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    There is a non-trivial chance of a color revolution in Armenia in the next few days. I don't follow domestic Armenian politics, but the basic gist of it is that the two-term President Serzh Sargsyan - who is highly unpopular due to increases in utilities tariffs - has recently transitioned from the Presidency to the...
  • http://beta.nydailynews.com/news/world/ten-people-dead-15-wounded-van-plows-crowd-toronto-article-1.3950187

    In related news, another 10 people are killed with truck in Toronto, and the alleged perpetrator is Armenian. At the same time color revolution is going on in Armenia, is it mere coincidence?
    What does the local Conspiracy Command thinks?

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  • @Ali Choudhury
    Outside of a few ritzy neighborhoods which would have been out of reach of the ordinary locals going back decades, foreign oligarchs have not been buying that much property in London. Low interest rates are the primary reason prices have skyrocketed.

    Well that’s what I hear from people there. Although, you are right that the perception and actual cause of the problem are not necessarily the same.

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  • @Polish Perspective
    Eurostat is out with numbers on book reading. Curious trivia.

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/People-reading-books.png

    France looks curiously low. And share is not the same as time spent. Here's that:

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Time-spent-reading-books.png

    So France continues to underperform. Very strange. Finally a map:

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Share-of-people-reading-books-2016-Eurostat-Jo-Di-graphics_.png

    Unfortunately the mapmaker is retarded. It isn't the "share of people" but "time spent" that is being highlighted. I was positively surprised by Greece and to some extent even Turkey. Outside of France I'd say the biggest negative outlier is Austria.

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Expenditure-on-books.png

    Though if you look at expenditure on newspapers, books etc, both the French and the Austrians do decently well. Maybe they just buy more expensive books which are more intellectual but read less? Or maybe their newspapers are high-brow enough that less of book-reading is needed.

    I'd be interested in the quality of books rather than just time spent on books. Someone reading Harry Potter, 50 shades of grey and a ton of chick-lit isn't on the same level as someone reading a few major intellectual tomes per year. But I guess that would be too "elitist", or maybe hard to measure.

    I’d be interested in the quality of books rather than just time spent on books. Someone reading Harry Potter, 50 shades of grey and a ton of chick-lit isn’t on the same level as someone reading a few major intellectual tomes per year.

    Might be able to compile this from an index of sales stats based on popular, widely-translated science, history, etc. books (though I imagine Eastern Europe will be a bit underweighed due to widespread piracy).

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  • @Mitleser

    What did all those brave men suffer and die for at the gates of Vienna in the 1600s and centuries before?
     
    What did all those brave Roman men suffer and die for at the gates of Anatolia in the 900s and centuries before?

    “So that a man’s right to publicly dress up as a fruity Roman soldier shall not perish from this Earth!”

    If it weren’t for those darned Turks, it would be happening in Constantinople too!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-27/turkish-anti-riot-police-officers-disperse-lgbt-community/7545284

    “So that the poz shall perish from the Earth!”

    Peace.

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  • Russia is not irked by the resignation. Declarations indicate indifference toward the unrest.

    https://themoscowtimes.com/news/moscow-reacts-to-resignation-of-armenian-prime-minister-sargsyan-61243

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  • @Dmitry
    That's the logical and rational view.

    But EU is also worshiped by some - middle-class and educated - Western demographics as a new religion.

    Even in the UK, it was very divided, the society, on this question - and the end result of the voting was within a couple of percent.

    And the UK - is the country in the EU, with the lowest approval ratings for the EU.

    In addition, I would worry that younger generations are very brainwashed into this religion.

    This is much more amongst people like Spanish. When I was learning Spanish, I used read sometimes the Spanish newspaper websites - and they publish many irrational and emotional articles saying how wonderful the EU is (it is a very accepted viewpoint there).

    The young quite like the prospect of being able to work, travel, study and live without restriction in a polity of half a billion people. How they live their lives and spend their time predisposes them to favour the EU.

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  • @Hyperborean
    Just because the people selling their country to the highest bidder only care about getting the highest price doesn't mean ordinary Georgians don't resent it.

    Considering how even in full-pozzed London I've heard ordinary people complain about all the foreign oligarchs buying up everything, I don't find it hard to believe that Georgians might find it painful.

    Outside of a few ritzy neighborhoods which would have been out of reach of the ordinary locals going back decades, foreign oligarchs have not been buying that much property in London. Low interest rates are the primary reason prices have skyrocketed.

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    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    Well that's what I hear from people there. Although, you are right that the perception and actual cause of the problem are not necessarily the same.
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  • @Mitleser

    It came from the investment in capital/technology.
     
    That and very favorable geography which includes cheap water and soil.

    https://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/usa_great.jpg

    And all those waterways connecting to the world ocean. Almost free transport.

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  • @Polish Perspective

    I understand we needed foreigners to run the show
     
    There's a significant difference between taking in selective FDI in key industries and outright letting "foreigners run the show". East Asia and especially China did the former. Are you sure you are a nationalist?

    but please don’t turn this into a morality play of how they are supposed to “subsidize” us.
     
    My argument is much simpler. The West gains more from the East once you consider all three factors: public funds, private funds and labour movement. In the debate, we only hear about the first. We never hear about the last two.

    Therefore, the solution I prefer is clean and simple: we stop receiving public funds(literal pay-off money) and they stop getting free labour+monopolistic access to our domestic market. Don't forget that 75% of our EU funds are re-invested in Western European companies.

    The thing is, the West knows this. Günther Öttinger, who is in charge of cohesion funds has all but admitted this. There's a quote I'm too lazy to google where he says in half-jest that if anything the EU should pay EE countries more. But instead of that, my preferred option would achieve a far cleaner break. However, the West would also never agree to it, precisely because they know the real scorecard, which is why their threats of cutting EU funds during the asylum crisis was always a hoax.

    It's interesting, but perhaps not surprising, that Eastern Europeans like yourself have completely and whoolly swallowed the "you should be grateful" meme, while warning about "morality tales" when you aren't advocating for your own colonisation of "letting foreigners running the show".

    I doubt most Poles would be keen to ditch the opportunity of making German wages out of some sort of nationalistic amour propre.

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  • @Thorfinnsson
    Low domestic gas prices are only a problem if it results in production dropping below domestic demand, with demand substituted by imports.

    Obviously this will not happen since the imports themselves would be LNG, excluding Canadian imports which are benign (and Canada doesn't have enough reserves to replace American producers in bulk).

    Increased gas production to satisfy export demand will simply result in us running out of gas reserves sooner at the expensive of a smaller heavy industrial production base.

    In the long-term I'm also skeptical of the viability of LNG in any case. With the development of OBOR and Russia's own efforts it's inevitable that FSU and Persian Gulf gas will be delivered to East Asia by pipeline.

    It's also worth pointing out that according to the US Energy Information Agency that China presently has the world's largest reserves of technically recoverable shale gas. Exploitation is a problem owing to distance from water resources and a lack of technological expertise.

    These are surmountable problems as proven by America's fracking industry. Both the Eagle Ford and Bakken formations are in dry areas not very close to fresh water, and the fracking industry didn't even exist at the turn of the century. Dick Cheney promoted invading Iraq because his energy working group predicted that by this time America would be importing 90% of its oil consumption.

    Meanwhile larger and more competitive industries in chemicals, steel, fertilizer, plastics, cement, etc. add more final value and represent a greater overall level of product complexity and technical efficiency. As most of these products are themselves intermediate input goods they'll increase the competitiveness of our final goods industries as well.

    Another possible use of our gas supremacy is in our world class freight railroad system. Currently this system is diesel-based. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad (a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary) is currently experimenting with gas-powered locomotives.

    China (and Asia in general) are going to be severely water-stressed over the next few decades.

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  • @Polish Perspective

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)

     

    https://i.imgur.com/yNvMzzD.jpg

    Poland isn't even in the top 5 once you adjust for GNI. It's true that Poland gets most in absolute terms, but that's also because we are way bigger than most EE countries. I find a lot of economic innumerate to fail to understand this point and just repeat "yes but they get THIS MANY BILLIONS". But without adjusting for economic size is meaningless. Sad to see that you are not smarter than this, Dmitry.

    Also, this is counted from the year 2000. The latest EU funds flow constitute about 1% of our GNI according to our central bank. The next one will be half that, even if no change is done, simply on account of a growing economy and a closer realignment to the EU median.

    Furthermore, whenever we are talking about EU funds this should be kept in mind:

    https://i.imgur.com/YNiPO03.png

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge ("see, it's only thanks to us because of us generous we are!"). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.

    And I haven't even talked about the fact that Western European countries benefit massively from labour and we lose, in some instances permanently.


    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge (“see, it’s only thanks to us because of us generous we are!”). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    You are correct, but the chart doesn’t show that. It’s quite misleading.

    In only compares the net inflow of EU transfers to the net outflow of capital income.

    Other inflows include:

    • FDI (FDI into Poland for 2016 was around 3% of GDP it appears–more than EU transfers)
    • Exports
    • Foreign portfolio investment (i.e. investment into a business short of direct control, as well as bond purchases)
    • Bank lending
    • Repatriated foreign earnings and debt repayments

    Other outflows include:

    • Outbound FDI
    • Imports
    • Outbound foreign portfolio investment
    • Outbound bank lending
    • Foreign aid

    In theory the capital (FDI, portfolio investment, lending) and current accounts (trade, debt service, repatriated earnings) must always balance, though in reality this isn’t always true (see the Eurodollar market for instance).

    Depending on what EU funds are actually used for they could represent a very good deal in that EU funds do not represent FDI, portfolio investment, or lending and thus involve no obligation to service foreign debt or send capital income to foreign investors. Knowing the EU I doubt the funds are used for anything useful but you would know better.

    In general outside of East Asia fast-growing and/or converging economies run current account deficits in order to grow faster. Norway for instance ran a current account deficit of 13% of GDP while it was getting its North Sea oil industry off the ground.

    If you want to avoid that you have to suppress consumption and increase domestic saving, hence the famously high household savings rate in China (and Japan until recently). Or you accept slower growth. Inbound FDI also makes it easier to acquire foreign technology and know-how.

    A good way to split the difference is through joint ventures and forced technology transfers.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.

    Sure, but ALDI, Lidl, Kaufmann, and Carrefour doubtless have higher productivity and better merchandising skills than anything that existed in the Visegrad 4 or could’ve come to the fore in the post-communist period.

    As a result Visegrad people exchange lost profits for lower prices, better quality, and improved product selection.

    Of course you can argue that efficient retailers would’ve developed anyway, but this surely would’ve taken more time.

    The real question is whether the Visegrad 4 can create successful multinational corporations or if they will forever be comprador economies controlled by the German 1%. There are worse fates than that incidentally. Australia and Canada have been a comprador economies from day one for instance.

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  • Walmart is said close to $12 billion-plus deal for Flipkart

    Why should you care? Because if this deal goes through, a major Indian giant in the making will be snuffed out. We need more competition among the tech giants away from the US-controlled dogma.

    I had earlier speculated about the far more Westernised Indian elites and how that plays badly into a divergence path – as compared to Chinese elites who are far more rooted in their own country. If you look at India’s digital landscape, virtually nothing is different from a typical Western country in terms of what tech they use.

    The irony here is that Snapdeal(an also-ran) and Flipkart were both loudly talking about imposing capital rules which would have meant that foreign investors can invest but they can’t get controlling interest. Something similar was mulled in China after Naspers got a big stake in several Chinese companies, but those companies remained in Chinese hands even with a lot of foreign capital. This may now not happen in India.

    The NDA – the ruling Indian coalition with the BJP as its head – exposed the lie of them being any different than the Congress – the previous rulers, who are dynastic in Indian politics – when it refused these proposed rules.

    I actually read the BJP 2014 manifesto all those years ago and was excited when they mentioned a break with Western dogma. Sadly it was all fluff. They have maintained a neoliberal line and they don’t seem to understand the importance of your own domestic tech sector. India is one of the very few countries which can pull it off. I’ve argued before that in order to get Big Tech you need a Big Market first.

    So India is throwing this away, if the deal is completed. This on the heels of Indian elites embracing SJW trends like feminism with gusto in a way that doesn’t appear to be happening in China to even nearly the same extent. Of course, Polish elites are of low quality, but our excuse is that given our precarious position and our far smaller economy, it was inevitable that we were going to end up in someone’s orbit. India is big enough to chart its own course far more independently but the tragedy is that it seems completely unwilling or even incapable of doing that.

    So only China will truly challenge the US dominance in all fields. India seems intent on playing the supplicant. Russia is the only other major country which stands up to the US and for that it needs our thanks, especially in foreign policy. If even the Indian “nationalists” won’t do this, there’s no hope for the opposition. Then again, the Congress has actually run a more independent foreign policy than the BJP, interestingly enough. Especially when it comes to regime change etc.

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  • @reiner Tor

    foreigners run the show
     
    I used it in the context of cell phone providers, where at least two decades ago there could have been some need for economies of scale. I’m not wholly sure.

    In general I think my comment wasn’t clear enough, I mostly agreed with you. E.g. the “morality tale” referred to the supposed western “subsidies” which we lazy Easterners supposedly receive.

    Anyway, now there are some points you made which I actually disagree with.

    we stop receiving public funds(literal pay-off money) and they stop getting free labour+monopolistic access to our domestic market.
     
    It’s impossible. Our educated elites (and even the not so educated unwashed masses) actively want the ability to choose to go to work in Western Europe. Short of Eastern Bloc style border fences and criminalization of emigration, how can you prevent the West (actually, the western elites) from taking advantage of your labor force?

    And short of capital controls and full scale nationalization, how can you prevent the profit repatriations?

    So the EU funds will be cut, unless the V4 can somehow show some force, but it’s unclear how. Cutting those funds is actually popular in Germany, I’m sure.

    Our educated elites (and even the not so educated unwashed masses) actively want the ability to choose to go to work in Western Europe.

    You can’t stop braindrain. On that we agree. But you certainly can stop the great masses. We certainly didn’t see the kind of flood we saw post-2004 before and that is entirely by design.

    And short of capital controls and full scale nationalization, how can you prevent the profit repatriations?

    Capital controls may not be a hugely bad thing. China still maintain them. It’s important here to distinguish between FPI (foreign portfolio investments) and FDI. It’s the latter which you want, and even then I’d say that only some types of FDI is actually beneficial, and only if it is directed towards genuine productive and technological capacity. As for full scale nationalisation, it isn’t feasible today nor would it even be preferable even if it was.

    I don’t think the state should be running retail stores. I do think that we have enough domestic firms to do a good job today. Given that we can’t wrest control out of foreign ownership hands, we can at least tax them appropriately given their massively monopolistic position. However this has been blocked by Brussels at every turn. In an environment where modest EU funds get cut even more, I don’t see why we should restrain ourselves despite massive Brussels screeching on this.

    So the EU funds will be cut, unless the V4 can somehow show some force, but it’s unclear how. Cutting those funds is actually popular in Germany, I’m sure.

    On an annual basis, Germany contributes around 0.1% of GNI. It’s a rounding-error. I don’t think the general public actually cares much, and I also don’t think the general public which cares even understands how little Germany pays.

    That said, none of this changes my stated position: the best outcome would not only be cutting EU funds but completely eliminating them – in exchange for ending Schengen and ending monopolistic market dominance. The latter two will never be accepted by the West because those are the two areas where they are draining the Eastern part of Europe. This is also why we never hear about them in the debate, because it doesn’t the fit the narrative of “we’re subsiding the poor EEs”.

    The best outcome is rarely the most realistic outcome, but I honestly think less EU funds will be good for us in the long term. At any rate, the current EU funds is about 1% of GNI according to our central bank and it has halved for each funding cycle. This is what successful convergence is supposed to mean. So us losing EU funds will not be a huge blow at any rate and it will free up political capital to go after areas which causes a lot of butthurt in Brussels in the economic sphere. It will also make us even more immune to blackmail on 3rd world quotas.

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  • @RadicalCenter
    The Glendale-Burbank-LA Area, quite often.

    The Census Bureau has it that there are 63,000 Armenian-born people in the 4 counties around LA. Not bad for a circumscribed area, but not a horde either.

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  • how smart are Armenians?

    Armenia blows but all the Armenians in the diaspora are geniuses. And you can’t just say that all the smart Armenians left because Armenia does well in all the chess olympiads and kicked the shit out of the much bigger Azjerkoffistan or whatever it’s called in their war.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?
     
    Correct, though only true for the sovok generation.

    Georgian restaurants in the USSR played the role of French restaurants in the US, as the elite place to go to place for status signalling purposes. Only French cuisine really is world class, whereas Georgian cuisine isn't (same for the wines). Now that there are mid-range Georgian establishments, the older Soviet people like to frequent them, since they continue to regard them as prestigious, even though there are no end of much cheaper (and better) restaurants and eateries.

    For the Moscow yuppies I think it's more about Georgia's (admittedly not entirely fictive) success at larping as a "European" country. This allows them to status signal how European and progressive they are.

    Georgian restaurants in the USSR played the role of French restaurants in the US, as the elite place to go to place for status signalling purposes.

    They did? I can’t recall a single one in my home town, where live 600,000 people and (at one time) the world headquarters of several major corporations.

    Only French cuisine really is world class, w

    “World class”? What does that even mean? Are you referring to quality, snob appeal, or something else?

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  • @Polish Perspective
    Eurostat is out with numbers on book reading. Curious trivia.

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/People-reading-books.png

    France looks curiously low. And share is not the same as time spent. Here's that:

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Time-spent-reading-books.png

    So France continues to underperform. Very strange. Finally a map:

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Share-of-people-reading-books-2016-Eurostat-Jo-Di-graphics_.png

    Unfortunately the mapmaker is retarded. It isn't the "share of people" but "time spent" that is being highlighted. I was positively surprised by Greece and to some extent even Turkey. Outside of France I'd say the biggest negative outlier is Austria.

    https://jodi.graphics/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Expenditure-on-books.png

    Though if you look at expenditure on newspapers, books etc, both the French and the Austrians do decently well. Maybe they just buy more expensive books which are more intellectual but read less? Or maybe their newspapers are high-brow enough that less of book-reading is needed.

