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So Roman Abramovich has become an Israeli citizen, a month after the Britbongs gave him the finger. Since every second UHNWI in Russia is considering a second passport, how exactly is this supposed to be interesting or surprising? Anybody who hasn't been under a rock for the past two decades - which excludes most Putin... Read More
The key problem isn't Washington DC's direct sanctions - Russia's trade with the US is small, any restrictions can be easily substituted for or retaliated against, while harsher measures would require an unrealistic degree of international cooperation to be effective. As I have written, the main problem is American secondary sanctions: It appears that Russia... Read More
Map of the biggest airports in Russia and the ex-USSR by 2017 passenger traffic including transit flights. Source: Seva Bashirov Moscow is clearly a central node, accounting for 89 million passengers in 2017 - up from just 19 million in 2001, near the trough of the post-Soviet collapse. Incidentally, this makes Moscow the world's 13th... Read More
Karl Marx - Capital. Rating: 2/10 I did earnestly try to read Capital on about three separate occasions in my early twenties, before I wised up and stopped wasting my time on a pointless historical relic. At a basic level, Marx is just a very poor writer, and I say this as someone who read... Read More
The world's first floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) has just been launched from the Baltiysky Zavod in Saint-Petersburg. It will be towed for fueling in Murmansk, and then go on to provide power to the Arctic town of Bilibino in the Russian Far East, where the local NPP is due for decommissioning in 2019. Autistic... Read More
Branco Milanovic - When autarky becomes the only solution This post-Cold War idea that corporations are taking over the world always seemed ridiculous to me. Consider the following: Wealthiest individual ~$100 billion (Bezos) Wealthiest corporation ~$1 trillion (Apple) Wealthiest country ~ $100 trillion (USA), of which states typically own 20%-70%. Plus, they have 95%+ of... Read More
On April 6, the US Treasury Department extended sanctions against a number of Russian billionaires, including: Heads of state owned energy giants Sechin (Rosneft) and Miller (Gazprom) Putin's circle of silovarch chums and friendly billionaires, e.g. Kirill Shalamov (Putin's former son-in-law), Fursenko, Patrushev, Zolotov, Dyumin (a long rumored successor) The "oligarchs" (which they are not)... Read More
Belated comment on the Kemerovo fire that killed 64 people, including 41 children. 1. Tragedies like this are inevitable and will always happen, the best that could be done is working to minimize and mitigate them (personally I favor legislating exorbitant compensation for victims, since money > ethics so far as almost all businesses are... Read More
In his September 1, 2017 speech to incoming Russian schoolchildren, Putin made waves by proclaiming that whoever becomes the leader in AI will become "ruler of the world." This provoked a variety of reactions, from Elon Musk commenting on his belief that competition for AI superiority will be the likeliest cause of World War III... Read More
The latest issue of the Knight Frank World Wealth Report will not make happy reading for those of us who thought they were seeing tentative signs that Putin's Russia was making good progress on "nationalizing" its elites (e.g. multiple wealth amnesties, local Courchevel, local Hogwarts, etc). First, Russia's wealth structure remains extremely lop-sided. While there... Read More
So this map has been sitting at the top of /r/MapPorn for the past day, and has been ReTweeted a bunch of times. Of course this is measuring by nominal GDP. Here is how the comparison would look like if you were to measure the Russian economy by PPP-adjusted GDP. Question: Which one should you... Read More
The Maddison Project is probably the world's most comprehensive source of economic history statistics. Begun by British economist Angus Maddison, it was continued after his death in 2010 by an institution at the University of Groningen. Recently, an update for 2018 has been released. Background paper: It was accompanied by a major introductory article at... Read More
Convenient summary h/t Ivan Vladimirov. Ireland and Iceland look to be in the best shape. While Ireland is one of Europe's most religious countries, Iceland is one of the least ("0% of Icelanders aged 25 or younger believe world was created by God"). Adjusting for fertility non-EU immigrants also substantially smooths - indeed, probably almost... Read More
While data from various IQ tests are useful for global scale analyses (e.g. GDPcc correlations), they are far less reliable for particular countries. That's why I'm a big fan of the OECD's PISA assessments, which are highly standardized, have large samples from similar age groups, take place concurrently once every three years, test those aspects... Read More
The Treasury has come out with its list of 210 Russian oligarchs and politicians, ostensibly in preparation for targeted sanctions. It's a pretty hilarious affair, basically a copy-paste job from the Forbes list of Russian billionaires and a page listing biographies at government.ru . If I wanted to try to split the Russian elite, I... Read More
Population size doesn't matter much if your goal is to live as a small, comfy, unambitious Switzerland or Singapore. But a large population, along with a sufficiently high IQ, remains of sine qua non of being a Great Power or superpower. France went from having 20% of Europe's population during the reign of the Sun... Read More
Last year's summary: Russian Demographics in 2017 Preliminary data for 2017 is in. There were about 1,689,884 (11.5/1,000) births in 2017, a decline of 10.7% relative to the 1,893,256 (12.9/1,000) births in 2016. There were about 1,824,340 (12.4/1,000) deaths in 2017, a decline of 3.4% relative to the 1,887,913 (12.9/1,000) deaths in 2016. Consequently, the... Read More
Well, we're well into 2018 now. Soros joins the many Very Respectable People - Anders Aslund has excelled in this regard more than most - who have predicted all several dozens of Russia's past zero collapses.
