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Personally, I have a feeling that Maduro will make it to the end of the year.

PredictIt odds are hovering at 50/50. Worse than 70% a month ago, but better than the 30% they gave this January. The main development since January has been a collapse of oil production, but there is good reason to think that some of the lost output has merely been shifted off the books to Rosneft in conntection with US sanctions.

I am not going to comment much further, since I am in no way shape or form a Venezuela expert.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Economic Sanctions, Venezuela 
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  1. I know nothing other than that Maduro shows many signs of having been installed & being actively supported by the Deep State (United States).

    Thus, the regime’s hardiness has been far greater than what one would expect of tinpot dictatorship (otherwise practically defenseless against US covert/full spectrum aggression.)

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Powerful take.
  2. @AGNOSIA
    I know nothing other than that Maduro shows many signs of having been installed & being actively supported by the Deep State (United States).

    Thus, the regime's hardiness has been far greater than what one would expect of tinpot dictatorship (otherwise practically defenseless against US covert/full spectrum aggression.)

    Powerful take.

    • Agree: Tusk
  3. Anonn says:

    http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/brzezinskis-warning-to-america/

    Karlin, thoughts on this piece?

    In the last few paras what immediately jumped to me was this idea of Russian within Europe (EU) & a PRC-USA conglomerate (G-2)

    The twitter user & Indian defence advocate Saurav Jha @sjha1618

    Always talks about this, that ultimately the USA will just shift to subjugating the planet with the help of China if India doesn’t stand up with friends Russia, Vietnam, Japan||

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Your random theory doesn't make any sense. The US has no reason to help China aside from tangential developments where it's in both countries interests to cooperate. That is a far cry from a full blown US-Sino allince.

    A US-China or a US - Russia alliance would be met with skepticism from all parties since the US has already done this and shown to be untrustworthy.

    Why would Japan turn against the US? Plus India offers next to no value geopolitically.

    Regarding Venezuela, the real question is how much China and Russia will intervene to protect Maduro.
    , @Anon
    You read Indians? Are they explaining how they curl their penises around a stick?
  4. I do have contacts within the Venezuelan elite, though my contact isn’t a member of the elite himself, but just the child of one of them.

    Essentially this was a catastrophic failure for the opposition. Only 25 soldiers, yes 25, defected in this so called “coup” that Guaido totally jumped the gun on. The amount of military members that are anti-Chavista was significantly overestimated. Most of these 25 or so soldiers will be seeking asylum in Brazil.

    Leopoldo Lopez got freed but he’s seeking asylum in Chile.

    This was a severe miscalculation on the part of the opposition, and since they played their cards already, they likely blew their chance to topple Chavismo had they been more realistic of the situation. I think Guaido and Co. were overconfident that he has the USG + Colombia and Brazil on his side and underestimated the loyalty the military has to Maduro and to a lesser extent, the backing of Russia, Cuba, and Iran of Maduro and the power that brings.

    What likely would happen is that if they successfully “take care” of Guaido within 1 month, there will be a new Constitution that more or less mirrors the Cuban one, with Communism formally written into the constitution.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @E

    the backing of Russia, Cuba, and Iran
     
    Turkey too, interestingly enough.

    Perhaps the coup against Erdogan really WAS US-sponsored, and he's decided to be vengeful (he seems to be good at that).
    , @Verymuchalive
    What benefit does Russia get from installing Neocommunism in Venezuela ? It may protect Rosneft's holdings in the short term, but when the Soviet Union backed Castro, it cost them massive amounts to do so. This could have been better used supporting Russian workers' living standards. Also any Neocommunist state is likely to be just as economically incompetent as Maduro's government because it is Maduro's government. Increasing oil production is likely to be problematical and very expensive.
    3m have left Venezuela in recent years and more millions would leave if Maduro went full Cuban. Already the influx of Venezuelans in places like Colombia is causing great tension. Inevitably Russia would be blamed for this. The backlash not only in South America, but elsewhere would be massive. How does that benefit Russia?
    PS Guaido is a very inexperienced 35 year old. As the saying in football goes: you never win anything with kids.
  5. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonn
    http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/brzezinskis-warning-to-america/

    Karlin, thoughts on this piece?

    In the last few paras what immediately jumped to me was this idea of Russian within Europe (EU) & a PRC-USA conglomerate (G-2)

    The twitter user & Indian defence advocate Saurav Jha @sjha1618

    Always talks about this, that ultimately the USA will just shift to subjugating the planet with the help of China if India doesn't stand up with friends Russia, Vietnam, Japan||

    Your random theory doesn’t make any sense. The US has no reason to help China aside from tangential developments where it’s in both countries interests to cooperate. That is a far cry from a full blown US-Sino allince.

    A US-China or a US – Russia alliance would be met with skepticism from all parties since the US has already done this and shown to be untrustworthy.

    Why would Japan turn against the US? Plus India offers next to no value geopolitically.

    Regarding Venezuela, the real question is how much China and Russia will intervene to protect Maduro.

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    Possibly a lot. If the US ZOG really does intend to strike Iran then whatever the outcome the Straits of Hormuz would be affected and oil shortages and high prices would result. The US ZOG would want unfettered access to Venezuela's oil to even consider that and Russia and China also would know that with Maduro at the helm that is less likely to happen.
    , @Endgame Napoleon
    The real question is: why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies, especially since any negative fallout from US intervention will just be used as an excuse for tolerating more mass migration from Latin America? Oh, that’s right: Trump really has not done anything about mass migration other than increasing legal immigration.

    The other question involves the MSM and their hypocritical programming overlaps. One minute, their experts are chatting in grave tones, interrupted by giggles, about the danger of Russian interference in US elections. How is it, the MSMers say shaking their heads in dismay, that American voters could be so unaware of the danger from Russians interference. The next minute, they are cheerleading for US intervention in Venezuela’s leadership changes.

    The only legit explanation would be a purposeful juxtaposition of two contradictory & hypocritical positions, the way C-SPAN sometimes highlights issues without interfering in the ideological framing. C-SPAN just lets both sides speak for themselves in all of their hypocritical glory, putting the two sides’ mutual hypocrisy back to back to showcase the absurdity. They don’t construct a narrative. They just juxtapose what is already there.

  6. @AquariusAnon
    I do have contacts within the Venezuelan elite, though my contact isn't a member of the elite himself, but just the child of one of them.

    Essentially this was a catastrophic failure for the opposition. Only 25 soldiers, yes 25, defected in this so called "coup" that Guaido totally jumped the gun on. The amount of military members that are anti-Chavista was significantly overestimated. Most of these 25 or so soldiers will be seeking asylum in Brazil.

    Leopoldo Lopez got freed but he's seeking asylum in Chile.

    This was a severe miscalculation on the part of the opposition, and since they played their cards already, they likely blew their chance to topple Chavismo had they been more realistic of the situation. I think Guaido and Co. were overconfident that he has the USG + Colombia and Brazil on his side and underestimated the loyalty the military has to Maduro and to a lesser extent, the backing of Russia, Cuba, and Iran of Maduro and the power that brings.

    What likely would happen is that if they successfully "take care" of Guaido within 1 month, there will be a new Constitution that more or less mirrors the Cuban one, with Communism formally written into the constitution.

    the backing of Russia, Cuba, and Iran

    Turkey too, interestingly enough.

    Perhaps the coup against Erdogan really WAS US-sponsored, and he’s decided to be vengeful (he seems to be good at that).

    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    the coup against Erdogan really WAS US-sponsored
     
    Much of Erdogan’s behavior makes a lot more sense if it really was.
  7. @E

    the backing of Russia, Cuba, and Iran
     
    Turkey too, interestingly enough.

    Perhaps the coup against Erdogan really WAS US-sponsored, and he's decided to be vengeful (he seems to be good at that).

    the coup against Erdogan really WAS US-sponsored

    Much of Erdogan’s behavior makes a lot more sense if it really was.

    • Agree: AnonFromTN
    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...the coup against Erdogan really WAS US-sponsored
     
    It had to be, nobody in the Turkish military would dare to do it without some sort of go-ahead.

    Under Obama everything was done in the most lame, weasel way possible reflecting the man himself. Similar to eating in the dark with food behind their backs that some Moslems do when cheating during the Ramadan post.

    Erdogan knows it and is angry, Turks are vengeful. Over time he will get even more bitter, he is going to be a big problem. West used to manipulate Turkey by dangling EU in front of them - that is gone. Even if Erdogan is removed, Turkey has shifted to its own power space.

  8. @AquariusAnon
    I do have contacts within the Venezuelan elite, though my contact isn't a member of the elite himself, but just the child of one of them.

    Essentially this was a catastrophic failure for the opposition. Only 25 soldiers, yes 25, defected in this so called "coup" that Guaido totally jumped the gun on. The amount of military members that are anti-Chavista was significantly overestimated. Most of these 25 or so soldiers will be seeking asylum in Brazil.

    Leopoldo Lopez got freed but he's seeking asylum in Chile.

    This was a severe miscalculation on the part of the opposition, and since they played their cards already, they likely blew their chance to topple Chavismo had they been more realistic of the situation. I think Guaido and Co. were overconfident that he has the USG + Colombia and Brazil on his side and underestimated the loyalty the military has to Maduro and to a lesser extent, the backing of Russia, Cuba, and Iran of Maduro and the power that brings.

    What likely would happen is that if they successfully "take care" of Guaido within 1 month, there will be a new Constitution that more or less mirrors the Cuban one, with Communism formally written into the constitution.

    What benefit does Russia get from installing Neocommunism in Venezuela ? It may protect Rosneft’s holdings in the short term, but when the Soviet Union backed Castro, it cost them massive amounts to do so. This could have been better used supporting Russian workers’ living standards. Also any Neocommunist state is likely to be just as economically incompetent as Maduro’s government because it is Maduro’s government. Increasing oil production is likely to be problematical and very expensive.
    3m have left Venezuela in recent years and more millions would leave if Maduro went full Cuban. Already the influx of Venezuelans in places like Colombia is causing great tension. Inevitably Russia would be blamed for this. The backlash not only in South America, but elsewhere would be massive. How does that benefit Russia?
    PS Guaido is a very inexperienced 35 year old. As the saying in football goes: you never win anything with kids.

    • Replies: @HammerJack
    FWIW, Russia stands to gain by destabilizing countries in America's back yard. In theory, anyway. If millions more migrants result, that just hastens the demolition of the USA.

    Having said this, though, I don't think Russia is doing anything of the kind and I'm naturally skeptical of American MSM propaganda.

    , @Felix Keverich
    Any capitalist government in Venezuela will want to have nothing to do with Russia. Russian government tries to prop up isolated, "pariah states", because they are the only ones willing to work with Russians.
  9. They will more than likely double down. They will try to pressure regime change in Cuba, and if that does not work even more belligerence towards Iran, China and Russia, they will never never admit defeat.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Standard US tactics: declare victory and run away. Mission accomplished.
  10. @Anonymous
    Your random theory doesn't make any sense. The US has no reason to help China aside from tangential developments where it's in both countries interests to cooperate. That is a far cry from a full blown US-Sino allince.

    A US-China or a US - Russia alliance would be met with skepticism from all parties since the US has already done this and shown to be untrustworthy.

    Why would Japan turn against the US? Plus India offers next to no value geopolitically.

    Regarding Venezuela, the real question is how much China and Russia will intervene to protect Maduro.

    Possibly a lot. If the US ZOG really does intend to strike Iran then whatever the outcome the Straits of Hormuz would be affected and oil shortages and high prices would result. The US ZOG would want unfettered access to Venezuela’s oil to even consider that and Russia and China also would know that with Maduro at the helm that is less likely to happen.

  11. Trump is playing 44D chess and seeking to actively discredit the US Empire in the world’s eyes. Having done so, and with Zionist money propelling him to his next Presidential term, he will sack Bolton, Pompeo and Abrams, leave NATO, do a deal with Kim, withdraw forces from Korea, sign a new arms control treaty, withdraw from Syria, unrecognise Israel and initiate peace on earth.

    • Agree: for-the-record
    • LOL: Republic
  12. @Verymuchalive
    What benefit does Russia get from installing Neocommunism in Venezuela ? It may protect Rosneft's holdings in the short term, but when the Soviet Union backed Castro, it cost them massive amounts to do so. This could have been better used supporting Russian workers' living standards. Also any Neocommunist state is likely to be just as economically incompetent as Maduro's government because it is Maduro's government. Increasing oil production is likely to be problematical and very expensive.
    3m have left Venezuela in recent years and more millions would leave if Maduro went full Cuban. Already the influx of Venezuelans in places like Colombia is causing great tension. Inevitably Russia would be blamed for this. The backlash not only in South America, but elsewhere would be massive. How does that benefit Russia?
    PS Guaido is a very inexperienced 35 year old. As the saying in football goes: you never win anything with kids.

    FWIW, Russia stands to gain by destabilizing countries in America’s back yard. In theory, anyway. If millions more migrants result, that just hastens the demolition of the USA.

    Having said this, though, I don’t think Russia is doing anything of the kind and I’m naturally skeptical of American MSM propaganda.

    • Replies: @neutral

    If millions more migrants result, that just hastens the demolition of the USA.
     
    I wonder what kind of narrative the mass media would spin if this happened? You have immigration being the ultimate good and Russia being the ultimate evil, if Russia ran a shipping service of Africa to America would this be a good thing or a bad thing to the talking heads?
  13. @HammerJack
    FWIW, Russia stands to gain by destabilizing countries in America's back yard. In theory, anyway. If millions more migrants result, that just hastens the demolition of the USA.

    Having said this, though, I don't think Russia is doing anything of the kind and I'm naturally skeptical of American MSM propaganda.

    If millions more migrants result, that just hastens the demolition of the USA.

    I wonder what kind of narrative the mass media would spin if this happened? You have immigration being the ultimate good and Russia being the ultimate evil, if Russia ran a shipping service of Africa to America would this be a good thing or a bad thing to the talking heads?

    • Agree: HammerJack
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    There was a bizarre claim Russian intervention in Syria was creating the migration crisis to destabilise Europe in the British media.
  14. @neutral

    If millions more migrants result, that just hastens the demolition of the USA.
     
    I wonder what kind of narrative the mass media would spin if this happened? You have immigration being the ultimate good and Russia being the ultimate evil, if Russia ran a shipping service of Africa to America would this be a good thing or a bad thing to the talking heads?

    There was a bizarre claim Russian intervention in Syria was creating the migration crisis to destabilise Europe in the British media.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    This claim entered the Hungarian media, too.
    , @AnonFromTN
    Sure. I am surprised that Western MSM did not take the next logical step: tell the sheeple that Putin is personally responsible for the demise of dinosaurs, poisoning of Socrates, crucifixion of Christ, burning of Giordano Bruno at the stake, and the murder of JFK. I am waiting.
  15. A must see Tucker Carlson segment on Venezuela:

    • Replies: @Realist

    A must see Tucker Carlson segment on Venezuela:
     
    Yes, it was great. Hopefully Tuckers days are not numbered....I don't know how he has lasted this long.
  16. @Mikhail
    A must see Tucker Carlson segment on Venezuela:

    https://twitter.com/GrayzoneProject/status/1123446240023330816

    A must see Tucker Carlson segment on Venezuela:

    Yes, it was great. Hopefully Tuckers days are not numbered….I don’t know how he has lasted this long.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
    By doing segments like this one:

    https://video.foxnews.com/v/6031703471001/?playlist_id=5198073478001#sp=show-clips
    , @Anonymous
    I listened to Tucker’s Ship of Fools on Audible. Tucker reads it which makes it much better. The best book I’ve listened to since John Carreyrou‘s Bad Blood. Who would’ve thought a political book would be so gripping?? Just listen to the sample on Audible and you’ll be hooked. There is so much there. Especially loved his discussion regarding the push to war in Iraq and some prominent figures. I consider myself well informed but was rocked by some stuff I hadn't even known. I walked around Boston and Cambridge on a cold, overcast day listening to the whole thing.
  17. @LondonBob
    There was a bizarre claim Russian intervention in Syria was creating the migration crisis to destabilise Europe in the British media.

    This claim entered the Hungarian media, too.

  18. @reiner Tor

    the coup against Erdogan really WAS US-sponsored
     
    Much of Erdogan’s behavior makes a lot more sense if it really was.

    …the coup against Erdogan really WAS US-sponsored

    It had to be, nobody in the Turkish military would dare to do it without some sort of go-ahead.

    Under Obama everything was done in the most lame, weasel way possible reflecting the man himself. Similar to eating in the dark with food behind their backs that some Moslems do when cheating during the Ramadan post.

    Erdogan knows it and is angry, Turks are vengeful. Over time he will get even more bitter, he is going to be a big problem. West used to manipulate Turkey by dangling EU in front of them – that is gone. Even if Erdogan is removed, Turkey has shifted to its own power space.

  19. @Anonymous
    Your random theory doesn't make any sense. The US has no reason to help China aside from tangential developments where it's in both countries interests to cooperate. That is a far cry from a full blown US-Sino allince.

    A US-China or a US - Russia alliance would be met with skepticism from all parties since the US has already done this and shown to be untrustworthy.

    Why would Japan turn against the US? Plus India offers next to no value geopolitically.

    Regarding Venezuela, the real question is how much China and Russia will intervene to protect Maduro.

    The real question is: why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies, especially since any negative fallout from US intervention will just be used as an excuse for tolerating more mass migration from Latin America? Oh, that’s right: Trump really has not done anything about mass migration other than increasing legal immigration.

    The other question involves the MSM and their hypocritical programming overlaps. One minute, their experts are chatting in grave tones, interrupted by giggles, about the danger of Russian interference in US elections. How is it, the MSMers say shaking their heads in dismay, that American voters could be so unaware of the danger from Russians interference. The next minute, they are cheerleading for US intervention in Venezuela’s leadership changes.

    The only legit explanation would be a purposeful juxtaposition of two contradictory & hypocritical positions, the way C-SPAN sometimes highlights issues without interfering in the ideological framing. C-SPAN just lets both sides speak for themselves in all of their hypocritical glory, putting the two sides’ mutual hypocrisy back to back to showcase the absurdity. They don’t construct a narrative. They just juxtapose what is already there.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ... why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies
     
    Good question, maybe Trump wants to trigger new mass migration avalanche from the south. More likely Venezuela is all that's left, a dog licks his ba.lls when he can.

    After getting effectively blocked or bogged down everywhere from Syria to Ukraine, North Korea to Afghanistan, the imperial pickings are thin. It finally occurred to someone in Washington that closer to home is better, that Latins never put up much resistance, and an easy win in Venezuela could do wonders for imperial morale. The problem is that if they can't even prevail in Venezuela, well, it could be quite embarrassing. Isn't there some Carribean island that has been misbehaving that could be liberated? Preferably a small one.
    , @Mitleser

    why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies
     
    Because the current Chavistas and their state look very weak.
    The Trump administration thought that they could pull off a cheap regime change and re-establish Venezuela as an American client.
  20. @neutral
    They will more than likely double down. They will try to pressure regime change in Cuba, and if that does not work even more belligerence towards Iran, China and Russia, they will never never admit defeat.

    Standard US tactics: declare victory and run away. Mission accomplished.

  21. @LondonBob
    There was a bizarre claim Russian intervention in Syria was creating the migration crisis to destabilise Europe in the British media.

    Sure. I am surprised that Western MSM did not take the next logical step: tell the sheeple that Putin is personally responsible for the demise of dinosaurs, poisoning of Socrates, crucifixion of Christ, burning of Giordano Bruno at the stake, and the murder of JFK. I am waiting.

    • LOL: Aedib
  22. @Realist

    A must see Tucker Carlson segment on Venezuela:
     
    Yes, it was great. Hopefully Tuckers days are not numbered....I don't know how he has lasted this long.
    • Replies: @Realist
    Diaz-Balart is the epitome of a lying, phony, corrupt, shyster.
  23. @Endgame Napoleon
    The real question is: why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies, especially since any negative fallout from US intervention will just be used as an excuse for tolerating more mass migration from Latin America? Oh, that’s right: Trump really has not done anything about mass migration other than increasing legal immigration.

    The other question involves the MSM and their hypocritical programming overlaps. One minute, their experts are chatting in grave tones, interrupted by giggles, about the danger of Russian interference in US elections. How is it, the MSMers say shaking their heads in dismay, that American voters could be so unaware of the danger from Russians interference. The next minute, they are cheerleading for US intervention in Venezuela’s leadership changes.

    The only legit explanation would be a purposeful juxtaposition of two contradictory & hypocritical positions, the way C-SPAN sometimes highlights issues without interfering in the ideological framing. C-SPAN just lets both sides speak for themselves in all of their hypocritical glory, putting the two sides’ mutual hypocrisy back to back to showcase the absurdity. They don’t construct a narrative. They just juxtapose what is already there.

    … why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies

    Good question, maybe Trump wants to trigger new mass migration avalanche from the south. More likely Venezuela is all that’s left, a dog licks his ba.lls when he can.

    After getting effectively blocked or bogged down everywhere from Syria to Ukraine, North Korea to Afghanistan, the imperial pickings are thin. It finally occurred to someone in Washington that closer to home is better, that Latins never put up much resistance, and an easy win in Venezuela could do wonders for imperial morale. The problem is that if they can’t even prevail in Venezuela, well, it could be quite embarrassing. Isn’t there some Carribean island that has been misbehaving that could be liberated? Preferably a small one.

    • Replies: @Swedish Family

    Isn’t there some Carribean island that has been misbehaving that could be liberated? Preferably a small one.
     
    How is Grenada these days?
  24. Maduro’s government has to be the cuckediest of them all, really. This guy runs free and attempts an armed coup with explicit U.S. support like once every two-three months, and yet Maduro doesn’t do shit. After the last go Guaido (spelling? I can’t be arsed) went abroad for a while, and when he came back he was attacked by people all over and Venezuelan state employees protected him from the masses. And now this, again.

    Jesus, it’s such a farce. I guess they learned something from other US-backed coups and coup attempts, trying to avoid the obvious pitfalls when dealing with it, but evidently this soft approach isn’t helping either. They’ll just keep going, no matter what, and the media spin will be spinning, even if there’s absolutely nothing to begin with.

    • Replies: @Mitleser
    To be fair, Maduro's guys seems to have managed to trick their enemies into looking like fools.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/images8/vencoupcallinghelp-s.jpg

    Announcements by senior Maduro officials that they were changing sides did not materialize, and the administration appeared increasingly concerned as it debated next steps.
    ...
    Earlier Tuesday, Bolton had told reporters that Trump is watching political developments in Venezuela “minute by minute.” Bolton also put unusual public pressure on individual Venezuela government officials to renounce Maduro and embrace the political opposition.
    ...
    “It’s a very delicate moment,” Bolton said. “The president wants to see a peaceful transfer of power,” which he added would be possible if enough military and government figures switch allegiances.
    ...
    In an apparent attempt to divide Maduro’s government, Bolton said senior officials, including Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, had been in secret talks with Guaidó, and he called on them to “make good on their commitments” to help oust Maduro.
    ...
    Bolton called by name for three officials in Venezuela — the defense minister, the chief judge of the Supreme Court, and the commander of the presidential guard — to support Guaidó taking power.
    ...
    A senior Latin American official said opposition talks had been going on with Padrino and the other two for “the last several weeks,” and that the three had been promised retention in their current positions if they came out publicly in support of “constitutional order” that would allow Guaidó to take power. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the fast-moving and confusing situation, said those involved in the negotiations had no initial explanation for what went wrong, ...
    ...
    Elliott Abrams, the administration’s special envoy for Venezuela, told reporters Tuesday that the United States had expected Padrino, along with the head of the Maduro-appointed Supreme Court and the head of the national guard, to declare their support for the Venezuelan constitution, if not necessarily for Guaidó himself.
    ...
    He said that opposition figures had held discussions with the three influential officials in Maduro’s government ahead of those planned demonstrations.
     

    Shortly after Guaidó gave his predawn speech at the Carlota Air Force Base in Caracas, rumors spread that Armed Forces Chief of Staff Jose Ornelias and powerful commander Jesús Suárez Chourio were behind the military uprising. But just as quickly both men joined a growing list of officials swearing loyalty to Maduro.
    ...
    That military officials who owe their careers and livelihood to Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela didn’t abandon him shouldn’t have come as a surprise, said a former U.S. diplomat in Washington, who would only talk on background.
    He said he’d known about Guaidós plans to call for an uprising for at least 10 days.

    “If I knew it, then everyone knew it,” he said. “The [Maduro] regime saw it coming and was prepared. The regime probably even knew that people in the government were talking to the opposition and probably even approved of it.”
     
    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/05/venezuela-guaidó-got-snookered-white-house-starts-beating-war-drums.html
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    Couple of reasons:

    1. I am assuming that they don't want to give the US & Co. as few grounds for intervention as possible.

    2. I don't know to what extent this is still relevant, but Venezuela's extreme crime rates are in remarkable juxtapoisition to its levels of political violence, which historically have been very low. Even its numerous coups have, historically, been quite affable affairs, usually with zero casualties.

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/venezuela/

    So imagine this handsome, mustachioed caudillo called Juan, he is relaxing at his hacienda and he has perhaps drunk a bit too much rum this afternoon. Or maybe just the right amount, considering what is about to happen. He doffs his big gaucho hat, calls over his loyal posse, and sets out for the nearest plaza in the eastern llamas, where he regales the mob with a drunken, rambling speech about how President Jose is a pendejo. Ragtag militia in tow, Juan marches to Caracas, makes his grand entrance on a white horse, and drunkenly proclaims himself the new El Presidente. Jose, being a good sport and all, accepts this development in good humor, confident in the knowledge that he or his good amigo Joaquín would repeat this piece of performance art in a year or two. *This story has been dramatized for effect. May or may not accurately describe actual historical events.*
     
    PS. There's even a special term for these slapstick coups: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronunciamiento
  25. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @Realist

    A must see Tucker Carlson segment on Venezuela:
     
    Yes, it was great. Hopefully Tuckers days are not numbered....I don't know how he has lasted this long.

    I listened to Tucker’s Ship of Fools on Audible. Tucker reads it which makes it much better. The best book I’ve listened to since John Carreyrou‘s Bad Blood. Who would’ve thought a political book would be so gripping?? Just listen to the sample on Audible and you’ll be hooked. There is so much there. Especially loved his discussion regarding the push to war in Iraq and some prominent figures. I consider myself well informed but was rocked by some stuff I hadn’t even known. I walked around Boston and Cambridge on a cold, overcast day listening to the whole thing.

    • Replies: @Realist
    I read Tucker's book some months ago....very good.

    Tonight Tucker seemed to back track some on Venezuela....a little more with the Republican Inc. line/Deep state. And perhaps a little water carrying for Israel.

    Is Fox putting the arm on Tucker???
  26. @Endgame Napoleon
    The real question is: why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies, especially since any negative fallout from US intervention will just be used as an excuse for tolerating more mass migration from Latin America? Oh, that’s right: Trump really has not done anything about mass migration other than increasing legal immigration.

    The other question involves the MSM and their hypocritical programming overlaps. One minute, their experts are chatting in grave tones, interrupted by giggles, about the danger of Russian interference in US elections. How is it, the MSMers say shaking their heads in dismay, that American voters could be so unaware of the danger from Russians interference. The next minute, they are cheerleading for US intervention in Venezuela’s leadership changes.

    The only legit explanation would be a purposeful juxtaposition of two contradictory & hypocritical positions, the way C-SPAN sometimes highlights issues without interfering in the ideological framing. C-SPAN just lets both sides speak for themselves in all of their hypocritical glory, putting the two sides’ mutual hypocrisy back to back to showcase the absurdity. They don’t construct a narrative. They just juxtapose what is already there.

    why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies

    Because the current Chavistas and their state look very weak.
    The Trump administration thought that they could pull off a cheap regime change and re-establish Venezuela as an American client.

  27. @Anonymous lurker
    Maduro's government has to be the cuckediest of them all, really. This guy runs free and attempts an armed coup with explicit U.S. support like once every two-three months, and yet Maduro doesn't do shit. After the last go Guaido (spelling? I can't be arsed) went abroad for a while, and when he came back he was attacked by people all over and Venezuelan state employees protected him from the masses. And now this, again.

    Jesus, it's such a farce. I guess they learned something from other US-backed coups and coup attempts, trying to avoid the obvious pitfalls when dealing with it, but evidently this soft approach isn't helping either. They'll just keep going, no matter what, and the media spin will be spinning, even if there's absolutely nothing to begin with.

    To be fair, Maduro’s guys seems to have managed to trick their enemies into looking like fools.

    Announcements by senior Maduro officials that they were changing sides did not materialize, and the administration appeared increasingly concerned as it debated next steps.

    Earlier Tuesday, Bolton had told reporters that Trump is watching political developments in Venezuela “minute by minute.” Bolton also put unusual public pressure on individual Venezuela government officials to renounce Maduro and embrace the political opposition.

    “It’s a very delicate moment,” Bolton said. “The president wants to see a peaceful transfer of power,” which he added would be possible if enough military and government figures switch allegiances.

    In an apparent attempt to divide Maduro’s government, Bolton said senior officials, including Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, had been in secret talks with Guaidó, and he called on them to “make good on their commitments” to help oust Maduro.

    Bolton called by name for three officials in Venezuela — the defense minister, the chief judge of the Supreme Court, and the commander of the presidential guard — to support Guaidó taking power.

    A senior Latin American official said opposition talks had been going on with Padrino and the other two for “the last several weeks,” and that the three had been promised retention in their current positions if they came out publicly in support of “constitutional order” that would allow Guaidó to take power. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the fast-moving and confusing situation, said those involved in the negotiations had no initial explanation for what went wrong, …

    Elliott Abrams, the administration’s special envoy for Venezuela, told reporters Tuesday that the United States had expected Padrino, along with the head of the Maduro-appointed Supreme Court and the head of the national guard, to declare their support for the Venezuelan constitution, if not necessarily for Guaidó himself.

    He said that opposition figures had held discussions with the three influential officials in Maduro’s government ahead of those planned demonstrations.

    Shortly after Guaidó gave his predawn speech at the Carlota Air Force Base in Caracas, rumors spread that Armed Forces Chief of Staff Jose Ornelias and powerful commander Jesús Suárez Chourio were behind the military uprising. But just as quickly both men joined a growing list of officials swearing loyalty to Maduro.

    That military officials who owe their careers and livelihood to Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela didn’t abandon him shouldn’t have come as a surprise, said a former U.S. diplomat in Washington, who would only talk on background.
    He said he’d known about Guaidós plans to call for an uprising for at least 10 days.

    “If I knew it, then everyone knew it,” he said. “The [Maduro] regime saw it coming and was prepared. The regime probably even knew that people in the government were talking to the opposition and probably even approved of it.”

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/05/venezuela-guaidó-got-snookered-white-house-starts-beating-war-drums.html

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN

    To be fair, Maduro’s guys seems to have managed to trick their enemies into looking like fools.
     
    It does not take much effort to make fools look like fools. This is true everywhere, not just in Venezuela.
  28. @Mitleser
    To be fair, Maduro's guys seems to have managed to trick their enemies into looking like fools.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/images8/vencoupcallinghelp-s.jpg

    Announcements by senior Maduro officials that they were changing sides did not materialize, and the administration appeared increasingly concerned as it debated next steps.
    ...
    Earlier Tuesday, Bolton had told reporters that Trump is watching political developments in Venezuela “minute by minute.” Bolton also put unusual public pressure on individual Venezuela government officials to renounce Maduro and embrace the political opposition.
    ...
    “It’s a very delicate moment,” Bolton said. “The president wants to see a peaceful transfer of power,” which he added would be possible if enough military and government figures switch allegiances.
    ...
    In an apparent attempt to divide Maduro’s government, Bolton said senior officials, including Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, had been in secret talks with Guaidó, and he called on them to “make good on their commitments” to help oust Maduro.
    ...
    Bolton called by name for three officials in Venezuela — the defense minister, the chief judge of the Supreme Court, and the commander of the presidential guard — to support Guaidó taking power.
    ...
    A senior Latin American official said opposition talks had been going on with Padrino and the other two for “the last several weeks,” and that the three had been promised retention in their current positions if they came out publicly in support of “constitutional order” that would allow Guaidó to take power. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the fast-moving and confusing situation, said those involved in the negotiations had no initial explanation for what went wrong, ...
    ...
    Elliott Abrams, the administration’s special envoy for Venezuela, told reporters Tuesday that the United States had expected Padrino, along with the head of the Maduro-appointed Supreme Court and the head of the national guard, to declare their support for the Venezuelan constitution, if not necessarily for Guaidó himself.
    ...
    He said that opposition figures had held discussions with the three influential officials in Maduro’s government ahead of those planned demonstrations.
     

    Shortly after Guaidó gave his predawn speech at the Carlota Air Force Base in Caracas, rumors spread that Armed Forces Chief of Staff Jose Ornelias and powerful commander Jesús Suárez Chourio were behind the military uprising. But just as quickly both men joined a growing list of officials swearing loyalty to Maduro.
    ...
    That military officials who owe their careers and livelihood to Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela didn’t abandon him shouldn’t have come as a surprise, said a former U.S. diplomat in Washington, who would only talk on background.
    He said he’d known about Guaidós plans to call for an uprising for at least 10 days.

    “If I knew it, then everyone knew it,” he said. “The [Maduro] regime saw it coming and was prepared. The regime probably even knew that people in the government were talking to the opposition and probably even approved of it.”
     
    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/05/venezuela-guaidó-got-snookered-white-house-starts-beating-war-drums.html

    To be fair, Maduro’s guys seems to have managed to trick their enemies into looking like fools.

    It does not take much effort to make fools look like fools. This is true everywhere, not just in Venezuela.

    • Agree: Aedib
  29. @Beckow

    ... why is the US getting so involved in Venezuela’s election controversies
     
    Good question, maybe Trump wants to trigger new mass migration avalanche from the south. More likely Venezuela is all that's left, a dog licks his ba.lls when he can.

    After getting effectively blocked or bogged down everywhere from Syria to Ukraine, North Korea to Afghanistan, the imperial pickings are thin. It finally occurred to someone in Washington that closer to home is better, that Latins never put up much resistance, and an easy win in Venezuela could do wonders for imperial morale. The problem is that if they can't even prevail in Venezuela, well, it could be quite embarrassing. Isn't there some Carribean island that has been misbehaving that could be liberated? Preferably a small one.

    Isn’t there some Carribean island that has been misbehaving that could be liberated? Preferably a small one.

    How is Grenada these days?

  30. @Anonymous lurker
    Maduro's government has to be the cuckediest of them all, really. This guy runs free and attempts an armed coup with explicit U.S. support like once every two-three months, and yet Maduro doesn't do shit. After the last go Guaido (spelling? I can't be arsed) went abroad for a while, and when he came back he was attacked by people all over and Venezuelan state employees protected him from the masses. And now this, again.

    Jesus, it's such a farce. I guess they learned something from other US-backed coups and coup attempts, trying to avoid the obvious pitfalls when dealing with it, but evidently this soft approach isn't helping either. They'll just keep going, no matter what, and the media spin will be spinning, even if there's absolutely nothing to begin with.

    Couple of reasons:

    1. I am assuming that they don’t want to give the US & Co. as few grounds for intervention as possible.

    2. I don’t know to what extent this is still relevant, but Venezuela’s extreme crime rates are in remarkable juxtapoisition to its levels of political violence, which historically have been very low. Even its numerous coups have, historically, been quite affable affairs, usually with zero casualties.

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/venezuela/

    So imagine this handsome, mustachioed caudillo called Juan, he is relaxing at his hacienda and he has perhaps drunk a bit too much rum this afternoon. Or maybe just the right amount, considering what is about to happen. He doffs his big gaucho hat, calls over his loyal posse, and sets out for the nearest plaza in the eastern llamas, where he regales the mob with a drunken, rambling speech about how President Jose is a pendejo. Ragtag militia in tow, Juan marches to Caracas, makes his grand entrance on a white horse, and drunkenly proclaims himself the new El Presidente. Jose, being a good sport and all, accepts this development in good humor, confident in the knowledge that he or his good amigo Joaquín would repeat this piece of performance art in a year or two. *This story has been dramatized for effect. May or may not accurately describe actual historical events.*

    PS. There’s even a special term for these slapstick coups: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronunciamiento

    • Replies: @Aedib
    But now Trump, Pompeo and Bolton are stars in the circus too.

    L'armata Brancaleone.
  31. Anonymous[679] • Disclaimer says:

    I think people tend to consider the possible results of crises like the ongoing Venezuela brouhaha over too short of a time-frame. In the short term, that is to say the next few months to a year or so, it definitely looks like Maduro will stay in power. However, it is clear that the disastrous mismanagement of the Venezuelan economy has seriously discredited Maduro personally and the Chavez/Maduro philosophy of governance more generally within the country. Over the next 5 to 10 years, I suspect that a continually shrinking base of popular support for Maduro will lead to substantial changes in the pro-democracy/America/capitalism direction. Either this will come through gradual liberalization—a freer election here, a different cabinet appointment there—or through repeated crises/protests/coup attempts eventually culminating in successful regime change if the Maduro government refuses to placate the masses with substantial reforms. (The way that e.g. the suppression of the 1905 revolution in Russia followed by little reform only kicked the can down the road to create the conditions for a much more serious crisis in 1917.)

    Something I realized while reading Richard J. Evans’ The Pursuit of Power , a history of 19th century Europe, is that, in most Europeans countries, the liberal/nationalist 1848 uprisings were crushed in the short term. However, over the course of the next several decades, the monarchies, empires and aristocracies of Old Europe were killed by thousands of little cuts, and parliaments and nation-states rose to take their places. It is not only the crisis of the moment that must be considered, but the possibility of similar and more serious crises over the next few decades.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...continually shrinking base of popular support for Maduro will lead to substantial changes in the pro-democracy/America/capitalism direction.
     
    That is almost certainly true. But the same applies from the other directions, e.g. the current right-wing neo-liberal rulers around Latin America (and elsewhere) are also going to experience shrinking popular support. People are generally unhappy and want change, so nothing will stay around for too long.

    You might end up in 5-20 years with very pro-business Venezuela, and with Brazil or Colombia with radical left-wing governments. There is no uniform one-directional movement as there was in late 19th century Europe towards liberalism- nationalism, or in the first half of 20th century towards 'socialism'. So countries flip-flop. There is an irreconcilable conflict of two or more visions of the future - that usually means actual fighting. What we have today are the good times - we will look back wistfully at the current minor and largely peaceful disagreements.

  32. @Anatoly Karlin
    Couple of reasons:

    1. I am assuming that they don't want to give the US & Co. as few grounds for intervention as possible.

    2. I don't know to what extent this is still relevant, but Venezuela's extreme crime rates are in remarkable juxtapoisition to its levels of political violence, which historically have been very low. Even its numerous coups have, historically, been quite affable affairs, usually with zero casualties.

    http://www.unz.com/akarlin/venezuela/

    So imagine this handsome, mustachioed caudillo called Juan, he is relaxing at his hacienda and he has perhaps drunk a bit too much rum this afternoon. Or maybe just the right amount, considering what is about to happen. He doffs his big gaucho hat, calls over his loyal posse, and sets out for the nearest plaza in the eastern llamas, where he regales the mob with a drunken, rambling speech about how President Jose is a pendejo. Ragtag militia in tow, Juan marches to Caracas, makes his grand entrance on a white horse, and drunkenly proclaims himself the new El Presidente. Jose, being a good sport and all, accepts this development in good humor, confident in the knowledge that he or his good amigo Joaquín would repeat this piece of performance art in a year or two. *This story has been dramatized for effect. May or may not accurately describe actual historical events.*
     
    PS. There's even a special term for these slapstick coups: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronunciamiento

    But now Trump, Pompeo and Bolton are stars in the circus too.

    L’armata Brancaleone.

  33. @Anonymous
    I think people tend to consider the possible results of crises like the ongoing Venezuela brouhaha over too short of a time-frame. In the short term, that is to say the next few months to a year or so, it definitely looks like Maduro will stay in power. However, it is clear that the disastrous mismanagement of the Venezuelan economy has seriously discredited Maduro personally and the Chavez/Maduro philosophy of governance more generally within the country. Over the next 5 to 10 years, I suspect that a continually shrinking base of popular support for Maduro will lead to substantial changes in the pro-democracy/America/capitalism direction. Either this will come through gradual liberalization---a freer election here, a different cabinet appointment there---or through repeated crises/protests/coup attempts eventually culminating in successful regime change if the Maduro government refuses to placate the masses with substantial reforms. (The way that e.g. the suppression of the 1905 revolution in Russia followed by little reform only kicked the can down the road to create the conditions for a much more serious crisis in 1917.)

    Something I realized while reading Richard J. Evans' The Pursuit of Power , a history of 19th century Europe, is that, in most Europeans countries, the liberal/nationalist 1848 uprisings were crushed in the short term. However, over the course of the next several decades, the monarchies, empires and aristocracies of Old Europe were killed by thousands of little cuts, and parliaments and nation-states rose to take their places. It is not only the crisis of the moment that must be considered, but the possibility of similar and more serious crises over the next few decades.