    I'd be interested in the quality of books rather than just time spent on books. Someone reading Harry Potter, 50 shades of grey and a ton of chick-lit isn't on the same level as someone reading a few major intellectual tomes per year. But I guess that would be too "elitist", or maybe hard to measure.

    France is no longer a European country.

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  • @Polish Perspective

    I understand we needed foreigners to run the show
     
    There's a significant difference between taking in selective FDI in key industries and outright letting "foreigners run the show". East Asia and especially China did the former. Are you sure you are a nationalist?

    but please don’t turn this into a morality play of how they are supposed to “subsidize” us.
     
    My argument is much simpler. The West gains more from the East once you consider all three factors: public funds, private funds and labour movement. In the debate, we only hear about the first. We never hear about the last two.

    Therefore, the solution I prefer is clean and simple: we stop receiving public funds(literal pay-off money) and they stop getting free labour+monopolistic access to our domestic market. Don't forget that 75% of our EU funds are re-invested in Western European companies.

    The thing is, the West knows this. Günther Öttinger, who is in charge of cohesion funds has all but admitted this. There's a quote I'm too lazy to google where he says in half-jest that if anything the EU should pay EE countries more. But instead of that, my preferred option would achieve a far cleaner break. However, the West would also never agree to it, precisely because they know the real scorecard, which is why their threats of cutting EU funds during the asylum crisis was always a hoax.

    It's interesting, but perhaps not surprising, that Eastern Europeans like yourself have completely and whoolly swallowed the "you should be grateful" meme, while warning about "morality tales" when you aren't advocating for your own colonisation of "letting foreigners running the show".

    foreigners run the show

    I used it in the context of cell phone providers, where at least two decades ago there could have been some need for economies of scale. I’m not wholly sure.

    In general I think my comment wasn’t clear enough, I mostly agreed with you. E.g. the “morality tale” referred to the supposed western “subsidies” which we lazy Easterners supposedly receive.

    Anyway, now there are some points you made which I actually disagree with.

    we stop receiving public funds(literal pay-off money) and they stop getting free labour+monopolistic access to our domestic market.

    It’s impossible. Our educated elites (and even the not so educated unwashed masses) actively want the ability to choose to go to work in Western Europe. Short of Eastern Bloc style border fences and criminalization of emigration, how can you prevent the West (actually, the western elites) from taking advantage of your labor force?

    And short of capital controls and full scale nationalization, how can you prevent the profit repatriations?

    So the EU funds will be cut, unless the V4 can somehow show some force, but it’s unclear how. Cutting those funds is actually popular in Germany, I’m sure.

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    Our educated elites (and even the not so educated unwashed masses) actively want the ability to choose to go to work in Western Europe.
     
    You can't stop braindrain. On that we agree. But you certainly can stop the great masses. We certainly didn't see the kind of flood we saw post-2004 before and that is entirely by design.

    And short of capital controls and full scale nationalization, how can you prevent the profit repatriations?
     
    Capital controls may not be a hugely bad thing. China still maintain them. It's important here to distinguish between FPI (foreign portfolio investments) and FDI. It's the latter which you want, and even then I'd say that only some types of FDI is actually beneficial, and only if it is directed towards genuine productive and technological capacity. As for full scale nationalisation, it isn't feasible today nor would it even be preferable even if it was.

    I don't think the state should be running retail stores. I do think that we have enough domestic firms to do a good job today. Given that we can't wrest control out of foreign ownership hands, we can at least tax them appropriately given their massively monopolistic position. However this has been blocked by Brussels at every turn. In an environment where modest EU funds get cut even more, I don't see why we should restrain ourselves despite massive Brussels screeching on this.

    So the EU funds will be cut, unless the V4 can somehow show some force, but it’s unclear how. Cutting those funds is actually popular in Germany, I’m sure.
     
    On an annual basis, Germany contributes around 0.1% of GNI. It's a rounding-error. I don't think the general public actually cares much, and I also don't think the general public which cares even understands how little Germany pays.

    That said, none of this changes my stated position: the best outcome would not only be cutting EU funds but completely eliminating them - in exchange for ending Schengen and ending monopolistic market dominance. The latter two will never be accepted by the West because those are the two areas where they are draining the Eastern part of Europe. This is also why we never hear about them in the debate, because it doesn't the fit the narrative of "we're subsiding the poor EEs".

    The best outcome is rarely the most realistic outcome, but I honestly think less EU funds will be good for us in the long term. At any rate, the current EU funds is about 1% of GNI according to our central bank and it has halved for each funding cycle. This is what successful convergence is supposed to mean. So us losing EU funds will not be a huge blow at any rate and it will free up political capital to go after areas which causes a lot of butthurt in Brussels in the economic sphere. It will also make us even more immune to blackmail on 3rd world quotas.
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  • @Dmitry
    The census will only track a fraction of emigrants/workers. You can see above that officials are not using it when estimating for this question.

    You mean they’ll find them once you’ve told them where to look.

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  • @Polish Perspective

    FDI was 176 Billion in 2016. Polish GDP was 469 Billion.
     
    China gets around 100-120 billion USD per year in FDI. Who knew that Poland gets 50% more than China with less than 1/20th the population?

    Please, learn basic math first before opining. Your basic common sense should have kicked in long ago when you even typed that comment.

    My mistake. The figure I cited was probably FDI stock. FDI net inflows are much lower, of course. Actual figure is 16 billion.

    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.KLT.DINV.CD.WD?locations=PL

    Your basic common sense should have kicked in long ago when you even typed that comment.

    I stay corrected.

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  • @Spisarevski

    the EU it is the opposite – it is the new members which drain the money, and the old members who provide it.
     
    Actually it's the old members who drain the human and natural resources of the new members.
    The "money" the old members provide is not that much - in Bulgaria for example, when the membership fees are subtracted, the net funds received are about 500-600 million EUR per year, which is not a big deal, even for our small economy .
    Meanwhile, just the education of all the specialists who go to work in Western Europe costs billions of dollars more than the funds we received, and that education was paid with our taxes. There are all sorts of other hidden losses and lost profits as well - being forced to close perfectly safe nuclear reactors, to sell state monopolies and important industries to western entities under disadvantageous contracts that can't be broken because of "free trade" or something, and many others.
    Old member Germany is building a second Nord Stream while South Stream was denied to Bulgaria.

    Anyway I think Anatoly said somewhere recently that one of the main reasons the USSR fell apart is because it was uncool. While I agree, I can only hope that this will be true for the EU as well, I can't really imagine something more uncool than the EU.

    And this is why I can't understand for the life of me why are there sill sizeable factions in some countries that want to become part of the Western empire of niggerfaggotry, enormous and unaccountable bureaucracy (with commissars and everything) and hypocritical totalitarianism (the thought police varies from country to country but if this monstrosity doesn't fall apart, then we will all live in 1984 sooner or later).
    There is no freedom or prosperity waiting for you once you join these faggots - in fact, just the opposite.

    “the old members who drain the human and natural resources of the new members”

    Most British working people experience the drain on themselves, through lower wages, increased crime and worse public services. British employers, on the other hand, love the fact that they consider $10 an hour a great wage.

    The vast majority of the 3.5 million foreign workers in the UK are doing low-paid jobs, and paying little tax (for the others, see my next paragraph). One Polish child at a UK primary school costs about £6,000 a year, paid from taxes, while the tax paid by a minimum wage worker is about £880, so you need the tax from seven workers just for one child’s primary education.

    Male real median wages in the UK are lower now than in 1997.

    “the education of all the specialists who go to work in Western Europe costs billions of dollars more than the funds we received, and that education was paid with our taxes”

    You have a point there. My sister’s dentist surgery has dentists from Portugal, Bulgaria and Romania.

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  • @reiner Tor
    This is exactly my thinking. I’ve always thought it made exactly zero sense to export raw materials or fossil fuels in the long run. There might be short term reasons for that, but exporters should aim to move away from that and instead add value.

    An example could be Emirates or Qatar Airways. By taking advantage of their fortunate geographic location and the low fuel prices resulting from their hydrocarbon reserves they are selling a service with much higher added value than just exporting oil.

    It rather depends on the quantity of raw materials available vs. the real and potential domestic demand.

    Dubai for instance has far fewer reserves than Abu Dhabi, which is why they went for major diversification.

    Admittedly Emirates (as well as Etihad and Qatar Airways) could get into trouble in the future as a result of the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. But if they do they had a good run, and Dubai’s value as an entrepot remains.

    But yes, the classical mercantilist formula is to reduce the cost of raw materials and increase the amount of value added by your own industry. There were some flaws in the formula of course such as the obsessive focus on the accumulation of bullion, and while “comparative advantage” is complete nonsense there are still advantages in less managed trade.

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  • Eurostat is out with numbers on book reading. Curious trivia.

    France looks curiously low. And share is not the same as time spent. Here’s that:

    So France continues to underperform. Very strange. Finally a map:

    Unfortunately the mapmaker is retarded. It isn’t the “share of people” but “time spent” that is being highlighted. I was positively surprised by Greece and to some extent even Turkey. Outside of France I’d say the biggest negative outlier is Austria.

    Though if you look at expenditure on newspapers, books etc, both the French and the Austrians do decently well. Maybe they just buy more expensive books which are more intellectual but read less? Or maybe their newspapers are high-brow enough that less of book-reading is needed.

    I’d be interested in the quality of books rather than just time spent on books. Someone reading Harry Potter, 50 shades of grey and a ton of chick-lit isn’t on the same level as someone reading a few major intellectual tomes per year. But I guess that would be too “elitist”, or maybe hard to measure.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    France is no longer a European country.
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    I’d be interested in the quality of books rather than just time spent on books. Someone reading Harry Potter, 50 shades of grey and a ton of chick-lit isn’t on the same level as someone reading a few major intellectual tomes per year.
     
    Might be able to compile this from an index of sales stats based on popular, widely-translated science, history, etc. books (though I imagine Eastern Europe will be a bit underweighed due to widespread piracy).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Thorfinnsson
    Low domestic gas prices are only a problem if it results in production dropping below domestic demand, with demand substituted by imports.

    Obviously this will not happen since the imports themselves would be LNG, excluding Canadian imports which are benign (and Canada doesn't have enough reserves to replace American producers in bulk).

    Increased gas production to satisfy export demand will simply result in us running out of gas reserves sooner at the expensive of a smaller heavy industrial production base.

    In the long-term I'm also skeptical of the viability of LNG in any case. With the development of OBOR and Russia's own efforts it's inevitable that FSU and Persian Gulf gas will be delivered to East Asia by pipeline.

    It's also worth pointing out that according to the US Energy Information Agency that China presently has the world's largest reserves of technically recoverable shale gas. Exploitation is a problem owing to distance from water resources and a lack of technological expertise.

    These are surmountable problems as proven by America's fracking industry. Both the Eagle Ford and Bakken formations are in dry areas not very close to fresh water, and the fracking industry didn't even exist at the turn of the century. Dick Cheney promoted invading Iraq because his energy working group predicted that by this time America would be importing 90% of its oil consumption.

    Meanwhile larger and more competitive industries in chemicals, steel, fertilizer, plastics, cement, etc. add more final value and represent a greater overall level of product complexity and technical efficiency. As most of these products are themselves intermediate input goods they'll increase the competitiveness of our final goods industries as well.

    Another possible use of our gas supremacy is in our world class freight railroad system. Currently this system is diesel-based. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad (a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary) is currently experimenting with gas-powered locomotives.

    This is exactly my thinking. I’ve always thought it made exactly zero sense to export raw materials or fossil fuels in the long run. There might be short term reasons for that, but exporters should aim to move away from that and instead add value.

    An example could be Emirates or Qatar Airways. By taking advantage of their fortunate geographic location and the low fuel prices resulting from their hydrocarbon reserves they are selling a service with much higher added value than just exporting oil.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    It rather depends on the quantity of raw materials available vs. the real and potential domestic demand.

    Dubai for instance has far fewer reserves than Abu Dhabi, which is why they went for major diversification.

    Admittedly Emirates (as well as Etihad and Qatar Airways) could get into trouble in the future as a result of the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. But if they do they had a good run, and Dubai's value as an entrepot remains.

    But yes, the classical mercantilist formula is to reduce the cost of raw materials and increase the amount of value added by your own industry. There were some flaws in the formula of course such as the obsessive focus on the accumulation of bullion, and while "comparative advantage" is complete nonsense there are still advantages in less managed trade.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Thorfinnsson
    The guy named himself after Frederic Bastiat, what do you expect?

    Bastiat is the same genius who proposed that France should unilaterally disarm, and that this good example would inspire Prussia to disarm.

    Louis Napoleon thought otherwise and wished to expand the French Army to a million men, but his liberal ministers were more inclined to agree with Bastiat's thinking though they didn't go as far as unilateral disarmament.


    Despite his failing health, Napoleon III could see that the Prussian Army, combined with the armies of Bavaria and the other German states, would be a formidable enemy. In 1866, Prussia, with a population of 22 million, had been able to mobilize an army of 700,000 men, while France, with population of 26 million, had an army of only 385,000 men, of whom 100,000 were in Algeria, Mexico, and Rome.[131] In the autumn of 1867, Napoleon III proposed a form of universal military service, similar to the Prussian system, to increase the size of the French Army, if needed, to 1 million. His proposal was opposed by many French officers, such as Marechal Randon, who preferred a smaller, more professional army; he said: "This proposal will only give us recruits; it's soldiers we need."[132] It was also strongly opposed by the republican opposition in the French parliament, who denounced the proposal as a militarization of French society. The republican deputy, Émile Ollivier, who later became Napoleon's prime minister, declared: "The armies of France, which I always considered too large, are now going to be increased to an exorbitant size. Why? What is the necessity? Where is the danger? Who is threatening us? ...If France were to disarm, the Germans would know how to convince their governments to do the same. "[133] Facing almost certain defeat in the parliament, Napoleon III withdrew the proposal. It was replaced in January 1868 by a much more modest project to create a garde mobile, or reserve force, to support the army. [134]
     
    Woops...

    Bastiat is the same genius who proposed that France should unilaterally disarm, and that this good example would inspire Prussia to disarm.

    I wish more Frenchmen were like him…
    Europe would be a better place.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Polish Perspective

    FDI was 176 Billion in 2016. Polish GDP was 469 Billion.
     
    China gets around 100-120 billion USD per year in FDI. Who knew that Poland gets 50% more than China with less than 1/20th the population?

    Please, learn basic math first before opining. Your basic common sense should have kicked in long ago when you even typed that comment.

    The guy named himself after Frederic Bastiat, what do you expect?

    Bastiat is the same genius who proposed that France should unilaterally disarm, and that this good example would inspire Prussia to disarm.

    Louis Napoleon thought otherwise and wished to expand the French Army to a million men, but his liberal ministers were more inclined to agree with Bastiat’s thinking though they didn’t go as far as unilateral disarmament.

    Despite his failing health, Napoleon III could see that the Prussian Army, combined with the armies of Bavaria and the other German states, would be a formidable enemy. In 1866, Prussia, with a population of 22 million, had been able to mobilize an army of 700,000 men, while France, with population of 26 million, had an army of only 385,000 men, of whom 100,000 were in Algeria, Mexico, and Rome.[131] In the autumn of 1867, Napoleon III proposed a form of universal military service, similar to the Prussian system, to increase the size of the French Army, if needed, to 1 million. His proposal was opposed by many French officers, such as Marechal Randon, who preferred a smaller, more professional army; he said: “This proposal will only give us recruits; it’s soldiers we need.”[132] It was also strongly opposed by the republican opposition in the French parliament, who denounced the proposal as a militarization of French society. The republican deputy, Émile Ollivier, who later became Napoleon’s prime minister, declared: “The armies of France, which I always considered too large, are now going to be increased to an exorbitant size. Why? What is the necessity? Where is the danger? Who is threatening us? …If France were to disarm, the Germans would know how to convince their governments to do the same. “[133] Facing almost certain defeat in the parliament, Napoleon III withdrew the proposal. It was replaced in January 1868 by a much more modest project to create a garde mobile, or reserve force, to support the army. [134]

    Woops…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Bastiat is the same genius who proposed that France should unilaterally disarm, and that this good example would inspire Prussia to disarm.
     
    I wish more Frenchmen were like him...
    Europe would be a better place.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @reiner Tor
    In Hungary the genius leftist-liberal government in the 1990s privatized most public utilities. So you get your electricity from E.ON, your water supply from Veolia Environnement, etc. Our first conservative government (not yet Fidesz) In 1993 sold our telephone monopoly to Deutsche Telekom. They immediately raised prices and “sold” the Hungarian subsidiary their own obsolete equipment which was due to be replaced in Germany anyway. Now the Hungarian customers paid for it anyway within a couple of years through higher prices, but now we’re paying them permanent dividends. They are now in the broadband internet provider monopoly business (in most areas there’s still very little competition, with either them or UPC, or sometimes some other firm), which could easily be done by a Hungarian owned company. Though at least cell phone service (where DT became also dominant due to its earlier presence in the telephone monopoly, when the mobile business was still insignificant) is the more important part (probably it needs a bigger company as owner due to economies of scale), but even here: I understand we needed foreigners to run the show, and I understand that the Germans are not worse than others, but please don’t turn this into a morality play of how they are supposed to “subsidize” us.

    I understand we needed foreigners to run the show

    There’s a significant difference between taking in selective FDI in key industries and outright letting “foreigners run the show”. East Asia and especially China did the former. Are you sure you are a nationalist?

    but please don’t turn this into a morality play of how they are supposed to “subsidize” us.

    My argument is much simpler. The West gains more from the East once you consider all three factors: public funds, private funds and labour movement. In the debate, we only hear about the first. We never hear about the last two.

    Therefore, the solution I prefer is clean and simple: we stop receiving public funds(literal pay-off money) and they stop getting free labour+monopolistic access to our domestic market. Don’t forget that 75% of our EU funds are re-invested in Western European companies.

