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    Clinton's debate assertion matches her version of events in Hard Choices, confirming, I suppose, that she provided the talking points to her ghostwriter and then took the trouble to memorize them. They are, unfortunately, pretty far shy of the truth. Courtesy of India’s First Post, an excerpt from Hard Choices: "President Obama and I were...
  • “Beyond placing the lumpy gristle of Copenhagen failure into the political memoir Cuisinart in order to output creamy Clintonian achievement,”

    Nice.

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  • By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment)In his visit to India, Barack Obama pressed unsuccessfully for India to set specific carbon limits. Nevertheless, he did get agreement from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the USA and India would pursue vigorously non-carbon energy sources, including nuclear and renewables such as solar.That was a better outcome than...
  • Dave says: • Website

    Under developing economies and overcrowded countries like India or China have serious issues with overpopulation and with the increased demand of energy, that is the reason why these countries will use the coal as the main energy source a few more years.
    Luckily, India will receive help from the U.S. by working together to reduce the level of carbon emissions in the region in order to stop the climate change at global level.

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  • By Roy L Hales Originally Published on the ECOreport Germany’s renewable sector (RE) is flexing its muscles, with solar production up 28% and wind up 19% during the first half of 2014. As a result, the renewable sector accounted for 31% of the nation’s electricity. If this trend continues, this may be the third year...
  • It’s the way that Germany can grow their economy, power is the past, present and future.

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  • I've long viewed the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) denial movement with a certain sense of bemusement. The causal links are rock-solid - could it really be a coincidence that atmospheric CO2 levels started rising at the very same moment as industrial civilization got into swing, within decades reaching magnitudes big enough to decisively interrupt the...
  • It is a matter of fact that there was a medieval warm period just 800 years ago where temperatures were higher than today. That’s when Greenland got its name and and the vegetation was different here in Scandinavia.

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  • The next installment of our Watching the Russia Watchers series at S/O features an interview with Peter Lavelle, the main political analyst at the Russia Today TV network, host of its CrossTalk debate show and Untimely Thoughts blogger. (He also has a Wikipedia page!) Peter is opposed to Western media hegemony, considering it neither fair...
  • @Anonymous
    So, good old Pete is addicted to caffeine and cigarettes, which goes a long way toward explaining his on-air combativeness.

    Lavalle and RT are virtually indistinguishable from Fox News in terms of their approach to reporting and commentary. Fox is a right-wing mouthpiece for the conservatives and the Republican Party. RT is a left-wing mouthpiece for Putin and the Russian government. No difference. Other than ideology, the methods and approaches are exactly the same. Outrage over what the opposition does, a blind eye toward their own shortcomings and outrages, and absolutely no sense of irony about it whatsoever.

    In the major foreign policy issues especially Russia and the Balkans I don’t see any significant difference in how the media portrays issues.

    Not that there is not significant things to criticise about Russia especially his disastrous policy in Ukraine but it seems with an investigation just getting underway they already know the pro-Russian separatists shot down the plane and that Putin supplied the missile.

    https://twitter.com/stevenson_mac/status/492010529502674945/photo/1

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    So, good old Pete is addicted to caffeine and cigarettes, which goes a long way toward explaining his on-air combativeness.

    Lavalle and RT are virtually indistinguishable from Fox News in terms of their approach to reporting and commentary. Fox is a right-wing mouthpiece for the conservatives and the Republican Party. RT is a left-wing mouthpiece for Putin and the Russian government. No difference. Other than ideology, the methods and approaches are exactly the same. Outrage over what the opposition does, a blind eye toward their own shortcomings and outrages, and absolutely no sense of irony about it whatsoever.

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    • Replies: @johnUK
    In the major foreign policy issues especially Russia and the Balkans I don’t see any significant difference in how the media portrays issues.

    Not that there is not significant things to criticise about Russia especially his disastrous policy in Ukraine but it seems with an investigation just getting underway they already know the pro-Russian separatists shot down the plane and that Putin supplied the missile.

    https://twitter.com/stevenson_mac/status/492010529502674945/photo/1

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  • By Roy L Hales Originally Published on the ECOreport Germany’s renewable sector (RE) is flexing its muscles, with solar production up 28% and wind up 19% during the first half of 2014. As a result, the renewable sector accounted for 31% of the nation’s electricity. If this trend continues, this may be the third year...
  • By Joshua S Hill New figures published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that 19.4% of the UK’s electricity mix for the first quarter of 2014 was generated from renewable sources — up from 12.4% for the same period a year ago. Furthermore, the DECC note that both hydro and...
  • At what cost did these wonders appear? A high one, I would wager, based on my experience. Don’t forget the cost of backing up these erratic power sources.

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  • By Alex Kirby Researchers warn that marine life could be dramatically affected as climate change threatens to cause severe reduction of plankton – the key source of nutrients − in some ocean regions by the end of the century LONDON, 12 May − There are plenty more fish in the sea − but not for...
  • Don’t worry, there’s plenty of the stuff Soylent Green is built from.

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  • Obama renews climate change push (via AFP) President Barack Obama renewed his campaign to curb carbon emissions Saturday, saying the debate over climate change is over. Obama, who made the battle against climate change a core promise of his 2008 election campaign, has been stymied at the federal…   This post was republished using Repost....
  • Hiding behind slogans to avoid science? Sort of reminds me of the left on gun laws, crime and race, iq and race, race and gender being a social construct, throwing money at govt schools, basic economics, affirmative actions, etc

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  • How Obama’s New CO2 Rules May Break Our Climate Stalemate With China (via Moyers & Company) There’s going to be a long fight over the Obama administration’s new carbon emissions caps, and it’s just getting started. But today brings encouraging news from beyond our borders: As if on cue, the world’s biggest polluter, China, announced…...
  • Cap it how? Where is the energy going to come from?

    I think reducing our atmospheric tinkering and wasting our petroleum reserves is a great thing, but the only way to do that to a significant degree without starving a few billion people is to launch a huge nuclear power initiative.

    All I see is patronage scams (windmills, solar panel subsidies) or Wall Street boondoggles (cap and trade). I wonder if our masters even care about the alleged “crisis,” or simply what they can gain from promoting it.

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  • By Harold R. Wanless, University of Miami It is amazing for me to see the very aggressive building boom underway in south Florida; on the beaches and barrier islands, throughout downtown and in the low western areas bordering the Everglades. They are building like there is no tomorrow. Unfortunately, they are right. The US National...
  • South Florida, the world’s most unique swampland, never should have been populated. Let the sea reclaim it.

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  • This April, Michael Bohm, editor at the Moscow Times, published the article New Kremlin Dreamers, which questioned Russia's stated intention of becoming an advanced industrial nation by 2020. I wasn't much impressed by its pessimistic assertions - for instance, regarding Russia's hopes of becoming the world's fifth largest economy by 2020, he falls into the...
  • relevant site

    Kremlin Dreams Sometimes Come True

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  • Germany Reached Nearly 75% Renewable Power Use On Sunday (via Clean Technica) En route to its 2050 Energiewende goal of 80% of the nation’s power being supplied by renewables, especially spurred on by the phaseout of nuclear reactors, Germany broke another renewable energy record on Sunday, May 11, 2014. Europe’s biggest…   ——- From a...
  • Assuming the numbers cited are correct, and that’s a major assumption when considering that governments have a special self serving interest in fudging such numbers, what’s not given is the absurd taxpayer subsidized costs and complete lack of efficiency.

    http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/338781/high-renewable-energy-costs-damage-germanys-economy

    Jon

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  • The river of time flows on, and empires crumble, leaving behind only legend that becomes myth, while new polities arise to take their place. This process of decay and creation is going to receive a boost from "peak energy" and, above all, climate change - which will redraw the maps of power to an extent...
  • Don’t you think that any sort of widespread implementation of agriculture in the deglaciated lands of the Arctic would happen far beyond 3000 A.D? It would take hundreds of years for the decay of colonizing plant species to build up just a few inches of topsoil.

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  • The next installment of our Watching the Russia Watchers series at S/O features an interview with Peter Lavelle, the main political analyst at the Russia Today TV network, host of its CrossTalk debate show and Untimely Thoughts blogger. (He also has a Wikipedia page!) Peter is opposed to Western media hegemony, considering it neither fair...
  • @johnUK
    I was going to make a comment on your article on your website but you have to have a Wordpress account to post comment I would appreciate if you would change you comment policy like this blog where you could post comments without the need of a Wordpress or any other login in account it would be much appreciated.

    Sorry I thought my comment would be posted under Nanadownload – Everything for the life, Everyday tips – Watch RT, Putin’s TV Network, Call the Cops on Me talkback posting not this article.

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  • @Nanadownload – Everything for the life, Everyday tips – Watch RT, Putin’s TV Network, Call the Cops on Me
    […] personal favorite American RT host is Peter Lavelle, a toad-like man who’s become an international star for the angry basement dwelling-set. […]

    I was going to make a comment on your article on your website but you have to have a WordPress account to post comment I would appreciate if you would change you comment policy like this blog where you could post comments without the need of a WordPress or any other login in account it would be much appreciated.

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    • Replies: @johnUK
    Sorry I thought my comment would be posted under Nanadownload – Everything for the life, Everyday tips – Watch RT, Putin’s TV Network, Call the Cops on Me talkback posting not this article.
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  • […] personal favorite American RT host is Peter Lavelle, a toad-like man who’s become an international star for the angry basement dwelling-set. […]

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    • Replies: @johnUK
    I was going to make a comment on your article on your website but you have to have a Wordpress account to post comment I would appreciate if you would change you comment policy like this blog where you could post comments without the need of a Wordpress or any other login in account it would be much appreciated.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • (By James Ayre) Wind Farms Blow Away Old Criticism — Research Shows That Wind Turbines Remain Productive For Up To 25 Years (via Clean Technica) While wind energy has become an increasingly common development choice in recent years, there has been some criticism of the technology — of particular interest in that regard was a...
  • All well and good–BUT–If one ever goes through Banning and Palm Springs CA on Interstate 10 they’ll get an eyeful. There’s no getting around it, we now have scenic pollution. The whole place looks like it’s moving in all directions (mostly South) for miles. I travel everywhere west and I can tell you, if the keeps up we loosing scenic America. I-10 through Palm Springs is a total mess. The scene is a tragedy looking for another place to ruin. Birds are being killed by the 1000s. We’ve become nothing more then the planets largest species of bacteria.

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  • As a follow-up to my article on the historical necessity of Green Communism, I would like to 1) refute some common myths and misconceptions about limits to growth-induced collapse, 2) clarify the concept of Green Communism, and 3) elucidate why the only realistic way to prevent collapse now is to force through a "sustainable retreat"...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Your long-winded and erudite post summarizes the future that we can expect if nothing is done about Climate Change and Global Warming. CO2 is already at 400 PPM and will climb rapidly when China and India come on line. For over 33 years I have proposed a :Free Lunch solution to Global Warming which also proposes how to pay for it without increasing current US taxes or increasing the National Debt. My proposal is presented below, and all my points can be justified in my 37 slide Power Point presentation, which I have sent to US and international “Movers and Shakers” without obtaining a single cogent response or rebuttal.

    “FREE LUNCH” SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE

    Many articles have been circulated summarizing the case that we must do something about climate change. Unfortunately nothing will be done because of fossil fuel providers’ lobbying and the fact that any serious efforts at reducing climate change cost large amounts of money (i.e. taxes). Presented below is my proposal for a “free lunch” solution to climate change,:

    We can use the Saudi Arabian Model, where its citizens and workers are subsidized generously by the profitable energy receipts of the Saudi government.

    The US can achieve this model without increasing taxes or increasing the National Debt, by implementing a proposal I have made to US Movers and Shakers and the Media for over 33 years, without receiving any cogent response or rebuttal.

    My proposal, defined in detail in a 37 slide Power Point presentation, which is available on request, would build a solar power station on the moon in ten years in which concentrated solar thermal energy obtained from parabolic concentrators fabricated from lunar materials is converted to electricity by Stirling Cycle generators invented and developed in the 19th century and operating in current solar systems in California. This project would be paid for by diverting a portion of the funds from the bloated, already-funded, US Defense Procurement Budget to the same companies and workers receiving them now. As calculated in the Power Point presentation, this power station would beam 21 trillion kilowatt hours/year of totally clean electric energy to the earth 24/7, using the proven technology of microwave power beaming, which passes through cloud cover. This energy would represent only 10% of the yearly world energy use in 2020. At the current average electricity rate of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, the US Treasury would receive $2.5 trillion per year forever, which would eliminate budget deficits, while funding an infrastructure program on steroids.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Let me remind you of the Haber-Bosch process (invented about 1915) which uses natural gas (CH4+) to create nitrogen fertilizer, which dramatically increased agriculture yields, and dramatically increasing the carrying capacity of the Earth.

    Within a year, a new clean, very very cheap, and super abundant energy technology is going to emerge onto the market, dramatically increasing the carrying capacity of the Earth.

    Check out this third-party verification of a LENR reactor that will soon hit the market: http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3913
    “Given the deliberately conservative choices made in performing the measurement, we can reasonably state that the E-Cat HT is a non-conventional source of energy which lies between conventional chemical sources of energy and nuclear ones.” (i.e. about five orders of magnitude more energy dense than gasoline, and a COP of almost 6).

    This phenomenon (LENR) has been confirmed in hundreds of published scientific papers: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJtallyofcol.pdf

    “LENR has the demonstrated ability to produce excess amounts of energy, cleanly, without hazardous ionizing radiation, without producing nasty waste.” – Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center

    “Total replacement of fossil fuels for everything but synthetic organic chemistry.” –Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, NASA

    By the way, here is a survey of some of the companies that are bringing LENR to commercialization: http://www.cleantechblog.com/blog/2011/08/the-new-breed-of-energy-catalyzers-ready-for-commercialization.html

    For those who still aren’t convinced, here is a paper I wrote that contains some pretty convincing evidence: http://coldfusionnow.org/the-evidence-for-lenr/

    One of the largest semi-conductor manufacturers in the world ST Microelectronics with an annual turnover of $8 Billion has just filed a patent for a LENR reactor, joining the list of companies in the LENR business: http://www.google.com/patents/US20130243143

    Brad Arnold
    3033 Monterey Av
    St Louis Park, MN 55416
    952-924-0076
    [email protected]

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  • The river of time flows on, and empires crumble, leaving behind only legend that becomes myth, while new polities arise to take their place. This process of decay and creation is going to receive a boost from "peak energy" and, above all, climate change - which will redraw the maps of power to an extent...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Good post – what is missing is technology— human mind is linear technology is exponential… Your analysis is linear and assume technology will follow same trend. but in 1000 year technological progress might be unimaginable.trasport to other planets, terraforming mars, cooling earth temperature by transforming co2 into o2, agriculture productivity are just examples… The real problem is not 3000 but between 2000 and 2050 where environmental damage might not be offset by technological discoveries…

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  • In a recent post at Streetwise Professor, in reply to a Russophobe commentator, democracy activist* and net-buddy Mark Sleboda compiled a damning indictment of the real state of Western freedom. Newsflash: for the world's (self-appointed) moral arbitrators, it's nothing to write home about! It's well worth reading, which is why I'm reprinting it here with...
  • [...] have found that in Russia there is far more right to freedom of assembly and political dissent and expression, outside of a small restricted socially and politically accepted ‘capitalist-liberal democratic [...]

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  • I just remembered I'd made some in 2012. It's time to see how they went, plus make predictions for the coming year. Of course I failed to predict the biggest thing of them all: The hacking that made me throw in the towel on Sublime Oblivion (remember that?), but with the silver lining that I...
  • @Doug M.
    Certainly Greece has structural weaknesses that will limit its ability to run a positive balance of trade. A devalued drachma would lead to an explosion of tourism, but that only takes you so far.

    But that's not why I support a grexit. I support it because it would allow Greece to inflate its way out of its current trap. Yes, inflation is dangerous medicine. But Greek unemployment is currently standing at around 25%. Desperate times, desperate measures.

    Doug M.

    I have doubts over whether a devalued drachma would actually lead to an explosion of tourism.

    Even so, Greece inflating its way out of its current trap is only an extremely short term solution as Greece needs to address its structural weaknesses if it wants to avoid these situations in the future. This is not the first time Greece has had debt problems. Greece had defaults and moratoria on debt repayments in 1826 (not settled until 1878), 1843 (which resulted in Greece being shut out of the international capital markets for decades), 1860, 1894 (which resulted in the creation of the International Committee for Greek Debt Management tasked with monitoring the country’s economic policy, tax collection and management systems) and 1932-1964. The combined length of time under which Greece was in default since independence in the 1820s is 90 years. And during those times Greece had its own currency and could inflate it’s way out of trouble if it wanted. The problem was that trouble always came back.

    If I’m not mistaken one of the purposes of the single currency was to force countries to identify and address their structural weaknesses by removing from them the ability to institute short-term measures that may bring relief in the short-run but in the long run only lead to the same problems recurring in the future. Ultimately a better debt relief program linked to a program to address Greece’s structural weaknesses (including an overhaul of the tax collection system) could provide more short term relief without ignoring the long term fixes needed.

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  • @Hunter
    I actually disagree that an exit by Greece would be the best policy choice. After all why is it touted as the best policy choice? Because pundits claims an exit would allow Greece to introduce its own currency which can then be devalued and allow Greece's exports to become competitive.

    The problem with that theory is that Greece had it's own currency before the euro (the drachma) but despite having its own currency Greece has been a net importer for practically its entire existence as an independent state (and has definitely been a net importer since the 1960s). If in the period between 1973 (end of Drachma participation in Bretton Woods) and 1984 (start of Drachma participation in the European Currency Unit and presumably in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism I) Greece did not see an improvement in its balance of trade it does not stand to reason that things would be any different if Greece abandoned the euro in favour of a heavily devalued drachma today.

    The thing about having a devalued currency enabling export competitiveness is that consumers have to actually WANT the products being exported. Unfortunately Greece doesn't seem to be making stuff that is in sufficiently high demand to offset its needed imports. Greece is not China (cheap, mass produced goods), nor is it Argentina (beef, agricultural products, fuel based products and metals). So solutions that would work for China and Argentina would not necessarily work for Greece.

    Certainly Greece has structural weaknesses that will limit its ability to run a positive balance of trade. A devalued drachma would lead to an explosion of tourism, but that only takes you so far.

    But that’s not why I support a grexit. I support it because it would allow Greece to inflate its way out of its current trap. Yes, inflation is dangerous medicine. But Greek unemployment is currently standing at around 25%. Desperate times, desperate measures.

    Doug M.

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    • Replies: @Hunter
    I have doubts over whether a devalued drachma would actually lead to an explosion of tourism.

