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    The World Bank has just released its Ease of Doing Business data for 2018 (report PDF; rankings; historical data in Excel) I wrote about why good scores on this indicator are pretty useful two years ago: First, elites pay a lot of attention to it. Several countries – including Russia, Kazakhstan, and India – have...
  • @Horpor
    These really are good news! I hope Russians will be able to continue their market orientated reforms.
    If only Russia could develop a stable market economy with its concomitant rule of law, we could still hope that she does not stay permanently an under-developed and, thus, poor country.

    How is Russia “under-developed” exactly? It has a respectable per capita GDP of around 25K (PPP) and a very high human development index. Russia is neither “fully developed”, nor “poor”, just like many/most other eastern European countries. You could describe it as “near-developed”, or something like that.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Denmark doesn't exactly strike me as a neoliberal hellscape.

    http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

    Also being able to easily fire workers is good, because otherwise they (especially unskilled young workers) will not be hired in the first place. See: Most of Mediterranean Europe. And labor mobility will be lower, since workers will fear not getting hired if they quit and will tend to stay in unsatisfactory jobs.

    Good example of nice intentions leading to bad outcomes.

    A lot of people think “neoliberal” is the same as “libertarian” or “Randian”. It is not.

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  • I wonder how many more times we’ll read about “Putin’s kleptocracy” before this become common knowledge. Has the Economist talked about this at all?

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  • These really are good news! I hope Russians will be able to continue their market orientated reforms.
    If only Russia could develop a stable market economy with its concomitant rule of law, we could still hope that she does not stay permanently an under-developed and, thus, poor country.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kimppis
    How is Russia "under-developed" exactly? It has a respectable per capita GDP of around 25K (PPP) and a very high human development index. Russia is neither "fully developed", nor "poor", just like many/most other eastern European countries. You could describe it as "near-developed", or something like that.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Denmark doesn't exactly strike me as a neoliberal hellscape.

    http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

    Also being able to easily fire workers is good, because otherwise they (especially unskilled young workers) will not be hired in the first place. See: Most of Mediterranean Europe. And labor mobility will be lower, since workers will fear not getting hired if they quit and will tend to stay in unsatisfactory jobs.

    Good example of nice intentions leading to bad outcomes.

    See the section here on “German-Style Labor Market Practices”: https://seekingalpha.com/article/269429-what-david-brooks-doesnt-get-about-unemployment

    It includes one downside of high labor mobility: less incentive for companies to invest in training workers.

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  • @reiner Tor
    This is in answer to many other commenters with similar points.

    I can think of several reasons why doing business might be easier in a semi-developed country like Macedonia than in the first world. For example there might be no building codes restricting what buildings to build, less restrictions to sack workers, less safety regulations, etc.

    Now I don't know anything about either Georgia or Macedonia at all. Can anyone with knowledge of these tell if it's easy to do business in them?

    I think you are confusing things. Easy of doing business has nothing to do with how strict or stringent particular codes are. I believe that in of all of the non-EU countries mentioned, the industry and service codes are identical to those of the EU countries.

    Easy of doing business is just that: how easy is it for a foreigner to set up a company, get various permits etc. In other words, how customer friendly a particular country is.

    It makes a lot of sense for these countries to make these administration procedures as simple, short and user friendly as possible and eliminate red tape as much as possible in order to attract foreign investments.

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  • @Verymuchalive
    I was referring, rather, to reasonable Building, Health and Safety and other policies that any proper First World country should have. I am in favour of internal mobility of labour, but protected by having a restrictionist policy on imported labour. Especially, I see no need for 3rd World imported labour at all.
    Amusingly, the Survey places Denmark, the most restrictionist country in Europe, at number 3. Whereas Belgium, much of it becoming an Islamist hellhole, is at number 52. Obviously, not all of the World Bank's surveyors were reading the script.

    Well yes, exactly, and I too support *reasonable* Building, Health and Safety policies too.

    Emphasis on the reasonable part. Russia is ~120th on Dealing with Construction Permits, its worst performance on any of the categories, but its not a secret that it is (still) a bribefest from start to finish – and one that doesn’t even accomplish anything (i.e. low standards of fire safety, and many historic Moscow landmarks being destroyed esp. during Luzhkov’s mayoralty).

    The fact that Denmark is 3rd while Belgium is 52nd actually testifies that the World Bank’s surveyors do their job reasonably and without (too much) political bias.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Denmark doesn't exactly strike me as a neoliberal hellscape.

    http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

    Also being able to easily fire workers is good, because otherwise they (especially unskilled young workers) will not be hired in the first place. See: Most of Mediterranean Europe. And labor mobility will be lower, since workers will fear not getting hired if they quit and will tend to stay in unsatisfactory jobs.

    Good example of nice intentions leading to bad outcomes.

    I was referring, rather, to reasonable Building, Health and Safety and other policies that any proper First World country should have. I am in favour of internal mobility of labour, but protected by having a restrictionist policy on imported labour. Especially, I see no need for 3rd World imported labour at all.
    Amusingly, the Survey places Denmark, the most restrictionist country in Europe, at number 3. Whereas Belgium, much of it becoming an Islamist hellhole, is at number 52. Obviously, not all of the World Bank’s surveyors were reading the script.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Well yes, exactly, and I too support *reasonable* Building, Health and Safety policies too.

    Emphasis on the reasonable part. Russia is ~120th on Dealing with Construction Permits, its worst performance on any of the categories, but its not a secret that it is (still) a bribefest from start to finish - and one that doesn't even accomplish anything (i.e. low standards of fire safety, and many historic Moscow landmarks being destroyed esp. during Luzhkov's mayoralty).

    The fact that Denmark is 3rd while Belgium is 52nd actually testifies that the World Bank's surveyors do their job reasonably and without (too much) political bias.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Verymuchalive
    You mean: what's good for Neoliberalism is good for business. I'm sure the "World Bank" agrees.

    Denmark doesn’t exactly strike me as a neoliberal hellscape.

    http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

    Also being able to easily fire workers is good, because otherwise they (especially unskilled young workers) will not be hired in the first place. See: Most of Mediterranean Europe. And labor mobility will be lower, since workers will fear not getting hired if they quit and will tend to stay in unsatisfactory jobs.

    Good example of nice intentions leading to bad outcomes.

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    I was referring, rather, to reasonable Building, Health and Safety and other policies that any proper First World country should have. I am in favour of internal mobility of labour, but protected by having a restrictionist policy on imported labour. Especially, I see no need for 3rd World imported labour at all.
    Amusingly, the Survey places Denmark, the most restrictionist country in Europe, at number 3. Whereas Belgium, much of it becoming an Islamist hellhole, is at number 52. Obviously, not all of the World Bank's surveyors were reading the script.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    See the section here on "German-Style Labor Market Practices": https://seekingalpha.com/article/269429-what-david-brooks-doesnt-get-about-unemployment

    It includes one downside of high labor mobility: less incentive for companies to invest in training workers.
    , @jtgw
    A lot of people think "neoliberal" is the same as "libertarian" or "Randian". It is not.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The way to be number one in this game is to have no requirements for registration of businesses, dole out enforcement of “contracts” to non-judicial arbitrators (who can be bribed rapidly), etc. The World Bank once again seems to be mostly a propaganda organization. Not surprising given its structure.

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  • @reiner Tor
    You're changing the subject. If you're a businessman and you're doing business somewhere, the easier to fire people, the easier your job, for example. The less building codes, the easier to do business. That's what that frigging indicator is measuring. That's what I'm saying. In other words: a higher ranking than Switzerland on that list doesn't necessarily imply that the country is better than Switzerland. Which seemed to be your argument against it.

    I was being facetious: the World Bank believes that Neoliberalism is good for business. Not you, Herr Tor, nor me, Mr Verymuchalive.
    No Building Regulations mean lots of shoddy buildings, which mean terrible living conditions for those who live in them. It means poverty wages for those who labour on them. It means high injuries and fatalities for workers. It is symptomatic of a state that has no sense of responsibility to its own citizens. I could continue, but in the interests of brevity, won’t.
    Neoliberalism is evil and its perpetrators are criminals.