    The thing is, the West knows this. Günther Öttinger, who is in charge of cohesion funds has all but admitted this. There’s a quote I’m too lazy to google where he says in half-jest that if anything the EU should pay EE countries more. But instead of that, my preferred option would achieve a far cleaner break. However, the West would also never agree to it, precisely because they know the real scorecard, which is why their threats of cutting EU funds during the asylum crisis was always a hoax.

    It’s interesting, but perhaps not surprising, that Eastern Europeans like yourself have completely and whoolly swallowed the “you should be grateful” meme, while warning about “morality tales” when you aren’t advocating for your own colonisation of “letting foreigners running the show”.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    foreigners run the show
     
    I used it in the context of cell phone providers, where at least two decades ago there could have been some need for economies of scale. I’m not wholly sure.

    In general I think my comment wasn’t clear enough, I mostly agreed with you. E.g. the “morality tale” referred to the supposed western “subsidies” which we lazy Easterners supposedly receive.

    Anyway, now there are some points you made which I actually disagree with.

    we stop receiving public funds(literal pay-off money) and they stop getting free labour+monopolistic access to our domestic market.
     
    It’s impossible. Our educated elites (and even the not so educated unwashed masses) actively want the ability to choose to go to work in Western Europe. Short of Eastern Bloc style border fences and criminalization of emigration, how can you prevent the West (actually, the western elites) from taking advantage of your labor force?

    And short of capital controls and full scale nationalization, how can you prevent the profit repatriations?

    So the EU funds will be cut, unless the V4 can somehow show some force, but it’s unclear how. Cutting those funds is actually popular in Germany, I’m sure.
    , @Ali Choudhury
    I doubt most Poles would be keen to ditch the opportunity of making German wages out of some sort of nationalistic amour propre.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Dmitry
    You will surely be right that having lowers cost of inputs - should improve competitiveness of industries that use them.

    But to go back to the gas discussion, why is keeping the domestic gas price lower (and thereby subsidizing some industries), preferable to exporting more of gas as LNG, and directly managing to 'cash in'.

    I guess the answer would require study comparing the two situations.

    But there seems no intrinsic reason why the former is better.

    And the latter would seem preferable to me, because the result of lower gas prices in America (combined with export restrictions of LNG or I'm not sure what you propose), will be lower gas production other things equal.

    Low domestic gas prices are only a problem if it results in production dropping below domestic demand, with demand substituted by imports.

    Obviously this will not happen since the imports themselves would be LNG, excluding Canadian imports which are benign (and Canada doesn’t have enough reserves to replace American producers in bulk).

    Increased gas production to satisfy export demand will simply result in us running out of gas reserves sooner at the expensive of a smaller heavy industrial production base.

    In the long-term I’m also skeptical of the viability of LNG in any case. With the development of OBOR and Russia’s own efforts it’s inevitable that FSU and Persian Gulf gas will be delivered to East Asia by pipeline.

    It’s also worth pointing out that according to the US Energy Information Agency that China presently has the world’s largest reserves of technically recoverable shale gas. Exploitation is a problem owing to distance from water resources and a lack of technological expertise.

    These are surmountable problems as proven by America’s fracking industry. Both the Eagle Ford and Bakken formations are in dry areas not very close to fresh water, and the fracking industry didn’t even exist at the turn of the century. Dick Cheney promoted invading Iraq because his energy working group predicted that by this time America would be importing 90% of its oil consumption.

    Meanwhile larger and more competitive industries in chemicals, steel, fertilizer, plastics, cement, etc. add more final value and represent a greater overall level of product complexity and technical efficiency. As most of these products are themselves intermediate input goods they’ll increase the competitiveness of our final goods industries as well.

    Another possible use of our gas supremacy is in our world class freight railroad system. Currently this system is diesel-based. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad (a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary) is currently experimenting with gas-powered locomotives.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    This is exactly my thinking. I’ve always thought it made exactly zero sense to export raw materials or fossil fuels in the long run. There might be short term reasons for that, but exporters should aim to move away from that and instead add value.

    An example could be Emirates or Qatar Airways. By taking advantage of their fortunate geographic location and the low fuel prices resulting from their hydrocarbon reserves they are selling a service with much higher added value than just exporting oil.
    , @Ali Choudhury
    China (and Asia in general) are going to be severely water-stressed over the next few decades.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Frederic Bastiat

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge (“see, it’s only thanks to us because of us generous we are!”). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.
     
    FDI was 176 Billion in 2016. Polish GDP was 469 Billion.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/foreign-direct-investment
    https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/gdp

    FDI was 176 Billion in 2016. Polish GDP was 469 Billion.

    China gets around 100-120 billion USD per year in FDI. Who knew that Poland gets 50% more than China with less than 1/20th the population?

    Please, learn basic math first before opining. Your basic common sense should have kicked in long ago when you even typed that comment.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The guy named himself after Frederic Bastiat, what do you expect?

    Bastiat is the same genius who proposed that France should unilaterally disarm, and that this good example would inspire Prussia to disarm.

    Louis Napoleon thought otherwise and wished to expand the French Army to a million men, but his liberal ministers were more inclined to agree with Bastiat's thinking though they didn't go as far as unilateral disarmament.


    Despite his failing health, Napoleon III could see that the Prussian Army, combined with the armies of Bavaria and the other German states, would be a formidable enemy. In 1866, Prussia, with a population of 22 million, had been able to mobilize an army of 700,000 men, while France, with population of 26 million, had an army of only 385,000 men, of whom 100,000 were in Algeria, Mexico, and Rome.[131] In the autumn of 1867, Napoleon III proposed a form of universal military service, similar to the Prussian system, to increase the size of the French Army, if needed, to 1 million. His proposal was opposed by many French officers, such as Marechal Randon, who preferred a smaller, more professional army; he said: "This proposal will only give us recruits; it's soldiers we need."[132] It was also strongly opposed by the republican opposition in the French parliament, who denounced the proposal as a militarization of French society. The republican deputy, Émile Ollivier, who later became Napoleon's prime minister, declared: "The armies of France, which I always considered too large, are now going to be increased to an exorbitant size. Why? What is the necessity? Where is the danger? Who is threatening us? ...If France were to disarm, the Germans would know how to convince their governments to do the same. "[133] Facing almost certain defeat in the parliament, Napoleon III withdrew the proposal. It was replaced in January 1868 by a much more modest project to create a garde mobile, or reserve force, to support the army. [134]
     
    Woops...
    , @Frederic Bastiat
    My mistake. The figure I cited was probably FDI stock. FDI net inflows are much lower, of course. Actual figure is 16 billion.
    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.KLT.DINV.CD.WD?locations=PL

    Your basic common sense should have kicked in long ago when you even typed that comment.
     
    I stay corrected.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @RadicalCenter
    Yes. A prescient warning about the folly of Turkish EU membership.

    Austria would be the first to go not only Muslim but simply Turkish. Turks by the millions would flock to Austria and Germany to join their large kin networks that are already in place. Already Austria, with its tiny population and consistently low fertility rate, was on the road to drastic demographic and cultural change in the near future. Beautiful Vienna will be a more savage, intolerant place ruled by sharia:

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4229/austria-muslims-vienna-schools

    That column was written four years ago. The population numbers are slightly worse now.

    What did all those brave men suffer and die for at the gates of Vienna in the 1600s and centuries before?

    What did all those brave men suffer and die for at the gates of Vienna in the 1600s and centuries before?

    What did all those brave Roman men suffer and die for at the gates of Anatolia in the 900s and centuries before?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    "So that a man's right to publicly dress up as a fruity Roman soldier shall not perish from this Earth!"
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/4549794-3x2-940x627.jpg

    If it weren't for those darned Turks, it would be happening in Constantinople too!
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/7545282-3x2-940x627.jpg
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-27/turkish-anti-riot-police-officers-disperse-lgbt-community/7545284

    "So that the poz shall perish from the Earth!"

    Peace.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Dmitry
    With all respect for civilized and secular Turks who also exist - overall, you could not achieve a faster way to turn Western Europe into an Islamic zone, than accession of Turkey (and her huge population) to Schengen Area.

    Yes. A prescient warning about the folly of Turkish EU membership.

    Austria would be the first to go not only Muslim but simply Turkish. Turks by the millions would flock to Austria and Germany to join their large kin networks that are already in place. Already Austria, with its tiny population and consistently low fertility rate, was on the road to drastic demographic and cultural change in the near future. Beautiful Vienna will be a more savage, intolerant place ruled by sharia:

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4229/austria-muslims-vienna-schools

    That column was written four years ago. The population numbers are slightly worse now.

    What did all those brave men suffer and die for at the gates of Vienna in the 1600s and centuries before?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    What did all those brave men suffer and die for at the gates of Vienna in the 1600s and centuries before?
     
    What did all those brave Roman men suffer and die for at the gates of Anatolia in the 900s and centuries before?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Dmitry
    The best solution for a significant proportion - especially young people, who want a job where they can afford a normal life.

    The main emigration is to Russian Federation, although I'm not sure if there is data available on the exact number of work permits issued each year.

    There are probably as many, ,or more, Armenians in Russia at any single time, than in Armenia.

    Seems right. I have met two Armenians who were born and raised in Moscow, one now settled in Glendale CA and the other in Burbank CA.

    I’d guess there are as many Armenians in the USA as in Yerevan (a million), with at least 250-300,000 of those in Glendale-LA Area alone (LA and cities bordering LA to the north such as Burbank, Montrose, and La Crescenta).

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Thorfinnsson
    Sure, and I've long maintained that human capital trumps natural capital.

    And generally machinery (if we could somehow separate it from the kn0w-how needed to operate) trumps natural capital.

    But there's no reason to ignore the role of natural capital. The choice between processing natural gas into higher value-added products like chemicals, fertilizer, steel, fiberglas, etc. vs. simply exporting it makes it clear the former is more valuable.

    Keeping input costs low (without subsidies) is a form of low-hanging fruit. Capital and know-how on the other hand take more time to build up.

    And while the investment into know-how, farm machinery, improved genetics, etc. are obviously very important for why America is the world's largest food exporter, it should also be noted that we have more arable land than any other country in the world. #2 and #3 in arable land area are India and China, who for obvious reasons can't export as much food as us. #4 is Russia who with its smaller population perhaps will one day export as much as us (already has surpassed us in wheat exports).

    Even here my thinking is relevant. The #1 cash crop in America is corn (maize). A huge fraction of this is wastefully turned into sugar and fuel substitutes. In the absence of our bullshit ethanol and HFCS industries, we would export far more food.

    If you want a real investment story for agricultural success look to the world's second agro-exporter...which amazingly is the tiny country of the Netherlands.

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/holland-agriculture-sustainable-farming/

    You will surely be right that having lowers cost of inputs – should improve competitiveness of industries that use them.

    But to go back to the gas discussion, why is keeping the domestic gas price lower (and thereby subsidizing some industries), preferable to exporting more of gas as LNG, and directly managing to ‘cash in’.

    I guess the answer would require study comparing the two situations.

    But there seems no intrinsic reason why the former is better.

    And the latter would seem preferable to me, because the result of lower gas prices in America (combined with export restrictions of LNG or I’m not sure what you propose), will be lower gas production other things equal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Low domestic gas prices are only a problem if it results in production dropping below domestic demand, with demand substituted by imports.

    Obviously this will not happen since the imports themselves would be LNG, excluding Canadian imports which are benign (and Canada doesn't have enough reserves to replace American producers in bulk).

    Increased gas production to satisfy export demand will simply result in us running out of gas reserves sooner at the expensive of a smaller heavy industrial production base.

    In the long-term I'm also skeptical of the viability of LNG in any case. With the development of OBOR and Russia's own efforts it's inevitable that FSU and Persian Gulf gas will be delivered to East Asia by pipeline.

    It's also worth pointing out that according to the US Energy Information Agency that China presently has the world's largest reserves of technically recoverable shale gas. Exploitation is a problem owing to distance from water resources and a lack of technological expertise.

    These are surmountable problems as proven by America's fracking industry. Both the Eagle Ford and Bakken formations are in dry areas not very close to fresh water, and the fracking industry didn't even exist at the turn of the century. Dick Cheney promoted invading Iraq because his energy working group predicted that by this time America would be importing 90% of its oil consumption.

    Meanwhile larger and more competitive industries in chemicals, steel, fertilizer, plastics, cement, etc. add more final value and represent a greater overall level of product complexity and technical efficiency. As most of these products are themselves intermediate input goods they'll increase the competitiveness of our final goods industries as well.

    Another possible use of our gas supremacy is in our world class freight railroad system. Currently this system is diesel-based. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad (a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary) is currently experimenting with gas-powered locomotives.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Art Deco
    Aside from some lucky rich people – the best solution for average Armenians is emigration.

    Best solution to what? Emigrate to where?

    The Glendale-Burbank-LA Area, quite often.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The Census Bureau has it that there are 63,000 Armenian-born people in the 4 counties around LA. Not bad for a circumscribed area, but not a horde either.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Dmitry
    I've read this viewpoint (I think in Bloomberg article).

    But a lot of industry can be made more competitive through productivity gains and investment in capital. Not from having cheaper energy costs.

    If you can compare it to farming for example. America did not become the world's largest food exporter, by 'lowering the costs of water and soil'.

    It came from the investment in capital/technology.

    Sure, and I’ve long maintained that human capital trumps natural capital.

    And generally machinery (if we could somehow separate it from the kn0w-how needed to operate) trumps natural capital.

    But there’s no reason to ignore the role of natural capital. The choice between processing natural gas into higher value-added products like chemicals, fertilizer, steel, fiberglas, etc. vs. simply exporting it makes it clear the former is more valuable.

    Keeping input costs low (without subsidies) is a form of low-hanging fruit. Capital and know-how on the other hand take more time to build up.

    And while the investment into know-how, farm machinery, improved genetics, etc. are obviously very important for why America is the world’s largest food exporter, it should also be noted that we have more arable land than any other country in the world. #2 and #3 in arable land area are India and China, who for obvious reasons can’t export as much food as us. #4 is Russia who with its smaller population perhaps will one day export as much as us (already has surpassed us in wheat exports).

    Even here my thinking is relevant. The #1 cash crop in America is corn (maize). A huge fraction of this is wastefully turned into sugar and fuel substitutes. In the absence of our bullshit ethanol and HFCS industries, we would export far more food.

    If you want a real investment story for agricultural success look to the world’s second agro-exporter…which amazingly is the tiny country of the Netherlands.

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/holland-agriculture-sustainable-farming/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    You will surely be right that having lowers cost of inputs - should improve competitiveness of industries that use them.

    But to go back to the gas discussion, why is keeping the domestic gas price lower (and thereby subsidizing some industries), preferable to exporting more of gas as LNG, and directly managing to 'cash in'.

    I guess the answer would require study comparing the two situations.

    But there seems no intrinsic reason why the former is better.

    And the latter would seem preferable to me, because the result of lower gas prices in America (combined with export restrictions of LNG or I'm not sure what you propose), will be lower gas production other things equal.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    This is all very plausible.

    There's been occasional stories in the media about Jewish repats who went back to Russia (i.e. Moscow) because Israel was too provincial for the tastes they'd developed.

    Yes compared to Moscow, it is surely very culturally provincial, in every sense.

    But the chaotic, primitive Middle Eastern, atmosphere is a different issue entirely (some people instantly fall in love with chaotic Middle Eastern atmospheres, some people hate it).

    -

    By the way I read a good article this week on people emigrating from Israel

    https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3591450

    -

    As for Georgia. I haven’t been to the region. But the atmosphere surely something similar there. And plenty of tourists are falling in love with these more chaotic atmospheres. But I don’t think they will confuse it with the West.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Dmitry
    I've read this viewpoint (I think in Bloomberg article).

    But a lot of industry can be made more competitive through productivity gains and investment in capital. Not from having cheaper energy costs.

    If you can compare it to farming for example. America did not become the world's largest food exporter, by 'lowering the costs of water and soil'.

    It came from the investment in capital/technology.

    It came from the investment in capital/technology.

    That and very favorable geography which includes cheap water and soil.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    And all those waterways connecting to the world ocean. Almost free transport.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Thorfinnsson
    There are other major gas producers besides the one I listed, yes, and not just Iran.

    The USA unlike Iran has no barriers to global trade (other than idiotic self-imposed ones thanks to our sanctions love affair), and we are a much more developed country with a much better business climate.

    The shale boom has led to a renaissance in the US chemicals industry, which previously had been migrating offshore for decades in pursuit of lower input costs.

    I'm not able to find it now, but a few years ago the CEO of Dow Chemicals wrote an essay decrying the rush to export surplus gas. He produced a list of $100 billion worth of capital investment being made in America owing to low gas prices. Other corporate executives denounced him for "protectionism" since our business class has largely gotten high on its own supply.

    My general position is that with the exception of labor costs it should be government policy to keep input costs as low as possible (without resorting to subsidies of course) in order to gain a competitive edge against rival foreign countries. We're not any better at engineering or management than Western Europe or Japan, but we do have bountiful natural resources unlike them.

    It's okay to export surplus raw materials within reason, but you never want to do so when the opportunity cost results in foreign industries adding value instead of your own industries. Mercantilism 101.

    It's not enough to have lower gas prices than gas importing countries. Gas prices must be competitive with other major gas producing countries where modern industrial plants can be constructed.

    I’ve read this viewpoint (I think in Bloomberg article).

    But a lot of industry can be made more competitive through productivity gains and investment in capital. Not from having cheaper energy costs.

    If you can compare it to farming for example. America did not become the world’s largest food exporter, by ‘lowering the costs of water and soil’.

    It came from the investment in capital/technology.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    It came from the investment in capital/technology.
     
    That and very favorable geography which includes cheap water and soil.

    https://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/usa_great.jpg
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Sure, and I've long maintained that human capital trumps natural capital.

    And generally machinery (if we could somehow separate it from the kn0w-how needed to operate) trumps natural capital.

    But there's no reason to ignore the role of natural capital. The choice between processing natural gas into higher value-added products like chemicals, fertilizer, steel, fiberglas, etc. vs. simply exporting it makes it clear the former is more valuable.

    Keeping input costs low (without subsidies) is a form of low-hanging fruit. Capital and know-how on the other hand take more time to build up.