    …continually shrinking base of popular support for Maduro will lead to substantial changes in the pro-democracy/America/capitalism direction.

    That is almost certainly true. But the same applies from the other directions, e.g. the current right-wing neo-liberal rulers around Latin America (and elsewhere) are also going to experience shrinking popular support. People are generally unhappy and want change, so nothing will stay around for too long.

    You might end up in 5-20 years with very pro-business Venezuela, and with Brazil or Colombia with radical left-wing governments. There is no uniform one-directional movement as there was in late 19th century Europe towards liberalism- nationalism, or in the first half of 20th century towards ‘socialism’. So countries flip-flop. There is an irreconcilable conflict of two or more visions of the future – that usually means actual fighting. What we have today are the good times – we will look back wistfully at the current minor and largely peaceful disagreements.

    • Replies: @Aedib
    That’s right. Just look at Macri’s disaster in Argentina. There is a growing culture for the alt-right in Latin America too.
  34. @Beckow

    ...continually shrinking base of popular support for Maduro will lead to substantial changes in the pro-democracy/America/capitalism direction.
     
    That is almost certainly true. But the same applies from the other directions, e.g. the current right-wing neo-liberal rulers around Latin America (and elsewhere) are also going to experience shrinking popular support. People are generally unhappy and want change, so nothing will stay around for too long.

    You might end up in 5-20 years with very pro-business Venezuela, and with Brazil or Colombia with radical left-wing governments. There is no uniform one-directional movement as there was in late 19th century Europe towards liberalism- nationalism, or in the first half of 20th century towards 'socialism'. So countries flip-flop. There is an irreconcilable conflict of two or more visions of the future - that usually means actual fighting. What we have today are the good times - we will look back wistfully at the current minor and largely peaceful disagreements.

    That’s right. Just look at Macri’s disaster in Argentina. There is a growing culture for the alt-right in Latin America too.

  35. I talked to a Peruvian person a few weeks ago.

    They said Peru was almost completely monocultural, and they almost never had any immigrants or foreigners in Peru, until the last 10 years when they have been flooded with vast numbers of Venezuelans, which many are now living homeless or prostitutes in Peru.

    A sad story is already known, if you had followed the topic in recent years from Venezuelan YouTubers, where they describe the chaos of the country, the hatred against the bourgeoisie, and increased crime rate, and general idiocracy of the system.

    Venezuela is another example, of a failure of leftwing politics and socialism. This failure perhaps amplified by lower human capital (brown people) of the region, but a result of leftwing politics and socialism – results replicated in different continents, with different races, and different historical eras.

    Venezuela has more oil than Norway, but the people are so poor they flooded Peru to work as illegal immigrants.

    Anyone who would try to blame America, for this – is an idiot.

    Politically the best response forAmerica, is to not intervene, and let Venezuela continue to collapse to African levels.

    From a humanitarian level – sad what happens though, as tens of millions live in poverty to prove again the failure of the ideology, which was already disproved.

    • Replies: @Epigon
    No amount of Ayn Randism, neoliberalism, Vienna school, libertarianism and other Jewish retardation can transform densely populated brown tropical and subtropical Third world shitholes into First World countries.

    The comparison with Norway is mind-boggingly stupid on so many levels.
    1. Norway has the best fisheries in Europe. Norway has practically infinite timber as well. In both cases, it has people and industries built around it for centuries.

    2. Norway has by far the biggest per capita hydroelectric potential in Europe and World when it comes to real nations, being only surpassed by Iceland of 300k inhabitants. Norway has around 3x the per capita HE of the next country, Canada. This translates into a lot things, like Norway being exporter of aluminum while having no bauxite worth mentioning. Cheap and readily available energy is the foundation of higher civilization.

    3. Venezuelan oil deposits are mostly low quality, “dirty” and very heavy; or tar sands. Not really profitable, require processing, tech and experience; some require imported light crude oil to even be refinery-viable. Norway has high quality deposits. And less than 1/6 the population.

    4. Norway has 100+ IQ European population with centuries of social evolution, institution and trust building. Venezuela has Maduro on one side, plastic short goblinas, mestizo bandits, creoles and mutts between them, and budget Obama Juan Guaido on the other. 85 IQ is a given.

    5. Norway has been part of European scientific, technological and engineering circle since forever. Education standards are European, experience is shared. Venezuela has none of that.

    6. Norway is part of EU in all but name, a member of NATO and enjoys Atlanticist integration benefits since post-WW2. It borders Russian Federation, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
    Venezuela has....? and borders similar dysfunctional hellholes, is exposed to narcomafia and “leftist” violence in the region, and has historically been unstable.
    Etc. etc.

    In your simple mind, building a functional, competitive economy is as easy as instituting capitalism and neoliberal policies.
    Well, point us toward success stories of capitalism in Third World, or “shock” reforms in Second
    World.

    , @Mikhail
    https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/major-ethnic-groups-of-peru.html

    Native American ........................................................ 45%
    Mestizo ....................................................................... 37%
    White European...........................................................15%
    Asian, Afro-Peruvian, Mulatto, Zambo, and Others... 3%
  36. @Dmitry
    I talked to a Peruvian person a few weeks ago.

    They said Peru was almost completely monocultural, and they almost never had any immigrants or foreigners in Peru, until the last 10 years when they have been flooded with vast numbers of Venezuelans, which many are now living homeless or prostitutes in Peru.

    A sad story is already known, if you had followed the topic in recent years from Venezuelan YouTubers, where they describe the chaos of the country, the hatred against the bourgeoisie, and increased crime rate, and general idiocracy of the system.

    Venezuela is another example, of a failure of leftwing politics and socialism. This failure perhaps amplified by lower human capital (brown people) of the region, but a result of leftwing politics and socialism - results replicated in different continents, with different races, and different historical eras.

    Venezuela has more oil than Norway, but the people are so poor they flooded Peru to work as illegal immigrants.

    Anyone who would try to blame America, for this - is an idiot.

    Politically the best response forAmerica, is to not intervene, and let Venezuela continue to collapse to African levels.

    From a humanitarian level - sad what happens though, as tens of millions live in poverty to prove again the failure of the ideology, which was already disproved.

    No amount of Ayn Randism, neoliberalism, Vienna school, libertarianism and other Jewish retardation can transform densely populated brown tropical and subtropical Third world shitholes into First World countries.

    The comparison with Norway is mind-boggingly stupid on so many levels.
    1. Norway has the best fisheries in Europe. Norway has practically infinite timber as well. In both cases, it has people and industries built around it for centuries.

    2. Norway has by far the biggest per capita hydroelectric potential in Europe and World when it comes to real nations, being only surpassed by Iceland of 300k inhabitants. Norway has around 3x the per capita HE of the next country, Canada. This translates into a lot things, like Norway being exporter of aluminum while having no bauxite worth mentioning. Cheap and readily available energy is the foundation of higher civilization.

    3. Venezuelan oil deposits are mostly low quality, “dirty” and very heavy; or tar sands. Not really profitable, require processing, tech and experience; some require imported light crude oil to even be refinery-viable. Norway has high quality deposits. And less than 1/6 the population.

    4. Norway has 100+ IQ European population with centuries of social evolution, institution and trust building. Venezuela has Maduro on one side, plastic short goblinas, mestizo bandits, creoles and mutts between them, and budget Obama Juan Guaido on the other. 85 IQ is a given.

    5. Norway has been part of European scientific, technological and engineering circle since forever. Education standards are European, experience is shared. Venezuela has none of that.

    6. Norway is part of EU in all but name, a member of NATO and enjoys Atlanticist integration benefits since post-WW2. It borders Russian Federation, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
    Venezuela has….? and borders similar dysfunctional hellholes, is exposed to narcomafia and “leftist” violence in the region, and has historically been unstable.
    Etc. etc.

    In your simple mind, building a functional, competitive economy is as easy as instituting capitalism and neoliberal policies.
    Well, point us toward success stories of capitalism in Third World, or “shock” reforms in Second
    World.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    I started to skim you comment, flattered anyone "read" my comment, until I saw you were instead writing some irrelevant and emotionally written nonsense about Norway, and seem to have very poor reading skills.

    No-one has compared Venezuela to Norway. It's enough to compare to its neighbours, and the fact millions of Venezuelan immigrants are flooding into countries like Peru and Colombia, to understand their problems came from their ideology.

    As for "solving" Venezuela. To be a normal and functioning country by regional standards, all it needs is for their white bourgeoisie class to rule it according to international best practices. It has all its huge potential in energy, mining of minerals and tourism industries - and would receive enormous foreign investment if they solved the political level.

    As for success of capitalism in Latin America. Chile has a better economy than most EU countries in South-East Europe.

    Even Peru and Colombia are at the same economic level as the Balkan countries. Peru is far more brown than Venezuela and known for corruption, crime and civil wars - yet Venezuelan immigrants flood it.

    , @utu
    "and other Jewish retardation[s]" - they define the framework and parameter of the discourse. And on the other end you have Judeo-Bolshevik alternative. It is no different with SJW vs. philo-zionist alt-right which fall within the same spectrum.
    , @anon

    Refining crude oil results in output being higher than the input. The increased volume of petroleum products produced is called processing gain. The U.S. processing gain averaged around 6.2% from 1996-2010, which is a 42 gallon barrel of crude oil being converted into approximately 45 gallons of refined products.
     
    Minor point, but US refineries are designed for heavy oil inputs. Its a mismatch for the light shale crude now being produced by fracking. Hence the desirability of Venezuelan crude.

    Norway has a lot more going for it, but Venezuela should have been able to put together a decent economy.

    US processing gain is around a million bpd.

    , @Pontius
    It has become obvious to me that if the third world wants to emigrate to our countries to escape the "shit-holiness" of their own nations, perhaps we could arrange a 1 for 1 swap where we just move to each other's nations and call it good. Yes, the first century or so would be rough while we build up the infrastructure, but hey, no more accusations of colonialism, and no more goddamn freezing rain on the first of May.
  37. @Epigon
    No amount of Ayn Randism, neoliberalism, Vienna school, libertarianism and other Jewish retardation can transform densely populated brown tropical and subtropical Third world shitholes into First World countries.

    The comparison with Norway is mind-boggingly stupid on so many levels.
    1. Norway has the best fisheries in Europe. Norway has practically infinite timber as well. In both cases, it has people and industries built around it for centuries.

    2. Norway has by far the biggest per capita hydroelectric potential in Europe and World when it comes to real nations, being only surpassed by Iceland of 300k inhabitants. Norway has around 3x the per capita HE of the next country, Canada. This translates into a lot things, like Norway being exporter of aluminum while having no bauxite worth mentioning. Cheap and readily available energy is the foundation of higher civilization.

    3. Venezuelan oil deposits are mostly low quality, “dirty” and very heavy; or tar sands. Not really profitable, require processing, tech and experience; some require imported light crude oil to even be refinery-viable. Norway has high quality deposits. And less than 1/6 the population.

    4. Norway has 100+ IQ European population with centuries of social evolution, institution and trust building. Venezuela has Maduro on one side, plastic short goblinas, mestizo bandits, creoles and mutts between them, and budget Obama Juan Guaido on the other. 85 IQ is a given.

    5. Norway has been part of European scientific, technological and engineering circle since forever. Education standards are European, experience is shared. Venezuela has none of that.

    6. Norway is part of EU in all but name, a member of NATO and enjoys Atlanticist integration benefits since post-WW2. It borders Russian Federation, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
    Venezuela has....? and borders similar dysfunctional hellholes, is exposed to narcomafia and “leftist” violence in the region, and has historically been unstable.
    Etc. etc.

    In your simple mind, building a functional, competitive economy is as easy as instituting capitalism and neoliberal policies.
    Well, point us toward success stories of capitalism in Third World, or “shock” reforms in Second
    World.

    I started to skim you comment, flattered anyone “read” my comment, until I saw you were instead writing some irrelevant and emotionally written nonsense about Norway, and seem to have very poor reading skills.

    No-one has compared Venezuela to Norway. It’s enough to compare to its neighbours, and the fact millions of Venezuelan immigrants are flooding into countries like Peru and Colombia, to understand their problems came from their ideology.

    As for “solving” Venezuela. To be a normal and functioning country by regional standards, all it needs is for their white bourgeoisie class to rule it according to international best practices. It has all its huge potential in energy, mining of minerals and tourism industries – and would receive enormous foreign investment if they solved the political level.

    As for success of capitalism in Latin America. Chile has a better economy than most EU countries in South-East Europe.

    Even Peru and Colombia are at the same economic level as the Balkan countries. Peru is far more brown than Venezuela and known for corruption, crime and civil wars – yet Venezuelan immigrants flood it.

    • Replies: @Epigon
    You continue spouting the same nonsense. Chile is a ridiculously stratified society - the small elite controls the lucrative mining, fishing and agricultural businesses, while the rest scrap an existence.
    Chile has probably the largest inequality in Americas.

    Chilean copper (and gold) mining and export significance points to Chile being a pure natural resource exploitation economy. Metallurgic analogy of petromonarchies.

    This “white burgeoisie” actually ruled Venezuela previously - their “successes” brought Chavistas to power. You simply don’t get it, do you?
    “White burgeoisie rule” is an euphemism for oligarchy and plutocracy, and “white” somehow always includes a disproportionate amount of Jews when such systems are established.

    Free market, absolute materialism and internationalism are the cesspool in which tribalistic, nepotistic, unscrupulous and opportunistic thrive.
    So a polar opposite of society-, state- and legacy-building conditions.


    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?
  38. @Epigon
    No amount of Ayn Randism, neoliberalism, Vienna school, libertarianism and other Jewish retardation can transform densely populated brown tropical and subtropical Third world shitholes into First World countries.

    The comparison with Norway is mind-boggingly stupid on so many levels.
    1. Norway has the best fisheries in Europe. Norway has practically infinite timber as well. In both cases, it has people and industries built around it for centuries.

    2. Norway has by far the biggest per capita hydroelectric potential in Europe and World when it comes to real nations, being only surpassed by Iceland of 300k inhabitants. Norway has around 3x the per capita HE of the next country, Canada. This translates into a lot things, like Norway being exporter of aluminum while having no bauxite worth mentioning. Cheap and readily available energy is the foundation of higher civilization.

    3. Venezuelan oil deposits are mostly low quality, “dirty” and very heavy; or tar sands. Not really profitable, require processing, tech and experience; some require imported light crude oil to even be refinery-viable. Norway has high quality deposits. And less than 1/6 the population.

    4. Norway has 100+ IQ European population with centuries of social evolution, institution and trust building. Venezuela has Maduro on one side, plastic short goblinas, mestizo bandits, creoles and mutts between them, and budget Obama Juan Guaido on the other. 85 IQ is a given.

    5. Norway has been part of European scientific, technological and engineering circle since forever. Education standards are European, experience is shared. Venezuela has none of that.

    6. Norway is part of EU in all but name, a member of NATO and enjoys Atlanticist integration benefits since post-WW2. It borders Russian Federation, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
    Venezuela has....? and borders similar dysfunctional hellholes, is exposed to narcomafia and “leftist” violence in the region, and has historically been unstable.
    Etc. etc.

    In your simple mind, building a functional, competitive economy is as easy as instituting capitalism and neoliberal policies.
    Well, point us toward success stories of capitalism in Third World, or “shock” reforms in Second
    World.

    “and other Jewish retardation[s]” – they define the framework and parameter of the discourse. And on the other end you have Judeo-Bolshevik alternative. It is no different with SJW vs. philo-zionist alt-right which fall within the same spectrum.

  39. anon[976] • Disclaimer says:
    @Epigon
    No amount of Ayn Randism, neoliberalism, Vienna school, libertarianism and other Jewish retardation can transform densely populated brown tropical and subtropical Third world shitholes into First World countries.

    The comparison with Norway is mind-boggingly stupid on so many levels.
    1. Norway has the best fisheries in Europe. Norway has practically infinite timber as well. In both cases, it has people and industries built around it for centuries.

    2. Norway has by far the biggest per capita hydroelectric potential in Europe and World when it comes to real nations, being only surpassed by Iceland of 300k inhabitants. Norway has around 3x the per capita HE of the next country, Canada. This translates into a lot things, like Norway being exporter of aluminum while having no bauxite worth mentioning. Cheap and readily available energy is the foundation of higher civilization.

    3. Venezuelan oil deposits are mostly low quality, “dirty” and very heavy; or tar sands. Not really profitable, require processing, tech and experience; some require imported light crude oil to even be refinery-viable. Norway has high quality deposits. And less than 1/6 the population.

    4. Norway has 100+ IQ European population with centuries of social evolution, institution and trust building. Venezuela has Maduro on one side, plastic short goblinas, mestizo bandits, creoles and mutts between them, and budget Obama Juan Guaido on the other. 85 IQ is a given.

    5. Norway has been part of European scientific, technological and engineering circle since forever. Education standards are European, experience is shared. Venezuela has none of that.

    6. Norway is part of EU in all but name, a member of NATO and enjoys Atlanticist integration benefits since post-WW2. It borders Russian Federation, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
    Venezuela has....? and borders similar dysfunctional hellholes, is exposed to narcomafia and “leftist” violence in the region, and has historically been unstable.
    Etc. etc.

    In your simple mind, building a functional, competitive economy is as easy as instituting capitalism and neoliberal policies.
    Well, point us toward success stories of capitalism in Third World, or “shock” reforms in Second
    World.

    Refining crude oil results in output being higher than the input. The increased volume of petroleum products produced is called processing gain. The U.S. processing gain averaged around 6.2% from 1996-2010, which is a 42 gallon barrel of crude oil being converted into approximately 45 gallons of refined products.

    Minor point, but US refineries are designed for heavy oil inputs. Its a mismatch for the light shale crude now being produced by fracking. Hence the desirability of Venezuelan crude.

    Norway has a lot more going for it, but Venezuela should have been able to put together a decent economy.

    US processing gain is around a million bpd.

    • Replies: @Epigon
    That heavy oil exported to USA had already been diluted.
    Venezuela actually imported heavy naptha from USA in addition to Algerian light oil to dilute its extra-heavy crude oil.
    Russia probably had to step-in to replace USA shipments.
    , @LondonBob
    Venezuela needed to understand they were better off with a ruling class ethnic European elite, not unlike the way Arab countries import a Western managerial class, unfortunately most of this elite has now emigrated.
  40. @Dmitry
    I started to skim you comment, flattered anyone "read" my comment, until I saw you were instead writing some irrelevant and emotionally written nonsense about Norway, and seem to have very poor reading skills.

    No-one has compared Venezuela to Norway. It's enough to compare to its neighbours, and the fact millions of Venezuelan immigrants are flooding into countries like Peru and Colombia, to understand their problems came from their ideology.

    As for "solving" Venezuela. To be a normal and functioning country by regional standards, all it needs is for their white bourgeoisie class to rule it according to international best practices. It has all its huge potential in energy, mining of minerals and tourism industries - and would receive enormous foreign investment if they solved the political level.

    As for success of capitalism in Latin America. Chile has a better economy than most EU countries in South-East Europe.

    Even Peru and Colombia are at the same economic level as the Balkan countries. Peru is far more brown than Venezuela and known for corruption, crime and civil wars - yet Venezuelan immigrants flood it.

    You continue spouting the same nonsense. Chile is a ridiculously stratified society – the small elite controls the lucrative mining, fishing and agricultural businesses, while the rest scrap an existence.
    Chile has probably the largest inequality in Americas.

    Chilean copper (and gold) mining and export significance points to Chile being a pure natural resource exploitation economy. Metallurgic analogy of petromonarchies.

    This “white burgeoisie” actually ruled Venezuela previously – their “successes” brought Chavistas to power. You simply don’t get it, do you?
    “White burgeoisie rule” is an euphemism for oligarchy and plutocracy, and “white” somehow always includes a disproportionate amount of Jews when such systems are established.

    Free market, absolute materialism and internationalism are the cesspool in which tribalistic, nepotistic, unscrupulous and opportunistic thrive.
    So a polar opposite of society-, state- and legacy-building conditions.

    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?

    • Agree: Aedib
    • Replies: @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?

     

    Don't forget the American System. I am not here to argue whether protectionism is right or not. But it unquestionably was the governing rule in America when the country's business was explosive and excellent.
    , @Dmitry

    Chile being a pure natural resource exploitation
     
    Mining is only 15% of Chile's GDP.

    Chile has probably the largest inequality in Americas.

     

    Who was talking about equality?

    Chile is less unequal than China who you were talking about below, as a role model.
    https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/economic-data/wealth-distribution-income-inequality


    “white burgeoisie” actually ruled Venezuela previously – their “successes” brought Chavistas
     
    Venezuela's economy would be not bad at all now (like their immediate neighbours), if they had normal leadership since 1999, instead of Chavez. They could have phoned to Kudrin once a month for advice, followed what he says, and they would be doing well now. It's not very complicated.

    Chavez's government followed thousand and one idiotic policies - that any educated person would know will result in disaster -, and the surprise is not their collapse, but that their collapse is even worse than expected. Countries like Peru and Colombia are now flooded with millions of Venezuelans, escaping from their poverty, many homeless, in countries which theoretically should be far poorer than they are - that is, they Venezuelans are flooding into countries which are browner and have far less of any kind of resources than they have. There can not be a clearly example of the failure of their leaders.


    does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China;

     

    The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.

    It's true Chinese probably are lower human capital on average, than Japanese, but their economy and culture is far further behind relative to Japan, than Eastern European countries were behind to Western Europe and America.

    And while China is still far behind economically, the gap to Japan has narrowed even more rapidly than in Europe (although the rapid growth China mainly achieved by importing technology which had developed in other countries over the 20th century, while they were running in circles), since Deng Xiaoping transitioned to pro-market policy which they fortunately continue now.

    , @Thorfinnsson
    What's so bad about oligarchy and plutocracy?

    Are you POOR?
  41. @anon

    Refining crude oil results in output being higher than the input. The increased volume of petroleum products produced is called processing gain. The U.S. processing gain averaged around 6.2% from 1996-2010, which is a 42 gallon barrel of crude oil being converted into approximately 45 gallons of refined products.
     
    Minor point, but US refineries are designed for heavy oil inputs. Its a mismatch for the light shale crude now being produced by fracking. Hence the desirability of Venezuelan crude.

    Norway has a lot more going for it, but Venezuela should have been able to put together a decent economy.

    US processing gain is around a million bpd.

    That heavy oil exported to USA had already been diluted.
    Venezuela actually imported heavy naptha from USA in addition to Algerian light oil to dilute its extra-heavy crude oil.
    Russia probably had to step-in to replace USA shipments.

    • Replies: @Mitleser
    They are also importing Nigerian oil for the dilution.

    https://twitter.com/mariannaparraga/status/1124101185303191553
  42. @Anonymous
    I listened to Tucker’s Ship of Fools on Audible. Tucker reads it which makes it much better. The best book I’ve listened to since John Carreyrou‘s Bad Blood. Who would’ve thought a political book would be so gripping?? Just listen to the sample on Audible and you’ll be hooked. There is so much there. Especially loved his discussion regarding the push to war in Iraq and some prominent figures. I consider myself well informed but was rocked by some stuff I hadn't even known. I walked around Boston and Cambridge on a cold, overcast day listening to the whole thing.

    I read Tucker’s book some months ago….very good.

    Tonight Tucker seemed to back track some on Venezuela….a little more with the Republican Inc. line/Deep state. And perhaps a little water carrying for Israel.

    Is Fox putting the arm on Tucker???

    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Tucker hasn't changed. He has never (to my knowledge) been noticeably critical of Israel, while having stated an agnostic position on Russia. On a related note, is this piece from last month:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/04/10/rebuking-zakaria-and-goading-trump-the-right-way/

    Excerpt -

    As of this writing, Fox News host Tucker Carlson hasn’t responded to Zakaria goading Trump to confront Russia. Concerning Russia related issues, Carlson remains the most even handed among his 24/7 US cable TV news peers. On the Fox Business Network (a Fox News affiliate) Lou Dobbs’ April 5 segment with Jack Keane (at about the 26:35 mark of this video) has the facile inaccuracies which are frequently presented on CNN and MSNBC.
     
    A hyperlink at the aforementioned 26:35 mark.
    , @HammerJack
    Tucker has been pushing envelopes dangerously, and he's smart enough to know how far he can go. So yes, on certain topics he remains quite careful.

    That said, he's been showing more courage and integrity than everyone else in the major media combined .. Though that may be faint praise.

    We celebrate diversity in the USA, but only certain kinds.

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/458163-media-diversity-surface-ideological-venezuela/

  43. @Mikhail
    By doing segments like this one:

    https://video.foxnews.com/v/6031703471001/?playlist_id=5198073478001#sp=show-clips

    Diaz-Balart is the epitome of a lying, phony, corrupt, shyster.

    • Agree: Mikhail
  44. @Epigon
    No amount of Ayn Randism, neoliberalism, Vienna school, libertarianism and other Jewish retardation can transform densely populated brown tropical and subtropical Third world shitholes into First World countries.

    The comparison with Norway is mind-boggingly stupid on so many levels.
    1. Norway has the best fisheries in Europe. Norway has practically infinite timber as well. In both cases, it has people and industries built around it for centuries.

    2. Norway has by far the biggest per capita hydroelectric potential in Europe and World when it comes to real nations, being only surpassed by Iceland of 300k inhabitants. Norway has around 3x the per capita HE of the next country, Canada. This translates into a lot things, like Norway being exporter of aluminum while having no bauxite worth mentioning. Cheap and readily available energy is the foundation of higher civilization.

    3. Venezuelan oil deposits are mostly low quality, “dirty” and very heavy; or tar sands. Not really profitable, require processing, tech and experience; some require imported light crude oil to even be refinery-viable. Norway has high quality deposits. And less than 1/6 the population.

    4. Norway has 100+ IQ European population with centuries of social evolution, institution and trust building. Venezuela has Maduro on one side, plastic short goblinas, mestizo bandits, creoles and mutts between them, and budget Obama Juan Guaido on the other. 85 IQ is a given.

    5. Norway has been part of European scientific, technological and engineering circle since forever. Education standards are European, experience is shared. Venezuela has none of that.

    6. Norway is part of EU in all but name, a member of NATO and enjoys Atlanticist integration benefits since post-WW2. It borders Russian Federation, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
    Venezuela has....? and borders similar dysfunctional hellholes, is exposed to narcomafia and “leftist” violence in the region, and has historically been unstable.
    Etc. etc.

    In your simple mind, building a functional, competitive economy is as easy as instituting capitalism and neoliberal policies.
    Well, point us toward success stories of capitalism in Third World, or “shock” reforms in Second
    World.

    It has become obvious to me that if the third world wants to emigrate to our countries to escape the “shit-holiness” of their own nations, perhaps we could arrange a 1 for 1 swap where we just move to each other’s nations and call it good. Yes, the first century or so would be rough while we build up the infrastructure, but hey, no more accusations of colonialism, and no more goddamn freezing rain on the first of May.

    • LOL: Hibernian
    • Replies: @Greg21
    Who the heck wants to settle in the Congo and its jungle climate even if your average IQ is 100 to 105?
  45. @Pontius
    It has become obvious to me that if the third world wants to emigrate to our countries to escape the "shit-holiness" of their own nations, perhaps we could arrange a 1 for 1 swap where we just move to each other's nations and call it good. Yes, the first century or so would be rough while we build up the infrastructure, but hey, no more accusations of colonialism, and no more goddamn freezing rain on the first of May.

    Who the heck wants to settle in the Congo and its jungle climate even if your average IQ is 100 to 105?

  46. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Realist
    I read Tucker's book some months ago....very good.

    Tonight Tucker seemed to back track some on Venezuela....a little more with the Republican Inc. line/Deep state. And perhaps a little water carrying for Israel.

    Is Fox putting the arm on Tucker???

    Tucker hasn’t changed. He has never (to my knowledge) been noticeably critical of Israel, while having stated an agnostic position on Russia. On a related note, is this piece from last month:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/04/10/rebuking-zakaria-and-goading-trump-the-right-way/

    Excerpt –

    As of this writing, Fox News host Tucker Carlson hasn’t responded to Zakaria goading Trump to confront Russia. Concerning Russia related issues, Carlson remains the most even handed among his 24/7 US cable TV news peers. On the Fox Business Network (a Fox News affiliate) Lou Dobbs’ April 5 segment with Jack Keane (at about the 26:35 mark of this video) has the facile inaccuracies which are frequently presented on CNN and MSNBC.

    A hyperlink at the aforementioned 26:35 mark.

    • Replies: @Realist
    Lou Dobbs is a slobbering , war mongering Deep State sycophant.
  47. @Dmitry
    I talked to a Peruvian person a few weeks ago.

    They said Peru was almost completely monocultural, and they almost never had any immigrants or foreigners in Peru, until the last 10 years when they have been flooded with vast numbers of Venezuelans, which many are now living homeless or prostitutes in Peru.

    A sad story is already known, if you had followed the topic in recent years from Venezuelan YouTubers, where they describe the chaos of the country, the hatred against the bourgeoisie, and increased crime rate, and general idiocracy of the system.

    Venezuela is another example, of a failure of leftwing politics and socialism. This failure perhaps amplified by lower human capital (brown people) of the region, but a result of leftwing politics and socialism - results replicated in different continents, with different races, and different historical eras.

    Venezuela has more oil than Norway, but the people are so poor they flooded Peru to work as illegal immigrants.

    Anyone who would try to blame America, for this - is an idiot.

    Politically the best response forAmerica, is to not intervene, and let Venezuela continue to collapse to African levels.

    From a humanitarian level - sad what happens though, as tens of millions live in poverty to prove again the failure of the ideology, which was already disproved.

    https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/major-ethnic-groups-of-peru.html

    Native American ……………………………………………….. 45%
    Mestizo …………………………………………………………….. 37%
    White European…………………………………………………..15%
    Asian, Afro-Peruvian, Mulatto, Zambo, and Others… 3%

  48. @anon

    Refining crude oil results in output being higher than the input. The increased volume of petroleum products produced is called processing gain. The U.S. processing gain averaged around 6.2% from 1996-2010, which is a 42 gallon barrel of crude oil being converted into approximately 45 gallons of refined products.
     
    Minor point, but US refineries are designed for heavy oil inputs. Its a mismatch for the light shale crude now being produced by fracking. Hence the desirability of Venezuelan crude.

    Norway has a lot more going for it, but Venezuela should have been able to put together a decent economy.

    US processing gain is around a million bpd.

    Venezuela needed to understand they were better off with a ruling class ethnic European elite, not unlike the way Arab countries import a Western managerial class, unfortunately most of this elite has now emigrated.

  49. The Venezuelan economy is on the edge of a precipice; but soon they will make a huge step forward.

    (Old commie bloc joke applied to Venezuela. Another version would be: capitalism is on the edge of a precipice. But socialism is already a step ahead of it!)

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    U joke, but the crisis really might be petering out.

    https://twitter.com/TheEIU/status/1123602986591240193
  50. @Verymuchalive
    What benefit does Russia get from installing Neocommunism in Venezuela ? It may protect Rosneft's holdings in the short term, but when the Soviet Union backed Castro, it cost them massive amounts to do so. This could have been better used supporting Russian workers' living standards. Also any Neocommunist state is likely to be just as economically incompetent as Maduro's government because it is Maduro's government. Increasing oil production is likely to be problematical and very expensive.
    3m have left Venezuela in recent years and more millions would leave if Maduro went full Cuban. Already the influx of Venezuelans in places like Colombia is causing great tension. Inevitably Russia would be blamed for this. The backlash not only in South America, but elsewhere would be massive. How does that benefit Russia?
    PS Guaido is a very inexperienced 35 year old. As the saying in football goes: you never win anything with kids.

    Any capitalist government in Venezuela will want to have nothing to do with Russia. Russian government tries to prop up isolated, “pariah states”, because they are the only ones willing to work with Russians.

    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    True, but there are examples of more or less functional countries willing to be friendly to Russia.

    For example I know of a certain Central European power, which, having acquired a huge and invincible Panzerwaffe, is now building up a strong air force of F-35 warplanes.

    This power is pretty friendly to Russia, its leader is on record criticizing the sanctions (though voted for them), and is even in the process of buying a nuclear plant from Russia.
    , @Verymuchalive

    Russian government tries to prop up isolated, “pariah states”, because they are the only ones willing to work with Russians.
     
    Ah, so that's the reason why, despite all the "misunderstandings" over Syria, relations between Russia and Israel are so cordial !
  51. @Realist
    I read Tucker's book some months ago....very good.

    Tonight Tucker seemed to back track some on Venezuela....a little more with the Republican Inc. line/Deep state. And perhaps a little water carrying for Israel.

    Is Fox putting the arm on Tucker???

    Tucker has been pushing envelopes dangerously, and he’s smart enough to know how far he can go. So yes, on certain topics he remains quite careful.

    That said, he’s been showing more courage and integrity than everyone else in the major media combined .. Though that may be faint praise.

    We celebrate diversity in the USA, but only certain kinds.

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/458163-media-diversity-surface-ideological-venezuela/

    • Replies: @Realist

    That said, he’s been showing more courage and integrity than everyone else in the major media combined .. Though that may be faint praise.
     
    That's for sure.
  52. @Felix Keverich
    Any capitalist government in Venezuela will want to have nothing to do with Russia. Russian government tries to prop up isolated, "pariah states", because they are the only ones willing to work with Russians.

    True, but there are examples of more or less functional countries willing to be friendly to Russia.

    For example I know of a certain Central European power, which, having acquired a huge and invincible Panzerwaffe, is now building up a strong air force of F-35 warplanes.

    This power is pretty friendly to Russia, its leader is on record criticizing the sanctions (though voted for them), and is even in the process of buying a nuclear plant from Russia.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Russia doesn't get anything out of its dealings with Hungary though. Venezuela votes with Russia at the UN. Give it a couple more years and they might recognise Crimea as a part of Russia (like Syria did).
  53. @reiner Tor
    True, but there are examples of more or less functional countries willing to be friendly to Russia.

    For example I know of a certain Central European power, which, having acquired a huge and invincible Panzerwaffe, is now building up a strong air force of F-35 warplanes.

    This power is pretty friendly to Russia, its leader is on record criticizing the sanctions (though voted for them), and is even in the process of buying a nuclear plant from Russia.

    Russia doesn’t get anything out of its dealings with Hungary though. Venezuela votes with Russia at the UN. Give it a couple more years and they might recognise Crimea as a part of Russia (like Syria did).

    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Russia doesn’t get anything out of its dealings with Hungary though.
     
    Other than export revenue. So instead of being a sinkhole of billions of dollars, the deals with Hungary result in a stronger industry for Russia. It’s not always beneficial for Hungary: we’ve bought metro cars from Russia without air conditioning. It must’ve been beneficial for some Hungarians, but not those using the Budapest public transport.
  54. @Felix Keverich
    Russia doesn't get anything out of its dealings with Hungary though. Venezuela votes with Russia at the UN. Give it a couple more years and they might recognise Crimea as a part of Russia (like Syria did).

    Russia doesn’t get anything out of its dealings with Hungary though.

    Other than export revenue. So instead of being a sinkhole of billions of dollars, the deals with Hungary result in a stronger industry for Russia. It’s not always beneficial for Hungary: we’ve bought metro cars from Russia without air conditioning. It must’ve been beneficial for some Hungarians, but not those using the Budapest public transport.

    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Hungarian power plant will cost tens of billions in a credit provided by Sberbank. Whether or not this loan will ultimately be repaid will depend on the state of Hungarian economy and American sanctions regime.
  55. @reiner Tor

    Russia doesn’t get anything out of its dealings with Hungary though.
     
    Other than export revenue. So instead of being a sinkhole of billions of dollars, the deals with Hungary result in a stronger industry for Russia. It’s not always beneficial for Hungary: we’ve bought metro cars from Russia without air conditioning. It must’ve been beneficial for some Hungarians, but not those using the Budapest public transport.

    Hungarian power plant will cost tens of billions in a credit provided by Sberbank. Whether or not this loan will ultimately be repaid will depend on the state of Hungarian economy and American sanctions regime.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Hungary has not defaulted on any of its debts since 1932. It has also not received a debt reduction. But you were last time unaware that the natural gas and oil infrastructure (pipeline in Ukraine) was to a large extent built by Hungary in the 1970s, using technology imported from the West for hard currency. This was one important source for our fast growing hard currency debt back then. In exchange we got cheap oil and natural gas for some time. You considered it a “subsidy.” I can see that you are happier with your trade with Venezuela, where Venezuela goes to shit while burning billions of your dollars and in exchange almost recognizes Crimea as part of Russia.
    , @Dmitry
    You think that American sanctions could prevent Hungary from repaying a loan for a civil construction project? How bad would relations have to be for that legally possible?

    Hungary is borrowing $11,3 billion loan, which Hungarians will repay over at least 30 years.

    The package is similar size to $10 billion loan given to Belarus to build their nuclear power plant, except that Belarus will repay in 15 years, and, of course, Belarus are a friendly country and strategically essential ally, while Hungary are not.

    Still, Hungary seems to be a normal, developed European country, so - excluding sanctions - this looks like a lot lower risk than loans to countries like Bangladesh or Egypt, Turkey, and soon Zambia, for Rosatom projects there.

  56. @Felix Keverich
    Hungarian power plant will cost tens of billions in a credit provided by Sberbank. Whether or not this loan will ultimately be repaid will depend on the state of Hungarian economy and American sanctions regime.

    Hungary has not defaulted on any of its debts since 1932. It has also not received a debt reduction. But you were last time unaware that the natural gas and oil infrastructure (pipeline in Ukraine) was to a large extent built by Hungary in the 1970s, using technology imported from the West for hard currency. This was one important source for our fast growing hard currency debt back then. In exchange we got cheap oil and natural gas for some time. You considered it a “subsidy.” I can see that you are happier with your trade with Venezuela, where Venezuela goes to shit while burning billions of your dollars and in exchange almost recognizes Crimea as part of Russia.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    I agree Hungary is surely low risk as a place to give loans to, and its financial system is supported by the ECB (Hungary received $20 billion of announced financial backing in the 2000s).

    I don't know anything about law, but I assume the possibility of sanctions would not legally extend to a country repaying a loan for a civil construction project, except in some very extreme case.

    Hungary also plans to receive gas from Turkish Stream. Hungary already looks like a good energy mix. But these projects should further reduce future energy costs for Hungarian citizens (gas produced electricity can now be cheaper than coal) - and reduce air pollution in Hungary if they substitute for coal.

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

  57. @HammerJack
    Tucker has been pushing envelopes dangerously, and he's smart enough to know how far he can go. So yes, on certain topics he remains quite careful.

    That said, he's been showing more courage and integrity than everyone else in the major media combined .. Though that may be faint praise.

    We celebrate diversity in the USA, but only certain kinds.

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/458163-media-diversity-surface-ideological-venezuela/

    That said, he’s been showing more courage and integrity than everyone else in the major media combined .. Though that may be faint praise.

    That’s for sure.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    In a situation where everyone is spineless, being the only one with some semblance of courage and integrity should be praised. And make no mistake about it: while he probably makes a decent living, he’s taking considerable risks, more than most anonymous commenters are willing to take. So I think he deserves unqualified praise in this situation. Maybe after the Revolution we’ll find that he’s not very good, that this “not quite alt right, but still further to the right than anyone mainstream” is his real political opinion (and so he’s not hiding any of his views), and then we won’t like him so much. But right now the situation is as I just described above.
  58. @Mikhail
    Tucker hasn't changed. He has never (to my knowledge) been noticeably critical of Israel, while having stated an agnostic position on Russia. On a related note, is this piece from last month:

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/04/10/rebuking-zakaria-and-goading-trump-the-right-way/

    Excerpt -

    As of this writing, Fox News host Tucker Carlson hasn’t responded to Zakaria goading Trump to confront Russia. Concerning Russia related issues, Carlson remains the most even handed among his 24/7 US cable TV news peers. On the Fox Business Network (a Fox News affiliate) Lou Dobbs’ April 5 segment with Jack Keane (at about the 26:35 mark of this video) has the facile inaccuracies which are frequently presented on CNN and MSNBC.
     
    A hyperlink at the aforementioned 26:35 mark.

    Lou Dobbs is a slobbering , war mongering Deep State sycophant.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
    Foreign policy isn't Dobbs' expertise. Zakaria is more evil - especially since he's taken more seriously than Dobbs among foreign policy folks. Putin serves as one example. (Zakaria hosted a Russian government involved show in Russia a few years back. Putin was on one of the panels hosted by Zakaria.)

    For quality control purposes, the permeating phony, baloney cronyism is a lingering problem in mass media and foreign policy circles.

  59. @Realist

    That said, he’s been showing more courage and integrity than everyone else in the major media combined .. Though that may be faint praise.
     
    That's for sure.

