The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Current Commenter says:

Leave a Reply -


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenters to FollowHide Excerpts
By Authors Filter?
Andrei Martyanov Andrew J. Bacevich Andrew Joyce Andrew Napolitano Boyd D. Cathey Brad Griffin C.J. Hopkins Chanda Chisala Eamonn Fingleton Eric Margolis Fred Reed Godfree Roberts Gustavo Arellano Ilana Mercer Israel Shamir James Kirkpatrick James Petras James Thompson Jared Taylor JayMan John Derbyshire John Pilger Jonathan Revusky Kevin MacDonald Linh Dinh Michael Hoffman Michael Hudson Mike Whitney Nathan Cofnas Norman Finkelstein Pat Buchanan Patrick Cockburn Paul Craig Roberts Paul Gottfried Paul Kersey Peter Frost Peter Lee Philip Giraldi Philip Weiss Robert Weissberg Ron Paul Ron Unz Stephen J. Sniegoski The Saker Tom Engelhardt A. Graham Adam Hochschild Aedon Cassiel Ahmet Öncü Alexander Cockburn Alexander Hart Alfred McCoy Alison Rose Levy Alison Weir Anand Gopal Andre Damon Andrew Cockburn Andrew Fraser Andy Kroll Ann Jones Anonymous Anthony DiMaggio Ariel Dorfman Arlie Russell Hochschild Arno Develay Arnold Isaacs Artem Zagorodnov Astra Taylor Austen Layard Aviva Chomsky Ayman Fadel Barbara Ehrenreich Barbara Garson Barbara Myers Barry Lando Belle Chesler Beverly Gologorsky Bill Black Bill Moyers Bob Dreyfuss Bonnie Faulkner Brenton Sanderson Brett Redmayne-Titley Brian Dew Carl Horowitz Catherine Crump Charles Bausman Charles Goodhart Charles Wood Charlotteville Survivor Chase Madar Chris Hedges Chris Roberts Christian Appy Christopher DeGroot Chuck Spinney Coleen Rowley Cooper Sterling Craig Murray Dahr Jamail Dan E. Phillips Dan Sanchez Daniel McAdams Danny Sjursen Dave Kranzler Dave Lindorff David Barsamian David Bromwich David Chibo David Gordon David North David Vine David Walsh David William Pear Dean Baker Dennis Saffran Diana Johnstone Dilip Hiro Dirk Bezemer Ed Warner Edmund Connelly Eduardo Galeano Ellen Cantarow Ellen Packer Ellison Lodge Eric Draitser Eric Zuesse Erik Edstrom Erika Eichelberger Erin L. Thompson Eugene Girin F. Roger Devlin Franklin Lamb Frida Berrigan Friedrich Zauner Gabriel Black Gary Corseri Gary North Gary Younge Gene Tuttle George Albert George Bogdanich George Szamuely Georgianne Nienaber Glenn Greenwald Greg Grandin Greg Johnson Gregoire Chamayou Gregory Foster Gregory Hood Gregory Wilpert Guest Admin Hannah Appel Hans-Hermann Hoppe Harri Honkanen Henry Cockburn Hina Shamsi Howard Zinn Hubert Collins Hugh McInnish Ira Chernus Jack Kerwick Jack Rasmus Jack Ravenwood Jack Sen James Bovard James Carroll James Fulford Jane Lazarre Jared S. Baumeister Jason C. Ditz Jason Kessler Jay Stanley Jeff J. Brown Jeffrey Blankfort Jeffrey St. Clair Jen Marlowe Jeremiah Goulka Jeremy Cooper Jesse Mossman Jim Daniel Jim Kavanagh JoAnn Wypijewski Joe Lauria Johannes Wahlstrom John W. Dower John Feffer John Fund John Harrison Sims John Reid John Stauber John Taylor John V. Walsh John Williams Jon Else Jonathan Alan King Jonathan Anomaly Jonathan Rooper Jonathan Schell Joseph Kishore Juan Cole Judith Coburn K.R. Bolton Karel Van Wolferen Karen Greenberg Kelley Vlahos Kersasp D. Shekhdar Kevin Barrett Kevin Zeese Kshama Sawant Lance Welton Laura Gottesdiener Laura Poitras Laurent Guyénot Lawrence G. Proulx Leo Hohmann Linda Preston Logical Meme Lorraine Barlett M.G. Miles Mac Deford Maidhc O Cathail Malcolm Unwell Marcus Alethia Marcus Cicero Margaret Flowers Mark Danner Mark Engler Mark Perry Matt Parrott Mattea Kramer Matthew Harwood Matthew Richer Matthew Stevenson Max Blumenthal Max Denken Max North Maya Schenwar Michael Gould-Wartofsky Michael Schwartz Michael T. Klare Murray Polner Nan Levinson Naomi Oreskes Nate Terani Ned Stark Nelson Rosit Nicholas Stix Nick Kollerstrom Nick Turse Noam Chomsky Nomi Prins Patrick Cleburne Patrick Cloutier Paul Cochrane Paul Engler Paul Nachman Paul Nehlen Pepe Escobar Peter Brimelow Peter Gemma Peter Van Buren Pierre M. Sprey Pratap Chatterjee Publius Decius Mus Rajan Menon Ralph Nader Ramin Mazaheri Ramziya Zaripova Randy Shields Ray McGovern Razib Khan Rebecca Gordon Rebecca Solnit Richard Krushnic Richard Silverstein Rick Shenkman Rita Rozhkova Robert Baxter Robert Bonomo Robert Fisk Robert Lipsyte Robert Parry Robert Roth Robert S. Griffin Robert Scheer Robert Trivers Robin Eastman Abaya Roger Dooghy Ronald N. Neff Rory Fanning Sam Francis Sam Husseini Sayed Hasan Sharmini Peries Sheldon Richman Spencer Davenport Spencer Quinn Stefan Karganovic Steffen A. Woll Stephanie Savell Stephen J. Rossi Steve Fraser Steven Yates Sydney Schanberg Tanya Golash-Boza Ted Rall Theodore A. Postol Thierry Meyssan Thomas Frank Thomas O. Meehan Tim Shorrock Tim Weiner Tobias Langdon Todd E. Pierce Todd Gitlin Todd Miller Tom Piatak Tom Suarez Tom Sunic Tracy Rosenberg Virginia Dare Vladimir Brovkin Vox Day W. Patrick Lang Walter Block William Binney William DeBuys William Hartung William J. Astore Winslow T. Wheeler Ximena Ortiz Yan Shen
Nothing found
By Topics/Categories Filter?
2016 Election 9/11 Academia AIPAC Alt Right American Media American Military American Pravda Anti-Semitism Benjamin Netanyahu Blacks Britain China Conservative Movement Conspiracy Theories Deep State Donald Trump Economics Foreign Policy Hillary Clinton History Ideology Immigration IQ Iran ISIS Islam Israel Israel Lobby Israel/Palestine Jews Middle East Neocons Political Correctness Race/IQ Race/Ethnicity Republicans Russia Science Syria Terrorism Turkey Ukraine Vladimir Putin World War II 1971 War 2008 Election 2012 Election 2014 Election 23andMe 70th Anniversary Parade 75-0-25 Or Something A Farewell To Alms A. J. West A Troublesome Inheritance Aarab Barghouti Abc News Abdelhamid Abaaoud Abe Abe Foxman Abigail Marsh Abortion Abraham Lincoln Abu Ghraib Abu Zubaydah Academy Awards Acheivement Gap Acid Attacks Adam Schiff Addiction Adoptees Adoption Adoption Twins ADRA2b AEI Affective Empathy Affirmative Action Affordable Family Formation Afghanistan Africa African Americans African Genetics Africans Afrikaner Afrocentricism Agriculture Aha AIDS Ain't Nobody Got Time For That. Ainu Aircraft Carriers AirSea Battle Al Jazeera Al-Qaeda Alan Dershowitz Alan Macfarlane Albania Alberto Del Rosario Albion's Seed Alcohol Alcoholism Alexander Hamilton Alexandre Skirda Alexis De Tocqueville Algeria All Human Behavioral Traits Are Heritable All Traits Are Heritable Alpha Centauri Alpha Males Alt Left Altruism Amazon.com America The Beautiful American Atheists American Debt American Exceptionalism American Flag American Jews American Left American Legion American Nations American Nations American Prisons American Renaissance Americana Amerindians Amish Amish Quotient Amnesty Amnesty International Amoral Familialism Amy Chua Amygdala An Hbd Liberal Anaconda Anatoly Karlin Ancestry Ancient DNA Ancient Genetics Ancient Jews Ancient Near East Anders Breivik Andrei Nekrasov Andrew Jackson Androids Angela Stent Angelina Jolie Anglo-Saxons Ann Coulter Anne Buchanan Anne Heche Annual Country Reports On Terrorism Anthropology Antibiotics Antifa Antiquity Antiracism Antisocial Behavior Antiwar Movement Antonin Scalia Antonio Trillanes IV Anywhere But Here Apartheid Appalachia Appalachians Arab Christianity Arab Spring Arabs Archaic DNA Archaic Humans Arctic Humans Arctic Resources Argentina Argentina Default Armenians Army-McCarthy Hearings Arnon Milchan Art Arthur Jensen Artificial Intelligence As-Safir Ash Carter Ashkenazi Intelligence Ashkenazi Jews Ashraf Ghani Asia Asian Americans Asian Quotas Asians ASPM Assassinations Assimilation Assortative Mating Atheism Atlantic Council Attractiveness Attractiveness Australia Australian Aboriginals Austria Austro-Hungarian Empire Austronesians Autism Automation Avi Tuschman Avigdor Lieberman Ayodhhya Babri Masjid Baby Boom Baby Gap Baby Girl Jay Backlash Bacterial Vaginosis Bad Science Bahrain Balanced Polymorphism Balkans Baltimore Riots Bangladesh Banking Banking Industry Banking System Banks Barack H. Obama Barack Obama Barbara Comstock Bariatric Surgery Baseball Bashar Al-Assad Baumeister BDA BDS Movement Beauty Beauty Standards Behavior Genetics Behavioral Genetics Behaviorism Beijing Belgrade Embassy Bombing Believeing In Observational Studies Is Nuts Ben Cardin Ben Carson Benghazi Benjamin Cardin Berlin Wall Bernard Henri-Levy Bernard Lewis Bernie Madoff Bernie Sanders Bernies Sanders Beta Males BICOM Big Five Bilingual Education Bill 59 Bill Clinton Bill Kristol Bill Maher Billionaires Billy Graham Birds Of A Feather Birth Order Birth Rate Bisexuality Bisexuals BJP Black Americans Black Crime Black History Black Lives Matter Black Metal Black Muslims Black Panthers Black Women Attractiveness Blackface Blade Runner Blogging Blond Hair Blue Eyes Bmi Boasian Anthropology Boderlanders Boeing Boers Boiling Off Boko Haram Bolshevik Revolution Books Border Reivers Borderlander Borderlanders Boris Johnson Bosnia Boston Bomb Boston Marathon Bombing Bowe Bergdahl Boycott Divest And Sanction Boycott Divestment And Sanctions Brain Brain Scans Brain Size Brain Structure Brazil Breaking Down The Bullshit Breeder's Equation Bret Stephens Brexit Brian Boutwell Brian Resnick BRICs Brighter Brains Brighton Broken Hill Brown Eyes Bruce Jenner Bruce Lahn brussels Bryan Caplan BS Bundy Family Burakumin Burma Bush Administration C-section Cagots Caitlyn Jenner California Cambodia Cameron Russell Campaign Finance Campaign For Liberty Campus Rape Canada Canada Day Canadian Flag Canadians Cancer Candida Albicans Cannabis Capital Punishment Capitalism Captain Chicken Cardiovascular Disease Care Package Carl Sagan Carly Fiorina Caroline Glick Carroll Quigley Carry Me Back To Ole Virginny Carter Page Castes Catalonia Catholic Church Catholicism Catholics Causation Cavaliers CCTV Censorship Central Asia Chanda Chisala Charles Darwin Charles Krauthammer Charles Murray Charles Schumer Charleston Shooting Charlie Hebdo Charlie Rose Charlottesville Chechens Chechnya Cherlie Hebdo Child Abuse Child Labor Children Chimerism China/America China Stock Market Meltdown China Vietnam Chinese Chinese Communist Party Chinese Evolution Chinese Exclusion Act Chlamydia Chris Gown Chris Rock Chris Stringer Christian Fundamentalism Christianity Christmas Christopher Steele Chuck Chuck Hagel Chuck Schumer CIA Cinema Civil Liberties Civil Rights Civil War Civilian Deaths CJIA Clannishness Clans Clark-unz Selection Classical Economics Classical History Claude-Lévi-Strauss Climate Climate Change Clinton Global Initiative Cliodynamics Cloudburst Flight Clovis Cochran And Harpending Coefficient Of Relationship Cognitive Empathy Cognitive Psychology Cohorts Cold War Colin Kaepernick Colin Woodard Colombia Colonialism Colonists Coming Apart Comments Communism Confederacy Confederate Flag Conflict Of Interest Congress Consanguinity Conscientiousness Consequences Conservatism Conservatives Constitution Constitutional Theory Consumer Debt Cornel West Corporal Punishment Correlation Is Still Not Causation Corruption Corruption Perception Index Costa Concordia Cousin Marriage Cover Story CPEC Craniometry CRIF Crime Crimea Criminality Crowded Crowding Cruise Missiles Cuba Cuban Missile Crisis Cuckold Envy Cuckservative Cultural Evolution Cultural Marxism Cut The Sh*t Guys DACA Dads Vs Cads Daily Mail Dalai Lama Dallas Shooting Dalliard Dalton Trumbo Damascus Bombing Dan Freedman Dana Milbank Daniel Callahan Danish Daren Acemoglu Dark Ages Dark Tetrad Dark Triad Darwinism Data Posts David Brooks David Friedman David Frum David Goldenberg David Hackett Fischer David Ignatius David Katz David Kramer David Lane David Petraeus Davide Piffer Davos Death Death Penalty Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Debt Declaration Of Universal Human Rights Deep Sleep Deep South Democracy Democratic Party Democrats Demographic Transition Demographics Demography Denisovans Denmark Dennis Ross Depression Deprivation Deregulation Derek Harvey Desired Family Size Detroit Development Developmental Noise Developmental Stability Diabetes Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders Dialects Dick Cheney Die Nibelungen Dienekes Diet Different Peoples Is Different Dinesh D'Souza Dirty Bomb Discrimination Discrimination Paradigm Disney Dissent Diversity Dixie Django Unchained Do You Really Want To Know? Doing My Part Doll Tests Dollar Domestic Terrorism Dominique Strauss-Kahn Dopamine Douglas MacArthur Dr James Thompson Drd4 Dreams From My Father Dresden Drew Barrymore Dreyfus Affair Drinking Drone War Drones Drug Cartels Drugs Dry Counties DSM Dunning-kruger Effect Dusk In Autumn Dustin Hoffman Duterte Dylan Roof Dylann Roof Dysgenic E.O. 9066 E. O. Wilson Eagleman East Asia East Asians Eastern Europe Eastern Europeans Ebola Economic Development Economic Sanctions Economy Ed Miller Education Edward Price Edward Snowden EEA Egypt Eisenhower El Salvador Elections Electric Cars Elie Wiesel Eliot Cohen Eliot Engel Elites Ellen Walker Elliot Abrams Elliot Rodger Elliott Abrams Elon Musk Emigration Emil Kirkegaard Emmanuel Macron Emmanuel Todd Empathy England English Civil War Enhanced Interrogations Enoch Powell Entrepreneurship Environment Environmental Estrogens Environmentalism Erdogan Eric Cantor Espionage Estrogen Ethiopia Ethnic Genetic Interests Ethnic Nepotism Ethnicity EU Eugenic Eugenics Eurasia Europe European Right European Union Europeans Eurozone Everything Evil Evolution Evolutionary Biology Evolutionary Psychology Exercise Extraversion Extreterrestrials Eye Color Eyes Ezra Cohen-Watnick Face Recognition Face Shape Faces Facts Fake News fallout Family Studies Far West Farmers Farming Fascism Fat Head Fat Shaming Father Absence FBI Federal Reserve Female Deference Female Homosexuality Female Sexual Response Feminism Feminists Ferguson Shooting Fertility Fertility Fertility Rates Fethullah Gulen Fetish Feuds Fields Medals FIFA Fifty Shades Of Grey Film Finance Financial Bailout Financial Bubbles Financial Debt Financial Sector Financial Times Finland First Amendment First Law First World War FISA Fitness Flags Flight From White Fluctuating Asymmetry Flynn Effect Food Football For Profit Schools Foreign Service Fourth Of July Fracking Fragrances France Francesco Schettino Frank Salter Frankfurt School Frantz Fanon Franz Boas Fred Hiatt Fred Reed Freddie Gray Frederic Hof Free Speech Free Trade Free Will Freedom Of Navigation Freedom Of Speech French Canadians French National Front French Paradox Friendly & Conventional Front National Frost-harpending Selection Fulford Funny G G Spot Gaddafi Gallipoli Game Gardnerella Vaginalis Gary Taubes Gay Germ Gay Marriage Gays/Lesbians Gaza Gaza Flotilla Gcta Gender Gender Gender And Sexuality Gender Confusion Gender Equality Gender Identity Disorder Gender Reassignment Gene-Culture Coevolution Gene-environment Correlation General Intelligence General Social Survey General Theory Of The West Genes Genes: They Matter Bitches Genetic Diversity Genetic Divides Genetic Engineering Genetic Load Genetic Pacification Genetics Genetics Of Height Genocide Genomics Geography Geopolitics George Bush George Clooney George Patton George Romero George Soros George Tenet George W. Bush George Wallace Germ Theory German Catholics Germans Germany Get It Right Get Real Ghouta Gilgit Baltistan Gina Haspel Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Global Terrorism Index Global Warming Globalism Globalization God Delusion Goetsu Going Too Far Gold Gold Warriors Goldman Sachs Good Advice Google Gordon Gallup Goths Government Debt Government Incompetence Government Spending Government Surveillance Great Depression Great Leap Forward Great Recession Greater Appalachia Greece Greeks Greg Clark Greg Cochran Gregory B Christainsen Gregory Clark Gregory Cochran Gregory House GRF Grooming Group Intelligence Group Selection Grumpy Cat GSS Guangzhou Guantanamo Guardian Guilt Culture Gun Control Guns Gynephilia Gypsies H-1B H Bomb H.R. McMaster H1-B Visas Haim Saban Hair Color Hair Lengthening Haiti Hajnal Line Hamas Hamilton: An American Musical Hamilton's Rule Happiness Happy Turkey Day ... Unless You're The Turkey Harriet Tubman Harry Jaffa Harvard Harvey Weinstein Hasbara Hassidim Hate Crimes Hate Speech Hatemi Havelock Ellis Haymarket Affair Hbd Hbd Chick HBD Denial Hbd Fallout Hbd Readers Head Size Health And Medicine Health Care Healthcare Heart Disease Heart Health Heart Of Asia Conference Heartiste Heather Norton Height Helmuth Nyborg Hemoglobin Henri De Man Henry Harpending Henry Kissinger Herbert John Fleure Heredity Heritability Hexaco Hezbollah High Iq Fertility Hip Hop Hiroshima Hispanic Crime Hispanic Paradox Hispanics Historical Genetics Hitler HKND Hollywood Holocaust Homicide Homicide Rate Homo Altaiensis Homophobia Homosexuality Honesty-humility House Intelligence Committee House M.d. House Md House Of Cards Housing Huey Long Huey Newton Hugo Chavez Human Biodiversity Human Evolution Human Genetics Human Genomics Human Nature Human Rights Human Varieties Humor Hungary Hunter-Gatherers Hunting Hurricane Hurricane Harvey I.F. Stone I Kissed A Girl And I Liked It I Love Italians I.Q. Genomics Ian Deary Ibd Ibo Ice T Iceland I'd Like To Think It's Obvious I Know What I'm Talking About Ideology And Worldview Idiocracy Igbo Ignorance Ilana Mercer Illegal Immigration IMF immigrants Immigration Imperial Presidency Imperialism Imran Awan In The Electric Mist Inbreeding Income Independence Day India Indians Individualism Inequality Infection Theory Infidelity Intelligence Internet Internet Research Agency Interracial Marriage Inuit Ioannidis Ioannis Metaxas Iosif Lazaridis Iq Iq And Wealth Iran Nuclear Agreement Iran Nuclear Program Iran Sanctions Iranian Nuclear Program Iraq Iraq War Ireland Irish ISIS. Terrorism Islamic Jihad Islamophobia Isolationism Israel Defense Force Israeli Occupation Israeli Settlements Israeli Spying Italianthro Italy It's Determinism - Genetics Is Just A Part It's Not Nature And Nurture Ivanka Ivy League Iwo Eleru J. Edgar Hoover Jack Keane Jake Tapper JAM-GC Jamaica James Clapper James Comey James Fanell James Mattis James Wooley Jamie Foxx Jane Harman Jane Mayer Janet Yellen Japan Japanese Jared Diamond Jared Kushner Jared Taylor Jason Malloy JASTA Jayman Jr. Jayman's Wife Jeff Bezos Jennifer Rubin Jensen Jeremy Corbyn Jerrold Nadler Jerry Seinfeld Jesse Bering Jesuits Jewish History JFK Assassination Jill Stein Jim Crow Joe Cirincione Joe Lieberman John Allen John B. Watson John Boehner John Bolton John Brennan John Derbyshire John Durant John F. Kennedy John Hawks John Hoffecker John Kasich John Kerry John Ladue John McCain John McLaughlin John McWhorter John Mearsheimer John Tooby Joke Posts Jonathan Freedland Jonathan Pollard Joseph Lieberman Joseph McCarthy Judaism Judicial System Judith Harris Julian Assange Jute K.d. Lang Kagans Kanazawa Kashmir Katibat Al-Battar Al-Libi Katy Perry Kay Hymowitz Keith Ellison Ken Livingstone Kenneth Marcus Kennewick Man Kevin MacDonald Kevin McCarthy Kevin Mitchell Kevin Williamson KGL-9268 Khazars Kim Jong Un Kimberly Noble Kin Altruism Kin Selection Kink Kinship Kissing Kiwis Kkk Knesset Know-nothings Korea Korean War Kosovo Ku Klux Klan Kurds Kurt Campbell Labor Day Lactose Lady Gaga Language Larkana Conspiracy Larry Summers Larung Gar Las Vegas Massacre Latin America Latinos Latitude Latvia Law Law Of War Manual Laws Of Behavioral Genetics Lead Poisoning Lebanon Leda Cosmides Lee Kuan Yew Left Coast Left/Right Lenin Leo Strauss Lesbians LGBT Liberal Creationism Liberalism Liberals Libertarianism Libertarians Libya life-expectancy Life In Space Life Liberty And The Pursuit Of Happyness Lifestyle Light Skin Preference Lindsay Graham Lindsey Graham Literacy Litvinenko Lloyd Blankfein Locus Of Control Logan's Run Lombok Strait Long Ass Posts Longevity Look AHEAD Looting Lorde Love Love Dolls Lover Boys Low-carb Low-fat Low Wages LRSO Lutherans Lyndon Johnson M Factor M.g. MacArthur Awards Machiavellianism Madeleine Albright Mahmoud Abbas Maine Malacca Strait Malaysian Airlines MH17 Male Homosexuality Mamasapano Mangan Manor Manorialism Manosphere Manufacturing Mao-a Mao Zedong Maoism Maori Map Posts maps Marc Faber Marco Rubio Marijuana Marine Le Pen Mark Carney Mark Steyn Mark Warner Market Economy Marriage Martin Luther King Marwan Marwan Barghouti Marxism Mary White Ovington Masha Gessen Mass Shootings Massacre In Nice Mate Choice Mate Value Math Mathematics Maulana Bhashani Max Blumenthal Max Boot Max Brooks Mayans McCain/POW Mearsheimer-Walt Measurement Error Mega-Aggressions Mega-anlysis Megan Fox Megyn Kelly Melanin Memorial Day Mental Health Mental Illness Mental Traits Meritocracy Merkel Mesolithic Meta-analysis Meth Mexican-American War Mexico Michael Anton Michael Bloomberg Michael Flynn Michael Hudson Michael Jackson Michael Lewis Michael Morell Michael Pompeo Michael Weiss Michael Woodley Michele Bachmann Michelle Bachmann Michelle Obama Microaggressions Microcephalin Microsoft Middle Ages Mideastwire Migration Mike Huckabee Mike Pence Mike Pompeo Mike Signer Mikhail Khodorkovsky Militarized Police Military Military Pay Military Spending Milner Group Mindanao Minimum Wage Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study Minorities Minstrels Mirror Neurons Miscellaneous Misdreavus Missile Defense Mitt Romney Mixed-Race Modern Humans Mohammed Bin Salman Moldova Monogamy Moral Absolutism Moral Universalism Morality Mormons Moro Mortality Mossad Mountains Movies Moxie Mrs. Jayman MTDNA Muammar Gaddafi Multiculturalism Multiregional Model Music Muslim Muslim Ban Muslims Mutual Assured Destruction My Lai My Old Kentucky Home Myanmar Mysticism Nagasaki Nancy Segal Narendra Modi Nascar National Debt National Differences National Review National Security State National Security Strategy National Wealth Nationalism Native Americans NATO Natural Selection Nature Vs. Nurture Navy Yard Shooting Naz Shah Nazi Nazis Nazism Nbc News Nbc Nightly News Neanderthals NED Neo-Nazis Neoconservatism Neoconservatives Neoliberalism Neolithic Netherlands Neuropolitics Neuroticism Never Forget The Genetic Confound New Addition New Atheists New Cold War New England Patriots New France New French New Netherland New Qing History New Rules New Silk Road New World Order New York City New York Times Newfoundland Newt Gingrich NFL Nicaragua Canal Nicholas Sarkozy Nicholas Wade Nigeria Nightly News Nikki Haley No Free Will Nobel Prize Nobel Prized Nobosuke Kishi Nordics North Africa North Korea Northern Ireland Northwest Europe Norway NSA NSA Surveillance Nuclear Proliferation Nuclear War Nuclear Weapons Null Result Nurture Nurture Assumption Nutrition Nuts NYPD O Mio Babbino Caro Obama Obamacare Obesity Obscured American Occam's Razor Occupy Occupy Wall Street Oceania Oil Oil Industry Old Folks At Home Olfaction Oliver Stone Olympics Omega Males Ominous Signs Once You Go Black Open To Experience Openness To Experience Operational Sex Ratio Opiates Opioids Orban Organ Transplants Orlando Shooting Orthodoxy Osama Bin Laden Ottoman Empire Our Political Nature Out Of Africa Model Outbreeding Oxtr Oxytocin Paekchong Pakistan Pakistani Palatability Paleoamerindians Paleocons Paleolibertarianism Palestine Palestinians Pamela Geller Panama Canal Panama Papers Parasite Parasite Burden Parasite Manipulation Parent-child Interactions Parenting Parenting Parenting Behavioral Genetics Paris Attacks Paris Spring Parsi Paternal Investment Pathogens Patriot Act Patriotism Paul Ewald Paul Krugman Paul Lepage Paul Manafort Paul Ryan Paul Singer Paul Wolfowitz Pavel Grudinin Peace Index Peak Jobs Pearl Harbor Pedophilia Peers Peggy Seagrave Pennsylvania Pentagon Perception Management Personality Peru Peter Frost Peter Thiel Peter Turchin Phil Onderdonk Phil Rushton Philip Breedlove Philippines Physical Anthropology Pierre Van Den Berghe Pieter Van Ostaeyen Piigs Pioneer Hypothesis Pioneers PISA Pizzagate Planets Planned Parenthood Pledge Of Allegiance Pleiotropy Pol Pot Poland Police State Police Training Politics Poll Results Polls Polygenic Score Polygyny Pope Francis Population Growth Population Replacement Populism Pornography Portugal Post 199 Post 201 Post 99 Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc Post-Nationalism Pot Poverty PRC Prenatal Hormones Prescription Drugs Press Censorship Pretty Graphs Prince Bandar Priti Patel Privatization Progressives Project Plowshares Propaganda Prostitution Protestantism Proud To Be Black Psychology Psychometrics Psychopaths Psychopathy Pubertal Timing Public Schools Puerto Rico Punishment Puritans Putin Pwc Qatar Quakers Quantitative Genetics Quebec Quebecois Race Race And Crime Race And Genomics Race And Iq Race And Religion Race/Crime Race Denialism Race Riots Rachel Dolezal Rachel Maddow Racial Intelligence Racial Reality Racism Radical Islam Ralph And Coop Ralph Nader Rand Paul Randy Fine Rap Music Raqqa Rating People Rationality Raul Pedrozo Razib Khan Reaction Time Reading Real Estate Real Women Really Stop The Armchair Psychoanalysis Recep Tayyip Erdogan Reciprocal Altruism Reconstruction Red Hair Red State Blue State Red States Blue States Refugee Crisis Regional Differences Regional Populations Regression To The Mean Religion Religion Religion And Philosophy Rena Wing Renewable Energy Rentier Reprint Reproductive Strategy Republican Jesus Republican Party Responsibility Reuel Gerecht Reverend Moon Revolution Of 1905 Revolutions Rex Tillerson Richard Dawkins Richard Dyer Richard Lewontin Richard Lynn Richard Nixon Richard Pryor Richard Pryor Live On The Sunset Strip Richard Russell Rick Perry Rickets Rikishi Robert Ford Robert Kraft Robert Lindsay Robert McNamara Robert Mueller Robert Mugabe Robert Plomin Robert Putnam Robert Reich Robert Spencer Robocop Robots Roe Vs. Wade Roger Ailes Rohingya Roman Empire Rome Ron Paul Ron Unz Ronald Reagan Rooshv Rosemary Hopcroft Ross Douthat Ross Perot Rotherham Roy Moore RT International Rupert Murdoch Rural Liberals Rushton Russell Kirk Russia-Georgia War Russiagate Russian Elections 2018 Russian Hack Russian History Russian Military Russian Orthodox Church Ruth Benedict Saakashvili Sam Harris Same Sex Attraction Same-sex Marriage Same-sex Parents Samoans Samuel George Morton San Bernadino Massacre Sandra Beleza Sandusky Sandy Hook Sarah Palin Sarin Gas Satoshi Kanazawa saudi Saudi Arabia Saying What You Have To Say Scandinavia Scandinavians Scarborough Shoal Schizophrenia Science: It Works Bitches Scientism Scotch-irish Scotland Scots Irish Scott Ritter Scrabble Secession Seduced By Food Semai Senate Separating The Truth From The Nonsense Serbia Serenity Sergei Magnitsky Sergei Skripal Sex Sex Ratio Sex Ratio At Birth Sex Recognition Sex Tape Sex Work Sexism Sexual Antagonistic Selection Sexual Dimorphism Sexual Division Of Labor Sexual Fluidity Sexual Identity Sexual Maturation Sexual Orientation Sexual Selection Sexually Transmitted Diseases Seymour Hersh Shai Masot Shame Culture Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Shanghai Stock Exchange Shared Environment Shekhovstov Sheldon Adelson Shias And Sunnis Shimon Arad Shimon Peres Shinzo Abe Shmuley Boteach Shorts And Funnies Shoshana Bryen Shurat HaDin Shyness Siamak Namazi Sibel Edmonds Siberia Silicon Valley Simon Baron Cohen Singapore Single Men Single Motherhood Single Mothers Single Women Sisyphean Six Day War SJWs Skin Bleaching Skin Color Skin Tone Slate Slave Trade Slavery Slavoj Zizek Slavs SLC24A5 Sleep Slobodan Milosevic Smart Fraction Smell Smoking Snow Snyderman Social Constructs Social Justice Warriors Socialism Sociopathy Sociosexuality Solar Energy Solutions Somalia Sometimes You Don't Like The Answer South Africa South Asia South China Sea South Korea South Sudan Southern Italians Southern Poverty Law Center Soviet Union Space Space Space Program Space Race Spain Spanish Paradox Speech SPLC Sports Sputnik News Squid Ink Srebrenica Stabby Somali Staffan Stalinism Stanislas Dehaene Star Trek State Department State Formation States Rights Statins Steny Hoyer Stephan Guyenet Stephen Cohen Stephen Colbert Stephen Hadley Stephen Jay Gould Sterling Seagrave Steve Bannon Steve Sailer Steven Mnuchin Steven Pinker Still Not Free Buddy Stolen Generations Strategic Affairs Ministry Stroke Belt Student Loans Stuxnet SU-57 Sub-replacement Fertility Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africans Subprime Mortgage Crisis Subsistence Living Suffrage Sugar Suicide Summing It All Up Supernatural Support Me Support The Jayman Supreme Court Supression Surveillance Susan Glasser Susan Rice Sweden Swiss Switzerland Syed Farook Syrian Refugees Syriza Ta-Nehisi Coates Taiwan Tale Of Two Maps Taliban Tamerlan Tsarnaev TAS2R16 Tashfeen Malik Taste Tastiness Tatars Tatu Vanhanen Tawang Tax Cuts Tax Evasion Taxes Tea Party Team Performance Technology Ted Cruz Tell Me About You Tell The Truth Terman Terman's Termites Terroris Terrorists Tesla Testosterone Thailand The 10000 Year Explosion The Bible The Breeder's Equation The Confederacy The Dark Knight The Dark Triad The Death Penalty The Deep South The Devil Is In The Details The Dustbowl The Economist The Far West The Future The Great Plains The Great Wall The Left The Left Coast The New York Times The Pursuit Of Happyness The Rock The Saker The Son Also Rises The South The Walking Dead The Washington Post The Wide Environment The World Theodore Roosevelt Theresa May Things Going Sour Third World Thomas Aquinas Thomas Friedman Thomas Perez Thomas Sowell Thomas Talhelm Thorstein Veblen Thurgood Marshall Tibet Tidewater Tiger Mom Time Preference Timmons Title IX Tobin Tax Tom Cotton Tom Naughton Tone It Down Guys Seriously Tony Blair Torture Toxoplasma Gondii TPP Traffic Traffic Fatalities Tragedy Trans-Species Polymorphism Transgender Transgenderism Transsexuals Treasury Tropical Humans Trump Trust TTIP Tuition Tulsi Gabbard Turkheimer TWA 800 Twin Study Twins Twins Raised Apart Twintuition Twitter Two Party System UKIP Ukrainian Crisis UN Security Council Unemployment Unions United Kingdom United Nations United States Universalism University Admissions Upper Paleolithic Urban Riots Ursula Gauthier Uruguay US Blacks USS Liberty Utopian Uttar Pradesh UV Uyghurs Vaginal Yeast Valerie Plame Vassopressin Vdare Veep Venezuela Veterans Administration Victor Canfield Victor Davis Hanson Victoria Nuland Victorian England Victorianism Video Games Vietnam Vietnam War Vietnamese Vikings Violence Vioxx Virginia Visa Waivers Visual Word Form Area Vitamin D Voronezh Vote Fraud Vouchers Vwfa W.E.I.R.D. W.E.I.R.D.O. Wahhabis Wall Street Walter Bodmer Wang Jing War On Christmas War On Terror Washington Post WasPage Watergate Watsoning We Are What We Are We Don't Know All The Environmental Causes Weight Loss WEIRDO Welfare Western Europe Western European Marriage Pattern Western Media Western Religion Westerns What Can You Do What's The Cause Where They're At Where's The Fallout White America White Americans White Conservative Males White Death White Helmets White Nationalist Nuttiness White Nationalists White Privilege White Slavery White Supremacy White Wife Why We Believe Hbd Wikileaks Wild Life Wilhelm Furtwangler William Browder William Buckley William D. Hamilton William Graham Sumner William McGougall WINEP Winston Churchill Women In The Workplace Woodley Effect Woodrow Wilson WORDSUM Workers Working Class Working Memory World Values Survey World War I World War Z Writing WTO X Little Miss JayLady Xhosa Xi Jinping Xinjiang Yankeedom Yankees Yazidis Yemen Yes I Am A Brother Yes I Am Liberal - But That Kind Of Liberal Yochi Dreazen You Can't Handle The Truth You Don't Know Shit Youtube Ban Yugoslavia Zbigniew Brzezinski Zhang Yimou Zika Zika Virus Zimbabwe Zionism Zombies Zones Of Thought Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Nothing found
All Commenters • My
Comments
• Followed
Commenters
All Comments / On "Russian Reaction"
 All Comments / On "Russian Reaction"
      At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Anonymous
    Information war is a part of real war. Propaganda obviously depends to a large extent on the larger context of real variables such as economic and military strength. You can believe that US economic and military strength was a complete illusion and that Gorbachev was thus completely delusional, but most people would dispute this view. The USSR's legitimacy and prestige around the world depended on its promise that its system could deliver better material progress than the capitalist West could.