    And while the investment into know-how, farm machinery, improved genetics, etc. are obviously very important for why America is the world's largest food exporter, it should also be noted that we have more arable land than any other country in the world. #2 and #3 in arable land area are India and China, who for obvious reasons can't export as much food as us. #4 is Russia who with its smaller population perhaps will one day export as much as us (already has surpassed us in wheat exports).

    Even here my thinking is relevant. The #1 cash crop in America is corn (maize). A huge fraction of this is wastefully turned into sugar and fuel substitutes. In the absence of our bullshit ethanol and HFCS industries, we would export far more food.

    If you want a real investment story for agricultural success look to the world's second agro-exporter...which amazingly is the tiny country of the Netherlands.

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/holland-agriculture-sustainable-farming/

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • In other news, it seems I was broadly correct (despite my lack of knowledge of Armenian political specifics as Avery pointed out).

    Sargsyan has resigned, but there has been no wave of anti-Russian sentiment to go with it.

    Instead of hanging on to unpopular foreign leaders, Russia has maintained neutrality over what is an internal Armenian political squabble: https://www.facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167/posts/10216573046828327

    (Before anyone rushes in to make the Ukraine comparison, that wasn’t really a choice in 2013-14, because the Maidan was explicitly anti-Russian from the start. Unlike the Ukraine, Armenia really does need Russia).

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  • @Dmitry

    For the Moscow yuppies I think it’s more about Georgia’s (admittedly not entirely fictive) success at larping as a “European” country. This allows them to status signal how European and progressive they are.
     
    It's a good hypothesis - but I'm not sure that can be true for people who actually like their holiday in Georgia though.

    People I know was there, say that they like it because how cheap, primitive and 'crazy' the atmosphere is - the kind of same reason people talk about countries like India or Mexico.

    The kind of tourists who like clean, European destinations - it's a slightly different taste, although sure there's plenty who like both (both primitive and sophisticated destinations, but it's difficult to confuse them).

    I like both kind of destinations but I would not confuse them.

    I like the developed and posh places like Cambridge and Oxford and Salzburg. But also like undeveloped looking places like Israel. But although Israel is economically rich and allied with Western powers, you could never confuse it on the ground with a Western country. Israel is very primitive, Middle Eastern, chaotic, undeveloped atmosphere country. On the ground, surely much more similar to Tehran (not that I have been there), than to New York .

    The way a country allies is not so much reflected in the experience a tourist has. For example, in Moscow, you get a much more 'Western European' style experience than you would get in (say) Mexico City.

    And the kind of energy you get in Georgia will surely be quite an opposite, of what you get in the actual West.

    This is all very plausible.

    There’s been occasional stories in the media about Jewish repats who went back to Russia (i.e. Moscow) because Israel was too provincial for the tastes they’d developed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Yes compared to Moscow, it is surely very culturally provincial, in every sense.

    But the chaotic, primitive Middle Eastern, atmosphere is a different issue entirely (some people instantly fall in love with chaotic Middle Eastern atmospheres, some people hate it).

    -

    By the way I read a good article this week on people emigrating from Israel

    https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3591450


    -


    As for Georgia. I haven't been to the region. But the atmosphere surely something similar there. And plenty of tourists are falling in love with these more chaotic atmospheres. But I don't think they will confuse it with the West.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?
     
    Correct, though only true for the sovok generation.

    Georgian restaurants in the USSR played the role of French restaurants in the US, as the elite place to go to place for status signalling purposes. Only French cuisine really is world class, whereas Georgian cuisine isn't (same for the wines). Now that there are mid-range Georgian establishments, the older Soviet people like to frequent them, since they continue to regard them as prestigious, even though there are no end of much cheaper (and better) restaurants and eateries.

    For the Moscow yuppies I think it's more about Georgia's (admittedly not entirely fictive) success at larping as a "European" country. This allows them to status signal how European and progressive they are.

    For the Moscow yuppies I think it’s more about Georgia’s (admittedly not entirely fictive) success at larping as a “European” country. This allows them to status signal how European and progressive they are.

    It’s a good hypothesis – but I’m not sure that can be true for people who actually like their holiday in Georgia though.

    People I know was there, say that they like it because how cheap, primitive and ‘crazy’ the atmosphere is – the kind of same reason people talk about countries like India or Mexico.

    The kind of tourists who like clean, European destinations – it’s a slightly different taste, although sure there’s plenty who like both (both primitive and sophisticated destinations, but it’s difficult to confuse them).

    I like both kind of destinations but I would not confuse them.

    I like the developed and posh places like Cambridge and Oxford and Salzburg. But also like undeveloped looking places like Israel. But although Israel is economically rich and allied with Western powers, you could never confuse it on the ground with a Western country. Israel is very primitive, Middle Eastern, chaotic, undeveloped atmosphere country. On the ground, surely much more similar to Tehran (not that I have been there), than to New York .

    The way a country allies is not so much reflected in the experience a tourist has. For example, in Moscow, you get a much more ‘Western European’ style experience than you would get in (say) Mexico City.

    And the kind of energy you get in Georgia will surely be quite an opposite, of what you get in the actual West.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    This is all very plausible.

    There's been occasional stories in the media about Jewish repats who went back to Russia (i.e. Moscow) because Israel was too provincial for the tastes they'd developed.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Hyperborean
    Just because the people selling their country to the highest bidder only care about getting the highest price doesn't mean ordinary Georgians don't resent it.

    Considering how even in full-pozzed London I've heard ordinary people complain about all the foreign oligarchs buying up everything, I don't find it hard to believe that Georgians might find it painful.

    OK – makes sense – it’s much of the same everywhere; the elite sell out the locals to the highest bidder.

    Peace.

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  • @Thorfinnsson


    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it’s really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine – half-Jewish, MacBook toting “creative” person – is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of “soft power” among the spending classes.
     
    Why?

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?

    Saakashvili?

    Georgia to me is another irrelevant joke. Of course I'm not Russian.

    I’ve never have been. But you can see the popularity for people.

    Relatively cheap flight – and you end up in an exotic (but easy to navigate culturally/linguistically) destination, with colourful local people/traditions.

    Everything is also cheap and you can eat Georgian cuisine a lot more cheaply than in restaurants outside Georgia.

    As Karlin says – they are also clever at viral marketing themselves to kind of hipster, middle class tastes

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  • @Thorfinnsson


    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it’s really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine – half-Jewish, MacBook toting “creative” person – is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of “soft power” among the spending classes.
     
    Why?

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?

    Saakashvili?

    Georgia to me is another irrelevant joke. Of course I'm not Russian.

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?

    Correct, though only true for the sovok generation.

    Georgian restaurants in the USSR played the role of French restaurants in the US, as the elite place to go to place for status signalling purposes. Only French cuisine really is world class, whereas Georgian cuisine isn’t (same for the wines). Now that there are mid-range Georgian establishments, the older Soviet people like to frequent them, since they continue to regard them as prestigious, even though there are no end of much cheaper (and better) restaurants and eateries.

    For the Moscow yuppies I think it’s more about Georgia’s (admittedly not entirely fictive) success at larping as a “European” country. This allows them to status signal how European and progressive they are.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    For the Moscow yuppies I think it’s more about Georgia’s (admittedly not entirely fictive) success at larping as a “European” country. This allows them to status signal how European and progressive they are.
     
    It's a good hypothesis - but I'm not sure that can be true for people who actually like their holiday in Georgia though.

    People I know was there, say that they like it because how cheap, primitive and 'crazy' the atmosphere is - the kind of same reason people talk about countries like India or Mexico.

    The kind of tourists who like clean, European destinations - it's a slightly different taste, although sure there's plenty who like both (both primitive and sophisticated destinations, but it's difficult to confuse them).

    I like both kind of destinations but I would not confuse them.

    I like the developed and posh places like Cambridge and Oxford and Salzburg. But also like undeveloped looking places like Israel. But although Israel is economically rich and allied with Western powers, you could never confuse it on the ground with a Western country. Israel is very primitive, Middle Eastern, chaotic, undeveloped atmosphere country. On the ground, surely much more similar to Tehran (not that I have been there), than to New York .

    The way a country allies is not so much reflected in the experience a tourist has. For example, in Moscow, you get a much more 'Western European' style experience than you would get in (say) Mexico City.

    And the kind of energy you get in Georgia will surely be quite an opposite, of what you get in the actual West.
    , @Art Deco
    Georgian restaurants in the USSR played the role of French restaurants in the US, as the elite place to go to place for status signalling purposes.

    They did? I can't recall a single one in my home town, where live 600,000 people and (at one time) the world headquarters of several major corporations.



    Only French cuisine really is world class, w

    "World class"? What does that even mean? Are you referring to quality, snob appeal, or something else?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    1. Armenia has actually done quite well, I think. Considering it's surrounded by hostile states on two sides, and has to spend a lot of $$$ on the military, this is all the more impressive.

    https://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/developing-transition.png

    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it's really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine - half-Jewish, MacBook toting "creative" person - is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of "soft power" among the spending classes.

    3. The Caucasus isn't anywhere near the top of my to go list (that's reserved for China, India, and a bunch of Mediterranean and ME places, inc. Israel and Iran). However, if I was to go there, I'd go to Armenia or Azerbaijan before Georgia. Armenia has a more impressive history, while Baku is the biggest city in the region and people say good things about it. Last draw is Georgian cuisine, but I am of the opinion that it's grossly overrated.

    3. The Caucasus isn’t anywhere near the top of my to go list (that’s reserved for China, India, and a bunch of Mediterranean and ME places, inc. Israel and Iran). However, if I was to go there, I’d go to Armenia or Azerbaijan before Georgia. Armenia has a more impressive history, while Baku is the biggest city in the region and people say good things about it. Last draw is Georgian cuisine, but I am of the opinion that it’s grossly overrated.

    Sure – I feel the same. I’m much more excited to think about visiting places like Cuba or Argentina. But Tbilisi or Baku are a cheap ‘weekend’, it is not comparable to more expensive holidays.

    Iran will be interesting with the visa-restriction going to be removed soon – but presumably the kind of place it would be easier to visit in a tour-group.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    It would be pretty strange for Armenians to not like their only guarantor against Azeri designs on their territory, and their only friend in the region apart from Iran.

    (Though as Felix correctly points out, not exactly something that would bother Russians, since Armenia benefits from the relationship far more).

    But it's not strange, because you are making things up, as you are regrettably wont to. In reality, Armenia is one of the few countries where Putin is even more popular than in Russia itself.

    https://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/world-map-putin-approval-2015-details.png

    What is interesting about that map is how the world community thinks about things vs the “world community” (i.e. all the puppets of the US that the media declares to be the world).

    With India and China you already have a big chunk of the world population, assuming that the rest of Africa leans like Nigeria and Congo, then you have the bulk of world actually being pro and not anti, contradicting the narrative of the cuckservative and SJW media.

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  • @Thorfinnsson


    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it’s really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine – half-Jewish, MacBook toting “creative” person – is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of “soft power” among the spending classes.
     
    Why?

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?

    Saakashvili?

    Georgia to me is another irrelevant joke. Of course I'm not Russian.

    Why?
    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?
    Saakashvili?
    Georgia to me is another irrelevant joke. Of course I’m not Russian.

    Maybe some Russians are making pilgrimages.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin_Museum,_Gori

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  • @Art Deco
    There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia –

    Known to you, but not to Russian census enumerators.

    The census will only track a fraction of emigrants/workers. You can see above that officials are not using it when estimating for this question.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    You mean they'll find them once you've told them where to look.
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  • @Felix Keverich

    They’ll be lower than the cost of LNG.

    They will not be lower than the cost of gas compared to other major producing countries such as Canada, Russia, Qatar, etc.

     

    You forgot about Iran. Iran has massive natural gas production, but can't export due to sanctions, so gas in Iran is practically free. You want America to be more like Iran?

    Obviously, allowing more exports will raise the prices on the domestic market. But I can guarantee they will still be much lower than prices in SE Asia, where US will export.

    You want America to be more like Iran?

    Give the CSA a chance, brother.

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  • @Felix Keverich

    They’ll be lower than the cost of LNG.

    They will not be lower than the cost of gas compared to other major producing countries such as Canada, Russia, Qatar, etc.

     

    You forgot about Iran. Iran has massive natural gas production, but can't export due to sanctions, so gas in Iran is practically free. You want America to be more like Iran?

    Obviously, allowing more exports will raise the prices on the domestic market. But I can guarantee they will still be much lower than prices in SE Asia, where US will export.

    There are other major gas producers besides the one I listed, yes, and not just Iran.

    The USA unlike Iran has no barriers to global trade (other than idiotic self-imposed ones thanks to our sanctions love affair), and we are a much more developed country with a much better business climate.

    The shale boom has led to a renaissance in the US chemicals industry, which previously had been migrating offshore for decades in pursuit of lower input costs.

    I’m not able to find it now, but a few years ago the CEO of Dow Chemicals wrote an essay decrying the rush to export surplus gas. He produced a list of $100 billion worth of capital investment being made in America owing to low gas prices. Other corporate executives denounced him for “protectionism” since our business class has largely gotten high on its own supply.

    My general position is that with the exception of labor costs it should be government policy to keep input costs as low as possible (without resorting to subsidies of course) in order to gain a competitive edge against rival foreign countries. We’re not any better at engineering or management than Western Europe or Japan, but we do have bountiful natural resources unlike them.

    It’s okay to export surplus raw materials within reason, but you never want to do so when the opportunity cost results in foreign industries adding value instead of your own industries. Mercantilism 101.

    It’s not enough to have lower gas prices than gas importing countries. Gas prices must be competitive with other major gas producing countries where modern industrial plants can be constructed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    I've read this viewpoint (I think in Bloomberg article).

    But a lot of industry can be made more competitive through productivity gains and investment in capital. Not from having cheaper energy costs.

    If you can compare it to farming for example. America did not become the world's largest food exporter, by 'lowering the costs of water and soil'.

    It came from the investment in capital/technology.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JL
    So Sargsyan resigned his post as PM. Perhaps Avery could comment on what to expect next?

    I suspect that the Parliament will appoint Karen Karapetyan as PM.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    1. Armenia has actually done quite well, I think. Considering it's surrounded by hostile states on two sides, and has to spend a lot of $$$ on the military, this is all the more impressive.

    https://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/developing-transition.png

    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it's really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine - half-Jewish, MacBook toting "creative" person - is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of "soft power" among the spending classes.

    3. The Caucasus isn't anywhere near the top of my to go list (that's reserved for China, India, and a bunch of Mediterranean and ME places, inc. Israel and Iran). However, if I was to go there, I'd go to Armenia or Azerbaijan before Georgia. Armenia has a more impressive history, while Baku is the biggest city in the region and people say good things about it. Last draw is Georgian cuisine, but I am of the opinion that it's grossly overrated.

    I’m not sure how to read the graph – i.e. I’m not sure what is the y axis showing?

    About the general economic situation.

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2018/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=15&pr.y=6&sy=1999&ey=2016&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=911%2C912%2C922%2C915%2C186%2C926&s=NGDPD%2CPPPGDP%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPPC%2CLP%2CGGXWDG_NGDP&grp=0&a=

    I looked at the countries in the IMF database – I’m not sure how negatively to interpret their situation overall? I think of all the economies, it is the one I would like the least after Ukraine (the three – Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine – with negative population growth).

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  • So Sargsyan resigned his post as PM. Perhaps Avery could comment on what to expect next?

    Read More
    • Replies: @g2k
    I suspect that the Parliament will appoint Karen Karapetyan as PM.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Thorfinnsson
    They'll be lower than the cost of LNG.

    They will not be lower than the cost of gas compared to other major producing countries such as Canada, Russia, Qatar, etc.

    This has already happened in Australia in fact.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/gas-cartel-is-pushing-gas-prices-up-in-australia/news-story/61acc1864d54fb6eb4801c332e683fbd

    And it appears that in parts of Australia gas is somehow now more expensive than LNG in Japan.

    Between 2006 and 2015, increases to residential gas prices ranged from 23 per cent in Victoria, to 74 per cent in Tasmania.

    Industrial users saw price increases ranging from 16 per cent in Tasmania to 113 per cent in North West Queensland.
    [...]
    Much of the blame for high gas prices has been linked to increased demand after three export terminals were built in Gladstone that enabled companies to ship gas overseas for the first time, combined with a low oil price that has discouraged gas exploration, as well as restrictions on gas exploration and development in states.
     

    The United States should strictly limit its gas exports and ban the building of any new thermal fossil fuel electric powerstations in order to keep domestic gas prices as low as possible.

    Of course, this will require rounding up atomophobes and herding them into concentration camps. The trout fishermen who don't understand the concept of "fish ladders" in dams also require reeducation. But these things are already 100% necessary.

    Coal should continue to be used at existing powerstations for economic reasons, but no new ones should be constructed. Export infrastructure to deliver coal to Asia must be built. Currently this is being held up by environmentalist criminals in Washington state for "water use" reasons. These people need to be rounded up and shot.

    They’ll be lower than the cost of LNG.

    They will not be lower than the cost of gas compared to other major producing countries such as Canada, Russia, Qatar, etc.

    You forgot about Iran. Iran has massive natural gas production, but can’t export due to sanctions, so gas in Iran is practically free. You want America to be more like Iran?

    Obviously, allowing more exports will raise the prices on the domestic market. But I can guarantee they will still be much lower than prices in SE Asia, where US will export.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    There are other major gas producers besides the one I listed, yes, and not just Iran.

    The USA unlike Iran has no barriers to global trade (other than idiotic self-imposed ones thanks to our sanctions love affair), and we are a much more developed country with a much better business climate.

    The shale boom has led to a renaissance in the US chemicals industry, which previously had been migrating offshore for decades in pursuit of lower input costs.

    I'm not able to find it now, but a few years ago the CEO of Dow Chemicals wrote an essay decrying the rush to export surplus gas. He produced a list of $100 billion worth of capital investment being made in America owing to low gas prices. Other corporate executives denounced him for "protectionism" since our business class has largely gotten high on its own supply.