    Even so, Greece inflating its way out of its current trap is only an extremely short term solution as Greece needs to address its structural weaknesses if it wants to avoid these situations in the future. This is not the first time Greece has had debt problems. Greece had defaults and moratoria on debt repayments in 1826 (not settled until 1878), 1843 (which resulted in Greece being shut out of the international capital markets for decades), 1860, 1894 (which resulted in the creation of the International Committee for Greek Debt Management tasked with monitoring the country's economic policy, tax collection and management systems) and 1932-1964. The combined length of time under which Greece was in default since independence in the 1820s is 90 years. And during those times Greece had its own currency and could inflate it's way out of trouble if it wanted. The problem was that trouble always came back.

    If I'm not mistaken one of the purposes of the single currency was to force countries to identify and address their structural weaknesses by removing from them the ability to institute short-term measures that may bring relief in the short-run but in the long run only lead to the same problems recurring in the future. Ultimately a better debt relief program linked to a program to address Greece's structural weaknesses (including an overhaul of the tax collection system) could provide more short term relief without ignoring the long term fixes needed.

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  • @Doug M.
    Agreed. A Grexit might be the best policy choice, but Greece's elites (of both ruling parties) are firmly against it, and there isn't nearly enough popular support to force them to do it.

    Unfortunately, this means another year of protracted agony for Greece.

    Doug M.

    I actually disagree that an exit by Greece would be the best policy choice. After all why is it touted as the best policy choice? Because pundits claims an exit would allow Greece to introduce its own currency which can then be devalued and allow Greece’s exports to become competitive.

    The problem with that theory is that Greece had it’s own currency before the euro (the drachma) but despite having its own currency Greece has been a net importer for practically its entire existence as an independent state (and has definitely been a net importer since the 1960s). If in the period between 1973 (end of Drachma participation in Bretton Woods) and 1984 (start of Drachma participation in the European Currency Unit and presumably in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism I) Greece did not see an improvement in its balance of trade it does not stand to reason that things would be any different if Greece abandoned the euro in favour of a heavily devalued drachma today.

    The thing about having a devalued currency enabling export competitiveness is that consumers have to actually WANT the products being exported. Unfortunately Greece doesn’t seem to be making stuff that is in sufficiently high demand to offset its needed imports. Greece is not China (cheap, mass produced goods), nor is it Argentina (beef, agricultural products, fuel based products and metals). So solutions that would work for China and Argentina would not necessarily work for Greece.

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    • Replies: @Doug M.
    Certainly Greece has structural weaknesses that will limit its ability to run a positive balance of trade. A devalued drachma would lead to an explosion of tourism, but that only takes you so far.

    But that's not why I support a grexit. I support it because it would allow Greece to inflate its way out of its current trap. Yes, inflation is dangerous medicine. But Greek unemployment is currently standing at around 25%. Desperate times, desperate measures.

    Doug M.

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  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Interesting viewpoints. I am inclined to agree with them.

    Not sure Russia has a "strong interest" in not seeing a Turkestan Spring. More specifically I'd say it would not like to see it in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. I think it would be quite fine with one in Uzbekistan because it the US is friendlier with it anyway (as it was also entirely fine with the Tulip Revolution). It would also be happy to see a revolution in Turkmenistan, I imagine, although I don't expect one there as the place seems to be locked down too tightly anyway.

    Anatoly, I like the fine-grained analysis.

    I agree about Turkmenistan on both points — Russia could be happy with a different government there, but OTOH the current regime is quite firmly entrenched and seems unlikely to change any time soon.

    I should note that I include Azerbaijan in with the ‘stans. Here, too, Russia might be happy to see the end of the Aliyev dynasty. Aliyev _fils_ has been annoyingly independent on energy policy and unhelpful with Russia’s Caucasus problems. And then of course there’s Nagorno-Karabakh.

    But on the other hand, any plausible ruler of Azerbaijan — authoritarian or democrat, secular or religious — would take a strong position on NK: it’s a core element of Azeri nationalism. And while Aliyev can be annoying, he is running a secular state that is no worse than neutral towards Russian strategic interests. If I were a Russian strategic planner, I’d reluctantly support Aliyev against most plausible alternatives. Regime change in a Muslim country, even a bikini-wearing vodka-drinking Muslim country like Azerbaijan, opens up opportunities for Islamists. And Moscow certainly doesn’t want to risk another Islamist regime on its sensitive Caucasus border. Furthermore, even a secular democracy would probably be more populist than Aliyev, and thus more inclined to roll the dice on NK.

    Anyway, I would say that Kazakhstan is the real elephant in the room. It’s huge, it’s strategically important, it still has a significant (though much reduced) Russian minority, it’s a major hydrocarbon producer, and Nazarbayev has been consistently friendly to Russia for over 20 years now. From Russia’s POV, the desired outcome is a smooth transition with continuity of the regime. Any attempt to interfere with this — whether driven by outside forces or entirely internal to Kazakhstan — will probably provoke a strong reaction.

    Doug M.

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  • @Doug M.
    Finally, as to the Arab Spring -- well, it's pretty much over, other than the long playing-out of Syria. We got a grand total of three new governments. Egypt's going to go through a period of assholism, because Egypt has very little civil society and no traditions of either liberal or responsible government. That's unfortunate, because Egypt is big and important. On the other hand, it's also pretty much inevitable; Mubarak was going to go senile or die eventually anyway, and the nature of his rule pretty much assured that whatever followed would be as bad or worse.

    Tunis, cautious optimism. Tunis does have a very active civil society and close ties to Western Europe. Tunis could go wrong in various ways, but so far -- fingers crossed -- they seem to be muddling along okay. I'd take a modest side bet on Tunis.

    Libya is the wild card. Libya has *no* civil society, so logically you'd expect a quick descent into anarchy or authoritarian rule. Paradoxically, things seem to be working out much better than expected; while Qaddafi suppressed civil society and any sort of liberal discourse, he also suppressed the evolution of the sorts of entrenched and parasitic elites that are so destructive in Egypt. So, while I'm still not very optimistic, Libya might surprise us.

    So, to summarize: no new revolutions, Syria will continue to be a horrible mess, Egypt will be dismal, cautious optimism on Tunis, and who knows? but so far better than expected in Libya.

    (Incidentally, I expect the next decade to see an attempt at a "Central Asian Spring" as the current crop of strongmen ages gracelessly. I also expect it to fail, since Russia has a strong interest in not seeing a Central Asian Spring.)

    Doug M.

    Interesting viewpoints. I am inclined to agree with them.

    Not sure Russia has a “strong interest” in not seeing a Turkestan Spring. More specifically I’d say it would not like to see it in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. I think it would be quite fine with one in Uzbekistan because it the US is friendlier with it anyway (as it was also entirely fine with the Tulip Revolution). It would also be happy to see a revolution in Turkmenistan, I imagine, although I don’t expect one there as the place seems to be locked down too tightly anyway.

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    • Replies: @Doug M.
    Anatoly, I like the fine-grained analysis.

    I agree about Turkmenistan on both points -- Russia could be happy with a different government there, but OTOH the current regime is quite firmly entrenched and seems unlikely to change any time soon.

    I should note that I include Azerbaijan in with the 'stans. Here, too, Russia might be happy to see the end of the Aliyev dynasty. Aliyev _fils_ has been annoyingly independent on energy policy and unhelpful with Russia's Caucasus problems. And then of course there's Nagorno-Karabakh.

    But on the other hand, any plausible ruler of Azerbaijan -- authoritarian or democrat, secular or religious -- would take a strong position on NK: it's a core element of Azeri nationalism. And while Aliyev can be annoying, he is running a secular state that is no worse than neutral towards Russian strategic interests. If I were a Russian strategic planner, I'd reluctantly support Aliyev against most plausible alternatives. Regime change in a Muslim country, even a bikini-wearing vodka-drinking Muslim country like Azerbaijan, opens up opportunities for Islamists. And Moscow certainly doesn't want to risk another Islamist regime on its sensitive Caucasus border. Furthermore, even a secular democracy would probably be more populist than Aliyev, and thus more inclined to roll the dice on NK.

    Anyway, I would say that Kazakhstan is the real elephant in the room. It's huge, it's strategically important, it still has a significant (though much reduced) Russian minority, it's a major hydrocarbon producer, and Nazarbayev has been consistently friendly to Russia for over 20 years now. From Russia's POV, the desired outcome is a smooth transition with continuity of the regime. Any attempt to interfere with this -- whether driven by outside forces or entirely internal to Kazakhstan -- will probably provoke a strong reaction.


    Doug M.

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  • @Doug M.
    Anatoly, InTrade's track record on this sort of thing is not good. Punters, well, Las Vegas makes billions of dollars every year off punters.

    I predicted Romney would be the nominee in June 2011 (not hard! who else was there?) and called it for Obama in May 2012 -- nothing but an economic collapse or equivalent disaster could have brought Romney in after that point. Romney was facing a moderately popular President running a very competent campaign; his own campaign had gross weaknesses (we saw these in the primaries, and they didn't improve much in the general), he was saddled with a bunch of unpopular right-wing positions thanks to the long primary season, and he was fighting a demographic headwind.

    (That demographic headwind is only getting worse, BTW. I hesitate to make predictions, but I don't see anyone in the current crop of GOP pre-candidates who can appeal far beyond the GOP base of white guys.)


    Doug M.

    I disagree about Intrade. Individual punters are inaccurate but as a whole they are extremely accurate.

    Vegas punters are burdened by the house edge. So of course, on average, they would lose.

    My sincere congratulations on your win – I respect that. That said, I really do think more caution should be exercised against rear-view mirror inevitability.

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  • @Doug M.
    I also underestimated Russia's resilience. The birth figures for the last couple of years have been really surprising, especially given that the population of child-bearing women is rapidly decreasing as the "empty cohorts" of the early 1990s move into the peak child-bearing years.

    I strongly suspect that what we're seeing is a "tempo effect" That means women delaying childbirth -- older mothers. Since the average age of first birth in Russia has traditionally been very low, there's still plenty of room for this. This is unlike, say, Germany, where most kids are already being born to women aged 30 or older. It's biologically impossible for Germans to delay childbirth much longer. Russians, on the other hand, still have plenty of slack. If at least some Russian women born in the 1980s are having an extra kid in their late 20s or early 30s, then that will compensate neatly for the empty cohorts -- at least for now.

    On life expectancy, I bet Anatoly that the life expectancy for Russian *men* would not exceed 70 years before 2020. Based on current trends, I'm likely to lose that bet. We didn't name a stake, so it's bragging rights only -- but I will certainly confess if I'm wrong. I'm watching with interest.

    Having said all that, I have to disagree sharply with the poster who thinks Russia could reach a TFR of 2.1 again. That's just not going to happen, or at least not in the next decade or two. No large country has ever managed to raise its TFR from ~1.7 back over 2. The closest is France, which managed to claw it back from about 1.65 to around 1.9. That took a couple of decades, and France deployed a much more coordinated and aggressive set of pro-natalist policies than we're yet seeing in Russia. So I don't think it's very likely at all.

    (Note that it's important not to confuse TFR -- especially completed TFR -- and birthrate. Tempo effects and demographic inertia can cause the two to diverge dramatically sometimes.)

    Having said /that/, I'll add that there's reason for a Russophile to be cautiously optimistic anyway. A TFR of 1.7 to 1.8, combined with modest levels of immigration and the tempo effect, means that Russia could maintain a roughly stable population for the next 50 years or so. I'm still slightly skeptical of this, but I now have to concede that it's within the realm of plausibility.

    Doug M.

    I strongly suspect that what we’re seeing is a “tempo effect” That means women delaying childbirth — older mothers.

    That is exactly what’s happening. According to my models (and common sense) this is going to dampen the negative shock of the 1990′s baby bust.

    On life expectancy, I bet Anatoly that the life expectancy for Russian *men* would not exceed 70 years before 2020. Based on current trends, I’m likely to lose that bet.

    I’ve forgotten about this anyway. ;) In any case, it will be a close shave anyway.

    Having said all that, I have to disagree sharply with the poster who thinks Russia could reach a TFR of 2.1 again. That’s just not going to happen, or at least not in the next decade or two. No large country has ever managed to raise its TFR from ~1.7 back over 2. The closest is France, which managed to claw it back from about 1.65 to around 1.9.

    I agree. I wouldn’t exclude it 100% however. There is no precedent for it since the 1970′s. However, when you have a conjunction of two particular trends – growing social conservatism AND a reasonably fast growing economy (especially if accompanied by an increase in the social sector) – the TFR can increase very substantially even in developed urban societies. For instance, compare the US or France in the 1930′s to the 1950′s/60′s. Arguably all those conditions are present in today’s Russia.

    My own best guess now is that the TFR will stabilize at somewhere around 1.7 to 1.9 in this decade.

    Having said /that/, I’ll add that there’s reason for a Russophile to be cautiously optimistic anyway.

    I don’t really think of myself that way nowadays. If I could do it with no hassle/SEO penalties I’d rename it to “Russia in the media” (except it’s already taken) or “Russia by the numbers.” :)

    A TFR of 1.7 to 1.8, combined with modest levels of immigration and the tempo effect, means that Russia could maintain a roughly stable population for the next 50 years or so.

    That is correct. In fact with that TFR, and annual net immigration of 300K (the sustainability of which I recall you questioned), and optimistic-realistic expectations for LE increase, the population will actually increase if at a glacial pace.

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  • @Mr. X
    Over at SWP the Prof is having a tizzy because Russian growth is ONLY 3.5% this year, tops. Considering Russia's top trading partners besides Germany in the EU are nearly in cardiac arrest and China is slowing down (but not tipping into outright recession yet) I would think most countries around the world would gladly take 3.5%. And SWP tries to preface it by saying 'for Russia's state of development'. Well Russia is already a middle income country by global standards, ala Poland, with relatively mature demographics -- we're not talking India or Brazil here.

    And isn't it funny how the Russia stuff is cranked up even more hardcore during a week when the Prof's home state of Texas had a state attorney general, one Congressman and several state Reps openly call for the arrest of any federal agents who carry out Obama's executive orders on guns. Nothing to see in my back yard folks, move on, let's talk about Russia 3,500 miles away some more.

    “Considering Russia’s top trading partners besides Germany in the EU are nearly in cardiac arrest and China is slowing down (but not tipping into outright recession yet) I would think most countries around the world would gladly take 3.5%.”

    Russia’s export trade consists of “hydrocarbons” and “everything else”, with hydrocarbons dominating. So, you don’t look at economic growth per se in their trading partners — you look at growth in demand for hydrocarbon imports. The two figures are related, but only loosely.

    Also, while Russian exports are dominated by hydrocarbons, Russia’s export partners are quite diverse. No single country absorbs more than about 12% of all Russian exports. China is less than 10%, and the top ten importers together barely absorb 50% of total Russian exports. So, weakness in any one importer is no big deal.

    Doug M.

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  • Finally, as to the Arab Spring — well, it’s pretty much over, other than the long playing-out of Syria. We got a grand total of three new governments. Egypt’s going to go through a period of assholism, because Egypt has very little civil society and no traditions of either liberal or responsible government. That’s unfortunate, because Egypt is big and important. On the other hand, it’s also pretty much inevitable; Mubarak was going to go senile or die eventually anyway, and the nature of his rule pretty much assured that whatever followed would be as bad or worse.

    Tunis, cautious optimism. Tunis does have a very active civil society and close ties to Western Europe. Tunis could go wrong in various ways, but so far — fingers crossed — they seem to be muddling along okay. I’d take a modest side bet on Tunis.

    Libya is the wild card. Libya has *no* civil society, so logically you’d expect a quick descent into anarchy or authoritarian rule. Paradoxically, things seem to be working out much better than expected; while Qaddafi suppressed civil society and any sort of liberal discourse, he also suppressed the evolution of the sorts of entrenched and parasitic elites that are so destructive in Egypt. So, while I’m still not very optimistic, Libya might surprise us.

    So, to summarize: no new revolutions, Syria will continue to be a horrible mess, Egypt will be dismal, cautious optimism on Tunis, and who knows? but so far better than expected in Libya.

    (Incidentally, I expect the next decade to see an attempt at a “Central Asian Spring” as the current crop of strongmen ages gracelessly. I also expect it to fail, since Russia has a strong interest in not seeing a Central Asian Spring.)

    Doug M.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Interesting viewpoints. I am inclined to agree with them.

    Not sure Russia has a "strong interest" in not seeing a Turkestan Spring. More specifically I'd say it would not like to see it in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. I think it would be quite fine with one in Uzbekistan because it the US is friendlier with it anyway (as it was also entirely fine with the Tulip Revolution). It would also be happy to see a revolution in Turkmenistan, I imagine, although I don't expect one there as the place seems to be locked down too tightly anyway.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    I want to be based on the most recent but also comprehensively recorded territory, and in demography, month to month fluctuations do not mean much (especially if you're talking of particular oblasts or even hospitals!). A quarter does have some significant weight. A half-year and you're in good territory.

    That is why I prefer to wait until Rosstat's official preliminary estimates come in. The figures for December should be available in about a month's more time.

    I also underestimated Russia’s resilience. The birth figures for the last couple of years have been really surprising, especially given that the population of child-bearing women is rapidly decreasing as the “empty cohorts” of the early 1990s move into the peak child-bearing years.

    I strongly suspect that what we’re seeing is a “tempo effect” That means women delaying childbirth — older mothers. Since the average age of first birth in Russia has traditionally been very low, there’s still plenty of room for this. This is unlike, say, Germany, where most kids are already being born to women aged 30 or older. It’s biologically impossible for Germans to delay childbirth much longer. Russians, on the other hand, still have plenty of slack. If at least some Russian women born in the 1980s are having an extra kid in their late 20s or early 30s, then that will compensate neatly for the empty cohorts — at least for now.

    On life expectancy, I bet Anatoly that the life expectancy for Russian *men* would not exceed 70 years before 2020. Based on current trends, I’m likely to lose that bet. We didn’t name a stake, so it’s bragging rights only — but I will certainly confess if I’m wrong. I’m watching with interest.

    Having said all that, I have to disagree sharply with the poster who thinks Russia could reach a TFR of 2.1 again. That’s just not going to happen, or at least not in the next decade or two. No large country has ever managed to raise its TFR from ~1.7 back over 2. The closest is France, which managed to claw it back from about 1.65 to around 1.9. That took a couple of decades, and France deployed a much more coordinated and aggressive set of pro-natalist policies than we’re yet seeing in Russia. So I don’t think it’s very likely at all.

    (Note that it’s important not to confuse TFR — especially completed TFR — and birthrate. Tempo effects and demographic inertia can cause the two to diverge dramatically sometimes.)

    Having said /that/, I’ll add that there’s reason for a Russophile to be cautiously optimistic anyway. A TFR of 1.7 to 1.8, combined with modest levels of immigration and the tempo effect, means that Russia could maintain a roughly stable population for the next 50 years or so. I’m still slightly skeptical of this, but I now have to concede that it’s within the realm of plausibility.

    Doug M.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I strongly suspect that what we’re seeing is a “tempo effect” That means women delaying childbirth — older mothers.

    That is exactly what's happening. According to my models (and common sense) this is going to dampen the negative shock of the 1990's baby bust.