    Indochina is an extreme example of similar trends elsewhere. The Brits started making concessions in India as a result of pressure from WW2 and Axis support of Indian nationalists. They lost control of Malay/Singapore, and these areas were won back by the US victory in the Asia/Pacific. After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements. It wasn't simply about following what was cool. The Rhodesians, for example, did not care about looking "uncool", and were doing well fighting the black nationalist ZANU militia until ZANU started being trained and aided heavily by the communist bloc. There were similar examples elsewhere in Africa. The colonials were urged to leave by the US not simply because it was "uncool", but because their continued presence would have strengthened the anti-colonial, communist backed nationalists and united the native populations in anti-colonial national liberation. The US, not unreasonably, calculated that this would lead to many more countries going communist, to communist domination of the planet, and Soviet victory in the Cold War. The US figured that it would be better to try to cultivate and use pro-US/anti-communist nationalists, which it had been doing for decades already e.g. Chiang-Kai-Shek and the Chinese Nationalists, various anti-Japanese nationalists in WW2, etc.

    Good post.

    In 4th generation war theory terms, the European colonial empires were defeated at the moral level after WW2, as was the USSR after 1989, and these defeats are just as real in their consequences as military defeat in war. Whether the victors were ‘laudable’ is a different question.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Seamus Padraig
    No, GDP does not include the sale of used goods. On that point, silvio's correct. But by the same token, it includes a lot more than just the production on new goods.

    The standard formula for calculating GDP (Y) is the sum of consumption (C), investment (I), government spending (G) and net exports (X – M). For a more detailed overview of each variable, see Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product#Components_of_GDP_by_expenditure

    But it should be obvious at first glance that there's a lot more going on here than just the production of new goods.

    Consider crime, for example. A dramatic increase in crime usually moves the govt. to hire more cops and build more prisons--more 'G'. Ka-ching! But only a fool would argue that more crime, which diminishes your safety and degrades your community, actually improves your life or community.

    Another example would be externalities like pollution. Let's say a local factory is poisoning the drinking water. The factory's output itself is counted towards GDP, and when people drink the polluted water, get sick and have to pay more for doctor/hospital visits, that too counts towards GDP (medical expenditures would fall under 'C'). But from a quality of life standpoint, there is obviously something wrong with this picture.

    But it should be obvious at first glance that there’s a lot more going on here than just the production of new goods.

    No, that is not obvious. Production is what GDP measures. Well, GDP can also be calculated by measuring income, since someone’s expenditure is always someone else’s income, but the resulting total will be the same figure, so ultimately it’s measuring production.

    The issues you raise don’t have anything to do with GDP per se. They only relate to the usefulness of GDP as a proxy for national well-being. Quite clearly, if GDP is the only measure relied on then it’s possible for well-being to be overstated.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    What about real estate and financial transactions? Are those counted in GDP? only for newly built houses and newly issued stock?

    Real estate transactions that represent the purchase of new buildings or newly developed land are counted. Sales of existing land and buildings are not. “Financial transactions” is a somewhat vague term. Basically, it’s the income that a financial asset produces that is counted towards GDP. So the interest received by the purchaser of a bond counts, as does a dividend received by a stockholder. But the purchase of the bond or the stock doesn’t count.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @silviosilver

    This “I tie your shoes for a dollar, you tie mine for the same price–together we produced 2 Dollars of GDP” is THE foundation of monetarism and, thus, overstates the actual GDP greatly, sometimes–manifold.
     