    My general position is that with the exception of labor costs it should be government policy to keep input costs as low as possible (without resorting to subsidies of course) in order to gain a competitive edge against rival foreign countries. We're not any better at engineering or management than Western Europe or Japan, but we do have bountiful natural resources unlike them.

    It's okay to export surplus raw materials within reason, but you never want to do so when the opportunity cost results in foreign industries adding value instead of your own industries. Mercantilism 101.

    It's not enough to have lower gas prices than gas importing countries. Gas prices must be competitive with other major gas producing countries where modern industrial plants can be constructed.

    , @Mitleser

    You want America to be more like Iran?
     
    Give the CSA a chance, brother.

    https://d1u5p3l4wpay3k.cloudfront.net/alphacentauri_en/b/bd/AC_Fac_Ldr_002.png
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    1. Armenia has actually done quite well, I think. Considering it's surrounded by hostile states on two sides, and has to spend a lot of $$$ on the military, this is all the more impressive.

    https://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/developing-transition.png

    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it's really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine - half-Jewish, MacBook toting "creative" person - is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of "soft power" among the spending classes.

    3. The Caucasus isn't anywhere near the top of my to go list (that's reserved for China, India, and a bunch of Mediterranean and ME places, inc. Israel and Iran). However, if I was to go there, I'd go to Armenia or Azerbaijan before Georgia. Armenia has a more impressive history, while Baku is the biggest city in the region and people say good things about it. Last draw is Georgian cuisine, but I am of the opinion that it's grossly overrated.

    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it’s really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine – half-Jewish, MacBook toting “creative” person – is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of “soft power” among the spending classes.

    Why?

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?

    Saakashvili?

    Georgia to me is another irrelevant joke. Of course I’m not Russian.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen

    Why?
    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?
    Saakashvili?
    Georgia to me is another irrelevant joke. Of course I’m not Russian.
     
    Maybe some Russians are making pilgrimages.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin_Museum,_Gori

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stalin%C5%AFv_rodn%C3%BD_d%C5%AFm.JPG
    , @Anatoly Karlin

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?
     
    Correct, though only true for the sovok generation.

    Georgian restaurants in the USSR played the role of French restaurants in the US, as the elite place to go to place for status signalling purposes. Only French cuisine really is world class, whereas Georgian cuisine isn't (same for the wines). Now that there are mid-range Georgian establishments, the older Soviet people like to frequent them, since they continue to regard them as prestigious, even though there are no end of much cheaper (and better) restaurants and eateries.

    For the Moscow yuppies I think it's more about Georgia's (admittedly not entirely fictive) success at larping as a "European" country. This allows them to status signal how European and progressive they are.
    , @Dmitry
    I've never have been. But you can see the popularity for people.

    Relatively cheap flight - and you end up in an exotic (but easy to navigate culturally/linguistically) destination, with colourful local people/traditions.

    Everything is also cheap and you can eat Georgian cuisine a lot more cheaply than in restaurants outside Georgia.

    As Karlin says - they are also clever at viral marketing themselves to kind of hipster, middle class tastes


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsH1IUF8ESA
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Polish Perspective

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)

     

    https://i.imgur.com/yNvMzzD.jpg

    Poland isn't even in the top 5 once you adjust for GNI. It's true that Poland gets most in absolute terms, but that's also because we are way bigger than most EE countries. I find a lot of economic innumerate to fail to understand this point and just repeat "yes but they get THIS MANY BILLIONS". But without adjusting for economic size is meaningless. Sad to see that you are not smarter than this, Dmitry.

    Also, this is counted from the year 2000. The latest EU funds flow constitute about 1% of our GNI according to our central bank. The next one will be half that, even if no change is done, simply on account of a growing economy and a closer realignment to the EU median.

    Furthermore, whenever we are talking about EU funds this should be kept in mind:

    https://i.imgur.com/YNiPO03.png

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge ("see, it's only thanks to us because of us generous we are!"). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.

    And I haven't even talked about the fact that Western European countries benefit massively from labour and we lose, in some instances permanently.

    There’s nothing ignorant in noting that Poland has received more of the aid than any of the countries.

    You can interpret this how you like, or complain that it still hasn’t received the most in per capita terms. The country/economy has the received most, and the numbers are amazing.

    But if Ukraine thinks they can repeat the story in the future, it is going to be heavily disappointed.

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  • @Dmitry
    There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia - and numbers are probably higher considering the situation with illegal and undocumented immigrants.

    As for emigration rate, the majority come to Russia on work permits. However, if we look just at the minority that successfully obtain Russian citizenship - almost 1% of the total population in Armenia obtains Russian citizenship each year.

    There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia –

    Known to you, but not to Russian census enumerators.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    The census will only track a fraction of emigrants/workers. You can see above that officials are not using it when estimating for this question.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @reiner Tor
    OTOH the Americans were also quite opposed to both Streams. I remember back when in 2008 the then leftist Hungarian PM Gyurcsány had good relations with Putin, and pushed for South Stream, and the Americans were criticizing us for it.

    OTOH the Americans were also quite opposed to both Streams.

    “OTOH”? This isn’t really up to a debate. The only side who is interested in stopping these pipelines is the US. The European Comission is simply following orders from the US.

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  • @Felix Keverich
    Irrelevant. I wasn't making a comment on the commercial viability of LNG exports from the US. I said that the price of this exported gas will always be greater than the price of gas in the US.

    To be sure American companies, under certain conditions, will export LNG at a loss. Even then the price of this gas must account for liquefaction and transportation costs.

    Simply put:

    Price of exported LNG = price of gas on the domestic market + liquefaction and transportation costs
    (those include the cost of electricity for the plants, fuel for the tankers, wages - they remain substantial even after infrustructure is build).

    ^This equation will always hold in a market economy.


    Russia’s policy of subsidizing former Soviet republics with cheap gas and open markets in exchange for neutral (not even friendly!) foreign policies seemed quite reasonable, yet here we are.
     
    It was a stupid policy and Russia deserved to be punished for disregarding the rules of the market economy.

    They’ll be lower than the cost of LNG.

    They will not be lower than the cost of gas compared to other major producing countries such as Canada, Russia, Qatar, etc.

    This has already happened in Australia in fact.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/gas-cartel-is-pushing-gas-prices-up-in-australia/news-story/61acc1864d54fb6eb4801c332e683fbd

    And it appears that in parts of Australia gas is somehow now more expensive than LNG in Japan.

    Between 2006 and 2015, increases to residential gas prices ranged from 23 per cent in Victoria, to 74 per cent in Tasmania.

    Industrial users saw price increases ranging from 16 per cent in Tasmania to 113 per cent in North West Queensland.
    [...]
    Much of the blame for high gas prices has been linked to increased demand after three export terminals were built in Gladstone that enabled companies to ship gas overseas for the first time, combined with a low oil price that has discouraged gas exploration, as well as restrictions on gas exploration and development in states.

    The United States should strictly limit its gas exports and ban the building of any new thermal fossil fuel electric powerstations in order to keep domestic gas prices as low as possible.

    Of course, this will require rounding up atomophobes and herding them into concentration camps. The trout fishermen who don’t understand the concept of “fish ladders” in dams also require reeducation. But these things are already 100% necessary.

    Coal should continue to be used at existing powerstations for economic reasons, but no new ones should be constructed. Export infrastructure to deliver coal to Asia must be built. Currently this is being held up by environmentalist criminals in Washington state for “water use” reasons. These people need to be rounded up and shot.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    They’ll be lower than the cost of LNG.

    They will not be lower than the cost of gas compared to other major producing countries such as Canada, Russia, Qatar, etc.

     

    You forgot about Iran. Iran has massive natural gas production, but can't export due to sanctions, so gas in Iran is practically free. You want America to be more like Iran?

    Obviously, allowing more exports will raise the prices on the domestic market. But I can guarantee they will still be much lower than prices in SE Asia, where US will export.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Avery
    {There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia }

    How do you know this?
    Where did you get that number from?

    It was 3 million – two years ago.

    https://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=2528568

    By now the figure will be over 3 million, into the customs union.

    https://regnum.ru/news/2316978.html

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  • @Dmitry
    But people are not usually going to Georgia for the beach

    I have never yet been on holiday to the region (so you better read g2k).

    I'm sure I'll write a lot of reviews in tripadvisor when I go eventually.

    But all three of these destinations (Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan), get extremely good reviews with tourists, and it is the new fashion to go on holiday there.

    My parents went on holiday in Baku last year and they sounded very happy about the holiday.

    1. Armenia has actually done quite well, I think. Considering it’s surrounded by hostile states on two sides, and has to spend a lot of $$$ on the military, this is all the more impressive.

    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it’s really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine – half-Jewish, MacBook toting “creative” person – is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of “soft power” among the spending classes.

    3. The Caucasus isn’t anywhere near the top of my to go list (that’s reserved for China, India, and a bunch of Mediterranean and ME places, inc. Israel and Iran). However, if I was to go there, I’d go to Armenia or Azerbaijan before Georgia. Armenia has a more impressive history, while Baku is the biggest city in the region and people say good things about it. Last draw is Georgian cuisine, but I am of the opinion that it’s grossly overrated.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    2. Another factor driving Georgian tourism is that it’s really prestigious among the Moscow yuppie hipster crowd. For instance, one acquaintance of mine – half-Jewish, MacBook toting “creative” person – is going there to get married this weekend. Neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan has this sort of “soft power” among the spending classes.
     
    Why?

    Legacy of its cuisine reputation in the USSR?

    Saakashvili?

    Georgia to me is another irrelevant joke. Of course I'm not Russian.
    , @Dmitry
    I’m not sure how to read the graph – i.e. I’m not sure what is the y axis showing?

    About the general economic situation.

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2018/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=15&pr.y=6&sy=1999&ey=2016&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=911%2C912%2C922%2C915%2C186%2C926&s=NGDPD%2CPPPGDP%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPPC%2CLP%2CGGXWDG_NGDP&grp=0&a=

    I looked at the countries in the IMF database – I’m not sure how negatively to interpret their situation overall? I think of all the economies, it is the one I would like the least after Ukraine (the three - Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine - with negative population growth).
    , @Dmitry

    3. The Caucasus isn’t anywhere near the top of my to go list (that’s reserved for China, India, and a bunch of Mediterranean and ME places, inc. Israel and Iran). However, if I was to go there, I’d go to Armenia or Azerbaijan before Georgia. Armenia has a more impressive history, while Baku is the biggest city in the region and people say good things about it. Last draw is Georgian cuisine, but I am of the opinion that it’s grossly overrated.
     
    Sure - I feel the same. I'm much more excited to think about visiting places like Cuba or Argentina. But Tbilisi or Baku are a cheap 'weekend', it is not comparable to more expensive holidays.

    Iran will be interesting with the visa-restriction going to be removed soon - but presumably the kind of place it would be easier to visit in a tour-group.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Art Deco
    But Maidanism is more of a religious phenomenon, so no firm predictions can be made.

    No, they just don't like you. Get over it.

    It would be pretty strange for Armenians to not like their only guarantor against Azeri designs on their territory, and their only friend in the region apart from Iran.

    (Though as Felix correctly points out, not exactly something that would bother Russians, since Armenia benefits from the relationship far more).

    But it’s not strange, because you are making things up, as you are regrettably wont to. In reality, Armenia is one of the few countries where Putin is even more popular than in Russia itself.

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    • Replies: @neutral
    What is interesting about that map is how the world community thinks about things vs the "world community" (i.e. all the puppets of the US that the media declares to be the world).

    With India and China you already have a big chunk of the world population, assuming that the rest of Africa leans like Nigeria and Congo, then you have the bulk of world actually being pro and not anti, contradicting the narrative of the cuckservative and SJW media.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • YEREVAN, April 23. /TASS/. Armenia’s newly elected Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan has tendered resignation after six days in office.

    He came out with a statement to this effect on Monday.

    http://tass.com/world/1001285

    What next?

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  • @Mitleser

    Was that a response to my comment?
     
    Yes.

    We seem to have very different views on how EU operates, and in my opinion your views are ridiculous!
     
    Says the guy who denies Europeans agency.

    It was Washington’s idea to block South Stream and Nord Stream.
     
    Why are so certain that it was the case?
    The German government would not back NS II as much as they did if it would not strengthen Germany's role as European gas hub.
    South Stream did not serve this role and was blocked.
    For Poles, it would be beneficially not to reduce Poland's role as transit country, hence they have a legit reason to oppose NS II which avoids Poland.

    It is not always Washington to blame. Europeans countries are perfectly willing to screw each other.
    One of the reasons why Americans are so dominant in Europe is that they can take advantage of that.

    OTOH the Americans were also quite opposed to both Streams. I remember back when in 2008 the then leftist Hungarian PM Gyurcsány had good relations with Putin, and pushed for South Stream, and the Americans were criticizing us for it.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    OTOH the Americans were also quite opposed to both Streams.
     
    "OTOH"? This isn't really up to a debate. The only side who is interested in stopping these pipelines is the US. The European Comission is simply following orders from the US.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JL
    This is an oversimplification and Thorfinnsson also wrote "in theory". Once the infrastructure is built (supertankers and LNG plants), the costs are not so immense. Furthermore, even if export prices were to fall, that infrastructure represents sunken costs which need to be recouped, even if that means operating at a loss.

    This was seen with the shale oil industry in the US. Lifting costs, before 2014, were around $80/barrel. But they mostly kept on pumping even with the price at half that because their creditors would rather see $0.50 on the dollar returned than zero. Technology and adjustments down the services chain have reduced costs on shale oil, but they're still not very far from break even.

    Irrelevant. I wasn’t making a comment on the commercial viability of LNG exports from the US. I said that the price of this exported gas will always be greater than the price of gas in the US.

    To be sure American companies, under certain conditions, will export LNG at a loss. Even then the price of this gas must account for liquefaction and transportation costs.

    Simply put:

    Price of exported LNG = price of gas on the domestic market + liquefaction and transportation costs
    (those include the cost of electricity for the plants, fuel for the tankers, wages – they remain substantial even after infrustructure is build).

    ^This equation will always hold in a market economy.

    Russia’s policy of subsidizing former Soviet republics with cheap gas and open markets in exchange for neutral (not even friendly!) foreign policies seemed quite reasonable, yet here we are.

    It was a stupid policy and Russia deserved to be punished for disregarding the rules of the market economy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    They'll be lower than the cost of LNG.

    They will not be lower than the cost of gas compared to other major producing countries such as Canada, Russia, Qatar, etc.

    This has already happened in Australia in fact.

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/gas-cartel-is-pushing-gas-prices-up-in-australia/news-story/61acc1864d54fb6eb4801c332e683fbd

    And it appears that in parts of Australia gas is somehow now more expensive than LNG in Japan.

    Between 2006 and 2015, increases to residential gas prices ranged from 23 per cent in Victoria, to 74 per cent in Tasmania.

    Industrial users saw price increases ranging from 16 per cent in Tasmania to 113 per cent in North West Queensland.
    [...]
    Much of the blame for high gas prices has been linked to increased demand after three export terminals were built in Gladstone that enabled companies to ship gas overseas for the first time, combined with a low oil price that has discouraged gas exploration, as well as restrictions on gas exploration and development in states.
     

    The United States should strictly limit its gas exports and ban the building of any new thermal fossil fuel electric powerstations in order to keep domestic gas prices as low as possible.

    Of course, this will require rounding up atomophobes and herding them into concentration camps. The trout fishermen who don't understand the concept of "fish ladders" in dams also require reeducation. But these things are already 100% necessary.

    Coal should continue to be used at existing powerstations for economic reasons, but no new ones should be constructed. Export infrastructure to deliver coal to Asia must be built. Currently this is being held up by environmentalist criminals in Washington state for "water use" reasons. These people need to be rounded up and shot.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Felix Keverich
    Was that a response to my comment?

    We seem to have very different views on how EU operates, and in my opinion your views are ridiculous! It's plain absurd to think that Eastern EU members like Poland can have much impact on EU decisionmaking.

    It was Washington's idea to block South Stream and Nord Stream. The European Comission then succesfully imposed Washington's will on a little Bulgaria, but has struggled to impose it on Germany thus far. The role of Poland in this story is to act as a cheerleader for US-led action, nothing more. The role of the European Comission is to be an enforcer (comissar) for Washington's obkom.

    Was that a response to my comment?

    Yes.

    We seem to have very different views on how EU operates, and in my opinion your views are ridiculous!

    Says the guy who denies Europeans agency.

    It was Washington’s idea to block South Stream and Nord Stream.

    Why are so certain that it was the case?
    The German government would not back NS II as much as they did if it would not strengthen Germany’s role as European gas hub.
    South Stream did not serve this role and was blocked.
    For Poles, it would be beneficially not to reduce Poland’s role as transit country, hence they have a legit reason to oppose NS II which avoids Poland.

    It is not always Washington to blame. Europeans countries are perfectly willing to screw each other.
    One of the reasons why Americans are so dominant in Europe is that they can take advantage of that.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    OTOH the Americans were also quite opposed to both Streams. I remember back when in 2008 the then leftist Hungarian PM Gyurcsány had good relations with Putin, and pushed for South Stream, and the Americans were criticizing us for it.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JL

    Whole point of sunk costs is that they aren’t factored in and should be dismissed. In this case that cost is now irrelevant and if you get a higher return shipping to Europe or Asia than selling domestically then you should.
     
    Yes, that was my point, perhaps I wasn't being clear.

    I find it hard to believe US LNG will ever be cheaper than Rus nat gas, or MENA nat gas, for Europe. Building more LNG facilities makes no sense, unless justified by bogus geopolitical concerns. Reality is a number of EE countries joined NATO even whilst depending on Rus nat gas one hundred percent, and their elites pursue very unfriendly foreign policies regardless of dependency on Rus nat gas.
     
    You and I may find those geopolitical concerns bogus, others take them quite seriously. The Euro currency doesn't make much economic sense, but geopolitical concerns have managed to hold it together far longer than I thought would be tenable. As for the EE countries joining NATO while being completely dependent on natural gas, human nature seems to suggest that people often think it is feasible to have their cake and eat it too. Russia's policy of subsidizing former Soviet republics with cheap gas and open markets in exchange for neutral (not even friendly!) foreign policies seemed quite reasonable, yet here we are.