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  • @Verymuchalive
    You mean: what's good for Neoliberalism is good for business. I'm sure the "World Bank" agrees.

    You’re changing the subject. If you’re a businessman and you’re doing business somewhere, the easier to fire people, the easier your job, for example. The less building codes, the easier to do business. That’s what that frigging indicator is measuring. That’s what I’m saying. In other words: a higher ranking than Switzerland on that list doesn’t necessarily imply that the country is better than Switzerland. Which seemed to be your argument against it.

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    I was being facetious: the World Bank believes that Neoliberalism is good for business. Not you, Herr Tor, nor me, Mr Verymuchalive.
    No Building Regulations mean lots of shoddy buildings, which mean terrible living conditions for those who live in them. It means poverty wages for those who labour on them. It means high injuries and fatalities for workers. It is symptomatic of a state that has no sense of responsibility to its own citizens. I could continue, but in the interests of brevity, won't.
    Neoliberalism is evil and its perpetrators are criminals.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @reiner Tor
    This is in answer to many other commenters with similar points.

    I can think of several reasons why doing business might be easier in a semi-developed country like Macedonia than in the first world. For example there might be no building codes restricting what buildings to build, less restrictions to sack workers, less safety regulations, etc.

    Now I don't know anything about either Georgia or Macedonia at all. Can anyone with knowledge of these tell if it's easy to do business in them?

    You mean: what’s good for Neoliberalism is good for business. I’m sure the “World Bank” agrees.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You're changing the subject. If you're a businessman and you're doing business somewhere, the easier to fire people, the easier your job, for example. The less building codes, the easier to do business. That's what that frigging indicator is measuring. That's what I'm saying. In other words: a higher ranking than Switzerland on that list doesn't necessarily imply that the country is better than Switzerland. Which seemed to be your argument against it.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Denmark doesn't exactly strike me as a neoliberal hellscape.

    http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

    Also being able to easily fire workers is good, because otherwise they (especially unskilled young workers) will not be hired in the first place. See: Most of Mediterranean Europe. And labor mobility will be lower, since workers will fear not getting hired if they quit and will tend to stay in unsatisfactory jobs.

    Good example of nice intentions leading to bad outcomes.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @RadicalCenter
    We need to be careful not to rely on "reasoning" like "Georgia can't be better than Switzerland in this respect because it's not better in other respects."

    Or even worse, "Georgia can't be better than Switzerland because I have a certain notion of Georgia in my head and I'm impervious to evidence of changing circumstances."

    Essentially, being first world makes it more difficult to achieve a high position on this list. Building codes are important – without them, you’ll have extremely ugly third world cities. But they make it more difficult to do business. Same thing with safety regulations, or the rights of workers and unions, etc.

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  • @5371
    Yes, it's incredible that anyone takes this seriously.

    This is in answer to many other commenters with similar points.

    I can think of several reasons why doing business might be easier in a semi-developed country like Macedonia than in the first world. For example there might be no building codes restricting what buildings to build, less restrictions to sack workers, less safety regulations, etc.

    Now I don’t know anything about either Georgia or Macedonia at all. Can anyone with knowledge of these tell if it’s easy to do business in them?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    You mean: what's good for Neoliberalism is good for business. I'm sure the "World Bank" agrees.
    , @Simpleguest
    I think you are confusing things. Easy of doing business has nothing to do with how strict or stringent particular codes are. I believe that in of all of the non-EU countries mentioned, the industry and service codes are identical to those of the EU countries.

    Easy of doing business is just that: how easy is it for a foreigner to set up a company, get various permits etc. In other words, how customer friendly a particular country is.

    It makes a lot of sense for these countries to make these administration procedures as simple, short and user friendly as possible and eliminate red tape as much as possible in order to attract foreign investments.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @snorlax
    This seems like an awfully silly list. Georgia better than Switzerland? Kosovo better than Israel? Uh, not buying it.

    We need to be careful not to rely on “reasoning” like “Georgia can’t be better than Switzerland in this respect because it’s not better in other respects.”

    Or even worse, “Georgia can’t be better than Switzerland because I have a certain notion of Georgia in my head and I’m impervious to evidence of changing circumstances.”

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Essentially, being first world makes it more difficult to achieve a high position on this list. Building codes are important - without them, you'll have extremely ugly third world cities. But they make it more difficult to do business. Same thing with safety regulations, or the rights of workers and unions, etc.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • A personal note. Getting a work permit as a “Highly Qualified Specialist” in Russia used to be a big headache. The first time I had to wait for hours in a herd of people picking up work permits for cheap labour. Some years later, the same office had been completely remodeled and served only highly qualified specialists. It took fifteen minutes. (Maybe cheap labour still has to wait in a herd, I don’t know.) This is some indication that even in the past few years, there have been changes in how government services are organized and prioritized.

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  • I don’t have an opinion on how accurate this survey is, but I think many people are missing the point of the survey, which is not to rank countries by wealth or infrastructure or even how much corruption grandma faces in her daily life, but simply by how easy it is to do business. For example, did you know that US citizens can go to Georgia and work for a year, all without a visa? While I’m not saying that is a wise policy of the Georgian government, it is certainly an indication that doing business there could be easier than in many other countries.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
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  • I wouldn’t make much of this (though it’s obviously a positive sign) due to Georgia and Macedonia being so high up on the list, and relatively poor New Zealand being #1.

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  • Another measure by which Belarus seems to be doing surprisingly well.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin

    It only measures two or three major cities.
     
    Since SPB and Moscow are 22/30 and 30/30, respectively, in an assessment of the ease of doing business in 30 Russian cities from 2012, it seems that if anything Russia might be underestimated.

    New Delhi and Mumbai are 6/17 and 10/17 in India, respectively, i.e. more or less representative. Though that was from back in 2009, admittedly.

    I doubt Russia is drastically less corrupt today than it was, say, 6-7 years ago.
     
    Two separate things.

    Corruption is better tallied by other measures, such as Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer surveys (for the incidence of everyday corruption), or the World Bank's own Enterprise Surveys (for the incidence of business corruption).

    I had a quick look, and the "percent of firms expected to give gifts in meetings with tax officials" dropped from 52.3% in 2006 to 15.3% in 2014, while the "percent of firms expected to give gifts to public officials "to get things done"" also dropped from 47.5% to 16.6% during the same period. So the situation in India genuinely does seem to have improved.

    Russia also saw drastic improvements, dropping from around 60% for both indicators in the early to mid-2000s, to 7.3% and 20.0% for each of the two respectively, in 2012.

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/917530048952983557

    Basically with a few exceptions the entire world is becoming far less corrupt at quite a rapid pace (I will have a post on this some time).

    Basically with a few exceptions the entire world is becoming far less corrupt at quite a rapid pace (I will have a post on this some time).

    Absolutely.

    I remember the days when American defense contractors used to complain about the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) constraining them in competition against the Europeans in pursuing contracts in less-developed countries (“The Germans can tax-deduct bribes paid overseas!”).

    Those days are long gone. It’s not to say that corruption is a thing of the past, but the absolute scale and public acquiescence (or lack thereof) of it have changed dramatically in many parts of the world.

    This IS a good thing.

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  • This seems like an awfully silly list. Georgia better than Switzerland? Kosovo better than Israel? Uh, not buying it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    We need to be careful not to rely on "reasoning" like "Georgia can't be better than Switzerland in this respect because it's not better in other respects."

    Or even worse, "Georgia can't be better than Switzerland because I have a certain notion of Georgia in my head and I'm impervious to evidence of changing circumstances."
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Verymuchalive
    Georgia at Number 9 - above Sweden - and Macedonia at Number 11. Surely shome mishtake !
    I do doubt the thoroughness of this survey.
    Don't tell there has been a fantastic improvement since Saakashvili left.

    Yes, it’s incredible that anyone takes this seriously.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    This is in answer to many other commenters with similar points.

    I can think of several reasons why doing business might be easier in a semi-developed country like Macedonia than in the first world. For example there might be no building codes restricting what buildings to build, less restrictions to sack workers, less safety regulations, etc.

    Now I don't know anything about either Georgia or Macedonia at all. Can anyone with knowledge of these tell if it's easy to do business in them?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Which BRIC are people here most bullish on?