    If your implication is that GDP measures money passing back and forth between two parties with nothing of value being exchanged, then you are simply wrong. GDP counts the production of new goods. It doesn't matter how many times two parties exchange, say, a used car - GDP doesn't count it.

    If you meant to assert something other than this, you will have to explain it because I don't see any other meaning in your statement.

    If you meant to assert something other than this, you will have to explain it because I don’t see any other meaning in your statement.

    Yeah, single word–Facebook. Several hundred pages of code and a bunch of morons exposing themselves. Ta-da, IPO through the roof. What a “value”. GDP all the way!

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    I don't think the USSR had better public transportation. The US had better roads, which made buses better. And US subways and trains were fine. And if you include affordable air travel in public transportation, then obviously the US had the edge there as well.

    As far as crime goes, the US has a significant minority that's significantly crime prone. Up to the 50s even in places like DC, people didn't lock their cars or houses because they didn't need to.

    I wouldn't say the USSR had a better education system.

    I wouldn’t say the USSR had a better education system.

    Well, yes, because you have no idea what you are writing about. Just to give you some feel–what MIT students were studying in Physics in first year was studied in USSR in the 9-10th grades.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    I don't understand why you believe Russia will behave that way if it will lead to it being nuked by China and the US and thus destroyed, leaving the US to dominate the world.

    Well Russia has a huge number of tactical nukes. So they have some scenario in mind for them coming in handy. Maybe just as a threat, however, if they were losing they might decide to use one. But after going nuclear war could would likely go to escalation. Russia may not be reconciled to progressively becoming a second or even third rate power and decide to roll the dice as there is nothing to gain by waiting.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • @Deduction
    It doesn't have to be people doing Russia down for the sake of it. It could easily be their real impressions.

    10 years ago I met no Russians when I visited Thailand. This year, after their recession started, I saw signs in Russian everywhere but, as the locals confirmed, what had become many had now stopped coming.

    If I hadn't been there ten years ago I would have assumed that Russia was in free fall.

    If I didn't read you I would assume that Russia is falling back to 1990's levels.

    In neither case would I be ill-intentioned.

    As it is, I recognise that effects at the margins are often disproportionately strong, and holidays in Thailand are very marginal spending.

    Yes, RF has its difficulties. But why the idiots that pushed Ukraine away from the reliable Russian market are not trumpeted as such? – the idiots and profiteers on other peoples’ sorrows and troubles. Here is a report on a state of Ukrainian economy:

    http://russia-insider.com/en/business/ukraine-gdp-and-exports-collapsing/ri9367

    Excerpts:
    “According to data of the World Bank, Ukraine’s real GDP performance for the last 24 years has been the worst in the world…
    In the first half of the [2015] year, the decline of industrial production was 20.5%. The decline in agriculture was 9.3 per cent and exports collapsed by 35.4 per cent. The collapse of exports to Russia was particularly marked. Real wages in Ukraine fell 23.9%…. the decline in GDP for the year will slow to 8.9 per cent, while inflation is expected to reach 45.8 per cent (December to December).
    Ukraine’s economy contracted in 2014 by 6.8 per cent while prices rose by 24.9 per cent. In the first quarter of 2015, the GDP decline was greater than that of the last quarter of 2014, 17.2 per cent compared to 14.8 per cent.
    Military spending rising steeply: Despite 14 per cent inflation, the budget for the regular armed forces will more than double in real terms.
    And a cherry on the Ukrainian pie: “… the budget approved by the Ukraine Rada on Dec. 11, 2014 contained an ‘action plan’ for 2015-2020, which will see annual military spending rise to five percent of the country’s GDP. The plan also projects that Ukraine will formally end its neutral, non-bloc status and join NATO and for its armed forces to switch to NATO military standards by 2020.” In short, the US neocons are eager to keep and elevate the danger of a thermonuclear war.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Deduction
    I know what you say is nonsense when you claim that there was no prostitution. That is obviously false. How naive are you?

    No prostitution? Are you kidding me? As a merchant seaman traveling to Leningrad, Odessa, Novorossiysk, and Poti (Georgia) and partying in all of them for a couple months at a time from 1973-1977, I can assure you that Levis, Lux bar soap, Marlboros, Salems, Contac antihistamines, cheap Maybelline cosmetics, lipstick, and dollars could attract a fair amount of affection from otherwise respectable girls.

    And I can also assure you that the Militzia and Politzei hanging around Restauran Bratislav in Novorossiysk waiting for us guys to leave with our dates at bar time damn well knew what was going on, too.

    Natalia and Alla were caught with us when we left one night, thrown into one of those little green paddy wagons they had and I never saw them again.

    The other girls told us that they were arrested and beaten/raped (the other girls were uncomfortable getting very explicit) by the cops for hanging around with us and chose to disappear. Embarrassment? Shame? I will never know.

    Apparently, being caught cuddling/consorting with foreign sailors was prima facie evidence of prostitution and made them fair game … for being counterrevolutionary hooligans or something.

    God! Those were the days. As a 20 something fireman/oiler, I had one hell of a time! And I still have some beautiful bronze icons as mementos.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • It’s wealthy Russians who don’t trust the Russian economy. They send their money out of the country. Do you know what the penalty in developing South Korea was for capital flight? Death.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • I’m guessing that China’s GDP figures include all those “ghost cities” that they’ve built but which are sitting empty. I’m not an economist or any kind of “expert” but it seems to layman me that those ghost cities are only slightly less preposterous than “one person digging a hole and another person filling it in” as far as GDP goes. Then there’s the issue of the maintenance that those empty cities would require and how that factors in to GDP.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Seamus Padraig
    No, GDP does not include the sale of used goods. On that point, silvio's correct. But by the same token, it includes a lot more than just the production on new goods.

    The standard formula for calculating GDP (Y) is the sum of consumption (C), investment (I), government spending (G) and net exports (X – M). For a more detailed overview of each variable, see Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product#Components_of_GDP_by_expenditure

    But it should be obvious at first glance that there's a lot more going on here than just the production of new goods.

    Consider crime, for example. A dramatic increase in crime usually moves the govt. to hire more cops and build more prisons--more 'G'. Ka-ching! But only a fool would argue that more crime, which diminishes your safety and degrades your community, actually improves your life or community.

    Another example would be externalities like pollution. Let's say a local factory is poisoning the drinking water. The factory's output itself is counted towards GDP, and when people drink the polluted water, get sick and have to pay more for doctor/hospital visits, that too counts towards GDP (medical expenditures would fall under 'C'). But from a quality of life standpoint, there is obviously something wrong with this picture.

    Good points well said.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • @Route
    I maintain that oil and gas are the same thing for the purpose of this analysis about political economy. Derived products are also natural resources. Although some very disorganized countries export oil but not petroleum products, refining is just a simple layer of value addition. It's like saying that a country isn't a bauxite exporter because it's refined into alumina before being shipped.

    This argument in any case is tiresome if these are the points that are being quibbled with.

    Alumina is not a finished end-product, kerosine, diesel, benzine, etc. are.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • I think what many miss in these discussion is what they mean by “collapse”. Russia has had much worse conditions than it has now, and it did not disappear. Nobody wants their nation not to prosper, but many have taken it to the extreme that the only thing that matters is the economy, they have taken the nation as the economy and nothing much else.

    If anything when I look at countries like Germany, they have already collapse, and by collapse I am saying that the nation is about to cease to exist. The fact that it has no problem in taking in close to 1 million foreigners for the year and they produce no offspring, that is a real collapse.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Route
    "it is true that oil is the key component of Russia’s export basket."

    This is a serious understatement. "crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas accounting for 68 percent" of Russian exports. Add minerals and timber and it reaches 80%. The Russian economy is almost completely dependent on resources. There is room between the collapse propaganda of the West and your Pollyannish views. Russia will face more than a mild recession. There's going to be years of declining living standards. The currency has depreciated further in the past 2 months and there will be a new round of inflation.

    The 68% statistic is a deliberate exaggeration. The real figure is around 50%. Most of Russia’s exports are resources, but this is not that unusual. Russia is a sparsely-populated country with the biggest natural resources in the world. Canada and Australia are very dependent on resources for their exports but I’ve never heard anyone talk about their flawed economy that has failed to develop. It’s mostly just propaganda. You’d have to be living under a rock not to see that the Zionist establishment in the West has been in full anti-Russian propaganda mode since at least 2013. It’s interesting that all but one (Kudrin) of the virulent critics of Russia that Karlin mentions are Jews. And he is a disgruntled former minister who resigned because of a policy disagreement.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Anonymous
    What about real estate and financial transactions? Are those counted in GDP? only for newly built houses and newly issued stock?

    No, GDP does not include the sale of used goods. On that point, silvio’s correct. But by the same token, it includes a lot more than just the production on new goods.

    The standard formula for calculating GDP (Y) is the sum of consumption (C), investment (I), government spending (G) and net exports (X – M). For a more detailed overview of each variable, see Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product#Components_of_GDP_by_expenditure

    But it should be obvious at first glance that there’s a lot more going on here than just the production of new goods.

    Consider crime, for example. A dramatic increase in crime usually moves the govt. to hire more cops and build more prisons–more ‘G’. Ka-ching! But only a fool would argue that more crime, which diminishes your safety and degrades your community, actually improves your life or community.

    Another example would be externalities like pollution. Let’s say a local factory is poisoning the drinking water. The factory’s output itself is counted towards GDP, and when people drink the polluted water, get sick and have to pay more for doctor/hospital visits, that too counts towards GDP (medical expenditures would fall under ‘C’). But from a quality of life standpoint, there is obviously something wrong with this picture.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jeff77450
    Good points well said.
    , @silviosilver

    But it should be obvious at first glance that there’s a lot more going on here than just the production of new goods.
     
    No, that is not obvious. Production is what GDP measures. Well, GDP can also be calculated by measuring income, since someone's expenditure is always someone else's income, but the resulting total will be the same figure, so ultimately it's measuring production.

    The issues you raise don't have anything to do with GDP per se. They only relate to the usefulness of GDP as a proxy for national well-being. Quite clearly, if GDP is the only measure relied on then it's possible for well-being to be overstated.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @silviosilver
    Each party benefits from the exchange, but GDP only counts newly produced goods. I should have made that clearer in my reply to smoothie.

    What about real estate and financial transactions? Are those counted in GDP? only for newly built houses and newly issued stock?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    No, GDP does not include the sale of used goods. On that point, silvio's correct. But by the same token, it includes a lot more than just the production on new goods.

    The standard formula for calculating GDP (Y) is the sum of consumption (C), investment (I), government spending (G) and net exports (X – M). For a more detailed overview of each variable, see Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product#Components_of_GDP_by_expenditure

    But it should be obvious at first glance that there's a lot more going on here than just the production of new goods.

    Consider crime, for example. A dramatic increase in crime usually moves the govt. to hire more cops and build more prisons--more 'G'. Ka-ching! But only a fool would argue that more crime, which diminishes your safety and degrades your community, actually improves your life or community.

    Another example would be externalities like pollution. Let's say a local factory is poisoning the drinking water. The factory's output itself is counted towards GDP, and when people drink the polluted water, get sick and have to pay more for doctor/hospital visits, that too counts towards GDP (medical expenditures would fall under 'C'). But from a quality of life standpoint, there is obviously something wrong with this picture.
    , @silviosilver
    Real estate transactions that represent the purchase of new buildings or newly developed land are counted. Sales of existing land and buildings are not. "Financial transactions" is a somewhat vague term. Basically, it's the income that a financial asset produces that is counted towards GDP. So the interest received by the purchaser of a bond counts, as does a dividend received by a stockholder. But the purchase of the bond or the stock doesn't count.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    Actually, I think two people buying something back and forth from each other, like a used car, is counted in GDP each time there's a transaction and the good and money change hands.

    The assumption is that each party is benefiting himself with each transaction and values what he is exchanging for more than what he's exchanging, otherwise he wouldn't be making the transaction.

    Each party benefits from the exchange, but GDP only counts newly produced goods. I should have made that clearer in my reply to smoothie.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    What about real estate and financial transactions? Are those counted in GDP? only for newly built houses and newly issued stock?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @silviosilver

    This “I tie your shoes for a dollar, you tie mine for the same price–together we produced 2 Dollars of GDP” is THE foundation of monetarism and, thus, overstates the actual GDP greatly, sometimes–manifold.
     
    If your implication is that GDP measures money passing back and forth between two parties with nothing of value being exchanged, then you are simply wrong. GDP counts the production of new goods. It doesn't matter how many times two parties exchange, say, a used car - GDP doesn't count it.

    If you meant to assert something other than this, you will have to explain it because I don't see any other meaning in your statement.

    Actually, I think two people buying something back and forth from each other, like a used car, is counted in GDP each time there’s a transaction and the good and money change hands.

    The assumption is that each party is benefiting himself with each transaction and values what he is exchanging for more than what he’s exchanging, otherwise he wouldn’t be making the transaction.

    Read More
    • Replies: @silviosilver
    Each party benefits from the exchange, but GDP only counts newly produced goods. I should have made that clearer in my reply to smoothie.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Glossy
    There was military parity.

    The standard if living issue is split. Americans had more personal vehicles, the USSR had better public transport, Americans had bigger homes, the USSR had less crime, no drugs or homelessness and a better education system, etc. The West's popular culture was already tacky and cheap, the USSR's more traditional and digified.

    I'm repeating myself as are you. Which means that the argument is exhausted. I haven't convinced you and you haven't convinced me.

    I don’t think the USSR had better public transportation. The US had better roads, which made buses better. And US subways and trains were fine. And if you include affordable air travel in public transportation, then obviously the US had the edge there as well.

    As far as crime goes, the US has a significant minority that’s significantly crime prone. Up to the 50s even in places like DC, people didn’t lock their cars or houses because they didn’t need to.

    I wouldn’t say the USSR had a better education system.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov

    I wouldn’t say the USSR had a better education system.
     
    Well, yes, because you have no idea what you are writing about. Just to give you some feel--what MIT students were studying in Physics in first year was studied in USSR in the 9-10th grades.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Andrei Martyanov
    This "I tie your shoes for a dollar, you tie mine for the same price--together we produced 2 Dollars of GDP" is THE foundation of monetarism and, thus, overstates the actual GDP greatly, sometimes--manifold. The true measure of the GDP is its structure, from which the actual size could be calculated, including the service economy. Productive labor (manufacturing) also has a profound cultural ramifications--from education to the overall mental state of the society. I am talking, of course, about the economy of the closed technological cycles. In the end--these are goods, in all their variety, which define the economy. It is difficult, very often, as an example to explain to some MBA that Hi-Tech is not what they think it is and that economy of Saudi Arabia, for all of its per capita GDP is, basically, not an economy at all.

    Western "economists" and most of their, say, Russian liberal off-springs from such sewer as High School Of Economics have no concept of real productive labor and what real INDUSTRY is about. In related news, Russia doesn't produce surfing boards (a booming multi-billion dollar industry in the US) since, well, surfing around Murmansk or Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is not really great;-) Russia, however, produces a lot of the prepregs which go both for production of the surfing boards (in US) and Sukhoi T-50. Calculating Russian GDP is a tricky matter but it is military, which is always a good indicator of the structure and size of the economy.

    This “I tie your shoes for a dollar, you tie mine for the same price–together we produced 2 Dollars of GDP” is THE foundation of monetarism and, thus, overstates the actual GDP greatly, sometimes–manifold.

    If your implication is that GDP measures money passing back and forth between two parties with nothing of value being exchanged, then you are simply wrong. GDP counts the production of new goods. It doesn’t matter how many times two parties exchange, say, a used car – GDP doesn’t count it.

    If you meant to assert something other than this, you will have to explain it because I don’t see any other meaning in your statement.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Actually, I think two people buying something back and forth from each other, like a used car, is counted in GDP each time there's a transaction and the good and money change hands.

    The assumption is that each party is benefiting himself with each transaction and values what he is exchanging for more than what he's exchanging, otherwise he wouldn't be making the transaction.
    , @Andrei Martyanov

    If you meant to assert something other than this, you will have to explain it because I don’t see any other meaning in your statement.
     
    Yeah, single word--Facebook. Several hundred pages of code and a bunch of morons exposing themselves. Ta-da, IPO through the roof. What a "value". GDP all the way!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    There was military parity.

    The standard if living issue is split. Americans had more personal vehicles, the USSR had better public transport, Americans had bigger homes, the USSR had less crime, no drugs or homelessness and a better education system, etc. The West's popular culture was already tacky and cheap, the USSR's more traditional and digified.

    I'm repeating myself as are you. Which means that the argument is exhausted. I haven't convinced you and you haven't convinced me.

    The standard if living issue is split. Americans had more personal vehicles, the USSR had better public transport, Americans had bigger homes, the USSR had less crime, no drugs or homelessness and a better education system, etc. The West’s popular culture was already tacky and cheap, the USSR’s more traditional and digified.

    There is no comparison whatsoever between American capitalism’s ability to provide consumer goods and the USSR’s. That was an indisputable American victory and, in the 1980s, became an important cause of disillusionment among the communist citizenry. Why is America the most appropriate comparison, anyway? All of western Europe had market-based economy, and I would rate the public transport, crime rate and education system as at least as good as the east’s, and public health a good deal better.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements.

    Western elites decided after WWII that they needed to subjugate the USSR in order to do everything that they eventually did to it in the 1990s: loot it, partition it, spread socially liberal ideology on its territory, get rid of a rival offering a civilizational alternative to the rest of the world, etc. Sure, there wasn't much loot to take in 1946, but as time went on the USSR accumulated more and more resources that could be looted. And a part of the plan was always to take away the areas that the Russian Empire acquired in past centuries. De-imperialization, in other words.

    It was smart for the USSR to resist. Look what happened when it stopped resisting. And in the course of this resistance the USSR supported anybody who opposed its enemies, including third-world nationalists. And the US supported third-world nationalists if its own, as you admit.

    It was smart for the USSR to resist. Look what happened when it stopped resisting. And in the course of this resistance the USSR supported anybody who opposed its enemies, including third-world nationalists. And the US supported third-world nationalists if its own, as you admit.

    That is only one half of the story. The other half is that the communist party viewed the capitalist world as a civilizational alternative which it had to denounce, oppose, and, if possible, destroy both for ideological reasons as well as to – as convincingly argued by George Kennan – legitimize its own dictatorial rule. It’s completely unreasonable to pin all the blame on America for the relationship that existed between the two states.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Seamus Padraig
    Glossy raises a very good point here that few Americans know: the GDP measurement is highly misleading. It basically measures all (legal) transactions in a country regardless of their nature, so that industrial and agricultural output are lumped in with service transactions that may do little or nothing to raise the standard of living.

    For example, if you break your leg and go to the hospital and pay your bill, you have just contributed to a (slight) increase in GDP. Why? You're no better off than you would be if you hadn't broken your leg at all. But you had to pay the hospital some money. Thus, a measurable, legal transaction was created. Presto! More GDP.

    Another example: if your schools are so crappy that some parents feel compelled to pay out-of-pocket for private tutoring on the side, that would also count as a GDP increase. But if the schools were actually good enough on their own and no one hired private tutors, GDP would be lower.

    See how weird a measurement GDP is?

    Glossy raises a very good point here that few Americans know: the GDP measurement is highly misleading. It basically measures all (legal) transactions in a country regardless of their nature, so that industrial and agricultural output are lumped in with service transactions that may do little or nothing to raise the standard of living.

    GDP isn’t ‘misleading,’ but it’s easy to misinterpret. GDP doesn’t aim to measure the standard of living; it’s just a proxy for it.

    GDP attempts to measure the total amount of production in an economy in a given year. If a broken window is replaced with a new window that window will have to be produced and will thus be measured. A related measure is NDP, net domestic product, which does subtract the production of replacements. Many feel that GDP is a better measure of the productive capacity of an economy, however, because it measures the total amount of economic activity that occurred in a given year.