    I did think you meant that.

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  • @LondonBob
    Whole point of sunk costs is that they aren't factored in and should be dismissed. In this case that cost is now irrelevant and if you get a higher return shipping to Europe or Asia than selling domestically then you should.

    I find it hard to believe US LNG will ever be cheaper than Rus nat gas, or MENA nat gas, for Europe. Building more LNG facilities makes no sense, unless justified by bogus geopolitical concerns. Reality is a number of EE countries joined NATO even whilst depending on Rus nat gas one hundred percent, and their elites pursue very unfriendly foreign policies regardless of dependency on Rus nat gas.

    Whole point of sunk costs is that they aren’t factored in and should be dismissed. In this case that cost is now irrelevant and if you get a higher return shipping to Europe or Asia than selling domestically then you should.

    Yes, that was my point, perhaps I wasn’t being clear.

    I find it hard to believe US LNG will ever be cheaper than Rus nat gas, or MENA nat gas, for Europe. Building more LNG facilities makes no sense, unless justified by bogus geopolitical concerns. Reality is a number of EE countries joined NATO even whilst depending on Rus nat gas one hundred percent, and their elites pursue very unfriendly foreign policies regardless of dependency on Rus nat gas.

    You and I may find those geopolitical concerns bogus, others take them quite seriously. The Euro currency doesn’t make much economic sense, but geopolitical concerns have managed to hold it together far longer than I thought would be tenable. As for the EE countries joining NATO while being completely dependent on natural gas, human nature seems to suggest that people often think it is feasible to have their cake and eat it too. Russia’s policy of subsidizing former Soviet republics with cheap gas and open markets in exchange for neutral (not even friendly!) foreign policies seemed quite reasonable, yet here we are.

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    • Replies: @LondonBob
    I did think you meant that.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @JL
    This is an oversimplification and Thorfinnsson also wrote "in theory". Once the infrastructure is built (supertankers and LNG plants), the costs are not so immense. Furthermore, even if export prices were to fall, that infrastructure represents sunken costs which need to be recouped, even if that means operating at a loss.

    This was seen with the shale oil industry in the US. Lifting costs, before 2014, were around $80/barrel. But they mostly kept on pumping even with the price at half that because their creditors would rather see $0.50 on the dollar returned than zero. Technology and adjustments down the services chain have reduced costs on shale oil, but they're still not very far from break even.

    Whole point of sunk costs is that they aren’t factored in and should be dismissed. In this case that cost is now irrelevant and if you get a higher return shipping to Europe or Asia than selling domestically then you should.

    I find it hard to believe US LNG will ever be cheaper than Rus nat gas, or MENA nat gas, for Europe. Building more LNG facilities makes no sense, unless justified by bogus geopolitical concerns. Reality is a number of EE countries joined NATO even whilst depending on Rus nat gas one hundred percent, and their elites pursue very unfriendly foreign policies regardless of dependency on Rus nat gas.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JL

    Whole point of sunk costs is that they aren’t factored in and should be dismissed. In this case that cost is now irrelevant and if you get a higher return shipping to Europe or Asia than selling domestically then you should.
     
    Yes, that was my point, perhaps I wasn't being clear.

    I find it hard to believe US LNG will ever be cheaper than Rus nat gas, or MENA nat gas, for Europe. Building more LNG facilities makes no sense, unless justified by bogus geopolitical concerns. Reality is a number of EE countries joined NATO even whilst depending on Rus nat gas one hundred percent, and their elites pursue very unfriendly foreign policies regardless of dependency on Rus nat gas.
     
    You and I may find those geopolitical concerns bogus, others take them quite seriously. The Euro currency doesn't make much economic sense, but geopolitical concerns have managed to hold it together far longer than I thought would be tenable. As for the EE countries joining NATO while being completely dependent on natural gas, human nature seems to suggest that people often think it is feasible to have their cake and eat it too. Russia's policy of subsidizing former Soviet republics with cheap gas and open markets in exchange for neutral (not even friendly!) foreign policies seemed quite reasonable, yet here we are.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @neutral

    What makes you think that Germans (and other Europeans) have much agency in this situation at all?
     
    I agree with this, but take it a step further, what makes you think that Americans (as in their politicians) have much agency? Their allegiance to Israel is absolute, the US is in turn a jewish led institution.

    I agree with this, but take it a step further, what makes you think that Americans (as in their politicians) have much agency? Their allegiance to Israel is absolute, the US is in turn a jewish led institution.

    US is dominated by its own “Jewish community”, but Washington is an actual power center, a place where political decisions are being made, unlike Brussels, whose main function is to relay and enforce orders from Washington.

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  • JL says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Exporting LNG, at least in large quantities, isn’t really in our interests at all.

    This will cause our domestic gas prices to rise. In theory, they will rise until they will converge with high-cost markets like East Asia.
     
    They won't converge. Domestic natural gas prices in the US will always be substantially below the international levels, because the costs associated with liquefying gas and trasporting it in tankers are immense.

    This is an oversimplification and Thorfinnsson also wrote “in theory”. Once the infrastructure is built (supertankers and LNG plants), the costs are not so immense. Furthermore, even if export prices were to fall, that infrastructure represents sunken costs which need to be recouped, even if that means operating at a loss.

    This was seen with the shale oil industry in the US. Lifting costs, before 2014, were around $80/barrel. But they mostly kept on pumping even with the price at half that because their creditors would rather see $0.50 on the dollar returned than zero. Technology and adjustments down the services chain have reduced costs on shale oil, but they’re still not very far from break even.

    Read More
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Whole point of sunk costs is that they aren't factored in and should be dismissed. In this case that cost is now irrelevant and if you get a higher return shipping to Europe or Asia than selling domestically then you should.

    I find it hard to believe US LNG will ever be cheaper than Rus nat gas, or MENA nat gas, for Europe. Building more LNG facilities makes no sense, unless justified by bogus geopolitical concerns. Reality is a number of EE countries joined NATO even whilst depending on Rus nat gas one hundred percent, and their elites pursue very unfriendly foreign policies regardless of dependency on Rus nat gas.
    , @Felix Keverich
    Irrelevant. I wasn't making a comment on the commercial viability of LNG exports from the US. I said that the price of this exported gas will always be greater than the price of gas in the US.

    To be sure American companies, under certain conditions, will export LNG at a loss. Even then the price of this gas must account for liquefaction and transportation costs.

    Simply put:

    Price of exported LNG = price of gas on the domestic market + liquefaction and transportation costs
    (those include the cost of electricity for the plants, fuel for the tankers, wages - they remain substantial even after infrustructure is build).

    ^This equation will always hold in a market economy.


    Russia’s policy of subsidizing former Soviet republics with cheap gas and open markets in exchange for neutral (not even friendly!) foreign policies seemed quite reasonable, yet here we are.
     
    It was a stupid policy and Russia deserved to be punished for disregarding the rules of the market economy.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Mitleser
    @Felix Keverich

    Aren't they Europeans who have European interests?

    If the German government and others can prevent South Stream and get away with it, why shouldn't the Polish government do the same to NS II?

    Was that a response to my comment?

    We seem to have very different views on how EU operates, and in my opinion your views are ridiculous! It’s plain absurd to think that Eastern EU members like Poland can have much impact on EU decisionmaking.

    It was Washington’s idea to block South Stream and Nord Stream. The European Comission then succesfully imposed Washington’s will on a little Bulgaria, but has struggled to impose it on Germany thus far. The role of Poland in this story is to act as a cheerleader for US-led action, nothing more. The role of the European Comission is to be an enforcer (comissar) for Washington’s obkom.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    Was that a response to my comment?
     
    Yes.

    We seem to have very different views on how EU operates, and in my opinion your views are ridiculous!
     
    Says the guy who denies Europeans agency.

    It was Washington’s idea to block South Stream and Nord Stream.
     
    Why are so certain that it was the case?
    The German government would not back NS II as much as they did if it would not strengthen Germany's role as European gas hub.
    South Stream did not serve this role and was blocked.
    For Poles, it would be beneficially not to reduce Poland's role as transit country, hence they have a legit reason to oppose NS II which avoids Poland.

    It is not always Washington to blame. Europeans countries are perfectly willing to screw each other.
    One of the reasons why Americans are so dominant in Europe is that they can take advantage of that.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Avery
    {I don’t follow domestic Armenian politics, }

    It is obvious you don't, that's why you don't know.


    {but the basic gist of it is that the two-term President Serzh Sargsyan – who is highly unpopular due to increases in utilities tariffs –}

    Former President, and now PM Serzh Sargsyan _is_ unpopular, but it has nothing to do with utilities tariff: the tariffs issue was long time ago, it was resolved, and not a current issue. He is unpopular for other reasons.

    { This was accompanied by a bill making Armenia a parliamentary republic, in effect extending his rule.}

    Nope, it was not a bill
    You can't do that by a bill.
    There was a constitutional referendum in 2015, passed by 66% with ~51% turnout that changed the form of government so that instead of the President being directly elected by the people, the majority party in the Parliament would select both the President and the Prime Minister. There were some other changes, but that was the main reason for the referendum.

    The title of 'Prime Minister' is a little misleading in this context, because generally in a Parliamentary form of government the PM is real head of state, the Commander in Chief, etc and a President is just a ceremonial post, if one exists. In Armenia the President is the Commander in Chief, responsible for foreign affairs, etc and the PM is for internal: economy and such.

    The constitutional change was championed by Serzh Sargsyan. Understanding by the people for approving the change was that he would not seek to become the PM, and thus extend his rule indefinitely on the sly. He kinda/sorta promised as much when selling the change.

    The current protests are because the people feel as if Serzh Sargsyan is just spitting on their face by becoming PM.

    He made a BIG mistake.
    He should have been happy with his accomplishments, and retired from public life honorably.
    Now he is despised and ridiculed.
    And the word from Yerevan is that the source of much discontent in Armenia - the group of oligarchs and big thieves who rob the country and the economy (...one of whom is his own brother), and who were protected by Serzh's administration - pretty much forced him to take the PM position, because they are afraid to lose their privileged positions if new blood comes in.


    {There is a non-trivial chance of a color revolution in Armenia in the next few days.}

    One can never say "never", but highly unlikely.
    Too many reasons why something like that is a near impossibility in Armenia.
    Maybe another post.

    Thanks for this comment.

    Invaluable to have the input of an Armenian on this issue.

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  • @Frederic Bastiat

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge (“see, it’s only thanks to us because of us generous we are!”). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.
     
    FDI was 176 Billion in 2016. Polish GDP was 469 Billion.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/foreign-direct-investment
    https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/gdp

    Ah, I see that GDP was in US Dollar. FDI in Euros. Apples and Oranges. Still, does not change the big picture.

    I would guess that Old Europe has a majority share in FDI in Poland because of the unified market. That is probably also a huge incentive for investors from other countries because they can export their products from Poland to Western Europe which has much higher purchasing power.

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  • Aren’t they Europeans who have European interests?

    If the German government and others can prevent South Stream and get away with it, why shouldn’t the Polish government do the same to NS II?

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Was that a response to my comment?

    We seem to have very different views on how EU operates, and in my opinion your views are ridiculous! It's plain absurd to think that Eastern EU members like Poland can have much impact on EU decisionmaking.

    It was Washington's idea to block South Stream and Nord Stream. The European Comission then succesfully imposed Washington's will on a little Bulgaria, but has struggled to impose it on Germany thus far. The role of Poland in this story is to act as a cheerleader for US-led action, nothing more. The role of the European Comission is to be an enforcer (comissar) for Washington's obkom.
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  • @Thorfinnsson
    Exporting LNG, at least in large quantities, isn't really in our interests at all.

    This will cause our domestic gas prices to rise. In theory, they will rise until they will converge with high-cost markets like East Asia.

    This will terminate our current competitive edge in industries such as petrochemicals and sponge iron.

    Exporting American LNG is rather about:

    1 - The interests of the oil companies themselves
    2 - America's absurd and dangerous Russophobia

    Fortunately just this once I can be grateful to the environmentalists and NIMBYs. There will only be a limited number of LNG export terminals built, so our gas prices will remain low.

    Exporting LNG, at least in large quantities, isn’t really in our interests at all.

    This will cause our domestic gas prices to rise. In theory, they will rise until they will converge with high-cost markets like East Asia.

    They won’t converge. Domestic natural gas prices in the US will always be substantially below the international levels, because the costs associated with liquefying gas and trasporting it in tankers are immense.

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    • Replies: @JL
    This is an oversimplification and Thorfinnsson also wrote "in theory". Once the infrastructure is built (supertankers and LNG plants), the costs are not so immense. Furthermore, even if export prices were to fall, that infrastructure represents sunken costs which need to be recouped, even if that means operating at a loss.

    This was seen with the shale oil industry in the US. Lifting costs, before 2014, were around $80/barrel. But they mostly kept on pumping even with the price at half that because their creditors would rather see $0.50 on the dollar returned than zero. Technology and adjustments down the services chain have reduced costs on shale oil, but they're still not very far from break even.
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  • @Polish Perspective

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)

     

    https://i.imgur.com/yNvMzzD.jpg

    Poland isn't even in the top 5 once you adjust for GNI. It's true that Poland gets most in absolute terms, but that's also because we are way bigger than most EE countries. I find a lot of economic innumerate to fail to understand this point and just repeat "yes but they get THIS MANY BILLIONS". But without adjusting for economic size is meaningless. Sad to see that you are not smarter than this, Dmitry.

    Also, this is counted from the year 2000. The latest EU funds flow constitute about 1% of our GNI according to our central bank. The next one will be half that, even if no change is done, simply on account of a growing economy and a closer realignment to the EU median.

    Furthermore, whenever we are talking about EU funds this should be kept in mind:

    https://i.imgur.com/YNiPO03.png

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge ("see, it's only thanks to us because of us generous we are!"). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.

    And I haven't even talked about the fact that Western European countries benefit massively from labour and we lose, in some instances permanently.

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge (“see, it’s only thanks to us because of us generous we are!”). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    FDI was 176 Billion in 2016. Polish GDP was 469 Billion.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/foreign-direct-investment

    https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/gdp

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    • Replies: @Frederic Bastiat
    Ah, I see that GDP was in US Dollar. FDI in Euros. Apples and Oranges. Still, does not change the big picture.

    I would guess that Old Europe has a majority share in FDI in Poland because of the unified market. That is probably also a huge incentive for investors from other countries because they can export their products from Poland to Western Europe which has much higher purchasing power.
    , @Polish Perspective

    FDI was 176 Billion in 2016. Polish GDP was 469 Billion.
     
    China gets around 100-120 billion USD per year in FDI. Who knew that Poland gets 50% more than China with less than 1/20th the population?

    Please, learn basic math first before opining. Your basic common sense should have kicked in long ago when you even typed that comment.
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  • @Mitleser

    I don’t recall them freezing the assets of top officials in Erdogan’s government.
     
    They froze Turkey's EU accession bid.
    Considering that Turkey has to adjust its tariffs and duties to match those of the EU (Customs Union) and Turkey's economic dependence on EUrope, that is not a good thing for Turkey.

    That’s because Turkey happens to be a key ally of Washington.

     


    Congress has revived threats to sanction Turkey over the detention of North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson, as well as other US citizens and Turkish staff members of US diplomatic missions that it believes are being held as “political pawns.”

    Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., declared in a joint statement April 19 that they would pursue targeted sanctions against Turkish officials in the foreign affairs spending bill for fiscal year 2019. Their statement noted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “has continued to violate the trust between our two nations by holding Pastor Brunson and other innocent Americans behind bars on fabricated charges. … Turkish officials who participate in the detainment of any innocent American citizen should face international consequences, and the actions against Pastor Brunson, in particular, qualify as hostage-taking.”
     

    Ankara's bigger worry is the size and terms of the fine the US Treasury will likely slap on Halkbank for sanctions-busting. Turkish officials warn that if the fine is "disproportionately high" and ends up coming out of Turkish taxpayers’ pockets, this will sink relations to new lows.
     

    “Chances of the sanctions language appearing in the next funding cycle are very high,” the source predicted. Moreover, none of this precludes the use of sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act against Turkish officials for human rights abuses or corruption. “There will be annual lists. This is a very broad authority. If human rights groups want anyone added to the list, they have to build the legal case and give it to Congress to submit to the administration. It’s terrible, but this is the first time the Hill stopped listening to State on Turkey. This is a good time to push,” the source added. “What Erdogan has been doing is shocking. And [the State Department] is shocked. They don’t know what to do. And they’ve been beaten [by senators] into submission.”
     

    Yet should Mike Pompeo be confirmed as the new secretary of state, Washington may grow even less accommodating. Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas, served as a deacon and taught Sunday school at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, which is part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church that Brunson belongs to.
     
    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/04/us-sanctions-loom-defiant-turkey-erdogan-pastor.html

    In a sign that Turkey will continue to stock up on gold, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 17 argued that international loans should be based on gold rather than dollars. Speaking at an economic gathering in Istanbul, he remarked, “Why do you have to make the loans in dollars? Let’s base the loans on gold. We need to rid states and nations of exchange rate pressure. Throughout history, gold has never been a means of pressure.” Erdogan also said that he had made the suggestion to International Monetary Fund officials at a G-20 meeting.

    Ankara’s desire to boost the use of gold pertains not only to borrowing, but also to trade. This meshes with its efforts to promote interest-free banking, where lending systems are based on gold. Some, however, see more covert motives behind Turkey’s stocking on gold.

    Ufuk Soylemez, a former state minister for the economy and former head of the state-owned Halkbank, believes Ankara might be taking precautions against the prospect of US sanctions against Halkbank for its role in a scheme to get around sanctions on Iran. In January, Mehmet Atilla, a senior Halkbank manager, was found guilty of conspiracy and bank fraud after a monthlong trial in a New York federal court.

    Soylemez told Al-Monitor, “With an abrupt policy change, the central bank has been selling dollars and raising gold reserves to unprecedented levels, which could be a precaution against the risk of multi-billion dollar US fines on Turkish banks.”