    In a situation where everyone is spineless, being the only one with some semblance of courage and integrity should be praised. And make no mistake about it: while he probably makes a decent living, he’s taking considerable risks, more than most anonymous commenters are willing to take. So I think he deserves unqualified praise in this situation. Maybe after the Revolution we’ll find that he’s not very good, that this “not quite alt right, but still further to the right than anyone mainstream” is his real political opinion (and so he’s not hiding any of his views), and then we won’t like him so much. But right now the situation is as I just described above.

    • Replies: @Realist

    And make no mistake about it: while he probably makes a decent living, he’s taking considerable risks, more than most anonymous commenters are willing to take.
     
    Yes, you are correct. But anonymous commenters are being paid nothing. The reason I am an anonymous commenter is my desire to be left alone and not be harassed by assholes through e-mail and phone calls. I can not be fired, I am retired, and I don't care what people think of my position on events.
    , @for-the-record
    while he probably makes a decent living

    Reported $6 million annual salary, plus $10 million book deal. I am sure he is sincere, but a cynic might say there is also a lot of money to be made in being one of the very few to ("heroically") espouse a non-mainstream position that resonates with a substanial minority of the population.
  60. @Anonn
    http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/brzezinskis-warning-to-america/

    Karlin, thoughts on this piece?

    In the last few paras what immediately jumped to me was this idea of Russian within Europe (EU) & a PRC-USA conglomerate (G-2)

    The twitter user & Indian defence advocate Saurav Jha @sjha1618

    Always talks about this, that ultimately the USA will just shift to subjugating the planet with the help of China if India doesn't stand up with friends Russia, Vietnam, Japan||

    You read Indians? Are they explaining how they curl their penises around a stick?

  61. @Epigon
    You continue spouting the same nonsense. Chile is a ridiculously stratified society - the small elite controls the lucrative mining, fishing and agricultural businesses, while the rest scrap an existence.
    Chile has probably the largest inequality in Americas.

    Chilean copper (and gold) mining and export significance points to Chile being a pure natural resource exploitation economy. Metallurgic analogy of petromonarchies.

    This “white burgeoisie” actually ruled Venezuela previously - their “successes” brought Chavistas to power. You simply don’t get it, do you?
    “White burgeoisie rule” is an euphemism for oligarchy and plutocracy, and “white” somehow always includes a disproportionate amount of Jews when such systems are established.

    Free market, absolute materialism and internationalism are the cesspool in which tribalistic, nepotistic, unscrupulous and opportunistic thrive.
    So a polar opposite of society-, state- and legacy-building conditions.


    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?

    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?

    Don’t forget the American System. I am not here to argue whether protectionism is right or not. But it unquestionably was the governing rule in America when the country’s business was explosive and excellent.

  62. @reiner Tor
    In a situation where everyone is spineless, being the only one with some semblance of courage and integrity should be praised. And make no mistake about it: while he probably makes a decent living, he’s taking considerable risks, more than most anonymous commenters are willing to take. So I think he deserves unqualified praise in this situation. Maybe after the Revolution we’ll find that he’s not very good, that this “not quite alt right, but still further to the right than anyone mainstream” is his real political opinion (and so he’s not hiding any of his views), and then we won’t like him so much. But right now the situation is as I just described above.

    And make no mistake about it: while he probably makes a decent living, he’s taking considerable risks, more than most anonymous commenters are willing to take.

    Yes, you are correct. But anonymous commenters are being paid nothing. The reason I am an anonymous commenter is my desire to be left alone and not be harassed by assholes through e-mail and phone calls. I can not be fired, I am retired, and I don’t care what people think of my position on events.

  63. @Epigon
    You continue spouting the same nonsense. Chile is a ridiculously stratified society - the small elite controls the lucrative mining, fishing and agricultural businesses, while the rest scrap an existence.
    Chile has probably the largest inequality in Americas.

    Chilean copper (and gold) mining and export significance points to Chile being a pure natural resource exploitation economy. Metallurgic analogy of petromonarchies.

    This “white burgeoisie” actually ruled Venezuela previously - their “successes” brought Chavistas to power. You simply don’t get it, do you?
    “White burgeoisie rule” is an euphemism for oligarchy and plutocracy, and “white” somehow always includes a disproportionate amount of Jews when such systems are established.

    Free market, absolute materialism and internationalism are the cesspool in which tribalistic, nepotistic, unscrupulous and opportunistic thrive.
    So a polar opposite of society-, state- and legacy-building conditions.


    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?

    Chile being a pure natural resource exploitation

    Mining is only 15% of Chile’s GDP.

    Chile has probably the largest inequality in Americas.

    Who was talking about equality?

    Chile is less unequal than China who you were talking about below, as a role model.
    https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/economic-data/wealth-distribution-income-inequality

    “white burgeoisie” actually ruled Venezuela previously – their “successes” brought Chavistas

    Venezuela’s economy would be not bad at all now (like their immediate neighbours), if they had normal leadership since 1999, instead of Chavez. They could have phoned to Kudrin once a month for advice, followed what he says, and they would be doing well now. It’s not very complicated.

    Chavez’s government followed thousand and one idiotic policies – that any educated person would know will result in disaster -, and the surprise is not their collapse, but that their collapse is even worse than expected. Countries like Peru and Colombia are now flooded with millions of Venezuelans, escaping from their poverty, many homeless, in countries which theoretically should be far poorer than they are – that is, they Venezuelans are flooding into countries which are browner and have far less of any kind of resources than they have. There can not be a clearly example of the failure of their leaders.

    does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China;

    The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.

    It’s true Chinese probably are lower human capital on average, than Japanese, but their economy and culture is far further behind relative to Japan, than Eastern European countries were behind to Western Europe and America.

    And while China is still far behind economically, the gap to Japan has narrowed even more rapidly than in Europe (although the rapid growth China mainly achieved by importing technology which had developed in other countries over the 20th century, while they were running in circles), since Deng Xiaoping transitioned to pro-market policy which they fortunately continue now.

    • Replies: @Hyperborean

    The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.
    [...] since Deng Xiaoping transitioned to pro-market policy which they fortunately continue now.
     
    PRC's economy is not very socialist anymore but to call it free market is ridiculous.

    Instead of segueing into the favoured dichotomy of Libertarianism vs. Socialism, maybe seriously engage with what Epigon was espousing.

    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?
     
  64. @Felix Keverich
    Hungarian power plant will cost tens of billions in a credit provided by Sberbank. Whether or not this loan will ultimately be repaid will depend on the state of Hungarian economy and American sanctions regime.

    You think that American sanctions could prevent Hungary from repaying a loan for a civil construction project? How bad would relations have to be for that legally possible?

    Hungary is borrowing $11,3 billion loan, which Hungarians will repay over at least 30 years.

    The package is similar size to $10 billion loan given to Belarus to build their nuclear power plant, except that Belarus will repay in 15 years, and, of course, Belarus are a friendly country and strategically essential ally, while Hungary are not.

    Still, Hungary seems to be a normal, developed European country, so – excluding sanctions – this looks like a lot lower risk than loans to countries like Bangladesh or Egypt, Turkey, and soon Zambia, for Rosatom projects there.

  65. @reiner Tor
    In a situation where everyone is spineless, being the only one with some semblance of courage and integrity should be praised. And make no mistake about it: while he probably makes a decent living, he’s taking considerable risks, more than most anonymous commenters are willing to take. So I think he deserves unqualified praise in this situation. Maybe after the Revolution we’ll find that he’s not very good, that this “not quite alt right, but still further to the right than anyone mainstream” is his real political opinion (and so he’s not hiding any of his views), and then we won’t like him so much. But right now the situation is as I just described above.

    while he probably makes a decent living

    Reported $6 million annual salary, plus $10 million book deal. I am sure he is sincere, but a cynic might say there is also a lot of money to be made in being one of the very few to (“heroically”) espouse a non-mainstream position that resonates with a substanial minority of the population.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    His family was attacked, he receives death threats etc. Then there's a boycott against him, so probably he's not at the optimal point income-wise. He could easily increase his income and at the same reduce the personal risk of being attacked (or his family being attacked) by simply moving somewhat in a cuckservative direction.

    It speaks a lot for his integrity that he isn't doing that.
  66. @reiner Tor
    Hungary has not defaulted on any of its debts since 1932. It has also not received a debt reduction. But you were last time unaware that the natural gas and oil infrastructure (pipeline in Ukraine) was to a large extent built by Hungary in the 1970s, using technology imported from the West for hard currency. This was one important source for our fast growing hard currency debt back then. In exchange we got cheap oil and natural gas for some time. You considered it a “subsidy.” I can see that you are happier with your trade with Venezuela, where Venezuela goes to shit while burning billions of your dollars and in exchange almost recognizes Crimea as part of Russia.

    I agree Hungary is surely low risk as a place to give loans to, and its financial system is supported by the ECB (Hungary received $20 billion of announced financial backing in the 2000s).

    I don’t know anything about law, but I assume the possibility of sanctions would not legally extend to a country repaying a loan for a civil construction project, except in some very extreme case.

    Hungary also plans to receive gas from Turkish Stream. Hungary already looks like a good energy mix. But these projects should further reduce future energy costs for Hungarian citizens (gas produced electricity can now be cheaper than coal) – and reduce air pollution in Hungary if they substitute for coal.

  67. …The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.

    I don’t want to carry water for socialism, but you might as well say that “The failures of India are some of the best evidence against capitalism.

    Where would you rather live or do business, China or India? Around 1950, both were large, under-developed countries with fast-growing population. Both were poor. China after 50 years of ‘socialism’ is rich, developed, people live normal lives, education, medical care, housing, infrastructure all work. And India? Let’s just call it the ultimate, eternal sh..thole.

    A system is just an idea, an ideology that gets implemented based on zillions of other factors: resources, quality of people, and above all, the needs of a society at any given time. Socialism does wonders for societies that need to establish basic framework for living: reliable food, housing, basic medical care and education. It doesn’t do well once people move up to a consumer driven economy. But without the basic framework nothing happens, see India, most of South America, etc… China is better off because it went through two generations of society building (=socialism). India is at this point hopeless. Places like Venezuela might have also missed the sweet spot when they could had pulled it off – today’s zeitgeist with open borders, neo-liberal globalism, and over-population everywhere might not allow for a successful society building.

    …Eastern European countries were behind to Western Europe

    Parts of it, parts of it were not, look to details instead of using slogans. Even under the deepest ‘socialism’ of the late 80’s, life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc…) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK, etc..

    If you say that the development of socialism was going to happen anyway, there are two strong counter-arguments:
    1) so after a few hundred years of non-socialism with every version of ‘free economy’ tried, the elites were just about to make sure that our grandparents were finally living in a normal society with proper infrastructure etc…, and the damn ‘socialists’ beat them to it? Interesting, what a coincidence.

    2) Most of the Western good-life – ‘welfare state’ – was done directly out of fear of socialism (or the bloody communists who could be quite unpleasant to the former elites). It was fear, not good-will. One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea – you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism – no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron, Bezos and Rotschild really care?

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Economic level of ordinary Chinese people under socialism, was third-world. And their country's development was retarded by generations. Now - fortunately - development came after they made a serious effort to transition to a market economy.

    After market reforms - it's true, that there was not some free-market "miracle". It's not magic. The rapidity of Chinese growth is mainly fueled by a then backwards country importing technology, which had been developed (much more slowly) in other countries.

    (When economic growth of the technology importation is exhausted, China's economic growth will converge more to world average, and technological development happens more slowly at the frontier where China will be, than when you can import other countries' achievements).


    life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc…) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK
     
    Obviously there is regional variation - but this is not relevant for comparison between different economies.

    As you can see from the quality of their buildings, Prague, Riga, Budapest were wealthy cities - at least for their elites - under bourgeois capitalism. The socialist economic system had retarded the economies in which they were capitals.


    One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea – you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism – no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron

     

    Nothing in society and history, is completely simple, although we can see broad general lines.

    The system of our parents and grandparent's, grew up in, had many good points, and there are areas (for example, in education of children, civil engineering, or infrastructure), where they were superior.

    In the West, a threat of socialism, could also result in some better (and some worse) policies.

    That said, direct welfare payments to people (as with this recent UBI proposal) are usually a failure wherever they are used, and there are examples of this all over the world. On the other hand, government funding to give free education, have often been a success.

    , @Crypto-Brythonic

    Around 1950, both were large, under-developed countries with fast-growing population. Both were poor. China after 50 years of ‘socialism’ is rich, developed, people live normal lives, education, medical care, housing, infrastructure all work. And India? Let’s just call it the ultimate, eternal sh..thole.
     
    Chinese people are not Indian people though
    , @LondonBob
    India was socialist. China became free market after Deng Xiaoping became leader which started their period of rapid economic growth.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    1. Let's compare like to like, not countries that differ by an S.D. on average IQ. E.g., China to Taiwan.

    2. India was far from an ideal capitalist economy until the 1990s (License Raj).
  68. @Beckow

    ...The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.
     
    I don't want to carry water for socialism, but you might as well say that "The failures of India are some of the best evidence against capitalism."

    Where would you rather live or do business, China or India? Around 1950, both were large, under-developed countries with fast-growing population. Both were poor. China after 50 years of 'socialism' is rich, developed, people live normal lives, education, medical care, housing, infrastructure all work. And India? Let's just call it the ultimate, eternal sh..thole.

    A system is just an idea, an ideology that gets implemented based on zillions of other factors: resources, quality of people, and above all, the needs of a society at any given time. Socialism does wonders for societies that need to establish basic framework for living: reliable food, housing, basic medical care and education. It doesn't do well once people move up to a consumer driven economy. But without the basic framework nothing happens, see India, most of South America, etc... China is better off because it went through two generations of society building (=socialism). India is at this point hopeless. Places like Venezuela might have also missed the sweet spot when they could had pulled it off - today's zeitgeist with open borders, neo-liberal globalism, and over-population everywhere might not allow for a successful society building.


    ...Eastern European countries were behind to Western Europe
     
    Parts of it, parts of it were not, look to details instead of using slogans. Even under the deepest 'socialism' of the late 80's, life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc...) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK, etc..

    If you say that the development of socialism was going to happen anyway, there are two strong counter-arguments:
    1) so after a few hundred years of non-socialism with every version of 'free economy' tried, the elites were just about to make sure that our grandparents were finally living in a normal society with proper infrastructure etc..., and the damn 'socialists' beat them to it? Interesting, what a coincidence.

    2) Most of the Western good-life - 'welfare state' - was done directly out of fear of socialism (or the bloody communists who could be quite unpleasant to the former elites). It was fear, not good-will. One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea - you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism - no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron, Bezos and Rotschild really care?

    Economic level of ordinary Chinese people under socialism, was third-world. And their country’s development was retarded by generations. Now – fortunately – development came after they made a serious effort to transition to a market economy.

    After market reforms – it’s true, that there was not some free-market “miracle”. It’s not magic. The rapidity of Chinese growth is mainly fueled by a then backwards country importing technology, which had been developed (much more slowly) in other countries.

    (When economic growth of the technology importation is exhausted, China’s economic growth will converge more to world average, and technological development happens more slowly at the frontier where China will be, than when you can import other countries’ achievements).

    life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc…) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK

    Obviously there is regional variation – but this is not relevant for comparison between different economies.

    As you can see from the quality of their buildings, Prague, Riga, Budapest were wealthy cities – at least for their elites – under bourgeois capitalism. The socialist economic system had retarded the economies in which they were capitals.

    One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea – you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism – no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron

    Nothing in society and history, is completely simple, although we can see broad general lines.

    The system of our parents and grandparent’s, grew up in, had many good points, and there are areas (for example, in education of children, civil engineering, or infrastructure), where they were superior.

    In the West, a threat of socialism, could also result in some better (and some worse) policies.

    That said, direct welfare payments to people (as with this recent UBI proposal) are usually a failure wherever they are used, and there are examples of this all over the world. On the other hand, government funding to give free education, have often been a success.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...Prague, Riga, Budapest were wealthy cities – at least for their elites – under bourgeois capitalism. The socialist economic system had retarded the economies in which they were capitals.
     
    Your claim is not supported by data or people's experience. The claim itself is retarded and made-up. By 'people' I mean the whole population, not just members of the previous elites who indeed were worse off - maybe 10-20% of the overall population. Often they were also the cosmopolitan ones with fewer links to the society at large, but with huge built-in expectations to be living well or to be 'artists' and in other ways live of the societies they had ruled for hundreds of years. Quite a few of them previously lived of government subsidies as anointed whatevers and expected that would just continue. Communists put an end to it.

    Of course they got angry. They also often exiled themselves and are still angry. See the retarded writing of their descendants for examples.

    China's prosperity is based on the 1950-80 socialism build-up of education, infrastructure and industry. Then they were ready to prosper and have a consumer economy. India for all its socialist rhetoric was and is a thoroughly capitalist country - and it is a monumental failure, sh.thole extraordinaire.

    Venezuela almost certainly missed the boat on social development, and it has other huge issues, e.g. quality of its people (other than Alicia Machado in her pre-Burger King days), and it is damn hot and humid there, so an aspiring bus driver like Maduro is more of an entertainment figure. But don't mindlessly generalise.

    None of it is black-and-white, quality of people, resources, even luck have a lot to do with outcomes. My point is that to ideologically denounce 'socialism' without understanding how it worked and what were the real alternatives is sloganeering and not thinking.

    , @Beckow

    ...direct welfare payments to people (as with this recent UBI proposal) are usually a failure wherever they are used, and there are examples of this all over the world.
     
    There are also examples of neo-liberal free market economy failures all over the world. Lots of things fail. Free markets are no panacea, they tend to have more losers than winners. Free markets can also be very corrupt, they promotes some advances like technological gadgets, and they retard others like free leisure time or stability. We can all pick examples until cows come home. Do you want me to tell you about my grandma not seeing a dentist until socialism? Free market didn't work for her, quite a failure. Why do you get to rank which failures matter and which don't?

    Regarding UBI, I am an agnostic because I am selfish and would never benefit. But it is not an irrational idea, it might be the only way to keep some peace in the society. More globalist free markets with billions of people fighting for scraps won't do it either. Maybe we get to pick the failure we like...
  69. @Beckow

    ...The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.
     
    I don't want to carry water for socialism, but you might as well say that "The failures of India are some of the best evidence against capitalism."

    Where would you rather live or do business, China or India? Around 1950, both were large, under-developed countries with fast-growing population. Both were poor. China after 50 years of 'socialism' is rich, developed, people live normal lives, education, medical care, housing, infrastructure all work. And India? Let's just call it the ultimate, eternal sh..thole.

    A system is just an idea, an ideology that gets implemented based on zillions of other factors: resources, quality of people, and above all, the needs of a society at any given time. Socialism does wonders for societies that need to establish basic framework for living: reliable food, housing, basic medical care and education. It doesn't do well once people move up to a consumer driven economy. But without the basic framework nothing happens, see India, most of South America, etc... China is better off because it went through two generations of society building (=socialism). India is at this point hopeless. Places like Venezuela might have also missed the sweet spot when they could had pulled it off - today's zeitgeist with open borders, neo-liberal globalism, and over-population everywhere might not allow for a successful society building.


    ...Eastern European countries were behind to Western Europe
     
    Parts of it, parts of it were not, look to details instead of using slogans. Even under the deepest 'socialism' of the late 80's, life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc...) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK, etc..

    If you say that the development of socialism was going to happen anyway, there are two strong counter-arguments:
    1) so after a few hundred years of non-socialism with every version of 'free economy' tried, the elites were just about to make sure that our grandparents were finally living in a normal society with proper infrastructure etc..., and the damn 'socialists' beat them to it? Interesting, what a coincidence.

    2) Most of the Western good-life - 'welfare state' - was done directly out of fear of socialism (or the bloody communists who could be quite unpleasant to the former elites). It was fear, not good-will. One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea - you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism - no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron, Bezos and Rotschild really care?

    Around 1950, both were large, under-developed countries with fast-growing population. Both were poor. China after 50 years of ‘socialism’ is rich, developed, people live normal lives, education, medical care, housing, infrastructure all work. And India? Let’s just call it the ultimate, eternal sh..thole.

    Chinese people are not Indian people though

  70. @Beckow

    ...The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.
     
    I don't want to carry water for socialism, but you might as well say that "The failures of India are some of the best evidence against capitalism."

    Where would you rather live or do business, China or India? Around 1950, both were large, under-developed countries with fast-growing population. Both were poor. China after 50 years of 'socialism' is rich, developed, people live normal lives, education, medical care, housing, infrastructure all work. And India? Let's just call it the ultimate, eternal sh..thole.

    A system is just an idea, an ideology that gets implemented based on zillions of other factors: resources, quality of people, and above all, the needs of a society at any given time. Socialism does wonders for societies that need to establish basic framework for living: reliable food, housing, basic medical care and education. It doesn't do well once people move up to a consumer driven economy. But without the basic framework nothing happens, see India, most of South America, etc... China is better off because it went through two generations of society building (=socialism). India is at this point hopeless. Places like Venezuela might have also missed the sweet spot when they could had pulled it off - today's zeitgeist with open borders, neo-liberal globalism, and over-population everywhere might not allow for a successful society building.


    ...Eastern European countries were behind to Western Europe
     
    Parts of it, parts of it were not, look to details instead of using slogans. Even under the deepest 'socialism' of the late 80's, life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc...) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK, etc..

    If you say that the development of socialism was going to happen anyway, there are two strong counter-arguments:
    1) so after a few hundred years of non-socialism with every version of 'free economy' tried, the elites were just about to make sure that our grandparents were finally living in a normal society with proper infrastructure etc..., and the damn 'socialists' beat them to it? Interesting, what a coincidence.

    2) Most of the Western good-life - 'welfare state' - was done directly out of fear of socialism (or the bloody communists who could be quite unpleasant to the former elites). It was fear, not good-will. One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea - you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism - no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron, Bezos and Rotschild really care?

    India was socialist. China became free market after Deng Xiaoping became leader which started their period of rapid economic growth.

  71. @Dmitry
    Economic level of ordinary Chinese people under socialism, was third-world. And their country's development was retarded by generations. Now - fortunately - development came after they made a serious effort to transition to a market economy.

    After market reforms - it's true, that there was not some free-market "miracle". It's not magic. The rapidity of Chinese growth is mainly fueled by a then backwards country importing technology, which had been developed (much more slowly) in other countries.

    (When economic growth of the technology importation is exhausted, China's economic growth will converge more to world average, and technological development happens more slowly at the frontier where China will be, than when you can import other countries' achievements).


    life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc…) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK
     
    Obviously there is regional variation - but this is not relevant for comparison between different economies.

    As you can see from the quality of their buildings, Prague, Riga, Budapest were wealthy cities - at least for their elites - under bourgeois capitalism. The socialist economic system had retarded the economies in which they were capitals.


    One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea – you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism – no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron

     

    Nothing in society and history, is completely simple, although we can see broad general lines.

    The system of our parents and grandparent's, grew up in, had many good points, and there are areas (for example, in education of children, civil engineering, or infrastructure), where they were superior.

    In the West, a threat of socialism, could also result in some better (and some worse) policies.

    That said, direct welfare payments to people (as with this recent UBI proposal) are usually a failure wherever they are used, and there are examples of this all over the world. On the other hand, government funding to give free education, have often been a success.

    …Prague, Riga, Budapest were wealthy cities – at least for their elites – under bourgeois capitalism. The socialist economic system had retarded the economies in which they were capitals.

    Your claim is not supported by data or people’s experience. The claim itself is retarded and made-up. By ‘people’ I mean the whole population, not just members of the previous elites who indeed were worse off – maybe 10-20% of the overall population. Often they were also the cosmopolitan ones with fewer links to the society at large, but with huge built-in expectations to be living well or to be ‘artists‘ and in other ways live of the societies they had ruled for hundreds of years. Quite a few of them previously lived of government subsidies as anointed whatevers and expected that would just continue. Communists put an end to it.

    Of course they got angry. They also often exiled themselves and are still angry. See the retarded writing of their descendants for examples.

    China’s prosperity is based on the 1950-80 socialism build-up of education, infrastructure and industry. Then they were ready to prosper and have a consumer economy. India for all its socialist rhetoric was and is a thoroughly capitalist country – and it is a monumental failure, sh.thole extraordinaire.

    Venezuela almost certainly missed the boat on social development, and it has other huge issues, e.g. quality of its people (other than Alicia Machado in her pre-Burger King days), and it is damn hot and humid there, so an aspiring bus driver like Maduro is more of an entertainment figure. But don’t mindlessly generalise.

    None of it is black-and-white, quality of people, resources, even luck have a lot to do with outcomes. My point is that to ideologically denounce ‘socialism’ without understanding how it worked and what were the real alternatives is sloganeering and not thinking.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You don't seem to take opportunity costs into account. Czechoslovakia or even Hungary weren't exactly shitholes before communism, and a lot of what the commies did had already been planned by the previous governments, the commies just took credit for reforms already prepared under the previous regimes. For example in Hungary before the war only four years of elementary education were compulsory, but the Horthy regime already introduced a law to increase it to eight (and did all the required preparatory measures of, you know, actually building enough schools and expanding the number of teachers). It only went into effect after the war. The commies took credit for it. There are lots of examples like that.

    What the commies did on their own initiative (building steel industry in Sztálinváros, later renamed Dunaújváros) didn't actually make that much sense. Hungary has little and poor quality coal reserves and little and poor quality iron reserves, and unlike the South Korean steel industry, Dunaújváros doesn't even have economies of scale going for it.

    , @Dmitry
    Prague, Riga, Budapest - all these cities had had successful bourgeoisie and industries historically. You cannot place responsibility for their prosperity, on the recent history of socialist economic governance there.

    And today, they are poorer than they would have been in an alternative 20th century, where there was no communism and fascism.


    China’s prosperity is based on the 1950-80 socialism build-up of education, infrastructure and industry.
     
    China's 1950-1978 was a disaster zone.

    Rapid economic growth of China begins after they switch to free-market economy with Deng Xiaoping.

    However, the rapidity of this economic growth of China, has been largely from importing foreign technology, not indigenous technology that China developed themselves.

    To go a little offtopic.

    Unlike China, in the USSR, we had the excellent human capital and education system, to develop indigenous technology at the world leading edge.

    The sadness is the inability to apply it successfully to civil life. Saddest history is learn about the computer industry in USSR. And compare to what is left in Russia today, where software and hardware is now completely derivative on foreigners.


    Venezuela almost certainly missed the boat on social development, and it has other huge issues, e.g. quality of its people (other than Alicia Machado in her pre-Burger King days), and it is damn hot and humid there, so an aspiring bus driver like Maduro is more of an entertainment figure. But don’t mindlessly generalise.
     
    If Venezuela had normal leadership, they would be fine now. Again - if they had phoned Kudrin once a week, followed his advice. They would be fine.

    The problem of Venezuela, is complete imbeciles in power since 1999, attempting to implement socialist policies, and being cheered by the leftwing commentators around the world.

    And the media has a leftwing bias which made them cover up Venezuela, and underreport how much of an idiocracy Chavez created.

    If you learn Spanish and watch what the Venezuelan YouTubers were showing in recent years, you'll realize this. (The level of stupidity of their policy was on a new level). At the same time, Venezuela had a very low state capacity and lack of ability to enforce censorship, and it was all open what they were doing for anyone who had access to Spanish-language YouTube or to Latin American coverage.


    My point is that to ideologically denounce ‘socialism’ without understanding how it worked and what were the real alternatives is sloganeering and not thinking.
     
    It's not ideological, but practical denouncing.

    USSR distorts our image of socialist policy by the way. It was far better, more humane and more successful, than Western commentators seem to think. At the same time, far worse than what should have been alternative 20th century universe of bourgeois capitalist Russia after recommended parliamentary reforms.

  72. @Dmitry
    Economic level of ordinary Chinese people under socialism, was third-world. And their country's development was retarded by generations. Now - fortunately - development came after they made a serious effort to transition to a market economy.

    After market reforms - it's true, that there was not some free-market "miracle". It's not magic. The rapidity of Chinese growth is mainly fueled by a then backwards country importing technology, which had been developed (much more slowly) in other countries.

    (When economic growth of the technology importation is exhausted, China's economic growth will converge more to world average, and technological development happens more slowly at the frontier where China will be, than when you can import other countries' achievements).


    life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc…) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK
     
    Obviously there is regional variation - but this is not relevant for comparison between different economies.

    As you can see from the quality of their buildings, Prague, Riga, Budapest were wealthy cities - at least for their elites - under bourgeois capitalism. The socialist economic system had retarded the economies in which they were capitals.


    One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea – you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism – no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron

     

    Nothing in society and history, is completely simple, although we can see broad general lines.

    The system of our parents and grandparent's, grew up in, had many good points, and there are areas (for example, in education of children, civil engineering, or infrastructure), where they were superior.

    In the West, a threat of socialism, could also result in some better (and some worse) policies.

    That said, direct welfare payments to people (as with this recent UBI proposal) are usually a failure wherever they are used, and there are examples of this all over the world. On the other hand, government funding to give free education, have often been a success.

    …direct welfare payments to people (as with this recent UBI proposal) are usually a failure wherever they are used, and there are examples of this all over the world.

    There are also examples of neo-liberal free market economy failures all over the world. Lots of things fail. Free markets are no panacea, they tend to have more losers than winners. Free markets can also be very corrupt, they promotes some advances like technological gadgets, and they retard others like free leisure time or stability. We can all pick examples until cows come home. Do you want me to tell you about my grandma not seeing a dentist until socialism? Free market didn’t work for her, quite a failure. Why do you get to rank which failures matter and which don’t?

    Regarding UBI, I am an agnostic because I am selfish and would never benefit. But it is not an irrational idea, it might be the only way to keep some peace in the society. More globalist free markets with billions of people fighting for scraps won’t do it either. Maybe we get to pick the failure we like…

  73. what are the prospects for the russians to largely or completely take over/economically capture the value of venezuela oil output? i think that’s one of the most important questions here.

    according to a previous post by anatoly, the numbers showed that working with maduro on oil, was a huge money loser for russia. but what if they come to an agreement/replace him with a puppet?

    if it was the russians producing the orinoco oil fields, eliminating all high third world inefficiency of the venezuelans, what would the outputs be?

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    I would assume Venezuela is just selling oil through Rosneft.

    I know a consultancy head here in Moscow who helps foreign firms settle into the Russian market. Apparently there's been a massive inflow of Venezuelan clients in the past few months. I assume they are readying to be cut off by the US.
  74. Whatever the truth about Venezuela is (and that is something lying Western MSM would never report), one thing is clear: only the people of Venezuela have a right to solve any Venezuelan problems. The Empire has no more right to interfere in Venezuela than Venezuela has to interfere in the US affairs. The same applies to Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Korea, etc.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I'm not supportive of our Venezuelan policy, but I disagree.

    The natural state of Latin American states is vassalage to America. Indeed no other condition is permissible. I absolutely do not accept the right of Latin Americans to govern themselves.

    With Venezuela in particular that their oil deposits are owned by the Venezuelan state is an intolerable affront to my stock portfolio.

    I do agree we should stay out of the other countries you mentioned, though not because of any cuck talk of "rights" which people just made up.
  75. @for-the-record
    while he probably makes a decent living

    Reported $6 million annual salary, plus $10 million book deal. I am sure he is sincere, but a cynic might say there is also a lot of money to be made in being one of the very few to ("heroically") espouse a non-mainstream position that resonates with a substanial minority of the population.

    His family was attacked, he receives death threats etc. Then there’s a boycott against him, so probably he’s not at the optimal point income-wise. He could easily increase his income and at the same reduce the personal risk of being attacked (or his family being attacked) by simply moving somewhat in a cuckservative direction.

    It speaks a lot for his integrity that he isn’t doing that.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Tucker went to private school, as did his wife. His family are blue bloods and he must have made a fortune from TV and books, he really should have f u money unless he has some incredibly expensive vices.
  76. @Beckow

    ...Prague, Riga, Budapest were wealthy cities – at least for their elites – under bourgeois capitalism. The socialist economic system had retarded the economies in which they were capitals.
     
    Your claim is not supported by data or people's experience. The claim itself is retarded and made-up. By 'people' I mean the whole population, not just members of the previous elites who indeed were worse off - maybe 10-20% of the overall population. Often they were also the cosmopolitan ones with fewer links to the society at large, but with huge built-in expectations to be living well or to be 'artists' and in other ways live of the societies they had ruled for hundreds of years. Quite a few of them previously lived of government subsidies as anointed whatevers and expected that would just continue. Communists put an end to it.

    Of course they got angry. They also often exiled themselves and are still angry. See the retarded writing of their descendants for examples.

    China's prosperity is based on the 1950-80 socialism build-up of education, infrastructure and industry. Then they were ready to prosper and have a consumer economy. India for all its socialist rhetoric was and is a thoroughly capitalist country - and it is a monumental failure, sh.thole extraordinaire.

    Venezuela almost certainly missed the boat on social development, and it has other huge issues, e.g. quality of its people (other than Alicia Machado in her pre-Burger King days), and it is damn hot and humid there, so an aspiring bus driver like Maduro is more of an entertainment figure. But don't mindlessly generalise.

    None of it is black-and-white, quality of people, resources, even luck have a lot to do with outcomes. My point is that to ideologically denounce 'socialism' without understanding how it worked and what were the real alternatives is sloganeering and not thinking.

    You don’t seem to take opportunity costs into account. Czechoslovakia or even Hungary weren’t exactly shitholes before communism, and a lot of what the commies did had already been planned by the previous governments, the commies just took credit for reforms already prepared under the previous regimes. For example in Hungary before the war only four years of elementary education were compulsory, but the Horthy regime already introduced a law to increase it to eight (and did all the required preparatory measures of, you know, actually building enough schools and expanding the number of teachers). It only went into effect after the war. The commies took credit for it. There are lots of examples like that.

    What the commies did on their own initiative (building steel industry in Sztálinváros, later renamed Dunaújváros) didn’t actually make that much sense. Hungary has little and poor quality coal reserves and little and poor quality iron reserves, and unlike the South Korean steel industry, Dunaújváros doesn’t even have economies of scale going for it.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...to take opportunity costs into account. Czechoslovakia or even Hungary weren’t exactly shitholes before communism, and a lot of what the commies did had already been planned by the previous governments
     
    Sometimes opportunity costs are not much more than what-if history, I am skeptical about it. Personally I would prefer if the previous rulers had done it - but they didn't. One has to work with reality and not promises and plans. It also varied by policy, place, etc... so it is a complex discussion.

    I look at the pre-communist era (before 1945-48) as a single block - I know that is an oversimplification, but the elites were continuous, mostly the same people generation after generation. They had hundreds of years to make life better - they mostly chose not to. There is also the element of fear - by Horthy era, 1930's-40' - there was a palpable fear among the elite that more radical, populist, forces would take over and do those things anyway, plus get revenge - the populists were both on the left and right, Hungarian Arrow Cross or Slovak clericals were quite 'socialist'. Thus I don't give much credit to their plans. Too late.

    We can never know anything based on 'what-if', all we can do is evaluate what actually happened. I do it based on data, and the data is surprisingly positive: the actual measurable life improvements in 1945-89 era exceeded any period previous to that. The victim numbers are substantially lower (at least in Czechoslovakia). Math speaks for itself, all else are people's subjective narratives. I also think that by sh..ting constantly on our own history we undermine our current standing.

  77. @reiner Tor
    You don't seem to take opportunity costs into account. Czechoslovakia or even Hungary weren't exactly shitholes before communism, and a lot of what the commies did had already been planned by the previous governments, the commies just took credit for reforms already prepared under the previous regimes. For example in Hungary before the war only four years of elementary education were compulsory, but the Horthy regime already introduced a law to increase it to eight (and did all the required preparatory measures of, you know, actually building enough schools and expanding the number of teachers). It only went into effect after the war. The commies took credit for it. There are lots of examples like that.

    What the commies did on their own initiative (building steel industry in Sztálinváros, later renamed Dunaújváros) didn't actually make that much sense. Hungary has little and poor quality coal reserves and little and poor quality iron reserves, and unlike the South Korean steel industry, Dunaújváros doesn't even have economies of scale going for it.

    …to take opportunity costs into account. Czechoslovakia or even Hungary weren’t exactly shitholes before communism, and a lot of what the commies did had already been planned by the previous governments

    Sometimes opportunity costs are not much more than what-if history, I am skeptical about it. Personally I would prefer if the previous rulers had done it – but they didn’t. One has to work with reality and not promises and plans. It also varied by policy, place, etc… so it is a complex discussion.

    I look at the pre-communist era (before 1945-48) as a single block – I know that is an oversimplification, but the elites were continuous, mostly the same people generation after generation. They had hundreds of years to make life better – they mostly chose not to. There is also the element of fear – by Horthy era, 1930’s-40′ – there was a palpable fear among the elite that more radical, populist, forces would take over and do those things anyway, plus get revenge – the populists were both on the left and right, Hungarian Arrow Cross or Slovak clericals were quite ‘socialist’. Thus I don’t give much credit to their plans. Too late.

    We can never know anything based on ‘what-if’, all we can do is evaluate what actually happened. I do it based on data, and the data is surprisingly positive: the actual measurable life improvements in 1945-89 era exceeded any period previous to that. The victim numbers are substantially lower (at least in Czechoslovakia). Math speaks for itself, all else are people’s subjective narratives. I also think that by sh..ting constantly on our own history we undermine our current standing.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Sometimes opportunity costs are not much more than what-if history
     
    I gave you a very specific example, where the previous regime

    - introduced compulsory 4 year elementary school for all, even the poorest (despite the prevalence of child labor and disruptions to agriculture, they accepted some losses of agricultural output)

    - built schools (under horribly difficult economic conditions, after the breakup of the Habsburg monarchy and the previous Hungarian state borders meant a loss of markets and raw material supplies alike) in very large numbers during the 1920s and 1930s; the buildings of both the elementary and high school I attended were built in the 1920s

    - trained teachers in adequate numbers

    - already made a law in 1941 to increase elementary school education to 8 years, but postponed it until after the war (so as not to disrupt agriculture, where child labor was still used)

    And then commies introduced it in 1948 (they delayed it for another three years for understandable reasons) and took credit. It would have happened anyway.

    They had hundreds of years to make life better – they mostly chose not to.
     
    So King Matthias Corvinus didn't industrialize because he was lazy or incompetent or evil?

    measurable life improvements in 1945-89 era exceeded any period previous to that
     
    This happened everywhere in Europe, even poorer countries, except better without communism.
  78. @reiner Tor
    The Venezuelan economy is on the edge of a precipice; but soon they will make a huge step forward.

    (Old commie bloc joke applied to Venezuela. Another version would be: capitalism is on the edge of a precipice. But socialism is already a step ahead of it!)

    U joke, but the crisis really might be petering out.

    • Replies: @g2k
    The immediate crisis might be petering out but the damage has been so extreme that it'll be decades before they're even back to chavez levels of gdp/capita in the most optimistic scenario possible, so a very phyrric victory at best.
    , @Dmitry
    Hyperinflation crisis might (hopefully) over. It's not the economic problems over.

    They've lost much of their human capital over the last two decades - now much of Venezuela's population has escaped to Peru, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, America.

    GDP collapse of recent years, is worse than many countries would experience during major wars, and its collapse started before the external shock of the fall in oil price in 2014-2016, and ever accelerated after oil prices had recovered to quite high levels (in historically perspective of normal oil prices) by 2017.

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

  79. @prime noticer
    what are the prospects for the russians to largely or completely take over/economically capture the value of venezuela oil output? i think that's one of the most important questions here.

    according to a previous post by anatoly, the numbers showed that working with maduro on oil, was a huge money loser for russia. but what if they come to an agreement/replace him with a puppet?

    if it was the russians producing the orinoco oil fields, eliminating all high third world inefficiency of the venezuelans, what would the outputs be?

    I would assume Venezuela is just selling oil through Rosneft.

    I know a consultancy head here in Moscow who helps foreign firms settle into the Russian market. Apparently there’s been a massive inflow of Venezuelan clients in the past few months. I assume they are readying to be cut off by the US.

  80. @Realist
    Lou Dobbs is a slobbering , war mongering Deep State sycophant.

    Foreign policy isn’t Dobbs’ expertise. Zakaria is more evil – especially since he’s taken more seriously than Dobbs among foreign policy folks. Putin serves as one example. (Zakaria hosted a Russian government involved show in Russia a few years back. Putin was on one of the panels hosted by Zakaria.)

    For quality control purposes, the permeating phony, baloney cronyism is a lingering problem in mass media and foreign policy circles.

  81. @Beckow

    ...The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.
     
    I don't want to carry water for socialism, but you might as well say that "The failures of India are some of the best evidence against capitalism."

    Where would you rather live or do business, China or India? Around 1950, both were large, under-developed countries with fast-growing population. Both were poor. China after 50 years of 'socialism' is rich, developed, people live normal lives, education, medical care, housing, infrastructure all work. And India? Let's just call it the ultimate, eternal sh..thole.