    On life expectancy, I bet Anatoly that the life expectancy for Russian *men* would not exceed 70 years before 2020. Based on current trends, I’m likely to lose that bet.

    I've forgotten about this anyway. ;) In any case, it will be a close shave anyway.

    Having said all that, I have to disagree sharply with the poster who thinks Russia could reach a TFR of 2.1 again. That’s just not going to happen, or at least not in the next decade or two. No large country has ever managed to raise its TFR from ~1.7 back over 2. The closest is France, which managed to claw it back from about 1.65 to around 1.9.

    I agree. I wouldn't exclude it 100% however. There is no precedent for it since the 1970's. However, when you have a conjunction of two particular trends - growing social conservatism AND a reasonably fast growing economy (especially if accompanied by an increase in the social sector) - the TFR can increase very substantially even in developed urban societies. For instance, compare the US or France in the 1930's to the 1950's/60's. Arguably all those conditions are present in today's Russia.

    My own best guess now is that the TFR will stabilize at somewhere around 1.7 to 1.9 in this decade.

    Having said /that/, I’ll add that there’s reason for a Russophile to be cautiously optimistic anyway.

    I don't really think of myself that way nowadays. If I could do it with no hassle/SEO penalties I'd rename it to "Russia in the media" (except it's already taken) or "Russia by the numbers." :)

    A TFR of 1.7 to 1.8, combined with modest levels of immigration and the tempo effect, means that Russia could maintain a roughly stable population for the next 50 years or so.

    That is correct. In fact with that TFR, and annual net immigration of 300K (the sustainability of which I recall you questioned), and optimistic-realistic expectations for LE increase, the population will actually increase if at a glacial pace.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Hunter
    AK,

    I think with Greece you are gonna get it wrong again this year. Halfway through 2012 I began researching the hows of Greece leaving the euro (and it is not as simple as Greece just up and printing new money - there are many legal barriers which could be exploited by irate citizens who still support having the euro (by about 70%) to not having the euro).

    Having discovered what I did I came to the conclusion that the chances of Greece exiting the euro (and I mean REALLY exiting the euro, not just being forced to print IOUs for a temporary period like California) are about equal to the percentage of Greeks who support an exit from the euro. The last opinion poll I saw on Greek support for the euro had 70% of Greeks supporting it and under 30% of Greeks being opposed to (with some being undecided).

    And further to that, any real Greek exit from the euro is likely to be a long and drawn out process taking at least a year (in order to negotiate a treaty change which in turn will require a referendum in Ireland and possibly in France and the UK) or two years (in case Greece and the rest of the EU fail to negotiate a treaty change or to negotiate the terms of a Greek exit not just from the euro but from the EU (as currently the only legal way to really leave the euro is via treaty change or exiting the EU entirely), meaning that after two years Greece would have legally left the EU after it announced its intentions to do so).

    Thus for a real Greek exit to happen there would need to be an upsurge in opposition to the euro in Greece (which would probably take months - otherwise any attempt by any Greek government to exit without a treaty change or leaving the EU would result in mass lawsuits by citizens aiming to prevent the government from switching out their euros for worthless "new drachmas"...and the government would almost certainly lose those court cases) followed by a government announcing it wished to exit the euro and calling for a treaty change or simply announcing it was going to exit the EU. At best then Greece will not be exiting before 2014, and probably not before 2016 if at all.

    I think the best proof of my research is that the Economist changed its tune at the end of last year and began citing the factors I had come across in a couple of articles on why the euro hadn't yet collapsed into a heap of rubble as they had been predicting all along (while of course failing to mention that they were among those predicting and even rooting for such a collapse via an exit by Greece).

    Agreed. A Grexit might be the best policy choice, but Greece’s elites (of both ruling parties) are firmly against it, and there isn’t nearly enough popular support to force them to do it.

    Unfortunately, this means another year of protracted agony for Greece.

    Doug M.

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    • Replies: @Hunter
    I actually disagree that an exit by Greece would be the best policy choice. After all why is it touted as the best policy choice? Because pundits claims an exit would allow Greece to introduce its own currency which can then be devalued and allow Greece's exports to become competitive.

    The problem with that theory is that Greece had it's own currency before the euro (the drachma) but despite having its own currency Greece has been a net importer for practically its entire existence as an independent state (and has definitely been a net importer since the 1960s). If in the period between 1973 (end of Drachma participation in Bretton Woods) and 1984 (start of Drachma participation in the European Currency Unit and presumably in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism I) Greece did not see an improvement in its balance of trade it does not stand to reason that things would be any different if Greece abandoned the euro in favour of a heavily devalued drachma today.

    The thing about having a devalued currency enabling export competitiveness is that consumers have to actually WANT the products being exported. Unfortunately Greece doesn't seem to be making stuff that is in sufficiently high demand to offset its needed imports. Greece is not China (cheap, mass produced goods), nor is it Argentina (beef, agricultural products, fuel based products and metals). So solutions that would work for China and Argentina would not necessarily work for Greece.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    @Momus,

    I have to echo Mercouris' comment: "Are you saying that Obama won big or that Romney’s defeat was a foregone conclusion?"

    Here is a graph of the InTrade odds of an Obama win over time.

    These aren't empty-brained pundits, these are RL punters who are putting their money where their mouths are. And as you can see Obama was hovering at the 50% mark throughout H2 2011.

    Back then as I recall there were very real concerns that the withdrawal of stimulus spending would hit the US economy significantly, including tipping it back into recession. I was hardly the only person to entertain that notion, Krugman is about as mainstream as one gets.

    Edit: Incidentally, I did change my mind once the election neared. From August 2008: "Why Obama Will Sooner Win."

    Anatoly, InTrade’s track record on this sort of thing is not good. Punters, well, Las Vegas makes billions of dollars every year off punters.

    I predicted Romney would be the nominee in June 2011 (not hard! who else was there?) and called it for Obama in May 2012 — nothing but an economic collapse or equivalent disaster could have brought Romney in after that point. Romney was facing a moderately popular President running a very competent campaign; his own campaign had gross weaknesses (we saw these in the primaries, and they didn’t improve much in the general), he was saddled with a bunch of unpopular right-wing positions thanks to the long primary season, and he was fighting a demographic headwind.

    (That demographic headwind is only getting worse, BTW. I hesitate to make predictions, but I don’t see anyone in the current crop of GOP pre-candidates who can appeal far beyond the GOP base of white guys.)

    Doug M.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I disagree about Intrade. Individual punters are inaccurate but as a whole they are extremely accurate.

    Vegas punters are burdened by the house edge. So of course, on average, they would lose.

    My sincere congratulations on your win - I respect that. That said, I really do think more caution should be exercised against rear-view mirror inevitability.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Over at SWP the Prof is having a tizzy because Russian growth is ONLY 3.5% this year, tops. Considering Russia’s top trading partners besides Germany in the EU are nearly in cardiac arrest and China is slowing down (but not tipping into outright recession yet) I would think most countries around the world would gladly take 3.5%. And SWP tries to preface it by saying ‘for Russia’s state of development’. Well Russia is already a middle income country by global standards, ala Poland, with relatively mature demographics — we’re not talking India or Brazil here.

    And isn’t it funny how the Russia stuff is cranked up even more hardcore during a week when the Prof’s home state of Texas had a state attorney general, one Congressman and several state Reps openly call for the arrest of any federal agents who carry out Obama’s executive orders on guns. Nothing to see in my back yard folks, move on, let’s talk about Russia 3,500 miles away some more.

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    • Replies: @Doug M.
    "Considering Russia’s top trading partners besides Germany in the EU are nearly in cardiac arrest and China is slowing down (but not tipping into outright recession yet) I would think most countries around the world would gladly take 3.5%."

    Russia's export trade consists of "hydrocarbons" and "everything else", with hydrocarbons dominating. So, you don't look at economic growth per se in their trading partners -- you look at growth in demand for hydrocarbon imports. The two figures are related, but only loosely.

    Also, while Russian exports are dominated by hydrocarbons, Russia's export partners are quite diverse. No single country absorbs more than about 12% of all Russian exports. China is less than 10%, and the top ten importers together barely absorb 50% of total Russian exports. So, weakness in any one importer is no big deal.


    Doug M.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    I want to be based on the most recent but also comprehensively recorded territory, and in demography, month to month fluctuations do not mean much (especially if you're talking of particular oblasts or even hospitals!). A quarter does have some significant weight. A half-year and you're in good territory.

    That is why I prefer to wait until Rosstat's official preliminary estimates come in. The figures for December should be available in about a month's more time.

    I would only say the growth potential is not exhausted despite the beginning decline in the primary cohort of childbearing age. The TFR of 1.70-1.72 in 2012 is expandable and can surpass the 2.1 barrier. The desire of having children is more or less intact in Russia, at least far better than in Europe or developed Asian countries. I think it’s ‘infectious’ when the playgrounds are crammed with strollers and you see pregnants and young families everywhere.

    That’s why I’m pretty sure these very few numbers I provided are more than the usual monthly fluctuations. I was tired of waiting to the month’s end for Rosstat’s
    updates I began (since August 2012) to search the ru.net for more information…after data for 15-20 federal objects rolled out I knew that the August and October would be very strong and September and November less so.

    Try these 2 LJ blogs which are primarely focused on demographics:

    http://berserk-spb.livejournal.com/

    http://zemfort1983.livejournal.com/

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  • @RusFed-o-phile
    Regarding the demographic turnaround everybody seems to underestimate the current recovery...even you Anatoly.

    No I don't provide numbers for December 2012 (still didn't search for it) but for the January holidays from a few federal objects/cities. Not very meaningful so early in the year but nothing but simply astonishing.

    1. Nizhniy Novgorod Oblast
    960 births / 8 days compared to 2012: 809 births / 9 days

    http://www.nta-nn.ru/news/item/?ID=216323

    2. Klin / City Hospital
    24 compared to 14 life births in 2012

    http://u-nise.com/news_msk/2/41350

    3. Irkutsk City / 3 hospital incl. perinatal center
    398 births -130 (!) more than in 2012

    http://www.gazetairkutsk.ru/2013/01/09/id66746/

    I want to be based on the most recent but also comprehensively recorded territory, and in demography, month to month fluctuations do not mean much (especially if you’re talking of particular oblasts or even hospitals!). A quarter does have some significant weight. A half-year and you’re in good territory.

    That is why I prefer to wait until Rosstat’s official preliminary estimates come in. The figures for December should be available in about a month’s more time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @RusFed-o-phile
    I would only say the growth potential is not exhausted despite the beginning decline in the primary cohort of childbearing age. The TFR of 1.70-1.72 in 2012 is expandable and can surpass the 2.1 barrier. The desire of having children is more or less intact in Russia, at least far better than in Europe or developed Asian countries. I think it's 'infectious' when the playgrounds are crammed with strollers and you see pregnants and young families everywhere.

    That's why I'm pretty sure these very few numbers I provided are more than the usual monthly fluctuations. I was tired of waiting to the month's end for Rosstat's
    updates I began (since August 2012) to search the ru.net for more information...after data for 15-20 federal objects rolled out I knew that the August and October would be very strong and September and November less so.

    Try these 2 LJ blogs which are primarely focused on demographics:

    http://berserk-spb.livejournal.com/

    http://zemfort1983.livejournal.com/

    , @Doug M.
    I also underestimated Russia's resilience. The birth figures for the last couple of years have been really surprising, especially given that the population of child-bearing women is rapidly decreasing as the "empty cohorts" of the early 1990s move into the peak child-bearing years.

    I strongly suspect that what we're seeing is a "tempo effect" That means women delaying childbirth -- older mothers. Since the average age of first birth in Russia has traditionally been very low, there's still plenty of room for this. This is unlike, say, Germany, where most kids are already being born to women aged 30 or older. It's biologically impossible for Germans to delay childbirth much longer. Russians, on the other hand, still have plenty of slack. If at least some Russian women born in the 1980s are having an extra kid in their late 20s or early 30s, then that will compensate neatly for the empty cohorts -- at least for now.

    On life expectancy, I bet Anatoly that the life expectancy for Russian *men* would not exceed 70 years before 2020. Based on current trends, I'm likely to lose that bet. We didn't name a stake, so it's bragging rights only -- but I will certainly confess if I'm wrong. I'm watching with interest.

    Having said all that, I have to disagree sharply with the poster who thinks Russia could reach a TFR of 2.1 again. That's just not going to happen, or at least not in the next decade or two. No large country has ever managed to raise its TFR from ~1.7 back over 2. The closest is France, which managed to claw it back from about 1.65 to around 1.9. That took a couple of decades, and France deployed a much more coordinated and aggressive set of pro-natalist policies than we're yet seeing in Russia. So I don't think it's very likely at all.

    (Note that it's important not to confuse TFR -- especially completed TFR -- and birthrate. Tempo effects and demographic inertia can cause the two to diverge dramatically sometimes.)

    Having said /that/, I'll add that there's reason for a Russophile to be cautiously optimistic anyway. A TFR of 1.7 to 1.8, combined with modest levels of immigration and the tempo effect, means that Russia could maintain a roughly stable population for the next 50 years or so. I'm still slightly skeptical of this, but I now have to concede that it's within the realm of plausibility.

    Doug M.

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  • I’d like to point out that I also got two out of three of my predictions in your interview: that Russia would ascend to WTO membership, and that Russia and China would hold large-scale joint naval exercises. The third, a real wild leap, was (if I remember right) that Japan would acknowledge publicly that the Kuriles belong to Russia. That didn’t happen, but Japan did stop making an issue of it.

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  • @RusFed-o-phile
    Regarding the demographic turnaround everybody seems to underestimate the current recovery...even you Anatoly.

    No I don't provide numbers for December 2012 (still didn't search for it) but for the January holidays from a few federal objects/cities. Not very meaningful so early in the year but nothing but simply astonishing.

    1. Nizhniy Novgorod Oblast
    960 births / 8 days compared to 2012: 809 births / 9 days

    http://www.nta-nn.ru/news/item/?ID=216323

    2. Klin / City Hospital
    24 compared to 14 life births in 2012

    http://u-nise.com/news_msk/2/41350

    3. Irkutsk City / 3 hospital incl. perinatal center
    398 births -130 (!) more than in 2012

    http://www.gazetairkutsk.ru/2013/01/09/id66746/

    Thank you, It is good to see, that things go in the right direction. I have been watching Russian birth and death indicators for years… ca. since 2007. It gets better and better.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Regarding the demographic turnaround everybody seems to underestimate the current recovery…even you Anatoly.

    No I don’t provide numbers for December 2012 (still didn’t search for it) but for the January holidays from a few federal objects/cities. Not very meaningful so early in the year but nothing but simply astonishing.

    1. Nizhniy Novgorod Oblast
    960 births / 8 days compared to 2012: 809 births / 9 days

    http://www.nta-nn.ru/news/item/?ID=216323

    2. Klin / City Hospital
    24 compared to 14 life births in 2012

    http://u-nise.com/news_msk/2/41350

    3. Irkutsk City / 3 hospital incl. perinatal center
    398 births -130 (!) more than in 2012

    http://www.gazetairkutsk.ru/2013/01/09/id66746/

    Read More
    • Replies: @PvMikhail
    Thank you, It is good to see, that things go in the right direction. I have been watching Russian birth and death indicators for years... ca. since 2007. It gets better and better.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    I want to be based on the most recent but also comprehensively recorded territory, and in demography, month to month fluctuations do not mean much (especially if you're talking of particular oblasts or even hospitals!). A quarter does have some significant weight. A half-year and you're in good territory.

    That is why I prefer to wait until Rosstat's official preliminary estimates come in. The figures for December should be available in about a month's more time.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • AK,

    I think with Greece you are gonna get it wrong again this year. Halfway through 2012 I began researching the hows of Greece leaving the euro (and it is not as simple as Greece just up and printing new money – there are many legal barriers which could be exploited by irate citizens who still support having the euro (by about 70%) to not having the euro).

    Having discovered what I did I came to the conclusion that the chances of Greece exiting the euro (and I mean REALLY exiting the euro, not just being forced to print IOUs for a temporary period like California) are about equal to the percentage of Greeks who support an exit from the euro. The last opinion poll I saw on Greek support for the euro had 70% of Greeks supporting it and under 30% of Greeks being opposed to (with some being undecided).

    And further to that, any real Greek exit from the euro is likely to be a long and drawn out process taking at least a year (in order to negotiate a treaty change which in turn will require a referendum in Ireland and possibly in France and the UK) or two years (in case Greece and the rest of the EU fail to negotiate a treaty change or to negotiate the terms of a Greek exit not just from the euro but from the EU (as currently the only legal way to really leave the euro is via treaty change or exiting the EU entirely), meaning that after two years Greece would have legally left the EU after it announced its intentions to do so).

    Thus for a real Greek exit to happen there would need to be an upsurge in opposition to the euro in Greece (which would probably take months – otherwise any attempt by any Greek government to exit without a treaty change or leaving the EU would result in mass lawsuits by citizens aiming to prevent the government from switching out their euros for worthless “new drachmas”…and the government would almost certainly lose those court cases) followed by a government announcing it wished to exit the euro and calling for a treaty change or simply announcing it was going to exit the EU. At best then Greece will not be exiting before 2014, and probably not before 2016 if at all.

    I think the best proof of my research is that the Economist changed its tune at the end of last year and began citing the factors I had come across in a couple of articles on why the euro hadn’t yet collapsed into a heap of rubble as they had been predicting all along (while of course failing to mention that they were among those predicting and even rooting for such a collapse via an exit by Greece).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Doug M.
    Agreed. A Grexit might be the best policy choice, but Greece's elites (of both ruling parties) are firmly against it, and there isn't nearly enough popular support to force them to do it.

    Unfortunately, this means another year of protracted agony for Greece.

    Doug M.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • I’d like to believe that you are right in your 3rd prediction (revolutions never went well in Russia).

    Few days ago I read a very interesting post by Yevgeny Schultz (http://eugenyshultz.livejournal.com/405477.html ], who analyzed the story with Depardieu and saw in it one of the symptoms of systematic attack on Putin’s image.

    He thinks that someone (and actually not the liberal / liberast opposition) is preparing the ground for removing Putin from the power.

    I’d like to know your opinion on that post…

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  • @Alexander Mercouris
    Dear AP,

    I broadly agree with your analysis with the one important caveat that I get the feeling that the Customs Union is not an issue that people feel sufficiently passionate about to oppose strongly. If Yanukovitch decides to join the Customs Union (which he may have to for economic reasons) my feeling is that this will be widely welcomed in the south and east but no longer bitterly opposed in the centre or even in the west as it might have been in say 2004. I say this obviously without knowing Ukrainian politics anywhere near as well as you but I have to say I was struck by the absence of visible widespread opposition to Tymoshenko's imprisonment, the new language law and the election result.