    He also drew attention to other unusual moves by the central bank, noting, “Since the end of last year, it has been intensively selling its US bonds and converting its deposits in the United Sates to gold, in addition to moving gold reserves kept in the United States to Europe.” He added, “As of Feb. 23, gold reserves hit $25.2 billion, up from $14 billion at the end of 2016. Gold now makes up almost a fourth of the total reserves, which are worth some $114.5 billion.”

    According to Soylemez, the idea of using gold to curb the dollar’s dominance in the international banking system and financial markets is easier said than done. “This method can materialize only through bilateral consensus and agreements between countries,” he said. “With Iran, for instance, there was a similar trade in return for gold. Yet convincing the world to accept this as a new system is not easy.”

    In what Soylemez views as another sign of Turkey-US tensions, he noted that the 30-year-old New York branch of the state-owned Ziraat Bank had been recently closed.

    In an April 17 article, Hurriyet’s economy pundit Ugur Gurses reported that last year the central bank withdrew all 28.6 tons of gold it was keeping at the US Federal Reserve, moving it to the Switzerland-based Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the Bank of England. According to the report, at the end of 2017, Turkey’s gold reserves totaled 564.7 tons, including 375.4 tons at the Bank of England, 18.7 tons at BIS, 33.7 tons at the Turkish central bank and 136.8 tons in the central bank’s account at the Istanbul stock exchange.
     
    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/04/turkey-why-gold-reserves-on-the-rise.html

    So much, for "key ally of Washington".

    When you look at EU efforts to blocks Russian pipelines for example, they make zero sense from the perspective of European interests.
     
    It makes sense from the perspective of the anti-Russian European interests who are opposed to Russia's increasing share in the European gas market.

    It makes sense from the perspective of the anti-Russian European interests who are opposed to Russia’s increasing share in the European gas market.

    Which are those? You aren’t talking about the government of Poland, are you? LOL

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  • @Dmitry
    That's the logical and rational view.

    But EU is also worshiped by some - middle-class and educated - Western demographics as a new religion.

    Even in the UK, it was very divided, the society, on this question - and the end result of the voting was within a couple of percent.

    And the UK - is the country in the EU, with the lowest approval ratings for the EU.

    In addition, I would worry that younger generations are very brainwashed into this religion.

    This is much more amongst people like Spanish. When I was learning Spanish, I used read sometimes the Spanish newspaper websites - and they publish many irrational and emotional articles saying how wonderful the EU is (it is a very accepted viewpoint there).

    Well each abrahamic variant sets up its own ideal homogenized populace & empire।।

    Now that catholic continental Europe finally got whore dom enlightenment infection since 60s EU will come।।

    ‘Enlightenment’ is the latest & most virulent abrahamic variant.

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  • @Talha

    Having said that, Georgia is now being bought out quite rapidly by Gulf Arabs and Turks.
     
    Followed by...

    This must be quite painful, given how nationalistic they are.
     
    Major contradictions here; they can't really be seriously nationalistic if they are selling off real-estate to Arabs and Turks, right? That certainly doesn't fit together.

    Peace.

    Just because the people selling their country to the highest bidder only care about getting the highest price doesn’t mean ordinary Georgians don’t resent it.

    Considering how even in full-pozzed London I’ve heard ordinary people complain about all the foreign oligarchs buying up everything, I don’t find it hard to believe that Georgians might find it painful.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    OK - makes sense - it's much of the same everywhere; the elite sell out the locals to the highest bidder.

    Peace.
    , @Ali Choudhury
    Outside of a few ritzy neighborhoods which would have been out of reach of the ordinary locals going back decades, foreign oligarchs have not been buying that much property in London. Low interest rates are the primary reason prices have skyrocketed.
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  • @reiner Tor
    In Hungary the genius leftist-liberal government in the 1990s privatized most public utilities. So you get your electricity from E.ON, your water supply from Veolia Environnement, etc. Our first conservative government (not yet Fidesz) In 1993 sold our telephone monopoly to Deutsche Telekom. They immediately raised prices and “sold” the Hungarian subsidiary their own obsolete equipment which was due to be replaced in Germany anyway. Now the Hungarian customers paid for it anyway within a couple of years through higher prices, but now we’re paying them permanent dividends. They are now in the broadband internet provider monopoly business (in most areas there’s still very little competition, with either them or UPC, or sometimes some other firm), which could easily be done by a Hungarian owned company. Though at least cell phone service (where DT became also dominant due to its earlier presence in the telephone monopoly, when the mobile business was still insignificant) is the more important part (probably it needs a bigger company as owner due to economies of scale), but even here: I understand we needed foreigners to run the show, and I understand that the Germans are not worse than others, but please don’t turn this into a morality play of how they are supposed to “subsidize” us.

    Though a significant portion of the profit repatriations is now manufacturing. There’s nothing wrong with it: the big German firms like Daimler or Audi (Volkswagen) built huge factories and now repatriate some of the profits. This is mutually beneficial.

    What I don’t like so much is retail, telecom, etc., which are basically just windfalls for the foreign owners.

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  • @iffen
    Is there anything interesting in Armenia?

    Do they have a genocide museum?

    They do have some fabulous old Christian heritage stuff – really, really old churches and what not.

    Maybe they can appeal to religious tourists; they must have some places where old saints are buried and stuff.

    I know Turkey makes a killing off of people visiting cities Konya to check out the mausoleum and museum of Maulana Rumi (ra):

    Peace.

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  • @Polish Perspective

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)

     

    https://i.imgur.com/yNvMzzD.jpg

    Poland isn't even in the top 5 once you adjust for GNI. It's true that Poland gets most in absolute terms, but that's also because we are way bigger than most EE countries. I find a lot of economic innumerate to fail to understand this point and just repeat "yes but they get THIS MANY BILLIONS". But without adjusting for economic size is meaningless. Sad to see that you are not smarter than this, Dmitry.

    Also, this is counted from the year 2000. The latest EU funds flow constitute about 1% of our GNI according to our central bank. The next one will be half that, even if no change is done, simply on account of a growing economy and a closer realignment to the EU median.

    Furthermore, whenever we are talking about EU funds this should be kept in mind:

    https://i.imgur.com/YNiPO03.png

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge ("see, it's only thanks to us because of us generous we are!"). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.

    And I haven't even talked about the fact that Western European countries benefit massively from labour and we lose, in some instances permanently.

    In Hungary the genius leftist-liberal government in the 1990s privatized most public utilities. So you get your electricity from E.ON, your water supply from Veolia Environnement, etc. Our first conservative government (not yet Fidesz) In 1993 sold our telephone monopoly to Deutsche Telekom. They immediately raised prices and “sold” the Hungarian subsidiary their own obsolete equipment which was due to be replaced in Germany anyway. Now the Hungarian customers paid for it anyway within a couple of years through higher prices, but now we’re paying them permanent dividends. They are now in the broadband internet provider monopoly business (in most areas there’s still very little competition, with either them or UPC, or sometimes some other firm), which could easily be done by a Hungarian owned company. Though at least cell phone service (where DT became also dominant due to its earlier presence in the telephone monopoly, when the mobile business was still insignificant) is the more important part (probably it needs a bigger company as owner due to economies of scale), but even here: I understand we needed foreigners to run the show, and I understand that the Germans are not worse than others, but please don’t turn this into a morality play of how they are supposed to “subsidize” us.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Though a significant portion of the profit repatriations is now manufacturing. There’s nothing wrong with it: the big German firms like Daimler or Audi (Volkswagen) built huge factories and now repatriate some of the profits. This is mutually beneficial.

    What I don’t like so much is retail, telecom, etc., which are basically just windfalls for the foreign owners.
    , @Polish Perspective

    I understand we needed foreigners to run the show
     
    There's a significant difference between taking in selective FDI in key industries and outright letting "foreigners run the show". East Asia and especially China did the former. Are you sure you are a nationalist?

    but please don’t turn this into a morality play of how they are supposed to “subsidize” us.
     
    My argument is much simpler. The West gains more from the East once you consider all three factors: public funds, private funds and labour movement. In the debate, we only hear about the first. We never hear about the last two.

    Therefore, the solution I prefer is clean and simple: we stop receiving public funds(literal pay-off money) and they stop getting free labour+monopolistic access to our domestic market. Don't forget that 75% of our EU funds are re-invested in Western European companies.

    The thing is, the West knows this. Günther Öttinger, who is in charge of cohesion funds has all but admitted this. There's a quote I'm too lazy to google where he says in half-jest that if anything the EU should pay EE countries more. But instead of that, my preferred option would achieve a far cleaner break. However, the West would also never agree to it, precisely because they know the real scorecard, which is why their threats of cutting EU funds during the asylum crisis was always a hoax.

    It's interesting, but perhaps not surprising, that Eastern Europeans like yourself have completely and whoolly swallowed the "you should be grateful" meme, while warning about "morality tales" when you aren't advocating for your own colonisation of "letting foreigners running the show".

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  • @g2k
    Georgia has much more to offer tourists naturally, in particular it has a coastline and a slice of the greater Caucasus. The nunber one country of origin for Georgian tourists is Turkey which is a nonstarter for Armenia. Flights are also considerably cheaper into Georgia due to Pegasus and whizz. Armenia severed diplomatic relations with Hungary after they released an Azeri axe murderer, so no whizz flights. Pobeda fly to Gyumri though for about $30.

    Having said that, Georgia is now being bought out quite rapidly by Gulf Arabs and Turks. Last time I was there, quite a lot of restaurants were advertising halal meat; this was nonexistent just a year ago. This must be quite painful, given how nationalistic they are.

    Yerevan has an extremely highly developed service sector which is surprising given its size and poverty. They export a lot of food and luxury goods to Russia and there's some mining operations in the north.

    Having said that, Georgia is now being bought out quite rapidly by Gulf Arabs and Turks.

    Followed by…

    This must be quite painful, given how nationalistic they are.

    Major contradictions here; they can’t really be seriously nationalistic if they are selling off real-estate to Arabs and Turks, right? That certainly doesn’t fit together.

    Peace.

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    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    Just because the people selling their country to the highest bidder only care about getting the highest price doesn't mean ordinary Georgians don't resent it.

    Considering how even in full-pozzed London I've heard ordinary people complain about all the foreign oligarchs buying up everything, I don't find it hard to believe that Georgians might find it painful.
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  • @Polish Perspective

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)

     

    https://i.imgur.com/yNvMzzD.jpg

    Poland isn't even in the top 5 once you adjust for GNI. It's true that Poland gets most in absolute terms, but that's also because we are way bigger than most EE countries. I find a lot of economic innumerate to fail to understand this point and just repeat "yes but they get THIS MANY BILLIONS". But without adjusting for economic size is meaningless. Sad to see that you are not smarter than this, Dmitry.

    Also, this is counted from the year 2000. The latest EU funds flow constitute about 1% of our GNI according to our central bank. The next one will be half that, even if no change is done, simply on account of a growing economy and a closer realignment to the EU median.

    Furthermore, whenever we are talking about EU funds this should be kept in mind:

    https://i.imgur.com/YNiPO03.png

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge ("see, it's only thanks to us because of us generous we are!"). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.

    And I haven't even talked about the fact that Western European countries benefit massively from labour and we lose, in some instances permanently.

    Speaking of EU funds.

    EU budget revamp set to shift funds to southern states

    As can be seen from the chart above, Greece has benefited more than Poland on a total basis since 2000. Their GDP per capita (PPP-adjusted) is also lower than Poland’s. It’s a bottomless pit.

    A quote from the article:

    Brussels wants to end the practice of distributing cohesion money almost exclusively on the basis of gross domestic product per head, replacing it with much broader criteria covering everything from youth unemployment, education and the environment to migration and innovation.
    On top of revising the allocation of funds, the commission is reinforcing conditions on eligibility, including rule of law compliance, and applying more restrictions on how the EU money can be used.

    That means: take more refugees and accept Soros influence, or else.

    Also, the article goes on the misleading nonsense of talking in absolute nominal values, the same mistake Dmitry does. Difference is that Dmitry is just ignorant, these people do it because they count on the fact that most of their readers are innumerate and won’t critically ask “okay, but what about adjusted to GNI as a percentage” or even “what about per capita”. We’re not even in the top 5 on both of these as of now and we’ll get even less after this.

    What this means, in effect, is that there will be even fewer motivations to heed what Brussels says, freeing up our hands even more. Not just on migration but even on things like taxing foreign retail (which is almost completely colonised by Western European firms), which has been resulted in autistic screeching from Brussels whenever we broached the subject.

    The threat of “what about FDI” is no longer as powerful either. FDI is still needed but far less than 15-20 years ago. Back then even basic FDI was required. Today we can do most stuff ourselves with only specialised FDI needed and you don’t even need EU firms for that. The investments into battery manufacturing supply chain is done by South Korean firms, for instance, in both Poland and Hungary.

    Ultimately it had to come to this and better sooner than later.

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  • @Dmitry
    It's true there is a brain-drain of the poorer countries, as well as many young people leaving to work, and expansion of markets for richer, old members' companies.

    So indeed, there is benefit to business elites in the old member countries, and loss for some of the new countries.

    But for the standard taxpayers, there is a complete inversion, where the money of taxpayers in richer countries, is simply transferred to poorer countries (for 'structural adjustment funds').

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)

    The amount of free aid money Poland gets is surely lucky for them, even if they have lost a lot of workers to brain-drain .

    The money they receive from EU each year, is equivalent to what large oil exporting countries can earn.

    https://msp.gov.pl/en/polish-economy/economic-news/4015,Poland-to-get-nearly-EUR-106-bln-from-2014-2020-EU-budget-pool-expected-impact-o.html

    Bulgaria does not receive even close in terms of money, so it is clear to say that the distribution system of the aid money is not balanced across the new members.

    Kiev was looking at Poland, and dreaming of this kind of wealth transfer (but of course it will not happen for Ukraine, and if it did, the funds would be lost rapidly to corruption).

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)


    Poland isn’t even in the top 5 once you adjust for GNI. It’s true that Poland gets most in absolute terms, but that’s also because we are way bigger than most EE countries. I find a lot of economic innumerate to fail to understand this point and just repeat “yes but they get THIS MANY BILLIONS”. But without adjusting for economic size is meaningless. Sad to see that you are not smarter than this, Dmitry.

    Also, this is counted from the year 2000. The latest EU funds flow constitute about 1% of our GNI according to our central bank. The next one will be half that, even if no change is done, simply on account of a growing economy and a closer realignment to the EU median.

    Furthermore, whenever we are talking about EU funds this should be kept in mind:

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge (“see, it’s only thanks to us because of us generous we are!”). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.

    And I haven’t even talked about the fact that Western European countries benefit massively from labour and we lose, in some instances permanently.

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    • Replies: @Polish Perspective
    Speaking of EU funds.

    EU budget revamp set to shift funds to southern states

    As can be seen from the chart above, Greece has benefited more than Poland on a total basis since 2000. Their GDP per capita (PPP-adjusted) is also lower than Poland's. It's a bottomless pit.

    A quote from the article:

    Brussels wants to end the practice of distributing cohesion money almost exclusively on the basis of gross domestic product per head, replacing it with much broader criteria covering everything from youth unemployment, education and the environment to migration and innovation.
    On top of revising the allocation of funds, the commission is reinforcing conditions on eligibility, including rule of law compliance, and applying more restrictions on how the EU money can be used.
     

    That means: take more refugees and accept Soros influence, or else.

    Also, the article goes on the misleading nonsense of talking in absolute nominal values, the same mistake Dmitry does. Difference is that Dmitry is just ignorant, these people do it because they count on the fact that most of their readers are innumerate and won't critically ask "okay, but what about adjusted to GNI as a percentage" or even "what about per capita". We're not even in the top 5 on both of these as of now and we'll get even less after this.

    What this means, in effect, is that there will be even fewer motivations to heed what Brussels says, freeing up our hands even more. Not just on migration but even on things like taxing foreign retail (which is almost completely colonised by Western European firms), which has been resulted in autistic screeching from Brussels whenever we broached the subject.

    The threat of "what about FDI" is no longer as powerful either. FDI is still needed but far less than 15-20 years ago. Back then even basic FDI was required. Today we can do most stuff ourselves with only specialised FDI needed and you don't even need EU firms for that. The investments into battery manufacturing supply chain is done by South Korean firms, for instance, in both Poland and Hungary.

    Ultimately it had to come to this and better sooner than later.

    , @reiner Tor
    In Hungary the genius leftist-liberal government in the 1990s privatized most public utilities. So you get your electricity from E.ON, your water supply from Veolia Environnement, etc. Our first conservative government (not yet Fidesz) In 1993 sold our telephone monopoly to Deutsche Telekom. They immediately raised prices and “sold” the Hungarian subsidiary their own obsolete equipment which was due to be replaced in Germany anyway. Now the Hungarian customers paid for it anyway within a couple of years through higher prices, but now we’re paying them permanent dividends. They are now in the broadband internet provider monopoly business (in most areas there’s still very little competition, with either them or UPC, or sometimes some other firm), which could easily be done by a Hungarian owned company. Though at least cell phone service (where DT became also dominant due to its earlier presence in the telephone monopoly, when the mobile business was still insignificant) is the more important part (probably it needs a bigger company as owner due to economies of scale), but even here: I understand we needed foreigners to run the show, and I understand that the Germans are not worse than others, but please don’t turn this into a morality play of how they are supposed to “subsidize” us.
    , @Frederic Bastiat

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge (“see, it’s only thanks to us because of us generous we are!”). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.
     
    FDI was 176 Billion in 2016. Polish GDP was 469 Billion.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/foreign-direct-investment
    https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/gdp

    , @Dmitry
    There's nothing ignorant in noting that Poland has received more of the aid than any of the countries.

    You can interpret this how you like, or complain that it still hasn't received the most in per capita terms. The country/economy has the received most, and the numbers are amazing.

    But if Ukraine thinks they can repeat the story in the future, it is going to be heavily disappointed.
    , @Thorfinnsson

    https://i.imgur.com/YNiPO03.png

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge (“see, it’s only thanks to us because of us generous we are!”). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

     

    You are correct, but the chart doesn't show that. It's quite misleading.

