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Egor Kholmogorov: Socialism Not Dead - Paradoxes of an Unsolved Problem
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The latest in our series of translations of Russian national-conservative thinker Egor Kholmogorov.

Translated by: Fluctuarius Argenteus; slightly edited by AK.

Original: http://zavtra.ru/blogs/pravoslavnyij-sotsializm

***

Socialism Not Dead: Paradoxes of an Unsolved Problem

It may seem strange that, at the turn of the 21st century, the word “Socialism” is back in the popular political idiom. The final decade of the preceding century seemed to have been the time of its complete (and, so it would seem, irreversible) annihilation.

Soviet-style “Real Socialism” ended in a pathetic disgrace, striking its colors at the sight of a sausage pointed at its heart. Who would have thought that churning out missiles, dams, and factories wouldn’t be enough to sustain a planned economy based on communal property? It was also necessary to grant the Socialist people access to consumer goods at least remotely comparable to those available under Capitalism; otherwise, falling behind not only in living standards but also in technology became inevitable. Soviet Socialism collapsed under the weight of this contradiction, while China enacted reforms so deep that, while looking at Chinese billionaires, one can’t help but wonder whether it’s still Socialism or a “Red Capitalist” oligarchy of the Chinese Communist Party – quite probably no worse than any other oligarchy in history.

Meanwhile, the Capitalist world with its triumphant Liberalism seemed to have scored a doubtless moral victory. Not only did it outpace Socialism, it completely consumed it. All more or less sensible Socialist ideas were incorporated into the structure of the “welfare state”, leaving “Real Socialism” with such dubious achievements as complete socialization of property or pedantic ideological censorship. Socialism appeared to have been entirely devoured and digested by a Capitalism that had reached in this struggle a new stage in its historical evolution.

A quarter of a century after this victory over Socialism, the foundations of the global Liberal order are more and more visibly shaken. Within the US Democratic party, Hillary Clinton’s Liberalism, oriented at racial and sexual minorities, has been challenged by “Democratic Socialist” Bernie Sanders who is cajoling White American workers into rising against the 1%, the Wall Street loan sharks. Socialist? US Presidential candidate? Early 21st century? It seems patently absurd. Meanwhile across the pond, the Labour party in the UK eschewed fine-looking bureaucrats in favour of Jeremy Corbyn, a Socialist, an anti-militarist, and general diehard Leftist. One of his first acts as leader of the Shadow Cabinet was creating a committee for a new economic policy, including such anti-inequality fighters as Thomas Piketty and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.

All of a sudden, we not only see a ressurection of Socialism in two of the leading countries of the Capitalist world, but positioning itself as a powerful political political alternative to the dominant Liberal mainstream. If we take into account that this mainstream is also under attack by right-wing populism of the likes of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen (the program of the latter replete with anti-Capitalist and anti-Globalist vocabulary), the Liberal “end of history” seems to have ended quite rapidly. If this wave hasn’t reached us yet, it is only because both our Liberalism and our Capitalism are quite peculiar, and our political system doesn’t operate under Western-style rules. However, one cannot completely shut oneself off from a revolution of ideas, and it seems likely we will soon hear the march of a new Socialism here in Russia.

What is the cause of this 2010s Socialist re-revolution? The return of economic conditions that had caused the heyday of Socialism in the 19th century and were drastically changed in the 20th. The driving force of the Socialism of two centuries ago was a contradiction between the ideals of civil liberty and equality brought about by the French Revolution and the Enlightenment, and an absolute economic inequality typical of ancien régime Europe. The latter became more prominent and intolerable at the start of the Industrial Revolution, when hundreds of thousands of proletarians became concentrated in the stench and stuffiness of the working-class suburbs of developed countries.

Liberalism was faced with a monstrous and insoluble contradiction: why, after declaring human rights and liberties in thought and politics, giving equal rights to all social strata and doing away with the feudal ladder of estates, should it remain the guardian of a gap between wealth and misery, the protector of economic inequality? The situation of defending equality in the sphere of ideas, less important for most of the people, and championing inequality in the sphere of the stomach, of much greater everyday importance, seemed entirely ridiculous.

Excuses invented for explaining why some people are poor and some rich pushed those who considered this to be an injustice to certain solutions. “Private property is inviolable, you have no right to infringe upon it, therefore, you dare not touch the wealth of others,” said the wealth apologists. “It simply means that property is theft, and it must be destroyed or redistributed to close the gap between wealth and poverty,” replied the champions of the poor. “Liberty is not the equality of results but that of opportunities. We should be equal at square one, and then let each one gain according to his energy and talents,” said the wealth apologists. “Then we should socialize the work effort, and then we’ll have a common result: From each other according to their ability, to each other according to their needs. Also, let’s create truly equal opportunities, because the prospect of equal chances for millionaires and have-nots is a bald-faced lie,” replied the champions of the poor.

The ideas, methods, and moral high ground of the Socialism of yesteryear stemmed from a European yearning for equality, described by Alexis de Tocqueville, and the angst caused by the monstrous material inequality in the Europe in an age when the gaps between wealth and poverty were insurmountable. These gaps are the subject of a spirited dialogue between a young Rastignac and a cynical, conniving Vautrin in Honoré de Balzac’s Le Père Goriot. Vautrin explains to Rastignac, then a young idealist, that his chances of making good money thanks to learning, personal qualities, and industriousness are equal to zero. The only way of winning a fortune is getting it from somebody who already has it, by way of inheritance or marriage. The only way of becoming rich is being rich.

The world that spawned most Socialist theories, especially those of Saint-Simon, Proudhon, and Marx, was not a liberal world of free competition and equal opportunity. It was a polarized world devoid of a middle class: the 1% of haves and the 99% of have-nots.

What did this mean in practice? All talk of alleged opportunity in life granted by a Liberal version of Capitalism seemed naught but a myth. Big money was a magnet that attracted even bigger money. The lion’s share of national income, regardless of the pace of its growth, was distributed in the same proportion that was fixed in the structure of national capital. Simply put, those who controlled the majority of wealth gained the majority of income while making little to no effort.

America was the sole exception, with a lower concentration of wealth and a higher share of income distributed through free competition. Hence the image of the USA as a Promised Land, a land of opportunity, a magnet for migration. A good way of making money in Europe was moving to America (with the possibility of returning to the Old World with newfound wealth in tow left open).

No industrial growth, no Socialist attacks on the government or the bourgeoisie could change anything in the structure of this world until the start of World War I. This explains the revolutionary character of European socialism and the borderline utopian radicalism of its proposed solutions: Total socialization of industry, expropriation of the ruling classes, dictatorship of the proletariat, dreams of a World Revolution.

piketty-capital-income-ratio-europe

Source: Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty. Not part of Kholmogorov’s article.

This World Revolution did come to pass – but it started not in 1917, but in 1914. As brilliantly demonstrated by Thomas Piketty in Capital in the 21st Century, the Great War kickstarted a default of old European wealth. The horrors of war, the collapse of world trade, the Russian Revolution with its devastation and expropriation of the wealthy classes, the defeat and hyperinflation in Germany and Austria, the demographic crisis and budget deficit in the UK and France, the impeding dismantlement of colonialism – all of this led to a catastrophic decline in capital concentration in Europe.

piketty-russia-inequality-history

Source: From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 by Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, and Gabriel Zucman (2017). Not part of Kholmogorov’s article.

The revolutionary role of Russia, whose bourgeoisie was sacrificed at the altar of transformation, consisted not so much in socializing property and launching the Socialist experiment as in crashing the world rent. The enormous Russian debt that had fed millions of rentiers all over Europe turned into dust in the blink of an eye and doomed the rentier civilisation to extinction.

From the 1920s to the 1940s, the level of capital concentration in the world capitalist system continued its decline. Contributing factors included the Great Depression that had finally made its way to America, the devastation of World War II, the post-war wave of nationalisations, and tax deductions for national reconstruction. The ratio of capital to national income fell from 6:1 under the old regime to 2:1, i.e. the entirety of concentrated capital (be it in the form of real estate, shares, or foreign assets) became equal to only two years’ worth of national income.

What were the socioeconomic consequences of this Great Default? The grip of Capital loosened, its magnetic effect wasn’t as far-reaching, and the problem of economic equality was tackled within the framework of global Capitalism, without employing the radical recipes of fin de siècle Socialism. More precisely, those radical recipes were relegated to countries that were lagging behind in industrial development, such as Russia and China. The main goal of this radicalism was a wilful, determined achievement of an industrial breakthrough. Socialism in so-called Socialist countries was most concerned with productivity and not wealth redistribution.

Western countries, however, having no need for a “great leap forward”, were able to afford the luxury of a “Socialism sans Socialism”. Social Democracy, Christian Socialism, Swedish Socialism, Social Reformism all followed the same model. Without abolishing private property as such, without creating a dictatorship of Leftist parties, by limiting themselves to a selective nationalisation, they achieved economic equality by fostering a system of high wages and a well-developed social sphere, ushering in the welfare state. Essentially, it was a huge Ponzi scheme organized according to Keynesian precepts: The state took away a sizable portion of incomes via taxation in order to redistribute this money, also as income but under a more egalitarian distribution.

This was the zeitgeist of the treinte glorieuses of 1945-1975, when all Western governments followed, with slight variations, a single socioeconomic policy targeted at bringing social inequality as far down as possible, raising national income redistributed as salaries to the detriment of rents, dividends, etc., and widening the social responsibilities of the state. It was the age of a rising middle class, the 40% that follow the 10%-strong strata of the wealthy; this class laid claim to 30-40% of national wealth as opposed to just 5% before World War I. The 50% of the poor were stuck with the same 5% as before, but at least they gained a much greater chance of breaking out of poverty by dint of education, good work, entrepreneurial spirit and general savvy.

The social lifts seemed to be working. A peculiar anthem of the era is Chuck Berry’s tongue-in-cheek 1964 song You Never Can Tell, the accompaniment to John Travolta’s and Uma Thurman’s wild gyrating in Pulp Fiction. It’s the story of a young Black couple from New Orleans that makes decent money, buys a house, mail-order furniture, a fridge, a phonograph, even a used jalopy… New capital growth was slow but steady, not in the form of rent or foreign bonds but mostly as real estate, shares and equity.

The most positive Soviet-era memories of those who were impacted by the system are based on largely the same processes, just disguised with red banners and “Glory to the Communist Party” posters. The income levels of Soviet workers were incommensurably lower, as was the quality of consumer goods offered by the market (it took a long time to realise that the Western market of the era was just a mechanism for redistributing wealth that was gained through not entirely market-based means). However, the Soviet system was infinitely more helpful with regards to restoring and accumulating… capital. It was even explicitly called “capital construction.” Most Soviet citizens were granted, entirely free of charge, real estate that was worth many years of individual income and still commands an impressive market price. And so construction proceededly rapidly apace to build the cosy, even slightly bourgeois world of 1970s Soviet comedies.

The Socialist system, like that of the West, followed the route of reconstructive capitalism. Meanwhile, Socialism as an idea gradually fell out of favor over the 20th century as its main raison d’être, inequality, disappeared. The semi-Socialist policies of Western countries created a perfect model village of Capitalism: Low inequality levels, broad opportunities, intensive social lifts, high levels of welfare, a wide availability of consumer goods thanks to a developed and flexible market. All of it seemed like a brilliant alternative to Socialist experiments: Socializing not wealth, not industry, but revenue, redistributing it so that everyone could decide where to spend it within a wide spectrum of options.

An ideal world of freedom and equality finally seemed to be within grasping distance. It also had a place for racial and gender equality, the 1960s becoming a triumph for equal rights activists of all stripes. At the same time, Socialism was quagmired in internal antagonism, the total control of the state eroding all freedom and neutering the enjoyment and variety of everyday life.

piketty-top-income-tax-rates

Source: Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty. Not part of Kholmogorov’s article.

However, the economic developments of the treinte glorieuses were the gravedigger for both Soviet Socialism and Western Welfare Capitalism. They signed their own death warrants themselves. A natural accumulation of capital was underway, via saving a part of income in the West or direct capital giveaways by the state in the USSR. But a feature of capital is that it “magnetizes” and draws income. The owner of capital tends to rent-oriented, not work-orientated, behavior. This “capitalist” wants to gain interest and rent, to make his capital inheritable, to pay the lowest taxes he can, and thoroughly despises the have-nots whose claims to a share of his income seem to him most outrageous.

The late 1970s saw the rise of a new Capitalism with many faces, from British Thatcherism to US Reaganomics to the waves of privatization that swept away the Soviet system and its socialist economy. It was a massive uprising of capital that wanted back its right to extract revenue and spend it on itself without sharing with society. Just like the pendulum swinging towards Socialism in the early 20th century, its return towards pure Capitalism at the end of the century was most pronounced and most socially destructive in Russia. A savage, dog-eat-dog oligarchic Capitalism that took sway in the country freed itself from practically all burden of social responsibility. It was a tyranny of wealth limited only by the garrotte in the hands of thugs, be they mafia racketeers or bureaucrat raiders.

However, it would be unreasonable to claim that the nature of the processes that transpired in those decades was drastically different in Russia, Europe, and the US. It was a time of large predatory fortunes, scams and profiteering, social polarization, and growing inequality everywhere. Americans and Western Europeans, accustomed to slogans of “equal opportunity,” suddenly once again found themselves in the era of Rastignac, when the only way to get rich – was to be rich. Also, the very notion of wealth had changed: It was no longer a reasonable, comfortable prosperity, but a blatant, tacky luxury.

In The Price of Inequality, Stiglitz describes the behavior of modern American business as “rent-oriented.” Nobody wants to improve real economic indices, nobody wants to make money, everybody wants to live as a rentier off unfounded bonuses, “golden parachutes,” and other forms of self-financing so common in American corporations. Is it that different from Gazprom cleaning women?[1]

At the other end is the growth of inflamed poverty: according to Stiglitz, the life expectancy of US White men with no college education is plummeting at the rate of 1990s Russia. Over the last 15 years, everyone and their mother have talked about the “death of the middle class.” Piketty projects that at the current rate of increasing inequality, Europe will return to 19th century levels by 2050: 10% of the population will own 80% of capital, and 60% of all income.

The society built by the global anti-Capitalist uprising of the early 1900s is becoming a thing of the past, as is faith in market-based self-regulation of Capitalism, allegedly evolved enough to solve social issues. It turns out that self-regulation played no part whatsoever, and the growth of economic equality occurred due to a catastrophe that had wiped out the “old money,” paving way for a unique Social-Capitalist system. Conversely, growing capital concentration, seemingly normal for a self-regulating capitalism, simply reproduces inequality.

A Neo-Socialism is the natural response of a society that enshrines equality to the emergence of a new inequality. Will it be different from classic Socialism? It will be, and rather strongly so.

Destruction of private property and socialization of the means of production proved to be a rather dubious road to Socialism. In practice, they only led to the creation of a new class – the nomenklatura, a decline in individual initiative, logistic and planning errors leading to shortages and even famines. And, in the long run, they failed to prevent the restoration of Capitalism in its most savage incarnation. In addition, small-scale private property continued to develop even if when it all private property was nominally abolished.

The utopia of complete socialization is opposed by the following fact: As material progress unfolds, a human being demands more, not less space for individual existence and self-expression. The ideal of a normal human, as it turns out, is his own house, not an army barracks. Collectivism invariably leads to a tyranny of mediocrity and dooms the societies that adopt it to backwardness in scientific-technical development.

Under these conditions, Neo-Socialism presupposes, above all, the socialization of income and prohibitive measures on capital concentration. The world of future Socialism is a world where all offshores are annihilated and each and every fatcat is subjected to high income and property taxes, with inheritance laws hampering the transfer of super-wealth. This nullifies the magnetic effect of large capital, and most of income is redistributed as wages in the context of free labor and a free market. From an instrument of optimizing income, the market turns into an instrument of optimizing expenditure.

Here, however, the New Socialism faces several classic pitfalls, already singled out by Joseph Schumpeter in the mid-20th century. The impossibility of super-wealth, limiting unfair and imperfect competition, monopolism, and profiteering lead to the waning of that very entrepreneurial spirit that nurtures the Capitalist economy. There will a dearth of those interested in starting a new business to beat all competitors and make a nice buck. And, needless to say, an “inventor and innovator” certificate[2] is a feeble substitute for super-incomes.

The only remedy to entrepreneurial crisis within Neo-Socialism could be a change in business philosophy: Stop chasing big money and instead take pride in the individuality of your business, its attractiveness and social relevance. This, however, only works for small and middle-sized businesses, while bigger enterprises require investments (including non-returnable ones) and risks so enormous that a small-time businessman can only afford it if he is aiming for a super-income. An alternative is a planned, state-run innovation policy, a “Communism of ideas” that will be of dubious long-term efficacy.

A society that guarantees a relative equality of income would be doomed to low economic growth. However, it is precisely the form of economic growth stabilization – especially within the core of the Capitalist system – envisioned by Neo-Socialist economists, Piketty above all.

Another question inevitably brought forward by Neo-Socialism is its relations with globalization. In a Neo-Liberal world, globalization is a world market system that forces the expenses of wealthy and developed countries on the poor and undeveloped by creating “common markets” that stifle economic development. They confine poor countries to the lower stages of technological chains while keeping the rights to ideas and the final product in the hands of developed countries. This is exactly the principle of the Transatlantic and Trans-Pacific Partnerships, modern attempts to cement the eternal commercial dominance of the US.[3]

An alternative to this economic globalism is economic Nationalism; the greater the drop in economic growth and surge in inequality, the more that will it be visible. Countries with independent industrial potential and inner market resources will isolate themselves from the rest of the world as much as they are able to, from imports to economic immigrants, in order to maintain their development level despite in spite and at the expense of others.

This Nationalist alternative is seen as the greater threat to the Neo-Socialist project. Its defenders keep putting a lot of effort into criticising Nationalist and Protectionist ideas and rallying to the defence of Smithian dogmas of “relative advantage” that lead to international division of labor and creation of common markets.

Nevertheless, preserving global markets under a Neo-Socialist policy would require a serious “leveling of fortunes” everywhere on the planet. Wealthy countries, much like wealthy people, would be compelled to spend most of their wealth to improve the living standards of the poor up to a certain “golden mean.” According to modern GDP per capita statistics, it would be represented by the living standards of a Turkey or a Mexico – probably even lower in reality, because rich countries create much of their GDP and national income by virtue of being rich. Were they to be more modest in their lifestyle, much of their national product simply wouldn’t be produced.

Is it possible to downgrade the living standards of rich countries and prop up the poor ones to even slightly reduce global inequality? One may well doubt this, especially considering that for most of humanity, it is the quality of life in the developed countries that really matters, not the tyranny of averages. Everyone in the world dreams of a Lexus, not a Zaporozhets.[4]

And now we re-encounter a fundamental contradiction within the Socialist dream. It is inspired by a global historical trend towards equality and social justice, but the justice in question turns out to be a tyranny of mediocrity, the erasure of extremes of arrogant wealth and abject poverty. But how is the value of this justice comparable with the imperative of development that presupposes certain extremes? To move forward, one must desire to be the best, which is impossible without a certain, sufficiently wide score chart – even if it comes at the expense of others.

Combining the values of justice and equality with the values of development is a task yet unsolved by the New Socialism.

***

Notes

[1] Allusion to a news item at around the time of this article’s writing featuring a woman employed as a cleaner in the Gazprom office who had reported the theft of her Christian Dior handbag worth $26K.

[2] Allusion to the Soviet practice of rewarding technical and industrial innovators with honorary diplomas and certificates, as opposed to patent rights or other, more substantial awards.

[3] A cheap rear-wheel-drive supermini mass-produced in the USSR (and then, briefly, in independent Ukraine) in 1958-1994 that became a byword for shoddy, uncomfortable, and breakage-prone cars in (post-)Soviet culture.

[4] On January 23, 2017, the US announced its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific trade agreement.

***

Translator’s Note

The article was written in April 2016 and reflects the political and economic situation of the era.

 
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  1. Piketty’s stuff is bullshit, imho. I wouldn’t pay much attention to it at all, let alone basing some unintelligible “New Socialism” on it.

    Anyway:

    America was the sole exception, with a lower concentration of wealth and a higher share of income distributed through free competition. Hence the image of the USA as a Promised Land, a land of opportunity, a magnet for migration.

    It wasn’t any “lower concentration of wealth” etc. It was just a big shiny-new continent to rob, that’s all.

    Western countries, however, having no need for a “great leap forward”, were able to afford the luxury of a “Socialism sans Socialism”. Social Democracy, Christian Socialism, Swedish Socialism, Social Reformism all followed the same model.

    He’s confused. All those “socialisms” are actually the species of corporatism. Neo-corporatism, to be precise, which is, arguably, a form of fascism. All-powerful government playing the role of ultimate arbiter of various groups’ interests, for the benefit of the whole nation. Clearly, it has nothing to do with the marxist idea of ‘socialism’.

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    • Replies: @Wally
    "It was just a big shiny-new continent to rob, that’s all. "

    Except that it wasn't "robbed".
    , @utu
    All those “socialisms” are actually the species of corporatism. Neo-corporatism, to be precise, which is, arguably, a form of fascism.

    Thank you comrade for making the daily quota for usage of the favorite commie invective fascism.
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  2. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    has been challenged by “Democratic Socialist” Bernie Sanders who is cajoling White American workers into rising against the 1%, the Wall Street loan sharks. Socialist? US Presidential candidate? Early 21st century? It seems patently absurd. Meanwhile across the pond, the Labour party in the UK eschewed fine-looking bureaucrats in favour of Jeremy Corbyn, a Socialist, an anti-militarist, and general diehard Leftist. One of his first acts as leader of the Shadow Cabinet was creating a committee for a new economic policy, including such anti-inequality fighters as Thomas Piketty and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.

    What gibberish. He talks of Socialism being “devoured and digested” and then depicts Bernie Sanders and the UK Labor party as the revival of socialism (while calling PRC capitalist!).

    Sanders rhetoric about socialism has about as much meaning as his parties rhetoric about US Republicans being Fascist and Racist. US Democrat Party, which Sanders is a auxiliary of, is militantly anti-socialist, one has to ignore its entire history to say otherwise. When Sanders says socialism he starts from a “libertarian” worldview that Capitalism is private property protected by cops and army and that social spending and regulation is Socialism. That USA’s “left” factions think like John Birchers (Eisenhower and UN are socialist plots) is a testament of Marxisms marginal presence in the country, not its rise.

    Cordyn might come from the UKs trade union bureaucracy and its CPGB hangers on, but his program (let alone his party) has nothing to do with socialism. Joseph Stiglitz is a Keynesian and Piketty is a neo-Keynesian. Keynes, of course, was explicitly and openly anti-socialist and his work was dedicated to sidelining it. Ironically the same Hillary Clinton mentioned here as a Liberal avatar had Stiglitz as an consultant on economic affairs in the runner up to the 2016 election.

    What Kholmogorov misses is that what motivated the Socialist movement (and populatized Marxism as opposed to other ideologies around the workers movement) was not Income but Class. A teacher might earn more money then a street peddler but one is a wage earner and the other a small capitalist (makes living as an owner of property). China might have liberalized its economy as a defensive posture (and it was the dismantling of Bretton Woods in the 70′s that undermined economies of the Red Bloc (then a small % of global gdp) not the lack of Iphones; similarly 2008 undermined Liberalism because Chinas gdp weight didnt allow them to impose a new global deal that rescues their domestic economies) but Chinas economy is centrally planned, its equity is overwhelmingly publicly owned (while domestic capital makes up a small % of equity), its private firms have party cells in them to guide them, and its billionaire class is politically disenfranchised as a class – theres no Democracy in China (one sign of this is how theres no criminal immunity for the rich and entrepreneurs get prison from common malpractice not token fines.).

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    • Replies: @Joe Wong

    there is no Democracy in China (one sign of this is how there is no criminal immunity for the rich and entrepreneurs get prison from common malpractice not token fines.
     
    Are you saying in democracy the rich and powerful are above laws? Government is not "of the people, by the people, for the people," but “of the rich and powerful, by the rich and powerful, for the rich and powerful?” It seems you are either confused democracy with plutocracy, or trying to legitimize plutocracy with democracy.

    Perhaps you have forgotten United States Declaration of Independence starts that all men are created equal, and no additional rights are given to anyone because they are rich and entrepreneurs who can be free from being jailed even they commit crimes while others are not. You should know only in the caste system and feudal society that the rich and powerful are above laws.

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  3. ussr andy says:

    pre-WW1 world may have been an oligarchic hell with zero social mobility but they all wore top-hats and addressed each other as “my dear fellow.”

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Ushankas sound like a fashion upgrade, then.
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  4. I’m not entirely convinced that “socialism” (strongly egalitarian economic ideology) will make a robust comeback. Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are less leftist than mainstream politicians were a half century ago.

    Inequality was approximately the same for the entire history of civilization until the 20th century. The only postindustrial event which substantially reduced inequality in that time was the Black Death, at least as far back as records go (about 800 years). It’s reasonable to assume the Plague of Justinian caused something similar, but I haven’t seen any research on this.

    Yet there was apparently no socialism–ever–prior to industrialization.

    Socialism perhaps was the rest of the unprecedented immiseration produced by industrialization. At the same time, the huge concentration of productive capital which had to be manned by mass armies of workers at the same time gave workers real power that their agriculturist ancestors lacked. Even if offshoring had never occurred, it’s doubtful manufacturing today would account for nearly half of national income in advanced countries or that there would be numerous facilities requiring many thousands of workers.

    Both conditions today are largely absent, and don’t appear likely to return. Indeed one doesn’t see any working class militancy at all these days aside from periodic French spasms which may be excused a charming expression of national character. Most of the hand-wringing about inequality comes from intellectuals, and these are mainstream intellectuals and not dissidents prepared to lead a revolution by mobilizing the masses.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    I’m not entirely convinced that “socialism” (strongly egalitarian economic ideology) will make a robust comeback.
     
    Probably not, but separate elements of it are already in place. E.g. if not for interference of the Russian state in salvaging Russia's key industries and scientific institutions and gaining a control of about 75% of strategic industries, should it have continued as it was in 1990s we could have been talking about Russia's disintegration today. So, egalitarian or not, but what matters is who owns. I certainly can judge some of that on the example of say Red Sormovo. There is much more to all this "socialism", "capitalism" what have you, theories than merely a collection of trivial postulates. Let's put it this a very primitive way: I know very many Russians who have no problems with Chemezov having a (very large) salary he has, same goes to Rahmanov just to name a few, but most of those people DO have issues with many SOBs who literally robbed and still try to rob Russia based on some "privatization" schemes which are yet to be addressed, even despite Putin's word that the results of privatization should not be reversed, while in reality this work is ongoing on as I type it. BTW, in Stalin's USSR in 1950s up to 6% of real GDP has been produced by artels and cooperatives, including production of at the time a really hi-tech products such as TVs and radios.
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  5. @ussr andy
    pre-WW1 world may have been an oligarchic hell with zero social mobility but they all wore top-hats and addressed each other as "my dear fellow."

    Ushankas sound like a fashion upgrade, then.

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  6. In practice, they only led to the creation of a new class – the nomenklatura, a decline in individual initiative, logistic and planning errors leading to shortages and even famines.

    I am not sure about famines but Brussels’ bureaucracy and US Congress sure as hell look like nomenclatura to me. Same goes, largely, to media and think-tankdom class.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    ... but Brussels’ bureaucracy and US Congress sure as hell look like nomenclatura to me.
     
    The Brussels bureaucracy and the US Congress are handsomely compensated - perhaps too handsomely, some will argue - but their incomes and living standards are upper middle class, and by no means elite. They are nowhere near billionaires or even UHNWI's in terms of wealth.

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).
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  7. @Thorfinnsson
    I'm not entirely convinced that "socialism" (strongly egalitarian economic ideology) will make a robust comeback. Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are less leftist than mainstream politicians were a half century ago.

    Inequality was approximately the same for the entire history of civilization until the 20th century. The only postindustrial event which substantially reduced inequality in that time was the Black Death, at least as far back as records go (about 800 years). It's reasonable to assume the Plague of Justinian caused something similar, but I haven't seen any research on this.

    Yet there was apparently no socialism--ever--prior to industrialization.

    Socialism perhaps was the rest of the unprecedented immiseration produced by industrialization. At the same time, the huge concentration of productive capital which had to be manned by mass armies of workers at the same time gave workers real power that their agriculturist ancestors lacked. Even if offshoring had never occurred, it's doubtful manufacturing today would account for nearly half of national income in advanced countries or that there would be numerous facilities requiring many thousands of workers.

    Both conditions today are largely absent, and don't appear likely to return. Indeed one doesn't see any working class militancy at all these days aside from periodic French spasms which may be excused a charming expression of national character. Most of the hand-wringing about inequality comes from intellectuals, and these are mainstream intellectuals and not dissidents prepared to lead a revolution by mobilizing the masses.

    I’m not entirely convinced that “socialism” (strongly egalitarian economic ideology) will make a robust comeback.

    Probably not, but separate elements of it are already in place. E.g. if not for interference of the Russian state in salvaging Russia’s key industries and scientific institutions and gaining a control of about 75% of strategic industries, should it have continued as it was in 1990s we could have been talking about Russia’s disintegration today. So, egalitarian or not, but what matters is who owns. I certainly can judge some of that on the example of say Red Sormovo. There is much more to all this “socialism”, “capitalism” what have you, theories than merely a collection of trivial postulates. Let’s put it this a very primitive way: I know very many Russians who have no problems with Chemezov having a (very large) salary he has, same goes to Rahmanov just to name a few, but most of those people DO have issues with many SOBs who literally robbed and still try to rob Russia based on some “privatization” schemes which are yet to be addressed, even despite Putin’s word that the results of privatization should not be reversed, while in reality this work is ongoing on as I type it. BTW, in Stalin’s USSR in 1950s up to 6% of real GDP has been produced by artels and cooperatives, including production of at the time a really hi-tech products such as TVs and radios.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    "Neoliberalism" is clearly on the way out for the simple reason that it does not work. Partly this certainly has to do with the rage of the downward mobility of working and middle classes, but it also has failed to even serve the broad elite. In Russia this was so disastrous it was obvious. The siloviki (state nobility) were in danger of being destroyed by "capitalists" better described as gangsters, as actually happened in the Ukraine.

    Neoliberalism doesn't even work for the financial sector since it wipes out the entire banking system periodically.

    The effects in the West were less disastrous and more subtle, but the growing dependence on foreign capital, imports, and technology are finally attracting notice. Even President Obama made a genuine effort to increase automobile exports from America, something effectively abandoned by the US government since the 1930s.

    In the USA there have long been warnings and grumbling from manufacturing industries and the military-industrial complex, and this is now attracting some of our oligarchs. Donald Trump is the most obvious, but it's worth noting that while outnumbered he's not alone in the elite. Most prominently the oligarchs Wilbur Ross (a financier turned coal and steel baron), Peter Thiel, and the Mercer family have joined him.

    In Europe BREXIT was supported by much of what remains of Britain's indigenous manufacturing industry (foreign capital was of course opposed), and in Germany the government has begun blocking acquisitions of strategic technology by China.

    The rise of China and their "failure" to converge with Fukuyama's End of History is shutting the door on the Second Globalization. Collectively we are waking up and realizing the wisdom of President William McKinley:


    Well, they say, "Buy where you can buy the cheapest".... Of course, that applies to labor as to everything else. Let me give you a maxim that is a thousand times better than that, and it is the protection maxim: "Buy where you can pay the easiest." And that spot of earth is where labor wins its highest rewards.
     
    The future is national--or bloc--capitalism. National development goals, fiscal solvency, security considerations will predominate over profit maximization in trade policy.

    This will incorporate some uplift, both from political and economic factors, of the toiling masses as mass mobilization is necessary to displace the senile ideas of globalization.

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  8. @Andrei Martyanov

    In practice, they only led to the creation of a new class – the nomenklatura, a decline in individual initiative, logistic and planning errors leading to shortages and even famines.
     
    I am not sure about famines but Brussels' bureaucracy and US Congress sure as hell look like nomenclatura to me. Same goes, largely, to media and think-tankdom class.

    … but Brussels’ bureaucracy and US Congress sure as hell look like nomenclatura to me.

    The Brussels bureaucracy and the US Congress are handsomely compensated – perhaps too handsomely, some will argue – but their incomes and living standards are upper middle class, and by no means elite. They are nowhere near billionaires or even UHNWI’s in terms of wealth.

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    A fair point, although it still remains to be seen what sinecures are awaiting those law-makers who really-really helped certain corporations. It is not only monetary. In the end, consistent (and sometimes mysterious) elect-ability of a number of US law-makers is rather questionable and very nomenclaturish.

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).
     
    I knew some representatives of nomenclature personally, I am well aware of what was going on there. Their luxuries are simply minuscule compare to the robbery of 1990s. There is somewhere in internet a photo of late Vitaly Ivanovich Vorotnikov calmly walking in Moscow to the bread store--an old Soviet pensioner, still lived in his flat but, being Soviet Russia Prime Minister, he was at the top of nomenclatura. Yet, was known as a good and humble man. I think a lot depended on human qualities. After all, alcoholic, baryga, thief and low life Yeltsin also was nomenclatura.
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).
     
    You've gotta be kidding. What "luxury goods"? On very, very high posts (close to the ministerial) they had official personal car, better food, and better medical care.
    , @jacques sheete

    The Brussels bureaucracy and the US Congress are handsomely compensated – perhaps too handsomely, some will argue – but their incomes and living standards are upper middle class, and by no means elite.
     
    I only know one Brussels bureaucrat and what you say is true about the administrators, but I suspect it may not apply to those at the pinnacles of the hierarchy.

    As for the US congress you don't even think of getting there without being first very well compensated by other means.
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  9. @Andrei Martyanov

    I’m not entirely convinced that “socialism” (strongly egalitarian economic ideology) will make a robust comeback.
     
    Probably not, but separate elements of it are already in place. E.g. if not for interference of the Russian state in salvaging Russia's key industries and scientific institutions and gaining a control of about 75% of strategic industries, should it have continued as it was in 1990s we could have been talking about Russia's disintegration today. So, egalitarian or not, but what matters is who owns. I certainly can judge some of that on the example of say Red Sormovo. There is much more to all this "socialism", "capitalism" what have you, theories than merely a collection of trivial postulates. Let's put it this a very primitive way: I know very many Russians who have no problems with Chemezov having a (very large) salary he has, same goes to Rahmanov just to name a few, but most of those people DO have issues with many SOBs who literally robbed and still try to rob Russia based on some "privatization" schemes which are yet to be addressed, even despite Putin's word that the results of privatization should not be reversed, while in reality this work is ongoing on as I type it. BTW, in Stalin's USSR in 1950s up to 6% of real GDP has been produced by artels and cooperatives, including production of at the time a really hi-tech products such as TVs and radios.

    “Neoliberalism” is clearly on the way out for the simple reason that it does not work. Partly this certainly has to do with the rage of the downward mobility of working and middle classes, but it also has failed to even serve the broad elite. In Russia this was so disastrous it was obvious. The siloviki (state nobility) were in danger of being destroyed by “capitalists” better described as gangsters, as actually happened in the Ukraine.

    Neoliberalism doesn’t even work for the financial sector since it wipes out the entire banking system periodically.

    The effects in the West were less disastrous and more subtle, but the growing dependence on foreign capital, imports, and technology are finally attracting notice. Even President Obama made a genuine effort to increase automobile exports from America, something effectively abandoned by the US government since the 1930s.

    In the USA there have long been warnings and grumbling from manufacturing industries and the military-industrial complex, and this is now attracting some of our oligarchs. Donald Trump is the most obvious, but it’s worth noting that while outnumbered he’s not alone in the elite. Most prominently the oligarchs Wilbur Ross (a financier turned coal and steel baron), Peter Thiel, and the Mercer family have joined him.

    In Europe BREXIT was supported by much of what remains of Britain’s indigenous manufacturing industry (foreign capital was of course opposed), and in Germany the government has begun blocking acquisitions of strategic technology by China.

    The rise of China and their “failure” to converge with Fukuyama’s End of History is shutting the door on the Second Globalization. Collectively we are waking up and realizing the wisdom of President William McKinley:

    Well, they say, “Buy where you can buy the cheapest”…. Of course, that applies to labor as to everything else. Let me give you a maxim that is a thousand times better than that, and it is the protection maxim: “Buy where you can pay the easiest.” And that spot of earth is where labor wins its highest rewards.

    The future is national–or bloc–capitalism. National development goals, fiscal solvency, security considerations will predominate over profit maximization in trade policy.

    This will incorporate some uplift, both from political and economic factors, of the toiling masses as mass mobilization is necessary to displace the senile ideas of globalization.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The future is national–or bloc–capitalism. National development goals, fiscal solvency, security considerations will predominate over profit maximization in trade policy.
     
    Generally agree. I, however, lean more towards mixed economies.
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  10. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... but Brussels’ bureaucracy and US Congress sure as hell look like nomenclatura to me.
     
    The Brussels bureaucracy and the US Congress are handsomely compensated - perhaps too handsomely, some will argue - but their incomes and living standards are upper middle class, and by no means elite. They are nowhere near billionaires or even UHNWI's in terms of wealth.

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).

    A fair point, although it still remains to be seen what sinecures are awaiting those law-makers who really-really helped certain corporations. It is not only monetary. In the end, consistent (and sometimes mysterious) elect-ability of a number of US law-makers is rather questionable and very nomenclaturish.

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).

    I knew some representatives of nomenclature personally, I am well aware of what was going on there. Their luxuries are simply minuscule compare to the robbery of 1990s. There is somewhere in internet a photo of late Vitaly Ivanovich Vorotnikov calmly walking in Moscow to the bread store–an old Soviet pensioner, still lived in his flat but, being Soviet Russia Prime Minister, he was at the top of nomenclatura. Yet, was known as a good and humble man. I think a lot depended on human qualities. After all, alcoholic, baryga, thief and low life Yeltsin also was nomenclatura.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    I knew some representatives of nomenclature personally... was known as a good and humble man
     
    So do I. But I don't see your point. I don't think I ever said they were all or even predominantly evil and arrogant.

    Their luxuries are simply minuscule compare to the robbery of 1990s.
     
    Certainly, and I didn't claim otherwise. Within that system, however, they were top dogs in a way that Congressmen and EU bureaucrats aren't.

    @ Mao Cheng Ji,

    What “luxury goods”?
     
    Access to special shops selling imported "luxury" goods (e.g. any tropical fruits), access to actually good hospitals (for context, some absurdly large percentage of Soviet rural hospitals didn't have the most rudimentary basics like hot water), foreign travel to "exotic" destinations like Bulgaria.

    All beyond the reach of the average Soviet citizen without good connections.
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  11. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... but Brussels’ bureaucracy and US Congress sure as hell look like nomenclatura to me.
     
    The Brussels bureaucracy and the US Congress are handsomely compensated - perhaps too handsomely, some will argue - but their incomes and living standards are upper middle class, and by no means elite. They are nowhere near billionaires or even UHNWI's in terms of wealth.

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).

    You’ve gotta be kidding. What “luxury goods”? On very, very high posts (close to the ministerial) they had official personal car, better food, and better medical care.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    You’ve gotta be kidding. What “luxury goods”? On very, very high posts (close to the ministerial) they had official personal car, better food, and better medical care.
     
    Karlin modified his phrase with, "or what passed for them."

    Speaking of a nomenklatura family I know quite well personally, in 1980s: occasional visits to Western Europe (resulting in some nice clothes for the teenage daughter); regular and easy access to good food like black caviar, with no lines; jewelry with diamonds; access to the ЦК КПСС dacha which had a very good chef; access to very nice full-service resorts in Crimea and Georgia; pretty much guaranteed entrance to MGU or MGIMO; living in a spacious 4 room apartment with two bathrooms, 15 minutes walk from the Kremlin; being treated very deferentially by cops or other public workers and never being bothered by them. As Karlin stated - this is how a pair of successful surgeons can live in New York (other than cop deference). It's an upper middle class lifestyle, not a rich person's lifestyle.

    This particular family was not corrupt, but some of their social equals and peers from the 1980s, would be buying private helicopters in the 1990s.

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  12. headrick says:

    1) The managers of an at the very top become effect also a political power. They are as great a threat to
    liberty as socialist bureaucrats , maybe more so because they believe they rule by their
    own virtue or diving right.
    2) Running things from the very top is almost always a mistake. There is no wisdom in looking
    for a wise man an putting him in charge.
    3) Networks of the top level of capitalism tend to collaborate to enrich themselves usually at the
    expense of the “little” people. The health care, insurance, government medical , drug complex is an example.
    4) It is not easy to bring prosperity to a community by throwing money at the problem. It is
    a very very complex problem. Each case seems to be different.
    5) Maybe a national culture which is less materialistic and which values spiritual things is
    a more satisfactory place to live.

    Some things do seem to work.
    Suppose, in the US, we had offshore medical complex ships from India or China which could provide high level heath care, and keep the local medical Cabal at bay. I Think this
    may work if the cabal has not already skimmed off all the medical dollars already in the name of making it a egalitarian entitlement.
    There must be a way for a grassroots rebellion to walk with their feed. In the US the car
    manufacturers will forbid foreign innovation in the name of keeping us poor citizens safe.
    In housing, building codes stifle innovation in the name of protecting the people from rapacious capitalism. This US endeavor to protect us from capitalism passes as socialism, and it is in reality a meat grinder of interlocking interests to keep everybody in servitude, without enough capital left to vote with their feet, and without any legal avenues left even if they did.

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  13. @Andrei Martyanov
    A fair point, although it still remains to be seen what sinecures are awaiting those law-makers who really-really helped certain corporations. It is not only monetary. In the end, consistent (and sometimes mysterious) elect-ability of a number of US law-makers is rather questionable and very nomenclaturish.

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).
     
    I knew some representatives of nomenclature personally, I am well aware of what was going on there. Their luxuries are simply minuscule compare to the robbery of 1990s. There is somewhere in internet a photo of late Vitaly Ivanovich Vorotnikov calmly walking in Moscow to the bread store--an old Soviet pensioner, still lived in his flat but, being Soviet Russia Prime Minister, he was at the top of nomenclatura. Yet, was known as a good and humble man. I think a lot depended on human qualities. After all, alcoholic, baryga, thief and low life Yeltsin also was nomenclatura.

    I knew some representatives of nomenclature personally… was known as a good and humble man

    So do I. But I don’t see your point. I don’t think I ever said they were all or even predominantly evil and arrogant.

    Their luxuries are simply minuscule compare to the robbery of 1990s.

    Certainly, and I didn’t claim otherwise. Within that system, however, they were top dogs in a way that Congressmen and EU bureaucrats aren’t.

    @ Mao Cheng Ji,

    What “luxury goods”?

    Access to special shops selling imported “luxury” goods (e.g. any tropical fruits), access to actually good hospitals (for context, some absurdly large percentage of Soviet rural hospitals didn’t have the most rudimentary basics like hot water), foreign travel to “exotic” destinations like Bulgaria.

    All beyond the reach of the average Soviet citizen without good connections.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    I don’t think I ever said they were all or even predominantly evil and arrogant.
     
    They actually seemed to be comfortable in their skins, not arrogant. Arrogance often comes with insecurity. One thing I noticed is that when in the 1990s they visited places such as Paris, or Italy, and encountered descendants of the White emigres - they got along rather well.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Certainly, and I didn’t claim otherwise. Within that system, however, they were top dogs in a way that Congressmen and EU bureaucrats aren’t.
     
    What is a definition of a "top dog"? How this definition varies say for the level of a 1st Secretary of Obkom and 1st Secretary of Republics CP. I know the difference really well, do you? Could 1st Secretary of the Republic's CP or Chairman of the Soviet of Ministers unleash a war out of own volition and for, largely, personal reasons as McCain did? How can one define a recycling of the good ol' boys and girls from Ivy League madras in the leading government and media positions? Do you want to say that this is not nomenclatura?
    , @Anonymous
    Some things are hard to scale, but I remember just last month, TV stations broadcasting live the arrival of McCain to Washington, just in time to sink Trump's proposed healthcare law.

    I actually remember Senator Kennedy skipping Obamacare debates, as he was dying in Cape Cod. One day, he felt he was sicker, and he was flown in to a Boston hospital on a helicopter. I mean, he knew he was dying, but why stay in a hospital with the plebs? And why go to work like the plebs? Oh, Obama didn't have enough votes to pass the law? Tough luck, the dying Kennedy won't resign, won't go to work, and won't even stay in a hospice with the plebs. (And this was supposedly one of the most caring leftists in the Senate.)

    If you think McCain paid for his charter or Kennedy for his chopper out of their salaries, you are deluded. There's a video with a younger McCain explaining how he handed out envelopes with cash on the Senate floor, on behalf of big tobacco.

    And this not just the Senate. Have you seen Bloomberg going to work?

    If you believe American propaganda about their "humble" nomenklatura, at public's "service", it's hard to see anyone immune.
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  14. OT:

    Mr. Karlin, have you had a chance to view the new Blade Runner? I noticed a reference in the ads to the CCCP within the movie, which implies that the Soviet Union somehow survived in some form(even past an world-wide apocalyptic event, somehow).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I watch about two movies a year. I need a lot of people to pester me to do it.
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  15. @Daniel Chieh
    OT:

    Mr. Karlin, have you had a chance to view the new Blade Runner? I noticed a reference in the ads to the CCCP within the movie, which implies that the Soviet Union somehow survived in some form(even past an world-wide apocalyptic event, somehow).

    I watch about two movies a year. I need a lot of people to pester me to do it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Everyone, AK's contact information can be found to the right of Unz. Begin Operation Pester!
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  16. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).
     
    You've gotta be kidding. What "luxury goods"? On very, very high posts (close to the ministerial) they had official personal car, better food, and better medical care.

    You’ve gotta be kidding. What “luxury goods”? On very, very high posts (close to the ministerial) they had official personal car, better food, and better medical care.

    Karlin modified his phrase with, “or what passed for them.”

    Speaking of a nomenklatura family I know quite well personally, in 1980s: occasional visits to Western Europe (resulting in some nice clothes for the teenage daughter); regular and easy access to good food like black caviar, with no lines; jewelry with diamonds; access to the ЦК КПСС dacha which had a very good chef; access to very nice full-service resorts in Crimea and Georgia; pretty much guaranteed entrance to MGU or MGIMO; living in a spacious 4 room apartment with two bathrooms, 15 minutes walk from the Kremlin; being treated very deferentially by cops or other public workers and never being bothered by them. As Karlin stated – this is how a pair of successful surgeons can live in New York (other than cop deference). It’s an upper middle class lifestyle, not a rich person’s lifestyle.

    This particular family was not corrupt, but some of their social equals and peers from the 1980s, would be buying private helicopters in the 1990s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Well, obviously your acquaintance was rather more elite than mine, his family's "range" was constricted to the Iron Curtain. Easy access to black caviar and luxury foods, access to high-end spas within the USSR, but definitely no holidays to Western Europe or diamond jewelry! That the latter two possibilities actually existed (outside of overt corruption channels) is news to me.
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    living in a spacious 4 room apartment with two bathrooms
     
    I'm shocked: what an unimaginable luxury. Check out Bill Gates's house.

    Anyone had a chance to go to a free resort in Crimea. Anyone (theoretically) had a chance to visit Western Europe, and all that. As for diamond jewelry - every store clerk had diamond jewelry, not to mention the director of a supermarket.

    They had the same lifestyle as everybody else, going to work every day, but with more comfort and less everyday headaches. Better life for sure, but hardly a different socioeconomic class.

    , @Andrei Martyanov

    occasional visits to Western Europe (resulting in some nice clothes for the teenage daughter); regular and easy access to good food like black caviar, with no lines; jewelry with diamonds
     
    Obviously you never heard, which is not surprising, of VTB checks which were widely available to pretty much most people in the Ministry of MorFlot, not to mention that hard currency was "dropping" (kapala) for any ship or submarine leaving territorial waters of the Soviet Union. I, not even as an officer at that time, was paid VTB checks (easily used in places like Beryozka and some other stores) for couple of my remote deployments (Dalnii Pohod) as were all naval cadets on board, not to speak of command corps. I knew commercial fishermen who lived better than majority of nomenclatura. The mentioning of the black caviar is altogether laughable for a person who never lived around Caspian Sea where black caviar could easily be procured pretty much anywhere from Astrakhan, to Baku, to Krasnovodsk--no need to belong to "nomenclatura", anybody could have it and many, your everyday Joe (or Ivan) did. The only truth in what you said was, indeed, the fact of the access to MGIMO--that mattered. So did the living arrangements but two bathrooms and 4 rooms were mostly features of Moscow, Leningrad etc. Most regional big shots lived in good, I would say, 3 bedroom apartments with somewhat upscale interiors--nothing too special. Per dachas, Tesseli, Foros--BTDT. There were many specialized (vedomstvennye) resorts from MoD, KGB, MID, Ministry of Railroads, MorFlot etc. which were excellent and easily accessible by people working in those organizations. So was true for vedomstvennaya healthcare--one didn't have to be a part of nomenclatura to get there. Already then things started to emerge which today are becoming in Russia a valid (one of several) foundations for political arrangement--Сословие. But those things, of course, are always below the radar of most "specialists" in Soviet times. Nomenclature shtick came about with the effort of Gorbachov's "reformers" and this dimwit himself when he needed to rationalize his increasing failures in reforming the country. Yes, there was a resistance from nomenclatura as it exists from ANY bureaucracy in the world. Against the background of FC Chelsea's owner or the way US lawmakers are bought, sometimes wholesale, by means of all kinds of perks this issue becomes somewhat moot. In the end, once one gets acquainted with Randy Duke Cunnigham's schemes, as one example of many, in Congress, not to mention Keating Five etc. one is really forced to reconsider.
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  17. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I knew some representatives of nomenclature personally... was known as a good and humble man
     
    So do I. But I don't see your point. I don't think I ever said they were all or even predominantly evil and arrogant.

    Their luxuries are simply minuscule compare to the robbery of 1990s.
     
    Certainly, and I didn't claim otherwise. Within that system, however, they were top dogs in a way that Congressmen and EU bureaucrats aren't.

    @ Mao Cheng Ji,

    What “luxury goods”?
     
    Access to special shops selling imported "luxury" goods (e.g. any tropical fruits), access to actually good hospitals (for context, some absurdly large percentage of Soviet rural hospitals didn't have the most rudimentary basics like hot water), foreign travel to "exotic" destinations like Bulgaria.

    All beyond the reach of the average Soviet citizen without good connections.

    I don’t think I ever said they were all or even predominantly evil and arrogant.

    They actually seemed to be comfortable in their skins, not arrogant. Arrogance often comes with insecurity. One thing I noticed is that when in the 1990s they visited places such as Paris, or Italy, and encountered descendants of the White emigres – they got along rather well.

    Read More
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  18. Wally says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    Piketty's stuff is bullshit, imho. I wouldn't pay much attention to it at all, let alone basing some unintelligible "New Socialism" on it.

    Anyway:


    America was the sole exception, with a lower concentration of wealth and a higher share of income distributed through free competition. Hence the image of the USA as a Promised Land, a land of opportunity, a magnet for migration.
     
    It wasn't any "lower concentration of wealth" etc. It was just a big shiny-new continent to rob, that's all.

    Western countries, however, having no need for a “great leap forward”, were able to afford the luxury of a “Socialism sans Socialism”. Social Democracy, Christian Socialism, Swedish Socialism, Social Reformism all followed the same model.
     