    This fact sometimes gives rise to the criticism that all you have to do to grow your economy is break all your windows, but this ignores the other, more preferable, uses to which the resources used up in replacing windows could have been put if the windows remained unbroken.

    It is incorrect to say that services do not raise the standard of living. For example, people pay for restaurant meals because they believe they will be better off after eating at the restaurant than they would by holding onto the money, not because anybody forced them to. If people perceive they have benefited from eating at the restaurant then it’s logical to conclude that their living standard is improved.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Sean
    A multipolar world (the West Nazi Germany and the USSR) is fundamentally less stable that two power blocks. Demographic and commercial infiltration of the Russian East and territorial disputes would be the cause. If China is overtaking Russia then it will not gain by waiting. Why would Russia use nuclear weapons? Because as Ellis says in Brute Force, Russians think sledgehammers are ideal for cracking nuts and in fact what sledgehammers are designed to do. They used a radioactive sledgehammer on Litvinenko. Chinese may not understand Russia.

    No country would leave a rival to dominate the world. If things got to an all out nuclear exchange, the US could expect to be hit even if it was neutral.

    I don’t understand why you believe Russia will behave that way if it will lead to it being nuked by China and the US and thus destroyed, leaving the US to dominate the world.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    Well Russia has a huge number of tactical nukes. So they have some scenario in mind for them coming in handy. Maybe just as a threat, however, if they were losing they might decide to use one. But after going nuclear war could would likely go to escalation. Russia may not be reconciled to progressively becoming a second or even third rate power and decide to roll the dice as there is nothing to gain by waiting.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • @Route
    I maintain that oil and gas are the same thing for the purpose of this analysis about political economy. Derived products are also natural resources. Although some very disorganized countries export oil but not petroleum products, refining is just a simple layer of value addition. It's like saying that a country isn't a bauxite exporter because it's refined into alumina before being shipped.

    This argument in any case is tiresome if these are the points that are being quibbled with.

    I maintain that oil and gas are the same thing for the purpose of this analysis about political economy.

    That’s relevant with respect to Russian export reliance on resources, but not relevant to the present recession, since natural gas prices are roughly at the average level they’ve been for the last five years.

    Read More
    • Agree: Sam Shama
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Anonymous
    I don't understand your comment. Why would China attack Russian forces if it would lead to nuclear exchange, and why would Russia then attack the US?

    A multipolar world (the West Nazi Germany and the USSR) is fundamentally less stable that two power blocks. Demographic and commercial infiltration of the Russian East and territorial disputes would be the cause. If China is overtaking Russia then it will not gain by waiting. Why would Russia use nuclear weapons? Because as Ellis says in Brute Force, Russians think sledgehammers are ideal for cracking nuts and in fact what sledgehammers are designed to do. They used a radioactive sledgehammer on Litvinenko. Chinese may not understand Russia.

    No country would leave a rival to dominate the world. If things got to an all out nuclear exchange, the US could expect to be hit even if it was neutral.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I don't understand why you believe Russia will behave that way if it will lead to it being nuked by China and the US and thus destroyed, leaving the US to dominate the world.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • @Mitleser
    Natural gas is not oil and petroleum products are not resources.

    I maintain that oil and gas are the same thing for the purpose of this analysis about political economy. Derived products are also natural resources. Although some very disorganized countries export oil but not petroleum products, refining is just a simple layer of value addition. It’s like saying that a country isn’t a bauxite exporter because it’s refined into alumina before being shipped.

    This argument in any case is tiresome if these are the points that are being quibbled with.

    Read More
    • Replies: @silviosilver

    I maintain that oil and gas are the same thing for the purpose of this analysis about political economy.
     
    That's relevant with respect to Russian export reliance on resources, but not relevant to the present recession, since natural gas prices are roughly at the average level they've been for the last five years.
    , @Mitleser
    Alumina is not a finished end-product, kerosine, diesel, benzine, etc. are.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    “crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas accounting for 68 percent” of Russian exports

    Natural gas is not oil and petroleum products are not resources.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Route
    I maintain that oil and gas are the same thing for the purpose of this analysis about political economy. Derived products are also natural resources. Although some very disorganized countries export oil but not petroleum products, refining is just a simple layer of value addition. It's like saying that a country isn't a bauxite exporter because it's refined into alumina before being shipped.

    This argument in any case is tiresome if these are the points that are being quibbled with.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Sean the Neon Caucasian
    ...so why did the USSR break up?

    Declining living standards leading to a loss of legitimacy as well as the rise of nationalism in the respective countries (including most importantly Russian nationalism).

    Sorry but a factory that can barely keep running due to degraded machinery, uncertain supplies and an inability to compensate its workers producing goods no one even wants in the first place will still show in the GDP but it really shouldn’t. The biggest mistake the IMF made, from the mouth of Stanislav Gomulka, was that they underestimated the state of disrepair both physically as well as institutionally in Russia, hoodwinked by neocons hyping the Soviet threat and delusional Western fellow travelers.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • The low oil prices although painful, is a godsend for the Russians as it will goad them to break out of the “resource curse”. It will mean for the Russians that they have to live on their wits. This can only be to the good as they can put their high education to creating industries and services, instead of settling down to becoming members of a rentier class.

    The key thing to avoid is the useless advice of the Americans and to turn instead to Japan and Germany to study how it can be done. What exactly does it benefit a forward looking people to become a bunch of stupid sybarites like the Saudis?

    Read More
    • Agree: Sam Shama
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Sam Shama
    1. Russian National Output = Consumption + Private Investments + Public Investments + Exports - Imports

    2. Oil is 30% of Total Exports (not 100%). So it is a portion of a component among 5 components.

    a 50% decline in Oil price does NOT imply Oil revenues, much less total exports, to go down to zero. In fact as I noted in comment #22, due to price elasticity (as price goes down, demand picks up very well), and Russian actions to enter into long term contracts, the impact of an oil price decline is far less impactful than MSM would have one believe.

    “crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas accounting for 68 percent” of Russian exports

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    Natural gas is not oil and petroleum products are not resources.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Route
    Russian exports and the Russian economy are almost completely dependent on resources.

    A key component is a factor that is 20% or 30% of the cause. Oil and gas products are 70% of Russian exports. It's much more important than a key factor. It shows that Karlin is down playing how beset by problems the Russian economy is and will be even more so in the immediate future.

    It’s not my personal definition. It’s based on my observations of how the word is used. “Key” commonly spoken means one of 4-5 or even more factors. So it was used in this case to imply that oil and gas products were an important part of a diversified economy. That implication is not the case.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Deduction
    It doesn't have to be people doing Russia down for the sake of it. It could easily be their real impressions.

    10 years ago I met no Russians when I visited Thailand. This year, after their recession started, I saw signs in Russian everywhere but, as the locals confirmed, what had become many had now stopped coming.

    If I hadn't been there ten years ago I would have assumed that Russia was in free fall.

    If I didn't read you I would assume that Russia is falling back to 1990's levels.

    In neither case would I be ill-intentioned.

    As it is, I recognise that effects at the margins are often disproportionately strong, and holidays in Thailand are very marginal spending.

    It’s aways been a debate as to which country has the better “full moon” parties, Thailand or India. When your currency devalues, smart money goes for the “sure thing”. Anjuna is where you’ll find all the missing Russians from Thailand.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Route
    Russian exports and the Russian economy are almost completely dependent on resources.

    A key component is a factor that is 20% or 30% of the cause. Oil and gas products are 70% of Russian exports. It's much more important than a key factor. It shows that Karlin is down playing how beset by problems the Russian economy is and will be even more so in the immediate future.

    1. Russian National Output = Consumption + Private Investments + Public Investments + Exports – Imports

    2. Oil is 30% of Total Exports (not 100%). So it is a portion of a component among 5 components.

    a 50% decline in Oil price does NOT imply Oil revenues, much less total exports, to go down to zero. In fact as I noted in comment #22, due to price elasticity (as price goes down, demand picks up very well), and Russian actions to enter into long term contracts, the impact of an oil price decline is far less impactful than MSM would have one believe.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    “crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas accounting for 68 percent” of Russian exports
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Route
    Russian exports and the Russian economy are almost completely dependent on resources.

    A key component is a factor that is 20% or 30% of the cause. Oil and gas products are 70% of Russian exports. It's much more important than a key factor. It shows that Karlin is down playing how beset by problems the Russian economy is and will be even more so in the immediate future.

    “Russian exports and the Russian economy are almost completely dependent on resources”

    Why hasn’t the Russian economy collapsed yet despite decreasing demand and the halving of oil prince?

    “A key component is a factor that is 20% or 30% of the cause”

    Your personal definition, not Karlin’s.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Mitleser
    What understatement?
    Key component is a good term and far more correct than your "Russian economy is almost completely dependent on resources" which tries wrongly to suggest that Russia's export = economy.

    Russian exports and the Russian economy are almost completely dependent on resources.

    A key component is a factor that is 20% or 30% of the cause. Oil and gas products are 70% of Russian exports. It’s much more important than a key factor. It shows that Karlin is down playing how beset by problems the Russian economy is and will be even more so in the immediate future.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    "Russian exports and the Russian economy are almost completely dependent on resources"

    Why hasn't the Russian economy collapsed yet despite decreasing demand and the halving of oil prince?

    "A key component is a factor that is 20% or 30% of the cause"

    Your personal definition, not Karlin's.
    , @Sam Shama
    1. Russian National Output = Consumption + Private Investments + Public Investments + Exports - Imports

    2. Oil is 30% of Total Exports (not 100%). So it is a portion of a component among 5 components.

    a 50% decline in Oil price does NOT imply Oil revenues, much less total exports, to go down to zero. In fact as I noted in comment #22, due to price elasticity (as price goes down, demand picks up very well), and Russian actions to enter into long term contracts, the impact of an oil price decline is far less impactful than MSM would have one believe.

    , @route
    It's not my personal definition. It's based on my observations of how the word is used. "Key" commonly spoken means one of 4-5 or even more factors. So it was used in this case to imply that oil and gas products were an important part of a diversified economy. That implication is not the case.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • in stark contrast to the New York Times’ Masha Gessen’s reliance on her “Je suis fromage” liberal Russian friend.

    LOL

    Anatoly, my congratulations on a really well-researched and insightful commentary on the Russian economic landscape.

    You are absolutely correct in assessing that the marginal decline in GDP attributable to the 50% decline in oil prices, has been no more severe than you standard textbook recession. One reason is that the demand for oil, especially in countries like India, is exceptionally price elastic, and Putin to his great credit has arranged long-term forward and spot contracts to actually increase the sold output. In other words, oil based revenue fell much less than what might be expected, if demands on volume were less elastic.

    I am waiting, watching for the inevitable stampede to buy Russian assets in the near future (I predict December), with MSM replete with stories of “value investing” etc.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Tom Welsh
    "It is deeply unfashionable to say this but Russian living standards have improved astronomically in the 15 years of Putin’s rule..."

    Just as Libyan living standards soared in the 42 years of Colonel Qadafi's rule. He found it one of the poorest nations in Africa and left it clearly the richest.

    'Supporters praised Gaddafi's administration for the creation of an almost classless society through domestic reform. They stress the regime's achievements in combating homelessness and ensuring access to food and safe drinking water. Highlighting that under Gaddafi, all Libyans enjoyed free education to a university level, they point to the dramatic rise in literacy rates after the 1969 revolution. Supporters have also applauded achievements in medical care, praising the universal free healthcare provided under the Gaddafist administration, with diseases like cholera and typhoid being contained and life expectancy raised. Biographers Blundy and Lycett believed that under the first decade of Gaddafi's leadership, life for most Libyans "undoubtedly changed for the better" as material conditions and wealth drastically improved, while Libyan studies specialist Lillian Craig Harris remarked that in the early years of his administration, Libya's "national wealth and international influence soared, and its national standard of living has risen dramatically."'

    - Wikipedia

    We should have let Gaddafi crush the rebels. Post-Gaddafi Libya has fallen apart.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Reading this article brings to mind the old saying of “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw bricks.”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Priss Factor
    "Though isn’t it just a wee bit strange that those journalists and “activists” who tend to shout loudest about the burning of European food also tended to be the ones who maintained the thickest silence about the burning of Russian people in Odessa in the new European Ukraine."

    Jews hate, hate, and hate Russians.

    We are all Palestinians.

    Here are the documented facts that you may find inconvenient:
    “The key man behind the Odessa Trade Unions Building massacre: his many connections to the White House: “http://freeukrainenow.org/2015/04/27/the-key-man-behind-the-odessa-trade-unions-building-massacre-his-many-connections-to-the-white-house/
    “Videos Show Non-Violent Protesters Murdered in Odessa Massacre:” http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/massacre-revealed-bbc-and-us-media-lied-about-who-victims-were/6406
    The Holocaust Museums, ADL, and Lobby (in the US and EU) put Jewish people and Jewish sufferings on a pedestal (and what other country calls its army” the most moral” but Israel?). The sooner the idea that an ethnicity has no bearing for both noble and atrocious actions downs on the aggressive vigilantes of anti-Semitism, the better that would be for all parties involved.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • […] ethnic groups’ public associations. (transcript continued) 5. The Unz Review: Anatoly Karlin, China Overtakes US, Russia Overtakes Germany. 6. http://www.opendemocracy.net: Russian press digest (19 August 2015). 7. Bloomberg: Putin Said Ready to […]

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • @Seamus Padraig

    ... the Chinese economy has gone from epic boom to bust.
     
    It sounds like you're chugging the MSM-koolaid on the 'Chinese depression' story. Take a look at one of Karlin's previous posts on the subject:

    China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year. The World Bank’s new figures just confirm the new reality and scaremongering about a bad night at the irrelevant casino that is the Chinese stockmarket is not going to materially change the fact. Annual growth continues at 7% per year, much the same as South Korea when it was at a similar stage of per capita development in the 1980s.
     
    Source: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/china-and-russia-overtake/

    No, Seamus, those GDP figures are not credible. The Chinese economy was growing a lot faster than they showed a couple of years ago, and is not growing at all now. When steel, cement, automobile and electricity production, which were all growing at a double-digit percentage clip for many years in a row, are all declining or flat, I know what I’m seeing, and it’s not business as usual.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Russian people have a staggering history of enduring hardship, which may account for the almost humorous and endearing cynical attitude of its citizens, and the secret of their survival. Russia also has virtually unlimited resources and the ability to have a self-contained economy, even if hardships are necessary. The Russian people will bear with ease these difficulties, while the West could not. They have strong leadership, and something like a 90% approval rating of this leadership – the envy of politicians in most other countries.
    Their foreign debt is not huge, rubles earned locally are spent locally, and apart from some inflation this means little adverse impact to people employed, and who spend, in Russia.
    The almost total collapse of the previously successful Russian manufacturing and distribution of GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles as a result of the sanctions imposed on Russia has the consequence that Lada is booming, as well as Lada exports to neighboring countries.
    The US and NATO countries have shot themselves in the foot by imposing these sanctions, driven Russia and China to close economic cooperation, and seemingly by design have turned friends into enemies in a matter of two years, through apparently specious propaganda. We have today a replay of the 1960 strategy of encircling Russia, and the media purposely conflates the old Soviet Union with the modern Russia purely for the reason of engendering fear and hate.
    I miss the interaction between the West and Russia of a few short years ago! Possibly sanity will prevail soon to restore it, because with proper diplomacy and economic cooperation there no greater ally.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • “It is deeply unfashionable to say this but Russian living standards have improved astronomically in the 15 years of Putin’s rule…”

    Just as Libyan living standards soared in the 42 years of Colonel Qadafi’s rule. He found it one of the poorest nations in Africa and left it clearly the richest.

    ‘Supporters praised Gaddafi’s administration for the creation of an almost classless society through domestic reform. They stress the regime’s achievements in combating homelessness and ensuring access to food and safe drinking water. Highlighting that under Gaddafi, all Libyans enjoyed free education to a university level, they point to the dramatic rise in literacy rates after the 1969 revolution. Supporters have also applauded achievements in medical care, praising the universal free healthcare provided under the Gaddafist administration, with diseases like cholera and typhoid being contained and life expectancy raised. Biographers Blundy and Lycett believed that under the first decade of Gaddafi’s leadership, life for most Libyans “undoubtedly changed for the better” as material conditions and wealth drastically improved, while Libyan studies specialist Lillian Craig Harris remarked that in the early years of his administration, Libya’s “national wealth and international influence soared, and its national standard of living has risen dramatically.”‘

    - Wikipedia

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    We should have let Gaddafi crush the rebels. Post-Gaddafi Libya has fallen apart.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @5371
    [There was no shift in net global supply/demand]

    Utter stupidity. Over the last couple of years US oil production has risen sharply while the Chinese economy has gone from epic boom to bust. Got any other gurus to quote? I could do with a laugh.

    … the Chinese economy has gone from epic boom to bust.

    It sounds like you’re chugging the MSM-koolaid on the ‘Chinese depression’ story. Take a look at one of Karlin’s previous posts on the subject:

    China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year. The World Bank’s new figures just confirm the new reality and scaremongering about a bad night at the irrelevant casino that is the Chinese stockmarket is not going to materially change the fact. Annual growth continues at 7% per year, much the same as South Korea when it was at a similar stage of per capita development in the 1980s.

    Source: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/china-and-russia-overtake/

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    No, Seamus, those GDP figures are not credible. The Chinese economy was growing a lot faster than they showed a couple of years ago, and is not growing at all now. When steel, cement, automobile and electricity production, which were all growing at a double-digit percentage clip for many years in a row, are all declining or flat, I know what I'm seeing, and it's not business as usual.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    The Saudis are still the swing producers and set the oil price. The recent decline is due to US prodding of the Saudis to lower price in order to put pressure on Russia. The same thing was done in the 80s to put pressure on the Soviets.

    http://moslereconomics.com/2014/12/04/comments-on-crude-pricing-the-economy-and-the-banking-system/

    The Saudis are the ‘supplier of last resort’/swing producer. Every day the world buys all the crude the other producers sell to the highest bidder and then go to the Saudis for the last 9-10 million barrels that are getting consumed. They either pay the Saudis price or shut the lights off, rendering the Saudis price setter/swing producer.

    Specifically, the Saudis don’t sell at spot price in the market place, but instead simply post prices for their customers/refiners and let them buy all they want at those prices.

    And most recently the prices they have posted have been fixed spreads from various benchmarks, like Brent.

    Saudi spread pricing works like this:
    Assume, for purposes of illustration, Saudi crude would sell at a discount of $1 vs Brent (due to higher refining costs etc.) if they let ‘the market’ decide the spread by selling a specific quantity at ‘market prices’/to the highest bidder. Instead, however, they announce they will sell at a $2 discount to Brent and let the refiners buy all they want.

    So what happens?

    The answer first- this sets a downward price spiral in motion. Refiners see the lower price available from the Saudis and lower the price they are willing to pay everyone else. And everyone else is a ‘price taker’ selling to the highest bidder, which is now $1 lower than ‘indifference levels’. When the other suppliers sell $1 lower than before the Saudi price cut/larger discount of $1, the Brent price drops by $1. Saudi crude is then available for $1 less than before, as the $2 discount remains in place. Etc. etc. with no end until either:
    1) The Saudis change the discount/raise their price
    2) Physical demand goes up beyond the Saudis capacity to increase production

    And setting the spread north of ‘neutral’ causes prices to rise, etc.

    Bottom line is the Saudis set price, and have engineered the latest decline. There was no shift in net global supply/demand as evidenced by Saudi output remaining relatively stable throughout.
     

    [There was no shift in net global supply/demand]

    Utter stupidity. Over the last couple of years US oil production has risen sharply while the Chinese economy has gone from epic boom to bust. Got any other gurus to quote? I could do with a laugh.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig

    ... the Chinese economy has gone from epic boom to bust.
     