    A system is just an idea, an ideology that gets implemented based on zillions of other factors: resources, quality of people, and above all, the needs of a society at any given time. Socialism does wonders for societies that need to establish basic framework for living: reliable food, housing, basic medical care and education. It doesn't do well once people move up to a consumer driven economy. But without the basic framework nothing happens, see India, most of South America, etc... China is better off because it went through two generations of society building (=socialism). India is at this point hopeless. Places like Venezuela might have also missed the sweet spot when they could had pulled it off - today's zeitgeist with open borders, neo-liberal globalism, and over-population everywhere might not allow for a successful society building.


    ...Eastern European countries were behind to Western Europe
     
    Parts of it, parts of it were not, look to details instead of using slogans. Even under the deepest 'socialism' of the late 80's, life in Budapest, Prague (or Dresden, Riga, etc...) was better than life in half of Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, parts of UK, etc..

    If you say that the development of socialism was going to happen anyway, there are two strong counter-arguments:
    1) so after a few hundred years of non-socialism with every version of 'free economy' tried, the elites were just about to make sure that our grandparents were finally living in a normal society with proper infrastructure etc..., and the damn 'socialists' beat them to it? Interesting, what a coincidence.

    2) Most of the Western good-life - 'welfare state' - was done directly out of fear of socialism (or the bloody communists who could be quite unpleasant to the former elites). It was fear, not good-will. One can see what has happened after socialism disappeared as a rival idea - you get an unrelenting descent into a global sh.thole liberalism - no fear, no goodies, this is the natural state of capitalist free-market ideas, this is what you get. How good is it? Do Macron, Bezos and Rotschild really care?

    1. Let’s compare like to like, not countries that differ by an S.D. on average IQ. E.g., China to Taiwan.

    2. India was far from an ideal capitalist economy until the 1990s (License Raj).

    • Replies: @Beckow
    Like to like has many variables, IQ is just one. Size also matters, China and Taiwan are also not a perfect comparison.

    India has been a capitalist free-market society since time immemorial. Nothing is ideal, but capitalist is simply capitalist, the occasional rhetoric means nothing. It has not worked, maybe nothing would work in India, but to deny that China has done better with socialism is denying the obvious.

    Your libertarian leanings show - not a healthy thing, it doesn't work. I always tell people that libertarian societies have always existed - visit any Third World sh..thole and you are in a libertarian free-market paradise...

  82. Well d.mn… Trump Regime lifting its hind leg and peeing on the half-globe:

    John Bolton, the White House national security adviser, raised the possibility of fresh sanctions as he told Russia publicly that it had no business getting involved in the Venezuelan dispute.

    This is our hemisphere. It’s not where the Russians should be interfering. This was a mistake on their part,” Mr Bolton said.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    This is our hemisphere.
     
    It's not like Russia doesn't have a hemisphere, where the US loves asserting itself...
  83. @AGNOSIA
    Well d.mn... Trump Regime lifting its hind leg and peeing on the half-globe:

    John Bolton, the White House national security adviser, raised the possibility of fresh sanctions as he told Russia publicly that it had no business getting involved in the Venezuelan dispute.

    This is our hemisphere. It's not where the Russians should be interfering. This was a mistake on their part,” Mr Bolton said.
     

    This is our hemisphere.

    It’s not like Russia doesn’t have a hemisphere, where the US loves asserting itself…

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    To paraphrase classics, “All states are equal, but some states are more equal than others”
    , @Kent Nationalist
    Russian SOI: Russia, Belarus
    American SOI: Rest of the Earth, Inner and Outer Solar System
  84. @Anatoly Karlin
    1. Let's compare like to like, not countries that differ by an S.D. on average IQ. E.g., China to Taiwan.

    2. India was far from an ideal capitalist economy until the 1990s (License Raj).

    Like to like has many variables, IQ is just one. Size also matters, China and Taiwan are also not a perfect comparison.

    India has been a capitalist free-market society since time immemorial. Nothing is ideal, but capitalist is simply capitalist, the occasional rhetoric means nothing. It has not worked, maybe nothing would work in India, but to deny that China has done better with socialism is denying the obvious.

    Your libertarian leanings show – not a healthy thing, it doesn’t work. I always tell people that libertarian societies have always existed – visit any Third World sh..thole and you are in a libertarian free-market paradise…

    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    India has been a capitalist free-market society since time immemorial.
     
    No, that's just wrong.

    The Hindu rate of growth is a term referring to the low annual growth rate of the planned economy of India before the liberalisations of 1991, which stagnated around 3.5% from 1950s to 1980s, while per capita income growth averaged 1.3%.[1]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_rate_of_growth

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_India
  85. @reiner Tor

    This is our hemisphere.
     
    It's not like Russia doesn't have a hemisphere, where the US loves asserting itself...

    To paraphrase classics, “All states are equal, but some states are more equal than others”

  86. @reiner Tor

    This is our hemisphere.
     
    It's not like Russia doesn't have a hemisphere, where the US loves asserting itself...

    Russian SOI: Russia, Belarus
    American SOI: Rest of the Earth, Inner and Outer Solar System

    • LOL: Aedib
  87. @Beckow
    Like to like has many variables, IQ is just one. Size also matters, China and Taiwan are also not a perfect comparison.

    India has been a capitalist free-market society since time immemorial. Nothing is ideal, but capitalist is simply capitalist, the occasional rhetoric means nothing. It has not worked, maybe nothing would work in India, but to deny that China has done better with socialism is denying the obvious.

    Your libertarian leanings show - not a healthy thing, it doesn't work. I always tell people that libertarian societies have always existed - visit any Third World sh..thole and you are in a libertarian free-market paradise...

    India has been a capitalist free-market society since time immemorial.

    No, that’s just wrong.

    The Hindu rate of growth is a term referring to the low annual growth rate of the planned economy of India before the liberalisations of 1991, which stagnated around 3.5% from 1950s to 1980s, while per capita income growth averaged 1.3%.[1]

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

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

    • Replies: @Beckow
    What? You are really confusing terms. Planned is not the same as socialist, everybody plans. Is Japan a 'socialist' country? They plan a lot, they have whole government ministries doing nothing but planning.

    (What they exactly meant by planning in India is also not clear. Maybe filling out visa applications?)

    By any standard: free markets, private ownership of businesses, no guaranteed social benefits, etc... India has been a capitalist economy. Claiming otherwise is simply wrong and maybe you do it to associate failure with what you don't like. Unfortunately there is plenty of failure in capitalism too.

  88. @Beckow

    ...to take opportunity costs into account. Czechoslovakia or even Hungary weren’t exactly shitholes before communism, and a lot of what the commies did had already been planned by the previous governments
     
    Sometimes opportunity costs are not much more than what-if history, I am skeptical about it. Personally I would prefer if the previous rulers had done it - but they didn't. One has to work with reality and not promises and plans. It also varied by policy, place, etc... so it is a complex discussion.

    I look at the pre-communist era (before 1945-48) as a single block - I know that is an oversimplification, but the elites were continuous, mostly the same people generation after generation. They had hundreds of years to make life better - they mostly chose not to. There is also the element of fear - by Horthy era, 1930's-40' - there was a palpable fear among the elite that more radical, populist, forces would take over and do those things anyway, plus get revenge - the populists were both on the left and right, Hungarian Arrow Cross or Slovak clericals were quite 'socialist'. Thus I don't give much credit to their plans. Too late.

    We can never know anything based on 'what-if', all we can do is evaluate what actually happened. I do it based on data, and the data is surprisingly positive: the actual measurable life improvements in 1945-89 era exceeded any period previous to that. The victim numbers are substantially lower (at least in Czechoslovakia). Math speaks for itself, all else are people's subjective narratives. I also think that by sh..ting constantly on our own history we undermine our current standing.

    Sometimes opportunity costs are not much more than what-if history

    I gave you a very specific example, where the previous regime

    – introduced compulsory 4 year elementary school for all, even the poorest (despite the prevalence of child labor and disruptions to agriculture, they accepted some losses of agricultural output)

    – built schools (under horribly difficult economic conditions, after the breakup of the Habsburg monarchy and the previous Hungarian state borders meant a loss of markets and raw material supplies alike) in very large numbers during the 1920s and 1930s; the buildings of both the elementary and high school I attended were built in the 1920s

    – trained teachers in adequate numbers

    – already made a law in 1941 to increase elementary school education to 8 years, but postponed it until after the war (so as not to disrupt agriculture, where child labor was still used)

    And then commies introduced it in 1948 (they delayed it for another three years for understandable reasons) and took credit. It would have happened anyway.

    They had hundreds of years to make life better – they mostly chose not to.

    So King Matthias Corvinus didn’t industrialize because he was lazy or incompetent or evil?

    measurable life improvements in 1945-89 era exceeded any period previous to that

    This happened everywhere in Europe, even poorer countries, except better without communism.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    You give us one education example and based on that claim that all improvements between 1945-89 in Hungary were 'already planned'. That is an extrapolation too far. Even with education, the difference with the commies was that it was all free - all the way through university. I doubt Horthy was going to do it, but you tell us, maybe Hungary was different.

    Matthias Corvinus ruled in the 15th century - a few more than 'hundreds of years'. But come to think of it, why didn't he make the lives of 90% of population better? Or do you think that communism was worse than feudalism for most people? Or do you equally denounce the feudals?

    The inordinate focus on 'how bad commies were' and not seeing anything bad or evil in the previous decades or centuries borders on obsessive self-deception. Whenever I was able to examine the background of people who suffer from it, they always had personal reasons: family stuff, property lost, etc... It is not much more than self-centered selfishness hiding behind exaggerated ideological hatred. By that standard, any commie who lost after 1989 could claim that 'capitalism has not worked' (for him).


    This happened everywhere in Europe, even poorer countries, except better without communism.
     
    That is the best argument. But as I pointed out above, it was done because of fear of communism - all Western elites were suddenly very accommodating to people and their social needs - they couldn't be more 'socialist', in effect promising people all the benefits without the obvious costs of communism. Why have all of those started to be dismantled after 1989? The real beneficiaries of eastern European communism were western Europeans. Now we are back to capitalism the way its is naturally when not scared.

    Based on data in 1945-89, most communist countries were somewhere in the middle of the dramatic increase in living standards in Europe: Hungary actually did very well, better than Ireland, Portugal or Spain. It was not as black-and-white as you suggest.

  89. @Anatoly Karlin
    U joke, but the crisis really might be petering out.

    https://twitter.com/TheEIU/status/1123602986591240193

    The immediate crisis might be petering out but the damage has been so extreme that it’ll be decades before they’re even back to chavez levels of gdp/capita in the most optimistic scenario possible, so a very phyrric victory at best.

  90. @reiner Tor

    India has been a capitalist free-market society since time immemorial.
     
    No, that's just wrong.

    The Hindu rate of growth is a term referring to the low annual growth rate of the planned economy of India before the liberalisations of 1991, which stagnated around 3.5% from 1950s to 1980s, while per capita income growth averaged 1.3%.[1]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_rate_of_growth

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

    What? You are really confusing terms. Planned is not the same as socialist, everybody plans. Is Japan a ‘socialist’ country? They plan a lot, they have whole government ministries doing nothing but planning.

    (What they exactly meant by planning in India is also not clear. Maybe filling out visa applications?)

    By any standard: free markets, private ownership of businesses, no guaranteed social benefits, etc… India has been a capitalist economy. Claiming otherwise is simply wrong and maybe you do it to associate failure with what you don’t like. Unfortunately there is plenty of failure in capitalism too.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    At some point with increasing taxes and regulations government is the constructive owner of all property.
    , @reiner Tor

    What? You are really confusing terms. Planned is not the same as socialist, everybody plans.
     
    You wrote that India was a "capitalist free-market society since time immemorial," just admit it that it wasn't, and then we can move on. I never said it was socialist, this is a straw man.

    By any standard: free markets, private ownership of businesses, no guaranteed social benefits, etc…
     
    It didn't have free markets, there was a large public sector in the economy, there were extremely extensive regulations, and the government micro-managed the private sector.

    It just wasn't a "capitalist free-market society."

    Indian economic policy after independence was influenced by the colonial experience (which was seen by Indian leaders as exploitative in nature) and by those leaders' exposure to Fabian socialism. Policy tended towards protectionism, with a strong emphasis on import substitution industrialization under state monitoring, state intervention at the micro level in all businesses especially in labour and financial markets, a large public sector, business regulation, and central planning.[13] Five-Year Plans of India resembled central planning in the Soviet Union. Steel, mining, machine tools, water, telecommunications, insurance, and electrical plants, among other industries, were effectively nationalised in the mid-1950s.[14] Elaborate licences, regulations and the accompanying red tape, commonly referred to as Licence Raj, were required to set up business in India between 1947 and 1990.[15]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_India#Pre-liberalisation_policies
  91. @reiner Tor

    Sometimes opportunity costs are not much more than what-if history
     
    I gave you a very specific example, where the previous regime

    - introduced compulsory 4 year elementary school for all, even the poorest (despite the prevalence of child labor and disruptions to agriculture, they accepted some losses of agricultural output)

    - built schools (under horribly difficult economic conditions, after the breakup of the Habsburg monarchy and the previous Hungarian state borders meant a loss of markets and raw material supplies alike) in very large numbers during the 1920s and 1930s; the buildings of both the elementary and high school I attended were built in the 1920s

    - trained teachers in adequate numbers

    - already made a law in 1941 to increase elementary school education to 8 years, but postponed it until after the war (so as not to disrupt agriculture, where child labor was still used)

    And then commies introduced it in 1948 (they delayed it for another three years for understandable reasons) and took credit. It would have happened anyway.

    They had hundreds of years to make life better – they mostly chose not to.
     
    So King Matthias Corvinus didn't industrialize because he was lazy or incompetent or evil?

    measurable life improvements in 1945-89 era exceeded any period previous to that
     
    This happened everywhere in Europe, even poorer countries, except better without communism.

    You give us one education example and based on that claim that all improvements between 1945-89 in Hungary were ‘already planned‘. That is an extrapolation too far. Even with education, the difference with the commies was that it was all free – all the way through university. I doubt Horthy was going to do it, but you tell us, maybe Hungary was different.

    Matthias Corvinus ruled in the 15th century – a few more than ‘hundreds of years’. But come to think of it, why didn’t he make the lives of 90% of population better? Or do you think that communism was worse than feudalism for most people? Or do you equally denounce the feudals?

    The inordinate focus on ‘how bad commies were‘ and not seeing anything bad or evil in the previous decades or centuries borders on obsessive self-deception. Whenever I was able to examine the background of people who suffer from it, they always had personal reasons: family stuff, property lost, etc… It is not much more than self-centered selfishness hiding behind exaggerated ideological hatred. By that standard, any commie who lost after 1989 could claim that ‘capitalism has not worked’ (for him).

    This happened everywhere in Europe, even poorer countries, except better without communism.

    That is the best argument. But as I pointed out above, it was done because of fear of communism – all Western elites were suddenly very accommodating to people and their social needs – they couldn’t be more ‘socialist’, in effect promising people all the benefits without the obvious costs of communism. Why have all of those started to be dismantled after 1989? The real beneficiaries of eastern European communism were western Europeans. Now we are back to capitalism the way its is naturally when not scared.

    Based on data in 1945-89, most communist countries were somewhere in the middle of the dramatic increase in living standards in Europe: Hungary actually did very well, better than Ireland, Portugal or Spain. It was not as black-and-white as you suggest.

    • Replies: @AP

    Based on data in 1945-89, most communist countries were somewhere in the middle of the dramatic increase in living standards in Europe: Hungary actually did very well, better than Ireland, Portugal or Spain.
     
    You are lying as usual.

    https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/historicaldevelopment/maddison/original-maddison

    In 1990 dollars, 1948:

    Austria's per capita GDP was $2,764. In Czechoslovakia it was $3,088 and in Hungary it was $2,200. In Portugal it was $2,046 and in Spain $2,186

    So prior to Communism Czechoslovakia was richer than Austria, Hungary was poorer but similar, Portugal and Spain were poorer than both Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    In 1990 dollars, 1989:

    Austria's per capita GDP was $16,360. Czechoslovakia's was $8,768, Hungary's was $6,903. Portugal was at $10,372 and Spain was at $11,582.

    Austria now became not only the richest of the three former Hapsburg countries, but doubled the ones that got stuck under Communism. This is the most relevant comparison because these three countries are geographically close, and culturally and historically similar.

    But you see, Portugal and Spain passed up Czechoslovakia and Hungary and were a lot richer per capita than those two Commie countries. Quasi-fascism beats Communism.

    As for Ireland - $3,230 in 1948 (not being in the war was good for Ireland) and $10,880 in 1989. It fell behind Austria but stayed well ahead of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    In 1948 Italy had about the same per capita GDP as Czechoslovakia - $3,063 to Czechoslovakia's $3,088. In 1989 - Italy $15,969 vs. $8,768.

    Even Greece - $1,798 in 1948. $10,111 in 1989 - richer than Communist Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    Whenever I was able to examine the background of people who suffer from it, they always had personal reasons: family stuff, property lost, etc
     
    Due to the banal fact that most people lost something your observation is meaningless. But at least it isn't a lie like most of your other claims.
    , @reiner Tor
    I don't know what evidence you need to accept that Hungary wouldn't have fared worse if the Horthy regime would've continued. (For example if Hitler didn't decide to become a crazy Wagner protagonist.) In fact it would've fared better.

    Matthias Corvinus ruled in the 15th century – a few more than ‘hundreds of years’.
     
    He died 455 years before 1945, which to me is "hundreds of years," but it doesn't matter. Because you are now criticizing Matthias Corvinus here:

    But come to think of it, why didn’t he make the lives of 90% of population better? Or do you think that communism was worse than feudalism for most people? Or do you equally denounce the feudals?
     
    This is a pretty idiotic argument. Matthias Corvinus was a bloody medieval king, he didn't have anything at his disposal to "make the lives of 90% of population better." He tried to create a Central European empire strong enough to be able to withstand any future Ottoman onslaught, but he failed in that effort. His efforts led to a very high level of taxation (by medieval standards), though its effects are still debated among historians. It is now thought that the Hungarian monarchy was even stronger by the 1520s, unfortunately the Ottomans got many times stronger still. Anyway, had Matthias Corvinus succeeded in his efforts, the Turks might not have been able to conquer Belgrade in 1521, and maybe we wouldn't have had the Ottoman occupation and wars for almost two centuries. That would've made the lives of 90% (actually, basically 100%) of the population better. Other than that, what the hell do you expect of Matthias Corvinus?

    do you equally denounce the feudals?
     
    Feudalism was better than the alternatives. (What were those, exactly, in the Middle Ages?) Communism wasn't.

    Feudal privileges (not feudalism, which never truly existed in Hungary) and serfdom were outdated by the first half of the 19th century. It took some inertia to abolish them, but they largely got abolished after 1848. (The revolution was led by noblemen, and many aristocrats joined it, too.)

  92. @Beckow

    ...Prague, Riga, Budapest were wealthy cities – at least for their elites – under bourgeois capitalism. The socialist economic system had retarded the economies in which they were capitals.
     
    Your claim is not supported by data or people's experience. The claim itself is retarded and made-up. By 'people' I mean the whole population, not just members of the previous elites who indeed were worse off - maybe 10-20% of the overall population. Often they were also the cosmopolitan ones with fewer links to the society at large, but with huge built-in expectations to be living well or to be 'artists' and in other ways live of the societies they had ruled for hundreds of years. Quite a few of them previously lived of government subsidies as anointed whatevers and expected that would just continue. Communists put an end to it.

    Of course they got angry. They also often exiled themselves and are still angry. See the retarded writing of their descendants for examples.

    China's prosperity is based on the 1950-80 socialism build-up of education, infrastructure and industry. Then they were ready to prosper and have a consumer economy. India for all its socialist rhetoric was and is a thoroughly capitalist country - and it is a monumental failure, sh.thole extraordinaire.

    Venezuela almost certainly missed the boat on social development, and it has other huge issues, e.g. quality of its people (other than Alicia Machado in her pre-Burger King days), and it is damn hot and humid there, so an aspiring bus driver like Maduro is more of an entertainment figure. But don't mindlessly generalise.

    None of it is black-and-white, quality of people, resources, even luck have a lot to do with outcomes. My point is that to ideologically denounce 'socialism' without understanding how it worked and what were the real alternatives is sloganeering and not thinking.

    Prague, Riga, Budapest – all these cities had had successful bourgeoisie and industries historically. You cannot place responsibility for their prosperity, on the recent history of socialist economic governance there.

    And today, they are poorer than they would have been in an alternative 20th century, where there was no communism and fascism.

    China’s prosperity is based on the 1950-80 socialism build-up of education, infrastructure and industry.

    China’s 1950-1978 was a disaster zone.

    Rapid economic growth of China begins after they switch to free-market economy with Deng Xiaoping.

    However, the rapidity of this economic growth of China, has been largely from importing foreign technology, not indigenous technology that China developed themselves.

    To go a little offtopic.

    Unlike China, in the USSR, we had the excellent human capital and education system, to develop indigenous technology at the world leading edge.

    The sadness is the inability to apply it successfully to civil life. Saddest history is learn about the computer industry in USSR. And compare to what is left in Russia today, where software and hardware is now completely derivative on foreigners.

    Venezuela almost certainly missed the boat on social development, and it has other huge issues, e.g. quality of its people (other than Alicia Machado in her pre-Burger King days), and it is damn hot and humid there, so an aspiring bus driver like Maduro is more of an entertainment figure. But don’t mindlessly generalise.

    If Venezuela had normal leadership, they would be fine now. Again – if they had phoned Kudrin once a week, followed his advice. They would be fine.

    The problem of Venezuela, is complete imbeciles in power since 1999, attempting to implement socialist policies, and being cheered by the leftwing commentators around the world.

    And the media has a leftwing bias which made them cover up Venezuela, and underreport how much of an idiocracy Chavez created.

    If you learn Spanish and watch what the Venezuelan YouTubers were showing in recent years, you’ll realize this. (The level of stupidity of their policy was on a new level). At the same time, Venezuela had a very low state capacity and lack of ability to enforce censorship, and it was all open what they were doing for anyone who had access to Spanish-language YouTube or to Latin American coverage.

    My point is that to ideologically denounce ‘socialism’ without understanding how it worked and what were the real alternatives is sloganeering and not thinking.

    It’s not ideological, but practical denouncing.

    USSR distorts our image of socialist policy by the way. It was far better, more humane and more successful, than Western commentators seem to think. At the same time, far worse than what should have been alternative 20th century universe of bourgeois capitalist Russia after recommended parliamentary reforms.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...they are poorer than they would have been in an alternative 20th century, where there was no communism and fascism.
     
    An alternative 20th century, wow. I am sure it is about to start any day now. In the alternative world one can prove almost anything, right? There is simply no way to know or check.

    If we engage in the alternative 20th century without radical left and right populist movements (communism, fascism), what we would have is a much faster and sooner global neo-liberalism taking over the planet.

    Let's see:
    - no social programs, medical or education benefits - why bother if there are no commies to scare the elite
    - mass movement of people all around - those 200 million Nigerians would be breeding directly in Europe and N America now, no stupid delays caused by 'protect the border fascists'
    - families fully de-nuclearised with little access to housing, everyone working 10-12 hrs a day 6 days a week
    - wealth and asset accumulations that would make Bezos blush, probably a few $100 billion guys by 1950 already
    - total media control by the ever-so-tolerant liberals to prevent the scourge of 'populism'

    I could go on, but you get my point. Without the early 20th century populist upsurge that checked, partially reversed and slowed down the capitalism march into neo-liberal paradise we would be about 100 years ahead of the schedule. Most of us would probably never be born - too expensive to have kids. What the commies-fascists did was to force the elites to negotiate and create at least minimally bearable lives for regular people. Without them, why the f...k do you think the elites would do it? Out of the goodness of their hearts? You really believe that? Why didn't they do it before?

    For all the pain of the 20th century, the alternative of the uninterrupted neo-liberal capitalist no-borders march (the status circa 1910-15) would be a lot worse. The commies/facsists/socialists in effect saved capitalism so we can enjoy it now. We got a 100-year reprieve that is ending. If you think without the populist resistance the life would be great, you have not been paying attention. You are about to find out what capitalism uber alles means for most people.
    -

  93. @Anatoly Karlin
    U joke, but the crisis really might be petering out.

    https://twitter.com/TheEIU/status/1123602986591240193

    Hyperinflation crisis might (hopefully) over. It’s not the economic problems over.

    They’ve lost much of their human capital over the last two decades – now much of Venezuela’s population has escaped to Peru, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, America.

    GDP collapse of recent years, is worse than many countries would experience during major wars, and its collapse started before the external shock of the fall in oil price in 2014-2016, and ever accelerated after oil prices had recovered to quite high levels (in historically perspective of normal oil prices) by 2017.

  94. @Dmitry
    Prague, Riga, Budapest - all these cities had had successful bourgeoisie and industries historically. You cannot place responsibility for their prosperity, on the recent history of socialist economic governance there.

    And today, they are poorer than they would have been in an alternative 20th century, where there was no communism and fascism.


    China’s prosperity is based on the 1950-80 socialism build-up of education, infrastructure and industry.
     
    China's 1950-1978 was a disaster zone.

    Rapid economic growth of China begins after they switch to free-market economy with Deng Xiaoping.

    However, the rapidity of this economic growth of China, has been largely from importing foreign technology, not indigenous technology that China developed themselves.

    To go a little offtopic.

    Unlike China, in the USSR, we had the excellent human capital and education system, to develop indigenous technology at the world leading edge.

    The sadness is the inability to apply it successfully to civil life. Saddest history is learn about the computer industry in USSR. And compare to what is left in Russia today, where software and hardware is now completely derivative on foreigners.


    Venezuela almost certainly missed the boat on social development, and it has other huge issues, e.g. quality of its people (other than Alicia Machado in her pre-Burger King days), and it is damn hot and humid there, so an aspiring bus driver like Maduro is more of an entertainment figure. But don’t mindlessly generalise.
     
    If Venezuela had normal leadership, they would be fine now. Again - if they had phoned Kudrin once a week, followed his advice. They would be fine.

    The problem of Venezuela, is complete imbeciles in power since 1999, attempting to implement socialist policies, and being cheered by the leftwing commentators around the world.

    And the media has a leftwing bias which made them cover up Venezuela, and underreport how much of an idiocracy Chavez created.

    If you learn Spanish and watch what the Venezuelan YouTubers were showing in recent years, you'll realize this. (The level of stupidity of their policy was on a new level). At the same time, Venezuela had a very low state capacity and lack of ability to enforce censorship, and it was all open what they were doing for anyone who had access to Spanish-language YouTube or to Latin American coverage.


    My point is that to ideologically denounce ‘socialism’ without understanding how it worked and what were the real alternatives is sloganeering and not thinking.
     
    It's not ideological, but practical denouncing.

    USSR distorts our image of socialist policy by the way. It was far better, more humane and more successful, than Western commentators seem to think. At the same time, far worse than what should have been alternative 20th century universe of bourgeois capitalist Russia after recommended parliamentary reforms.

    …they are poorer than they would have been in an alternative 20th century, where there was no communism and fascism.

    An alternative 20th century, wow. I am sure it is about to start any day now. In the alternative world one can prove almost anything, right? There is simply no way to know or check.

    If we engage in the alternative 20th century without radical left and right populist movements (communism, fascism), what we would have is a much faster and sooner global neo-liberalism taking over the planet.

    Let’s see:
    – no social programs, medical or education benefits – why bother if there are no commies to scare the elite
    – mass movement of people all around – those 200 million Nigerians would be breeding directly in Europe and N America now, no stupid delays caused by ‘protect the border fascists’
    – families fully de-nuclearised with little access to housing, everyone working 10-12 hrs a day 6 days a week
    – wealth and asset accumulations that would make Bezos blush, probably a few $100 billion guys by 1950 already
    – total media control by the ever-so-tolerant liberals to prevent the scourge of ‘populism’

    I could go on, but you get my point. Without the early 20th century populist upsurge that checked, partially reversed and slowed down the capitalism march into neo-liberal paradise we would be about 100 years ahead of the schedule. Most of us would probably never be born – too expensive to have kids. What the commies-fascists did was to force the elites to negotiate and create at least minimally bearable lives for regular people. Without them, why the f…k do you think the elites would do it? Out of the goodness of their hearts? You really believe that? Why didn’t they do it before?

    For all the pain of the 20th century, the alternative of the uninterrupted neo-liberal capitalist no-borders march (the status circa 1910-15) would be a lot worse. The commies/facsists/socialists in effect saved capitalism so we can enjoy it now. We got a 100-year reprieve that is ending. If you think without the populist resistance the life would be great, you have not been paying attention. You are about to find out what capitalism uber alles means for most people.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Well this is a good point.

    In the alternative world one can prove almost anything, right? There is simply no way to know or check... those 200 million Nigerians would be breeding directly in Europe
     
    Continuity from the 19th century politics would been a more conservative and incremental society anyway, especially in Russian Empire.

    But as you correctly say, counter-factual discussion allows a lot of space for subjectivity, without possibility of any testing or verification of our claims.

    However, I was not saying anything about a conservatism or liberalism direction in politics. My point was about the economic level of the cities, which you seemed to cite as examples of superiority of some areas under communist economics, relative to the West.

    Economic level of Riga, Budapest, Prague, would have been higher in our alternative without communism and fascism.

    For example, before the revolution, Riga was a really economically booming industry center - shipping, timber trade, etc. We cannot very fairly use economic prosperity in Riga, as a result of the Soviet Union - and I say that as a person no fan of current Latvian views.

    , @Anonymous
    I'm not sure what you're advocating here...some kind of "anti-accelerationist" position? Communism and Nazism were good because they slowed the progression of liberal capitalism? Ted Kaczynski's anarcho-primitivism would be an even better corrective (no planes, no cars, no motorboats --> no mass migration), should we embrace that as well?

    The best we can say about communists is that they were as ineffective and incompetent at creating a borderless world as they at achieving all the rest of their more idealistic goals. It certainly wasn't for lack of desire though. Regardless, one can work out a social-democratic compromise without ceding power to extremists.
  95. @Dmitry

    Chile being a pure natural resource exploitation
     
    Mining is only 15% of Chile's GDP.

    Chile has probably the largest inequality in Americas.

     

    Who was talking about equality?

    Chile is less unequal than China who you were talking about below, as a role model.
    https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/economic-data/wealth-distribution-income-inequality


    “white burgeoisie” actually ruled Venezuela previously – their “successes” brought Chavistas
     
    Venezuela's economy would be not bad at all now (like their immediate neighbours), if they had normal leadership since 1999, instead of Chavez. They could have phoned to Kudrin once a month for advice, followed what he says, and they would be doing well now. It's not very complicated.

    Chavez's government followed thousand and one idiotic policies - that any educated person would know will result in disaster -, and the surprise is not their collapse, but that their collapse is even worse than expected. Countries like Peru and Colombia are now flooded with millions of Venezuelans, escaping from their poverty, many homeless, in countries which theoretically should be far poorer than they are - that is, they Venezuelans are flooding into countries which are browner and have far less of any kind of resources than they have. There can not be a clearly example of the failure of their leaders.


    does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China;

     

    The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.

    It's true Chinese probably are lower human capital on average, than Japanese, but their economy and culture is far further behind relative to Japan, than Eastern European countries were behind to Western Europe and America.

    And while China is still far behind economically, the gap to Japan has narrowed even more rapidly than in Europe (although the rapid growth China mainly achieved by importing technology which had developed in other countries over the 20th century, while they were running in circles), since Deng Xiaoping transitioned to pro-market policy which they fortunately continue now.

    The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.
    […] since Deng Xiaoping transitioned to pro-market policy which they fortunately continue now.

    PRC’s economy is not very socialist anymore but to call it free market is ridiculous.

    Instead of segueing into the favoured dichotomy of Libertarianism vs. Socialism, maybe seriously engage with what Epigon was espousing.

    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    China has a free market economy, where the government owns some industries, mainly natural monopolies, and intervenes where they think there will be an economic crisis. It's not very different to Russia or UK, or even that far from Obama's policy in America, where its stimulus package mirrors the worst Chinese policies. And according to recent statistics, China's wealth distribution is more unequal than America.

    As for what "Epigon was espousing" - the worst problem of your quoted paragraph, in relation to the rest of his comment, was that it implies China is a some kind of example of success of socialism. It's one of the most clear examples, of the opposite.

  96. AP says:
    @Beckow
    You give us one education example and based on that claim that all improvements between 1945-89 in Hungary were 'already planned'. That is an extrapolation too far. Even with education, the difference with the commies was that it was all free - all the way through university. I doubt Horthy was going to do it, but you tell us, maybe Hungary was different.

    Matthias Corvinus ruled in the 15th century - a few more than 'hundreds of years'. But come to think of it, why didn't he make the lives of 90% of population better? Or do you think that communism was worse than feudalism for most people? Or do you equally denounce the feudals?

    The inordinate focus on 'how bad commies were' and not seeing anything bad or evil in the previous decades or centuries borders on obsessive self-deception. Whenever I was able to examine the background of people who suffer from it, they always had personal reasons: family stuff, property lost, etc... It is not much more than self-centered selfishness hiding behind exaggerated ideological hatred. By that standard, any commie who lost after 1989 could claim that 'capitalism has not worked' (for him).


    This happened everywhere in Europe, even poorer countries, except better without communism.
     
    That is the best argument. But as I pointed out above, it was done because of fear of communism - all Western elites were suddenly very accommodating to people and their social needs - they couldn't be more 'socialist', in effect promising people all the benefits without the obvious costs of communism. Why have all of those started to be dismantled after 1989? The real beneficiaries of eastern European communism were western Europeans. Now we are back to capitalism the way its is naturally when not scared.

    Based on data in 1945-89, most communist countries were somewhere in the middle of the dramatic increase in living standards in Europe: Hungary actually did very well, better than Ireland, Portugal or Spain. It was not as black-and-white as you suggest.

    Based on data in 1945-89, most communist countries were somewhere in the middle of the dramatic increase in living standards in Europe: Hungary actually did very well, better than Ireland, Portugal or Spain.

    You are lying as usual.

    https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/historicaldevelopment/maddison/original-maddison

    In 1990 dollars, 1948:

    Austria’s per capita GDP was $2,764. In Czechoslovakia it was $3,088 and in Hungary it was $2,200. In Portugal it was $2,046 and in Spain $2,186

    So prior to Communism Czechoslovakia was richer than Austria, Hungary was poorer but similar, Portugal and Spain were poorer than both Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    In 1990 dollars, 1989:

    Austria’s per capita GDP was $16,360. Czechoslovakia’s was $8,768, Hungary’s was $6,903. Portugal was at $10,372 and Spain was at $11,582.

    Austria now became not only the richest of the three former Hapsburg countries, but doubled the ones that got stuck under Communism. This is the most relevant comparison because these three countries are geographically close, and culturally and historically similar.

    But you see, Portugal and Spain passed up Czechoslovakia and Hungary and were a lot richer per capita than those two Commie countries. Quasi-fascism beats Communism.

    As for Ireland – $3,230 in 1948 (not being in the war was good for Ireland) and $10,880 in 1989. It fell behind Austria but stayed well ahead of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    In 1948 Italy had about the same per capita GDP as Czechoslovakia – $3,063 to Czechoslovakia’s $3,088. In 1989 – Italy $15,969 vs. $8,768.

    Even Greece – $1,798 in 1948. $10,111 in 1989 – richer than Communist Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    Whenever I was able to examine the background of people who suffer from it, they always had personal reasons: family stuff, property lost, etc

    Due to the banal fact that most people lost something your observation is meaningless. But at least it isn’t a lie like most of your other claims.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    There is only one problem with your silly comparisons: you need to use actual PPP and not official exchange rates. For example in Czechoslovakia after 1989 the official exchange rates dropped by around 100%. Nothing else changed only local currency went from 10 crown/dollar to 20-25 in a few short months. That artificially devalued the economy and people's purchasing power. It took a few years to recover.

    If you don't understand how PPP (Purchasing Power parity) works, look it up. During sudden changes - like 1989-90 - the numbers get out of whack and are not good for comparisons. Another factor that is simply a reality of the financial world is that Western currencies ($, pound, lira, franc) were always way over-valued so they made lower living standards look better. If you look at actual consumption levels, countries like Czechoslovakia and Hungary were a lot better of.

    Another factor is the amount of free stuff available under commie version of socialism: health care, education, housing, vacations, spa treatments, etc... none of that was monetised so it wasn't showing up in the GNP statistics - you have to add since it amounted to a huge percentage of people's consumption.

    But if you really think that Spaniards or Greeks lived better, I can't help you.

    There was a small number that lost - we calculated it at 15-20% losers incl. family members - many emigrated. A much larger number gained economically and in terms of assets, around 80% of population in Czechoslovakia were net gainers under communism. The fact that GNP/capita tripled under commies is very significant - it has never happened before or after.

  97. I think the most important question is, can Venezuela recover what human capital it has lost through flight and dysgenics, or is it basically caught in a trap?

  98. @AP

    Based on data in 1945-89, most communist countries were somewhere in the middle of the dramatic increase in living standards in Europe: Hungary actually did very well, better than Ireland, Portugal or Spain.
     
    You are lying as usual.

    https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/historicaldevelopment/maddison/original-maddison

    In 1990 dollars, 1948:

    Austria's per capita GDP was $2,764. In Czechoslovakia it was $3,088 and in Hungary it was $2,200. In Portugal it was $2,046 and in Spain $2,186

    So prior to Communism Czechoslovakia was richer than Austria, Hungary was poorer but similar, Portugal and Spain were poorer than both Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    In 1990 dollars, 1989:

    Austria's per capita GDP was $16,360. Czechoslovakia's was $8,768, Hungary's was $6,903. Portugal was at $10,372 and Spain was at $11,582.

    Austria now became not only the richest of the three former Hapsburg countries, but doubled the ones that got stuck under Communism. This is the most relevant comparison because these three countries are geographically close, and culturally and historically similar.

    But you see, Portugal and Spain passed up Czechoslovakia and Hungary and were a lot richer per capita than those two Commie countries. Quasi-fascism beats Communism.

    As for Ireland - $3,230 in 1948 (not being in the war was good for Ireland) and $10,880 in 1989. It fell behind Austria but stayed well ahead of Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    In 1948 Italy had about the same per capita GDP as Czechoslovakia - $3,063 to Czechoslovakia's $3,088. In 1989 - Italy $15,969 vs. $8,768.

    Even Greece - $1,798 in 1948. $10,111 in 1989 - richer than Communist Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

    Whenever I was able to examine the background of people who suffer from it, they always had personal reasons: family stuff, property lost, etc
     
    Due to the banal fact that most people lost something your observation is meaningless. But at least it isn't a lie like most of your other claims.

    There is only one problem with your silly comparisons: you need to use actual PPP and not official exchange rates. For example in Czechoslovakia after 1989 the official exchange rates dropped by around 100%. Nothing else changed only local currency went from 10 crown/dollar to 20-25 in a few short months. That artificially devalued the economy and people’s purchasing power. It took a few years to recover.

    If you don’t understand how PPP (Purchasing Power parity) works, look it up. During sudden changes – like 1989-90 – the numbers get out of whack and are not good for comparisons. Another factor that is simply a reality of the financial world is that Western currencies ($, pound, lira, franc) were always way over-valued so they made lower living standards look better. If you look at actual consumption levels, countries like Czechoslovakia and Hungary were a lot better of.

    Another factor is the amount of free stuff available under commie version of socialism: health care, education, housing, vacations, spa treatments, etc… none of that was monetised so it wasn’t showing up in the GNP statistics – you have to add since it amounted to a huge percentage of people’s consumption.

    But if you really think that Spaniards or Greeks lived better, I can’t help you.

    There was a small number that lost – we calculated it at 15-20% losers incl. family members – many emigrated. A much larger number gained economically and in terms of assets, around 80% of population in Czechoslovakia were net gainers under communism. The fact that GNP/capita tripled under commies is very significant – it has never happened before or after.

    • Replies: @AP

    There is only one problem with your silly comparisons: you need to use actual PPP and not official exchange rates.
     
    PPP makes little difference:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_by_past_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita#1%E2%80%931800_(Maddison_Project)

    In 1973 Spain already surpassed Czechoslovakia and Portugal almost caught up. These countries were a lot poorer in 1937.

    For example in Czechoslovakia after 1989 the official exchange rates dropped by around 100%. Nothing else changed only local currency went from 10 crown/dollar to 20-25 in a few short months.
     
    Figures for 1988 were about the same so your comment is irrelevant. But keep digging now that you are in a hole.

    There was a small number that lost – we calculated it at 15-20% losers incl. family members – many emigrated. A much larger number gained economically and in terms of assets
     
    Everyone in Europe "gained" - just those under Communism gained far less, as we have seen. Spain, Portugal, Austria - all gained much more than the poor Commie countries.
  99. @Hyperborean

    The failures of China are some of the best evidence against socialism.
    [...] since Deng Xiaoping transitioned to pro-market policy which they fortunately continue now.
     
    PRC's economy is not very socialist anymore but to call it free market is ridiculous.

    Instead of segueing into the favoured dichotomy of Libertarianism vs. Socialism, maybe seriously engage with what Epigon was espousing.