    The Brazilian political elite has a joke, “Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be.” I’m definitely a Brazil bear.

    I personally would put Russia 1st, China 2nd and India 3rd. Brazil is trash but the acronym is much worse without them.

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  • Highest Ranking European countries

    Rank / Score / Country
    3rd / 84.1 / Denmark
    7th / 82.2 / UK
    8th / 82.2 / Norway
    9th / 82.0 / Georgia
    10th / 81.3 / Sweden
    11th / 81.2 / Macedonia
    12th / 80.8 / Estonia
    13th / 80.4 / Finland
    16th / 79.9 / Lithuania
    17th / 79.5 / Ireland

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  • Lowest Ranking European countries

    Rank / Score / Country
    86th / 64.2 / Bosnia and Herzegovina
    84th / 64.87 / Malta
    76th / 65.8 / Ukraine
    67th / 68.0 / Greece
    65th / 68.7 / Albania
    63rd / 69.0 / Luxembourg (this is a surprise)
    53rd / 71.6 / Cyprus
    52nd / 71.7 / Belgium
    51st / 71.7 / Croatia
    50th / 71.9 / Bulgaria

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  • I would be interesting if someone would attempt to add the racial quota systems for the USA and UK as a factor to the cost of doing business, a business that needs to hire ever more useless deadwood will tend to suffer as time goes by. Obviously such a survey could never pass the PC censors, but I am certain that should such a survey be done then the US, UK, France, etc will all be lower ranked.

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    • Agree: RadicalCenter
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  • @Anatoly Karlin

    It only measures two or three major cities.
     
    Since SPB and Moscow are 22/30 and 30/30, respectively, in an assessment of the ease of doing business in 30 Russian cities from 2012, it seems that if anything Russia might be underestimated.

    New Delhi and Mumbai are 6/17 and 10/17 in India, respectively, i.e. more or less representative. Though that was from back in 2009, admittedly.

    I doubt Russia is drastically less corrupt today than it was, say, 6-7 years ago.
     
    Two separate things.

    Corruption is better tallied by other measures, such as Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer surveys (for the incidence of everyday corruption), or the World Bank's own Enterprise Surveys (for the incidence of business corruption).

    I had a quick look, and the "percent of firms expected to give gifts in meetings with tax officials" dropped from 52.3% in 2006 to 15.3% in 2014, while the "percent of firms expected to give gifts to public officials "to get things done"" also dropped from 47.5% to 16.6% during the same period. So the situation in India genuinely does seem to have improved.

    Russia also saw drastic improvements, dropping from around 60% for both indicators in the early to mid-2000s, to 7.3% and 20.0% for each of the two respectively, in 2012.

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/917530048952983557

    Basically with a few exceptions the entire world is becoming far less corrupt at quite a rapid pace (I will have a post on this some time).

    Very odd; Saransk, Ulyanovsk, Vladikavkaz at the top? Must be solely due to the local government that happens to be there at the time, unless things like getting electricity and registering a company are biased towards smaller, less booming areas where the workmen and bureaucrats aren’t overwhelmed with requests. Maybe moscow just needs to hire more men.

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  • @Daniel Chieh
    No shit talking, if India can surpass China next year I will worship the God-Emperor Modi at His display of psychic power capable of coordinating millions of denizens by the grace of His whim. T

    It took a few millennia of careful breeding; but he’s here, he’s brown and he ain’t a clown!

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  • Georgia at Number 9 – above Sweden – and Macedonia at Number 11. Surely shome mishtake !
    I do doubt the thoroughness of this survey.
    Don’t tell there has been a fantastic improvement since Saakashvili left.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Yes, it's incredible that anyone takes this seriously.
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  • That’s quite impressive, especially if – as you write – the index is more objective than I would’ve thought.

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  • @Singh
    Good job hopefully India can surpass China next year so more shit talking can commence.

    No shit talking, if India can surpass China next year I will worship the God-Emperor Modi at His display of psychic power capable of coordinating millions of denizens by the grace of His whim. T

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    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • LOL: Talha
    • Replies: @Talha
    It took a few millennia of careful breeding; but he's here, he's brown and he ain't a clown!

    http://www.tehelka.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/modi3.jpg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8-eiBqri0U
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  • Good job hopefully India can surpass China next year so more shit talking can commence.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    No shit talking, if India can surpass China next year I will worship the God-Emperor Modi at His display of psychic power capable of coordinating millions of denizens by the grace of His whim. T
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Daniel Chieh
    I wonder how much higher Russia would be if it wasn't under so many sanctions.

    I don’t think they make a big impact to anything but the “Trading Across Borders” subcomponent.

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  • @Puja
    This index is a poor index. It only measures two or three major cities. Putin found out how to game it and now India has as well. In India, a country I know well, they only sample Mumbai and New Delhi. Furthermore, given how the black economy - the untaxed economy, in other words - form over 60% of GDP in India, it is already deeply flawed.

    Worse, a country can just focus on those two cities and get instant results without doing the kind of root-and-branch reform at the ground level, away from the spotlight, which is more important for durable growth. That's why you can have these huge jumps such as India's 30 spot jump from 130 to 100. I doubt Russia is drastically less corrupt today than it was, say, 6-7 years ago.

    The E&Y corruption/bribery index doesn't show it, for sure. Yet these indexes will give a false view. I also find some of the positions to be highly questionable. Netherlands significantly lower ranked than, say, Macedonia is very hard to believe given the highly efficient, transparent, low-corruption and overall Germanic culture of the Netherlands.

    I also find your defence of the index unpursuasive, given my reasons above. Even many investors know the limitations of it, only the most ignorant ones don't and blindly follow it. I'm not against the concept per se, but the sampling of the index is deeply flawed. Both at the geographical as well as the formal/informal level. It's mostly skewed towards big and formal companies located in a few very large cities. As such, it is largely useless since it's very easy to game, which Russia has and now India has begun.

    It only measures two or three major cities.

    Since SPB and Moscow are 22/30 and 30/30, respectively, in an assessment of the ease of doing business in 30 Russian cities from 2012, it seems that if anything Russia might be underestimated.

    New Delhi and Mumbai are 6/17 and 10/17 in India, respectively, i.e. more or less representative. Though that was from back in 2009, admittedly.

    I doubt Russia is drastically less corrupt today than it was, say, 6-7 years ago.

    Two separate things.

    Corruption is better tallied by other measures, such as Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer surveys (for the incidence of everyday corruption), or the World Bank’s own Enterprise Surveys (for the incidence of business corruption).

    I had a quick look, and the “percent of firms expected to give gifts in meetings with tax officials” dropped from 52.3% in 2006 to 15.3% in 2014, while the “percent of firms expected to give gifts to public officials “to get things done”” also dropped from 47.5% to 16.6% during the same period. So the situation in India genuinely does seem to have improved.

    Russia also saw drastic improvements, dropping from around 60% for both indicators in the early to mid-2000s, to 7.3% and 20.0% for each of the two respectively, in 2012.

    Basically with a few exceptions the entire world is becoming far less corrupt at quite a rapid pace (I will have a post on this some time).

    Read More
    • Replies: @g2k
    Very odd; Saransk, Ulyanovsk, Vladikavkaz at the top? Must be solely due to the local government that happens to be there at the time, unless things like getting electricity and registering a company are biased towards smaller, less booming areas where the workmen and bureaucrats aren't overwhelmed with requests. Maybe moscow just needs to hire more men.
    , @Twinkie

    Basically with a few exceptions the entire world is becoming far less corrupt at quite a rapid pace (I will have a post on this some time).
     
    Absolutely.

    I remember the days when American defense contractors used to complain about the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) constraining them in competition against the Europeans in pursuing contracts in less-developed countries ("The Germans can tax-deduct bribes paid overseas!").

    Those days are long gone. It's not to say that corruption is a thing of the past, but the absolute scale and public acquiescence (or lack thereof) of it have changed dramatically in many parts of the world.

    This IS a good thing.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • I wonder how much higher Russia would be if it wasn’t under so many sanctions.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I don't think they make a big impact to anything but the "Trading Across Borders" subcomponent.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • This index is a poor index. It only measures two or three major cities. Putin found out how to game it and now India has as well. In India, a country I know well, they only sample Mumbai and New Delhi. Furthermore, given how the black economy – the untaxed economy, in other words – form over 60% of GDP in India, it is already deeply flawed.