    It sounds like you're chugging the MSM-koolaid on the 'Chinese depression' story. Take a look at one of Karlin's previous posts on the subject:

    China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year. The World Bank’s new figures just confirm the new reality and scaremongering about a bad night at the irrelevant casino that is the Chinese stockmarket is not going to materially change the fact. Annual growth continues at 7% per year, much the same as South Korea when it was at a similar stage of per capita development in the 1980s.
     
    Source: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/china-and-russia-overtake/
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    “Though isn’t it just a wee bit strange that those journalists and “activists” who tend to shout loudest about the burning of European food also tended to be the ones who maintained the thickest silence about the burning of Russian people in Odessa in the new European Ukraine.”

    Jews hate, hate, and hate Russians.

    We are all Palestinians.

    Read More
    • Replies: @annamaria
    Here are the documented facts that you may find inconvenient:
    "The key man behind the Odessa Trade Unions Building massacre: his many connections to the White House: "http://freeukrainenow.org/2015/04/27/the-key-man-behind-the-odessa-trade-unions-building-massacre-his-many-connections-to-the-white-house/
    "Videos Show Non-Violent Protesters Murdered in Odessa Massacre:" http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/massacre-revealed-bbc-and-us-media-lied-about-who-victims-were/6406
    The Holocaust Museums, ADL, and Lobby (in the US and EU) put Jewish people and Jewish sufferings on a pedestal (and what other country calls its army" the most moral" but Israel?). The sooner the idea that an ethnicity has no bearing for both noble and atrocious actions downs on the aggressive vigilantes of anti-Semitism, the better that would be for all parties involved.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Deduction
    It doesn't have to be people doing Russia down for the sake of it. It could easily be their real impressions.

    10 years ago I met no Russians when I visited Thailand. This year, after their recession started, I saw signs in Russian everywhere but, as the locals confirmed, what had become many had now stopped coming.

    If I hadn't been there ten years ago I would have assumed that Russia was in free fall.

    If I didn't read you I would assume that Russia is falling back to 1990's levels.

    In neither case would I be ill-intentioned.

    As it is, I recognise that effects at the margins are often disproportionately strong, and holidays in Thailand are very marginal spending.

    10 years ago I met no Russians when I visited Thailand. This year, after their recession started, I saw signs in Russian everywhere but, as the locals confirmed, what had become many had now stopped coming.

    I was in Thailand in 2006 and 2008 and I recall hearing Russian spoken about as often as French. (Germans were by far the most numerous non-English speakers I encountered.)

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Anatoly Karlin
    The oil price is primarily a function of supply/demand in the oil markets, and of dollar strength (because oil is priced in dollars).

    The dollar has greatly strengthened since mid-2014, coinciding neatly with the drop in oil prices.

    I don't know enough about supply/demand to comment with any authority, but I imagine that the relative slowdown in Chinese growth must have played some part.

    In short: You don't need tall conspiracy theories of Saudi/US collusion on oil prices to bring Russia down to explain it. You can encounter such theories quite frequently on the Internet. But this wasn't the case in the 1980s and it is even more implausible now.

    The Saudis are still the swing producers and set the oil price. The recent decline is due to US prodding of the Saudis to lower price in order to put pressure on Russia. The same thing was done in the 80s to put pressure on the Soviets.

    http://moslereconomics.com/2014/12/04/comments-on-crude-pricing-the-economy-and-the-banking-system/

    The Saudis are the ‘supplier of last resort’/swing producer. Every day the world buys all the crude the other producers sell to the highest bidder and then go to the Saudis for the last 9-10 million barrels that are getting consumed. They either pay the Saudis price or shut the lights off, rendering the Saudis price setter/swing producer.

    Specifically, the Saudis don’t sell at spot price in the market place, but instead simply post prices for their customers/refiners and let them buy all they want at those prices.

    And most recently the prices they have posted have been fixed spreads from various benchmarks, like Brent.

    Saudi spread pricing works like this:
    Assume, for purposes of illustration, Saudi crude would sell at a discount of $1 vs Brent (due to higher refining costs etc.) if they let ‘the market’ decide the spread by selling a specific quantity at ‘market prices’/to the highest bidder. Instead, however, they announce they will sell at a $2 discount to Brent and let the refiners buy all they want.

    So what happens?

    The answer first- this sets a downward price spiral in motion. Refiners see the lower price available from the Saudis and lower the price they are willing to pay everyone else. And everyone else is a ‘price taker’ selling to the highest bidder, which is now $1 lower than ‘indifference levels’. When the other suppliers sell $1 lower than before the Saudi price cut/larger discount of $1, the Brent price drops by $1. Saudi crude is then available for $1 less than before, as the $2 discount remains in place. Etc. etc. with no end until either:
    1) The Saudis change the discount/raise their price
    2) Physical demand goes up beyond the Saudis capacity to increase production

    And setting the spread north of ‘neutral’ causes prices to rise, etc.

    Bottom line is the Saudis set price, and have engineered the latest decline. There was no shift in net global supply/demand as evidenced by Saudi output remaining relatively stable throughout.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    [There was no shift in net global supply/demand]

    Utter stupidity. Over the last couple of years US oil production has risen sharply while the Chinese economy has gone from epic boom to bust. Got any other gurus to quote? I could do with a laugh.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    The oil price is primarily a function of supply/demand in the oil markets, and of dollar strength (because oil is priced in dollars).

    The dollar has greatly strengthened since mid-2014, coinciding neatly with the drop in oil prices.

    I don't know enough about supply/demand to comment with any authority, but I imagine that the relative slowdown in Chinese growth must have played some part.

    In short: You don't need tall conspiracy theories of Saudi/US collusion on oil prices to bring Russia down to explain it. You can encounter such theories quite frequently on the Internet. But this wasn't the case in the 1980s and it is even more implausible now.

    I agree but was about to add reference to Saudi Arabia and fracking as others have. Obviously Saudi crude will be much cheaper to extract than the product of fracking for the forseeable future but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t in Saudi interests to set the fracking back (and discourage Iranian production) and to be able to benefit from even higher profits when the price rises and others are still gearing up. This seems to be roughly the same strategy as RIO’s and BHP-Billiton’s in iron ore production where they are the lowest cost producers and continuing to ramp up production while other producers go under.

    As to whether the US would have given Saudis the nod and that this was necessary, it is hard to imagine the US wouldn’t have had Treasury and other models of the effects of unrestrained Saudi production. Maybe in the end the conclusion was that the ultimate effects were impossible to predict but that, in the short term at least low oil prices would be good for the US, EU, China and India so…. what’s not to like?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Glossy
    Yes.

    What an unstable, weak system.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • @Route
    "it is true that oil is the key component of Russia’s export basket."

    This is a serious understatement. "crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas accounting for 68 percent" of Russian exports. Add minerals and timber and it reaches 80%. The Russian economy is almost completely dependent on resources. There is room between the collapse propaganda of the West and your Pollyannish views. Russia will face more than a mild recession. There's going to be years of declining living standards. The currency has depreciated further in the past 2 months and there will be a new round of inflation.

    What understatement?
    Key component is a good term and far more correct than your “Russian economy is almost completely dependent on resources” which tries wrongly to suggest that Russia’s export = economy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Route
    Russian exports and the Russian economy are almost completely dependent on resources.

    A key component is a factor that is 20% or 30% of the cause. Oil and gas products are 70% of Russian exports. It's much more important than a key factor. It shows that Karlin is down playing how beset by problems the Russian economy is and will be even more so in the immediate future.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Sean
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Ogarkov

    In 1984 the chief of the Soviet general staff was sacked for publically complaining about the backwardness of Soviet productive capacity. Reaganomics was military Keynesianism with the added benefit of running up such huge debt that social spending in future was forestalled.

    Soviet bosses did not live well by Western standards. Russian bosses subsist like kings now, and because that is the case, the whole perestroika and shock therapy experiment must be regarded as very far from a colossal, world-historical mistake from the bosses' point of view.

    Germany is not an independent power centre, so its military capacity in a thought experiment where it became a a great power is anyone's guess. Back in reality the Germans are not the Germans any more according to William S. Lind so their theoretical capabilities are irrelevant.

    Russia has to stand alone. If it fights a great power it will be China. A Chinese rout of Russian forces followed by Russian use of i some of its huge no of battlefield nukes and Russia Chinese strategic exchange is the most likely way for WW3 to go. Russia is not an existential threat to the US but a war between Russia and China is, because Russia would not let the US emerge unscathed.

    https://www.traditionalright.com/the-view-from-olympus-wtf/

    Russia’s aggressive behavior and its nuclear arsenal make it the single greatest national security threat faced by the United States…

    Throughout the hearing, when asked about threats, General Dunford returned repeatedly to Russia…

    “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia,” he said. “And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”
     
    So the real question is not whether Russia has more military potential than Germany, but is China overtaking Russia?

    I don’t understand your comment. Why would China attack Russian forces if it would lead to nuclear exchange, and why would Russia then attack the US?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    A multipolar world (the West Nazi Germany and the USSR) is fundamentally less stable that two power blocks. Demographic and commercial infiltration of the Russian East and territorial disputes would be the cause. If China is overtaking Russia then it will not gain by waiting. Why would Russia use nuclear weapons? Because as Ellis says in Brute Force, Russians think sledgehammers are ideal for cracking nuts and in fact what sledgehammers are designed to do. They used a radioactive sledgehammer on Litvinenko. Chinese may not understand Russia.

    No country would leave a rival to dominate the world. If things got to an all out nuclear exchange, the US could expect to be hit even if it was neutral.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Cliff Arroyo
    "I don’t know about the USSR, maybe communism worked there, at least if we are to believe Glossy, but in case of my country, former Czechoslovakia... ....The system collapsed as quickly as it did because most people, including the ruling elite, no longer believed in it."

    My only experience in the Warsaw Pact was the summer of 1984 in Poland (with very quick sidetrips to Prague and Budapest). What I noticed almost immediately was that no one even tried to pretend they believed in the official system. It seemed like a car running on fumes with people peering into the distance looking for a gas station.

    Even at its worst Poland supposedly had overall higher living standards than the USSR so if Russians miss the Soviet Union I basically assume they just have very, very low standards of what they find acceptable living conditions.

    The standard of living in Poland fell in the 1990s, like in Russia. It rebounded later, like in Russia. The Poles did not complain about the 1990s downturn as much as the Russians because they got a nationalistic boost out of what happened.

    Life in India, Algeria, etc. got worse after decolonisation too, but independence gave them a compensatory nationalistic boost. You can say the boost was based on an illusion. And Eastern European countries have really only exchanged one master for another. But perceptions are important.

    The reason that nostalgia for the pre-1990 situation is greatest in Russia and East Germany is that neither country got a nationalistic boost to compensate for the 1990s decline in living standards. Nationalism is literally verboten in Germany.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • Incidentally, this figure is 20% for Saudi Arabia. Which should put the nail in the coffin of the idiotic conspiracy theory that the fall in oil prices has been orchestrated by them and the US to undermine Russia

    You and Mercouris seem very convinced in this view; me–not so much. To be sure, I think KSA’s number-one target is Iran. But they would also have some motive to put pressure on Moscow because of Putin’s support for Syria.

    One way or another, destroying US fracking would not–from an economic standpoint–be a very high priority for them. US shale is not a realistic competitor to Saudi light sweet crude. It’s more expensive to extract and there’s no way to get it to the eastern hemisphere except by tanker, which is very slow, dangerous (Valdez) and expensive. Anyway, the US doesn’t even have enough to share. We still import about a third of our own hydrocarbons. Still, the Saudis would want at least a tacit OK from Washington, since fracking would definitely take a serious hit financially. So I’m sure there’s some co-operation here btwn. the US and KSA.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Deduction
    I know what you say is nonsense when you claim that there was no prostitution. That is obviously false. How naive are you?

    There was absolutely zero prostitution.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Prokop
    I don't know about the USSR, maybe communism worked there, at least if we are to believe Glossy, but in case of my country, former Czechoslovakia, you are right. The notion that official statistics underestimated the standard of living of Czechs and Slovaks is absurd.

    A couple of numbers. The Czechoslovak Crown (Kčs) wasn't freely convertible, the official exchange rate, which had nothing to do with economic reality of course, was 15 Kčs/USD. Economic estimates of the international institutions were based on this bogus number. The exchange rate on the black market in 1980-84 was on average 29.10 Kčs/USD, in 1989 47.40 Kčs/USD. When the communists allowed a foreign exchange auction for state enterprises during perestroika in 1989, the exchange rate reached 121.24 Kčs per 1 USD.

    In 1948 Czechoslovakia and Austria were on the same level economically, Czechoslovakia may even have been a bit richer. After 40 years of communism, the average monthly wage in CS was 3170 Kčs, the average wage in Austria was 13 500 schillings. The exchange rate on the black market was 3.50 Kčs per 1 schilling, so the average austrian wage was 47 250 Czechoslovak crowns. This doesn't take price levels into account, but it's very telling nonetheless.

    There were chronic shortages of most consumer goods. When a delivery of new fridges or washing machines was to arrive, people waited hours in lines in front of the store, sometimes they even slept there in sleeping bags over night because they knew that there would only be a very limited number of these goods available.

    The system collapsed as quickly as it did because most people, including the ruling elite, no longer believed in it. The main source of its legitimacy was a promise that it could deliver better quality of life for the average person than capitalism. It manifestly failed to do so. Most Czechs and Slovaks knew in the 1980s at the latest that the standard of living was much higher in the West. The only thing that could have kept the communists in power was use of force, basically what the Chinese did. The Czechoslovak communists didn't have the balls and/or the blind faith to send in the tanks.

    “I don’t know about the USSR, maybe communism worked there, at least if we are to believe Glossy, but in case of my country, former Czechoslovakia… ….The system collapsed as quickly as it did because most people, including the ruling elite, no longer believed in it.”

    My only experience in the Warsaw Pact was the summer of 1984 in Poland (with very quick sidetrips to Prague and Budapest). What I noticed almost immediately was that no one even tried to pretend they believed in the official system. It seemed like a car running on fumes with people peering into the distance looking for a gas station.

    Even at its worst Poland supposedly had overall higher living standards than the USSR so if Russians miss the Soviet Union I basically assume they just have very, very low standards of what they find acceptable living conditions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    The standard of living in Poland fell in the 1990s, like in Russia. It rebounded later, like in Russia. The Poles did not complain about the 1990s downturn as much as the Russians because they got a nationalistic boost out of what happened.

    Life in India, Algeria, etc. got worse after decolonisation too, but independence gave them a compensatory nationalistic boost. You can say the boost was based on an illusion. And Eastern European countries have really only exchanged one master for another. But perceptions are important.

    The reason that nostalgia for the pre-1990 situation is greatest in Russia and East Germany is that neither country got a nationalistic boost to compensate for the 1990s decline in living standards. Nationalism is literally verboten in Germany.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Deduction
    It's worse than that. Modern life has, as per Marx(!), commoditised lots of activities while actually lowering living standards.

    Take the delicious home cooked meal. Many fewer of these are consumed, and many ready meals have replaced them. Since the ready meals cost a lot more than a home cooked meal, GDP goes up a lot just as quality of life goes down.

    All forms of non-market social interaction are uncounted by GDP. That is 'why growing the economy' so often seems to be destroying society.

    Add in the fact that all of this boosts tax receipts and it is easy to see why there is little institutional protection from this commoditising force.

    Take the delicious home cooked meal. Many fewer of these are consumed, and many ready meals have replaced them. Since the ready meals cost a lot more than a home cooked meal, GDP goes up a lot just as quality of life goes down.

    It’s not actually true that ready meals necessarily cost more. You have to take into account all costs and tradeoffs. Furthermore, what you describe as “home-cooked meal” is also a “ready meal”. It’s just a difference of degree. The “home cooked meals” you’re talking about don’t, for example, involve directly raising the animals and growing the plants, butchering, etc. They’re purchased from the grocer and butcher in a “readier” form.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Deduction
    I know what you say is nonsense when you claim that there was no prostitution. That is obviously false. How naive are you?

    I doubt there has ever been a society that totally suppressed prostitution. You’d have to castrate the entire adult male population to achieve that.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    You can believe that US economic and military strength was a complete illusion and that Gorbachev was thus completely delusional, but most people would dispute this view. The USSR’s legitimacy and prestige around the world depended on its promise that its system could deliver better material progress than the capitalist West could.

    Let's go over some things that were completely absent from the late USSR: drugs, homelessness, pornography, prostitution, gambling, advertising. Let's list some things that were many times less prevalent in the late USSR than in the US: crime, official corruption. You can believe that the USSR's moral and civilization strength was a complete illusion, but most people with direct knowledge of these matters would dispute this view of yours.

    Unfortunately globalism's prestige in the world depends neither on its capacity to deliver civilizational progress, nor even on its capacity to deliver better material progress ceteris paribus (look at the 1990s dip in Russia's GDP on Anatoly's graph), but instead on the skill of the liars who produce its propaganda.

    I know what you say is nonsense when you claim that there was no prostitution. That is obviously false. How naive are you?

    Read More
    • Replies: @SWSpires
    I doubt there has ever been a society that totally suppressed prostitution. You'd have to castrate the entire adult male population to achieve that.
    , @Glossy
    There was absolutely zero prostitution.
    , @Big Bill
    No prostitution? Are you kidding me? As a merchant seaman traveling to Leningrad, Odessa, Novorossiysk, and Poti (Georgia) and partying in all of them for a couple months at a time from 1973-1977, I can assure you that Levis, Lux bar soap, Marlboros, Salems, Contac antihistamines, cheap Maybelline cosmetics, lipstick, and dollars could attract a fair amount of affection from otherwise respectable girls.

    And I can also assure you that the Militzia and Politzei hanging around Restauran Bratislav in Novorossiysk waiting for us guys to leave with our dates at bar time damn well knew what was going on, too.

    Natalia and Alla were caught with us when we left one night, thrown into one of those little green paddy wagons they had and I never saw them again.

    The other girls told us that they were arrested and beaten/raped (the other girls were uncomfortable getting very explicit) by the cops for hanging around with us and chose to disappear. Embarrassment? Shame? I will never know.

    Apparently, being caught cuddling/consorting with foreign sailors was prima facie evidence of prostitution and made them fair game ... for being counterrevolutionary hooligans or something.

    God! Those were the days. As a 20 something fireman/oiler, I had one hell of a time! And I still have some beautiful bronze icons as mementos.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • There’s been all these reports on how the Russians are collapsing, or are about to, along with news of the Greek situation and how they’re also on the skids. What seems to be implied in all these news stories is that there’s something deficient in the national character of these nations which inevitably leads them to bankruptcy. For example, we’ve been awash in negative characterizations of the Greeks as being lazy, inefficient, prone to living high on the hog and above their means, evasive, wanting the good life, etc. At some point a light bulb went off in my head: the US debt is now $18T, a sum that many say can’t ever be paid off. Why are we talking about Russians and Greeks when we’ve been racking up this gargantuan debt ourselves? When do we arrive at our own Greek moment of insolvency?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • […] article originally appeared at The […]

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @LondonBob
    The FSU's GDP was a monumental work of fiction, when it collapsed the rotten carcass was exposed. An edifice on the verge of collapse.

    I don’t know about the USSR, maybe communism worked there, at least if we are to believe Glossy, but in case of my country, former Czechoslovakia, you are right. The notion that official statistics underestimated the standard of living of Czechs and Slovaks is absurd.

    A couple of numbers. The Czechoslovak Crown (Kčs) wasn’t freely convertible, the official exchange rate, which had nothing to do with economic reality of course, was 15 Kčs/USD. Economic estimates of the international institutions were based on this bogus number. The exchange rate on the black market in 1980-84 was on average 29.10 Kčs/USD, in 1989 47.40 Kčs/USD. When the communists allowed a foreign exchange auction for state enterprises during perestroika in 1989, the exchange rate reached 121.24 Kčs per 1 USD.

    In 1948 Czechoslovakia and Austria were on the same level economically, Czechoslovakia may even have been a bit richer. After 40 years of communism, the average monthly wage in CS was 3170 Kčs, the average wage in Austria was 13 500 schillings. The exchange rate on the black market was 3.50 Kčs per 1 schilling, so the average austrian wage was 47 250 Czechoslovak crowns. This doesn’t take price levels into account, but it’s very telling nonetheless.