    He's confused. All those "socialisms" are actually the species of corporatism. Neo-corporatism, to be precise, which is, arguably, a form of fascism. All-powerful government playing the role of ultimate arbiter of various groups' interests, for the benefit of the whole nation. Clearly, it has nothing to do with the marxist idea of 'socialism'.

    “It was just a big shiny-new continent to rob, that’s all. ”

    Except that it wasn’t “robbed”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Except that it wasn’t “robbed”.
     
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Bison_skull_pile-restored.jpg
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  19. @AP

    You’ve gotta be kidding. What “luxury goods”? On very, very high posts (close to the ministerial) they had official personal car, better food, and better medical care.
     
    Karlin modified his phrase with, "or what passed for them."

    Speaking of a nomenklatura family I know quite well personally, in 1980s: occasional visits to Western Europe (resulting in some nice clothes for the teenage daughter); regular and easy access to good food like black caviar, with no lines; jewelry with diamonds; access to the ЦК КПСС dacha which had a very good chef; access to very nice full-service resorts in Crimea and Georgia; pretty much guaranteed entrance to MGU or MGIMO; living in a spacious 4 room apartment with two bathrooms, 15 minutes walk from the Kremlin; being treated very deferentially by cops or other public workers and never being bothered by them. As Karlin stated - this is how a pair of successful surgeons can live in New York (other than cop deference). It's an upper middle class lifestyle, not a rich person's lifestyle.

    This particular family was not corrupt, but some of their social equals and peers from the 1980s, would be buying private helicopters in the 1990s.

    Well, obviously your acquaintance was rather more elite than mine, his family’s “range” was constricted to the Iron Curtain. Easy access to black caviar and luxury foods, access to high-end spas within the USSR, but definitely no holidays to Western Europe or diamond jewelry! That the latter two possibilities actually existed (outside of overt corruption channels) is news to me.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    but definitely no holidays to Western Europe or diamond jewelry!
     
    Granted, this was tied to work. The family got a bunch of nice Western goods when the father accompanied Gorby to Iceland. There were also some multinational conferences, access to some official reason to visit an Olympics games in a Western country (not LA of course).

    Easy access to black caviar and luxury foods
     
    I was told there was a time around 1990 when due to weird supply problems as the system was falling apart, they had to eat black caviar and noodles every day, for every meal, for a few weeks, because there was little else they had access to.

    or diamond jewelry
     
    All of it was stolen during a 1990s burglary, an act that was sort of metaphor for the country's social changes of that time.
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  20. It is a no-brainer to call Piketty’s analysis bullshit without showing how that is correct. He advanced knowledge in this area by collecting and analysing a huge data set covering a longer period of time than had been accomplished before. It is difficult ot capture all of the nuances of such a large collection of data and it also is possible to miss trends and possibilities when developing theories based on such material. However, Picketty’s analysis raised the level of discussion from mere opinion and dogma to something more. The question is, how much more data gathering and analysis are needed for a fuller understanding?

    I notice that almost all of the data and all of the analysis presented in the above analysis are based on European examples (even those for Russia are based mostly on data from the Europeanized part), and only since the 1800′s. It would be interesting to look more broadly, at other societies and times. What did income equality and quality of life look like in pre-Columbian North America? Amongst the Maya at the height of their civilisation? Amongst the Aztec and the Inca and the pre-Incan civilizations? In Polynesia? Amongst the inhabitants of the Mongol Empire and in the Khanates that spun out of it? What was wealth accumulation and upward mobility like in the Ottoman Empire? Perhaps we need to look at Ummayad Spain as well. This dialogue about inequality and wealth creation is useful, but too focused for me to believe it is the last and best word about this important economic and political issue.

    We live in the times we live in and people will argue that European and U.S. data are all we need. Yet, lessons can and should be learned and applied based on a fuller understanding of human society. Continually knocking on a door that no one answers is not the only way to gain access.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    It is a no-brainer to call Piketty’s analysis bullshit without showing how that is correct.
     
    I call it bullshit, because he, with this r>g formula, makes it look like wealth accumulation is some sort of a natural law.

    In reality, all those Rs, Gs, and the rest of the letters are completely political, controlled and manipulated by exactly those who own wealth. For example: when 'g' starts going up, the central bank raises interest rates and slows it down. Oops.

    So what's the point of his formulas, or, for that matter, of his suggestions to introduce a global wealth tax? It's bullshit. People who control the wealth will keep doing what they want. Well, until they are stopped and their wealth is taken from them. By force.

    , @Logan
    Absolutely!

    All these types who claim to be multicultural are nevertheless convinced that they are "normal" and representative of the human condition.

    In reality they are, in the words of the great Jonathan Haidt, WEIRD (Western Educated Industrial Rich and Democratic).

    A subset of humanity that has existed only for a few decades and only in a small part of the world. Even there they are a minority.

    Yet almost all research is performed on this group, from which we then make assumptions about everybody else.
    , @ThreeCranes
    The dialogue is focused because the invention and perfection of the steam engine (and concomitant machine metal working) was the single most dramatic event in recorded human history; as important as the use of fire and stone tools--an extension of them really.

    What's the point of studying grazers, herders and subsistence farmers? They had their problems and we have ours.
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  21. @AP

    You’ve gotta be kidding. What “luxury goods”? On very, very high posts (close to the ministerial) they had official personal car, better food, and better medical care.
     
    Karlin modified his phrase with, "or what passed for them."

    Speaking of a nomenklatura family I know quite well personally, in 1980s: occasional visits to Western Europe (resulting in some nice clothes for the teenage daughter); regular and easy access to good food like black caviar, with no lines; jewelry with diamonds; access to the ЦК КПСС dacha which had a very good chef; access to very nice full-service resorts in Crimea and Georgia; pretty much guaranteed entrance to MGU or MGIMO; living in a spacious 4 room apartment with two bathrooms, 15 minutes walk from the Kremlin; being treated very deferentially by cops or other public workers and never being bothered by them. As Karlin stated - this is how a pair of successful surgeons can live in New York (other than cop deference). It's an upper middle class lifestyle, not a rich person's lifestyle.

    This particular family was not corrupt, but some of their social equals and peers from the 1980s, would be buying private helicopters in the 1990s.

    living in a spacious 4 room apartment with two bathrooms

    I’m shocked: what an unimaginable luxury. Check out Bill Gates’s house.

    Anyone had a chance to go to a free resort in Crimea. Anyone (theoretically) had a chance to visit Western Europe, and all that. As for diamond jewelry – every store clerk had diamond jewelry, not to mention the director of a supermarket.

    They had the same lifestyle as everybody else, going to work every day, but with more comfort and less everyday headaches. Better life for sure, but hardly a different socioeconomic class.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    They had the same lifestyle as everybody else, going to work every day, but with more comfort and less everyday headaches. Better life for sure, but hardly a different socioeconomic class.
     
    I don't think we really disagree strongly on this point. As I said, the Soviet-era elite lived like upper middle-class Westerners. They had more and better stuff, but still went to work, often used public transportation, etc. The regular Soviets lived (materially) little better than American poor people in housing projects. The distance between a member of the Soviet elite and a regular Soviet was thus comparable to the distance between a surgeon living in a nice flat on the upper west side of Manhattan, and a poor person living in some housing project in Harlem. They might walk past each other in central park. It's a lot closer than the distance between Bill Gates and a middle-class American.

    Anyone had a chance to go to a free resort in Crimea.
     
    Quality varied. As it does in the West, between resorts for the elites and places that regular folks visit.
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  22. @simplyamazed
    It is a no-brainer to call Piketty's analysis bullshit without showing how that is correct. He advanced knowledge in this area by collecting and analysing a huge data set covering a longer period of time than had been accomplished before. It is difficult ot capture all of the nuances of such a large collection of data and it also is possible to miss trends and possibilities when developing theories based on such material. However, Picketty's analysis raised the level of discussion from mere opinion and dogma to something more. The question is, how much more data gathering and analysis are needed for a fuller understanding?

    I notice that almost all of the data and all of the analysis presented in the above analysis are based on European examples (even those for Russia are based mostly on data from the Europeanized part), and only since the 1800's. It would be interesting to look more broadly, at other societies and times. What did income equality and quality of life look like in pre-Columbian North America? Amongst the Maya at the height of their civilisation? Amongst the Aztec and the Inca and the pre-Incan civilizations? In Polynesia? Amongst the inhabitants of the Mongol Empire and in the Khanates that spun out of it? What was wealth accumulation and upward mobility like in the Ottoman Empire? Perhaps we need to look at Ummayad Spain as well. This dialogue about inequality and wealth creation is useful, but too focused for me to believe it is the last and best word about this important economic and political issue.

    We live in the times we live in and people will argue that European and U.S. data are all we need. Yet, lessons can and should be learned and applied based on a fuller understanding of human society. Continually knocking on a door that no one answers is not the only way to gain access.

    It is a no-brainer to call Piketty’s analysis bullshit without showing how that is correct.

    I call it bullshit, because he, with this r>g formula, makes it look like wealth accumulation is some sort of a natural law.

    In reality, all those Rs, Gs, and the rest of the letters are completely political, controlled and manipulated by exactly those who own wealth. For example: when ‘g’ starts going up, the central bank raises interest rates and slows it down. Oops.

    So what’s the point of his formulas, or, for that matter, of his suggestions to introduce a global wealth tax? It’s bullshit. People who control the wealth will keep doing what they want. Well, until they are stopped and their wealth is taken from them. By force.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    Correct. Except you are missing a precondition for "who owns the wealth" meaning anything.

    It is the rule of law. For most of human history it didn't exist. Wealth grew from raw political power, not power from wealth.

    In China for its entire history, for example, no great dynasties of businessmen ever emerged. This is because any guy who started to get really rich was promptly expropriated by the emperor or mandarins. Under their ideology, private wealth could only be gained by exploitation, so it was entirely right and proper to steal his stuff, probably killing him and his family in the process. People at various times gained immense private wealth in China, often primarily by truly spectacular corruption, but seldom if ever kept it for long.

    This is one of the reasons, perhaps the main one, true capitalism only emerged in modern Europe, and initially only in a few countries even there, mainly Netherlands and England. For the first time ever, you could get really rich by private means, keep your money and pass it down to the next generation. Without having to hold political power, which is of course in raw form simply military power, to protect your wealth. The rules of society as a whole protected that wealth.

    But we take this so for granted we don't realize how unusual it is in world history. Indeed unique, AFAIK.
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  23. Logan says:
    @simplyamazed
    It is a no-brainer to call Piketty's analysis bullshit without showing how that is correct. He advanced knowledge in this area by collecting and analysing a huge data set covering a longer period of time than had been accomplished before. It is difficult ot capture all of the nuances of such a large collection of data and it also is possible to miss trends and possibilities when developing theories based on such material. However, Picketty's analysis raised the level of discussion from mere opinion and dogma to something more. The question is, how much more data gathering and analysis are needed for a fuller understanding?

    I notice that almost all of the data and all of the analysis presented in the above analysis are based on European examples (even those for Russia are based mostly on data from the Europeanized part), and only since the 1800's. It would be interesting to look more broadly, at other societies and times. What did income equality and quality of life look like in pre-Columbian North America? Amongst the Maya at the height of their civilisation? Amongst the Aztec and the Inca and the pre-Incan civilizations? In Polynesia? Amongst the inhabitants of the Mongol Empire and in the Khanates that spun out of it? What was wealth accumulation and upward mobility like in the Ottoman Empire? Perhaps we need to look at Ummayad Spain as well. This dialogue about inequality and wealth creation is useful, but too focused for me to believe it is the last and best word about this important economic and political issue.

    We live in the times we live in and people will argue that European and U.S. data are all we need. Yet, lessons can and should be learned and applied based on a fuller understanding of human society. Continually knocking on a door that no one answers is not the only way to gain access.

    Absolutely!

    All these types who claim to be multicultural are nevertheless convinced that they are “normal” and representative of the human condition.

    In reality they are, in the words of the great Jonathan Haidt, WEIRD (Western Educated Industrial Rich and Democratic).

    A subset of humanity that has existed only for a few decades and only in a small part of the world. Even there they are a minority.

    Yet almost all research is performed on this group, from which we then make assumptions about everybody else.

    Read More
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  24. Logan says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    It is a no-brainer to call Piketty’s analysis bullshit without showing how that is correct.
     
    I call it bullshit, because he, with this r>g formula, makes it look like wealth accumulation is some sort of a natural law.

    In reality, all those Rs, Gs, and the rest of the letters are completely political, controlled and manipulated by exactly those who own wealth. For example: when 'g' starts going up, the central bank raises interest rates and slows it down. Oops.

    So what's the point of his formulas, or, for that matter, of his suggestions to introduce a global wealth tax? It's bullshit. People who control the wealth will keep doing what they want. Well, until they are stopped and their wealth is taken from them. By force.

    Correct. Except you are missing a precondition for “who owns the wealth” meaning anything.

    It is the rule of law. For most of human history it didn’t exist. Wealth grew from raw political power, not power from wealth.

    In China for its entire history, for example, no great dynasties of businessmen ever emerged. This is because any guy who started to get really rich was promptly expropriated by the emperor or mandarins. Under their ideology, private wealth could only be gained by exploitation, so it was entirely right and proper to steal his stuff, probably killing him and his family in the process. People at various times gained immense private wealth in China, often primarily by truly spectacular corruption, but seldom if ever kept it for long.

    This is one of the reasons, perhaps the main one, true capitalism only emerged in modern Europe, and initially only in a few countries even there, mainly Netherlands and England. For the first time ever, you could get really rich by private means, keep your money and pass it down to the next generation. Without having to hold political power, which is of course in raw form simply military power, to protect your wealth. The rules of society as a whole protected that wealth.

    But we take this so for granted we don’t realize how unusual it is in world history. Indeed unique, AFAIK.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    The rules of society as a whole protected that wealth.
     
    I don't see any great substance in the distinction you're making between the class of nobility (in the feudal past) and the class of capitalists today. In any society, the laws, the social norms, and the dominant ideology ("the rules of society" in your terms) serve to protect and to entrench the ruling class.
    , @melanf

    This is one of the reasons, perhaps the main one, true capitalism only emerged in modern Europe
     
    Historians believe that capitalism is independently arose in Japan, during the Tokugawa Shogunate.
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  25. @Logan
    Correct. Except you are missing a precondition for "who owns the wealth" meaning anything.

    It is the rule of law. For most of human history it didn't exist. Wealth grew from raw political power, not power from wealth.

    In China for its entire history, for example, no great dynasties of businessmen ever emerged. This is because any guy who started to get really rich was promptly expropriated by the emperor or mandarins. Under their ideology, private wealth could only be gained by exploitation, so it was entirely right and proper to steal his stuff, probably killing him and his family in the process. People at various times gained immense private wealth in China, often primarily by truly spectacular corruption, but seldom if ever kept it for long.

    This is one of the reasons, perhaps the main one, true capitalism only emerged in modern Europe, and initially only in a few countries even there, mainly Netherlands and England. For the first time ever, you could get really rich by private means, keep your money and pass it down to the next generation. Without having to hold political power, which is of course in raw form simply military power, to protect your wealth. The rules of society as a whole protected that wealth.

    But we take this so for granted we don't realize how unusual it is in world history. Indeed unique, AFAIK.

    The rules of society as a whole protected that wealth.

    I don’t see any great substance in the distinction you’re making between the class of nobility (in the feudal past) and the class of capitalists today. In any society, the laws, the social norms, and the dominant ideology (“the rules of society” in your terms) serve to protect and to entrench the ruling class.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    In any society, the laws, the social norms, and the dominant ideology (“the rules of society” in your terms) serve to protect and to entrench the ruling class.

    Correct comrade. The same applies to Soviet nomenklatura.
    , @Logan
    The difference is not whether there is a ruling class, it's what that ruling class is and how one gets into it.

    The feudal nobility pretty much inherited their position.

    The mandarins of China got their's by examination.

    The businessmen of the last few centuries in the West and its imitators acquired their wealth and power by providing services and goods others want to buy efficiently enough to turn a profit.

    In all cases corruption and working the system affect the results, but it seems crystal clear to me that there's a huge difference in the society created by these three ways of determining who enters the ruling class.
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  26. The fundamental problem with most mainstream leftists–whether of the ‘hard’ left like Marx, or of the ‘soft’ left like Piketty–is that they’re so in love with the ideal of globalization that they can’t bring themselves to turn against it, even if they profess to hate all its effects. And so, while they may be good at describing the problem, they will never be able to offer any realistic, workable solutions to it. Why? Because the only real solution to the problem of globalization is nationalism–in particular, national socialism.

    Jeremy Corbyn is another good example. Back in the day, he (like his mentor, Tony Benn) was part of the Labour faction that opposed the EU. And now? Well, officially he was against Brexit, and now he professes to be in favor of a “soft” Brexit rather than Theresa May’s (supposedly) “hard” Brexit. But a “soft” Brexit is really just a Norway-type arrangement where the country has to follow pretty much all the EU’s rule, even though they don’t get a vote on them, so in practice, it wouldn’t be much of a Brexit at all. And this is despite the fact that Corbyn is supposedly in favor of renationalizing British Rail, which would be illegal under current EU bylaws. So you really have to question this man’s priorities. But then, that would simply make him a typical leftist, I suppose. Only a tiny handful, like Ralph Nader, seem able to escape this trap.

    Strange …

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    And so, while they may be good at describing the problem, they will never be able to offer any realistic, workable solutions to it.
     
    From my perch, there never have been realistic workable solutions, only temporary expedients, and there probably can't be. Not only do the goals keep shifting, but all the competing "solutions" kill each other off. Anyone offering solutions is probably no more trustworthy than your average televangelist or any more effective than Christ on the cross.

    It's increasingly obvious to me that we're stuck with systems that are much less than ideal, at least from the points of view of most of us, and there ain't much relief in sight. Anyone promising otherwise is probably engaging in a degree of hucksterism at best.
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  27. utu says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    Piketty's stuff is bullshit, imho. I wouldn't pay much attention to it at all, let alone basing some unintelligible "New Socialism" on it.

    Anyway:


    America was the sole exception, with a lower concentration of wealth and a higher share of income distributed through free competition. Hence the image of the USA as a Promised Land, a land of opportunity, a magnet for migration.
     
    It wasn't any "lower concentration of wealth" etc. It was just a big shiny-new continent to rob, that's all.

    Western countries, however, having no need for a “great leap forward”, were able to afford the luxury of a “Socialism sans Socialism”. Social Democracy, Christian Socialism, Swedish Socialism, Social Reformism all followed the same model.
     
    He's confused. All those "socialisms" are actually the species of corporatism. Neo-corporatism, to be precise, which is, arguably, a form of fascism. All-powerful government playing the role of ultimate arbiter of various groups' interests, for the benefit of the whole nation. Clearly, it has nothing to do with the marxist idea of 'socialism'.

    All those “socialisms” are actually the species of corporatism. Neo-corporatism, to be precise, which is, arguably, a form of fascism.

    Thank you comrade for making the daily quota for usage of the favorite commie invective fascism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Thank you comrade for making the daily quota for usage of the favorite commie invective fascism.
     
    By the way, when I say that neo-corporatism can be viewed as a form of fascism, I don't mean it in a demeaning way.

    I lived in Switzerland for many years, and I consider it a very decent socioeconomic arrangement. Their fascist features are annoying -- punishments for flashing the toilet after 10pm, for making a small mistake in their recycling rules, speed cameras on every fucking light pole, constant surveillance, mind-boggling bureaucracy, and so on.

    But once you pass that, you see positive aspects of neo-corporatism: $25/hr minimum wage (in the locality where I lived) is a big deal obviously: every (full-time) janitor lives like a middle-class American. Mandatory wage increases, no unemployment, very strong economic nationalism. If you apply for a business license, the first thing they ask: 'how many Swiss nationals are you going to employ'? It works.
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  28. utu says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    The rules of society as a whole protected that wealth.
     
    I don't see any great substance in the distinction you're making between the class of nobility (in the feudal past) and the class of capitalists today. In any society, the laws, the social norms, and the dominant ideology ("the rules of society" in your terms) serve to protect and to entrench the ruling class.

    In any society, the laws, the social norms, and the dominant ideology (“the rules of society” in your terms) serve to protect and to entrench the ruling class.

    Correct comrade. The same applies to Soviet nomenklatura.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ussr andy
    True Communism™ has never been tried though.
    Bolshevism was a right-wing (authoritarian) aberration from Communism and everyone on both sides of the Iron Curtain benefitted from pretending it was true Communism.

    watch?v=yQsceZ9skQI
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    The same applies to Soviet nomenklatura.
     
    Like I said, it seems hard to classify nomenklatura as a socioeconomic class. Nomenklatura is bureaucracy, the management apparatus. Bureaucracy, as Mr Martyanov noted above, exists everywhere, regardless of the socioeconomic system. The Soviet privileged bureaucracy was relatively small and inexpensive (compared to the Western or modern RF equivalents, especially if we add corporate bureaucracy), and so I'd rather address it as a mere overhead.
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  29. ussr andy says:
    @utu
    In any society, the laws, the social norms, and the dominant ideology (“the rules of society” in your terms) serve to protect and to entrench the ruling class.

    Correct comrade. The same applies to Soviet nomenklatura.

    True Communism™ has never been tried though.
    Bolshevism was a right-wing (authoritarian) aberration from Communism and everyone on both sides of the Iron Curtain benefitted from pretending it was true Communism.

    watch?v=yQsceZ9skQI

    Read More
    • Replies: @ussr andy
    SJWism, too. Embrace-extend-extinguish, that's what it is.


    "Embrace, extend, and extinguish",[1] also known as "Embrace, extend, and exterminate",[2] is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found[3] was used internally by Microsoft[4] to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.
     
    , @jacques sheete

    True Communism™ has never been tried though.
     
    Arrrgghhh! ( I hope yer being sarcastic, though it's hard to tell.)

    Why does that claim keep cropping up? Sounds like the No True Scotsman fallacy to me.

    Was Marxism Communism? What's your definition of Communism/communism?

    I think communism, like democracy, has been attempted, but in my way of thinking, either can only work for brief periods, in special situations, and on a small scale, such as we see in a few religious orders. They also must be voluntary associations as well, I believe.

    Communism, as well as all other purported solutions are simply doomed to fail eventually if they have much initial success if any, especially if they don't meet those minimum requirements. Another key is that whatever seems to succeed not only attracts imitators but subverters and perverters as well.

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  30. ussr andy says:
    @ussr andy
    True Communism™ has never been tried though.
    Bolshevism was a right-wing (authoritarian) aberration from Communism and everyone on both sides of the Iron Curtain benefitted from pretending it was true Communism.

    watch?v=yQsceZ9skQI

    SJWism, too. Embrace-extend-extinguish, that’s what it is.

    “Embrace, extend, and extinguish”,[1] also known as “Embrace, extend, and exterminate”,[2] is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found[3] was used internally by Microsoft[4] to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.

    Read More
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  31. …bigger enterprises require investments (including non-returnable ones) and risks so enormous that a small-time businessman can only afford it if he is aiming for a super-income.

    Bigger enterprises also require special pampering and periodic infusion of capital, both provided by government, to grow at a rate and size analogous to the cancers that they really are. Despite all the advantages granted by government, they still manage to fail which would be fine except that they seem to drag the rest of us down with them.

    What an astounding illustration of the defeat of dishonesty by the eternal laws of things we have in the history of the East India Company! Selfish, unscrupulous, worldly-wise in policy, and with unlimited force to back it, this oligarchy, year by year, perseveringly carried out its schemes of aggrandisement. It subjugated province upon province; it laid one prince after another under tribute; it made exorbitant demands upon adjacent rulers, and construed refusal into a pretext for aggression; it became sole proprietor of the land, claiming nearly one-half the produce as rent; and it entirely monopolized commerce: thus uniting in itself the character of conqueror, ruler, landowner, and merchant. With all these resources, what could it be but prosperous? From the spoils of victorious war, the rent of millions of acres, the tribute of dependent monarchs, the profits of an exclusive trade, what untold wealth must have poured in upon it! what revenues! what a bursting exchequer! Alas! the Company is some 50,000,000l. in debt.

    -Herbert Spencer, Social Statics [1851], Introduction p47

    http://lf-oll.s3.amazonaws.com/titles/273/0331_Bk.pdf

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  32. @ussr andy
    True Communism™ has never been tried though.
    Bolshevism was a right-wing (authoritarian) aberration from Communism and everyone on both sides of the Iron Curtain benefitted from pretending it was true Communism.

    watch?v=yQsceZ9skQI

    True Communism™ has never been tried though.

    Arrrgghhh! ( I hope yer being sarcastic, though it’s hard to tell.)

    Why does that claim keep cropping up? Sounds like the No True Scotsman fallacy to me.

    Was Marxism Communism? What’s your definition of Communism/communism?

    I think communism, like democracy, has been attempted, but in my way of thinking, either can only work for brief periods, in special situations, and on a small scale, such as we see in a few religious orders. They also must be voluntary associations as well, I believe.

    Communism, as well as all other purported solutions are simply doomed to fail eventually if they have much initial success if any, especially if they don’t meet those minimum requirements. Another key is that whatever seems to succeed not only attracts imitators but subverters and perverters as well.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ussr andy
    >I hope yer being sarcastic, though it’s hard to tell.
    a bit of both.

    Really existing Communism was a genocidal disaster that messed Russia up in tons of little ways. Without it, Russia would still be just another European country (albeit a peripheral one - IOW just like today.)

    For peripheral and 3rd World countries, Communism was, above all, a strategy of self-decolonization and breaking the cycle of colonial dependence. There's a reason they quashed (invaded, embargoed,...) every secular socialist movement in the 3rd World (Allende, Nasser, Fatah etc) and installed right-wing dictators or extreme social-conservative religious types in their place.

    (That said, I believe that globally, industrial society may just be not everyone's thing for HBD reasons. IOW, even if Nasserism hadn't been quashed, "our jerbs" would still have gone to China and not the Maghreb or Levant.)

    Public ownership of the means of production is a good thing in theory. There's no reason for someone to own a factory the same way the medieval artisan owned his workshop and tools. Still, there are practical problems.

    State support for nascent industries and basic research is a good thing. Businesses alone can't innovate sh** because that requires lots of fundamental research that may or may not result in profits. America funnelled tons of public money into her budding industries under the guise of the Moon program (and before that, the War effort) when she noticed her businesses made canned food and Nylon but nothing on the level of the Sputnik.

    (There's a reason "structural adjustments" forced by America and her pet institutions like the IMF on peripheral nations just so happen to mandate total non-involvement of the state in the nation's industry and science.)

    Withering away of the state... I don't know how that's supposed to work. I think states were supposed to be replaced by some kind of proletarian internationalism or something. However, it seems workers (understandably) DGAF about workers in other nations.

    Abolition of money is impractical - the USSR shows that in absence of "real" money its place is taken by all sorts of informal privileges, which is immeasurably worse and morally triggering in a way that simply not being able to afford something for lack of funds isn't.

    tl;dr: I've no coherent opinion.

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  33. @Seamus Padraig
    The fundamental problem with most mainstream leftists--whether of the 'hard' left like Marx, or of the 'soft' left like Piketty--is that they're so in love with the ideal of globalization that they can't bring themselves to turn against it, even if they profess to hate all its effects. And so, while they may be good at describing the problem, they will never be able to offer any realistic, workable solutions to it. Why? Because the only real solution to the problem of globalization is nationalism--in particular, national socialism.

    Jeremy Corbyn is another good example. Back in the day, he (like his mentor, Tony Benn) was part of the Labour faction that opposed the EU. And now? Well, officially he was against Brexit, and now he professes to be in favor of a "soft" Brexit rather than Theresa May's (supposedly) "hard" Brexit. But a "soft" Brexit is really just a Norway-type arrangement where the country has to follow pretty much all the EU's rule, even though they don't get a vote on them, so in practice, it wouldn't be much of a Brexit at all. And this is despite the fact that Corbyn is supposedly in favor of renationalizing British Rail, which would be illegal under current EU bylaws. So you really have to question this man's priorities. But then, that would simply make him a typical leftist, I suppose. Only a tiny handful, like Ralph Nader, seem able to escape this trap.

    Strange ...

    And so, while they may be good at describing the problem, they will never be able to offer any realistic, workable solutions to it.

    From my perch, there never have been realistic workable solutions, only temporary expedients, and there probably can’t be. Not only do the goals keep shifting, but all the competing “solutions” kill each other off. Anyone offering solutions is probably no more trustworthy than your average televangelist or any more effective than Christ on the cross.

    It’s increasingly obvious to me that we’re stuck with systems that are much less than ideal, at least from the points of view of most of us, and there ain’t much relief in sight. Anyone promising otherwise is probably engaging in a degree of hucksterism at best.

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    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    In that case, the answer is still nationalism. If there is no, one 'correct' answer, then let each individual country or civilization come up with their own.
    , @another fred
    Consider, Jacques, that it may be a dynamic system and that stasis has no relevance beyond the dreams of men.

    The bell curve(s) are real, but neither extreme represents and ideal state. If the "better" gain the advantage and impose oligarchy, they might, by nature, abuse that advantage until the system becomes unbalanced. Once the system becomes too unbalanced the less fit revolt and displace their supposed oppressors.

    The less fit, by their nature, cannot impose even a temporary stasis and are displaced by the "better," the man on the white horse, who cannot maintain autocracy and yields to oligarchy.

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

    Evolution carries on.

    Take care of those you love, but don't spread your love too thin.

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  34. @Anatoly Karlin

    ... but Brussels’ bureaucracy and US Congress sure as hell look like nomenclatura to me.
     
    The Brussels bureaucracy and the US Congress are handsomely compensated - perhaps too handsomely, some will argue - but their incomes and living standards are upper middle class, and by no means elite. They are nowhere near billionaires or even UHNWI's in terms of wealth.

    That was of course not the case with the Soviet bureaucracy, which lived much better than the Soviet average (primarily through their access to luxury goods, or what passed for them in the USSR).

    The Brussels bureaucracy and the US Congress are handsomely compensated – perhaps too handsomely, some will argue – but their incomes and living standards are upper middle class, and by no means elite.

    I only know one Brussels bureaucrat and what you say is true about the administrators, but I suspect it may not apply to those at the pinnacles of the hierarchy.

    As for the US congress you don’t even think of getting there without being first very well compensated by other means.

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  35. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    living in a spacious 4 room apartment with two bathrooms
     
    I'm shocked: what an unimaginable luxury. Check out Bill Gates's house.

    Anyone had a chance to go to a free resort in Crimea. Anyone (theoretically) had a chance to visit Western Europe, and all that. As for diamond jewelry - every store clerk had diamond jewelry, not to mention the director of a supermarket.

    They had the same lifestyle as everybody else, going to work every day, but with more comfort and less everyday headaches. Better life for sure, but hardly a different socioeconomic class.

    They had the same lifestyle as everybody else, going to work every day, but with more comfort and less everyday headaches. Better life for sure, but hardly a different socioeconomic class.

    I don’t think we really disagree strongly on this point. As I said, the Soviet-era elite lived like upper middle-class Westerners. They had more and better stuff, but still went to work, often used public transportation, etc. The regular Soviets lived (materially) little better than American poor people in housing projects. The distance between a member of the Soviet elite and a regular Soviet was thus comparable to the distance between a surgeon living in a nice flat on the upper west side of Manhattan, and a poor person living in some housing project in Harlem. They might walk past each other in central park. It’s a lot closer than the distance between Bill Gates and a middle-class American.

    Anyone had a chance to go to a free resort in Crimea.

    Quality varied. As it does in the West, between resorts for the elites and places that regular folks visit.

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  36. @Anatoly Karlin

    I knew some representatives of nomenclature personally... was known as a good and humble man
     
    So do I. But I don't see your point. I don't think I ever said they were all or even predominantly evil and arrogant.

    Their luxuries are simply minuscule compare to the robbery of 1990s.
     
    Certainly, and I didn't claim otherwise. Within that system, however, they were top dogs in a way that Congressmen and EU bureaucrats aren't.

    @ Mao Cheng Ji,

    What “luxury goods”?
     
    Access to special shops selling imported "luxury" goods (e.g. any tropical fruits), access to actually good hospitals (for context, some absurdly large percentage of Soviet rural hospitals didn't have the most rudimentary basics like hot water), foreign travel to "exotic" destinations like Bulgaria.

    All beyond the reach of the average Soviet citizen without good connections.

    Certainly, and I didn’t claim otherwise. Within that system, however, they were top dogs in a way that Congressmen and EU bureaucrats aren’t.

    What is a definition of a “top dog”? How this definition varies say for the level of a 1st Secretary of Obkom and 1st Secretary of Republics CP. I know the difference really well, do you? Could 1st Secretary of the Republic’s CP or Chairman of the Soviet of Ministers unleash a war out of own volition and for, largely, personal reasons as McCain did? How can one define a recycling of the good ol’ boys and girls from Ivy League madras in the leading government and media positions? Do you want to say that this is not nomenclatura?

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  37. @utu
    In any society, the laws, the social norms, and the dominant ideology (“the rules of society” in your terms) serve to protect and to entrench the ruling class.

    Correct comrade. The same applies to Soviet nomenklatura.

    The same applies to Soviet nomenklatura.

    Like I said, it seems hard to classify nomenklatura as a socioeconomic class. Nomenklatura is bureaucracy, the management apparatus. Bureaucracy, as Mr Martyanov noted above, exists everywhere, regardless of the socioeconomic system. The Soviet privileged bureaucracy was relatively small and inexpensive (compared to the Western or modern RF equivalents, especially if we add corporate bureaucracy), and so I’d rather address it as a mere overhead.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Like I said, it seems hard to classify nomenklatura as a socioeconomic class. Nomenklatura is bureaucracy, the management apparatus.
     
    It is exactly what it is (was). Moreover, I dare to say that many competencies of that nomenclatura were on the order of magnitude better than what most "youth" presents today not only in Russia, but globally. Many people in that nomenclatura were superbly experienced and educated people. That, of course, was not always the case in national republics, where national cadres often were not that good due to also national local cultural peculiarities.
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  38. @Thorfinnsson
    "Neoliberalism" is clearly on the way out for the simple reason that it does not work. Partly this certainly has to do with the rage of the downward mobility of working and middle classes, but it also has failed to even serve the broad elite. In Russia this was so disastrous it was obvious. The siloviki (state nobility) were in danger of being destroyed by "capitalists" better described as gangsters, as actually happened in the Ukraine.

    Neoliberalism doesn't even work for the financial sector since it wipes out the entire banking system periodically.

    The effects in the West were less disastrous and more subtle, but the growing dependence on foreign capital, imports, and technology are finally attracting notice. Even President Obama made a genuine effort to increase automobile exports from America, something effectively abandoned by the US government since the 1930s.

    In the USA there have long been warnings and grumbling from manufacturing industries and the military-industrial complex, and this is now attracting some of our oligarchs. Donald Trump is the most obvious, but it's worth noting that while outnumbered he's not alone in the elite. Most prominently the oligarchs Wilbur Ross (a financier turned coal and steel baron), Peter Thiel, and the Mercer family have joined him.

    In Europe BREXIT was supported by much of what remains of Britain's indigenous manufacturing industry (foreign capital was of course opposed), and in Germany the government has begun blocking acquisitions of strategic technology by China.

    The rise of China and their "failure" to converge with Fukuyama's End of History is shutting the door on the Second Globalization. Collectively we are waking up and realizing the wisdom of President William McKinley:


    Well, they say, "Buy where you can buy the cheapest".... Of course, that applies to labor as to everything else. Let me give you a maxim that is a thousand times better than that, and it is the protection maxim: "Buy where you can pay the easiest." And that spot of earth is where labor wins its highest rewards.
     
    The future is national--or bloc--capitalism. National development goals, fiscal solvency, security considerations will predominate over profit maximization in trade policy.

    This will incorporate some uplift, both from political and economic factors, of the toiling masses as mass mobilization is necessary to displace the senile ideas of globalization.

    The future is national–or bloc–capitalism. National development goals, fiscal solvency, security considerations will predominate over profit maximization in trade policy.

    Generally agree. I, however, lean more towards mixed economies.

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  39. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Well, obviously your acquaintance was rather more elite than mine, his family's "range" was constricted to the Iron Curtain. Easy access to black caviar and luxury foods, access to high-end spas within the USSR, but definitely no holidays to Western Europe or diamond jewelry! That the latter two possibilities actually existed (outside of overt corruption channels) is news to me.

    but definitely no holidays to Western Europe or diamond jewelry!

    Granted, this was tied to work. The family got a bunch of nice Western goods when the father accompanied Gorby to Iceland. There were also some multinational conferences, access to some official reason to visit an Olympics games in a Western country (not LA of course).

    Easy access to black caviar and luxury foods

    I was told there was a time around 1990 when due to weird supply problems as the system was falling apart, they had to eat black caviar and noodles every day, for every meal, for a few weeks, because there was little else they had access to.

    or diamond jewelry

    All of it was stolen during a 1990s burglary, an act that was sort of metaphor for the country’s social changes of that time.

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  40. @AP

    You’ve gotta be kidding. What “luxury goods”? On very, very high posts (close to the ministerial) they had official personal car, better food, and better medical care.
     
    Karlin modified his phrase with, "or what passed for them."

    Speaking of a nomenklatura family I know quite well personally, in 1980s: occasional visits to Western Europe (resulting in some nice clothes for the teenage daughter); regular and easy access to good food like black caviar, with no lines; jewelry with diamonds; access to the ЦК КПСС dacha which had a very good chef; access to very nice full-service resorts in Crimea and Georgia; pretty much guaranteed entrance to MGU or MGIMO; living in a spacious 4 room apartment with two bathrooms, 15 minutes walk from the Kremlin; being treated very deferentially by cops or other public workers and never being bothered by them. As Karlin stated - this is how a pair of successful surgeons can live in New York (other than cop deference). It's an upper middle class lifestyle, not a rich person's lifestyle.

    This particular family was not corrupt, but some of their social equals and peers from the 1980s, would be buying private helicopters in the 1990s.

    occasional visits to Western Europe (resulting in some nice clothes for the teenage daughter); regular and easy access to good food like black caviar, with no lines; jewelry with diamonds

    Obviously you never heard, which is not surprising, of VTB checks which were widely available to pretty much most people in the Ministry of MorFlot, not to mention that hard currency was “dropping” (kapala) for any ship or submarine leaving territorial waters of the Soviet Union. I, not even as an officer at that time, was paid VTB checks (easily used in places like Beryozka and some other stores) for couple of my remote deployments (Dalnii Pohod) as were all naval cadets on board, not to speak of command corps. I knew commercial fishermen who lived better than majority of nomenclatura. The mentioning of the black caviar is altogether laughable for a person who never lived around Caspian Sea where black caviar could easily be procured pretty much anywhere from Astrakhan, to Baku, to Krasnovodsk–no need to belong to “nomenclatura”, anybody could have it and many, your everyday Joe (or Ivan) did. The only truth in what you said was, indeed, the fact of the access to MGIMO–that mattered. So did the living arrangements but two bathrooms and 4 rooms were mostly features of Moscow, Leningrad etc. Most regional big shots lived in good, I would say, 3 bedroom apartments with somewhat upscale interiors–nothing too special. Per dachas, Tesseli, Foros–BTDT. There were many specialized (vedomstvennye) resorts from MoD, KGB, MID, Ministry of Railroads, MorFlot etc. which were excellent and easily accessible by people working in those organizations. So was true for vedomstvennaya healthcare–one didn’t have to be a part of nomenclatura to get there. Already then things started to emerge which today are becoming in Russia a valid (one of several) foundations for political arrangement–Сословие. But those things, of course, are always below the radar of most “specialists” in Soviet times. Nomenclature shtick came about with the effort of Gorbachov’s “reformers” and this dimwit himself when he needed to rationalize his increasing failures in reforming the country. Yes, there was a resistance from nomenclatura as it exists from ANY bureaucracy in the world. Against the background of FC Chelsea’s owner or the way US lawmakers are bought, sometimes wholesale, by means of all kinds of perks this issue becomes somewhat moot. In the end, once one gets acquainted with Randy Duke Cunnigham’s schemes, as one example of many, in Congress, not to mention Keating Five etc. one is really forced to reconsider.

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    • Replies: @AP

    The mentioning of the black caviar is altogether laughable for a person who never lived around Caspian Sea where black caviar could easily be procured pretty much anywhere from Astrakhan, to Baku, to Krasnovodsk
     
    Sure. And melons could easily be obtained in certain parts of the USSR. But getting this stuff at will throughout the year in others parts of the USSR was not commoplace.

    The only truth in what you said was, indeed, the fact of the access to MGIMO–that mattered. So did the living arrangements but two bathrooms and 4 rooms were mostly features of Moscow, Leningrad etc. Most regional big shots lived in good, I would say, 3 bedroom apartments with somewhat upscale interiors
     
    Before being upgraded to Moscow my wife's family lived in a 5 room flat with high ceilings overlooking the central square of an oblast capital in the Urals.

    Nomenclature shtick came about with the effort of Gorbachov’s “reformers” and this dimwit himself
     
    Gorby was actually very bright and cunning (his poor speech masked this). His fatal weakness contributing to the country's downfall was narcissism, not stupidity.
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  41. @Mao Cheng Ji

    The same applies to Soviet nomenklatura.
     
    Like I said, it seems hard to classify nomenklatura as a socioeconomic class. Nomenklatura is bureaucracy, the management apparatus. Bureaucracy, as Mr Martyanov noted above, exists everywhere, regardless of the socioeconomic system. The Soviet privileged bureaucracy was relatively small and inexpensive (compared to the Western or modern RF equivalents, especially if we add corporate bureaucracy), and so I'd rather address it as a mere overhead.

    Like I said, it seems hard to classify nomenklatura as a socioeconomic class. Nomenklatura is bureaucracy, the management apparatus.

    It is exactly what it is (was). Moreover, I dare to say that many competencies of that nomenclatura were on the order of magnitude better than what most “youth” presents today not only in Russia, but globally. Many people in that nomenclatura were superbly experienced and educated people. That, of course, was not always the case in national republics, where national cadres often were not that good due to also national local cultural peculiarities.

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  42. ussr andy says:
    @jacques sheete

    True Communism™ has never been tried though.
     
    Arrrgghhh! ( I hope yer being sarcastic, though it's hard to tell.)

    Why does that claim keep cropping up? Sounds like the No True Scotsman fallacy to me.

    Was Marxism Communism? What's your definition of Communism/communism?

    I think communism, like democracy, has been attempted, but in my way of thinking, either can only work for brief periods, in special situations, and on a small scale, such as we see in a few religious orders. They also must be voluntary associations as well, I believe.

    Communism, as well as all other purported solutions are simply doomed to fail eventually if they have much initial success if any, especially if they don't meet those minimum requirements. Another key is that whatever seems to succeed not only attracts imitators but subverters and perverters as well.

    >I hope yer being sarcastic, though it’s hard to tell.
    a bit of both.

    Really existing Communism was a genocidal disaster that messed Russia up in tons of little ways. Without it, Russia would still be just another European country (albeit a peripheral one – IOW just like today.)

    For peripheral and 3rd World countries, Communism was, above all, a strategy of self-decolonization and breaking the cycle of colonial dependence. There’s a reason they quashed (invaded, embargoed,…) every secular socialist movement in the 3rd World (Allende, Nasser, Fatah etc) and installed right-wing dictators or extreme social-conservative religious types in their place.

    (That said, I believe that globally, industrial society may just be not everyone’s thing for HBD reasons. IOW, even if Nasserism hadn’t been quashed, “our jerbs” would still have gone to China and not the Maghreb or Levant.)

    Public ownership of the means of production is a good thing in theory. There’s no reason for someone to own a factory the same way the medieval artisan owned his workshop and tools. Still, there are practical problems.

    State support for nascent industries and basic research is a good thing. Businesses alone can’t innovate sh** because that requires lots of fundamental research that may or may not result in profits. America funnelled tons of public money into her budding industries under the guise of the Moon program (and before that, the War effort) when she noticed her businesses made canned food and Nylon but nothing on the level of the Sputnik.

    (There’s a reason “structural adjustments” forced by America and her pet institutions like the IMF on peripheral nations just so happen to mandate total non-involvement of the state in the nation’s industry and science.)

    Withering away of the state… I don’t know how that’s supposed to work. I think states were supposed to be replaced by some kind of proletarian internationalism or something. However, it seems workers (understandably) DGAF about workers in other nations.

    Abolition of money is impractical – the USSR shows that in absence of “real” money its place is taken by all sorts of informal privileges, which is immeasurably worse and morally triggering in a way that simply not being able to afford something for lack of funds isn’t.

    tl;dr: I’ve no coherent opinion.

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    • Replies: @ThatDamnGood
    State support...
    reminds me of what has been written about Elon Musk's companies and the handouts they have received and the "progress" they have made.
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  43. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    occasional visits to Western Europe (resulting in some nice clothes for the teenage daughter); regular and easy access to good food like black caviar, with no lines; jewelry with diamonds
     
    Obviously you never heard, which is not surprising, of VTB checks which were widely available to pretty much most people in the Ministry of MorFlot, not to mention that hard currency was "dropping" (kapala) for any ship or submarine leaving territorial waters of the Soviet Union. I, not even as an officer at that time, was paid VTB checks (easily used in places like Beryozka and some other stores) for couple of my remote deployments (Dalnii Pohod) as were all naval cadets on board, not to speak of command corps. I knew commercial fishermen who lived better than majority of nomenclatura. The mentioning of the black caviar is altogether laughable for a person who never lived around Caspian Sea where black caviar could easily be procured pretty much anywhere from Astrakhan, to Baku, to Krasnovodsk--no need to belong to "nomenclatura", anybody could have it and many, your everyday Joe (or Ivan) did. The only truth in what you said was, indeed, the fact of the access to MGIMO--that mattered. So did the living arrangements but two bathrooms and 4 rooms were mostly features of Moscow, Leningrad etc. Most regional big shots lived in good, I would say, 3 bedroom apartments with somewhat upscale interiors--nothing too special. Per dachas, Tesseli, Foros--BTDT. There were many specialized (vedomstvennye) resorts from MoD, KGB, MID, Ministry of Railroads, MorFlot etc. which were excellent and easily accessible by people working in those organizations. So was true for vedomstvennaya healthcare--one didn't have to be a part of nomenclatura to get there. Already then things started to emerge which today are becoming in Russia a valid (one of several) foundations for political arrangement--Сословие. But those things, of course, are always below the radar of most "specialists" in Soviet times. Nomenclature shtick came about with the effort of Gorbachov's "reformers" and this dimwit himself when he needed to rationalize his increasing failures in reforming the country. Yes, there was a resistance from nomenclatura as it exists from ANY bureaucracy in the world. Against the background of FC Chelsea's owner or the way US lawmakers are bought, sometimes wholesale, by means of all kinds of perks this issue becomes somewhat moot. In the end, once one gets acquainted with Randy Duke Cunnigham's schemes, as one example of many, in Congress, not to mention Keating Five etc. one is really forced to reconsider.

    The mentioning of the black caviar is altogether laughable for a person who never lived around Caspian Sea where black caviar could easily be procured pretty much anywhere from Astrakhan, to Baku, to Krasnovodsk

    Sure. And melons could easily be obtained in certain parts of the USSR. But getting this stuff at will throughout the year in others parts of the USSR was not commoplace.

    The only truth in what you said was, indeed, the fact of the access to MGIMO–that mattered. So did the living arrangements but two bathrooms and 4 rooms were mostly features of Moscow, Leningrad etc. Most regional big shots lived in good, I would say, 3 bedroom apartments with somewhat upscale interiors

    Before being upgraded to Moscow my wife’s family lived in a 5 room flat with high ceilings overlooking the central square of an oblast capital in the Urals.

    Nomenclature shtick came about with the effort of Gorbachov’s “reformers” and this dimwit himself

    Gorby was actually very bright and cunning (his poor speech masked this). His fatal weakness contributing to the country’s downfall was narcissism, not stupidity.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Sure. And melons could easily be obtained in certain parts of the USSR. But getting this stuff at will throughout the year in others parts of the USSR was not commoplace.
     
    You could easily buy black caviar in Moscow or Leningrad through many Stol Zakazov, including through many industrial enterprises in 1970s-80s. In 1960s you could by it in Eliseevsky, today you can easily buy it in specialty black caviar only store in GUM building--the store is directly across Lenin's Tomb on the Red Square, among many other places. Do you know why you could buy black caviar relatively easily?
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  44. was narcissism, not stupidity.

    Narcissism is one of the first signs of stupidity. Truly smart, especially in big endeavors, people are usually very self aware and self-critical–that is the first sign of true intellect. Unless, of course, Gorbachev’s main objective was to destroy the country, which he succeeded brilliantly, I have to say on the merit that the guy is a pathetic loser. He also was patently incompetent in critical national security issues. If that is what defines “being bright”, I don’t know them what is a definition of a dimwit.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Narcissism is one of the first signs of stupidity
     
    It's a personality trait. There are brilliant narcissists. Gorby would not have maneuvered form the provinces to the leadership of the USSR if he was merely a fool. You are perhaps confusing intelligence for wisdom.

    I have to say on the merit that the guy is a pathetic loser
     
    Certainly.
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  45. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    was narcissism, not stupidity.
     
    Narcissism is one of the first signs of stupidity. Truly smart, especially in big endeavors, people are usually very self aware and self-critical--that is the first sign of true intellect. Unless, of course, Gorbachev's main objective was to destroy the country, which he succeeded brilliantly, I have to say on the merit that the guy is a pathetic loser. He also was patently incompetent in critical national security issues. If that is what defines "being bright", I don't know them what is a definition of a dimwit.

    Narcissism is one of the first signs of stupidity

    It’s a personality trait. There are brilliant narcissists. Gorby would not have maneuvered form the provinces to the leadership of the USSR if he was merely a fool. You are perhaps confusing intelligence for wisdom.

    I have to say on the merit that the guy is a pathetic loser

    Certainly.

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    • Replies: @Avery
    { Gorby would not have maneuvered form (from) the provinces to the leadership of the USSR if he was merely a fool.}

    Well, Gorby was no fool, but sometimes you get maneuvered into the leadership position in USSR, despite yourself.
    How did Brezhnev get to the top spot?
    How did Chernenko?

    From what I remember neither was very bright.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Gorby would not have maneuvered form the provinces to the leadership of the USSR if he was merely a fool. You are perhaps confusing intelligence for wisdom.
     
    For a person who claims to be associated with the nomenclatura and writes about it, you are surprisingly uninformed on the fact of Gorbachov being an Andropov's creature and Andropov, certainly, had his very own views on the reformation of the USSR. Many of those views emanated from, obviously, KGB and were based on conflicting visions by the 1st and opposing 2nd and 3rd Directorates. Gorbachev chose 1st. It was a "pro-Western" project, enthusiastically supported by "creative intelligentsia" and Moscow's Boheme which charmed a rather primitive Gorbachev to a pretty slippery slope. "Maneuvering" of Gorbachev who had some mighty curators from Suslov to Andropov in and of itself is not necessarily that remarkable. It also was generational.
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  46. As always with these “translations”, they read like they were written by an American and then translated into Russian so as to be posted under the name “Egor Kholmogorov” and not the other way round. Why, for example, would a Russian describe Britain as being “across the pond”? There is no “pond” anywhere near Russia which has Britain on the other side! Equally, the long, rambling, pseudo-historical discourse is typically American and strikes us Europeans as irrelevant. The idea that the communist dictatorships were “socialist” is also an American belief which puzzles Europeans. Bottom line: there’s nothing “Russian” about this article and I would not regard it as credible. By the way, it would be nice to know who the translator is and why on earth a mere translator would feel the need to conceal his identity.

