, wake up whenever I want, etc).

    My current plans revolve around expanding into writing books (yes, yes, I know I have been promising books to my long-suffering readers for years now - but I really do think 2018 will be the year). Because it's long overdue, yes, and because I need to start making a name for myself as a publicist beyond just blogging, sure, but the purchasing power markup from selling to Americans/living in Russia certainly doesn't hurt either.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  32. @melanf

    I’m curious what you think are some good American movies and books.
     
    A very short list
    Movies:
    "Gone with the wind", "Cabaret", "Watchmen", "Fight club". Perhaps "the Lord of the rings". The TV Series "Dr. House".

    Books:
    "The Chronicles of Amber" (The Corwin cycle), "Dying of the Light" (this is the story of George Martin: I would write here A Song of Ice and Fire, if George stopped at the third volume), "Dandelion Wine", the short stories of Robert Sheckley.

    I can add that American literature was read and appreciated by Alexander Pushkin - he even wrote a remake of a story by Washington Irving.

    I need to question how much one can consider Lord of the Rings an American movie? It is based on a non American book and directed by a non American, the funding might be American, but other than that there was no overt insertion of US pop culture into the movie, which is probably why it was such a good movie.

    I also need to add the fact that when Tolkien was writing, WW2 was happening, I read that he wanted to avoid blending those current affairs into his stories. Now compare this to the usual Hollywood movie that needs to insert every latest political drama into their preachy movies, which does make them become dated very fast.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    I need to question how much one can consider Lord of the Rings an American movie?
     
    In my mind this is US movie.
    In Russian art, too, can find similar phenomena: for example, the "Bayadere" ballet by the French choreographer and a German composer, based on ancient Indian dramaturgy. But this ballet is considered the jewel of Russian culture.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  33. @Mr. Hack
    I enjoy train travel as well. If I ever decide to semi-retire to Ukraine (a lot depends on the behavior of the Russian nationalist hordes to the north), perhaps train/bus travel will suffice. Although several members of my family do own and travel by car?...

    It's really none of my business, but have you been able to land a steady gig in Russia yet? With your background, I'd think that several doors would be open for you? Journalism, computer science, even government work (trade/teaching/commerce)? If somebody of your caliber is having a hard time of it (finding a job), this speaks volumes about the state of affairs in Russia.

    Oh, and I’d add that you’d be a perfect researcher too. We hear so much about Russian ‘grant eaters’ taking their ques from Western sponsors. But what about Russian grants to perform research to substantiate or explore areas of your competency? With the Russian economy starting to turn the corner, the ‘grant eater’ profession must be on the up?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  34. @neutral
    I need to question how much one can consider Lord of the Rings an American movie? It is based on a non American book and directed by a non American, the funding might be American, but other than that there was no overt insertion of US pop culture into the movie, which is probably why it was such a good movie.

    I also need to add the fact that when Tolkien was writing, WW2 was happening, I read that he wanted to avoid blending those current affairs into his stories. Now compare this to the usual Hollywood movie that needs to insert every latest political drama into their preachy movies, which does make them become dated very fast.

    I need to question how much one can consider Lord of the Rings an American movie?

    In my mind this is US movie.
    In Russian art, too, can find similar phenomena: for example, the “Bayadere” ballet by the French choreographer and a German composer, based on ancient Indian dramaturgy. But this ballet is considered the jewel of Russian culture.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  35. @Polish Perspective
    Two notes of dissent. Freedom of speech and global culture. On freedom of speech, Russia may have more draconian laws but America's freedom of speech, especially on issues such as white nationalism is de facto just as bad.

    One point Mike Enoch makes, successfully I think, is that America's strong laws on freedom of speech derived from a culture of freedom, which extended to freedom of speech and that is now being lost. This is manifested not in new laws but through another route. Put simply, American corporations - including Silicon Valley ones - have essentially entered into a sort of quasi-PPP(public-private partnership) on policing thought and speech. So the USG gets to wash its hands but it has in effect delegated the repression to private entities such as Google who then crack down on dissent.

    Libertarians will say "hey, corporations have a right to which opinions they want to host" but that is a form of autism, because it ignores that Google is a virtual monopoly on search for instance, and they actively manipulate what you find through searching (same is true on Youtube recommendations and the like). And that's the mild stuff. Account shutdowns are routine. People getting fired is routine. Therefore, while America's on-the-books laws are better, the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was. That lunatic you showed in the picture is no threat to the system, he's just a yelling madman. How the USG responds, through its delegated proxies in the private sector, to a more systematic/sustained challenge is more revealing and it's all repression. People can and often do lose their jobs, we saw this in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Again, it's public pressure on private businesses but the climate of fear and repression is the same. Laws in this context is of secondary importance.

    As for 'global culture', this is hard to justify, too. Americans are no longer a tight-knit people, bound together by a common ethos, history or frankly future. They are consumers in a giant shopping mall. A wealthy shopping mall, but a shopping mall nonetheless. The price for influence is that your culture becomes watered-down and commoditised, to use an expression favoured by many Marxists. Thus, being 'in the center' doesn't have as many benefits because large swaths of Americans have little in common with each other. In order to reach the many, you must spread yourself thin and shallow.

    Secondly, and on the same subject, I find most American 'culture' to be gross and vulgar, and frankly negrified. Most American pop culture is gansta rap and the like. Though I've heard that hip-hop is big in Russia, but it's not a huge thing in Poland (though there are wannabe's). Furthermore, even in traditionally US-compliant nations like Germany, TV shows such as 'Empire'(somekind of hip-hop meets godfather fantasy) flopped by huge margins. So even in countries which are desperate to become like the US, there is often a general dislike of this type of Africanised content.

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Polish Perspective above is absolutely correct re the USA –

    the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was

    In the USA people often have their speech banned, but the method is a ‘gag order’ by bribe-taking judges, and the jailing is thus for ‘contempt of court’ without what you think of as a trial or evidence or a ‘conviction’ … people have been held like that for 14 years

    There are a lot of ‘sideways’ attacks in the US, they add a layer of complexity to hide the repression … they pick up a dissident and claim they found ’100 gigabytes of child porn’ on his computer, which the gov themselves planted, so the conviction seems ‘unconnected’ to the politics … and the judges lock up the victim’s bank accounts on day 1 to prevent expert help, plus issue an immediate ‘gag order’ preventing the victim from publicising what is happening, US judges call people up on the phone and tell them they are going to jail if they say anything, the victim is fooked & helpless

    USA lawyers are instantly disbarred, jailed as well sometimes, if they say anything in court papers or to the media about the judge corruption, ‘contempt of court’ again, so even with money the US lawyers won’t really fight for the victim, and typically sell people out to the more well-connected party

    One of the fascinating things about US media control, is that even a person like Anatoly Karlin who lived there a good while, was unaware of the pervasive USA bribery and judicial corruption culture … Until they bump into the US legal corruption in a personal way, most US residents think their legal system is like in the Hollywood movies

    But actually the US courts have a higher conviction rate than Hitler’s 3rd Reich, there is almost never a ‘jury trial’ for small fry. The US-gov-supplied ‘lawyer’ tells the black kid or Mexican or poor white dude or dissident, ‘Look here’s the deal, you take a plea, you’re in jail for 3 years, you go to trial, it’s 25 years, whaddaya wanna do?’ The guy takes the plea and the sentence is 10 years ‘But we had a deal’ ‘Not by me’ says the judge.

    And that’s when people find out that the totally corrupt ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union, is not interested in legal system victims, they’re too ‘busy’ with getting trans-genders into ladies’ rooms, supporting elite paedophiles and the ‘Man-Boy Love Association’ … the victim is slandered because ‘even the ACLU wouldn’t help him’

    In Russia Anatoly Karlin saw

    a large-scale case of bribery that involves a circle of lawyers, prosecutors, and judges just a couple of degrees of separation from myself

    But that is business as usual in the USA … you know this if you know people in the increasingly-shrinking area of USA small business, people who’ve been mauled in US divorce case extortions, US people who’ve had their assets seized via some bribed judge, the families of the hundreds of thousands of innocent amongst the USA’s 2.3 million prisoners, 25% of all the prisoners of the world … all those people know … but Google is blocking their stories very nicely

    Although in all fairness, per capita, Russia is nearly as big a jailer of its own citizens as the USA, they both jail about 1 out of every 150 people (vs 1 out of 1000 in Western Europe)

    But try to talk about a specific judge bribery case in the USA, the lawyers hit you with papers, instant ‘gag order’ by the bribed judge, plus ‘orders to Google’ to hide the info … the media leaves Americans themselves in the dark about what is really going on in US courtrooms … the bribed judges gladly give ‘orders to Google’ including a gag order to all parties and to Google itself, to hide that such an order was given … Google, a heavy user itself of bribed judge ‘favours’, is always glad to do some extra service for their judges and law firms tied to the oligarchs

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  36. Popular understanding of credit and home economics seems low. When I got my credit card here from state-owned banking giant Sberbank, it was marketed to me as a way to get expensive goods during the New Year holidays, whereas in the United States the talking points would be about building up a credit rating.

    This reflects the fact that Russians don’t understand personal finance and have low future time orientation relative to the Anglo/Protestant world. One American who works in a Russian media organization says that bonuses are paid out to staff to coincide with the start of the holiday season, the assumption being that they would have otherwise spent it and have no money to go to the Crimea or Egypt. As an American who understands the concept of saving up, he had to push through a special exception for himself with the accounting department.

    Let’s not romanticize Americans too much here. My local credit union offers personal loans for “Christmas cash” (nice of them to say Christmas). You can see more on the financial carnage Christmas inflicts on the average ordinary nobody here: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/12/17/christmas-its-costlier-than-you-think.aspx

    A Federal Reserve study found that half of Americans do not have enough cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/nearly-half-dont-have-the-cash-to-pay-for-a-400-emergency-fed-survey-finds-2017-05-19

    The Baby Boomer generation has embarrassingly low retirement savings: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/032216/are-we-baby-boomer-retirement-crisis.asp

    Now it is perhaps true that America’s deep, sophisticated consumer credit markets are partly responsible for this embarrassing state of affairs. Prior to the mid-1990s the household savings rate had hovered around 10% since the 1920s, comparable to Germany. That said, a truly sophisticated understanding of finance informs one that credit can disappear–particularly in a crisis (whether personal or national) which reduces creditworthiness. After the financial crisis many strapped Americans were shocked to discover their home equity line of credit suddenly revoked.

    Of course access to consumer finance and investment products in America are better than anywhere else in the world, and a deep pool of knowledge is available if one is interested (even Reddit is pretty good, even if the betas at r/personalfinance banned me for stating that diversification is for losers). 0% introductory APR credit cards, commission free brokerage trades (Robinhood), and huge varieties of tax advantaged investment accounts (401k, IRA, Roth IRA, 403b, HSA, 529 plan, and more) do not exist elsewhere in the world. Not only is trading securities cheaper than anywhere else (or in the case of funds, expense ratio costs), but the USA has the world’s largest financial markets by far with innumerable high quality assets.

    And contrary to myth, financial regulation is quite good. The USA was the first nation to regulate securities issuance, ban insider trading, and guarantee bank deposits and brokerage accounts. Personal bankruptcy laws are generous compared to most other advanced countries, and substantial government support exists to make long-term mortgages available to nearly all people. The bad features of American financial regulation consist primarily of looking the other way at Wall Street gambling (sounds bad, but has only blown up nationally twice in the past century) and predatory feasting on the dull (immoral, but irrelevant and even beneficial for the readers of this article).

    The biggest disadvantage here is American extraterritorial taxation and banking laws. Extraterritorial taxation is being abolished with the new tax cut, and the draconian foreign reporting laws (FATCA) which make it extremely difficult to open foreign bank and brokerage accounts (fortunately Denmark’s Saxo Bank opens foreign brokerage accounts for Americans) are reportedly next on the chopping block.

    Bureaucracy

    The Russian bureaucracy is a *lot* better than it used to be, especially in the “My Documents” centers that have proliferated in recent years as part of a government initiative to make bureaucratic services more transparent and accessible to citizens. In comparison to 2007, there are fewer papers to fill out, many more tasks can be done online, and staff are more courteous. This is reflected in Russia moving from around 120th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings a decade ago, to 35th as of 2017.

    Which still makes it a horrendous nightmare by Anglo standards.

    Far fewer tasks and operations need to be confirmed with the bureaucracy in the first place, and those that do – with the notable exception of the DMV – tend to go far more smoothly.

    And you lived in the Bay Area. In whitopia/flyover country, encounters with government bureaucrats are fast, efficient, and friendly. At my local DMV issues of any kind are resolved within minutes, there are no lines, and service comes with a smile.

    Amazon Prime

    You could really just expand this into retail in general. America has more retail square footage per person than any other country–almost twenty times as much as Germany. Walmart, for at its lumpenproleness, is remarkable. Costco is a marvelous testament to American civilization and is beloved in all foreign countries it opens in. Jet.com (now owned by Walmart) sells bulk goods (think large packages of paper towels) far cheaper than Amazon and throws in free shipping for orders over $35. Manufacturers/brands which attempt to sell direct to consumers generally offer free shipping over a minimum order amount in order to prevent Amazon from becoming their only channel.

    I’m not sure if this extends to Russia, but in Western Europe you have to pay for grocery bags and shopping carts (you get your coin back when you return the cart admittedly), and you’re forced to bag your own groceries like a loser. This is unheard of in America other than at ALDI (a German chain), Trader Joe’s (owned by ALDI North), and warehouse stores.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Chet Bradley

    you’re forced to bag your own groceries like a loser. This is unheard of in America other than at ALDI (a German chain), Trader Joe’s (owned by ALDI North), and warehouse stores.
     
    Seriously? Where do you live? I used to live in Arizona and now live in Washington state, and I have never bagged groceries at Trader Joe's or Costco (I believe it qualifies as a warehouse store). The only places where I bag my own groceries, by choice, are self-checkout lanes at regular grocery stores, such as Safeway or Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger, AFAIK).
    , @AndrewR
    In every grocery store on earth you have to pay for bags, either directly or indirectly. But I'd much rather receive a discount for bringing my own bags than have to pay [via increased grocery prices] for bags that I don't want or need. I wish there were a law requiring stores to explicitly charge for bags. I don't want to subsidize the wastefulness of people like you.

    As for baggers, it is nice to have dedicated baggers, but this too increases the cost. At my local grocer, sometimes there is no bagger and I have to bag my own while the cashier is ringing my stuff up. Not a big deal because otherwise I would just be standing there making small talk with the bagger anyway.

    , @Perspective

    And you lived in the Bay Area. In whitopia/flyover country, encounters with government bureaucrats are fast, efficient, and friendly. At my local DMV issues of any kind are resolved within minutes, there are no lines, and service comes with a smile.
     
    From a Canadian perspective, I have in general, found Americans to be more friendly and folksy towards strangers in a way Canadians are not. You encounter some of this in Atlantic Canada, but I'm still genuinely surprised how much more gregarious say, New Yorkers (yes, even New Yorkers) are than Torontonians.
    , @Just wondering...
    Just wondering...could you summarize (or provide links) explaining why diversification is for losers?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  37. @Anatoly Karlin

    Almost 70% of commercial freight in the US is dominated by the trucking industry ...
     
    This doesn't seem right - contrary to popular stereotypes, freight in Europe is much more automotive than in America: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=11847

    According to Panorama 2009, 46 percent of EU-27 freight goes by highway while only 10 percent goes by rail, while in the U.S. 43 percent goes by rail and only 30 percent by road. (In both cases, nearly all of the rest is waterways and pipelines.)
     
    Basically, all the US railways continue to function, but have virtually all been converted to freight transport, whereas in Europe and Russia they continue to serve dual passenger and freight roles.

    Figures for Russia: http://www.gks.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosstat_main/rosstat/ru/statistics/enterprise/transport/

    7,695 million tons transported in 2016, of which 1,325 by rail (17%) and 5,138 by road (67%).

    I.e., Russia has a European profile in this respect.

    A few points:
    The vast majority of US rail freight is bulk commodities like coal, ore, grains etc .. which log fewer ton-miles in Europe. It’s better to compare mode share where trucking is actually competitive with rail: container traffic.
    Secondly Europe’s rail network isn’t at all like America’s. There are gauge breaks, different couplers and different signaling systems across countries, it’s also a lot more fragmented with each country having it’s own rail network, quite different from the continent spanning (ok half-continent spanning) networks like BNSF/UP.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The couplers used in Europe West-of-Russia (rail term) also cannot handle nearly as much tonnage as those used in North America or the former Soviet Union, with the exception of Malmbanan (Iron Ore Line) in Northern Sweden and Norway. Even if such couplers were employed I'm not sure if European rail networks could handle the long, heavy trains that routinely lumber the Union Pacific and BNSF networks.

    Europe also has fundamentally less need for heavy freight rail than Russia or North America, as almost every location on the continent is close to a port (including inland ports). America is well served by waterways east of the Mississippi, but has practically none at all west of it.

    Coal alone is responsible for nearly one third of all tonnage on Class I freight railroads, and a quick look at the map will show you there are no waterways anywhere near the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. Likewise the rich harvest of the great plains needs to be hauled by rail to the Mississippi before it can go on a barge (if it goes on a barge--the Union Pacific yard in Joliet, Illinois is one of the largest grain loading stations in the world).

    That's not to excuse Europe for not making an effort to created a unified continental freight system capable of heavy haulage anymore than we should excuse North America for our comically bad passenger rail services (for which you can make the same argument that they are less necessary).

    Russia (and China) has both, though unlike China and Western Europe there is little HSR in Russia.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  38. @Mr. Hack
    I enjoy train travel as well. If I ever decide to semi-retire to Ukraine (a lot depends on the behavior of the Russian nationalist hordes to the north), perhaps train/bus travel will suffice. Although several members of my family do own and travel by car?...

    It's really none of my business, but have you been able to land a steady gig in Russia yet? With your background, I'd think that several doors would be open for you? Journalism, computer science, even government work (trade/teaching/commerce)? If somebody of your caliber is having a hard time of it (finding a job), this speaks volumes about the state of affairs in Russia.

    First, I don’t blog here for free, and have a couple of other minor Internet-based income sources.

    Second, I am not actively looking for a job. However, based on people with similar profiles to me, I think chances are high that I will be able to find something in the 150,000-250,000R range if I really had to. I’m not particularly interested in that right now, since I don’t have a pressing need for it, and rather appreciate my NEET lyfestyle (no schedules, wake up whenever I want, etc).

    My current plans revolve around expanding into writing books (yes, yes, I know I have been promising books to my long-suffering readers for years now – but I really do think 2018 will be the year). Because it’s long overdue, yes, and because I need to start making a name for myself as a publicist beyond just blogging, sure, but the purchasing power markup from selling to Americans/living in Russia certainly doesn’t hurt either.

    Read More
    • LOL: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Boris N
    What are your monthly expenses? (I do not ask about the income as we all now know you are a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element). It is very important to know for understanding what you really mean when you say "prices are low".
    , @Art Deco
    Second, I am not actively looking for a job. However, based on people with similar profiles to me, I think chances are high that I will be able to find something in the 150,000-250,000R range if I really had to. I’m not particularly interested in that right now, since I don’t have a pressing need for it, and rather appreciate my NEET lyfestyle (no schedules, wake up whenever I want, etc).

    Hope you change your mind and find work. You might also benefit from a wife and children; most men do; Sam Kinison was lying.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  39. @hackberry
    A few points:
    The vast majority of US rail freight is bulk commodities like coal, ore, grains etc .. which log fewer ton-miles in Europe. It's better to compare mode share where trucking is actually competitive with rail: container traffic.
    Secondly Europe's rail network isn't at all like America's. There are gauge breaks, different couplers and different signaling systems across countries, it's also a lot more fragmented with each country having it's own rail network, quite different from the continent spanning (ok half-continent spanning) networks like BNSF/UP.

    The couplers used in Europe West-of-Russia (rail term) also cannot handle nearly as much tonnage as those used in North America or the former Soviet Union, with the exception of Malmbanan (Iron Ore Line) in Northern Sweden and Norway. Even if such couplers were employed I’m not sure if European rail networks could handle the long, heavy trains that routinely lumber the Union Pacific and BNSF networks.

    Europe also has fundamentally less need for heavy freight rail than Russia or North America, as almost every location on the continent is close to a port (including inland ports). America is well served by waterways east of the Mississippi, but has practically none at all west of it.

    Coal alone is responsible for nearly one third of all tonnage on Class I freight railroads, and a quick look at the map will show you there are no waterways anywhere near the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. Likewise the rich harvest of the great plains needs to be hauled by rail to the Mississippi before it can go on a barge (if it goes on a barge–the Union Pacific yard in Joliet, Illinois is one of the largest grain loading stations in the world).

    That’s not to excuse Europe for not making an effort to created a unified continental freight system capable of heavy haulage anymore than we should excuse North America for our comically bad passenger rail services (for which you can make the same argument that they are less necessary).

    Russia (and China) has both, though unlike China and Western Europe there is little HSR in Russia.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  40. @Thorfinnsson


    Popular understanding of credit and home economics seems low. When I got my credit card here from state-owned banking giant Sberbank, it was marketed to me as a way to get expensive goods during the New Year holidays, whereas in the United States the talking points would be about building up a credit rating.

    This reflects the fact that Russians don’t understand personal finance and have low future time orientation relative to the Anglo/Protestant world. One American who works in a Russian media organization says that bonuses are paid out to staff to coincide with the start of the holiday season, the assumption being that they would have otherwise spent it and have no money to go to the Crimea or Egypt. As an American who understands the concept of saving up, he had to push through a special exception for himself with the accounting department.
     
    Let's not romanticize Americans too much here. My local credit union offers personal loans for "Christmas cash" (nice of them to say Christmas). You can see more on the financial carnage Christmas inflicts on the average ordinary nobody here: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/12/17/christmas-its-costlier-than-you-think.aspx

    A Federal Reserve study found that half of Americans do not have enough cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/nearly-half-dont-have-the-cash-to-pay-for-a-400-emergency-fed-survey-finds-2017-05-19

    The Baby Boomer generation has embarrassingly low retirement savings: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/032216/are-we-baby-boomer-retirement-crisis.asp

    Now it is perhaps true that America's deep, sophisticated consumer credit markets are partly responsible for this embarrassing state of affairs. Prior to the mid-1990s the household savings rate had hovered around 10% since the 1920s, comparable to Germany. That said, a truly sophisticated understanding of finance informs one that credit can disappear--particularly in a crisis (whether personal or national) which reduces creditworthiness. After the financial crisis many strapped Americans were shocked to discover their home equity line of credit suddenly revoked.

    Of course access to consumer finance and investment products in America are better than anywhere else in the world, and a deep pool of knowledge is available if one is interested (even Reddit is pretty good, even if the betas at r/personalfinance banned me for stating that diversification is for losers). 0% introductory APR credit cards, commission free brokerage trades (Robinhood), and huge varieties of tax advantaged investment accounts (401k, IRA, Roth IRA, 403b, HSA, 529 plan, and more) do not exist elsewhere in the world. Not only is trading securities cheaper than anywhere else (or in the case of funds, expense ratio costs), but the USA has the world's largest financial markets by far with innumerable high quality assets.

    And contrary to myth, financial regulation is quite good. The USA was the first nation to regulate securities issuance, ban insider trading, and guarantee bank deposits and brokerage accounts. Personal bankruptcy laws are generous compared to most other advanced countries, and substantial government support exists to make long-term mortgages available to nearly all people. The bad features of American financial regulation consist primarily of looking the other way at Wall Street gambling (sounds bad, but has only blown up nationally twice in the past century) and predatory feasting on the dull (immoral, but irrelevant and even beneficial for the readers of this article).

    The biggest disadvantage here is American extraterritorial taxation and banking laws. Extraterritorial taxation is being abolished with the new tax cut, and the draconian foreign reporting laws (FATCA) which make it extremely difficult to open foreign bank and brokerage accounts (fortunately Denmark's Saxo Bank opens foreign brokerage accounts for Americans) are reportedly next on the chopping block.


    Bureaucracy

    The Russian bureaucracy is a *lot* better than it used to be, especially in the “My Documents” centers that have proliferated in recent years as part of a government initiative to make bureaucratic services more transparent and accessible to citizens. In comparison to 2007, there are fewer papers to fill out, many more tasks can be done online, and staff are more courteous. This is reflected in Russia moving from around 120th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings a decade ago, to 35th as of 2017.

    Which still makes it a horrendous nightmare by Anglo standards.

    Far fewer tasks and operations need to be confirmed with the bureaucracy in the first place, and those that do – with the notable exception of the DMV – tend to go far more smoothly.
     
    And you lived in the Bay Area. In whitopia/flyover country, encounters with government bureaucrats are fast, efficient, and friendly. At my local DMV issues of any kind are resolved within minutes, there are no lines, and service comes with a smile.


    Amazon Prime
     
    You could really just expand this into retail in general. America has more retail square footage per person than any other country--almost twenty times as much as Germany. Walmart, for at its lumpenproleness, is remarkable. Costco is a marvelous testament to American civilization and is beloved in all foreign countries it opens in. Jet.com (now owned by Walmart) sells bulk goods (think large packages of paper towels) far cheaper than Amazon and throws in free shipping for orders over $35. Manufacturers/brands which attempt to sell direct to consumers generally offer free shipping over a minimum order amount in order to prevent Amazon from becoming their only channel.

    I'm not sure if this extends to Russia, but in Western Europe you have to pay for grocery bags and shopping carts (you get your coin back when you return the cart admittedly), and you're forced to bag your own groceries like a loser. This is unheard of in America other than at ALDI (a German chain), Trader Joe's (owned by ALDI North), and warehouse stores.

    you’re forced to bag your own groceries like a loser. This is unheard of in America other than at ALDI (a German chain), Trader Joe’s (owned by ALDI North), and warehouse stores.

    Seriously? Where do you live? I used to live in Arizona and now live in Washington state, and I have never bagged groceries at Trader Joe’s or Costco (I believe it qualifies as a warehouse store). The only places where I bag my own groceries, by choice, are self-checkout lanes at regular grocery stores, such as Safeway or Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger, AFAIK).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Come to think of it, you are correct about Trader Joe's for sure.

    I live in a rural area and have not been to a Trader Joe's or Costco in three years (used to live in a large city), so my memory is rusty.

    Trader Joe's I must have mentally associated with ALDI (as it is owned by ALDI North is really just fancy ALDI).

    As for Costco I do genuinely remember them not bagging things, but perhaps they bag for you if you bring your own bags instead of using the boxes?

    My community has a Kroger-owned chain and a Walmart, as well as two independents. All bag for you (though self check out lanes are available at Kroger and Walmart).

    I'd love to shop at Costco again, but it's not worth driving 3 hours round trip when I can order things in bulk from Jet.com.

    And yes, Fred Meyer is owned by Kroger.
    , @dearieme
    "Bag your groceries": do you mean that you don't scan them as you take them off the shelves? What backwardness is this?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  41. @Chet Bradley

    you’re forced to bag your own groceries like a loser. This is unheard of in America other than at ALDI (a German chain), Trader Joe’s (owned by ALDI North), and warehouse stores.
     
    Seriously? Where do you live? I used to live in Arizona and now live in Washington state, and I have never bagged groceries at Trader Joe's or Costco (I believe it qualifies as a warehouse store). The only places where I bag my own groceries, by choice, are self-checkout lanes at regular grocery stores, such as Safeway or Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger, AFAIK).

    Come to think of it, you are correct about Trader Joe’s for sure.

    I live in a rural area and have not been to a Trader Joe’s or Costco in three years (used to live in a large city), so my memory is rusty.

    Trader Joe’s I must have mentally associated with ALDI (as it is owned by ALDI North is really just fancy ALDI).

    As for Costco I do genuinely remember them not bagging things, but perhaps they bag for you if you bring your own bags instead of using the boxes?

    My community has a Kroger-owned chain and a Walmart, as well as two independents. All bag for you (though self check out lanes are available at Kroger and Walmart).

    I’d love to shop at Costco again, but it’s not worth driving 3 hours round trip when I can order things in bulk from Jet.com.

    And yes, Fred Meyer is owned by Kroger.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chet Bradley
    NP, thanks for clarifying. I thought maybe you live in some state where, due to labor laws, you have to bag your groceries at Trader Joe's. :)

    You are right about Costco, I should have been more clear. They don't bag, but reload everything into the shopping cart and put stuff in boxes if you want them to. Most of their stuff is too bulky to bag, I just put big packages straight into the trunk and a few smaller items into a bag.

    But speaking of Costco, I generally find their staff to be by far the most unfriendly of all major retailers; borderline rude sometimes, as if I'm a burden to them for shopping there. If it weren't so cheap, I wouldn't shop there at all. This is in the Seattle area.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  42. @neutral
    On the topic of mass pop culture, I am curious how popular Star Wars is in places like Germany, Poland or Russia? In Germany, I would guess that they simply emulate everything that comes out of America. In Poland or Russia, since the new Star War is now explicit SJW propaganda and openly anti white (the makers of the movie are admitting this), is the average proto SJW there still going to accept this pop culture product even if it is very clear now that white organizations are being demonized as villains and the diverse as heroes?

    I’ve heard complaints from Polish people that Star Wars has become ridiculously PC.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  43. @Thorfinnsson
    Come to think of it, you are correct about Trader Joe's for sure.

    I live in a rural area and have not been to a Trader Joe's or Costco in three years (used to live in a large city), so my memory is rusty.

    Trader Joe's I must have mentally associated with ALDI (as it is owned by ALDI North is really just fancy ALDI).

    As for Costco I do genuinely remember them not bagging things, but perhaps they bag for you if you bring your own bags instead of using the boxes?

    My community has a Kroger-owned chain and a Walmart, as well as two independents. All bag for you (though self check out lanes are available at Kroger and Walmart).

    I'd love to shop at Costco again, but it's not worth driving 3 hours round trip when I can order things in bulk from Jet.com.

    And yes, Fred Meyer is owned by Kroger.

    NP, thanks for clarifying. I thought maybe you live in some state where, due to labor laws, you have to bag your groceries at Trader Joe’s. :)

    You are right about Costco, I should have been more clear. They don’t bag, but reload everything into the shopping cart and put stuff in boxes if you want them to. Most of their stuff is too bulky to bag, I just put big packages straight into the trunk and a few smaller items into a bag.