    There were chronic shortages of most consumer goods. When a delivery of new fridges or washing machines was to arrive, people waited hours in lines in front of the store, sometimes they even slept there in sleeping bags over night because they knew that there would only be a very limited number of these goods available.

    The system collapsed as quickly as it did because most people, including the ruling elite, no longer believed in it. The main source of its legitimacy was a promise that it could deliver better quality of life for the average person than capitalism. It manifestly failed to do so. Most Czechs and Slovaks knew in the 1980s at the latest that the standard of living was much higher in the West. The only thing that could have kept the communists in power was use of force, basically what the Chinese did. The Czechoslovak communists didn’t have the balls and/or the blind faith to send in the tanks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cliff Arroyo
    "I don’t know about the USSR, maybe communism worked there, at least if we are to believe Glossy, but in case of my country, former Czechoslovakia... ....The system collapsed as quickly as it did because most people, including the ruling elite, no longer believed in it."

    My only experience in the Warsaw Pact was the summer of 1984 in Poland (with very quick sidetrips to Prague and Budapest). What I noticed almost immediately was that no one even tried to pretend they believed in the official system. It seemed like a car running on fumes with people peering into the distance looking for a gas station.

    Even at its worst Poland supposedly had overall higher living standards than the USSR so if Russians miss the Soviet Union I basically assume they just have very, very low standards of what they find acceptable living conditions.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • “it is true that oil is the key component of Russia’s export basket.”

    This is a serious understatement. “crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas accounting for 68 percent” of Russian exports. Add minerals and timber and it reaches 80%. The Russian economy is almost completely dependent on resources. There is room between the collapse propaganda of the West and your Pollyannish views. Russia will face more than a mild recession. There’s going to be years of declining living standards. The currency has depreciated further in the past 2 months and there will be a new round of inflation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    What understatement?
    Key component is a good term and far more correct than your "Russian economy is almost completely dependent on resources" which tries wrongly to suggest that Russia's export = economy.
    , @Alieu
    The 68% statistic is a deliberate exaggeration. The real figure is around 50%. Most of Russia's exports are resources, but this is not that unusual. Russia is a sparsely-populated country with the biggest natural resources in the world. Canada and Australia are very dependent on resources for their exports but I've never heard anyone talk about their flawed economy that has failed to develop. It's mostly just propaganda. You'd have to be living under a rock not to see that the Zionist establishment in the West has been in full anti-Russian propaganda mode since at least 2013. It's interesting that all but one (Kudrin) of the virulent critics of Russia that Karlin mentions are Jews. And he is a disgruntled former minister who resigned because of a policy disagreement.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anatoly Karlin
    The oil price is primarily a function of supply/demand in the oil markets, and of dollar strength (because oil is priced in dollars).

    The dollar has greatly strengthened since mid-2014, coinciding neatly with the drop in oil prices.

    I don't know enough about supply/demand to comment with any authority, but I imagine that the relative slowdown in Chinese growth must have played some part.

    In short: You don't need tall conspiracy theories of Saudi/US collusion on oil prices to bring Russia down to explain it. You can encounter such theories quite frequently on the Internet. But this wasn't the case in the 1980s and it is even more implausible now.

    Statements like these pose question, however

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/r-saudis-naimi-says-opec-will-not-cut-output-however-far-oil-falls-mees-2014-12

    The general idea wouldn’t have been to undermine Russia in particular, but all big competitors, Russia, US shale, future Iranian production for market share considerations, and not merely geopolitics.

    Some people think Saudis have been ill-advised on this, having possibly been played by deliberately wrong advice

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • @Seamus Padraig
    Glossy raises a very good point here that few Americans know: the GDP measurement is highly misleading. It basically measures all (legal) transactions in a country regardless of their nature, so that industrial and agricultural output are lumped in with service transactions that may do little or nothing to raise the standard of living.

    For example, if you break your leg and go to the hospital and pay your bill, you have just contributed to a (slight) increase in GDP. Why? You're no better off than you would be if you hadn't broken your leg at all. But you had to pay the hospital some money. Thus, a measurable, legal transaction was created. Presto! More GDP.

    Another example: if your schools are so crappy that some parents feel compelled to pay out-of-pocket for private tutoring on the side, that would also count as a GDP increase. But if the schools were actually good enough on their own and no one hired private tutors, GDP would be lower.

    See how weird a measurement GDP is?

    It’s worse than that. Modern life has, as per Marx(!), commoditised lots of activities while actually lowering living standards.

    Take the delicious home cooked meal. Many fewer of these are consumed, and many ready meals have replaced them. Since the ready meals cost a lot more than a home cooked meal, GDP goes up a lot just as quality of life goes down.

    All forms of non-market social interaction are uncounted by GDP. That is ‘why growing the economy’ so often seems to be destroying society.

    Add in the fact that all of this boosts tax receipts and it is easy to see why there is little institutional protection from this commoditising force.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Take the delicious home cooked meal. Many fewer of these are consumed, and many ready meals have replaced them. Since the ready meals cost a lot more than a home cooked meal, GDP goes up a lot just as quality of life goes down.
     
    It's not actually true that ready meals necessarily cost more. You have to take into account all costs and tradeoffs. Furthermore, what you describe as "home-cooked meal" is also a "ready meal". It's just a difference of degree. The "home cooked meals" you're talking about don't, for example, involve directly raising the animals and growing the plants, butchering, etc. They're purchased from the grocer and butcher in a "readier" form.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Nearly every other day brings another scary headline about Russia's economic apocalypse. Inflation is robbing Russians of buying power and Putin propagandists are denying it. The "wheels are coming off" the regime according to our friends at the RFERL, the end of the regime is nigh according to Bill Browder, and Putin's days are numbered,...
  • It doesn’t have to be people doing Russia down for the sake of it. It could easily be their real impressions.

    10 years ago I met no Russians when I visited Thailand. This year, after their recession started, I saw signs in Russian everywhere but, as the locals confirmed, what had become many had now stopped coming.

    If I hadn’t been there ten years ago I would have assumed that Russia was in free fall.

    If I didn’t read you I would assume that Russia is falling back to 1990′s levels.

    In neither case would I be ill-intentioned.

    As it is, I recognise that effects at the margins are often disproportionately strong, and holidays in Thailand are very marginal spending.

    Read More
    • Replies: @silviosilver

    10 years ago I met no Russians when I visited Thailand. This year, after their recession started, I saw signs in Russian everywhere but, as the locals confirmed, what had become many had now stopped coming.
     
    I was in Thailand in 2006 and 2008 and I recall hearing Russian spoken about as often as French. (Germans were by far the most numerous non-English speakers I encountered.)
    , @x-cia
    It's aways been a debate as to which country has the better "full moon" parties, Thailand or India. When your currency devalues, smart money goes for the "sure thing". Anjuna is where you'll find all the missing Russians from Thailand.
    , @annamaria
    Yes, RF has its difficulties. But why the idiots that pushed Ukraine away from the reliable Russian market are not trumpeted as such? - the idiots and profiteers on other peoples' sorrows and troubles. Here is a report on a state of Ukrainian economy:
    http://russia-insider.com/en/business/ukraine-gdp-and-exports-collapsing/ri9367
    Excerpts:
    "According to data of the World Bank, Ukraine’s real GDP performance for the last 24 years has been the worst in the world...
    In the first half of the [2015] year, the decline of industrial production was 20.5%. The decline in agriculture was 9.3 per cent and exports collapsed by 35.4 per cent. The collapse of exports to Russia was particularly marked. Real wages in Ukraine fell 23.9%.... the decline in GDP for the year will slow to 8.9 per cent, while inflation is expected to reach 45.8 per cent (December to December).
    Ukraine’s economy contracted in 2014 by 6.8 per cent while prices rose by 24.9 per cent. In the first quarter of 2015, the GDP decline was greater than that of the last quarter of 2014, 17.2 per cent compared to 14.8 per cent.
    Military spending rising steeply: Despite 14 per cent inflation, the budget for the regular armed forces will more than double in real terms.
    And a cherry on the Ukrainian pie: "... the budget approved by the Ukraine Rada on Dec. 11, 2014 contained an ‘action plan’ for 2015-2020, which will see annual military spending rise to five percent of the country’s GDP. The plan also projects that Ukraine will formally end its neutral, non-bloc status and join NATO and for its armed forces to switch to NATO military standards by 2020." In short, the US neocons are eager to keep and elevate the danger of a thermonuclear war.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    Which should put the nail in the coffin of the idiotic conspiracy theory that the fall in oil prices has been orchestrated by them and the US to undermine Russia).

    Why do you think the oil prices have fallen? It happened quite a bit before the Iran deal.

    The oil price is primarily a function of supply/demand in the oil markets, and of dollar strength (because oil is priced in dollars).

    The dollar has greatly strengthened since mid-2014, coinciding neatly with the drop in oil prices.

    I don’t know enough about supply/demand to comment with any authority, but I imagine that the relative slowdown in Chinese growth must have played some part.

    In short: You don’t need tall conspiracy theories of Saudi/US collusion on oil prices to bring Russia down to explain it. You can encounter such theories quite frequently on the Internet. But this wasn’t the case in the 1980s and it is even more implausible now.

    Read More
    • Agree: Wizard of Oz
    • Replies: @Commenter
    Statements like these pose question, however
    http://uk.businessinsider.com/r-saudis-naimi-says-opec-will-not-cut-output-however-far-oil-falls-mees-2014-12

    The general idea wouldn't have been to undermine Russia in particular, but all big competitors, Russia, US shale, future Iranian production for market share considerations, and not merely geopolitics.

    Some people think Saudis have been ill-advised on this, having possibly been played by deliberately wrong advice

    , @Wizard of Oz
    I agree but was about to add reference to Saudi Arabia and fracking as others have. Obviously Saudi crude will be much cheaper to extract than the product of fracking for the forseeable future but that doesn't mean that it isn't in Saudi interests to set the fracking back (and discourage Iranian production) and to be able to benefit from even higher profits when the price rises and others are still gearing up. This seems to be roughly the same strategy as RIO's and BHP-Billiton's in iron ore production where they are the lowest cost producers and continuing to ramp up production while other producers go under.

    As to whether the US would have given Saudis the nod and that this was necessary, it is hard to imagine the US wouldn't have had Treasury and other models of the effects of unrestrained Saudi production. Maybe in the end the conclusion was that the ultimate effects were impossible to predict but that, in the short term at least low oil prices would be good for the US, EU, China and India so.... what's not to like?

    , @Anonymous
    The Saudis are still the swing producers and set the oil price. The recent decline is due to US prodding of the Saudis to lower price in order to put pressure on Russia. The same thing was done in the 80s to put pressure on the Soviets.

    http://moslereconomics.com/2014/12/04/comments-on-crude-pricing-the-economy-and-the-banking-system/

    The Saudis are the ‘supplier of last resort’/swing producer. Every day the world buys all the crude the other producers sell to the highest bidder and then go to the Saudis for the last 9-10 million barrels that are getting consumed. They either pay the Saudis price or shut the lights off, rendering the Saudis price setter/swing producer.

    Specifically, the Saudis don’t sell at spot price in the market place, but instead simply post prices for their customers/refiners and let them buy all they want at those prices.

    And most recently the prices they have posted have been fixed spreads from various benchmarks, like Brent.

    Saudi spread pricing works like this:
    Assume, for purposes of illustration, Saudi crude would sell at a discount of $1 vs Brent (due to higher refining costs etc.) if they let ‘the market’ decide the spread by selling a specific quantity at ‘market prices’/to the highest bidder. Instead, however, they announce they will sell at a $2 discount to Brent and let the refiners buy all they want.

    So what happens?

    The answer first- this sets a downward price spiral in motion. Refiners see the lower price available from the Saudis and lower the price they are willing to pay everyone else. And everyone else is a ‘price taker’ selling to the highest bidder, which is now $1 lower than ‘indifference levels’. When the other suppliers sell $1 lower than before the Saudi price cut/larger discount of $1, the Brent price drops by $1. Saudi crude is then available for $1 less than before, as the $2 discount remains in place. Etc. etc. with no end until either:
    1) The Saudis change the discount/raise their price
    2) Physical demand goes up beyond the Saudis capacity to increase production

    And setting the spread north of ‘neutral’ causes prices to rise, etc.

    Bottom line is the Saudis set price, and have engineered the latest decline. There was no shift in net global supply/demand as evidenced by Saudi output remaining relatively stable throughout.
     
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Which should put the nail in the coffin of the idiotic conspiracy theory that the fall in oil prices has been orchestrated by them and the US to undermine Russia).

    Why do you think the oil prices have fallen? It happened quite a bit before the Iran deal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    The oil price is primarily a function of supply/demand in the oil markets, and of dollar strength (because oil is priced in dollars).

    The dollar has greatly strengthened since mid-2014, coinciding neatly with the drop in oil prices.

    I don't know enough about supply/demand to comment with any authority, but I imagine that the relative slowdown in Chinese growth must have played some part.

    In short: You don't need tall conspiracy theories of Saudi/US collusion on oil prices to bring Russia down to explain it. You can encounter such theories quite frequently on the Internet. But this wasn't the case in the 1980s and it is even more implausible now.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  •   At least according to the latest revision of the World Bank's PPP-adjusted GDP estimates. China has long been expected to overtake the US economy (one economist dated it to as early as 2010), and there had already been a flurry in the media when the IMF claimed the same thing in December last year....
  • Andrei Martyanov [AKA "SmoothieX12"] says: • Website
    @Seamus Padraig
    Glossy raises a very good point here that few Americans know: the GDP measurement is highly misleading. It basically measures all (legal) transactions in a country regardless of their nature, so that industrial and agricultural output are lumped in with service transactions that may do little or nothing to raise the standard of living.

    For example, if you break your leg and go to the hospital and pay your bill, you have just contributed to a (slight) increase in GDP. Why? You're no better off than you would be if you hadn't broken your leg at all. But you had to pay the hospital some money. Thus, a measurable, legal transaction was created. Presto! More GDP.

    Another example: if your schools are so crappy that some parents feel compelled to pay out-of-pocket for private tutoring on the side, that would also count as a GDP increase. But if the schools were actually good enough on their own and no one hired private tutors, GDP would be lower.

    See how weird a measurement GDP is?

    This “I tie your shoes for a dollar, you tie mine for the same price–together we produced 2 Dollars of GDP” is THE foundation of monetarism and, thus, overstates the actual GDP greatly, sometimes–manifold. The true measure of the GDP is its structure, from which the actual size could be calculated, including the service economy. Productive labor (manufacturing) also has a profound cultural ramifications–from education to the overall mental state of the society. I am talking, of course, about the economy of the closed technological cycles. In the end–these are goods, in all their variety, which define the economy. It is difficult, very often, as an example to explain to some MBA that Hi-Tech is not what they think it is and that economy of Saudi Arabia, for all of its per capita GDP is, basically, not an economy at all.

    Western “economists” and most of their, say, Russian liberal off-springs from such sewer as High School Of Economics have no concept of real productive labor and what real INDUSTRY is about. In related news, Russia doesn’t produce surfing boards (a booming multi-billion dollar industry in the US) since, well, surfing around Murmansk or Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is not really great;-) Russia, however, produces a lot of the prepregs which go both for production of the surfing boards (in US) and Sukhoi T-50. Calculating Russian GDP is a tricky matter but it is military, which is always a good indicator of the structure and size of the economy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @silviosilver

    This “I tie your shoes for a dollar, you tie mine for the same price–together we produced 2 Dollars of GDP” is THE foundation of monetarism and, thus, overstates the actual GDP greatly, sometimes–manifold.
     
    If your implication is that GDP measures money passing back and forth between two parties with nothing of value being exchanged, then you are simply wrong. GDP counts the production of new goods. It doesn't matter how many times two parties exchange, say, a used car - GDP doesn't count it.

    If you meant to assert something other than this, you will have to explain it because I don't see any other meaning in your statement.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Ogarkov

    In 1984 the chief of the Soviet general staff was sacked for publically complaining about the backwardness of Soviet productive capacity. Reaganomics was military Keynesianism with the added benefit of running up such huge debt that social spending in future was forestalled.

    Soviet bosses did not live well by Western standards. Russian bosses subsist like kings now, and because that is the case, the whole perestroika and shock therapy experiment must be regarded as very far from a colossal, world-historical mistake from the bosses’ point of view.

    Germany is not an independent power centre, so its military capacity in a thought experiment where it became a a great power is anyone’s guess. Back in reality the Germans are not the Germans any more according to William S. Lind so their theoretical capabilities are irrelevant.

    Russia has to stand alone. If it fights a great power it will be China. A Chinese rout of Russian forces followed by Russian use of i some of its huge no of battlefield nukes and Russia Chinese strategic exchange is the most likely way for WW3 to go. Russia is not an existential threat to the US but a war between Russia and China is, because Russia would not let the US emerge unscathed.

    https://www.traditionalright.com/the-view-from-olympus-wtf/

    Russia’s aggressive behavior and its nuclear arsenal make it the single greatest national security threat faced by the United States…

    Throughout the hearing, when asked about threats, General Dunford returned repeatedly to Russia…

    “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia,” he said. “And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”

    So the real question is not whether Russia has more military potential than Germany, but is China overtaking Russia?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I don't understand your comment. Why would China attack Russian forces if it would lead to nuclear exchange, and why would Russia then attack the US?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Glossy
    You can believe that US economic and military strength was a complete illusion and that Gorbachev was thus completely delusional, but most people would dispute this view. The USSR’s legitimacy and prestige around the world depended on its promise that its system could deliver better material progress than the capitalist West could.

    Let's go over some things that were completely absent from the late USSR: drugs, homelessness, pornography, prostitution, gambling, advertising. Let's list some things that were many times less prevalent in the late USSR than in the US: crime, official corruption. You can believe that the USSR's moral and civilization strength was a complete illusion, but most people with direct knowledge of these matters would dispute this view of yours.

    Unfortunately globalism's prestige in the world depends neither on its capacity to deliver civilizational progress, nor even on its capacity to deliver better material progress ceteris paribus (look at the 1990s dip in Russia's GDP on Anatoly's graph), but instead on the skill of the liars who produce its propaganda.

    Unfortunately globalism’s prestige in the world depends neither on its capacity to deliver civilizational progress, nor even on its capacity to deliver better material progress ceteris paribus (look at the 1990s dip in Russia’s GDP on Anatoly’s graph), but instead on the skill of the liars who produce its propaganda.

    I agree, but a major factor in globalism’s strength and resilience is that it’s not really an explicit, formalized ideology with specific promises like communism was. It’s simply based on the basic human desire for profit and gain, and its ideological justification and propaganda have been malleable and changed to suit the times and conditions. 500 years ago, when modern “globalism” arguably began in earnest, a major drive for globalism was seeking alternative trade routes to the east for the purpose of profit and gain. Spreading Christianity was the major ideological justification. Later on with mercantilism and imperialism, national power was a justification. Today it’s human rights. Etc. The relative winners and losers of globalism have changed over time. Because it’s had changing ideological justifications without promising specific material well being and progress for all, it’s been able to persist by providing enough relative winners.

    Read More
    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    Yes, but obviously this was in the context of the very real economic and military progress and strength of the US.

    There was military parity.

    The standard if living issue is split. Americans had more personal vehicles, the USSR had better public transport, Americans had bigger homes, the USSR had less crime, no drugs or homelessness and a better education system, etc. The West’s popular culture was already tacky and cheap, the USSR’s more traditional and digified.

    I’m repeating myself as are you. Which means that the argument is exhausted. I haven’t convinced you and you haven’t convinced me.

    Read More
    • Replies: @silviosilver

    The standard if living issue is split. Americans had more personal vehicles, the USSR had better public transport, Americans had bigger homes, the USSR had less crime, no drugs or homelessness and a better education system, etc. The West’s popular culture was already tacky and cheap, the USSR’s more traditional and digified.
     