    Thanks for your comment, and apologies for my delay in responding. Tymoshenko’s electorate has largely moved on – not as much as people moved away from Yushchenko but they have moved on. She continues to have her core support, but these people, judging by her supporters at rallies, seem to skew towards being middle-aged or older women from central Ukraine. The youth who everywhere tend to be the ones to spearhead protest movements have moved onto figures perceived as untainted by corruption (unlike the oligarch Tymoshenko) – Klitschko who earned his money through boxing, Svoboda who are kind of dissidents (not all dissidents are nice liberal democrats), and even Yatseniuk, who at least is no oligarch.

    The emergence of Svoboda outside Galicia does not mean a rise in ultranationalism (perhaps half of Svoboda’s votes were protest votes, and Svoboda’s rise coincides with a moderation in some of its xenophobic rhetoric) but does indicate a hardening of attitudes against Yanukovich in central Ukraine (Svoboda came in second in Kiev). More people there seem to want an uncompromising enemy of the government. I won’t guess if this means they are more likely to actively oppose a customs union, but it suggests they are not less likely to do so.

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  • ,

    I have to echo Mercouris’ comment: “Are you saying that Obama won big or that Romney’s defeat was a foregone conclusion?”

    Here is a graph of the InTrade odds of an Obama win over time.

    These aren’t empty-brained pundits, these are RL punters who are putting their money where their mouths are. And as you can see Obama was hovering at the 50% mark throughout H2 2011.

    Back then as I recall there were very real concerns that the withdrawal of stimulus spending would hit the US economy significantly, including tipping it back into recession. I was hardly the only person to entertain that notion, Krugman is about as mainstream as one gets.

    Edit: Incidentally, I did change my mind once the election neared. From August 2008: “Why Obama Will Sooner Win.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Doug M.
    Anatoly, InTrade's track record on this sort of thing is not good. Punters, well, Las Vegas makes billions of dollars every year off punters.

    I predicted Romney would be the nominee in June 2011 (not hard! who else was there?) and called it for Obama in May 2012 -- nothing but an economic collapse or equivalent disaster could have brought Romney in after that point. Romney was facing a moderately popular President running a very competent campaign; his own campaign had gross weaknesses (we saw these in the primaries, and they didn't improve much in the general), he was saddled with a bunch of unpopular right-wing positions thanks to the long primary season, and he was fighting a demographic headwind.

    (That demographic headwind is only getting worse, BTW. I hesitate to make predictions, but I don't see anyone in the current crop of GOP pre-candidates who can appeal far beyond the GOP base of white guys.)


    Doug M.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Momus
    "Given that this is so, it does seem to me that complaining about bias against the US is not only wrong but frankly beside the point."

    I don't think I was complaining (it's AK's blog). As I said, I just think it's ironic that such bias is on clear display in a blog intended to counter bias.

    (And yes, I'm aware that some punditry has gone from "Obama is almost guaranteed to lose" to "Wow, look how close this loser Romney came to winning!" I am, it is safe to say, appropriately amused and entertained.)

    Dear Momus,

    Your paragraph alleges bias on the part of a blog that is intended to counter bias. How can you say that is not complaining about what is written in the blog?

    Viz the election, to be honest I am not sure I do understand the point you are trying to make. Are you saying that Obama won big or that Romney’s defeat was a foregone conclusion?

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Momus
    "Given that this is so, it does seem to me that complaining about bias against the US is not only wrong but frankly beside the point."

    I don't think I was complaining (it's AK's blog). As I said, I just think it's ironic that such bias is on clear display in a blog intended to counter bias.

    (And yes, I'm aware that some punditry has gone from "Obama is almost guaranteed to lose" to "Wow, look how close this loser Romney came to winning!" I am, it is safe to say, appropriately amused and entertained.)

    Alexander, I’m not sure why I can’t find a reply button on your post. Maybe there is a threading limit.

    In any case, I don’t think there’s any contradiction in the paragraph you quote. I can point out irony without complaining. Likewise, I believe I made clear what amused and entertained me, and that it was not your honest effort to explain your predictive error.

    AK: “Maybe there is a threading limit.” That is correct. Make it any deeper, and you’ll get columns with one or two words per line. Basically unreadable.

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  • @Momus
    "Given that this is so, it does seem to me that complaining about bias against the US is not only wrong but frankly beside the point."

    I don't think I was complaining (it's AK's blog). As I said, I just think it's ironic that such bias is on clear display in a blog intended to counter bias.

    (And yes, I'm aware that some punditry has gone from "Obama is almost guaranteed to lose" to "Wow, look how close this loser Romney came to winning!" I am, it is safe to say, appropriately amused and entertained.)

    Dear Momus,

    “I don’t think I was complaining…..I just think it’s ironic that such bias is on clear display in a blog intended to counter bias”.

    Do you not see the obvious contradiction in this paragraph? How does this paragraph respond to the point I made?

    For the rest, I am glad you are amused and entertained by my frank and honest explanation of why I thought a year ago that Romney might win. Personally I am simply relieved that he lost.

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  • @Alexander Mercouris
    Dear Momus,

    Let me tell you why this time last year I thought Romney would win.

    Briefly, the US is as you yourself say a deeply divided society. There is no big Obama coaliition as there was once a Roosevelt coalition or a Nixon/Reagan coalition. Despite Obama's charisma in the late summer of 2008 before the crash of Lehman Brothers McCain was starting to draw ahead. Notwithstanding the economic crisis following the crash of Lehman Brothers Obama's victory in 2008 was hardly overwhelming.

    In the light of this it was entirely logical to think that with economic conditions still difficult there would be a swing back to the Republicans and that duly happened in the mid term elections in 2010. Giiven that this was why should one also not think that the prospects of Obama's re election looked dim?

    It seems to me that the points you are making about Obama's 4% lead and his lead in the swing state and the rest are very much arguments from hindsight. I still get no sense of any vast enthusiasm for Obama despite his victory. Frankly I still believe that if Obama had been up against a more effective Republican candidate with a broader and more inclusive agenda he would have been in serious trouble and would probably have lost. As it is (and I am not the only person looking at this election from Europe to think this) what was extraordinary about this election was that Romney the multi millionaire plutocrat and tax avoider with his Ayn Rand economic policies and reactionary social agenda (neither of which one senses he truly believed in), his declared willingness to write 47% of the US population off and his complete lack of charisma nonetheless came as close to winning as he did

    For the rest I am afraid I have to disagree with your view that what gets written about Russia in the western media is simply or mostly media sensationalism. The Economist whose latest anti Russian demarche Anatoly discusses in his previous post is not normally thought of as a sensationalist news magazine. Nor are newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the London Times and the Guardian. Nor is the BBC. All of them when it comes to Russia pursue the identical line as in large measure do western governments. The Magnitsky law, whatever else it is, is not the product of media sensationalism. The regular comments of the likes of John McCain and his like about Russia are also not the products of media sensationalism and nor by way of example was Hillary Clinton's latest lurid characterisation of the proposed Eurasian Union as an exercise in "reSovietisation".

    You complain about the way the US's prospects are discussed on this blog in apocalyptic terms and you imply that there is a lack of balance towards and a bias against the US. I have to say that I disagree with you completely on both points. However as I see this blog its purpose is not to discuss or comment on the US, which it does only incidentally, but to refute the apocalyptic way Russia's prospects get written about and to seek a measure of balance (and indeed reality) in the way Russia is discussed. On any objective assessment surely you will agree that it is Russia not the US that has to suffer from overwhelmingly unfair apocalyptic coverage about its prospects and a total lack of balance in the coverage it gets? Given that this is so, it does seem to me that complaining about bias against the US is not only wrong but frankly beside the point.

    “Given that this is so, it does seem to me that complaining about bias against the US is not only wrong but frankly beside the point.”

    I don’t think I was complaining (it’s AK’s blog). As I said, I just think it’s ironic that such bias is on clear display in a blog intended to counter bias.

    (And yes, I’m aware that some punditry has gone from “Obama is almost guaranteed to lose” to “Wow, look how close this loser Romney came to winning!” I am, it is safe to say, appropriately amused and entertained.)

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    • Replies: @Alexander Mercouris
    Dear Momus,

    "I don't think I was complaining.....I just think it's ironic that such bias is on clear display in a blog intended to counter bias".

    Do you not see the obvious contradiction in this paragraph? How does this paragraph respond to the point I made?

    For the rest, I am glad you are amused and entertained by my frank and honest explanation of why I thought a year ago that Romney might win. Personally I am simply relieved that he lost.

    , @Momus
    Alexander, I'm not sure why I can't find a reply button on your post. Maybe there is a threading limit.

    In any case, I don't think there's any contradiction in the paragraph you quote. I can point out irony without complaining. Likewise, I believe I made clear what amused and entertained me, and that it was not your honest effort to explain your predictive error.

    AK: "Maybe there is a threading limit." That is correct. Make it any deeper, and you'll get columns with one or two words per line. Basically unreadable.

    , @Alexander Mercouris
    Dear Momus,

    Your paragraph alleges bias on the part of a blog that is intended to counter bias. How can you say that is not complaining about what is written in the blog?

    Viz the election, to be honest I am not sure I do understand the point you are trying to make. Are you saying that Obama won big or that Romney's defeat was a foregone conclusion?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @AP
    Last year I predicted that Ukraine entering the customs union would not be something to bet on (or against, either) and I think the same way about this possibility in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The opposition parties (Svoboda, of course, as well as Klitschko and Yatseniuk) are firmly against it and they collectively got the majority of the votes (although they are a minority in the parliament thanks to splitting the vote in first-past-the-post district voting). Moreover even within the PR certain factions (such as Tyhypko, who left the government over its flirtation with the Customs Union) are opposed to the Customs Union. As Ukraine's economy sinks or stagnates Yanukovich and by extension his policies will not be getting any more popular - the silver lining for the opposition not being in government.

    Yanukovich may, however, go through with the union in the hopes that Russia will save him, and depending on how desperate he is, he may do this earlier than 2014 or 2015. Or not.

    Incidentally, support for the Russian language in Ukraine seems to have been collatoral damage of Yanukovich's support for it. It has dropped dramatically country-wide while remaining popular in the Donbas and South:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/poll-over-half-of-ukrainians-against-granting-official-status-to-russian-language-318212.html

    To me, this seems to reflect greater polarization as the Center is becoming more closely alligned with the West. The implications for a possible Customs Union are negative.

    Dear AP,

    I broadly agree with your analysis with the one important caveat that I get the feeling that the Customs Union is not an issue that people feel sufficiently passionate about to oppose strongly. If Yanukovitch decides to join the Customs Union (which he may have to for economic reasons) my feeling is that this will be widely welcomed in the south and east but no longer bitterly opposed in the centre or even in the west as it might have been in say 2004. I say this obviously without knowing Ukrainian politics anywhere near as well as you but I have to say I was struck by the absence of visible widespread opposition to Tymoshenko’s imprisonment, the new language law and the election result.

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    • Replies: @AP
    Thanks for your comment, and apologies for my delay in responding. Tymoshenko's electorate has largely moved on - not as much as people moved away from Yushchenko but they have moved on. She continues to have her core support, but these people, judging by her supporters at rallies, seem to skew towards being middle-aged or older women from central Ukraine. The youth who everywhere tend to be the ones to spearhead protest movements have moved onto figures perceived as untainted by corruption (unlike the oligarch Tymoshenko) - Klitschko who earned his money through boxing, Svoboda who are kind of dissidents (not all dissidents are nice liberal democrats), and even Yatseniuk, who at least is no oligarch.

    The emergence of Svoboda outside Galicia does not mean a rise in ultranationalism (perhaps half of Svoboda's votes were protest votes, and Svoboda's rise coincides with a moderation in some of its xenophobic rhetoric) but does indicate a hardening of attitudes against Yanukovich in central Ukraine (Svoboda came in second in Kiev). More people there seem to want an uncompromising enemy of the government. I won't guess if this means they are more likely to actively oppose a customs union, but it suggests they are not less likely to do so.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Momus
    Oh, yes, I read the post you link to, and in fact it was one of those I based my assessment on.

    "There really isn’t much to explain, is there? The economy sucks and is almost guaranteed to get better than worse. Output remains below peak 2007 levels. The deficit remains stubbornly high and the budget crisis will rear its head again in January 2012. Lord knows what it will become if there is another recession on the scale of the last one. Unemployment remains stuck at over 9%. Obama’s net approval rating is -12%. By the metrics I used to predict McCain’s defeat in 2008, Obama looks like he’s in deep trouble."

    To be fair, you made these comments in 2011 and you were hardly alone in your doom-saying (more of that media sensationalism I was referring to -- it affects all nationalities!). It's amusing, really, as your commentary tends to reflect the worst analysis of both the American left and right. You're extremely bipartisan in that you draw equally on the simplistic pessimism of both liberals and conservatives. ;)

    As for specifics, the truth of course is that the U.S. economy doesn't suck compared to the rest of the developed world coming out of the crisis. While the recovery has been predictably sluggish in the aftermath of a financial crisis, the U.S. with all of its dysfunctional politics and smothering debt has fared remarkably better than Japan and most of Europe. I'm not sure whether your really meant the economy was "almost guaranteed to get better than worse" -- it certainly has, but that would have been an odd reason to bet against Obama, to say the least. I imagine you intended to say that the economy was almost guaranteed to get worse -- thus bad news for Obama. In any case, this analysis was clearly wrong.

    I'm not sure what you meant by the budget crisis rearing its head in January 2012. Whatever, it didn't. I'm not sure why you would have imagined that unemployment would remain over 9%. It didn't. And of course, your incorrect analysis of the economy led you to make a similar error on the prospects for Obama's approval rating. What might have inspired you to compare any of this to the dynamics of the 2008 election are beyond me.

    In any case, this gloomy view of America's future prospects drives much of the commentary on your blog (Occupy Wall Street...LOL!). Perhaps you simply don't notice, much as Western journalists likely don't notice their assumed narrative about Russia.

    The truth is, the U.S. has plenty of problems and challenges, but this is nothing particularly new...and nothing particularly limited to the U.S. The much-discussed budget deficits, driven in large part by the Great Recession, are four or five percent of GDP over the medium term. With its very low tax rates and very high health care costs, the solution to closing this gap is fairly straightforward -- doing so will of course entail a great deal of sound and fury in the political arena, but everyone already knows the broad outlines of what will emerge. (And of course, you were wrong that taxes wouldn't be raised!) In the meantime, the U.S. will continue to sell bonds to the rest of the world at negative real interest rates.

    The ironic thing is that we probably share many opinions on the challenges the U.S. faces -- income inequality, education, infrastructure, public health, etc. The difference is that I expect the country to continue addressing these problems and meeting these challenges in the usual imperfect way, while you apparently expect the country to collapse...at least based on some of your posts. This is where I feel your bias is at work, exaggerating those challenges and disregarding the country's ability to meet them.

    And, whatever -- I'm still reading. ;)

    Dear Momus,

    Let me tell you why this time last year I thought Romney would win.

    Briefly, the US is as you yourself say a deeply divided society. There is no big Obama coaliition as there was once a Roosevelt coalition or a Nixon/Reagan coalition. Despite Obama’s charisma in the late summer of 2008 before the crash of Lehman Brothers McCain was starting to draw ahead. Notwithstanding the economic crisis following the crash of Lehman Brothers Obama’s victory in 2008 was hardly overwhelming.

    In the light of this it was entirely logical to think that with economic conditions still difficult there would be a swing back to the Republicans and that duly happened in the mid term elections in 2010. Giiven that this was why should one also not think that the prospects of Obama’s re election looked dim?

    It seems to me that the points you are making about Obama’s 4% lead and his lead in the swing state and the rest are very much arguments from hindsight. I still get no sense of any vast enthusiasm for Obama despite his victory. Frankly I still believe that if Obama had been up against a more effective Republican candidate with a broader and more inclusive agenda he would have been in serious trouble and would probably have lost. As it is (and I am not the only person looking at this election from Europe to think this) what was extraordinary about this election was that Romney the multi millionaire plutocrat and tax avoider with his Ayn Rand economic policies and reactionary social agenda (neither of which one senses he truly believed in), his declared willingness to write 47% of the US population off and his complete lack of charisma nonetheless came as close to winning as he did

    For the rest I am afraid I have to disagree with your view that what gets written about Russia in the western media is simply or mostly media sensationalism. The Economist whose latest anti Russian demarche Anatoly discusses in his previous post is not normally thought of as a sensationalist news magazine. Nor are newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the London Times and the Guardian. Nor is the BBC. All of them when it comes to Russia pursue the identical line as in large measure do western governments. The Magnitsky law, whatever else it is, is not the product of media sensationalism. The regular comments of the likes of John McCain and his like about Russia are also not the products of media sensationalism and nor by way of example was Hillary Clinton’s latest lurid characterisation of the proposed Eurasian Union as an exercise in “reSovietisation”.

    You complain about the way the US’s prospects are discussed on this blog in apocalyptic terms and you imply that there is a lack of balance towards and a bias against the US. I have to say that I disagree with you completely on both points. However as I see this blog its purpose is not to discuss or comment on the US, which it does only incidentally, but to refute the apocalyptic way Russia’s prospects get written about and to seek a measure of balance (and indeed reality) in the way Russia is discussed. On any objective assessment surely you will agree that it is Russia not the US that has to suffer from overwhelmingly unfair apocalyptic coverage about its prospects and a total lack of balance in the coverage it gets? Given that this is so, it does seem to me that complaining about bias against the US is not only wrong but frankly beside the point.

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    • Replies: @Momus
    "Given that this is so, it does seem to me that complaining about bias against the US is not only wrong but frankly beside the point."

    I don't think I was complaining (it's AK's blog). As I said, I just think it's ironic that such bias is on clear display in a blog intended to counter bias.

    (And yes, I'm aware that some punditry has gone from "Obama is almost guaranteed to lose" to "Wow, look how close this loser Romney came to winning!" I am, it is safe to say, appropriately amused and entertained.)

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    I'm afraid you're just making up my motives for predicting a Romney win. Here are some quotes on the matter from October 2011:

    I have a fair record: Obama to become President? Check. Republicans to win 2010 mid-terms? Check. The emergence of “a new party, a new politics”, with “the feds [facing] challenges from the far-left and the far-right”? Check (Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street).

    In that post I gave it as a balance of probabilities: To be fair, the title is a bit of a misnomer. I’d actually put his odds at 35% (Republicans – 65%).

    I try to assess these things objectively, my predictions of a Romney win had zilch to do with Russia because I am well aware that 99% of Americans do not give a damn about Russia and why should they: By the metrics I used to predict McCain’s defeat in 2008, Obama looks like he’s in deep trouble.

    Furthermore: For what it’s worth, the InTrade prediction market is coming to the same conclusion. The latest figures created by gamblers who put their money where their mouths are give Obama a 48% chance, but as you can see since the market became high-volume in around April this year he has been trending down.

    I said all this as a moderate Obama supporter, and as someone who adjusted his assessment as the elections came nearer, about a month prior to it I readjusted it to a 303 Obama victory in the EC (actually - 332) and a 50.39%-to-48.21% victory in the popular vote (actually - 51.0%-47.2%),

    Oh, yes, I read the post you link to, and in fact it was one of those I based my assessment on.