    In only compares the net inflow of EU transfers to the net outflow of capital income.

    Other inflows include:

    • FDI (FDI into Poland for 2016 was around 3% of GDP it appears--more than EU transfers)
    • Exports
    • Foreign portfolio investment (i.e. investment into a business short of direct control, as well as bond purchases)
    • Bank lending
    • Repatriated foreign earnings and debt repayments

    Other outflows include:

    • Outbound FDI
    • Imports
    • Outbound foreign portfolio investment
    • Outbound bank lending
    • Foreign aid

    In theory the capital (FDI, portfolio investment, lending) and current accounts (trade, debt service, repatriated earnings) must always balance, though in reality this isn't always true (see the Eurodollar market for instance).

    Depending on what EU funds are actually used for they could represent a very good deal in that EU funds do not represent FDI, portfolio investment, or lending and thus involve no obligation to service foreign debt or send capital income to foreign investors. Knowing the EU I doubt the funds are used for anything useful but you would know better.

    In general outside of East Asia fast-growing and/or converging economies run current account deficits in order to grow faster. Norway for instance ran a current account deficit of 13% of GDP while it was getting its North Sea oil industry off the ground.

    If you want to avoid that you have to suppress consumption and increase domestic saving, hence the famously high household savings rate in China (and Japan until recently). Or you accept slower growth. Inbound FDI also makes it easier to acquire foreign technology and know-how.

    A good way to split the difference is through joint ventures and forced technology transfers.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.
     

    Sure, but ALDI, Lidl, Kaufmann, and Carrefour doubtless have higher productivity and better merchandising skills than anything that existed in the Visegrad 4 or could've come to the fore in the post-communist period.

    As a result Visegrad people exchange lost profits for lower prices, better quality, and improved product selection.

    Of course you can argue that efficient retailers would've developed anyway, but this surely would've taken more time.

    The real question is whether the Visegrad 4 can create successful multinational corporations or if they will forever be comprador economies controlled by the German 1%. There are worse fates than that incidentally. Australia and Canada have been a comprador economies from day one for instance.

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  • @Dmitry
    There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia - and numbers are probably higher considering the situation with illegal and undocumented immigrants.

    As for emigration rate, the majority come to Russia on work permits. However, if we look just at the minority that successfully obtain Russian citizenship - almost 1% of the total population in Armenia obtains Russian citizenship each year.

    {There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia }

    How do you know this?
    Where did you get that number from?

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    It was 3 million - two years ago.

    https://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=2528568

    By now the figure will be over 3 million, into the customs union.

    https://regnum.ru/news/2316978.html
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  • @Dmitry
    There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia - and numbers are probably higher considering the situation with illegal and undocumented immigrants.

    As for emigration rate, the majority come to Russia on work permits. However, if we look just at the minority that successfully obtain Russian citizenship - almost 1% of the total population in Armenia obtains Russian citizenship each year.

    As for emigration rate, the majority come to Russia on work permits.

    Actually now with the Customs Unions since 2015, they don’t even need to buy a work permit to come to Russia, and the purpose of their unlimited entry and exit to the country does not have to be recorded.

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  • @Art Deco
    The best solution for a significant proportion – especially young people, who want a job where they can afford a normal life.

    People's sense of both 'normal life' and what they 'can afford' is derived from the context they're used to. The country has a depressed labor market, but the outmigration rate peaked in 1995 and is now as low as it has been in 30-odd years (0.2% of the population per annum).



    There are probably as many, ,or more, Armenians in Russia at any single time, than in Armenia.

    The last census found 1.2 million Armenians in Russia, v. 2.9 million in Armenia.

    There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia – and numbers are probably higher considering the situation with illegal and undocumented immigrants.

    As for emigration rate, the majority come to Russia on work permits. However, if we look just at the minority that successfully obtain Russian citizenship – almost 1% of the total population in Armenia obtains Russian citizenship each year.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    As for emigration rate, the majority come to Russia on work permits.
     
    Actually now with the Customs Unions since 2015, they don't even need to buy a work permit to come to Russia, and the purpose of their unlimited entry and exit to the country does not have to be recorded.
    , @Avery
    {There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia }

    How do you know this?
    Where did you get that number from?
    , @Art Deco
    There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia –

    Known to you, but not to Russian census enumerators.
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  • {I don’t follow domestic Armenian politics, }

    It is obvious you don’t, that’s why you don’t know.

    {but the basic gist of it is that the two-term President Serzh Sargsyan – who is highly unpopular due to increases in utilities tariffs –}

    Former President, and now PM Serzh Sargsyan _is_ unpopular, but it has nothing to do with utilities tariff: the tariffs issue was long time ago, it was resolved, and not a current issue. He is unpopular for other reasons.

    { This was accompanied by a bill making Armenia a parliamentary republic, in effect extending his rule.}

    Nope, it was not a bill
    You can’t do that by a bill.
    There was a constitutional referendum in 2015, passed by 66% with ~51% turnout that changed the form of government so that instead of the President being directly elected by the people, the majority party in the Parliament would select both the President and the Prime Minister. There were some other changes, but that was the main reason for the referendum.

    The title of ‘Prime Minister’ is a little misleading in this context, because generally in a Parliamentary form of government the PM is real head of state, the Commander in Chief, etc and a President is just a ceremonial post, if one exists. In Armenia the President is the Commander in Chief, responsible for foreign affairs, etc and the PM is for internal: economy and such.

    The constitutional change was championed by Serzh Sargsyan. Understanding by the people for approving the change was that he would not seek to become the PM, and thus extend his rule indefinitely on the sly. He kinda/sorta promised as much when selling the change.

    The current protests are because the people feel as if Serzh Sargsyan is just spitting on their face by becoming PM.

    He made a BIG mistake.
    He should have been happy with his accomplishments, and retired from public life honorably.
    Now he is despised and ridiculed.
    And the word from Yerevan is that the source of much discontent in Armenia – the group of oligarchs and big thieves who rob the country and the economy (…one of whom is his own brother), and who were protected by Serzh’s administration – pretty much forced him to take the PM position, because they are afraid to lose their privileged positions if new blood comes in.

    {There is a non-trivial chance of a color revolution in Armenia in the next few days.}

    One can never say “never”, but highly unlikely.
    Too many reasons why something like that is a near impossibility in Armenia.
    Maybe another post.

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    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Thanks for this comment.

    Invaluable to have the input of an Armenian on this issue.
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  • @Dmitry
    I was tempted to say that EU has some structural similarity to the Ponzi scheme, with its constant need to expand the member base.

    But of course, this would be wrong to say, as in the Ponzi scheme, it is the new members who bring in the money, whereas in the EU it is the opposite - it is the new members which drain the money, and the old members who provide it.

    Hence, it is a quite paradox, as there is plenty of incentive for new members to join the EU, but the incentive for existing members to accede the new members, is not. And yet the existing EU members nonetheless continue to looks for expansion, even to the edge of suicide (acceding Turkey would be such a suicide). It is here - in this irrationality - that the religious and millenarian aspects of the EU project become more clear.

    I also add that the two dimensions of EU - width and depth of integration - are generally incompatible with eachother and should be trading-off, while the EU nonetheless attempts to raise the value of both variables.

    If the EU would become more shallowly integrated, there would be far better benefit to cost ratio, when expanding its width. In its original form as just a free-trade area, actually even Russia would have been easily acceded.

    I was tempted to say that EU has some structural similarity to the Ponzi scheme, with its constant need to expand the member base.

    Don’t know why you’re tempted to say that. It’s a nonsense statement.

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  • @Dmitry
    The best solution for a significant proportion - especially young people, who want a job where they can afford a normal life.

    The main emigration is to Russian Federation, although I'm not sure if there is data available on the exact number of work permits issued each year.

    There are probably as many, ,or more, Armenians in Russia at any single time, than in Armenia.

    The best solution for a significant proportion – especially young people, who want a job where they can afford a normal life.

    People’s sense of both ‘normal life’ and what they ‘can afford’ is derived from the context they’re used to. The country has a depressed labor market, but the outmigration rate peaked in 1995 and is now as low as it has been in 30-odd years (0.2% of the population per annum).

    There are probably as many, ,or more, Armenians in Russia at any single time, than in Armenia.

    The last census found 1.2 million Armenians in Russia, v. 2.9 million in Armenia.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry
    There are over 3 million Armenians at any time in Russia - and numbers are probably higher considering the situation with illegal and undocumented immigrants.

    As for emigration rate, the majority come to Russia on work permits. However, if we look just at the minority that successfully obtain Russian citizenship - almost 1% of the total population in Armenia obtains Russian citizenship each year.
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  • @iffen
    Is there anything interesting in Armenia?

    Do they have a genocide museum?

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

    I’d suppose that doesn’t compensate for the lack of seashore though.

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  • @reiner Tor
    You have already answered me three times, but you haven’t yet addressed my point about the lack of a seashore. Is there anything interesting in Armenia? I thought even most historical sites are in Turkey.

    Is there anything interesting in Armenia?

    Do they have a genocide museum?

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    • Replies: @German_reader
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsitsernakaberd

    I'd suppose that doesn't compensate for the lack of seashore though.
    , @Talha
    They do have some fabulous old Christian heritage stuff - really, really old churches and what not.

    Maybe they can appeal to religious tourists; they must have some places where old saints are buried and stuff.

    I know Turkey makes a killing off of people visiting cities Konya to check out the mausoleum and museum of Maulana Rumi (ra):
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_hpEYudIBmNs/TF7eg1T744I/AAAAAAAACKg/ucptzaUSxhM/s1600/jalaluddin-rumi-02-500.jpg

    Peace.
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  • Pro-EUropean propaganda from the German magazine Der Spiegel

    Demands that more German tax money should be entrusted to Macron.

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  • @Felix Keverich
    What makes you think that Germans (and other Europeans) have much agency in this situation at all? The consensus view in Russia is that Washington is behind all these anti-Russian moves. The EU is a US-led institution that serves US goals - Michael McFaul, former US ambassador in Russia said it outright.

    What makes you think that Germans (and other Europeans) have much agency in this situation at all?

    I agree with this, but take it a step further, what makes you think that Americans (as in their politicians) have much agency? Their allegiance to Israel is absolute, the US is in turn a jewish led institution.

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    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    I agree with this, but take it a step further, what makes you think that Americans (as in their politicians) have much agency? Their allegiance to Israel is absolute, the US is in turn a jewish led institution.
     
    US is dominated by its own "Jewish community", but Washington is an actual power center, a place where political decisions are being made, unlike Brussels, whose main function is to relay and enforce orders from Washington.
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  • @Dmitry
    I was tempted to say that EU has some structural similarity to the Ponzi scheme, with its constant need to expand the member base.

    But of course, this would be wrong to say, as in the Ponzi scheme, it is the new members who bring in the money, whereas in the EU it is the opposite - it is the new members which drain the money, and the old members who provide it.

    Hence, it is a quite paradox, as there is plenty of incentive for new members to join the EU, but the incentive for existing members to accede the new members, is not. And yet the existing EU members nonetheless continue to looks for expansion, even to the edge of suicide (acceding Turkey would be such a suicide). It is here - in this irrationality - that the religious and millenarian aspects of the EU project become more clear.

    I also add that the two dimensions of EU - width and depth of integration - are generally incompatible with eachother and should be trading-off, while the EU nonetheless attempts to raise the value of both variables.

    If the EU would become more shallowly integrated, there would be far better benefit to cost ratio, when expanding its width. In its original form as just a free-trade area, actually even Russia would have been easily acceded.

    The goal of the EU and its supporters is an “ever closer union” which means that a shallow integration is not an option.

    On the other hand, the logical endpoint of an ever closer union is the transformation of the EU into the European nation state which does require irrational elements and myths as basis for its nation building.

    In the end, it is only partially about money.
    The founding elites of the European project wants to spread their influence and values in Europe.
    Expansion is only limited by their willingness to dilute their control in the enlarged EU.
    That is why would not let Turkey and Russia join and oppose the ones in Europe who do not accept their vision.

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  • @German_reader

    Europeans who do that do not want to get the blame for ending the negotiations and retain European influence in Turkey.
     
    I'm not even sure that we have much influence in Turkey...it doesn't seem to prevent Erdogan from openly insulting and threatening Germany, Austria and other European countries.
    A large factor in keeping up the pretense of EU membership negotiations with Turkey imo is fear what could happen if they end...Turkey might become even more openly Islamist and Erdogan might reinforce his attempts at using the millions of Turks in EU countries for subversion. European politicians have no idea how to deal with such a prospect and just keep kicking the can down the road.

    These insults and threats are just rhetoric.
    As much the EUropean politicians are afraid of what could happened if the EU membership negotiations end, the same applies to Turkish politicians who know that economically Turkey is closely tied to EUrope and they are the weaker side.
    In such a situation being more openly Islamist would be a necessity for Turks as an ideological alternative* to the European perspective.

    *Kemalist Turkish nationalism is pro-European and does not offer such an alternative

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  • @Spisarevski

    the EU it is the opposite – it is the new members which drain the money, and the old members who provide it.
     
    Actually it's the old members who drain the human and natural resources of the new members.
    The "money" the old members provide is not that much - in Bulgaria for example, when the membership fees are subtracted, the net funds received are about 500-600 million EUR per year, which is not a big deal, even for our small economy .
    Meanwhile, just the education of all the specialists who go to work in Western Europe costs billions of dollars more than the funds we received, and that education was paid with our taxes. There are all sorts of other hidden losses and lost profits as well - being forced to close perfectly safe nuclear reactors, to sell state monopolies and important industries to western entities under disadvantageous contracts that can't be broken because of "free trade" or something, and many others.
    Old member Germany is building a second Nord Stream while South Stream was denied to Bulgaria.

    Anyway I think Anatoly said somewhere recently that one of the main reasons the USSR fell apart is because it was uncool. While I agree, I can only hope that this will be true for the EU as well, I can't really imagine something more uncool than the EU.

    And this is why I can't understand for the life of me why are there sill sizeable factions in some countries that want to become part of the Western empire of niggerfaggotry, enormous and unaccountable bureaucracy (with commissars and everything) and hypocritical totalitarianism (the thought police varies from country to country but if this monstrosity doesn't fall apart, then we will all live in 1984 sooner or later).
    There is no freedom or prosperity waiting for you once you join these faggots - in fact, just the opposite.

    It’s true there is a brain-drain of the poorer countries, as well as many young people leaving to work, and expansion of markets for richer, old members’ companies.

    So indeed, there is benefit to business elites in the old member countries, and loss for some of the new countries.

    But for the standard taxpayers, there is a complete inversion, where the money of taxpayers in richer countries, is simply transferred to poorer countries (for ‘structural adjustment funds’).

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)

    The amount of free aid money Poland gets is surely lucky for them, even if they have lost a lot of workers to brain-drain .

    The money they receive from EU each year, is equivalent to what large oil exporting countries can earn.

    https://msp.gov.pl/en/polish-economy/economic-news/4015,Poland-to-get-nearly-EUR-106-bln-from-2014-2020-EU-budget-pool-expected-impact-o.html

    Bulgaria does not receive even close in terms of money, so it is clear to say that the distribution system of the aid money is not balanced across the new members.

    Kiev was looking at Poland, and dreaming of this kind of wealth transfer (but of course it will not happen for Ukraine, and if it did, the funds would be lost rapidly to corruption).

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    • Replies: @Polish Perspective

    Poland, for example, receives around twice as much free money or aid from the EU, than the entire world UN annual budget. I guess Poland might be the most aid receiving country in the world? (I wonder if anyone has done calculations of this topic?)

     

    https://i.imgur.com/yNvMzzD.jpg

    Poland isn't even in the top 5 once you adjust for GNI. It's true that Poland gets most in absolute terms, but that's also because we are way bigger than most EE countries. I find a lot of economic innumerate to fail to understand this point and just repeat "yes but they get THIS MANY BILLIONS". But without adjusting for economic size is meaningless. Sad to see that you are not smarter than this, Dmitry.

    Also, this is counted from the year 2000. The latest EU funds flow constitute about 1% of our GNI according to our central bank. The next one will be half that, even if no change is done, simply on account of a growing economy and a closer realignment to the EU median.

    Furthermore, whenever we are talking about EU funds this should be kept in mind:

    https://i.imgur.com/YNiPO03.png

    People only look at public fund flows, because it gives Western Europeans a moral edge ("see, it's only thanks to us because of us generous we are!"). In reality, you should count both public and private flows. Once you do that, EE countries are being drained of capital on a net basis.

    You can see this in sector after sector. Take retail. A German goes to shop in Aldi, Lidl or Kaufmann. All domestic firms. Poles and Czechs shop at the same stores, with Carrefour thrown into the mix. As you can see from the chart, the most drained country of us all is Czechia. No wonder euroskepticism is high there.

    And I haven't even talked about the fact that Western European countries benefit massively from labour and we lose, in some instances permanently.

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  • @LondonBob
    No country with a GDP per capita higher than the EU average will join. Iceland has moved on, Norway is no closer. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Scandinavian countries look to leave.

    That’s the logical and rational view.

    But EU is also worshiped by some – middle-class and educated – Western demographics as a new religion.

    Even in the UK, it was very divided, the society, on this question – and the end result of the voting was within a couple of percent.

    And the UK – is the country in the EU, with the lowest approval ratings for the EU.

    In addition, I would worry that younger generations are very brainwashed into this religion.

    This is much more amongst people like Spanish. When I was learning Spanish, I used read sometimes the Spanish newspaper websites – and they publish many irrational and emotional articles saying how wonderful the EU is (it is a very accepted viewpoint there).

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    • Replies: @Singh
    Well each abrahamic variant sets up its own ideal homogenized populace & empire।।

    Now that catholic continental Europe finally got whore dom enlightenment infection since 60s EU will come।।

    'Enlightenment' is the latest & most virulent abrahamic variant.
    , @Ali Choudhury
    The young quite like the prospect of being able to work, travel, study and live without restriction in a polity of half a billion people. How they live their lives and spend their time predisposes them to favour the EU.
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