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    LolWut.

    There is no “pond” anywhere near Russia which has Britain on the other side!
     
    There is a pond which has Britain and America on opposite sides. Where's the inaccuracy? By the way, it says "on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean" in the original.

    Equally, the long, rambling, pseudo-historical discourse is typically American

     

    I thought "you Europeans" regarded verbosity as a Continental - German, French - trait.

    written by an American then translated into Russian so as to be posted under the name “Egor Kholmogorov” and not the other way round.

     

    Why? Because knowing something is Russian gets people to instantly lower their guard?

    Also, ask me about the deeper meaning of "sausage pointed at its heart." No American can know that!


    there’s nothing “Russian” about this article and I would not regard it as credible.
     
    I would not regard you as credible. You've got a Masha Gessen-level obsession with Putin and you say "we Europeans" and "we white people" a bit too much in your postings.
    , @Fluctuarius
    Not sure if trolling or just stupid. The translator takes this as a compliment, however, meaning that the his (non-native) English is idiomatic enough to pass for that of a native speaker.
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  47. @AP

    The mentioning of the black caviar is altogether laughable for a person who never lived around Caspian Sea where black caviar could easily be procured pretty much anywhere from Astrakhan, to Baku, to Krasnovodsk
     
    Sure. And melons could easily be obtained in certain parts of the USSR. But getting this stuff at will throughout the year in others parts of the USSR was not commoplace.

    The only truth in what you said was, indeed, the fact of the access to MGIMO–that mattered. So did the living arrangements but two bathrooms and 4 rooms were mostly features of Moscow, Leningrad etc. Most regional big shots lived in good, I would say, 3 bedroom apartments with somewhat upscale interiors
     
    Before being upgraded to Moscow my wife's family lived in a 5 room flat with high ceilings overlooking the central square of an oblast capital in the Urals.

    Nomenclature shtick came about with the effort of Gorbachov’s “reformers” and this dimwit himself
     
    Gorby was actually very bright and cunning (his poor speech masked this). His fatal weakness contributing to the country's downfall was narcissism, not stupidity.

    Sure. And melons could easily be obtained in certain parts of the USSR. But getting this stuff at will throughout the year in others parts of the USSR was not commoplace.

    You could easily buy black caviar in Moscow or Leningrad through many Stol Zakazov, including through many industrial enterprises in 1970s-80s. In 1960s you could by it in Eliseevsky, today you can easily buy it in specialty black caviar only store in GUM building–the store is directly across Lenin’s Tomb on the Red Square, among many other places. Do you know why you could buy black caviar relatively easily?

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  48. melanf says:
    @Logan
    Correct. Except you are missing a precondition for "who owns the wealth" meaning anything.

    It is the rule of law. For most of human history it didn't exist. Wealth grew from raw political power, not power from wealth.

    In China for its entire history, for example, no great dynasties of businessmen ever emerged. This is because any guy who started to get really rich was promptly expropriated by the emperor or mandarins. Under their ideology, private wealth could only be gained by exploitation, so it was entirely right and proper to steal his stuff, probably killing him and his family in the process. People at various times gained immense private wealth in China, often primarily by truly spectacular corruption, but seldom if ever kept it for long.

    This is one of the reasons, perhaps the main one, true capitalism only emerged in modern Europe, and initially only in a few countries even there, mainly Netherlands and England. For the first time ever, you could get really rich by private means, keep your money and pass it down to the next generation. Without having to hold political power, which is of course in raw form simply military power, to protect your wealth. The rules of society as a whole protected that wealth.

    But we take this so for granted we don't realize how unusual it is in world history. Indeed unique, AFAIK.

    This is one of the reasons, perhaps the main one, true capitalism only emerged in modern Europe

    Historians believe that capitalism is independently arose in Japan, during the Tokugawa Shogunate.

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  49. Avery says:
    @AP

    Narcissism is one of the first signs of stupidity
     
    It's a personality trait. There are brilliant narcissists. Gorby would not have maneuvered form the provinces to the leadership of the USSR if he was merely a fool. You are perhaps confusing intelligence for wisdom.

    I have to say on the merit that the guy is a pathetic loser
     
    Certainly.

    { Gorby would not have maneuvered form (from) the provinces to the leadership of the USSR if he was merely a fool.}

    Well, Gorby was no fool, but sometimes you get maneuvered into the leadership position in USSR, despite yourself.
    How did Brezhnev get to the top spot?
    How did Chernenko?

    From what I remember neither was very bright.

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  50. @Anatoly Karlin
    I watch about two movies a year. I need a lot of people to pester me to do it.

    Everyone, AK’s contact information can be found to the right of Unz. Begin Operation Pester!

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  51. @AP

    Narcissism is one of the first signs of stupidity
     
    It's a personality trait. There are brilliant narcissists. Gorby would not have maneuvered form the provinces to the leadership of the USSR if he was merely a fool. You are perhaps confusing intelligence for wisdom.

    I have to say on the merit that the guy is a pathetic loser
     
    Certainly.

    Gorby would not have maneuvered form the provinces to the leadership of the USSR if he was merely a fool. You are perhaps confusing intelligence for wisdom.

    For a person who claims to be associated with the nomenclatura and writes about it, you are surprisingly uninformed on the fact of Gorbachov being an Andropov’s creature and Andropov, certainly, had his very own views on the reformation of the USSR. Many of those views emanated from, obviously, KGB and were based on conflicting visions by the 1st and opposing 2nd and 3rd Directorates. Gorbachev chose 1st. It was a “pro-Western” project, enthusiastically supported by “creative intelligentsia” and Moscow’s Boheme which charmed a rather primitive Gorbachev to a pretty slippery slope. “Maneuvering” of Gorbachev who had some mighty curators from Suslov to Andropov in and of itself is not necessarily that remarkable. It also was generational.

    Read More
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  52. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Michael Kenny
    As always with these “translations”, they read like they were written by an American and then translated into Russian so as to be posted under the name “Egor Kholmogorov” and not the other way round. Why, for example, would a Russian describe Britain as being “across the pond”? There is no “pond” anywhere near Russia which has Britain on the other side! Equally, the long, rambling, pseudo-historical discourse is typically American and strikes us Europeans as irrelevant. The idea that the communist dictatorships were “socialist” is also an American belief which puzzles Europeans. Bottom line: there’s nothing “Russian” about this article and I would not regard it as credible. By the way, it would be nice to know who the translator is and why on earth a mere translator would feel the need to conceal his identity.

    LolWut.

    There is no “pond” anywhere near Russia which has Britain on the other side!

    There is a pond which has Britain and America on opposite sides. Where’s the inaccuracy? By the way, it says “on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean” in the original.

    Equally, the long, rambling, pseudo-historical discourse is typically American

    I thought “you Europeans” regarded verbosity as a Continental – German, French – trait.

    written by an American then translated into Russian so as to be posted under the name “Egor Kholmogorov” and not the other way round.

    Why? Because knowing something is Russian gets people to instantly lower their guard?

    Also, ask me about the deeper meaning of “sausage pointed at its heart.” No American can know that!

    there’s nothing “Russian” about this article and I would not regard it as credible.

    I would not regard you as credible. You’ve got a Masha Gessen-level obsession with Putin and you say “we Europeans” and “we white people” a bit too much in your postings.

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  53. Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Well, at least you wouldn't be seeing that in Soviet propaganda.
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  54. AP says:

    For a person who claims to be associated with the nomenclatura and writes about it, you are surprisingly uninformed on the fact of Gorbachov being an Andropov’s creature and Andropov,

    My info comes from personal sources and their impressions, not historians or academics. So it’s only one side of the story. Those who knew him and worked with him saw him as a cunning, ambitious, intelligent man who was also very vain. Contrary to his saintly perception in the West, he was also not above cruelty. Nor was he a simple-minded country fella as some Soviet people viewed him.

    Gorbachov being an Andropov’s creature

    Being an intelligent guy capable of scheming includes the ability to find and cultivate the right sponsors, knowing whom to appeal to, as one gets further and further to the top. I doubt Andropov got young Gorby from the provinces to one of the USSR’s top universities, MGU, or through the lower levels of the provincial hierarchy.

    Many of those views emanated from, obviously, KGB and were based on conflicting visions by the 1st and opposing 2nd and 3rd Directorates. Gorbachev chose 1st.

    This is certainly critically important. There are many levels involved. I defer to you with repect to this aspect. It doesn’t mean that Gorby was some dumb puppet, however. He played within the system very well.

    Moscow’s Boheme which charmed a rather primitive Gorbachev

    Correct. It appealed to his vanity. He wanted to be a Soviet JFK, and Raisa to be Jackie.

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  55. “Soviet-style “Real Socialism” ended in a pathetic disgrace, striking its colors at the sight of a sausage pointed at its heart. ” Sure, lack of sausages variety was a reason good enough to destroy the country and condemned it to demographic, economic and strategic collapse. Is what in Russia now better? I seriously doubt. Is there water in those hospitals? Not only that, I doubt there is even medicines over there as I was told by recent arrivals.
    While there were certain issues they were solvable as the most important things were present like free and excellent education, broad healthcare system of which I had personal and positive experience, free shelter , when graduate like me could receive one bed room apartment coming along with job straight after graduation and still bachelor, decent retirement and guaranteed employment, free schools and daycare and so forth so on. Definitely sausages beat all of this according to the author. Regarding consumer goods, I suspect most of issues were in outward design. Japanese stuff was made more beautiful but I did listen to some Soviet made systems that my buddies had and sound quality was better than that of my Panasonic. The horror stories that are presented now as those for the whole period actually started in the end of 80′s. I vividly remember how stores started getting empty and I read elsewhere pretty reasonable explanation as to what was going on. Namely cooperative system was mopping all those dissapeared goods before they got to stores and then sold fro nice profit because prices in state stores were much lower. Basically, it is still up for investigation as to what was going on in this regard just before and especially during Catastroika but elites sabotage against own population is a good starting point.
    What happened in 80-90′s is straight out of madman dream.
    I see great number of such articles as a sign that people who nicely benefited form the grand theft of people properties are trying not to deflect attention form own very serious failures, hence 100 years of October revolution which took Russia from being basket case towards superpower status and stars while completely ignoring 80-90′s coup which caused massive collapse and lose of status, security, population, manufacturing and frankly future for many, because those who caused all of this are still around, in power and are very wealthy from stolen proceeds.
    First socialism attempt in Russia certainly went wrong mostly due to the nature of so called national elites and their betrayal. However, I see no other options for humanity. Capitalism cannot work indefinitely in limited system which is Earth making few extremely wealthy at the expense of the vast majority. It is where it is all headed and is reality now whether in the West or in Russia. .

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The horror stories that are presented now as those for the whole period actually started in the end of 80′s.
     
    I am not sure Anatoly was born then. Nor was, by the looks of him, Kholmogorov in any position to form any mature opinion on the events of 1970s and 1980s.
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  56. @ussr andy
    >I hope yer being sarcastic, though it’s hard to tell.
    a bit of both.

    Really existing Communism was a genocidal disaster that messed Russia up in tons of little ways. Without it, Russia would still be just another European country (albeit a peripheral one - IOW just like today.)

    For peripheral and 3rd World countries, Communism was, above all, a strategy of self-decolonization and breaking the cycle of colonial dependence. There's a reason they quashed (invaded, embargoed,...) every secular socialist movement in the 3rd World (Allende, Nasser, Fatah etc) and installed right-wing dictators or extreme social-conservative religious types in their place.

    (That said, I believe that globally, industrial society may just be not everyone's thing for HBD reasons. IOW, even if Nasserism hadn't been quashed, "our jerbs" would still have gone to China and not the Maghreb or Levant.)

    Public ownership of the means of production is a good thing in theory. There's no reason for someone to own a factory the same way the medieval artisan owned his workshop and tools. Still, there are practical problems.

    State support for nascent industries and basic research is a good thing. Businesses alone can't innovate sh** because that requires lots of fundamental research that may or may not result in profits. America funnelled tons of public money into her budding industries under the guise of the Moon program (and before that, the War effort) when she noticed her businesses made canned food and Nylon but nothing on the level of the Sputnik.

    (There's a reason "structural adjustments" forced by America and her pet institutions like the IMF on peripheral nations just so happen to mandate total non-involvement of the state in the nation's industry and science.)

    Withering away of the state... I don't know how that's supposed to work. I think states were supposed to be replaced by some kind of proletarian internationalism or something. However, it seems workers (understandably) DGAF about workers in other nations.

    Abolition of money is impractical - the USSR shows that in absence of "real" money its place is taken by all sorts of informal privileges, which is immeasurably worse and morally triggering in a way that simply not being able to afford something for lack of funds isn't.

    tl;dr: I've no coherent opinion.

    State support…
    reminds me of what has been written about Elon Musk’s companies and the handouts they have received and the “progress” they have made.

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  57. My info comes from personal sources and their impressions, not historians or academics. So it’s only one side of the story. Those who knew him and worked with him saw him as a cunning, ambitious, intelligent man who was also very vain. Contrary to his saintly perception in the West, he was also not above cruelty. Nor was he a simple-minded country fella

    OK, second go: not simple-minded fellows usually do not end up being politically, humanly and ideologically completely bankrupt and living out life in humiliation and being a laughing stock of a nation. There is nothing intelligent about that, zilch, nada. If it stinks like shit, feels like shit and tastes like shit than it is, probably, a shit. No other qualifiers are needed. The best way to describe it is: nedalyokii. Now explain to me, please, what is so outstanding in finishing Law School in MGU? Many did it before Gorbachov and many did after him, very many of them from villages. If you would have said that he graduated MGTU with degree in Space Vehicles, sure I would be impressed. But that is the whole point, he was the first, utterly civilian and uneducated on any serious national security or technological issue leader who just proved the point–people without serious military-intelligence background in a leadership role in Russia are a danger. Modern Russian history proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt, including through alcoholic Yeltsin–you know who is second Gorbachev? Russia’s PM Medvedev, but unlike Gorby he is controlled by Siloviki and that is what so far assured Russia’s position. I reiterate, I can not see how constant residing in a complete delusion throughout the process of own loss of power and, eventually, a country is any testimony to intellect?

    Correct. It appealed to his vanity. He wanted to be a Soviet JFK, and Raisa to be Jackie.

    Again, isn’t it a first indicator of a lack of real, not shallow appearances, but internal culture and intellect? You bet it is.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    "OK, second go: not simple-minded fellows usually do not end up being politically, humanly and ideologically completely bankrupt and living out life in humiliation and being a laughing stock of a nation."
    Here people are thanking Gorby for their happy childhood and whatever:

    https://russian.rt.com/inotv/2017-10-12/Gorbachyov-dlya-WP-godovshhina-RSMD

    , @AP

    OK, second go: not simple-minded fellows usually do not end up being politically, humanly and ideologically completely bankrupt and living out life in humiliation and being a laughing stock of a nation. There is nothing intelligent about that, zilch, nada.
     
    Trotsky also ended up as a total failure. Was he an idiot? What about Khrushchev? Hitler?

    Closer to the modern world (and to the intelligence services), Shelepin ended up as a nobody. He never even managed to get to the top of the system, which was his goal, as Gorby did. Yet he was no fool, either. History is full of intelligent people who failed.

    Now explain to me, please, what is so outstanding in finishing Law School in MGU? Many did it before Gorbachov and many did after him, very many of them from villages.
     
    Do you think it's possible for a moron from the provinces to get to MGU? I think all of those from villages who got into MGU must have been rather bright, but none of the others got nearly as far as did Gorby.

    I can not see how constant residing in a complete delusion throughout the process of own loss of power and, eventually, a country is any testimony to intellect?
     
    Again, you confuse intellect with wisdom. Characterological failures can lead intelligent, cunning people to do stupid things. This was Gorbachev's tragedy (and that of the USSR). The story was different from that of some Forrest Gump brought to power in the Kremlin and then destroying everything out of cluelessness and stupidity.

    What do you think of Alexander Yakovlev? I heard much more positive personal impressions about him as a colleague and man, than about Gorby. He had been a young officer during World War II though of course he rose through power not through military channels.
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  58. Jim says:

    In terms of absolute economic well-being modern Western capitalist countries provide a standard of living to nearly everybody far above what past societies provided to anyone. A welfare recipient in the present US enjoys a standard of living in many ways vastly above that of a Roman Emperor. For example the medical care available to a Roman Emperor was actually harmful. A sick Roman Emperor would probably have been better off not being treated by any of the contemporary quacks. A free medical clinic in a poor section of a US city at least is not likely to harm anyone. Vaccinations against many diseases are cheaply available and modern water and sewage systems prevent an enormous amount of disease and death.

    Throughout much of recent human history large segments of human populations did not have adequate food while in the present US obesity is the most important nutritional problem among even the poor and malnutrition is rare.

    However the fact that poor people in the US are materially very well off by any historical standards doesn’t change the fact that they are low status. A Roman Emperor might not have air conditioning, refrigeration, aspirin, cell-phones, sliced bread or numerous other goods common among today’s “poor” but a Roman Emperor was a pretty big deal. A welfare recipient in the US today is nobody despite having in many ways a much higher standard of living that a Roman Emperor.

    The real problem today is what the left calls “relative deprivation”. “Relative deprivation” is essentially social status. Now social status is a good for which there is a high demand but by it’s nature the supply of social status is totally inelastic. No form of economic or political organization can solve this problem. Today wearing a golden ring with a 24 carat diamond ring might mark the wearer as a high status individual. Such a ring currently costs about $5-10,000. If you can afford one you’re not poor. Now in the future it is conceivable that technological advances might lead to the possibility that synthetic diamonds of large size and perfect quality could be produced so efficently that a 24 carat diamond would have the value of a piece of bubblegum. Then even beggers could wear such diamond rings on every finger. But then of course wearing a 24 carat diamond ring would provide the wearer with no status whatsoever.

    Even complete material equality if it could be achieved would not solve the equality problem. In a prison society the level of material inequality among the inmates has already been reduced way below what is practical to achieve outside of a prison. But this does not mean that status differences between prison inmates are slight. In fact they are huge. And those on the bottom of the status totem pole are still unhappy and discontented.

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    • Replies: @peterAUS

    The real problem today is what the left calls “relative deprivation”. “Relative deprivation” is essentially social status. Now social status is a good for which there is a high demand but by it’s nature the supply of social status is totally inelastic. No form of economic or political organization can solve this problem.
     
    Thoughtful post.
    Maybe it all goes back into human nature. What we are, what we want. Meaning of life.
    All those boring topics an average person today has no time/inclination/smarts to get involved into.
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  59. @Andrei Martyanov

    My info comes from personal sources and their impressions, not historians or academics. So it’s only one side of the story. Those who knew him and worked with him saw him as a cunning, ambitious, intelligent man who was also very vain. Contrary to his saintly perception in the West, he was also not above cruelty. Nor was he a simple-minded country fella
     
    OK, second go: not simple-minded fellows usually do not end up being politically, humanly and ideologically completely bankrupt and living out life in humiliation and being a laughing stock of a nation. There is nothing intelligent about that, zilch, nada. If it stinks like shit, feels like shit and tastes like shit than it is, probably, a shit. No other qualifiers are needed. The best way to describe it is: nedalyokii. Now explain to me, please, what is so outstanding in finishing Law School in MGU? Many did it before Gorbachov and many did after him, very many of them from villages. If you would have said that he graduated MGTU with degree in Space Vehicles, sure I would be impressed. But that is the whole point, he was the first, utterly civilian and uneducated on any serious national security or technological issue leader who just proved the point--people without serious military-intelligence background in a leadership role in Russia are a danger. Modern Russian history proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt, including through alcoholic Yeltsin--you know who is second Gorbachev? Russia's PM Medvedev, but unlike Gorby he is controlled by Siloviki and that is what so far assured Russia's position. I reiterate, I can not see how constant residing in a complete delusion throughout the process of own loss of power and, eventually, a country is any testimony to intellect?

    Correct. It appealed to his vanity. He wanted to be a Soviet JFK, and Raisa to be Jackie.
     
    Again, isn't it a first indicator of a lack of real, not shallow appearances, but internal culture and intellect? You bet it is.

    “OK, second go: not simple-minded fellows usually do not end up being politically, humanly and ideologically completely bankrupt and living out life in humiliation and being a laughing stock of a nation.”
    Here people are thanking Gorby for their happy childhood and whatever:

    https://russian.rt.com/inotv/2017-10-12/Gorbachyov-dlya-WP-godovshhina-RSMD

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Here people are thanking Gorby for their happy childhood and whatever:
     
    Good commentaries;-) A sign of nation getting mentally healthier, I would say.
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  60. @Sergey Krieger
    "Soviet-style “Real Socialism” ended in a pathetic disgrace, striking its colors at the sight of a sausage pointed at its heart. " Sure, lack of sausages variety was a reason good enough to destroy the country and condemned it to demographic, economic and strategic collapse. Is what in Russia now better? I seriously doubt. Is there water in those hospitals? Not only that, I doubt there is even medicines over there as I was told by recent arrivals.
    While there were certain issues they were solvable as the most important things were present like free and excellent education, broad healthcare system of which I had personal and positive experience, free shelter , when graduate like me could receive one bed room apartment coming along with job straight after graduation and still bachelor, decent retirement and guaranteed employment, free schools and daycare and so forth so on. Definitely sausages beat all of this according to the author. Regarding consumer goods, I suspect most of issues were in outward design. Japanese stuff was made more beautiful but I did listen to some Soviet made systems that my buddies had and sound quality was better than that of my Panasonic. The horror stories that are presented now as those for the whole period actually started in the end of 80's. I vividly remember how stores started getting empty and I read elsewhere pretty reasonable explanation as to what was going on. Namely cooperative system was mopping all those dissapeared goods before they got to stores and then sold fro nice profit because prices in state stores were much lower. Basically, it is still up for investigation as to what was going on in this regard just before and especially during Catastroika but elites sabotage against own population is a good starting point.
    What happened in 80-90's is straight out of madman dream.
    I see great number of such articles as a sign that people who nicely benefited form the grand theft of people properties are trying not to deflect attention form own very serious failures, hence 100 years of October revolution which took Russia from being basket case towards superpower status and stars while completely ignoring 80-90's coup which caused massive collapse and lose of status, security, population, manufacturing and frankly future for many, because those who caused all of this are still around, in power and are very wealthy from stolen proceeds.
    First socialism attempt in Russia certainly went wrong mostly due to the nature of so called national elites and their betrayal. However, I see no other options for humanity. Capitalism cannot work indefinitely in limited system which is Earth making few extremely wealthy at the expense of the vast majority. It is where it is all headed and is reality now whether in the West or in Russia. .

    The horror stories that are presented now as those for the whole period actually started in the end of 80′s.

    I am not sure Anatoly was born then. Nor was, by the looks of him, Kholmogorov in any position to form any mature opinion on the events of 1970s and 1980s.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    I can say that on experience of my family life was greatly improving form 60's till mid of 80's. I was born in communalka and in 5 years we moved to 2 bed room apartment. My grandfather was not in nomencklatura neither was my dad who got apartment 2 years later. Living both in Dnepropetrovsk and Tashkent I could see differences and I did not see horrors that are being described. I saw guys who were from simple families getting into elite schools and succeeding there. There was certain number of those from hairy hands but I suspect that costs of education in same faculties now have effectively closed social lifts. I was checking MGU various faculties and 300 000 rubles annual fee is quite common.
    Our relatives has been visiting us here and they say quality and taste of local foods in Toronto is far better than where they live in Russia. Sausage cause so to speak. They also say medicare is worse than during Soviet times. We have recent 4 years ago arrivals form Kamchatka and Omsk region. They say they could not even get medicines for their kids when needed.
    While during Soviet times I was basically saved due to our excellent medicare system. i spent the whole year in hospitals. Can one imagine what this would do to current Russian family. I see picture of those poor sick kids in Odnoklassniki regularly that cannot afford treatment.
    I already expressed my opinion regarding why Russian net is full of such articles. Someone need to keep population brainwashed and docile to avoid losing their massive gains.
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  61. @Andrei Martyanov

    The horror stories that are presented now as those for the whole period actually started in the end of 80′s.
     
    I am not sure Anatoly was born then. Nor was, by the looks of him, Kholmogorov in any position to form any mature opinion on the events of 1970s and 1980s.

    I can say that on experience of my family life was greatly improving form 60′s till mid of 80′s. I was born in communalka and in 5 years we moved to 2 bed room apartment. My grandfather was not in nomencklatura neither was my dad who got apartment 2 years later. Living both in Dnepropetrovsk and Tashkent I could see differences and I did not see horrors that are being described. I saw guys who were from simple families getting into elite schools and succeeding there. There was certain number of those from hairy hands but I suspect that costs of education in same faculties now have effectively closed social lifts. I was checking MGU various faculties and 300 000 rubles annual fee is quite common.
    Our relatives has been visiting us here and they say quality and taste of local foods in Toronto is far better than where they live in Russia. Sausage cause so to speak. They also say medicare is worse than during Soviet times. We have recent 4 years ago arrivals form Kamchatka and Omsk region. They say they could not even get medicines for their kids when needed.
    While during Soviet times I was basically saved due to our excellent medicare system. i spent the whole year in hospitals. Can one imagine what this would do to current Russian family. I see picture of those poor sick kids in Odnoklassniki regularly that cannot afford treatment.
    I already expressed my opinion regarding why Russian net is full of such articles. Someone need to keep population brainwashed and docile to avoid losing their massive gains.

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    • Replies: @AP

    I was born in communalka and in 5 years we moved to 2 bed room apartment.
     
    It is of course your right not to answer, but may I ask your family's professions?
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    I see picture of those poor sick kids in Odnoklassniki regularly that cannot afford treatment.
     
    In the USSR, this would have happened regardless, but without public attention and the associated possibility of charitable do-gooders helping out.

    The USSR has the dubious distinction of being the only industrialized country to see a sustained increase in infant mortality outside of wartime. Infant mortality under Putin has decreased by 2-3x times and has for the first time ever no longer an huge outlier relative to Western nations.

    Our relatives has been visiting us here and they say quality and taste of local foods in Toronto is far better than where they live in Russia.
     
    I don't know about Toronto, but my impression is that food in Russia is better than in the US. It isn't corn-drenched and uses less chemicals. (Speaking of raw food, not processed).

    People in the West live mostly due to huge and increasing debt.
     
    Yes, there's a lot more debt in the West, but incomes are far higher and the median American doesn't fall into debt even after most take out a mortgage once they start their families and take out a mortgage.

    http://www.mybudget360.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/median-net-worth-by-age_large.jpg

    Incidentally, I also want to address the housing question at greater length.

    So here's some statistics: http://rusfact.ru/node/28

    http://www.rusfact.ru/sites/default/files/images/47465_original%282%29.jpg

    First, we see that urban square meters per person steadily rose through the entire 1914-today period (except the massive Revolution-to-1950 stall that was observed in consumption generally). So housing construction as such wasn't a uniquely Soviet achievement.

    Second, now relative to other countries:

    USA - 70 sqm
    Germany - 42 sqm
    Canada - 40 sqm
    France - 40 sqm
    Greece, joint-poorest country in old EU - 30 sqm
    Russia - 25 sqm
    Famously overcrowded Japan - 22 sqm
    Russia in 1991 - 16 sqm

    And we see that it is, in fact, a gigantic failure. Westerners get far better, far bigger houses than Russians did in the USSR, nor did most of them go deep into debt for it (almost everyone had climbed out of it by retirement, with plenty of surplus). Soviets got the equivalent of Western public housing for free, which even now isn't even worth all that much outside Moscow/SPB, and feel proud of it for some reason.
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  62. @Sergey Krieger
    "OK, second go: not simple-minded fellows usually do not end up being politically, humanly and ideologically completely bankrupt and living out life in humiliation and being a laughing stock of a nation."
    Here people are thanking Gorby for their happy childhood and whatever:

    https://russian.rt.com/inotv/2017-10-12/Gorbachyov-dlya-WP-godovshhina-RSMD

    Here people are thanking Gorby for their happy childhood and whatever:

    Good commentaries;-) A sign of nation getting mentally healthier, I would say.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    I added some ;-)
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  63. peterAUS says:
    @Jim
    In terms of absolute economic well-being modern Western capitalist countries provide a standard of living to nearly everybody far above what past societies provided to anyone. A welfare recipient in the present US enjoys a standard of living in many ways vastly above that of a Roman Emperor. For example the medical care available to a Roman Emperor was actually harmful. A sick Roman Emperor would probably have been better off not being treated by any of the contemporary quacks. A free medical clinic in a poor section of a US city at least is not likely to harm anyone. Vaccinations against many diseases are cheaply available and modern water and sewage systems prevent an enormous amount of disease and death.

    Throughout much of recent human history large segments of human populations did not have adequate food while in the present US obesity is the most important nutritional problem among even the poor and malnutrition is rare.

    However the fact that poor people in the US are materially very well off by any historical standards doesn't change the fact that they are low status. A Roman Emperor might not have air conditioning, refrigeration, aspirin, cell-phones, sliced bread or numerous other goods common among today's "poor" but a Roman Emperor was a pretty big deal. A welfare recipient in the US today is nobody despite having in many ways a much higher standard of living that a Roman Emperor.

    The real problem today is what the left calls "relative deprivation". "Relative deprivation" is essentially social status. Now social status is a good for which there is a high demand but by it's nature the supply of social status is totally inelastic. No form of economic or political organization can solve this problem. Today wearing a golden ring with a 24 carat diamond ring might mark the wearer as a high status individual. Such a ring currently costs about $5-10,000. If you can afford one you're not poor. Now in the future it is conceivable that technological advances might lead to the possibility that synthetic diamonds of large size and perfect quality could be produced so efficently that a 24 carat diamond would have the value of a piece of bubblegum. Then even beggers could wear such diamond rings on every finger. But then of course wearing a 24 carat diamond ring would provide the wearer with no status whatsoever.

    Even complete material equality if it could be achieved would not solve the equality problem. In a prison society the level of material inequality among the inmates has already been reduced way below what is practical to achieve outside of a prison. But this does not mean that status differences between prison inmates are slight. In fact they are huge. And those on the bottom of the status totem pole are still unhappy and discontented.

    The real problem today is what the left calls “relative deprivation”. “Relative deprivation” is essentially social status. Now social status is a good for which there is a high demand but by it’s nature the supply of social status is totally inelastic. No form of economic or political organization can solve this problem.

    Thoughtful post.
    Maybe it all goes back into human nature. What we are, what we want. Meaning of life.
    All those boring topics an average person today has no time/inclination/smarts to get involved into.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
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  64. @Andrei Martyanov

    Here people are thanking Gorby for their happy childhood and whatever:
     
    Good commentaries;-) A sign of nation getting mentally healthier, I would say.

    I added some ;-)

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  65. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    My info comes from personal sources and their impressions, not historians or academics. So it’s only one side of the story. Those who knew him and worked with him saw him as a cunning, ambitious, intelligent man who was also very vain. Contrary to his saintly perception in the West, he was also not above cruelty. Nor was he a simple-minded country fella
     
    OK, second go: not simple-minded fellows usually do not end up being politically, humanly and ideologically completely bankrupt and living out life in humiliation and being a laughing stock of a nation. There is nothing intelligent about that, zilch, nada. If it stinks like shit, feels like shit and tastes like shit than it is, probably, a shit. No other qualifiers are needed. The best way to describe it is: nedalyokii. Now explain to me, please, what is so outstanding in finishing Law School in MGU? Many did it before Gorbachov and many did after him, very many of them from villages. If you would have said that he graduated MGTU with degree in Space Vehicles, sure I would be impressed. But that is the whole point, he was the first, utterly civilian and uneducated on any serious national security or technological issue leader who just proved the point--people without serious military-intelligence background in a leadership role in Russia are a danger. Modern Russian history proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt, including through alcoholic Yeltsin--you know who is second Gorbachev? Russia's PM Medvedev, but unlike Gorby he is controlled by Siloviki and that is what so far assured Russia's position. I reiterate, I can not see how constant residing in a complete delusion throughout the process of own loss of power and, eventually, a country is any testimony to intellect?

    Correct. It appealed to his vanity. He wanted to be a Soviet JFK, and Raisa to be Jackie.
     
    Again, isn't it a first indicator of a lack of real, not shallow appearances, but internal culture and intellect? You bet it is.

    OK, second go: not simple-minded fellows usually do not end up being politically, humanly and ideologically completely bankrupt and living out life in humiliation and being a laughing stock of a nation. There is nothing intelligent about that, zilch, nada.

    Trotsky also ended up as a total failure. Was he an idiot? What about Khrushchev? Hitler?

    Closer to the modern world (and to the intelligence services), Shelepin ended up as a nobody. He never even managed to get to the top of the system, which was his goal, as Gorby did. Yet he was no fool, either. History is full of intelligent people who failed.

    Now explain to me, please, what is so outstanding in finishing Law School in MGU? Many did it before Gorbachov and many did after him, very many of them from villages.

    Do you think it’s possible for a moron from the provinces to get to MGU? I think all of those from villages who got into MGU must have been rather bright, but none of the others got nearly as far as did Gorby.

    I can not see how constant residing in a complete delusion throughout the process of own loss of power and, eventually, a country is any testimony to intellect?

    Again, you confuse intellect with wisdom. Characterological failures can lead intelligent, cunning people to do stupid things. This was Gorbachev’s tragedy (and that of the USSR). The story was different from that of some Forrest Gump brought to power in the Kremlin and then destroying everything out of cluelessness and stupidity.

    What do you think of Alexander Yakovlev? I heard much more positive personal impressions about him as a colleague and man, than about Gorby. He had been a young officer during World War II though of course he rose through power not through military channels.

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  66. AP says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    I can say that on experience of my family life was greatly improving form 60's till mid of 80's. I was born in communalka and in 5 years we moved to 2 bed room apartment. My grandfather was not in nomencklatura neither was my dad who got apartment 2 years later. Living both in Dnepropetrovsk and Tashkent I could see differences and I did not see horrors that are being described. I saw guys who were from simple families getting into elite schools and succeeding there. There was certain number of those from hairy hands but I suspect that costs of education in same faculties now have effectively closed social lifts. I was checking MGU various faculties and 300 000 rubles annual fee is quite common.
    Our relatives has been visiting us here and they say quality and taste of local foods in Toronto is far better than where they live in Russia. Sausage cause so to speak. They also say medicare is worse than during Soviet times. We have recent 4 years ago arrivals form Kamchatka and Omsk region. They say they could not even get medicines for their kids when needed.
    While during Soviet times I was basically saved due to our excellent medicare system. i spent the whole year in hospitals. Can one imagine what this would do to current Russian family. I see picture of those poor sick kids in Odnoklassniki regularly that cannot afford treatment.
    I already expressed my opinion regarding why Russian net is full of such articles. Someone need to keep population brainwashed and docile to avoid losing their massive gains.

    I was born in communalka and in 5 years we moved to 2 bed room apartment.

    It is of course your right not to answer, but may I ask your family’s professions?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Why? No secret here.
    Grandfather Factoriy Director substitute for supplies (Зам Директора по Снабжению ), still had to live in communalka for some 15 years, grandmother pharmaceutic, father Soviet officer major at the time when we finally got our apartment and 23 years into his service with Soviet army including 2 years as private, mother food industry engineer.
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  67. @jacques sheete

    And so, while they may be good at describing the problem, they will never be able to offer any realistic, workable solutions to it.
     
    From my perch, there never have been realistic workable solutions, only temporary expedients, and there probably can't be. Not only do the goals keep shifting, but all the competing "solutions" kill each other off. Anyone offering solutions is probably no more trustworthy than your average televangelist or any more effective than Christ on the cross.

    It's increasingly obvious to me that we're stuck with systems that are much less than ideal, at least from the points of view of most of us, and there ain't much relief in sight. Anyone promising otherwise is probably engaging in a degree of hucksterism at best.

    In that case, the answer is still nationalism. If there is no, one ‘correct’ answer, then let each individual country or civilization come up with their own.

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  68. @AP

    I was born in communalka and in 5 years we moved to 2 bed room apartment.
     
    It is of course your right not to answer, but may I ask your family's professions?

    Why? No secret here.
    Grandfather Factoriy Director substitute for supplies (Зам Директора по Снабжению ), still had to live in communalka for some 15 years, grandmother pharmaceutic, father Soviet officer major at the time when we finally got our apartment and 23 years into his service with Soviet army including 2 years as private, mother food industry engineer.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    So a well-educated, established family with good positons and careers were forced to live in a 2 bedroom apartment, like lower-class westerners or university students. This is impressive by the standards of Africa but not for those of the West, whom Russians resemble. It shows a very inadequate system in terms of providing for the material wellbeing of its citizens.

    Many interesting stats about the late 1970s USSR:

    In 1977 16% of urban housing stock in the Russian SSR wasn't connected to an internal sewer system, half had no hot water, 28% didn't have gas or a bathtub. I find these figures hard to believe, I suppose they include small towns.

    There were about 4 times as many phones per capita in the USA as in Russia in 1977.

    The Soviets prioritized television production. In 1976 there were 223 TV sets per 1,000 people in the USSR compared to 571/1,000 in the USA. But the USA had 100 million personal automobiles compared to 5 million in the USSR that year. The poverty and inability to provide private transportation explains the USSR's excellent public transportation. But Soviets travelled such less than did Americans, so the public transportation didn't compensate for the lack of private transportation. In 1976 Americans travelled per capita 10,780 km between cities, Soviets only 2,584.

    Here we see that in 1980 20% of urban Soviets still lived n communal flats! From that source, infant mortality rate rose 36% from 1971 to 1976, to nearly double that of the USA.
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  69. Do you think it’s possible for a moron from the provinces to get to MGU? I think all of those from villages who got into MGU must have been rather bright, but none of the others got nearly as far as did Gorby.

    Do you understand a profound difference in difficulty between even most complex humanities tasks, from narrating history to writing an essay, even a very good one, even based on the ability to operate with some serious abstract texts, and say ability to design, calculate and then write a manufacturing plan (as an example) of a, say, pylon for the aircraft engine? Or the hull of a corvette or submarine? These are intellectual tasks which are on a different planes of complexity. Again, it doesn’t take huge, some outstanding, intellect to graduate a Law School of MGU. Try MGTU or any serious military academy, say some PVO academy–different universes in terms of complexity. Yes, it is possible for a very average dude to become a lawyer, it is the same way possible as a demagogue such as Dugin to drop out of MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute) in the first year since he couldn’t handle calculus and physics, and then go zaoochno to some agricultural backwater institute in Stavropol (coincidence? LOL) just for the sake of a degree. After all, “great” Russian geopolitical “thinker” has to have some formal education, LOL;)

    The story was different from that of some Forrest Gump brought to power in the Kremlin and then destroying everything out of cluelessness and stupidity.

    But that is precisely my point, since Gorby had no freaking clue about key technological issues of the Arms Race, even despite great Academician Velikhov explaining to him (on fingers, I recon) that all this Star Wars was a huge fraud, among many other things. Forrest Gump he was not, but, OK here is another Russian term: Ограниченный. Again, you are not going to impress me with all those degrees in Law and Economics–wanna see how this whole world of “managers” and “political scientists” with lawyers is collapsing–look no further than the US. Most of it is a sham.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Do you understand a profound difference in difficulty between even most complex humanities tasks, from narrating history to writing an essay, even a very good one, even based on the ability to operate with some serious abstract texts, and say ability to design, calculate and then write a manufacturing plan (as an example) of a, say, pylon for the aircraft engine? Or the hull of a corvette or submarine?
     
    Lenin was as brilliant as he was malevolent. He had no technical background.

    Here is a list of average IQs for various occupations:

    http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/Occupations.aspx

    Law, Natural Sciences, Electrical Engineering, and Medicine are basically tied at the top.

    Yes, it is possible for a very average dude to become a lawyer
     
    I doubt it is possible for a very average dude to get to the country's probably best law school (and then rise to power over the entire country).

    Again, you are not going to impress me with all those degrees in Law and Economics–wanna see how this whole world of “managers” and “political scientists” with lawyers is collapsing–look no further than the US. Most of it is a sham.
     
    It collapses (perhaps) with them it charge, but was also built by them in charge.
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  70. Blah, blah, blah.

    I didn’t notice that today’s socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of “socialist economics” posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it’s impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.

    If we have “Single Payer” medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since “how many needed” varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.

    Calling today’s corporatist capture of political systems “capitalism” is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources.
     
    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store. Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system. Contracts between companies signed long-term. Where I work, the outsourcing contract has just been signed for the next 5 years.

    Market-based prices you'll find at a yard sale or flea market. They may also exist at a farmers' market, assuming the vendors didn't collude (not very likely). And I'm pretty sure there were more flea markets and farmers' markets in communist countries.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Request to ban this commenter and all other libertarians from this blog.

    It's completely unacceptable to still be a libertarian in the current year.

    Joking, of course. I shouldn't debate religious fanatics, but here goes:

    I didn’t notice that today’s socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of “socialist economics” posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.
     
    Socialist economists in von Mises' own day proposed market socialism as an alternative. The USSR itself set prices based on input costs of goods. Various efforts were made by the planners over the years to improve the accuracy of this.

    In reality, as opposed to the fantasy land you inhabit, socialism in practice didn't collapse into chaos as a result of non-market prices. This was studied empirically (you know, that tradition of inquiry you lunatic rejects) after the USSR collapsed: https://nintil.com/2016/11/07/the-soviet-union-productive-efficiency/

    Note that the author of the above piece is a self-described libertarian, though not of the ISIS-like Austrian splinter faction you inhabit.

    Even if we accept the premises of von Mises' argument the problem could be solved with linear programming and sufficient computing power. Late Soviet economists were in fact working on this.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it’s impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.
     
    This is a tautology. Go figure you can't have market prices without a market. Duhhhhhh.

    I realize this is probably futile on a religious fanatic like yourself, but you're faced with the problem that real, existing socialist economies routinely did this for decades. The Five Year Plan for instance is a mechanism to allocate investment.


    If we have “Single Payer” medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?
     
    In a single payer system these decisions are by hospitals themselves, as single payer simply means the government pays providers. Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.

    You're thinking perhaps of the Beveridge Model, such as in the United Kingdom. In that case decisions are made by bureacrats working for the National Health Service.

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since “how many needed” varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.
     
    Empirical reality, which again von Mises and his disciple Rothbard (both Jews incidentally) reject, shows that in fact it can be sorted out. And it is being sorted out every single day. Furthermore, most non-market systems do in fact use prices and often (but not always) incorporate market elements.

    This is nothing new incidentally. In a major war how does an army decide which fronts get reinforced with more troops and shells? Certainly not by market prices.

    Calling today’s corporatist capture of political systems “capitalism” is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.
     
    It's not your view at all. It's regurgitated garbage from Lew Rockwell and the gang.

    You do realize that the term capitalism was created by communists?

    Just because YOU religious fanatics insist that capitalism is a synonym of libertarianism doesn't mean the rest of us need to agree.

    It's embarrassing and outrageous that you people still exist.
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  71. Che Guava says:

    Thanks to you, Anatoly, for posting this very interestimg article by Kholmogorov (and I am agreeing with much of the substance).

    To digressing, I am wondering what Genaddy Zhuganov and the CPR would have been doing.

    Anyone who can read is knowing that he and his party would have won the election against the drunken traitor Eltsin, except for intense USA intervention, much money and ballot-cheatimg.

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  72. AP says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Why? No secret here.
    Grandfather Factoriy Director substitute for supplies (Зам Директора по Снабжению ), still had to live in communalka for some 15 years, grandmother pharmaceutic, father Soviet officer major at the time when we finally got our apartment and 23 years into his service with Soviet army including 2 years as private, mother food industry engineer.

    So a well-educated, established family with good positons and careers were forced to live in a 2 bedroom apartment, like lower-class westerners or university students. This is impressive by the standards of Africa but not for those of the West, whom Russians resemble. It shows a very inadequate system in terms of providing for the material wellbeing of its citizens.

    Many interesting stats about the late 1970s USSR:

    In 1977 16% of urban housing stock in the Russian SSR wasn’t connected to an internal sewer system, half had no hot water, 28% didn’t have gas or a bathtub. I find these figures hard to believe, I suppose they include small towns.

    There were about 4 times as many phones per capita in the USA as in Russia in 1977.

    The Soviets prioritized television production. In 1976 there were 223 TV sets per 1,000 people in the USSR compared to 571/1,000 in the USA. But the USA had 100 million personal automobiles compared to 5 million in the USSR that year. The poverty and inability to provide private transportation explains the USSR’s excellent public transportation. But Soviets travelled such less than did Americans, so the public transportation didn’t compensate for the lack of private transportation. In 1976 Americans travelled per capita 10,780 km between cities, Soviets only 2,584.

    Here we see that in 1980 20% of urban Soviets still lived n communal flats! From that source, infant mortality rate rose 36% from 1971 to 1976, to nearly double that of the USA.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The Soviets prioritized television production. In 1976 there were 223 TV sets per 1,000 people in the USSR compared to 571/1,000 in the USA. But the USA had 100 million personal automobiles compared to 5 million in the USSR that year. The poverty and inability to provide private transportation explains the USSR’s excellent public transportation. But Soviets travelled such less than did Americans, so the public transportation didn’t compensate for the lack of private transportation. In 1976 Americans travelled per capita 10,780 km between cities, Soviets only 2,584.
     
    Nobody argues with the fact that US lived much better than USSR. As well as that Soviet consumer market suffered with perpetual deficits both in gastronomic and other consumer fields. But you, which is expected, forgot this:

    http://www.old-yankee.com/writings/images/Figure19.jpg

    And the fact of in what shape the US existed WW II. This is not accidental from you but this factor, together with endemic inefficiencies of Soviet system, not least through well-known retail mafia, which played a crucial in precipitating those deficits, plays a huge role in comparison.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    You should understand that before communalka my grandparents were living in far worse conditions. Conditions were constantly improving. My dad due to nature of his job was moved every 5 years to different locations hence we got permanent place to live only when he got settled. Overall, despite deficits which were real we lived happy and fulfilling lives. Also, you should not ignore the fact that we paid basically nothing for our apartments. Monthly payment for grandparents 2 bed rooms of frankly very good size was just 22 rubles, with my grandfather salary being 330 rubles and that of grandmother 240. My father paid even less 15 rubles while having larger salary. Having similar apartment here in Toronto now costs arm and leg and I am not even going into houses. People in the West live mostly due to huge and increasing debt. I suspect modern Russia has own issues, basically I wonder if the quality of food stuff in stores, content of real meat and milk there and plastic fruit and vegetable compared to organic ones in Soviet times with far higher prices is not creating illusion of plenty... I was told that quality of many of produce is far below Soviet times.
    Basically, I think along what Andrei told about those mafias. As a rule , I have never seen sausages in stores in Tashkent, but we had huge choice in many excellent Tashkent markets where one could buy everything needed of far better taste and quality than modern supermarket. We were well fed and did not suffer.
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  73. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Do you think it’s possible for a moron from the provinces to get to MGU? I think all of those from villages who got into MGU must have been rather bright, but none of the others got nearly as far as did Gorby.
     
    Do you understand a profound difference in difficulty between even most complex humanities tasks, from narrating history to writing an essay, even a very good one, even based on the ability to operate with some serious abstract texts, and say ability to design, calculate and then write a manufacturing plan (as an example) of a, say, pylon for the aircraft engine? Or the hull of a corvette or submarine? These are intellectual tasks which are on a different planes of complexity. Again, it doesn't take huge, some outstanding, intellect to graduate a Law School of MGU. Try MGTU or any serious military academy, say some PVO academy--different universes in terms of complexity. Yes, it is possible for a very average dude to become a lawyer, it is the same way possible as a demagogue such as Dugin to drop out of MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute) in the first year since he couldn't handle calculus and physics, and then go zaoochno to some agricultural backwater institute in Stavropol (coincidence? LOL) just for the sake of a degree. After all, "great" Russian geopolitical "thinker" has to have some formal education, LOL;)

    The story was different from that of some Forrest Gump brought to power in the Kremlin and then destroying everything out of cluelessness and stupidity.
     
    But that is precisely my point, since Gorby had no freaking clue about key technological issues of the Arms Race, even despite great Academician Velikhov explaining to him (on fingers, I recon) that all this Star Wars was a huge fraud, among many other things. Forrest Gump he was not, but, OK here is another Russian term: Ограниченный. Again, you are not going to impress me with all those degrees in Law and Economics--wanna see how this whole world of "managers" and "political scientists" with lawyers is collapsing--look no further than the US. Most of it is a sham.

    Do you understand a profound difference in difficulty between even most complex humanities tasks, from narrating history to writing an essay, even a very good one, even based on the ability to operate with some serious abstract texts, and say ability to design, calculate and then write a manufacturing plan (as an example) of a, say, pylon for the aircraft engine? Or the hull of a corvette or submarine?

    Lenin was as brilliant as he was malevolent. He had no technical background.

    Here is a list of average IQs for various occupations:

    http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/Occupations.aspx

    Law, Natural Sciences, Electrical Engineering, and Medicine are basically tied at the top.

    Yes, it is possible for a very average dude to become a lawyer

    I doubt it is possible for a very average dude to get to the country’s probably best law school (and then rise to power over the entire country).

    Again, you are not going to impress me with all those degrees in Law and Economics–wanna see how this whole world of “managers” and “political scientists” with lawyers is collapsing–look no further than the US. Most of it is a sham.

    It collapses (perhaps) with them it charge, but was also built by them in charge.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Here is a list of average IQs for various occupations:
     
    I think we have to stop here. The table on IQ professions you introduced is a complete BS for the consumption of the products of an American "education". I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform. Lenin's argument also is completely flawed because (apart from knowing 8 languages he fits the profile of what generally is considered a genius), yet, even the Civil War for him on strategic and operational level was won by such people like Michail Frunze and Stalin. All this Social "Science" crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields. This is the price, a long term debilitating effect, of US killing own public education system.
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  74. @AP
    So a well-educated, established family with good positons and careers were forced to live in a 2 bedroom apartment, like lower-class westerners or university students. This is impressive by the standards of Africa but not for those of the West, whom Russians resemble. It shows a very inadequate system in terms of providing for the material wellbeing of its citizens.

    Many interesting stats about the late 1970s USSR:

    In 1977 16% of urban housing stock in the Russian SSR wasn't connected to an internal sewer system, half had no hot water, 28% didn't have gas or a bathtub. I find these figures hard to believe, I suppose they include small towns.

    There were about 4 times as many phones per capita in the USA as in Russia in 1977.

    The Soviets prioritized television production. In 1976 there were 223 TV sets per 1,000 people in the USSR compared to 571/1,000 in the USA. But the USA had 100 million personal automobiles compared to 5 million in the USSR that year. The poverty and inability to provide private transportation explains the USSR's excellent public transportation. But Soviets travelled such less than did Americans, so the public transportation didn't compensate for the lack of private transportation. In 1976 Americans travelled per capita 10,780 km between cities, Soviets only 2,584.

    Here we see that in 1980 20% of urban Soviets still lived n communal flats! From that source, infant mortality rate rose 36% from 1971 to 1976, to nearly double that of the USA.