    But speaking of Costco, I generally find their staff to be by far the most unfriendly of all major retailers; borderline rude sometimes, as if I’m a burden to them for shopping there. If it weren’t so cheap, I wouldn’t shop there at all. This is in the Seattle area.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  44. Chicken Fried Steak. That is a big one and I mean it. Even better access than in Russia to CT Scan takes second place to that. And then there is a Pacific Northwest and Rockies which have a very similar in its stunning beauty Russian Altai–but in Altai you are 3000 miles East-West away from the nearest ocean. In US even in Rockies (including Canadian ones) you are never more than 6-7 hour drive away, unless you are really out there there and you are never too far away from an espresso stand. One has to have latte every day (and night). In general, American West is stunning, granted one stays away from uber liberal urban centers.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  45. @Anon
    In Europe deliverymen don't just drop boxes in front of your house as well. I actually prefer it this way. In America it horrified me when the mailman just abandoned my really expensive delivery at my front door, just to sit there open to the world (and the weather).

    In the Netherlands we have an option to pick it up at the nearest post office usually.

    When I left my apartment today, there was a stack of Amazon boxes outside my door. The delivery man (usually either Amazon’s own or FedEx) must have buzzed another apartment in the building to get in.

    Amazon is working on a service where you’ll have some kind of electronic lock on your door and the delivery man will bring the stuff into your home. I’m not sure how they’ll handle pets running out though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    When I left my apartment today, there was a stack of Amazon boxes outside my door.
     
    When my mother came to the U.S. for the first time, she absolutely marveled at the fact that mail, especially parcel, was left outside in unsecured boxes. "And no one steals them! What a great country. What a great people."

    That culture of trust is still alive, Gott sei Dank. May that last forever.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  46. It is an interesting question, what new high culture is the world producing, now and in the future.

    You could argue that science has produced a new kind of high culture, through its combination of mathematics and natural philosophy. To give just one example, particle physics – the actual practice of particle physics, as opposed to its vicarious consumption in pop culture and pop science – is one of the great intellectual adventures of recent decades. Add to this genetics, neuroscience, astronomy, and you have a type of ‘culture’ which could be shared even with an artificial intelligence.

    So in the end maybe it comes back to those notions of transhumanism and the singularity. New types of being are still emerging, even as much of the world turns away from the new-left utopia of hedonist homogeneity in favor of tradition; and the character of the future will fundamentally be determined by how these new powers are employed, and to what ends.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    The high culture of modern science is universal in a way that not even music can be, which contributes to the tension between those socialized as scientists and those who appreciate the necessity of preserving local tradition. As a scientist who grew up in the US and has worked in various US and European research institutions, I find it much easier to relate to my scientific colleagues, regardless of where they come from, than to people with whom I played in the sandbox as a child. And I say this as a traditional, family-oriented Christian. To me, this is one of the many unavoidable paradoxes in life.
    , @German_reader

    You could argue that science has produced a new kind of high culture
     
    Yes, but that's separate from the culture of most people, even rather educated ones. No one today is writing poetry about evolutionary theory (let alone particle physics) like Lucretius did about atoms and other elements of the Epicurean world view.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  47. Because someone will inevitably steal it, as in Black (but not Latino) areas of American cities.

    Care to explain this?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  48. Amazon Prime is also available in the EU, which made me wonder:

    Are all those Africans making perilous sea journeys across the Med just to get the benefits of Amazon Prime?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  49. @Mitchell Porter
    It is an interesting question, what new high culture is the world producing, now and in the future.

    You could argue that science has produced a new kind of high culture, through its combination of mathematics and natural philosophy. To give just one example, particle physics - the actual practice of particle physics, as opposed to its vicarious consumption in pop culture and pop science - is one of the great intellectual adventures of recent decades. Add to this genetics, neuroscience, astronomy, and you have a type of 'culture' which could be shared even with an artificial intelligence.

    So in the end maybe it comes back to those notions of transhumanism and the singularity. New types of being are still emerging, even as much of the world turns away from the new-left utopia of hedonist homogeneity in favor of tradition; and the character of the future will fundamentally be determined by how these new powers are employed, and to what ends.

    The high culture of modern science is universal in a way that not even music can be, which contributes to the tension between those socialized as scientists and those who appreciate the necessity of preserving local tradition. As a scientist who grew up in the US and has worked in various US and European research institutions, I find it much easier to relate to my scientific colleagues, regardless of where they come from, than to people with whom I played in the sandbox as a child. And I say this as a traditional, family-oriented Christian. To me, this is one of the many unavoidable paradoxes in life.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  50. @Anatoly Karlin

    Therefore, while America’s on-the-books laws are better, the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was.
     
    Article 282 vs. Society 282. Pick your poison, I guess.

    Article 282 vs. Society 282. Pick your poison, I guess.

    I pick the one where I can have guns. Lots of guns. And enough ammunition for them. All delivered by the case loads by FedEx.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    But y'all have had your gunny toys freely available for decades and yet your Deep State has confiscated more and more of your freedom and your money. It may be that the US attitude to guns makes perfect sense in the violence-prone US, but it's clearly not a sufficient condition for freedom to thrive.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  51. One thing Mr. Karlin alluded to in the companion piece earlier, but did not expand in comparison of the respective qualities of life in the two countries is that beyond the “super zips.” (Something about poor internet connection in small towns, I think.)

    In the United States, it’s very feasible to live in a medium-sized or even smallish city away from the coastal areas and enjoy the cultural and commercial benefits of larger cities (e.g. ethnic restaurants, shops, hobbies, etc.) without suffering some of the ill effects of urban behemoths (so less stress, noise, less expensive homes, access to nature, etc.). Not unrelated to this phenomenon is the fact that there has been a great deal of “democratization” of the upper middle and upper classes in the United States (true, our middle class has shrunk, but our upper middle and upper classes have grown greatly in the past several decades). So there is a relatively high demand for upscale goods (whether cultural or commercial) all over the country, not just in a few wealthy enclaves and major cities.

    I would like to read Mr. Karlin’s view of this in Russia, but my experiences in many other countries, even relatively well-developed ones, is that they tend to have a great deal of this kind of cultural/commercial activities in the capitals, but they decline dramatically in the small towns. So you either get big city problems and benefits or small town boredom.

    Especially for the younger generations, a good quality of life isn’t simply about income versus expenses or house sizes or car ownership. It’s often about “activities” and “lifestyles.” I feel that one of the advantages of the United States is that the country makes these possible even away from the major metropolitan areas.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    There are charming and peaceful bedroom communities/dacha areas outside Moscow that are wooded and that offer big-city amenities. My brother-in-law has a place in the center and a dacha in such a community in a pine forest, and in summer commutes from the latter to his job in the city. This might be analogous to a place way outside DC - not a small nice city far from large metro areas, though.

    Smaller big cities far from Moscow and St.Petersburg, such as Kazan and Chelyabinsk, are fairly well-developed and have a lot to offer. The Urals are very charming, resembling the Catskills but with pines trees, and have lakes and islands and in post-Soviet times ski resorts. Some of the best Moscow theaters of ballets travel to such places in the summer. I suspect their local ballets or theaters are superior to ones in small American cities (if the latter even have them) because classic "high culture" is more respected in Russia in general.

    I haven't visited Irktusk by Lake Baikal, but it may also be a very nice place.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  52. @Dave Pinsen
    When I left my apartment today, there was a stack of Amazon boxes outside my door. The delivery man (usually either Amazon's own or FedEx) must have buzzed another apartment in the building to get in.

    Amazon is working on a service where you'll have some kind of electronic lock on your door and the delivery man will bring the stuff into your home. I'm not sure how they'll handle pets running out though.

    When I left my apartment today, there was a stack of Amazon boxes outside my door.

    When my mother came to the U.S. for the first time, she absolutely marveled at the fact that mail, especially parcel, was left outside in unsecured boxes. “And no one steals them! What a great country. What a great people.”

    That culture of trust is still alive, Gott sei Dank. May that last forever.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    The boxes in this case were outside my apartment door, but inside the building and behind the locked front door. But AFAIK, the only thefts of boxes in my building were by a mentally ill guy living in an apartment his parents owned here. He was caught on security cams and arrested I think.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  53. @Mitchell Porter
    It is an interesting question, what new high culture is the world producing, now and in the future.

    You could argue that science has produced a new kind of high culture, through its combination of mathematics and natural philosophy. To give just one example, particle physics - the actual practice of particle physics, as opposed to its vicarious consumption in pop culture and pop science - is one of the great intellectual adventures of recent decades. Add to this genetics, neuroscience, astronomy, and you have a type of 'culture' which could be shared even with an artificial intelligence.

    So in the end maybe it comes back to those notions of transhumanism and the singularity. New types of being are still emerging, even as much of the world turns away from the new-left utopia of hedonist homogeneity in favor of tradition; and the character of the future will fundamentally be determined by how these new powers are employed, and to what ends.

    You could argue that science has produced a new kind of high culture

    Yes, but that’s separate from the culture of most people, even rather educated ones. No one today is writing poetry about evolutionary theory (let alone particle physics) like Lucretius did about atoms and other elements of the Epicurean world view.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Already classical physics (Newton and Maxwell) is a tremendous achievement of human civilization, and the number of people studying it right now, this very day*, must far exceed the number of people who have ever studied De rerum natura. As for particle physics, if you’d like to get a hint of the passion it excites, I recommend the film Particle Fever.

    *Well, maybe some day this very month. Right now even I am drinking whiskey.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  54. There is, of course, American culture in Japan, but it does not dominate Japanese cultural life. Practically no American TV programming on Japanese TV. Only films that now come to Japan are blockbusters, but Japanese audiences go in larger numbers to the films Japanese studios churn out–teen drama, romance, horror, samurai, police-thriller. Japanese remain partial to Japanese cuisine. They DO play baseball, but are partial to their own brand of the game. Japanese are notorious for their resistance to English language. Shinto, Buddhism, Yamabushi, and various other non-Western sects dominate “spiritual” life. Unlike South Korea, Christianity never caught on in Japan. Pop-music wise, Japanese are into their J-pop, along with some K-pop bands. My students do not know who Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan are. Japanese read their own writers or manga. They play their own video games. When I explained–tried to explain Christianity (and Judaism)–to my students (as I did recently before Christmas), they ended up laughing. Despite fact that Japan remains close “ally” of the US and there certainly are Americano-philes around, my students prefer Australia or Canada to US (“too dangerous”) as places to go for language study in vacations–and they have definitely become more China and Southeast Asia-oriented.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Singh
    Why are you trying ot infect them with your abrahamic virus? Instead, you should be looking to adopt Euro Pagan/Buddhist beliefs & values||
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  55. @Twinkie
    One thing Mr. Karlin alluded to in the companion piece earlier, but did not expand in comparison of the respective qualities of life in the two countries is that beyond the "super zips." (Something about poor internet connection in small towns, I think.)

    In the United States, it's very feasible to live in a medium-sized or even smallish city away from the coastal areas and enjoy the cultural and commercial benefits of larger cities (e.g. ethnic restaurants, shops, hobbies, etc.) without suffering some of the ill effects of urban behemoths (so less stress, noise, less expensive homes, access to nature, etc.). Not unrelated to this phenomenon is the fact that there has been a great deal of "democratization" of the upper middle and upper classes in the United States (true, our middle class has shrunk, but our upper middle and upper classes have grown greatly in the past several decades). So there is a relatively high demand for upscale goods (whether cultural or commercial) all over the country, not just in a few wealthy enclaves and major cities.

    I would like to read Mr. Karlin's view of this in Russia, but my experiences in many other countries, even relatively well-developed ones, is that they tend to have a great deal of this kind of cultural/commercial activities in the capitals, but they decline dramatically in the small towns. So you either get big city problems and benefits or small town boredom.

    Especially for the younger generations, a good quality of life isn't simply about income versus expenses or house sizes or car ownership. It's often about "activities" and "lifestyles." I feel that one of the advantages of the United States is that the country makes these possible even away from the major metropolitan areas.

    There are charming and peaceful bedroom communities/dacha areas outside Moscow that are wooded and that offer big-city amenities. My brother-in-law has a place in the center and a dacha in such a community in a pine forest, and in summer commutes from the latter to his job in the city. This might be analogous to a place way outside DC – not a small nice city far from large metro areas, though.

    Smaller big cities far from Moscow and St.Petersburg, such as Kazan and Chelyabinsk, are fairly well-developed and have a lot to offer. The Urals are very charming, resembling the Catskills but with pines trees, and have lakes and islands and in post-Soviet times ski resorts. Some of the best Moscow theaters of ballets travel to such places in the summer. I suspect their local ballets or theaters are superior to ones in small American cities (if the latter even have them) because classic “high culture” is more respected in Russia in general.

    I haven’t visited Irktusk by Lake Baikal, but it may also be a very nice place.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  56. You forgot the most important thing (I would rate it #1): the climate. It is most unforgiving and punishing. At least in Canada and Scandinavia you have better living standards. In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering. And frankly, even big money do not always seem a fair compensation for living in this environment. And they ask why Russians do not smile. Too cold to smile, or you’ll got your teeth frostbitten.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering
     
    Yes, especially in Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, along Volga down to Astrakhan--sure, especially when it hits 40 C there and stays warm most of the year, with relatively short winters. What a load of contrived BS.
    , @AP
    I've seen people eating ice cream outside in winter in the Urals region. They were happy. Do you think that people in Montreal or Minneapolis are miserable? Winter means cross-country skiing, snow sculptures, theater, ice skating, etc.

    Maybe you are just personally an unhappy person?
    , @melanf

    You forgot the most important thing (I would rate it #1): the climate. It is most unforgiving and punishing. At least in Canada and Scandinavia you have better living standards. In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering. And frankly, even big money do not always seem a fair compensation for living in this environment.
     
    I vote the advantages of cold climate. Land with a warm climate (in most cases) are overpopulated and turned into fields. But in the cold climate preserved the vast wild forest, lakes, swamp berries, etc.

    here are my summer walks
    https://d.radikal.ru/d09/1712/17/1b0b613aca5f.jpg

    https://b.radikal.ru/b06/1712/2b/de84492ea487.jpg

    In addition the heat is worse than cold. When in our area the temperature during the month was +35, I die. I spent time in the forest near the sea or in the woods near the lake, constantly bathed, but it was still awful. And what about those who have to work in this heat?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  57. @Boris N
    You forgot the most important thing (I would rate it #1): the climate. It is most unforgiving and punishing. At least in Canada and Scandinavia you have better living standards. In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering. And frankly, even big money do not always seem a fair compensation for living in this environment. And they ask why Russians do not smile. Too cold to smile, or you'll got your teeth frostbitten.

    In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering

    Yes, especially in Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, along Volga down to Astrakhan–sure, especially when it hits 40 C there and stays warm most of the year, with relatively short winters. What a load of contrived BS.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Boris N
    The frost free period in Rostov and Krasnodar is 180-200 days (6 months on average). Only on the small land strip along the Black Sea it may raise up to 220-260 days (the majority of the USA and W. Europe enjoy this by default). But even then in Krasnodar you may easily encounter -20C in winter, in even on Sochi there can be whole weeks below zero. It is not a secret knowledge, you just watch weather forecasts to know what the climate is in different parts of your country. I understand following the forecast in Russia while living in America is difficult. And remember that region is 10% of Russia at best. Or I may tell you about Voronezh (the south, eh?): frosts start normally in November and may last up to April. 5 months straight. Spring April and Autumn October often are not much better. So you practically have just 5 liveable months a year. The fact that there can also be +40C in summer is just an argument against: not only you must sustain the extreme cold in winter, but the extreme heat in summer.

    I know you are a military specialist and I respect your knowledge, but, please, refrain from speaking about the things you fail to understand. Geography seems to be not your strong side. You do much better with missiles, ships and other such iron crap.

    And by the way telling what your parents failed to tell you: simply calling others' words BS is basic rudeness, and it never gives you a winning point. I don't expect politeness from everybody on this resource, but you are not a dick, are you?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  58. @Boris N
    You forgot the most important thing (I would rate it #1): the climate. It is most unforgiving and punishing. At least in Canada and Scandinavia you have better living standards. In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering. And frankly, even big money do not always seem a fair compensation for living in this environment. And they ask why Russians do not smile. Too cold to smile, or you'll got your teeth frostbitten.

    I’ve seen people eating ice cream outside in winter in the Urals region. They were happy. Do you think that people in Montreal or Minneapolis are miserable? Winter means cross-country skiing, snow sculptures, theater, ice skating, etc.

    Maybe you are just personally an unhappy person?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Boris N
    Unless you personally live in Montreal or Minneapolis, do not tell others how wonderful is winter. Let them decide for themselves how perfect their climate is. Not everybody may enjoy it, because you enjoy it. Yes, all Russians must be unhappy then, because complaining about winter is a common topic among them. I bet Canadians and northern Americans are not much different. Ever heard the term "snowbird"?
    , @Miro23

    @Boris N

    I’ve seen people eating ice cream outside in winter in the Urals region. They were happy. Do you think that people in Montreal or Minneapolis are miserable? Winter means cross-country skiing, snow sculptures, theater, ice skating, etc.

    Maybe you are just personally an unhappy person?

     

    It's nice to be in Montreal, Minneapolis or the Urals, but the Atlantic seaboard of NW Europe (places like the Northern UK, Belgium, Holland, Northern France) don't seem to get much of a summer or winter either. Cold Westerly winds reliably bringing overcast grey skies with rain and drizzle.

    This does have a background effect.

    There's a lot wrong with the lower latitudes of the Mediterranean, but the climate isn't one of them. Having spent the last 30 yrs+ on the Spanish Mediterranean on about the same latitude as Algiers, Tunis and Palermo I can say that sunny days are preferable to cold wet ones - even accepting the excess heat in July - August.
    , @JL

    Maybe you are just personally an unhappy person?
     
    Gee, you think? That being said, I'm glad Boris is back here commenting, I think he adds a lot to the discussions. It's a shame he doesn't commit some of his clearly considerable intellect to his own well-being. Such deep and profound misery elicits a fair degree of pity.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  59. @melanf

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
     
    A good movie is also part of high culture, and in this area the Americans beat everyone. In literature, the achievements of Americans, huge, very huge.

    Americans dominate mass market movies, but that’s another thing than the quality segment. There are many very good films being made on small budgets but who never get a big audience. Most people are not aware of them. I wouldn’t say that Americans “dominate” the quality film segment.

    As for literature, Americans certainly have their fair share of good authors. I personally like Twain the most. But I’m not talking of past greats. I’m talking of the here and now.

    And it’s not even about the authors *themselves*. It’s about the audience. How easy is it for me, as someone who enjoys high culture, to go to shows/plays etc? Russia just beats America out of the water for someone who is not rich. Sure, the elite in the US have a good selection but high culture is accessible in Russia for a reasonable sum for those who are interested. There will still only be a minority who are, but at least they won’t be limited by the size of their wallet nearly to the same extent as in the US. Plus, as I already mentioned, most of the high quality plays, operas, ballets etc are imported from Europe. Even if you were only to limit yourself to Russian-origin plays/operas/ballets and vice-versa but in the US, you’d end up with a much better selection in Russia, especially in ballet.

    But for me it’s not even an e-peen contest. I don’t mind watching an Italian opera in Moscow. What matters to me is how easy it is in terms of A) cost(I’m in my 20s and it matters for me. Student income is not high and my family is not rich) B) convenience and C) quality. Pound-for-pound, Russia beats the US, easily, when you look at all three combined.

    Read More
    • Replies: @S3

    There are many very good films being made on small budgets but who never get a big audience.
     
    I am only familiar with science blogs, so could you point me to that part of the internet that discusses such films?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  60. @Thorfinnsson


    Popular understanding of credit and home economics seems low. When I got my credit card here from state-owned banking giant Sberbank, it was marketed to me as a way to get expensive goods during the New Year holidays, whereas in the United States the talking points would be about building up a credit rating.

    This reflects the fact that Russians don’t understand personal finance and have low future time orientation relative to the Anglo/Protestant world. One American who works in a Russian media organization says that bonuses are paid out to staff to coincide with the start of the holiday season, the assumption being that they would have otherwise spent it and have no money to go to the Crimea or Egypt. As an American who understands the concept of saving up, he had to push through a special exception for himself with the accounting department.
     
    Let's not romanticize Americans too much here. My local credit union offers personal loans for "Christmas cash" (nice of them to say Christmas). You can see more on the financial carnage Christmas inflicts on the average ordinary nobody here: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/12/17/christmas-its-costlier-than-you-think.aspx

    A Federal Reserve study found that half of Americans do not have enough cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/nearly-half-dont-have-the-cash-to-pay-for-a-400-emergency-fed-survey-finds-2017-05-19

    The Baby Boomer generation has embarrassingly low retirement savings: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/032216/are-we-baby-boomer-retirement-crisis.asp

    Now it is perhaps true that America's deep, sophisticated consumer credit markets are partly responsible for this embarrassing state of affairs. Prior to the mid-1990s the household savings rate had hovered around 10% since the 1920s, comparable to Germany. That said, a truly sophisticated understanding of finance informs one that credit can disappear--particularly in a crisis (whether personal or national) which reduces creditworthiness. After the financial crisis many strapped Americans were shocked to discover their home equity line of credit suddenly revoked.

    Of course access to consumer finance and investment products in America are better than anywhere else in the world, and a deep pool of knowledge is available if one is interested (even Reddit is pretty good, even if the betas at r/personalfinance banned me for stating that diversification is for losers). 0% introductory APR credit cards, commission free brokerage trades (Robinhood), and huge varieties of tax advantaged investment accounts (401k, IRA, Roth IRA, 403b, HSA, 529 plan, and more) do not exist elsewhere in the world. Not only is trading securities cheaper than anywhere else (or in the case of funds, expense ratio costs), but the USA has the world's largest financial markets by far with innumerable high quality assets.

    And contrary to myth, financial regulation is quite good. The USA was the first nation to regulate securities issuance, ban insider trading, and guarantee bank deposits and brokerage accounts. Personal bankruptcy laws are generous compared to most other advanced countries, and substantial government support exists to make long-term mortgages available to nearly all people. The bad features of American financial regulation consist primarily of looking the other way at Wall Street gambling (sounds bad, but has only blown up nationally twice in the past century) and predatory feasting on the dull (immoral, but irrelevant and even beneficial for the readers of this article).

    The biggest disadvantage here is American extraterritorial taxation and banking laws. Extraterritorial taxation is being abolished with the new tax cut, and the draconian foreign reporting laws (FATCA) which make it extremely difficult to open foreign bank and brokerage accounts (fortunately Denmark's Saxo Bank opens foreign brokerage accounts for Americans) are reportedly next on the chopping block.


    Bureaucracy

    The Russian bureaucracy is a *lot* better than it used to be, especially in the “My Documents” centers that have proliferated in recent years as part of a government initiative to make bureaucratic services more transparent and accessible to citizens. In comparison to 2007, there are fewer papers to fill out, many more tasks can be done online, and staff are more courteous. This is reflected in Russia moving from around 120th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings a decade ago, to 35th as of 2017.

    Which still makes it a horrendous nightmare by Anglo standards.

    Far fewer tasks and operations need to be confirmed with the bureaucracy in the first place, and those that do – with the notable exception of the DMV – tend to go far more smoothly.
     
    And you lived in the Bay Area. In whitopia/flyover country, encounters with government bureaucrats are fast, efficient, and friendly. At my local DMV issues of any kind are resolved within minutes, there are no lines, and service comes with a smile.


    Amazon Prime
     
    You could really just expand this into retail in general. America has more retail square footage per person than any other country--almost twenty times as much as Germany. Walmart, for at its lumpenproleness, is remarkable. Costco is a marvelous testament to American civilization and is beloved in all foreign countries it opens in. Jet.com (now owned by Walmart) sells bulk goods (think large packages of paper towels) far cheaper than Amazon and throws in free shipping for orders over $35. Manufacturers/brands which attempt to sell direct to consumers generally offer free shipping over a minimum order amount in order to prevent Amazon from becoming their only channel.

    I'm not sure if this extends to Russia, but in Western Europe you have to pay for grocery bags and shopping carts (you get your coin back when you return the cart admittedly), and you're forced to bag your own groceries like a loser. This is unheard of in America other than at ALDI (a German chain), Trader Joe's (owned by ALDI North), and warehouse stores.

    In every grocery store on earth you have to pay for bags, either directly or indirectly. But I’d much rather receive a discount for bringing my own bags than have to pay [via increased grocery prices] for bags that I don’t want or need. I wish there were a law requiring stores to explicitly charge for bags. I don’t want to subsidize the wastefulness of people like you.

    As for baggers, it is nice to have dedicated baggers, but this too increases the cost. At my local grocer, sometimes there is no bagger and I have to bag my own while the cashier is ringing my stuff up. Not a big deal because otherwise I would just be standing there making small talk with the bagger anyway.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Indeed, you not only pay for the bag at the shop, but also for the landfill through your taxes. The technical term is “externality”. Are there not some US cities that have a bylaw about charging for plastic bags, or banning them outright?
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Thanks, autist.

    Marketers long ago figured out that "free" is an effective sales tactic.
    , @RadicalCenter
    Here in LA, grocery stores and convenience stores are required to charge for each plastic bag. I'm not sure if that is State law or just LA County/City. I think it's statewide; neighboring Orange County has the same thing and, if I recall, so does Kern County (home to the City of Bakersfield and once the late great country singer Buck Owens).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  61. @German_reader

    You could argue that science has produced a new kind of high culture
     
    Yes, but that's separate from the culture of most people, even rather educated ones. No one today is writing poetry about evolutionary theory (let alone particle physics) like Lucretius did about atoms and other elements of the Epicurean world view.

    Already classical physics (Newton and Maxwell) is a tremendous achievement of human civilization, and the number of people studying it right now, this very day*, must far exceed the number of people who have ever studied De rerum natura. As for particle physics, if you’d like to get a hint of the passion it excites, I recommend the film Particle Fever.

    *Well, maybe some day this very month. Right now even I am drinking whiskey.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    As for particle physics, if you’d like to get a hint of the passion it excites, I recommend the film Particle Fever.
     
    I don't doubt that, but it's a small minority that cares passionately about it. The vast majority of people (myself included) are probably just too stupid to even understand particle physics anyway. Its potential to provide a common frame of references for at least society's elite (which traditionally was one of the functions of high culture) seems rather limited.
    But it's undoubtedly a fascinating subject, I didn't mean to denigrate it.
    , @Singh
    Newton & others developed those off Asian manuscripts||
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  62. @AndrewR
    In every grocery store on earth you have to pay for bags, either directly or indirectly. But I'd much rather receive a discount for bringing my own bags than have to pay [via increased grocery prices] for bags that I don't want or need. I wish there were a law requiring stores to explicitly charge for bags. I don't want to subsidize the wastefulness of people like you.

    As for baggers, it is nice to have dedicated baggers, but this too increases the cost. At my local grocer, sometimes there is no bagger and I have to bag my own while the cashier is ringing my stuff up. Not a big deal because otherwise I would just be standing there making small talk with the bagger anyway.

    Indeed, you not only pay for the bag at the shop, but also for the landfill through your taxes. The technical term is “externality”. Are there not some US cities that have a bylaw about charging for plastic bags, or banning them outright?

    Read More
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    San Francisco regulates them. For all their many, many flaws, leftists get some things right.
    , @MarkinPNW
    Here in Washington State, Bellingham (called Bellingrad in mocking tribute to the Soviet Union's Leningrad and Stalingrad by local right-wing types in response to the leftist politics infesting the city government) and also I believe Seattle regulate or ban disposable plastic grocery bags.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  63. @The Big Red Scary
    Already classical physics (Newton and Maxwell) is a tremendous achievement of human civilization, and the number of people studying it right now, this very day*, must far exceed the number of people who have ever studied De rerum natura. As for particle physics, if you’d like to get a hint of the passion it excites, I recommend the film Particle Fever.

    *Well, maybe some day this very month. Right now even I am drinking whiskey.

    As for particle physics, if you’d like to get a hint of the passion it excites, I recommend the film Particle Fever.

    I don’t doubt that, but it’s a small minority that cares passionately about it. The vast majority of people (myself included) are probably just too stupid to even understand particle physics anyway. Its potential to provide a common frame of references for at least society’s elite (which traditionally was one of the functions of high culture) seems rather limited.
    But it’s undoubtedly a fascinating subject, I didn’t mean to denigrate it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    I agree that particle physics is unlikely to ever provide a common frame of reference for the elite. Alas, even basic logic, probability, and statistics seem unlikely to ever provide that common frame of reference, although they are accessible to many and could make a huge positive difference in the functioning of society.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  64. @German_reader

    As for particle physics, if you’d like to get a hint of the passion it excites, I recommend the film Particle Fever.
     
    I don't doubt that, but it's a small minority that cares passionately about it. The vast majority of people (myself included) are probably just too stupid to even understand particle physics anyway. Its potential to provide a common frame of references for at least society's elite (which traditionally was one of the functions of high culture) seems rather limited.
    But it's undoubtedly a fascinating subject, I didn't mean to denigrate it.

    I agree that particle physics is unlikely to ever provide a common frame of reference for the elite. Alas, even basic logic, probability, and statistics seem unlikely to ever provide that common frame of reference, although they are accessible to many and could make a huge positive difference in the functioning of society.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  65. Anatoly fair article (although issues like guns are hardly top of our minds when we choose to immigrate).

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).

    In a case where securing a good job in the US is not arranged before trying to immigrate, it is of course better to stay in Russia. But if you are a Russian who has high skillset and talents – America is indeed a kind of miracle. A sufficiently talented computer scientist – can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto. Now in Moscow there are hundreds of $60,000 a year computer science jobs – (some Russian salaries, especially for multi-national companies, can be higher even in nominal terms than in many ‘supposedly Western’ countries like Israel, and this combined with lower cost of living) – but the number of jobs is far fewer compared to in US, and the competition in application is at least as high, if with lower paperwork hassle.

    For people with the right skills – America is a kind of paradise. But the reality is that this is issue is only relevant or available to a small portion of the labour-force in Russia (or indeed the United States itself).

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral
    Everything you have written pretty much sums up the problem that we have, but not in the way you think it is. If your only concern is about how much money you earn then you will never get it, you will support 5 million Africans immigrating into Russia and still think it is a good idea if it guaranteed you more money. Having your lands overrun by foreigners, especially third world foreigners, is infinitely more important than the type of job one has, even if it is a very well paying job. I need to also point out that the poorest countries tend to have the most people that care only about money, successful ones tend to have values that transcend just desiring 30 pieces of silver.
    , @The Big Red Scary

    A sufficiently talented computer scientist – can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto. Now in Moscow there are hundreds of $60,000 a year computer science jobs
     
    But dude, then you’d have to live in Palo Alto rather than Moscow...