    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?
     

    China has a free market economy, where the government owns some industries, mainly natural monopolies, and intervenes where they think there will be an economic crisis. It’s not very different to Russia or UK, or even that far from Obama’s policy in America, where its stimulus package mirrors the worst Chinese policies. And according to recent statistics, China’s wealth distribution is more unequal than America.

    As for what “Epigon was espousing” – the worst problem of your quoted paragraph, in relation to the rest of his comment, was that it implies China is a some kind of example of success of socialism. It’s one of the most clear examples, of the opposite.

    • Replies: @Hyperborean

    As for what “Epigon was espousing” – the worst problem of your quoted paragraph, in relation to the rest of his comment, was that it implies China is a some kind of example of success of socialism. It’s one of the most clear examples, of the opposite.
     
    It does not imply that, unless you think Imperial Germany and South Korean dictatorships were socialist countries.
    , @songbird

    China’s wealth distribution is more unequal than America.
     
    It goes against common political consensus, which equates equality with stability, but I view this as positive for China. What it means is that, at least in the short term, they will be able to rely on internal migration, rather than importing labor. Also, there will be a built-in backlash to transferring wealth to other countries, or importing Africans.
  100. @Beckow

    ...they are poorer than they would have been in an alternative 20th century, where there was no communism and fascism.
     
    An alternative 20th century, wow. I am sure it is about to start any day now. In the alternative world one can prove almost anything, right? There is simply no way to know or check.

    If we engage in the alternative 20th century without radical left and right populist movements (communism, fascism), what we would have is a much faster and sooner global neo-liberalism taking over the planet.

    Let's see:
    - no social programs, medical or education benefits - why bother if there are no commies to scare the elite
    - mass movement of people all around - those 200 million Nigerians would be breeding directly in Europe and N America now, no stupid delays caused by 'protect the border fascists'
    - families fully de-nuclearised with little access to housing, everyone working 10-12 hrs a day 6 days a week
    - wealth and asset accumulations that would make Bezos blush, probably a few $100 billion guys by 1950 already
    - total media control by the ever-so-tolerant liberals to prevent the scourge of 'populism'

    I could go on, but you get my point. Without the early 20th century populist upsurge that checked, partially reversed and slowed down the capitalism march into neo-liberal paradise we would be about 100 years ahead of the schedule. Most of us would probably never be born - too expensive to have kids. What the commies-fascists did was to force the elites to negotiate and create at least minimally bearable lives for regular people. Without them, why the f...k do you think the elites would do it? Out of the goodness of their hearts? You really believe that? Why didn't they do it before?

    For all the pain of the 20th century, the alternative of the uninterrupted neo-liberal capitalist no-borders march (the status circa 1910-15) would be a lot worse. The commies/facsists/socialists in effect saved capitalism so we can enjoy it now. We got a 100-year reprieve that is ending. If you think without the populist resistance the life would be great, you have not been paying attention. You are about to find out what capitalism uber alles means for most people.
    -

    Well this is a good point.

    In the alternative world one can prove almost anything, right? There is simply no way to know or check… those 200 million Nigerians would be breeding directly in Europe

    Continuity from the 19th century politics would been a more conservative and incremental society anyway, especially in Russian Empire.

    But as you correctly say, counter-factual discussion allows a lot of space for subjectivity, without possibility of any testing or verification of our claims.

    However, I was not saying anything about a conservatism or liberalism direction in politics. My point was about the economic level of the cities, which you seemed to cite as examples of superiority of some areas under communist economics, relative to the West.

    Economic level of Riga, Budapest, Prague, would have been higher in our alternative without communism and fascism.

    For example, before the revolution, Riga was a really economically booming industry center – shipping, timber trade, etc. We cannot very fairly use economic prosperity in Riga, as a result of the Soviet Union – and I say that as a person no fan of current Latvian views.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...Economic level of Riga, Budapest, Prague, would have been higher in our alternative without communism and fascism.
     
    Based on what? I will focus on Prague that I know: everything from infrastructure (excellent metro built in the 70's and 80's), housing, education, culture, etc... got significantly better under socialism. One more time: living standards in Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1990 tripled. Consumption tripled. Same is true about Prague - in addition the asset appreciation in Prague (housing) was by far he highest in the country. Let me remind you that most apartments were simply given to young families under socialism - they had to wait, but didn't pay. Today they own them.

    I can't imagine an alternative that would be much better. Sure some groups like the old money elites in the center of the city probably would had done better. Maybe some professions too. But the bulk of population - 80% at least - had no property stake in the old system, they benefitted tremendously under socialism.

    You can pretend that some traditional conservative gradualist societies would exist in he absence of communism-fascism. I doubt it, most likely the neo-liberalism that has been out of control since 1990's would be totally dominant: no borders, mass migration, cheap labor, no social benefits, etc...

    That's the way it was in the previous liberalism heyday 1900-15, it would just continue and get toxic much sooner. The conservatives were defeated in Europe by 1900 - they were irrelevant, me-too like left-overs, how would they recover in the face of a joint onslaught of liberalism and populist movements? Realistically, we would be f..ed by now. Thank God for the 100 year delay thanks to our angry populist ancestors - we clearly don't have the balls they had to fight for themselves.

  101. @Dmitry
    China has a free market economy, where the government owns some industries, mainly natural monopolies, and intervenes where they think there will be an economic crisis. It's not very different to Russia or UK, or even that far from Obama's policy in America, where its stimulus package mirrors the worst Chinese policies. And according to recent statistics, China's wealth distribution is more unequal than America.

    As for what "Epigon was espousing" - the worst problem of your quoted paragraph, in relation to the rest of his comment, was that it implies China is a some kind of example of success of socialism. It's one of the most clear examples, of the opposite.

    As for what “Epigon was espousing” – the worst problem of your quoted paragraph, in relation to the rest of his comment, was that it implies China is a some kind of example of success of socialism. It’s one of the most clear examples, of the opposite.

    It does not imply that, unless you think Imperial Germany and South Korean dictatorships were socialist countries.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    The discussion he was replying to was about economics in free market vs socialism. This has no relation to questions of dictatorship vs democracy.

    Free market can combine with dictatorship. Socialism can combine with democracy. That's all unrelated completely unrelated topic to what we were discussing though, which was the failure of socialism.

  102. AP says:
    @Beckow
    There is only one problem with your silly comparisons: you need to use actual PPP and not official exchange rates. For example in Czechoslovakia after 1989 the official exchange rates dropped by around 100%. Nothing else changed only local currency went from 10 crown/dollar to 20-25 in a few short months. That artificially devalued the economy and people's purchasing power. It took a few years to recover.

    If you don't understand how PPP (Purchasing Power parity) works, look it up. During sudden changes - like 1989-90 - the numbers get out of whack and are not good for comparisons. Another factor that is simply a reality of the financial world is that Western currencies ($, pound, lira, franc) were always way over-valued so they made lower living standards look better. If you look at actual consumption levels, countries like Czechoslovakia and Hungary were a lot better of.

    Another factor is the amount of free stuff available under commie version of socialism: health care, education, housing, vacations, spa treatments, etc... none of that was monetised so it wasn't showing up in the GNP statistics - you have to add since it amounted to a huge percentage of people's consumption.

    But if you really think that Spaniards or Greeks lived better, I can't help you.

    There was a small number that lost - we calculated it at 15-20% losers incl. family members - many emigrated. A much larger number gained economically and in terms of assets, around 80% of population in Czechoslovakia were net gainers under communism. The fact that GNP/capita tripled under commies is very significant - it has never happened before or after.

    There is only one problem with your silly comparisons: you need to use actual PPP and not official exchange rates.

    PPP makes little difference:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_by_past_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita#1%E2%80%931800_(Maddison_Project)

    In 1973 Spain already surpassed Czechoslovakia and Portugal almost caught up. These countries were a lot poorer in 1937.

    For example in Czechoslovakia after 1989 the official exchange rates dropped by around 100%. Nothing else changed only local currency went from 10 crown/dollar to 20-25 in a few short months.

    Figures for 1988 were about the same so your comment is irrelevant. But keep digging now that you are in a hole.

    There was a small number that lost – we calculated it at 15-20% losers incl. family members – many emigrated. A much larger number gained economically and in terms of assets

    Everyone in Europe “gained” – just those under Communism gained far less, as we have seen. Spain, Portugal, Austria – all gained much more than the poor Commie countries.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...Everyone in Europe “gained”
     
    Did they? Why don't you ask middle class and working class Western Europeans how much they have gained in the last few decades? They have large cities overrun with migrants and collapsing infrastructure (Paris metro anybody?)

    I will take Visegrad countries over most of them any day. The prosperity of V4 is largely based on excellent infrastructure, education, stability and population growth (domestic, not African migrants or Pakistanis) from 1945-90 period.

    Your constant evasive quoting of yourself is silly. Address what I wrote: large percentage of consumption under socialism was not monetised, I listed all the examples. Western currencies were (and are to some extent) over-valued.
  103. @Dmitry
    China has a free market economy, where the government owns some industries, mainly natural monopolies, and intervenes where they think there will be an economic crisis. It's not very different to Russia or UK, or even that far from Obama's policy in America, where its stimulus package mirrors the worst Chinese policies. And according to recent statistics, China's wealth distribution is more unequal than America.

    As for what "Epigon was espousing" - the worst problem of your quoted paragraph, in relation to the rest of his comment, was that it implies China is a some kind of example of success of socialism. It's one of the most clear examples, of the opposite.

    China’s wealth distribution is more unequal than America.

    It goes against common political consensus, which equates equality with stability, but I view this as positive for China. What it means is that, at least in the short term, they will be able to rely on internal migration, rather than importing labor. Also, there will be a built-in backlash to transferring wealth to other countries, or importing Africans.

    • Replies: @Swarthy Greek
    What you're describing works only if there is significant upward mobility. As soon as china stops growing at over 5% GDP increase p-year, political instability will appear, as people will vent out their anger at the central government for lack of equity, social assistance, welfare... China is also running out of rural migrants, so they will have to find a way to compensate for that too.
  104. @AP

    There is only one problem with your silly comparisons: you need to use actual PPP and not official exchange rates.
     
    PPP makes little difference:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_by_past_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita#1%E2%80%931800_(Maddison_Project)

    In 1973 Spain already surpassed Czechoslovakia and Portugal almost caught up. These countries were a lot poorer in 1937.

    For example in Czechoslovakia after 1989 the official exchange rates dropped by around 100%. Nothing else changed only local currency went from 10 crown/dollar to 20-25 in a few short months.
     
    Figures for 1988 were about the same so your comment is irrelevant. But keep digging now that you are in a hole.

    There was a small number that lost – we calculated it at 15-20% losers incl. family members – many emigrated. A much larger number gained economically and in terms of assets
     
    Everyone in Europe "gained" - just those under Communism gained far less, as we have seen. Spain, Portugal, Austria - all gained much more than the poor Commie countries.

    …Everyone in Europe “gained”

    Did they? Why don’t you ask middle class and working class Western Europeans how much they have gained in the last few decades? They have large cities overrun with migrants and collapsing infrastructure (Paris metro anybody?)

    I will take Visegrad countries over most of them any day. The prosperity of V4 is largely based on excellent infrastructure, education, stability and population growth (domestic, not African migrants or Pakistanis) from 1945-90 period.

    Your constant evasive quoting of yourself is silly. Address what I wrote: large percentage of consumption under socialism was not monetised, I listed all the examples. Western currencies were (and are to some extent) over-valued.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    What’s the point of arguing with someone who knows nothing about the subject matter? This phrase alone

    Those of us who visited the Soviet bloc in 1990 were shocked by the squalor we found there, compared even to poorer places in the West.
     
    tells anyone who actually lived in any of the Soviet block countries how clueless the person is. Not to mention that a card-carrying Ukie who visited Soviet block in the 1990 can mean only one thing: the descendant of a Banderite who by rights should have been hanged, but successfully ran away to the “democratic” West. As any normal person knows, a good Banderite is a dead Banderite. Humans don't argue with Banderites, humans begrudge that scum even a bullet and hang them.
  105. @Dmitry
    Well this is a good point.

    In the alternative world one can prove almost anything, right? There is simply no way to know or check... those 200 million Nigerians would be breeding directly in Europe
     
    Continuity from the 19th century politics would been a more conservative and incremental society anyway, especially in Russian Empire.

    But as you correctly say, counter-factual discussion allows a lot of space for subjectivity, without possibility of any testing or verification of our claims.

    However, I was not saying anything about a conservatism or liberalism direction in politics. My point was about the economic level of the cities, which you seemed to cite as examples of superiority of some areas under communist economics, relative to the West.

    Economic level of Riga, Budapest, Prague, would have been higher in our alternative without communism and fascism.

    For example, before the revolution, Riga was a really economically booming industry center - shipping, timber trade, etc. We cannot very fairly use economic prosperity in Riga, as a result of the Soviet Union - and I say that as a person no fan of current Latvian views.

    …Economic level of Riga, Budapest, Prague, would have been higher in our alternative without communism and fascism.

    Based on what? I will focus on Prague that I know: everything from infrastructure (excellent metro built in the 70’s and 80’s), housing, education, culture, etc… got significantly better under socialism. One more time: living standards in Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1990 tripled. Consumption tripled. Same is true about Prague – in addition the asset appreciation in Prague (housing) was by far he highest in the country. Let me remind you that most apartments were simply given to young families under socialism – they had to wait, but didn’t pay. Today they own them.

    I can’t imagine an alternative that would be much better. Sure some groups like the old money elites in the center of the city probably would had done better. Maybe some professions too. But the bulk of population – 80% at least – had no property stake in the old system, they benefitted tremendously under socialism.

    You can pretend that some traditional conservative gradualist societies would exist in he absence of communism-fascism. I doubt it, most likely the neo-liberalism that has been out of control since 1990’s would be totally dominant: no borders, mass migration, cheap labor, no social benefits, etc…

    That’s the way it was in the previous liberalism heyday 1900-15, it would just continue and get toxic much sooner. The conservatives were defeated in Europe by 1900 – they were irrelevant, me-too like left-overs, how would they recover in the face of a joint onslaught of liberalism and populist movements? Realistically, we would be f..ed by now. Thank God for the 100 year delay thanks to our angry populist ancestors – we clearly don’t have the balls they had to fight for themselves.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Your comments about Prague, are similar to the situation in Russia.

    In the USSR, infrastructure, urban planning and civil engineering, were generally at a higher standard than in Russia today.

    For example, they planned the new housing more carefully, provided adequate infrastructure, schools, and transport systems, unlike today where new housing developments can often be chaotic.

    However, a lot of these problems of Russia - are characteristic of the post-Soviet sphere, and we have similar problems in the media, which originate in the USSR, and in many areas.

    It's not simple "better or worse". There are areas where it was better, and areas where it was worse. But a lot of the problems of today, also began in the Soviet times.


    Same is true about Prague – in addition the asset appreciation in Prague (housing) was by far he highest in the country.
     
    It's interesting, this issue of home ownership is very similar to Russia. However, I don't think communist era panel houses constructed in Prague, are Czech Republic's best assets.

    In the alternative, I also don't see how capitalist Prague would not have the same economic level as a Western European city in the 20th century, like perhaps Milan or Turin.

    But in the real 20th century, Prague by the 1990s, become some kind of cheap city known for prostitutes and mafia. And yet now, it's becoming wealthier again and known more for its culture.

    You can pretend that some traditional conservative gradualist societies would exist in he absence of communism-fascism. I doubt it, most likely the neo-liberalism that has been out of control since 1990’s would be totally dominant
     

    Neoliberalism is an economic policy. It doesn't imply any particular social views. The most famous neoliberal leader was Pinochet, who was socially quite conservative.

    Anyway, best and most interesting societies, need some kind of balance of social conservatives and liberals (ideally more intelligent ones of the both). Social issues - are more subjective, and best understood when is space for independent views and for problems attacked from different angles.

    On the other hand, economic best practices for a country not to become bankrupt, are something much more objective, discoverable over time, and common across different societies.

    , @AP

    One more time: living standards in Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1990 tripled.
     
    And right next door in Austria they increased 5 times. In Spain, also 5 times.

    The Western European average was a four-fold increase in per capita GDP from 1948 to 1989.

    So a three-fold increase for a country next to Austria is nothing to brag about.

    Not only did Czechs languish economically relative to those not under Communism, they also lived shorter lives.

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

    In 1950-1955, life expectancy in Austria was 66.50 while in Czechoslovakia it was 66.86. Czechs lived longer than Austrians. But in 1985-1990, life expectancy in Austria was 75 while in Czechoslovakia it was 71.46.

    In Spain life expectancy was 64.60 in 1950-1955. In 1985-1990 it was 76.85.

    So under Communism not only did Czechs become poorer than Spaniards and Austrians, they lived shorter lives. By years.

    BTW the fact that authoritarian traditonalist Spain improved at a rate similar to that as democratic countries tells us that democracy is not necessary for economic and social improvement. However, the fact that both authoritarian and democratic systems improved much more than did Communist places tells us that the Communist system is detrimental to economic and social improvement.

    I can’t imagine an alternative that would be much better.
     
    From 1948-1989 look right across the border to Austria. Similar culture, region, history. Much greater economic growth 1948-1989 and much greater increase in life expectancy.

    Here is a nice article about this subject:

    https://economics.stanford.edu/sites/g/files/sbiybj9386/f/publications/mateidaianhonorsthesis-2012.pdf

    An interesting case is provided by the countries Romania, Greece, and Portugal which had similar economic growth trends between 1870 and 1938 (see graph). By doing a simple computation using the difference in differences equation specified in 3.1 and using only the countries Romania, Greece, and Portugal, we obtain a value of D = - $5,330.512. Now we will run the same calculation using the entire control group mentioned in 3.1, namely: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom; and considering the following communist countries as the treatment group: Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Albania. After running this calculation, we obtain D = - $6,794.29. Considering that the average GDP per capita in 1990 in former communist countries was $6,457, given our set of assumptions, we can conclude that the communist countries of Eastern Europe could have been 2.05 times richer in 1990 than they actually were had they not gone through communism. This is a back-of-the envelope calculation that does not control for anything else.
  106. AP says:

    …Everyone in Europe “gained”

    Did they? Why don’t you ask middle class and working class Western Europeans how much they have gained in the last few decades? They have large cities overrun with migrants and collapsing infrastructure (Paris metro anybody?)

    We are talking about 1948-1989 (or 1988) to show Communism’s failure, and you are bringing up tragedies that occurred in the last 10 years or so. So you are desperate. In 1948 Hungary and Czechoslovakia were much wealthier than Spain and Portugal. In 1989 they were a lot poorer.

    I will take Visegrad countries over most of them any day. The prosperity of V4 is largely based on excellent infrastructure, education, stability and population growth (domestic, not African migrants or Pakistanis) from 1945-90 period.

    As we have seen, all done better without Communism during that time.

    Address what I wrote:

    You failed to address how you lied about Hungary growing more than did Spain or Portugal.

    large percentage of consumption under socialism was not monetised

    If you think this means that it wasn’t counted in GDP per capita totals then when everything was monetized in the early 90s there should have been a huge jump that would more then compensate for currency devaluation. Didn’t happen.

    Those of us who visited the Soviet bloc in 1990 were shocked by the squalor we found there, compared even to poorer places in the West.

  107. @Beckow
    What? You are really confusing terms. Planned is not the same as socialist, everybody plans. Is Japan a 'socialist' country? They plan a lot, they have whole government ministries doing nothing but planning.

    (What they exactly meant by planning in India is also not clear. Maybe filling out visa applications?)

    By any standard: free markets, private ownership of businesses, no guaranteed social benefits, etc... India has been a capitalist economy. Claiming otherwise is simply wrong and maybe you do it to associate failure with what you don't like. Unfortunately there is plenty of failure in capitalism too.

    At some point with increasing taxes and regulations government is the constructive owner of all property.

  108. @Hyperborean

    As for what “Epigon was espousing” – the worst problem of your quoted paragraph, in relation to the rest of his comment, was that it implies China is a some kind of example of success of socialism. It’s one of the most clear examples, of the opposite.
     
    It does not imply that, unless you think Imperial Germany and South Korean dictatorships were socialist countries.

    The discussion he was replying to was about economics in free market vs socialism. This has no relation to questions of dictatorship vs democracy.

    Free market can combine with dictatorship. Socialism can combine with democracy. That’s all unrelated completely unrelated topic to what we were discussing though, which was the failure of socialism.

    • Replies: @Hyperborean

    The discussion he was replying to was about economics in free market vs socialism. This has no relation to questions of dictatorship vs democracy.

    Free market can combine with dictatorship. Socialism can combine with democracy. That’s all unrelated completely unrelated topic to what we were discussing though, which was the failure of socialism.
     

    Epigon was dismissing laissez-faire economics and instead gave examples of countries which achieved success by pursuing an intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy (*not* a socialist economic policy *nor* a free market economic policy).

    The false dichotomy between socialism and libertarianism is the issue here in comprehending it.

  109. @Beckow

    ...Economic level of Riga, Budapest, Prague, would have been higher in our alternative without communism and fascism.
     
    Based on what? I will focus on Prague that I know: everything from infrastructure (excellent metro built in the 70's and 80's), housing, education, culture, etc... got significantly better under socialism. One more time: living standards in Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1990 tripled. Consumption tripled. Same is true about Prague - in addition the asset appreciation in Prague (housing) was by far he highest in the country. Let me remind you that most apartments were simply given to young families under socialism - they had to wait, but didn't pay. Today they own them.

    I can't imagine an alternative that would be much better. Sure some groups like the old money elites in the center of the city probably would had done better. Maybe some professions too. But the bulk of population - 80% at least - had no property stake in the old system, they benefitted tremendously under socialism.

    You can pretend that some traditional conservative gradualist societies would exist in he absence of communism-fascism. I doubt it, most likely the neo-liberalism that has been out of control since 1990's would be totally dominant: no borders, mass migration, cheap labor, no social benefits, etc...

    That's the way it was in the previous liberalism heyday 1900-15, it would just continue and get toxic much sooner. The conservatives were defeated in Europe by 1900 - they were irrelevant, me-too like left-overs, how would they recover in the face of a joint onslaught of liberalism and populist movements? Realistically, we would be f..ed by now. Thank God for the 100 year delay thanks to our angry populist ancestors - we clearly don't have the balls they had to fight for themselves.

    Your comments about Prague, are similar to the situation in Russia.

    In the USSR, infrastructure, urban planning and civil engineering, were generally at a higher standard than in Russia today.

    For example, they planned the new housing more carefully, provided adequate infrastructure, schools, and transport systems, unlike today where new housing developments can often be chaotic.

    However, a lot of these problems of Russia – are characteristic of the post-Soviet sphere, and we have similar problems in the media, which originate in the USSR, and in many areas.

    It’s not simple “better or worse”. There are areas where it was better, and areas where it was worse. But a lot of the problems of today, also began in the Soviet times.

    Same is true about Prague – in addition the asset appreciation in Prague (housing) was by far he highest in the country.

    It’s interesting, this issue of home ownership is very similar to Russia. However, I don’t think communist era panel houses constructed in Prague, are Czech Republic’s best assets.

    In the alternative, I also don’t see how capitalist Prague would not have the same economic level as a Western European city in the 20th century, like perhaps Milan or Turin.

    But in the real 20th century, Prague by the 1990s, become some kind of cheap city known for prostitutes and mafia. And yet now, it’s becoming wealthier again and known more for its culture.

    You can pretend that some traditional conservative gradualist societies would exist in he absence of communism-fascism. I doubt it, most likely the neo-liberalism that has been out of control since 1990’s would be totally dominant

    Neoliberalism is an economic policy. It doesn’t imply any particular social views. The most famous neoliberal leader was Pinochet, who was socially quite conservative.

    Anyway, best and most interesting societies, need some kind of balance of social conservatives and liberals (ideally more intelligent ones of the both). Social issues – are more subjective, and best understood when is space for independent views and for problems attacked from different angles.

    On the other hand, economic best practices for a country not to become bankrupt, are something much more objective, discoverable over time, and common across different societies.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...communist era panel houses constructed in Prague, are not Czech Republic’s best assets.
     
    Right, they are not the best. But there were also over a million homes that were built mostly in the countryside and smaller towns. Interestingly enough, after 1990 there was first almost no construction - everybody was too busy privatising what was built under socialism. I would not call it 'mafia', we are not that kind of people, there were some scumbags, mostly former commies who had an inside track, but all the talk of mafias was way overstated. Even at it worst crime never approached the levels in the Western societies where for some reason people never call it 'mafia'. Go figure.

    When the construction restarted new city homes were way inferior to the old panel houses - they were smaller, used much worse material, were very densely packed, and developers did no work outside the buildings. Today the old panel apartments are often at a premium in big cities because they were better built. But I don't particularly like the way they look.

    You mention Milano or Torino - they are full of very ugly panel housing that is nowhere as good as what was built in Czechoslovakia. I also don't get the admiration for those cities, they look like crap, transport doesn't work, they are dirty, strange characters are mulling around, they are substantially more dangerous. When I talk to Italians they don't seem to think that anything they have is better - actually quite a few have moved to Central Europe. So have a lot of Brits and Dutch. The stereotype that Western media maintains is highly ideological and only true is some parts. In general, they have lied a lot about Central Europe and that is reflected in the way most Westerners perceive the region. But it is good - we really don't want them to come, let them enjoy the multicultural paradise at home :)...

  110. @Beckow

    ...Everyone in Europe “gained”
     
    Did they? Why don't you ask middle class and working class Western Europeans how much they have gained in the last few decades? They have large cities overrun with migrants and collapsing infrastructure (Paris metro anybody?)

    I will take Visegrad countries over most of them any day. The prosperity of V4 is largely based on excellent infrastructure, education, stability and population growth (domestic, not African migrants or Pakistanis) from 1945-90 period.

    Your constant evasive quoting of yourself is silly. Address what I wrote: large percentage of consumption under socialism was not monetised, I listed all the examples. Western currencies were (and are to some extent) over-valued.

    What’s the point of arguing with someone who knows nothing about the subject matter? This phrase alone

    Those of us who visited the Soviet bloc in 1990 were shocked by the squalor we found there, compared even to poorer places in the West.

    tells anyone who actually lived in any of the Soviet block countries how clueless the person is. Not to mention that a card-carrying Ukie who visited Soviet block in the 1990 can mean only one thing: the descendant of a Banderite who by rights should have been hanged, but successfully ran away to the “democratic” West. As any normal person knows, a good Banderite is a dead Banderite. Humans don’t argue with Banderites, humans begrudge that scum even a bullet and hang them.

    • Replies: @AP

    tells anyone who actually lived in any of the Soviet block countries how clueless the person is.
     
    As clueless as you, who lives in TN and insisted there are no US auto factories in the United States despite one being next door.

    Soviet "middle class" lived, materially (culturally was completely different), like poor Americans in housing projects. Families crammed into small apartments, few and crappy appliances and cars, cheap and ugly clothes, etc. Life expectancy for Soviet men in 1990 was 64. For African American men in 1990 it was 65.

    ot to mention that a card-carrying Ukie who visited Soviet block in the 1990 can mean only one thing: the descendant of a Banderite
     
    None of my ancestors were Banderites, you are clueless as usual. I'd guess roughly about 50% of those who fled Ukraine were Banderites (maybe it was 40%, maybe 60% - I don't feel like researching this). Which means that 50% were not.

    As any normal person knows, a good Banderite is a dead Banderite.
     
    Bandera was no worse than Stalin (he might be comparable to Lenin) and 70% of Russians approve of Stalin:

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/16/stalins-approval-rating-among-russians-hits-record-high-poll-a65245

    Are you one of them? Because that would make your hatred of Bandera funny.
    , @Beckow
    I agree, no point. Typical undereducated child of exiles full of bitterness and stereotypical nonsense. He probably thinks that eastern Europe was black-and-white before 1989 (I have actually met people who semi-seriously argued that).

    I have seen my share of squalor, one can travel around US or Canada and see quite a bit of squalor and hopelessness. The numbers in Czechoslovakia or Hungary are fairly straight-forward: tripling living standards in 40 years is quite good. The part that AP refuses to understand is the ratio of free stuff to GNP - so much consumption under socialism was not monetised that his silly comparisons and playing with numbers come across as quasi-retarded. If you for example put value on free housing that Czechoslovakia had and monetise it, you can get a big jump in consumption per capita - and it was very real. After 1990 that housing was gradually given to the people who lived in there and created a huge asset boost in the country. But the work was done under socialism, it was only the accounting that valued it that happened after 1990. Any idiot would understand it, but ideology blinds people.

    The argument that 'well, you could have done even better' is beyond silly. It means nothing to most people, only envy-driven losers from American suburbs who constantly worry about their standing in life think that way. If improving people's lives threefold in 40 years is a failure - well, I am pretty sure most Westerners today would give their left arm for similar improvement in their societies.

    Another thing that gets overlooked is the cost in destroying Western cultures that the mindless growth - a lot of it driven by mass migration from the Third World that has been going on since at least the 60's - has caused. Yeah, Britain probably has 20% higher GNP because the Pakistanis buy a lot of toilet paper and other stuff, but is it really worth it? We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.
  111. AP says:
    @Beckow

    ...Economic level of Riga, Budapest, Prague, would have been higher in our alternative without communism and fascism.
     
    Based on what? I will focus on Prague that I know: everything from infrastructure (excellent metro built in the 70's and 80's), housing, education, culture, etc... got significantly better under socialism. One more time: living standards in Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1990 tripled. Consumption tripled. Same is true about Prague - in addition the asset appreciation in Prague (housing) was by far he highest in the country. Let me remind you that most apartments were simply given to young families under socialism - they had to wait, but didn't pay. Today they own them.

    I can't imagine an alternative that would be much better. Sure some groups like the old money elites in the center of the city probably would had done better. Maybe some professions too. But the bulk of population - 80% at least - had no property stake in the old system, they benefitted tremendously under socialism.

    You can pretend that some traditional conservative gradualist societies would exist in he absence of communism-fascism. I doubt it, most likely the neo-liberalism that has been out of control since 1990's would be totally dominant: no borders, mass migration, cheap labor, no social benefits, etc...

    That's the way it was in the previous liberalism heyday 1900-15, it would just continue and get toxic much sooner. The conservatives were defeated in Europe by 1900 - they were irrelevant, me-too like left-overs, how would they recover in the face of a joint onslaught of liberalism and populist movements? Realistically, we would be f..ed by now. Thank God for the 100 year delay thanks to our angry populist ancestors - we clearly don't have the balls they had to fight for themselves.

    One more time: living standards in Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1990 tripled.

    And right next door in Austria they increased 5 times. In Spain, also 5 times.

    The Western European average was a four-fold increase in per capita GDP from 1948 to 1989.

    So a three-fold increase for a country next to Austria is nothing to brag about.

    Not only did Czechs languish economically relative to those not under Communism, they also lived shorter lives.

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

    In 1950-1955, life expectancy in Austria was 66.50 while in Czechoslovakia it was 66.86. Czechs lived longer than Austrians. But in 1985-1990, life expectancy in Austria was 75 while in Czechoslovakia it was 71.46.

    In Spain life expectancy was 64.60 in 1950-1955. In 1985-1990 it was 76.85.

    So under Communism not only did Czechs become poorer than Spaniards and Austrians, they lived shorter lives. By years.

    BTW the fact that authoritarian traditonalist Spain improved at a rate similar to that as democratic countries tells us that democracy is not necessary for economic and social improvement. However, the fact that both authoritarian and democratic systems improved much more than did Communist places tells us that the Communist system is detrimental to economic and social improvement.

    I can’t imagine an alternative that would be much better.

    From 1948-1989 look right across the border to Austria. Similar culture, region, history. Much greater economic growth 1948-1989 and much greater increase in life expectancy.

    Here is a nice article about this subject:

    https://economics.stanford.edu/sites/g/files/sbiybj9386/f/publications/mateidaianhonorsthesis-2012.pdf

    An interesting case is provided by the countries Romania, Greece, and Portugal which had similar economic growth trends between 1870 and 1938 (see graph). By doing a simple computation using the difference in differences equation specified in 3.1 and using only the countries Romania, Greece, and Portugal, we obtain a value of D = – $5,330.512. Now we will run the same calculation using the entire control group mentioned in 3.1, namely: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom; and considering the following communist countries as the treatment group: Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Albania. After running this calculation, we obtain D = – $6,794.29. Considering that the average GDP per capita in 1990 in former communist countries was $6,457, given our set of assumptions, we can conclude that the communist countries of Eastern Europe could have been 2.05 times richer in 1990 than they actually were had they not gone through communism. This is a back-of-the envelope calculation that does not control for anything else.

  112. @Dmitry
    The discussion he was replying to was about economics in free market vs socialism. This has no relation to questions of dictatorship vs democracy.

    Free market can combine with dictatorship. Socialism can combine with democracy. That's all unrelated completely unrelated topic to what we were discussing though, which was the failure of socialism.

    The discussion he was replying to was about economics in free market vs socialism. This has no relation to questions of dictatorship vs democracy.

    Free market can combine with dictatorship. Socialism can combine with democracy. That’s all unrelated completely unrelated topic to what we were discussing though, which was the failure of socialism.

    Epigon was dismissing laissez-faire economics and instead gave examples of countries which achieved success by pursuing an intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy (*not* a socialist economic policy *nor* a free market economic policy).

    The false dichotomy between socialism and libertarianism is the issue here in comprehending it.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    No-one was making "false dichotomy" or talking about "libertarianism".

    He was responding to discussion about the failure of socialism in Venezuela, with some irrelevant discussion about Norway (perhaps it was informative, if you want to know about hydroelectricity in Norway), and then after I repeated that Venezuela is simply an example of the failure of socialism - he replied with a counter-example of China and South Korea.

    Of course, China and South Korea (relative to their Northern communist alternative), are probably the two strongest examples of the benefits of free market policy compared to socialist policy. China showed this in two different historical epochs (one epoch attempting socialist economics and another attempting market economy), while Korea shows this in two regions of the same historical country.

    In Europe, the difference in the success of the two approaches, was never so significant as in East Asia. With the USSR, of course, there was vastly more success, than in China. The problem is when you realize what a better situation a Russian Empire, with normal free market economic policy and normal ideology, after necessary reforms, could have been in.

    , @AP

    Epigon was dismissing laissez-faire economics and instead gave examples of countries which achieved success by pursuing an intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy (*not* a socialist economic policy *nor* a free market economic policy).
     
    As the examples of Spain, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia show - democracy isn't necessary for large-scale improvement. It can be done in authoritarian states also. But Communism/Socialism makes it worse.
  113. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN
    What’s the point of arguing with someone who knows nothing about the subject matter? This phrase alone

    Those of us who visited the Soviet bloc in 1990 were shocked by the squalor we found there, compared even to poorer places in the West.
     
    tells anyone who actually lived in any of the Soviet block countries how clueless the person is. Not to mention that a card-carrying Ukie who visited Soviet block in the 1990 can mean only one thing: the descendant of a Banderite who by rights should have been hanged, but successfully ran away to the “democratic” West. As any normal person knows, a good Banderite is a dead Banderite. Humans don't argue with Banderites, humans begrudge that scum even a bullet and hang them.

    tells anyone who actually lived in any of the Soviet block countries how clueless the person is.

    As clueless as you, who lives in TN and insisted there are no US auto factories in the United States despite one being next door.

    Soviet “middle class” lived, materially (culturally was completely different), like poor Americans in housing projects. Families crammed into small apartments, few and crappy appliances and cars, cheap and ugly clothes, etc. Life expectancy for Soviet men in 1990 was 64. For African American men in 1990 it was 65.

    ot to mention that a card-carrying Ukie who visited Soviet block in the 1990 can mean only one thing: the descendant of a Banderite

    None of my ancestors were Banderites, you are clueless as usual. I’d guess roughly about 50% of those who fled Ukraine were Banderites (maybe it was 40%, maybe 60% – I don’t feel like researching this). Which means that 50% were not.

    As any normal person knows, a good Banderite is a dead Banderite.

    Bandera was no worse than Stalin (he might be comparable to Lenin) and 70% of Russians approve of Stalin:

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/16/stalins-approval-rating-among-russians-hits-record-high-poll-a65245

    Are you one of them? Because that would make your hatred of Bandera funny.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    I deeply despise all scum that does not deserve to be called human, be it Bandera, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Bush Jr, Cheney, or anyone else of that ilk. I also don’t stoop to talking to Banderites as if they are human.
  114. @AP

    tells anyone who actually lived in any of the Soviet block countries how clueless the person is.
     
    As clueless as you, who lives in TN and insisted there are no US auto factories in the United States despite one being next door.

    Soviet "middle class" lived, materially (culturally was completely different), like poor Americans in housing projects. Families crammed into small apartments, few and crappy appliances and cars, cheap and ugly clothes, etc. Life expectancy for Soviet men in 1990 was 64. For African American men in 1990 it was 65.

    ot to mention that a card-carrying Ukie who visited Soviet block in the 1990 can mean only one thing: the descendant of a Banderite
     
    None of my ancestors were Banderites, you are clueless as usual. I'd guess roughly about 50% of those who fled Ukraine were Banderites (maybe it was 40%, maybe 60% - I don't feel like researching this). Which means that 50% were not.

    As any normal person knows, a good Banderite is a dead Banderite.
     
    Bandera was no worse than Stalin (he might be comparable to Lenin) and 70% of Russians approve of Stalin:

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/16/stalins-approval-rating-among-russians-hits-record-high-poll-a65245

    Are you one of them? Because that would make your hatred of Bandera funny.

    I deeply despise all scum that does not deserve to be called human, be it Bandera, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Bush Jr, Cheney, or anyone else of that ilk. I also don’t stoop to talking to Banderites as if they are human.

    • Replies: @AP
    I'm glad that you hate Stalin. But do you refuse to speak to the 70% of Russians who approve of him?
  115. @Hyperborean

    The discussion he was replying to was about economics in free market vs socialism. This has no relation to questions of dictatorship vs democracy.

    Free market can combine with dictatorship. Socialism can combine with democracy. That’s all unrelated completely unrelated topic to what we were discussing though, which was the failure of socialism.
     

    Epigon was dismissing laissez-faire economics and instead gave examples of countries which achieved success by pursuing an intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy (*not* a socialist economic policy *nor* a free market economic policy).

    The false dichotomy between socialism and libertarianism is the issue here in comprehending it.

    No-one was making “false dichotomy” or talking about “libertarianism”.

    He was responding to discussion about the failure of socialism in Venezuela, with some irrelevant discussion about Norway (perhaps it was informative, if you want to know about hydroelectricity in Norway), and then after I repeated that Venezuela is simply an example of the failure of socialism – he replied with a counter-example of China and South Korea.

    Of course, China and South Korea (relative to their Northern communist alternative), are probably the two strongest examples of the benefits of free market policy compared to socialist policy. China showed this in two different historical epochs (one epoch attempting socialist economics and another attempting market economy), while Korea shows this in two regions of the same historical country.

    In Europe, the difference in the success of the two approaches, was never so significant as in East Asia. With the USSR, of course, there was vastly more success, than in China. The problem is when you realize what a better situation a Russian Empire, with normal free market economic policy and normal ideology, after necessary reforms, could have been in.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    I forgot to quote this:

    intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy
     
    Inventive way of saying market economy (which is the same as saying "free market" economy - no market economy is actually free from government interventions and regulation in the real world - the word "free" is just hyperbole -, but the policy of China from 1978 was to move vastly more towards free markets).
  116. AP says:
    @Hyperborean

    The discussion he was replying to was about economics in free market vs socialism. This has no relation to questions of dictatorship vs democracy.

    Free market can combine with dictatorship. Socialism can combine with democracy. That’s all unrelated completely unrelated topic to what we were discussing though, which was the failure of socialism.
     

    Epigon was dismissing laissez-faire economics and instead gave examples of countries which achieved success by pursuing an intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy (*not* a socialist economic policy *nor* a free market economic policy).

    The false dichotomy between socialism and libertarianism is the issue here in comprehending it.

    Epigon was dismissing laissez-faire economics and instead gave examples of countries which achieved success by pursuing an intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy (*not* a socialist economic policy *nor* a free market economic policy).

    As the examples of Spain, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia show – democracy isn’t necessary for large-scale improvement. It can be done in authoritarian states also. But Communism/Socialism makes it worse.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    To state the obvious here. Democracy is not either a necessary or sufficient condition for a free market policy. Neither is free market policy is either a necessary or sufficient condition for democracy.

    They're often combined in the same countries in real life, as they're generally accepted by intelligent populations as the best systems in their different areas (or "least bad systems") - but there's not a direct connection between them.

    Franco is example of attempting free-market economic from the 1950s, while remaining a dictatorship. Pinochet is an example, of attempting extreme free-market economic reforms, while being a light dictatorship.

  117. @AnonFromTN
    I deeply despise all scum that does not deserve to be called human, be it Bandera, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Bush Jr, Cheney, or anyone else of that ilk. I also don’t stoop to talking to Banderites as if they are human.