    The Soviets prioritized television production. In 1976 there were 223 TV sets per 1,000 people in the USSR compared to 571/1,000 in the USA. But the USA had 100 million personal automobiles compared to 5 million in the USSR that year. The poverty and inability to provide private transportation explains the USSR’s excellent public transportation. But Soviets travelled such less than did Americans, so the public transportation didn’t compensate for the lack of private transportation. In 1976 Americans travelled per capita 10,780 km between cities, Soviets only 2,584.

    Nobody argues with the fact that US lived much better than USSR. As well as that Soviet consumer market suffered with perpetual deficits both in gastronomic and other consumer fields. But you, which is expected, forgot this:

    And the fact of in what shape the US existed WW II. This is not accidental from you but this factor, together with endemic inefficiencies of Soviet system, not least through well-known retail mafia, which played a crucial in precipitating those deficits, plays a huge role in comparison.

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  75. @AP

    Do you understand a profound difference in difficulty between even most complex humanities tasks, from narrating history to writing an essay, even a very good one, even based on the ability to operate with some serious abstract texts, and say ability to design, calculate and then write a manufacturing plan (as an example) of a, say, pylon for the aircraft engine? Or the hull of a corvette or submarine?
     
    Lenin was as brilliant as he was malevolent. He had no technical background.

    Here is a list of average IQs for various occupations:

    http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/Occupations.aspx

    Law, Natural Sciences, Electrical Engineering, and Medicine are basically tied at the top.

    Yes, it is possible for a very average dude to become a lawyer
     
    I doubt it is possible for a very average dude to get to the country's probably best law school (and then rise to power over the entire country).

    Again, you are not going to impress me with all those degrees in Law and Economics–wanna see how this whole world of “managers” and “political scientists” with lawyers is collapsing–look no further than the US. Most of it is a sham.
     
    It collapses (perhaps) with them it charge, but was also built by them in charge.

    Here is a list of average IQs for various occupations:

    I think we have to stop here. The table on IQ professions you introduced is a complete BS for the consumption of the products of an American “education”. I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform. Lenin’s argument also is completely flawed because (apart from knowing 8 languages he fits the profile of what generally is considered a genius), yet, even the Civil War for him on strategic and operational level was won by such people like Michail Frunze and Stalin. All this Social “Science” crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields. This is the price, a long term debilitating effect, of US killing own public education system.

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    • Replies: @AP

    I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform.
     
    And an engineer probably wouldn't be able to draft a simple will, not to mention make some complex and convincing legal argument based on properly applied and integrated precedents. And neither a lawyer not attorney would be capable of the correct diagnosis and treatment of some specific neurological disorder. So?

    Lenin’s argument also is completely flawed because (apart from knowing 8 languages he fits the profile of what generally is considered a genius), yet, even the Civil War for him on strategic and operational level was won by such people like Michail Frunze and Stalin.
     
    Lenin - lawyer. Stalin didn't have a technical background either, he was a seminarian and then publicist/revolutionary.

    All this Social “Science” crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields.
     
    This same "cohort of people" were running things when the USA was successful too. FDR studied economics and law, for example.

    America had a president who studied at both the Naval Academy and from a top-tier technical university - Georgia Tech. He was Jimmy Carter.
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  76. @dc.sunsets
    Blah, blah, blah.

    I didn't notice that today's socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of "socialist economics" posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it's impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.

    If we have "Single Payer" medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since "how many needed" varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.

    Calling today's corporatist capture of political systems "capitalism" is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources.

    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store. Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system. Contracts between companies signed long-term. Where I work, the outsourcing contract has just been signed for the next 5 years.

    Market-based prices you’ll find at a yard sale or flea market. They may also exist at a farmers’ market, assuming the vendors didn’t collude (not very likely). And I’m pretty sure there were more flea markets and farmers’ markets in communist countries.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store. Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system. Contracts between companies signed long-term. Where I work, the outsourcing contract has just been signed for the next 5 years.
     
    Good point. Of course, everyone should now be aware of Charge Masters in US Hospitals and other HMOs, where they pull prices for everything out of their asses or because they have a bad mood, but I agree: in serious industries the contracts are long-term and with fixed prices which fluctuate somewhat during bidding process. Having said all that: this doesn't apply to US military-industrial complex where fleecing is in the very foundation with even a modicum of military capability having the highest price (per capita) in the world and by a gigantic margin. But don't try to convey this to Ayn Rand worshipers and other libertarian types, they still drink this Cool Aid and believe in the "free" market.
    , @AP

    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store.
     
    Well, if there is demand for something it is sold, and at a higher price (but not so high that people won't buy it), things that people want less are sold less often and/or for a lower price. Sellers-producers adjust to consumers, while trying to influence them through marketing. You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?

    Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system.
     
    "Just like in the Soviet system." :-)
    , @dc.sunsets
    If you think that the prices of tires, engines and car seat cushions available in stores are set by bureaucrats, I have a bridge to sell you.

    (Facepalm.)
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  77. Read More
    • Replies: @another fred
    That's neat, Priss. I'm a fan of Cleese's, but it leaves out a pretty salient fact - population density.

    Yeah, we're all crazy (to wit, most of the comments above), but we've always been crazy. The big difference is that we can't get away from (or wall off) the "nutsos" any more.

    Human beings have always been at odds with each other. Formerly we killed each other at the borders. Now the fools mix us all together and tell us to get along.

    What could possibly go wrong?
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  78. @simplyamazed
    It is a no-brainer to call Piketty's analysis bullshit without showing how that is correct. He advanced knowledge in this area by collecting and analysing a huge data set covering a longer period of time than had been accomplished before. It is difficult ot capture all of the nuances of such a large collection of data and it also is possible to miss trends and possibilities when developing theories based on such material. However, Picketty's analysis raised the level of discussion from mere opinion and dogma to something more. The question is, how much more data gathering and analysis are needed for a fuller understanding?

    I notice that almost all of the data and all of the analysis presented in the above analysis are based on European examples (even those for Russia are based mostly on data from the Europeanized part), and only since the 1800's. It would be interesting to look more broadly, at other societies and times. What did income equality and quality of life look like in pre-Columbian North America? Amongst the Maya at the height of their civilisation? Amongst the Aztec and the Inca and the pre-Incan civilizations? In Polynesia? Amongst the inhabitants of the Mongol Empire and in the Khanates that spun out of it? What was wealth accumulation and upward mobility like in the Ottoman Empire? Perhaps we need to look at Ummayad Spain as well. This dialogue about inequality and wealth creation is useful, but too focused for me to believe it is the last and best word about this important economic and political issue.

    We live in the times we live in and people will argue that European and U.S. data are all we need. Yet, lessons can and should be learned and applied based on a fuller understanding of human society. Continually knocking on a door that no one answers is not the only way to gain access.

    The dialogue is focused because the invention and perfection of the steam engine (and concomitant machine metal working) was the single most dramatic event in recorded human history; as important as the use of fire and stone tools–an extension of them really.

    What’s the point of studying grazers, herders and subsistence farmers? They had their problems and we have ours.

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    • Replies: @phil
    Yes. In terms of today's US dollars, average living standards in most places have been less than $2000 per person for most of recorded history (see, e.g, Angus Maddison's website). In terms of social harmony, check Pinker's summary; primitive life was generally very violent.

    Modern life is generally at a higher material level and less violent. But people fail to realize that, in line with behavioral genetics, happiness is not so much a product of a good economy as a dispostion which we have or do not have from birth.

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  79. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources.
     
    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store. Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system. Contracts between companies signed long-term. Where I work, the outsourcing contract has just been signed for the next 5 years.

    Market-based prices you'll find at a yard sale or flea market. They may also exist at a farmers' market, assuming the vendors didn't collude (not very likely). And I'm pretty sure there were more flea markets and farmers' markets in communist countries.

    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store. Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system. Contracts between companies signed long-term. Where I work, the outsourcing contract has just been signed for the next 5 years.

    Good point. Of course, everyone should now be aware of Charge Masters in US Hospitals and other HMOs, where they pull prices for everything out of their asses or because they have a bad mood, but I agree: in serious industries the contracts are long-term and with fixed prices which fluctuate somewhat during bidding process. Having said all that: this doesn’t apply to US military-industrial complex where fleecing is in the very foundation with even a modicum of military capability having the highest price (per capita) in the world and by a gigantic margin. But don’t try to convey this to Ayn Rand worshipers and other libertarian types, they still drink this Cool Aid and believe in the “free” market.

    Read More
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  80. Read More
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  81. @AP
    So a well-educated, established family with good positons and careers were forced to live in a 2 bedroom apartment, like lower-class westerners or university students. This is impressive by the standards of Africa but not for those of the West, whom Russians resemble. It shows a very inadequate system in terms of providing for the material wellbeing of its citizens.

    Many interesting stats about the late 1970s USSR:

    In 1977 16% of urban housing stock in the Russian SSR wasn't connected to an internal sewer system, half had no hot water, 28% didn't have gas or a bathtub. I find these figures hard to believe, I suppose they include small towns.

    There were about 4 times as many phones per capita in the USA as in Russia in 1977.

    The Soviets prioritized television production. In 1976 there were 223 TV sets per 1,000 people in the USSR compared to 571/1,000 in the USA. But the USA had 100 million personal automobiles compared to 5 million in the USSR that year. The poverty and inability to provide private transportation explains the USSR's excellent public transportation. But Soviets travelled such less than did Americans, so the public transportation didn't compensate for the lack of private transportation. In 1976 Americans travelled per capita 10,780 km between cities, Soviets only 2,584.

    Here we see that in 1980 20% of urban Soviets still lived n communal flats! From that source, infant mortality rate rose 36% from 1971 to 1976, to nearly double that of the USA.

    You should understand that before communalka my grandparents were living in far worse conditions. Conditions were constantly improving. My dad due to nature of his job was moved every 5 years to different locations hence we got permanent place to live only when he got settled. Overall, despite deficits which were real we lived happy and fulfilling lives. Also, you should not ignore the fact that we paid basically nothing for our apartments. Monthly payment for grandparents 2 bed rooms of frankly very good size was just 22 rubles, with my grandfather salary being 330 rubles and that of grandmother 240. My father paid even less 15 rubles while having larger salary. Having similar apartment here in Toronto now costs arm and leg and I am not even going into houses. People in the West live mostly due to huge and increasing debt. I suspect modern Russia has own issues, basically I wonder if the quality of food stuff in stores, content of real meat and milk there and plastic fruit and vegetable compared to organic ones in Soviet times with far higher prices is not creating illusion of plenty… I was told that quality of many of produce is far below Soviet times.
    Basically, I think along what Andrei told about those mafias. As a rule , I have never seen sausages in stores in Tashkent, but we had huge choice in many excellent Tashkent markets where one could buy everything needed of far better taste and quality than modern supermarket. We were well fed and did not suffer.

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  82. LauraMR says:

    Pathetic disgrace?

    Read the Gulag Archipelago.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Read the Gulag Archipelago.
     
    I hope you know that GULAG Archipelago is a fiction literature? No? Well, as much as local fighters with communism would love it to be a "document" but the full title of GULAG Archipelago is this: GULAG Archipelago. The Experience in Fictional Study.

    http://www.pravmir.ru/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Solzhenitsyin-A.-Arhipelag-GULag-02.jpeg

    This is not to mention that most actual descriptions of GULAG, which did exist and there were crimes committed, no doubt, was stolen by Solzhenitsyn from real GULAG writer, Varlam Shalamov. As Shalamov himself wrote, and I give a precise quote from his diary: "No bitch from "progressive humanity" should be allowed near my archive. I forbid writer Solzhenitsyn and all those having thoughts similar to his have acquaintance with my archive."(c)
    New Book: Reminiscences. Notebooks. Letters. Investigations. Notebooks of 1972. Varlam Shalamov. Exmo, 2004. Pages: 342-345

    Most, not all, what Solzhenitsyn wrote in GULAG and after, from statistics to geopolitical "assessments" is, basically, a made up shit. So, there is no surprise then, that so many Solzhenitsyn's fans (apart from lacking a general culture and intellect to see Solzhenitsyn for what he was--a mediocre writer) both Russian and Western are constantly confused about anything related to Russia--one is bound to be when uses Solzhenitsyn's writings as a foundation for the worldview. You want to know real numbers of GULAG and what real crimes were committed etc. Start with Zemskov and then slowly, possibly with the use of antidepressants, go towards Thurston's very good treatise Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941. just for a good primer. But primarily, if you want to really learn anything about that start communicating with everyday Russians, not some "intellectuals" or "intelligentsia", which has nothing intelligent about itself, and while doing so, try to ask how many of those Russians had people in their families taken to GULAG--you may be surprised with the answers and it will help you to understand why during Solzhenitsyn's funeral in Moscow in 2008 there were so embarrassingly few people attending it. All Russian TV Networks reported that, while NTV even stated that it is still not the end of the day;-)
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  83. AP says:

    Also, you should not ignore the fact that we paid basically nothing for our appartments. Montly payment for grandparents 2 bed rooms of frankly very good size was just 22 rubles, with my grandfather salary being 330 rubles and that of grandmother 240. My father paid even less 15 rubles while having larger salary

    Paying nothing to live in lower class conditions (by the standards of other northern hemisphere people) is nothing to brag about. You could decide not to work, have some kids, and get free housing in the projects now. You’ll also get food stamps and free healthcare.

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  84. @dc.sunsets
    Blah, blah, blah.

    I didn't notice that today's socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of "socialist economics" posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it's impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.

    If we have "Single Payer" medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since "how many needed" varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.

    Calling today's corporatist capture of political systems "capitalism" is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.

    Request to ban this commenter and all other libertarians from this blog.

    It’s completely unacceptable to still be a libertarian in the current year.

    Joking, of course. I shouldn’t debate religious fanatics, but here goes:

    I didn’t notice that today’s socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of “socialist economics” posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.

    Socialist economists in von Mises’ own day proposed market socialism as an alternative. The USSR itself set prices based on input costs of goods. Various efforts were made by the planners over the years to improve the accuracy of this.

    In reality, as opposed to the fantasy land you inhabit, socialism in practice didn’t collapse into chaos as a result of non-market prices. This was studied empirically (you know, that tradition of inquiry you lunatic rejects) after the USSR collapsed: https://nintil.com/2016/11/07/the-soviet-union-productive-efficiency/

    Note that the author of the above piece is a self-described libertarian, though not of the ISIS-like Austrian splinter faction you inhabit.

    Even if we accept the premises of von Mises’ argument the problem could be solved with linear programming and sufficient computing power. Late Soviet economists were in fact working on this.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it’s impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.

    This is a tautology. Go figure you can’t have market prices without a market. Duhhhhhh.

    I realize this is probably futile on a religious fanatic like yourself, but you’re faced with the problem that real, existing socialist economies routinely did this for decades. The Five Year Plan for instance is a mechanism to allocate investment.

    If we have “Single Payer” medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?

    In a single payer system these decisions are by hospitals themselves, as single payer simply means the government pays providers. Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.

    You’re thinking perhaps of the Beveridge Model, such as in the United Kingdom. In that case decisions are made by bureacrats working for the National Health Service.

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since “how many needed” varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.

    Empirical reality, which again von Mises and his disciple Rothbard (both Jews incidentally) reject, shows that in fact it can be sorted out. And it is being sorted out every single day. Furthermore, most non-market systems do in fact use prices and often (but not always) incorporate market elements.

    This is nothing new incidentally. In a major war how does an army decide which fronts get reinforced with more troops and shells? Certainly not by market prices.

    Calling today’s corporatist capture of political systems “capitalism” is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.

    It’s not your view at all. It’s regurgitated garbage from Lew Rockwell and the gang.

    You do realize that the term capitalism was created by communists?

    Just because YOU religious fanatics insist that capitalism is a synonym of libertarianism doesn’t mean the rest of us need to agree.

    It’s embarrassing and outrageous that you people still exist.

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    • Replies: @nsa
    Nice rhetorical "low blow" there, Thor, pointing out that both Mises and Rothbard were jooies. Anything promoted by jooies is bound to be self-serving and detrimental to nearly everyone else.....explaining why both the masses of asses and the wasp cognoscenti instinctively avoid libertarian ideas.
    , @utu
    Finally a relevant comment under this article. I have learned already that apartments in the SU were small and toilets were shared between families and that there was plenty of caviar and vodka (Karlin always attracts many Soviet deadenders) but nobody pointed out to the fact that the planned economy can actually be administered better now than it was in the SU because we have much better IT tools and ability to collect and process data almost instantaneously. Stores and suppliers can be run like Walmart with instantaneous feedback which product is being sold and how far away is the supply in the truck on the road. Isn't Walmart actually the planned economy mini empire? And also we can control better who is stealing, so we may know right away if a store clerk in the butcher shop is not stashing away meat to be resold outside at black market prices.

    You are absolutely right about libertarians. Libertarianism is a psy-op invented to demoralize the youth, mostly young males. It does not have any other purpose. Ayn Rand, Mises, Rothbard, Rockwell (yes, all of them Jews) are responsible for spreading the anti-gospel of libertarian ideology that is totally devoid of reality but it seduces young mind to avoid engaging in more complex thinking that society is actually a very complex self-organizing effort by people and their government that requires constant renegotiations and interactions between various groups. That people are not and do not want to be competing animals at each other throats. It is not the La La Land ruled by the Almighty Invisible Hand that can only be tweaked by few parameters like interests rates and tax code or not even that according to Libertarians.

    For TPTB the libertarianism certainly is a very useful delusion to infect young (mostly male) minds with and render them at least harmless if not cheerleaders for the neoliberal NWO paradise. The paradise for the uber rich class, the oligarchs. Ayn Rand books created greatest devastation in young Americans minds and psyche. If she was the product of CIA or NKVD she would be one of the most successful psyops they ever conducted or dreamed of.

    Does libertarian ever feel a moral outrage at excesses of the rich and oligarchs? No, his answer is always the same: not enough freedom, not enough competition, deregulate or tough luck it's your fault if you were ripped by somebody smarter than you, or people are not developed enough for the libertarian paradise. The latter you could hear in the SU as well.

    I wonder if somebody did look at libertarian activism and how it correlated with the job Thatcher started in 1970s and Reagan continued in 1980s to bust unions, destroy the rust belt, send companies first to free-to-work states in the South and then to Mexico under Clinton? And what did you hear from young people then? We do not need unions or industrial jobs, we will work in service economy where the invisible hand will take care of everything and government is bad and only bad because it regulates. Guess what, the regulating power of government was greatly diminished since then and what did we get for it? Ask the billionaires and millionaires what did they get from it. They know.
    , @dc.sunsets
    Go back and read Leonard Reed's "I, pencil."

    You're far, far too short for this ride, if you think market-based prices is a monopoly within libertarianism.

    You deride market prices and then, five lines later, suggest they are used by this hybrid system you embrace. Okay. How's this? Who decides how much each hospital gets to divvy up between its adminstrators' pet projects? Who decides how much hospitals get, vs schools, vs. universities, vs welfare payments, etc.?

    And here I get accused of being an ideologue....

    You guys and your "we can improve on that" bureaucracies. You put the bureaucrats at the DMV in charge of all people's lives. We don't thank you.

    , @dc.sunsets

    Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.
     
    How much longer do you think Medicare/Medicaid will last, given their compounded annual cost increase and the apparent end of the bull market in bond prices?

    I have to admit, I'm going to have a lifetime supply of popcorn available to sit and watch you folks realize that the last 36 (or 54, depending on your choice of starting point) years are not actually sustainable. This was the most Extraordinary Popular Delusion ever recorded.

    Declining interest rates plus freely-floated monetary systems plus a secular social mood mania created a perfect set of conditions: Debt was piled decade after decade, and governments the world over realized that there were no limits on how much they could borrow and spend.

    Serious question: Do you think the world can keep issuing IOU's at compound growth rates of the last 30 years? And if, for instance, the US central government slows or stops borrowing, what happens to all those programs now addicted to monster budgets?

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  85. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Here is a list of average IQs for various occupations:
     
    I think we have to stop here. The table on IQ professions you introduced is a complete BS for the consumption of the products of an American "education". I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform. Lenin's argument also is completely flawed because (apart from knowing 8 languages he fits the profile of what generally is considered a genius), yet, even the Civil War for him on strategic and operational level was won by such people like Michail Frunze and Stalin. All this Social "Science" crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields. This is the price, a long term debilitating effect, of US killing own public education system.

    I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform.

    And an engineer probably wouldn’t be able to draft a simple will, not to mention make some complex and convincing legal argument based on properly applied and integrated precedents. And neither a lawyer not attorney would be capable of the correct diagnosis and treatment of some specific neurological disorder. So?

    Lenin’s argument also is completely flawed because (apart from knowing 8 languages he fits the profile of what generally is considered a genius), yet, even the Civil War for him on strategic and operational level was won by such people like Michail Frunze and Stalin.

    Lenin – lawyer. Stalin didn’t have a technical background either, he was a seminarian and then publicist/revolutionary.

    All this Social “Science” crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields.

    This same “cohort of people” were running things when the USA was successful too. FDR studied economics and law, for example.

    America had a president who studied at both the Naval Academy and from a top-tier technical university – Georgia Tech. He was Jimmy Carter.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    America had a president who studied at both the Naval Academy and from a top-tier technical university – Georgia Tech. He was Jimmy Carter.
     
    Herbert Hoover was a mining engineer of considerable renown, and his university education was in geology.

    Hoover, much like Carter, was generally well regarded for his efforts outside of the Presidency.
    , @gerad

    And an engineer probably wouldn’t be able to draft a simple will, not to mention make some complex and convincing legal argument based on properly applied and integrated precedents.

     

    Even by your deranged "standards" that is a seriously thick comment. A civil engineer has to write reports and provide solutions in design .....and in methods of construction......
    and in future maintenance .....working within a vast series of codes, some hard, some not so hard...but none of them trivial- like many of which a solicitor has to know of. Despite the high degree of technical creativity allowed he still has a very strict legal framework to work within...that frequently requires for him to justify his applied thinking based on precedents from complicated projects encountering similar issues -in his country....or from around the world.

    He then has to justify,verbally and in print via report of his decisions, prior to acceptance by a potential client, based on economic,legal, socio-economic, health and safety for the end user & construction worker,environmental and even cultural or artistic reasons.....within a code of practise about a million times more complicated than anything a solicitor encounters....and he has to do this to a client(i.e a layman, just like a solicitor does with a jury)

    This same “cohort of people” were running things when the USA was successful too. FDR studied economics and law, for example.

     

    errr.no. It hardly needs reminding of the Nazi scientists who had senior positions in America (including on the space programme on which the Soviets heaped major successes for 10 years on the Americans- despite spending 1/3rd of the money per year that the Americans were doing), or non-Americans like Kissinger and the scumbag Brzezinski running Americans foreign policy at the height of the Cold War . FDR was no great thinker or strategist...he and America were fortunate to have many excellent European immigrants come over to advise on economics,science and so on. At best no further than a first generation immigrant seems to provide any value in America, or is allowed to...hindered by the despotic talentless social science dickheads that Andrei ( an intellectual unlike a time-wasting cretin as yourself) so eloquently and correctly points out.

    Stalin didn’t have a technical background either, he was a seminarian and then publicist/revolutionary

     

    Beyond dumb to compare Stalin breakingthrough from a non-technical background in his pre-industrialisation time.......to the low IQ failure Gorby breaking through from a technical background , in a completely different environment 50 years later
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  86. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources.
     
    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store. Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system. Contracts between companies signed long-term. Where I work, the outsourcing contract has just been signed for the next 5 years.

    Market-based prices you'll find at a yard sale or flea market. They may also exist at a farmers' market, assuming the vendors didn't collude (not very likely). And I'm pretty sure there were more flea markets and farmers' markets in communist countries.

    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store.

    Well, if there is demand for something it is sold, and at a higher price (but not so high that people won’t buy it), things that people want less are sold less often and/or for a lower price. Sellers-producers adjust to consumers, while trying to influence them through marketing. You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?

    Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system.

    “Just like in the Soviet system.” :-)

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?
     
    Yes; wasn't it clear from my comment? If it means that prices are assigned by experts and inflexible, then labeling it "market-based" is misleading, and the whole line of reasoning about inherent superiority of the 'market' system because of its price-formation collapses.

    Sellers-producers adjust to consumers, while trying to influence them through marketing.
     
    In fact, massive advertising and marketing efforts add to the problem, making the claim of 'rational allocation of resources' even less convincing.
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  87. @AP

    I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform.
     
    And an engineer probably wouldn't be able to draft a simple will, not to mention make some complex and convincing legal argument based on properly applied and integrated precedents. And neither a lawyer not attorney would be capable of the correct diagnosis and treatment of some specific neurological disorder. So?

    Lenin’s argument also is completely flawed because (apart from knowing 8 languages he fits the profile of what generally is considered a genius), yet, even the Civil War for him on strategic and operational level was won by such people like Michail Frunze and Stalin.
     
    Lenin - lawyer. Stalin didn't have a technical background either, he was a seminarian and then publicist/revolutionary.

    All this Social “Science” crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields.
     
    This same "cohort of people" were running things when the USA was successful too. FDR studied economics and law, for example.

    America had a president who studied at both the Naval Academy and from a top-tier technical university - Georgia Tech. He was Jimmy Carter.

    America had a president who studied at both the Naval Academy and from a top-tier technical university – Georgia Tech. He was Jimmy Carter.

    Herbert Hoover was a mining engineer of considerable renown, and his university education was in geology.

    Hoover, much like Carter, was generally well regarded for his efforts outside of the Presidency.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Some thoughts. Researchers found a positive correlation between estimated Presidential IQ and Presidential leadership performance as assessed by a panel of historians. This is not surprising. It would be interesting to incorporate educational background ("soft" vs. "hard") and see if that has any additional explanatory power.

    Might be relevant today since national elites differ in this respect quite a bit. As I recall you commented yourself in the past, the CCP Politburo consists mostly of engineers and scientists (Hu Jintao is himself a hydraulic engineer) - and the Chinese are usually lauded for this. But since, if anything, they might have poorer performance than lawyers - whatever problems lawyers might have in understanding some narrow and probably irrelevant technical issue, they're far better at finagling than the engineers, and that would seem to be a much more useful skill in things like international relations.

    At least the school Hu Jintao went to (Tsingtao University) is the best in China for Engineering. Don't know if that's typical or not for the Politburo as a whole.
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  88. @Priss Factor
    https://twitter.com/rooshv/status/918343378517069829

    Well, at least you wouldn’t be seeing that in Soviet propaganda.

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  89. phil says:
    @ThreeCranes
    The dialogue is focused because the invention and perfection of the steam engine (and concomitant machine metal working) was the single most dramatic event in recorded human history; as important as the use of fire and stone tools--an extension of them really.

    What's the point of studying grazers, herders and subsistence farmers? They had their problems and we have ours.

    Yes. In terms of today’s US dollars, average living standards in most places have been less than $2000 per person for most of recorded history (see, e.g, Angus Maddison’s website). In terms of social harmony, check Pinker’s summary; primitive life was generally very violent.

    Modern life is generally at a higher material level and less violent. But people fail to realize that, in line with behavioral genetics, happiness is not so much a product of a good economy as a dispostion which we have or do not have from birth.

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  90. @ Andrey Martyanov,

    Could 1st Secretary of the Republic’s CP or Chairman of the Soviet of Ministers unleash a war out of own volition and for, largely, personal reasons as McCain did?

    No, but I don’t recall McCain unleashing any wars either. (Though, of course, he contributed well beyond your average Congressman).

    You could easily buy black caviar in Moscow or Leningrad through many Stol Zakazov, including through many industrial enterprises in 1970s-80s… Do you know why you could buy black caviar relatively easily?

    My mother’s family, as members of what one might call the “lower nomenklatura”, could indeed get black caviar in Moscow, in bulk and at absurdly low prices. My dad’s family and relatives 120km outside Moscow – fuhgeddaboudit. It was a good day when sausage was in the stores. Popular riddle from the provinces that I’m sure you’ve heard: “Длинная, зеленая, пахнет колбасой? Электричка из Москвы.” (Long, green, smells of sausage? A train from Moscow). People from beyond Moscow would travel into the city just to stock up on sausages.

    I can guess why you could buy black caviar easily (if you had the right documents and/or lived in the right place). The USSR overfished black caviar (environmental protection wasn’t its forte either) so catches were on the decline since around 1980. The unrestricted poaching of the 1990s did it in even further.

    So something that was once available by the bucketfuls to some is now an elite luxury product, which anyone can buy (if he has $$$).

    Do you understand a profound difference in difficulty between even most complex humanities tasks, from narrating history to writing an essay, even a very good one, even based on the ability to operate with some serious abstract texts, and say ability to design, calculate and then write a manufacturing plan (as an example) of a, say, pylon for the aircraft engine?

    In addition to AP bringing up Linda Gottfredson’s famous chart, there is also this:

    There is indeed a significant gap between social sciences and the humanities, but it isn’t a yawning one. Philosophy is at around the same level as math and engineering; so is economics (which, incidentally, is extremely quantitative at all the respectable schools).

    I think we have to stop here. The table on IQ professions you introduced is a complete BS for the consumption of the products of an American “education”. I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform.

    If it’s a PhD from Harvard who absolutely had to master them for whatever strange reason then he’d probably be able to come to that level within a year of concentrated study. (Less if he’d done math to the end of HS, or taken math electives at university, which is not uncommon since American higher ed, unlike most countries, encourages students to diversify).

    There’s two rather strange ideas that you seem to be operating from:

    (1) That mathematical and verbal intelligences are highly separate things. In reality, they highly correlate with each other, as Charles Spearman found more than than a century ago. The top mathematician in a class of schoolchildren will be almost certainly way above average in English, and vice versa.

    (2) That verbal intelligence is “worth” much less than mathematical. This viewpoint is even harder to comprehend. I mean, the vast majority of jobs, including elite jobs, have absolutely no need for you to know how to solve differential equations or do Laplace transforms. (Besides, there’s any number of guys who can do that whom you can hire for peanuts on the dollar in China or Eastern Europe).

    All this Social “Science” crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields. This is the price, a long term debilitating effect, of US killing own public education system.

    It isn’t at all obvious to me how the US is less geopolitically competent than Russia. Yes, Iraq, whatever. Meanwhile, the geniuses in the Kremlin have managed to lose what was long one of Russia’s core territories for the foreseeable future, probably forever in all likelihood.

    Also link to Saker comments.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    No, but I don’t recall McCain unleashing any wars either. (Though, of course, he contributed well beyond your average Congressman).
     
    Anatoly, try to calculate "correlation" between Mr. McCain's 2008 Presidential bid and 080808 events.

    Another way of saying overqualified. Most Soviet “engineers” would be “technicians” and most Soviet “doctors” would be “nurses” or “medical orderlies” in the West.
     
    Anatoly, learn a simple skill--not to express your opinions in the fields in which you are utterly unqualified, especially engineering field of which you, frankly, have no idea. Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that. Western technician level is the level in Bachelor of Science in all kinds of engineering fields from any US engineering school, where those students approach from the pathetic level of STEM in US public schools and then dragged for four years 5 days a week. Soviet educated engineering field required 5 year intensive program in the field (6 days a week--exactly 6 academic years) and this is from the extremely high level of Soviet Public public schools (even today) in STEM. Just to give you some taste, a little summary:

    Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the American nuclear navy, was one such person of prominence who attacked the myth of superiority of American education even before Sputnik was launched. In fact, Rickover was in business of challenging this myth as early as 1953. [24] Rickover's efforts ended up with him issuing an indictment to the whole American educational system: "...part of the "best schools in the world" myth was the claim that American textbooks were the envy of the world. Rickover had difficulty locating these non-Americans who were so envious. On the contrary, he cited numerous foreign analyses of American school curricula and textbooks which found them to be "bland, superficial, and repetitive. Under the shocking impact of Russian scientific successes, Soviet mathematics and science texts were being translated for use by American students because no similar approach to the subject matter was available. Many of these translated texts were being used in American colleges although the Soviets were using them with 14 year olds in their ten-year schoo1s." [25] After more than 50 years, among which at least 20 has been dedicated by Russia's "reformers" to the efforts of dismantling a vastly superior Soviet STEM education, little changed still in the US. Even today Russia's public school text books for 8th or 9th grade Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry can unnerve many US educators by their academic complexity and scope. Time magazine noted already in 1958 that the amount of instruction in Mathematics, Physics or Biology an average Soviet student received before graduating a public school was three times larger than it was stipulated for the entrance into Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    "The Soviet graduates, however, were at least two years ahead of their American counterparts in mastery of "sound, basic education." By that Rickover meant "mathematics, the sciences, mastery of the mother tongue, knowledge of their own classical literature and that of major foreign nations, foreign languages, and history, though their history study is colored by Marxist doctrine. Even Russian graduates of her seven-year schools at ages fourteen and fifteen knew as much about these "solid subjects" as many American high school graduates." [26] The list of subjects studied was much longer though, and included Physical and, later, Economic Geography, it also included Astronomy for the final school year. Russians were extremely well aware of this advantage. Surely, by late 1970s American public school may have had better furniture or may even had a computer, but by 9th Grade Soviet, and even today Russia's students, were solving problems on Newtonian Mechanics in the course of Physics and had a comprehensive course of Trigonometry spanning both courses in Algebra and Geometry and that is what really mattered the most. In Introduction to his famed and startling comparative study of "humanities" education What Ivan Knows That Johnny Doesn't Arther S. Trace Jr. was blunt: "The concern of the recent comparative studies of American and Soviet schools has been to show that American schools are lagging woefully behind Soviet schools in the teaching of mathematics and sciences. These studies have emphasized that whereas all Russian students who graduate from high school have studied physics for five years, chemistry for four years, biology for six years, and astronomy for one year. Only some American high school graduates have studied biology or physics or chemistry for one year." [27] While some improvements were attempted since then, American public schools remain on average way behind in STEM subjects even today. While liberal experimentation, a euphemism for destruction of Russia's education continued through late 1990s and early 2000s, by trying to demolish a systemic and tightly interconnected complex of knowledge procurement, resulting in a wholesome world view, inherent in Soviet/Russian public education, the resistance to those barbaric liberal reforms in education, among many other fields, was growing in Russia. "Westernization" of Russian education was revolving around bringing Russia into the supposedly globalist, led by America, world. The wholesome picture of the world was not needed in this world, nor was needed a crucial feature of a healthy society—a highly developed cognitive process. But as 2015 TIMMS study showed, Russia still led in scores for advanced math and physics the Western World's, including the US, educational systems. [28] This study also underscored a surprising flexibility and survivability of the Russian educational system which simply refused to surrender to radical experimentation and lower its academic demands. In a defiance of the barbaric "western" educational reforms, among which Standardized State Testing, known as Unified State Exam (EGE), was introduced, a number of key Russia's universities still retained their right to conduct independent entrance exams for high school graduates applying there. Thus the key feature of the US educational system—standardized, multiple choice answers, Language and Math, tests—has been rejected, while the key feature of the Soviet educational system, which made it so effective has been preserved. True, many contemporary Russian high school graduates still get to the higher learning institutions based on the Unified State Exam results out of the high school directly, granted that they have to take more than just mandatory language and math tests, which are required only for a high school diploma, known in Russia as Attester of Maturity. But where truly elite education mattered, even amidst "reforms" bacchanalia of late 1990s and early 2000s, higher learning institutions such as Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, not to speak of such centers of education as Bauman Moscow State Technological University—an alma mater for such for such people as Chief Designer Sergei Korolyov and many Soviet/Russian cosmonauts and designers of weapon systems—retained their right for own entrance exams. In a case of sad irony, this school which was and is responsible for producing a good share of Soviet/Russian technological elite ranging from radio electronics to space flight, among many other fields, ranked as #379 in 2011/2012 QS World University rankings well below King Saud University. In 2017 this school's position "improved" to #306 slightly below another academically "shiny" Saudi institution such as King Abdulaziz University or American University of Beirut—schools hardly known for their contribution to space exploration, laser technology, state-of-the-art complex weapon systems and other things of similar nature which are on the resume of Bauman University. [29] Of course, there was and is a dark spot on Bauman's outstanding resume, with Alfred Rosenberg, one of the major ideologues of German National-Socialism being its alumni. The entrance to Bauman University, however, the same as it is true for a number of leading universities in Russia, is a true trial. This is, accidentally, how it is called today, entrance trials, and involves intimidating, by any measure, exams in mathematics, physics, language, foreign language, biology and history. The academic level of entrance exams to Bauman University and many other universities in Russia is such that some students who feel to be not quite ready for trials attend a yearlong preparatory college which gives enough academic boost for taking entrance exams. No US institution of higher education is even in the same universe in STEM requirements for its students, even those universities which, as is expected, are listed in top 20 of very many "rankings". Novosibirsk State University, as an example, even today requires for the entrance exams a level and volume of mathematics and physics knowledge which has its deep roots in old Soviet programs which allowed USSR to not only produce a world-class scientific and technological elite but to seriously challenge the United States in most fields of human activity doing catching up from a position of serious disadvantage as a result of a catastrophe of World War Two which befell Soviet Union. The situation was even more dramatic in preparation of Soviet military elite, which apart from already very high public school level was taking entrance exams into the military academies. Only Combined Arms academies (military officer colleges) by 1960s had study programs of four years. Academically those programs would amount to around 5 year's studies, and to 6 years academic courses for 5-year long naval, air force and other technologically-oriented military academies—everybody studied in USSR on Saturdays. Apart from exhaustive entrance exams in math, physics, language-literature, chemistry, where applicable, the whole host of tough physical and psychological tests was to be taken. Those admitted and who survived a boot camp were immediately subjected to an intensive academic routine which from the get go was dominated by an advanced common precise science courses ranging from Differential Equations, Physics, Mechanics, Radio-electronics to military occupation specific subjects, such as tactics, introduction to theory of operations or, as an example, missile weaponry or aerodynamics for pilots and flight engineers. The result of that was an officer with enough general and specialized education, capable of self-improvement in the most cases.
     
    As per level of engineers who went to work in Soviet and continue to work in Russian military-industrial complex, I don't think that we have anything to discuss with you here. As I stated, you have an agenda and it shines through.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    (2) That verbal intelligence is “worth” much less than mathematical. This viewpoint is even harder to comprehend. I mean, the vast majority of jobs, including elite jobs, have absolutely no need for you to know how to solve differential equations or do Laplace transforms. (Besides, there’s any number of guys who can do that whom you can hire for peanuts on the dollar in China or Eastern Europe).
     
    Anatoly, for a person who has a fanatical belief in IQ you exhibit a very strange ignorance on the issue of synapses which are developed and stay with you for the rest of your life even if you do not have to solve differential equations every day. Yes, "verbal intelligence" is worth much less, especially when one observes those dramatic strategic and operational "achievements" of US neocon elites who all, without exception, have high IQs and superb "verbal skills". Yet, somehow, anything which comes out of their mouths and pens is preposterous, anti-scientific and radically anti-empirical. Again, you exhibit a complete lack of any understanding of the abyss which separates a complexity (and abstract requirements) of a "verbal" skill and an ability to make serious weighted and competent decision because in all your arguments you are missing a key factor--knowledge. I will give you a definition of it again: knowledge is a fullness of information fitted into the rigid framework of causality. No verifiable causality? I don't care what IQ anyone has or what are their "verbal" skills--they remain ignorant and useless, as last Presidential Elections in US dramatically demonstrated for the whole "statistics" industry in US. All you statistics is sham, since can not create (and neither can you) a reliable connection between cause and effect. I can easily prove to you what a load of BS is most of your data you use without causality--easily done on the review of operations of, say, Patton's 3rd Army in Lorraine and Bulge. Statistics without knowledge--is a BS.
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  91. @Sergey Krieger
    I can say that on experience of my family life was greatly improving form 60's till mid of 80's. I was born in communalka and in 5 years we moved to 2 bed room apartment. My grandfather was not in nomencklatura neither was my dad who got apartment 2 years later. Living both in Dnepropetrovsk and Tashkent I could see differences and I did not see horrors that are being described. I saw guys who were from simple families getting into elite schools and succeeding there. There was certain number of those from hairy hands but I suspect that costs of education in same faculties now have effectively closed social lifts. I was checking MGU various faculties and 300 000 rubles annual fee is quite common.
    Our relatives has been visiting us here and they say quality and taste of local foods in Toronto is far better than where they live in Russia. Sausage cause so to speak. They also say medicare is worse than during Soviet times. We have recent 4 years ago arrivals form Kamchatka and Omsk region. They say they could not even get medicines for their kids when needed.
    While during Soviet times I was basically saved due to our excellent medicare system. i spent the whole year in hospitals. Can one imagine what this would do to current Russian family. I see picture of those poor sick kids in Odnoklassniki regularly that cannot afford treatment.
    I already expressed my opinion regarding why Russian net is full of such articles. Someone need to keep population brainwashed and docile to avoid losing their massive gains.

    I see picture of those poor sick kids in Odnoklassniki regularly that cannot afford treatment.

    In the USSR, this would have happened regardless, but without public attention and the associated possibility of charitable do-gooders helping out.

    The USSR has the dubious distinction of being the only industrialized country to see a sustained increase in infant mortality outside of wartime. Infant mortality under Putin has decreased by 2-3x times and has for the first time ever no longer an huge outlier relative to Western nations.

    Our relatives has been visiting us here and they say quality and taste of local foods in Toronto is far better than where they live in Russia.

    I don’t know about Toronto, but my impression is that food in Russia is better than in the US. It isn’t corn-drenched and uses less chemicals. (Speaking of raw food, not processed).

    People in the West live mostly due to huge and increasing debt.

    Yes, there’s a lot more debt in the West, but incomes are far higher and the median American doesn’t fall into debt even after most take out a mortgage once they start their families and take out a mortgage.

    Incidentally, I also want to address the housing question at greater length.

    So here’s some statistics: http://rusfact.ru/node/28

    First, we see that urban square meters per person steadily rose through the entire 1914-today period (except the massive Revolution-to-1950 stall that was observed in consumption generally). So housing construction as such wasn’t a uniquely Soviet achievement.

    Second, now relative to other countries:

    USA – 70 sqm
    Germany – 42 sqm
    Canada – 40 sqm
    France – 40 sqm
    Greece, joint-poorest country in old EU – 30 sqm
    Russia – 25 sqm
    Famously overcrowded Japan – 22 sqm
    Russia in 1991 – 16 sqm

    And we see that it is, in fact, a gigantic failure. Westerners get far better, far bigger houses than Russians did in the USSR, nor did most of them go deep into debt for it (almost everyone had climbed out of it by retirement, with plenty of surplus). Soviets got the equivalent of Western public housing for free, which even now isn’t even worth all that much outside Moscow/SPB, and feel proud of it for some reason.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    "In the USSR, this would have happened regardless, but without public attention and the associated possibility of charitable do-gooders helping out."

    I would say there were regional differences. Medicine in European part was considerably better than say in Uzbekistan. Under Brezhnev though there was order but still not same level as say in Dnepropetrovsk and not same quality. By 1985 things really went downhill in Uzbekistan hospitals. Let's say I had Hepatitis A in the fall of 1984. There were 10 people in our room for 4 due to very high number of sick. Not only that but we had cockroaches in our beds with one of our pastime being knifing those under the mattress. No shower and crap all over the place in washrooms and profanities in Uzbek being written with said crap on the walls. It is exactly what Andrei mentioned regarding local peculiarities.
    Nevertheless. I had very serious complications back in 1979-1980 and was taken great care by the system firstly in Tashkent and then in Dnepropetrovsk ultimately got cured. There were lots of kids with various severity of similar cases and we were taken great care off. At the end there was sanatorium for kids where we not only were treated at the end but also studied. I will stress again. There were lots of children and we were taken excellent care.

    "I don’t know about Toronto, but my impression is that food in Russia is better than in the US. It isn’t corn-drenched and uses less chemicals. (Speaking of raw food, not processed)."

    I was going to USA some 14 years ago and had to buy food in local supermarkets mostly in North Eastern states. I would say food in Toronto seems of better quality but I cannot say for sure as I do not buy food everywhere in Toronto but in certain places where I know food is good mostly Russian stores and Italian supers. I know what to avoid. I remember i tried baked chicken in USA and could not finish it. Chickens seems better here in Toronto.

    I think you should take into calculation that Soviet Union had to rebuild itself form basically ground zero condition twice in 20th century. One more thing. My father in law is retired senior construction engineer. So, we have been driving around here a lot and he always was paying attention to construction sites and noted that houses here even in Toronto area basically are shadily built and a lot less materials are going into construction here than in Russia. He said such houses would not stand a chance in Russia, which i knew all along myslef. It is much cheaper to build houses here and especially in USA and Europe than in Russia. Overall, Russia is far more expensive energy and materials wise place to live and built everything than those countries you mentioned.
    , @melanf

    First, we see that urban square meters per person steadily rose through the entire 1914-today period (except the massive Revolution-to-1950 stall that was observed in consumption generally). So housing construction as such wasn’t a uniquely Soviet achievement.
    Second, now relative to other countries:
    USA – 70 sqm
    Germany – 42 sqm
    Canada – 40 sqm
    France – 40 sqm
    Greece, joint-poorest country in old EU – 30 sqm
    Russia – 25 sqm
    Famously overcrowded Japan – 22 sqm
    Russia in 1991 – 16 sqm
     
    These calculations do not include "дачи". A normal middle class family in the Soviet Union lived in a city apartment, but had (or rented) vacation home "дача", where the family spent the summer vacation.

    https://cdn5.img.ria.ru/images/49853/76/498537655.jpg

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  92. I would argue that the more math content there is in a field of study, the more g-loaded it will be. For instance, highly intelligent subjects often (but not always) distinguish themselves with a rich, precise use of language, but someone less bright can also attain satisfactory levels through effort.

    Not so with mathematical skills. If at a certain level in math you’re struggling, protracted study, interest and discipline will only bring about meager progress. This is why so many bullshitters indeed find a refuge in humanities. Imo, the best and ultimate measure of someone’s intellect won’t be measured by an IQ score (many may have gamed their high score, Langan comes to mind) but how mathematically accomplished the person is.

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  93. @Thorfinnsson

    America had a president who studied at both the Naval Academy and from a top-tier technical university – Georgia Tech. He was Jimmy Carter.
     
    Herbert Hoover was a mining engineer of considerable renown, and his university education was in geology.

    Hoover, much like Carter, was generally well regarded for his efforts outside of the Presidency.

    Some thoughts. Researchers found a positive correlation between estimated Presidential IQ and Presidential leadership performance as assessed by a panel of historians. This is not surprising. It would be interesting to incorporate educational background (“soft” vs. “hard”) and see if that has any additional explanatory power.

    Might be relevant today since national elites differ in this respect quite a bit. As I recall you commented yourself in the past, the CCP Politburo consists mostly of engineers and scientists (Hu Jintao is himself a hydraulic engineer) – and the Chinese are usually lauded for this. But since, if anything, they might have poorer performance than lawyers – whatever problems lawyers might have in understanding some narrow and probably irrelevant technical issue, they’re far better at finagling than the engineers, and that would seem to be a much more useful skill in things like international relations.

    At least the school Hu Jintao went to (Tsingtao University) is the best in China for Engineering. Don’t know if that’s typical or not for the Politburo as a whole.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Researchers found a positive correlation between estimated Presidential IQ and Presidential leadership performance as assessed by a panel of historians.
     
    LOL.
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  94. The threat of the USSR put the fear of God into Western elites. That, in large part, is why they behaved themselves.

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  95. @Anatoly Karlin

    I see picture of those poor sick kids in Odnoklassniki regularly that cannot afford treatment.
     
    In the USSR, this would have happened regardless, but without public attention and the associated possibility of charitable do-gooders helping out.

    The USSR has the dubious distinction of being the only industrialized country to see a sustained increase in infant mortality outside of wartime. Infant mortality under Putin has decreased by 2-3x times and has for the first time ever no longer an huge outlier relative to Western nations.

    Our relatives has been visiting us here and they say quality and taste of local foods in Toronto is far better than where they live in Russia.
     
    I don't know about Toronto, but my impression is that food in Russia is better than in the US. It isn't corn-drenched and uses less chemicals. (Speaking of raw food, not processed).

    People in the West live mostly due to huge and increasing debt.
     
    Yes, there's a lot more debt in the West, but incomes are far higher and the median American doesn't fall into debt even after most take out a mortgage once they start their families and take out a mortgage.

    http://www.mybudget360.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/median-net-worth-by-age_large.jpg

    Incidentally, I also want to address the housing question at greater length.

    So here's some statistics: http://rusfact.ru/node/28

    http://www.rusfact.ru/sites/default/files/images/47465_original%282%29.jpg

    First, we see that urban square meters per person steadily rose through the entire 1914-today period (except the massive Revolution-to-1950 stall that was observed in consumption generally). So housing construction as such wasn't a uniquely Soviet achievement.

    Second, now relative to other countries:

    USA - 70 sqm
    Germany - 42 sqm
    Canada - 40 sqm
    France - 40 sqm
    Greece, joint-poorest country in old EU - 30 sqm
    Russia - 25 sqm
    Famously overcrowded Japan - 22 sqm
    Russia in 1991 - 16 sqm

    And we see that it is, in fact, a gigantic failure. Westerners get far better, far bigger houses than Russians did in the USSR, nor did most of them go deep into debt for it (almost everyone had climbed out of it by retirement, with plenty of surplus). Soviets got the equivalent of Western public housing for free, which even now isn't even worth all that much outside Moscow/SPB, and feel proud of it for some reason.

    “In the USSR, this would have happened regardless, but without public attention and the associated possibility of charitable do-gooders helping out.”

    I would say there were regional differences. Medicine in European part was considerably better than say in Uzbekistan. Under Brezhnev though there was order but still not same level as say in Dnepropetrovsk and not same quality. By 1985 things really went downhill in Uzbekistan hospitals. Let’s say I had Hepatitis A in the fall of 1984. There were 10 people in our room for 4 due to very high number of sick. Not only that but we had cockroaches in our beds with one of our pastime being knifing those under the mattress. No shower and crap all over the place in washrooms and profanities in Uzbek being written with said crap on the walls. It is exactly what Andrei mentioned regarding local peculiarities.
    Nevertheless. I had very serious complications back in 1979-1980 and was taken great care by the system firstly in Tashkent and then in Dnepropetrovsk ultimately got cured. There were lots of kids with various severity of similar cases and we were taken great care off. At the end there was sanatorium for kids where we not only were treated at the end but also studied. I will stress again. There were lots of children and we were taken excellent care.

    “I don’t know about Toronto, but my impression is that food in Russia is better than in the US. It isn’t corn-drenched and uses less chemicals. (Speaking of raw food, not processed).”

    I was going to USA some 14 years ago and had to buy food in local supermarkets mostly in North Eastern states. I would say food in Toronto seems of better quality but I cannot say for sure as I do not buy food everywhere in Toronto but in certain places where I know food is good mostly Russian stores and Italian supers. I know what to avoid. I remember i tried baked chicken in USA and could not finish it. Chickens seems better here in Toronto.