    There is no comparison whatsoever between American capitalism's ability to provide consumer goods and the USSR's. That was an indisputable American victory and, in the 1980s, became an important cause of disillusionment among the communist citizenry. Why is America the most appropriate comparison, anyway? All of western Europe had market-based economy, and I would rate the public transport, crime rate and education system as at least as good as the east's, and public health a good deal better.
    , @Anonymous
    I don't think the USSR had better public transportation. The US had better roads, which made buses better. And US subways and trains were fine. And if you include affordable air travel in public transportation, then obviously the US had the edge there as well.

    As far as crime goes, the US has a significant minority that's significantly crime prone. Up to the 50s even in places like DC, people didn't lock their cars or houses because they didn't need to.

    I wouldn't say the USSR had a better education system.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements.

    Western elites decided after WWII that they needed to subjugate the USSR in order to do everything that they eventually did to it in the 1990s: loot it, partition it, spread socially liberal ideology on its territory, get rid of a rival offering a civilizational alternative to the rest of the world, etc. Sure, there wasn't much loot to take in 1946, but as time went on the USSR accumulated more and more resources that could be looted. And a part of the plan was always to take away the areas that the Russian Empire acquired in past centuries. De-imperialization, in other words.

    It was smart for the USSR to resist. Look what happened when it stopped resisting. And in the course of this resistance the USSR supported anybody who opposed its enemies, including third-world nationalists. And the US supported third-world nationalists if its own, as you admit.

    Yes, I basically agree with everything here. And this is consistent with my comments on how and why the colonial empires were lost after WW2.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Propaganda obviously depends to a large extent on the larger context of real variables such as economic and military strength.

    There’s no such requirement. You need access to printing presses, airwaves or the Internet, depending on the period. You need a message and some skill in packaging it. Some staff too. How naive of you to think that there must be anything real underneath propaganda. No wonder that you’ve swallowed so much propaganda.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    I think it's pretty clear that Gorbachev was delusional. He thought that his reforms would produce an economic boom among other things. Instead they led to the biggest peace-time decline in the standard of living of any country ever. How is it possible to dispute that he was a dupe and that he was duped?

    Yes, but obviously this was in the context of the very real economic and military progress and strength of the US.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    There was military parity.

    The standard if living issue is split. Americans had more personal vehicles, the USSR had better public transport, Americans had bigger homes, the USSR had less crime, no drugs or homelessness and a better education system, etc. The West's popular culture was already tacky and cheap, the USSR's more traditional and digified.

    I'm repeating myself as are you. Which means that the argument is exhausted. I haven't convinced you and you haven't convinced me.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @SWSpires
    So everything was great in the late USSR; but it only took one guy to destroy the whole thing, and then only because he wanted to be "cool." Do I read you correctly?

    Yes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    What an unstable, weak system.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    Information war is a part of real war. Propaganda obviously depends to a large extent on the larger context of real variables such as economic and military strength. You can believe that US economic and military strength was a complete illusion and that Gorbachev was thus completely delusional, but most people would dispute this view. The USSR's legitimacy and prestige around the world depended on its promise that its system could deliver better material progress than the capitalist West could.

    Indochina is an extreme example of similar trends elsewhere. The Brits started making concessions in India as a result of pressure from WW2 and Axis support of Indian nationalists. They lost control of Malay/Singapore, and these areas were won back by the US victory in the Asia/Pacific. After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements. It wasn't simply about following what was cool. The Rhodesians, for example, did not care about looking "uncool", and were doing well fighting the black nationalist ZANU militia until ZANU started being trained and aided heavily by the communist bloc. There were similar examples elsewhere in Africa. The colonials were urged to leave by the US not simply because it was "uncool", but because their continued presence would have strengthened the anti-colonial, communist backed nationalists and united the native populations in anti-colonial national liberation. The US, not unreasonably, calculated that this would lead to many more countries going communist, to communist domination of the planet, and Soviet victory in the Cold War. The US figured that it would be better to try to cultivate and use pro-US/anti-communist nationalists, which it had been doing for decades already e.g. Chiang-Kai-Shek and the Chinese Nationalists, various anti-Japanese nationalists in WW2, etc.

    After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements.

    Western elites decided after WWII that they needed to subjugate the USSR in order to do everything that they eventually did to it in the 1990s: loot it, partition it, spread socially liberal ideology on its territory, get rid of a rival offering a civilizational alternative to the rest of the world, etc. Sure, there wasn’t much loot to take in 1946, but as time went on the USSR accumulated more and more resources that could be looted. And a part of the plan was always to take away the areas that the Russian Empire acquired in past centuries. De-imperialization, in other words.

    It was smart for the USSR to resist. Look what happened when it stopped resisting. And in the course of this resistance the USSR supported anybody who opposed its enemies, including third-world nationalists. And the US supported third-world nationalists if its own, as you admit.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Yes, I basically agree with everything here. And this is consistent with my comments on how and why the colonial empires were lost after WW2.
    , @silviosilver

    It was smart for the USSR to resist. Look what happened when it stopped resisting. And in the course of this resistance the USSR supported anybody who opposed its enemies, including third-world nationalists. And the US supported third-world nationalists if its own, as you admit.
     
    That is only one half of the story. The other half is that the communist party viewed the capitalist world as a civilizational alternative which it had to denounce, oppose, and, if possible, destroy both for ideological reasons as well as to - as convincingly argued by George Kennan - legitimize its own dictatorial rule. It's completely unreasonable to pin all the blame on America for the relationship that existed between the two states.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    How would strain on the Soviet system have looked like? A decrease in living standards, an increase in foreign debt. That didn't happen. How would strain on colonial systems have looked like? Major human and territorial losses to insurgencies, economic problems. That didn't happen either.

    What happened was that with time nationalism and imperialism became increasingly unhip and uncool. And in Gorby's mind Brezhnev and co. were uncool. And if he did the opposite of what they did, he'd be cool, democratic and forward-thinking. Globalism relies on vanity and perverted understanding of what's cool.

    So everything was great in the late USSR; but it only took one guy to destroy the whole thing, and then only because he wanted to be “cool.” Do I read you correctly?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Yes.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    Information war is a part of real war. Propaganda obviously depends to a large extent on the larger context of real variables such as economic and military strength. You can believe that US economic and military strength was a complete illusion and that Gorbachev was thus completely delusional, but most people would dispute this view. The USSR's legitimacy and prestige around the world depended on its promise that its system could deliver better material progress than the capitalist West could.

    Indochina is an extreme example of similar trends elsewhere. The Brits started making concessions in India as a result of pressure from WW2 and Axis support of Indian nationalists. They lost control of Malay/Singapore, and these areas were won back by the US victory in the Asia/Pacific. After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements. It wasn't simply about following what was cool. The Rhodesians, for example, did not care about looking "uncool", and were doing well fighting the black nationalist ZANU militia until ZANU started being trained and aided heavily by the communist bloc. There were similar examples elsewhere in Africa. The colonials were urged to leave by the US not simply because it was "uncool", but because their continued presence would have strengthened the anti-colonial, communist backed nationalists and united the native populations in anti-colonial national liberation. The US, not unreasonably, calculated that this would lead to many more countries going communist, to communist domination of the planet, and Soviet victory in the Cold War. The US figured that it would be better to try to cultivate and use pro-US/anti-communist nationalists, which it had been doing for decades already e.g. Chiang-Kai-Shek and the Chinese Nationalists, various anti-Japanese nationalists in WW2, etc.

    I think it’s pretty clear that Gorbachev was delusional. He thought that his reforms would produce an economic boom among other things. Instead they led to the biggest peace-time decline in the standard of living of any country ever. How is it possible to dispute that he was a dupe and that he was duped?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Yes, but obviously this was in the context of the very real economic and military progress and strength of the US.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • You can believe that US economic and military strength was a complete illusion and that Gorbachev was thus completely delusional, but most people would dispute this view. The USSR’s legitimacy and prestige around the world depended on its promise that its system could deliver better material progress than the capitalist West could.

    Let’s go over some things that were completely absent from the late USSR: drugs, homelessness, pornography, prostitution, gambling, advertising. Let’s list some things that were many times less prevalent in the late USSR than in the US: crime, official corruption. You can believe that the USSR’s moral and civilization strength was a complete illusion, but most people with direct knowledge of these matters would dispute this view of yours.

    Unfortunately globalism’s prestige in the world depends neither on its capacity to deliver civilizational progress, nor even on its capacity to deliver better material progress ceteris paribus (look at the 1990s dip in Russia’s GDP on Anatoly’s graph), but instead on the skill of the liars who produce its propaganda.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Unfortunately globalism’s prestige in the world depends neither on its capacity to deliver civilizational progress, nor even on its capacity to deliver better material progress ceteris paribus (look at the 1990s dip in Russia’s GDP on Anatoly’s graph), but instead on the skill of the liars who produce its propaganda.
     
    I agree, but a major factor in globalism's strength and resilience is that it's not really an explicit, formalized ideology with specific promises like communism was. It's simply based on the basic human desire for profit and gain, and its ideological justification and propaganda have been malleable and changed to suit the times and conditions. 500 years ago, when modern "globalism" arguably began in earnest, a major drive for globalism was seeking alternative trade routes to the east for the purpose of profit and gain. Spreading Christianity was the major ideological justification. Later on with mercantilism and imperialism, national power was a justification. Today it's human rights. Etc. The relative winners and losers of globalism have changed over time. Because it's had changing ideological justifications without promising specific material well being and progress for all, it's been able to persist by providing enough relative winners.
    , @Deduction
    I know what you say is nonsense when you claim that there was no prostitution. That is obviously false. How naive are you?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Glossy
    As you suggest, Gorbachev was demoralized and wanted to join up with the winners.

    Winning an ad war or a propaganda war is very different from winning a real war, from producing a better product or a better-functioning society or a more-advanced civilization. Winners at what? At brainwashing? Do you respect such winners? Do you respect the people who join them?

    You're commenting on a blog here. The most popular blog in the world is Perez Hilton's I think. I'm sure he has a community of commenters. Why don't you join them? Isn't he a winner?

    A bunch of people created a crude, perverted idea of what's cool and what isn't. And it spread like a virus. And Gorby, being a vane man incapable of independent thought, caught it. Similarly, lots of teenagers have been convinced by the music and fashion industries that drugs are cool. Heroin chic, etc. The point that I'm trying to make is that not all sorts of winning, not all sorts of mind-capture, are laudable. Do you agree with that?

    You talked about the French in Indochina. They really, really didn't have to leave Black Africa. There was no armed resistance there. Yet they left it. The British really, really didn't have to leave India. Or Black Adrica. Or Malaysia/Singapore. Most of these cave-ins were unforced. As I said before, most of them happened because nationalism and imperialism gradually became uncool.

    Information war is a part of real war. Propaganda obviously depends to a large extent on the larger context of real variables such as economic and military strength. You can believe that US economic and military strength was a complete illusion and that Gorbachev was thus completely delusional, but most people would dispute this view. The USSR’s legitimacy and prestige around the world depended on its promise that its system could deliver better material progress than the capitalist West could.

    Indochina is an extreme example of similar trends elsewhere. The Brits started making concessions in India as a result of pressure from WW2 and Axis support of Indian nationalists. They lost control of Malay/Singapore, and these areas were won back by the US victory in the Asia/Pacific. After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements. It wasn’t simply about following what was cool. The Rhodesians, for example, did not care about looking “uncool”, and were doing well fighting the black nationalist ZANU militia until ZANU started being trained and aided heavily by the communist bloc. There were similar examples elsewhere in Africa. The colonials were urged to leave by the US not simply because it was “uncool”, but because their continued presence would have strengthened the anti-colonial, communist backed nationalists and united the native populations in anti-colonial national liberation. The US, not unreasonably, calculated that this would lead to many more countries going communist, to communist domination of the planet, and Soviet victory in the Cold War. The US figured that it would be better to try to cultivate and use pro-US/anti-communist nationalists, which it had been doing for decades already e.g. Chiang-Kai-Shek and the Chinese Nationalists, various anti-Japanese nationalists in WW2, etc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    I think it's pretty clear that Gorbachev was delusional. He thought that his reforms would produce an economic boom among other things. Instead they led to the biggest peace-time decline in the standard of living of any country ever. How is it possible to dispute that he was a dupe and that he was duped?
    , @Glossy
    After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements.

    Western elites decided after WWII that they needed to subjugate the USSR in order to do everything that they eventually did to it in the 1990s: loot it, partition it, spread socially liberal ideology on its territory, get rid of a rival offering a civilizational alternative to the rest of the world, etc. Sure, there wasn't much loot to take in 1946, but as time went on the USSR accumulated more and more resources that could be looted. And a part of the plan was always to take away the areas that the Russian Empire acquired in past centuries. De-imperialization, in other words.

    It was smart for the USSR to resist. Look what happened when it stopped resisting. And in the course of this resistance the USSR supported anybody who opposed its enemies, including third-world nationalists. And the US supported third-world nationalists if its own, as you admit.
    , @Simon in London
    Good post.

    In 4th generation war theory terms, the European colonial empires were defeated at the moral level after WW2, as was the USSR after 1989, and these defeats are just as real in their consequences as military defeat in war. Whether the victors were 'laudable' is a different question.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Sean the Neon Caucasian
    ...so why did the USSR break up?

    Because its leaders were foolish enough to accept its enemies’ advice on what they should be doing.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    The USSR was not srained. That's a fairy tale that you told yourself in order to feel better. That was the point of my earlier comment. And East Indians didn't strain the British Empire. And animal sacrifices don't bring rain.

    The ultimate reason why the USSR was abolished was that Gorbachev was a vain fool who wanted to seem like a hip, forward-thinking, fashionable reformer. The British Empire died for similar reasons. And so did Apartheid.

    Absolutely.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    As you suggest, Gorbachev was demoralized and wanted to join up with the winners.

    Winning an ad war or a propaganda war is very different from winning a real war, from producing a better product or a better-functioning society or a more-advanced civilization. Winners at what? At brainwashing? Do you respect such winners? Do you respect the people who join them?

    You're commenting on a blog here. The most popular blog in the world is Perez Hilton's I think. I'm sure he has a community of commenters. Why don't you join them? Isn't he a winner?

    A bunch of people created a crude, perverted idea of what's cool and what isn't. And it spread like a virus. And Gorby, being a vane man incapable of independent thought, caught it. Similarly, lots of teenagers have been convinced by the music and fashion industries that drugs are cool. Heroin chic, etc. The point that I'm trying to make is that not all sorts of winning, not all sorts of mind-capture, are laudable. Do you agree with that?

    You talked about the French in Indochina. They really, really didn't have to leave Black Africa. There was no armed resistance there. Yet they left it. The British really, really didn't have to leave India. Or Black Adrica. Or Malaysia/Singapore. Most of these cave-ins were unforced. As I said before, most of them happened because nationalism and imperialism gradually became uncool.

    …so why did the USSR break up?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Because its leaders were foolish enough to accept its enemies' advice on what they should be doing.
    , @LondonBob
    Declining living standards leading to a loss of legitimacy as well as the rise of nationalism in the respective countries (including most importantly Russian nationalism).

    Sorry but a factory that can barely keep running due to degraded machinery, uncertain supplies and an inability to compensate its workers producing goods no one even wants in the first place will still show in the GDP but it really shouldn't. The biggest mistake the IMF made, from the mouth of Stanislav Gomulka, was that they underestimated the state of disrepair both physically as well as institutionally in Russia, hoodwinked by neocons hyping the Soviet threat and delusional Western fellow travelers.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    As you suggest, Gorbachev was demoralized and wanted to join up with the winners. That perception obviously depended to some extent on America and Americans.

    "Strain" on competing social and political systems will depend on significantly on perception and relative position and prospects, not simply on objective measures.

    The colonial systems were obviously under significant strain by WW2, at home on the Continent by Germany and in Asia by Japan. The US and USSR won the war for the Allies, and naturally they, along with the PRC to a lesser extent, inherited the colonial areas as their spheres of influence after the war. After the war, the French tried to hang on to Indochina, and lost almost 100,000 men trying to do so with US support fighting communist backed nationalists. It wasn't globalism that did them in. The French had never really regained control of Indochina in the first place. It was the US, not the French, who had defeated Japan in Asia and the Pacific. The US supported Vietnamese nationalists during WW2 because they were anti-Japanese, and FDR didn't want the French to regain control after the war. At any rate, the French fought to regain control after the war and were supported by the US, who eventually dropped support. The US figured that the French would not be able to decisively defeat at a reasonable cost USSR and PRC backed, politically awakened nationalist, anti-colonialist guerillas, and wanted to salvage a nominally independent, nationalist Vietnamese regime that would be anti-communist and pro-US/West.

    As you suggest, Gorbachev was demoralized and wanted to join up with the winners.

    Winning an ad war or a propaganda war is very different from winning a real war, from producing a better product or a better-functioning society or a more-advanced civilization. Winners at what? At brainwashing? Do you respect such winners? Do you respect the people who join them?

    You’re commenting on a blog here. The most popular blog in the world is Perez Hilton’s I think. I’m sure he has a community of commenters. Why don’t you join them? Isn’t he a winner?

    A bunch of people created a crude, perverted idea of what’s cool and what isn’t. And it spread like a virus. And Gorby, being a vane man incapable of independent thought, caught it. Similarly, lots of teenagers have been convinced by the music and fashion industries that drugs are cool. Heroin chic, etc. The point that I’m trying to make is that not all sorts of winning, not all sorts of mind-capture, are laudable. Do you agree with that?

    You talked about the French in Indochina. They really, really didn’t have to leave Black Africa. There was no armed resistance there. Yet they left it. The British really, really didn’t have to leave India. Or Black Adrica. Or Malaysia/Singapore. Most of these cave-ins were unforced. As I said before, most of them happened because nationalism and imperialism gradually became uncool.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean the Neon Caucasian
    ...so why did the USSR break up?
    , @Anonymous
    Information war is a part of real war. Propaganda obviously depends to a large extent on the larger context of real variables such as economic and military strength. You can believe that US economic and military strength was a complete illusion and that Gorbachev was thus completely delusional, but most people would dispute this view. The USSR's legitimacy and prestige around the world depended on its promise that its system could deliver better material progress than the capitalist West could.

    Indochina is an extreme example of similar trends elsewhere. The Brits started making concessions in India as a result of pressure from WW2 and Axis support of Indian nationalists. They lost control of Malay/Singapore, and these areas were won back by the US victory in the Asia/Pacific. After the war, there was communist infiltration and support for national liberation movements. It wasn't simply about following what was cool. The Rhodesians, for example, did not care about looking "uncool", and were doing well fighting the black nationalist ZANU militia until ZANU started being trained and aided heavily by the communist bloc. There were similar examples elsewhere in Africa. The colonials were urged to leave by the US not simply because it was "uncool", but because their continued presence would have strengthened the anti-colonial, communist backed nationalists and united the native populations in anti-colonial national liberation. The US, not unreasonably, calculated that this would lead to many more countries going communist, to communist domination of the planet, and Soviet victory in the Cold War. The US figured that it would be better to try to cultivate and use pro-US/anti-communist nationalists, which it had been doing for decades already e.g. Chiang-Kai-Shek and the Chinese Nationalists, various anti-Japanese nationalists in WW2, etc.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Glossy
    How would strain on the Soviet system have looked like? A decrease in living standards, an increase in foreign debt. That didn't happen. How would strain on colonial systems have looked like? Major human and territorial losses to insurgencies, economic problems. That didn't happen either.

    What happened was that with time nationalism and imperialism became increasingly unhip and uncool. And in Gorby's mind Brezhnev and co. were uncool. And if he did the opposite of what they did, he'd be cool, democratic and forward-thinking. Globalism relies on vanity and perverted understanding of what's cool.

    As you suggest, Gorbachev was demoralized and wanted to join up with the winners. That perception obviously depended to some extent on America and Americans.

    “Strain” on competing social and political systems will depend on significantly on perception and relative position and prospects, not simply on objective measures.