    “There really isn’t much to explain, is there? The economy sucks and is almost guaranteed to get better than worse. Output remains below peak 2007 levels. The deficit remains stubbornly high and the budget crisis will rear its head again in January 2012. Lord knows what it will become if there is another recession on the scale of the last one. Unemployment remains stuck at over 9%. Obama’s net approval rating is -12%. By the metrics I used to predict McCain’s defeat in 2008, Obama looks like he’s in deep trouble.”

    To be fair, you made these comments in 2011 and you were hardly alone in your doom-saying (more of that media sensationalism I was referring to — it affects all nationalities!). It’s amusing, really, as your commentary tends to reflect the worst analysis of both the American left and right. You’re extremely bipartisan in that you draw equally on the simplistic pessimism of both liberals and conservatives. ;)

    As for specifics, the truth of course is that the U.S. economy doesn’t suck compared to the rest of the developed world coming out of the crisis. While the recovery has been predictably sluggish in the aftermath of a financial crisis, the U.S. with all of its dysfunctional politics and smothering debt has fared remarkably better than Japan and most of Europe. I’m not sure whether your really meant the economy was “almost guaranteed to get better than worse” — it certainly has, but that would have been an odd reason to bet against Obama, to say the least. I imagine you intended to say that the economy was almost guaranteed to get worse — thus bad news for Obama. In any case, this analysis was clearly wrong.

    I’m not sure what you meant by the budget crisis rearing its head in January 2012. Whatever, it didn’t. I’m not sure why you would have imagined that unemployment would remain over 9%. It didn’t. And of course, your incorrect analysis of the economy led you to make a similar error on the prospects for Obama’s approval rating. What might have inspired you to compare any of this to the dynamics of the 2008 election are beyond me.

    In any case, this gloomy view of America’s future prospects drives much of the commentary on your blog (Occupy Wall Street…LOL!). Perhaps you simply don’t notice, much as Western journalists likely don’t notice their assumed narrative about Russia.

    The truth is, the U.S. has plenty of problems and challenges, but this is nothing particularly new…and nothing particularly limited to the U.S. The much-discussed budget deficits, driven in large part by the Great Recession, are four or five percent of GDP over the medium term. With its very low tax rates and very high health care costs, the solution to closing this gap is fairly straightforward — doing so will of course entail a great deal of sound and fury in the political arena, but everyone already knows the broad outlines of what will emerge. (And of course, you were wrong that taxes wouldn’t be raised!) In the meantime, the U.S. will continue to sell bonds to the rest of the world at negative real interest rates.

    The ironic thing is that we probably share many opinions on the challenges the U.S. faces — income inequality, education, infrastructure, public health, etc. The difference is that I expect the country to continue addressing these problems and meeting these challenges in the usual imperfect way, while you apparently expect the country to collapse…at least based on some of your posts. This is where I feel your bias is at work, exaggerating those challenges and disregarding the country’s ability to meet them.

    And, whatever — I’m still reading. ;)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alexander Mercouris
    Dear Momus,

    Let me tell you why this time last year I thought Romney would win.

    Briefly, the US is as you yourself say a deeply divided society. There is no big Obama coaliition as there was once a Roosevelt coalition or a Nixon/Reagan coalition. Despite Obama's charisma in the late summer of 2008 before the crash of Lehman Brothers McCain was starting to draw ahead. Notwithstanding the economic crisis following the crash of Lehman Brothers Obama's victory in 2008 was hardly overwhelming.

    In the light of this it was entirely logical to think that with economic conditions still difficult there would be a swing back to the Republicans and that duly happened in the mid term elections in 2010. Giiven that this was why should one also not think that the prospects of Obama's re election looked dim?

    It seems to me that the points you are making about Obama's 4% lead and his lead in the swing state and the rest are very much arguments from hindsight. I still get no sense of any vast enthusiasm for Obama despite his victory. Frankly I still believe that if Obama had been up against a more effective Republican candidate with a broader and more inclusive agenda he would have been in serious trouble and would probably have lost. As it is (and I am not the only person looking at this election from Europe to think this) what was extraordinary about this election was that Romney the multi millionaire plutocrat and tax avoider with his Ayn Rand economic policies and reactionary social agenda (neither of which one senses he truly believed in), his declared willingness to write 47% of the US population off and his complete lack of charisma nonetheless came as close to winning as he did

    For the rest I am afraid I have to disagree with your view that what gets written about Russia in the western media is simply or mostly media sensationalism. The Economist whose latest anti Russian demarche Anatoly discusses in his previous post is not normally thought of as a sensationalist news magazine. Nor are newspapers like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the London Times and the Guardian. Nor is the BBC. All of them when it comes to Russia pursue the identical line as in large measure do western governments. The Magnitsky law, whatever else it is, is not the product of media sensationalism. The regular comments of the likes of John McCain and his like about Russia are also not the products of media sensationalism and nor by way of example was Hillary Clinton's latest lurid characterisation of the proposed Eurasian Union as an exercise in "reSovietisation".

    You complain about the way the US's prospects are discussed on this blog in apocalyptic terms and you imply that there is a lack of balance towards and a bias against the US. I have to say that I disagree with you completely on both points. However as I see this blog its purpose is not to discuss or comment on the US, which it does only incidentally, but to refute the apocalyptic way Russia's prospects get written about and to seek a measure of balance (and indeed reality) in the way Russia is discussed. On any objective assessment surely you will agree that it is Russia not the US that has to suffer from overwhelmingly unfair apocalyptic coverage about its prospects and a total lack of balance in the coverage it gets? Given that this is so, it does seem to me that complaining about bias against the US is not only wrong but frankly beside the point.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Last year I predicted that Ukraine entering the customs union would not be something to bet on (or against, either) and I think the same way about this possibility in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The opposition parties (Svoboda, of course, as well as Klitschko and Yatseniuk) are firmly against it and they collectively got the majority of the votes (although they are a minority in the parliament thanks to splitting the vote in first-past-the-post district voting). Moreover even within the PR certain factions (such as Tyhypko, who left the government over its flirtation with the Customs Union) are opposed to the Customs Union. As Ukraine’s economy sinks or stagnates Yanukovich and by extension his policies will not be getting any more popular – the silver lining for the opposition not being in government.

    Yanukovich may, however, go through with the union in the hopes that Russia will save him, and depending on how desperate he is, he may do this earlier than 2014 or 2015. Or not.

    Incidentally, support for the Russian language in Ukraine seems to have been collatoral damage of Yanukovich’s support for it. It has dropped dramatically country-wide while remaining popular in the Donbas and South:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/poll-over-half-of-ukrainians-against-granting-official-status-to-russian-language-318212.html

    To me, this seems to reflect greater polarization as the Center is becoming more closely alligned with the West. The implications for a possible Customs Union are negative.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Alexander Mercouris
    Dear AP,

    I broadly agree with your analysis with the one important caveat that I get the feeling that the Customs Union is not an issue that people feel sufficiently passionate about to oppose strongly. If Yanukovitch decides to join the Customs Union (which he may have to for economic reasons) my feeling is that this will be widely welcomed in the south and east but no longer bitterly opposed in the centre or even in the west as it might have been in say 2004. I say this obviously without knowing Ukrainian politics anywhere near as well as you but I have to say I was struck by the absence of visible widespread opposition to Tymoshenko's imprisonment, the new language law and the election result.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Momus
    Actually, the conventional press narrative throughout the campaign was that it was a very tight race, when in fact fundamentals predicted a comfortable Obama win and he never trailed in aggregated state polls. Obama's final margin in the popular vote of near four percent and his 332 electoral votes are not "tight" outcomes in U.S. presidential elections.

    So, I would argue that elections in the U.S. two-party system are comparatively "tight," for obvious structural reasons, but that this one was quite decisive by the historical standards of that system. Indeed, Obama became the first U.S. President since Eisenhower to win at least 51% of the popular vote twice.

    Ironically, I find much of the "America-watching" here to be the mirror-image of the Western media's typically sensationalist treatment of Russia: paint an unflattering picture of a country from half-truths and imagination and then mold (and twist, and contort) events to fit that constructed image.

    The fact is, the majority of Americans are not neoconservative plutocrats who view Russia as America's top geopolitical foe and want to encircle it with color revolutionaries and anti-ballistic missile systems. As such, they can be expected not to vote that way. Indeed, American attitudes toward Russia remain quite favorable [ http://www.gallup.com/poll/1642/russia.aspx ].

    One way to improve the record of predictions on this blog might therefore be to adopt a more realist, nuanced view of America and the West -- one more similar to the author's approach to Russia. Of course, such a view would also apply to the Western media itself, which is far more often motivated by sensationalism than any enmity with Russia. As anyone who is familiar with the Western media knows well, this sensationalism is not confined to the political press.

    I’m afraid you’re just making up my motives for predicting a Romney win. Here are some quotes on the matter from October 2011:

    I have a fair record: Obama to become President? Check. Republicans to win 2010 mid-terms? Check. The emergence of “a new party, a new politics”, with “the feds [facing] challenges from the far-left and the far-right”? Check (Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street).

    In that post I gave it as a balance of probabilities: To be fair, the title is a bit of a misnomer. I’d actually put his odds at 35% (Republicans – 65%).

    I try to assess these things objectively, my predictions of a Romney win had zilch to do with Russia because I am well aware that 99% of Americans do not give a damn about Russia and why should they: By the metrics I used to predict McCain’s defeat in 2008, Obama looks like he’s in deep trouble.

    Furthermore: For what it’s worth, the InTrade prediction market is coming to the same conclusion. The latest figures created by gamblers who put their money where their mouths are give Obama a 48% chance, but as you can see since the market became high-volume in around April this year he has been trending down.

    I said all this as a moderate Obama supporter, and as someone who adjusted his assessment as the elections came nearer, about a month prior to it I readjusted it to a 303 Obama victory in the EC (actually – 332) and a 50.39%-to-48.21% victory in the popular vote (actually – 51.0%-47.2%),

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    • Replies: @Momus
    Oh, yes, I read the post you link to, and in fact it was one of those I based my assessment on.

    "There really isn’t much to explain, is there? The economy sucks and is almost guaranteed to get better than worse. Output remains below peak 2007 levels. The deficit remains stubbornly high and the budget crisis will rear its head again in January 2012. Lord knows what it will become if there is another recession on the scale of the last one. Unemployment remains stuck at over 9%. Obama’s net approval rating is -12%. By the metrics I used to predict McCain’s defeat in 2008, Obama looks like he’s in deep trouble."

    To be fair, you made these comments in 2011 and you were hardly alone in your doom-saying (more of that media sensationalism I was referring to -- it affects all nationalities!). It's amusing, really, as your commentary tends to reflect the worst analysis of both the American left and right. You're extremely bipartisan in that you draw equally on the simplistic pessimism of both liberals and conservatives. ;)

    As for specifics, the truth of course is that the U.S. economy doesn't suck compared to the rest of the developed world coming out of the crisis. While the recovery has been predictably sluggish in the aftermath of a financial crisis, the U.S. with all of its dysfunctional politics and smothering debt has fared remarkably better than Japan and most of Europe. I'm not sure whether your really meant the economy was "almost guaranteed to get better than worse" -- it certainly has, but that would have been an odd reason to bet against Obama, to say the least. I imagine you intended to say that the economy was almost guaranteed to get worse -- thus bad news for Obama. In any case, this analysis was clearly wrong.

    I'm not sure what you meant by the budget crisis rearing its head in January 2012. Whatever, it didn't. I'm not sure why you would have imagined that unemployment would remain over 9%. It didn't. And of course, your incorrect analysis of the economy led you to make a similar error on the prospects for Obama's approval rating. What might have inspired you to compare any of this to the dynamics of the 2008 election are beyond me.

    In any case, this gloomy view of America's future prospects drives much of the commentary on your blog (Occupy Wall Street...LOL!). Perhaps you simply don't notice, much as Western journalists likely don't notice their assumed narrative about Russia.

    The truth is, the U.S. has plenty of problems and challenges, but this is nothing particularly new...and nothing particularly limited to the U.S. The much-discussed budget deficits, driven in large part by the Great Recession, are four or five percent of GDP over the medium term. With its very low tax rates and very high health care costs, the solution to closing this gap is fairly straightforward -- doing so will of course entail a great deal of sound and fury in the political arena, but everyone already knows the broad outlines of what will emerge. (And of course, you were wrong that taxes wouldn't be raised!) In the meantime, the U.S. will continue to sell bonds to the rest of the world at negative real interest rates.

    The ironic thing is that we probably share many opinions on the challenges the U.S. faces -- income inequality, education, infrastructure, public health, etc. The difference is that I expect the country to continue addressing these problems and meeting these challenges in the usual imperfect way, while you apparently expect the country to collapse...at least based on some of your posts. This is where I feel your bias is at work, exaggerating those challenges and disregarding the country's ability to meet them.

    And, whatever -- I'm still reading. ;)

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  • @Alexander Mercouris
    Dear Anatoly,

    I think you basically got the Russian Presidential election right and more right than you give yourself credit for. Putin did win with around 60% of the vote and Zyuganov did come second with 17% of the vote - exactly within your predicted range. I would give yourself a full point for that one. You also got the Russian economy right and you correctly predicted the decline in the protest movement and the demographic uptick. Those are the big ones and you got them all right. I think 3.5/6 is much too modest a score. Think about it: you have been more consistently right about Russia than 99% of analysts I know (including Russian ones).

    Just a few further points:

    1. I think you also got the oil price situation right. I appreciate that you didn't make a specific prediction but it was clear that you did not expect the collapse in oil prices that most analysts were predicting and sure enough it didn't happen.

    2. The reason the Russian economy is "only" growing at 3.5-4% is ultimately the world economic crisis. Like you the Russian government and Russian companies also expect a recession in the event of a deepening of the crisis or a break up of the eurozone. The result is that both the Russian government and Russian companies are putting off investment decisions and husbanding resources to prepare for the recession if and when it comes. Some of the money Russian companies are husbanding is being parked offshore and this is one of the factors in the capital outflow that has been so much talked about. Whilst the uncertainty in the eurozone persists it is very difficult to plan ahead and this is forcing the Russian government and Russian companies to be extremely conservative and risk averse in their investment and spending strategies and inevitably this is having an effect on growth. This must be extremely frustrating to economic decision makers in Russia given that Russia's economic fundamentals taken by themselves would allow for a much more ambitions investment and spending strategy but given the extent of Russia's interdependence with the eurozone it is difficult to see what else they can do. One day possibly trade with China and Asia may substitute for trade with Europe but we are very far from that position now and in the meantime the uncertainties about the oil price, which are themselves in part a consequencet of the eurozone crisis, are complicating the negotiation of oil and gas delivery contracts with China. I would not be surprised if there are not some people in Moscow who would actually welcome a eurozone crisis as a way of ending the uncertainty and restoring clarity. Having said all this, in a global context and given the effect of the crisis a growth rate of 3.5-4% is by no means bad.

    3. There is a very simple reason why people in Greece are prepared to put up with so much punishment in order to stick with the euro. They are terrified (that is not too strong a word) of seeing their wages and pensions and savings converted from euros into worthless drachmas, which would effectively mean that they would disappear. No mainstream politician, not even Syriza, are prepared to admit publicly that retaining the euro may be impossible since they know that if they do so they will be committing electoral suicide. The constant cycle of Greek politics since the start of the crisis in 2008 is that all politicians (except the Communists) insist that they will keep Greece in the eurozone but say when they are in opposition that the terms of the bailouts are too harsh and that if elected they will renegotiate them. When they enter government and are told by the European authorities that the terms of the bailouts are non negotiable they invariably back down and after a while they agree to even more of the austerity that when in opposition they opposed. In the meantime no one plans or prepares for the possibility that Greece may leave the eurozone since to be seen to do so is the political equivalent of signing one's own death warrant.

    We are at the moment in a quiet period in Greece. The right of centre government that was elected in Greece in the summer promised during the election that it would renegotiate the bailout whose terms it said were too harsh. Within days of getting elected it backed down and has now accepted a dose of further austerity. In return it has received additional funding that has enabled it to maintain payments of wages and pensions. This offers a brief respite (one of several there have been during this crisis) but in the meantime the recession deepens, the money will in time run out and in a few months we will have to have a request for another bailout. I don't know how long this cycle will go on for but I continue to think that a Greek exit is eventually inevitable and that it will happen when the Greek government in desperation finds itself obliged to print money (which it will initially try to pass off as euros) to pay essential running costs and the Germans and the European authorities find out about it.

    4. For the rest I simply do not know how the larger eurozone crisis will pan out. If Greece does leave the eurozone then despite its small size I would have thought that there would still be a serious risk of a chain reaction. It is difficult to see how the austerity that is being imposed on Spain is going to solve the underlying problems in that country whilst what is not understood about Italy is that the reason its economy has been stagnating for so long is that even under Berlusconi it did try to observe the disciplines of the eurozone by running a primary budget surplus, which stifled economic growth. The further austerity that has been imposed on Italy is only making the underlying problems worse. Further afield the situation in France is also beginning to look shaky. Whilst the pace of economic contraction has slowed down it is difficult to be confident about any return to growth any time soon and one wonders how sustainable this situation is. At the same my strong impression is that popular opinion in northern Europe is hardening against further fiscal transfers and a genuine fiscal union seems politically out of the question. In the absence of this we have an effective policy paralysis with no alternative to the austerity that is being imposed except for the monetary initiatives taken this year by the European Central Bank, which whilst they have kept the show to some extent on the road have only done so by tanking the European Central Bank up with what almost certainly promises to be a mountain of bad debt. Economically it is difficult to see this situation going on indefinitely but the political will behind this project is enormous if only because the whole existence of the EU is now so bound up with it.

    5. For the rest, I agree with you about the missed opportunity offered by Luzhkov's sacking, the mixed signals about the Serdyukov affair (we have discussed it), the problem of corruption in Russia generally and Ukrainian membership of the Customs Union (though it may not be up to the Ukrainian government to decide when it joins given the deteriorating financial position there). I wouldn't beat yourself up too much about Romney's failure to win the election. Contrary to what some press commentary is suggesting it was a very tight race and a very close call. At this time last year I too thought Romney would win. In my opinion the reason he didn't win was because pressure from within the Republican party forced him into more rigid positions than he wanted to take. Had he been able to run a more flexible and honest campaign he would have won.

    Actually, the conventional press narrative throughout the campaign was that it was a very tight race, when in fact fundamentals predicted a comfortable Obama win and he never trailed in aggregated state polls. Obama’s final margin in the popular vote of near four percent and his 332 electoral votes are not “tight” outcomes in U.S. presidential elections.

    So, I would argue that elections in the U.S. two-party system are comparatively “tight,” for obvious structural reasons, but that this one was quite decisive by the historical standards of that system. Indeed, Obama became the first U.S. President since Eisenhower to win at least 51% of the popular vote twice.