    Worse, a country can just focus on those two cities and get instant results without doing the kind of root-and-branch reform at the ground level, away from the spotlight, which is more important for durable growth. That’s why you can have these huge jumps such as India’s 30 spot jump from 130 to 100. I doubt Russia is drastically less corrupt today than it was, say, 6-7 years ago.

    The E&Y corruption/bribery index doesn’t show it, for sure. Yet these indexes will give a false view. I also find some of the positions to be highly questionable. Netherlands significantly lower ranked than, say, Macedonia is very hard to believe given the highly efficient, transparent, low-corruption and overall Germanic culture of the Netherlands.

    I also find your defence of the index unpursuasive, given my reasons above. Even many investors know the limitations of it, only the most ignorant ones don’t and blindly follow it. I’m not against the concept per se, but the sampling of the index is deeply flawed. Both at the geographical as well as the formal/informal level. It’s mostly skewed towards big and formal companies located in a few very large cities. As such, it is largely useless since it’s very easy to game, which Russia has and now India has begun.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin

    It only measures two or three major cities.
     
    Since SPB and Moscow are 22/30 and 30/30, respectively, in an assessment of the ease of doing business in 30 Russian cities from 2012, it seems that if anything Russia might be underestimated.

    New Delhi and Mumbai are 6/17 and 10/17 in India, respectively, i.e. more or less representative. Though that was from back in 2009, admittedly.

    I doubt Russia is drastically less corrupt today than it was, say, 6-7 years ago.
     
    Two separate things.

    Corruption is better tallied by other measures, such as Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer surveys (for the incidence of everyday corruption), or the World Bank's own Enterprise Surveys (for the incidence of business corruption).

    I had a quick look, and the "percent of firms expected to give gifts in meetings with tax officials" dropped from 52.3% in 2006 to 15.3% in 2014, while the "percent of firms expected to give gifts to public officials "to get things done"" also dropped from 47.5% to 16.6% during the same period. So the situation in India genuinely does seem to have improved.

    Russia also saw drastic improvements, dropping from around 60% for both indicators in the early to mid-2000s, to 7.3% and 20.0% for each of the two respectively, in 2012.

    https://twitter.com/akarlin88/status/917530048952983557

    Basically with a few exceptions the entire world is becoming far less corrupt at quite a rapid pace (I will have a post on this some time).
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • In the overall scheme of things, the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business (and other such indices) don't seem to be terribly important. As long as you don't go full retard on such matters and adopt Soviet-style central planning, or something like that, then you should do just fine as long as your human capital/national...
  • @5371
    [Chile is considerably more developed than China]

    Is it, though? China is slightly ahead per capita in energy consumption, electricity consumption and motor vehicle sales, all good criteria for economic development.

    Very much so, although I’d rather take my chances in a Shanghai hospital than a rural Chilean one.

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

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  • @Sean
    Where is the productive capacity? Martin van Creveld noted that no goods made in Russia are sold outside Russia.

    If you have to resort to listing a mobile app as an example of an export of one of the world’s largest economies, that’s kind of evidence that that country doesn’t export much, especially since said app isn’t that profitable. It’s not Clash of Clans.

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  • It is remarkable how all member states of the Eurasian Economic Union are doing well in this ranking.

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  • @Twinkie
    You are now following me around every thread I comment and leaving drive-by-replies like a jilted girlfriend.

    Do you have a specific point of substance here?

    Saudi Arabia is a HIGHLY flawed country to say the least, but it is not outside the realm of possibility or even likelihood that it is slightly less corrupt than Italy. Southern Italy is a mess of corruption, gang-warfare, petty street crime. That doesn't mean Italy is, overall, a worse country than Saudi Arabia (I'd obviously rather live in Italy than in KSA in a heart beat), but we are specifically discussing the issue of corruption here.

    Evidently you find it difficult to eke out banality with anything beyond braggadocio or butthurt.

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  • @5371
    I don't know what people mean by "feudal" nowadays, but absolute monarchies have not been and are not all of one kind. Some have all sorts of positive qualities. Others are ... well, like Saudi Arabia.

    You are now following me around every thread I comment and leaving drive-by-replies like a jilted girlfriend.

    Do you have a specific point of substance here?

    Saudi Arabia is a HIGHLY flawed country to say the least, but it is not outside the realm of possibility or even likelihood that it is slightly less corrupt than Italy. Southern Italy is a mess of corruption, gang-warfare, petty street crime. That doesn’t mean Italy is, overall, a worse country than Saudi Arabia (I’d obviously rather live in Italy than in KSA in a heart beat), but we are specifically discussing the issue of corruption here.

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    • Replies: @5371
    Evidently you find it difficult to eke out banality with anything beyond braggadocio or butthurt.
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  • @Twinkie

    that Italy (3.9) is more corrupt than Saudi Arabia (4.7) which is a feudalistic monarchy!?
     
    Mr. Karlin, why is this that hard to believe? Especially when you can say this:

    Let it sink in that it is and long has been much easier to do business in “statist” Belarus under Europe’s “last dictator” than it has been in the pro-Western failed state of Ukraine.
     
    Singapore is an authoritarian state (but a highly benevolent, humane and efficient one), but it is much less corrupt and easier for business than many "liberal democracies."

    I would not live in one, but feudal monarchies do have certain advantages (e.g. the rulers, rather like the American WASPs of old, tend to care about the long-term health of their patrimony; they can also enforce stability and, more practically, contracts, etc.). Meanwhile Italy might be a liberal democracy, but the southern part of it (Naples, Sicily, etc.) is a chaotic mafia state with enormous entrenched corruption, gangs, and even pervasive petty crime.

    By the way, this is OT, but what is the significance of the photograph on the right panel of the blog of you shooting a revolver (looks like a Ruger GP100 or a Super Redhawk)?

    I don’t know what people mean by “feudal” nowadays, but absolute monarchies have not been and are not all of one kind. Some have all sorts of positive qualities. Others are … well, like Saudi Arabia.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie
    You are now following me around every thread I comment and leaving drive-by-replies like a jilted girlfriend.

    Do you have a specific point of substance here?

    Saudi Arabia is a HIGHLY flawed country to say the least, but it is not outside the realm of possibility or even likelihood that it is slightly less corrupt than Italy. Southern Italy is a mess of corruption, gang-warfare, petty street crime. That doesn't mean Italy is, overall, a worse country than Saudi Arabia (I'd obviously rather live in Italy than in KSA in a heart beat), but we are specifically discussing the issue of corruption here.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • that Italy (3.9) is more corrupt than Saudi Arabia (4.7) which is a feudalistic monarchy!?

    Mr. Karlin, why is this that hard to believe? Especially when you can say this:

    Let it sink in that it is and long has been much easier to do business in “statist” Belarus under Europe’s “last dictator” than it has been in the pro-Western failed state of Ukraine.

    Singapore is an authoritarian state (but a highly benevolent, humane and efficient one), but it is much less corrupt and easier for business than many “liberal democracies.”

    I would not live in one, but feudal monarchies do have certain advantages (e.g. the rulers, rather like the American WASPs of old, tend to care about the long-term health of their patrimony; they can also enforce stability and, more practically, contracts, etc.). Meanwhile Italy might be a liberal democracy, but the southern part of it (Naples, Sicily, etc.) is a chaotic mafia state with enormous entrenched corruption, gangs, and even pervasive petty crime.

    By the way, this is OT, but what is the significance of the photograph on the right panel of the blog of you shooting a revolver (looks like a Ruger GP100 or a Super Redhawk)?

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    • Replies: @5371
    I don't know what people mean by "feudal" nowadays, but absolute monarchies have not been and are not all of one kind. Some have all sorts of positive qualities. Others are ... well, like Saudi Arabia.
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  • @E. Harding
    All this is really a sign of China's specialization in more energy-intensive businesses, though, and the per-capita motor vehicle sales is simply a sign of economic growth-Chile's had a lot more time to buy more cars!