    I’m glad that you hate Stalin. But do you refuse to speak to the 70% of Russians who approve of him?

  118. @Dmitry
    No-one was making "false dichotomy" or talking about "libertarianism".

    He was responding to discussion about the failure of socialism in Venezuela, with some irrelevant discussion about Norway (perhaps it was informative, if you want to know about hydroelectricity in Norway), and then after I repeated that Venezuela is simply an example of the failure of socialism - he replied with a counter-example of China and South Korea.

    Of course, China and South Korea (relative to their Northern communist alternative), are probably the two strongest examples of the benefits of free market policy compared to socialist policy. China showed this in two different historical epochs (one epoch attempting socialist economics and another attempting market economy), while Korea shows this in two regions of the same historical country.

    In Europe, the difference in the success of the two approaches, was never so significant as in East Asia. With the USSR, of course, there was vastly more success, than in China. The problem is when you realize what a better situation a Russian Empire, with normal free market economic policy and normal ideology, after necessary reforms, could have been in.

    I forgot to quote this:

    intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy

    Inventive way of saying market economy (which is the same as saying “free market” economy – no market economy is actually free from government interventions and regulation in the real world – the word “free” is just hyperbole -, but the policy of China from 1978 was to move vastly more towards free markets).

  119. @AP

    Epigon was dismissing laissez-faire economics and instead gave examples of countries which achieved success by pursuing an intelligent planned capitalist industrial policy (*not* a socialist economic policy *nor* a free market economic policy).
     
    As the examples of Spain, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia show - democracy isn't necessary for large-scale improvement. It can be done in authoritarian states also. But Communism/Socialism makes it worse.

    To state the obvious here. Democracy is not either a necessary or sufficient condition for a free market policy. Neither is free market policy is either a necessary or sufficient condition for democracy.

    They’re often combined in the same countries in real life, as they’re generally accepted by intelligent populations as the best systems in their different areas (or “least bad systems”) – but there’s not a direct connection between them.

    Franco is example of attempting free-market economic from the 1950s, while remaining a dictatorship. Pinochet is an example, of attempting extreme free-market economic reforms, while being a light dictatorship.

    • Replies: @Epigon

    Franco is example of attempting free-market economic from the 1950s
     
    Spain "free market policies" = getting $ and investments from USA in return for bases on Spanish soil, getting access to West European work markets (unemployment solution, but more importantly - remmitances - cue Yugoslavia "socialism" which had 25% of workforce in West countries, bigger remmitances from abroad than export income) and Spain's saving grace - tourism.

    It can be said that Spain's political integration with the West, membership in IMF, World Bank, OECD allowed it to get all those juicy foreign bucks, unload its unemployed Juans and Marias in the West, and attract Western toursits to rip off. Loans ensured higher standard of living.

    However, there was a downside to all of this. Take a good look at current Spain - globohomo poz is omnipresent, the youth live with their parents, are unemployed to an alarming degree, and the average first parenthood age is 32.

    PS: Barcelona should be nuked.

  120. @AnonFromTN
    What’s the point of arguing with someone who knows nothing about the subject matter? This phrase alone

    Those of us who visited the Soviet bloc in 1990 were shocked by the squalor we found there, compared even to poorer places in the West.
     
    tells anyone who actually lived in any of the Soviet block countries how clueless the person is. Not to mention that a card-carrying Ukie who visited Soviet block in the 1990 can mean only one thing: the descendant of a Banderite who by rights should have been hanged, but successfully ran away to the “democratic” West. As any normal person knows, a good Banderite is a dead Banderite. Humans don't argue with Banderites, humans begrudge that scum even a bullet and hang them.

    I agree, no point. Typical undereducated child of exiles full of bitterness and stereotypical nonsense. He probably thinks that eastern Europe was black-and-white before 1989 (I have actually met people who semi-seriously argued that).

    I have seen my share of squalor, one can travel around US or Canada and see quite a bit of squalor and hopelessness. The numbers in Czechoslovakia or Hungary are fairly straight-forward: tripling living standards in 40 years is quite good. The part that AP refuses to understand is the ratio of free stuff to GNP – so much consumption under socialism was not monetised that his silly comparisons and playing with numbers come across as quasi-retarded. If you for example put value on free housing that Czechoslovakia had and monetise it, you can get a big jump in consumption per capita – and it was very real. After 1990 that housing was gradually given to the people who lived in there and created a huge asset boost in the country. But the work was done under socialism, it was only the accounting that valued it that happened after 1990. Any idiot would understand it, but ideology blinds people.

    The argument that ‘well, you could have done even better‘ is beyond silly. It means nothing to most people, only envy-driven losers from American suburbs who constantly worry about their standing in life think that way. If improving people’s lives threefold in 40 years is a failure – well, I am pretty sure most Westerners today would give their left arm for similar improvement in their societies.

    Another thing that gets overlooked is the cost in destroying Western cultures that the mindless growth – a lot of it driven by mass migration from the Third World that has been going on since at least the 60’s – has caused. Yeah, Britain probably has 20% higher GNP because the Pakistanis buy a lot of toilet paper and other stuff, but is it really worth it? We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.

    • Replies: @AP

    I have seen my share of squalor, one can travel around US or Canada and see quite a bit of squalor and hopelessness
     
    Materially - squalor in USA = middle-class life in 1988 Communist lands. Same material living standards, same life expectancy.

    The numbers in Czechoslovakia or Hungary are fairly straight-forward: tripling living standards in 40 years is quite good
     
    Franco's Spain and democratic Germany and Austria increased it five times, even better.

    Communists raised life expectancy in your country by 4.5 years. In that same time non-Communist Austria raised life expectancy by 9 years, and non-Communist Spain by 12 years.

    So Communist progress is pathetic by the standards of non-Communist places, whether right next door in Austria or further away, in Spain.

    The part that AP refuses to understand is the ratio of free stuff to GNP
     
    Free housing in crappy Soviet apartment blocks that resemble American housing projects for unemployed blacks. Free healthcare as life expectancy fell behind all the non-Communist nations.

    Should I look into infant mortality? How many extra Czech kids died every year, as the Czech people lived in free crappy housing and have lower economic growth than everybody not under Communism?

    We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.
     
    Had you become Guatemala you would have had even fewer migrants. So?
    , @AnonFromTN
    As the American joke has it, if you believe that unlimited growth is possible, you are either mad, or an economist. Blinding greed of the elites drives the destruction of everything good achieved in the West. It can be stopped only by physical elimination of those elites.

    But I think it’s not even ideology, it’s just a deadly combination of typical American woeful ignorance with a typical Ukrainian deep inferiority complex. Plus an immigrant resentment of former country: something must be blamed for the irrecoverable loss. Maybe even loser syndrome: here in the US low-income people often have it, as nothing is free. People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids, etc. They subconsciously try to justify their own or their parents’ decision to move and blame their failure to succeed on imagined “horrors” of their lost Motherland. I’ve seen this a lot in former Russians who moved chasing the pipe dream and ended up worse off than their classmates who remained. Losers always forget that they take themselves with them, wherever they move.

    Anyway, people never give up their illusions, which serve them as crutches to reconcile themselves with their real situation.
    , @Republic

    Yeah, Britain probably has 20% higher GNP because the Pakistanis buy a lot of toilet paper and other stuff, but is it really worth it? We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.
     
    a good point, gets up housing prices for the jews
  121. @Dmitry
    Your comments about Prague, are similar to the situation in Russia.

    In the USSR, infrastructure, urban planning and civil engineering, were generally at a higher standard than in Russia today.

    For example, they planned the new housing more carefully, provided adequate infrastructure, schools, and transport systems, unlike today where new housing developments can often be chaotic.

    However, a lot of these problems of Russia - are characteristic of the post-Soviet sphere, and we have similar problems in the media, which originate in the USSR, and in many areas.

    It's not simple "better or worse". There are areas where it was better, and areas where it was worse. But a lot of the problems of today, also began in the Soviet times.


    Same is true about Prague – in addition the asset appreciation in Prague (housing) was by far he highest in the country.
     
    It's interesting, this issue of home ownership is very similar to Russia. However, I don't think communist era panel houses constructed in Prague, are Czech Republic's best assets.

    In the alternative, I also don't see how capitalist Prague would not have the same economic level as a Western European city in the 20th century, like perhaps Milan or Turin.

    But in the real 20th century, Prague by the 1990s, become some kind of cheap city known for prostitutes and mafia. And yet now, it's becoming wealthier again and known more for its culture.

    You can pretend that some traditional conservative gradualist societies would exist in he absence of communism-fascism. I doubt it, most likely the neo-liberalism that has been out of control since 1990’s would be totally dominant
     

    Neoliberalism is an economic policy. It doesn't imply any particular social views. The most famous neoliberal leader was Pinochet, who was socially quite conservative.

    Anyway, best and most interesting societies, need some kind of balance of social conservatives and liberals (ideally more intelligent ones of the both). Social issues - are more subjective, and best understood when is space for independent views and for problems attacked from different angles.

    On the other hand, economic best practices for a country not to become bankrupt, are something much more objective, discoverable over time, and common across different societies.

    …communist era panel houses constructed in Prague, are not Czech Republic’s best assets.

    Right, they are not the best. But there were also over a million homes that were built mostly in the countryside and smaller towns. Interestingly enough, after 1990 there was first almost no construction – everybody was too busy privatising what was built under socialism. I would not call it ‘mafia’, we are not that kind of people, there were some scumbags, mostly former commies who had an inside track, but all the talk of mafias was way overstated. Even at it worst crime never approached the levels in the Western societies where for some reason people never call it ‘mafia’. Go figure.

    When the construction restarted new city homes were way inferior to the old panel houses – they were smaller, used much worse material, were very densely packed, and developers did no work outside the buildings. Today the old panel apartments are often at a premium in big cities because they were better built. But I don’t particularly like the way they look.

    You mention Milano or Torino – they are full of very ugly panel housing that is nowhere as good as what was built in Czechoslovakia. I also don’t get the admiration for those cities, they look like crap, transport doesn’t work, they are dirty, strange characters are mulling around, they are substantially more dangerous. When I talk to Italians they don’t seem to think that anything they have is better – actually quite a few have moved to Central Europe. So have a lot of Brits and Dutch. The stereotype that Western media maintains is highly ideological and only true is some parts. In general, they have lied a lot about Central Europe and that is reflected in the way most Westerners perceive the region. But it is good – we really don’t want them to come, let them enjoy the multicultural paradise at home :)…

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    I read somewhere that panel houses in Czechoslovakia were higher quality.

    Panel houses in USSR, were not great internally, and the original design was only supposed to be temporary. However, the infrastructure and urban planning around them was often excellent. Version built in Khrushchev, also had better thermal qualities than many other building.

    The real problem of living in these buildings, depended on your neighbours. If you have quiet neighbours, it could be acceptable to live there. But if you had uncivilized and noisy neighbours in your building, apparently it can destroy the atmosphere for everyone.


    When the construction restarted new city homes were way inferior to the old panel houses – they were smaller, used much worse material, were very densely packed, and developers did no work outside the buildings.

     

    It sounds very similar to in Russia. Although here it depends on how much you can spend (from the 1990s, there are excellent quality new apartment buildings, built in central areas, but the good quality projects are a lot more expensive than the normal projects, and marketed as luxury housing).

    Today the old panel apartments are often at a premium in big cities because they were better built. But I don’t particularly like the way they look.

     

    Czech panel housing were obviously better quality than equivalent panel housing buildings in the USSR.

    Milano or Torino – they are full of very ugly .
     
    My point, is the cities were a lot richer than Prague by the 1990s.
  122. AP says:
    @Beckow
    I agree, no point. Typical undereducated child of exiles full of bitterness and stereotypical nonsense. He probably thinks that eastern Europe was black-and-white before 1989 (I have actually met people who semi-seriously argued that).

    I have seen my share of squalor, one can travel around US or Canada and see quite a bit of squalor and hopelessness. The numbers in Czechoslovakia or Hungary are fairly straight-forward: tripling living standards in 40 years is quite good. The part that AP refuses to understand is the ratio of free stuff to GNP - so much consumption under socialism was not monetised that his silly comparisons and playing with numbers come across as quasi-retarded. If you for example put value on free housing that Czechoslovakia had and monetise it, you can get a big jump in consumption per capita - and it was very real. After 1990 that housing was gradually given to the people who lived in there and created a huge asset boost in the country. But the work was done under socialism, it was only the accounting that valued it that happened after 1990. Any idiot would understand it, but ideology blinds people.

    The argument that 'well, you could have done even better' is beyond silly. It means nothing to most people, only envy-driven losers from American suburbs who constantly worry about their standing in life think that way. If improving people's lives threefold in 40 years is a failure - well, I am pretty sure most Westerners today would give their left arm for similar improvement in their societies.

    Another thing that gets overlooked is the cost in destroying Western cultures that the mindless growth - a lot of it driven by mass migration from the Third World that has been going on since at least the 60's - has caused. Yeah, Britain probably has 20% higher GNP because the Pakistanis buy a lot of toilet paper and other stuff, but is it really worth it? We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.

    I have seen my share of squalor, one can travel around US or Canada and see quite a bit of squalor and hopelessness

    Materially – squalor in USA = middle-class life in 1988 Communist lands. Same material living standards, same life expectancy.

    The numbers in Czechoslovakia or Hungary are fairly straight-forward: tripling living standards in 40 years is quite good

    Franco’s Spain and democratic Germany and Austria increased it five times, even better.

    Communists raised life expectancy in your country by 4.5 years. In that same time non-Communist Austria raised life expectancy by 9 years, and non-Communist Spain by 12 years.

    So Communist progress is pathetic by the standards of non-Communist places, whether right next door in Austria or further away, in Spain.

    The part that AP refuses to understand is the ratio of free stuff to GNP

    Free housing in crappy Soviet apartment blocks that resemble American housing projects for unemployed blacks. Free healthcare as life expectancy fell behind all the non-Communist nations.

    Should I look into infant mortality? How many extra Czech kids died every year, as the Czech people lived in free crappy housing and have lower economic growth than everybody not under Communism?

    We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.

    Had you become Guatemala you would have had even fewer migrants. So?

  123. @Beckow
    I agree, no point. Typical undereducated child of exiles full of bitterness and stereotypical nonsense. He probably thinks that eastern Europe was black-and-white before 1989 (I have actually met people who semi-seriously argued that).

    I have seen my share of squalor, one can travel around US or Canada and see quite a bit of squalor and hopelessness. The numbers in Czechoslovakia or Hungary are fairly straight-forward: tripling living standards in 40 years is quite good. The part that AP refuses to understand is the ratio of free stuff to GNP - so much consumption under socialism was not monetised that his silly comparisons and playing with numbers come across as quasi-retarded. If you for example put value on free housing that Czechoslovakia had and monetise it, you can get a big jump in consumption per capita - and it was very real. After 1990 that housing was gradually given to the people who lived in there and created a huge asset boost in the country. But the work was done under socialism, it was only the accounting that valued it that happened after 1990. Any idiot would understand it, but ideology blinds people.

    The argument that 'well, you could have done even better' is beyond silly. It means nothing to most people, only envy-driven losers from American suburbs who constantly worry about their standing in life think that way. If improving people's lives threefold in 40 years is a failure - well, I am pretty sure most Westerners today would give their left arm for similar improvement in their societies.

    Another thing that gets overlooked is the cost in destroying Western cultures that the mindless growth - a lot of it driven by mass migration from the Third World that has been going on since at least the 60's - has caused. Yeah, Britain probably has 20% higher GNP because the Pakistanis buy a lot of toilet paper and other stuff, but is it really worth it? We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.

    As the American joke has it, if you believe that unlimited growth is possible, you are either mad, or an economist. Blinding greed of the elites drives the destruction of everything good achieved in the West. It can be stopped only by physical elimination of those elites.

    But I think it’s not even ideology, it’s just a deadly combination of typical American woeful ignorance with a typical Ukrainian deep inferiority complex. Plus an immigrant resentment of former country: something must be blamed for the irrecoverable loss. Maybe even loser syndrome: here in the US low-income people often have it, as nothing is free. People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids, etc. They subconsciously try to justify their own or their parents’ decision to move and blame their failure to succeed on imagined “horrors” of their lost Motherland. I’ve seen this a lot in former Russians who moved chasing the pipe dream and ended up worse off than their classmates who remained. Losers always forget that they take themselves with them, wherever they move.

    Anyway, people never give up their illusions, which serve them as crutches to reconcile themselves with their real situation.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids, etc...
     
    They envy and it is painful to watch. You know the Aesop's tale of 'the grapes are sour, since I can't reach them'. Quite sad.

    The game US media has been playing is to pretend that none of this exists, and if it exists it 'was bad'. Pointing out silly minutia and missing the story.

    The silly envy-driven comparisons that these losers engage in is a sign of coming trouble. They talk about Guatemala - well, they are becoming Guatemala, literally becoming one in the next generation or two. It doesn't occur to them that they had been sold down the river and fooled by their elites.
    , @AP

    But I think it’s not even ideology, it’s just a deadly combination of typical American woeful ignorance
     
    Again, you are last person in the world to speak of woeful ignorance.

    typical Ukrainian deep inferiority complex.
     
    Against whom? Sovoks who lived in squalor and lived short lives?

    People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids
     
    Poor people in America get all of these things: free housing in crappy housing projects that resemble Sovok middle class housing, scholarships for free education as long as they perform well academically (same as in USSR), free healthcare (Medicaid), free childcare. The difference is that they don't brag about how great that is for them, unlike Sovoks.

    They subconsciously try to justify their own or their parents’ decision to move and blame their failure to succeed on imagined “horrors” of their lost Motherland.
     
    Ukrainian American income in the USA is well above average (23rd out of 99 ethnic groups):

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

    Ukrainian American (2016): $72,449 [3]

    And no one in my family makes that little.

    :::::::::::

    It is you who try to justify the failure of your system and the resultant misery by bragging that you lived like African Americans "for free."

  124. @AnonFromTN
    As the American joke has it, if you believe that unlimited growth is possible, you are either mad, or an economist. Blinding greed of the elites drives the destruction of everything good achieved in the West. It can be stopped only by physical elimination of those elites.

    But I think it’s not even ideology, it’s just a deadly combination of typical American woeful ignorance with a typical Ukrainian deep inferiority complex. Plus an immigrant resentment of former country: something must be blamed for the irrecoverable loss. Maybe even loser syndrome: here in the US low-income people often have it, as nothing is free. People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids, etc. They subconsciously try to justify their own or their parents’ decision to move and blame their failure to succeed on imagined “horrors” of their lost Motherland. I’ve seen this a lot in former Russians who moved chasing the pipe dream and ended up worse off than their classmates who remained. Losers always forget that they take themselves with them, wherever they move.

    Anyway, people never give up their illusions, which serve them as crutches to reconcile themselves with their real situation.

    …People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids, etc…

    They envy and it is painful to watch. You know the Aesop’s tale of ‘the grapes are sour, since I can’t reach them’. Quite sad.

    The game US media has been playing is to pretend that none of this exists, and if it exists it ‘was bad’. Pointing out silly minutia and missing the story.

    The silly envy-driven comparisons that these losers engage in is a sign of coming trouble. They talk about Guatemala – well, they are becoming Guatemala, literally becoming one in the next generation or two. It doesn’t occur to them that they had been sold down the river and fooled by their elites.

    • Replies: @AP

    They envy and it is painful to watch.
     
    Why would someone be envious of living materially like poor African Americans despite being Europeans - free substandard crowded housing, free substandard medical care (reflected in lower life expectancy), etc.?

    It seems you are projecting, as usual.
    , @Republic

    It doesn’t occur to them that they had been sold down the river and fooled by their elites.
     
    That is the plan
  125. There is no point in arguing with someone who claims Prussia, Imperial Germany, China in the last 40 years, South Korea since 1950 all have had “free market economies”.
    Calling them “free market economies” is a bigger mistake than calling Scandinavian countries Socialist.

    The worldview that by participating in the world market you immediately are a free market economy country is laughable.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    As known by everyone, China's economy was a failure under socialism. After they transitioned to the free-market allocation system, the economy started to grow (its speed of growth boosted by importing foreign technology).

    Today, China is not less "free"-market, than Russia. The difference is packaging - we sometimes still here boasting about the successful transition to the market economy, while China nominally has to pretend they are somehow socialists (even as their wealth inequality is now higher than America).


    Spain “free market policies” = getting $ and investments from USA in return for bases on Spanish soil, getting access to West European work markets (unemployment solution, but more importantly – remmitances –
     
    With Franco, Spain also lowered its corporation tax to one of the lowest in Europe. Franco also banned any trade-unions, and reduced any worker protection. Spain also had omparatively cheap labour. So overall, he created a successful situation for attracting foreign investment.

    Spain's economy was allocating like a free market economy (there was no attempt at creating a socialist system).

    However, there was a downside to all of this. Take a good look at current Spain – globohomo poz is omnipresent, the youth live with their parents, are unemployed to an alarming degree, and the average first parenthood age is 32.

    PS: Barcelona should be nuked.
     

    I don't think you can blame Franco for this. Franco delayed a social revolution by about 10 years, so 1960s London equivalent culture occurred later in Madrid, after 1975.

    Contemporary Spanish culture, probably reflects quite well the Spanish preferences - party and socialize, to live with your parents until you are over 30, and to use young people's labour for free by giving them internships instead of jobs.

  126. @Dmitry
    To state the obvious here. Democracy is not either a necessary or sufficient condition for a free market policy. Neither is free market policy is either a necessary or sufficient condition for democracy.

    They're often combined in the same countries in real life, as they're generally accepted by intelligent populations as the best systems in their different areas (or "least bad systems") - but there's not a direct connection between them.

    Franco is example of attempting free-market economic from the 1950s, while remaining a dictatorship. Pinochet is an example, of attempting extreme free-market economic reforms, while being a light dictatorship.

    Franco is example of attempting free-market economic from the 1950s

    Spain “free market policies” = getting $ and investments from USA in return for bases on Spanish soil, getting access to West European work markets (unemployment solution, but more importantly – remmitances – cue Yugoslavia “socialism” which had 25% of workforce in West countries, bigger remmitances from abroad than export income) and Spain’s saving grace – tourism.

    It can be said that Spain’s political integration with the West, membership in IMF, World Bank, OECD allowed it to get all those juicy foreign bucks, unload its unemployed Juans and Marias in the West, and attract Western toursits to rip off. Loans ensured higher standard of living.

    However, there was a downside to all of this. Take a good look at current Spain – globohomo poz is omnipresent, the youth live with their parents, are unemployed to an alarming degree, and the average first parenthood age is 32.

    PS: Barcelona should be nuked.

  127. The improvements in Warsaw Pact countries were in spite of communism/socialism, not because of communism/socialism.

    A nationalist, paternal autocratic state would have achieved far more. Once the long-term prosperity of native ethnos is the primary goal of a country, and its policies and decisions start reflecting this, improvements are around the corner – strict meritocratic selection, fertility and welfare measures, utilisation of natural resources and economic opportunities, promotion of charity work and donations by national (!) elite etc.

    Naturally, long-term prosperity requires some short (and even medium) term hardships, reform periods and turbulences.
    Individualism, globalism and laissez-faire are a social (and civilization) poison, a fact that will become obvious to many.

  128. @Epigon
    That heavy oil exported to USA had already been diluted.
    Venezuela actually imported heavy naptha from USA in addition to Algerian light oil to dilute its extra-heavy crude oil.
    Russia probably had to step-in to replace USA shipments.

    They are also importing Nigerian oil for the dilution.

  129. @reiner Tor
    His family was attacked, he receives death threats etc. Then there's a boycott against him, so probably he's not at the optimal point income-wise. He could easily increase his income and at the same reduce the personal risk of being attacked (or his family being attacked) by simply moving somewhat in a cuckservative direction.

    It speaks a lot for his integrity that he isn't doing that.

    Tucker went to private school, as did his wife. His family are blue bloods and he must have made a fortune from TV and books, he really should have f u money unless he has some incredibly expensive vices.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    he really should have f u money
     
    So do many cuckservative media personalities. Yet he is the only reliably solid conservative American media personality.
  130. @LondonBob
    Tucker went to private school, as did his wife. His family are blue bloods and he must have made a fortune from TV and books, he really should have f u money unless he has some incredibly expensive vices.

    he really should have f u money

    So do many cuckservative media personalities. Yet he is the only reliably solid conservative American media personality.

    • Agree: Yevardian
    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Disagree Tucker really has an elite, and very WASP, background. Implies money, national feeling and integrity.
  131. @Felix Keverich
    Any capitalist government in Venezuela will want to have nothing to do with Russia. Russian government tries to prop up isolated, "pariah states", because they are the only ones willing to work with Russians.

    Russian government tries to prop up isolated, “pariah states”, because they are the only ones willing to work with Russians.

    Ah, so that’s the reason why, despite all the “misunderstandings” over Syria, relations between Russia and Israel are so cordial !

    • Replies: @Yevardian
    Israel is just playing the long game as usual; maintaining friendly relations with non-Western Great Powers in anticipation for the fall of the American world order. Outside of internal elections, Israeli leaders care remarkably little for ideology.
  132. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN
    As the American joke has it, if you believe that unlimited growth is possible, you are either mad, or an economist. Blinding greed of the elites drives the destruction of everything good achieved in the West. It can be stopped only by physical elimination of those elites.

    But I think it’s not even ideology, it’s just a deadly combination of typical American woeful ignorance with a typical Ukrainian deep inferiority complex. Plus an immigrant resentment of former country: something must be blamed for the irrecoverable loss. Maybe even loser syndrome: here in the US low-income people often have it, as nothing is free. People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids, etc. They subconsciously try to justify their own or their parents’ decision to move and blame their failure to succeed on imagined “horrors” of their lost Motherland. I’ve seen this a lot in former Russians who moved chasing the pipe dream and ended up worse off than their classmates who remained. Losers always forget that they take themselves with them, wherever they move.

    Anyway, people never give up their illusions, which serve them as crutches to reconcile themselves with their real situation.

    But I think it’s not even ideology, it’s just a deadly combination of typical American woeful ignorance

    Again, you are last person in the world to speak of woeful ignorance.

    typical Ukrainian deep inferiority complex.

    Against whom? Sovoks who lived in squalor and lived short lives?

    People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids

    Poor people in America get all of these things: free housing in crappy housing projects that resemble Sovok middle class housing, scholarships for free education as long as they perform well academically (same as in USSR), free healthcare (Medicaid), free childcare. The difference is that they don’t brag about how great that is for them, unlike Sovoks.

    They subconsciously try to justify their own or their parents’ decision to move and blame their failure to succeed on imagined “horrors” of their lost Motherland.

    Ukrainian American income in the USA is well above average (23rd out of 99 ethnic groups):

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

    Ukrainian American (2016): $72,449 [3]

    And no one in my family makes that little.

    :::::::::::

    It is you who try to justify the failure of your system and the resultant misery by bragging that you lived like African Americans “for free.”

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Can you tell me more about this free childcare, because I'm not seeing it.
    , @AnonFromTN
    Urgently inform the poor in the US. They have no idea how much they are missing. Also inform the US government. It has no idea how much it is doing for the poor. LOL.
  133. @Beckow

    ...People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids, etc...
     
    They envy and it is painful to watch. You know the Aesop's tale of 'the grapes are sour, since I can't reach them'. Quite sad.

    The game US media has been playing is to pretend that none of this exists, and if it exists it 'was bad'. Pointing out silly minutia and missing the story.

    The silly envy-driven comparisons that these losers engage in is a sign of coming trouble. They talk about Guatemala - well, they are becoming Guatemala, literally becoming one in the next generation or two. It doesn't occur to them that they had been sold down the river and fooled by their elites.

    They envy and it is painful to watch.

    Why would someone be envious of living materially like poor African Americans despite being Europeans – free substandard crowded housing, free substandard medical care (reflected in lower life expectancy), etc.?

    It seems you are projecting, as usual.

  134. @Beckow
    What? You are really confusing terms. Planned is not the same as socialist, everybody plans. Is Japan a 'socialist' country? They plan a lot, they have whole government ministries doing nothing but planning.

    (What they exactly meant by planning in India is also not clear. Maybe filling out visa applications?)

    By any standard: free markets, private ownership of businesses, no guaranteed social benefits, etc... India has been a capitalist economy. Claiming otherwise is simply wrong and maybe you do it to associate failure with what you don't like. Unfortunately there is plenty of failure in capitalism too.

    What? You are really confusing terms. Planned is not the same as socialist, everybody plans.

    You wrote that India was a “capitalist free-market society since time immemorial,” just admit it that it wasn’t, and then we can move on. I never said it was socialist, this is a straw man.

    By any standard: free markets, private ownership of businesses, no guaranteed social benefits, etc…

    It didn’t have free markets, there was a large public sector in the economy, there were extremely extensive regulations, and the government micro-managed the private sector.

    It just wasn’t a “capitalist free-market society.”

    Indian economic policy after independence was influenced by the colonial experience (which was seen by Indian leaders as exploitative in nature) and by those leaders’ exposure to Fabian socialism. Policy tended towards protectionism, with a strong emphasis on import substitution industrialization under state monitoring, state intervention at the micro level in all businesses especially in labour and financial markets, a large public sector, business regulation, and central planning.[13] Five-Year Plans of India resembled central planning in the Soviet Union. Steel, mining, machine tools, water, telecommunications, insurance, and electrical plants, among other industries, were effectively nationalised in the mid-1950s.[14] Elaborate licences, regulations and the accompanying red tape, commonly referred to as Licence Raj, were required to set up business in India between 1947 and 1990.[15]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_India#Pre-liberalisation_policies

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    IMO the License Raj wasn't technically a lack of capitalism - although we're niggling on the definition of intent versus actuality. In theory, the aim was still to provide a free market with a few steps. In practice, it immediately collapsed into the typical nepotistic spoils grabbing that defines Indians with really very little intent or thought on any higher cause such as protectionism.

    I generally agree with Fredrich List's view of controlled protectionism, but its advantages really are also dependent on the population. List is actually rather population agnostic in his writing but a central part of it is the idea that keeping certain industries within allows for knowledge as a good to be gained and preserved(as well as other capital necessities).

    In today's world of knowledge management, this is screamingly true. However, this is only possible if there's a way to keep that knowledge and intense nepotism and emigration of skilled professionals both make that less possible. A pretty large plank of Listian thought collapses if internal knowledge can never be developed.
    , @Beckow

    ...just admit it that it wasn’t, and then we can move on
     
    India has always had a 'market' economy. Yes, it wasn't as free as some economists in Chicago dream about, but it was a capitalist market economy in today's terms, and it got more so since 1990. It is still a dysfunctional sh..thole. We can move on.

    (I admit your point and will try not to straw-man - tempting as it is in shorthand here.)

    What I was saying by comparing China and India is a simple observable fact from the last 100 years: socialist policies often work better in some circumstances and free market economies are no panacea. Free market libertarianism is also not something new and wonderful: most human history in most places is one big libertarian free-for-all. It usually looks like Lagos or Mumbai markets, not exactly a desirable state.

    People have always tried to escape these libertarian anything-goes 'free' places - actually most of European civilisation used to be a set of policies and customs to prevent the unrestricted free markets in everything. Socialism and nationalist capitalism were a part of that way of thinking. What we have now is an abandonment of the basic European civilization principles - open borders, no regulations, collapsed global labor market, etc... The results speak for themselves: great gadgets, great mobility, but no stability and a demographic collapse of middle classes. That was my point.

  135. @AP

    But I think it’s not even ideology, it’s just a deadly combination of typical American woeful ignorance
     
    Again, you are last person in the world to speak of woeful ignorance.

    typical Ukrainian deep inferiority complex.
     
    Against whom? Sovoks who lived in squalor and lived short lives?

    People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids
     
    Poor people in America get all of these things: free housing in crappy housing projects that resemble Sovok middle class housing, scholarships for free education as long as they perform well academically (same as in USSR), free healthcare (Medicaid), free childcare. The difference is that they don't brag about how great that is for them, unlike Sovoks.

    They subconsciously try to justify their own or their parents’ decision to move and blame their failure to succeed on imagined “horrors” of their lost Motherland.
     
    Ukrainian American income in the USA is well above average (23rd out of 99 ethnic groups):

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

    Ukrainian American (2016): $72,449 [3]

    And no one in my family makes that little.

    :::::::::::

    It is you who try to justify the failure of your system and the resultant misery by bragging that you lived like African Americans "for free."

    Can you tell me more about this free childcare, because I’m not seeing it.

    • Replies: @AP
    Poor people get subsidized and in many cases free childcare (it depends on how poor they are):

    https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/government_child_care_assistan.html
  136. @Beckow
    You give us one education example and based on that claim that all improvements between 1945-89 in Hungary were 'already planned'. That is an extrapolation too far. Even with education, the difference with the commies was that it was all free - all the way through university. I doubt Horthy was going to do it, but you tell us, maybe Hungary was different.

    Matthias Corvinus ruled in the 15th century - a few more than 'hundreds of years'. But come to think of it, why didn't he make the lives of 90% of population better? Or do you think that communism was worse than feudalism for most people? Or do you equally denounce the feudals?

    The inordinate focus on 'how bad commies were' and not seeing anything bad or evil in the previous decades or centuries borders on obsessive self-deception. Whenever I was able to examine the background of people who suffer from it, they always had personal reasons: family stuff, property lost, etc... It is not much more than self-centered selfishness hiding behind exaggerated ideological hatred. By that standard, any commie who lost after 1989 could claim that 'capitalism has not worked' (for him).


    This happened everywhere in Europe, even poorer countries, except better without communism.
     
    That is the best argument. But as I pointed out above, it was done because of fear of communism - all Western elites were suddenly very accommodating to people and their social needs - they couldn't be more 'socialist', in effect promising people all the benefits without the obvious costs of communism. Why have all of those started to be dismantled after 1989? The real beneficiaries of eastern European communism were western Europeans. Now we are back to capitalism the way its is naturally when not scared.

    Based on data in 1945-89, most communist countries were somewhere in the middle of the dramatic increase in living standards in Europe: Hungary actually did very well, better than Ireland, Portugal or Spain. It was not as black-and-white as you suggest.

    I don’t know what evidence you need to accept that Hungary wouldn’t have fared worse if the Horthy regime would’ve continued. (For example if Hitler didn’t decide to become a crazy Wagner protagonist.) In fact it would’ve fared better.

    Matthias Corvinus ruled in the 15th century – a few more than ‘hundreds of years’.

    He died 455 years before 1945, which to me is “hundreds of years,” but it doesn’t matter. Because you are now criticizing Matthias Corvinus here:

    But come to think of it, why didn’t he make the lives of 90% of population better? Or do you think that communism was worse than feudalism for most people? Or do you equally denounce the feudals?

    This is a pretty idiotic argument. Matthias Corvinus was a bloody medieval king, he didn’t have anything at his disposal to “make the lives of 90% of population better.” He tried to create a Central European empire strong enough to be able to withstand any future Ottoman onslaught, but he failed in that effort. His efforts led to a very high level of taxation (by medieval standards), though its effects are still debated among historians. It is now thought that the Hungarian monarchy was even stronger by the 1520s, unfortunately the Ottomans got many times stronger still. Anyway, had Matthias Corvinus succeeded in his efforts, the Turks might not have been able to conquer Belgrade in 1521, and maybe we wouldn’t have had the Ottoman occupation and wars for almost two centuries. That would’ve made the lives of 90% (actually, basically 100%) of the population better. Other than that, what the hell do you expect of Matthias Corvinus?

    do you equally denounce the feudals?

    Feudalism was better than the alternatives. (What were those, exactly, in the Middle Ages?) Communism wasn’t.

    Feudal privileges (not feudalism, which never truly existed in Hungary) and serfdom were outdated by the first half of the 19th century. It took some inertia to abolish them, but they largely got abolished after 1848. (The revolution was led by noblemen, and many aristocrats joined it, too.)

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...what evidence you need to accept that Hungary wouldn’t have fared worse if the Horthy regime would’ve continued. For example if Hitler didn’t decide to become a crazy Wagner protagonist. In fact it would’ve fared better.
     
    Too many embedded 'if's'. First of all, personalising eras and systems is wrong: it wasn't 'Hitler', he was one man - what happened in he first half of the 20th century was much larger, it reflected massive shifts. e.g. German assertion, deep underlying conflicts, struggle for resources, etc...

    Second, the context of 1940's Central Europe was such that a nationally oriented social progress was not possible: different ethnic groups were at each other's throats. That was inevitable at that point, so any 'if' there is purely theoretical. The universalist sides won: socialism and global liberalism. There is a lesson there for today: Achilles heel of nationalism are the mutual conflicts that lead to exhaustion and yearning for universal harmony.


    This is a pretty idiotic argument. Matthias Corvinus was a bloody medieval king, he didn’t have anything at his disposal to “make the lives of 90% of population better.
     
    Why? You are putting the bar very low. Your implicit fatalistic defense of feudalism undermines your arguments against socialism. Things were what they were, it was bloody too soon after WWII, most people wanted just the basics for survival, etc...why expect more? You don't seem to expect much from others.

    In the more recent past the elites were not much better. As I said in my original post by 1945 they had more than enough time to improve the lives of ordinary people (80-90%) and they failed and postponed again and again. That was a failure. The most relevant observation about 1930's is how bad do you have to be to lose an election to Hitler?

    Hungary did quite well in 1945-90, most people benefitted. Compared to the previous decades and centuries it was a golden time for most ordinary Hungarians. Same was true in Czechoslovakia.

    Could it be even better? Probably. But you can say that about anytime and anywhere in the world. One can argue that the costs were too high, and for a minority of people, mostly former elites the costs were indeed too high. That is always the case. The feudals didn't lose any sleep over peasants' suffering, Bezos is building a $200 million yacht, the elites don't care much for ordinary people - why should we worry about them when the wheel turns? Commies were like a cold shower that sobered up the elites for a while. Now they have forgotten, they always do and it will happen again.

  137. @reiner Tor

    What? You are really confusing terms. Planned is not the same as socialist, everybody plans.
     
    You wrote that India was a "capitalist free-market society since time immemorial," just admit it that it wasn't, and then we can move on. I never said it was socialist, this is a straw man.

    By any standard: free markets, private ownership of businesses, no guaranteed social benefits, etc…
     
    It didn't have free markets, there was a large public sector in the economy, there were extremely extensive regulations, and the government micro-managed the private sector.

    It just wasn't a "capitalist free-market society."

    Indian economic policy after independence was influenced by the colonial experience (which was seen by Indian leaders as exploitative in nature) and by those leaders' exposure to Fabian socialism. Policy tended towards protectionism, with a strong emphasis on import substitution industrialization under state monitoring, state intervention at the micro level in all businesses especially in labour and financial markets, a large public sector, business regulation, and central planning.[13] Five-Year Plans of India resembled central planning in the Soviet Union. Steel, mining, machine tools, water, telecommunications, insurance, and electrical plants, among other industries, were effectively nationalised in the mid-1950s.[14] Elaborate licences, regulations and the accompanying red tape, commonly referred to as Licence Raj, were required to set up business in India between 1947 and 1990.[15]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_India#Pre-liberalisation_policies

    IMO the License Raj wasn’t technically a lack of capitalism – although we’re niggling on the definition of intent versus actuality. In theory, the aim was still to provide a free market with a few steps. In practice, it immediately collapsed into the typical nepotistic spoils grabbing that defines Indians with really very little intent or thought on any higher cause such as protectionism.

    I generally agree with Fredrich List’s view of controlled protectionism, but its advantages really are also dependent on the population. List is actually rather population agnostic in his writing but a central part of it is the idea that keeping certain industries within allows for knowledge as a good to be gained and preserved(as well as other capital necessities).

    In today’s world of knowledge management, this is screamingly true. However, this is only possible if there’s a way to keep that knowledge and intense nepotism and emigration of skilled professionals both make that less possible. A pretty large plank of Listian thought collapses if internal knowledge can never be developed.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    the License Raj wasn’t technically a lack of capitalism
     
    Capitalism, maybe. But free-market capitalism..?
  138. @Daniel Chieh
    IMO the License Raj wasn't technically a lack of capitalism - although we're niggling on the definition of intent versus actuality. In theory, the aim was still to provide a free market with a few steps. In practice, it immediately collapsed into the typical nepotistic spoils grabbing that defines Indians with really very little intent or thought on any higher cause such as protectionism.

    I generally agree with Fredrich List's view of controlled protectionism, but its advantages really are also dependent on the population. List is actually rather population agnostic in his writing but a central part of it is the idea that keeping certain industries within allows for knowledge as a good to be gained and preserved(as well as other capital necessities).

    In today's world of knowledge management, this is screamingly true. However, this is only possible if there's a way to keep that knowledge and intense nepotism and emigration of skilled professionals both make that less possible. A pretty large plank of Listian thought collapses if internal knowledge can never be developed.

    the License Raj wasn’t technically a lack of capitalism

    Capitalism, maybe. But free-market capitalism..?