    In Moscow, my salary is about a third of what it would be in the US (and significantly less than $60,000), but my personal utility function is much closer to a maximum than it would be in the US. In fact, if I owned my own flat or country house, my salary could be cut in half and I’d still prefer to live here. So I think much of this comes down to one’s personal preferences.

    , @Chet Bradley

    A sufficiently talented computer scientist – can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto.
     
    And then your life would suck horribly, considering the median house price in Palo Alto is $2.8M. Median apartment rent is $5450 per month. Good luck buying that $2.8M house with your $200K income, or even with your $300K income. On which you'd have to pay CA income tax of 10%, on top of all federal taxes.

    You obviously don't live anywhere close to Palo Alto and have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to what you can buy with $200K (hint: not much).
    , @Perspective

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).
     
    I'm sure there are many people with a wide variety of occupations (some prestigious, some not) that post on here. I would say many of the people you deem as complainers are "black pilled" to some degree, they can see the emperor has no clothes (from their POV right or wrongly), and have become frenetic getting their point across.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  66. @Dmitry
    Anatoly fair article (although issues like guns are hardly top of our minds when we choose to immigrate).

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).

    In a case where securing a good job in the US is not arranged before trying to immigrate, it is of course better to stay in Russia. But if you are a Russian who has high skillset and talents - America is indeed a kind of miracle. A sufficiently talented computer scientist - can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto. Now in Moscow there are hundreds of $60,000 a year computer science jobs - (some Russian salaries, especially for multi-national companies, can be higher even in nominal terms than in many 'supposedly Western' countries like Israel, and this combined with lower cost of living) - but the number of jobs is far fewer compared to in US, and the competition in application is at least as high, if with lower paperwork hassle.

    For people with the right skills - America is a kind of paradise. But the reality is that this is issue is only relevant or available to a small portion of the labour-force in Russia (or indeed the United States itself).

    Everything you have written pretty much sums up the problem that we have, but not in the way you think it is. If your only concern is about how much money you earn then you will never get it, you will support 5 million Africans immigrating into Russia and still think it is a good idea if it guaranteed you more money. Having your lands overrun by foreigners, especially third world foreigners, is infinitely more important than the type of job one has, even if it is a very well paying job. I need to also point out that the poorest countries tend to have the most people that care only about money, successful ones tend to have values that transcend just desiring 30 pieces of silver.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Given that Alexander Pushkin was a quadroon and proudly claimed by Russians as one of their greatest writers, one could argue that Russia has been even more diversified by proximity and acceptance through intermarriage.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  67. @Dmitry
    Anatoly fair article (although issues like guns are hardly top of our minds when we choose to immigrate).

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).

    In a case where securing a good job in the US is not arranged before trying to immigrate, it is of course better to stay in Russia. But if you are a Russian who has high skillset and talents - America is indeed a kind of miracle. A sufficiently talented computer scientist - can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto. Now in Moscow there are hundreds of $60,000 a year computer science jobs - (some Russian salaries, especially for multi-national companies, can be higher even in nominal terms than in many 'supposedly Western' countries like Israel, and this combined with lower cost of living) - but the number of jobs is far fewer compared to in US, and the competition in application is at least as high, if with lower paperwork hassle.

    For people with the right skills - America is a kind of paradise. But the reality is that this is issue is only relevant or available to a small portion of the labour-force in Russia (or indeed the United States itself).

    A sufficiently talented computer scientist – can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto. Now in Moscow there are hundreds of $60,000 a year computer science jobs

    But dude, then you’d have to live in Palo Alto rather than Moscow…

    In Moscow, my salary is about a third of what it would be in the US (and significantly less than $60,000), but my personal utility function is much closer to a maximum than it would be in the US. In fact, if I owned my own flat or country house, my salary could be cut in half and I’d still prefer to live here. So I think much of this comes down to one’s personal preferences.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  68. @neutral
    Everything you have written pretty much sums up the problem that we have, but not in the way you think it is. If your only concern is about how much money you earn then you will never get it, you will support 5 million Africans immigrating into Russia and still think it is a good idea if it guaranteed you more money. Having your lands overrun by foreigners, especially third world foreigners, is infinitely more important than the type of job one has, even if it is a very well paying job. I need to also point out that the poorest countries tend to have the most people that care only about money, successful ones tend to have values that transcend just desiring 30 pieces of silver.

    Given that Alexander Pushkin was a quadroon and proudly claimed by Russians as one of their greatest writers, one could argue that Russia has been even more diversified by proximity and acceptance through intermarriage.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Given that Alexander Pushkin was a quadroon and proudly claimed by Russians as one of their greatest writers

     

    Pushkin was not a quadroon. An octoroon, rather (1/8th). And by all indications his great-grandpa was a remarkable man [of still uncertain origin].

    And, he was not "one of the Russian greatest writers" but rather the greatest Russian poet ever and one of the Russia's most impressive fiction writers (probably shared with Gogol; Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky helm a proud second tier).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  69. @The Big Red Scary
    Indeed, you not only pay for the bag at the shop, but also for the landfill through your taxes. The technical term is “externality”. Are there not some US cities that have a bylaw about charging for plastic bags, or banning them outright?

    San Francisco regulates them. For all their many, many flaws, leftists get some things right.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  70. @AndrewR
    In every grocery store on earth you have to pay for bags, either directly or indirectly. But I'd much rather receive a discount for bringing my own bags than have to pay [via increased grocery prices] for bags that I don't want or need. I wish there were a law requiring stores to explicitly charge for bags. I don't want to subsidize the wastefulness of people like you.

    As for baggers, it is nice to have dedicated baggers, but this too increases the cost. At my local grocer, sometimes there is no bagger and I have to bag my own while the cashier is ringing my stuff up. Not a big deal because otherwise I would just be standing there making small talk with the bagger anyway.

    Thanks, autist.

    Marketers long ago figured out that “free” is an effective sales tactic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    You seem upset.

    Intelligent people long ago figured out that marketers are full of shit. Bags are never "free." They cost the store money and the store passes the cost on one way or another.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  71. @Dmitry
    Anatoly fair article (although issues like guns are hardly top of our minds when we choose to immigrate).

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).

    In a case where securing a good job in the US is not arranged before trying to immigrate, it is of course better to stay in Russia. But if you are a Russian who has high skillset and talents - America is indeed a kind of miracle. A sufficiently talented computer scientist - can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto. Now in Moscow there are hundreds of $60,000 a year computer science jobs - (some Russian salaries, especially for multi-national companies, can be higher even in nominal terms than in many 'supposedly Western' countries like Israel, and this combined with lower cost of living) - but the number of jobs is far fewer compared to in US, and the competition in application is at least as high, if with lower paperwork hassle.

    For people with the right skills - America is a kind of paradise. But the reality is that this is issue is only relevant or available to a small portion of the labour-force in Russia (or indeed the United States itself).

    A sufficiently talented computer scientist – can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto.

    And then your life would suck horribly, considering the median house price in Palo Alto is $2.8M. Median apartment rent is $5450 per month. Good luck buying that $2.8M house with your $200K income, or even with your $300K income. On which you’d have to pay CA income tax of 10%, on top of all federal taxes.

    You obviously don’t live anywhere close to Palo Alto and have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to what you can buy with $200K (hint: not much).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    >"you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to what you can buy with $200K (hint: not much"

    ^ Again (this is one of the ever-present culture-shocks for me) people in America can have a rather different concept of what 'not much' means, even to point of surrealness.


    >"And then your life would suck horribly, considering the median house price in Palo Alto is $2.8M. Median apartment rent is $5450 per month. Good luck buying that $2.8M house with your $200K income, or even with your $300K income. On which you’d have to pay CA income tax of 10%, on top of all federal taxes."

    ^ A salary of $200,000 a year in California, results in $130,000 in your pocket after all taxes (take home pay).

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  72. This hasn’t been mentioned in either Russia > USA or USA > Russia, posts, so I am bringing it up.

    One of the most important reasons why life would be better in one vs. the other is: AFAIK, in Russia the government is not the enemy of the people and is not trying force everyone to accept unacceptable beliefs and to replace the people with foreigners. In USA, most of you already know the situation, even if you don’t live here, simply by following various writers on Unz.com. Steve Sailer has been covering this since forever.

    I don’t know enough about Russia, but my impression is that the bolded sentence above is essentially correct. Anatoly or other Russians here, please correct me if I’m wrong on that.

    If the above differtence holds, ask yourselves: how much is that worth to you? To the future of your family and children?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    >"in Russia the government is not the enemy of the people and is not trying force everyone to accept unacceptable beliefs and to replace the people with foreigners"

    While I do not share your all-negative views on American government, and feel that the government in the Russian Federation is also usually trying to improve or manage the situation to best of its ability.

    There are indeed many immigrants in Russia, and this is quite a universal experience around the world, as immigrants are flooding for higher salaries.

    https://sputniknews.com/russia/20130912183384782-Russia-Has-Second-Largest-Number-of-Immigrants--UN-Study/
    , @Anonymous
    They are not the alt-right country of your fantasies, son.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  73. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Given that Alexander Pushkin was a quadroon and proudly claimed by Russians as one of their greatest writers, one could argue that Russia has been even more diversified by proximity and acceptance through intermarriage.

    Given that Alexander Pushkin was a quadroon and proudly claimed by Russians as one of their greatest writers

    Pushkin was not a quadroon. An octoroon, rather (1/8th). And by all indications his great-grandpa was a remarkable man [of still uncertain origin].

    And, he was not “one of the Russian greatest writers” but rather the greatest Russian poet ever and one of the Russia’s most impressive fiction writers (probably shared with Gogol; Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky helm a proud second tier).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  74. @Thorfinnsson
    Thanks, autist.

    Marketers long ago figured out that "free" is an effective sales tactic.

    You seem upset.

    Intelligent people long ago figured out that marketers are full of shit. Bags are never “free.” They cost the store money and the store passes the cost on one way or another.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  75. @Chet Bradley

    A sufficiently talented computer scientist – can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto.
     
    And then your life would suck horribly, considering the median house price in Palo Alto is $2.8M. Median apartment rent is $5450 per month. Good luck buying that $2.8M house with your $200K income, or even with your $300K income. On which you'd have to pay CA income tax of 10%, on top of all federal taxes.

    You obviously don't live anywhere close to Palo Alto and have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to what you can buy with $200K (hint: not much).

    >”you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to what you can buy with $200K (hint: not much”

    ^ Again (this is one of the ever-present culture-shocks for me) people in America can have a rather different concept of what ‘not much’ means, even to point of surrealness.

    >”And then your life would suck horribly, considering the median house price in Palo Alto is $2.8M. Median apartment rent is $5450 per month. Good luck buying that $2.8M house with your $200K income, or even with your $300K income. On which you’d have to pay CA income tax of 10%, on top of all federal taxes.”

    ^ A salary of $200,000 a year in California, results in $130,000 in your pocket after all taxes (take home pay).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chet Bradley
    You don't get it, really. Half of your $130K take home pay would go to pay your rent ($60K), building the owner's equity, not yours. You would never be able to afford a home anywhere close to where you work. Yes, you would be able to afford a nice car, new iPhone, etc., but you would never accumulate any real wealth. Don't forget that you have to save enough for retirement, college for your children, etc. That $130K would quickly drop to below $100K for all your living expenses.

    With your $200K annual salary you would be working poor in Palo Alto. It's not that "people in America can have a rather different concept of what ‘not much’ means, even to point of surrealness"; it's that you don't understand how things work here, and you are unwilling to do detailed budget calculation to figure out just how much or little that $200K is in your chosen location. You are being blinded by the absolute figure ($200K) so its relative purchasing power escapes you completely.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  76. @Chet Bradley
    This hasn't been mentioned in either Russia > USA or USA > Russia, posts, so I am bringing it up.

    One of the most important reasons why life would be better in one vs. the other is: AFAIK, in Russia the government is not the enemy of the people and is not trying force everyone to accept unacceptable beliefs and to replace the people with foreigners. In USA, most of you already know the situation, even if you don't live here, simply by following various writers on Unz.com. Steve Sailer has been covering this since forever.

    I don't know enough about Russia, but my impression is that the bolded sentence above is essentially correct. Anatoly or other Russians here, please correct me if I'm wrong on that.

    If the above differtence holds, ask yourselves: how much is that worth to you? To the future of your family and children?

    >”in Russia the government is not the enemy of the people and is not trying force everyone to accept unacceptable beliefs and to replace the people with foreigners”

    While I do not share your all-negative views on American government, and feel that the government in the Russian Federation is also usually trying to improve or manage the situation to best of its ability.

    There are indeed many immigrants in Russia, and this is quite a universal experience around the world, as immigrants are flooding for higher salaries.

    https://sputniknews.com/russia/20130912183384782-Russia-Has-Second-Largest-Number-of-Immigrants–UN-Study/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chet Bradley

    While I do not share your all-negative views on American government
     
    It's not all-negative; I agree with Anatoly's points for the most part. I was very specific in my comments about what I think is the big difference between Russia and USA. My comment has to do more with the direction of the society, not the immediate day to day life, especially in nice parts of the USA.

    And of course you don't agree with me; you don't live here. Proof that the propaganda works. You would have to experience it first hand to understand it.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  77. @The Big Red Scary
    Indeed, you not only pay for the bag at the shop, but also for the landfill through your taxes. The technical term is “externality”. Are there not some US cities that have a bylaw about charging for plastic bags, or banning them outright?

    Here in Washington State, Bellingham (called Bellingrad in mocking tribute to the Soviet Union’s Leningrad and Stalingrad by local right-wing types in response to the leftist politics infesting the city government) and also I believe Seattle regulate or ban disposable plastic grocery bags.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  78. @Dmitry
    >"you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to what you can buy with $200K (hint: not much"

    ^ Again (this is one of the ever-present culture-shocks for me) people in America can have a rather different concept of what 'not much' means, even to point of surrealness.


    >"And then your life would suck horribly, considering the median house price in Palo Alto is $2.8M. Median apartment rent is $5450 per month. Good luck buying that $2.8M house with your $200K income, or even with your $300K income. On which you’d have to pay CA income tax of 10%, on top of all federal taxes."

    ^ A salary of $200,000 a year in California, results in $130,000 in your pocket after all taxes (take home pay).

    You don’t get it, really. Half of your $130K take home pay would go to pay your rent ($60K), building the owner’s equity, not yours. You would never be able to afford a home anywhere close to where you work. Yes, you would be able to afford a nice car, new iPhone, etc., but you would never accumulate any real wealth. Don’t forget that you have to save enough for retirement, college for your children, etc. That $130K would quickly drop to below $100K for all your living expenses.

    With your $200K annual salary you would be working poor in Palo Alto. It’s not that “people in America can have a rather different concept of what ‘not much’ means, even to point of surrealness”; it’s that you don’t understand how things work here, and you are unwilling to do detailed budget calculation to figure out just how much or little that $200K is in your chosen location. You are being blinded by the absolute figure ($200K) so its relative purchasing power escapes you completely.

    Read More
    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Even the nice car would be leased (so you’d have to worry about losing your job), and probably it wouldn’t be very nice.

    Another problem many people don’t understand is that your self-worth (and satisfaction with your shiny new car) largely depends on what others own around you. In a place where “everyone is rich”, only the same percentage of people will feel really well-off as in a place where “everyone is poor”. Owning a 200 hp full-sized sedan is a sign of being well-off in Hungary (where relatively few people can afford it), but it is not in Palo Alto. Your social status will be very low in Palo Alto.
    , @Thorfinnsson


    Half of your $130K take home pay would go to pay your rent ($60K), building the owner’s equity, not yours. You would never be able to afford a home anywhere close to where you work.
     
    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise), and even in the Bay Area real price appreciation has only be 3.6% pa since 1980 (returns on equities have been 3x that). A house produces no income and incurs maintenance and tax costs.

    If you don't plan on leaving the area anytime soon, then home ownership is a better deal than renting--that's it. And this comes at the cost of increased risk and reduced flexibility. Totally overrated American obsession.

    It's true that housing is appallingly overpriced in coastal California, but this hypothetical person perhaps might be an outside the box thinker since he reads the Unz Review. He could live with roommates or in a recreational vehicle to minimize his housing costs.


    Yes, you would be able to afford a nice car, new iPhone, etc., but you would never accumulate any real wealth.
     
    No matter where you live you will never accumulate real wealth on $200k a year, at least not for many years. You either need to go into business yourself or reach executive ranks.


    Don’t forget that you have to save enough for retirement, college for your children, etc.
     
    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem. And in any case "saving for retirement" = building real wealth.

    No need whatsoever to pay for your children's college, that's a personal choice. I do think it wise to send boys to college provided they can get into the right schools. And should you choose to do so it need not be ruinously expensive at all by making use of in-state tuition, the armed forces, etc.

    If you want to be particularly sneaky you can create a 529 college savings plan and then push the designated beneficiary to join the armed forces, which allows you to claim the tax-advantaged wealth in the fund.

    Obviously California is ruinously expensive and things are harder for average schmucks in America than it used to be, but the idea you can't get ahead at all is just whinging. Americans can't get ahead because they "need" Netflix, DirecTV with NFL Sunday Ticket, new cars, annual vacations, spend more money on restaurants than groceries, daily coffee shop visits (or MONSTER energy drinks UNLEASH THE ULTRABEAST), etc.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  79. Interesting piece but some of the racist undertones (starting with rip-off Caucausian gypsy cabs; oh, in Russia Slavs never cheat you–how silly of me to forget) are jarring. I suspect the author isn’t even aware of this, which makes it the more disconcerting.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  80. @Chet Bradley
    This hasn't been mentioned in either Russia > USA or USA > Russia, posts, so I am bringing it up.

    One of the most important reasons why life would be better in one vs. the other is: AFAIK, in Russia the government is not the enemy of the people and is not trying force everyone to accept unacceptable beliefs and to replace the people with foreigners. In USA, most of you already know the situation, even if you don't live here, simply by following various writers on Unz.com. Steve Sailer has been covering this since forever.

    I don't know enough about Russia, but my impression is that the bolded sentence above is essentially correct. Anatoly or other Russians here, please correct me if I'm wrong on that.

    If the above differtence holds, ask yourselves: how much is that worth to you? To the future of your family and children?

    They are not the alt-right country of your fantasies, son.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chet Bradley

    They are not the alt-right country of your fantasies, son.
     
    I don't have any fantasies; I asked a question. If you have anything tangible to offer as an argument either way, go ahead. Otherwise spare me the patronizing BS, дурак.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  81. @Twinkie

    When I left my apartment today, there was a stack of Amazon boxes outside my door.
     
    When my mother came to the U.S. for the first time, she absolutely marveled at the fact that mail, especially parcel, was left outside in unsecured boxes. "And no one steals them! What a great country. What a great people."

    That culture of trust is still alive, Gott sei Dank. May that last forever.

    The boxes in this case were outside my apartment door, but inside the building and behind the locked front door. But AFAIK, the only thefts of boxes in my building were by a mentally ill guy living in an apartment his parents owned here. He was caught on security cams and arrested I think.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  82. @Anonymous
    They are not the alt-right country of your fantasies, son.

    They are not the alt-right country of your fantasies, son.

    I don’t have any fantasies; I asked a question. If you have anything tangible to offer as an argument either way, go ahead. Otherwise spare me the patronizing BS, дурак.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  83. @Dmitry
    >"in Russia the government is not the enemy of the people and is not trying force everyone to accept unacceptable beliefs and to replace the people with foreigners"

    While I do not share your all-negative views on American government, and feel that the government in the Russian Federation is also usually trying to improve or manage the situation to best of its ability.

    There are indeed many immigrants in Russia, and this is quite a universal experience around the world, as immigrants are flooding for higher salaries.

    https://sputniknews.com/russia/20130912183384782-Russia-Has-Second-Largest-Number-of-Immigrants--UN-Study/

    While I do not share your all-negative views on American government

    It’s not all-negative; I agree with Anatoly’s points for the most part. I was very specific in my comments about what I think is the big difference between Russia and USA. My comment has to do more with the direction of the society, not the immediate day to day life, especially in nice parts of the USA.

    And of course you don’t agree with me; you don’t live here. Proof that the propaganda works. You would have to experience it first hand to understand it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Chet Bradley - No and please don't the assume life and knowledge of other people. I work for a multi-national corporation and have lived and worked previously in Ireland. I also have friends working in Israel and my brother is in the United States. My brother indeed lives in Menlo Park for over a year and cycles each day to work Palo Alto. I have visited him, as many other parts of the United States. I have very first-hand experience. He rents a modern bedroom apartment for around $2500 per month if I remember (I could be wrong) . This is a modern, high-quality bedroom apartment. He has healthcare, gym membership and money left over for regular plane tickets to travel (his last holiday was to go to Japan). He is now planning to buy a new 2018 Subaru Impreza. Again, if this is your definition of 'not much', which it appears to be in the context of your remark - it is rather comical. Standard of living is incredible. But - as I said earlier - this is a product of studying very hard at university.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  84. “For instance, a couple of months ago, a salesperson came knocking to my flat, offering to replace the windows ”

    Double glazing scams by fly-by-night companies happen in the UK. They are a cliche of TV consumer journalism – reporter + cameraman chasing after dodgy business guy who fleeced some widow.

    Nowadays, you can add solar panel scams to the list.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  85. @Noah Webster
    There is, of course, American culture in Japan, but it does not dominate Japanese cultural life. Practically no American TV programming on Japanese TV. Only films that now come to Japan are blockbusters, but Japanese audiences go in larger numbers to the films Japanese studios churn out--teen drama, romance, horror, samurai, police-thriller. Japanese remain partial to Japanese cuisine. They DO play baseball, but are partial to their own brand of the game. Japanese are notorious for their resistance to English language. Shinto, Buddhism, Yamabushi, and various other non-Western sects dominate "spiritual" life. Unlike South Korea, Christianity never caught on in Japan. Pop-music wise, Japanese are into their J-pop, along with some K-pop bands. My students do not know who Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan are. Japanese read their own writers or manga. They play their own video games. When I explained--tried to explain Christianity (and Judaism)--to my students (as I did recently before Christmas), they ended up laughing. Despite fact that Japan remains close "ally" of the US and there certainly are Americano-philes around, my students prefer Australia or Canada to US ("too dangerous") as places to go for language study in vacations--and they have definitely become more China and Southeast Asia-oriented.

    Why are you trying ot infect them with your abrahamic virus? Instead, you should be looking to adopt Euro Pagan/Buddhist beliefs & values||

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  86. @The Big Red Scary
    Already classical physics (Newton and Maxwell) is a tremendous achievement of human civilization, and the number of people studying it right now, this very day*, must far exceed the number of people who have ever studied De rerum natura. As for particle physics, if you’d like to get a hint of the passion it excites, I recommend the film Particle Fever.

    *Well, maybe some day this very month. Right now even I am drinking whiskey.

    Newton & others developed those off Asian manuscripts||

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  87. USA dominates the field of the bio-medical sciences.

    Do you hear this, Mr. Nordic censor?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  88. @Polish Perspective
    Americans dominate mass market movies, but that's another thing than the quality segment. There are many very good films being made on small budgets but who never get a big audience. Most people are not aware of them. I wouldn't say that Americans "dominate" the quality film segment.

    As for literature, Americans certainly have their fair share of good authors. I personally like Twain the most. But I'm not talking of past greats. I'm talking of the here and now.

    And it's not even about the authors *themselves*. It's about the audience. How easy is it for me, as someone who enjoys high culture, to go to shows/plays etc? Russia just beats America out of the water for someone who is not rich. Sure, the elite in the US have a good selection but high culture is accessible in Russia for a reasonable sum for those who are interested. There will still only be a minority who are, but at least they won't be limited by the size of their wallet nearly to the same extent as in the US. Plus, as I already mentioned, most of the high quality plays, operas, ballets etc are imported from Europe. Even if you were only to limit yourself to Russian-origin plays/operas/ballets and vice-versa but in the US, you'd end up with a much better selection in Russia, especially in ballet.

    But for me it's not even an e-peen contest. I don't mind watching an Italian opera in Moscow. What matters to me is how easy it is in terms of A) cost(I'm in my 20s and it matters for me. Student income is not high and my family is not rich) B) convenience and C) quality. Pound-for-pound, Russia beats the US, easily, when you look at all three combined.

    There are many very good films being made on small budgets but who never get a big audience.

    I am only familiar with science blogs, so could you point me to that part of the internet that discusses such films?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  89. @Chet Bradley
    You don't get it, really. Half of your $130K take home pay would go to pay your rent ($60K), building the owner's equity, not yours. You would never be able to afford a home anywhere close to where you work. Yes, you would be able to afford a nice car, new iPhone, etc., but you would never accumulate any real wealth. Don't forget that you have to save enough for retirement, college for your children, etc. That $130K would quickly drop to below $100K for all your living expenses.

    With your $200K annual salary you would be working poor in Palo Alto. It's not that "people in America can have a rather different concept of what ‘not much’ means, even to point of surrealness"; it's that you don't understand how things work here, and you are unwilling to do detailed budget calculation to figure out just how much or little that $200K is in your chosen location. You are being blinded by the absolute figure ($200K) so its relative purchasing power escapes you completely.

    Even the nice car would be leased (so you’d have to worry about losing your job), and probably it wouldn’t be very nice.

    Another problem many people don’t understand is that your self-worth (and satisfaction with your shiny new car) largely depends on what others own around you. In a place where “everyone is rich”, only the same percentage of people will feel really well-off as in a place where “everyone is poor”. Owning a 200 hp full-sized sedan is a sign of being well-off in Hungary (where relatively few people can afford it), but it is not in Palo Alto. Your social status will be very low in Palo Alto.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  90. @Andrei Martyanov

    In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering
     
    Yes, especially in Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, along Volga down to Astrakhan--sure, especially when it hits 40 C there and stays warm most of the year, with relatively short winters. What a load of contrived BS.

    The frost free period in Rostov and Krasnodar is 180-200 days (6 months on average). Only on the small land strip along the Black Sea it may raise up to 220-260 days (the majority of the USA and W. Europe enjoy this by default). But even then in Krasnodar you may easily encounter -20C in winter, in even on Sochi there can be whole weeks below zero. It is not a secret knowledge, you just watch weather forecasts to know what the climate is in different parts of your country. I understand following the forecast in Russia while living in America is difficult. And remember that region is 10% of Russia at best. Or I may tell you about Voronezh (the south, eh?): frosts start normally in November and may last up to April. 5 months straight. Spring April and Autumn October often are not much better. So you practically have just 5 liveable months a year. The fact that there can also be +40C in summer is just an argument against: not only you must sustain the extreme cold in winter, but the extreme heat in summer.

    I know you are a military specialist and I respect your knowledge, but, please, refrain from speaking about the things you fail to understand. Geography seems to be not your strong side. You do much better with missiles, ships and other such iron crap.

    And by the way telling what your parents failed to tell you: simply calling others’ words BS is basic rudeness, and it never gives you a winning point. I don’t expect politeness from everybody on this resource, but you are not a dick, are you?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Driving in winter is a nightmare (also much slower), even walking is harder. However, I find snow a much more pleasant experience than the constant raining in much of Northwest Europe. When it’s cold and raining it’s much harder to bear for me than when it’s cold and snowing. However, much of Russia is too cold for that to be true: I think the ideal weather (except for driving and agriculture) would include roughly 5-6 months of winter with a constant -5 (occasionally -10) degrees Celsius followed and preceded by 1-1 month of fall and spring, respectively, and then maybe 4-5 months of summer with roughly 28 degrees Celsius. That doesn’t exist, since Russia is too cold unfortunately.

    Cold winter has health advantages like you can swim in really cold water (if it’s frozen, you need dedicated places where they safely make some holes in the ice so that you don’t get into trouble), or sauna in warm countries is often stupid with no real cold water afterwards. (To top it off, they don’t even make it warm enough either.) Even in Hungary or Western Europe people often think swimming in cold water is crazy, whereas as far as I know Russians are at least aware that it’s good.

    , @Parbes
    "You do much better with missiles, ships and other such iron crap"

    That "iron crap" is what keeps you secure, unmolested and able to keep writing stupid whiny posts about your country on international news & opinion blogs in comfort, you cranky nihilist shithead. Otherwise you'd already be in the same situation - or worse - as Serbia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Donbass by now.

    You better have some respect towards the people who design, build, man and operate those things.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  91. @AP
    I've seen people eating ice cream outside in winter in the Urals region. They were happy. Do you think that people in Montreal or Minneapolis are miserable? Winter means cross-country skiing, snow sculptures, theater, ice skating, etc.

    Maybe you are just personally an unhappy person?

    Unless you personally live in Montreal or Minneapolis, do not tell others how wonderful is winter. Let them decide for themselves how perfect their climate is. Not everybody may enjoy it, because you enjoy it. Yes, all Russians must be unhappy then, because complaining about winter is a common topic among them. I bet Canadians and northern Americans are not much different. Ever heard the term “snowbird”?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I have a friend who loves hardcore cold and would prefer to live in someplace like Verkhoyansk if it had Moscow's amenities. Actually he's planning a trip to deep Siberia early February just to get some time in the icebox.

    Personally I view Moscow's climate as just ideal, especially with the nice global warming we're having. Worst one for me is the North Atlantic one (probably tropical would be even worse, but have never been there, so can't judge).

    So you can't just extrapolate your own climatic preferences to everyone.

    Based on personal observations, Brits whine about their weather more than anybody, while Meds/Californians never do, so I assume my intuition that northern maritime climes are indeed the most depressing.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  92. @AP
    I've seen people eating ice cream outside in winter in the Urals region. They were happy. Do you think that people in Montreal or Minneapolis are miserable? Winter means cross-country skiing, snow sculptures, theater, ice skating, etc.

    Maybe you are just personally an unhappy person?

    I’ve seen people eating ice cream outside in winter in the Urals region. They were happy. Do you think that people in Montreal or Minneapolis are miserable? Winter means cross-country skiing, snow sculptures, theater, ice skating, etc.

    Maybe you are just personally an unhappy person?

    It’s nice to be in Montreal, Minneapolis or the Urals, but the Atlantic seaboard of NW Europe (places like the Northern UK, Belgium, Holland, Northern France) don’t seem to get much of a summer or winter either. Cold Westerly winds reliably bringing overcast grey skies with rain and drizzle.

    This does have a background effect.