    Ironically, I find much of the “America-watching” here to be the mirror-image of the Western media’s typically sensationalist treatment of Russia: paint an unflattering picture of a country from half-truths and imagination and then mold (and twist, and contort) events to fit that constructed image.

    The fact is, the majority of Americans are not neoconservative plutocrats who view Russia as America’s top geopolitical foe and want to encircle it with color revolutionaries and anti-ballistic missile systems. As such, they can be expected not to vote that way. Indeed, American attitudes toward Russia remain quite favorable (http://www.gallup.com/poll/1642/russia.aspx ].

    One way to improve the record of predictions on this blog might therefore be to adopt a more realist, nuanced view of America and the West — one more similar to the author’s approach to Russia. Of course, such a view would also apply to the Western media itself, which is far more often motivated by sensationalism than any enmity with Russia. As anyone who is familiar with the Western media knows well, this sensationalism is not confined to the political press.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I'm afraid you're just making up my motives for predicting a Romney win. Here are some quotes on the matter from October 2011:

    I have a fair record: Obama to become President? Check. Republicans to win 2010 mid-terms? Check. The emergence of “a new party, a new politics”, with “the feds [facing] challenges from the far-left and the far-right”? Check (Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street).

    In that post I gave it as a balance of probabilities: To be fair, the title is a bit of a misnomer. I’d actually put his odds at 35% (Republicans – 65%).

    I try to assess these things objectively, my predictions of a Romney win had zilch to do with Russia because I am well aware that 99% of Americans do not give a damn about Russia and why should they: By the metrics I used to predict McCain’s defeat in 2008, Obama looks like he’s in deep trouble.

    Furthermore: For what it’s worth, the InTrade prediction market is coming to the same conclusion. The latest figures created by gamblers who put their money where their mouths are give Obama a 48% chance, but as you can see since the market became high-volume in around April this year he has been trending down.

    I said all this as a moderate Obama supporter, and as someone who adjusted his assessment as the elections came nearer, about a month prior to it I readjusted it to a 303 Obama victory in the EC (actually - 332) and a 50.39%-to-48.21% victory in the popular vote (actually - 51.0%-47.2%),

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  • Dear Anatoly,

    I think you basically got the Russian Presidential election right and more right than you give yourself credit for. Putin did win with around 60% of the vote and Zyuganov did come second with 17% of the vote – exactly within your predicted range. I would give yourself a full point for that one. You also got the Russian economy right and you correctly predicted the decline in the protest movement and the demographic uptick. Those are the big ones and you got them all right. I think 3.5/6 is much too modest a score. Think about it: you have been more consistently right about Russia than 99% of analysts I know (including Russian ones).

    Just a few further points:

    1. I think you also got the oil price situation right. I appreciate that you didn’t make a specific prediction but it was clear that you did not expect the collapse in oil prices that most analysts were predicting and sure enough it didn’t happen.

    2. The reason the Russian economy is “only” growing at 3.5-4% is ultimately the world economic crisis. Like you the Russian government and Russian companies also expect a recession in the event of a deepening of the crisis or a break up of the eurozone. The result is that both the Russian government and Russian companies are putting off investment decisions and husbanding resources to prepare for the recession if and when it comes. Some of the money Russian companies are husbanding is being parked offshore and this is one of the factors in the capital outflow that has been so much talked about. Whilst the uncertainty in the eurozone persists it is very difficult to plan ahead and this is forcing the Russian government and Russian companies to be extremely conservative and risk averse in their investment and spending strategies and inevitably this is having an effect on growth. This must be extremely frustrating to economic decision makers in Russia given that Russia’s economic fundamentals taken by themselves would allow for a much more ambitions investment and spending strategy but given the extent of Russia’s interdependence with the eurozone it is difficult to see what else they can do. One day possibly trade with China and Asia may substitute for trade with Europe but we are very far from that position now and in the meantime the uncertainties about the oil price, which are themselves in part a consequencet of the eurozone crisis, are complicating the negotiation of oil and gas delivery contracts with China. I would not be surprised if there are not some people in Moscow who would actually welcome a eurozone crisis as a way of ending the uncertainty and restoring clarity. Having said all this, in a global context and given the effect of the crisis a growth rate of 3.5-4% is by no means bad.

    3. There is a very simple reason why people in Greece are prepared to put up with so much punishment in order to stick with the euro. They are terrified (that is not too strong a word) of seeing their wages and pensions and savings converted from euros into worthless drachmas, which would effectively mean that they would disappear. No mainstream politician, not even Syriza, are prepared to admit publicly that retaining the euro may be impossible since they know that if they do so they will be committing electoral suicide. The constant cycle of Greek politics since the start of the crisis in 2008 is that all politicians (except the Communists) insist that they will keep Greece in the eurozone but say when they are in opposition that the terms of the bailouts are too harsh and that if elected they will renegotiate them. When they enter government and are told by the European authorities that the terms of the bailouts are non negotiable they invariably back down and after a while they agree to even more of the austerity that when in opposition they opposed. In the meantime no one plans or prepares for the possibility that Greece may leave the eurozone since to be seen to do so is the political equivalent of signing one’s own death warrant.

    We are at the moment in a quiet period in Greece. The right of centre government that was elected in Greece in the summer promised during the election that it would renegotiate the bailout whose terms it said were too harsh. Within days of getting elected it backed down and has now accepted a dose of further austerity. In return it has received additional funding that has enabled it to maintain payments of wages and pensions. This offers a brief respite (one of several there have been during this crisis) but in the meantime the recession deepens, the money will in time run out and in a few months we will have to have a request for another bailout. I don’t know how long this cycle will go on for but I continue to think that a Greek exit is eventually inevitable and that it will happen when the Greek government in desperation finds itself obliged to print money (which it will initially try to pass off as euros) to pay essential running costs and the Germans and the European authorities find out about it.

    4. For the rest I simply do not know how the larger eurozone crisis will pan out. If Greece does leave the eurozone then despite its small size I would have thought that there would still be a serious risk of a chain reaction. It is difficult to see how the austerity that is being imposed on Spain is going to solve the underlying problems in that country whilst what is not understood about Italy is that the reason its economy has been stagnating for so long is that even under Berlusconi it did try to observe the disciplines of the eurozone by running a primary budget surplus, which stifled economic growth. The further austerity that has been imposed on Italy is only making the underlying problems worse. Further afield the situation in France is also beginning to look shaky. Whilst the pace of economic contraction has slowed down it is difficult to be confident about any return to growth any time soon and one wonders how sustainable this situation is. At the same my strong impression is that popular opinion in northern Europe is hardening against further fiscal transfers and a genuine fiscal union seems politically out of the question. In the absence of this we have an effective policy paralysis with no alternative to the austerity that is being imposed except for the monetary initiatives taken this year by the European Central Bank, which whilst they have kept the show to some extent on the road have only done so by tanking the European Central Bank up with what almost certainly promises to be a mountain of bad debt. Economically it is difficult to see this situation going on indefinitely but the political will behind this project is enormous if only because the whole existence of the EU is now so bound up with it.

    5. For the rest, I agree with you about the missed opportunity offered by Luzhkov’s sacking, the mixed signals about the Serdyukov affair (we have discussed it), the problem of corruption in Russia generally and Ukrainian membership of the Customs Union (though it may not be up to the Ukrainian government to decide when it joins given the deteriorating financial position there). I wouldn’t beat yourself up too much about Romney’s failure to win the election. Contrary to what some press commentary is suggesting it was a very tight race and a very close call. At this time last year I too thought Romney would win. In my opinion the reason he didn’t win was because pressure from within the Republican party forced him into more rigid positions than he wanted to take. Had he been able to run a more flexible and honest campaign he would have won.

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    • Replies: @Momus
    Actually, the conventional press narrative throughout the campaign was that it was a very tight race, when in fact fundamentals predicted a comfortable Obama win and he never trailed in aggregated state polls. Obama's final margin in the popular vote of near four percent and his 332 electoral votes are not "tight" outcomes in U.S. presidential elections.

    So, I would argue that elections in the U.S. two-party system are comparatively "tight," for obvious structural reasons, but that this one was quite decisive by the historical standards of that system. Indeed, Obama became the first U.S. President since Eisenhower to win at least 51% of the popular vote twice.

    Ironically, I find much of the "America-watching" here to be the mirror-image of the Western media's typically sensationalist treatment of Russia: paint an unflattering picture of a country from half-truths and imagination and then mold (and twist, and contort) events to fit that constructed image.

    The fact is, the majority of Americans are not neoconservative plutocrats who view Russia as America's top geopolitical foe and want to encircle it with color revolutionaries and anti-ballistic missile systems. As such, they can be expected not to vote that way. Indeed, American attitudes toward Russia remain quite favorable [ http://www.gallup.com/poll/1642/russia.aspx ].

    One way to improve the record of predictions on this blog might therefore be to adopt a more realist, nuanced view of America and the West -- one more similar to the author's approach to Russia. Of course, such a view would also apply to the Western media itself, which is far more often motivated by sensationalism than any enmity with Russia. As anyone who is familiar with the Western media knows well, this sensationalism is not confined to the political press.

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  • Scott McConnell has pointed out how Michael Bloomberg has cited the damage inflicted by tropical storm Sandy as a good reason to endorse President Barack Obama. But it seems odd that other Democrats nationally have avoided using Sandy as a club to beat the GOP, possibly because they consider it unseemly. The Republican Party platform...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Don’t let them get you down. The science is very settled, it’s puzzling that so many people want to play the skeptic, but there’s genuine skepticism and then there’s motivated reasoning combined with tribalism. Neither side is immune – the typical liberalist couldn’t give a good argument in favor of the proposition of anthropogenic global warming. But one side is right and has the backing of the scientific consensus, as strong a consensus as you’re likely to get in anything. So don’t let the fringe comments get you down and please don’t tone down the rhetoric: the science is clear. If you’d like to be more confident in your judgment the next time you write an article and mention global warming, check out http://www.skepticalscience.com – I am in no way affiliated with the web site.
    best,
    gzt

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  • “If I’m not mistaken the tests at CERN you are referring to focused not on the effects of the sun on the climate but instead on the effect of cosmic rays. (Which tests appeared to show that same have a much greater effect on cloud formation than was formerly thought likely. . .”

    Tom B, you are technically right that it is the amount of cosmic rays which affect cloud formation but the sun acts as the regulator of how many cosmic rays reach Earth:

    “The science is now all-but-settled on global warming, convincing new evidence demonstrates, but Al Gore, the IPCC and other global warming doomsayers won’t be celebrating. The new findings point to cosmic rays and the sun — not human activities — as the dominant controller of climate on Earth.

    The research, published with little fanfare this week in the prestigious journal Nature, comes from über-prestigious CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest centres for scientific research involving 60 countries and 8,000 scientists at more than 600 universities and national laboratories. CERN is the organization that invented the World Wide Web, that built the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider, and that has now built a pristinely clean stainless steel chamber that precisely recreated the Earth’s atmosphere.

    In this chamber, 63 CERN scientists from 17 European and American institutes have done what global warming doomsayers said could never be done — demonstrate that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that in Earth’s atmosphere can grow and seed clouds, the cloudier and thus cooler it will be. Because the sun’s magnetic field controls how many cosmic rays reach Earth’s atmosphere (the stronger the sun’s magnetic field, the more it shields Earth from incoming cosmic rays from space), the sun determines the temperature on Earth.”

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  • tbraton wrote:

    “If indeed the sun is the cause of global warming (as tests at CERN earlier this year seemed to confirm), what exactly can anyone do to stop it…?”

    If I’m not mistaken the tests at CERN you are referring to focused not on the effects of the sun on the climate but instead on the effect of cosmic rays. (Which tests appeared to show that same have a much greater effect on cloud formation than was formerly thought likely, so that a period of relatively fewer such rays would have lead to less clouds and thus a warmer earth, so perhaps contributing to the signal wrongly interpreted as seeing man’s CO2 emissions causing the warming.)

    Regardless, you miss a point that I suspect may become very germane some day. Theoretically there are *lots* of things man could do that probably could alter the earth’s climate, very possibly very drastically. Even if that climate had been changing on its own, or not changing at all. So that if it’s found that the earth is indeed warming drastically but entirely naturally, I don’t think we’ll hear the end of proposals for us humans to “correct” same.

    Maybe not though, as bad-sounding as global warming has been made to sound (and not to disparage same), I suspect most people would consider the effects of global cooling much much worse, so that few people I think would want to even chance that.

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  • Thomas O. Meehan, when I was in college back in the 60′s, I took a course on geology to satisfy my science requirement. My individual adviser on the large survey course was an Indian graduate student who believed in continental drift, a theory that was not accepted by the professorate that dominated my college at the time. In 1971, I was returning from a ski trip in Europe with my girlfriend, and we encountered a fellow American in his late 20′s on the train ride to Luxemburg. When he identified himself as a geologist, I humorously recounted my brief exposure to geology in college and referred to the “bizarre theory” of continental drift advocated by my college adviser. He stated with a straight face that continental drift was now generally accepted as firm science. And this was less than 10 years after I had been taught that it was a fanciful theory not accepted by many people. I don’t believe that anyone rejects the theory of continental drift today. It’s always important to keep one’s mind open about new thinking in scientific matters. And, as you point, the fact that the Earth may be warming (as it has done numerous times in its extensive history) does not mean that humans are the cause. If indeed the sun is the cause of global warming (as tests at CERN earlier this year seemed to confirm), what exactly can anyone do to stop it, any more than anyone can stop continental drift?

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  • It never seems to enter the heads of most people that God could be judging the world through hurricanes and other natural disasters. The theory of evolution is a theory created by MAN but man isn’t God and the wisdom of this world is foolishness in His sight. It doesn’t seem to matter if one is a liberal or conservative the hostility toward believers is the same.

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  • The reason for the GOP’s refusal to acknowledge the clear data on global warming has less to do with antagonism toward science than it does with its antagonism to government itself.

    This is another interesting reversal in Republican politics since the party’s founding. Abraham Lincoln, with the full support of his party, championed railroads, including the transcontinental lines, because he had seen how his own family remained in subsistence-level poverty due to his father having no way to transport surplus produce to a viable market.

    Now the Democrats champion infrastructure, while the Republicans cry “every man for himself.”

    Of course in between there were a few problems. The railroads, once established, and once farmers were dependent upon them for cash income, charged exorbitant rates, and had to be placed under an Interstate Commerce Commission and other regulation, which was only partially successful in bringing them to heel. But when a private enterprise is subsidized with free land a mile to the side of the entire length of track (alternating sides), it should expect a public string attached to the public subsidy.

    Many railroad companies ended up being real estate administrators that ran trains on the side.

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  • As you say, there may not be any policy prescription to follow after one acknlowedges that the climate is changing. But suppose it were proven that the climate was heading for a dreadfull pass and it was not caused by General Motors? Do you seriously believe that there wouldn’t be endless calls for intervention anyway? Freightened, gullable people always seek an easily understandable and socially fixable response to any difficulty. And there will always be those who profit by their unreasoning stampeed. Our problem rests on the hoax of human caused climate change.

    It strikes me that scientists who study the earth in geologic time seem to be the most skeptical of human driven change while those most anxious to grab hold of the public agenda are those who seem to think that the worlds climate can be understood by studying the last 150 years. Just a few days ago a report was published claiming a steep rise in greenhouse gasses during the late Roman Empire. I suppose it must have been due to all those gas powered leafblowers they used.

    Because the delusion of human caused climate change has captured the minds of the general public, and particularly the minds of the NPR watching, NYT reading, middle-brows who constitute our excuse for an elite, there will always be political capital to be made from this. There will always be such manifestations in mass culture. And those spreading them for their own purposes will always have an easier time of it than those who try explaining the delusions away.

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  • I thought I had written this very carefully to focus on my mystification that the Dems are not hammering on this issue rather than on my own view on global warming. I included a number of caveats in my piece and admit to not understanding the science fully enough to have a serious viewpoint. I do not know what government should be doing about the weather if indeed there is something that might be done. And tbraton, apologies for making you angry but pls note that I did not write that conservatives are anti-science though I do believe that the GOP is. There are few conservatives in the GOP.

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  • Tom B, I am a skeptic when it comes to man-made global warming, not a denier—just like many other thinking conservatives and liberals. The case just hasn’t been made. I think it is undeniable that geological records establish that the Earth has experienced many periods of “climate change,” both cooling and warming, long before man became a significant factor on this planet. In fact, one of the most disturbing things about the pro-global warming crowd is the way they have tried to manipulate the data to eliminate any suggestion of earlier periods of global warming—the infamous hockey stick graph which failed to show the well-established Middle Age warming period, for example—which makes a skeptic ask who is really ignoring science. I am all in favor of national parks and preserving as much of our natural environment as we can. I think the real threat to our planet is not man-made global warming but overpopulation by humans which puts great stress on the natural environment. I also favor trying to make our automobiles and manufacturing plants as pollution free as possible, not to forestall global warming but to preserve the cleanliness of the air we breathe and the water we drink.
    BTW, if we really want to curb the use of gasoline, we don’t need complicated cap-and-trade programs adminstered by government bureaucrats; we should simply slap on a tax of $1 or more on each gallon of gas. That will make people use less gas, and it would be much simpler to administer.

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  • While it makes me wince seeing Phil and Scott McConnell picking the global warming issue to make their points with, Phil here just hints I think at the depth of Republican stupidity as regards the environment.

    One only has to look at the crowds in summer vying to get into and camp in our national parks and forests, and see the popularity of various wildlife and environmental TV shows and organizations to realize that a concern for the environment is indeed a big thing for huge swathes of people in the country today.

    Or all it takes is to look at one instance: It’s rather incredible after all given the price of land that a private organization could be so popular and attract so much money as to be able to go around and buy up large chunks of particularly environmentally sensitive or interesting land, and yet that’s exactly what the Nature Conservancy has been doing now for decades. And if I’m not mistaken it’s still flush with money.

    And yet where’s the Republican Party here? For all intents and purposes regarding those large swathes of people who go to the parks and forests and contribute to such places as irrelevant at best if not wrong-headed at worst for interfering with land developers.

    Just as with issue after issue, despite abundant clear opportunities and examples (can they really forget Teddy Roosevelt’s enviro popularity?) the Party bumbles its way further into becoming some crazy, doddering, glowering old misanthrope, typically heard most loudly when it rouses itself to start babbling some Biblical stuff.

    Indeed from all apparent evidence the real object of the Party seems to be to make itself too embarrassing for any intelligent person to want to vote for it, much less associate with it in any way.

    One wonders in fact why they don’t just say their secret hearts and nominate Homer Simpson as their candidate, but then one remembers that they already had George Bush.

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  • The reason for the GOP’s refusal to acknowledge the clear data on global warming has less to do with antagonism toward science than it does with its antagonism to government itself. If global warming is indeed a real threat, then coordinated action would have to be taken not only by our government, but by governments worldwide. Nothing terrifies the GOP more than that prospect; it goes completely counter to the GOP’s DNA. An added factor is the economic effect that action on global warming would have on the GOP’s financial supporters, particularly oil companies.