    No, countries don’t stop using energy as they get wealthy, nor renewing their vehicle fleets. You have to peruse the worldwide rankings first, then once you conclude they are a good touchstone, draw your conclusions concerning the individual case.

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  • @Sean
    Where is the productive capacity? Martin van Creveld noted that no goods made in Russia are sold outside Russia.
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  • @Astorian
    Anatoly is right- everything is WONDERFUL in Russia, and anyone who denies that is a damn Joo neocon.

    Everyone who's smart is moving to Russia right now, because Putin is a man who knows how to run things. And if you don't believe it, just ask him.

    All those educated Russians hastening to get out are just opening up good jobs for us! PaT Buchanan says so!

    So you have nothing substantive to say?

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  • @5371
    [Chile is considerably more developed than China]

    Is it, though? China is slightly ahead per capita in energy consumption, electricity consumption and motor vehicle sales, all good criteria for economic development.

    All this is really a sign of China’s specialization in more energy-intensive businesses, though, and the per-capita motor vehicle sales is simply a sign of economic growth-Chile’s had a lot more time to buy more cars!

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    • Replies: @5371
    No, countries don't stop using energy as they get wealthy, nor renewing their vehicle fleets. You have to peruse the worldwide rankings first, then once you conclude they are a good touchstone, draw your conclusions concerning the individual case.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anatoly is right- everything is WONDERFUL in Russia, and anyone who denies that is a damn Joo neocon.

    Everyone who’s smart is moving to Russia right now, because Putin is a man who knows how to run things. And if you don’t believe it, just ask him.

    All those educated Russians hastening to get out are just opening up good jobs for us! PaT Buchanan says so!

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    • Replies: @E. Harding
    So you have nothing substantive to say?
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  • @silviosilver
    AK seems a bit too eager to squeeze everything into a HBD interpretation. Firstly, it's not as if Chile's economic growth has stalled out, which is surely a logical requirement if one is to characterize an economy as being caught in a 'trap.' Secondly, Chile is considerably more developed than China. Let's see what rate China is growing at by the time it reaches Chilean development levels.

    [Chile is considerably more developed than China]

    Is it, though? China is slightly ahead per capita in energy consumption, electricity consumption and motor vehicle sales, all good criteria for economic development.

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    • Replies: @E. Harding
    All this is really a sign of China's specialization in more energy-intensive businesses, though, and the per-capita motor vehicle sales is simply a sign of economic growth-Chile's had a lot more time to buy more cars!
    , @AndrewR
    Very much so, although I'd rather take my chances in a Shanghai hospital than a rural Chilean one.

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

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  • @neutral
    Russia certainly has problems, decades of the USSR regime did big damage to the economy, nobody can dispute that. However I have come across a fair share of online neocons (cuckservatives) that claim that Russia is Nigeria with nukes.

    The people that make these claims seem to be unaware that Russia sent the first man in space, built nuclear weapons, produced famous literature like Dostoyevsky and has had chess world champions - unlike Nigeria. People that make such claims tend to be completed deracinated (or perhaps too afraid to admit race publicly), they never seem to notice that white countries can produce things that non white (excluding East Asians) countries don't seem able to. Another notable example of this is North Korea, regardless how oppressive the regime is, the nation still has people that can produce nuclear weapons, no African nation can do this, regardless how much patronising fawning they get from the Davos crowd.

    In some ways the destructive habits of the USSR protected Russia from the racial equality and money uber alles that is now destroying the West. If Russia can outlast the West, and the browning it will succumb to, is another question. I am no expert on this but I have seen stories of the ever growing influx from Central Asian and the Caucases into Russia, for those that know Russia well, how big or not is this phenomena ?

    Another notable example of this is North Korea, regardless how oppressive the regime is, the nation still has people that can produce nuclear weapons.

    The Korean reactor was based on the Magnox plans, which the British government declassified.

    There is less civil society and more family orientation in Russia Gerd Gigenrenzer recalled that in the 80s he found Russians were appalled that Westerners put their elderly parents in nursing homes. They are Saudi Arabia with an arms industry, and selling missiles to Iran. They have capable people but the society cannot produce consumer goods that anyone outside Russia will buy. The long term future looks bleak, and capital is leaving. Britain and Russia both have arms industries that are important because of their lack of general productive capacity.

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  • @E. Harding
    "while Chile remains in the middle-income trap."

    -Come on! Chile and the Dominican Republic were the fastest-growing Latin countries from 1973 to 2013, the first due to reforms and the second due to changes in comparative advantage. I'd say that's decent.

    By far the country most showing the failure of the Doing Business rankings to change much in themselves is Georgia: it did a lot of Doing Business reforms in the mid-2000s, and its economy slowed, falling behind China, when, before, it was growing nearly as fast and at nearly the same level.

    AK seems a bit too eager to squeeze everything into a HBD interpretation. Firstly, it’s not as if Chile’s economic growth has stalled out, which is surely a logical requirement if one is to characterize an economy as being caught in a ‘trap.’ Secondly, Chile is considerably more developed than China. Let’s see what rate China is growing at by the time it reaches Chilean development levels.

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    • Replies: @5371
    [Chile is considerably more developed than China]

    Is it, though? China is slightly ahead per capita in energy consumption, electricity consumption and motor vehicle sales, all good criteria for economic development.
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  • @metatron
    Why do you, of all people, spell his name as Yanukovych and not Yanukovich?

    AK: Because I'm not a svidomy who obsesses daily over Kiev/Kyiv. ;)

    svidomy?

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  • That’s good news, a prospering Russia is, on balance, better for the rest of Europe than a deteriorating Russia.

    Isn’t it way past time that the leaders of Russia and Europe sat down and hammered out a compromise agreement on Ukraine that ends war; restores sovereignty over Ukraine including Donetsk and Lugansk to the Kiev government (but not Crimea, of course); cements Ukrainian exclusion from NATO; and revives Russia-Europe trade. The U.S. can be notified of the results later.

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  • @shk12344
    Yota is a Russian smartphone company that sells dual screen android phone worldwide. Russia has a strong software industry. A very popular Metro videogame franchise is from Russia. A popular android game, Cut the Rope is also made in Russia. You may have heard of Kapersky, software security company, is a Russian product.

    Just saying, the Metro games we made in Ukraine, at 4A games. . They are just set in Moscow. The writer of the Metro books is Russian, though.

    Russians do have a lot of companies in videogaming. One of the recent breakouts is Wargaming.ru, with the famous multiplayer military simulator World of Tanks

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  • Romania is easier to do business in than Hungary? Are they serious or are the WB people infected with refugeeitis?

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  • Russia certainly has problems, decades of the USSR regime did big damage to the economy, nobody can dispute that. However I have come across a fair share of online neocons (cuckservatives) that claim that Russia is Nigeria with nukes.

    The people that make these claims seem to be unaware that Russia sent the first man in space, built nuclear weapons, produced famous literature like Dostoyevsky and has had chess world champions – unlike Nigeria. People that make such claims tend to be completed deracinated (or perhaps too afraid to admit race publicly), they never seem to notice that white countries can produce things that non white (excluding East Asians) countries don’t seem able to. Another notable example of this is North Korea, regardless how oppressive the regime is, the nation still has people that can produce nuclear weapons, no African nation can do this, regardless how much patronising fawning they get from the Davos crowd.

    In some ways the destructive habits of the USSR protected Russia from the racial equality and money uber alles that is now destroying the West. If Russia can outlast the West, and the browning it will succumb to, is another question. I am no expert on this but I have seen stories of the ever growing influx from Central Asian and the Caucases into Russia, for those that know Russia well, how big or not is this phenomena ?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean

    Another notable example of this is North Korea, regardless how oppressive the regime is, the nation still has people that can produce nuclear weapons.
     
    The Korean reactor was based on the Magnox plans, which the British government declassified.