    There’s a lot wrong with the lower latitudes of the Mediterranean, but the climate isn’t one of them. Having spent the last 30 yrs+ on the Spanish Mediterranean on about the same latitude as Algiers, Tunis and Palermo I can say that sunny days are preferable to cold wet ones – even accepting the excess heat in July – August.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Some of us like the cold and wet (wet->not freezing). My experience is that the older people get the more they appreciate warmth and not worrying about slipping on ice. People used to go to Scotland or Switzerland for the weather, though, so there may be a factor of fashion or culture in there too.

    I have family in the Indian subcontinent and, having stayed there, much prefer the American eastern seaboard where I live.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  93. @Anatoly Karlin
    First, I don't blog here for free, and have a couple of other minor Internet-based income sources.

    Second, I am not actively looking for a job. However, based on people with similar profiles to me, I think chances are high that I will be able to find something in the 150,000-250,000R range if I really had to. I'm not particularly interested in that right now, since I don't have a pressing need for it, and rather appreciate my NEET lyfestyle (no schedules, wake up whenever I want, etc).

    My current plans revolve around expanding into writing books (yes, yes, I know I have been promising books to my long-suffering readers for years now - but I really do think 2018 will be the year). Because it's long overdue, yes, and because I need to start making a name for myself as a publicist beyond just blogging, sure, but the purchasing power markup from selling to Americans/living in Russia certainly doesn't hurt either.

    What are your monthly expenses? (I do not ask about the income as we all now know you are a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element). It is very important to know for understanding what you really mean when you say “prices are low”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It’s immaterial. Prices are cheaper than in the US, why does it matter how much he spends?
    , @reiner Tor

    we all now know you are a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element
     
    Please lecture us more about not being a dick and not insulting others.
    , @Miro23
    I wouldn't call AK a "lazy parasitic bourgeois class element". He's been very busy lately and his last post got 412 comments so somebody's interested in his writing.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Fine with being called a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element, I don't pretend to be otherwise, though personally I prefer the term "NEET."

    That said, I agree with reiner Tor that the question seems to be pointless - I mentioned different categories of products and how much they cost relative to the US, who the fuck cares whether I subsist on potatoes or roll around in a Lexus and shop at Azbuka Vkusa everyday. But I'll humor you. While I don't particularly deny myself comforts, I am hardly a spendthrift either. My cell phone is now 5 years old, and when it croaks I'll probably replace it with some $200-$300 Chinese model. I don't have a car and don't plan on getting one. I get generic clothes from local markets, not brand name stuff from department stores. I daresay lots of Russians who can afford it less dress better and have more modern electronics than I do.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  94. @Boris N
    The frost free period in Rostov and Krasnodar is 180-200 days (6 months on average). Only on the small land strip along the Black Sea it may raise up to 220-260 days (the majority of the USA and W. Europe enjoy this by default). But even then in Krasnodar you may easily encounter -20C in winter, in even on Sochi there can be whole weeks below zero. It is not a secret knowledge, you just watch weather forecasts to know what the climate is in different parts of your country. I understand following the forecast in Russia while living in America is difficult. And remember that region is 10% of Russia at best. Or I may tell you about Voronezh (the south, eh?): frosts start normally in November and may last up to April. 5 months straight. Spring April and Autumn October often are not much better. So you practically have just 5 liveable months a year. The fact that there can also be +40C in summer is just an argument against: not only you must sustain the extreme cold in winter, but the extreme heat in summer.

    I know you are a military specialist and I respect your knowledge, but, please, refrain from speaking about the things you fail to understand. Geography seems to be not your strong side. You do much better with missiles, ships and other such iron crap.

    And by the way telling what your parents failed to tell you: simply calling others' words BS is basic rudeness, and it never gives you a winning point. I don't expect politeness from everybody on this resource, but you are not a dick, are you?

    Driving in winter is a nightmare (also much slower), even walking is harder. However, I find snow a much more pleasant experience than the constant raining in much of Northwest Europe. When it’s cold and raining it’s much harder to bear for me than when it’s cold and snowing. However, much of Russia is too cold for that to be true: I think the ideal weather (except for driving and agriculture) would include roughly 5-6 months of winter with a constant -5 (occasionally -10) degrees Celsius followed and preceded by 1-1 month of fall and spring, respectively, and then maybe 4-5 months of summer with roughly 28 degrees Celsius. That doesn’t exist, since Russia is too cold unfortunately.

    Cold winter has health advantages like you can swim in really cold water (if it’s frozen, you need dedicated places where they safely make some holes in the ice so that you don’t get into trouble), or sauna in warm countries is often stupid with no real cold water afterwards. (To top it off, they don’t even make it warm enough either.) Even in Hungary or Western Europe people often think swimming in cold water is crazy, whereas as far as I know Russians are at least aware that it’s good.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  95. @Boris N
    What are your monthly expenses? (I do not ask about the income as we all now know you are a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element). It is very important to know for understanding what you really mean when you say "prices are low".

    It’s immaterial. Prices are cheaper than in the US, why does it matter how much he spends?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  96. @Boris N
    What are your monthly expenses? (I do not ask about the income as we all now know you are a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element). It is very important to know for understanding what you really mean when you say "prices are low".

    we all now know you are a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element

    Please lecture us more about not being a dick and not insulting others.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  97. @Boris N
    What are your monthly expenses? (I do not ask about the income as we all now know you are a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element). It is very important to know for understanding what you really mean when you say "prices are low".

    I wouldn’t call AK a “lazy parasitic bourgeois class element”. He’s been very busy lately and his last post got 412 comments so somebody’s interested in his writing.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  98. @German_reader

    Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on
     
    Is that really still true today?
    And while I think much of US popular culture is pretty horrible, I think AK is right, there really is a problem here, European countries produce nothing that is even remotely competitive with US mass culture. Europe feels old, exhausted and culturally stagnant today, nothing new is produced, and we're losing sight of our own cultural traditions (e.g. just see the decline of Latin in European school systems). And all the while Americanization relentlessly continues, with the most pernicious notions of US public discourse like "white privilege" now turning up in Europe as well and the US's racial politics seen as a model to be imitated by us (instead of a cautionary tale what not to do).

    EDIT: Oops, I made a mistake, that was meant as a reply to "PolishPerspective", sorry.

    You say that nothing new is produced. Could it be because there are no longer any aristocrats with spare time on their hands and a guaranteed standard of living?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  99. @Xpat
    Interesting piece but some of the racist undertones (starting with rip-off Caucausian gypsy cabs; oh, in Russia Slavs never cheat you--how silly of me to forget) are jarring. I suspect the author isn't even aware of this, which makes it the more disconcerting.

    Refer to #8 on the sister article.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  100. @Boris N
    Unless you personally live in Montreal or Minneapolis, do not tell others how wonderful is winter. Let them decide for themselves how perfect their climate is. Not everybody may enjoy it, because you enjoy it. Yes, all Russians must be unhappy then, because complaining about winter is a common topic among them. I bet Canadians and northern Americans are not much different. Ever heard the term "snowbird"?

    I have a friend who loves hardcore cold and would prefer to live in someplace like Verkhoyansk if it had Moscow’s amenities. Actually he’s planning a trip to deep Siberia early February just to get some time in the icebox.

    Personally I view Moscow’s climate as just ideal, especially with the nice global warming we’re having. Worst one for me is the North Atlantic one (probably tropical would be even worse, but have never been there, so can’t judge).

    So you can’t just extrapolate your own climatic preferences to everyone.

    Based on personal observations, Brits whine about their weather more than anybody, while Meds/Californians never do, so I assume my intuition that northern maritime climes are indeed the most depressing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    As I wrote, cold rain is probably the worst weather possible within normal temperature ranges. But extreme cold or extreme heat can be just as bad. If I had to have them, I’d go for both, alternating yearly, which is basically Moscow or Siberia. I have a Siberian Russian great-grandmother among my ancestors, though my grandma (who spent her childhood in a village near Tomsk) told me summers were horrible in a different way, extreme heat and swarms of mosquitoes... so I don’t think I’d like it.

    The very best climate for me (which I’ve seen) is Hungary, relatively dry, with relatively cold winters (they could be a bit colder and I’d like more snow), and long and warm summers. Roughly on the same level is Austria, South Germany, Switzerland, all of which are wetter (a minus) but as a corollary with more snow in winters (a plus). Coincidentally, these are the countries from which almost 90% of my ancestors came from over the past few centuries.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  101. @Boris N
    What are your monthly expenses? (I do not ask about the income as we all now know you are a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element). It is very important to know for understanding what you really mean when you say "prices are low".

    Fine with being called a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element, I don’t pretend to be otherwise, though personally I prefer the term “NEET.”

    That said, I agree with reiner Tor that the question seems to be pointless – I mentioned different categories of products and how much they cost relative to the US, who the fuck cares whether I subsist on potatoes or roll around in a Lexus and shop at Azbuka Vkusa everyday. But I’ll humor you. While I don’t particularly deny myself comforts, I am hardly a spendthrift either. My cell phone is now 5 years old, and when it croaks I’ll probably replace it with some $200-$300 Chinese model. I don’t have a car and don’t plan on getting one. I get generic clothes from local markets, not brand name stuff from department stores. I daresay lots of Russians who can afford it less dress better and have more modern electronics than I do.

    Read More
    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    You know,the more I read your blog and peer into the little quips regarding your own personal life, likes and dislikes, the more I begin to appreciate (dare I say 'like') you, Anatoly? You seem to exhibit an unabashed, devil may care, attitude that appeals to me. Also, your ability to not take yourself too seriously is a good trait too. If it weren't for your crazy attachment to the indefensible idea of 'triunism' or even crazier version called 'quadrism', I'd consider you a regular guy? :-)

    Say, what does 'NEET' stand for anyway?...

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  102. @Anatoly Karlin
    I have a friend who loves hardcore cold and would prefer to live in someplace like Verkhoyansk if it had Moscow's amenities. Actually he's planning a trip to deep Siberia early February just to get some time in the icebox.

    Personally I view Moscow's climate as just ideal, especially with the nice global warming we're having. Worst one for me is the North Atlantic one (probably tropical would be even worse, but have never been there, so can't judge).

    So you can't just extrapolate your own climatic preferences to everyone.

    Based on personal observations, Brits whine about their weather more than anybody, while Meds/Californians never do, so I assume my intuition that northern maritime climes are indeed the most depressing.

    As I wrote, cold rain is probably the worst weather possible within normal temperature ranges. But extreme cold or extreme heat can be just as bad. If I had to have them, I’d go for both, alternating yearly, which is basically Moscow or Siberia. I have a Siberian Russian great-grandmother among my ancestors, though my grandma (who spent her childhood in a village near Tomsk) told me summers were horrible in a different way, extreme heat and swarms of mosquitoes… so I don’t think I’d like it.

    The very best climate for me (which I’ve seen) is Hungary, relatively dry, with relatively cold winters (they could be a bit colder and I’d like more snow), and long and warm summers. Roughly on the same level is Austria, South Germany, Switzerland, all of which are wetter (a minus) but as a corollary with more snow in winters (a plus). Coincidentally, these are the countries from which almost 90% of my ancestors came from over the past few centuries.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  103. @Chet Bradley
    You don't get it, really. Half of your $130K take home pay would go to pay your rent ($60K), building the owner's equity, not yours. You would never be able to afford a home anywhere close to where you work. Yes, you would be able to afford a nice car, new iPhone, etc., but you would never accumulate any real wealth. Don't forget that you have to save enough for retirement, college for your children, etc. That $130K would quickly drop to below $100K for all your living expenses.

    With your $200K annual salary you would be working poor in Palo Alto. It's not that "people in America can have a rather different concept of what ‘not much’ means, even to point of surrealness"; it's that you don't understand how things work here, and you are unwilling to do detailed budget calculation to figure out just how much or little that $200K is in your chosen location. You are being blinded by the absolute figure ($200K) so its relative purchasing power escapes you completely.

    Half of your $130K take home pay would go to pay your rent ($60K), building the owner’s equity, not yours. You would never be able to afford a home anywhere close to where you work.

    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise), and even in the Bay Area real price appreciation has only be 3.6% pa since 1980 (returns on equities have been 3x that). A house produces no income and incurs maintenance and tax costs.

    If you don’t plan on leaving the area anytime soon, then home ownership is a better deal than renting–that’s it. And this comes at the cost of increased risk and reduced flexibility. Totally overrated American obsession.

    It’s true that housing is appallingly overpriced in coastal California, but this hypothetical person perhaps might be an outside the box thinker since he reads the Unz Review. He could live with roommates or in a recreational vehicle to minimize his housing costs.

    Yes, you would be able to afford a nice car, new iPhone, etc., but you would never accumulate any real wealth.

    No matter where you live you will never accumulate real wealth on $200k a year, at least not for many years. You either need to go into business yourself or reach executive ranks.

    Don’t forget that you have to save enough for retirement, college for your children, etc.

    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem. And in any case “saving for retirement” = building real wealth.

    No need whatsoever to pay for your children’s college, that’s a personal choice. I do think it wise to send boys to college provided they can get into the right schools. And should you choose to do so it need not be ruinously expensive at all by making use of in-state tuition, the armed forces, etc.

    If you want to be particularly sneaky you can create a 529 college savings plan and then push the designated beneficiary to join the armed forces, which allows you to claim the tax-advantaged wealth in the fund.

    Obviously California is ruinously expensive and things are harder for average schmucks in America than it used to be, but the idea you can’t get ahead at all is just whinging. Americans can’t get ahead because they “need” Netflix, DirecTV with NFL Sunday Ticket, new cars, annual vacations, spend more money on restaurants than groceries, daily coffee shop visits (or MONSTER energy drinks UNLEASH THE ULTRABEAST), etc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise), and even in the Bay Area real price appreciation has only be 3.6% pa since 1980
     
    For the most part I agree wtih your observations, especially with your final brandishment of what Americans ‘need’. But don’t forget that buying homes as an investment can still be a lucrative business (maybe not as a good a deal as pre-1970′s, but still pretty good). Collecting rent on say 3-4 homes every month can help one extend those yearly vacations to some pretty exotic locales…Equities may have averaged 11% over the long haul, but tell that to an investor that bailed out in 2008-2010?…
    (discipline is easier said than done).
    , @Chet Bradley

    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise),
     
    Nope, every article/study I've seen claims that housing prices have been rising faster than inflation at least since 1940. The only question is by how much, not if.

    He could live with roommates or in a recreational vehicle to minimize his housing costs.
     
    With a family?

    No matter where you live you will never accumulate real wealth on $200k a year, at least not for many years. You either need to go into business yourself or reach executive ranks.
     
    Agreed, I should have said decent wealth, or good savings.

    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem.
     
    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you're 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?

    push the designated beneficiary to join the armed forces
     
    Seriously? Isn't it not enough that the armed forces have become the bastion of SJWism? You would want your son to risk losing life or limb to fight the wars of choice to benefit corporate interests? I've had higher opinion of you based on your prior posts, now you're making me reconsider that.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  104. @melanf

    I’m curious what you think are some good American movies and books.
     
    A very short list
    Movies:
    "Gone with the wind", "Cabaret", "Watchmen", "Fight club". Perhaps "the Lord of the rings". The TV Series "Dr. House".

    Books:
    "The Chronicles of Amber" (The Corwin cycle), "Dying of the Light" (this is the story of George Martin: I would write here A Song of Ice and Fire, if George stopped at the third volume), "Dandelion Wine", the short stories of Robert Sheckley.

    I can add that American literature was read and appreciated by Alexander Pushkin - he even wrote a remake of a story by Washington Irving.

    There once was a lively and fairly large cineaste culture in the US. People went to see films by Fellini, Bergman, Rohmer, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Satyajit Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Roberto Rossellini, Bertolucci , Werner Herzog, Costa-Gavras and other furriners.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    There once was a lively and fairly large cineaste culture in the US. People went to see films by Fellini, Bergman, Rohmer, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Satyajit Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Roberto Rossellini, Bertolucci , Werner Herzog, Costa-Gavras and other furriners.
     
    You may take heart from hearing that this is very much true of Europe still, except for Ray (most people would only know of the Apu trilogy, if that) and Costa-Gavras, whom I have never heard of.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  105. @Thorfinnsson


    Half of your $130K take home pay would go to pay your rent ($60K), building the owner’s equity, not yours. You would never be able to afford a home anywhere close to where you work.
     
    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise), and even in the Bay Area real price appreciation has only be 3.6% pa since 1980 (returns on equities have been 3x that). A house produces no income and incurs maintenance and tax costs.

    If you don't plan on leaving the area anytime soon, then home ownership is a better deal than renting--that's it. And this comes at the cost of increased risk and reduced flexibility. Totally overrated American obsession.

    It's true that housing is appallingly overpriced in coastal California, but this hypothetical person perhaps might be an outside the box thinker since he reads the Unz Review. He could live with roommates or in a recreational vehicle to minimize his housing costs.


    Yes, you would be able to afford a nice car, new iPhone, etc., but you would never accumulate any real wealth.
     
    No matter where you live you will never accumulate real wealth on $200k a year, at least not for many years. You either need to go into business yourself or reach executive ranks.


    Don’t forget that you have to save enough for retirement, college for your children, etc.
     
    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem. And in any case "saving for retirement" = building real wealth.

    No need whatsoever to pay for your children's college, that's a personal choice. I do think it wise to send boys to college provided they can get into the right schools. And should you choose to do so it need not be ruinously expensive at all by making use of in-state tuition, the armed forces, etc.

    If you want to be particularly sneaky you can create a 529 college savings plan and then push the designated beneficiary to join the armed forces, which allows you to claim the tax-advantaged wealth in the fund.

    Obviously California is ruinously expensive and things are harder for average schmucks in America than it used to be, but the idea you can't get ahead at all is just whinging. Americans can't get ahead because they "need" Netflix, DirecTV with NFL Sunday Ticket, new cars, annual vacations, spend more money on restaurants than groceries, daily coffee shop visits (or MONSTER energy drinks UNLEASH THE ULTRABEAST), etc.

    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise), and even in the Bay Area real price appreciation has only be 3.6% pa since 1980

    For the most part I agree wtih your observations, especially with your final brandishment of what Americans ‘need’. But don’t forget that buying homes as an investment can still be a lucrative business (maybe not as a good a deal as pre-1970′s, but still pretty good). Collecting rent on say 3-4 homes every month can help one extend those yearly vacations to some pretty exotic locales…Equities may have averaged 11% over the long haul, but tell that to an investor that bailed out in 2008-2010?…
    (discipline is easier said than done).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    You're not talking about home ownership.

    You're talking about rental properties, which has been a good (if annoying) business as long as there has been business.

    And the long run return on American equities is more in the neighborhood of 8%.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  106. @Anatoly Karlin
    Fine with being called a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element, I don't pretend to be otherwise, though personally I prefer the term "NEET."

    That said, I agree with reiner Tor that the question seems to be pointless - I mentioned different categories of products and how much they cost relative to the US, who the fuck cares whether I subsist on potatoes or roll around in a Lexus and shop at Azbuka Vkusa everyday. But I'll humor you. While I don't particularly deny myself comforts, I am hardly a spendthrift either. My cell phone is now 5 years old, and when it croaks I'll probably replace it with some $200-$300 Chinese model. I don't have a car and don't plan on getting one. I get generic clothes from local markets, not brand name stuff from department stores. I daresay lots of Russians who can afford it less dress better and have more modern electronics than I do.

    You know,the more I read your blog and peer into the little quips regarding your own personal life, likes and dislikes, the more I begin to appreciate (dare I say ‘like’) you, Anatoly? You seem to exhibit an unabashed, devil may care, attitude that appeals to me. Also, your ability to not take yourself too seriously is a good trait too. If it weren’t for your crazy attachment to the indefensible idea of ‘triunism’ or even crazier version called ‘quadrism’, I’d consider you a regular guy? :-)

    Say, what does ‘NEET’ stand for anyway?…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I did a little research on my own, and it looks like the NEET's are the progeny of yeterday's slackers.Somehow, I don't have you pegged this way...perhaps 'a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element' is more accurate? Having experienced a few bouts of unemployment myself throughout my working career, I can surely identify with those that find themselves 'working' at home, dressed in their overnight pajamas, or even underwear...it gets boring after a while.

    https://youtu.be/gTCP9HZVX7s

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Thank you, Mr. Hack, that's appreciated (no, really).

    Feel free to give me a ring if you're ever in Moscow, always down to meet my readers over a cold one.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  107. @Anon
    In Europe deliverymen don't just drop boxes in front of your house as well. I actually prefer it this way. In America it horrified me when the mailman just abandoned my really expensive delivery at my front door, just to sit there open to the world (and the weather).

    In the Netherlands we have an option to pick it up at the nearest post office usually.

    You have the option, here in the USA, to pick up packages at the UPS or USPS facility.

    You also have the option of requiring a signature for delivery at your home address, I.e. telling the carrier not to leave the package unattended.

    No shipping option is unavailable in the USA that is available in eurabia, I mean Europe.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  108. @neutral
    I don't live in Russia or America, but for me of the two America is by far the scarier place, by scary I mean the sheer cult levels of zealotry the general population adopts. Take the banning of alcohol for example, I doubt even Stalin could have gotten away with such a drastic measure, but in the supposed land of the free this is exactly what they did. Or how about the sheer speed on how they went from being Christian to hounding people that don't want to serve homosexuals, America was certainly not the first country to push gay politics, but they are much scarier how they push their politics.

    As for the freedom of speech, it looks inevitable that they will ban things allowed now with future laws, but even now if one says anything on the growing list of forbidden topics your life is destroyed. I don't know what the Russian law is if you for example if you say n*gger on Facebook, but in America it means your life is pretty much destroyed, so you will not go to jail (what is the jail sentence for this in Russia?), but what does it matter if you are banished from doing anything in society?

    Finally, the whole standard of living thing, you should clearly know that if you hang out at sites such as Unz.com, places like Detroit or the massive changes in states like California are the future for all of America. You might try isolate yourself as best you can, but the ring of third worldom (boosted by the American zealotry), that surrounds places like Silicon Valley, will eventually overwhelm the O ring you mentioned that sustains it.

    Reading this I have to also ask what others have already done here, are you black pilled? Do you want to become American?

    Agree with most of what you say.

    But what are you talking about when you refer to banning alcohol in the USA? Some States give the people of counties and towns the right to prohibit the sale of alcohol entirely or on Sundays.

    There aren’t many places that prohibit local alcohol sales entirely. Even then it is legal to buy alcohol elsewhere and bring it home, I.e. From a neighboring town, county, or State that doesn’t have the same law.

    I don’t agree with such restrictions, but they’re not not common in most States and there is NEVER a ban on possessing and drinking alcohol on any day of the year, anywhere.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  109. @AndrewR
    In every grocery store on earth you have to pay for bags, either directly or indirectly. But I'd much rather receive a discount for bringing my own bags than have to pay [via increased grocery prices] for bags that I don't want or need. I wish there were a law requiring stores to explicitly charge for bags. I don't want to subsidize the wastefulness of people like you.

    As for baggers, it is nice to have dedicated baggers, but this too increases the cost. At my local grocer, sometimes there is no bagger and I have to bag my own while the cashier is ringing my stuff up. Not a big deal because otherwise I would just be standing there making small talk with the bagger anyway.

    Here in LA, grocery stores and convenience stores are required to charge for each plastic bag. I’m not sure if that is State law or just LA County/City. I think it’s statewide; neighboring Orange County has the same thing and, if I recall, so does Kern County (home to the City of Bakersfield and once the late great country singer Buck Owens).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  110. @Chet Bradley

    While I do not share your all-negative views on American government
     
    It's not all-negative; I agree with Anatoly's points for the most part. I was very specific in my comments about what I think is the big difference between Russia and USA. My comment has to do more with the direction of the society, not the immediate day to day life, especially in nice parts of the USA.

    And of course you don't agree with me; you don't live here. Proof that the propaganda works. You would have to experience it first hand to understand it.

    Chet Bradley – No and please don’t the assume life and knowledge of other people. I work for a multi-national corporation and have lived and worked previously in Ireland. I also have friends working in Israel and my brother is in the United States. My brother indeed lives in Menlo Park for over a year and cycles each day to work Palo Alto. I have visited him, as many other parts of the United States. I have very first-hand experience. He rents a modern bedroom apartment for around $2500 per month if I remember (I could be wrong) . This is a modern, high-quality bedroom apartment. He has healthcare, gym membership and money left over for regular plane tickets to travel (his last holiday was to go to Japan). He is now planning to buy a new 2018 Subaru Impreza. Again, if this is your definition of ‘not much’, which it appears to be in the context of your remark – it is rather comical. Standard of living is incredible. But – as I said earlier – this is a product of studying very hard at university.

    Read More
    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Chet Bradley
    If your idea of "incredible standard of living" is never been able to afford a house, and buying a Subaru Impreza while making $200K a year, then I don't know what to tell you. In normal parts of the US, which is outside the Bay Area and NYC, $200K/year should allow you to buy a nice home, drive a nice car if you care, and have plenty of savings left over, if you don't live beyond your means.

    At least two of the above (buying a home and have plenty of savings) are not possible in Palo Alto with $200K/year.

    Your brother lives in Menlo Park; median home price is $2.1M, let's call it $2M for easy math. If you want to buy a home, you should put 20% ($400K) down, and have a $1.6M mortgage. To even qualify for that mortgage, you need to be making about $500K a year. When are you going to be able to accumulate $400K to put down, if you only make $200K?

    Your brother is single, I assume, so he can live in a small apartment for which he still pays $2500 per month. If he had a family and had to rent a bigger place, he'd be looking at $5000+ (median rent in Menlo Park).

    But if you think I am unrealistic in my expectations, prove me wrong. Move to Palo Alto, get a $200K/year job, and see how happy you're going to be after the novelty wears off.
    , @Chet Bradley

    No and please don’t the assume life and knowledge of other people.
     
    You started it, comment #65:

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).
     
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  111. @Mr. Hack
    You know,the more I read your blog and peer into the little quips regarding your own personal life, likes and dislikes, the more I begin to appreciate (dare I say 'like') you, Anatoly? You seem to exhibit an unabashed, devil may care, attitude that appeals to me. Also, your ability to not take yourself too seriously is a good trait too. If it weren't for your crazy attachment to the indefensible idea of 'triunism' or even crazier version called 'quadrism', I'd consider you a regular guy? :-)

    Say, what does 'NEET' stand for anyway?...

    I did a little research on my own, and it looks like the NEET’s are the progeny of yeterday’s slackers.Somehow, I don’t have you pegged this way…perhaps ‘a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element’ is more accurate? Having experienced a few bouts of unemployment myself throughout my working career, I can surely identify with those that find themselves ‘working’ at home, dressed in their overnight pajamas, or even underwear…it gets boring after a while.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Darin

    I did a little research on my own, and it looks like the NEET’s are the progeny of yeterday’s slackers.Somehow, I don’t have you pegged this way…perhaps ‘a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element’ is more accurate?
     
    Marxist analysis mode on

    Bourgeoisie, as we all know, are owners of the means of production. Stereotypical NEET owns nothing, according to Marxism he is lazy parasitic lumpenproletariat class element. Lumpenproletariat being deeply reactionary force, weapon in the hands of aristocracy and big bourgeoisie used against working class. Nothing about "alt-right" and 4chan would surprise old Karl.

    / Marxist analysis mode off
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  112. @Boris N
    You forgot the most important thing (I would rate it #1): the climate. It is most unforgiving and punishing. At least in Canada and Scandinavia you have better living standards. In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering. And frankly, even big money do not always seem a fair compensation for living in this environment. And they ask why Russians do not smile. Too cold to smile, or you'll got your teeth frostbitten.

    You forgot the most important thing (I would rate it #1): the climate. It is most unforgiving and punishing. At least in Canada and Scandinavia you have better living standards. In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering. And frankly, even big money do not always seem a fair compensation for living in this environment.

    I vote the advantages of cold climate. Land with a warm climate (in most cases) are overpopulated and turned into fields. But in the cold climate preserved the vast wild forest, lakes, swamp berries, etc.

    here are my summer walks
    In addition the heat is worse than cold. When in our area the temperature during the month was +35, I die. I spent time in the forest near the sea or in the woods near the lake, constantly bathed, but it was still awful. And what about those who have to work in this heat?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    When in our area the temperature during the month was +35, I die. I spent time in the forest near the sea or in the woods near the lake, constantly bathed, but it was still awful. And what about those who have to work in this heat?
     
    Lovely pictures. The outdoors look much the same on the other side of the Baltic Sea. And we too have a popular theory that the chilly weather makes us better workers than people who have to suffer scorching summer days (and air conditioning only helps to a degree; it cuts deeper than that).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  113. If America is the center of Global Culture, it is a disgusting, nihilist, and sick culture. This is the very “culture” Russia has and always will reject. And it is destroying the foundations of Western civilization, and is no threat in the long-term.

    BTW, I am American, no Russia heritage, and I live in the US, but have spent time in Russian, living there for a time. I am also Russian Orthodox.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    This is the very “culture” Russia has and always will reject.
     
    This is obviously not true. 90% of movies that people watch in cinemas in Russia, it is American movies. 50-60% of television series (looking at Russia) is an American television series. 40% of books are translations from English (in most cases it's an American book).
    Modern Russian literature and television industry is under strong Anglo-American influence.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  114. @yasha1023
    If America is the center of Global Culture, it is a disgusting, nihilist, and sick culture. This is the very "culture" Russia has and always will reject. And it is destroying the foundations of Western civilization, and is no threat in the long-term.

    BTW, I am American, no Russia heritage, and I live in the US, but have spent time in Russian, living there for a time. I am also Russian Orthodox.

    This is the very “culture” Russia has and always will reject.

    This is obviously not true. 90% of movies that people watch in cinemas in Russia, it is American movies. 50-60% of television series (looking at Russia) is an American television series. 40% of books are translations from English (in most cases it’s an American book).
    Modern Russian literature and television industry is under strong Anglo-American influence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    This is obviously not true. 90% of movies that people watch in cinemas in Russia, it is American movies. 50-60% of television series (looking at Russia) is an American television series. 40% of books are translations from English (in most cases it’s an American book).
    Modern Russian literature and television industry is under strong Anglo-American influence.
     
    Indeed, but were not at one time this fall the top four films at Russian cinemas Russian-made? A post-Soviet record, I believe. The same is true of Russian hip-hop, which has just seen its best year yet since 1991 in terms of audience numbers. An American import, sure, but still a home-grown product in the sense that young people listen to Oxxxymiron's take on life in Saint Petersburg rather than Chance the Rapper's take on life in Chicago.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  115. @fnn
    There once was a lively and fairly large cineaste culture in the US. People went to see films by Fellini, Bergman, Rohmer, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Satyajit Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Roberto Rossellini, Bertolucci , Werner Herzog, Costa-Gavras and other furriners.