    I think you should take into calculation that Soviet Union had to rebuild itself form basically ground zero condition twice in 20th century. One more thing. My father in law is retired senior construction engineer. So, we have been driving around here a lot and he always was paying attention to construction sites and noted that houses here even in Toronto area basically are shadily built and a lot less materials are going into construction here than in Russia. He said such houses would not stand a chance in Russia, which i knew all along myslef. It is much cheaper to build houses here and especially in USA and Europe than in Russia. Overall, Russia is far more expensive energy and materials wise place to live and built everything than those countries you mentioned.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Nevertheless. I had very serious complications back in 1979-1980 and was taken great care by the system firstly in Tashkent and then in Dnepropetrovsk ultimately got cured. There were lots of kids with various severity of similar cases and we were taken great care off
     
    That's great. But the data speak for themselves. Scroll to Table 4.5:

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF124/cf124.chap4.html

    Compared to the USA of 1989, Russia of 1980 and 1987 had much higher death rates from almost every medical cause.
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  96. Kurt says:

    Lol. This is gay

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  97. joe webb says:

    “The ratio of capital to national income fell from 6:1 under the old regime to 2:1, i.e. the entirety of concentrated capital (be it in the form of real estate, shares, or foreign assets) became equal to only two years’ worth of national income.”

    very interesting.. Does this mean that real incomes were greatly improved and basically due to productivity gains? I think so, Hence the efficiencies of capitalism, large markets, and education (to some degree).

    “The revolutionary role of Russia, whose bourgeoisie was sacrificed at the altar of transformation, consisted not so much in socializing property and launching the Socialist experiment as in crashing the world rent. The enormous Russian debt that had fed millions of rentiers all over Europe turned into dust in the blink of an eye and doomed the rentier civilisation to extinction.

    From the 1920s to the 1940s, the level of capital concentration in the world capitalist system continued its decline.”

    I do not understand this. Debt may have been canceled in Russia. That I understand. Was it?
    Russia was not the only country with rentiers. That, in and of itself would not collapse the rentier regime in general.

    Then the above “capital concentration” in “decline” is not clearly stated. If it was only in decline via a vis general incomes share, then the argument losing ground.”

    continue later if acceptable..

    Joe Webb

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  98. @Priss Factor
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLNhPMQnWu4

    That’s neat, Priss. I’m a fan of Cleese’s, but it leaves out a pretty salient fact – population density.

    Yeah, we’re all crazy (to wit, most of the comments above), but we’ve always been crazy. The big difference is that we can’t get away from (or wall off) the “nutsos” any more.

    Human beings have always been at odds with each other. Formerly we killed each other at the borders. Now the fools mix us all together and tell us to get along.

    What could possibly go wrong?

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  99. nsa says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    Request to ban this commenter and all other libertarians from this blog.

    It's completely unacceptable to still be a libertarian in the current year.

    Joking, of course. I shouldn't debate religious fanatics, but here goes:

    I didn’t notice that today’s socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of “socialist economics” posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.
     
    Socialist economists in von Mises' own day proposed market socialism as an alternative. The USSR itself set prices based on input costs of goods. Various efforts were made by the planners over the years to improve the accuracy of this.

    In reality, as opposed to the fantasy land you inhabit, socialism in practice didn't collapse into chaos as a result of non-market prices. This was studied empirically (you know, that tradition of inquiry you lunatic rejects) after the USSR collapsed: https://nintil.com/2016/11/07/the-soviet-union-productive-efficiency/

    Note that the author of the above piece is a self-described libertarian, though not of the ISIS-like Austrian splinter faction you inhabit.

    Even if we accept the premises of von Mises' argument the problem could be solved with linear programming and sufficient computing power. Late Soviet economists were in fact working on this.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it’s impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.
     
    This is a tautology. Go figure you can't have market prices without a market. Duhhhhhh.

    I realize this is probably futile on a religious fanatic like yourself, but you're faced with the problem that real, existing socialist economies routinely did this for decades. The Five Year Plan for instance is a mechanism to allocate investment.


    If we have “Single Payer” medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?
     
    In a single payer system these decisions are by hospitals themselves, as single payer simply means the government pays providers. Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.

    You're thinking perhaps of the Beveridge Model, such as in the United Kingdom. In that case decisions are made by bureacrats working for the National Health Service.

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since “how many needed” varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.
     
    Empirical reality, which again von Mises and his disciple Rothbard (both Jews incidentally) reject, shows that in fact it can be sorted out. And it is being sorted out every single day. Furthermore, most non-market systems do in fact use prices and often (but not always) incorporate market elements.

    This is nothing new incidentally. In a major war how does an army decide which fronts get reinforced with more troops and shells? Certainly not by market prices.

    Calling today’s corporatist capture of political systems “capitalism” is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.
     
    It's not your view at all. It's regurgitated garbage from Lew Rockwell and the gang.

    You do realize that the term capitalism was created by communists?

    Just because YOU religious fanatics insist that capitalism is a synonym of libertarianism doesn't mean the rest of us need to agree.

    It's embarrassing and outrageous that you people still exist.

    Nice rhetorical “low blow” there, Thor, pointing out that both Mises and Rothbard were jooies. Anything promoted by jooies is bound to be self-serving and detrimental to nearly everyone else…..explaining why both the masses of asses and the wasp cognoscenti instinctively avoid libertarian ideas.

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  100. AP says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    "In the USSR, this would have happened regardless, but without public attention and the associated possibility of charitable do-gooders helping out."

    I would say there were regional differences. Medicine in European part was considerably better than say in Uzbekistan. Under Brezhnev though there was order but still not same level as say in Dnepropetrovsk and not same quality. By 1985 things really went downhill in Uzbekistan hospitals. Let's say I had Hepatitis A in the fall of 1984. There were 10 people in our room for 4 due to very high number of sick. Not only that but we had cockroaches in our beds with one of our pastime being knifing those under the mattress. No shower and crap all over the place in washrooms and profanities in Uzbek being written with said crap on the walls. It is exactly what Andrei mentioned regarding local peculiarities.
    Nevertheless. I had very serious complications back in 1979-1980 and was taken great care by the system firstly in Tashkent and then in Dnepropetrovsk ultimately got cured. There were lots of kids with various severity of similar cases and we were taken great care off. At the end there was sanatorium for kids where we not only were treated at the end but also studied. I will stress again. There were lots of children and we were taken excellent care.

    "I don’t know about Toronto, but my impression is that food in Russia is better than in the US. It isn’t corn-drenched and uses less chemicals. (Speaking of raw food, not processed)."

    I was going to USA some 14 years ago and had to buy food in local supermarkets mostly in North Eastern states. I would say food in Toronto seems of better quality but I cannot say for sure as I do not buy food everywhere in Toronto but in certain places where I know food is good mostly Russian stores and Italian supers. I know what to avoid. I remember i tried baked chicken in USA and could not finish it. Chickens seems better here in Toronto.

    I think you should take into calculation that Soviet Union had to rebuild itself form basically ground zero condition twice in 20th century. One more thing. My father in law is retired senior construction engineer. So, we have been driving around here a lot and he always was paying attention to construction sites and noted that houses here even in Toronto area basically are shadily built and a lot less materials are going into construction here than in Russia. He said such houses would not stand a chance in Russia, which i knew all along myslef. It is much cheaper to build houses here and especially in USA and Europe than in Russia. Overall, Russia is far more expensive energy and materials wise place to live and built everything than those countries you mentioned.

    Nevertheless. I had very serious complications back in 1979-1980 and was taken great care by the system firstly in Tashkent and then in Dnepropetrovsk ultimately got cured. There were lots of kids with various severity of similar cases and we were taken great care off

    That’s great. But the data speak for themselves. Scroll to Table 4.5:

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF124/cf124.chap4.html

    Compared to the USA of 1989, Russia of 1980 and 1987 had much higher death rates from almost every medical cause.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    In fairness, the differences in life expectancy/death rates were primarily attributable to lifestyle factors, not healthcare. (Of course Soviet vodka policy would be another matter to dissect).

    Best for comparing healthcare systems:

    1. Infant mortality rates, since relative impact of lifestyle factors is at a minimum.

    2. Death rates from specific diseases at specific stages (e.g. Stage 3 lung cancer). Problem: Difficult to collect, not sure there's good data for Russia even today.

    Soviet infant mortality rates by the 1980s were about equivalent to Argentina (i.e. best of the "Third World"), but lower than everywhere in Western Europe, including Portugal, etc.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    Is it better now? Was it better in 90's-2000's after Soviet system was no more? America in every respect is much easier place to live. Also I wonder how did existence of many hurt from WW2 and other aspects left from that war affected this issue...
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  101. @jacques sheete

    And so, while they may be good at describing the problem, they will never be able to offer any realistic, workable solutions to it.
     
    From my perch, there never have been realistic workable solutions, only temporary expedients, and there probably can't be. Not only do the goals keep shifting, but all the competing "solutions" kill each other off. Anyone offering solutions is probably no more trustworthy than your average televangelist or any more effective than Christ on the cross.

    It's increasingly obvious to me that we're stuck with systems that are much less than ideal, at least from the points of view of most of us, and there ain't much relief in sight. Anyone promising otherwise is probably engaging in a degree of hucksterism at best.

    Consider, Jacques, that it may be a dynamic system and that stasis has no relevance beyond the dreams of men.

    The bell curve(s) are real, but neither extreme represents and ideal state. If the “better” gain the advantage and impose oligarchy, they might, by nature, abuse that advantage until the system becomes unbalanced. Once the system becomes too unbalanced the less fit revolt and displace their supposed oppressors.

    The less fit, by their nature, cannot impose even a temporary stasis and are displaced by the “better,” the man on the white horse, who cannot maintain autocracy and yields to oligarchy.

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

    Evolution carries on.

    Take care of those you love, but don’t spread your love too thin.

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  102. utu says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    Request to ban this commenter and all other libertarians from this blog.

    It's completely unacceptable to still be a libertarian in the current year.

    Joking, of course. I shouldn't debate religious fanatics, but here goes:

    I didn’t notice that today’s socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of “socialist economics” posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.
     
    Socialist economists in von Mises' own day proposed market socialism as an alternative. The USSR itself set prices based on input costs of goods. Various efforts were made by the planners over the years to improve the accuracy of this.

    In reality, as opposed to the fantasy land you inhabit, socialism in practice didn't collapse into chaos as a result of non-market prices. This was studied empirically (you know, that tradition of inquiry you lunatic rejects) after the USSR collapsed: https://nintil.com/2016/11/07/the-soviet-union-productive-efficiency/

    Note that the author of the above piece is a self-described libertarian, though not of the ISIS-like Austrian splinter faction you inhabit.

    Even if we accept the premises of von Mises' argument the problem could be solved with linear programming and sufficient computing power. Late Soviet economists were in fact working on this.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it’s impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.
     
    This is a tautology. Go figure you can't have market prices without a market. Duhhhhhh.

    I realize this is probably futile on a religious fanatic like yourself, but you're faced with the problem that real, existing socialist economies routinely did this for decades. The Five Year Plan for instance is a mechanism to allocate investment.


    If we have “Single Payer” medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?
     
    In a single payer system these decisions are by hospitals themselves, as single payer simply means the government pays providers. Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.

    You're thinking perhaps of the Beveridge Model, such as in the United Kingdom. In that case decisions are made by bureacrats working for the National Health Service.

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since “how many needed” varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.
     
    Empirical reality, which again von Mises and his disciple Rothbard (both Jews incidentally) reject, shows that in fact it can be sorted out. And it is being sorted out every single day. Furthermore, most non-market systems do in fact use prices and often (but not always) incorporate market elements.

    This is nothing new incidentally. In a major war how does an army decide which fronts get reinforced with more troops and shells? Certainly not by market prices.

    Calling today’s corporatist capture of political systems “capitalism” is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.
     
    It's not your view at all. It's regurgitated garbage from Lew Rockwell and the gang.

    You do realize that the term capitalism was created by communists?

    Just because YOU religious fanatics insist that capitalism is a synonym of libertarianism doesn't mean the rest of us need to agree.

    It's embarrassing and outrageous that you people still exist.

    Finally a relevant comment under this article. I have learned already that apartments in the SU were small and toilets were shared between families and that there was plenty of caviar and vodka (Karlin always attracts many Soviet deadenders) but nobody pointed out to the fact that the planned economy can actually be administered better now than it was in the SU because we have much better IT tools and ability to collect and process data almost instantaneously. Stores and suppliers can be run like Walmart with instantaneous feedback which product is being sold and how far away is the supply in the truck on the road. Isn’t Walmart actually the planned economy mini empire? And also we can control better who is stealing, so we may know right away if a store clerk in the butcher shop is not stashing away meat to be resold outside at black market prices.

    You are absolutely right about libertarians. Libertarianism is a psy-op invented to demoralize the youth, mostly young males. It does not have any other purpose. Ayn Rand, Mises, Rothbard, Rockwell (yes, all of them Jews) are responsible for spreading the anti-gospel of libertarian ideology that is totally devoid of reality but it seduces young mind to avoid engaging in more complex thinking that society is actually a very complex self-organizing effort by people and their government that requires constant renegotiations and interactions between various groups. That people are not and do not want to be competing animals at each other throats. It is not the La La Land ruled by the Almighty Invisible Hand that can only be tweaked by few parameters like interests rates and tax code or not even that according to Libertarians.

    For TPTB the libertarianism certainly is a very useful delusion to infect young (mostly male) minds with and render them at least harmless if not cheerleaders for the neoliberal NWO paradise. The paradise for the uber rich class, the oligarchs. Ayn Rand books created greatest devastation in young Americans minds and psyche. If she was the product of CIA or NKVD she would be one of the most successful psyops they ever conducted or dreamed of.

    Does libertarian ever feel a moral outrage at excesses of the rich and oligarchs? No, his answer is always the same: not enough freedom, not enough competition, deregulate or tough luck it’s your fault if you were ripped by somebody smarter than you, or people are not developed enough for the libertarian paradise. The latter you could hear in the SU as well.

    I wonder if somebody did look at libertarian activism and how it correlated with the job Thatcher started in 1970s and Reagan continued in 1980s to bust unions, destroy the rust belt, send companies first to free-to-work states in the South and then to Mexico under Clinton? And what did you hear from young people then? We do not need unions or industrial jobs, we will work in service economy where the invisible hand will take care of everything and government is bad and only bad because it regulates. Guess what, the regulating power of government was greatly diminished since then and what did we get for it? Ask the billionaires and millionaires what did they get from it. They know.

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  103. melanf says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I see picture of those poor sick kids in Odnoklassniki regularly that cannot afford treatment.
     
    In the USSR, this would have happened regardless, but without public attention and the associated possibility of charitable do-gooders helping out.

    The USSR has the dubious distinction of being the only industrialized country to see a sustained increase in infant mortality outside of wartime. Infant mortality under Putin has decreased by 2-3x times and has for the first time ever no longer an huge outlier relative to Western nations.

    Our relatives has been visiting us here and they say quality and taste of local foods in Toronto is far better than where they live in Russia.
     
    I don't know about Toronto, but my impression is that food in Russia is better than in the US. It isn't corn-drenched and uses less chemicals. (Speaking of raw food, not processed).

    People in the West live mostly due to huge and increasing debt.
     
    Yes, there's a lot more debt in the West, but incomes are far higher and the median American doesn't fall into debt even after most take out a mortgage once they start their families and take out a mortgage.

    http://www.mybudget360.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/median-net-worth-by-age_large.jpg

    Incidentally, I also want to address the housing question at greater length.

    So here's some statistics: http://rusfact.ru/node/28

    http://www.rusfact.ru/sites/default/files/images/47465_original%282%29.jpg

    First, we see that urban square meters per person steadily rose through the entire 1914-today period (except the massive Revolution-to-1950 stall that was observed in consumption generally). So housing construction as such wasn't a uniquely Soviet achievement.

    Second, now relative to other countries:

    USA - 70 sqm
    Germany - 42 sqm
    Canada - 40 sqm
    France - 40 sqm
    Greece, joint-poorest country in old EU - 30 sqm
    Russia - 25 sqm
    Famously overcrowded Japan - 22 sqm
    Russia in 1991 - 16 sqm

    And we see that it is, in fact, a gigantic failure. Westerners get far better, far bigger houses than Russians did in the USSR, nor did most of them go deep into debt for it (almost everyone had climbed out of it by retirement, with plenty of surplus). Soviets got the equivalent of Western public housing for free, which even now isn't even worth all that much outside Moscow/SPB, and feel proud of it for some reason.

    First, we see that urban square meters per person steadily rose through the entire 1914-today period (except the massive Revolution-to-1950 stall that was observed in consumption generally). So housing construction as such wasn’t a uniquely Soviet achievement.
    Second, now relative to other countries:
    USA – 70 sqm
    Germany – 42 sqm
    Canada – 40 sqm
    France – 40 sqm
    Greece, joint-poorest country in old EU – 30 sqm
    Russia – 25 sqm
    Famously overcrowded Japan – 22 sqm
    Russia in 1991 – 16 sqm

    These calculations do not include “дачи”. A normal middle class family in the Soviet Union lived in a city apartment, but had (or rented) vacation home “дача”, where the family spent the summer vacation.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Okay, that's a good point, I had forgotten about dachas.

    Though not sure they'd raise the total by more than 25% (I am assuming the green line would mostly be dachas).

    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/genby/30544598/802877/802877_original.png
    , @Andrei Martyanov
    Here is one such "dacha", village area today--a lot in it (a very average PGT in remote Podmoskovye), of our relatives, with the older dacha, smaller but still nice (built in late 1980s-early 1990s) still on property. Around most major Russian urban centers this becomes a rule, not an exception. The whole "dacha" argument is valid only when regular village houses of, usually, grandparent are accounted for. Those, usually, do not go as "dacha" but are still inherited, sold, rented out or lived in all the same. I am not going to expand into the whole renovation industry for older, classic village housing.

    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vL-5fBSOrBs/WeDFo8hFKXI/AAAAAAAABLg/nsUrzZNKcCgz9iLvUoYm152Rx_smBf_iwCLcBGAs/s320/DSC00033.JPG

    Having said all that, all this discussion makes no sense whatsoever without consideration and catastrophic damage which was dealt to USSR in WWII, not to speak of an initial, starting, conditions. Obviously, initial consumer patterns, which define the economy are completely omitted here, which is not surprising considering personalities of debaters here. IIRC last post WWII restoration program in West Germany (FRG) was closed sometime in late 1980s.
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  104. @AP

    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store.
     
    Well, if there is demand for something it is sold, and at a higher price (but not so high that people won't buy it), things that people want less are sold less often and/or for a lower price. Sellers-producers adjust to consumers, while trying to influence them through marketing. You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?

    Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system.
     
    "Just like in the Soviet system." :-)

    You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?

    Yes; wasn’t it clear from my comment? If it means that prices are assigned by experts and inflexible, then labeling it “market-based” is misleading, and the whole line of reasoning about inherent superiority of the ‘market’ system because of its price-formation collapses.

    Sellers-producers adjust to consumers, while trying to influence them through marketing.

    In fact, massive advertising and marketing efforts add to the problem, making the claim of ‘rational allocation of resources’ even less convincing.

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    • Replies: @AP

    You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?

    "Yes; wasn’t it clear from my comment?"
     

    It was a rhetorical question, mocking this idea.

    If it means that prices are assigned by experts and inflexible, then labeling it “market-based” is misleading
     
    Prices are based on the consumer market, and are flexible, just not-on-the-spot (though AFAIK store managers are sometimes given leeway). Though as I mentioned, great efforts are made to influence the consumer market, through marketing. Elections are run the same way. People choose and their choices are the ultimate arbiters, those who are chosen by the people (be they producers of goods or services, or would-be political leaders) have to work to earn that choice.

    This is completely different from a strict command top-down approach.

    *Naturally the system is imperfect, there is much trickery involved. But comparing the Soviet squalor with life in the West makes clear which system was more imperfect.

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  105. @AP

    Nevertheless. I had very serious complications back in 1979-1980 and was taken great care by the system firstly in Tashkent and then in Dnepropetrovsk ultimately got cured. There were lots of kids with various severity of similar cases and we were taken great care off
     
    That's great. But the data speak for themselves. Scroll to Table 4.5:

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF124/cf124.chap4.html

    Compared to the USA of 1989, Russia of 1980 and 1987 had much higher death rates from almost every medical cause.

    In fairness, the differences in life expectancy/death rates were primarily attributable to lifestyle factors, not healthcare. (Of course Soviet vodka policy would be another matter to dissect).

    Best for comparing healthcare systems:

    1. Infant mortality rates, since relative impact of lifestyle factors is at a minimum.

    2. Death rates from specific diseases at specific stages (e.g. Stage 3 lung cancer). Problem: Difficult to collect, not sure there’s good data for Russia even today.

    Soviet infant mortality rates by the 1980s were about equivalent to Argentina (i.e. best of the “Third World”), but lower than everywhere in Western Europe, including Portugal, etc.

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  106. @melanf

    First, we see that urban square meters per person steadily rose through the entire 1914-today period (except the massive Revolution-to-1950 stall that was observed in consumption generally). So housing construction as such wasn’t a uniquely Soviet achievement.
    Second, now relative to other countries:
    USA – 70 sqm
    Germany – 42 sqm
    Canada – 40 sqm
    France – 40 sqm
    Greece, joint-poorest country in old EU – 30 sqm
    Russia – 25 sqm
    Famously overcrowded Japan – 22 sqm
    Russia in 1991 – 16 sqm
     
    These calculations do not include "дачи". A normal middle class family in the Soviet Union lived in a city apartment, but had (or rented) vacation home "дача", where the family spent the summer vacation.

    https://cdn5.img.ria.ru/images/49853/76/498537655.jpg

    Okay, that’s a good point, I had forgotten about dachas.

    Though not sure they’d raise the total by more than 25% (I am assuming the green line would mostly be dachas).

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    • Replies: @AP
    Also, most dachas were probably not like the one pictured, but very primitive. Actually, even the regular housing was primitive by Western standards. Few places (in warmer parts of the USSR, like Ukraine and presumably southern Russia) had air conditioning despite low ceilings, no elevators in most buildings up to 5 stories, I already posted about lack of hot water, gas, etc. in a large % of Soviet apartments in the late 1970s.
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  107. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?
     
    Yes; wasn't it clear from my comment? If it means that prices are assigned by experts and inflexible, then labeling it "market-based" is misleading, and the whole line of reasoning about inherent superiority of the 'market' system because of its price-formation collapses.

    Sellers-producers adjust to consumers, while trying to influence them through marketing.
     
    In fact, massive advertising and marketing efforts add to the problem, making the claim of 'rational allocation of resources' even less convincing.

    You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?

    “Yes; wasn’t it clear from my comment?”

    It was a rhetorical question, mocking this idea.

    If it means that prices are assigned by experts and inflexible, then labeling it “market-based” is misleading

    Prices are based on the consumer market, and are flexible, just not-on-the-spot (though AFAIK store managers are sometimes given leeway). Though as I mentioned, great efforts are made to influence the consumer market, through marketing. Elections are run the same way. People choose and their choices are the ultimate arbiters, those who are chosen by the people (be they producers of goods or services, or would-be political leaders) have to work to earn that choice.

    This is completely different from a strict command top-down approach.

    *Naturally the system is imperfect, there is much trickery involved. But comparing the Soviet squalor with life in the West makes clear which system was more imperfect.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Prices are based on the consumer market, and are flexible, just not-on-the-spot
     
    Yeah, tell it to the publishers of the Kelly's Blue Book--a bible of all car dealerships in the US.
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    But comparing the Soviet squalor with life in the West makes clear which system was more imperfect.
     
    What's "life in the West"? If you compare, say, West Baltimore (from The Wire), or Appalachia (from Deliverance), with the center of Moscow in the 1980s, you'll come to the opposite conclusion. Also, it only makes sense to compare places with similar history and other conditions.

    In any case, this has nothing whatsoever to do with my point about price formation not being a convincing argument for declaring superiority of the capitalist system. Corporate/capitalist price formation is (in most cases) a bureaucratic process run by experts.
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  108. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    Okay, that's a good point, I had forgotten about dachas.

    Though not sure they'd raise the total by more than 25% (I am assuming the green line would mostly be dachas).

    http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/genby/30544598/802877/802877_original.png

    Also, most dachas were probably not like the one pictured, but very primitive. Actually, even the regular housing was primitive by Western standards. Few places (in warmer parts of the USSR, like Ukraine and presumably southern Russia) had air conditioning despite low ceilings, no elevators in most buildings up to 5 stories, I already posted about lack of hot water, gas, etc. in a large % of Soviet apartments in the late 1970s.

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  109. @LauraMR
    Pathetic disgrace?

    Read the Gulag Archipelago.

    Read the Gulag Archipelago.

    I hope you know that GULAG Archipelago is a fiction literature? No? Well, as much as local fighters with communism would love it to be a “document” but the full title of GULAG Archipelago is this: GULAG Archipelago. The Experience in Fictional Study.

    This is not to mention that most actual descriptions of GULAG, which did exist and there were crimes committed, no doubt, was stolen by Solzhenitsyn from real GULAG writer, Varlam Shalamov. As Shalamov himself wrote, and I give a precise quote from his diary: “No bitch from “progressive humanity” should be allowed near my archive. I forbid writer Solzhenitsyn and all those having thoughts similar to his have acquaintance with my archive.”(c)
    New Book: Reminiscences. Notebooks. Letters. Investigations. Notebooks of 1972. Varlam Shalamov. Exmo, 2004. Pages: 342-345

    Most, not all, what Solzhenitsyn wrote in GULAG and after, from statistics to geopolitical “assessments” is, basically, a made up shit. So, there is no surprise then, that so many Solzhenitsyn’s fans (apart from lacking a general culture and intellect to see Solzhenitsyn for what he was–a mediocre writer) both Russian and Western are constantly confused about anything related to Russia–one is bound to be when uses Solzhenitsyn’s writings as a foundation for the worldview. You want to know real numbers of GULAG and what real crimes were committed etc. Start with Zemskov and then slowly, possibly with the use of antidepressants, go towards Thurston’s very good treatise Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934-1941. just for a good primer. But primarily, if you want to really learn anything about that start communicating with everyday Russians, not some “intellectuals” or “intelligentsia”, which has nothing intelligent about itself, and while doing so, try to ask how many of those Russians had people in their families taken to GULAG–you may be surprised with the answers and it will help you to understand why during Solzhenitsyn’s funeral in Moscow in 2008 there were so embarrassingly few people attending it. All Russian TV Networks reported that, while NTV even stated that it is still not the end of the day;-)

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    • Replies: @LauraMR
    Crimes were committed?

    Oh, my!
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  110. @Anatoly Karlin
    Some thoughts. Researchers found a positive correlation between estimated Presidential IQ and Presidential leadership performance as assessed by a panel of historians. This is not surprising. It would be interesting to incorporate educational background ("soft" vs. "hard") and see if that has any additional explanatory power.

    Might be relevant today since national elites differ in this respect quite a bit. As I recall you commented yourself in the past, the CCP Politburo consists mostly of engineers and scientists (Hu Jintao is himself a hydraulic engineer) - and the Chinese are usually lauded for this. But since, if anything, they might have poorer performance than lawyers - whatever problems lawyers might have in understanding some narrow and probably irrelevant technical issue, they're far better at finagling than the engineers, and that would seem to be a much more useful skill in things like international relations.

    At least the school Hu Jintao went to (Tsingtao University) is the best in China for Engineering. Don't know if that's typical or not for the Politburo as a whole.

    Researchers found a positive correlation between estimated Presidential IQ and Presidential leadership performance as assessed by a panel of historians.

    LOL.

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  111. @Anatoly Karlin
    @ Andrey Martyanov,

    Could 1st Secretary of the Republic’s CP or Chairman of the Soviet of Ministers unleash a war out of own volition and for, largely, personal reasons as McCain did?
     
    No, but I don't recall McCain unleashing any wars either. (Though, of course, he contributed well beyond your average Congressman).

    You could easily buy black caviar in Moscow or Leningrad through many Stol Zakazov, including through many industrial enterprises in 1970s-80s... Do you know why you could buy black caviar relatively easily?
     
    My mother's family, as members of what one might call the "lower nomenklatura", could indeed get black caviar in Moscow, in bulk and at absurdly low prices. My dad's family and relatives 120km outside Moscow - fuhgeddaboudit. It was a good day when sausage was in the stores. Popular riddle from the provinces that I'm sure you've heard: "Длинная, зеленая, пахнет колбасой? Электричка из Москвы." (Long, green, smells of sausage? A train from Moscow). People from beyond Moscow would travel into the city just to stock up on sausages.

    I can guess why you could buy black caviar easily (if you had the right documents and/or lived in the right place). The USSR overfished black caviar (environmental protection wasn't its forte either) so catches were on the decline since around 1980. The unrestricted poaching of the 1990s did it in even further.

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/files/asymmsturgeonchangedasymgray.jpg

    So something that was once available by the bucketfuls to some is now an elite luxury product, which anyone can buy (if he has $$$).

    Do you understand a profound difference in difficulty between even most complex humanities tasks, from narrating history to writing an essay, even a very good one, even based on the ability to operate with some serious abstract texts, and say ability to design, calculate and then write a manufacturing plan (as an example) of a, say, pylon for the aircraft engine?
     
    In addition to AP bringing up Linda Gottfredson's famous chart, there is also this:

    http://i.imgur.com/WqcTn4V.jpg

    There is indeed a significant gap between social sciences and the humanities, but it isn't a yawning one. Philosophy is at around the same level as math and engineering; so is economics (which, incidentally, is extremely quantitative at all the respectable schools).

    I think we have to stop here. The table on IQ professions you introduced is a complete BS for the consumption of the products of an American “education”. I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform.
     
    If it's a PhD from Harvard who absolutely had to master them for whatever strange reason then he'd probably be able to come to that level within a year of concentrated study. (Less if he'd done math to the end of HS, or taken math electives at university, which is not uncommon since American higher ed, unlike most countries, encourages students to diversify).

    There's two rather strange ideas that you seem to be operating from:

    (1) That mathematical and verbal intelligences are highly separate things. In reality, they highly correlate with each other, as Charles Spearman found more than than a century ago. The top mathematician in a class of schoolchildren will be almost certainly way above average in English, and vice versa.

    (2) That verbal intelligence is "worth" much less than mathematical. This viewpoint is even harder to comprehend. I mean, the vast majority of jobs, including elite jobs, have absolutely no need for you to know how to solve differential equations or do Laplace transforms. (Besides, there's any number of guys who can do that whom you can hire for peanuts on the dollar in China or Eastern Europe).

    All this Social “Science” crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields. This is the price, a long term debilitating effect, of US killing own public education system.
     
    It isn't at all obvious to me how the US is less geopolitically competent than Russia. Yes, Iraq, whatever. Meanwhile, the geniuses in the Kremlin have managed to lose what was long one of Russia's core territories for the foreseeable future, probably forever in all likelihood.

    Also link to Saker comments.

    No, but I don’t recall McCain unleashing any wars either. (Though, of course, he contributed well beyond your average Congressman).

    Anatoly, try to calculate “correlation” between Mr. McCain’s 2008 Presidential bid and 080808 events.

    Another way of saying overqualified. Most Soviet “engineers” would be “technicians” and most Soviet “doctors” would be “nurses” or “medical orderlies” in the West.

    Anatoly, learn a simple skill–not to express your opinions in the fields in which you are utterly unqualified, especially engineering field of which you, frankly, have no idea. Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that. Western technician level is the level in Bachelor of Science in all kinds of engineering fields from any US engineering school, where those students approach from the pathetic level of STEM in US public schools and then dragged for four years 5 days a week. Soviet educated engineering field required 5 year intensive program in the field (6 days a week–exactly 6 academic years) and this is from the extremely high level of Soviet Public public schools (even today) in STEM. Just to give you some taste, a little summary:

    Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the American nuclear navy, was one such person of prominence who attacked the myth of superiority of American education even before Sputnik was launched. In fact, Rickover was in business of challenging this myth as early as 1953. [24] Rickover’s efforts ended up with him issuing an indictment to the whole American educational system: “…part of the “best schools in the world” myth was the claim that American textbooks were the envy of the world. Rickover had difficulty locating these non-Americans who were so envious. On the contrary, he cited numerous foreign analyses of American school curricula and textbooks which found them to be “bland, superficial, and repetitive. Under the shocking impact of Russian scientific successes, Soviet mathematics and science texts were being translated for use by American students because no similar approach to the subject matter was available. Many of these translated texts were being used in American colleges although the Soviets were using them with 14 year olds in their ten-year schoo1s.” [25] After more than 50 years, among which at least 20 has been dedicated by Russia’s “reformers” to the efforts of dismantling a vastly superior Soviet STEM education, little changed still in the US. Even today Russia’s public school text books for 8th or 9th grade Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry can unnerve many US educators by their academic complexity and scope. Time magazine noted already in 1958 that the amount of instruction in Mathematics, Physics or Biology an average Soviet student received before graduating a public school was three times larger than it was stipulated for the entrance into Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    “The Soviet graduates, however, were at least two years ahead of their American counterparts in mastery of “sound, basic education.” By that Rickover meant “mathematics, the sciences, mastery of the mother tongue, knowledge of their own classical literature and that of major foreign nations, foreign languages, and history, though their history study is colored by Marxist doctrine. Even Russian graduates of her seven-year schools at ages fourteen and fifteen knew as much about these “solid subjects” as many American high school graduates.” [26] The list of subjects studied was much longer though, and included Physical and, later, Economic Geography, it also included Astronomy for the final school year. Russians were extremely well aware of this advantage. Surely, by late 1970s American public school may have had better furniture or may even had a computer, but by 9th Grade Soviet, and even today Russia’s students, were solving problems on Newtonian Mechanics in the course of Physics and had a comprehensive course of Trigonometry spanning both courses in Algebra and Geometry and that is what really mattered the most. In Introduction to his famed and startling comparative study of “humanities” education What Ivan Knows That Johnny Doesn’t Arther S. Trace Jr. was blunt: “The concern of the recent comparative studies of American and Soviet schools has been to show that American schools are lagging woefully behind Soviet schools in the teaching of mathematics and sciences. These studies have emphasized that whereas all Russian students who graduate from high school have studied physics for five years, chemistry for four years, biology for six years, and astronomy for one year. Only some American high school graduates have studied biology or physics or chemistry for one year.” [27] While some improvements were attempted since then, American public schools remain on average way behind in STEM subjects even today. While liberal experimentation, a euphemism for destruction of Russia’s education continued through late 1990s and early 2000s, by trying to demolish a systemic and tightly interconnected complex of knowledge procurement, resulting in a wholesome world view, inherent in Soviet/Russian public education, the resistance to those barbaric liberal reforms in education, among many other fields, was growing in Russia. “Westernization” of Russian education was revolving around bringing Russia into the supposedly globalist, led by America, world. The wholesome picture of the world was not needed in this world, nor was needed a crucial feature of a healthy society—a highly developed cognitive process. But as 2015 TIMMS study showed, Russia still led in scores for advanced math and physics the Western World’s, including the US, educational systems. [28] This study also underscored a surprising flexibility and survivability of the Russian educational system which simply refused to surrender to radical experimentation and lower its academic demands. In a defiance of the barbaric “western” educational reforms, among which Standardized State Testing, known as Unified State Exam (EGE), was introduced, a number of key Russia’s universities still retained their right to conduct independent entrance exams for high school graduates applying there. Thus the key feature of the US educational system—standardized, multiple choice answers, Language and Math, tests—has been rejected, while the key feature of the Soviet educational system, which made it so effective has been preserved. True, many contemporary Russian high school graduates still get to the higher learning institutions based on the Unified State Exam results out of the high school directly, granted that they have to take more than just mandatory language and math tests, which are required only for a high school diploma, known in Russia as Attester of Maturity. But where truly elite education mattered, even amidst “reforms” bacchanalia of late 1990s and early 2000s, higher learning institutions such as Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, not to speak of such centers of education as Bauman Moscow State Technological University—an alma mater for such for such people as Chief Designer Sergei Korolyov and many Soviet/Russian cosmonauts and designers of weapon systems—retained their right for own entrance exams. In a case of sad irony, this school which was and is responsible for producing a good share of Soviet/Russian technological elite ranging from radio electronics to space flight, among many other fields, ranked as #379 in 2011/2012 QS World University rankings well below King Saud University. In 2017 this school’s position “improved” to #306 slightly below another academically “shiny” Saudi institution such as King Abdulaziz University or American University of Beirut—schools hardly known for their contribution to space exploration, laser technology, state-of-the-art complex weapon systems and other things of similar nature which are on the resume of Bauman University. [29] Of course, there was and is a dark spot on Bauman’s outstanding resume, with Alfred Rosenberg, one of the major ideologues of German National-Socialism being its alumni. The entrance to Bauman University, however, the same as it is true for a number of leading universities in Russia, is a true trial. This is, accidentally, how it is called today, entrance trials, and involves intimidating, by any measure, exams in mathematics, physics, language, foreign language, biology and history. The academic level of entrance exams to Bauman University and many other universities in Russia is such that some students who feel to be not quite ready for trials attend a yearlong preparatory college which gives enough academic boost for taking entrance exams. No US institution of higher education is even in the same universe in STEM requirements for its students, even those universities which, as is expected, are listed in top 20 of very many “rankings”. Novosibirsk State University, as an example, even today requires for the entrance exams a level and volume of mathematics and physics knowledge which has its deep roots in old Soviet programs which allowed USSR to not only produce a world-class scientific and technological elite but to seriously challenge the United States in most fields of human activity doing catching up from a position of serious disadvantage as a result of a catastrophe of World War Two which befell Soviet Union. The situation was even more dramatic in preparation of Soviet military elite, which apart from already very high public school level was taking entrance exams into the military academies. Only Combined Arms academies (military officer colleges) by 1960s had study programs of four years. Academically those programs would amount to around 5 year’s studies, and to 6 years academic courses for 5-year long naval, air force and other technologically-oriented military academies—everybody studied in USSR on Saturdays. Apart from exhaustive entrance exams in math, physics, language-literature, chemistry, where applicable, the whole host of tough physical and psychological tests was to be taken. Those admitted and who survived a boot camp were immediately subjected to an intensive academic routine which from the get go was dominated by an advanced common precise science courses ranging from Differential Equations, Physics, Mechanics, Radio-electronics to military occupation specific subjects, such as tactics, introduction to theory of operations or, as an example, missile weaponry or aerodynamics for pilots and flight engineers. The result of that was an officer with enough general and specialized education, capable of self-improvement in the most cases.

    As per level of engineers who went to work in Soviet and continue to work in Russian military-industrial complex, I don’t think that we have anything to discuss with you here. As I stated, you have an agenda and it shines through.

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    • Replies: @AP

    Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that.
     
    A friend of mine who is a manager at an engineering firm just hired one. He is certainly pleased, but it's not like the Soviet-trained guy is better than the other ones he has hired.

    In medicine, ex-Soviets do well in the states but it is not as if they are some kind of giants among midgets.

    But as 2015 TIMMS study showed, Russia still led in scores for advanced math and physics the Western World’s, including the US, educational systems.
     
    Correct, basically. Here is physics at the end of high school:

    https://nces.ed.gov/timss/timss2015/timss2015_table55.asp

    Slovenia actually beats Russia significantly. But USA is far behind Russia (I am shocked that France is so far behind even the USA). The American educational system improves with students' age. Undergrads close the gap somewhat but not completely, but by grad school America takes the lead. And this is the most important level. My nephew chose Mexmat over any American school for undergraduate study, but is hoping to eventually attend Princeton or MIT.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    I think Anatoly did not study in Soviet school. The study was very intense and university exams for all good faculties were extremely tough. I remember studying for 12 hours a day for entry exams so did my cousin who went into engineering. I am very worried about my son education here in Canada after seeing what and how they study. We started basic math education at home and send him to school outside of public school and he says that he is very bored at school as it is simple and old. It doe snot look like what we studied back in USSR. I would also point that the whole atmosphere in local public schools is that of fun instead of serious atmosphere with accent on study and development we had at school. I had many friends studying at TVOKU , studies were extremely tough and included all you mentioned and Sopromat and other math related stuff.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    In 2017 this school’s position “improved” to #306 slightly below another academically “shiny” Saudi institution such as King Abdulaziz University or American University of Beirut—schools hardly known for their contribution to space exploration, laser technology, state-of-the-art complex weapon systems and other things of similar nature which are on the resume of Bauman University.
     
    Here's another indicator: Bauman has a 0.15 rating on the WFC scale on the Nature Index (weight of contribution to articles published in Nature, the world's premier scientific publishing outlet).

    King Saud University: 3.20.

    So seems fair enough.

    Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that.
     
    The Soviet engineers from a handful of top schools who were, additionally, bright and resourceful enough to successfully immigrate to America - sure.

    What percentage of the Soviet engineer pool do people with such qualities constitute? 0.1%?

    Anatoly, try to calculate “correlation” between Mr. McCain’s 2008 Presidential bid and 080808 events.
     
    People close to McCain gave Saakashvili misleading hints that they would come to his support. Saakashvili also grossly underestimated the Russian Army and overestimated the Georgian one (thank you Pavel Felgenhauer). The person who "unleashed a war out of own volition and for, largely, personal reasons" was Mishiko, not McCain.
    , @Super Matt
    That is some very interesting information in the summary. What is the source of that? I would like to read more about this topic.
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  112. @AP

    You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?

    "Yes; wasn’t it clear from my comment?"
     

    It was a rhetorical question, mocking this idea.

    If it means that prices are assigned by experts and inflexible, then labeling it “market-based” is misleading
     
    Prices are based on the consumer market, and are flexible, just not-on-the-spot (though AFAIK store managers are sometimes given leeway). Though as I mentioned, great efforts are made to influence the consumer market, through marketing. Elections are run the same way. People choose and their choices are the ultimate arbiters, those who are chosen by the people (be they producers of goods or services, or would-be political leaders) have to work to earn that choice.

    This is completely different from a strict command top-down approach.

    *Naturally the system is imperfect, there is much trickery involved. But comparing the Soviet squalor with life in the West makes clear which system was more imperfect.

    Prices are based on the consumer market, and are flexible, just not-on-the-spot

    Yeah, tell it to the publishers of the Kelly’s Blue Book–a bible of all car dealerships in the US.

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    • Replies: @AP
    They guess what people will be willing to pay. If nobody wants to pay that, the dealer will sell for less than the Blue Book value.
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  113. @AP

    Nevertheless. I had very serious complications back in 1979-1980 and was taken great care by the system firstly in Tashkent and then in Dnepropetrovsk ultimately got cured. There were lots of kids with various severity of similar cases and we were taken great care off
     
    That's great. But the data speak for themselves. Scroll to Table 4.5:

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF124/cf124.chap4.html

    Compared to the USA of 1989, Russia of 1980 and 1987 had much higher death rates from almost every medical cause.

    Is it better now? Was it better in 90′s-2000′s after Soviet system was no more? America in every respect is much easier place to live. Also I wonder how did existence of many hurt from WW2 and other aspects left from that war affected this issue…

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  114. @AP

    You think that market-based pricing means on the spot pricing at a physical market?

    "Yes; wasn’t it clear from my comment?"
     

    It was a rhetorical question, mocking this idea.

    If it means that prices are assigned by experts and inflexible, then labeling it “market-based” is misleading
     
    Prices are based on the consumer market, and are flexible, just not-on-the-spot (though AFAIK store managers are sometimes given leeway). Though as I mentioned, great efforts are made to influence the consumer market, through marketing. Elections are run the same way. People choose and their choices are the ultimate arbiters, those who are chosen by the people (be they producers of goods or services, or would-be political leaders) have to work to earn that choice.

    This is completely different from a strict command top-down approach.

    *Naturally the system is imperfect, there is much trickery involved. But comparing the Soviet squalor with life in the West makes clear which system was more imperfect.

    But comparing the Soviet squalor with life in the West makes clear which system was more imperfect.

    What’s “life in the West”? If you compare, say, West Baltimore (from The Wire), or Appalachia (from Deliverance), with the center of Moscow in the 1980s, you’ll come to the opposite conclusion. Also, it only makes sense to compare places with similar history and other conditions.

    In any case, this has nothing whatsoever to do with my point about price formation not being a convincing argument for declaring superiority of the capitalist system. Corporate/capitalist price formation is (in most cases) a bureaucratic process run by experts.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    What’s “life in the West”? If you compare, say, West Baltimore (from The Wire), or Appalachia (from Deliverance), with the center of Moscow in the 1980s
     
    Yes, you can cherry-pick the absolute worst parts of the USA and find that they will not be as nice as the absolute best parts of Russia. While you are at it, find a nice enclave in Lagos and compare it to the worst part of the USA to make some silly conclusion about Nigeria.
    , @Sergey Krieger
    For him only material side matters. I wonder how would he explain a great number of people on various drugs medications to just allow some relaxation and sleep. We did not feel ourselves miserable and we lived full happy lives. Does it matter when one has larger house but is unhappy.
    I also noticed that living space wise local houses not bigger than our apartments. These houses has a lot of space for basically other stuff but rooms often are smaller than what we had back in USSR in newer apartments. i do not mean Krushevki and I am not talking high end mansions but average dwellings.
    Anyway, my point is, man doe snot live by bread alone.
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  115. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    No, but I don’t recall McCain unleashing any wars either. (Though, of course, he contributed well beyond your average Congressman).
     
    Anatoly, try to calculate "correlation" between Mr. McCain's 2008 Presidential bid and 080808 events.

    Another way of saying overqualified. Most Soviet “engineers” would be “technicians” and most Soviet “doctors” would be “nurses” or “medical orderlies” in the West.
     
    Anatoly, learn a simple skill--not to express your opinions in the fields in which you are utterly unqualified, especially engineering field of which you, frankly, have no idea. Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that. Western technician level is the level in Bachelor of Science in all kinds of engineering fields from any US engineering school, where those students approach from the pathetic level of STEM in US public schools and then dragged for four years 5 days a week. Soviet educated engineering field required 5 year intensive program in the field (6 days a week--exactly 6 academic years) and this is from the extremely high level of Soviet Public public schools (even today) in STEM. Just to give you some taste, a little summary:

    Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the American nuclear navy, was one such person of prominence who attacked the myth of superiority of American education even before Sputnik was launched. In fact, Rickover was in business of challenging this myth as early as 1953. [24] Rickover's efforts ended up with him issuing an indictment to the whole American educational system: "...part of the "best schools in the world" myth was the claim that American textbooks were the envy of the world. Rickover had difficulty locating these non-Americans who were so envious. On the contrary, he cited numerous foreign analyses of American school curricula and textbooks which found them to be "bland, superficial, and repetitive. Under the shocking impact of Russian scientific successes, Soviet mathematics and science texts were being translated for use by American students because no similar approach to the subject matter was available. Many of these translated texts were being used in American colleges although the Soviets were using them with 14 year olds in their ten-year schoo1s." [25] After more than 50 years, among which at least 20 has been dedicated by Russia's "reformers" to the efforts of dismantling a vastly superior Soviet STEM education, little changed still in the US. Even today Russia's public school text books for 8th or 9th grade Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry can unnerve many US educators by their academic complexity and scope. Time magazine noted already in 1958 that the amount of instruction in Mathematics, Physics or Biology an average Soviet student received before graduating a public school was three times larger than it was stipulated for the entrance into Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    "The Soviet graduates, however, were at least two years ahead of their American counterparts in mastery of "sound, basic education." By that Rickover meant "mathematics, the sciences, mastery of the mother tongue, knowledge of their own classical literature and that of major foreign nations, foreign languages, and history, though their history study is colored by Marxist doctrine. Even Russian graduates of her seven-year schools at ages fourteen and fifteen knew as much about these "solid subjects" as many American high school graduates." [26] The list of subjects studied was much longer though, and included Physical and, later, Economic Geography, it also included Astronomy for the final school year. Russians were extremely well aware of this advantage. Surely, by late 1970s American public school may have had better furniture or may even had a computer, but by 9th Grade Soviet, and even today Russia's students, were solving problems on Newtonian Mechanics in the course of Physics and had a comprehensive course of Trigonometry spanning both courses in Algebra and Geometry and that is what really mattered the most. In Introduction to his famed and startling comparative study of "humanities" education What Ivan Knows That Johnny Doesn't Arther S. Trace Jr. was blunt: "The concern of the recent comparative studies of American and Soviet schools has been to show that American schools are lagging woefully behind Soviet schools in the teaching of mathematics and sciences. These studies have emphasized that whereas all Russian students who graduate from high school have studied physics for five years, chemistry for four years, biology for six years, and astronomy for one year. Only some American high school graduates have studied biology or physics or chemistry for one year." [27] While some improvements were attempted since then, American public schools remain on average way behind in STEM subjects even today. While liberal experimentation, a euphemism for destruction of Russia's education continued through late 1990s and early 2000s, by trying to demolish a systemic and tightly interconnected complex of knowledge procurement, resulting in a wholesome world view, inherent in Soviet/Russian public education, the resistance to those barbaric liberal reforms in education, among many other fields, was growing in Russia. "Westernization" of Russian education was revolving around bringing Russia into the supposedly globalist, led by America, world. The wholesome picture of the world was not needed in this world, nor was needed a crucial feature of a healthy society—a highly developed cognitive process. But as 2015 TIMMS study showed, Russia still led in scores for advanced math and physics the Western World's, including the US, educational systems. [28] This study also underscored a surprising flexibility and survivability of the Russian educational system which simply refused to surrender to radical experimentation and lower its academic demands. In a defiance of the barbaric "western" educational reforms, among which Standardized State Testing, known as Unified State Exam (EGE), was introduced, a number of key Russia's universities still retained their right to conduct independent entrance exams for high school graduates applying there. Thus the key feature of the US educational system—standardized, multiple choice answers, Language and Math, tests—has been rejected, while the key feature of the Soviet educational system, which made it so effective has been preserved. True, many contemporary Russian high school graduates still get to the higher learning institutions based on the Unified State Exam results out of the high school directly, granted that they have to take more than just mandatory language and math tests, which are required only for a high school diploma, known in Russia as Attester of Maturity. But where truly elite education mattered, even amidst "reforms" bacchanalia of late 1990s and early 2000s, higher learning institutions such as Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, not to speak of such centers of education as Bauman Moscow State Technological University—an alma mater for such for such people as Chief Designer Sergei Korolyov and many Soviet/Russian cosmonauts and designers of weapon systems—retained their right for own entrance exams. In a case of sad irony, this school which was and is responsible for producing a good share of Soviet/Russian technological elite ranging from radio electronics to space flight, among many other fields, ranked as #379 in 2011/2012 QS World University rankings well below King Saud University. In 2017 this school's position "improved" to #306 slightly below another academically "shiny" Saudi institution such as King Abdulaziz University or American University of Beirut—schools hardly known for their contribution to space exploration, laser technology, state-of-the-art complex weapon systems and other things of similar nature which are on the resume of Bauman University. [29] Of course, there was and is a dark spot on Bauman's outstanding resume, with Alfred Rosenberg, one of the major ideologues of German National-Socialism being its alumni. The entrance to Bauman University, however, the same as it is true for a number of leading universities in Russia, is a true trial. This is, accidentally, how it is called today, entrance trials, and involves intimidating, by any measure, exams in mathematics, physics, language, foreign language, biology and history. The academic level of entrance exams to Bauman University and many other universities in Russia is such that some students who feel to be not quite ready for trials attend a yearlong preparatory college which gives enough academic boost for taking entrance exams. No US institution of higher education is even in the same universe in STEM requirements for its students, even those universities which, as is expected, are listed in top 20 of very many "rankings". Novosibirsk State University, as an example, even today requires for the entrance exams a level and volume of mathematics and physics knowledge which has its deep roots in old Soviet programs which allowed USSR to not only produce a world-class scientific and technological elite but to seriously challenge the United States in most fields of human activity doing catching up from a position of serious disadvantage as a result of a catastrophe of World War Two which befell Soviet Union. The situation was even more dramatic in preparation of Soviet military elite, which apart from already very high public school level was taking entrance exams into the military academies. Only Combined Arms academies (military officer colleges) by 1960s had study programs of four years. Academically those programs would amount to around 5 year's studies, and to 6 years academic courses for 5-year long naval, air force and other technologically-oriented military academies—everybody studied in USSR on Saturdays. Apart from exhaustive entrance exams in math, physics, language-literature, chemistry, where applicable, the whole host of tough physical and psychological tests was to be taken. Those admitted and who survived a boot camp were immediately subjected to an intensive academic routine which from the get go was dominated by an advanced common precise science courses ranging from Differential Equations, Physics, Mechanics, Radio-electronics to military occupation specific subjects, such as tactics, introduction to theory of operations or, as an example, missile weaponry or aerodynamics for pilots and flight engineers. The result of that was an officer with enough general and specialized education, capable of self-improvement in the most cases.
     