    This is not to say that there wouldn’t be huge tradeoffs to consider in an effort to reverse global warming. And it would be helpful to get the GOP engaged in the effort to develop sensible policies in this whole area. But that would mean agreeing that government has a role to play in something other than building up a giant defense establishment, and that is something the current GOP is unwilling to accept.

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  • I don’t think that not believing the science is “settled” regarding current findings that many people agree with means that you do not like science. I think it might mean you respect science, as most decent scientists will tell you that “the science” is rarely “settled” – including cause and effect.

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  • “I am far from the expert on the subject, but it seems to be established that weather patterns are becoming more severe, possibly linked to global warming.ile”

    PG, since you admit that you are not an expert on the subject of global warming (incidentally, the proper term du jour is “climate change,” which can’t be disproved since the climate has always changed), maybe you can put your head together with Scott McConnell and explain what caused that massive ice sheet, about a mile thick, that covered the upper midwest and most of Canada about 10,000 years ago to melt and disappear. Was it the small number of American Indians drifting in from Asia about that time driving around in their gas guzzling sleds that caused the climate to change and the ice sheet to melt? For extra credit, look up the history of the Scablands in eastern Washington. If you can’t explain that change, then you have no business even speculating about current climate change. Are you even aware that during the 3-1/2 billion history of planet Earth that the climate has changed dramatically in both directions many times? We’ve had ice ages and warming periods. In fact, it has been speculated that climate change in east Africa contributed significantly to the evolution of man about a few million years ago, forcing our ancestors to adapt to the changes. I also gather that you are not bothered by the fact that detailed history of recorded temperatures only goes back to the late 19th century. That’s why you feel free to rely on the “perceptions” of your relatively brief life span.

    BTW go back and review Al Gore’s propaganda masterpiece “An Inconvenient Truth” and see where he cited the cases of Katrina and Wilma in 2005 as evidence that hurricanes are becoming more frequent and powerful and then look at the history of hurricanes in the last six years, which have been one of the mildest on record. Since I live in Florida, I am thankful for the change. That is the same Al Gore, incidentally, who admitted this past year that his advocacy of ethanol was motivated by political considerations (first to placate Tennessee farmers and then, when he was running for President, to placate Iowa farmers) and that ethanol was a boondoggle. A pretty damning admission imho.

    P.S.–I find your condescending remark about conservatives rejecting science to be very insulting. I accept Darwin’s theory of evolution and reject the account set forth in Genesis. Darwin’s theory is the only scientific theory out there to explain the evolution of all animal life, including humans. Global warming is not a scientific theory in my opinion, but a belief system, like communism, neoconservatism and religion.

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  • Sandy has allowed Obama, after four years that must have frustrated him as much as they (for other reasons) have the rest of us, to be the President he always wanted to be: working arm-in-arm with an R leader for the good of the people and the nation, while the rest of the Ds watch in silent awe. Obama was never much interested in health care reform or in killing bin Laden; he just wants someone like Christie to say nice things about him.

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  • That well-known bastion of conservatism, the New York Times, did run an editorial questioning in light of the massive recovery effort required after Sandy, whether Mitt Romney, with his facile remarks about turning disaster recovery over to the states and the private sector, was the right person to lead America.

    Naturally, they were immediately criticized for playing politics with a national tragedy, when we should all be pulling together. While President Obama and Gov. Christie were certainly doing the right thing rolling up their sleeves and working together to get help where it was needed, it is not entirely out of bounds to note that a fairly well organized response currently underway might be impossible under the policies Romney has rhetorically endorsed.

    Probably, though, fear of similar criticism is holding Democrats back from raising climate change as an issue. Bloomberg, as a man in the middle, is better positioned to speak.

    Liberty is not an environmental policy at all. Liberty, when it concerns common resources, leads to the well-known “tragedy of the commons.” If a resource is out there for anyone to grab, someone will grab it if I don’t, so there is no point in conserving. (Thus, the Republican platform is not a conservative document at all. It is precisely because my effluent flows downstream, that my upstream neighbor’s effluent fouls my water supply, that we all must be restrained by reasonable regulation and enforcement, so we can all enjoy reasonably clean water.

    And EVERYONE’s carbon dioxide emissions go into a single common atmosphere, making it even harder to deal with.

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  • Try reading The Book of Revelations. There is your Global Scam.

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  • Give the D’s time. It is all of the internet in side comments but the media is playing up the whole Prez H&C is on it and Governor Yells At People is focused on the damage. Why ruin a good thing.

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  • Oh God , Phil. You too?

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  • It seems that the GOP’s stubbornness on this issue is linked to a broader antagonism toward science, which possibly derives from its pandering to Christian evangelicals.

    Or perhaps the GOP isn’t as easily gulled as others into believing that greenhouse gasses are to blame for climate change of a magnitude that has happened several times (both hotter or colder) throughout the recorded history of the earth. After all, it was just 30-40 years ago that climatologists were warning that the earth was headed for another Ice Age thanks to pollution.

    It doesn’t help that the scientific community tried to shout down all dissent while clumsily cooking some books, and that hapless politicians like Al Gore have become the face of the theory.

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  • Editorial note: This article was first published at Arctic Progress in February 2011. In the next few weeks I will be reposting the best material from there. The Arctic to become a pole of global economic growth? Image credit – Scenic Reflections. - Northward ho!: An account of the far North and its people. In...
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    Re-rednecks. Actually the IQ of US rednecks is something like 95 (that's about what Whites score in the lowest performing state, West Virginia).

    That's still higher than most of the world.

    Re-And my point was to also take into consideration future immigration of refugees of the environmental cataclysm Anatoly was predicting. Since this would overwhelmingly be from more equatorial regions, which tend to produce a lot of the low IQ populations, it stands to reason that many of these future migrants would be lower than the average Scandinavian in IQ.

    Exactly. If anything refugee flows will be picking up in the decades ahead. I expect that by the end of the century countries like Sweden, Canada, and Russia will have become something resembling caste societies. I think there will be incredible pressure on the part of the indigenous population to avoid giving the newcomers formal citizenship.

    Re-Somalia Serious Upper class. Doesn't fly with me. Somalis have the highest unemployment rate of any ethnic group in the UK.

    Re-Poland Hicks. Nope - the average Pole in the UK is better educated that the average Pole at home.

    If you mean with rest of the world Africa and India than yes, Rednecks are smarter than average.

    Unlikely, Caste societies can only develop if groups don’t interbreed. That is why the US has a Caste society between whites and blacks but not between Wasps and low IQ emigrants like Italians, Greeks and Eastern European Jews.

    The only Somalis you see here could afford to get here, That requires serious money, especially in such a poor country. I would even argue that their high unemployment is due to being upper class

    The average pole is also much younger than the average Pole back home. Add in a minority of elite Poles and you get on average better educated. Besides it is not like the bottom 10% is hicks. They all are.

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  • @Chris
    Sounds interesting but the key is keeping out third world refugees/immigrants.

    I don’t think that will be peaceful. The ARCS I expect will become something resembling caste societies by the 22nd century.

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  • @Georgia Resident
    1. "Nordic people have a high fertility rate due to their cohabitation ways.
    The share of migrants is even to low to have that much of an influence.
    The fast breeders are almost extinct. No migrant group still has 10+ kids. 4 is about maximum, especially in a car centric society as Scandinavia."
    Source? Links strongly preferred.

    2. "Low IQ immigrants? I know the type In the 1920′s it was Jews and Italians."
    Yeah, and immigrants to the US at the time were mostly from Europe. Therefore that must mean most immigrants to the US today are from Europe! *Sarcasm* However, if we assume that employment correlates with group IQ, this source would suggest that on average immigrants to Sweden, at least, have a little less on the ball than the average native:
    http://www.thelocal.se/37584/20111126/
    It's not conclusive, of course, but it does make one wonder.

    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Sweden#Ethnicity

    "The fastest growing groups of foreign-born residents in Sweden between 2010 and 2011 were the following nationalities:
    Iraq (+ 3738)
    Afghanistan (+ 3069)
    Poland (+ 2612)
    Somalia (+ 2319)
    Thailand (+ 2235)
    Iran (+ 1708))
    Eritrea (+ 1693)
    China (+ 1659)
    Syria (+ 1599)
    Turkey (+ 1382)"

    With the exceptions of Poland and Thailand, which are both decent on IQ, and China, which scores quite well, these are not ethnicities known for their overwhelming intellectual process, at least not of late. And my point was to also take into consideration future immigration of refugees of the environmental cataclysm Anatoly was predicting. Since this would overwhelmingly be from more equatorial regions, which tend to produce a lot of the low IQ populations, it stands to reason that many of these future migrants would be lower than the average Scandinavian in IQ.

    3. "They are still obviously dumber than Rednecks.
    No need to be rude.

    4. "Land is valuable because of population pressure. No people no value."
    I understand that. My point was that if inequality grows to such an extent that social upheaval occurs and property rights break down, having legal title to land is worthless. Read carefully before making condescending remarks.

    Re-rednecks. Actually the IQ of US rednecks is something like 95 (that’s about what Whites score in the lowest performing state, West Virginia).

    That’s still higher than most of the world.

    Re-And my point was to also take into consideration future immigration of refugees of the environmental cataclysm Anatoly was predicting. Since this would overwhelmingly be from more equatorial regions, which tend to produce a lot of the low IQ populations, it stands to reason that many of these future migrants would be lower than the average Scandinavian in IQ.

    Exactly. If anything refugee flows will be picking up in the decades ahead. I expect that by the end of the century countries like Sweden, Canada, and Russia will have become something resembling caste societies. I think there will be incredible pressure on the part of the indigenous population to avoid giving the newcomers formal citizenship.

    Re-Somalia Serious Upper class. Doesn’t fly with me. Somalis have the highest unemployment rate of any ethnic group in the UK.

    Re-Poland Hicks. Nope – the average Pole in the UK is better educated that the average Pole at home.

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    • Replies: @charly
    If you mean with rest of the world Africa and India than yes, Rednecks are smarter than average.

    Unlikely, Caste societies can only develop if groups don't interbreed. That is why the US has a Caste society between whites and blacks but not between Wasps and low IQ emigrants like Italians, Greeks and Eastern European Jews.

    The only Somalis you see here could afford to get here, That requires serious money, especially in such a poor country. I would even argue that their high unemployment is due to being upper class

    The average pole is also much younger than the average Pole back home. Add in a minority of elite Poles and you get on average better educated. Besides it is not like the bottom 10% is hicks. They all are.

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  • @charly
    Nordic people have a high fertility rate due to their cohabitation ways.
    The share of migrants is even to low to have that much of an influence.
    The fast breeders are almost extinct. No migrant group still has 10+ kids. 4 is about maximum, especially in a car centric society as Scandinavia. Low IQ immigrants? I know the type In the 1920's it was Jews and Italians. They are still obviously dumber than Rednecks.
    Land is valuable because of population pressure. No people no value.


    ps. Which of the low IQ place is it. Georgia USA or Georgia USSR

    The critical point about societies like Sweden or the UK isn’t even so much the higher but still modest fertility rates of the incomers (in tandem with their younger ages) but that many of them continue to come in while ethnic Brits and Swedes emigrate in large numbers.

    This is resulting in surprisingly fact population replacement in those areas.

    I know the type In the 1920′s it was Jews and Italians.

    Actually the “Jews” but of that is something of an urban legend. Will have a post on that someday.

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  • @charly
    South Pole landmass is mostly under water. Removal of Ice would lift it but that takes millennia. But even the melting of the ice would take decades. But AK is wrong on South Africa and Southern South America

    South Pole landmass is mostly under water.

    I wouldn’t say so. There’s still tons of land, and better, very interconnected via waterways.

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  • @AG
    "China encroach on the Russian Far East?"

    South pole instead. Antarctica as a colony for Chinese?

    Antarctic ice will take centuries to melt, even under the most apocalyptic scenarios.

    But by 3000 AD who knows?

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  • @Georgia Resident
    How much of the (relatively) high fertility of the Nordic countries is currently due to fast-breeding, low-IQ refugees? I think that the flood of third-world immigrants moving into the ARCS countries, with the promise of more to come as the climate shifts, would doom those countries to a dark future. I certainly wouldn't want to buy land in any country likely to become a haven for third-worlders, with rising inequality and an underemployed lower class positioned to result in social upheaval.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to buy land in any country likely to become a haven for third-worlders…

    Why not? More people –> Sky-rocketing property prices. It’s good to get in early. :)

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  • @Georgia Resident
    1. "Nordic people have a high fertility rate due to their cohabitation ways.
    The share of migrants is even to low to have that much of an influence.
    The fast breeders are almost extinct. No migrant group still has 10+ kids. 4 is about maximum, especially in a car centric society as Scandinavia."
    Source? Links strongly preferred.

    2. "Low IQ immigrants? I know the type In the 1920′s it was Jews and Italians."
    Yeah, and immigrants to the US at the time were mostly from Europe. Therefore that must mean most immigrants to the US today are from Europe! *Sarcasm* However, if we assume that employment correlates with group IQ, this source would suggest that on average immigrants to Sweden, at least, have a little less on the ball than the average native:
    http://www.thelocal.se/37584/20111126/
    It's not conclusive, of course, but it does make one wonder.

    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Sweden#Ethnicity

    "The fastest growing groups of foreign-born residents in Sweden between 2010 and 2011 were the following nationalities:
    Iraq (+ 3738)
    Afghanistan (+ 3069)
    Poland (+ 2612)
    Somalia (+ 2319)
    Thailand (+ 2235)
    Iran (+ 1708))
    Eritrea (+ 1693)
    China (+ 1659)
    Syria (+ 1599)
    Turkey (+ 1382)"

    With the exceptions of Poland and Thailand, which are both decent on IQ, and China, which scores quite well, these are not ethnicities known for their overwhelming intellectual process, at least not of late. And my point was to also take into consideration future immigration of refugees of the environmental cataclysm Anatoly was predicting. Since this would overwhelmingly be from more equatorial regions, which tend to produce a lot of the low IQ populations, it stands to reason that many of these future migrants would be lower than the average Scandinavian in IQ.

    3. "They are still obviously dumber than Rednecks.
    No need to be rude.

    4. "Land is valuable because of population pressure. No people no value."
    I understand that. My point was that if inequality grows to such an extent that social upheaval occurs and property rights break down, having legal title to land is worthless. Read carefully before making condescending remarks.

    1. There is something called maths. It allows you to calculated for example how high the birthrate needs to be for a 10% minority to pull up the average birthrate from 1.5 to 1.8. That would be 4.5. Problem is those groups are way less than 10% and maximum normal family size of those groups were 5/6 20 years ago, now less.

    2 I used Eastern European Jews and Italians because when they landed they were considered dumber than average. If i would now make a joke about how Italian Americans as dumb than people would look funny at me and not because it would be racist. Doing it with Jews and i would be considered an idiot

    Iraq Upper class + Christians
    Afghanistan Upper class
    Poland Hicks
    Somalia Serious Upper class
    Thailand Some Southerners but mostly North East (not good)
    Iran Upper class
    Eritrea Upper class
    China probably the normal Chinese emigrant.
    Syria Christians
    Turkey Anatolian and Kurdish Hicks

    I would go for the upper class

    3. So it is Georgia USA

    4. There has to an incredible amount of upheaval for property rights to seriously break down. But there is a problem with minorities, like for example the Turkish, that will be significantly richer than the average Norwegian.

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  • @Georgia Resident
    How much of the (relatively) high fertility of the Nordic countries is currently due to fast-breeding, low-IQ refugees? I think that the flood of third-world immigrants moving into the ARCS countries, with the promise of more to come as the climate shifts, would doom those countries to a dark future. I certainly wouldn't want to buy land in any country likely to become a haven for third-worlders, with rising inequality and an underemployed lower class positioned to result in social upheaval.

    I believe that people in Scandinavia and Finland enjoy quite generous social benefits that include maternity and paternity leave. Social welfare and family policies that encourage high female work participation, gender equality and family support translate into a high fertility rate.

    http://www.nikk.no/Gender+Equality+and+Fertility.9UFRzO43.ips

    The lowest fertility rates in First World countries (Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain) are often associated with social policies that present women with either/or options (they can work and stay single OR they can marry / have children and drop out of work BUT they can’t work and marry / have children) and which reflect strong conservative religious or social attitudes in those countries.

    http://www.ipss.go.jp/webj-ad/webjournal.files/population/2008_4/01billari.pdf

    BTW fertility rates in Muslim countries have been falling though the media hardly talks about this. Iran carried out a family planning education program in the 1980s/90s and that country is now regarded as a model of how family planning education should be done as fertility rates have crashed there.

    http://www.lifenews.com/2012/07/05/underpopulation-muslim-world-faces-devastating-fertility-decline/

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  • @charly
    Nordic people have a high fertility rate due to their cohabitation ways.
    The share of migrants is even to low to have that much of an influence.
    The fast breeders are almost extinct. No migrant group still has 10+ kids. 4 is about maximum, especially in a car centric society as Scandinavia. Low IQ immigrants? I know the type In the 1920's it was Jews and Italians. They are still obviously dumber than Rednecks.
    Land is valuable because of population pressure. No people no value.


    ps. Which of the low IQ place is it. Georgia USA or Georgia USSR

    1. “Nordic people have a high fertility rate due to their cohabitation ways.
    The share of migrants is even to low to have that much of an influence.
    The fast breeders are almost extinct. No migrant group still has 10+ kids. 4 is about maximum, especially in a car centric society as Scandinavia.”
    Source? Links strongly preferred.

    2. “Low IQ immigrants? I know the type In the 1920′s it was Jews and Italians.”
    Yeah, and immigrants to the US at the time were mostly from Europe. Therefore that must mean most immigrants to the US today are from Europe! *Sarcasm* However, if we assume that employment correlates with group IQ, this source would suggest that on average immigrants to Sweden, at least, have a little less on the ball than the average native:

    http://www.thelocal.se/37584/20111126/

    It’s not conclusive, of course, but it does make one wonder.

    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Sweden#Ethnicity

    “The fastest growing groups of foreign-born residents in Sweden between 2010 and 2011 were the following nationalities:
    Iraq (+ 3738)
    Afghanistan (+ 3069)
    Poland (+ 2612)
    Somalia (+ 2319)
    Thailand (+ 2235)
    Iran (+ 1708))
    Eritrea (+ 1693)
    China (+ 1659)
    Syria (+ 1599)
    Turkey (+ 1382)”

    With the exceptions of Poland and Thailand, which are both decent on IQ, and China, which scores quite well, these are not ethnicities known for their overwhelming intellectual process, at least not of late. And my point was to also take into consideration future immigration of refugees of the environmental cataclysm Anatoly was predicting. Since this would overwhelmingly be from more equatorial regions, which tend to produce a lot of the low IQ populations, it stands to reason that many of these future migrants would be lower than the average Scandinavian in IQ.