German tech guy notes that Europe barely has a presence in the tech sector. Hardware dominated by East Asians; Europeans used to do this, but Phillips, Nokia had their heyday many years ago. Internet infrastructure (e.g. cloud, DNS) dominated by the United States, though China has its own self-contained ecosystem. Platforms (operating systems, social networks,... Read More
Guangzhou, China (/r/Cyberpunk) Some time ago a commenter asked me about the state of China Studies in Russia, an issue that is pretty germane as they increasingly align with each other. TL;DR - Catastrophic. Simply put, Russia does not have the cognitive tools to understand the country that Kremlin talking points describe as Russia’s "strategic... Read More
When finishing up yesterday's post I realized that Transparency International has finished releasing its final version of the Global Corruption Barometer. By far the most interesting indicator is the percentageof people who report paying a bribe in the past 12 months (more precisely, the percentage of households who paid a bribe when accessing basic services).... Read More
The World Bank Enterprise Surveys are an invaluable source of information on the business climate across both time and space. In particular, its section on corruption does for businesses what Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer does for individuals - it directly asks them whether they are expected to give bribes to bureaucrats to reach understandings... Read More
Inflation is now at 2.7% as of October 2017, down from double-digit rates three years ago and overshooting the Central Bank of Russia's 4% target for this year. This constitutes an all-time post-Soviet low. This is in large part thanks to the hawkish monetary policy of CBR head Elvira Nabiullina, and indirectly of Putin, who... Read More
The World Bank has just released its Ease of Doing Business data for 2018 (report PDF; rankings; historical data in Excel) I wrote about why good scores on this indicator are pretty useful two years ago: First, elites pay a lot of attention to it. Several countries – including Russia, Kazakhstan, and India – have... Read More
Kulivets & Ushakov – 2016 – Modeling Relationship between Cognitive Abilities and Economic Abstract: It's well established that there is a very close correlation between average national IQ and GDP per capita, especially when corrected for resource windfalls and Communism.
The latest in our series of translations of Russian national-conservative thinker Egor Kholmogorov. Translated by: Fluctuarius Argenteus; slightly edited by AK. Original: *** 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... Read More
There are three main reasons why the correlation between national IQ and GDP per capita is only around r=0.7, instead of r=0.9. Oil/resource windfalls: Saudi Arabia would otherwise be about as prosperous as Yemen. The legacy of Communism: Central planning and especially the lunacy that is Maoism are far less effective than free markets. The... Read More
In 2014, Lenta.ru conducted a study into the ethnic composition of Russia's billionaires. (Steve Sailer picked it up as well). The observation that Jews constituted 21% of the Russian Forbes 200 predictably drove handshakeworthy journalists, Jews, and especially Jewish journalists into a tizzy (as I recall, when I asked him when he was also going... Read More
East-Central Europe - the Visegrad nations and the Balts - are commonly considered to have had far better post-Communist transitions than Russia. They started earlier, and from a more privileged position; in contrast, the Soviet economy was more distorted in the first place, and there were no living memories of prewar capitalism. They got more... Read More
According to the latest estimates, Russia might harvest as much as 133 million tons of grain this year. This would make 2017 a record harvest not just by post-Soviet standards, which were pretty dismal until the past decade, but relative to the RSFSR's peak of 127.4mn tons in 1978. (This is the case even after... Read More
Results of the Pakistan Census are out and show that the population has reached 207,774,520 people as of 2017. After hurtling past Russia around 2000, Pakistan has now just about converged with Brazil, which has approximately 207,932,000 people as of this year. Considering that Pakistan increases by 4 million every year to less than 2... Read More
Africa has more than 50 political entities and more than a billion people with some of the highest concentrations of genetic and cultural diversity on the planet. For every destitute failure like Niger, you have some country that bucks the stereotype and dispels some of the doom and gloom that predominates in HBD-realistic commentary about... Read More
I think Czechia might just be the best country in the world. Europe's best gun rights (just further liberalized) But lower homicide rate than UK/France/Germany because no aggressive Third World minorities Social liberalism without the poz and purple-haired SJWs Also most atheist European country But with a higher fertility rate than Holy Poland nonetheless Sane... Read More
This is a horse I've pretty much beaten to death, but still worth pointing out - not many Russians want to leave Russia. And not many Russians ever wanted to leave Russia. Results of the latest Levada polls: Incidentally, when I was in Saint-Petersburg, the hotel receptionist said that if anything, there has been a... Read More