    There once was a lively and fairly large cineaste culture in the US. People went to see films by Fellini, Bergman, Rohmer, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Satyajit Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Roberto Rossellini, Bertolucci , Werner Herzog, Costa-Gavras and other furriners.

    You may take heart from hearing that this is very much true of Europe still, except for Ray (most people would only know of the Apu trilogy, if that) and Costa-Gavras, whom I have never heard of.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  116. @melanf

    You forgot the most important thing (I would rate it #1): the climate. It is most unforgiving and punishing. At least in Canada and Scandinavia you have better living standards. In Russia you have to suffer all your life with 7-month winter and never get at least some compensation for your suffering. And frankly, even big money do not always seem a fair compensation for living in this environment.
     
    I vote the advantages of cold climate. Land with a warm climate (in most cases) are overpopulated and turned into fields. But in the cold climate preserved the vast wild forest, lakes, swamp berries, etc.

    here are my summer walks
    https://d.radikal.ru/d09/1712/17/1b0b613aca5f.jpg

    https://b.radikal.ru/b06/1712/2b/de84492ea487.jpg

    In addition the heat is worse than cold. When in our area the temperature during the month was +35, I die. I spent time in the forest near the sea or in the woods near the lake, constantly bathed, but it was still awful. And what about those who have to work in this heat?

    When in our area the temperature during the month was +35, I die. I spent time in the forest near the sea or in the woods near the lake, constantly bathed, but it was still awful. And what about those who have to work in this heat?

    Lovely pictures. The outdoors look much the same on the other side of the Baltic Sea. And we too have a popular theory that the chilly weather makes us better workers than people who have to suffer scorching summer days (and air conditioning only helps to a degree; it cuts deeper than that).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  117. @melanf

    This is the very “culture” Russia has and always will reject.
     
    This is obviously not true. 90% of movies that people watch in cinemas in Russia, it is American movies. 50-60% of television series (looking at Russia) is an American television series. 40% of books are translations from English (in most cases it's an American book).
    Modern Russian literature and television industry is under strong Anglo-American influence.

    This is obviously not true. 90% of movies that people watch in cinemas in Russia, it is American movies. 50-60% of television series (looking at Russia) is an American television series. 40% of books are translations from English (in most cases it’s an American book).
    Modern Russian literature and television industry is under strong Anglo-American influence.

    Indeed, but were not at one time this fall the top four films at Russian cinemas Russian-made? A post-Soviet record, I believe. The same is true of Russian hip-hop, which has just seen its best year yet since 1991 in terms of audience numbers. An American import, sure, but still a home-grown product in the sense that young people listen to Oxxxymiron’s take on life in Saint Petersburg rather than Chance the Rapper’s take on life in Chicago.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Indeed, but were not at one time this fall the top four films at Russian cinemas Russian-made? A post-Soviet record, I believe. The same is true of Russian hip-hop, which has just seen its best year yet since 1991 in terms of audience numbers. An American import, sure, but still a home-grown product in the sense that young people listen to Oxxxymiron’s take on life in Saint Petersburg rather than Chance the Rapper’s take on life in Chicago.
     
    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist. When the iron curtain fell, the Anglo-American fantasy was transferred, and people were reading them. Then began a rapid blossoming of the Russian fantasy that captured 2/3 of the market (which is great - in the ocean of fantasy- trash there are some really talented works).

    But anyway to say that "Russia rejects American culture" is to say just the opposite of the truth.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  118. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Miro23

    @Boris N

    I’ve seen people eating ice cream outside in winter in the Urals region. They were happy. Do you think that people in Montreal or Minneapolis are miserable? Winter means cross-country skiing, snow sculptures, theater, ice skating, etc.

    Maybe you are just personally an unhappy person?

     

    It's nice to be in Montreal, Minneapolis or the Urals, but the Atlantic seaboard of NW Europe (places like the Northern UK, Belgium, Holland, Northern France) don't seem to get much of a summer or winter either. Cold Westerly winds reliably bringing overcast grey skies with rain and drizzle.

    This does have a background effect.

    There's a lot wrong with the lower latitudes of the Mediterranean, but the climate isn't one of them. Having spent the last 30 yrs+ on the Spanish Mediterranean on about the same latitude as Algiers, Tunis and Palermo I can say that sunny days are preferable to cold wet ones - even accepting the excess heat in July - August.

    Some of us like the cold and wet (wet->not freezing). My experience is that the older people get the more they appreciate warmth and not worrying about slipping on ice. People used to go to Scotland or Switzerland for the weather, though, so there may be a factor of fashion or culture in there too.

    I have family in the Indian subcontinent and, having stayed there, much prefer the American eastern seaboard where I live.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Mountains and forests are not bad, even if it’s cold and raining. The Scottish weather is something some people prefer over heat in the summer.
    , @Miro23
    The problem with the NW European coast vs. the NE States of the US, seems to be the way the wind blows. Atlantic Westerlies can bring whole weeks of rain and overcast skies when they meet the landmass of NW Europe, something like the coast of the US from N. California to Alaska in winter.

    I don't know about people going to Scotland and Switzerland for the weather. In the past English Gentlemen used to go shooting and fishing and Scotland, with breaks in Switzerland for mountain walking.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  119. @Mr. Hack
    You know,the more I read your blog and peer into the little quips regarding your own personal life, likes and dislikes, the more I begin to appreciate (dare I say 'like') you, Anatoly? You seem to exhibit an unabashed, devil may care, attitude that appeals to me. Also, your ability to not take yourself too seriously is a good trait too. If it weren't for your crazy attachment to the indefensible idea of 'triunism' or even crazier version called 'quadrism', I'd consider you a regular guy? :-)

    Say, what does 'NEET' stand for anyway?...

    Thank you, Mr. Hack, that’s appreciated (no, really).

    Feel free to give me a ring if you’re ever in Moscow, always down to meet my readers over a cold one.

    Read More
    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  120. @Anon
    Some of us like the cold and wet (wet->not freezing). My experience is that the older people get the more they appreciate warmth and not worrying about slipping on ice. People used to go to Scotland or Switzerland for the weather, though, so there may be a factor of fashion or culture in there too.

    I have family in the Indian subcontinent and, having stayed there, much prefer the American eastern seaboard where I live.

    Mountains and forests are not bad, even if it’s cold and raining. The Scottish weather is something some people prefer over heat in the summer.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  121. @Mr. Hack
    I did a little research on my own, and it looks like the NEET's are the progeny of yeterday's slackers.Somehow, I don't have you pegged this way...perhaps 'a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element' is more accurate? Having experienced a few bouts of unemployment myself throughout my working career, I can surely identify with those that find themselves 'working' at home, dressed in their overnight pajamas, or even underwear...it gets boring after a while.

    https://youtu.be/gTCP9HZVX7s

    I did a little research on my own, and it looks like the NEET’s are the progeny of yeterday’s slackers.Somehow, I don’t have you pegged this way…perhaps ‘a lazy parasitic bourgeois class element’ is more accurate?

    Marxist analysis mode on

    Bourgeoisie, as we all know, are owners of the means of production. Stereotypical NEET owns nothing, according to Marxism he is lazy parasitic lumpenproletariat class element. Lumpenproletariat being deeply reactionary force, weapon in the hands of aristocracy and big bourgeoisie used against working class. Nothing about “alt-right” and 4chan would surprise old Karl.

    / Marxist analysis mode off

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  122. @Anon
    Some of us like the cold and wet (wet->not freezing). My experience is that the older people get the more they appreciate warmth and not worrying about slipping on ice. People used to go to Scotland or Switzerland for the weather, though, so there may be a factor of fashion or culture in there too.

    I have family in the Indian subcontinent and, having stayed there, much prefer the American eastern seaboard where I live.

    The problem with the NW European coast vs. the NE States of the US, seems to be the way the wind blows. Atlantic Westerlies can bring whole weeks of rain and overcast skies when they meet the landmass of NW Europe, something like the coast of the US from N. California to Alaska in winter.

    I don’t know about people going to Scotland and Switzerland for the weather. In the past English Gentlemen used to go shooting and fishing and Scotland, with breaks in Switzerland for mountain walking.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  123. @Mr. Hack

    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise), and even in the Bay Area real price appreciation has only be 3.6% pa since 1980
     
    For the most part I agree wtih your observations, especially with your final brandishment of what Americans ‘need’. But don’t forget that buying homes as an investment can still be a lucrative business (maybe not as a good a deal as pre-1970′s, but still pretty good). Collecting rent on say 3-4 homes every month can help one extend those yearly vacations to some pretty exotic locales…Equities may have averaged 11% over the long haul, but tell that to an investor that bailed out in 2008-2010?…
    (discipline is easier said than done).

    You’re not talking about home ownership.

    You’re talking about rental properties, which has been a good (if annoying) business as long as there has been business.

    And the long run return on American equities is more in the neighborhood of 8%.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  124. I have lived for at least 6 months in Steven’s Creek, Boise and Boulder, which I will call Denver and over the US border in Vancouver, (well Burnaby), my favourite city anywhere. In Russia I have years on the clock in Saratov. Saratov and Denver are very comparable as provincial cities with oil, wheat and electronic/optical industries although Kansas City (there after a scout jamboree in 1967) would bring in the river port.

    I prefer the Denver climate. It is warmer, -15C is the worst I experienced. There was less snow and it was cleared much faster. Many streets in Saratov are simply not cleared at all. In the Summer, Saratov turns into a dusty oven. I have stood on the station platform with the station thermometer reading +42C. Late June, July and August are hell. My staff insisted on enduring anything under 32C as they disapproved of airconditioning – unhealthy.

    The dust and in April, the mud, was made far worse in Saratov, by the appallingly built and maintained pavements (sidewalks) and road surfaces with dust and mud trapping potholes everywhere and few working kerbs. If Russians can laugh at the UK when it snows, the same goes for Russia when it rains. Every street floods due to inadequate, not just blocked drains. The roads are of course desperately bad in more ways than I can describe inside the city or in the rural areas. Rural roads in Colorado, even diet roads over high mountain passes are far better, especially in snow. US air schedules are unbelievably superior. The only regular scheduled services, often in a YAK42, from Saratov are to Moscow, Sochi and some oil town in Siberia. Denver, a city of comparable size and separation has a substantial international airport with connections all over the US. Gazprom’s high pressure pipeline technical centre is in Saratov but they have their own airline (which flies to At Pete). I hesitate to drive in rural Russia. Russian driving standards are very bad, although much better than they were. In Colorado, it was easy to drive into the mountains and hike using easy maps and well marked trails.

    Saratov has far better public transport in the city. Trains, trams, trolley buses in plenty.. However, the standard of comfort is very low. Politically controlled ticket charges are very cheap and cannot pay for adequate maintenance and refurbishment. Denver has far more businessman’s hotels. Boulder has more restaurants than Saratov.

    I like to buy food in the market and prepare it myself. The centre of Saratov is very good for markets while food is in season. A lot comes from Central Asia along with drugs and a crime problem. Even so, I fell far safer in Saratov than Denver. Russia has reasonably tough gun laws. You are not worried about a mad gunman every time you turn a corner. (One of my projects involved a defense firm about half a mile from Columbine. I was in Colorado that day – admittedly Greeley). In Boise, people carried guns in the street and when the Mexicans from the potato farms turned up on Friday nights they were used at times. Regan, visiting as President, had to take cover under a restaurant table when a man armed with a shotgun walked past. Thank God for Canada to show the route to sanity. One day …

    Hiring people is a bigger commitment immediately. I paid 35% of my wage bill as social taxes in Saratov. People are also hard to fire. In Boulder, I was the board member for a large multinational and the small firmmwas 5 times the size so I was less aware of the hire had fire issues but I strongly have the impression that it was relatively easy to fire someone in Colorado and we didn’t pay 35% payroll tax even if I don’t remember the exact amount. Business support services were readily available in both cities. That said, I still don’t trust the Saratov post office (when I first arrived, every Russia province had an independently incorporated postal!service – plus one international office in Moscow).

    Before the revolution, Saratov was the third largest city on Russian (not imperial) territory. It has first to third places in foundation date for many high cultural institutions. The ballet company is better than anything in the UK. Opera not so good but I am from Wales. In Denver in my early days, I was in the hotel coffee shop opposite four “Indians” wearing buckskins and speaking a strange language. It turned out that Dances with Wolves premiered there that night (might have been the world premier?). And damn, I missed it. High culture is much easier to find in Saratov and performed as entertainment rather than a social signal. An unpretentious bar, serving Coors?, was easier in Colorado. There are bars in Saratov but they are much for couples and girls nights out than male drinking alone or in company. Neither place has anything approaching a German Stammtisch. I was reasonably regular at Jose Muldoon’s in Boulder.

    Neither city is fit for much more than doing business for me. Boulder is too polished, although one of my ex bosses moved there from Minneapolis to open a ski shop in semiretirement. I would go to Vancouver. Spectacular scenery, enough rain to keep things green, no extremes of temperature, coping with multiculturism and British beer available. 35 minutes from the, pebbly, beach to the snowline.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  125. @Dmitry
    Chet Bradley - No and please don't the assume life and knowledge of other people. I work for a multi-national corporation and have lived and worked previously in Ireland. I also have friends working in Israel and my brother is in the United States. My brother indeed lives in Menlo Park for over a year and cycles each day to work Palo Alto. I have visited him, as many other parts of the United States. I have very first-hand experience. He rents a modern bedroom apartment for around $2500 per month if I remember (I could be wrong) . This is a modern, high-quality bedroom apartment. He has healthcare, gym membership and money left over for regular plane tickets to travel (his last holiday was to go to Japan). He is now planning to buy a new 2018 Subaru Impreza. Again, if this is your definition of 'not much', which it appears to be in the context of your remark - it is rather comical. Standard of living is incredible. But - as I said earlier - this is a product of studying very hard at university.

    If your idea of “incredible standard of living” is never been able to afford a house, and buying a Subaru Impreza while making $200K a year, then I don’t know what to tell you. In normal parts of the US, which is outside the Bay Area and NYC, $200K/year should allow you to buy a nice home, drive a nice car if you care, and have plenty of savings left over, if you don’t live beyond your means.

    At least two of the above (buying a home and have plenty of savings) are not possible in Palo Alto with $200K/year.

    Your brother lives in Menlo Park; median home price is $2.1M, let’s call it $2M for easy math. If you want to buy a home, you should put 20% ($400K) down, and have a $1.6M mortgage. To even qualify for that mortgage, you need to be making about $500K a year. When are you going to be able to accumulate $400K to put down, if you only make $200K?

    Your brother is single, I assume, so he can live in a small apartment for which he still pays $2500 per month. If he had a family and had to rent a bigger place, he’d be looking at $5000+ (median rent in Menlo Park).

    But if you think I am unrealistic in my expectations, prove me wrong. Move to Palo Alto, get a $200K/year job, and see how happy you’re going to be after the novelty wears off.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    That's right. On top of that, $200-250K is a VP of Engineering salary at a decently funded start-up. A director at Google might get that and more, but then they get burned out and still can barely afford their mortgages (or to see their kids, or rather kid).
    , @Deepy6
    A $2500 apartment is $30,000 per year which is 15% of $200,000 and 23% of the after-tax figure of $130,000. People often spend @40% of their pay on housing to live in Coastal California.

    In this Palo Alto scenario, this single guy would have $100,000 dollars a year to play with after paying taxes and rent. Insurance, car payments, food etc. will bring it down to say, $70,000. Splurge a little ($20K seems enough) and you still have $50,000 in the bank.

    Why is this guy's situation supposed to be hopeless?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  126. @Chet Bradley
    If your idea of "incredible standard of living" is never been able to afford a house, and buying a Subaru Impreza while making $200K a year, then I don't know what to tell you. In normal parts of the US, which is outside the Bay Area and NYC, $200K/year should allow you to buy a nice home, drive a nice car if you care, and have plenty of savings left over, if you don't live beyond your means.

    At least two of the above (buying a home and have plenty of savings) are not possible in Palo Alto with $200K/year.

    Your brother lives in Menlo Park; median home price is $2.1M, let's call it $2M for easy math. If you want to buy a home, you should put 20% ($400K) down, and have a $1.6M mortgage. To even qualify for that mortgage, you need to be making about $500K a year. When are you going to be able to accumulate $400K to put down, if you only make $200K?

    Your brother is single, I assume, so he can live in a small apartment for which he still pays $2500 per month. If he had a family and had to rent a bigger place, he'd be looking at $5000+ (median rent in Menlo Park).

    But if you think I am unrealistic in my expectations, prove me wrong. Move to Palo Alto, get a $200K/year job, and see how happy you're going to be after the novelty wears off.

    That’s right. On top of that, $200-250K is a VP of Engineering salary at a decently funded start-up. A director at Google might get that and more, but then they get burned out and still can barely afford their mortgages (or to see their kids, or rather kid).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  127. @Thorfinnsson


    Half of your $130K take home pay would go to pay your rent ($60K), building the owner’s equity, not yours. You would never be able to afford a home anywhere close to where you work.
     
    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise), and even in the Bay Area real price appreciation has only be 3.6% pa since 1980 (returns on equities have been 3x that). A house produces no income and incurs maintenance and tax costs.

    If you don't plan on leaving the area anytime soon, then home ownership is a better deal than renting--that's it. And this comes at the cost of increased risk and reduced flexibility. Totally overrated American obsession.

    It's true that housing is appallingly overpriced in coastal California, but this hypothetical person perhaps might be an outside the box thinker since he reads the Unz Review. He could live with roommates or in a recreational vehicle to minimize his housing costs.


    Yes, you would be able to afford a nice car, new iPhone, etc., but you would never accumulate any real wealth.
     
    No matter where you live you will never accumulate real wealth on $200k a year, at least not for many years. You either need to go into business yourself or reach executive ranks.


    Don’t forget that you have to save enough for retirement, college for your children, etc.
     
    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem. And in any case "saving for retirement" = building real wealth.

    No need whatsoever to pay for your children's college, that's a personal choice. I do think it wise to send boys to college provided they can get into the right schools. And should you choose to do so it need not be ruinously expensive at all by making use of in-state tuition, the armed forces, etc.

    If you want to be particularly sneaky you can create a 529 college savings plan and then push the designated beneficiary to join the armed forces, which allows you to claim the tax-advantaged wealth in the fund.

    Obviously California is ruinously expensive and things are harder for average schmucks in America than it used to be, but the idea you can't get ahead at all is just whinging. Americans can't get ahead because they "need" Netflix, DirecTV with NFL Sunday Ticket, new cars, annual vacations, spend more money on restaurants than groceries, daily coffee shop visits (or MONSTER energy drinks UNLEASH THE ULTRABEAST), etc.

    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise),

    Nope, every article/study I’ve seen claims that housing prices have been rising faster than inflation at least since 1940. The only question is by how much, not if.

    He could live with roommates or in a recreational vehicle to minimize his housing costs.

    With a family?

    No matter where you live you will never accumulate real wealth on $200k a year, at least not for many years. You either need to go into business yourself or reach executive ranks.

    Agreed, I should have said decent wealth, or good savings.

    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem.

    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you’re 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?

    push the designated beneficiary to join the armed forces

    Seriously? Isn’t it not enough that the armed forces have become the bastion of SJWism? You would want your son to risk losing life or limb to fight the wars of choice to benefit corporate interests? I’ve had higher opinion of you based on your prior posts, now you’re making me reconsider that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor


    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem.
     
    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you’re 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?
     
    He thinks everyone is a loser who doesn’t have wealth enough not to work in old age. He was complaining about having to bag his own groceries “like a loser”. So, in Thorfinsson’s world, most people are losers. He also needs to be reminded of his superior status at every opportunity, like standing idly while some loser is bagging his groceries.
    , @Thorfinnsson

    Nope, every article/study I’ve seen claims that housing prices have been rising faster than inflation at least since 1940. The only question is by how much, not if.
     

    This is simply untrue.

    http://observationsandnotes.blogspot.com/2011/07/housing-prices-inflation-since-1900.html

    The Ecommunist also has a nice interactive chart breaking it down by metro area: https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/08/daily-chart-20

    Residential real estate is an awful asset class.

    With a family?
     

    Roommates are certainly not an option then, but this doesn't rule out other "creative" housing arrangements. Of course finding a wife okay with such "creativity" would be a real challenge.

    Agreed, I should have said decent wealth, or good savings.
     

    The loser advice given by most personal finance gurus is to have a 10% savings rate. This is achievable anywhere including Silicon Valley. And, frankly, this will result in a decent nest egg over time.

    $15,000 (assuming a 25% tax bite) a year invested with 5% returns (a conservative assumption) will be worth a million dollars in 30 years.

    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you’re 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?
     

    Yes. Buffet and Munger are still working. Kirk Kerkorian worked into his 90s and dropped dead.

    Seriously? Isn’t it not enough that the armed forces have become the bastion of SJWism? You would want your son to risk losing life or limb to fight the wars of choice to benefit corporate interests? I’ve had higher opinion of you based on your prior posts, now you’re making me reconsider that.
     

    Do you also think I would live in a recreational vehicle in Silicon Valley?

    That said, the armed forces are a reasonable option for many people. The risks one undertakes are considerably lower than those encountered in logging, and can be further reduced by tailoring one's service and MOS.

    Reiner Tor

    From what I gather, he thinks you have to be wealthy enough not to work an ordinary job at middle age. So like you don’t really retire in the sense that you still look after your considerable investments after that, well into old age.
     

    It should be everyone's goal (or at least everyone with a three digit IQ) to achieve financial independence, which means not having to work.

    But this does not mean you should stop working. Experience tells us that men who stop working deteriorate rapidly. This is why I have contempt for retirement, and to be clear most retirees retired from life decades before formally resigning. "Most men die at 25, they are merely buried at 75." -Benjamin Franklin

    However, perhaps you change your work in the event you don't enjoy the work you're doing. I happen to love business, but I wouldn't mind spending more time organizing blood drives for instance.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  128. @Polish Perspective
    Two notes of dissent. Freedom of speech and global culture. On freedom of speech, Russia may have more draconian laws but America's freedom of speech, especially on issues such as white nationalism is de facto just as bad.

    One point Mike Enoch makes, successfully I think, is that America's strong laws on freedom of speech derived from a culture of freedom, which extended to freedom of speech and that is now being lost. This is manifested not in new laws but through another route. Put simply, American corporations - including Silicon Valley ones - have essentially entered into a sort of quasi-PPP(public-private partnership) on policing thought and speech. So the USG gets to wash its hands but it has in effect delegated the repression to private entities such as Google who then crack down on dissent.

    Libertarians will say "hey, corporations have a right to which opinions they want to host" but that is a form of autism, because it ignores that Google is a virtual monopoly on search for instance, and they actively manipulate what you find through searching (same is true on Youtube recommendations and the like). And that's the mild stuff. Account shutdowns are routine. People getting fired is routine. Therefore, while America's on-the-books laws are better, the ground-reality of freedom of speech is but a faint shadow of what it was. That lunatic you showed in the picture is no threat to the system, he's just a yelling madman. How the USG responds, through its delegated proxies in the private sector, to a more systematic/sustained challenge is more revealing and it's all repression. People can and often do lose their jobs, we saw this in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Again, it's public pressure on private businesses but the climate of fear and repression is the same. Laws in this context is of secondary importance.

    As for 'global culture', this is hard to justify, too. Americans are no longer a tight-knit people, bound together by a common ethos, history or frankly future. They are consumers in a giant shopping mall. A wealthy shopping mall, but a shopping mall nonetheless. The price for influence is that your culture becomes watered-down and commoditised, to use an expression favoured by many Marxists. Thus, being 'in the center' doesn't have as many benefits because large swaths of Americans have little in common with each other. In order to reach the many, you must spread yourself thin and shallow.

    Secondly, and on the same subject, I find most American 'culture' to be gross and vulgar, and frankly negrified. Most American pop culture is gansta rap and the like. Though I've heard that hip-hop is big in Russia, but it's not a huge thing in Poland (though there are wannabe's). Furthermore, even in traditionally US-compliant nations like Germany, TV shows such as 'Empire'(somekind of hip-hop meets godfather fantasy) flopped by huge margins. So even in countries which are desperate to become like the US, there is often a general dislike of this type of Africanised content.

    As for high culture, Russian selection is far better for far lower cost. This is also something which was pointed out to you in the last thread which you forgot to include in one of the advantages of Russia. Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on. The Americans may be better at tech, but they are lagging in (high) culture. In some ways, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    ” Most American pop culture is gangsta rap and the like”

    True, pop culture in the U. S. is not what it used to be.
    But in the 1950s-’80s when the U.S. was at the height of its
    self-confidence and had a strong middle class, its pop culture
    was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. One advantage
    of living in a huge country with a 325+ million population
    is that you can pick your own niche, and even that small niche
    may have a potential fan base of 50 million people.

    For someone older like me (I was born and raised in Poland
    but have spent most of my adult life in a technical field at an
    American university) the entire repertoire of American/British
    pop music and films from the ’60s-’80s that I’m intimately
    familiar with is available at a moment’s notice, and you can also throw in
    20th century American literature from Hemingway, Fitzgerald, through
    Henry Miller, Kerouac, Updike, Pynchon, etc That’s more than enough
    for one lifetime. No wonder the U.S. is so navel-gazing. Its cultural output
    is so vast that it barely notices that the rest of the world even exists.

    When it comes to the latest stuff, I learn it from my students. Being
    a university professor in America is like running a small country: you
    have a budget, grants, and a battalion of assistants, both male and female.
    The guys are typically into bands that nobody my age has heard of. My
    female assistants (who often treat me like a father confessor and entrust
    me sometimes with intimate details of their sex lives) tell me they are into
    J-POP or K-POP because the U.S. music scene no longer provides them
    with the romance that they crave. Some may follow bands like Phish but
    that’s mostly to please their boyfriends. There is no better life in America
    than being a college professor! Where else do you get 3 months of vacation
    (although much of it is filled with research and conferences)? And in a technical
    field you’re beyond politics because nobody can understand what it is that
    you actually do – the jargon and the math are too impenetrable

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    There is no better life in America
    than being a college professor! Where else do you get 3 months of vacation?
     
    In Russia college professor have a 2.5 month summer vacation, and monthly winter vacation.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  129. @Chet Bradley

    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise),
     
    Nope, every article/study I've seen claims that housing prices have been rising faster than inflation at least since 1940. The only question is by how much, not if.

    He could live with roommates or in a recreational vehicle to minimize his housing costs.
     
    With a family?

    No matter where you live you will never accumulate real wealth on $200k a year, at least not for many years. You either need to go into business yourself or reach executive ranks.
     
    Agreed, I should have said decent wealth, or good savings.

    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem.
     
    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you're 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?

    push the designated beneficiary to join the armed forces
     
    Seriously? Isn't it not enough that the armed forces have become the bastion of SJWism? You would want your son to risk losing life or limb to fight the wars of choice to benefit corporate interests? I've had higher opinion of you based on your prior posts, now you're making me reconsider that.

    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem.

    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you’re 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?

    He thinks everyone is a loser who doesn’t have wealth enough not to work in old age. He was complaining about having to bag his own groceries “like a loser”. So, in Thorfinsson’s world, most people are losers. He also needs to be reminded of his superior status at every opportunity, like standing idly while some loser is bagging his groceries.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chet Bradley

    He thinks everyone is a loser who doesn’t have wealth enough not to work in old age.
     
    I thought that's what people call "retirement", not having to work in old age. But apparently that's for losers, so I thought maybe beign a greeter at Wal-Mart at 80 better suited his sensibilities.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  130. @reiner Tor


    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem.
     
    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you’re 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?
     
    He thinks everyone is a loser who doesn’t have wealth enough not to work in old age. He was complaining about having to bag his own groceries “like a loser”. So, in Thorfinsson’s world, most people are losers. He also needs to be reminded of his superior status at every opportunity, like standing idly while some loser is bagging his groceries.

    He thinks everyone is a loser who doesn’t have wealth enough not to work in old age.

    I thought that’s what people call “retirement”, not having to work in old age. But apparently that’s for losers, so I thought maybe beign a greeter at Wal-Mart at 80 better suited his sensibilities.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    From what I gather, he thinks you have to be wealthy enough not to work an ordinary job at middle age. So like you don’t really retire in the sense that you still look after your considerable investments after that, well into old age.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  131. @Anon 2
    " Most American pop culture is gangsta rap and the like"

    True, pop culture in the U. S. is not what it used to be.
    But in the 1950s-'80s when the U.S. was at the height of its
    self-confidence and had a strong middle class, its pop culture
    was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. One advantage
    of living in a huge country with a 325+ million population
    is that you can pick your own niche, and even that small niche
    may have a potential fan base of 50 million people.

    For someone older like me (I was born and raised in Poland
    but have spent most of my adult life in a technical field at an
    American university) the entire repertoire of American/British
    pop music and films from the '60s-'80s that I'm intimately
    familiar with is available at a moment's notice, and you can also throw in
    20th century American literature from Hemingway, Fitzgerald, through
    Henry Miller, Kerouac, Updike, Pynchon, etc That's more than enough
    for one lifetime. No wonder the U.S. is so navel-gazing. Its cultural output
    is so vast that it barely notices that the rest of the world even exists.

    When it comes to the latest stuff, I learn it from my students. Being
    a university professor in America is like running a small country: you
    have a budget, grants, and a battalion of assistants, both male and female.
    The guys are typically into bands that nobody my age has heard of. My
    female assistants (who often treat me like a father confessor and entrust
    me sometimes with intimate details of their sex lives) tell me they are into
    J-POP or K-POP because the U.S. music scene no longer provides them
    with the romance that they crave. Some may follow bands like Phish but
    that's mostly to please their boyfriends. There is no better life in America
    than being a college professor! Where else do you get 3 months of vacation
    (although much of it is filled with research and conferences)? And in a technical
    field you're beyond politics because nobody can understand what it is that
    you actually do - the jargon and the math are too impenetrable

    There is no better life in America
    than being a college professor! Where else do you get 3 months of vacation?

    In Russia college professor have a 2.5 month summer vacation, and monthly winter vacation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon 2
    The exact length varies depending on the institution.
    At my university we get 3 months off in summer (from
    mid-May till mid-August) and about 3 weeks off between the
    semesters in winter (from mid-December to roughly
    January 7), so the vacation length appears very similar
    in the U.S. and Russia.