    As per level of engineers who went to work in Soviet and continue to work in Russian military-industrial complex, I don't think that we have anything to discuss with you here. As I stated, you have an agenda and it shines through.

    Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that.

    A friend of mine who is a manager at an engineering firm just hired one. He is certainly pleased, but it’s not like the Soviet-trained guy is better than the other ones he has hired.

    In medicine, ex-Soviets do well in the states but it is not as if they are some kind of giants among midgets.

    But as 2015 TIMMS study showed, Russia still led in scores for advanced math and physics the Western World’s, including the US, educational systems.

    Correct, basically. Here is physics at the end of high school:

    https://nces.ed.gov/timss/timss2015/timss2015_table55.asp

    Slovenia actually beats Russia significantly. But USA is far behind Russia (I am shocked that France is so far behind even the USA). The American educational system improves with students’ age. Undergrads close the gap somewhat but not completely, but by grad school America takes the lead. And this is the most important level. My nephew chose Mexmat over any American school for undergraduate study, but is hoping to eventually attend Princeton or MIT.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The American educational system improves with students’ age.
     
    Debatable, at best. In humanities--it is a catastrophe. STEM on the level of M.S. yeah, more or less. One my Russian good acquaintance (A chief of Physics Research Lab in one of the really major US universities, I deliberately omit the name) had a very low opinion on US students in math and physics. My other acquaintance, Armenian from Baku, who finished his math Ph.D. and taught in UCLA, was very blunt--half of students had difficulty solving quadratic equations or reducing rather simple polynomial. Per medicine, I am not going to discuss it here--not exactly my field, but both times in my life in US I was immediately afforded a position (on one--I started the business) once people heard my background. I am in charge of laboratory in aerospace firm, I was hired immediately by my boss--a former senior naval officer. He knew what he was getting. But, of course, Anatoly knows all about it;)
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  116. @melanf

    First, we see that urban square meters per person steadily rose through the entire 1914-today period (except the massive Revolution-to-1950 stall that was observed in consumption generally). So housing construction as such wasn’t a uniquely Soviet achievement.
    Second, now relative to other countries:
    USA – 70 sqm
    Germany – 42 sqm
    Canada – 40 sqm
    France – 40 sqm
    Greece, joint-poorest country in old EU – 30 sqm
    Russia – 25 sqm
    Famously overcrowded Japan – 22 sqm
    Russia in 1991 – 16 sqm
     
    These calculations do not include "дачи". A normal middle class family in the Soviet Union lived in a city apartment, but had (or rented) vacation home "дача", where the family spent the summer vacation.

    https://cdn5.img.ria.ru/images/49853/76/498537655.jpg

    Here is one such “dacha”, village area today–a lot in it (a very average PGT in remote Podmoskovye), of our relatives, with the older dacha, smaller but still nice (built in late 1980s-early 1990s) still on property. Around most major Russian urban centers this becomes a rule, not an exception. The whole “dacha” argument is valid only when regular village houses of, usually, grandparent are accounted for. Those, usually, do not go as “dacha” but are still inherited, sold, rented out or lived in all the same. I am not going to expand into the whole renovation industry for older, classic village housing.

    Having said all that, all this discussion makes no sense whatsoever without consideration and catastrophic damage which was dealt to USSR in WWII, not to speak of an initial, starting, conditions. Obviously, initial consumer patterns, which define the economy are completely omitted here, which is not surprising considering personalities of debaters here. IIRC last post WWII restoration program in West Germany (FRG) was closed sometime in late 1980s.

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  117. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    But comparing the Soviet squalor with life in the West makes clear which system was more imperfect.
     
    What's "life in the West"? If you compare, say, West Baltimore (from The Wire), or Appalachia (from Deliverance), with the center of Moscow in the 1980s, you'll come to the opposite conclusion. Also, it only makes sense to compare places with similar history and other conditions.

    In any case, this has nothing whatsoever to do with my point about price formation not being a convincing argument for declaring superiority of the capitalist system. Corporate/capitalist price formation is (in most cases) a bureaucratic process run by experts.

    What’s “life in the West”? If you compare, say, West Baltimore (from The Wire), or Appalachia (from Deliverance), with the center of Moscow in the 1980s

    Yes, you can cherry-pick the absolute worst parts of the USA and find that they will not be as nice as the absolute best parts of Russia. While you are at it, find a nice enclave in Lagos and compare it to the worst part of the USA to make some silly conclusion about Nigeria.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    Sorry, I've never been to Nigeria.

    So, since you chose to defend the libertarian worldview here, how come market-based prices failed to create capitalist paradise in Appalachia?
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  118. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Prices are based on the consumer market, and are flexible, just not-on-the-spot
     
    Yeah, tell it to the publishers of the Kelly's Blue Book--a bible of all car dealerships in the US.

    They guess what people will be willing to pay. If nobody wants to pay that, the dealer will sell for less than the Blue Book value.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    They guess what people will be willing to pay. If nobody wants to pay that, the dealer will sell for less than the Blue Book value.
     
    That is not the point. The point is the values ARE defined and Blue Book is constantly used as more than just the reference but preiskurant. So much for "free market", some minor price wiggling changes very little.
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  119. @AP

    Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that.
     
    A friend of mine who is a manager at an engineering firm just hired one. He is certainly pleased, but it's not like the Soviet-trained guy is better than the other ones he has hired.

    In medicine, ex-Soviets do well in the states but it is not as if they are some kind of giants among midgets.

    But as 2015 TIMMS study showed, Russia still led in scores for advanced math and physics the Western World’s, including the US, educational systems.
     
    Correct, basically. Here is physics at the end of high school:

    https://nces.ed.gov/timss/timss2015/timss2015_table55.asp

    Slovenia actually beats Russia significantly. But USA is far behind Russia (I am shocked that France is so far behind even the USA). The American educational system improves with students' age. Undergrads close the gap somewhat but not completely, but by grad school America takes the lead. And this is the most important level. My nephew chose Mexmat over any American school for undergraduate study, but is hoping to eventually attend Princeton or MIT.

    The American educational system improves with students’ age.

    Debatable, at best. In humanities–it is a catastrophe. STEM on the level of M.S. yeah, more or less. One my Russian good acquaintance (A chief of Physics Research Lab in one of the really major US universities, I deliberately omit the name) had a very low opinion on US students in math and physics. My other acquaintance, Armenian from Baku, who finished his math Ph.D. and taught in UCLA, was very blunt–half of students had difficulty solving quadratic equations or reducing rather simple polynomial. Per medicine, I am not going to discuss it here–not exactly my field, but both times in my life in US I was immediately afforded a position (on one–I started the business) once people heard my background. I am in charge of laboratory in aerospace firm, I was hired immediately by my boss–a former senior naval officer. He knew what he was getting. But, of course, Anatoly knows all about it;)

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  120. @Andrei Martyanov

    No, but I don’t recall McCain unleashing any wars either. (Though, of course, he contributed well beyond your average Congressman).
     
    Anatoly, try to calculate "correlation" between Mr. McCain's 2008 Presidential bid and 080808 events.

    Another way of saying overqualified. Most Soviet “engineers” would be “technicians” and most Soviet “doctors” would be “nurses” or “medical orderlies” in the West.
     
    Anatoly, learn a simple skill--not to express your opinions in the fields in which you are utterly unqualified, especially engineering field of which you, frankly, have no idea. Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that. Western technician level is the level in Bachelor of Science in all kinds of engineering fields from any US engineering school, where those students approach from the pathetic level of STEM in US public schools and then dragged for four years 5 days a week. Soviet educated engineering field required 5 year intensive program in the field (6 days a week--exactly 6 academic years) and this is from the extremely high level of Soviet Public public schools (even today) in STEM. Just to give you some taste, a little summary:

    Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the American nuclear navy, was one such person of prominence who attacked the myth of superiority of American education even before Sputnik was launched. In fact, Rickover was in business of challenging this myth as early as 1953. [24] Rickover's efforts ended up with him issuing an indictment to the whole American educational system: "...part of the "best schools in the world" myth was the claim that American textbooks were the envy of the world. Rickover had difficulty locating these non-Americans who were so envious. On the contrary, he cited numerous foreign analyses of American school curricula and textbooks which found them to be "bland, superficial, and repetitive. Under the shocking impact of Russian scientific successes, Soviet mathematics and science texts were being translated for use by American students because no similar approach to the subject matter was available. Many of these translated texts were being used in American colleges although the Soviets were using them with 14 year olds in their ten-year schoo1s." [25] After more than 50 years, among which at least 20 has been dedicated by Russia's "reformers" to the efforts of dismantling a vastly superior Soviet STEM education, little changed still in the US. Even today Russia's public school text books for 8th or 9th grade Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry can unnerve many US educators by their academic complexity and scope. Time magazine noted already in 1958 that the amount of instruction in Mathematics, Physics or Biology an average Soviet student received before graduating a public school was three times larger than it was stipulated for the entrance into Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    "The Soviet graduates, however, were at least two years ahead of their American counterparts in mastery of "sound, basic education." By that Rickover meant "mathematics, the sciences, mastery of the mother tongue, knowledge of their own classical literature and that of major foreign nations, foreign languages, and history, though their history study is colored by Marxist doctrine. Even Russian graduates of her seven-year schools at ages fourteen and fifteen knew as much about these "solid subjects" as many American high school graduates." [26] The list of subjects studied was much longer though, and included Physical and, later, Economic Geography, it also included Astronomy for the final school year. Russians were extremely well aware of this advantage. Surely, by late 1970s American public school may have had better furniture or may even had a computer, but by 9th Grade Soviet, and even today Russia's students, were solving problems on Newtonian Mechanics in the course of Physics and had a comprehensive course of Trigonometry spanning both courses in Algebra and Geometry and that is what really mattered the most. In Introduction to his famed and startling comparative study of "humanities" education What Ivan Knows That Johnny Doesn't Arther S. Trace Jr. was blunt: "The concern of the recent comparative studies of American and Soviet schools has been to show that American schools are lagging woefully behind Soviet schools in the teaching of mathematics and sciences. These studies have emphasized that whereas all Russian students who graduate from high school have studied physics for five years, chemistry for four years, biology for six years, and astronomy for one year. Only some American high school graduates have studied biology or physics or chemistry for one year." [27] While some improvements were attempted since then, American public schools remain on average way behind in STEM subjects even today. While liberal experimentation, a euphemism for destruction of Russia's education continued through late 1990s and early 2000s, by trying to demolish a systemic and tightly interconnected complex of knowledge procurement, resulting in a wholesome world view, inherent in Soviet/Russian public education, the resistance to those barbaric liberal reforms in education, among many other fields, was growing in Russia. "Westernization" of Russian education was revolving around bringing Russia into the supposedly globalist, led by America, world. The wholesome picture of the world was not needed in this world, nor was needed a crucial feature of a healthy society—a highly developed cognitive process. But as 2015 TIMMS study showed, Russia still led in scores for advanced math and physics the Western World's, including the US, educational systems. [28] This study also underscored a surprising flexibility and survivability of the Russian educational system which simply refused to surrender to radical experimentation and lower its academic demands. In a defiance of the barbaric "western" educational reforms, among which Standardized State Testing, known as Unified State Exam (EGE), was introduced, a number of key Russia's universities still retained their right to conduct independent entrance exams for high school graduates applying there. Thus the key feature of the US educational system—standardized, multiple choice answers, Language and Math, tests—has been rejected, while the key feature of the Soviet educational system, which made it so effective has been preserved. True, many contemporary Russian high school graduates still get to the higher learning institutions based on the Unified State Exam results out of the high school directly, granted that they have to take more than just mandatory language and math tests, which are required only for a high school diploma, known in Russia as Attester of Maturity. But where truly elite education mattered, even amidst "reforms" bacchanalia of late 1990s and early 2000s, higher learning institutions such as Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, not to speak of such centers of education as Bauman Moscow State Technological University—an alma mater for such for such people as Chief Designer Sergei Korolyov and many Soviet/Russian cosmonauts and designers of weapon systems—retained their right for own entrance exams. In a case of sad irony, this school which was and is responsible for producing a good share of Soviet/Russian technological elite ranging from radio electronics to space flight, among many other fields, ranked as #379 in 2011/2012 QS World University rankings well below King Saud University. In 2017 this school's position "improved" to #306 slightly below another academically "shiny" Saudi institution such as King Abdulaziz University or American University of Beirut—schools hardly known for their contribution to space exploration, laser technology, state-of-the-art complex weapon systems and other things of similar nature which are on the resume of Bauman University. [29] Of course, there was and is a dark spot on Bauman's outstanding resume, with Alfred Rosenberg, one of the major ideologues of German National-Socialism being its alumni. The entrance to Bauman University, however, the same as it is true for a number of leading universities in Russia, is a true trial. This is, accidentally, how it is called today, entrance trials, and involves intimidating, by any measure, exams in mathematics, physics, language, foreign language, biology and history. The academic level of entrance exams to Bauman University and many other universities in Russia is such that some students who feel to be not quite ready for trials attend a yearlong preparatory college which gives enough academic boost for taking entrance exams. No US institution of higher education is even in the same universe in STEM requirements for its students, even those universities which, as is expected, are listed in top 20 of very many "rankings". Novosibirsk State University, as an example, even today requires for the entrance exams a level and volume of mathematics and physics knowledge which has its deep roots in old Soviet programs which allowed USSR to not only produce a world-class scientific and technological elite but to seriously challenge the United States in most fields of human activity doing catching up from a position of serious disadvantage as a result of a catastrophe of World War Two which befell Soviet Union. The situation was even more dramatic in preparation of Soviet military elite, which apart from already very high public school level was taking entrance exams into the military academies. Only Combined Arms academies (military officer colleges) by 1960s had study programs of four years. Academically those programs would amount to around 5 year's studies, and to 6 years academic courses for 5-year long naval, air force and other technologically-oriented military academies—everybody studied in USSR on Saturdays. Apart from exhaustive entrance exams in math, physics, language-literature, chemistry, where applicable, the whole host of tough physical and psychological tests was to be taken. Those admitted and who survived a boot camp were immediately subjected to an intensive academic routine which from the get go was dominated by an advanced common precise science courses ranging from Differential Equations, Physics, Mechanics, Radio-electronics to military occupation specific subjects, such as tactics, introduction to theory of operations or, as an example, missile weaponry or aerodynamics for pilots and flight engineers. The result of that was an officer with enough general and specialized education, capable of self-improvement in the most cases.
     
    As per level of engineers who went to work in Soviet and continue to work in Russian military-industrial complex, I don't think that we have anything to discuss with you here. As I stated, you have an agenda and it shines through.

    I think Anatoly did not study in Soviet school. The study was very intense and university exams for all good faculties were extremely tough. I remember studying for 12 hours a day for entry exams so did my cousin who went into engineering. I am very worried about my son education here in Canada after seeing what and how they study. We started basic math education at home and send him to school outside of public school and he says that he is very bored at school as it is simple and old. It doe snot look like what we studied back in USSR. I would also point that the whole atmosphere in local public schools is that of fun instead of serious atmosphere with accent on study and development we had at school. I had many friends studying at TVOKU , studies were extremely tough and included all you mentioned and Sopromat and other math related stuff.

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    I had many friends studying at TVOKU , studies were extremely tough and included all you mentioned and Sopromat and other math related stuff.
     
    I may at some point present the transcript of my degree, when I have the time. Gyroscopic and Inertial Navigation Systems (a subject on guidance, including weaponry) alone, especially the way it is integrated with weapons systems--that may blow some minds. As per Sopromat or Theoretical Mechanics--goodness gracious, what a fun, LOL.
    , @gerad
    Sergey and @Andrei Martyanov....I must commend you on your superb and informative series of comments on this thread.Excellent
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  121. @Mao Cheng Ji

    But comparing the Soviet squalor with life in the West makes clear which system was more imperfect.
     
    What's "life in the West"? If you compare, say, West Baltimore (from The Wire), or Appalachia (from Deliverance), with the center of Moscow in the 1980s, you'll come to the opposite conclusion. Also, it only makes sense to compare places with similar history and other conditions.

    In any case, this has nothing whatsoever to do with my point about price formation not being a convincing argument for declaring superiority of the capitalist system. Corporate/capitalist price formation is (in most cases) a bureaucratic process run by experts.

    For him only material side matters. I wonder how would he explain a great number of people on various drugs medications to just allow some relaxation and sleep. We did not feel ourselves miserable and we lived full happy lives. Does it matter when one has larger house but is unhappy.
    I also noticed that living space wise local houses not bigger than our apartments. These houses has a lot of space for basically other stuff but rooms often are smaller than what we had back in USSR in newer apartments. i do not mean Krushevki and I am not talking high end mansions but average dwellings.
    Anyway, my point is, man doe snot live by bread alone.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    For him and the like only material side matters.
     
    Maybe, but I have the impression that he's just aggressively opinionated/dogmatic. He'd switch to 'spiritual' arguments, if necessary. But then most of the people commenting on blogs are like that, it's nothing special...
    , @AP

    For him only material side matters.
     
    Nonsense. The material side is the most easily measurable, and you were the one boasting about how in the Soviet Union people moved from communal to 2 room apartments. So the Soviet system was a failure from the material perspective.

    We did not feel ourselves miserable and we lived full happy lives.
     
    Well, in 1980 Rusisa's suicide rate was 3.4 times higher than that of the USA in 1989:

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF124/cf124.chap4.html

    I suspect Russia's massive Soviet-era alcohol problem wasn't a reflection of societal happiness.

    Currently the happiest countries in the world (in order) are Costa Rica, Mexico, and Columbia:

    http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/index-ranks-mexico-as-2nd-happiest-country/1

    This on a survey that directly asks if people are satisfied (some b.s. surveys rate happiness by stuff like healthcare access and rate depressive Scandinavian counties as the world's happiest).

    The happiest places are the ones that are more religious and less modernized. One of my grandfathers was a peasant from outside Kiev. He said people felt happiest before the Revolution.

    Nothing new in this observation. Here is Ernst Junger:

    "What they had done in their youth, and what for milleniums had been man's vocation, joy, and pleasure - to ride a horse, to plow in the morning in the steaming fields, to walk behind the oxen, to mow the yellow grain in the blazing summer heat while streams of sweat poured down the tanned body...all this, praised by poets since time immemorial, was now past and gone. Joy in labor had disappeared.

    How can one explain this trend toward a more colorless and shallow life? Well, the work was easier, if less healthy, and it brought more money, more leisure, and perhaps more entertainment. A day in the country is long and hard. And yet the fruits of their present life were worthless compared to a single coin of their former life: a rest in the evening and a rural festivity. That they no longer knew the old kind of happiness was obvious from the discontent which spread over their features. Soon, dissatisfaction, prevailing over all their moods, became their religion..."

    :::::::::::

    Soviets sacrificed happiness for materialism, and failed at materialism.

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  122. @AP

    What’s “life in the West”? If you compare, say, West Baltimore (from The Wire), or Appalachia (from Deliverance), with the center of Moscow in the 1980s
     
    Yes, you can cherry-pick the absolute worst parts of the USA and find that they will not be as nice as the absolute best parts of Russia. While you are at it, find a nice enclave in Lagos and compare it to the worst part of the USA to make some silly conclusion about Nigeria.

    Sorry, I’ve never been to Nigeria.

    So, since you chose to defend the libertarian worldview here, how come market-based prices failed to create capitalist paradise in Appalachia?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Appalachia?
     
    Only? Take a drive on 101 on the West Coast and drive through such places like Ukiah, or visit (well armed, preferably) Tacoma, some of which looks like a shithole. Aberdin, may altogether alter your whole idea of America--no wonder Kurt Cobain who was from there blew his brains out, who wouldn't suffer from mental illness living in Aberdin in chidlhood. Even this very well-off US West Coast is packed with places like that. I am not talking, of course, about some former logging communities--they can give Appalchia a run for its money. I lived long enough in the US to see an overall decline in living standard through several major indicators.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    ... how come market-based prices failed to create capitalist paradise in Appalachia?
     
    Here you go: http://anepigone.blogspot.ru/2006/11/white-iq-estimates-by-state.html
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  123. @Sergey Krieger
    I think Anatoly did not study in Soviet school. The study was very intense and university exams for all good faculties were extremely tough. I remember studying for 12 hours a day for entry exams so did my cousin who went into engineering. I am very worried about my son education here in Canada after seeing what and how they study. We started basic math education at home and send him to school outside of public school and he says that he is very bored at school as it is simple and old. It doe snot look like what we studied back in USSR. I would also point that the whole atmosphere in local public schools is that of fun instead of serious atmosphere with accent on study and development we had at school. I had many friends studying at TVOKU , studies were extremely tough and included all you mentioned and Sopromat and other math related stuff.

    I had many friends studying at TVOKU , studies were extremely tough and included all you mentioned and Sopromat and other math related stuff.

    I may at some point present the transcript of my degree, when I have the time. Gyroscopic and Inertial Navigation Systems (a subject on guidance, including weaponry) alone, especially the way it is integrated with weapons systems–that may blow some minds. As per Sopromat or Theoretical Mechanics–goodness gracious, what a fun, LOL.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    I sense irony ;) Everything is being learned by comparison. Still, the level of Soviet military schools was very high. And once they even used to teach dancing and proper dinning manners! That was definitely tough to pass .
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  124. @Sergey Krieger
    For him only material side matters. I wonder how would he explain a great number of people on various drugs medications to just allow some relaxation and sleep. We did not feel ourselves miserable and we lived full happy lives. Does it matter when one has larger house but is unhappy.
    I also noticed that living space wise local houses not bigger than our apartments. These houses has a lot of space for basically other stuff but rooms often are smaller than what we had back in USSR in newer apartments. i do not mean Krushevki and I am not talking high end mansions but average dwellings.
    Anyway, my point is, man doe snot live by bread alone.

    For him and the like only material side matters.

    Maybe, but I have the impression that he’s just aggressively opinionated/dogmatic. He’d switch to ‘spiritual’ arguments, if necessary. But then most of the people commenting on blogs are like that, it’s nothing special…

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    I am reading for comments by a few. I am trying not to comment on things I have no clue about. Living in USSR I do have some clues about our lives then. I can only describe my family as being happy and so my friends. Did it matter that I had fewer meters per head than some Bob in NY? No.
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  125. @Andrei Martyanov

    I had many friends studying at TVOKU , studies were extremely tough and included all you mentioned and Sopromat and other math related stuff.
     
    I may at some point present the transcript of my degree, when I have the time. Gyroscopic and Inertial Navigation Systems (a subject on guidance, including weaponry) alone, especially the way it is integrated with weapons systems--that may blow some minds. As per Sopromat or Theoretical Mechanics--goodness gracious, what a fun, LOL.

    I sense irony ;) Everything is being learned by comparison. Still, the level of Soviet military schools was very high. And once they even used to teach dancing and proper dinning manners! That was definitely tough to pass .

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  126. @Mao Cheng Ji

    For him and the like only material side matters.
     
    Maybe, but I have the impression that he's just aggressively opinionated/dogmatic. He'd switch to 'spiritual' arguments, if necessary. But then most of the people commenting on blogs are like that, it's nothing special...

    I am reading for comments by a few. I am trying not to comment on things I have no clue about. Living in USSR I do have some clues about our lives then. I can only describe my family as being happy and so my friends. Did it matter that I had fewer meters per head than some Bob in NY? No.

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    • Agree: Mao Cheng Ji
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  127. @AP
    They guess what people will be willing to pay. If nobody wants to pay that, the dealer will sell for less than the Blue Book value.

    They guess what people will be willing to pay. If nobody wants to pay that, the dealer will sell for less than the Blue Book value.

    That is not the point. The point is the values ARE defined and Blue Book is constantly used as more than just the reference but preiskurant. So much for “free market”, some minor price wiggling changes very little.

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  128. @Andrei Martyanov

    No, but I don’t recall McCain unleashing any wars either. (Though, of course, he contributed well beyond your average Congressman).
     
    Anatoly, try to calculate "correlation" between Mr. McCain's 2008 Presidential bid and 080808 events.

    Another way of saying overqualified. Most Soviet “engineers” would be “technicians” and most Soviet “doctors” would be “nurses” or “medical orderlies” in the West.
     
    Anatoly, learn a simple skill--not to express your opinions in the fields in which you are utterly unqualified, especially engineering field of which you, frankly, have no idea. Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that. Western technician level is the level in Bachelor of Science in all kinds of engineering fields from any US engineering school, where those students approach from the pathetic level of STEM in US public schools and then dragged for four years 5 days a week. Soviet educated engineering field required 5 year intensive program in the field (6 days a week--exactly 6 academic years) and this is from the extremely high level of Soviet Public public schools (even today) in STEM. Just to give you some taste, a little summary:

    Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the American nuclear navy, was one such person of prominence who attacked the myth of superiority of American education even before Sputnik was launched. In fact, Rickover was in business of challenging this myth as early as 1953. [24] Rickover's efforts ended up with him issuing an indictment to the whole American educational system: "...part of the "best schools in the world" myth was the claim that American textbooks were the envy of the world. Rickover had difficulty locating these non-Americans who were so envious. On the contrary, he cited numerous foreign analyses of American school curricula and textbooks which found them to be "bland, superficial, and repetitive. Under the shocking impact of Russian scientific successes, Soviet mathematics and science texts were being translated for use by American students because no similar approach to the subject matter was available. Many of these translated texts were being used in American colleges although the Soviets were using them with 14 year olds in their ten-year schoo1s." [25] After more than 50 years, among which at least 20 has been dedicated by Russia's "reformers" to the efforts of dismantling a vastly superior Soviet STEM education, little changed still in the US. Even today Russia's public school text books for 8th or 9th grade Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry can unnerve many US educators by their academic complexity and scope. Time magazine noted already in 1958 that the amount of instruction in Mathematics, Physics or Biology an average Soviet student received before graduating a public school was three times larger than it was stipulated for the entrance into Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    "The Soviet graduates, however, were at least two years ahead of their American counterparts in mastery of "sound, basic education." By that Rickover meant "mathematics, the sciences, mastery of the mother tongue, knowledge of their own classical literature and that of major foreign nations, foreign languages, and history, though their history study is colored by Marxist doctrine. Even Russian graduates of her seven-year schools at ages fourteen and fifteen knew as much about these "solid subjects" as many American high school graduates." [26] The list of subjects studied was much longer though, and included Physical and, later, Economic Geography, it also included Astronomy for the final school year. Russians were extremely well aware of this advantage. Surely, by late 1970s American public school may have had better furniture or may even had a computer, but by 9th Grade Soviet, and even today Russia's students, were solving problems on Newtonian Mechanics in the course of Physics and had a comprehensive course of Trigonometry spanning both courses in Algebra and Geometry and that is what really mattered the most. In Introduction to his famed and startling comparative study of "humanities" education What Ivan Knows That Johnny Doesn't Arther S. Trace Jr. was blunt: "The concern of the recent comparative studies of American and Soviet schools has been to show that American schools are lagging woefully behind Soviet schools in the teaching of mathematics and sciences. These studies have emphasized that whereas all Russian students who graduate from high school have studied physics for five years, chemistry for four years, biology for six years, and astronomy for one year. Only some American high school graduates have studied biology or physics or chemistry for one year." [27] While some improvements were attempted since then, American public schools remain on average way behind in STEM subjects even today. While liberal experimentation, a euphemism for destruction of Russia's education continued through late 1990s and early 2000s, by trying to demolish a systemic and tightly interconnected complex of knowledge procurement, resulting in a wholesome world view, inherent in Soviet/Russian public education, the resistance to those barbaric liberal reforms in education, among many other fields, was growing in Russia. "Westernization" of Russian education was revolving around bringing Russia into the supposedly globalist, led by America, world. The wholesome picture of the world was not needed in this world, nor was needed a crucial feature of a healthy society—a highly developed cognitive process. But as 2015 TIMMS study showed, Russia still led in scores for advanced math and physics the Western World's, including the US, educational systems. [28] This study also underscored a surprising flexibility and survivability of the Russian educational system which simply refused to surrender to radical experimentation and lower its academic demands. In a defiance of the barbaric "western" educational reforms, among which Standardized State Testing, known as Unified State Exam (EGE), was introduced, a number of key Russia's universities still retained their right to conduct independent entrance exams for high school graduates applying there. Thus the key feature of the US educational system—standardized, multiple choice answers, Language and Math, tests—has been rejected, while the key feature of the Soviet educational system, which made it so effective has been preserved. True, many contemporary Russian high school graduates still get to the higher learning institutions based on the Unified State Exam results out of the high school directly, granted that they have to take more than just mandatory language and math tests, which are required only for a high school diploma, known in Russia as Attester of Maturity. But where truly elite education mattered, even amidst "reforms" bacchanalia of late 1990s and early 2000s, higher learning institutions such as Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, not to speak of such centers of education as Bauman Moscow State Technological University—an alma mater for such for such people as Chief Designer Sergei Korolyov and many Soviet/Russian cosmonauts and designers of weapon systems—retained their right for own entrance exams. In a case of sad irony, this school which was and is responsible for producing a good share of Soviet/Russian technological elite ranging from radio electronics to space flight, among many other fields, ranked as #379 in 2011/2012 QS World University rankings well below King Saud University. In 2017 this school's position "improved" to #306 slightly below another academically "shiny" Saudi institution such as King Abdulaziz University or American University of Beirut—schools hardly known for their contribution to space exploration, laser technology, state-of-the-art complex weapon systems and other things of similar nature which are on the resume of Bauman University. [29] Of course, there was and is a dark spot on Bauman's outstanding resume, with Alfred Rosenberg, one of the major ideologues of German National-Socialism being its alumni. The entrance to Bauman University, however, the same as it is true for a number of leading universities in Russia, is a true trial. This is, accidentally, how it is called today, entrance trials, and involves intimidating, by any measure, exams in mathematics, physics, language, foreign language, biology and history. The academic level of entrance exams to Bauman University and many other universities in Russia is such that some students who feel to be not quite ready for trials attend a yearlong preparatory college which gives enough academic boost for taking entrance exams. No US institution of higher education is even in the same universe in STEM requirements for its students, even those universities which, as is expected, are listed in top 20 of very many "rankings". Novosibirsk State University, as an example, even today requires for the entrance exams a level and volume of mathematics and physics knowledge which has its deep roots in old Soviet programs which allowed USSR to not only produce a world-class scientific and technological elite but to seriously challenge the United States in most fields of human activity doing catching up from a position of serious disadvantage as a result of a catastrophe of World War Two which befell Soviet Union. The situation was even more dramatic in preparation of Soviet military elite, which apart from already very high public school level was taking entrance exams into the military academies. Only Combined Arms academies (military officer colleges) by 1960s had study programs of four years. Academically those programs would amount to around 5 year's studies, and to 6 years academic courses for 5-year long naval, air force and other technologically-oriented military academies—everybody studied in USSR on Saturdays. Apart from exhaustive entrance exams in math, physics, language-literature, chemistry, where applicable, the whole host of tough physical and psychological tests was to be taken. Those admitted and who survived a boot camp were immediately subjected to an intensive academic routine which from the get go was dominated by an advanced common precise science courses ranging from Differential Equations, Physics, Mechanics, Radio-electronics to military occupation specific subjects, such as tactics, introduction to theory of operations or, as an example, missile weaponry or aerodynamics for pilots and flight engineers. The result of that was an officer with enough general and specialized education, capable of self-improvement in the most cases.
     
    As per level of engineers who went to work in Soviet and continue to work in Russian military-industrial complex, I don't think that we have anything to discuss with you here. As I stated, you have an agenda and it shines through.

    In 2017 this school’s position “improved” to #306 slightly below another academically “shiny” Saudi institution such as King Abdulaziz University or American University of Beirut—schools hardly known for their contribution to space exploration, laser technology, state-of-the-art complex weapon systems and other things of similar nature which are on the resume of Bauman University.

    Here’s another indicator: Bauman has a 0.15 rating on the WFC scale on the Nature Index (weight of contribution to articles published in Nature, the world’s premier scientific publishing outlet).

    King Saud University: 3.20.

    So seems fair enough.

    Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that.

    The Soviet engineers from a handful of top schools who were, additionally, bright and resourceful enough to successfully immigrate to America – sure.

    What percentage of the Soviet engineer pool do people with such qualities constitute? 0.1%?

    Anatoly, try to calculate “correlation” between Mr. McCain’s 2008 Presidential bid and 080808 events.

    People close to McCain gave Saakashvili misleading hints that they would come to his support. Saakashvili also grossly underestimated the Russian Army and overestimated the Georgian one (thank you Pavel Felgenhauer). The person who “unleashed a war out of own volition and for, largely, personal reasons” was Mishiko, not McCain.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    Anatoly, I have some background in Operational Theory (it was a mandatory subject) and in how to deal with weighted values, especially when weapons are involved. Most of this "statistics" and indices are sham. Or crap, or what have you.

    The Soviet engineers from a handful of top schools who were, additionally, bright and resourceful enough to successfully immigrate to America – sure.
     
    Yes, and from here, in the US, they created best weapon systems in the world, continue to maintain best piloted space program in the world, run GLONASS, build state-of-the-art aircraft, engines and other things--all because they "immigrated" to America, right? LOL.
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  129. @Mao Cheng Ji
    Sorry, I've never been to Nigeria.

    So, since you chose to defend the libertarian worldview here, how come market-based prices failed to create capitalist paradise in Appalachia?

    Appalachia?

    Only? Take a drive on 101 on the West Coast and drive through such places like Ukiah, or visit (well armed, preferably) Tacoma, some of which looks like a shithole. Aberdin, may altogether alter your whole idea of America–no wonder Kurt Cobain who was from there blew his brains out, who wouldn’t suffer from mental illness living in Aberdin in chidlhood. Even this very well-off US West Coast is packed with places like that. I am not talking, of course, about some former logging communities–they can give Appalchia a run for its money. I lived long enough in the US to see an overall decline in living standard through several major indicators.

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  130. @Mao Cheng Ji
    Sorry, I've never been to Nigeria.

    So, since you chose to defend the libertarian worldview here, how come market-based prices failed to create capitalist paradise in Appalachia?

    … how come market-based prices failed to create capitalist paradise in Appalachia?

    Here you go: http://anepigone.blogspot.ru/2006/11/white-iq-estimates-by-state.html

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  131. AP says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    For him only material side matters. I wonder how would he explain a great number of people on various drugs medications to just allow some relaxation and sleep. We did not feel ourselves miserable and we lived full happy lives. Does it matter when one has larger house but is unhappy.
    I also noticed that living space wise local houses not bigger than our apartments. These houses has a lot of space for basically other stuff but rooms often are smaller than what we had back in USSR in newer apartments. i do not mean Krushevki and I am not talking high end mansions but average dwellings.
    Anyway, my point is, man doe snot live by bread alone.

    For him only material side matters.

    Nonsense. The material side is the most easily measurable, and you were the one boasting about how in the Soviet Union people moved from communal to 2 room apartments. So the Soviet system was a failure from the material perspective.

    We did not feel ourselves miserable and we lived full happy lives.

    Well, in 1980 Rusisa’s suicide rate was 3.4 times higher than that of the USA in 1989:

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF124/cf124.chap4.html

    I suspect Russia’s massive Soviet-era alcohol problem wasn’t a reflection of societal happiness.

    Currently the happiest countries in the world (in order) are Costa Rica, Mexico, and Columbia:

    http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/index-ranks-mexico-as-2nd-happiest-country/1

    This on a survey that directly asks if people are satisfied (some b.s. surveys rate happiness by stuff like healthcare access and rate depressive Scandinavian counties as the world’s happiest).

    The happiest places are the ones that are more religious and less modernized. One of my grandfathers was a peasant from outside Kiev. He said people felt happiest before the Revolution.

    Nothing new in this observation. Here is Ernst Junger:

    “What they had done in their youth, and what for milleniums had been man’s vocation, joy, and pleasure – to ride a horse, to plow in the morning in the steaming fields, to walk behind the oxen, to mow the yellow grain in the blazing summer heat while streams of sweat poured down the tanned body…all this, praised by poets since time immemorial, was now past and gone. Joy in labor had disappeared.

    How can one explain this trend toward a more colorless and shallow life? Well, the work was easier, if less healthy, and it brought more money, more leisure, and perhaps more entertainment. A day in the country is long and hard. And yet the fruits of their present life were worthless compared to a single coin of their former life: a rest in the evening and a rural festivity. That they no longer knew the old kind of happiness was obvious from the discontent which spread over their features. Soon, dissatisfaction, prevailing over all their moods, became their religion…”

    :::::::::::

    Soviets sacrificed happiness for materialism, and failed at materialism.

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    "Nonsense. The material side is the most easily measurable, and you were the one boasting about how in the Soviet Union people moved from communal to 2 room apartments. So the Soviet system was a failure from the material perspective. "
    Let's make an experiment. Let's destroy to the ground USA most populous part comparable to the size of Soviet territory destroyed by 1945 and then see how USA will be moving form underground dugouts into mansions. Dugout is where my grandparents started after the war like many others. Immediate task was to give huge numbers of people decent place to live in shortest period possible. Then people started gradually moving into better and better accommodations. USA never went through anything like this hence in reality Soviet project was huge success. Getting up so quickly after such blows that USSR received in 1941-1945 is a fit not easy to repeat and not under system that present in USA.
    , @gerad
    hahahahaha!!....3.4 is a total bollocks lie you lying cretin. It was closer to 2.4. Take out of few anomalous high suicide rates in afew regions in areas of severe cold winters and or shortened days during the winter and you will find that the suicide rates in the USSR were entirely similar with the Americans . Probably much lower than the Americans when you weigh in all factors. America genocided the natives more likely to be involved in suicide, especially in the northern areas...and the negro, whilst clearly suffering from severe social decay imposed on him in the American system......is not as agreeable to suicide as many different ethnic groups are. This is similar to the type of stat you have now where the life expectancy living in Moscow is about the same as that in New York....it is a few ethnic republics in the north and past the Urals with various cold,daylight and monoindustry town decay that is correlated and brings the life expectancy down. Overall I would suspect that slavic,Tatar and most of the Kavkaz races had lower suicide rates than Americans

    Then take into account the number of Americans prevented from indulging in suicide because they have an incredible high amount in a "prosperous" nation on drugs for treating psychiatric and psychological conditions . Also the disgusting levels of obesity is not a sign of wealth but of big, shameful mental illness during the time of the cold war.

    The shameful amount of murders in the US during the 80's, significantly higher than in the USSR at the time was not a sign of "societal happiness" you dimwit.

    Those Soviet 2 bed room apartments were highly desirable and advanced. A higher concentration of heavy industry jobs ,heavily centred on a city among a vast area meant a much higher number of living spaces to be provided on what would be prime pieces of real estate for any country. These were the greatest series of living spaces ,living conditions for this high a number of factory workers in Europe you cretin....much better than those offered in the city for say, heavily industrialised jobs in France of England. The architecture for these living spaces, for the time, were considered groundbreaking and heavily influenced western architects for similar urban projects.

    I suspect Russia’s massive Soviet-era alcohol problem wasn’t a reflection of societal happiness.
     
    a 'problem' that occurs throughout eastern Europe to this day you idiot. Americans in general drink much lower strength and crap quality Beer, Californian wine and Bourbon as opposed to the hardcore spirits commonly drunk for a long period in Eastern Europe so it is an entirely fake comparison, obviously alcoholism is going to be more of a problem....not least because American society is that weak the age of being legally able to drink is a ridiculous 21.....and the abysmal failure of prohibition in the 1920's


    Soviets sacrificed happiness for materialism, and failed at materialism.
     
    Ignorant spamtroll cretin lie. A Soviet society and culture was rich,diverse in opportunities and was more of an outdoor society than any country in the world. You're that stupid I can't rule out that you think "materialism" is contact with things made of plastic
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  132. @Anatoly Karlin

    In 2017 this school’s position “improved” to #306 slightly below another academically “shiny” Saudi institution such as King Abdulaziz University or American University of Beirut—schools hardly known for their contribution to space exploration, laser technology, state-of-the-art complex weapon systems and other things of similar nature which are on the resume of Bauman University.
     
    Here's another indicator: Bauman has a 0.15 rating on the WFC scale on the Nature Index (weight of contribution to articles published in Nature, the world's premier scientific publishing outlet).

    King Saud University: 3.20.

    So seems fair enough.

    Soviet-educated engineers are still sought out by leading American corporations and there is a reason for that.
     
    The Soviet engineers from a handful of top schools who were, additionally, bright and resourceful enough to successfully immigrate to America - sure.

    What percentage of the Soviet engineer pool do people with such qualities constitute? 0.1%?

    Anatoly, try to calculate “correlation” between Mr. McCain’s 2008 Presidential bid and 080808 events.
     
    People close to McCain gave Saakashvili misleading hints that they would come to his support. Saakashvili also grossly underestimated the Russian Army and overestimated the Georgian one (thank you Pavel Felgenhauer). The person who "unleashed a war out of own volition and for, largely, personal reasons" was Mishiko, not McCain.

    Anatoly, I have some background in Operational Theory (it was a mandatory subject) and in how to deal with weighted values, especially when weapons are involved. Most of this “statistics” and indices are sham. Or crap, or what have you.

    The Soviet engineers from a handful of top schools who were, additionally, bright and resourceful enough to successfully immigrate to America – sure.

    Yes, and from here, in the US, they created best weapon systems in the world, continue to maintain best piloted space program in the world, run GLONASS, build state-of-the-art aircraft, engines and other things–all because they “immigrated” to America, right? LOL.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    Most of this “statistics” and indices are sham.
     
    Who cares. Far superior to word salad that uses phrases like " barbaric liberal reforms in education."

    Yes, and from here, in the US, they created...
     
    You seem to be misinterpreting what I said.

    Let me try to clarify. The USSR did produce some very good engineers (scientists, mathematicians, etc). The better (and younger) they were, the more likely they were to have decamped to the West - virtually all the Russian scientists of any global reknown, the sort who have a chance at a Nobel or a Fields, work in the West. I hope that much, at least, is uncontroversial. This segment is demographically tiny.

    Then there was a larger upper core of engineers, the vast majority of whom stayed, who can do things like run GLONASS (as can the US, China, and the EU) and man aircraft design bureaus but aren't going to be making fundamental breakthroughts. Those few of them who ended up in the West typically do well for themselves in the private economy, though not better than graduates from respectable American universities.

    There, there is a huge mass of "engineers" who would have been simply been classified as "technicians" in the West ("doctors" who would be "nurses", etc). The USSR didn't do because it had a narcissistic need to "prove" itself better than the capitalist world and "world's highest number of engineers" sounds impressive (its vast numbers of hospital beds are another prime example).
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  133. @AP

    For him only material side matters.
     
    Nonsense. The material side is the most easily measurable, and you were the one boasting about how in the Soviet Union people moved from communal to 2 room apartments. So the Soviet system was a failure from the material perspective.

    We did not feel ourselves miserable and we lived full happy lives.
     
    Well, in 1980 Rusisa's suicide rate was 3.4 times higher than that of the USA in 1989:

    https://www.rand.org/pubs/conf_proceedings/CF124/cf124.chap4.html

    I suspect Russia's massive Soviet-era alcohol problem wasn't a reflection of societal happiness.

    Currently the happiest countries in the world (in order) are Costa Rica, Mexico, and Columbia:

    http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/index-ranks-mexico-as-2nd-happiest-country/1

    This on a survey that directly asks if people are satisfied (some b.s. surveys rate happiness by stuff like healthcare access and rate depressive Scandinavian counties as the world's happiest).

    The happiest places are the ones that are more religious and less modernized. One of my grandfathers was a peasant from outside Kiev. He said people felt happiest before the Revolution.

    Nothing new in this observation. Here is Ernst Junger:

    "What they had done in their youth, and what for milleniums had been man's vocation, joy, and pleasure - to ride a horse, to plow in the morning in the steaming fields, to walk behind the oxen, to mow the yellow grain in the blazing summer heat while streams of sweat poured down the tanned body...all this, praised by poets since time immemorial, was now past and gone. Joy in labor had disappeared.

    How can one explain this trend toward a more colorless and shallow life? Well, the work was easier, if less healthy, and it brought more money, more leisure, and perhaps more entertainment. A day in the country is long and hard. And yet the fruits of their present life were worthless compared to a single coin of their former life: a rest in the evening and a rural festivity. That they no longer knew the old kind of happiness was obvious from the discontent which spread over their features. Soon, dissatisfaction, prevailing over all their moods, became their religion..."

    :::::::::::

    Soviets sacrificed happiness for materialism, and failed at materialism.

    “Nonsense. The material side is the most easily measurable, and you were the one boasting about how in the Soviet Union people moved from communal to 2 room apartments. So the Soviet system was a failure from the material perspective. ”
    Let’s make an experiment. Let’s destroy to the ground USA most populous part comparable to the size of Soviet territory destroyed by 1945 and then see how USA will be moving form underground dugouts into mansions. Dugout is where my grandparents started after the war like many others. Immediate task was to give huge numbers of people decent place to live in shortest period possible. Then people started gradually moving into better and better accommodations. USA never went through anything like this hence in reality Soviet project was huge success. Getting up so quickly after such blows that USSR received in 1941-1945 is a fit not easy to repeat and not under system that present in USA.

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    • Replies: @AP
    1. West Germany did much better after World War II. So USA stayed ahead while also building up western Europe.

    2. USSR was falling further behind in the 1970s and 1980s, long after World War II.
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  134. @Andrei Martyanov
    Anatoly, I have some background in Operational Theory (it was a mandatory subject) and in how to deal with weighted values, especially when weapons are involved. Most of this "statistics" and indices are sham. Or crap, or what have you.

    The Soviet engineers from a handful of top schools who were, additionally, bright and resourceful enough to successfully immigrate to America – sure.
     
    Yes, and from here, in the US, they created best weapon systems in the world, continue to maintain best piloted space program in the world, run GLONASS, build state-of-the-art aircraft, engines and other things--all because they "immigrated" to America, right? LOL.

    Most of this “statistics” and indices are sham.

    Who cares. Far superior to word salad that uses phrases like ” barbaric liberal reforms in education.”

    Yes, and from here, in the US, they created…

    You seem to be misinterpreting what I said.

    Let me try to clarify. The USSR did produce some very good engineers (scientists, mathematicians, etc). The better (and younger) they were, the more likely they were to have decamped to the West – virtually all the Russian scientists of any global reknown, the sort who have a chance at a Nobel or a Fields, work in the West. I hope that much, at least, is uncontroversial. This segment is demographically tiny.

    Then there was a larger upper core of engineers, the vast majority of whom stayed, who can do things like run GLONASS (as can the US, China, and the EU) and man aircraft design bureaus but aren’t going to be making fundamental breakthroughts. Those few of them who ended up in the West typically do well for themselves in the private economy, though not better than graduates from respectable American universities.

    There, there is a huge mass of “engineers” who would have been simply been classified as “technicians” in the West (“doctors” who would be “nurses”, etc). The USSR didn’t do because it had a narcissistic need to “prove” itself better than the capitalist world and “world’s highest number of engineers” sounds impressive (its vast numbers of hospital beds are another prime example).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    There, there is a huge mass of “engineers” who would have been simply been classified as “technicians” in the West
     
    Soviet Diploma of Engineer-Specialist from any good level Soviet University (Institute) would prevent them from "being classified" as "technicians", even after the lucrative and preposterous business in US was concocted in "translating" all these degrees into the Western Standard of Bachelor's, Master's etc. A complete fraud to start with, especially once one begins to look at traditional in the West "selective" courses (how about photography and dancing?) not to mention ridiculous "credit" instead of "program units" system. Moreover, you again are missing a crucial factor--Russian and American average public school programs in STEM are not-comparable. Again, in most US public schools Physics even doesn't exist as a coherent separate subject being substituted with a generic Hodge-podge collection of random scientific facts and known a Science. There is no such educational subject as "Science", even in Russian schools today it goes under titles of Physics, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Botanic and later Biology and Astronomy. All US standardized tests are IQ-driven (patterns recognition and "agility" and similar crap) but even EGE in STEM in Russia is still knowledge-driven and even in the standard form presents many problems without multiple-choice answers. Students literally have to write the solution.
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  135. AP says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    "Nonsense. The material side is the most easily measurable, and you were the one boasting about how in the Soviet Union people moved from communal to 2 room apartments. So the Soviet system was a failure from the material perspective. "
    Let's make an experiment. Let's destroy to the ground USA most populous part comparable to the size of Soviet territory destroyed by 1945 and then see how USA will be moving form underground dugouts into mansions. Dugout is where my grandparents started after the war like many others. Immediate task was to give huge numbers of people decent place to live in shortest period possible. Then people started gradually moving into better and better accommodations. USA never went through anything like this hence in reality Soviet project was huge success. Getting up so quickly after such blows that USSR received in 1941-1945 is a fit not easy to repeat and not under system that present in USA.

    1. West Germany did much better after World War II. So USA stayed ahead while also building up western Europe.

    2. USSR was falling further behind in the 1970s and 1980s, long after World War II.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Marshall plan. Small compact territory. Much softer climate. No need to spend huge amounts on military and other developments , like space program and nuclear programs just to mention a few.
    Any idea why Western Europe and japan prefer to let USA spend itself on military into oblivion while keeping own expenses as low as possible...?
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  136. @Anatoly Karlin
    @ Andrey Martyanov,

    Could 1st Secretary of the Republic’s CP or Chairman of the Soviet of Ministers unleash a war out of own volition and for, largely, personal reasons as McCain did?
     
    No, but I don't recall McCain unleashing any wars either. (Though, of course, he contributed well beyond your average Congressman).

    You could easily buy black caviar in Moscow or Leningrad through many Stol Zakazov, including through many industrial enterprises in 1970s-80s... Do you know why you could buy black caviar relatively easily?
     
    My mother's family, as members of what one might call the "lower nomenklatura", could indeed get black caviar in Moscow, in bulk and at absurdly low prices. My dad's family and relatives 120km outside Moscow - fuhgeddaboudit. It was a good day when sausage was in the stores. Popular riddle from the provinces that I'm sure you've heard: "Длинная, зеленая, пахнет колбасой? Электричка из Москвы." (Long, green, smells of sausage? A train from Moscow). People from beyond Moscow would travel into the city just to stock up on sausages.

    I can guess why you could buy black caviar easily (if you had the right documents and/or lived in the right place). The USSR overfished black caviar (environmental protection wasn't its forte either) so catches were on the decline since around 1980. The unrestricted poaching of the 1990s did it in even further.

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/files/asymmsturgeonchangedasymgray.jpg

    So something that was once available by the bucketfuls to some is now an elite luxury product, which anyone can buy (if he has $$$).