So the other day Mark Zuckerberg, who is all but officially campaining for the Presidency in 2020, came out in favor of basic income: I do support basic income. Though who cares what I support. Two to three decades down the line, basic income will become all but inevitable if the oligarchs want mass consumer... Read More
In recent weeks I've had cause to look at Moscow property prices. There are basically three major socio-economic regions in Moscow: The center - Upper middle class, very high property prices (300-400,000R/sq m), cosmopolitan, tilted against Putin and towards liberal parties like Yabloko, full of cafes with Macbook toting hipsters, do not discriminate against immigrants... Read More
Here is a graph of monthly births in Russia since 2006 through to March 2017: It is pointless to make sweeping conclusions based on demographic data from the past one or two months. That said, the three month moving average has been down relative to the same period in the previous year since the middle... Read More
Ernst & Young regularly carries out large-scale surveys of corporate employees across a range of countries on issues such as ethics and corruption in the workplace. In the latest Global Fraud Survey (PDF), which took place at the end of 2016, 88% of Ukrainian employees thought that bribery and corrupt practices are widespread in business... Read More
In an infamous 2008 article, Alexander Dugin makes the distinction between "patriotic corruption" and "comprador corruption," or "Eurasian corruption" and "Atlanticist corruption." Here are the main features of "Eurasian" (patriotic) corruption: Doesn't damage Russia's national security; Concentrates the proceeds of corruption on Russian territory, or that of allied or strategically important countries; Doesn't put the... Read More
On March 29, the High Court in London has decided that the sanctity of Eurobond debt trumps Ukraine's special pleading to treat the Russian $3 billion loan to the late Yanukovych regime as odious debt and wave it away on account of Russia's supposed "aggression" against it. This is not the final judgment, which is... Read More
Why is corruption so bad in Eastern Europe? And what can be done about it? First off, I don't know to what extent it can be reduced. According to the hbdchick's theories on the Hajnal Line, ceteris paribus, Southern and Eastern Europe will always be more corrupt than the countries of "core Europe" because they... Read More
The final figures for life expectancy and TFR in total and for the regions have been released today. The Rosstat computations give an estimate of TFR = 1.76 children per woman and LE = 71.9 years for 2016, which are pretty close to my rough estimates a month ago. The total population is estimated to... Read More
The reason I don't write much about Russia's demographics nowadays is that there isn't much point to it. Up until the early 2010s, the Western media was brimming with misinformation about the subject - what we now call #fakenews - so refuting it was both profitable and easy. Incredibly easy. You didn't really have to... Read More
Has been released. It is basically a composite index of about a dozen subjective corruption ratings given out by various development organizations and more political NGOs (e.g. Freedom House). Although it generally reflects reality, as in it correlates well with other, more objective measures of corruption, there are two major caveats: (1) It is not... Read More
In international sociological comparisons of happiness Russia and the ex-USSR have become pretty much bywords for very low levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Here is a not atypical graph showing Russia as one several extreme outliers. However, polling evidence suggests this is an increasingly dated view, much as demographic data has already long invalidated... Read More
Transparency International has released the Global Corruption Barometer 2016 for Europe: The map above shows the answer to the most interesting question in the survey: "Did you or any member of your household make an unofficial payment or gift when using [a public service] over the past 12 months"? In the last survey from 2013,... Read More
Nothing illustrates China's meteoric rise as some well chosen numbers. By the end of the 1990s, China had come to dominate the mainstays of geopolitical power in the 20th century - coal and steel production. As a consequence, it leapt to the top of the Compositive Index of National Capability, which uses military expenditure, military... Read More
At his blog Greg Cochran raises the issue of the Great Stagnation. Basically, GDP per capita growth rates throughout the developed world have plummeted relative to the levels of 1950-1973 (the years of the miracle economy, Wirtschaftswunder, trentes glorieuses, etc). They are however more or less typical of growth rates earlier in the century, substantially... Read More
  Online version with hyperlinks: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ea-and-intelligence-theory/ I am a blogger and independent researcher who is interested in the intersections of intelligence theory, futurism, economics, and geopolitics. Here is a summary of my ideas relevant to Effective Altruism: Intelligence is central to explaining the wealth and poverty of nations, so a good understanding of it is... Read More
I have often remarked that a convenient way to think about East Asian comparative economic development is to view its three biggest players - China, Japan, and South Korea - as being separated by twenty year "chunks" of development, with Japan being on its leading edge and China being its laggard. For instance, here is... Read More
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.