    In addition, at universities (but not at colleges) once you
    get tenure ( meaning "nobody can fire you except for
    moral turpitude, and I don't have the energy for that anymore,"
    to quote a line from a 1970s American movie) you can
    apply for a sabbatical leave - typically one semester off
    with full pay every 7 years. These are extremely competitive
    but worth applying for if you, say, want to write a book
    , @AP
    Salary is rather terrible, though.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  132. @Chet Bradley

    He thinks everyone is a loser who doesn’t have wealth enough not to work in old age.
     
    I thought that's what people call "retirement", not having to work in old age. But apparently that's for losers, so I thought maybe beign a greeter at Wal-Mart at 80 better suited his sensibilities.

    From what I gather, he thinks you have to be wealthy enough not to work an ordinary job at middle age. So like you don’t really retire in the sense that you still look after your considerable investments after that, well into old age.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  133. @melanf

    There is no better life in America
    than being a college professor! Where else do you get 3 months of vacation?
     
    In Russia college professor have a 2.5 month summer vacation, and monthly winter vacation.

    The exact length varies depending on the institution.
    At my university we get 3 months off in summer (from
    mid-May till mid-August) and about 3 weeks off between the
    semesters in winter (from mid-December to roughly
    January 7), so the vacation length appears very similar
    in the U.S. and Russia.

    In addition, at universities (but not at colleges) once you
    get tenure ( meaning “nobody can fire you except for
    moral turpitude, and I don’t have the energy for that anymore,”
    to quote a line from a 1970s American movie) you can
    apply for a sabbatical leave – typically one semester off
    with full pay every 7 years. These are extremely competitive
    but worth applying for if you, say, want to write a book

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  134. @Chet Bradley
    If your idea of "incredible standard of living" is never been able to afford a house, and buying a Subaru Impreza while making $200K a year, then I don't know what to tell you. In normal parts of the US, which is outside the Bay Area and NYC, $200K/year should allow you to buy a nice home, drive a nice car if you care, and have plenty of savings left over, if you don't live beyond your means.

    At least two of the above (buying a home and have plenty of savings) are not possible in Palo Alto with $200K/year.

    Your brother lives in Menlo Park; median home price is $2.1M, let's call it $2M for easy math. If you want to buy a home, you should put 20% ($400K) down, and have a $1.6M mortgage. To even qualify for that mortgage, you need to be making about $500K a year. When are you going to be able to accumulate $400K to put down, if you only make $200K?

    Your brother is single, I assume, so he can live in a small apartment for which he still pays $2500 per month. If he had a family and had to rent a bigger place, he'd be looking at $5000+ (median rent in Menlo Park).

    But if you think I am unrealistic in my expectations, prove me wrong. Move to Palo Alto, get a $200K/year job, and see how happy you're going to be after the novelty wears off.

    A $2500 apartment is $30,000 per year which is 15% of $200,000 and 23% of the after-tax figure of $130,000. People often spend @40% of their pay on housing to live in Coastal California.

    In this Palo Alto scenario, this single guy would have $100,000 dollars a year to play with after paying taxes and rent. Insurance, car payments, food etc. will bring it down to say, $70,000. Splurge a little ($20K seems enough) and you still have $50,000 in the bank.

    Why is this guy’s situation supposed to be hopeless?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chet Bradley

    Why is this guy’s situation supposed to be hopeless?
     
    It's swell actually, if he plans to never marry and never own a house.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  135. @Swedish Family

    This is obviously not true. 90% of movies that people watch in cinemas in Russia, it is American movies. 50-60% of television series (looking at Russia) is an American television series. 40% of books are translations from English (in most cases it’s an American book).
    Modern Russian literature and television industry is under strong Anglo-American influence.
     
    Indeed, but were not at one time this fall the top four films at Russian cinemas Russian-made? A post-Soviet record, I believe. The same is true of Russian hip-hop, which has just seen its best year yet since 1991 in terms of audience numbers. An American import, sure, but still a home-grown product in the sense that young people listen to Oxxxymiron's take on life in Saint Petersburg rather than Chance the Rapper's take on life in Chicago.

    Indeed, but were not at one time this fall the top four films at Russian cinemas Russian-made? A post-Soviet record, I believe. The same is true of Russian hip-hop, which has just seen its best year yet since 1991 in terms of audience numbers. An American import, sure, but still a home-grown product in the sense that young people listen to Oxxxymiron’s take on life in Saint Petersburg rather than Chance the Rapper’s take on life in Chicago.

    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist. When the iron curtain fell, the Anglo-American fantasy was transferred, and people were reading them. Then began a rapid blossoming of the Russian fantasy that captured 2/3 of the market (which is great – in the ocean of fantasy- trash there are some really talented works).

    But anyway to say that “Russia rejects American culture” is to say just the opposite of the truth.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Even more than a list of your favorite American books, I’d like to have a list of your favorite Russian fantasy books, particularly ones with a real Russian or (gasp!) Eurasian flavor. Please feel free to include also those written primarily for young people, since my Russian literary vocabulary is still under construction.
    , @Darin

    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist.
     
    True, western style fantasy was seen in the USSR as obscurantist pro-feudal literature and not translated, but there were exceptions - Tolkien's Hobbit, seen as children fairy tale, was translated and even made into full-length movie. Take this, Peter Jackson.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evHtm2xCMdU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtVnt0qrJ6M

    (there used to be English subtitled version, but copyright ate it ;-( )

    Fantasy was not alone - most of Western science fiction genres were incompatible with Marxist ideology and unacceptable.

    Alternate history - no way. History advances according to scientific laws and could not have progressed differently. The same with time travel stories.

    Alien invasions - never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works - impossible. Apocalypse can happen in capitalist countries, but not here. Soviet Union is on the right side of history and will never fall.
    , @Anon
    East-Euro fantasy/scifi helped kick off the genre over here in the Anglo-American world. Funny how things intersect sometimes...
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  136. @melanf

    Indeed, but were not at one time this fall the top four films at Russian cinemas Russian-made? A post-Soviet record, I believe. The same is true of Russian hip-hop, which has just seen its best year yet since 1991 in terms of audience numbers. An American import, sure, but still a home-grown product in the sense that young people listen to Oxxxymiron’s take on life in Saint Petersburg rather than Chance the Rapper’s take on life in Chicago.
     
    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist. When the iron curtain fell, the Anglo-American fantasy was transferred, and people were reading them. Then began a rapid blossoming of the Russian fantasy that captured 2/3 of the market (which is great - in the ocean of fantasy- trash there are some really talented works).

    But anyway to say that "Russia rejects American culture" is to say just the opposite of the truth.

    Even more than a list of your favorite American books, I’d like to have a list of your favorite Russian fantasy books, particularly ones with a real Russian or (gasp!) Eurasian flavor. Please feel free to include also those written primarily for young people, since my Russian literary vocabulary is still under construction.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  137. @Chet Bradley

    Home ownership, unless you get lucky, is not a means to grow wealth. Home prices tend to appreciate at the rate of inflation (surprise),
     
    Nope, every article/study I've seen claims that housing prices have been rising faster than inflation at least since 1940. The only question is by how much, not if.

    He could live with roommates or in a recreational vehicle to minimize his housing costs.
     
    With a family?

    No matter where you live you will never accumulate real wealth on $200k a year, at least not for many years. You either need to go into business yourself or reach executive ranks.
     
    Agreed, I should have said decent wealth, or good savings.

    Retirement is for losers, so that solves that problem.
     
    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you're 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?

    push the designated beneficiary to join the armed forces
     
    Seriously? Isn't it not enough that the armed forces have become the bastion of SJWism? You would want your son to risk losing life or limb to fight the wars of choice to benefit corporate interests? I've had higher opinion of you based on your prior posts, now you're making me reconsider that.

    Nope, every article/study I’ve seen claims that housing prices have been rising faster than inflation at least since 1940. The only question is by how much, not if.

    This is simply untrue.

    http://observationsandnotes.blogspot.com/2011/07/housing-prices-inflation-since-1900.html

    The Ecommunist also has a nice interactive chart breaking it down by metro area: https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/08/daily-chart-20

    Residential real estate is an awful asset class.

    With a family?

    Roommates are certainly not an option then, but this doesn’t rule out other “creative” housing arrangements. Of course finding a wife okay with such “creativity” would be a real challenge.

    Agreed, I should have said decent wealth, or good savings.

    The loser advice given by most personal finance gurus is to have a 10% savings rate. This is achievable anywhere including Silicon Valley. And, frankly, this will result in a decent nest egg over time.

    $15,000 (assuming a 25% tax bite) a year invested with 5% returns (a conservative assumption) will be worth a million dollars in 30 years.

    I dunno, do you want to be a greeter at Wal-Mart when you’re 80? Are you going to be sharp enough to continue working in an intellectually-demanding job into your 80s?

    Yes. Buffet and Munger are still working. Kirk Kerkorian worked into his 90s and dropped dead.

    Seriously? Isn’t it not enough that the armed forces have become the bastion of SJWism? You would want your son to risk losing life or limb to fight the wars of choice to benefit corporate interests? I’ve had higher opinion of you based on your prior posts, now you’re making me reconsider that.

    Do you also think I would live in a recreational vehicle in Silicon Valley?

    That said, the armed forces are a reasonable option for many people. The risks one undertakes are considerably lower than those encountered in logging, and can be further reduced by tailoring one’s service and MOS.

    Reiner Tor

    From what I gather, he thinks you have to be wealthy enough not to work an ordinary job at middle age. So like you don’t really retire in the sense that you still look after your considerable investments after that, well into old age.

    It should be everyone’s goal (or at least everyone with a three digit IQ) to achieve financial independence, which means not having to work.

    But this does not mean you should stop working. Experience tells us that men who stop working deteriorate rapidly. This is why I have contempt for retirement, and to be clear most retirees retired from life decades before formally resigning. “Most men die at 25, they are merely buried at 75.” -Benjamin Franklin

    However, perhaps you change your work in the event you don’t enjoy the work you’re doing. I happen to love business, but I wouldn’t mind spending more time organizing blood drives for instance.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  138. @Boris N
    The frost free period in Rostov and Krasnodar is 180-200 days (6 months on average). Only on the small land strip along the Black Sea it may raise up to 220-260 days (the majority of the USA and W. Europe enjoy this by default). But even then in Krasnodar you may easily encounter -20C in winter, in even on Sochi there can be whole weeks below zero. It is not a secret knowledge, you just watch weather forecasts to know what the climate is in different parts of your country. I understand following the forecast in Russia while living in America is difficult. And remember that region is 10% of Russia at best. Or I may tell you about Voronezh (the south, eh?): frosts start normally in November and may last up to April. 5 months straight. Spring April and Autumn October often are not much better. So you practically have just 5 liveable months a year. The fact that there can also be +40C in summer is just an argument against: not only you must sustain the extreme cold in winter, but the extreme heat in summer.

    I know you are a military specialist and I respect your knowledge, but, please, refrain from speaking about the things you fail to understand. Geography seems to be not your strong side. You do much better with missiles, ships and other such iron crap.

    And by the way telling what your parents failed to tell you: simply calling others' words BS is basic rudeness, and it never gives you a winning point. I don't expect politeness from everybody on this resource, but you are not a dick, are you?

    “You do much better with missiles, ships and other such iron crap”

    That “iron crap” is what keeps you secure, unmolested and able to keep writing stupid whiny posts about your country on international news & opinion blogs in comfort, you cranky nihilist shithead. Otherwise you’d already be in the same situation – or worse – as Serbia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Donbass by now.

    You better have some respect towards the people who design, build, man and operate those things.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    You better have some respect towards the people who design, build, man and operate those things.
     
    That said, Andrei hasn’t been doing any of that for a very long while. I guess since before such a danger even existed.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  139. @Parbes
    "You do much better with missiles, ships and other such iron crap"

    That "iron crap" is what keeps you secure, unmolested and able to keep writing stupid whiny posts about your country on international news & opinion blogs in comfort, you cranky nihilist shithead. Otherwise you'd already be in the same situation - or worse - as Serbia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Donbass by now.

    You better have some respect towards the people who design, build, man and operate those things.

    You better have some respect towards the people who design, build, man and operate those things.

    That said, Andrei hasn’t been doing any of that for a very long while. I guess since before such a danger even existed.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  140. A single cluster is three classic works of Russian literature “Evenings on a farm near Dikanka” Nikolai Gogol, “the Vampire” by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy and “the Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov.

    Of modern Russian fantasy, from what I’ve read the Best are:

    “Wizards and Ministers” by Yulia Latynina (Latynina unsympathetic lady, but the book is talented). The novel is stylized as the ancient Chinese prose, and as far as I can know, totally original.

    The cycle (of four books) “The Guard” by Alexey Pehov. The main character is a hunter on the dark souls (escaped from purgatory), in an alternate Europe around the 1500.

    “The Illustrious” steampunk fantasy by Pavel Kornev

    If fantasy about modern Russia
    “The little girl and Karlsson” by Alexander Mazin: Scandinavian Troll arrives in St. Petersburg for vendetta old enemy – elf. However, the elf in Russia managed to become an oligarch, so to Troll it is necessary to solve a difficult task.

    If you look for the “Eurasian” fantasy, the only known to me example of a humorous series “the Eurasian Symphony” Holm van Zaichik .

    In this cycle the story went by an alternative route, and Russia in the early 21st century is a part of China (under the control of the descendants of Genghis Khan, emperors of the yuan dynasty).

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary

    In this cycle the story went by an alternative route, and Russia in the early 21st century is a part of China (under the control of the descendants of Genghis Khan, emperors of the yuan dynasty).
     
    Sounds like a probable outcome for the middle of the 21st century in our own world.

    Thanks for the list. I have read Master and Margarita, and enjoyed it, but don’t pretend to have understood it. I’ll look into the others. If anyone else out there has other recommendations, please chime in.
    , @DB Cooper
    Genghis Khan is not the emperor of the Yuan dynasty. His grandson Kublai Khan is.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  141. @melanf

    Indeed, but were not at one time this fall the top four films at Russian cinemas Russian-made? A post-Soviet record, I believe. The same is true of Russian hip-hop, which has just seen its best year yet since 1991 in terms of audience numbers. An American import, sure, but still a home-grown product in the sense that young people listen to Oxxxymiron’s take on life in Saint Petersburg rather than Chance the Rapper’s take on life in Chicago.
     
    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist. When the iron curtain fell, the Anglo-American fantasy was transferred, and people were reading them. Then began a rapid blossoming of the Russian fantasy that captured 2/3 of the market (which is great - in the ocean of fantasy- trash there are some really talented works).

    But anyway to say that "Russia rejects American culture" is to say just the opposite of the truth.

    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist.

    True, western style fantasy was seen in the USSR as obscurantist pro-feudal literature and not translated, but there were exceptions – Tolkien’s Hobbit, seen as children fairy tale, was translated and even made into full-length movie. Take this, Peter Jackson.

    (there used to be English subtitled version, but copyright ate it ;-( )

    Fantasy was not alone – most of Western science fiction genres were incompatible with Marxist ideology and unacceptable.

    Alternate history – no way. History advances according to scientific laws and could not have progressed differently. The same with time travel stories.

    Alien invasions – never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works – impossible. Apocalypse can happen in capitalist countries, but not here. Soviet Union is on the right side of history and will never fall.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Alien invasions – never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.
     
    In the novels of Sergei Snegova "The Galactic Reconnaissance" (1966) and "The Invasion of Perseus" (1968) earthlings reflect the expansion of a sinister civilization of "Destroyers"
    , @Swedish Family

    Alien invasions – never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.
     
    Beyond the works already cited by others, the Moscow-Cassiopeia duology is another exception to this rule. Although the focus there is more the dangers of artificial intelligence.
    , @Hippopotamusdrome


    (there used to be English subtitled version, but copyright ate it ;-( )

     

    All that is left is part 6.

    Russian Hobbit (with English subtitles) Part 6 of 6
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  142. @melanf
    A single cluster is three classic works of Russian literature "Evenings on a farm near Dikanka" Nikolai Gogol, "the Vampire" by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy and "the Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov.

    Of modern Russian fantasy, from what I've read the Best are:

    "Wizards and Ministers" by Yulia Latynina (Latynina unsympathetic lady, but the book is talented). The novel is stylized as the ancient Chinese prose, and as far as I can know, totally original.

    The cycle (of four books) "The Guard" by Alexey Pehov. The main character is a hunter on the dark souls (escaped from purgatory), in an alternate Europe around the 1500.
    http://s00.yaplakal.com/pics/pics_preview/2/4/7/10412742.jpg

    "The Illustrious" steampunk fantasy by Pavel Kornev
    https://img.labirint.ru/images/comments_pic/1519/0_58bc9ccfe5bbd5308823b617ab5023bf_1431187789.jpg


    If fantasy about modern Russia
    "The little girl and Karlsson" by Alexander Mazin: Scandinavian Troll arrives in St. Petersburg for vendetta old enemy - elf. However, the elf in Russia managed to become an oligarch, so to Troll it is necessary to solve a difficult task.




    If you look for the "Eurasian" fantasy, the only known to me example of a humorous series "the Eurasian Symphony" Holm van Zaichik .
    http://cp12.nevsepic.com.ua/77-3/1355583752-1196194-www.nevsepic.com.ua.jpg

    In this cycle the story went by an alternative route, and Russia in the early 21st century is a part of China (under the control of the descendants of Genghis Khan, emperors of the yuan dynasty).

    In this cycle the story went by an alternative route, and Russia in the early 21st century is a part of China (under the control of the descendants of Genghis Khan, emperors of the yuan dynasty).

    Sounds like a probable outcome for the middle of the 21st century in our own world.

    Thanks for the list. I have read Master and Margarita, and enjoyed it, but don’t pretend to have understood it. I’ll look into the others. If anyone else out there has other recommendations, please chime in.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    I have read Master and Margarita,
     
    One of the few books that I have read several times. I might read it once more.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  143. The typical urban Russian lives in gray, concrete commieblocks that are comparable to American public housing in quality. The quality of construction is low, internal planning is haphazardous, and contrary to rumors, my inquiries indicates that the presence of nuclear shelters are very much the exception, not the rule. So they don’t even have survivability in the case of nuclear war going for them. At just 25 sqm a person, the average Russian has barely any more living space than the average denizen of overcrowded Japan, and three times less than the average American.

    Waal, what’s the condition of (1) your cadastre, (2) tribunals which can delineate and enforce rights to real property, (3) your land tenure regime, (4) your land-use planning regime, and (5) your tax regime on real property? See the work of Hernando de Soto. It’s tremendously important to get this aspect of law and public policy right.

    Regardless, most of the town’s historic churches remain in a dilapidated condition, and the local World War II memorial (see photo above) appears to be in a worse state than during the depressed 1990′s.

    For the churches and monasteries you could try creating ‘heritage endowments’ if you’ve the right local-government finance system. Start with a petition campaign for a local government bond issue to be submitted to a referendum. If approved, it creates an endowment supervised by a board of trustees which would include clergy or religious, lay parishioners, elected officials, & c. The income from the endowment pays a sexton’s wages and provides for the purchase of materials and equipment. You could supplement this with special bond issues for capital projects for which any residual value would be folded into the abiding endowment. Should the church or the monastery close, the real property might revert to the locality and the endowment converted into a community chest for local welfare projects. Stipends and provisions for clergy, religious, and lay staff other than the sexton would be financed strictly by donations, works (e.g. viticulture or baking), and any private endowment income the church or abbey might have derived from donations and bequests; in re the welfare work of the church or abbey, private donations would also be the exclusive means of finance.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  144. @Anatoly Karlin
    First, I don't blog here for free, and have a couple of other minor Internet-based income sources.

    Second, I am not actively looking for a job. However, based on people with similar profiles to me, I think chances are high that I will be able to find something in the 150,000-250,000R range if I really had to. I'm not particularly interested in that right now, since I don't have a pressing need for it, and rather appreciate my NEET lyfestyle (no schedules, wake up whenever I want, etc).

    My current plans revolve around expanding into writing books (yes, yes, I know I have been promising books to my long-suffering readers for years now - but I really do think 2018 will be the year). Because it's long overdue, yes, and because I need to start making a name for myself as a publicist beyond just blogging, sure, but the purchasing power markup from selling to Americans/living in Russia certainly doesn't hurt either.

    Second, I am not actively looking for a job. However, based on people with similar profiles to me, I think chances are high that I will be able to find something in the 150,000-250,000R range if I really had to. I’m not particularly interested in that right now, since I don’t have a pressing need for it, and rather appreciate my NEET lyfestyle (no schedules, wake up whenever I want, etc).

    Hope you change your mind and find work. You might also benefit from a wife and children; most men do; Sam Kinison was lying.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Are the beneficiaries the lucky 50% that have not gotten around to filing divorce papers because they find their health care benefits too valuable, taxes more economical to file 'married' or just too pooped out due to inertia from the everyday grind of married life? Anti-depressants, for all of the bad press, are still rampant in society. :-)
    , @RadicalCenter
    Heartily agreed, Art.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  145. @melanf

    Indeed, but were not at one time this fall the top four films at Russian cinemas Russian-made? A post-Soviet record, I believe. The same is true of Russian hip-hop, which has just seen its best year yet since 1991 in terms of audience numbers. An American import, sure, but still a home-grown product in the sense that young people listen to Oxxxymiron’s take on life in Saint Petersburg rather than Chance the Rapper’s take on life in Chicago.
     
    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist. When the iron curtain fell, the Anglo-American fantasy was transferred, and people were reading them. Then began a rapid blossoming of the Russian fantasy that captured 2/3 of the market (which is great - in the ocean of fantasy- trash there are some really talented works).

    But anyway to say that "Russia rejects American culture" is to say just the opposite of the truth.

    East-Euro fantasy/scifi helped kick off the genre over here in the Anglo-American world. Funny how things intersect sometimes…

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  146. Alien invasions – never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works – impossible. Apocalypse can happen in capitalist countries, but not here. Soviet Union is on the right side of history and will never fall.

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion.

    It’s a cult classic in Hungary. I don’t know any other books by them, though I think they wrote many, and a lot (maybe all?) were translated to Hungarian.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion. It’s a cult classic in Hungary. I don’t know any other books by them, though I think they wrote many, and a lot (maybe all?) were translated to Hungarian.
     
    The brothers Strugatsky the best novels of the Noon Universe series https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noon_Universe :
    Hard to Be a God (Трудно быть богом), Prisoners of Power (Обитаемый остров), Space Mowgli (Малыш), The Kid from Hell (Парень из преисподней), Beetle in the Anthill (Жук в муравейнике), The Time Wanderers (Волны гасят ветер).
    , @Darin

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion.
     
    The Roadside Picnic is no invasion - the aliens arrive, do their things and depart (if there really were aliens and not some unknown natural phenomenon) and no apocalypse - the Zones, six circles of few km diameter are destroyed, life outside goes on, greatly benefitting from incomprehensible alien technology (miraculous bracelets prolonging life, eternal batteries that replaced coal, oil and other Earthly energy sources etc..). No disaster, but utopia.
    The story happens in unnamed capitalist country, and the troubles are caused by "stalkers" driven by greed that explore the zones and meddle with things they do not understand. Strugatsky brothers do not show us what is happening in zones in Soviet Union, because there is no story to tell - in the USSR, the Zones were isolated and studied by professional Soviet scientists, no way disasters would happen ;-)
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  147. @The Big Red Scary

    In this cycle the story went by an alternative route, and Russia in the early 21st century is a part of China (under the control of the descendants of Genghis Khan, emperors of the yuan dynasty).
     
    Sounds like a probable outcome for the middle of the 21st century in our own world.

    Thanks for the list. I have read Master and Margarita, and enjoyed it, but don’t pretend to have understood it. I’ll look into the others. If anyone else out there has other recommendations, please chime in.

    I have read Master and Margarita,

    One of the few books that I have read several times. I might read it once more.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  148. @Mr. Hack
    One important point of comparison that you should have mentioned in either this post or in the previous post, one that has great impact on almost all other spheres of modern life, is of course the discrepancy in the number of high quality roads that dominate in the U.S., and that are sorely lacking in Russia. This very feature should be considered as the calling card of any truly highly civilized country.

    Mixed bag. The roads in Alabama were surprisingly good when I was there in 2005. Better than what I’m used to even in the that state’s most remote areas. They’re pretty bad in the Bay Area and in other older urban locales suffering from dilapidation.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  149. @Darin

    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist.
     
    True, western style fantasy was seen in the USSR as obscurantist pro-feudal literature and not translated, but there were exceptions - Tolkien's Hobbit, seen as children fairy tale, was translated and even made into full-length movie. Take this, Peter Jackson.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evHtm2xCMdU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtVnt0qrJ6M

    (there used to be English subtitled version, but copyright ate it ;-( )

    Fantasy was not alone - most of Western science fiction genres were incompatible with Marxist ideology and unacceptable.

    Alternate history - no way. History advances according to scientific laws and could not have progressed differently. The same with time travel stories.

    Alien invasions - never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works - impossible. Apocalypse can happen in capitalist countries, but not here. Soviet Union is on the right side of history and will never fall.

    Alien invasions – never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    In the novels of Sergei Snegova “The Galactic Reconnaissance” (1966) and “The Invasion of Perseus” (1968) earthlings reflect the expansion of a sinister civilization of “Destroyers”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  150. @reiner Tor

    Alien invasions – never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works – impossible. Apocalypse can happen in capitalist countries, but not here. Soviet Union is on the right side of history and will never fall.
     

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion.

    It’s a cult classic in Hungary. I don’t know any other books by them, though I think they wrote many, and a lot (maybe all?) were translated to Hungarian.

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion. It’s a cult classic in Hungary. I don’t know any other books by them, though I think they wrote many, and a lot (maybe all?) were translated to Hungarian.

    The brothers Strugatsky the best novels of the Noon Universe series https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noon_Universe :
    Hard to Be a God (Трудно быть богом), Prisoners of Power (Обитаемый остров), Space Mowgli (Малыш), The Kid from Hell (Парень из преисподней), Beetle in the Anthill (Жук в муравейнике), The Time Wanderers (Волны гасят ветер).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Also worth noting Prisoners of Power (Обитаемый остров) could be interpreted as both post-apocalypse and alternate history, while the Land of the Unknown Fathers are such a transparent satire on the USSR that I sometimes wonder how it was ever published.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  151. @reiner Tor

    Alien invasions – never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works – impossible. Apocalypse can happen in capitalist countries, but not here. Soviet Union is on the right side of history and will never fall.
     

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion.

    It’s a cult classic in Hungary. I don’t know any other books by them, though I think they wrote many, and a lot (maybe all?) were translated to Hungarian.

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion.

    The Roadside Picnic is no invasion – the aliens arrive, do their things and depart (if there really were aliens and not some unknown natural phenomenon) and no apocalypse – the Zones, six circles of few km diameter are destroyed, life outside goes on, greatly benefitting from incomprehensible alien technology (miraculous bracelets prolonging life, eternal batteries that replaced coal, oil and other Earthly energy sources etc..). No disaster, but utopia.
    The story happens in unnamed capitalist country, and the troubles are caused by “stalkers” driven by greed that explore the zones and meddle with things they do not understand. Strugatsky brothers do not show us what is happening in zones in Soviet Union, because there is no story to tell – in the USSR, the Zones were isolated and studied by professional Soviet scientists, no way disasters would happen ;-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    It’s not exactly a utopia. While the stalkers are presumed not to exist in socialist countries, it’s obvious that the damage was done in the zones there, too. There’s no way to tell if the phenomenon could be repeated, and if it could or would be repeated on a larger scale. There’s nothing to assure us something similar cannot even destroy our entire planet. It also makes the obvious point that it could have been aliens (communist aliens or not), which is just as horrifying as a “real” alien invasion would be. It’s like how the Mongols left Central Europe in 1242 - there’s no explanation and a lingering fear that they might come back.

    PS. There’s also the obvious point that nobody figured it out. Not even the Soviet scientists.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  152. @Darin

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion.
     
    The Roadside Picnic is no invasion - the aliens arrive, do their things and depart (if there really were aliens and not some unknown natural phenomenon) and no apocalypse - the Zones, six circles of few km diameter are destroyed, life outside goes on, greatly benefitting from incomprehensible alien technology (miraculous bracelets prolonging life, eternal batteries that replaced coal, oil and other Earthly energy sources etc..). No disaster, but utopia.
    The story happens in unnamed capitalist country, and the troubles are caused by "stalkers" driven by greed that explore the zones and meddle with things they do not understand. Strugatsky brothers do not show us what is happening in zones in Soviet Union, because there is no story to tell - in the USSR, the Zones were isolated and studied by professional Soviet scientists, no way disasters would happen ;-)

    It’s not exactly a utopia. While the stalkers are presumed not to exist in socialist countries, it’s obvious that the damage was done in the zones there, too. There’s no way to tell if the phenomenon could be repeated, and if it could or would be repeated on a larger scale. There’s nothing to assure us something similar cannot even destroy our entire planet. It also makes the obvious point that it could have been aliens (communist aliens or not), which is just as horrifying as a “real” alien invasion would be. It’s like how the Mongols left Central Europe in 1242 – there’s no explanation and a lingering fear that they might come back.

    PS. There’s also the obvious point that nobody figured it out. Not even the Soviet scientists.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  153. @Mr. Hack
    One important point of comparison that you should have mentioned in either this post or in the previous post, one that has great impact on almost all other spheres of modern life, is of course the discrepancy in the number of high quality roads that dominate in the U.S., and that are sorely lacking in Russia. This very feature should be considered as the calling card of any truly highly civilized country.

    I have lived in Germany and South Korea, and the roads in these two countries are of significantly, observably, undeniably higher quality than the roads in the U.S.A. Does this make the U.S.A. an uncivilized country? I would say yes, but we know how sensitive and deluded you Americans are. You expect and demand flattery.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    I would say yes, but we know how sensitive and deluded you Americans are. You expect and demand flattery.

    In your imagination only. The reality is that a great many of us are sick of being presented with the bill for other people's failures and dysfuctions and we're sick of being told (by our own chatterati and their counterparts abroad) that we're just so vulgar and unsophisticated compared to...the Canadians, or the Germans or the Swedes. Blow it out your ass.
    , @Mr. Hack
    Although, roads in South Korea and Germany may be better than in the US, at least they're comparable. The road systems in the US and Russia are not even comparable! :-(

    99% of the roads in Russia are filled with holes, rocks and are notorious for detroying a cars shock absorbers. This doesn't even address the paucity of roads in Russia to begin with.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  154. @German_reader

    Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on
     
    Is that really still true today?
    And while I think much of US popular culture is pretty horrible, I think AK is right, there really is a problem here, European countries produce nothing that is even remotely competitive with US mass culture. Europe feels old, exhausted and culturally stagnant today, nothing new is produced, and we're losing sight of our own cultural traditions (e.g. just see the decline of Latin in European school systems). And all the while Americanization relentlessly continues, with the most pernicious notions of US public discourse like "white privilege" now turning up in Europe as well and the US's racial politics seen as a model to be imitated by us (instead of a cautionary tale what not to do).