    Do you understand a profound difference in difficulty between even most complex humanities tasks, from narrating history to writing an essay, even a very good one, even based on the ability to operate with some serious abstract texts, and say ability to design, calculate and then write a manufacturing plan (as an example) of a, say, pylon for the aircraft engine?
     
    In addition to AP bringing up Linda Gottfredson's famous chart, there is also this:

    http://i.imgur.com/WqcTn4V.jpg

    There is indeed a significant gap between social sciences and the humanities, but it isn't a yawning one. Philosophy is at around the same level as math and engineering; so is economics (which, incidentally, is extremely quantitative at all the respectable schools).

    I think we have to stop here. The table on IQ professions you introduced is a complete BS for the consumption of the products of an American “education”. I would love to observe some Ph.D. in Law dealing even with the basic Laplace Transform.
     
    If it's a PhD from Harvard who absolutely had to master them for whatever strange reason then he'd probably be able to come to that level within a year of concentrated study. (Less if he'd done math to the end of HS, or taken math electives at university, which is not uncommon since American higher ed, unlike most countries, encourages students to diversify).

    There's two rather strange ideas that you seem to be operating from:

    (1) That mathematical and verbal intelligences are highly separate things. In reality, they highly correlate with each other, as Charles Spearman found more than than a century ago. The top mathematician in a class of schoolchildren will be almost certainly way above average in English, and vice versa.

    (2) That verbal intelligence is "worth" much less than mathematical. This viewpoint is even harder to comprehend. I mean, the vast majority of jobs, including elite jobs, have absolutely no need for you to know how to solve differential equations or do Laplace transforms. (Besides, there's any number of guys who can do that whom you can hire for peanuts on the dollar in China or Eastern Europe).

    All this Social “Science” crap is a complete sham as performance of the US which is run by precisely this cohort of people is dismal from military to technological to geopolitical fields. This is the price, a long term debilitating effect, of US killing own public education system.
     
    It isn't at all obvious to me how the US is less geopolitically competent than Russia. Yes, Iraq, whatever. Meanwhile, the geniuses in the Kremlin have managed to lose what was long one of Russia's core territories for the foreseeable future, probably forever in all likelihood.

    Also link to Saker comments.

    (2) That verbal intelligence is “worth” much less than mathematical. This viewpoint is even harder to comprehend. I mean, the vast majority of jobs, including elite jobs, have absolutely no need for you to know how to solve differential equations or do Laplace transforms. (Besides, there’s any number of guys who can do that whom you can hire for peanuts on the dollar in China or Eastern Europe).

    Anatoly, for a person who has a fanatical belief in IQ you exhibit a very strange ignorance on the issue of synapses which are developed and stay with you for the rest of your life even if you do not have to solve differential equations every day. Yes, “verbal intelligence” is worth much less, especially when one observes those dramatic strategic and operational “achievements” of US neocon elites who all, without exception, have high IQs and superb “verbal skills”. Yet, somehow, anything which comes out of their mouths and pens is preposterous, anti-scientific and radically anti-empirical. Again, you exhibit a complete lack of any understanding of the abyss which separates a complexity (and abstract requirements) of a “verbal” skill and an ability to make serious weighted and competent decision because in all your arguments you are missing a key factor–knowledge. I will give you a definition of it again: knowledge is a fullness of information fitted into the rigid framework of causality. No verifiable causality? I don’t care what IQ anyone has or what are their “verbal” skills–they remain ignorant and useless, as last Presidential Elections in US dramatically demonstrated for the whole “statistics” industry in US. All you statistics is sham, since can not create (and neither can you) a reliable connection between cause and effect. I can easily prove to you what a load of BS is most of your data you use without causality–easily done on the review of operations of, say, Patton’s 3rd Army in Lorraine and Bulge. Statistics without knowledge–is a BS.

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  137. @AP
    1. West Germany did much better after World War II. So USA stayed ahead while also building up western Europe.

    2. USSR was falling further behind in the 1970s and 1980s, long after World War II.

    Marshall plan. Small compact territory. Much softer climate. No need to spend huge amounts on military and other developments , like space program and nuclear programs just to mention a few.
    Any idea why Western Europe and japan prefer to let USA spend itself on military into oblivion while keeping own expenses as low as possible…?

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP
    Well, America spent so much on Marshall Plan, aid to Japan, etc. etc. plus on its own military, yet kept improving relative to the USSR the entire time.
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  138. All this talk of “education” is embarrassing. Schools are simply prisons for children that employ parasites unable to perform actual productive jobs.

    Britain didn’t even have engineering schools until 1898–all engineering training prior to then was apprenticeship training.

    To this day I get sad and angry every time I see a school bus.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Do you have children?
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Britain didn’t even have engineering schools until 1898–all engineering training prior to then was apprenticeship training.
     
    Yeah, try to teach a high-school graduate to run a combat ship or calculate stresses on the wing of aircraft through apprenticeship. Better one yet: do the circuit design for telemetry units. I am sure it will be just fine;-)
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  139. @Thorfinnsson
    All this talk of "education" is embarrassing. Schools are simply prisons for children that employ parasites unable to perform actual productive jobs.

    Britain didn't even have engineering schools until 1898--all engineering training prior to then was apprenticeship training.

    To this day I get sad and angry every time I see a school bus.

    Do you have children?

    Read More
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  140. @Anatoly Karlin

    Most of this “statistics” and indices are sham.
     
    Who cares. Far superior to word salad that uses phrases like " barbaric liberal reforms in education."

    Yes, and from here, in the US, they created...
     
    You seem to be misinterpreting what I said.

    Let me try to clarify. The USSR did produce some very good engineers (scientists, mathematicians, etc). The better (and younger) they were, the more likely they were to have decamped to the West - virtually all the Russian scientists of any global reknown, the sort who have a chance at a Nobel or a Fields, work in the West. I hope that much, at least, is uncontroversial. This segment is demographically tiny.

    Then there was a larger upper core of engineers, the vast majority of whom stayed, who can do things like run GLONASS (as can the US, China, and the EU) and man aircraft design bureaus but aren't going to be making fundamental breakthroughts. Those few of them who ended up in the West typically do well for themselves in the private economy, though not better than graduates from respectable American universities.

    There, there is a huge mass of "engineers" who would have been simply been classified as "technicians" in the West ("doctors" who would be "nurses", etc). The USSR didn't do because it had a narcissistic need to "prove" itself better than the capitalist world and "world's highest number of engineers" sounds impressive (its vast numbers of hospital beds are another prime example).

    There, there is a huge mass of “engineers” who would have been simply been classified as “technicians” in the West

    Soviet Diploma of Engineer-Specialist from any good level Soviet University (Institute) would prevent them from “being classified” as “technicians”, even after the lucrative and preposterous business in US was concocted in “translating” all these degrees into the Western Standard of Bachelor’s, Master’s etc. A complete fraud to start with, especially once one begins to look at traditional in the West “selective” courses (how about photography and dancing?) not to mention ridiculous “credit” instead of “program units” system. Moreover, you again are missing a crucial factor–Russian and American average public school programs in STEM are not-comparable. Again, in most US public schools Physics even doesn’t exist as a coherent separate subject being substituted with a generic Hodge-podge collection of random scientific facts and known a Science. There is no such educational subject as “Science”, even in Russian schools today it goes under titles of Physics, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Botanic and later Biology and Astronomy. All US standardized tests are IQ-driven (patterns recognition and “agility” and similar crap) but even EGE in STEM in Russia is still knowledge-driven and even in the standard form presents many problems without multiple-choice answers. Students literally have to write the solution.

    Read More
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  141. @Thorfinnsson
    All this talk of "education" is embarrassing. Schools are simply prisons for children that employ parasites unable to perform actual productive jobs.

    Britain didn't even have engineering schools until 1898--all engineering training prior to then was apprenticeship training.

    To this day I get sad and angry every time I see a school bus.

    Britain didn’t even have engineering schools until 1898–all engineering training prior to then was apprenticeship training.

    Yeah, try to teach a high-school graduate to run a combat ship or calculate stresses on the wing of aircraft through apprenticeship. Better one yet: do the circuit design for telemetry units. I am sure it will be just fine;-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Just like this ;)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlBNz4QYpZ0
    , @Thorfinnsson

    Do you have children?
     
    No. I plan to home school. Would consider a prep school for high school if any traditional ones still exist, but my assumption is that they are now all pozzed.

    Will send sons to university provided they commit to studying appropriate subjects, which contrary to Andrei Martyanov includes more than just STEM.

    Any daughters of course will never be sent anywhere near a university or even high school.


    Yeah, try to teach a high-school graduate to run a combat ship or calculate stresses on the wing of aircraft through apprenticeship. Better one yet: do the circuit design for telemetry units. I am sure it will be just fine;-)
     
    My comment was of course tongue in cheek, but actually I'm not sure why any of those examples could not be taught by apprenticeship. In fact one of the electrical engineers who works for me has no college training (though all his colleagues do). I won't deny the merit of formalized tertiary education and do in fact support it where appropriate, but "education" has become a kind of cargo cult for anti-hereditarians.
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  142. AP says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Marshall plan. Small compact territory. Much softer climate. No need to spend huge amounts on military and other developments , like space program and nuclear programs just to mention a few.
    Any idea why Western Europe and japan prefer to let USA spend itself on military into oblivion while keeping own expenses as low as possible...?

    Well, America spent so much on Marshall Plan, aid to Japan, etc. etc. plus on its own military, yet kept improving relative to the USSR the entire time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Again, you forget about Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever. Do you really think USA would be anything near that level of affluence while being raised to the ground regularly ? You seem not to understand this simple fact. USA is extremely lucky nation and USA location safe from invasions, climate, geography and plentiful resources easily available have everything to do with that affluence. In any case, while lagging in material part behind USA , USSR was basically on par in many other aspects and was gaining fast. It is still amazing as it was all done under very unfavorable conditions unlike those of USA.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    yet kept improving relative to the USSR the entire time.
     
    In what? Mind you, I do not deny very real problems USSR faced, some of them unsolvable (national fringes), but prey tell how did US "improve"? By the end of Reagan's term US was de-industrializing with ever increasing speed. US education, it seems, is in perpetual and quite real crisis. What so "improved" in US, apart from some important scientific breakthroughs in medicine, say from 1986 through 2017? Since early 1990s, to my undeniable regret and, sometimes, horror, I observe how country slides more and more towards Second World, while in some and many places begins to resemble full blown Third world shithole both materially and politically.
    , @Anon

    For him only material side matters.
     
    So speaks the champion of dialectical materialism?
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  143. @Andrei Martyanov

    Britain didn’t even have engineering schools until 1898–all engineering training prior to then was apprenticeship training.
     
    Yeah, try to teach a high-school graduate to run a combat ship or calculate stresses on the wing of aircraft through apprenticeship. Better one yet: do the circuit design for telemetry units. I am sure it will be just fine;-)

    Just like this ;)

    Read More
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  144. @AP
    Well, America spent so much on Marshall Plan, aid to Japan, etc. etc. plus on its own military, yet kept improving relative to the USSR the entire time.

    Again, you forget about Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever. Do you really think USA would be anything near that level of affluence while being raised to the ground regularly ? You seem not to understand this simple fact. USA is extremely lucky nation and USA location safe from invasions, climate, geography and plentiful resources easily available have everything to do with that affluence. In any case, while lagging in material part behind USA , USSR was basically on par in many other aspects and was gaining fast. It is still amazing as it was all done under very unfavorable conditions unlike those of USA.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever
     
    Germany did quite well. True, it was rebuilt by the Americans. But this shows that Americans were rebuilding much of the world while still experiencing dramatic increase in prosperity.

    In any case, while lagging in material part behind USA , USSR was basically on par in many other aspects
     
    In education up to but not at the elite graduate level. Not in healthcare, entertainment, etc.

    and was gaining fast
     
    It was gaining fast in the 1960s but was falling further and further behind from the late 1970s.

    Also, Soviets are not quite blameless for the extent of destruction twice in the 20th century. This argument is sort of akin to a guy who burned his own house down twice saying to his more prosperous neighbors - of course I don't live as well as you - I had to rebuild my home twice!
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    Again, you forget about Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever.
     
    This factor is completely removed from pretty much any discussion in the US and, of course, by Russian "liberals". Yet, it is a defining factor in all this "statistics", including a massive demographic hole with half of 1918-22 male generation wiped out. Here, however, how US Fed. reported US "hardships" in WWII in terms of recovery from Great Depression.

    New Deal pre-WWII America was still a nation which had to deal with the 1937-1938 recession which dropped industrial production catastrophically by 32%, GDP Contacted 10% and unemployment remained prohibitively high at 20%6. This was not a healthy situation. The United Sates was simply in very bad shape. It was WWII, in the end, which resolved the issue of a much needed real recovery from the Great Depression. The recovery was spectacular: by 1942 output grew by 49%, fueled by the steady inflow of gold from Europe, including from the Soviet Union, and by the military buildup7. Full employment was achieved.
     
    For reference: Recession of 1937–38, Patricia Waiwood, www.federalreservehistory.org
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  145. @Wally
    "It was just a big shiny-new continent to rob, that’s all. "

    Except that it wasn't "robbed".

    Except that it wasn’t “robbed”.

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Are those buffalo skulls? Easy come easy go. Pretty much good display of American national psych.
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  146. @AP
    Well, America spent so much on Marshall Plan, aid to Japan, etc. etc. plus on its own military, yet kept improving relative to the USSR the entire time.

    yet kept improving relative to the USSR the entire time.

    In what? Mind you, I do not deny very real problems USSR faced, some of them unsolvable (national fringes), but prey tell how did US “improve”? By the end of Reagan’s term US was de-industrializing with ever increasing speed. US education, it seems, is in perpetual and quite real crisis. What so “improved” in US, apart from some important scientific breakthroughs in medicine, say from 1986 through 2017? Since early 1990s, to my undeniable regret and, sometimes, horror, I observe how country slides more and more towards Second World, while in some and many places begins to resemble full blown Third world shithole both materially and politically.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    I do not deny very real problems USSR faced, some of them unsolvable (national fringes), but prey tell how did US “improve”?
     
    Measures such as life expectancy, living space size, income, etc.

    By the end of Reagan’s term US was de-industrializing with ever increasing speed.
     
    It's industrial production was stagnant (and at a high level), but not declining:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/industrial-production

    It was just becoming smaller relative to other sectors of the economy because they were exploding.
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  147. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Except that it wasn’t “robbed”.
     
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Bison_skull_pile-restored.jpg

    Are those buffalo skulls? Easy come easy go. Pretty much good display of American national psych.

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    • Replies: @Joe Wong
    The photo just happens to show buffalo skulls, the skulls of the people of First Nations of North America slaughtered by the White from the old continent of Europe will make that pile of buffalo skulls look like mole mount, but again the skulls of the people slaughtered by the American and European around the world will make the pile of West Indian's skull look like mole mount too; but the American believes whatever USA does is necessary with the best intention, this is the real display of American national psych.
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  148. @Andrei Martyanov

    Britain didn’t even have engineering schools until 1898–all engineering training prior to then was apprenticeship training.
     
    Yeah, try to teach a high-school graduate to run a combat ship or calculate stresses on the wing of aircraft through apprenticeship. Better one yet: do the circuit design for telemetry units. I am sure it will be just fine;-)

    Do you have children?

    No. I plan to home school. Would consider a prep school for high school if any traditional ones still exist, but my assumption is that they are now all pozzed.

    Will send sons to university provided they commit to studying appropriate subjects, which contrary to Andrei Martyanov includes more than just STEM.

    Any daughters of course will never be sent anywhere near a university or even high school.

    Yeah, try to teach a high-school graduate to run a combat ship or calculate stresses on the wing of aircraft through apprenticeship. Better one yet: do the circuit design for telemetry units. I am sure it will be just fine;-)

    My comment was of course tongue in cheek, but actually I’m not sure why any of those examples could not be taught by apprenticeship. In fact one of the electrical engineers who works for me has no college training (though all his colleagues do). I won’t deny the merit of formalized tertiary education and do in fact support it where appropriate, but “education” has become a kind of cargo cult for anti-hereditarians.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    No. I plan to home school
     
    I was in business of teaching homeschool students, among many, for 15 years. Among my math-physics students who went directly from home to higher learning institutions are several graduates of US Naval Academy, Embry-Riddle, WUSL (one of them went to work for Musk immediately and then ran like crazy away from this "organization"), just to name a few. I am keenly aware of the "level" of US home school community and it is not very high to put it mildly precisely in the field of the precise sciences. For homeschoolers who wanted to make it STEM I was hired full-time sometimes. Most made it. I have nothing against homeschooling when it is done, as conflicting as it sounds, professionally well. Otherwise, US already has a gigantic oversupply of musically educated kids, as well as of good essay-writers etc.
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  149. @Thorfinnsson

    Do you have children?
     
    No. I plan to home school. Would consider a prep school for high school if any traditional ones still exist, but my assumption is that they are now all pozzed.

    Will send sons to university provided they commit to studying appropriate subjects, which contrary to Andrei Martyanov includes more than just STEM.

    Any daughters of course will never be sent anywhere near a university or even high school.


    Yeah, try to teach a high-school graduate to run a combat ship or calculate stresses on the wing of aircraft through apprenticeship. Better one yet: do the circuit design for telemetry units. I am sure it will be just fine;-)
     
    My comment was of course tongue in cheek, but actually I'm not sure why any of those examples could not be taught by apprenticeship. In fact one of the electrical engineers who works for me has no college training (though all his colleagues do). I won't deny the merit of formalized tertiary education and do in fact support it where appropriate, but "education" has become a kind of cargo cult for anti-hereditarians.

    No. I plan to home school

    I was in business of teaching homeschool students, among many, for 15 years. Among my math-physics students who went directly from home to higher learning institutions are several graduates of US Naval Academy, Embry-Riddle, WUSL (one of them went to work for Musk immediately and then ran like crazy away from this “organization”), just to name a few. I am keenly aware of the “level” of US home school community and it is not very high to put it mildly precisely in the field of the precise sciences. For homeschoolers who wanted to make it STEM I was hired full-time sometimes. Most made it. I have nothing against homeschooling when it is done, as conflicting as it sounds, professionally well. Otherwise, US already has a gigantic oversupply of musically educated kids, as well as of good essay-writers etc.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Home schooling doesn't preclude hiring outside tutors where appropriate. I'm very fit to teach certain subjects, but beyond a certain level I'm not competent to teach most STEM subjects.

    The purpose of home schooling isn't so much to provide your children with superior education--though that is a desirable result--but to keep them away from the degenerate, Satanic garbage that infests mainstream Western culture and especially the education system.

    If we had traditional schools of the sort which were predominant nearly everywhere before the Second World War (or perhaps even earlier--coeducation was widespread even before the war, and IIRC the "whole word" language learning method was in use by the 20s) I would have no objection whatsoever to sending children to school.

    But as it is today the system is an evil monster that must be destroyed.

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  150. @Andrei Martyanov

    No. I plan to home school
     
    I was in business of teaching homeschool students, among many, for 15 years. Among my math-physics students who went directly from home to higher learning institutions are several graduates of US Naval Academy, Embry-Riddle, WUSL (one of them went to work for Musk immediately and then ran like crazy away from this "organization"), just to name a few. I am keenly aware of the "level" of US home school community and it is not very high to put it mildly precisely in the field of the precise sciences. For homeschoolers who wanted to make it STEM I was hired full-time sometimes. Most made it. I have nothing against homeschooling when it is done, as conflicting as it sounds, professionally well. Otherwise, US already has a gigantic oversupply of musically educated kids, as well as of good essay-writers etc.

    Home schooling doesn’t preclude hiring outside tutors where appropriate. I’m very fit to teach certain subjects, but beyond a certain level I’m not competent to teach most STEM subjects.

    The purpose of home schooling isn’t so much to provide your children with superior education–though that is a desirable result–but to keep them away from the degenerate, Satanic garbage that infests mainstream Western culture and especially the education system.

    If we had traditional schools of the sort which were predominant nearly everywhere before the Second World War (or perhaps even earlier–coeducation was widespread even before the war, and IIRC the “whole word” language learning method was in use by the 20s) I would have no objection whatsoever to sending children to school.

    But as it is today the system is an evil monster that must be destroyed.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    The purpose of home schooling isn’t so much to provide your children with superior education–though that is a desirable result–but to keep them away from the degenerate, Satanic garbage that infests mainstream Western culture and especially the education system.
     
    I hear you and am sympathetic to your position, in many ways I share it. American children were given a raw deal, they were cheated, despite the fact that there are many wonderfully bright and capable kids, many already good people too. Good luck with your endeavor.
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  151. @Thorfinnsson
    Home schooling doesn't preclude hiring outside tutors where appropriate. I'm very fit to teach certain subjects, but beyond a certain level I'm not competent to teach most STEM subjects.

    The purpose of home schooling isn't so much to provide your children with superior education--though that is a desirable result--but to keep them away from the degenerate, Satanic garbage that infests mainstream Western culture and especially the education system.

    If we had traditional schools of the sort which were predominant nearly everywhere before the Second World War (or perhaps even earlier--coeducation was widespread even before the war, and IIRC the "whole word" language learning method was in use by the 20s) I would have no objection whatsoever to sending children to school.

    But as it is today the system is an evil monster that must be destroyed.

    The purpose of home schooling isn’t so much to provide your children with superior education–though that is a desirable result–but to keep them away from the degenerate, Satanic garbage that infests mainstream Western culture and especially the education system.

    I hear you and am sympathetic to your position, in many ways I share it. American children were given a raw deal, they were cheated, despite the fact that there are many wonderfully bright and capable kids, many already good people too. Good luck with your endeavor.

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  152. AP says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Again, you forget about Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever. Do you really think USA would be anything near that level of affluence while being raised to the ground regularly ? You seem not to understand this simple fact. USA is extremely lucky nation and USA location safe from invasions, climate, geography and plentiful resources easily available have everything to do with that affluence. In any case, while lagging in material part behind USA , USSR was basically on par in many other aspects and was gaining fast. It is still amazing as it was all done under very unfavorable conditions unlike those of USA.

    Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever

    Germany did quite well. True, it was rebuilt by the Americans. But this shows that Americans were rebuilding much of the world while still experiencing dramatic increase in prosperity.

    In any case, while lagging in material part behind USA , USSR was basically on par in many other aspects

    In education up to but not at the elite graduate level. Not in healthcare, entertainment, etc.

    and was gaining fast

    It was gaining fast in the 1960s but was falling further and further behind from the late 1970s.

    Also, Soviets are not quite blameless for the extent of destruction twice in the 20th century. This argument is sort of akin to a guy who burned his own house down twice saying to his more prosperous neighbors – of course I don’t live as well as you – I had to rebuild my home twice!

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    • Agree: Mr. Hack
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  153. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    yet kept improving relative to the USSR the entire time.
     
    In what? Mind you, I do not deny very real problems USSR faced, some of them unsolvable (national fringes), but prey tell how did US "improve"? By the end of Reagan's term US was de-industrializing with ever increasing speed. US education, it seems, is in perpetual and quite real crisis. What so "improved" in US, apart from some important scientific breakthroughs in medicine, say from 1986 through 2017? Since early 1990s, to my undeniable regret and, sometimes, horror, I observe how country slides more and more towards Second World, while in some and many places begins to resemble full blown Third world shithole both materially and politically.

    I do not deny very real problems USSR faced, some of them unsolvable (national fringes), but prey tell how did US “improve”?

    Measures such as life expectancy, living space size, income, etc.

    By the end of Reagan’s term US was de-industrializing with ever increasing speed.

    It’s industrial production was stagnant (and at a high level), but not declining:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/industrial-production

    It was just becoming smaller relative to other sectors of the economy because they were exploding.

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    It was just becoming smaller relative to other sectors of the economy because they were exploding.
     
    No, the real output dropped catastrophically. You don't trust me? Visit any Walmart. But better calculate non productive sectors from US (for the lack of better sources, still convoluted) BEA

    https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=a&5102=15

    Share of productive sectors in US economy is around 18 percent. The rest? FIRE, services and government. Just to give you some heads up--modern day Russia's productive (manufacturing) sector is at least twice larger in percentage (share) of GDP. I will open you some small secret: only producing nations are real competitors in this world. But here we have to get into more serious geopolitical and geoeconomic issues.
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  154. @Sergey Krieger
    Again, you forget about Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever. Do you really think USA would be anything near that level of affluence while being raised to the ground regularly ? You seem not to understand this simple fact. USA is extremely lucky nation and USA location safe from invasions, climate, geography and plentiful resources easily available have everything to do with that affluence. In any case, while lagging in material part behind USA , USSR was basically on par in many other aspects and was gaining fast. It is still amazing as it was all done under very unfavorable conditions unlike those of USA.

    Again, you forget about Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever.

    This factor is completely removed from pretty much any discussion in the US and, of course, by Russian “liberals”. Yet, it is a defining factor in all this “statistics”, including a massive demographic hole with half of 1918-22 male generation wiped out. Here, however, how US Fed. reported US “hardships” in WWII in terms of recovery from Great Depression.

    New Deal pre-WWII America was still a nation which had to deal with the 1937-1938 recession which dropped industrial production catastrophically by 32%, GDP Contacted 10% and unemployment remained prohibitively high at 20%6. This was not a healthy situation. The United Sates was simply in very bad shape. It was WWII, in the end, which resolved the issue of a much needed real recovery from the Great Depression. The recovery was spectacular: by 1942 output grew by 49%, fueled by the steady inflow of gold from Europe, including from the Soviet Union, and by the military buildup7. Full employment was achieved.

    For reference: Recession of 1937–38, Patricia Waiwood, http://www.federalreservehistory.org

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    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Amazing. Talk about benefiting from others hardship. What's more amazing that by Perestroika not just proto liberals but many common people forgot about what we had to go through and rebuild. Of course there were issues but many were due to necessity to rebuild.
    I also remember you posted in your blog work by former Soviet officer regarding Soviet leadership overestimating USA capabilities and spending far more then necessary on military and obviously on the whole A group neglecting group B. Still, I wonder was not there the plan to undermine moral via deliberate deficit creation. You also posted something bout conflicting plans by different KGB directorates about possible ways of USSR reforms.
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  155. @AP

    I do not deny very real problems USSR faced, some of them unsolvable (national fringes), but prey tell how did US “improve”?
     
    Measures such as life expectancy, living space size, income, etc.

    By the end of Reagan’s term US was de-industrializing with ever increasing speed.
     
    It's industrial production was stagnant (and at a high level), but not declining:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/industrial-production

    It was just becoming smaller relative to other sectors of the economy because they were exploding.

    It was just becoming smaller relative to other sectors of the economy because they were exploding.

    No, the real output dropped catastrophically. You don’t trust me? Visit any Walmart. But better calculate non productive sectors from US (for the lack of better sources, still convoluted) BEA

    https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=a&5102=15

    Share of productive sectors in US economy is around 18 percent. The rest? FIRE, services and government. Just to give you some heads up–modern day Russia’s productive (manufacturing) sector is at least twice larger in percentage (share) of GDP. I will open you some small secret: only producing nations are real competitors in this world. But here we have to get into more serious geopolitical and geoeconomic issues.

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    • Replies: @AP
    The table you linked to showed increase in industrial and manufacturing output.

    Share of productive sectors in US economy is around 18 percent. The rest? FIRE, services and government. Just to give you some heads up–modern day Russia’s productive (manufacturing) sector is at least twice larger in percentage (share) of GDP.
     
    Share as % of GDP may have declined but the actual output didn't under Reagan. The other sectors just grew a lot more. You might be confusing number of jobs (which has declined due to robots) with amount produced.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-manufacturing-dead-output-has-doubled-in-three-decades-2016-03-28

    Here is US manufacturing output:

    https://ei.marketwatch.com//Multimedia/2016/03/25/Photos/MG/MW-EI733_output_20160325121729_MG.jpg?uuid=12753a28-f2a5-11e5-908d-0015c588dfa6
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  156. @Andrei Martyanov

    Again, you forget about Russia being destroyed twice in 20th century while USA suffering no such calamities ever.
     
    This factor is completely removed from pretty much any discussion in the US and, of course, by Russian "liberals". Yet, it is a defining factor in all this "statistics", including a massive demographic hole with half of 1918-22 male generation wiped out. Here, however, how US Fed. reported US "hardships" in WWII in terms of recovery from Great Depression.

    New Deal pre-WWII America was still a nation which had to deal with the 1937-1938 recession which dropped industrial production catastrophically by 32%, GDP Contacted 10% and unemployment remained prohibitively high at 20%6. This was not a healthy situation. The United Sates was simply in very bad shape. It was WWII, in the end, which resolved the issue of a much needed real recovery from the Great Depression. The recovery was spectacular: by 1942 output grew by 49%, fueled by the steady inflow of gold from Europe, including from the Soviet Union, and by the military buildup7. Full employment was achieved.
     
    For reference: Recession of 1937–38, Patricia Waiwood, www.federalreservehistory.org

    Amazing. Talk about benefiting from others hardship. What’s more amazing that by Perestroika not just proto liberals but many common people forgot about what we had to go through and rebuild. Of course there were issues but many were due to necessity to rebuild.
    I also remember you posted in your blog work by former Soviet officer regarding Soviet leadership overestimating USA capabilities and spending far more then necessary on military and obviously on the whole A group neglecting group B. Still, I wonder was not there the plan to undermine moral via deliberate deficit creation. You also posted something bout conflicting plans by different KGB directorates about possible ways of USSR reforms.

    Read More
    • Replies: @gerad

    Amazing. Talk about benefiting from others hardship. What’s more amazing that by Perestroika not just proto liberals but many common people forgot about what we had to go through and rebuild. Of course there were issues but many were due to necessity to rebuild.
    I also remember you posted in your blog work by former Soviet officer regarding Soviet leadership overestimating USA capabilities and spending far more then necessary on military and obviously on the whole A group neglecting group B. Still, I wonder was not there the plan to undermine moral via deliberate deficit creation. You also posted something bout conflicting plans by different KGB directorates about possible ways of USSR reforms.
     
    The period of 1945-1975 in the Soviet Union was the most successful and most impressive on any country in history. 75-89 wasn't too bad either
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  157. peterAUS says:

    Well…..a lot of talk about USSR/Russia. That’s fine.

    For us more interested in the idea of ‘socialism’ (in some form), well, can anybody actually define what that is?
    If 5 seconds Googling can give;
    ‘a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”
    the obvious problem is impracticability.
    You can’t have complex systems regulated by community.
    WHO are those chosen/elected/appointed to make decisions is the crux of the system. Any system when you think about it.
    Power corrupts. Masses are, fundamentally, dumb and intellectually/morally lazy (of course you can’t tell them that).

    It’s obvious that the current system in West (and regardless what Rusophiles/Sinophiles/whatever say, too) doesn’t work well for more than half a population.
    It works perfectly for 1 % and rather well for, say, 19 % more. The rest, from not that well to really bad.

    So….we try to find a better system.

    People in a Losing Group (PLG from now on) in West are trying to, somehow, vote back those years when things were better for them. Doesn’t work, obviously. Nobody really wants to go deep into that.
    Just:”give me back those nice years”.

    PLG in Russia, apparently, also want those ‘nice’ years back; or at least what they remember as ‘nice’. There is a thing with human nature that we remember good things better than bad.

    Islamists want also their ‘good years back’. At least they offer a full package so ‘downtrodden’ flock there.Full package as spiritual part there too. A man lives not by bread alone.

    NOBODY has a practical solution for the current paradigm. Nobody from and for PLGs that is.
    The smartest in that group just want to join those 20%.

    Dystopian future of Brasil type is the most likely.
    Not as crude as in Brasil of course. Better carrot and much better stick.

    Until some visionary finds practicable solution for PLGs. Maybe never.

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  158. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @AP
    Well, America spent so much on Marshall Plan, aid to Japan, etc. etc. plus on its own military, yet kept improving relative to the USSR the entire time.

    For him only material side matters.

    So speaks the champion of dialectical materialism?

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  159. You can’t have complex systems regulated by community.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers%27_self-management

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    • Replies: @peterAUS
    Yeah.....

    Nice theory.
    A bit worse in practice....especially that Yugoslavia thing.
    Oh, yes....didn't work because the big bad capitalists/reactionaries/Americans/any bad guy didn't allow those ...'examples'....to flourish.
    Sure.

    I mean, if that's the best 'downtrodden' are hoping for, I am definitely getting ready on 'Brasil type' 20 % in lording over all of us.
    No way around it.
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  160. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources.
     
    With private ownership, in a modern capitalist economy, there is no market-based price system either. Try to haggle at a supermarket or departments store. Prices are assigned by bureaucrats, just like in the Soviet system. Contracts between companies signed long-term. Where I work, the outsourcing contract has just been signed for the next 5 years.

    Market-based prices you'll find at a yard sale or flea market. They may also exist at a farmers' market, assuming the vendors didn't collude (not very likely). And I'm pretty sure there were more flea markets and farmers' markets in communist countries.

    If you think that the prices of tires, engines and car seat cushions available in stores are set by bureaucrats, I have a bridge to sell you.

    (Facepalm.)

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    • Replies: @Anon

    Otherwise, US already has a gigantic oversupply of musically educated kids, as well as of good essay-writers etc.
     
    Maybe the former but judging by my experience of reading undergrad philosophy (and other) papers certainly not the latter.
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    If you think that the prices of tires, engines and car seat cushions available in stores are set by bureaucrats, I have a bridge to sell you.
     
    Not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying you go a store, see a car seat cushion tagged as $19.99, approach the clerk, offer him $17.78 for it, and wait for his offer? And who, do you think, came up with the $19.99 price in the first place?
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  161. @Thorfinnsson
    Request to ban this commenter and all other libertarians from this blog.

    It's completely unacceptable to still be a libertarian in the current year.

    Joking, of course. I shouldn't debate religious fanatics, but here goes:

    I didn’t notice that today’s socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of “socialist economics” posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.
     
    Socialist economists in von Mises' own day proposed market socialism as an alternative. The USSR itself set prices based on input costs of goods. Various efforts were made by the planners over the years to improve the accuracy of this.

    In reality, as opposed to the fantasy land you inhabit, socialism in practice didn't collapse into chaos as a result of non-market prices. This was studied empirically (you know, that tradition of inquiry you lunatic rejects) after the USSR collapsed: https://nintil.com/2016/11/07/the-soviet-union-productive-efficiency/

    Note that the author of the above piece is a self-described libertarian, though not of the ISIS-like Austrian splinter faction you inhabit.

    Even if we accept the premises of von Mises' argument the problem could be solved with linear programming and sufficient computing power. Late Soviet economists were in fact working on this.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it’s impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.
     
    This is a tautology. Go figure you can't have market prices without a market. Duhhhhhh.

    I realize this is probably futile on a religious fanatic like yourself, but you're faced with the problem that real, existing socialist economies routinely did this for decades. The Five Year Plan for instance is a mechanism to allocate investment.


    If we have “Single Payer” medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?
     
    In a single payer system these decisions are by hospitals themselves, as single payer simply means the government pays providers. Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.

    You're thinking perhaps of the Beveridge Model, such as in the United Kingdom. In that case decisions are made by bureacrats working for the National Health Service.

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since “how many needed” varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.
     
    Empirical reality, which again von Mises and his disciple Rothbard (both Jews incidentally) reject, shows that in fact it can be sorted out. And it is being sorted out every single day. Furthermore, most non-market systems do in fact use prices and often (but not always) incorporate market elements.

    This is nothing new incidentally. In a major war how does an army decide which fronts get reinforced with more troops and shells? Certainly not by market prices.

    Calling today’s corporatist capture of political systems “capitalism” is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.
     
    It's not your view at all. It's regurgitated garbage from Lew Rockwell and the gang.

    You do realize that the term capitalism was created by communists?

    Just because YOU religious fanatics insist that capitalism is a synonym of libertarianism doesn't mean the rest of us need to agree.

    It's embarrassing and outrageous that you people still exist.

    Go back and read Leonard Reed’s “I, pencil.”

    You’re far, far too short for this ride, if you think market-based prices is a monopoly within libertarianism.

    You deride market prices and then, five lines later, suggest they are used by this hybrid system you embrace. Okay. How’s this? Who decides how much each hospital gets to divvy up between its adminstrators’ pet projects? Who decides how much hospitals get, vs schools, vs. universities, vs welfare payments, etc.?

    And here I get accused of being an ideologue….

    You guys and your “we can improve on that” bureaucracies. You put the bureaucrats at the DMV in charge of all people’s lives. We don’t thank you.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I've read the essay. Like much of the alt right I too was once a libertarian. Something clearly went wrong in your intellectual development in that you still embrace the libertarian religion.

    You'll note that the Soviet Union produced pencils as well.

    I am not, and I don't think anyone else here is either, an advocate of central planning.

    We're simply not religious fanatics who reject empirical reality in favor of the shibboleths from your high priests Mises, Rothbard, and Rockwell.


    Who decides how much each hospital gets to divvy up between its adminstrators’ pet projects? Who decides how much hospitals get, vs schools, vs. universities, vs welfare payments, etc.?
     
    This is such an incredibly stupid question. Broadly, the political leadership does.

    You guys and your “we can improve on that” bureaucracies. You put the bureaucrats at the DMV in charge of all people’s lives. We don’t thank you.
     
    The DMV in my town works just fine. No lines and quick, friendly service. Probably because I live in one of the dwindling all-white areas of the country.

    I am appalled not only that you exist but that you read the same website I do.
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  162. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @dc.sunsets
    If you think that the prices of tires, engines and car seat cushions available in stores are set by bureaucrats, I have a bridge to sell you.

    (Facepalm.)

    Otherwise, US already has a gigantic oversupply of musically educated kids, as well as of good essay-writers etc.

    Maybe the former but judging by my experience of reading undergrad philosophy (and other) papers certainly not the latter.

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    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
    Huh? I think you quoted the wrong comment.

    I hear what's going on in recent years in a fourth grade classroom. If you think it's bad now, wait a few years.

    Our fine folks who brought us the current Medical Cartel (Single Payer in all but name, given how much Corporatist control exists top to bottom...Mussolini would be proud) also brought us recent innovations in K-12 education, for example, putting (literally) 58-IQ students in the regular ed classrooms of grade schools.

    I guess this is what Thorrfinnie thinks is a great "hybrid" market, where taxpayers pay, bureaucrats design and parents who can't afford an alternative are stuck with the tax-paid monopoly that results.
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  163. LauraMR says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Read the Gulag Archipelago.
     
    I hope you know that GULAG Archipelago is a fiction literature? No? Well, as much as local fighters with communism would love it to be a "document" but the full title of GULAG Archipelago is this: GULAG Archipelago. The Experience in Fictional Study.

    http://www.pravmir.ru/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Solzhenitsyin-A.-Arhipelag-GULag-02.jpeg

    This is not to mention that most actual descriptions of GULAG, which did exist and there were crimes committed, no doubt, was stolen by Solzhenitsyn from real GULAG writer, Varlam Shalamov. As Shalamov himself wrote, and I give a precise quote from his diary: "No bitch from "progressive humanity" should be allowed near my archive. I forbid writer Solzhenitsyn and all those having thoughts similar to his have acquaintance with my archive."(c)
    New Book: Reminiscences. Notebooks. Letters. Investigations. Notebooks of 1972. Varlam Shalamov. Exmo, 2004. Pages: 342-345

    Most, not all, what Solzhenitsyn wrote in GULAG and after, from statistics to geopolitical "assessments" is, basically, a made up shit. So, there is no surprise then, that so many Solzhenitsyn's fans (apart from lacking a general culture and intellect to see Solzhenitsyn for what he was--a mediocre writer) both Russian and Western are constantly confused about anything related to Russia--one is bound to be when uses Solzhenitsyn's writings as a foundation for the worldview. You want to know real numbers of GULAG and what real crimes were committed etc. Start with Zemskov and then slowly, possibly with the use of antidepressants, go towards Thurston's very good treatise Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941. just for a good primer. But primarily, if you want to really learn anything about that start communicating with everyday Russians, not some "intellectuals" or "intelligentsia", which has nothing intelligent about itself, and while doing so, try to ask how many of those Russians had people in their families taken to GULAG--you may be surprised with the answers and it will help you to understand why during Solzhenitsyn's funeral in Moscow in 2008 there were so embarrassingly few people attending it. All Russian TV Networks reported that, while NTV even stated that it is still not the end of the day;-)

    Crimes were committed?

    Oh, my!

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    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    Crimes were committed? Oh, my!
     
    Yeah, I know--it is so disappointing that those damn Russians for some reasons refused to confirm Solzh's or his favorite "statistician", so called prof. Kurganov (former White Army emigre and Nazi collaborator), numbers and refused to die in tens of millions, nay in hundreds of billions in GULAG. How arrogant of these damn Russians to open their archives but maybe, just maybe--hear me out--there is something else behind it? For example, can you explain to me why poplar Russian Orthodox Priest Alexiy Moroz (among many people of faith) states this:

    "I am not a fan of Solzhenitsyn writings. In places his books create not only misunderstanding but the sense of rejection. In (some) of his books he exposed Russians to the West in the unpresentable fashion. We know that when he left for the West he was actively published there and was perceived there as the “bullhorn (herald) of the truth” about Russia, sadly, he said not a single good word about people and Russia. He describes atrocities, accidents, betrayal, lie, deception, which, of course, were always present in our history, but in his books there is nothing positive, as if Russian people consist only of thieves, murderers, liars, cowards and scoundrels. No positive examples are present in his books. And when western reader accepts such information as the ultimate truth about Russia, he imagines a very specific image of Russian people, but that is an absolute lie”
     
    Also, how come that since 2012 even in "liberal" (Levada-center, for example) polls, time after time Stalin comes as the most important historic figures in Russian history, trailed by Pushkin, Gagarin, Peter the Great and Putin himself? I'll give you a hint: as American-Canadian Russia "scholar", Ph.D. in American (and Russian) History, John Robson stated in the editorial in Ottawa Citizen in 2000:

    "Normal for Russia is filthy, corrupt, menacing and hollow. Nothing good has happened there, nor will it. Russia is a lump of dung wrapped in a cabbage leaf hidden in an outhouse. Russia is doomed by history and culture. It stinks, literally and figuratively, and always has. People there have no manners. . . . The bottom line is: Russia has sucked, sucks and will suck."
     
    Do you get my drift? Warmer? I just gave you a small opening in the "nature" and "level" of most (not all, I admit--there are some few exceptions) American (Western in general) Russia "scholarship".
    , @Seraphim
    The real reason of the attacks against Solzhenitsyn is "Two Hundred Years Together" and not so much the allegedly 'fictional' Gulag Archipelago. And the most offending part of the 'Gulag' is its disclosure that instrumental in the creation of the Gulag and its functioning were people like Naftaly Aronovich Frenkel, Matvei Davidovich Berman, Semyon Grigoryevich Firin, Lazar Iosifovich Kogan, Yakov Davidovich Rappoport. You fill in the dots.
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  164. peterAUS says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    You can’t have complex systems regulated by community.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers%27_self-management

    Yeah…..

    Nice theory.
    A bit worse in practice….especially that Yugoslavia thing.
    Oh, yes….didn’t work because the big bad capitalists/reactionaries/Americans/any bad guy didn’t allow those …’examples’….to flourish.
    Sure.

    I mean, if that’s the best ‘downtrodden’ are hoping for, I am definitely getting ready on ‘Brasil type’ 20 % in lording over all of us.
    No way around it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    A bit worse in practice….especially that Yugoslavia thing.
     
    I have to disagree with that. The Yugoslavia thing was quite successful, and for a non- trivial period of time, 30-35 years. That's a meaningful historical event, imo. Certainly more definitive than the 1930s anarchy-syndicalist experiment in Spain.
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  165. @Anon

    Otherwise, US already has a gigantic oversupply of musically educated kids, as well as of good essay-writers etc.
     
    Maybe the former but judging by my experience of reading undergrad philosophy (and other) papers certainly not the latter.

    Huh? I think you quoted the wrong comment.

    I hear what’s going on in recent years in a fourth grade classroom. If you think it’s bad now, wait a few years.

    Our fine folks who brought us the current Medical Cartel (Single Payer in all but name, given how much Corporatist control exists top to bottom…Mussolini would be proud) also brought us recent innovations in K-12 education, for example, putting (literally) 58-IQ students in the regular ed classrooms of grade schools.

    I guess this is what Thorrfinnie thinks is a great “hybrid” market, where taxpayers pay, bureaucrats design and parents who can’t afford an alternative are stuck with the tax-paid monopoly that results.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon

    Huh? I think you quoted the wrong comment.
     
    Yes; the comment-reply system seems to be screwed up slightly when posting from the comment page for Karlin's blog.

    (This is a reply to #165).

    Thanks for the reply though.

    EDIT:

    The first time I tried to post this it was left as an unlinked reply. Paging Mr Unz...

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  166. @Thorfinnsson
    Request to ban this commenter and all other libertarians from this blog.

    It's completely unacceptable to still be a libertarian in the current year.

    Joking, of course. I shouldn't debate religious fanatics, but here goes:

    I didn’t notice that today’s socialists have found a solution to the irrefutable criticism of “socialist economics” posed by Mises almost 100 years ago.
     
    Socialist economists in von Mises' own day proposed market socialism as an alternative. The USSR itself set prices based on input costs of goods. Various efforts were made by the planners over the years to improve the accuracy of this.

    In reality, as opposed to the fantasy land you inhabit, socialism in practice didn't collapse into chaos as a result of non-market prices. This was studied empirically (you know, that tradition of inquiry you lunatic rejects) after the USSR collapsed: https://nintil.com/2016/11/07/the-soviet-union-productive-efficiency/

    Note that the author of the above piece is a self-described libertarian, though not of the ISIS-like Austrian splinter faction you inhabit.

    Even if we accept the premises of von Mises' argument the problem could be solved with linear programming and sufficient computing power. Late Soviet economists were in fact working on this.

    Without private ownership of the means of production there can be no market-based price system to rationally allocate resources. Without prices, it’s impossible to compare the innumerable apples to oranges kinds of decisions that must occur at all times and all places.
     
    This is a tautology. Go figure you can't have market prices without a market. Duhhhhhh.

    I realize this is probably futile on a religious fanatic like yourself, but you're faced with the problem that real, existing socialist economies routinely did this for decades. The Five Year Plan for instance is a mechanism to allocate investment.


    If we have “Single Payer” medical care, who decides how many hospital beds are worth how many MRI units? How many orthopedic surgeons are needed vs nurses vs X-ray machines vs dentists?
     
    In a single payer system these decisions are by hospitals themselves, as single payer simply means the government pays providers. Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.

    You're thinking perhaps of the Beveridge Model, such as in the United Kingdom. In that case decisions are made by bureacrats working for the National Health Service.

    None of this can be sorted out without PRICES. And since “how many needed” varies all the time, you need a market to tell you (by rising or declining prices) WHAT HAS CHANGED.
     
    Empirical reality, which again von Mises and his disciple Rothbard (both Jews incidentally) reject, shows that in fact it can be sorted out. And it is being sorted out every single day. Furthermore, most non-market systems do in fact use prices and often (but not always) incorporate market elements.

    This is nothing new incidentally. In a major war how does an army decide which fronts get reinforced with more troops and shells? Certainly not by market prices.

    Calling today’s corporatist capture of political systems “capitalism” is, in my view, the most naked lie in the study of the political economy.
     
    It's not your view at all. It's regurgitated garbage from Lew Rockwell and the gang.

    You do realize that the term capitalism was created by communists?

    Just because YOU religious fanatics insist that capitalism is a synonym of libertarianism doesn't mean the rest of us need to agree.

    It's embarrassing and outrageous that you people still exist.

    Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.

    How much longer do you think Medicare/Medicaid will last, given their compounded annual cost increase and the apparent end of the bull market in bond prices?

    I have to admit, I’m going to have a lifetime supply of popcorn available to sit and watch you folks realize that the last 36 (or 54, depending on your choice of starting point) years are not actually sustainable. This was the most Extraordinary Popular Delusion ever recorded.

    Declining interest rates plus freely-floated monetary systems plus a secular social mood mania created a perfect set of conditions: Debt was piled decade after decade, and governments the world over realized that there were no limits on how much they could borrow and spend.

    Serious question: Do you think the world can keep issuing IOU’s at compound growth rates of the last 30 years? And if, for instance, the US central government slows or stops borrowing, what happens to all those programs now addicted to monster budgets?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    How much longer do you think Medicare/Medicaid will last, given their compounded annual cost increase and the apparent end of the bull market in bond prices?

    I have to admit, I’m going to have a lifetime supply of popcorn available to sit and watch you folks realize that the last 36 (or 54, depending on your choice of starting point) years are not actually sustainable. This was the most Extraordinary Popular Delusion ever recorded.

    Declining interest rates plus freely-floated monetary systems plus a secular social mood mania created a perfect set of conditions: Debt was piled decade after decade, and governments the world over realized that there were no limits on how much they could borrow and spend.

    Serious question: Do you think the world can keep issuing IOU’s at compound growth rates of the last 30 years? And if, for instance, the US central government slows or stops borrowing, what happens to all those programs now addicted to monster budgets?
     
    Great saying in finance--if something can't go on forever, it eventually stops.

    Medicare and Medicaid will continue to exist so long as political will to maintain them exists. Since most people feel like healthcare is a human right, I doubt there will be any move to abolish them.

    Medicare will eventually require taxes to be raised, benefits reduced, or some combination thereof. This isn't an impossible challenge. Many countries with national medical systems have done similar things. Japan used to not have a deductible, but now they have a 30% deductible (I don't recall the ceiling).

    If debt levels exceed the ability of debtors to service them, then interest rates will rise and there may be some defaults. Big fucking deal. But of course you libertarian whackos are convinced that the global economic system is DOOMED since gold is no longer used as money. Real Soon Now the big collapse is coming...
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  167. @LauraMR
    Crimes were committed?

    Oh, my!

    Crimes were committed? Oh, my!

    Yeah, I know–it is so disappointing that those damn Russians for some reasons refused to confirm Solzh’s or his favorite “statistician”, so called prof. Kurganov (former White Army emigre and Nazi collaborator), numbers and refused to die in tens of millions, nay in hundreds of billions in GULAG. How arrogant of these damn Russians to open their archives but maybe, just maybe–hear me out–there is something else behind it? For example, can you explain to me why poplar Russian Orthodox Priest Alexiy Moroz (among many people of faith) states this:

    “I am not a fan of Solzhenitsyn writings. In places his books create not only misunderstanding but the sense of rejection. In (some) of his books he exposed Russians to the West in the unpresentable fashion. We know that when he left for the West he was actively published there and was perceived there as the “bullhorn (herald) of the truth” about Russia, sadly, he said not a single good word about people and Russia. He describes atrocities, accidents, betrayal, lie, deception, which, of course, were always present in our history, but in his books there is nothing positive, as if Russian people consist only of thieves, murderers, liars, cowards and scoundrels. No positive examples are present in his books. And when western reader accepts such information as the ultimate truth about Russia, he imagines a very specific image of Russian people, but that is an absolute lie”

    Also, how come that since 2012 even in “liberal” (Levada-center, for example) polls, time after time Stalin comes as the most important historic figures in Russian history, trailed by Pushkin, Gagarin, Peter the Great and Putin himself? I’ll give you a hint: as American-Canadian Russia “scholar”, Ph.D. in American (and Russian) History, John Robson stated in the editorial in Ottawa Citizen in 2000:

    “Normal for Russia is filthy, corrupt, menacing and hollow. Nothing good has happened there, nor will it. Russia is a lump of dung wrapped in a cabbage leaf hidden in an outhouse. Russia is doomed by history and culture. It stinks, literally and figuratively, and always has. People there have no manners. . . . The bottom line is: Russia has sucked, sucks and will suck.”