    There is less civil society and more family orientation in Russia Gerd Gigenrenzer recalled that in the 80s he found Russians were appalled that Westerners put their elderly parents in nursing homes. They are Saudi Arabia with an arms industry, and selling missiles to Iran. They have capable people but the society cannot produce consumer goods that anyone outside Russia will buy. The long term future looks bleak, and capital is leaving. Britain and Russia both have arms industries that are important because of their lack of general productive capacity.
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  • “This is a familiar phenomenon. For instance, when Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013 appeared to indicate that incidences of bribery had recently plummeted in Russia to levels resembling those of the more corrupt First World nations (as opposed to typical levels of other middle-income countries) they opted to not release them at all due to not having “confidence in the reliability of the data.”

    so pretty much everything that comes out of the west = propaganda? well shit.

    in a way, I kinda understand why china block out western news now. why subject your own population to propaganda if you can help it.

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  • @Sean
    Where is the productive capacity? Martin van Creveld noted that no goods made in Russia are sold outside Russia.

    Yota is a Russian smartphone company that sells dual screen android phone worldwide. Russia has a strong software industry. A very popular Metro videogame franchise is from Russia. A popular android game, Cut the Rope is also made in Russia. You may have heard of Kapersky, software security company, is a Russian product.

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    Just saying, the Metro games we made in Ukraine, at 4A games. . They are just set in Moscow. The writer of the Metro books is Russian, though.

    Russians do have a lot of companies in videogaming. One of the recent breakouts is Wargaming.ru, with the famous multiplayer military simulator World of Tanks

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  • @Sean
    Where is the productive capacity? Martin van Creveld noted that no goods made in Russia are sold outside Russia.

    Russia is the second biggest arms dealer in the world and probably up there on aerospace equipment as well? I know most US Medium to Heavy Rockets won’t fly without Russian Engines or the licenses behind them. And probably one of the biggest exporters of Nuclear Equipment, I suspect. I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia was pretty close to France and the US in that respect.

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  • Where is the productive capacity? Martin van Creveld noted that no goods made in Russia are sold outside Russia.

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    • Replies: @Lion of Zion
    Russia is the second biggest arms dealer in the world and probably up there on aerospace equipment as well? I know most US Medium to Heavy Rockets won't fly without Russian Engines or the licenses behind them. And probably one of the biggest exporters of Nuclear Equipment, I suspect. I wouldn't be surprised if Russia was pretty close to France and the US in that respect.
    , @shk12344
    Yota is a Russian smartphone company that sells dual screen android phone worldwide. Russia has a strong software industry. A very popular Metro videogame franchise is from Russia. A popular android game, Cut the Rope is also made in Russia. You may have heard of Kapersky, software security company, is a Russian product.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Addressed here: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/made-in-russia/
    , @AndrewR
    If you have to resort to listing a mobile app as an example of an export of one of the world's largest economies, that's kind of evidence that that country doesn't export much, especially since said app isn't that profitable. It's not Clash of Clans.
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  • Why do you, of all people, spell his name as Yanukovych and not Yanukovich?

    AK: Because I’m not a svidomy who obsesses daily over Kiev/Kyiv. ;)

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    • Replies: @iffen
    svidomy?
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  • “while Chile remains in the middle-income trap.”

    -Come on! Chile and the Dominican Republic were the fastest-growing Latin countries from 1973 to 2013, the first due to reforms and the second due to changes in comparative advantage. I’d say that’s decent.

    By far the country most showing the failure of the Doing Business rankings to change much in themselves is Georgia: it did a lot of Doing Business reforms in the mid-2000s, and its economy slowed, falling behind China, when, before, it was growing nearly as fast and at nearly the same level.

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    • Replies: @silviosilver
    AK seems a bit too eager to squeeze everything into a HBD interpretation. Firstly, it's not as if Chile's economic growth has stalled out, which is surely a logical requirement if one is to characterize an economy as being caught in a 'trap.' Secondly, Chile is considerably more developed than China. Let's see what rate China is growing at by the time it reaches Chilean development levels.
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  • That is the latest finding a just-out report from Grant Thornton. Not that you'd guess it from the hysterical screechings of Western feminists and SJWs about Pussy Riot, quaint traditions like giving women flowers, and snide digs at Russians' penchant for unapologetic masculinity (which is, incidentally, what really lies behind the psychological complex known as...
  • @Documented Uncitizen
    "The reason women got economic power under Communism was that they were handed a solid slab of political power."

    Perhaps that's one of the main reasons for the collapse, and lack of success, of the USSR.

    Think twice before you hire women to important, especially leadership, positions - and work to have their right to vote abolished.

    Don’t tread on me, bro.

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  • @Anonymous
    Pretty much all the countries in the top 10 are former Communist -- Georgia, Poland, and Latvia are right up there with Russia. Which, bully for Communism! But you'll have some difficulty trying to find a model that fits the non-former-Communist countries; Sweden and South Africa are almost identical, as are Nigeria and New Zealand. Is it because these countries are adopting the same sorts of feminism? Somehow I think not.

    I note that the report is defining top management as C-Suite jobs. Now, wunderkinds and silverbacks notwithstanding, about 3/4 of all C-Suite jobs worldwide belong to people between 50 and 65. So there's a generational issue here: we're talking about women born 1950-65, who came of age in the golden age of Communist gender equality from 1970 to 1990. Their mothers had a much tougher time of it. And so, one suspects, will their daughters.

    The reason women got economic power under Communism was that they were handed a solid slab of political power. The Party was, by its own ideology, compelled to be gender-blind: a Party group that let either its membership or its leadership be too greatly dominated by males would be condemned as backwards and deviationist. So, while you're glorifying Russia's gender equality, don't forget that it was imposed by force from the top down by means of a flat-out quota system: from Khrushchev's time onwards, local Soviets had to be 50% female, and Republic-level legislatures had to be at least 1/3. (Sometimes this led to odd results -- as in Moldova, where the 1/3 was filled out with Romanophone women from Moldova proper, so that the rest of Moldova's legislature could be disproportionately dominated by Russophone men from Transnistria.)

    Communism granted Russia and its former possessions and satellites a positive social legacy of gender equality. But that says nothing about the virtues of Russian society today. That legacy is now inherited social capital, which may be increased or spent down. My guess is that it's being spent down pretty fast. The quotas of the Soviet union died with it; the Duma today is less than 15% female, and female representation at other levels of politics is quite low. I suspect that female participation in senior management will track female participation in politics, subject to a generational lag time, and that the Grant Thornton report of 2025 will show a sharp decline in C-Suite Russian women. I'd be fine with being wrong, mind.


    Doug M.

    “The reason women got economic power under Communism was that they were handed a solid slab of political power.”

    Perhaps that’s one of the main reasons for the collapse, and lack of success, of the USSR.

    Think twice before you hire women to important, especially leadership, positions – and work to have their right to vote abolished.

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    • Replies: @Featherless Biped
    Don't tread on me, bro.
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  • “BY ANATOLY KARLIN AND ANATOLYKARLIN”

    Really?

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  • @Hepp
    So the smartest women in Russia are running companies rather than making babies. Yay conservatism?!?

    I don't believe in a meritocratic society with formal equality before the law women would end up with women as 40% of leaders. As the report implies, I suspect that this has to do with lack of ambition and drunkenness among Russian men.

    Russia is also considered more corrupt than these other countries. If leaders are putting their offspring or relatives in positions of power, it might matter less if they're men or women.

    “I suspect that this has to do with lack of ambition and drunkenness among Russian men.”

    No, I really don’t think there are any discernible lack of drunkenness among Russian men.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Pretty much all the countries in the top 10 are former Communist — Georgia, Poland, and Latvia are right up there with Russia. Which, bully for Communism! But you’ll have some difficulty trying to find a model that fits the non-former-Communist countries; Sweden and South Africa are almost identical, as are Nigeria and New Zealand. Is it because these countries are adopting the same sorts of feminism? Somehow I think not.

    I note that the report is defining top management as C-Suite jobs. Now, wunderkinds and silverbacks notwithstanding, about 3/4 of all C-Suite jobs worldwide belong to people between 50 and 65. So there’s a generational issue here: we’re talking about women born 1950-65, who came of age in the golden age of Communist gender equality from 1970 to 1990. Their mothers had a much tougher time of it. And so, one suspects, will their daughters.