    EDIT: Oops, I made a mistake, that was meant as a reply to "PolishPerspective", sorry.

    And while I think much of US popular culture is pretty horrible,

    You’ve almost certainly never been exposed to it. See Anthony Esolen on the distinction between popular culture and mass entertainment. Popular culture consists of the songs people sing with their own voices and play on their own instruments (or the literature they read on their own time). Things can start out as mass entertainment and be adopted by the public at large, of course.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  155. @Kam Phlodius
    I have lived in Germany and South Korea, and the roads in these two countries are of significantly, observably, undeniably higher quality than the roads in the U.S.A. Does this make the U.S.A. an uncivilized country? I would say yes, but we know how sensitive and deluded you Americans are. You expect and demand flattery.

    I would say yes, but we know how sensitive and deluded you Americans are. You expect and demand flattery.

    In your imagination only. The reality is that a great many of us are sick of being presented with the bill for other people’s failures and dysfuctions and we’re sick of being told (by our own chatterati and their counterparts abroad) that we’re just so vulgar and unsophisticated compared to…the Canadians, or the Germans or the Swedes. Blow it out your ass.

    Read More
    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Gerard2

    In your imagination only. The reality is that a great many of us are sick of being presented with the bill for other people’s failures and dysfuctions and we’re sick of being told (by our own chatterati and their counterparts abroad) that we’re just so vulgar and unsophisticated compared to…the Canadians, or the Germans or the Swedes. Blow it out your ass.
     
    Not a good time to make this claim in a week when in Russia has been released a film based on the incredible victory of the USSR over the USA in the Olympics Basketball final in Munich 1972.....a victory in which the usual stereotypical "ugly American" scumbags refused to collect their silver medal and moaned about the result for decades. I would agree that Germans, and to a lesser extent Canadians are capable of the same level of boorish,vulgarity and unsophistication...but that is hardly a defence of the behaviour of , if not a majority ( many of them an be very friendly), but certainly a sizeble minority of Americans.

    But expecting and demanding flattery (profound insecurity) is a particularly American issue
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  156. @Dmitry
    Anatoly fair article (although issues like guns are hardly top of our minds when we choose to immigrate).

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).

    In a case where securing a good job in the US is not arranged before trying to immigrate, it is of course better to stay in Russia. But if you are a Russian who has high skillset and talents - America is indeed a kind of miracle. A sufficiently talented computer scientist - can walk into job with annual salary of $200,000 a year in Palo Alto. Now in Moscow there are hundreds of $60,000 a year computer science jobs - (some Russian salaries, especially for multi-national companies, can be higher even in nominal terms than in many 'supposedly Western' countries like Israel, and this combined with lower cost of living) - but the number of jobs is far fewer compared to in US, and the competition in application is at least as high, if with lower paperwork hassle.

    For people with the right skills - America is a kind of paradise. But the reality is that this is issue is only relevant or available to a small portion of the labour-force in Russia (or indeed the United States itself).

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).

    I’m sure there are many people with a wide variety of occupations (some prestigious, some not) that post on here. I would say many of the people you deem as complainers are “black pilled” to some degree, they can see the emperor has no clothes (from their POV right or wrongly), and have become frenetic getting their point across.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  157. @Thorfinnsson


    Popular understanding of credit and home economics seems low. When I got my credit card here from state-owned banking giant Sberbank, it was marketed to me as a way to get expensive goods during the New Year holidays, whereas in the United States the talking points would be about building up a credit rating.

    This reflects the fact that Russians don’t understand personal finance and have low future time orientation relative to the Anglo/Protestant world. One American who works in a Russian media organization says that bonuses are paid out to staff to coincide with the start of the holiday season, the assumption being that they would have otherwise spent it and have no money to go to the Crimea or Egypt. As an American who understands the concept of saving up, he had to push through a special exception for himself with the accounting department.
     
    Let's not romanticize Americans too much here. My local credit union offers personal loans for "Christmas cash" (nice of them to say Christmas). You can see more on the financial carnage Christmas inflicts on the average ordinary nobody here: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/12/17/christmas-its-costlier-than-you-think.aspx

    A Federal Reserve study found that half of Americans do not have enough cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/nearly-half-dont-have-the-cash-to-pay-for-a-400-emergency-fed-survey-finds-2017-05-19

    The Baby Boomer generation has embarrassingly low retirement savings: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/032216/are-we-baby-boomer-retirement-crisis.asp

    Now it is perhaps true that America's deep, sophisticated consumer credit markets are partly responsible for this embarrassing state of affairs. Prior to the mid-1990s the household savings rate had hovered around 10% since the 1920s, comparable to Germany. That said, a truly sophisticated understanding of finance informs one that credit can disappear--particularly in a crisis (whether personal or national) which reduces creditworthiness. After the financial crisis many strapped Americans were shocked to discover their home equity line of credit suddenly revoked.

    Of course access to consumer finance and investment products in America are better than anywhere else in the world, and a deep pool of knowledge is available if one is interested (even Reddit is pretty good, even if the betas at r/personalfinance banned me for stating that diversification is for losers). 0% introductory APR credit cards, commission free brokerage trades (Robinhood), and huge varieties of tax advantaged investment accounts (401k, IRA, Roth IRA, 403b, HSA, 529 plan, and more) do not exist elsewhere in the world. Not only is trading securities cheaper than anywhere else (or in the case of funds, expense ratio costs), but the USA has the world's largest financial markets by far with innumerable high quality assets.

    And contrary to myth, financial regulation is quite good. The USA was the first nation to regulate securities issuance, ban insider trading, and guarantee bank deposits and brokerage accounts. Personal bankruptcy laws are generous compared to most other advanced countries, and substantial government support exists to make long-term mortgages available to nearly all people. The bad features of American financial regulation consist primarily of looking the other way at Wall Street gambling (sounds bad, but has only blown up nationally twice in the past century) and predatory feasting on the dull (immoral, but irrelevant and even beneficial for the readers of this article).

    The biggest disadvantage here is American extraterritorial taxation and banking laws. Extraterritorial taxation is being abolished with the new tax cut, and the draconian foreign reporting laws (FATCA) which make it extremely difficult to open foreign bank and brokerage accounts (fortunately Denmark's Saxo Bank opens foreign brokerage accounts for Americans) are reportedly next on the chopping block.


    Bureaucracy

    The Russian bureaucracy is a *lot* better than it used to be, especially in the “My Documents” centers that have proliferated in recent years as part of a government initiative to make bureaucratic services more transparent and accessible to citizens. In comparison to 2007, there are fewer papers to fill out, many more tasks can be done online, and staff are more courteous. This is reflected in Russia moving from around 120th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings a decade ago, to 35th as of 2017.

    Which still makes it a horrendous nightmare by Anglo standards.

    Far fewer tasks and operations need to be confirmed with the bureaucracy in the first place, and those that do – with the notable exception of the DMV – tend to go far more smoothly.
     
    And you lived in the Bay Area. In whitopia/flyover country, encounters with government bureaucrats are fast, efficient, and friendly. At my local DMV issues of any kind are resolved within minutes, there are no lines, and service comes with a smile.


    Amazon Prime
     
    You could really just expand this into retail in general. America has more retail square footage per person than any other country--almost twenty times as much as Germany. Walmart, for at its lumpenproleness, is remarkable. Costco is a marvelous testament to American civilization and is beloved in all foreign countries it opens in. Jet.com (now owned by Walmart) sells bulk goods (think large packages of paper towels) far cheaper than Amazon and throws in free shipping for orders over $35. Manufacturers/brands which attempt to sell direct to consumers generally offer free shipping over a minimum order amount in order to prevent Amazon from becoming their only channel.

    I'm not sure if this extends to Russia, but in Western Europe you have to pay for grocery bags and shopping carts (you get your coin back when you return the cart admittedly), and you're forced to bag your own groceries like a loser. This is unheard of in America other than at ALDI (a German chain), Trader Joe's (owned by ALDI North), and warehouse stores.

    And you lived in the Bay Area. In whitopia/flyover country, encounters with government bureaucrats are fast, efficient, and friendly. At my local DMV issues of any kind are resolved within minutes, there are no lines, and service comes with a smile.

    From a Canadian perspective, I have in general, found Americans to be more friendly and folksy towards strangers in a way Canadians are not. You encounter some of this in Atlantic Canada, but I’m still genuinely surprised how much more gregarious say, New Yorkers (yes, even New Yorkers) are than Torontonians.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivan K.
    This. In respect to the possibility of living in Russia, I can go through physical hardship without a whimper, the topic of art performances and screenings strikes me as marginal, but
    - people not responding to your greetings,
    - littering and vandalism
    - lack of culture of mutual assistance in small things, like giving a helpful information,

    ... IS.

    I want to be among people who are constantly aware that they have much more in common with their neighbour / colleague than with the establishment / the boss. I'm not sure if I'd find it in Russia at least as much as in Canada.

    , @RadicalCenter
    From the little contact that I had with people from the Maritimes -- over the phone on quite a number of occasions -- they were a lot friendlier and warmer than other Canadians, indeed more like what I'm accustomed to from Americans (at least, from non-African Americans).

    It was a pleasure dealing with the folks in NS that I used to talk with. Made me want to visit the Maritimes, and that's still on my list.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  158. @Art Deco
    Second, I am not actively looking for a job. However, based on people with similar profiles to me, I think chances are high that I will be able to find something in the 150,000-250,000R range if I really had to. I’m not particularly interested in that right now, since I don’t have a pressing need for it, and rather appreciate my NEET lyfestyle (no schedules, wake up whenever I want, etc).

    Hope you change your mind and find work. You might also benefit from a wife and children; most men do; Sam Kinison was lying.

    Are the beneficiaries the lucky 50% that have not gotten around to filing divorce papers because they find their health care benefits too valuable, taxes more economical to file ‘married’ or just too pooped out due to inertia from the everyday grind of married life? Anti-depressants, for all of the bad press, are still rampant in society. :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    About 40% of generic marriages end in divorce in this country. The figure is lower for 1st marriages. Very few people have long-term separations. About 19 months is the norm between separation and divorce. Bachelors tend to abuse themselves (heavy drinking) and have high suicide rates.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  159. @Kam Phlodius
    I have lived in Germany and South Korea, and the roads in these two countries are of significantly, observably, undeniably higher quality than the roads in the U.S.A. Does this make the U.S.A. an uncivilized country? I would say yes, but we know how sensitive and deluded you Americans are. You expect and demand flattery.

    Although, roads in South Korea and Germany may be better than in the US, at least they’re comparable. The road systems in the US and Russia are not even comparable! :-(

    99% of the roads in Russia are filled with holes, rocks and are notorious for detroying a cars shock absorbers. This doesn’t even address the paucity of roads in Russia to begin with.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    99% of the roads in Russia are filled with holes, rocks and are notorious for detroying a cars shock absorbers.
     
    99% is not an exaggeration but сomplete nonsense
    , @RadicalCenter
    The USA needs to pay for the upkeep of far more miles of road per person than Germany and France.

    Russia needs to pay for the construction and upkeep of FAR FAR more miles of road per person than the USA, let alone the geographically little European countries.

    So Germany can't justifiably snark about their roads being better. It's an Aepfel-to-Orangen Vergleich (an apples-to-oranges comparison ;)

    ........

    But having said that, HALF of the One trillion dollars or more that the US gov wastes every year on nondefensive, nonretributive, usually undeclared wars, would fund every road and bridge repair needed in the whole country. And gradually that would fund a high-speed rail network as well.

    (What about the other half of them money saved if we stop these constant wars and occupations? Well, it was all borrowed anyway, so that other half should just be "NOT SPENT", a strange old fashioned term I encountered in books.)
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  160. @melanf

    The Strugatsky brothers still wrote Roadside Picnic. It pretty much a post-apocalypse after a horrible alien invasion. It’s a cult classic in Hungary. I don’t know any other books by them, though I think they wrote many, and a lot (maybe all?) were translated to Hungarian.
     
    The brothers Strugatsky the best novels of the Noon Universe series https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noon_Universe :
    Hard to Be a God (Трудно быть богом), Prisoners of Power (Обитаемый остров), Space Mowgli (Малыш), The Kid from Hell (Парень из преисподней), Beetle in the Anthill (Жук в муравейнике), The Time Wanderers (Волны гасят ветер).

    Also worth noting Prisoners of Power (Обитаемый остров) could be interpreted as both post-apocalypse and alternate history, while the Land of the Unknown Fathers are such a transparent satire on the USSR that I sometimes wonder how it was ever published.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    while the Land of the Unknown Fathers are such a transparent satire on the USSR that I sometimes wonder how it was ever published.
     
    As practice shows Land of the Unknown Fathers is an allegory, to the whole of modern civilization. "Free press" has long surpassed the Soviet Agitprop on the degree of falsity, and the extent of the brainwashing. And those who conduct brainwashing companies- are they not unknown fathers?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  161. @Anatoly Karlin
    Also worth noting Prisoners of Power (Обитаемый остров) could be interpreted as both post-apocalypse and alternate history, while the Land of the Unknown Fathers are such a transparent satire on the USSR that I sometimes wonder how it was ever published.

    while the Land of the Unknown Fathers are such a transparent satire on the USSR that I sometimes wonder how it was ever published.

    As practice shows Land of the Unknown Fathers is an allegory, to the whole of modern civilization. “Free press” has long surpassed the Soviet Agitprop on the degree of falsity, and the extent of the brainwashing. And those who conduct brainwashing companies- are they not unknown fathers?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  162. @Mr. Hack
    Are the beneficiaries the lucky 50% that have not gotten around to filing divorce papers because they find their health care benefits too valuable, taxes more economical to file 'married' or just too pooped out due to inertia from the everyday grind of married life? Anti-depressants, for all of the bad press, are still rampant in society. :-)

    About 40% of generic marriages end in divorce in this country. The figure is lower for 1st marriages. Very few people have long-term separations. About 19 months is the norm between separation and divorce. Bachelors tend to abuse themselves (heavy drinking) and have high suicide rates.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    There are way too many divorces, to be sure. But in the USA the stats show that couples who attend church together regularly (weekly or almost weekly) have a much lower divorce rate.

    Also, people who marry at a slightly later age (not the absurdly late first-marriage ages we often see today, just not 18 or 20) have a lower divorce rate. Of divorces, how many result from marriages where the people got married in their teens? My own father was married at age eighteen, then divorced in less than a decade, then married my mother and was married for the remaining fifty-plus years of his life.

    The point is that it's potentially misleading to tell people that X percent of marriages generally end in divorce.

    For people who are not very young when they marry, and attend church together regularly, the divorce rate is drastically lower.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  163. @Mr. Hack
    Although, roads in South Korea and Germany may be better than in the US, at least they're comparable. The road systems in the US and Russia are not even comparable! :-(

    99% of the roads in Russia are filled with holes, rocks and are notorious for detroying a cars shock absorbers. This doesn't even address the paucity of roads in Russia to begin with.

    99% of the roads in Russia are filled with holes, rocks and are notorious for detroying a cars shock absorbers.

    99% is not an exaggeration but сomplete nonsense

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  164. @Mr. Hack
    Although, roads in South Korea and Germany may be better than in the US, at least they're comparable. The road systems in the US and Russia are not even comparable! :-(

    99% of the roads in Russia are filled with holes, rocks and are notorious for detroying a cars shock absorbers. This doesn't even address the paucity of roads in Russia to begin with.

    The USA needs to pay for the upkeep of far more miles of road per person than Germany and France.

    Russia needs to pay for the construction and upkeep of FAR FAR more miles of road per person than the USA, let alone the geographically little European countries.

    So Germany can’t justifiably snark about their roads being better. It’s an Aepfel-to-Orangen Vergleich (an apples-to-oranges comparison ;)

    ……..

    But having said that, HALF of the One trillion dollars or more that the US gov wastes every year on nondefensive, nonretributive, usually undeclared wars, would fund every road and bridge repair needed in the whole country. And gradually that would fund a high-speed rail network as well.

    (What about the other half of them money saved if we stop these constant wars and occupations? Well, it was all borrowed anyway, so that other half should just be “NOT SPENT”, a strange old fashioned term I encountered in books.)

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  165. @Art Deco
    About 40% of generic marriages end in divorce in this country. The figure is lower for 1st marriages. Very few people have long-term separations. About 19 months is the norm between separation and divorce. Bachelors tend to abuse themselves (heavy drinking) and have high suicide rates.

    There are way too many divorces, to be sure. But in the USA the stats show that couples who attend church together regularly (weekly or almost weekly) have a much lower divorce rate.

    Also, people who marry at a slightly later age (not the absurdly late first-marriage ages we often see today, just not 18 or 20) have a lower divorce rate. Of divorces, how many result from marriages where the people got married in their teens? My own father was married at age eighteen, then divorced in less than a decade, then married my mother and was married for the remaining fifty-plus years of his life.

    The point is that it’s potentially misleading to tell people that X percent of marriages generally end in divorce.

    For people who are not very young when they marry, and attend church together regularly, the divorce rate is drastically lower.

    Read More
    • Agree: Miro23
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  166. @Darin

    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist.
     
    True, western style fantasy was seen in the USSR as obscurantist pro-feudal literature and not translated, but there were exceptions - Tolkien's Hobbit, seen as children fairy tale, was translated and even made into full-length movie. Take this, Peter Jackson.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evHtm2xCMdU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtVnt0qrJ6M

    (there used to be English subtitled version, but copyright ate it ;-( )

    Fantasy was not alone - most of Western science fiction genres were incompatible with Marxist ideology and unacceptable.

    Alternate history - no way. History advances according to scientific laws and could not have progressed differently. The same with time travel stories.

    Alien invasions - never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works - impossible. Apocalypse can happen in capitalist countries, but not here. Soviet Union is on the right side of history and will never fall.

    Alien invasions – never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Beyond the works already cited by others, the Moscow-Cassiopeia duology is another exception to this rule. Although the focus there is more the dangers of artificial intelligence.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  167. @Dmitry
    Chet Bradley - No and please don't the assume life and knowledge of other people. I work for a multi-national corporation and have lived and worked previously in Ireland. I also have friends working in Israel and my brother is in the United States. My brother indeed lives in Menlo Park for over a year and cycles each day to work Palo Alto. I have visited him, as many other parts of the United States. I have very first-hand experience. He rents a modern bedroom apartment for around $2500 per month if I remember (I could be wrong) . This is a modern, high-quality bedroom apartment. He has healthcare, gym membership and money left over for regular plane tickets to travel (his last holiday was to go to Japan). He is now planning to buy a new 2018 Subaru Impreza. Again, if this is your definition of 'not much', which it appears to be in the context of your remark - it is rather comical. Standard of living is incredible. But - as I said earlier - this is a product of studying very hard at university.

    No and please don’t the assume life and knowledge of other people.

    You started it, comment #65:

    The Americans who complain all day on websites like this one, are almost all people that did not manage to get good jobs (hence the anger, which colours political views).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  168. @Deepy6
    A $2500 apartment is $30,000 per year which is 15% of $200,000 and 23% of the after-tax figure of $130,000. People often spend @40% of their pay on housing to live in Coastal California.

    In this Palo Alto scenario, this single guy would have $100,000 dollars a year to play with after paying taxes and rent. Insurance, car payments, food etc. will bring it down to say, $70,000. Splurge a little ($20K seems enough) and you still have $50,000 in the bank.

    Why is this guy's situation supposed to be hopeless?

    Why is this guy’s situation supposed to be hopeless?

    It’s swell actually, if he plans to never marry and never own a house.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  169. @melanf
    A single cluster is three classic works of Russian literature "Evenings on a farm near Dikanka" Nikolai Gogol, "the Vampire" by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy and "the Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov.

    Of modern Russian fantasy, from what I've read the Best are:

    "Wizards and Ministers" by Yulia Latynina (Latynina unsympathetic lady, but the book is talented). The novel is stylized as the ancient Chinese prose, and as far as I can know, totally original.

    The cycle (of four books) "The Guard" by Alexey Pehov. The main character is a hunter on the dark souls (escaped from purgatory), in an alternate Europe around the 1500.
    http://s00.yaplakal.com/pics/pics_preview/2/4/7/10412742.jpg

    "The Illustrious" steampunk fantasy by Pavel Kornev
    https://img.labirint.ru/images/comments_pic/1519/0_58bc9ccfe5bbd5308823b617ab5023bf_1431187789.jpg


    If fantasy about modern Russia
    "The little girl and Karlsson" by Alexander Mazin: Scandinavian Troll arrives in St. Petersburg for vendetta old enemy - elf. However, the elf in Russia managed to become an oligarch, so to Troll it is necessary to solve a difficult task.




    If you look for the "Eurasian" fantasy, the only known to me example of a humorous series "the Eurasian Symphony" Holm van Zaichik .
    http://cp12.nevsepic.com.ua/77-3/1355583752-1196194-www.nevsepic.com.ua.jpg

    In this cycle the story went by an alternative route, and Russia in the early 21st century is a part of China (under the control of the descendants of Genghis Khan, emperors of the yuan dynasty).

    Genghis Khan is not the emperor of the Yuan dynasty. His grandson Kublai Khan is.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Genghis Khan is not the emperor of the Yuan dynasty. His grandson Kublai Khan is.
     
    Probably рoorly expressed thought. In an alternate world Holm van Zaichik emperors of the yuan dynasty (descendants of Genghis Khan) still ruled most of Eurasia from the Karakorum.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  170. @melanf

    There is no better life in America
    than being a college professor! Where else do you get 3 months of vacation?
     
    In Russia college professor have a 2.5 month summer vacation, and monthly winter vacation.

    Salary is rather terrible, though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @melanf

    Salary (of College professors in Russia) is rather terrible, though.
     
    This is not entirely true. The workload of a Professor is really very small. That is, the Professor is working 6-7 hours per week and receives 25 to 35 thousand rubles a month (at least in St. Petersburg). In fact, the Professor earns the money (25-35 thousand virtually any) for the time equivalent to 4 eight-hour working day. Because of this, many have additional job and get quite good money.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  171. @DB Cooper
    Genghis Khan is not the emperor of the Yuan dynasty. His grandson Kublai Khan is.

    Genghis Khan is not the emperor of the Yuan dynasty. His grandson Kublai Khan is.

    Probably рoorly expressed thought. In an alternate world Holm van Zaichik emperors of the yuan dynasty (descendants of Genghis Khan) still ruled most of Eurasia from the Karakorum.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  172. @AP
    Salary is rather terrible, though.

    Salary (of College professors in Russia) is rather terrible, though.

    This is not entirely true. The workload of a Professor is really very small. That is, the Professor is working 6-7 hours per week and receives 25 to 35 thousand rubles a month (at least in St. Petersburg). In fact, the Professor earns the money (25-35 thousand virtually any) for the time equivalent to 4 eight-hour working day. Because of this, many have additional job and get quite good money.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Correct in some cases. They make up salaries by working as private tutors in their spare time; some lecture at a legitimate state school and for extra money also lecture at shady private universities (at least this was the case a few years ago - has the government cracked down on this practice?). But they are still working about 30 hours per week at their regular job so they only have so much time to make up the extra money. Moreover, I know a couple of professors at medical institutes and they work normal hours with the low salary you mention. For this reason many of the good, non-corrupt professors are older folks who started their careers as such as can't transition to something else.

    Professors make less than schoolteachers, because the latter are more indispensable.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  173. @Art Deco
    I would say yes, but we know how sensitive and deluded you Americans are. You expect and demand flattery.

    In your imagination only. The reality is that a great many of us are sick of being presented with the bill for other people's failures and dysfuctions and we're sick of being told (by our own chatterati and their counterparts abroad) that we're just so vulgar and unsophisticated compared to...the Canadians, or the Germans or the Swedes. Blow it out your ass.

    In your imagination only. The reality is that a great many of us are sick of being presented with the bill for other people’s failures and dysfuctions and we’re sick of being told (by our own chatterati and their counterparts abroad) that we’re just so vulgar and unsophisticated compared to…the Canadians, or the Germans or the Swedes. Blow it out your ass.

    Not a good time to make this claim in a week when in Russia has been released a film based on the incredible victory of the USSR over the USA in the Olympics Basketball final in Munich 1972…..a victory in which the usual stereotypical “ugly American” scumbags refused to collect their silver medal and moaned about the result for decades. I would agree that Germans, and to a lesser extent Canadians are capable of the same level of boorish,vulgarity and unsophistication…but that is hardly a defence of the behaviour of , if not a majority ( many of them an be very friendly), but certainly a sizeble minority of Americans.

    But expecting and demanding flattery (profound insecurity) is a particularly American issue

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  174. Beyond the works already cited by others, the Moscow-Cassiopeia duology is another exception to this rule. Although the focus there is more the dangers of artificial intelligence.

    Odd bit of trivia about Moscow-Cassiopeia (1974): The “кают-компания” aboard the spaceship depicted in the film, is apparently the earliest appearance of a Star Trek-style tactile holodeck.

    Starting at 39:57 here:

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  175. @melanf

    Salary (of College professors in Russia) is rather terrible, though.
     
    This is not entirely true. The workload of a Professor is really very small. That is, the Professor is working 6-7 hours per week and receives 25 to 35 thousand rubles a month (at least in St. Petersburg). In fact, the Professor earns the money (25-35 thousand virtually any) for the time equivalent to 4 eight-hour working day. Because of this, many have additional job and get quite good money.

    Correct in some cases. They make up salaries by working as private tutors in their spare time; some lecture at a legitimate state school and for extra money also lecture at shady private universities (at least this was the case a few years ago – has the government cracked down on this practice?). But they are still working about 30 hours per week at their regular job so they only have so much time to make up the extra money. Moreover, I know a couple of professors at medical institutes and they work normal hours with the low salary you mention. For this reason many of the good, non-corrupt professors are older folks who started their careers as such as can’t transition to something else.

    Professors make less than schoolteachers, because the latter are more indispensable.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    They have cracked down on that - lots of these fictive and semi-fictive colleges have lost their accreditation in the past few years.

    I will have a huge article on the state of Russian science in a month or two (it's already written), but to summarize the section to do with academic salaries:

    * Salaries were horrific 5 years ago and earlier; things are now modestly better, but still quite horrific (including RAN).
    * They are quite respectable now at the 20 institutions of higher learning included in the 5/100 program (https://5top100.ru/universities/). A professor I know at MFTI (FizTech) who only teaches gets $2,000.
    * The only place where salaries are genuinely competitive with First World standards (after PPP adjustment) is the Higher School of Economics.

    ... because the latter are more indispensable.
     
    And, one might pessimistically note, indispensable in a real political sense (those extra fictive ballots for Putin/UR aren't going to count themselves).
    , @melanf

    But they are still working about 30 hours per week at their regular job
     
    No. At least my colleagues are working a lot, lot less. Or they work 30 hours a week, but then their salary is much more. average.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  176. @AP
    Correct in some cases. They make up salaries by working as private tutors in their spare time; some lecture at a legitimate state school and for extra money also lecture at shady private universities (at least this was the case a few years ago - has the government cracked down on this practice?). But they are still working about 30 hours per week at their regular job so they only have so much time to make up the extra money. Moreover, I know a couple of professors at medical institutes and they work normal hours with the low salary you mention. For this reason many of the good, non-corrupt professors are older folks who started their careers as such as can't transition to something else.

    Professors make less than schoolteachers, because the latter are more indispensable.

    They have cracked down on that – lots of these fictive and semi-fictive colleges have lost their accreditation in the past few years.

    I will have a huge article on the state of Russian science in a month or two (it’s already written), but to summarize the section to do with academic salaries:

    * Salaries were horrific 5 years ago and earlier; things are now modestly better, but still quite horrific (including RAN).
    * They are quite respectable now at the 20 institutions of higher learning included in the 5/100 program (https://5top100.ru/universities/). A professor I know at MFTI (FizTech) who only teaches gets $2,000.
    * The only place where salaries are genuinely competitive with First World standards (after PPP adjustment) is the Higher School of Economics.

    … because the latter are more indispensable.

    And, one might pessimistically note, indispensable in a real political sense (those extra fictive ballots for Putin/UR aren’t going to count themselves).

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  177. @AP
    Correct in some cases. They make up salaries by working as private tutors in their spare time; some lecture at a legitimate state school and for extra money also lecture at shady private universities (at least this was the case a few years ago - has the government cracked down on this practice?). But they are still working about 30 hours per week at their regular job so they only have so much time to make up the extra money. Moreover, I know a couple of professors at medical institutes and they work normal hours with the low salary you mention. For this reason many of the good, non-corrupt professors are older folks who started their careers as such as can't transition to something else.

    Professors make less than schoolteachers, because the latter are more indispensable.

    But they are still working about 30 hours per week at their regular job

    No. At least my colleagues are working a lot, lot less. Or they work 30 hours a week, but then their salary is much more. average.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon 2
    A full professor (highest rank in the U.S. above assistant
    prof. and associate prof.) at a middling institution like
    California State University at Long Beach makes about
    $8,000/month, i.e., $90-$100,000 per annum before
    taxes. Since this is a state university, after retirement he's
    entitled to a state pension (about $2,500-$3,000/mo depending
    on the number of years of employment) and (Federal)
    Social Security (about $2,500/mo depending on total
    lifetime income).

    Two caveats:

    1. California has a very high cost of living (esp. housing);

    2. The Cal State system only awards Masters degrees, and
    not Ph.D.'s but these days requires research papers published
    in prestigious journals for tenure and promotion. Still, $90,000
    for 8-9 months of work - not a bad gig. And with tenure you have
    lifetime security. Plus you go to conferences often held at exotic
    tropical locations where you're wined and dined in style. True,
    you have to present a research paper but then after you've been in
    a given field for decades, you can do it blindfolded.

    3. I picked a middling institution like CSULB because most college
    profs are employed at such places

    State research universities (Ph.D. granting) like UCLA and UC Berkeley pay
    considerably more. "Star" professors (e.g. Nobel laureates) can easily
    make $250 -$300,000 a year in addition to summer grants that can
    add another $30,000.

    At private universities like Harvard, Stanford or Caltech the sky is the
    limit - med or law school professors often make more than the President
    of the United States.

    As I said before, being a college/university professor in the
    United States is one of the best choices you can make in life.
    Of course, I'm biased. That was my path in life, and I have
    thoroughly enjoyed it
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  178. Although Russian prices are 2x cheaper than America’s, the blunt fact is that wages are also 4x-5x lower.