    Do you get my drift? Warmer? I just gave you a small opening in the “nature” and “level” of most (not all, I admit–there are some few exceptions) American (Western in general) Russia “scholarship”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seraphim
    Can you provide us with some 'real' statistical figures taken from the archives and not with the kind of rhetorical-literary statements of 'poplar' Orthodox Priest Alexiy Moroz (Ded Moroz?)?
    Of course while your 'hundreds of billions' is rhetorical, the tens of millions is a figure agreed upon by many researchers. And is not Shalamov 'fiction literature' as well? Wikipedia's assessment of his 'Kolyma Tales' is that " He attempted to mix fact and fiction, which leads to the book being something of a historical novel".

    "A brief survey of the short story: Varlam Shalamov", by Chris Power, in 'The Guardian', 20 March 2015:

    "It is tempting, at first, to consider the stories autobiographical, if not straight memoir. This impression is only strengthened if you have encountered Shalamov’s stories quoted as primary source material in historical works by Robert Conquest and Applebaum, or by the political philosopher John Gray. It is a judgment his prose style supports: “Shalamov holds himself in severe check as an artist”, wrote Irving Howe, “he is simply intent, with a grey passion, upon exactitude... Yet the more you read, the less documentary-like the experience becomes...
    A reader who knows only a few of the stories may well imagine the Kolyma Tales to be simply a factual account of Shalamov’s experiences. The events described in each individual story seem entirely real. Only when we read further, when we try to grasp the whole of this epic cycle, do we begin to realise that its truth can never be grasped: we begin, at last, to sense the terrible unreality of the survivor’s world. Successive narrators suffer identical fates, their stories intertwine impossibly, and time stands still. This fusion of realism and the surreal endows Kolyma Tales with extraordinary power"
    @https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/19/short-story-survey-varlam-shalamov-kolyma-tales-gulag
    Ironically, Shalamov criticized Solzhenitsyn Ivan Denisovitch because of his too rosy depiction of the life in camps! He commented on Solzhenitsyn's “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” saying: "The camp described here was one in which you could happily have spent a lifetime. It was an improved postwar camp, nothing like the hell of Kolyma." Unlike Solzhenitsyn, who propagated that camp experience could be positive and purifying, Shalamov claimed it would turn a human into an animal, a lowlife creature with no standards"@http://russiapedia.rt.com/prominent-russians/literature/varlam-shalamov/. "Kolyma is Auschwitz without the ovens"!

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  168. @dc.sunsets
    Go back and read Leonard Reed's "I, pencil."

    You're far, far too short for this ride, if you think market-based prices is a monopoly within libertarianism.

    You deride market prices and then, five lines later, suggest they are used by this hybrid system you embrace. Okay. How's this? Who decides how much each hospital gets to divvy up between its adminstrators' pet projects? Who decides how much hospitals get, vs schools, vs. universities, vs welfare payments, etc.?

    And here I get accused of being an ideologue....

    You guys and your "we can improve on that" bureaucracies. You put the bureaucrats at the DMV in charge of all people's lives. We don't thank you.

    I’ve read the essay. Like much of the alt right I too was once a libertarian. Something clearly went wrong in your intellectual development in that you still embrace the libertarian religion.

    You’ll note that the Soviet Union produced pencils as well.

    I am not, and I don’t think anyone else here is either, an advocate of central planning.

    We’re simply not religious fanatics who reject empirical reality in favor of the shibboleths from your high priests Mises, Rothbard, and Rockwell.

    Who decides how much each hospital gets to divvy up between its adminstrators’ pet projects? Who decides how much hospitals get, vs schools, vs. universities, vs welfare payments, etc.?

    This is such an incredibly stupid question. Broadly, the political leadership does.

    You guys and your “we can improve on that” bureaucracies. You put the bureaucrats at the DMV in charge of all people’s lives. We don’t thank you.

    The DMV in my town works just fine. No lines and quick, friendly service. Probably because I live in one of the dwindling all-white areas of the country.

    I am appalled not only that you exist but that you read the same website I do.

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  169. @dc.sunsets

    Examples of single payer medical systems include Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, and Switzerland.
     
    How much longer do you think Medicare/Medicaid will last, given their compounded annual cost increase and the apparent end of the bull market in bond prices?

    I have to admit, I'm going to have a lifetime supply of popcorn available to sit and watch you folks realize that the last 36 (or 54, depending on your choice of starting point) years are not actually sustainable. This was the most Extraordinary Popular Delusion ever recorded.

    Declining interest rates plus freely-floated monetary systems plus a secular social mood mania created a perfect set of conditions: Debt was piled decade after decade, and governments the world over realized that there were no limits on how much they could borrow and spend.

    Serious question: Do you think the world can keep issuing IOU's at compound growth rates of the last 30 years? And if, for instance, the US central government slows or stops borrowing, what happens to all those programs now addicted to monster budgets?

    How much longer do you think Medicare/Medicaid will last, given their compounded annual cost increase and the apparent end of the bull market in bond prices?

    I have to admit, I’m going to have a lifetime supply of popcorn available to sit and watch you folks realize that the last 36 (or 54, depending on your choice of starting point) years are not actually sustainable. This was the most Extraordinary Popular Delusion ever recorded.

    Declining interest rates plus freely-floated monetary systems plus a secular social mood mania created a perfect set of conditions: Debt was piled decade after decade, and governments the world over realized that there were no limits on how much they could borrow and spend.

    Serious question: Do you think the world can keep issuing IOU’s at compound growth rates of the last 30 years? And if, for instance, the US central government slows or stops borrowing, what happens to all those programs now addicted to monster budgets?

    Great saying in finance–if something can’t go on forever, it eventually stops.

    Medicare and Medicaid will continue to exist so long as political will to maintain them exists. Since most people feel like healthcare is a human right, I doubt there will be any move to abolish them.

    Medicare will eventually require taxes to be raised, benefits reduced, or some combination thereof. This isn’t an impossible challenge. Many countries with national medical systems have done similar things. Japan used to not have a deductible, but now they have a 30% deductible (I don’t recall the ceiling).

    If debt levels exceed the ability of debtors to service them, then interest rates will rise and there may be some defaults. Big fucking deal. But of course you libertarian whackos are convinced that the global economic system is DOOMED since gold is no longer used as money. Real Soon Now the big collapse is coming…

    Read More
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  170. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @dc.sunsets
    Huh? I think you quoted the wrong comment.

    I hear what's going on in recent years in a fourth grade classroom. If you think it's bad now, wait a few years.

    Our fine folks who brought us the current Medical Cartel (Single Payer in all but name, given how much Corporatist control exists top to bottom...Mussolini would be proud) also brought us recent innovations in K-12 education, for example, putting (literally) 58-IQ students in the regular ed classrooms of grade schools.

    I guess this is what Thorrfinnie thinks is a great "hybrid" market, where taxpayers pay, bureaucrats design and parents who can't afford an alternative are stuck with the tax-paid monopoly that results.

    Huh? I think you quoted the wrong comment.

    Yes; the comment-reply system seems to be screwed up slightly when posting from the comment page for Karlin’s blog.

    (This is a reply to #165).

    Thanks for the reply though.

    EDIT:

    The first time I tried to post this it was left as an unlinked reply. Paging Mr Unz…

    Read More
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  171. gerad says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    I think Anatoly did not study in Soviet school. The study was very intense and university exams for all good faculties were extremely tough. I remember studying for 12 hours a day for entry exams so did my cousin who went into engineering. I am very worried about my son education here in Canada after seeing what and how they study. We started basic math education at home and send him to school outside of public school and he says that he is very bored at school as it is simple and old. It doe snot look like what we studied back in USSR. I would also point that the whole atmosphere in local public schools is that of fun instead of serious atmosphere with accent on study and development we had at school. I had many friends studying at TVOKU , studies were extremely tough and included all you mentioned and Sopromat and other math related stuff.

    Sergey and ….I must commend you on your superb and informative series of comments on this thread.Excellent

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sergey Krieger
    Thank you Gerad, but you are probably the only one who thinks
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  172. gerad says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Amazing. Talk about benefiting from others hardship. What's more amazing that by Perestroika not just proto liberals but many common people forgot about what we had to go through and rebuild. Of course there were issues but many were due to necessity to rebuild.
    I also remember you posted in your blog work by former Soviet officer regarding Soviet leadership overestimating USA capabilities and spending far more then necessary on military and obviously on the whole A group neglecting group B. Still, I wonder was not there the plan to undermine moral via deliberate deficit creation. You also posted something bout conflicting plans by different KGB directorates about possible ways of USSR reforms.

    Amazing. Talk about benefiting from others hardship. What’s more amazing that by Perestroika not just proto liberals but many common people forgot about what we had to go through and rebuild. Of course there were issues but many were due to necessity to rebuild.
    I also remember you posted in your blog work by former Soviet officer regarding Soviet leadership overestimating USA capabilities and spending far more then necessary on military and obviously on the whole A group neglecting group B. Still, I wonder was not there the plan to undermine moral via deliberate deficit creation. You also posted something bout conflicting plans by different KGB directorates about possible ways of USSR reforms.

    The period of 1945-1975 in the Soviet Union was the most successful and most impressive on any country in history. 75-89 wasn’t too bad either

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  173. AP says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    It was just becoming smaller relative to other sectors of the economy because they were exploding.
     
    No, the real output dropped catastrophically. You don't trust me? Visit any Walmart. But better calculate non productive sectors from US (for the lack of better sources, still convoluted) BEA

    https://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=51&step=1#reqid=51&step=51&isuri=1&5114=a&5102=15

    Share of productive sectors in US economy is around 18 percent. The rest? FIRE, services and government. Just to give you some heads up--modern day Russia's productive (manufacturing) sector is at least twice larger in percentage (share) of GDP. I will open you some small secret: only producing nations are real competitors in this world. But here we have to get into more serious geopolitical and geoeconomic issues.

    The table you linked to showed increase in industrial and manufacturing output.

    Share of productive sectors in US economy is around 18 percent. The rest? FIRE, services and government. Just to give you some heads up–modern day Russia’s productive (manufacturing) sector is at least twice larger in percentage (share) of GDP.

    Share as % of GDP may have declined but the actual output didn’t under Reagan. The other sectors just grew a lot more. You might be confusing number of jobs (which has declined due to robots) with amount produced.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-manufacturing-dead-output-has-doubled-in-three-decades-2016-03-28

    Here is US manufacturing output:

    https://ei.marketwatch.com//Multimedia/2016/03/25/Photos/MG/MW-EI733_output_20160325121729_MG.jpg?uuid=12753a28-f2a5-11e5-908d-0015c588dfa6

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    Oh goodie. 30 year long span? Have you ever considered that from 1980 to 2017 US population grew by 100 million (in realty more)? Again, I provided you with a US government statistics which gives an official numbers--if you have issues with that data, or with how percentages are calculated, I can not help. But to give you some insight: look at the prices (and a horrendous inflation hidden in it) of any US military hardware and you will understand, maybe. As an example, US Navy procures today a single Flight III Arleigh Burke-class DDG for almost 2 billion dollars per hull, Flight I/II of these ships was in production from 1991 to 1999 went for around for $800 million per hull. So, the issue is, granted that technological updates are expensive, how come that the costs increased 2.5 fold from 1999 to roughly 2007? Can you explain to me also how come that the house which in 2005 was selling for 145 000, in 2006 was selling for 272 000? This is not made up number--I know this particular house among very many similar cases. Do you get my drift or you still believe that using monetary data for comparisons in manufacturing without consideration of costs is valid method? I offered you a simple forensic experiment--visiting Walmart, among many other places and take a look at labels. And, of course, you somehow missed the conclusion of the piece you offered, apart from the fact that it is written by economically ignorant dude:

    Conclusion:


    American manufacturing isn’t dead by any means. But the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs has devastated the working class, and made reaching the American dream more difficult. Technological advancements and the rise of low-skilled manufacturing in China and other developing nations mean that fewer Americans work in factories, just as technological advancements 100 years ago meant that fewer Americans worked on farms.

    Most Americans now work in service-producing industries, where inequalities in opportunities, skills and incomes are more apparent. Recreating an economy that provides equitable growth won’t be easy, especially if we pine for the good old days when a third of us worked at the factory. Those days are gone for good, even if U.S. factories still churn out lots of items that are Made in the USA.
     

    What is marked in bold and cursive shows that the guy is not exactly in touch with realities of manufacturing sector. What is JUST in bold--is true. US capital literally shipped most industrial good jobs abroad while selling out the thing which was supported by non-stop credit bubble--a massive American internal consumer market. In other places like, say Russia? Industrial (manufacturing) market is booming and so it does in some places in US, but only in some. When the guy states that those jobs are "gone for good"--that is when I know that he is full of shit.
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  174. Joe Wong says:
    @Sergey Krieger
    Are those buffalo skulls? Easy come easy go. Pretty much good display of American national psych.

    The photo just happens to show buffalo skulls, the skulls of the people of First Nations of North America slaughtered by the White from the old continent of Europe will make that pile of buffalo skulls look like mole mount, but again the skulls of the people slaughtered by the American and European around the world will make the pile of West Indian’s skull look like mole mount too; but the American believes whatever USA does is necessary with the best intention, this is the real display of American national psych.

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  175. Joe Wong says:
    @anonymous

    has been challenged by “Democratic Socialist” Bernie Sanders who is cajoling White American workers into rising against the 1%, the Wall Street loan sharks. Socialist? US Presidential candidate? Early 21st century? It seems patently absurd. Meanwhile across the pond, the Labour party in the UK eschewed fine-looking bureaucrats in favour of Jeremy Corbyn, a Socialist, an anti-militarist, and general diehard Leftist. One of his first acts as leader of the Shadow Cabinet was creating a committee for a new economic policy, including such anti-inequality fighters as Thomas Piketty and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.
     
    What gibberish. He talks of Socialism being "devoured and digested" and then depicts Bernie Sanders and the UK Labor party as the revival of socialism (while calling PRC capitalist!).

    Sanders rhetoric about socialism has about as much meaning as his parties rhetoric about US Republicans being Fascist and Racist. US Democrat Party, which Sanders is a auxiliary of, is militantly anti-socialist, one has to ignore its entire history to say otherwise. When Sanders says socialism he starts from a "libertarian" worldview that Capitalism is private property protected by cops and army and that social spending and regulation is Socialism. That USA's "left" factions think like John Birchers (Eisenhower and UN are socialist plots) is a testament of Marxisms marginal presence in the country, not its rise.

    Cordyn might come from the UKs trade union bureaucracy and its CPGB hangers on, but his program (let alone his party) has nothing to do with socialism. Joseph Stiglitz is a Keynesian and Piketty is a neo-Keynesian. Keynes, of course, was explicitly and openly anti-socialist and his work was dedicated to sidelining it. Ironically the same Hillary Clinton mentioned here as a Liberal avatar had Stiglitz as an consultant on economic affairs in the runner up to the 2016 election.

    What Kholmogorov misses is that what motivated the Socialist movement (and populatized Marxism as opposed to other ideologies around the workers movement) was not Income but Class. A teacher might earn more money then a street peddler but one is a wage earner and the other a small capitalist (makes living as an owner of property). China might have liberalized its economy as a defensive posture (and it was the dismantling of Bretton Woods in the 70's that undermined economies of the Red Bloc (then a small % of global gdp) not the lack of Iphones; similarly 2008 undermined Liberalism because Chinas gdp weight didnt allow them to impose a new global deal that rescues their domestic economies) but Chinas economy is centrally planned, its equity is overwhelmingly publicly owned (while domestic capital makes up a small % of equity), its private firms have party cells in them to guide them, and its billionaire class is politically disenfranchised as a class - theres no Democracy in China (one sign of this is how theres no criminal immunity for the rich and entrepreneurs get prison from common malpractice not token fines.).

    there is no Democracy in China (one sign of this is how there is no criminal immunity for the rich and entrepreneurs get prison from common malpractice not token fines.

    Are you saying in democracy the rich and powerful are above laws? Government is not “of the people, by the people, for the people,” but “of the rich and powerful, by the rich and powerful, for the rich and powerful?” It seems you are either confused democracy with plutocracy, or trying to legitimize plutocracy with democracy.

    Perhaps you have forgotten United States Declaration of Independence starts that all men are created equal, and no additional rights are given to anyone because they are rich and entrepreneurs who can be free from being jailed even they commit crimes while others are not. You should know only in the caste system and feudal society that the rich and powerful are above laws.

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  176. @peterAUS
    Yeah.....

    Nice theory.
    A bit worse in practice....especially that Yugoslavia thing.
    Oh, yes....didn't work because the big bad capitalists/reactionaries/Americans/any bad guy didn't allow those ...'examples'....to flourish.
    Sure.

    I mean, if that's the best 'downtrodden' are hoping for, I am definitely getting ready on 'Brasil type' 20 % in lording over all of us.
    No way around it.

    A bit worse in practice….especially that Yugoslavia thing.

    I have to disagree with that. The Yugoslavia thing was quite successful, and for a non- trivial period of time, 30-35 years. That’s a meaningful historical event, imo. Certainly more definitive than the 1930s anarchy-syndicalist experiment in Spain.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivan K.
    Yugoslav's worker's self-management was well-conceived, its implementation was badly designed and badly executed. The Yugoslav 'thing' (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s. Afterwards, if you've seen something good, it was a fallout from the previous period. The state became captive to private interests.

    Useful link: https://archive.org/details/BrankoHorvatWhatIsSocialism1989

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  177. @utu
    All those “socialisms” are actually the species of corporatism. Neo-corporatism, to be precise, which is, arguably, a form of fascism.

    Thank you comrade for making the daily quota for usage of the favorite commie invective fascism.

    Thank you comrade for making the daily quota for usage of the favorite commie invective fascism.

    By the way, when I say that neo-corporatism can be viewed as a form of fascism, I don’t mean it in a demeaning way.

    I lived in Switzerland for many years, and I consider it a very decent socioeconomic arrangement. Their fascist features are annoying — punishments for flashing the toilet after 10pm, for making a small mistake in their recycling rules, speed cameras on every fucking light pole, constant surveillance, mind-boggling bureaucracy, and so on.

    But once you pass that, you see positive aspects of neo-corporatism: $25/hr minimum wage (in the locality where I lived) is a big deal obviously: every (full-time) janitor lives like a middle-class American. Mandatory wage increases, no unemployment, very strong economic nationalism. If you apply for a business license, the first thing they ask: ‘how many Swiss nationals are you going to employ’? It works.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I lived in Switzerland as well but never occurred to me to think of the flashing toilet at night issue as fascist. It was reasonable to enforce and teach courtesy to people to whom it does not come naturally particularly to immigrants from strange lands. I found things there very sensible and reasonable and I liked the local cantonal democracy system. It beats any other systems I know. That things work so well certainly has something to do with their Calvinist and Zwingli tradition but also with the fact they mange to keep their population well educated.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism. It became commies' favorite invective and still is. It sounds hollow and has no meaning. But still very intelligent people like Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky keep throwing it around at whatever they do not like.

    Mussolini improved standards of living, made trains run on time, locked up mafia, was good to Jews and Zionists and was pushed into Hitler's arms by Brits. I think I would not mind living in Italy then.
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  178. utu says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Thank you comrade for making the daily quota for usage of the favorite commie invective fascism.
     
    By the way, when I say that neo-corporatism can be viewed as a form of fascism, I don't mean it in a demeaning way.

    I lived in Switzerland for many years, and I consider it a very decent socioeconomic arrangement. Their fascist features are annoying -- punishments for flashing the toilet after 10pm, for making a small mistake in their recycling rules, speed cameras on every fucking light pole, constant surveillance, mind-boggling bureaucracy, and so on.

    But once you pass that, you see positive aspects of neo-corporatism: $25/hr minimum wage (in the locality where I lived) is a big deal obviously: every (full-time) janitor lives like a middle-class American. Mandatory wage increases, no unemployment, very strong economic nationalism. If you apply for a business license, the first thing they ask: 'how many Swiss nationals are you going to employ'? It works.

    I lived in Switzerland as well but never occurred to me to think of the flashing toilet at night issue as fascist. It was reasonable to enforce and teach courtesy to people to whom it does not come naturally particularly to immigrants from strange lands. I found things there very sensible and reasonable and I liked the local cantonal democracy system. It beats any other systems I know. That things work so well certainly has something to do with their Calvinist and Zwingli tradition but also with the fact they mange to keep their population well educated.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism. It became commies’ favorite invective and still is. It sounds hollow and has no meaning. But still very intelligent people like Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky keep throwing it around at whatever they do not like.

    Mussolini improved standards of living, made trains run on time, locked up mafia, was good to Jews and Zionists and was pushed into Hitler’s arms by Brits. I think I would not mind living in Italy then.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivan K.

    My mother, who was Austrian, went on vacation to Italy almost every year during the 30s. The Italian trains did not run on time.
    - JHobson, 21 Mar 2012 19:17:41 #352
    http://notthetalk.com/discussion/listfrom/1515761
     
    , @Ivan K.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism.
     
    From the original Doctrine of Fascism, co-written by Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile:

    A nation, as expressed in the State, is a living, ethical entity only in so far as it is active. Inactivity is death. Therefore the State is not only Authority which governs and confers legal form and spiritual value on individual wills, but it is also Power which makes its will felt and respected beyond its own frontiers, thus affording practical proof of the universal character of the decisions necessary to ensure its development. This implies organization and expansion, potential if not actual. Thus the State equates itself to the will of man, whose development cannot he checked by obstacles and which, by achieving self-expression, demonstrates its infinity.
     

    Well I guess as states expand beyond their frontiers, they either do so in empty space, or they come into mutual conflicts, not excluding war ... Italy committed massacres in Libya, Ethiopia ...
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    never occurred to me to think of the flashing toilet at night issue as fascist.
     
    Tight government control of everything, is what I mean. You can have a 'gated community' in the US with these sorts of rules, but they won't be enforced by the local PD.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism.
     
    'Fascism', as you noted, is a loaded word; it means different things to different people. I suppose people on the left dislike it because it was (arguably) conceived as a nationalist substitute for (and destroyer of) internationalist marxist socialism; essentializing 'the nation' instead of marxist 'class'. It's understandable.

    Post-war softening and rebranding made it acceptable. I'm pretty sure Leftists (a few that still exist in the West) have nothing against the 'Scandinavian model'.
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  179. Ivan K. says:
    @utu
    I lived in Switzerland as well but never occurred to me to think of the flashing toilet at night issue as fascist. It was reasonable to enforce and teach courtesy to people to whom it does not come naturally particularly to immigrants from strange lands. I found things there very sensible and reasonable and I liked the local cantonal democracy system. It beats any other systems I know. That things work so well certainly has something to do with their Calvinist and Zwingli tradition but also with the fact they mange to keep their population well educated.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism. It became commies' favorite invective and still is. It sounds hollow and has no meaning. But still very intelligent people like Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky keep throwing it around at whatever they do not like.

    Mussolini improved standards of living, made trains run on time, locked up mafia, was good to Jews and Zionists and was pushed into Hitler's arms by Brits. I think I would not mind living in Italy then.

    My mother, who was Austrian, went on vacation to Italy almost every year during the 30s. The Italian trains did not run on time.
    - JHobson, 21 Mar 2012 19:17:41 #352

    http://notthetalk.com/discussion/listfrom/1515761

    Read More
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  180. Ivan K. says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    A bit worse in practice….especially that Yugoslavia thing.
     
    I have to disagree with that. The Yugoslavia thing was quite successful, and for a non- trivial period of time, 30-35 years. That's a meaningful historical event, imo. Certainly more definitive than the 1930s anarchy-syndicalist experiment in Spain.

    Yugoslav’s worker’s self-management was well-conceived, its implementation was badly designed and badly executed. The Yugoslav ‘thing’ (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s. Afterwards, if you’ve seen something good, it was a fallout from the previous period. The state became captive to private interests.

    Useful link: https://archive.org/details/BrankoHorvatWhatIsSocialism1989

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    The Yugoslav ‘thing’ (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s.
     
    I have the impression that as a whole it was a successful experiment throughout. Anecdotally, at least, people remember it quite warmly, and regard the disintegration/civil war period as inconceivable insanity.
    , @peterAUS
    Well....
    The argument

    Yugoslav’s worker’s self-management was well-conceived, its implementation was badly designed and badly executed.
     
    can be applied to all things not working as advertised.

    The question, pertinent to this thread, would be:what we, today, could (re)use from the "Yugoslav experiment" in that self-management thing?

    Or, better, what is that which makes well conceived unworkable in practice?

    Either way one cuts it, I believe it boils down to elites get corrupted.
    Power corrupts.
    Equally important, massed being simply.......well...what masses actually are.
    Dumb and intellectually/morally lazy.

    Again, we can discuss ad nauseam 'ism' this, 'ism' that, but, at the end of the day,what really matters, we do not have an alternative to the current system.
    Practical alternative that is.

    Our problem is that we care (masses don't....) but...haha....not quite smart and sold out to belong to those 19 % implementing the system. For those 1 %.
    Bummer.

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  181. Ivan K. says:
    @utu
    I lived in Switzerland as well but never occurred to me to think of the flashing toilet at night issue as fascist. It was reasonable to enforce and teach courtesy to people to whom it does not come naturally particularly to immigrants from strange lands. I found things there very sensible and reasonable and I liked the local cantonal democracy system. It beats any other systems I know. That things work so well certainly has something to do with their Calvinist and Zwingli tradition but also with the fact they mange to keep their population well educated.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism. It became commies' favorite invective and still is. It sounds hollow and has no meaning. But still very intelligent people like Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky keep throwing it around at whatever they do not like.

    Mussolini improved standards of living, made trains run on time, locked up mafia, was good to Jews and Zionists and was pushed into Hitler's arms by Brits. I think I would not mind living in Italy then.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism.

    From the original Doctrine of Fascism, co-written by Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile:

    A nation, as expressed in the State, is a living, ethical entity only in so far as it is active. Inactivity is death. Therefore the State is not only Authority which governs and confers legal form and spiritual value on individual wills, but it is also Power which makes its will felt and respected beyond its own frontiers, thus affording practical proof of the universal character of the decisions necessary to ensure its development. This implies organization and expansion, potential if not actual. Thus the State equates itself to the will of man, whose development cannot he checked by obstacles and which, by achieving self-expression, demonstrates its infinity.

    Well I guess as states expand beyond their frontiers, they either do so in empty space, or they come into mutual conflicts, not excluding war … Italy committed massacres in Libya, Ethiopia …

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    Italy committed massacres in Libya, Ethiopia …
     
    Is this a bad thing? The world would be objectively better off if Libyans and Ethiopians were replaced by Italians.

    A more serious problem was that fascist states, in particular Germany, didn't confine their ambitions to territories populated by half-savage populations.
    , @AP
    This description of ideas of the Ukrainian OUN ideologue is another good description of fascist thought regarding government. It is less poetic, more "practical":

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

    Stsiborskyi was the principal theorist of the OUN prior to its split into the hostile Melnyk and Bandera camps.[1] He believed that the idea of democracy that began to spread throughout the world following the French Revolution had reached its high point prior to the First World War and subsequently came into decline. He wrote that democracy and capitalism were inseparable, and that the two systems helped bring about much material progress and innovation throughout the nineteenth century. He also saw them as fundamentally flawed. Stsyborsky felt that democracy and capitalism required equal rights and freedoms while, at the same time, nature was inherently not equal. With time, the weak were bound by the capitalist system to become enslaved by the strong and the democratic slogans of universal brotherhood were considered by Stsyborsky to be merely sentimental and empty phrases. The reality in a democracy, according to Stsiborskyi, was that political rights and social control existed in direct proportion to economic power. Democracy thus became a playground for competing groups, each promoting its own interests rather than those of the nation as a whole. These interests vie for votes, and employ bribery and corruption. For these reasons, Stsyborsky felt that ultimately the most creative, talented, and best elements in a democratic society retreat from politics in disgust.[4]

    Stsiborskyi considered socialism and communism to be identical in their theories and worldview, and wrote that both were flawed reactions to democracy's failures. He rejected their emphasis on the Proletariat (working class) and claimed that socialism, as well as communism, inevitably leads to a dictatorship in favor of one social group at the expense of others in the nation.[4]

    In opposition to democracy, socialism and communism, Stsiborskyi admired Italy's fascism. In contrast to Democracy's "liberty, equality, fraternity" Stsyborsky praised Fascism's "duty, hierarchy, discipline." Stsiborskyi wrote that society should be organized according to the principles of National syndicalism, a socioeconomic system adopted by Benito Mussolini. Instead of competing political parties or social classes he proposed that an authoritarian one-party government should harmoniously unite all social groups under its control, which would prevent exploitation of some classes by others and would focus all of the nation's social elements onto the goal of national development rather than on the development of particular groups such as social classes. Stsiborskyi supported a fascist dictatorship which he claimed represented a "cult of creativity" in opposition to democracy's "cult of numbers/votes." He rejected the old traditional elite in favor of a new one, arising from the people, characterized by its genius and willpower.[4] Stsyborski's major work, Nationcracy, included a chapter criticizing Hitler's dictatorship.[5]
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  182. @Ivan K.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism.
     
    From the original Doctrine of Fascism, co-written by Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile:

    A nation, as expressed in the State, is a living, ethical entity only in so far as it is active. Inactivity is death. Therefore the State is not only Authority which governs and confers legal form and spiritual value on individual wills, but it is also Power which makes its will felt and respected beyond its own frontiers, thus affording practical proof of the universal character of the decisions necessary to ensure its development. This implies organization and expansion, potential if not actual. Thus the State equates itself to the will of man, whose development cannot he checked by obstacles and which, by achieving self-expression, demonstrates its infinity.
     

    Well I guess as states expand beyond their frontiers, they either do so in empty space, or they come into mutual conflicts, not excluding war ... Italy committed massacres in Libya, Ethiopia ...

    Italy committed massacres in Libya, Ethiopia …

    Is this a bad thing? The world would be objectively better off if Libyans and Ethiopians were replaced by Italians.

    A more serious problem was that fascist states, in particular Germany, didn’t confine their ambitions to territories populated by half-savage populations.

    Read More
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  183. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I knew some representatives of nomenclature personally... was known as a good and humble man
     
    So do I. But I don't see your point. I don't think I ever said they were all or even predominantly evil and arrogant.

    Their luxuries are simply minuscule compare to the robbery of 1990s.
     
    Certainly, and I didn't claim otherwise. Within that system, however, they were top dogs in a way that Congressmen and EU bureaucrats aren't.

    @ Mao Cheng Ji,

    What “luxury goods”?
     
    Access to special shops selling imported "luxury" goods (e.g. any tropical fruits), access to actually good hospitals (for context, some absurdly large percentage of Soviet rural hospitals didn't have the most rudimentary basics like hot water), foreign travel to "exotic" destinations like Bulgaria.

    All beyond the reach of the average Soviet citizen without good connections.

    Some things are hard to scale, but I remember just last month, TV stations broadcasting live the arrival of McCain to Washington, just in time to sink Trump’s proposed healthcare law.

    I actually remember Senator Kennedy skipping Obamacare debates, as he was dying in Cape Cod. One day, he felt he was sicker, and he was flown in to a Boston hospital on a helicopter. I mean, he knew he was dying, but why stay in a hospital with the plebs? And why go to work like the plebs? Oh, Obama didn’t have enough votes to pass the law? Tough luck, the dying Kennedy won’t resign, won’t go to work, and won’t even stay in a hospice with the plebs. (And this was supposedly one of the most caring leftists in the Senate.)

    If you think McCain paid for his charter or Kennedy for his chopper out of their salaries, you are deluded. There’s a video with a younger McCain explaining how he handed out envelopes with cash on the Senate floor, on behalf of big tobacco.

    And this not just the Senate. Have you seen Bloomberg going to work?

    If you believe American propaganda about their “humble” nomenklatura, at public’s “service”, it’s hard to see anyone immune.

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  184. @utu
    I lived in Switzerland as well but never occurred to me to think of the flashing toilet at night issue as fascist. It was reasonable to enforce and teach courtesy to people to whom it does not come naturally particularly to immigrants from strange lands. I found things there very sensible and reasonable and I liked the local cantonal democracy system. It beats any other systems I know. That things work so well certainly has something to do with their Calvinist and Zwingli tradition but also with the fact they mange to keep their population well educated.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism. It became commies' favorite invective and still is. It sounds hollow and has no meaning. But still very intelligent people like Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky keep throwing it around at whatever they do not like.

    Mussolini improved standards of living, made trains run on time, locked up mafia, was good to Jews and Zionists and was pushed into Hitler's arms by Brits. I think I would not mind living in Italy then.

    never occurred to me to think of the flashing toilet at night issue as fascist.

    Tight government control of everything, is what I mean. You can have a ‘gated community’ in the US with these sorts of rules, but they won’t be enforced by the local PD.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism.

    ‘Fascism’, as you noted, is a loaded word; it means different things to different people. I suppose people on the left dislike it because it was (arguably) conceived as a nationalist substitute for (and destroyer of) internationalist marxist socialism; essentializing ‘the nation’ instead of marxist ‘class’. It’s understandable.

    Post-war softening and rebranding made it acceptable. I’m pretty sure Leftists (a few that still exist in the West) have nothing against the ‘Scandinavian model’.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    I’m pretty sure Leftists (a few that still exist in the West) have nothing against the ‘Scandinavian model’. - Immigration and diversity will destroy this model because it can only work nonhomogeneous society with high degree of social solidarity. The Leftists that push for the diversity there are not aware that they are the useful idiots of the neoliberal NWO which has no room for the "Scandinavian model" anywhere.
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  185. @Ivan K.
    Yugoslav's worker's self-management was well-conceived, its implementation was badly designed and badly executed. The Yugoslav 'thing' (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s. Afterwards, if you've seen something good, it was a fallout from the previous period. The state became captive to private interests.

    Useful link: https://archive.org/details/BrankoHorvatWhatIsSocialism1989

    The Yugoslav ‘thing’ (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s.

    I have the impression that as a whole it was a successful experiment throughout. Anecdotally, at least, people remember it quite warmly, and regard the disintegration/civil war period as inconceivable insanity.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    The Yugoslav ‘thing’ (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s.
    I have the impression that as a whole it was a successful experiment throughout.
     
    You are also a fan of the Soviet experiment and of Maoism.

    Yugoslavia was not as bad as the Soviet system because it was less total in its socialism.
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  186. AP says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    The Yugoslav ‘thing’ (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s.
     
    I have the impression that as a whole it was a successful experiment throughout. Anecdotally, at least, people remember it quite warmly, and regard the disintegration/civil war period as inconceivable insanity.

    The Yugoslav ‘thing’ (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s.
    I have the impression that as a whole it was a successful experiment throughout.

    You are also a fan of the Soviet experiment and of Maoism.

    Yugoslavia was not as bad as the Soviet system because it was less total in its socialism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Fluctuarius
    What if I told you that, for the purposes of international travel permissions in 1960s-80s USSR, Yugoslavia was treated as a Capitalist country?
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  187. AP says:
    @Ivan K.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism.
     
    From the original Doctrine of Fascism, co-written by Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile:

    A nation, as expressed in the State, is a living, ethical entity only in so far as it is active. Inactivity is death. Therefore the State is not only Authority which governs and confers legal form and spiritual value on individual wills, but it is also Power which makes its will felt and respected beyond its own frontiers, thus affording practical proof of the universal character of the decisions necessary to ensure its development. This implies organization and expansion, potential if not actual. Thus the State equates itself to the will of man, whose development cannot he checked by obstacles and which, by achieving self-expression, demonstrates its infinity.
     

    Well I guess as states expand beyond their frontiers, they either do so in empty space, or they come into mutual conflicts, not excluding war ... Italy committed massacres in Libya, Ethiopia ...

    This description of ideas of the Ukrainian OUN ideologue is another good description of fascist thought regarding government. It is less poetic, more “practical”:

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

    Stsiborskyi was the principal theorist of the OUN prior to its split into the hostile Melnyk and Bandera camps.[1] He believed that the idea of democracy that began to spread throughout the world following the French Revolution had reached its high point prior to the First World War and subsequently came into decline. He wrote that democracy and capitalism were inseparable, and that the two systems helped bring about much material progress and innovation throughout the nineteenth century. He also saw them as fundamentally flawed. Stsyborsky felt that democracy and capitalism required equal rights and freedoms while, at the same time, nature was inherently not equal. With time, the weak were bound by the capitalist system to become enslaved by the strong and the democratic slogans of universal brotherhood were considered by Stsyborsky to be merely sentimental and empty phrases. The reality in a democracy, according to Stsiborskyi, was that political rights and social control existed in direct proportion to economic power. Democracy thus became a playground for competing groups, each promoting its own interests rather than those of the nation as a whole. These interests vie for votes, and employ bribery and corruption. For these reasons, Stsyborsky felt that ultimately the most creative, talented, and best elements in a democratic society retreat from politics in disgust.[4]

    Stsiborskyi considered socialism and communism to be identical in their theories and worldview, and wrote that both were flawed reactions to democracy’s failures. He rejected their emphasis on the Proletariat (working class) and claimed that socialism, as well as communism, inevitably leads to a dictatorship in favor of one social group at the expense of others in the nation.[4]

    In opposition to democracy, socialism and communism, Stsiborskyi admired Italy’s fascism. In contrast to Democracy’s “liberty, equality, fraternity” Stsyborsky praised Fascism’s “duty, hierarchy, discipline.” Stsiborskyi wrote that society should be organized according to the principles of National syndicalism, a socioeconomic system adopted by Benito Mussolini. Instead of competing political parties or social classes he proposed that an authoritarian one-party government should harmoniously unite all social groups under its control, which would prevent exploitation of some classes by others and would focus all of the nation’s social elements onto the goal of national development rather than on the development of particular groups such as social classes. Stsiborskyi supported a fascist dictatorship which he claimed represented a “cult of creativity” in opposition to democracy’s “cult of numbers/votes.” He rejected the old traditional elite in favor of a new one, arising from the people, characterized by its genius and willpower.[4] Stsyborski’s major work, Nationcracy, included a chapter criticizing Hitler’s dictatorship.[5]

    Read More
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  188. @dc.sunsets
    If you think that the prices of tires, engines and car seat cushions available in stores are set by bureaucrats, I have a bridge to sell you.

    (Facepalm.)

    If you think that the prices of tires, engines and car seat cushions available in stores are set by bureaucrats, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying you go a store, see a car seat cushion tagged as $19.99, approach the clerk, offer him $17.78 for it, and wait for his offer? And who, do you think, came up with the $19.99 price in the first place?

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    And who, do you think, came up with the $19.99 price in the first place? - The Invisible Hand of course. The libertarians are really something. (see my comment #102)
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  189. @gerad
    Sergey and @Andrei Martyanov....I must commend you on your superb and informative series of comments on this thread.Excellent

    Thank you Gerad, but you are probably the only one who thinks

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  190. @Michael Kenny
    As always with these “translations”, they read like they were written by an American and then translated into Russian so as to be posted under the name “Egor Kholmogorov” and not the other way round. Why, for example, would a Russian describe Britain as being “across the pond”? There is no “pond” anywhere near Russia which has Britain on the other side! Equally, the long, rambling, pseudo-historical discourse is typically American and strikes us Europeans as irrelevant. The idea that the communist dictatorships were “socialist” is also an American belief which puzzles Europeans. Bottom line: there’s nothing “Russian” about this article and I would not regard it as credible. By the way, it would be nice to know who the translator is and why on earth a mere translator would feel the need to conceal his identity.

    Not sure if trolling or just stupid. The translator takes this as a compliment, however, meaning that the his (non-native) English is idiomatic enough to pass for that of a native speaker.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
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  191. @AP

    The Yugoslav ‘thing’ (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s.
    I have the impression that as a whole it was a successful experiment throughout.
     
    You are also a fan of the Soviet experiment and of Maoism.

    Yugoslavia was not as bad as the Soviet system because it was less total in its socialism.

    What if I told you that, for the purposes of international travel permissions in 1960s-80s USSR, Yugoslavia was treated as a Capitalist country?

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  192. peterAUS says:
    @Ivan K.
    Yugoslav's worker's self-management was well-conceived, its implementation was badly designed and badly executed. The Yugoslav 'thing' (the economic development) was truly successful only up to the beginning of the 1970s. Afterwards, if you've seen something good, it was a fallout from the previous period. The state became captive to private interests.

    Useful link: https://archive.org/details/BrankoHorvatWhatIsSocialism1989

    Well….
    The argument

    Yugoslav’s worker’s self-management was well-conceived, its implementation was badly designed and badly executed.

    can be applied to all things not working as advertised.

    The question, pertinent to this thread, would be:what we, today, could (re)use from the “Yugoslav experiment” in that self-management thing?

    Or, better, what is that which makes well conceived unworkable in practice?

    Either way one cuts it, I believe it boils down to elites get corrupted.
    Power corrupts.
    Equally important, massed being simply…….well…what masses actually are.
    Dumb and intellectually/morally lazy.

    Again, we can discuss ad nauseam ‘ism’ this, ‘ism’ that, but, at the end of the day,what really matters, we do not have an alternative to the current system.
    Practical alternative that is.

    Our problem is that we care (masses don’t….) but…haha….not quite smart and sold out to belong to those 19 % implementing the system. For those 1 %.
    Bummer.

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    • Replies: @Ivan K.
    I was just chatting and making some brief description. If I were asked for arguments in favour of self-management, I'd start with a list like this:

    Management by results and self-control from “The Practice of Management” by Peter Drucker (1954)

    Maverick by Ricardo Semler (1990s)

    The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company by Beyster (2007)

    Turn the ship around - a true story of turning followers into leaders by Marquet (2013)

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  193. utu says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    never occurred to me to think of the flashing toilet at night issue as fascist.
     
    Tight government control of everything, is what I mean. You can have a 'gated community' in the US with these sorts of rules, but they won't be enforced by the local PD.

    I never understood what really was supposed to be wrong with fascism.
     
    'Fascism', as you noted, is a loaded word; it means different things to different people. I suppose people on the left dislike it because it was (arguably) conceived as a nationalist substitute for (and destroyer of) internationalist marxist socialism; essentializing 'the nation' instead of marxist 'class'. It's understandable.

    Post-war softening and rebranding made it acceptable. I'm pretty sure Leftists (a few that still exist in the West) have nothing against the 'Scandinavian model'.

    I’m pretty sure Leftists (a few that still exist in the West) have nothing against the ‘Scandinavian model’. – Immigration and diversity will destroy this model because it can only work nonhomogeneous society with high degree of social solidarity. The Leftists that push for the diversity there are not aware that they are the useful idiots of the neoliberal NWO which has no room for the “Scandinavian model” anywhere.

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  194. utu says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    If you think that the prices of tires, engines and car seat cushions available in stores are set by bureaucrats, I have a bridge to sell you.
     
    Not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying you go a store, see a car seat cushion tagged as $19.99, approach the clerk, offer him $17.78 for it, and wait for his offer? And who, do you think, came up with the $19.99 price in the first place?

    And who, do you think, came up with the $19.99 price in the first place? – The Invisible Hand of course. The libertarians are really something. (see my comment #102)

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  195. Logan says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    The rules of society as a whole protected that wealth.
     
    I don't see any great substance in the distinction you're making between the class of nobility (in the feudal past) and the class of capitalists today. In any society, the laws, the social norms, and the dominant ideology ("the rules of society" in your terms) serve to protect and to entrench the ruling class.

    The difference is not whether there is a ruling class, it’s what that ruling class is and how one gets into it.

    The feudal nobility pretty much inherited their position.

    The mandarins of China got their’s by examination.

    The businessmen of the last few centuries in the West and its imitators acquired their wealth and power by providing services and goods others want to buy efficiently enough to turn a profit.

    In all cases corruption and working the system affect the results, but it seems crystal clear to me that there’s a huge difference in the society created by these three ways of determining who enters the ruling class.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    In all cases corruption and working the system affect the results, but it seems crystal clear to me that there’s a huge difference in the society created by these three ways of determining who enters the ruling class.
     
    Composition of the elites and their dynamics was analyzed (not sure how adequate) by Pareto in Circulation of Elite. But I would say that causation is the opposite here: the elites ('superstructure') are formed by the societal basic structure ('relations of production'). Standard marxist concept: base and superstructure.

    You said in 24 that for most of human history the rule of law didn’t exist. I disagree with that. In every case there was an elite, and there was the rule of law and ideology designed to justify and maintain the existing structure.

    The current (capitalist) structure seems most natural to us, because it's the only one we experienced, and because its dominant ideology has been instilled in us from the childhood. But two hundred years from now, people living in a (hypothetical) socialist society will probably dismiss our current structure as completely ridiculous - the ruling elite comprised of the most greedy, most sociopathic individuals?

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  196. Feudal nobles inherit land.

    Farming is a business. Nobles who mismanaged their inheritance could and did lose their position.

    Enterprising men were perfectly free to acquire land, and it wasn’t unusual for gentry to become nobility.

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  197. @Logan
    The difference is not whether there is a ruling class, it's what that ruling class is and how one gets into it.

    The feudal nobility pretty much inherited their position.

    The mandarins of China got their's by examination.

    The businessmen of the last few centuries in the West and its imitators acquired their wealth and power by providing services and goods others want to buy efficiently enough to turn a profit.

    In all cases corruption and working the system affect the results, but it seems crystal clear to me that there's a huge difference in the society created by these three ways of determining who enters the ruling class.

    In all cases corruption and working the system affect the results, but it seems crystal clear to me that there’s a huge difference in the society created by these three ways of determining who enters the ruling class.

    Composition of the elites and their dynamics was analyzed (not sure how adequate) by Pareto in Circulation of Elite. But I would say that causation is the opposite here: the elites (‘superstructure’) are formed by the societal basic structure (‘relations of production’). Standard marxist concept: base and superstructure.

    You said in 24 that for most of human history the rule of law didn’t exist. I disagree with that. In every case there was an elite, and there was the rule of law and ideology designed to justify and maintain the existing structure.

    The current (capitalist) structure seems most natural to us, because it’s the only one we experienced, and because its dominant ideology has been instilled in us from the childhood. But two hundred years from now, people living in a (hypothetical) socialist society will probably dismiss our current structure as completely ridiculous – the ruling elite comprised of the most greedy, most sociopathic individuals?

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    • Replies: @Logan
    The rule of law is not just the way a society works, which as you say every society has.

    Wiki: The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by decisions of individual government officials. It primarily refers to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly as a constraint upon behaviour, including behaviour of government officials.

    The difference was crystal clear to the ancient Greek and Roman republicans. They had plenty of injustice and oppression in their societies, but they directly contrasted their own societies with their (often theoretical) devotion to "rule of law" with the absolutism of, for instance, Persia, where the whim of the King WAS the law.

    The most powerful nobles of Persia openly and proudly called themselves the slaves of the king. And they were that, quite literally. Because there was no Law other than the king's will.

    Meanwhile, the Spartans, with all the appalling aspects of their society, were ruled by laws, not men.

    "Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie."

    Same was of course true of China, where there was little law in the usual sense, mandarins creating law by applying their own sense of justice as informed by Confucian ethical codes.

    Magna Carta is one of the first examples in western history of an attempt to create rule of law. To impose a system where the King himself was not above the law. Even the King, who was in theory at the time the source of law, could not disobey that law himself once it was made. Under feudalism, of course, this rule of men was brought down to the village level.

    "Rule of law," in a modern society also implies equality before that law. However imperfect that equality may be in practice. As opposed to most of human history, in which unequal treatment was embodied in the law.

    , @Seraphim
    Any organized society requires an 'elite' for the very necessities of organization.

    (Wiki): 'The iron law of oligarchy', the political theory, first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties, claims that rule by an elite, or oligarchy, is inevitable as an "iron law" within any democratic organization as part of the "tactical and technical necessities" of organization. Michels' theory states that all complex organizations, regardless of how democratic they are when started, eventually develop into oligarchies. Michels observed that since no sufficiently large and complex organization can function purely as a direct democracy, power within an organization will always get delegated to individuals within that group, elected or otherwise.
    According to Michels all organizations eventually come to be run by a "leadership class", who often function as paid administrators, executives, spokespersons, political strategists, organizers, etc. for the organization. Far from being "servants of the masses", Michels argues this "leadership class," rather than the organization's membership, will inevitably grow to dominate the organization's power structures..."

    You call it philosopher kings, nobility, aristocracy, upper classes, leaders, nomenklatura, organizers, society can't function without it. We know that since Plato and the whole history before and after him.
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  198. Logan says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    In all cases corruption and working the system affect the results, but it seems crystal clear to me that there’s a huge difference in the society created by these three ways of determining who enters the ruling class.
     
    Composition of the elites and their dynamics was analyzed (not sure how adequate) by Pareto in Circulation of Elite. But I would say that causation is the opposite here: the elites ('superstructure') are formed by the societal basic structure ('relations of production'). Standard marxist concept: base and superstructure.

    You said in 24 that for most of human history the rule of law didn’t exist. I disagree with that. In every case there was an elite, and there was the rule of law and ideology designed to justify and maintain the existing structure.

    The current (capitalist) structure seems most natural to us, because it's the only one we experienced, and because its dominant ideology has been instilled in us from the childhood. But two hundred years from now, people living in a (hypothetical) socialist society will probably dismiss our current structure as completely ridiculous - the ruling elite comprised of the most greedy, most sociopathic individuals?

    The rule of law is not just the way a society works, which as you say every society has.

    Wiki: The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by decisions of individual government officials. It primarily refers to the influence and authority of law within society, particularly as a constraint upon behaviour, including behaviour of government officials.

    The difference was crystal clear to the ancient Greek and Roman republicans. They had plenty of injustice and oppression in their societies, but they directly contrasted their own societies with their (often theoretical) devotion to “rule of law” with the absolutism of, for instance, Persia, where the whim of the King WAS the law.

    The most powerful nobles of Persia openly and proudly called themselves the slaves of the king. And they were that, quite literally. Because there was no Law other than the king’s will.

    Meanwhile, the Spartans, with all the appalling aspects of their society, were ruled by laws, not men.

    “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”

    Same was of course true of China, where there was little law in the usual sense, mandarins creating law by applying their own sense of justice as informed by Confucian ethical codes.

    Magna Carta is one of the first examples in western history of an attempt to create rule of law. To impose a system where the King himself was not above the law. Even the King, who was in theory at the time the source of law, could not disobey that law himself once it was made. Under feudalism, of course, this rule of men was brought down to the village level.

    “Rule of law,” in a modern society also implies equality before that law. However imperfect that equality may be in practice. As opposed to most of human history, in which unequal treatment was embodied in the law.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Because there was no Law other than the king’s will.
     
    Of course there was law; the king wasn't adjudicating every dispute among peasants.

    As for the king's will, it's always the case that authorities have discretion. They make decisions, they exercise their judgement, their will. The discretion can be unlimited (in absolute monarchy) or limited (in a republic), but I don't see how this is such a crucial difference. American president can't do some things, but he can pardon anyone or order a military strike on a foreign country. That's a lot of power unrestricted by Law.

    “Rule of law,” in a modern society also implies equality before that law.
     
    Yeah, I know. As one French guy said long time ago: "In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal bread."

    Also, everyone can be elected president, and honest hard work will eventually make you millionaire. It's the standard ideological narrative, and you're buying into it.
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