    The reason women got economic power under Communism was that they were handed a solid slab of political power. The Party was, by its own ideology, compelled to be gender-blind: a Party group that let either its membership or its leadership be too greatly dominated by males would be condemned as backwards and deviationist. So, while you’re glorifying Russia’s gender equality, don’t forget that it was imposed by force from the top down by means of a flat-out quota system: from Khrushchev’s time onwards, local Soviets had to be 50% female, and Republic-level legislatures had to be at least 1/3. (Sometimes this led to odd results — as in Moldova, where the 1/3 was filled out with Romanophone women from Moldova proper, so that the rest of Moldova’s legislature could be disproportionately dominated by Russophone men from Transnistria.)

    Communism granted Russia and its former possessions and satellites a positive social legacy of gender equality. But that says nothing about the virtues of Russian society today. That legacy is now inherited social capital, which may be increased or spent down. My guess is that it’s being spent down pretty fast. The quotas of the Soviet union died with it; the Duma today is less than 15% female, and female representation at other levels of politics is quite low. I suspect that female participation in senior management will track female participation in politics, subject to a generational lag time, and that the Grant Thornton report of 2025 will show a sharp decline in C-Suite Russian women. I’d be fine with being wrong, mind.

    Doug M.

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    • Replies: @Documented Uncitizen
    "The reason women got economic power under Communism was that they were handed a solid slab of political power."

    Perhaps that's one of the main reasons for the collapse, and lack of success, of the USSR.

    Think twice before you hire women to important, especially leadership, positions - and work to have their right to vote abolished.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In most of the world there are 10 men for every woman with an attribute I’ll vaguely call business tenacity.

    In at least three parts of the world, the ratio decreases from 10 to 5 (number in place just for illustration).

    -Eastern Europe/Russia (not just Slavic countries but also Romania)
    -East Asia (excluding South Korea)
    -Bantu speaking sub-Sahara Africa

    Some countries in these regions are patriarchal, but women are equipped with better gene expression to overcome the circumstances.

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  • So the smartest women in Russia are running companies rather than making babies. Yay conservatism?!?

    I don’t believe in a meritocratic society with formal equality before the law women would end up with women as 40% of leaders. As the report implies, I suspect that this has to do with lack of ambition and drunkenness among Russian men.

    Russia is also considered more corrupt than these other countries. If leaders are putting their offspring or relatives in positions of power, it might matter less if they’re men or women.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Documented Uncitizen
    "I suspect that this has to do with lack of ambition and drunkenness among Russian men."

    No, I really don't think there are any discernible lack of drunkenness among Russian men.
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  • M says:

    Probably these are due to structural differences in corporate and economic structure. Similar companies in different countries have very different corporate structures and very different “on paper” senior roles.

    You could look at the wealth distribution of men and women in different countries for another comparison. If women have a lot of senior roles, but not actually much money, then there is some question of whether those senior roles are a “manager in name only” phenomenon.

    Russia’s odd sex ratio – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sex_ratio also probably plays into it.

    There is the issue of quality of the men in a management environment – Japan for’ex is an outlier in low levels of female senior participation, and also stereotypically, obviously pretty good at turning boys into starchy, responsible, patrician businessmen and salarymen. Former Communist Europe perhaps not so much – historically, I think, the region did not push men very hard into becoming skilled white collar managers. The culture was, stereotypically again, proletarian-bureaucratic-intellectual, maybe not a culture which passes on many leadership skills to men or creates much enthusiasm among them. Japan also has a cooperative culture between men, so men may be unlikely to purge male rivals as much as in other nations, possibly to the detriment of women seeking power.

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  • About 1992 my college math classes filled up with Russians. They talked all the time and flagrantly cheated on tests but were otherwise smart and engaged. In a way I’d never encountered up to that time, they embodied their educations. I will never forget being at Brownies in NY having a drunk Russian shout at me, “but the truth is fixed and eternal!” Before the Russians, women were very under-represented in my classes. The new comers were about half and half. Cultural factors likely mater most, but is there any chance that some of the cognitive gender differences we take for granted in northern Europeans don’t exist in Russians? The female Russian math students were also aggressive in a very agreeable way, setting themselves apart from American dames in those days, too.

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  • Western governments’ paternalism toward women discourages Western women from taking any initiative, because they don’t have to. Chinese women are also much better at business than Western women, because they aren’t so pampered as their Western counterparts.

    If Russians provided women with all the advantages they have in the West, their women would drop out of the rat race, too.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    But the joke is ultimately on the SJWs. While they can scream as loud as they want at astrophysicists in loud shirts and juicing dudebro Gamergaters on Twitter, they still ain’t getting promoted by the capitalist big dogs.

    It’s amusing how gamergate has turned into a bogeyman that represents everything SJWs hate even though most of the people involved in it are ideologically identical to them.

    Those damn MRA Dudebro Neoreactionary Nazi Basement dwelling PUA pissbabies!

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  • “Equity feminism – equality before the law, formal political and civil rights, getting paid the same for the same work, sovereignty over one’s body – had long been achieved in the USSR when similar processes began to get underway in the West.”

    Well, I hate playing devil’s advocate on behalf of the feminists, but I’d like to point out that our own feminists might have reason to be upset if we haven’t achieved now what the USSR managed all those years ago. And it also appears that the conservative elements in Russia’s ruling party want to roll back at least some of these Soviet achievements: witness the Patriarch’s call to ban abortion.

    Also, were the Soviets really as progressive as you make out? Peter Frost notes that Stalin cracked down on adultery and abortion after the social ill effects became known during the early, more revolutionary years. Like with “human rights” and “freedom of religion”, there seems to have a been a disconnect between Soviet rhetoric and Soviet policy on gender equality.

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  • From the NYT:The rise of the theory of shareholder value has been good for shareholders. On August 12, 1982, thirty years ago tomorrow, the Dow Jones Average stood at 776. On August 12, 2012, it stands at 13,208. Most of the attention in public discussions of the increase in profitability of big corporations over those 30...
  • One of the great accomplishments of the business world in recent decades has been to make the supply chain leaner, whether Toyota's just-in-time parts delivery system or Wal-Mart's minimization of inventory.Retailers, in particular, have become vastly more efficient, greatly lowering the mark-up. If you pay $100 to a manufacturer on January 1, but the merchandise...
  • I believe inventory management can benefit both the company and their clients. Clients have needs that that only their chosen company and suppliers can provide. The system, however, will simply maintain control and keep track of all their stocks and the supplies that their customers badly need.

    Ethan Mudgett

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  • From the NYT:The rise of the theory of shareholder value has been good for shareholders. On August 12, 1982, thirty years ago tomorrow, the Dow Jones Average stood at 776. On August 12, 2012, it stands at 13,208. Most of the attention in public discussions of the increase in profitability of big corporations over those 30...
  • Very confused about the end of this.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Maybe not, but I doubt the emphasis on shareholder value was the cause. More likely, both shared the same cause: extremely low stock valuations, as investors had largely given up on stocks by the end of the secular bear market that started in '68

    Looked for the quote that in the '80s it was cheaper to look for oil on Wall Street than to prospect for it because these companies owned drilling rights somewhere and these were undervalued by investors and a takeover boom was founded on the fact that assets were undervalued in the stock price.

    That take Efficient Market Hypothesis theorists!

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    So he's announced a deal with China to jump-start 3-d films and equipment manufacture. Remind me how successful Nintendo was with their 3-D system?

    The Nintendo 3DS was very successful:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_3DS#Sales

    "Prior to its launch, Amazon UK announced that the system was their most pre-ordered video game system ever.[160] Nintendo of America announced that the number of Nintendo 3DS pre-orders were double the number of pre-orders for the Wii.[161] The 3DS is also the fastest selling console in Australia, with 200,000 units sold through 37 weeks of availability. The 3DS overtook sales of all other consoles, handheld and home, to claim this record.[162]"

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  • You might expect Whiskey to cease drawing attention to his failed predictions about James Cameron, but he just never passes up an opportunity to get it wrong.

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  • And some people post links that you may not actually want to click on. At least by copying and pasting the URL yourself, it gives you a chance to reflect on where you are going.

    A quick description will fix that. Actually, a quick description is more of a common courtesy than a hyperlink. Also, trying a decent browser like Firefox can solve the mystery, since a small pop-up reveals the URI of a hyperlink when you hover over it.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    ""But the shareholder value directive means they can't do it unless the math shows they would make more money for shareholders building a factory in the US than in China."