    Consequently, the standard of living in the US relative to Russia is at least twice higher.

    Well, I’ll admit I’ve only glanced through this 20,000 word comment-thread, but at risk of merely repeating someone else’s arguments, I wonder if this analysis ignores what I think is the tremendous *fragility* of American society these days, both economically and ideologically.

    For at least the last 100 years, America has been a shining world success story, with nothing like the repeated total disasters that inflicted Russia, China, Japan, and most of Europe. America has never been *stressed* in the way that e.g. Russia certainly has been on numerous occasions. Therefore, it’s difficult to predict how it would react under some sort of calamity.

    Consider the vaunted American standard of living, compared with e.g. that of Russia. Aren’t nearly all the consumer products that constitute that relative prosperity made overseas, especially in China, and imported in exchange for pieces of paper (or electronic ones and zeros) called “dollars?” Now consider that America has long had an absolutely *gigantic* trade deficit and an equally gigantic budget deficit. I claim zero knowledge of economics, but don’t such huge deficits suggest a massive looming drop in the dollar? Isn’t the constant threat of America’s global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar? So if America suffered some sort of not unlikely military setback somewhere, might not the dollar just suddenly collapse? And given all the endless fights America has been picking everywhere in the world against everyone else, isn’t that a fairly plausible eventuality?

    The MSM has widely reported that nearly half of all Americans have less than $400 in savings to cope with an unexpected expense, and a huge portion of the public is desperately deep in debt. Furthermore, most of our accumulated pension funds are effectively bankrupt. The current economic situation is not good for most people.

    Now suppose that the dollar dropped by something like 1/2, leading the prices of consumer goods to roughly double. Wouldn’t this probably lead to massive impoverishment and riots in the streets? Wouldn’t the stock market quickly collapse, along with housing prices and other goods currently in the “bubble zone”? Wouldn’t that lead to the total impoverishment of many previously paper-wealthy individuals?

    Under such a dire scenario, totally without precedent in American history, wouldn’t one of the most likely growth industries be in the manufacturing (or more likely, the importation) of guillotines? Wouldn’t America’s ruling elites be about as popular throughout the entire country as their French aristocratic counterparts had been to the Paris mob of 1789? And doesn’t America have something like 300 million guns in private hands?

    Perhaps I’m just missing something, and obviously the triggering events I suggest are stochastic, but isn’t this a reasonably plausible trajectory that might occur some time in the next few years?

    Compared to this looming possibility, a current factor-of-two in dollar-based standard of living relative to ordinary Russians hardly seems a sufficiently large offset…

    Read More
    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Miro23

    I claim zero knowledge of economics, but don’t such huge deficits suggest a massive looming drop in the dollar? Isn’t the constant threat of America’s global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar?
     
    It probably helps if you're NOT an economist to appreciate this possibility, and it's interesting to speculate how Americans would handle a big loss of value in their currency.

    Russians handled it in a Russian way, Germans in a German way and Americans, I suppose, would handle it in an American way - whatever that unknown thing turns out to be.
    , @Biff

    Isn’t the constant threat of America’s global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar?
     
    Smedley Butler told us about this in the 1930’s.
    The white mans dollar, printed by white men, with a printing press owned by white men, his laws written by white men, and his wealth shored up by the military on a global scale.
    , @Avery
    { America has never been *stressed* in the way that e.g. Russia certainly has been on numerous occasions. }

    Perhaps not to the extent that Russia has been stressed, but wasn't America severely stressed during the Great Depression ? Granted, Americans were made of different fiber back then, and today's debt laden and denuded America is very different as you pointed out.

    {Isn’t the constant threat of America’s global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar? }

    My understanding is the US dollar gets its value from being the world reserve currency. Worldwide oil trade, a very valuable commodity, is almost exclusively done by US $. And you are also right, US military power indirectly props up the dollar: one theory for the destruction of both Iraq and Libya is because Saddam and Ghaddafi were making plans to sell their oil for gold or paper other than US dollar, and US just could not allow that genie out of the bottle.

    Currently there is worldwide movement to decouple from US dollar, particularly by Russia and China. So you are right: once the artificial props are removed, we the people here in the US will hurt bad. And no telling how out of control it will get. You probably remember the LA riots: it was a relatively small, local 'event', but law and order was completely broken down. There were no cops anywhere, and mobs freely just looted and destroyed anything and everything, for a couple of weeks or so. It was quite scary. Now if that happens US wide, then "Katy bar the door".

    , @AP
    I'm not an economist either, but I suspect if the American economy collapsed nobody would take people's stuff. There would be an inability to but new things but the masses would still be in their houses, still have their huge TVs, their cars, etc. The majority of the population, who have some debt, wouldn't have their things repossessed. This wouldn't be like the Russian 90s where people not only struggled to buy things but (thanks to the Soviet system) didn't own much to begin with.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Consider the vaunted American standard of living, compared with e.g. that of Russia.
     
    Well, scenarios and eventualities are one thing, but I do think that underlining the fact that yes, absolute material living standards in America are higher - and by a considerable margin - than in Russia, makes sense as at least one point out of ten in an article comparing quality of life in the two countries! :)

    Aren’t nearly all the consumer products that constitute that relative prosperity made overseas, especially in China, and imported in exchange for pieces of paper (or electronic ones and zeros) called “dollars?”
     
    Electronics are a special class of products that East Asia absolutely dominates for some reason. But the US does have considerable manufacturing capacity of its own - it's the world's second manufacturing power after China by far.

    http://www.unz.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/world-manufacturing-1990-2014.png

    Take one example of a very common good - vehicles. US makes 12 million of them per year: http://www.oica.net/category/production-statistics/2016-statistics/

    (And about 40% of the world's commercial vehicles!).

    So in the event of a devaluation, yes, electronics and some less relevant WalMart crap will get more expensive, and people will buy less of it.

    Still, the effects shouldn't be exaggerated.

    For instance, there was a 50% devaluation in Russia in 2014 (the same scenario you posit for the US). Practical effect on living standards - very modest, even though manufacturing is hardly a large percentage of its GDP either. For instance, traditionally, home improvement tools (drills, etc.) were divided between cheap/bad Chinese, expensive/mid-quality Russian ones, and expensive/high quality European ones; now, it's a choice between ok price/bad Chinese ones, ok price/mid-quality Russian ones, and very/high quality European ones. Obviously, many more people started buying the Russians ones after this. Similar story with furniture. Everyone was outfitting their homes with IKEA products before 2014; now, it is more expensive than higher quality traditional Belorussian furniture (Belarus also devalued), so now it's only the people who want to make a point of how European they are who continue shopping at IKEA, whose store I found near deserted when I went there a year ago.

    I claim zero knowledge of economics, but don’t such huge deficits suggest a massive looming drop in the dollar?
     
    Eventually, if the international investment position gets sufficiently bad, then there might be a severe downwards adjustment. Still, at -43% of its GDP, the US appears pretty safe for the time being (-100% seems to be the danger point for developed countries).

    The US also benefits a great deal from the status of the dollar as the global reserve currency. Consequently, since everyone wants to keep their money there, risk premiums in the US are artificially lower, so foreigners are willing to "irrationally" invest in American bonds at rates well beyond equilibrium.

    I have seen estimates that this might add 5%-10% to American GDP above what it "should be."

    Still, US dollar shows no signs of retreating - its position is actually more dominant now than in 1995 (!).

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Global_Reserve_Currencies.png

    That said, I am indeed skeptical that this will still be the case in 2050 and possibly even in 2030, due to the rise of China and the development of national cryptocurrencies.
    , @JL
    I made a similar observation in AK's thread about how life in Russia is better than in America. Too much stability for too long has left Americans devoid of context (I think this is a partial reason for the widespread use of anti-depressant medications) and unprepared for a real crisis of national proportions. Alternatively, observing how Russia has dealt with its various financial and economic crises just over the past twenty five years, their responses have been consistently improving. The country has become somewhat anti-fragile.
    , @Tom57
    I lived in the States and Russia but I am German-Croatian. Generally I would say that Americans simply don´t know how to live anymore without consumerism and trash culture. Many don´t even have dinner tables as they don´t know how to cook and they eat TV dinners. That is why immigrants do so very well. They don´t need all this sh*t as they haven´t yet been culturally conditioned. They´ll buy dirt cheap vegetables plus pasta plus potatoes plus some met and eggs and cook themselvs. They´ll buy an old banger and fix simple things themselves. Or some neighbour will do it. They don´t need to drive their kids to school as they are as yet not part of American paranoia. They can sleep all in one room and do nicely. Americans need a huge amount of space. They are not as socially isolated as native Americans are. Same is true for Russians. They will be utterly happy to sit down in the snow with a bottle of spirit, some brown bread and onions. They´ll have a mighty good time for a fraction of the cost that Americans will have in some bar. A.s.o and a.s.o.
    What bothers me about Karlin is indeed that he doesn´t know his own country. It is indefensible to ignore that Putins popularity is based on the sugar high of nationalism in the wake of Crimea. That is beginning to wear off. Futhermore I am afraid that Karlins brand of ahistorical Russian nationalism is headed for a very bad showdown with Russian minorities. I think the really new thing in the last years is the emergence of an ethnic Russian nationalism. Russia under the Czars and the Soviet Union were both States founded on principles that superseeded ethnic nationalism. They were both empires that were able to accomodate a very diverse population. Now I think this is coming to an end and people of karlins persuasion (he is much closer to Navalny than he realizes) are multiplying. They are not considering that more than 30% of recruits in the armed forces are from the minorities.
    Not all of them Muslim but most. In republics like Tatarstan Russian villages are dying and Muslim villages are thriving. They don´t like how Putin is using the Orthodox church to confer legitimacy to his regime. In reality Russia is still an empire. But one lacking an overarching ideology. But empires without one don´t last.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  179. As an American who understands the concept of saving up, he had to push through a special exception for himself with the accounting department.

    It is more like a counter example. Apparently this American had to ask the accounting department to help him save money.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  180. @Darin

    This is true. A vivid example of the fantasy genre. In the USSR fantasy-literature did not exist.
     
    True, western style fantasy was seen in the USSR as obscurantist pro-feudal literature and not translated, but there were exceptions - Tolkien's Hobbit, seen as children fairy tale, was translated and even made into full-length movie. Take this, Peter Jackson.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evHtm2xCMdU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtVnt0qrJ6M

    (there used to be English subtitled version, but copyright ate it ;-( )

    Fantasy was not alone - most of Western science fiction genres were incompatible with Marxist ideology and unacceptable.

    Alternate history - no way. History advances according to scientific laws and could not have progressed differently. The same with time travel stories.

    Alien invasions - never. Aliens more advanced than humanity already achieved Communism and are perfectly peaceful and benevolent.

    Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic works - impossible. Apocalypse can happen in capitalist countries, but not here. Soviet Union is on the right side of history and will never fall.

    (there used to be English subtitled version, but copyright ate it ;-( )

    All that is left is part 6.

    Russian Hobbit (with English subtitles) Part 6 of 6

    Read More
    • Replies: @Darin
    Sadly, this is parody translation. The deleted version was the real thing :-(.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  181. @Ron Unz

    Although Russian prices are 2x cheaper than America’s, the blunt fact is that wages are also 4x-5x lower.

    Consequently, the standard of living in the US relative to Russia is at least twice higher.
     
    Well, I'll admit I've only glanced through this 20,000 word comment-thread, but at risk of merely repeating someone else's arguments, I wonder if this analysis ignores what I think is the tremendous *fragility* of American society these days, both economically and ideologically.

    For at least the last 100 years, America has been a shining world success story, with nothing like the repeated total disasters that inflicted Russia, China, Japan, and most of Europe. America has never been *stressed* in the way that e.g. Russia certainly has been on numerous occasions. Therefore, it's difficult to predict how it would react under some sort of calamity.

    Consider the vaunted American standard of living, compared with e.g. that of Russia. Aren't nearly all the consumer products that constitute that relative prosperity made overseas, especially in China, and imported in exchange for pieces of paper (or electronic ones and zeros) called "dollars?" Now consider that America has long had an absolutely *gigantic* trade deficit and an equally gigantic budget deficit. I claim zero knowledge of economics, but don't such huge deficits suggest a massive looming drop in the dollar? Isn't the constant threat of America's global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar? So if America suffered some sort of not unlikely military setback somewhere, might not the dollar just suddenly collapse? And given all the endless fights America has been picking everywhere in the world against everyone else, isn't that a fairly plausible eventuality?

    The MSM has widely reported that nearly half of all Americans have less than $400 in savings to cope with an unexpected expense, and a huge portion of the public is desperately deep in debt. Furthermore, most of our accumulated pension funds are effectively bankrupt. The current economic situation is not good for most people.

    Now suppose that the dollar dropped by something like 1/2, leading the prices of consumer goods to roughly double. Wouldn't this probably lead to massive impoverishment and riots in the streets? Wouldn't the stock market quickly collapse, along with housing prices and other goods currently in the "bubble zone"? Wouldn't that lead to the total impoverishment of many previously paper-wealthy individuals?

    Under such a dire scenario, totally without precedent in American history, wouldn't one of the most likely growth industries be in the manufacturing (or more likely, the importation) of guillotines? Wouldn't America's ruling elites be about as popular throughout the entire country as their French aristocratic counterparts had been to the Paris mob of 1789? And doesn't America have something like 300 million guns in private hands?

    Perhaps I'm just missing something, and obviously the triggering events I suggest are stochastic, but isn't this a reasonably plausible trajectory that might occur some time in the next few years?

    Compared to this looming possibility, a current factor-of-two in dollar-based standard of living relative to ordinary Russians hardly seems a sufficiently large offset...

    I claim zero knowledge of economics, but don’t such huge deficits suggest a massive looming drop in the dollar? Isn’t the constant threat of America’s global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar?

    It probably helps if you’re NOT an economist to appreciate this possibility, and it’s interesting to speculate how Americans would handle a big loss of value in their currency.

    Russians handled it in a Russian way, Germans in a German way and Americans, I suppose, would handle it in an American way – whatever that unknown thing turns out to be.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  182. Another blunt fact is that many in the former DDR think that life then was better.
    Nobody was rich, but also nobody was poor, and unemployment did not exist.
    What the USA never suceeded in is protecting the poor.

    As German professor at the German European university admits, the nation states in Europe hardly exist any more, so cannot protect their poor.
    In the good old days here in Europe ‘reform’ meant that the poor were better off, since EU and euro ‘reform’ means that the rich get richer, and the poor poorer.

    In the USA there never was much resistance, the two identical parties of rich of course did nothing.
    Trade unions were suppressed with success, federal troops ended strikes.

    Here in Europe ‘populist’ parties get more and more votes, the ‘elite’ does anything to suppress or stigmatise them, without much success.
    Europe has a long history of socialism.

    Yesterday on Dutch tv the feelings of milennials were shown, no job guarantee any more, a constant struggle to get to the top, no expectation of a pension.
    Great progress, globalisation, including the EU globalisation.

    The German professor sees the solution in a social euro zone state, with its own government.
    But, when asked what is more probable, a social euro zone, or the end of the EU, he hesitated long, then admitted that he sees the dissolution of the euro zone part of the EU as more probable.

    The big difference between the EU and the USA is that the USA never was a nation state, a nation state that cared for the inhabitants.
    The European nation states did care for their inhabitants.

    Large scale migration into Europe does not lead to the dissolution of the European cultures, it leads to people becoming more aware of their culture, and resisting alien influence.
    Our media do anything to hide this, but without much success.

    Since a few days in Germany there is a law against inciting hatred on internet.
    An AfD politician already is persecuted.
    He or she protested against German police wishing Happy New Year by the German police in arabic.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  183. @German_reader

    but in some other countries like Switzerland or Germany they often do.
     
    Where I live (middle classs suburb of a moderately big and fairly "diverse" West German society) postmen usually try to hand over packages etc. to neighbours and leave a note informing you about that. Has occasionally happened though that they put it under the stairs or some other semi-hidden place, don't know if that's against their instructions though.

    In Australia, deliveries by Australia Post (ie beyond the simple letter) almost invariably must be retrieved from a local Post office: a standard postcard is delivered instead, giving the appropriate details. Annoying but safe.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  184. @Hippopotamusdrome


    (there used to be English subtitled version, but copyright ate it ;-( )

     

    All that is left is part 6.

    Russian Hobbit (with English subtitles) Part 6 of 6

    Sadly, this is parody translation. The deleted version was the real thing :-(.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  185. @Ron Unz

    Although Russian prices are 2x cheaper than America’s, the blunt fact is that wages are also 4x-5x lower.

    Consequently, the standard of living in the US relative to Russia is at least twice higher.
     
    Well, I'll admit I've only glanced through this 20,000 word comment-thread, but at risk of merely repeating someone else's arguments, I wonder if this analysis ignores what I think is the tremendous *fragility* of American society these days, both economically and ideologically.

    For at least the last 100 years, America has been a shining world success story, with nothing like the repeated total disasters that inflicted Russia, China, Japan, and most of Europe. America has never been *stressed* in the way that e.g. Russia certainly has been on numerous occasions. Therefore, it's difficult to predict how it would react under some sort of calamity.

    Consider the vaunted American standard of living, compared with e.g. that of Russia. Aren't nearly all the consumer products that constitute that relative prosperity made overseas, especially in China, and imported in exchange for pieces of paper (or electronic ones and zeros) called "dollars?" Now consider that America has long had an absolutely *gigantic* trade deficit and an equally gigantic budget deficit. I claim zero knowledge of economics, but don't such huge deficits suggest a massive looming drop in the dollar? Isn't the constant threat of America's global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar? So if America suffered some sort of not unlikely military setback somewhere, might not the dollar just suddenly collapse? And given all the endless fights America has been picking everywhere in the world against everyone else, isn't that a fairly plausible eventuality?

    The MSM has widely reported that nearly half of all Americans have less than $400 in savings to cope with an unexpected expense, and a huge portion of the public is desperately deep in debt. Furthermore, most of our accumulated pension funds are effectively bankrupt. The current economic situation is not good for most people.

    Now suppose that the dollar dropped by something like 1/2, leading the prices of consumer goods to roughly double. Wouldn't this probably lead to massive impoverishment and riots in the streets? Wouldn't the stock market quickly collapse, along with housing prices and other goods currently in the "bubble zone"? Wouldn't that lead to the total impoverishment of many previously paper-wealthy individuals?

    Under such a dire scenario, totally without precedent in American history, wouldn't one of the most likely growth industries be in the manufacturing (or more likely, the importation) of guillotines? Wouldn't America's ruling elites be about as popular throughout the entire country as their French aristocratic counterparts had been to the Paris mob of 1789? And doesn't America have something like 300 million guns in private hands?

    Perhaps I'm just missing something, and obviously the triggering events I suggest are stochastic, but isn't this a reasonably plausible trajectory that might occur some time in the next few years?

    Compared to this looming possibility, a current factor-of-two in dollar-based standard of living relative to ordinary Russians hardly seems a sufficiently large offset...

    Isn’t the constant threat of America’s global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar?

    Smedley Butler told us about this in the 1930’s.
    The white mans dollar, printed by white men, with a printing press owned by white men, his laws written by white men, and his wealth shored up by the military on a global scale.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  186. Freedom of Speech

    Yes, you can be ostracized. Yes, you can be fired from your job. Yes, this might no longer be the case in another decade or two, if the SJWs have their way.

    But at the end of the day you will not go to jail on trumped up charges of hate speech.

    Stand on any street corner in any major American city with a picket sign critical of Israel, and get back to us about freedom of speech.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    Right.

    More dangerous, stand on a street corner in Los Angeles or Santa Ana with a Trump t-shirt or a sign saying "Deport Illegal Aliens" and watch as the police stand by while you're physically beaten down. That's not freedom of speech.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  187. 10 Ways Life in America Is Better Than in Russia

    4 ways are sufficient.

    Youse guys don’t have to think about being somehow associated with Hillary, McCain, Trump, or Netanyahoo, all of whom (plus legions of others), are ineffably mortifying.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete
    Sorry, I goofed again! ;)

    I read the headline as the opposite of what it said.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  188. @jacques sheete

    10 Ways Life in America Is Better Than in Russia
     
    4 ways are sufficient.

    Youse guys don't have to think about being somehow associated with Hillary, McCain, Trump, or Netanyahoo, all of whom (plus legions of others), are ineffably mortifying.

    Sorry, I goofed again! ;)

    I read the headline as the opposite of what it said.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  189. @German_reader

    Most high culture in the US is imported from Europe, plays, theater, musicals, ballets and so on
     
    Is that really still true today?
    And while I think much of US popular culture is pretty horrible, I think AK is right, there really is a problem here, European countries produce nothing that is even remotely competitive with US mass culture. Europe feels old, exhausted and culturally stagnant today, nothing new is produced, and we're losing sight of our own cultural traditions (e.g. just see the decline of Latin in European school systems). And all the while Americanization relentlessly continues, with the most pernicious notions of US public discourse like "white privilege" now turning up in Europe as well and the US's racial politics seen as a model to be imitated by us (instead of a cautionary tale what not to do).

    EDIT: Oops, I made a mistake, that was meant as a reply to "PolishPerspective", sorry.

    “European countries produce nothing that is even remotely competitive with US mass culture”

    You appear not to have heard of the UK, which has regularly spawned entire new genres of popular music.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  190. @melanf

    But they are still working about 30 hours per week at their regular job
     
    No. At least my colleagues are working a lot, lot less. Or they work 30 hours a week, but then their salary is much more. average.

    A full professor (highest rank in the U.S. above assistant
    prof. and associate prof.) at a middling institution like
    California State University at Long Beach makes about
    $8,000/month, i.e., $90-$100,000 per annum before
    taxes. Since this is a state university, after retirement he’s
    entitled to a state pension (about $2,500-$3,000/mo depending
    on the number of years of employment) and (Federal)
    Social Security (about $2,500/mo depending on total
    lifetime income).

    Two caveats:

    1. California has a very high cost of living (esp. housing);

    2. The Cal State system only awards Masters degrees, and
    not Ph.D.’s but these days requires research papers published
    in prestigious journals for tenure and promotion. Still, $90,000
    for 8-9 months of work – not a bad gig. And with tenure you have
    lifetime security. Plus you go to conferences often held at exotic
    tropical locations where you’re wined and dined in style. True,
    you have to present a research paper but then after you’ve been in
    a given field for decades, you can do it blindfolded.

    3. I picked a middling institution like CSULB because most college
    profs are employed at such places

    State research universities (Ph.D. granting) like UCLA and UC Berkeley pay
    considerably more. “Star” professors (e.g. Nobel laureates) can easily
    make $250 -$300,000 a year in addition to summer grants that can
    add another $30,000.

    At private universities like Harvard, Stanford or Caltech the sky is the
    limit – med or law school professors often make more than the President
    of the United States.

    As I said before, being a college/university professor in the
    United States is one of the best choices you can make in life.
    Of course, I’m biased. That was my path in life, and I have
    thoroughly enjoyed it

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon 2
    Although I recommend becoming a college
    professor to anyone who is willing to spend
    many years as a graduate student and then
    a postdoc, one cannot stress enough that this
    career path is extremely competitive. It's not
    uncommon to get 150-200 applications in response
    to an ad for a tenure-track assistant professor
    position in the U.S. I've been on many search
    committees, and this is what we've had to deal with.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  191. Correction: Three caveats, not two. I added one
    at the last minute lol

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  192. @melanf

    I’m curious what you think are some good American movies and books.
     
    A very short list
    Movies:
    "Gone with the wind", "Cabaret", "Watchmen", "Fight club". Perhaps "the Lord of the rings". The TV Series "Dr. House".

    Books:
    "The Chronicles of Amber" (The Corwin cycle), "Dying of the Light" (this is the story of George Martin: I would write here A Song of Ice and Fire, if George stopped at the third volume), "Dandelion Wine", the short stories of Robert Sheckley.

    I can add that American literature was read and appreciated by Alexander Pushkin - he even wrote a remake of a story by Washington Irving.

    I agree that Cabaret was good.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  193. @Chet Bradley

    you’re forced to bag your own groceries like a loser. This is unheard of in America other than at ALDI (a German chain), Trader Joe’s (owned by ALDI North), and warehouse stores.
     
    Seriously? Where do you live? I used to live in Arizona and now live in Washington state, and I have never bagged groceries at Trader Joe's or Costco (I believe it qualifies as a warehouse store). The only places where I bag my own groceries, by choice, are self-checkout lanes at regular grocery stores, such as Safeway or Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger, AFAIK).

    “Bag your groceries”: do you mean that you don’t scan them as you take them off the shelves? What backwardness is this?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  194. @Twinkie

    Article 282 vs. Society 282. Pick your poison, I guess.
     
    I pick the one where I can have guns. Lots of guns. And enough ammunition for them. All delivered by the case loads by FedEx.

    But y’all have had your gunny toys freely available for decades and yet your Deep State has confiscated more and more of your freedom and your money. It may be that the US attitude to guns makes perfect sense in the violence-prone US, but it’s clearly not a sufficient condition for freedom to thrive.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Darin

    But y’all have had your gunny toys freely available for decades and yet your Deep State has confiscated more and more of your freedom and your money.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estimated_number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country

    If America is the most free country in the world because of guns, is Serbia the second most free country? Is Yemen the third most free country? Is Saudi Arabia the fifth most free country in the world?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  195. @German_reader

    "There are also far more of all kinds of scams and petty commercial tricks"
     
    Is there any way to quantify that? I've been pestered by salesmen who tried to scam me as well (though that happened only once in more than ten years, so far also no burglaries, though acquaintances haven't been that lucky), seems difficult to generalize from such a single case.

    Yeah I baulked at this one a bit. The current scams in Ottawa are frightening calls pretending to be from the tax man saying you’re in real trouble (would terrify lots of people); people coming to the door with a once in a lifetime chance to replace your water heater, innumerable phone calls that don’t pick up. So we have it too.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  196. @Ron Unz

    Although Russian prices are 2x cheaper than America’s, the blunt fact is that wages are also 4x-5x lower.

    Consequently, the standard of living in the US relative to Russia is at least twice higher.
     
    Well, I'll admit I've only glanced through this 20,000 word comment-thread, but at risk of merely repeating someone else's arguments, I wonder if this analysis ignores what I think is the tremendous *fragility* of American society these days, both economically and ideologically.

    For at least the last 100 years, America has been a shining world success story, with nothing like the repeated total disasters that inflicted Russia, China, Japan, and most of Europe. America has never been *stressed* in the way that e.g. Russia certainly has been on numerous occasions. Therefore, it's difficult to predict how it would react under some sort of calamity.

    Consider the vaunted American standard of living, compared with e.g. that of Russia. Aren't nearly all the consumer products that constitute that relative prosperity made overseas, especially in China, and imported in exchange for pieces of paper (or electronic ones and zeros) called "dollars?" Now consider that America has long had an absolutely *gigantic* trade deficit and an equally gigantic budget deficit. I claim zero knowledge of economics, but don't such huge deficits suggest a massive looming drop in the dollar? Isn't the constant threat of America's global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar? So if America suffered some sort of not unlikely military setback somewhere, might not the dollar just suddenly collapse? And given all the endless fights America has been picking everywhere in the world against everyone else, isn't that a fairly plausible eventuality?

    The MSM has widely reported that nearly half of all Americans have less than $400 in savings to cope with an unexpected expense, and a huge portion of the public is desperately deep in debt. Furthermore, most of our accumulated pension funds are effectively bankrupt. The current economic situation is not good for most people.

    Now suppose that the dollar dropped by something like 1/2, leading the prices of consumer goods to roughly double. Wouldn't this probably lead to massive impoverishment and riots in the streets? Wouldn't the stock market quickly collapse, along with housing prices and other goods currently in the "bubble zone"? Wouldn't that lead to the total impoverishment of many previously paper-wealthy individuals?

    Under such a dire scenario, totally without precedent in American history, wouldn't one of the most likely growth industries be in the manufacturing (or more likely, the importation) of guillotines? Wouldn't America's ruling elites be about as popular throughout the entire country as their French aristocratic counterparts had been to the Paris mob of 1789? And doesn't America have something like 300 million guns in private hands?

    Perhaps I'm just missing something, and obviously the triggering events I suggest are stochastic, but isn't this a reasonably plausible trajectory that might occur some time in the next few years?

    Compared to this looming possibility, a current factor-of-two in dollar-based standard of living relative to ordinary Russians hardly seems a sufficiently large offset...

    { America has never been *stressed* in the way that e.g. Russia certainly has been on numerous occasions. }

    Perhaps not to the extent that Russia has been stressed, but wasn’t America severely stressed during the Great Depression ? Granted, Americans were made of different fiber back then, and today’s debt laden and denuded America is very different as you pointed out.

    {Isn’t the constant threat of America’s global military force one of the main things propping up the dollar? }

    My understanding is the US dollar gets its value from being the world reserve currency. Worldwide oil trade, a very valuable commodity, is almost exclusively done by US $. And you are also right, US military power indirectly props up the dollar: one theory for the destruction of both Iraq and Libya is because Saddam and Ghaddafi were making plans to sell their oil for gold or paper other than US dollar, and US just could not allow that genie out of the bottle.

    Currently there is worldwide movement to decouple from US dollar, particularly by Russia and China. So you are right: once the artificial props are removed, we the people here in the US will hurt bad. And no telling how out of control it will get. You probably remember the LA riots: it was a relatively small, local ‘event’, but law and order was completely broken down. There were no cops anywhere, and mobs freely just looted and destroyed anything and everything, for a couple of weeks or so. It was quite scary. Now if that happens US wide, then “Katy bar the door”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Darin

    Perhaps not to the extent that Russia has been stressed, but wasn’t America severely stressed during the Great Depression ?
     
    The Great Depression was hard, but not as hard as the 30's in contemporary Soviet Union.
    Or was it? There is a theory that 7 million Americans starved to death during Great Depression, and the government completely covered it up, what the local conspirologists think about it?

    https://www.sott.net/article/267900-Where-did-Americas-missing-millions-go-Holodomor-lessons-from-the-Great-Depression

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFJGr1qYiww
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  197. @dearieme
    But y'all have had your gunny toys freely available for decades and yet your Deep State has confiscated more and more of your freedom and your money. It may be that the US attitude to guns makes perfect sense in the violence-prone US, but it's clearly not a sufficient condition for freedom to thrive.

    But y’all have had your gunny toys freely available for decades and yet your Deep State has confiscated more and more of your freedom and your money.