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Well, I mean,it got as far as your capability to bribe. The most bespoke of freest capitalism!
  139. @reiner Tor

    the License Raj wasn’t technically a lack of capitalism
     
    Capitalism, maybe. But free-market capitalism..?

    Well, I mean,it got as far as your capability to bribe. The most bespoke of freest capitalism!

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    If we take corruption into account, Hungary was capitalist already by 1982 at the latest.
  140. @Daniel Chieh
    Well, I mean,it got as far as your capability to bribe. The most bespoke of freest capitalism!

    If we take corruption into account, Hungary was capitalist already by 1982 at the latest.

  141. @reiner Tor

    What? You are really confusing terms. Planned is not the same as socialist, everybody plans.
     
    You wrote that India was a "capitalist free-market society since time immemorial," just admit it that it wasn't, and then we can move on. I never said it was socialist, this is a straw man.

    By any standard: free markets, private ownership of businesses, no guaranteed social benefits, etc…
     
    It didn't have free markets, there was a large public sector in the economy, there were extremely extensive regulations, and the government micro-managed the private sector.

    It just wasn't a "capitalist free-market society."

    Indian economic policy after independence was influenced by the colonial experience (which was seen by Indian leaders as exploitative in nature) and by those leaders' exposure to Fabian socialism. Policy tended towards protectionism, with a strong emphasis on import substitution industrialization under state monitoring, state intervention at the micro level in all businesses especially in labour and financial markets, a large public sector, business regulation, and central planning.[13] Five-Year Plans of India resembled central planning in the Soviet Union. Steel, mining, machine tools, water, telecommunications, insurance, and electrical plants, among other industries, were effectively nationalised in the mid-1950s.[14] Elaborate licences, regulations and the accompanying red tape, commonly referred to as Licence Raj, were required to set up business in India between 1947 and 1990.[15]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalisation_in_India#Pre-liberalisation_policies

    …just admit it that it wasn’t, and then we can move on

    India has always had a ‘market‘ economy. Yes, it wasn’t as free as some economists in Chicago dream about, but it was a capitalist market economy in today’s terms, and it got more so since 1990. It is still a dysfunctional sh..thole. We can move on.

    (I admit your point and will try not to straw-man – tempting as it is in shorthand here.)

    What I was saying by comparing China and India is a simple observable fact from the last 100 years: socialist policies often work better in some circumstances and free market economies are no panacea. Free market libertarianism is also not something new and wonderful: most human history in most places is one big libertarian free-for-all. It usually looks like Lagos or Mumbai markets, not exactly a desirable state.

    People have always tried to escape these libertarian anything-goes ‘free’ places – actually most of European civilisation used to be a set of policies and customs to prevent the unrestricted free markets in everything. Socialism and nationalist capitalism were a part of that way of thinking. What we have now is an abandonment of the basic European civilization principles – open borders, no regulations, collapsed global labor market, etc… The results speak for themselves: great gadgets, great mobility, but no stability and a demographic collapse of middle classes. That was my point.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    My contribution is that once companies get sufficiently large, they behave functionally much like a government anyway: with incentives for profit maximized with something like Microsoft since everyone is functionally required to use their software or Facebook with its overwhelming dominance of social media, they go Woke instead since their internal political games replace profitability with coalition building and status signaling.

    Bioleninism ensures.
  142. @Beckow

    ...just admit it that it wasn’t, and then we can move on
     
    India has always had a 'market' economy. Yes, it wasn't as free as some economists in Chicago dream about, but it was a capitalist market economy in today's terms, and it got more so since 1990. It is still a dysfunctional sh..thole. We can move on.

    (I admit your point and will try not to straw-man - tempting as it is in shorthand here.)

    What I was saying by comparing China and India is a simple observable fact from the last 100 years: socialist policies often work better in some circumstances and free market economies are no panacea. Free market libertarianism is also not something new and wonderful: most human history in most places is one big libertarian free-for-all. It usually looks like Lagos or Mumbai markets, not exactly a desirable state.

    People have always tried to escape these libertarian anything-goes 'free' places - actually most of European civilisation used to be a set of policies and customs to prevent the unrestricted free markets in everything. Socialism and nationalist capitalism were a part of that way of thinking. What we have now is an abandonment of the basic European civilization principles - open borders, no regulations, collapsed global labor market, etc... The results speak for themselves: great gadgets, great mobility, but no stability and a demographic collapse of middle classes. That was my point.

    My contribution is that once companies get sufficiently large, they behave functionally much like a government anyway: with incentives for profit maximized with something like Microsoft since everyone is functionally required to use their software or Facebook with its overwhelming dominance of social media, they go Woke instead since their internal political games replace profitability with coalition building and status signaling.

    Bioleninism ensures.

  143. @reiner Tor
    I don't know what evidence you need to accept that Hungary wouldn't have fared worse if the Horthy regime would've continued. (For example if Hitler didn't decide to become a crazy Wagner protagonist.) In fact it would've fared better.

    Matthias Corvinus ruled in the 15th century – a few more than ‘hundreds of years’.
     
    He died 455 years before 1945, which to me is "hundreds of years," but it doesn't matter. Because you are now criticizing Matthias Corvinus here:

    But come to think of it, why didn’t he make the lives of 90% of population better? Or do you think that communism was worse than feudalism for most people? Or do you equally denounce the feudals?
     
    This is a pretty idiotic argument. Matthias Corvinus was a bloody medieval king, he didn't have anything at his disposal to "make the lives of 90% of population better." He tried to create a Central European empire strong enough to be able to withstand any future Ottoman onslaught, but he failed in that effort. His efforts led to a very high level of taxation (by medieval standards), though its effects are still debated among historians. It is now thought that the Hungarian monarchy was even stronger by the 1520s, unfortunately the Ottomans got many times stronger still. Anyway, had Matthias Corvinus succeeded in his efforts, the Turks might not have been able to conquer Belgrade in 1521, and maybe we wouldn't have had the Ottoman occupation and wars for almost two centuries. That would've made the lives of 90% (actually, basically 100%) of the population better. Other than that, what the hell do you expect of Matthias Corvinus?

    do you equally denounce the feudals?
     
    Feudalism was better than the alternatives. (What were those, exactly, in the Middle Ages?) Communism wasn't.

    Feudal privileges (not feudalism, which never truly existed in Hungary) and serfdom were outdated by the first half of the 19th century. It took some inertia to abolish them, but they largely got abolished after 1848. (The revolution was led by noblemen, and many aristocrats joined it, too.)

    …what evidence you need to accept that Hungary wouldn’t have fared worse if the Horthy regime would’ve continued. For example if Hitler didn’t decide to become a crazy Wagner protagonist. In fact it would’ve fared better.

    Too many embedded ‘if’s’. First of all, personalising eras and systems is wrong: it wasn’t ‘Hitler’, he was one man – what happened in he first half of the 20th century was much larger, it reflected massive shifts. e.g. German assertion, deep underlying conflicts, struggle for resources, etc…

    Second, the context of 1940’s Central Europe was such that a nationally oriented social progress was not possible: different ethnic groups were at each other’s throats. That was inevitable at that point, so any ‘if’ there is purely theoretical. The universalist sides won: socialism and global liberalism. There is a lesson there for today: Achilles heel of nationalism are the mutual conflicts that lead to exhaustion and yearning for universal harmony.

    This is a pretty idiotic argument. Matthias Corvinus was a bloody medieval king, he didn’t have anything at his disposal to “make the lives of 90% of population better.

    Why? You are putting the bar very low. Your implicit fatalistic defense of feudalism undermines your arguments against socialism. Things were what they were, it was bloody too soon after WWII, most people wanted just the basics for survival, etc…why expect more? You don’t seem to expect much from others.

    In the more recent past the elites were not much better. As I said in my original post by 1945 they had more than enough time to improve the lives of ordinary people (80-90%) and they failed and postponed again and again. That was a failure. The most relevant observation about 1930’s is how bad do you have to be to lose an election to Hitler?

    Hungary did quite well in 1945-90, most people benefitted. Compared to the previous decades and centuries it was a golden time for most ordinary Hungarians. Same was true in Czechoslovakia.

    Could it be even better? Probably. But you can say that about anytime and anywhere in the world. One can argue that the costs were too high, and for a minority of people, mostly former elites the costs were indeed too high. That is always the case. The feudals didn’t lose any sleep over peasants’ suffering, Bezos is building a $200 million yacht, the elites don’t care much for ordinary people – why should we worry about them when the wheel turns? Commies were like a cold shower that sobered up the elites for a while. Now they have forgotten, they always do and it will happen again.

  144. @AP

    But I think it’s not even ideology, it’s just a deadly combination of typical American woeful ignorance
     
    Again, you are last person in the world to speak of woeful ignorance.

    typical Ukrainian deep inferiority complex.
     
    Against whom? Sovoks who lived in squalor and lived short lives?

    People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids
     
    Poor people in America get all of these things: free housing in crappy housing projects that resemble Sovok middle class housing, scholarships for free education as long as they perform well academically (same as in USSR), free healthcare (Medicaid), free childcare. The difference is that they don't brag about how great that is for them, unlike Sovoks.

    They subconsciously try to justify their own or their parents’ decision to move and blame their failure to succeed on imagined “horrors” of their lost Motherland.
     
    Ukrainian American income in the USA is well above average (23rd out of 99 ethnic groups):

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

    Ukrainian American (2016): $72,449 [3]

    And no one in my family makes that little.

    :::::::::::

    It is you who try to justify the failure of your system and the resultant misery by bragging that you lived like African Americans "for free."

    Urgently inform the poor in the US. They have no idea how much they are missing. Also inform the US government. It has no idea how much it is doing for the poor. LOL.

    • Replies: @AP
    So you can't deny the obvious and make such remarks.

    Urgently inform the poor in the US. They have no idea how much they are missing.
     
    They can compare to what they see - non-poor Americans have it much better than they do, so they feel deprived. But objectively speaking, materially they are living like middle-class Soviets, probably even better (poor Americans often have old cars that are better than zhigulis, for example)..
  145. @Epigon
    There is no point in arguing with someone who claims Prussia, Imperial Germany, China in the last 40 years, South Korea since 1950 all have had "free market economies".
    Calling them "free market economies" is a bigger mistake than calling Scandinavian countries Socialist.


    The worldview that by participating in the world market you immediately are a free market economy country is laughable.

    As known by everyone, China’s economy was a failure under socialism. After they transitioned to the free-market allocation system, the economy started to grow (its speed of growth boosted by importing foreign technology).

    Today, China is not less “free”-market, than Russia. The difference is packaging – we sometimes still here boasting about the successful transition to the market economy, while China nominally has to pretend they are somehow socialists (even as their wealth inequality is now higher than America).

    Spain “free market policies” = getting $ and investments from USA in return for bases on Spanish soil, getting access to West European work markets (unemployment solution, but more importantly – remmitances –

    With Franco, Spain also lowered its corporation tax to one of the lowest in Europe. Franco also banned any trade-unions, and reduced any worker protection. Spain also had omparatively cheap labour. So overall, he created a successful situation for attracting foreign investment.

    Spain’s economy was allocating like a free market economy (there was no attempt at creating a socialist system).

    However, there was a downside to all of this. Take a good look at current Spain – globohomo poz is omnipresent, the youth live with their parents, are unemployed to an alarming degree, and the average first parenthood age is 32.

    PS: Barcelona should be nuked.

    I don’t think you can blame Franco for this. Franco delayed a social revolution by about 10 years, so 1960s London equivalent culture occurred later in Madrid, after 1975.

    Contemporary Spanish culture, probably reflects quite well the Spanish preferences – party and socialize, to live with your parents until you are over 30, and to use young people’s labour for free by giving them internships instead of jobs.

  146. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN
    Urgently inform the poor in the US. They have no idea how much they are missing. Also inform the US government. It has no idea how much it is doing for the poor. LOL.

    So you can’t deny the obvious and make such remarks.

    Urgently inform the poor in the US. They have no idea how much they are missing.

    They can compare to what they see – non-poor Americans have it much better than they do, so they feel deprived. But objectively speaking, materially they are living like middle-class Soviets, probably even better (poor Americans often have old cars that are better than zhigulis, for example)..

  147. @Daniel Chieh
    Can you tell me more about this free childcare, because I'm not seeing it.

    Poor people get subsidized and in many cases free childcare (it depends on how poor they are):

    https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/government_child_care_assistan.html

  148. @Beckow

    ...communist era panel houses constructed in Prague, are not Czech Republic’s best assets.
     
    Right, they are not the best. But there were also over a million homes that were built mostly in the countryside and smaller towns. Interestingly enough, after 1990 there was first almost no construction - everybody was too busy privatising what was built under socialism. I would not call it 'mafia', we are not that kind of people, there were some scumbags, mostly former commies who had an inside track, but all the talk of mafias was way overstated. Even at it worst crime never approached the levels in the Western societies where for some reason people never call it 'mafia'. Go figure.

    When the construction restarted new city homes were way inferior to the old panel houses - they were smaller, used much worse material, were very densely packed, and developers did no work outside the buildings. Today the old panel apartments are often at a premium in big cities because they were better built. But I don't particularly like the way they look.

    You mention Milano or Torino - they are full of very ugly panel housing that is nowhere as good as what was built in Czechoslovakia. I also don't get the admiration for those cities, they look like crap, transport doesn't work, they are dirty, strange characters are mulling around, they are substantially more dangerous. When I talk to Italians they don't seem to think that anything they have is better - actually quite a few have moved to Central Europe. So have a lot of Brits and Dutch. The stereotype that Western media maintains is highly ideological and only true is some parts. In general, they have lied a lot about Central Europe and that is reflected in the way most Westerners perceive the region. But it is good - we really don't want them to come, let them enjoy the multicultural paradise at home :)...

    I read somewhere that panel houses in Czechoslovakia were higher quality.

    Panel houses in USSR, were not great internally, and the original design was only supposed to be temporary. However, the infrastructure and urban planning around them was often excellent. Version built in Khrushchev, also had better thermal qualities than many other building.

    The real problem of living in these buildings, depended on your neighbours. If you have quiet neighbours, it could be acceptable to live there. But if you had uncivilized and noisy neighbours in your building, apparently it can destroy the atmosphere for everyone.

    When the construction restarted new city homes were way inferior to the old panel houses – they were smaller, used much worse material, were very densely packed, and developers did no work outside the buildings.

    It sounds very similar to in Russia. Although here it depends on how much you can spend (from the 1990s, there are excellent quality new apartment buildings, built in central areas, but the good quality projects are a lot more expensive than the normal projects, and marketed as luxury housing).

    Today the old panel apartments are often at a premium in big cities because they were better built. But I don’t particularly like the way they look.

    Czech panel housing were obviously better quality than equivalent panel housing buildings in the USSR.

    Milano or Torino – they are full of very ugly .

    My point, is the cities were a lot richer than Prague by the 1990s.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...the cities were a lot richer than Prague by the 1990s...Milano or Torino
     
    What are you basing it on? I have been to all of them (know them quite well) and it is simply not true. Milano has a nice city center, but it is much worse than Prague. The quality of housing, transportation (metro), hospitals, parks,...is much better in Prague - and that was the case in the 90's too. In addition Milano-Torino have a lot more crime, are dirtier, and have the migrants. It is not even close today in terms of quality of life.

    On paper, salaries in Italy were slightly higher (only slightly), but a very simple adjustment for costs would show Prague as being a better deal even in terms of income/expenses at that time. Prague was (and is to some extent) worse than Vienna or Munich.

    Prague's misfortunate is that the very best Western cities are right next to it and in the 90's comparisons indeed showed that Prague was worse. Vienna regularly ranks as #1 or #2 best world city. But it has changed - check EU statistics, Prague is among top 10 EU regions in terms of GNP/capita. It is also the one of the largest fully European cities left in Europe. And comparing it to cities further out West or South is not even close, much worse quality of life, and the crime-dirt-migrants are omnipresent.

  149. @Dmitry
    I read somewhere that panel houses in Czechoslovakia were higher quality.

    Panel houses in USSR, were not great internally, and the original design was only supposed to be temporary. However, the infrastructure and urban planning around them was often excellent. Version built in Khrushchev, also had better thermal qualities than many other building.

    The real problem of living in these buildings, depended on your neighbours. If you have quiet neighbours, it could be acceptable to live there. But if you had uncivilized and noisy neighbours in your building, apparently it can destroy the atmosphere for everyone.


    When the construction restarted new city homes were way inferior to the old panel houses – they were smaller, used much worse material, were very densely packed, and developers did no work outside the buildings.

     

    It sounds very similar to in Russia. Although here it depends on how much you can spend (from the 1990s, there are excellent quality new apartment buildings, built in central areas, but the good quality projects are a lot more expensive than the normal projects, and marketed as luxury housing).

    Today the old panel apartments are often at a premium in big cities because they were better built. But I don’t particularly like the way they look.

     

    Czech panel housing were obviously better quality than equivalent panel housing buildings in the USSR.

    Milano or Torino – they are full of very ugly .
     
    My point, is the cities were a lot richer than Prague by the 1990s.

    …the cities were a lot richer than Prague by the 1990s…Milano or Torino

    What are you basing it on? I have been to all of them (know them quite well) and it is simply not true. Milano has a nice city center, but it is much worse than Prague. The quality of housing, transportation (metro), hospitals, parks,…is much better in Prague – and that was the case in the 90’s too. In addition Milano-Torino have a lot more crime, are dirtier, and have the migrants. It is not even close today in terms of quality of life.

    On paper, salaries in Italy were slightly higher (only slightly), but a very simple adjustment for costs would show Prague as being a better deal even in terms of income/expenses at that time. Prague was (and is to some extent) worse than Vienna or Munich.

    Prague’s misfortunate is that the very best Western cities are right next to it and in the 90’s comparisons indeed showed that Prague was worse. Vienna regularly ranks as #1 or #2 best world city. But it has changed – check EU statistics, Prague is among top 10 EU regions in terms of GNP/capita. It is also the one of the largest fully European cities left in Europe. And comparing it to cities further out West or South is not even close, much worse quality of life, and the crime-dirt-migrants are omnipresent.

    • Replies: @AP

    Prague’s misfortunate is that the very best Western cities are right next to it and in the 90’s comparisons indeed showed that Prague was worse.
     
    Prague would have been among the best too in the 90s, if it had not gone Communist. In 1948, before Communism happened, Czechoslovakia was wealthier than Austria.

    Prague is among top 10 EU regions in terms of GNP/capita.
     
    Dumping Communism has been very good. Not having it in the first place would have been even better. But one still notices that everything looks poorer when crossing from Austria or Germany into the Czech Republic, it hasn't caught up completely. I wonder how many decades it will take to undo the economic damage done by 40 years of Communism.
    , @Dmitry
    I was not talking about Prague now in 2019. It's current economic position, is not a good test of socialism - Prague today, is part of very capitalist country, in the EU, and receives 8 million tourists a year.

    But at the turn of 1990, Prague would be a lot poorer than Turin or Milan.
  150. @songbird

    China’s wealth distribution is more unequal than America.
     
    It goes against common political consensus, which equates equality with stability, but I view this as positive for China. What it means is that, at least in the short term, they will be able to rely on internal migration, rather than importing labor. Also, there will be a built-in backlash to transferring wealth to other countries, or importing Africans.

    What you’re describing works only if there is significant upward mobility. As soon as china stops growing at over 5% GDP increase p-year, political instability will appear, as people will vent out their anger at the central government for lack of equity, social assistance, welfare… China is also running out of rural migrants, so they will have to find a way to compensate for that too.

  151. A number of commenters here seem to be extremely confused as per their own standing with regards to political philosophy/ideology/culture. I am referring, specifically, to certain commenters of Eastern/Central European descent.

    Most of you would agree that the extremely dangerous Western pathologies are well on their way, promising to wreck havoc in our own cultural space, Eastern Europe. At least nominally, this why you are here. So far, so good.

    However, I am profoundly disturbed by your, borderline, religious belief that the cure to this cancer lies in returning to the post-WW II “Glory days” of the West. I fail to comprehend your total lack of understanding of the historical processes that have led us to the current situation, as well as your inability to create simple logical linkages between cause and effect.

    How could you believe, even for a second, that the key to good governance and coherent society for Russia, Czechia, Hungary, Ukraine, etc, lies not in our traditions, culture and history but is to be found in the 1960s France, Sweden, Denmark or USA? Have you become victims of non-surgical lobotomy intervention?

    How could you fall so low as to constantly debase and spit on the rich culture, glorious history and immense achievements of your own nations and civilization? How can you not see that adopting the Western ideological/thinking reference frame instead of seeking the answers in your own, vastly superior, cultural heritage, means losing the battle before it even begins?

    Even if we assume that your participation in these forums is nothing more than pseudo-scientific/philosophical “tongue-scratching” and it only serves to satisfy the needs to belong to a community and to vent-off steam, your behavior is still detrimental – to yourselves, to your people and to your civilization.

    To me, and I believe I’m not the only one, the worst kind of cuck is the cuck worshipping cuck. The Eastern European cuck fits this category quite well. You see, unlike the, so called, West, Eastern Europe had managed to preserve a significant part of its cultural heritage and social homogeneity – despite the catastrophe of having suffered two European wars on its soil and despite the post-1990 economic and social devastation. Taking this into account, the question arises – why on Earth, a person of Eastern European origin who claims to be concerned with the current, Western-driven, socio-economic developments would religiously glorify neo-liberal (a misnomer) dehumanizing ideologies and institutions such as “free” markets, the Chicago “school”, etc?

    How can you fail to notice that Eastern Europe has a historical “make it or break it” opportunity not only to save itself from the Plague, not only to re-emancipate itself after the post-1990 moral/ideological collapse but, most importantly, to preserve at least a part of the European continent for our children and future descendants.

    Instead of glorifying your civilization, uniting and organizing your people as well as spreading the word of the Plague, you’d rather engage is this HBD masturbation nonsense, Western cargo-cultism and, most ridiculously, consciously glorify the very ideologies that have brought us here. Do you not have, or plan to have, any children? Do you not care what will happen with them? Do you have heads on your shoulders?

    • Agree: AnonFromTN
    • Replies: @utu

    You see, unlike the, so called, West, Eastern Europe had managed to preserve a significant part of its cultural heritage and social homogeneity – despite the catastrophe of having suffered two European wars on its soil
     
    Not despite but because. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary get cleansed of Jews and Germans and Ukrainians during and after WWII and Belarus and Ukraine got cleansed of Poles. If it was not for WWI Hungary would be very multi-ethnic: Romanians, Slovaks, Croats, Serbs. There would be no homogeneity w/o WWI and WWII for Eastern Europe. Ethnic homogeneity is very recent and unfortunately it will not last. Poland has already took couple millions of Ukrainian gastarbeiters that will never leave.

    As far as your comment on "HBD masturbation nonsense" I second it. However the masturbation won't stop before it is settled once for all which country in Eastern Europe and Balkans in particular has the strongest and fiercest sheep guard dog. This discussion must continue.
  152. utu says:
    @Pharmakon
    A number of commenters here seem to be extremely confused as per their own standing with regards to political philosophy/ideology/culture. I am referring, specifically, to certain commenters of Eastern/Central European descent.

    Most of you would agree that the extremely dangerous Western pathologies are well on their way, promising to wreck havoc in our own cultural space, Eastern Europe. At least nominally, this why you are here. So far, so good.

    However, I am profoundly disturbed by your, borderline, religious belief that the cure to this cancer lies in returning to the post-WW II "Glory days" of the West. I fail to comprehend your total lack of understanding of the historical processes that have led us to the current situation, as well as your inability to create simple logical linkages between cause and effect.

    How could you believe, even for a second, that the key to good governance and coherent society for Russia, Czechia, Hungary, Ukraine, etc, lies not in our traditions, culture and history but is to be found in the 1960s France, Sweden, Denmark or USA? Have you become victims of non-surgical lobotomy intervention?

    How could you fall so low as to constantly debase and spit on the rich culture, glorious history and immense achievements of your own nations and civilization? How can you not see that adopting the Western ideological/thinking reference frame instead of seeking the answers in your own, vastly superior, cultural heritage, means losing the battle before it even begins?

    Even if we assume that your participation in these forums is nothing more than pseudo-scientific/philosophical "tongue-scratching" and it only serves to satisfy the needs to belong to a community and to vent-off steam, your behavior is still detrimental - to yourselves, to your people and to your civilization.

    To me, and I believe I'm not the only one, the worst kind of cuck is the cuck worshipping cuck. The Eastern European cuck fits this category quite well. You see, unlike the, so called, West, Eastern Europe had managed to preserve a significant part of its cultural heritage and social homogeneity - despite the catastrophe of having suffered two European wars on its soil and despite the post-1990 economic and social devastation. Taking this into account, the question arises - why on Earth, a person of Eastern European origin who claims to be concerned with the current, Western-driven, socio-economic developments would religiously glorify neo-liberal (a misnomer) dehumanizing ideologies and institutions such as "free" markets, the Chicago "school", etc?

    How can you fail to notice that Eastern Europe has a historical "make it or break it" opportunity not only to save itself from the Plague, not only to re-emancipate itself after the post-1990 moral/ideological collapse but, most importantly, to preserve at least a part of the European continent for our children and future descendants.

    Instead of glorifying your civilization, uniting and organizing your people as well as spreading the word of the Plague, you'd rather engage is this HBD masturbation nonsense, Western cargo-cultism and, most ridiculously, consciously glorify the very ideologies that have brought us here. Do you not have, or plan to have, any children? Do you not care what will happen with them? Do you have heads on your shoulders?

    You see, unlike the, so called, West, Eastern Europe had managed to preserve a significant part of its cultural heritage and social homogeneity – despite the catastrophe of having suffered two European wars on its soil

    Not despite but because. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary get cleansed of Jews and Germans and Ukrainians during and after WWII and Belarus and Ukraine got cleansed of Poles. If it was not for WWI Hungary would be very multi-ethnic: Romanians, Slovaks, Croats, Serbs. There would be no homogeneity w/o WWI and WWII for Eastern Europe. Ethnic homogeneity is very recent and unfortunately it will not last. Poland has already took couple millions of Ukrainian gastarbeiters that will never leave.

    As far as your comment on “HBD masturbation nonsense” I second it. However the masturbation won’t stop before it is settled once for all which country in Eastern Europe and Balkans in particular has the strongest and fiercest sheep guard dog. This discussion must continue.

    • LOL: AP
  153. Homogeneity is not a problem – modern diversity’s rootlessness is the problem.

    • Replies: @AP
    Um, should have been heterogeneity.
  154. AP says:
    @Beckow

    ...the cities were a lot richer than Prague by the 1990s...Milano or Torino
     
    What are you basing it on? I have been to all of them (know them quite well) and it is simply not true. Milano has a nice city center, but it is much worse than Prague. The quality of housing, transportation (metro), hospitals, parks,...is much better in Prague - and that was the case in the 90's too. In addition Milano-Torino have a lot more crime, are dirtier, and have the migrants. It is not even close today in terms of quality of life.

    On paper, salaries in Italy were slightly higher (only slightly), but a very simple adjustment for costs would show Prague as being a better deal even in terms of income/expenses at that time. Prague was (and is to some extent) worse than Vienna or Munich.

    Prague's misfortunate is that the very best Western cities are right next to it and in the 90's comparisons indeed showed that Prague was worse. Vienna regularly ranks as #1 or #2 best world city. But it has changed - check EU statistics, Prague is among top 10 EU regions in terms of GNP/capita. It is also the one of the largest fully European cities left in Europe. And comparing it to cities further out West or South is not even close, much worse quality of life, and the crime-dirt-migrants are omnipresent.

    Prague’s misfortunate is that the very best Western cities are right next to it and in the 90’s comparisons indeed showed that Prague was worse.

    Prague would have been among the best too in the 90s, if it had not gone Communist. In 1948, before Communism happened, Czechoslovakia was wealthier than Austria.

    Prague is among top 10 EU regions in terms of GNP/capita.

    Dumping Communism has been very good. Not having it in the first place would have been even better. But one still notices that everything looks poorer when crossing from Austria or Germany into the Czech Republic, it hasn’t caught up completely. I wonder how many decades it will take to undo the economic damage done by 40 years of Communism.

  155. Anonymous[151] • Disclaimer says:
    @Beckow

    ...they are poorer than they would have been in an alternative 20th century, where there was no communism and fascism.
     
    An alternative 20th century, wow. I am sure it is about to start any day now. In the alternative world one can prove almost anything, right? There is simply no way to know or check.

    If we engage in the alternative 20th century without radical left and right populist movements (communism, fascism), what we would have is a much faster and sooner global neo-liberalism taking over the planet.

    Let's see:
    - no social programs, medical or education benefits - why bother if there are no commies to scare the elite
    - mass movement of people all around - those 200 million Nigerians would be breeding directly in Europe and N America now, no stupid delays caused by 'protect the border fascists'
    - families fully de-nuclearised with little access to housing, everyone working 10-12 hrs a day 6 days a week
    - wealth and asset accumulations that would make Bezos blush, probably a few $100 billion guys by 1950 already
    - total media control by the ever-so-tolerant liberals to prevent the scourge of 'populism'

    I could go on, but you get my point. Without the early 20th century populist upsurge that checked, partially reversed and slowed down the capitalism march into neo-liberal paradise we would be about 100 years ahead of the schedule. Most of us would probably never be born - too expensive to have kids. What the commies-fascists did was to force the elites to negotiate and create at least minimally bearable lives for regular people. Without them, why the f...k do you think the elites would do it? Out of the goodness of their hearts? You really believe that? Why didn't they do it before?

    For all the pain of the 20th century, the alternative of the uninterrupted neo-liberal capitalist no-borders march (the status circa 1910-15) would be a lot worse. The commies/facsists/socialists in effect saved capitalism so we can enjoy it now. We got a 100-year reprieve that is ending. If you think without the populist resistance the life would be great, you have not been paying attention. You are about to find out what capitalism uber alles means for most people.
    -

    I’m not sure what you’re advocating here…some kind of “anti-accelerationist” position? Communism and Nazism were good because they slowed the progression of liberal capitalism? Ted Kaczynski’s anarcho-primitivism would be an even better corrective (no planes, no cars, no motorboats –> no mass migration), should we embrace that as well?

    The best we can say about communists is that they were as ineffective and incompetent at creating a borderless world as they at achieving all the rest of their more idealistic goals. It certainly wasn’t for lack of desire though. Regardless, one can work out a social-democratic compromise without ceding power to extremists.

    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    anti-accelerationist”
     
    What's the use of words of Marxism–Leninism?

    Terminology only is not sounding like nonsense, if you agree with Lenin's theory that the more extreme capitalism is, the more likely that workers will embark the proletarian revolution and take the means of production.

    , @Beckow

    ...you’re advocating here…some kind of “anti-accelerationist” position?
     
    I am not an 'advocate' for anything and dislike ideology of any kind. One should take care of self, his family, friends, nation. Period. When I see liberal charity impulse and one-world ideology it is very similar to the misguided communist-socialists of a few generations ago. Except worse, this time they are after our very identity.

    I simply made an observation that last time out of control global liberalism was metastazing around the world was in the early 20th century: 1900-14. It was very similar with open borders, globalism (colonialism), trade, ever cheaper labor, removing social constraints, etc... There were differences: it was driven by Europeans, technology was more backward, culture still had some spine.

    What stopped and reversed it for 2-3 generations was a surge of populist resistance by the European masses: nationalist, socialist, fascist - it was all a part of the same revulsion by people against the globalist elites of that era. It was ugly, it was painful for many, but on a higher level it worked by creating societies that worked quite well in the second half of the 20th century. The elites were really scared - and you need scared elites to have liveable societies. That ended over the last 20-25 years - no fear, no goodies. We are about to retrace the painful experiences of 100 years ago, this time with a few billion surplus Third Worlders making it much worse.

    Communism in 1945-90 was a part of that revulsion and resistance, it actually worked well in many areas that people cared for - that's why it lasted as long as it did. It also kept those societies from being overrun by open borders (commies believed in borders, check out how they guarded them :).

    To describe it in a 'de-accelerationist' framework is in my view wrong. What you suggest is fatalism - as if open borders, lost identities, and destroyed labor markets are inevitable. I don't think they are, it is only a question of how it will get stopped (or paused?) this time.

  156. @AP
    Homogeneity is not a problem - modern diversity's rootlessness is the problem.

    Um, should have been heterogeneity.

  157. @Beckow
    I agree, no point. Typical undereducated child of exiles full of bitterness and stereotypical nonsense. He probably thinks that eastern Europe was black-and-white before 1989 (I have actually met people who semi-seriously argued that).

    I have seen my share of squalor, one can travel around US or Canada and see quite a bit of squalor and hopelessness. The numbers in Czechoslovakia or Hungary are fairly straight-forward: tripling living standards in 40 years is quite good. The part that AP refuses to understand is the ratio of free stuff to GNP - so much consumption under socialism was not monetised that his silly comparisons and playing with numbers come across as quasi-retarded. If you for example put value on free housing that Czechoslovakia had and monetise it, you can get a big jump in consumption per capita - and it was very real. After 1990 that housing was gradually given to the people who lived in there and created a huge asset boost in the country. But the work was done under socialism, it was only the accounting that valued it that happened after 1990. Any idiot would understand it, but ideology blinds people.

    The argument that 'well, you could have done even better' is beyond silly. It means nothing to most people, only envy-driven losers from American suburbs who constantly worry about their standing in life think that way. If improving people's lives threefold in 40 years is a failure - well, I am pretty sure most Westerners today would give their left arm for similar improvement in their societies.

    Another thing that gets overlooked is the cost in destroying Western cultures that the mindless growth - a lot of it driven by mass migration from the Third World that has been going on since at least the 60's - has caused. Yeah, Britain probably has 20% higher GNP because the Pakistanis buy a lot of toilet paper and other stuff, but is it really worth it? We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.

    Yeah, Britain probably has 20% higher GNP because the Pakistanis buy a lot of toilet paper and other stuff, but is it really worth it? We have preserved our societies and that is in the long run a lot more important.

    a good point, gets up housing prices for the jews

  158. @Beckow

    ...People who grew up in this jungle cannot imagine virtually free housing, free education all the way to the PhD or MD, free healthcare, almost free daycare for kids, etc...
     
    They envy and it is painful to watch. You know the Aesop's tale of 'the grapes are sour, since I can't reach them'. Quite sad.

    The game US media has been playing is to pretend that none of this exists, and if it exists it 'was bad'. Pointing out silly minutia and missing the story.

    The silly envy-driven comparisons that these losers engage in is a sign of coming trouble. They talk about Guatemala - well, they are becoming Guatemala, literally becoming one in the next generation or two. It doesn't occur to them that they had been sold down the river and fooled by their elites.

    It doesn’t occur to them that they had been sold down the river and fooled by their elites.

    That is the plan

  159. @Anonymous
    I'm not sure what you're advocating here...some kind of "anti-accelerationist" position? Communism and Nazism were good because they slowed the progression of liberal capitalism? Ted Kaczynski's anarcho-primitivism would be an even better corrective (no planes, no cars, no motorboats --> no mass migration), should we embrace that as well?

    The best we can say about communists is that they were as ineffective and incompetent at creating a borderless world as they at achieving all the rest of their more idealistic goals. It certainly wasn't for lack of desire though. Regardless, one can work out a social-democratic compromise without ceding power to extremists.

    anti-accelerationist”

    What’s the use of words of Marxism–Leninism?

    Terminology only is not sounding like nonsense, if you agree with Lenin’s theory that the more extreme capitalism is, the more likely that workers will embark the proletarian revolution and take the means of production.

  160. @Beckow

    ...the cities were a lot richer than Prague by the 1990s...Milano or Torino
     
    What are you basing it on? I have been to all of them (know them quite well) and it is simply not true. Milano has a nice city center, but it is much worse than Prague. The quality of housing, transportation (metro), hospitals, parks,...is much better in Prague - and that was the case in the 90's too. In addition Milano-Torino have a lot more crime, are dirtier, and have the migrants. It is not even close today in terms of quality of life.

    On paper, salaries in Italy were slightly higher (only slightly), but a very simple adjustment for costs would show Prague as being a better deal even in terms of income/expenses at that time. Prague was (and is to some extent) worse than Vienna or Munich.

    Prague's misfortunate is that the very best Western cities are right next to it and in the 90's comparisons indeed showed that Prague was worse. Vienna regularly ranks as #1 or #2 best world city. But it has changed - check EU statistics, Prague is among top 10 EU regions in terms of GNP/capita. It is also the one of the largest fully European cities left in Europe. And comparing it to cities further out West or South is not even close, much worse quality of life, and the crime-dirt-migrants are omnipresent.

    I was not talking about Prague now in 2019. It’s current economic position, is not a good test of socialism – Prague today, is part of very capitalist country, in the EU, and receives 8 million tourists a year.

    But at the turn of 1990, Prague would be a lot poorer than Turin or Milan.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Looks like you did not visit those three cities either in 1990 or in 2019. In terms of living standards, Prague was above Turin and Milan (proper names are Torino and Milano) in the 1990, and now it is way above both: Prague keep going up, whereas Torino and Milano are going down the drain, to the delight of globalist elites. Hopefully current Italian government can frustrate the Empire and reverse this trend, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
  161. @Dmitry
    I was not talking about Prague now in 2019. It's current economic position, is not a good test of socialism - Prague today, is part of very capitalist country, in the EU, and receives 8 million tourists a year.

    But at the turn of 1990, Prague would be a lot poorer than Turin or Milan.

    Looks like you did not visit those three cities either in 1990 or in 2019. In terms of living standards, Prague was above Turin and Milan (proper names are Torino and Milano) in the 1990, and now it is way above both: Prague keep going up, whereas Torino and Milano are going down the drain, to the delight of globalist elites. Hopefully current Italian government can frustrate the Empire and reverse this trend, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Lol I was not alive in 1990 even, so I can't provide any information. But we know Czechoslovakia had less than half of the GDP per capita of Italy in the first half of the 1990s, even adjusted for PPP.

    Prague was above Turin and Milan (proper names are Torino and Milano) in the 1990, and now it is way above both
     
    I haven't even been in Prague. But I have been in Turin and Milan (and Genoa, Como) - very nice cities, with a very high standard of life and heritage.

    If Prague's living standard is above this nowadays, it means it is now on a level of Vienna or somewhere like that? Either way, I was talking about the economic level of the city in the 1990s (not today).

  162. @Epigon
    You continue spouting the same nonsense. Chile is a ridiculously stratified society - the small elite controls the lucrative mining, fishing and agricultural businesses, while the rest scrap an existence.
    Chile has probably the largest inequality in Americas.

    Chilean copper (and gold) mining and export significance points to Chile being a pure natural resource exploitation economy. Metallurgic analogy of petromonarchies.

    This “white burgeoisie” actually ruled Venezuela previously - their “successes” brought Chavistas to power. You simply don’t get it, do you?
    “White burgeoisie rule” is an euphemism for oligarchy and plutocracy, and “white” somehow always includes a disproportionate amount of Jews when such systems are established.

    Free market, absolute materialism and internationalism are the cesspool in which tribalistic, nepotistic, unscrupulous and opportunistic thrive.
    So a polar opposite of society-, state- and legacy-building conditions.


    Why does everyone continue to ignore the incredible achievements of illiberal Prussia/Second Reich, South Korea, China; and instead continue to subscribe to dogmatic, unscientific arbitrary ramblings of economists and church of neoliberal capitalism?

    What’s so bad about oligarchy and plutocracy?

    Are you POOR?

  163. @Anonymous
    I'm not sure what you're advocating here...some kind of "anti-accelerationist" position? Communism and Nazism were good because they slowed the progression of liberal capitalism? Ted Kaczynski's anarcho-primitivism would be an even better corrective (no planes, no cars, no motorboats --> no mass migration), should we embrace that as well?

    The best we can say about communists is that they were as ineffective and incompetent at creating a borderless world as they at achieving all the rest of their more idealistic goals. It certainly wasn't for lack of desire though. Regardless, one can work out a social-democratic compromise without ceding power to extremists.

    …you’re advocating here…some kind of “anti-accelerationist” position?

    I am not an ‘advocate’ for anything and dislike ideology of any kind. One should take care of self, his family, friends, nation. Period. When I see liberal charity impulse and one-world ideology it is very similar to the misguided communist-socialists of a few generations ago. Except worse, this time they are after our very identity.

    I simply made an observation that last time out of control global liberalism was metastazing around the world was in the early 20th century: 1900-14. It was very similar with open borders, globalism (colonialism), trade, ever cheaper labor, removing social constraints, etc… There were differences: it was driven by Europeans, technology was more backward, culture still had some spine.

    What stopped and reversed it for 2-3 generations was a surge of populist resistance by the European masses: nationalist, socialist, fascist – it was all a part of the same revulsion by people against the globalist elites of that era. It was ugly, it was painful for many, but on a higher level it worked by creating societies that worked quite well in the second half of the 20th century. The elites were really scared – and you need scared elites to have liveable societies. That ended over the last 20-25 years – no fear, no goodies. We are about to retrace the painful experiences of 100 years ago, this time with a few billion surplus Third Worlders making it much worse.