    I forgot the other half of it. It was around the same time that hostile takeovers were made a lot easier – mostly through the advocacy of a particular Wall St lawyer whose name i forget. Increased ease of hostile takeovers combined with the shareholder value idea creates an offshoring conveyor belt whether individual CEOs liked it or not. If they didn't do it they'd be taken over and someone else would.

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  • "It probably wasn't totally coincidental."

    Maybe not, but I doubt the emphasis on shareholder value was the cause. More likely, both shared the same cause: extremely low stock valuations, as investors had largely given up on stocks by the end of the secular bear market that started in '68. Similarly, the previous secular bull market that started in 1950 was sparked by low valuations. In both cases — 1950 and 1982 — stocks traded at single-digit P/E ratios, and were cheap according to other metrics as well.

    This is a pattern that repeats itself: after the end of a long secular bull market, investors flee stocks, and they get cheaper on a valuation basis (P/Es go down, dividend yields go up, etc.). At some point, they become attractive enough that investors come back in, and that's the start of a new secular bull market. In between, there are shorter (<5 years) cyclical bull and bear cycles, but the secular bear markets tend to last roughly as long as the bull markets that preceded them. E.g., the 1950-1966 secular bull (16 years) was followed by the 1966-1982 secular bear (16 years) which was followed by the 1982-2000 secular bull (18 years) which has been followed by the current secular bear (2000- ).

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  • On the links issue:

    I think that links should be described, for the reason that Svigor described.

    One issue with making clickable links: That way, the people that make and maintain websites that are linked to can easily find out which websites link to their website. That might not be good in our case.

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  • Vast "entertainment" conglomerates have gotten phenomenally wealthy – and greatly increased their share prices – by enticing your children to be come wiggers, whores, and tattooed freaks.

    And bribing cops in Ukraine and Mexico.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "But the shareholder value directive means they can't do it unless the math shows they would make more money for shareholders building a factory in the US than in China. The government should help them do what they want to do by imposing tariffs."

    Yes i think there's a lot of truth in that. The overturning of the traditional imperatives in the 1980s drove everyone along the same path whether they liked it or not.

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  • I second Svigor on this one; as a matter of courtesy to both Steve and his readers, you could create links, (and verify they work by using the Preview function).

    It doesn't take more than four extra key-strokes and a couple of mouse clicks you just alluded to.

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  • "Svigor said…

    Just a pet peeve of mine, how 1 person can save dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people some labor with a few extra moments of his own time, but doesn't give enough of a shit to do so."

    And some people post links that you may not actually want to click on. At least by copying and pasting the URL yourself, it gives you a chance to reflect on where you are going.

    What's next with these whiners? Are they going to complain that we write some long post with big words that they have to read, and demand that we link to a wav file that they can instead listen to?

    If four extra key-strokes and a couple of mouse clicks are too much for someone, perhaps they ought not to use the web.

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  • Anon, propagating work because of your own laziness is worse IMO. This is a niggling example, but consider the fact that the work he avoided is multiplied by the number of people who copy-pasted the link.

    Just a pet peeve of mine, how 1 person can save dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people some labor with a few extra moments of his own time, but doesn't give enough of a shit to do so.

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  • "Greek Yogurt said…

    It makes the reader do the work of copying and pasting the link,…"

    How f**king lazy are you?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In many cases CEO’s actually WANT to do the right thing by their employees, customers, and country, but theare hostages of the cult of shareholder value (i.e., raising the share price). For example, many CEO's have said they would love to (and hope to) manufacture in the US, most recently Tim Cook of Apple. But the shareholder value directive means they can't do it unless the math shows they would make more money for shareholders building a factory in the US than in China. The government should help them do what they want to do by imposing tariffs.

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  • "The rise of the theory of shareholder value has been good for shareholders. On August 12, 1982, thirty years ago tomorrow, the Dow Jones Average stood at 776. On August 12, 2012, it stands at 13,208."

    And yet, despite the fantastic increase in the Dow, this country is considerably shittier than it was in 1982. What's the value of America's stock now, compared to 1982? How valuable are our shares in citizenship?

    A lot of the increase in value of the Dow and the S&P 500 is due to their outsourcing of whole industries. So that now, many of your fellow citizens, who might have had gainful employment in a mill or factory, now aspire to little more than becoming tweekers, smurfs, and meth-cookers. People who in the past might have owned their own hardware store now work as wage-peons for Home Depot.

    Vast "entertainment" conglomerates have gotten phenomenally wealthy – and greatly increased their share prices – by enticing your children to be come wiggers, whores, and tattooed freaks.

    Maybe there's more to life than share prices – even for shareholders.

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  • "How many wars have been fought throughout history because an elite did not see the writing on the wall?

    FWIW back in the day, elites used to actually take part in the fighting.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    To all the anonymii who post just a link with no explanation – that 'adds no value', and is annoying. It makes the reader do the work of copying and pasting the link, before they know whether they're even interested. Steve it'd be fine by me at least if you didn't approve those.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    To equate "shareholder value" with stock price is an egregiously gross over simplification, if it can even be called such.

    Gross and deliberate oversimplification.

    The Corporate Report looked at modern accounting with Fixed assets depreciated at different rates over different times by different companies and other things that made company accounts difficult to compare and recommendations were made.

    Shareholder value was a theoretical amount that was left over after other expenses were met and was owned (owed?) to the shareholders.

    It never meant stock price but MBAs who were working out in other studies that aligning managements interests with those of the company by giving management more shares in the company misinterpreted it this way to suit their agenda.

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  • Yes, Whiskey nailed it as far as why the liberals persist with what they do. They don't see and/or don't understand.

    That's like nailing "water's wet." Of course an elite determined to ruin a country is obtuse – deliberately obtuse (either their own deliberation, or deliberation trained into them by someone else). This is a feature for them, not a bug. If they listened and changed, they'd have to eschew their goals.

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  • And while there are a few women who apparently post on isteve (e.g. jody, kylie)

    LOL, here we go again…

    I suppose it's a good thing you've got so much churn in the ranks of the commentariat, Steve. Means you're always bringing in new readers.

    All that open borders and mass third world immigration happened in places where shareholders either did not much exist or were screwed over for a vaunted socialistic third way: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Germany with their "social model" having unions and the government on board and not worrying about prices on the Bourse. Italy has no real stock market at all, its nearly all privately owned companies, and its awash with Africans and Arabs. The same holds true for Spain.

    America, shareholder central, has gone from 90% White to 65% White and falling since 1965. Germany is 90% White (and German, I think) today. I doubt one of the countries you mention is less than 90% native stock.

    What Steve has grappled with, but not fully recognized, is how intertwined (like the Tidewater Aristocracy) the corporate, media, and government elite are. They all attend the same schools, broadly know each other, come from the same families, espouse the same liberalistic values, mouth the same PC platitudes, and owe their standings for the most part NOT to ability and boldness but by going along to get along in a milder version of China's Red Princes.

    No, they don't. A substantial portion of that elite is Ashkenazi. And Ashkenazis are not liberals. They're "rice liberals." Rice liberals, like rice Christians, join the coalition because it puts rice in their bowls, not because they believe or follow the rules. That's why real liberals recoil in horror at the idea of having ethnostates for themselves, while rice liberals love the idea and pursue it vigorously and shamelessly.

    And this happens in zero-shareholder value places like Italy, Sweden, and Germany as much as the US. Japan ALONE has not been swamped by mass immigration, likely because people were already jammed too tight in cities,

    Absolutely wrong. None of the countries you mention has been swamped by mass immigration the way the US has, despite the fact that they had less "diversity" to begin with.

    Your posts are educational, though. They're so WRONG that they force people to correct them, and everybody who didn't know gets to find out.

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  • I'm currently dieting, and my beef with carbs (har har) is less about what the studies say and more about calorie counting. A turkey sandwich on whole grain gets 220 calories from those two slices of bread and 90 from the lean turkey. Bye-bye, bread. I tried the meat and mayo wrapped in a big piece of green leaf lettuce last night. It was delicious.

    Bye-bye, bread.

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