    The colonial systems were obviously under significant strain by WW2, at home on the Continent by Germany and in Asia by Japan. The US and USSR won the war for the Allies, and naturally they, along with the PRC to a lesser extent, inherited the colonial areas as their spheres of influence after the war. After the war, the French tried to hang on to Indochina, and lost almost 100,000 men trying to do so with US support fighting communist backed nationalists. It wasn’t globalism that did them in. The French had never really regained control of Indochina in the first place. It was the US, not the French, who had defeated Japan in Asia and the Pacific. The US supported Vietnamese nationalists during WW2 because they were anti-Japanese, and FDR didn’t want the French to regain control after the war. At any rate, the French fought to regain control after the war and were supported by the US, who eventually dropped support. The US figured that the French would not be able to decisively defeat at a reasonable cost USSR and PRC backed, politically awakened nationalist, anti-colonialist guerillas, and wanted to salvage a nominally independent, nationalist Vietnamese regime that would be anti-communist and pro-US/West.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    As you suggest, Gorbachev was demoralized and wanted to join up with the winners.

    Winning an ad war or a propaganda war is very different from winning a real war, from producing a better product or a better-functioning society or a more-advanced civilization. Winners at what? At brainwashing? Do you respect such winners? Do you respect the people who join them?

    You're commenting on a blog here. The most popular blog in the world is Perez Hilton's I think. I'm sure he has a community of commenters. Why don't you join them? Isn't he a winner?

    A bunch of people created a crude, perverted idea of what's cool and what isn't. And it spread like a virus. And Gorby, being a vane man incapable of independent thought, caught it. Similarly, lots of teenagers have been convinced by the music and fashion industries that drugs are cool. Heroin chic, etc. The point that I'm trying to make is that not all sorts of winning, not all sorts of mind-capture, are laudable. Do you agree with that?

    You talked about the French in Indochina. They really, really didn't have to leave Black Africa. There was no armed resistance there. Yet they left it. The British really, really didn't have to leave India. Or Black Adrica. Or Malaysia/Singapore. Most of these cave-ins were unforced. As I said before, most of them happened because nationalism and imperialism gradually became uncool.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    I actually agree that Gorbachev caving in was a major factor, but that didn't happen in a vacuum, but in a particular context. That context was US economic growth, military spending, support of mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Reagan Doctrine of supporting anti-Soviet guerrillas internationally, etc.

    The British started making concessions to Indian nationalists during WW2 when the Indian nationalists were supported and motivated by the Germans and Japanese. The British and other European empires, despite being Allies, basically lost WW2 to the US and USSR and gave up their colonies which became nominally independent areas in US or USSR or competing spheres of influence. In some areas, national liberation movements backed and aided by the USSR or PRC involved significant national consciousness raising, mobilization, and guerilla warfare, and this played some role in chasing out the colonials.

    How would strain on the Soviet system have looked like? A decrease in living standards, an increase in foreign debt. That didn’t happen. How would strain on colonial systems have looked like? Major human and territorial losses to insurgencies, economic problems. That didn’t happen either.

    What happened was that with time nationalism and imperialism became increasingly unhip and uncool. And in Gorby’s mind Brezhnev and co. were uncool. And if he did the opposite of what they did, he’d be cool, democratic and forward-thinking. Globalism relies on vanity and perverted understanding of what’s cool.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    As you suggest, Gorbachev was demoralized and wanted to join up with the winners. That perception obviously depended to some extent on America and Americans.

    "Strain" on competing social and political systems will depend on significantly on perception and relative position and prospects, not simply on objective measures.

    The colonial systems were obviously under significant strain by WW2, at home on the Continent by Germany and in Asia by Japan. The US and USSR won the war for the Allies, and naturally they, along with the PRC to a lesser extent, inherited the colonial areas as their spheres of influence after the war. After the war, the French tried to hang on to Indochina, and lost almost 100,000 men trying to do so with US support fighting communist backed nationalists. It wasn't globalism that did them in. The French had never really regained control of Indochina in the first place. It was the US, not the French, who had defeated Japan in Asia and the Pacific. The US supported Vietnamese nationalists during WW2 because they were anti-Japanese, and FDR didn't want the French to regain control after the war. At any rate, the French fought to regain control after the war and were supported by the US, who eventually dropped support. The US figured that the French would not be able to decisively defeat at a reasonable cost USSR and PRC backed, politically awakened nationalist, anti-colonialist guerillas, and wanted to salvage a nominally independent, nationalist Vietnamese regime that would be anti-communist and pro-US/West.
    , @SWSpires
    So everything was great in the late USSR; but it only took one guy to destroy the whole thing, and then only because he wanted to be "cool." Do I read you correctly?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    I actually agree that Gorbachev caving in was a major factor, but that didn't happen in a vacuum, but in a particular context. That context was US economic growth, military spending, support of mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Reagan Doctrine of supporting anti-Soviet guerrillas internationally, etc.

    The British started making concessions to Indian nationalists during WW2 when the Indian nationalists were supported and motivated by the Germans and Japanese. The British and other European empires, despite being Allies, basically lost WW2 to the US and USSR and gave up their colonies which became nominally independent areas in US or USSR or competing spheres of influence. In some areas, national liberation movements backed and aided by the USSR or PRC involved significant national consciousness raising, mobilization, and guerilla warfare, and this played some role in chasing out the colonials.

    We’re repeating ourselves. I disagree. I think that a particular conception of what is cool, hip, and forward-thinking had a decisive role in all these cave-ins. Including the colonial ones. Vanity. Wanting to be praised as a reformer. I don’t consider lefty, globalist politics cool or hip but most people do.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Glossy
    The USSR was not srained. That's a fairy tale that you told yourself in order to feel better. That was the point of my earlier comment. And East Indians didn't strain the British Empire. And animal sacrifices don't bring rain.

    The ultimate reason why the USSR was abolished was that Gorbachev was a vain fool who wanted to seem like a hip, forward-thinking, fashionable reformer. The British Empire died for similar reasons. And so did Apartheid.

    I actually agree that Gorbachev caving in was a major factor, but that didn’t happen in a vacuum, but in a particular context. That context was US economic growth, military spending, support of mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Reagan Doctrine of supporting anti-Soviet guerrillas internationally, etc.

    The British started making concessions to Indian nationalists during WW2 when the Indian nationalists were supported and motivated by the Germans and Japanese. The British and other European empires, despite being Allies, basically lost WW2 to the US and USSR and gave up their colonies which became nominally independent areas in US or USSR or competing spheres of influence. In some areas, national liberation movements backed and aided by the USSR or PRC involved significant national consciousness raising, mobilization, and guerilla warfare, and this played some role in chasing out the colonials.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    We're repeating ourselves. I disagree. I think that a particular conception of what is cool, hip, and forward-thinking had a decisive role in all these cave-ins. Including the colonial ones. Vanity. Wanting to be praised as a reformer. I don't consider lefty, globalist politics cool or hip but most people do.
    , @Glossy
    How would strain on the Soviet system have looked like? A decrease in living standards, an increase in foreign debt. That didn't happen. How would strain on colonial systems have looked like? Major human and territorial losses to insurgencies, economic problems. That didn't happen either.

    What happened was that with time nationalism and imperialism became increasingly unhip and uncool. And in Gorby's mind Brezhnev and co. were uncool. And if he did the opposite of what they did, he'd be cool, democratic and forward-thinking. Globalism relies on vanity and perverted understanding of what's cool.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    Well the American public did support Cold War policies and increases in military spending that strained the USSR. They were the electorate, served in the military, paid the taxes, worked in the military-industrial complex, etc. That's not nothing. Also the national liberation movements did often involve political mobilization and guerilla warfare that played some role in chasing out the colonials.

    The USSR was not srained. That’s a fairy tale that you told yourself in order to feel better. That was the point of my earlier comment. And East Indians didn’t strain the British Empire. And animal sacrifices don’t bring rain.

    The ultimate reason why the USSR was abolished was that Gorbachev was a vain fool who wanted to seem like a hip, forward-thinking, fashionable reformer. The British Empire died for similar reasons. And so did Apartheid.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I actually agree that Gorbachev caving in was a major factor, but that didn't happen in a vacuum, but in a particular context. That context was US economic growth, military spending, support of mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Reagan Doctrine of supporting anti-Soviet guerrillas internationally, etc.

    The British started making concessions to Indian nationalists during WW2 when the Indian nationalists were supported and motivated by the Germans and Japanese. The British and other European empires, despite being Allies, basically lost WW2 to the US and USSR and gave up their colonies which became nominally independent areas in US or USSR or competing spheres of influence. In some areas, national liberation movements backed and aided by the USSR or PRC involved significant national consciousness raising, mobilization, and guerilla warfare, and this played some role in chasing out the colonials.
    , @Anonymous
    Absolutely.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Glossy
    Yep. Similarly, East Indians, Malaysians, etc. believe that they chased out the Brits, Angolans believe that they chased out the Portuguese, South African Blacks believe that they defeated the Apartheid, etc. It's funny. I remember reading about the late Turkmenbashi giving himself an award for achieving Turkmen independence. What did he do to achieve it? Watch TV news coverage of the Belovezhskaya Puscha agreement?

    Believing that kind of stuff makes people feel better.

    Well the American public did support Cold War policies and increases in military spending that strained the USSR. They were the electorate, served in the military, paid the taxes, worked in the military-industrial complex, etc. That’s not nothing. Also the national liberation movements did often involve political mobilization and guerilla warfare that played some role in chasing out the colonials.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    The USSR was not srained. That's a fairy tale that you told yourself in order to feel better. That was the point of my earlier comment. And East Indians didn't strain the British Empire. And animal sacrifices don't bring rain.

    The ultimate reason why the USSR was abolished was that Gorbachev was a vain fool who wanted to seem like a hip, forward-thinking, fashionable reformer. The British Empire died for similar reasons. And so did Apartheid.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @5371
    The USSR committed suicide, but the self-image of many Americans is bound up with believing that they murdered it.

    Yep. Similarly, East Indians, Malaysians, etc. believe that they chased out the Brits, Angolans believe that they chased out the Portuguese, South African Blacks believe that they defeated the Apartheid, etc. It’s funny. I remember reading about the late Turkmenbashi giving himself an award for achieving Turkmen independence. What did he do to achieve it? Watch TV news coverage of the Belovezhskaya Puscha agreement?

    Believing that kind of stuff makes people feel better.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Well the American public did support Cold War policies and increases in military spending that strained the USSR. They were the electorate, served in the military, paid the taxes, worked in the military-industrial complex, etc. That's not nothing. Also the national liberation movements did often involve political mobilization and guerilla warfare that played some role in chasing out the colonials.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The USSR committed suicide, but the self-image of many Americans is bound up with believing that they murdered it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    Yep. Similarly, East Indians, Malaysians, etc. believe that they chased out the Brits, Angolans believe that they chased out the Portuguese, South African Blacks believe that they defeated the Apartheid, etc. It's funny. I remember reading about the late Turkmenbashi giving himself an award for achieving Turkmen independence. What did he do to achieve it? Watch TV news coverage of the Belovezhskaya Puscha agreement?

    Believing that kind of stuff makes people feel better.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The late Soviet economy was in a sort of “high level equilibrium” state that could have been maintained there but at decreasing rates of growth since (1) labor inputs were drying up since urbanization process had finished/TFR had fallen to basically replacement level rates from the 1960s and (2) productivity growth was also falling – though never reaching zero – presumably because for all intents and purposes that centrally planned economy had “converged” with its maximal possible level at the world’s current level of technology.

    I sort of think both sides have a point here. No there is nothing obvious either then or now in respect to it being “doomed” to collapse. It would have simply remained more or less stationary at its the RSFSR’s level of ~40% of US GDP per capita. Neither could we have expected it to break much above that ceiling either, short of some scifi-like cybernetic revolution that would have made central planning much more economically efficient. Now the Soviet Union actually did do some really good and original research in cybernetics, but moved towards markets just as these techs started coming into their own. It would have been a fascinating what-if had it continued.

    Russia today is approximately back at the ~40% level of US GDP per capita that the RSFSR enjoyed in the late 1980s. Essentially, a lot of socio-economic trauma but no real relative progress in the past 30 years. I do think Russia has the longterm potential under the current market system to converge to 70-80% of the US level just based on its level of human capital and by analogy to European countries, but I accept that I might be wrong and that there is something in Russian society/culture/genetics that puts it at a permanent cap of 40% of US GDP per capita regardless of whether the economic system is centrally planned or market based. If that is the case, then the whole perestroika and shock therapy experiment must be regarded as a colossal, world-historical mistake.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Glossy
    What you say is untrue. This false idea is promoted by two kinds of people:

    1) Thieving post-Soviet oligarchs. Their argument is "we didn't break it, it was going to fall by itself". No, they broke it by looting it. I watched it happen. There were no signs of impending collapse. Unlike its Wesern rivals the late USSR was not deeply in debt. Unlike them it was economically self-sufficient, meaning that it produced most of the things it consumed.

    2) Westerners who were emotionally involved in the Cold War. They're engaging in wishful thinking and in trash talk against opponents. Great fun I'm sure, but it has nothing to do with truth. Robert Heinlein claimed during the Cold War that Moscow only had 800,000 people. Then some American general visited Moscow and "confirmed" this with "observations". It was what they wanted to believe. Very, very hard.

    In reality the late Soviet GDP greatly underestimated the late Soviet standard of living. I'll give you an example. There was no advertising in the USSR. Advertising adds to the GDP but subtracts from customer (and citizen) satisfaction. In a capitalist economy it's possible to add to the GDP by scamming and annoying people. You couldn't do that in the Soviet Union. The gambling industry adds to the GDP. Wall Street speculators add to it. Such stuff did not exist in the USSR. Compared with the capitalist world, a greater share of Soviet economic activity went towards things that normal people wanted.

    Glossy raises a very good point here that few Americans know: the GDP measurement is highly misleading. It basically measures all (legal) transactions in a country regardless of their nature, so that industrial and agricultural output are lumped in with service transactions that may do little or nothing to raise the standard of living.

    For example, if you break your leg and go to the hospital and pay your bill, you have just contributed to a (slight) increase in GDP. Why? You’re no better off than you would be if you hadn’t broken your leg at all. But you had to pay the hospital some money. Thus, a measurable, legal transaction was created. Presto! More GDP.

    Another example: if your schools are so crappy that some parents feel compelled to pay out-of-pocket for private tutoring on the side, that would also count as a GDP increase. But if the schools were actually good enough on their own and no one hired private tutors, GDP would be lower.

    See how weird a measurement GDP is?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    This "I tie your shoes for a dollar, you tie mine for the same price--together we produced 2 Dollars of GDP" is THE foundation of monetarism and, thus, overstates the actual GDP greatly, sometimes--manifold. The true measure of the GDP is its structure, from which the actual size could be calculated, including the service economy. Productive labor (manufacturing) also has a profound cultural ramifications--from education to the overall mental state of the society. I am talking, of course, about the economy of the closed technological cycles. In the end--these are goods, in all their variety, which define the economy. It is difficult, very often, as an example to explain to some MBA that Hi-Tech is not what they think it is and that economy of Saudi Arabia, for all of its per capita GDP is, basically, not an economy at all.

    Western "economists" and most of their, say, Russian liberal off-springs from such sewer as High School Of Economics have no concept of real productive labor and what real INDUSTRY is about. In related news, Russia doesn't produce surfing boards (a booming multi-billion dollar industry in the US) since, well, surfing around Murmansk or Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is not really great;-) Russia, however, produces a lot of the prepregs which go both for production of the surfing boards (in US) and Sukhoi T-50. Calculating Russian GDP is a tricky matter but it is military, which is always a good indicator of the structure and size of the economy.
    , @Deduction
    It's worse than that. Modern life has, as per Marx(!), commoditised lots of activities while actually lowering living standards.

    Take the delicious home cooked meal. Many fewer of these are consumed, and many ready meals have replaced them. Since the ready meals cost a lot more than a home cooked meal, GDP goes up a lot just as quality of life goes down.

    All forms of non-market social interaction are uncounted by GDP. That is 'why growing the economy' so often seems to be destroying society.

    Add in the fact that all of this boosts tax receipts and it is easy to see why there is little institutional protection from this commoditising force.

    , @silviosilver

    Glossy raises a very good point here that few Americans know: the GDP measurement is highly misleading. It basically measures all (legal) transactions in a country regardless of their nature, so that industrial and agricultural output are lumped in with service transactions that may do little or nothing to raise the standard of living.
     
    GDP isn't 'misleading,' but it's easy to misinterpret. GDP doesn't aim to measure the standard of living; it's just a proxy for it.

    GDP attempts to measure the total amount of production in an economy in a given year. If a broken window is replaced with a new window that window will have to be produced and will thus be measured. A related measure is NDP, net domestic product, which does subtract the production of replacements. Many feel that GDP is a better measure of the productive capacity of an economy, however, because it measures the total amount of economic activity that occurred in a given year.

    This fact sometimes gives rise to the criticism that all you have to do to grow your economy is break all your windows, but this ignores the other, more preferable, uses to which the resources used up in replacing windows could have been put if the windows remained unbroken.

    It is incorrect to say that services do not raise the standard of living. For example, people pay for restaurant meals because they believe they will be better off after eating at the restaurant than they would by holding onto the money, not because anybody forced them to. If people perceive they have benefited from eating at the restaurant then it's logical to conclude that their living standard is improved.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    So Germans will now in droves emigrate to Russia for work, as will US Americans to China, right?

    It’s not a graph of per capita GDP. In per capita terms the US is still well above China and Germany is above Russia.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @LondonBob
    The FSU's GDP was a monumental work of fiction, when it collapsed the rotten carcass was exposed. An edifice on the verge of collapse.

    What you say is untrue. This false idea is promoted by two kinds of people:

    1) Thieving post-Soviet oligarchs. Their argument is “we didn’t break it, it was going to fall by itself”. No, they broke it by looting it. I watched it happen. There were no signs of impending collapse. Unlike its Wesern rivals the late USSR was not deeply in debt. Unlike them it was economically self-sufficient, meaning that it produced most of the things it consumed.

    2) Westerners who were emotionally involved in the Cold War. They’re engaging in wishful thinking and in trash talk against opponents. Great fun I’m sure, but it has nothing to do with truth. Robert Heinlein claimed during the Cold War that Moscow only had 800,000 people. Then some American general visited Moscow and “confirmed” this with “observations”. It was what they wanted to believe. Very, very hard.

    In reality the late Soviet GDP greatly underestimated the late Soviet standard of living. I’ll give you an example. There was no advertising in the USSR. Advertising adds to the GDP but subtracts from customer (and citizen) satisfaction. In a capitalist economy it’s possible to add to the GDP by scamming and annoying people. You couldn’t do that in the Soviet Union. The gambling industry adds to the GDP. Wall Street speculators add to it. Such stuff did not exist in the USSR. Compared with the capitalist world, a greater share of Soviet economic activity went towards things that normal people wanted.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    Glossy raises a very good point here that few Americans know: the GDP measurement is highly misleading. It basically measures all (legal) transactions in a country regardless of their nature, so that industrial and agricultural output are lumped in with service transactions that may do little or nothing to raise the standard of living.

    For example, if you break your leg and go to the hospital and pay your bill, you have just contributed to a (slight) increase in GDP. Why? You're no better off than you would be if you hadn't broken your leg at all. But you had to pay the hospital some money. Thus, a measurable, legal transaction was created. Presto! More GDP.

    Another example: if your schools are so crappy that some parents feel compelled to pay out-of-pocket for private tutoring on the side, that would also count as a GDP increase. But if the schools were actually good enough on their own and no one hired private tutors, GDP would be lower.

    See how weird a measurement GDP is?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • So Germans will now in droves emigrate to Russia for work, as will US Americans to China, right?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Glossy
    It's not a graph of per capita GDP. In per capita terms the US is still well above China and Germany is above Russia.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.

  • -It is widely admitted that Russia had a Great Depression during the 1990s and only managed to surpass its 1990 level of output during or after 2003. This indicates Russian GDP per capita in 1990 was higher than that of China today, as Russia today is a richer nation than China. Either that, or growth during the World Boom was underestimated.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.