    3. “They are still obviously dumber than Rednecks.
    No need to be rude.

    4. “Land is valuable because of population pressure. No people no value.”
    I understand that. My point was that if inequality grows to such an extent that social upheaval occurs and property rights break down, having legal title to land is worthless. Read carefully before making condescending remarks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @charly
    1. There is something called maths. It allows you to calculated for example how high the birthrate needs to be for a 10% minority to pull up the average birthrate from 1.5 to 1.8. That would be 4.5. Problem is those groups are way less than 10% and maximum normal family size of those groups were 5/6 20 years ago, now less.

    2 I used Eastern European Jews and Italians because when they landed they were considered dumber than average. If i would now make a joke about how Italian Americans as dumb than people would look funny at me and not because it would be racist. Doing it with Jews and i would be considered an idiot

    Iraq Upper class + Christians
    Afghanistan Upper class
    Poland Hicks
    Somalia Serious Upper class
    Thailand Some Southerners but mostly North East (not good)
    Iran Upper class
    Eritrea Upper class
    China probably the normal Chinese emigrant.
    Syria Christians
    Turkey Anatolian and Kurdish Hicks

    I would go for the upper class

    3. So it is Georgia USA

    4. There has to an incredible amount of upheaval for property rights to seriously break down. But there is a problem with minorities, like for example the Turkish, that will be significantly richer than the average Norwegian.

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Re-rednecks. Actually the IQ of US rednecks is something like 95 (that's about what Whites score in the lowest performing state, West Virginia).

    That's still higher than most of the world.

    Re-And my point was to also take into consideration future immigration of refugees of the environmental cataclysm Anatoly was predicting. Since this would overwhelmingly be from more equatorial regions, which tend to produce a lot of the low IQ populations, it stands to reason that many of these future migrants would be lower than the average Scandinavian in IQ.

    Exactly. If anything refugee flows will be picking up in the decades ahead. I expect that by the end of the century countries like Sweden, Canada, and Russia will have become something resembling caste societies. I think there will be incredible pressure on the part of the indigenous population to avoid giving the newcomers formal citizenship.

    Re-Somalia Serious Upper class. Doesn't fly with me. Somalis have the highest unemployment rate of any ethnic group in the UK.

    Re-Poland Hicks. Nope - the average Pole in the UK is better educated that the average Pole at home.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Mark Sleboda
    Hey have you read Lawrence Smith - he stole the march on the Arctic World paradigm anacronym on you, I think with NORCS (2010). Though ARCS certainly has a nicer ring to it :)

    http://www.amazon.com/The-World-2050-Civilizations-Northern/dp/0525951814

    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/geog/downloads/297/396.pdf

    I’ve read Smith’s book though after I wrote this article. I will write a review someday.

    But thanks for supporting ARCS over NORCs. :)

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  • @AG
    "China encroach on the Russian Far East?"

    South pole instead. Antarctica as a colony for Chinese?

    South Pole landmass is mostly under water. Removal of Ice would lift it but that takes millennia. But even the melting of the ice would take decades. But AK is wrong on South Africa and Southern South America

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    South Pole landmass is mostly under water.

    I wouldn't say so. There's still tons of land, and better, very interconnected via waterways.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Georgia Resident
    How much of the (relatively) high fertility of the Nordic countries is currently due to fast-breeding, low-IQ refugees? I think that the flood of third-world immigrants moving into the ARCS countries, with the promise of more to come as the climate shifts, would doom those countries to a dark future. I certainly wouldn't want to buy land in any country likely to become a haven for third-worlders, with rising inequality and an underemployed lower class positioned to result in social upheaval.

    Nordic people have a high fertility rate due to their cohabitation ways.
    The share of migrants is even to low to have that much of an influence.
    The fast breeders are almost extinct. No migrant group still has 10+ kids. 4 is about maximum, especially in a car centric society as Scandinavia. Low IQ immigrants? I know the type In the 1920′s it was Jews and Italians. They are still obviously dumber than Rednecks.
    Land is valuable because of population pressure. No people no value.

    ps. Which of the low IQ place is it. Georgia USA or Georgia USSR

    Read More
    • Replies: @Georgia Resident
    1. "Nordic people have a high fertility rate due to their cohabitation ways.
    The share of migrants is even to low to have that much of an influence.
    The fast breeders are almost extinct. No migrant group still has 10+ kids. 4 is about maximum, especially in a car centric society as Scandinavia."
    Source? Links strongly preferred.

    2. "Low IQ immigrants? I know the type In the 1920′s it was Jews and Italians."
    Yeah, and immigrants to the US at the time were mostly from Europe. Therefore that must mean most immigrants to the US today are from Europe! *Sarcasm* However, if we assume that employment correlates with group IQ, this source would suggest that on average immigrants to Sweden, at least, have a little less on the ball than the average native:
    http://www.thelocal.se/37584/20111126/
    It's not conclusive, of course, but it does make one wonder.

    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Sweden#Ethnicity

    "The fastest growing groups of foreign-born residents in Sweden between 2010 and 2011 were the following nationalities:
    Iraq (+ 3738)
    Afghanistan (+ 3069)
    Poland (+ 2612)
    Somalia (+ 2319)
    Thailand (+ 2235)
    Iran (+ 1708))
    Eritrea (+ 1693)
    China (+ 1659)
    Syria (+ 1599)
    Turkey (+ 1382)"

    With the exceptions of Poland and Thailand, which are both decent on IQ, and China, which scores quite well, these are not ethnicities known for their overwhelming intellectual process, at least not of late. And my point was to also take into consideration future immigration of refugees of the environmental cataclysm Anatoly was predicting. Since this would overwhelmingly be from more equatorial regions, which tend to produce a lot of the low IQ populations, it stands to reason that many of these future migrants would be lower than the average Scandinavian in IQ.

    3. "They are still obviously dumber than Rednecks.
    No need to be rude.

    4. "Land is valuable because of population pressure. No people no value."
    I understand that. My point was that if inequality grows to such an extent that social upheaval occurs and property rights break down, having legal title to land is worthless. Read carefully before making condescending remarks.

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    The critical point about societies like Sweden or the UK isn't even so much the higher but still modest fertility rates of the incomers (in tandem with their younger ages) but that many of them continue to come in while ethnic Brits and Swedes emigrate in large numbers.

    This is resulting in surprisingly fact population replacement in those areas.

    I know the type In the 1920′s it was Jews and Italians.

    Actually the "Jews" but of that is something of an urban legend. Will have a post on that someday.

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  • “China encroach on the Russian Far East?”

    South pole instead. Antarctica as a colony for Chinese?

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    • Replies: @charly
    South Pole landmass is mostly under water. Removal of Ice would lift it but that takes millennia. But even the melting of the ice would take decades. But AK is wrong on South Africa and Southern South America
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Antarctic ice will take centuries to melt, even under the most apocalyptic scenarios.

    But by 3000 AD who knows?

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  • How much of the (relatively) high fertility of the Nordic countries is currently due to fast-breeding, low-IQ refugees? I think that the flood of third-world immigrants moving into the ARCS countries, with the promise of more to come as the climate shifts, would doom those countries to a dark future. I certainly wouldn’t want to buy land in any country likely to become a haven for third-worlders, with rising inequality and an underemployed lower class positioned to result in social upheaval.

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    • Replies: @charly
    Nordic people have a high fertility rate due to their cohabitation ways.
    The share of migrants is even to low to have that much of an influence.
    The fast breeders are almost extinct. No migrant group still has 10+ kids. 4 is about maximum, especially in a car centric society as Scandinavia. Low IQ immigrants? I know the type In the 1920's it was Jews and Italians. They are still obviously dumber than Rednecks.
    Land is valuable because of population pressure. No people no value.


    ps. Which of the low IQ place is it. Georgia USA or Georgia USSR

    , @Jennifer Hor
    I believe that people in Scandinavia and Finland enjoy quite generous social benefits that include maternity and paternity leave. Social welfare and family policies that encourage high female work participation, gender equality and family support translate into a high fertility rate.
    http://www.nikk.no/Gender+Equality+and+Fertility.9UFRzO43.ips

    The lowest fertility rates in First World countries (Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain) are often associated with social policies that present women with either/or options (they can work and stay single OR they can marry / have children and drop out of work BUT they can't work and marry / have children) and which reflect strong conservative religious or social attitudes in those countries.
    http://www.ipss.go.jp/webj-ad/webjournal.files/population/2008_4/01billari.pdf

    BTW fertility rates in Muslim countries have been falling though the media hardly talks about this. Iran carried out a family planning education program in the 1980s/90s and that country is now regarded as a model of how family planning education should be done as fertility rates have crashed there.
    http://www.lifenews.com/2012/07/05/underpopulation-muslim-world-faces-devastating-fertility-decline/

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    I certainly wouldn’t want to buy land in any country likely to become a haven for third-worlders...

    Why not? More people --> Sky-rocketing property prices. It's good to get in early. :)

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  • Hey have you read Lawrence Smith – he stole the march on the Arctic World paradigm anacronym on you, I think with NORCS (2010). Though ARCS certainly has a nicer ring to it :)

    http://www.amazon.com/The-World-2050-Civilizations-Northern/dp/0525951814

    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/geog/downloads/297/396.pdf

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I've read Smith's book though after I wrote this article. I will write a review someday.

    But thanks for supporting ARCS over NORCs. :)

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  • First Chinese ship makes trip to Atlantic via Arctic route
    AFP Aug 17, 2012, 05.29PM IST

    http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-08-17/news/33249671_1_northern-sea-route-ship-arctic

    REYKJAVIK: The first Chinese ship has travelled from the Pacific to Atlantic via the Arctic along the Russian coast, an Icelandic scientist who participated on the expedition said Friday.

    The Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, docked in Iceland after having sailed the so-called Northern Sea Route from the Pacific, Egill Thor Nielsson told AFP.

    “This is the first Chinese ship to sail this route and of course it is important because it’s a more than 40 percent shorter route to Europe,” he said.

    The Chinese are even more interested in this route after having found the passage relatively easy.

    “It took almost ten days to sail from the East Siberian Sea and through the Barents Sea, and during that time there was real pack ice for only seven days,” he said.

    Climate change is opening the prospect of commercial shipping via the Northern Sea Route or the Northwest Passage north of Canada.

    More and more ships are travelling via the Northern Sea Route. Four made the passage in 2010, 34 last year and the figure will be higher this year, said Nielsson.

    The Snow Dragon, bought from Ukraine in 1993, is currently China’s only ice breaker. A second being built in China with the help of a Finnish company, should be completed in 2014.

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  • Sounds interesting but the key is keeping out third world refugees/immigrants.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I don't think that will be peaceful. The ARCS I expect will become something resembling caste societies by the 22nd century.
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  • I am an idiosyncratic person. I support HBD, but oppose white (or any other) imperialism. My attitudes towards mainstream liberalism and conservatism is to wish a plague on both their houses. I think we're in for a world of hurt with Limits to Growth but also buy into "cornucopian" ideas like technological singularity and transhumanism....
  • @lordmunodi
    Africa maybe could produce enough food for itself, hypothetically, but even today it doesn't, and it doesn't look like things are getting any better. A swarm up north is doubtlessly bad. It already has been bad for France, England and Germany and the rest of Europe.

    They don’t because they are used as dumping ground for first world farmers. Also Africa has been ruled by dictators and they care about keeping peace in the capital so they want cheap food but Africa is going democratic and farmers always have an oversized vote so expect protective measures to support the farmers and with it a growing foodsupply

    The number of Africans* in Europe is really small. To small to say if it has been bad. If you talk to the brown shirt brigade they would sooner talk about sending Paki’s back to India than about Africans.

    *Africans as in Sub Sahara Africans. People from the Magreb and Sicily are not Africans within this context

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  • @charly
    Nigeria has for Southern Africa a high population density and it would still have a lower density than Bangladesh now so they could clearly fit. Besides i don't know were you get that number of 750 million in 2050. Wikipedia gives a prediction of only 400 million and if i look at the growth rate they use i would even argue that it is to high.

    European numbers, outside of the Eastern Europeans but i'm way to PC to say something about that, are not dwindling but slowly decreasing. We defenseless/ We spend more on defence than the rest of the World* combined. *excluding the US.

    Africa can produce enough food for 3 billion people so no need for starving Africans.

    Emigrants that don't become part of the upper class are rarely able keep their original culture so i don't see that happening.

    Is a swarm up northern bad? I don't see a problem as long as they aren't Paki's, Arabs or Romanians

    Africa maybe could produce enough food for itself, hypothetically, but even today it doesn’t, and it doesn’t look like things are getting any better. A swarm up north is doubtlessly bad. It already has been bad for France, England and Germany and the rest of Europe.

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    • Replies: @charly
    They don't because they are used as dumping ground for first world farmers. Also Africa has been ruled by dictators and they care about keeping peace in the capital so they want cheap food but Africa is going democratic and farmers always have an oversized vote so expect protective measures to support the farmers and with it a growing foodsupply

    The number of Africans* in Europe is really small. To small to say if it has been bad. If you talk to the brown shirt brigade they would sooner talk about sending Paki's back to India than about Africans.

    *Africans as in Sub Sahara Africans. People from the Magreb and Sicily are not Africans within this context

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  • @lordmunodi
    "Why should I care more about faceless Third Worlders?"

    Because their numbers are growing intrepidly. Nigeria's population, ridiculously enough, is supposed to hit 750 million by mid-century. There is no way in hell that all those people are going to fit in Nigeria, or even that the governments of the North will do much to stop a huge invasion of them. Look at Europe now: how will it look in 50 years, with European's numbers dwindling, and them becoming even more defenseless and decadent, with close to 3 billion starving Africans waiting to get in?

    America is likely to lose a chunk, at least culturally if most definitely not in fact, to Mexico, with an enormous detriment to its human capital coming soon. Global warming, if indeed the disaster predictions come true, will send an wave swarm of humanity north, like never seen before, and the white world will likely not have the will to contain it.

    Nigeria has for Southern Africa a high population density and it would still have a lower density than Bangladesh now so they could clearly fit. Besides i don’t know were you get that number of 750 million in 2050. Wikipedia gives a prediction of only 400 million and if i look at the growth rate they use i would even argue that it is to high.

    European numbers, outside of the Eastern Europeans but i’m way to PC to say something about that, are not dwindling but slowly decreasing. We defenseless/ We spend more on defence than the rest of the World* combined. *excluding the US.

    Africa can produce enough food for 3 billion people so no need for starving Africans.

    Emigrants that don’t become part of the upper class are rarely able keep their original culture so i don’t see that happening.

    Is a swarm up northern bad? I don’t see a problem as long as they aren’t Paki’s, Arabs or Romanians

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    • Replies: @lordmunodi
    Africa maybe could produce enough food for itself, hypothetically, but even today it doesn't, and it doesn't look like things are getting any better. A swarm up north is doubtlessly bad. It already has been bad for France, England and Germany and the rest of Europe.
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  • “Why should I care more about faceless Third Worlders?”

    Because their numbers are growing intrepidly. Nigeria’s population, ridiculously enough, is supposed to hit 750 million by mid-century. There is no way in hell that all those people are going to fit in Nigeria, or even that the governments of the North will do much to stop a huge invasion of them. Look at Europe now: how will it look in 50 years, with European’s numbers dwindling, and them becoming even more defenseless and decadent, with close to 3 billion starving Africans waiting to get in?

    America is likely to lose a chunk, at least culturally if most definitely not in fact, to Mexico, with an enormous detriment to its human capital coming soon. Global warming, if indeed the disaster predictions come true, will send an wave swarm of humanity north, like never seen before, and the white world will likely not have the will to contain it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @charly
    Nigeria has for Southern Africa a high population density and it would still have a lower density than Bangladesh now so they could clearly fit. Besides i don't know were you get that number of 750 million in 2050. Wikipedia gives a prediction of only 400 million and if i look at the growth rate they use i would even argue that it is to high.

    European numbers, outside of the Eastern Europeans but i'm way to PC to say something about that, are not dwindling but slowly decreasing. We defenseless/ We spend more on defence than the rest of the World* combined. *excluding the US.

    Africa can produce enough food for 3 billion people so no need for starving Africans.

    Emigrants that don't become part of the upper class are rarely able keep their original culture so i don't see that happening.

    Is a swarm up northern bad? I don't see a problem as long as they aren't Paki's, Arabs or Romanians

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  • I’m always a bit confused by reactionary acceptance of, let’s call it ‘alarmist’ global warming theory. When equations run away with themselves and start producing ludicrous outcomes (5C temperature rises, whole nations flooded, etc), common sense needs to step in and remind everyone that a model is not an experiment.

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  • It’s not going to be stopped, agreed. Individual action is not going to change anything, agreed.

    So what what we have left as the Cassandras of the Fall, as you point out is the question of personal morality, ethics, and justice and your sense of peace with the natural universe/one’s creator (both either or neither as you choose).

    That and a severe disagreement about what constitutes ‘the good life’ versus a ‘horrid life’.

    The utter vapidity and shallowness of the mindset and lifestyle of the minigarchs who hosted you is appalling. Do you really think, in the long run, beyond the most immediate, temporal, and superficial gratifications – that these people are happier and better off, for say, than the people in the suprising number of eco-communes in Russia that we have been looking into (or the West).
    Can you really know what is coming and what the cause of it is, be happy living a life of materialist and consumerist excess?
    Personally, I am betting that just a couple of weeks being forced to live and associate with these vapid and shallow capitalist ‘eloi’ on a regular basis would drive Anatoly Karlin to insanity, rage and frustration. Nor could he enjoy it long in utter isolation, I would venture. Face it, Anatoly was born to rage in and against the fin de siecle…
    I would love to introduce the Anatoly Karlin thirty years from now to his present incarnation and see if he feels the same then as now.

    Whatever else I may be in the ultimate scale of the universe, I am simply not a bread yeast.

    “After all jealousy and envy even of ostentatious wealth are – unless you’re a bona fide revolutionary like Lenin or Castro – self-defeating and ultimately for losers.”
    - Well, yes, ahem, count me among the ‘losers’ and ultimately, happier, for it.

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  • The graphs at the link which I posted above lack data for the 20th century. There is a graph for that period at the Wikipedia:

    The instrumental history of temperature, which is shown in black, peaks in 2004 (latest value) about 0.4 degrees C above the peak of the Medieval Warm Period. If you mentally continue the lines from the graphs at wattsupwiththat.com to that level – slightly above the Medieval Warm Period’s peak – the line fails to start looking extraordinary. There was nothing unusual about the MWP. The peak around 1200 BC looks higher and there were others like it further back in the current interglacial. What’s more, many past rises and falls look very sudden. The line turns nearly vertical in many places.

    Conclusion: based on these two sources of info, nothing unusual has happened so far. If you know of any sources that suggest otherwise, I’ll look at those. If this entire idea is based on projections alone, it’s probably worthless.

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