    Communism in 1945-90 was a part of that revulsion and resistance, it actually worked well in many areas that people cared for – that’s why it lasted as long as it did. It also kept those societies from being overrun by open borders (commies believed in borders, check out how they guarded them :).

    To describe it in a ‘de-accelerationist’ framework is in my view wrong. What you suggest is fatalism – as if open borders, lost identities, and destroyed labor markets are inevitable. I don’t think they are, it is only a question of how it will get stopped (or paused?) this time.

  164. @AnonFromTN
    Whatever the truth about Venezuela is (and that is something lying Western MSM would never report), one thing is clear: only the people of Venezuela have a right to solve any Venezuelan problems. The Empire has no more right to interfere in Venezuela than Venezuela has to interfere in the US affairs. The same applies to Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Korea, etc.

    I’m not supportive of our Venezuelan policy, but I disagree.

    The natural state of Latin American states is vassalage to America. Indeed no other condition is permissible. I absolutely do not accept the right of Latin Americans to govern themselves.

    With Venezuela in particular that their oil deposits are owned by the Venezuelan state is an intolerable affront to my stock portfolio.

    I do agree we should stay out of the other countries you mentioned, though not because of any cuck talk of “rights” which people just made up.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    I don’t know the details of my stock portfolio. I hired a “wealth management” company for that, and I pay them to ensure that I don’t need to go into those grisly details. I am interested in my science, I am not interested in theirs.

    However, if the US $ takes a serious nosedive, the purchasing power of my retirement and other savings will go down with it. I don’t want that to happen. That is why I am against the US behaving as an Empire, stretching itself too thin, thereby speeding up its inevitable demise. Hence, I am against US interference in yet another country: we have enough headaches as it is, and should withdraw from numerous countries the US is already in. Besides, I am against the fact that MIC profiteers use these US-manufactured “crises” as a pretext to increase Pentagon budget, which is already bleeding the country dry. So, out of pure self-interest I am against US involvement in Venezuela, or in any other country, for that matter. I’d rather see the roads I drive on repaired and energy and water distribution infrastructure in the US updated.
  165. @Thorfinnsson
    I'm not supportive of our Venezuelan policy, but I disagree.

    The natural state of Latin American states is vassalage to America. Indeed no other condition is permissible. I absolutely do not accept the right of Latin Americans to govern themselves.

    With Venezuela in particular that their oil deposits are owned by the Venezuelan state is an intolerable affront to my stock portfolio.

    I do agree we should stay out of the other countries you mentioned, though not because of any cuck talk of "rights" which people just made up.

    I don’t know the details of my stock portfolio. I hired a “wealth management” company for that, and I pay them to ensure that I don’t need to go into those grisly details. I am interested in my science, I am not interested in theirs.

    However, if the US $ takes a serious nosedive, the purchasing power of my retirement and other savings will go down with it. I don’t want that to happen. That is why I am against the US behaving as an Empire, stretching itself too thin, thereby speeding up its inevitable demise. Hence, I am against US interference in yet another country: we have enough headaches as it is, and should withdraw from numerous countries the US is already in. Besides, I am against the fact that MIC profiteers use these US-manufactured “crises” as a pretext to increase Pentagon budget, which is already bleeding the country dry. So, out of pure self-interest I am against US involvement in Venezuela, or in any other country, for that matter. I’d rather see the roads I drive on repaired and energy and water distribution infrastructure in the US updated.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Like I said, I'm not a supporter of our current Venezuelan policy. There's no apparent strategic aim other than overthrowing Maduro because...reasons.

    This "coup" is one of the biggest jokes I've ever seen. Even the pathetic anti-Erdogan coup was better.
  166. @AnonFromTN
    Looks like you did not visit those three cities either in 1990 or in 2019. In terms of living standards, Prague was above Turin and Milan (proper names are Torino and Milano) in the 1990, and now it is way above both: Prague keep going up, whereas Torino and Milano are going down the drain, to the delight of globalist elites. Hopefully current Italian government can frustrate the Empire and reverse this trend, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    Lol I was not alive in 1990 even, so I can’t provide any information. But we know Czechoslovakia had less than half of the GDP per capita of Italy in the first half of the 1990s, even adjusted for PPP.

    Prague was above Turin and Milan (proper names are Torino and Milano) in the 1990, and now it is way above both

    I haven’t even been in Prague. But I have been in Turin and Milan (and Genoa, Como) – very nice cities, with a very high standard of life and heritage.

    If Prague’s living standard is above this nowadays, it means it is now on a level of Vienna or somewhere like that? Either way, I was talking about the economic level of the city in the 1990s (not today).

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    GDP is a fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”). Suffice it to say that imaginary rent I would pay if I were crazy enough to rent my own house from myself is counted towards the US GDP. Not to mention the bubble of “financial services” that accounts for a large chunk of GDP in the US and many European countries.

    I was in Prague a few years back, stayed in a hotel in residential area where locals live, and walked a lot not only in touristy downtown and even more touristy Gradchany, but in other places. Prague looks pretty prosperous, the beer is still good, although the variety of beer in 1990 was greater. One sign of progress I noticed is that the waiters in every restaurant in Prague now can communicate with customers in German, English, and Russian, whereas in 1990 you had to try understanding Czech. I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years). Milano, Napoli, and Roma look a lot dirtier and much more run down. But Rome has more culture, art, and history than the whole of North America.

    In Milano I stayed in the downtown, within walking distance of La Scala. That part is nice, but you notice police everywhere in surprising variety of differently colored uniforms (the same is true of any Italian city). In contrast, Prague (like Vienna or Munich) is a very low crime city, so you don’t see police anywhere. When you drive through residential areas in Milano, or Venezia, or Roma (all high-rises, like in Moscow), you see underwear drying on ropes attached to the sticks virtually in every window. This tells me that the residents don’t have room in their apartments to put a clothes dryer. You don’t see this in Prague, or in Vienna, either.
  167. Beckow has a good point that Communism emerged as a reaction to the problems of 19th century capitalism. The existence of the Soviet Union in turn spurred Western governments to improve the living standards and social position of their own working classes.

    Even before the USSR existed, the existence of socialist movements had an impact. The Kaiserreich’s welfare state was specifically designed to dampen support for socialism for instance.

    Communist countries were fairly good at rapidly introducing industry and mass education. They were not much good at anything else as evidenced by their general stagnation after 1970.

    If we define socialism as state ownership of industry, it has a pretty poor record compared to capitalism. Government regulation and planning within capitalist countries, however, occasionally has some major successes. South Korea being the best recent example.

    Nintil’s Soviet Union series is worth reading in full: https://nintil.com/2016/05/14/the-soviet-union-series/

  168. @Dmitry
    Lol I was not alive in 1990 even, so I can't provide any information. But we know Czechoslovakia had less than half of the GDP per capita of Italy in the first half of the 1990s, even adjusted for PPP.

    Prague was above Turin and Milan (proper names are Torino and Milano) in the 1990, and now it is way above both
     
    I haven't even been in Prague. But I have been in Turin and Milan (and Genoa, Como) - very nice cities, with a very high standard of life and heritage.

    If Prague's living standard is above this nowadays, it means it is now on a level of Vienna or somewhere like that? Either way, I was talking about the economic level of the city in the 1990s (not today).

    GDP is a fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”). Suffice it to say that imaginary rent I would pay if I were crazy enough to rent my own house from myself is counted towards the US GDP. Not to mention the bubble of “financial services” that accounts for a large chunk of GDP in the US and many European countries.

    I was in Prague a few years back, stayed in a hotel in residential area where locals live, and walked a lot not only in touristy downtown and even more touristy Gradchany, but in other places. Prague looks pretty prosperous, the beer is still good, although the variety of beer in 1990 was greater. One sign of progress I noticed is that the waiters in every restaurant in Prague now can communicate with customers in German, English, and Russian, whereas in 1990 you had to try understanding Czech. I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years). Milano, Napoli, and Roma look a lot dirtier and much more run down. But Rome has more culture, art, and history than the whole of North America.

    In Milano I stayed in the downtown, within walking distance of La Scala. That part is nice, but you notice police everywhere in surprising variety of differently colored uniforms (the same is true of any Italian city). In contrast, Prague (like Vienna or Munich) is a very low crime city, so you don’t see police anywhere. When you drive through residential areas in Milano, or Venezia, or Roma (all high-rises, like in Moscow), you see underwear drying on ropes attached to the sticks virtually in every window. This tells me that the residents don’t have room in their apartments to put a clothes dryer. You don’t see this in Prague, or in Vienna, either.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson


    GDP is a fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”). Suffice it to say that imaginary rent I would pay if I were crazy enough to rent my own house from myself is counted towards the US GDP.
     
    Housing is part of the economy. Imputed rent is how economists measure privately owned housing. What's fraudulent about it?


    Not to mention the bubble of “financial services” that accounts for a large chunk of GDP in the US and many European countries.
     
    If "financial services" is a bubble, then perhaps you should be shorting it. In a previous post you stated:


    I don’t know the details of my stock portfolio. I hired a “wealth management” company for that, and I pay them to ensure that I don’t need to go into those grisly details.
     
    This makes you a consumer of financial services...

    Where's the bubble?
    , @Matra
    I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years)

    I've been in all three in the last year. Prague is noticeably shabby compared to both of them. It was my first thought when arriving in Munich from Prague. (Although the number of homeless in Munich, almost all white, was quite surprising). Prague's also shabby compared to Dresden, not exactly Germany's richest city. On Milan though you are right. Some of the trams in Milan's prime shopping areas look like the ones Prague had in the 60s.
    , @Dmitry

    fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”
     
    For comparing small differences between countries, sure, it is unreliable. However, when it is more than double GDP per capita at PPP, in one country than in another,- as in this case of Czechoslovakia vs Italy at beginning of 1990s - then there must be a real difference that is measured.

    Milano, Napoli, and Roma look a lot dirtier and much more run down.
     
    This can be more a cultural difference. Italy has a little run down compared to some parts of Europe, and the run down in Italy are often the more interesting areas. Italian cities are usually dirtier, than in Spain, for example, even though Italy is a wealthier country than Spain.

    I would say dirty urban style in the Italian cities indicates cultural preferences, more than their lack of wealth.

    Also people can be too obsessed about "how dirty".

    I and my family, all loved to stay in Napoli, even though it's not the cleanest city. Napoli is probably the coolest city in Italy, in my opinion (the graffiti and the dirt is part of its charm).

    On the other hand, in the same vacation, we also went to Sorrento, which everyone in my family hated (even though Sorrento is much cleaner than Napoli - Sorrento is too for tourists, and doesn't have an authentic character).


    In Milano I stayed in the downtown, within walking distance of La Scala. That part is nice, but you notice police everywhere in surprising variety of differently colored uniforms (the same is true of any Italian city)

     

    Milan is very nice in the center. And even around south of center are some really pleasant areas as well. I wasn't sure about the crime situation there. Generally as a tourist I feel, everywhere in Western Europe, it's safe and worst danger is that someone will take away your phone or wallet when you are not looking.

    When you drive through residential areas in Milano, or Venezia, or Roma (all high-rises, like in Moscow), you see underwear drying on ropes attached to the sticks virtually in every window. This tells me that the residents don’t have room in their apartments to put a clothes dryer. You don’t see this in Prague, or in Vienna, either.
     
    This could be cultural - if in Italy, people prefer to dry clothes outside.

    If you think about space, nowadays the washing and drying machine can be together in the same machine.

  169. @AnonFromTN
    I don’t know the details of my stock portfolio. I hired a “wealth management” company for that, and I pay them to ensure that I don’t need to go into those grisly details. I am interested in my science, I am not interested in theirs.

    However, if the US $ takes a serious nosedive, the purchasing power of my retirement and other savings will go down with it. I don’t want that to happen. That is why I am against the US behaving as an Empire, stretching itself too thin, thereby speeding up its inevitable demise. Hence, I am against US interference in yet another country: we have enough headaches as it is, and should withdraw from numerous countries the US is already in. Besides, I am against the fact that MIC profiteers use these US-manufactured “crises” as a pretext to increase Pentagon budget, which is already bleeding the country dry. So, out of pure self-interest I am against US involvement in Venezuela, or in any other country, for that matter. I’d rather see the roads I drive on repaired and energy and water distribution infrastructure in the US updated.

    Like I said, I’m not a supporter of our current Venezuelan policy. There’s no apparent strategic aim other than overthrowing Maduro because…reasons.

    This “coup” is one of the biggest jokes I’ve ever seen. Even the pathetic anti-Erdogan coup was better.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    That’s because the Empire invariably engages the most clueless and incompetent nonentities wherever it attempts a regime change. Makes certain sense: a person good for something has self-respect and dignity, and therefore won’t be an obedient imperial puppet. I resent my money being wasted on various guaidos and similar scum in other countries.
  170. @Thorfinnsson
    Like I said, I'm not a supporter of our current Venezuelan policy. There's no apparent strategic aim other than overthrowing Maduro because...reasons.

    This "coup" is one of the biggest jokes I've ever seen. Even the pathetic anti-Erdogan coup was better.

    That’s because the Empire invariably engages the most clueless and incompetent nonentities wherever it attempts a regime change. Makes certain sense: a person good for something has self-respect and dignity, and therefore won’t be an obedient imperial puppet. I resent my money being wasted on various guaidos and similar scum in other countries.

  171. @AnonFromTN
    GDP is a fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”). Suffice it to say that imaginary rent I would pay if I were crazy enough to rent my own house from myself is counted towards the US GDP. Not to mention the bubble of “financial services” that accounts for a large chunk of GDP in the US and many European countries.

    I was in Prague a few years back, stayed in a hotel in residential area where locals live, and walked a lot not only in touristy downtown and even more touristy Gradchany, but in other places. Prague looks pretty prosperous, the beer is still good, although the variety of beer in 1990 was greater. One sign of progress I noticed is that the waiters in every restaurant in Prague now can communicate with customers in German, English, and Russian, whereas in 1990 you had to try understanding Czech. I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years). Milano, Napoli, and Roma look a lot dirtier and much more run down. But Rome has more culture, art, and history than the whole of North America.

    In Milano I stayed in the downtown, within walking distance of La Scala. That part is nice, but you notice police everywhere in surprising variety of differently colored uniforms (the same is true of any Italian city). In contrast, Prague (like Vienna or Munich) is a very low crime city, so you don’t see police anywhere. When you drive through residential areas in Milano, or Venezia, or Roma (all high-rises, like in Moscow), you see underwear drying on ropes attached to the sticks virtually in every window. This tells me that the residents don’t have room in their apartments to put a clothes dryer. You don’t see this in Prague, or in Vienna, either.

    GDP is a fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”). Suffice it to say that imaginary rent I would pay if I were crazy enough to rent my own house from myself is counted towards the US GDP.

    Housing is part of the economy. Imputed rent is how economists measure privately owned housing. What’s fraudulent about it?

    Not to mention the bubble of “financial services” that accounts for a large chunk of GDP in the US and many European countries.

    If “financial services” is a bubble, then perhaps you should be shorting it. In a previous post you stated:

    I don’t know the details of my stock portfolio. I hired a “wealth management” company for that, and I pay them to ensure that I don’t need to go into those grisly details.

    This makes you a consumer of financial services…

    Where’s the bubble?

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    In my book, counting imaginary rent nobody pays is fraud, pure and simple. It’s like counting towards GDP my visits to my own toilets or toilets in the US on the grounds that if these were public toilets in Europe, I would have to pay for using them.

    As to financial services, do you know how many times the real assets are traded? There are shares, than there are derivatives, than there is insurance of those derivatives, than there are derivatives including that insurance, etc. Yet real assets exist only once. Then in a market crash (like in 2008) this imaginary “wealth” disappears without a trace, because it did not exist to begin with. But that does not prevent creative accountants from counting it towards GDP.
  172. @Thorfinnsson


    GDP is a fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”). Suffice it to say that imaginary rent I would pay if I were crazy enough to rent my own house from myself is counted towards the US GDP.
     
    Housing is part of the economy. Imputed rent is how economists measure privately owned housing. What's fraudulent about it?


    Not to mention the bubble of “financial services” that accounts for a large chunk of GDP in the US and many European countries.
     
    If "financial services" is a bubble, then perhaps you should be shorting it. In a previous post you stated:


    I don’t know the details of my stock portfolio. I hired a “wealth management” company for that, and I pay them to ensure that I don’t need to go into those grisly details.
     
    This makes you a consumer of financial services...

    Where's the bubble?

    In my book, counting imaginary rent nobody pays is fraud, pure and simple. It’s like counting towards GDP my visits to my own toilets or toilets in the US on the grounds that if these were public toilets in Europe, I would have to pay for using them.

    As to financial services, do you know how many times the real assets are traded? There are shares, than there are derivatives, than there is insurance of those derivatives, than there are derivatives including that insurance, etc. Yet real assets exist only once. Then in a market crash (like in 2008) this imaginary “wealth” disappears without a trace, because it did not exist to begin with. But that does not prevent creative accountants from counting it towards GDP.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson

    In my book, counting imaginary rent nobody pays is fraud, pure and simple. It’s like counting towards GDP my visits to my own toilets or toilets in the US on the grounds that if these were public toilets in Europe, I would have to pay for using them.
     

    Do you have a better suggestion of how to incorporate privately owned housing into national accounts?

    I suppose one could ignore the service provided (housing) and only account instead for the labor and materials involved in constructing and maintaining housing.

    As to financial services, do you know how many times the real assets are traded? There are shares, than there are derivatives, than there is insurance of those derivatives, than there are derivatives including that insurance, etc. Yet real assets exist only once. Then in a market crash (like in 2008) this imaginary “wealth” disappears without a trace, because it did not exist to begin with. But that does not prevent creative accountants from counting it towards GDP.
     

    Trading is economic activity. What's the problem?

    Most derivatives are options purchased either for hedging purposes or speculative ones. Generally they expire unexercised.

    The wealth you're referring to isn't part of GDP, though it is incorporated into other forms of national accounting like net worth. And here you do run into actual problems because patterns of ownership and valuation across economies are much less standardized.

  173. @AnonFromTN
    In my book, counting imaginary rent nobody pays is fraud, pure and simple. It’s like counting towards GDP my visits to my own toilets or toilets in the US on the grounds that if these were public toilets in Europe, I would have to pay for using them.

    As to financial services, do you know how many times the real assets are traded? There are shares, than there are derivatives, than there is insurance of those derivatives, than there are derivatives including that insurance, etc. Yet real assets exist only once. Then in a market crash (like in 2008) this imaginary “wealth” disappears without a trace, because it did not exist to begin with. But that does not prevent creative accountants from counting it towards GDP.

    In my book, counting imaginary rent nobody pays is fraud, pure and simple. It’s like counting towards GDP my visits to my own toilets or toilets in the US on the grounds that if these were public toilets in Europe, I would have to pay for using them.

    Do you have a better suggestion of how to incorporate privately owned housing into national accounts?

    I suppose one could ignore the service provided (housing) and only account instead for the labor and materials involved in constructing and maintaining housing.

    As to financial services, do you know how many times the real assets are traded? There are shares, than there are derivatives, than there is insurance of those derivatives, than there are derivatives including that insurance, etc. Yet real assets exist only once. Then in a market crash (like in 2008) this imaginary “wealth” disappears without a trace, because it did not exist to begin with. But that does not prevent creative accountants from counting it towards GDP.

    Trading is economic activity. What’s the problem?

    Most derivatives are options purchased either for hedging purposes or speculative ones. Generally they expire unexercised.

    The wealth you’re referring to isn’t part of GDP, though it is incorporated into other forms of national accounting like net worth. And here you do run into actual problems because patterns of ownership and valuation across economies are much less standardized.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    Do you have a better suggestion of how to incorporate privately owned housing into national accounts?
     
    It is not about having a better method. The point is that national GNP statistics are only partially accurate, they work relatively well within a country to compare year-to-year trends, or among countries that have similar economic systems.

    But all of it falls apart when you compare disparate systems: socialist systems in 1980's (Czech.,Hungary) were based on a lot of free stuff: housing, medical care, education, summer camps, sports, sanatoriums, etc... There was no way to account for it, they in most cases didn't even have accounting systems, or invoicing for services - it was simply free. We can argue about the quality, some stuff was great: spas, top schools, some housing, others were mediocre, e.g. village clinics. But it had a value to the economy hat was not captured properly - to 'impute' value as some have tried is very random, subjective and inaccurate.

    I have calculated physical consumption levels at that time - it can be done based on available data - and the actual physical consumption of goods and services in 1980's Czechoslovakia was higher than in Italy or Spain. It is hard to value it properly because without markets it is just a guess (how much is a free apartment in Prague worth?). There is also an element of waste when people don't pay and it is hard to adjust for it. But any objective analysis of living standards in 1990 Czechoslovakia vs. Italy shows that Czechs lived better - they consumed more, had more stability, better schools, and the society was also more equal (consumption was distributed more evenly).

    Life in 1990 Prague was better than life in 1990 Milano. Part of it was also lack of crime, cleanliness, better transport. But Vienna was better than Prague. What we have seen in the last 25 years is that official statistics have caught up with the reality on the ground - adjustments, asset valuations, currency appreciation, new accounting. But even in 1990 Prague was a higher living standard city. You just don't like to admit it for ideological reasons - an attempt to assign all good things to 'capitalist' economy. It blinds you to reality.

    patterns of ownership and valuation across economies are much less standardized
     
    Precisely, economic statistics don't travel well.
  174. @Thorfinnsson

    In my book, counting imaginary rent nobody pays is fraud, pure and simple. It’s like counting towards GDP my visits to my own toilets or toilets in the US on the grounds that if these were public toilets in Europe, I would have to pay for using them.
     

    Do you have a better suggestion of how to incorporate privately owned housing into national accounts?

    I suppose one could ignore the service provided (housing) and only account instead for the labor and materials involved in constructing and maintaining housing.

    As to financial services, do you know how many times the real assets are traded? There are shares, than there are derivatives, than there is insurance of those derivatives, than there are derivatives including that insurance, etc. Yet real assets exist only once. Then in a market crash (like in 2008) this imaginary “wealth” disappears without a trace, because it did not exist to begin with. But that does not prevent creative accountants from counting it towards GDP.
     

    Trading is economic activity. What's the problem?

    Most derivatives are options purchased either for hedging purposes or speculative ones. Generally they expire unexercised.

    The wealth you're referring to isn't part of GDP, though it is incorporated into other forms of national accounting like net worth. And here you do run into actual problems because patterns of ownership and valuation across economies are much less standardized.

    Do you have a better suggestion of how to incorporate privately owned housing into national accounts?

    It is not about having a better method. The point is that national GNP statistics are only partially accurate, they work relatively well within a country to compare year-to-year trends, or among countries that have similar economic systems.

    But all of it falls apart when you compare disparate systems: socialist systems in 1980’s (Czech.,Hungary) were based on a lot of free stuff: housing, medical care, education, summer camps, sports, sanatoriums, etc… There was no way to account for it, they in most cases didn’t even have accounting systems, or invoicing for services – it was simply free. We can argue about the quality, some stuff was great: spas, top schools, some housing, others were mediocre, e.g. village clinics. But it had a value to the economy hat was not captured properly – to ‘impute’ value as some have tried is very random, subjective and inaccurate.

    I have calculated physical consumption levels at that time – it can be done based on available data – and the actual physical consumption of goods and services in 1980’s Czechoslovakia was higher than in Italy or Spain. It is hard to value it properly because without markets it is just a guess (how much is a free apartment in Prague worth?). There is also an element of waste when people don’t pay and it is hard to adjust for it. But any objective analysis of living standards in 1990 Czechoslovakia vs. Italy shows that Czechs lived better – they consumed more, had more stability, better schools, and the society was also more equal (consumption was distributed more evenly).

    Life in 1990 Prague was better than life in 1990 Milano. Part of it was also lack of crime, cleanliness, better transport. But Vienna was better than Prague. What we have seen in the last 25 years is that official statistics have caught up with the reality on the ground – adjustments, asset valuations, currency appreciation, new accounting. But even in 1990 Prague was a higher living standard city. You just don’t like to admit it for ideological reasons – an attempt to assign all good things to ‘capitalist’ economy. It blinds you to reality.

    patterns of ownership and valuation across economies are much less standardized

    Precisely, economic statistics don’t travel well.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    It was accounted for: https://nintil.com/2016/03/29/the-soviet-union-healthcare/

    Healthcare spending decreased from 6.5% of GDP (1965) to 6% (1970s) to 4.5% (1985) to 4% (1987), making the SU one of the countries that invested the least in healthcare.
     

    Similarly today economists have no difficulty accounting for Britain's NHS, another socialist medical system.

    As far as physical goods go, to take one datapoint Italy produced as many cars in 1990 as the entire USSR did. And ten times as many as Czechoslovakia. Adjusting for population differential that meant Italian car production was 2.5x per capita Czechoslovakia and 5x per capita the USSR. And Italian cars were better than communist cars.

    Nintil goes in depth on consumer durables: https://nintil.com/2016/06/06/the-soviet-union-durable-goods/

    https://artir.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/captura2.png

    https://artir.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/captura21.png

    I can't speak to life in 1990 Prague or Milan, not having been to either city at that time. But I do know that communist countries infamously produced shoddy goods despite substantial inputs of labor, capital, and raw materials.

  175. Matra says:
    @AnonFromTN
    GDP is a fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”). Suffice it to say that imaginary rent I would pay if I were crazy enough to rent my own house from myself is counted towards the US GDP. Not to mention the bubble of “financial services” that accounts for a large chunk of GDP in the US and many European countries.

    I was in Prague a few years back, stayed in a hotel in residential area where locals live, and walked a lot not only in touristy downtown and even more touristy Gradchany, but in other places. Prague looks pretty prosperous, the beer is still good, although the variety of beer in 1990 was greater. One sign of progress I noticed is that the waiters in every restaurant in Prague now can communicate with customers in German, English, and Russian, whereas in 1990 you had to try understanding Czech. I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years). Milano, Napoli, and Roma look a lot dirtier and much more run down. But Rome has more culture, art, and history than the whole of North America.

    In Milano I stayed in the downtown, within walking distance of La Scala. That part is nice, but you notice police everywhere in surprising variety of differently colored uniforms (the same is true of any Italian city). In contrast, Prague (like Vienna or Munich) is a very low crime city, so you don’t see police anywhere. When you drive through residential areas in Milano, or Venezia, or Roma (all high-rises, like in Moscow), you see underwear drying on ropes attached to the sticks virtually in every window. This tells me that the residents don’t have room in their apartments to put a clothes dryer. You don’t see this in Prague, or in Vienna, either.

    I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years)

    I’ve been in all three in the last year. Prague is noticeably shabby compared to both of them. It was my first thought when arriving in Munich from Prague. (Although the number of homeless in Munich, almost all white, was quite surprising). Prague’s also shabby compared to Dresden, not exactly Germany’s richest city. On Milan though you are right. Some of the trams in Milan’s prime shopping areas look like the ones Prague had in the 60s.

    • Replies: @Beckow
    It gets down to real subjective minutia. What is more 'shabby'? I for example find London very shabby: dirty, bad architecture, menacing, low quality people everywhere.

    The subjective visitor perceptions vary, some people are turned off by incomprehensible language signs, or opening hours for shops, or even weather. If you come to Dresden by train, it can be terrible experience - the area around the station, but if you drive in it can be wonderful.

    2018 Eurostat data about top 10 regions in EU based on GNP/capita (PPP): London is #1, Prague #7, Bratislava #8. But Munich, Vienna, Milano don't make it, although Hamburg is #3. It is a guideline and not necessarily fully accurate. But what it tells us is that black-white east-west ideological statements are often not true. This is not because of the last 25 years - it goes much deeper, there is no way a country can come out of nowhere and suddenly rank close to the top if the previous 50 years were all a failed disaster.

    My main argument is that Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Riga for all their problems are vibrant, fully-European cities determined to stay that way. London, Paris, Munich are not - they are 1 or 2 generations from being close to unliveable, overrun by migrants, non-European, dirt and crime. Milano and Vienna probably still have a chance (go Salvini!). Was it worth it? Was the early and enthusiastic adoption of the neo-liberal ideology and open borders under US pressure worth it? Was the incremental GNP growth (mostly migrants' consumption) worth what was given away permanently?

    , @AP

    I’ve been in all three in the last year. Prague is noticeably shabby compared to both of them. It was my first thought when arriving in Munich from Prague. (Although the number of homeless in Munich, almost all white, was quite surprising).
     
    One of my closest relatives Munich and Prague last year and had the exact same impression. Prague seen as instantly shabbier and poorer. And based on economic data it hadn't been the case prior to Communism. It is getting better and should catch up within a few years. So maybe it will have taken 30 or 40 years post-Communism to compensate for 40 years of Communism.
    , @AnonFromTN
    That was not my impression, based on seeing touristy and non-touristy areas in Munich, Vienna, and Prague. I actually drove to Prague from Leipzig via Dresden (where I spent several hours), and did not see much contrast. Every Italian city I saw in the last few years (Rome, Milan, Naples, and a few smaller cities), as well as Spanish (Madrid, Toledo, Valencia) and Portuguese (Lisbon) looked dirtier and shabbier than Prague. Out of these, I only used public transportation in Rome, and it appeared a lot worse than in Prague.
  176. @Beckow

    Do you have a better suggestion of how to incorporate privately owned housing into national accounts?
     
    It is not about having a better method. The point is that national GNP statistics are only partially accurate, they work relatively well within a country to compare year-to-year trends, or among countries that have similar economic systems.

    But all of it falls apart when you compare disparate systems: socialist systems in 1980's (Czech.,Hungary) were based on a lot of free stuff: housing, medical care, education, summer camps, sports, sanatoriums, etc... There was no way to account for it, they in most cases didn't even have accounting systems, or invoicing for services - it was simply free. We can argue about the quality, some stuff was great: spas, top schools, some housing, others were mediocre, e.g. village clinics. But it had a value to the economy hat was not captured properly - to 'impute' value as some have tried is very random, subjective and inaccurate.

    I have calculated physical consumption levels at that time - it can be done based on available data - and the actual physical consumption of goods and services in 1980's Czechoslovakia was higher than in Italy or Spain. It is hard to value it properly because without markets it is just a guess (how much is a free apartment in Prague worth?). There is also an element of waste when people don't pay and it is hard to adjust for it. But any objective analysis of living standards in 1990 Czechoslovakia vs. Italy shows that Czechs lived better - they consumed more, had more stability, better schools, and the society was also more equal (consumption was distributed more evenly).

    Life in 1990 Prague was better than life in 1990 Milano. Part of it was also lack of crime, cleanliness, better transport. But Vienna was better than Prague. What we have seen in the last 25 years is that official statistics have caught up with the reality on the ground - adjustments, asset valuations, currency appreciation, new accounting. But even in 1990 Prague was a higher living standard city. You just don't like to admit it for ideological reasons - an attempt to assign all good things to 'capitalist' economy. It blinds you to reality.

    patterns of ownership and valuation across economies are much less standardized
     
    Precisely, economic statistics don't travel well.

    It was accounted for: https://nintil.com/2016/03/29/the-soviet-union-healthcare/

    Healthcare spending decreased from 6.5% of GDP (1965) to 6% (1970s) to 4.5% (1985) to 4% (1987), making the SU one of the countries that invested the least in healthcare.

    Similarly today economists have no difficulty accounting for Britain’s NHS, another socialist medical system.

    As far as physical goods go, to take one datapoint Italy produced as many cars in 1990 as the entire USSR did. And ten times as many as Czechoslovakia. Adjusting for population differential that meant Italian car production was 2.5x per capita Czechoslovakia and 5x per capita the USSR. And Italian cars were better than communist cars.

    Nintil goes in depth on consumer durables: https://nintil.com/2016/06/06/the-soviet-union-durable-goods/

    I can’t speak to life in 1990 Prague or Milan, not having been to either city at that time. But I do know that communist countries infamously produced shoddy goods despite substantial inputs of labor, capital, and raw materials.

    • Replies: @AP
    Thank you.

    You can also look at life expectancy and how Czechoslovakia fell behind countries such as Spain or Austria that it had been ahead of prior to Communism. Shoddy healthcare led to shoddy outcomes.

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

    In 1950-1955, life expectancy in Austria was 66.50 while in Czechoslovakia it was 66.86. Czechs lived longer than Austrians. But in 1985-1990, life expectancy in Austria was 75 while in Czechoslovakia it was 71.46.

    In Spain life expectancy was 64.60 in 1950-1955. In 1985-1990 it was 76.85.
    , @Beckow
    Don't know about SU and you focus too much on production of cars. When you look at consumption across the board you get very different numbers. You can't cherrypick. (By the way, I think Skoda has always been a better car than Fiat.)

    NHS uses an accounting system that tracks all expenses down to bandaids - and it goes into GNP. That is very different from systems that had no detailed accounting - the services were simply free, all value were estimates based on very-low valuations for the services. If an American went to a hospital in Prague in 1988 it was free, there was no way to even invoice him. None of that economic activity was properly included in GNP. All estimates can be played with - if you say that a value of a PhD in Math is $100k in US, why is it accounted for as zero in socialist Czechoslovakia? If an apartment cost 1 trillion liras per month to rent in Milano, and is free in Prague (or has $50/monthly payment), how do you adjust for that?
  177. @Matra
    I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years)

    I've been in all three in the last year. Prague is noticeably shabby compared to both of them. It was my first thought when arriving in Munich from Prague. (Although the number of homeless in Munich, almost all white, was quite surprising). Prague's also shabby compared to Dresden, not exactly Germany's richest city. On Milan though you are right. Some of the trams in Milan's prime shopping areas look like the ones Prague had in the 60s.

    It gets down to real subjective minutia. What is more ‘shabby’? I for example find London very shabby: dirty, bad architecture, menacing, low quality people everywhere.

    The subjective visitor perceptions vary, some people are turned off by incomprehensible language signs, or opening hours for shops, or even weather. If you come to Dresden by train, it can be terrible experience – the area around the station, but if you drive in it can be wonderful.

    2018 Eurostat data about top 10 regions in EU based on GNP/capita (PPP): London is #1, Prague #7, Bratislava #8. But Munich, Vienna, Milano don’t make it, although Hamburg is #3. It is a guideline and not necessarily fully accurate. But what it tells us is that black-white east-west ideological statements are often not true. This is not because of the last 25 years – it goes much deeper, there is no way a country can come out of nowhere and suddenly rank close to the top if the previous 50 years were all a failed disaster.

    My main argument is that Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Riga for all their problems are vibrant, fully-European cities determined to stay that way. London, Paris, Munich are not – they are 1 or 2 generations from being close to unliveable, overrun by migrants, non-European, dirt and crime. Milano and Vienna probably still have a chance (go Salvini!). Was it worth it? Was the early and enthusiastic adoption of the neo-liberal ideology and open borders under US pressure worth it? Was the incremental GNP growth (mostly migrants’ consumption) worth what was given away permanently?

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Many of us here, probably most, would like to have a capitalist economic system without large numbers of non-white immigrants. Most of us have experienced this in our own countries in our own lifetimes.

    That is in fact what you have in the Visegrad group today.

    Who did the US pressure to have open borders exactly? We have the example of West Germany, but I can't think of others (not saying it didn't happen). Britain and France started importing non-white labor even before the war.
    , @Dmitry
    Sure the city comparison is very subjective. It's like talking about which people, that you like and don't like.

    For example, you say you hate London. While I always love London, or at least some parts of London (there are many horrible areas of London - for example, all the poor areas of London, and most of East London; but there are also many beautiful places in London).

    But with measures like average income, or property prices, - it is quite possible to see that some cities and countries are richer, on average, than others. And that's I was saying.

    I'm no going to say everything is better with capitalism than with socialism. There were many areas where life in the USSR was a lot superior than today. My point is simply about comparable economic level of areas of Europe under capitalism and communism policy.

  178. @Beckow
    It gets down to real subjective minutia. What is more 'shabby'? I for example find London very shabby: dirty, bad architecture, menacing, low quality people everywhere.

    The subjective visitor perceptions vary, some people are turned off by incomprehensible language signs, or opening hours for shops, or even weather. If you come to Dresden by train, it can be terrible experience - the area around the station, but if you drive in it can be wonderful.

    2018 Eurostat data about top 10 regions in EU based on GNP/capita (PPP): London is #1, Prague #7, Bratislava #8. But Munich, Vienna, Milano don't make it, although Hamburg is #3. It is a guideline and not necessarily fully accurate. But what it tells us is that black-white east-west ideological statements are often not true. This is not because of the last 25 years - it goes much deeper, there is no way a country can come out of nowhere and suddenly rank close to the top if the previous 50 years were all a failed disaster.

    My main argument is that Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Riga for all their problems are vibrant, fully-European cities determined to stay that way. London, Paris, Munich are not - they are 1 or 2 generations from being close to unliveable, overrun by migrants, non-European, dirt and crime. Milano and Vienna probably still have a chance (go Salvini!). Was it worth it? Was the early and enthusiastic adoption of the neo-liberal ideology and open borders under US pressure worth it? Was the incremental GNP growth (mostly migrants' consumption) worth what was given away permanently?

    Many of us here, probably most, would like to have a capitalist economic system without large numbers of non-white immigrants. Most of us have experienced this in our own countries in our own lifetimes.

    That is in fact what you have in the Visegrad group today.

    Who did the US pressure to have open borders exactly? We have the example of West Germany, but I can’t think of others (not saying it didn’t happen). Britain and France started importing non-white labor even before the war.

    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...would like to have a capitalist economic system without large numbers of non-white immigrants.
     
    So would I. One thing that mass migration destroys are normal labor markets and that leads to slow destruction of middle class and family formation. Society in effect slowly commits a suicide - if our descendants are not going to be around, if we are turning it over to masses from the Third World, is it really a society any more?

    ...US pressure to have open borders
     
    It was a part of the ideological package: open trade and open borders. US and its underlings all over Europe worked tirelessly for decades to remove any barriers to movement of labor, pushed for diversity, etc... Yes, at some point their Europe based pupils fully took over and even exceeded the expectations of their American teachers (who were mostly very liberal non-typical Americans).

    Why they did it? I think it goes with the global neo-liberal view of the world with a touch of libertarian idiocy. Open everything comes as part of the ideology. More specifically I believe at least some in Washington wanted to re-create the multi-racial society they had at home in Europe - maybe envy, resentment, comparative advantage. We see something similar today with Merkel-Macron pushing their own migrant failures on the east.
    , @Yevardian

    Many of us here, probably most, would like to have a capitalist economic system without large numbers of non-white immigrants.
     
    There is an inherent contradiction here. Capitalism without heavy state-regulation will always favour the lowest common denominator, and of course national sovereignty and identity are an anathema to any businessman.
  179. AP says:
    @Matra
    I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years)

    I've been in all three in the last year. Prague is noticeably shabby compared to both of them. It was my first thought when arriving in Munich from Prague. (Although the number of homeless in Munich, almost all white, was quite surprising). Prague's also shabby compared to Dresden, not exactly Germany's richest city. On Milan though you are right. Some of the trams in Milan's prime shopping areas look like the ones Prague had in the 60s.

    I’ve been in all three in the last year. Prague is noticeably shabby compared to both of them. It was my first thought when arriving in Munich from Prague. (Although the number of homeless in Munich, almost all white, was quite surprising).

    One of my closest relatives Munich and Prague last year and had the exact same impression. Prague seen as instantly shabbier and poorer. And based on economic data it hadn’t been the case prior to Communism. It is getting better and should catch up within a few years. So maybe it will have taken 30 or 40 years post-Communism to compensate for 40 years of Communism.

  180. AP says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    It was accounted for: https://nintil.com/2016/03/29/the-soviet-union-healthcare/

    Healthcare spending decreased from 6.5% of GDP (1965) to 6% (1970s) to 4.5% (1985) to 4% (1987), making the SU one of the countries that invested the least in healthcare.
     

    Similarly today economists have no difficulty accounting for Britain's NHS, another socialist medical system.

    As far as physical goods go, to take one datapoint Italy produced as many cars in 1990 as the entire USSR did. And ten times as many as Czechoslovakia. Adjusting for population differential that meant Italian car production was 2.5x per capita Czechoslovakia and 5x per capita the USSR. And Italian cars were better than communist cars.

    Nintil goes in depth on consumer durables: https://nintil.com/2016/06/06/the-soviet-union-durable-goods/

    https://artir.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/captura2.png

    https://artir.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/captura21.png

    I can't speak to life in 1990 Prague or Milan, not having been to either city at that time. But I do know that communist countries infamously produced shoddy goods despite substantial inputs of labor, capital, and raw materials.

    Thank you.

    You can also look at life expectancy and how Czechoslovakia fell behind countries such as Spain or Austria that it had been ahead of prior to Communism. Shoddy healthcare led to shoddy outcomes.

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

    In 1950-1955, life expectancy in Austria was 66.50 while in Czechoslovakia it was 66.86. Czechs lived longer than Austrians. But in 1985-1990, life expectancy in Austria was 75 while in Czechoslovakia it was 71.46.

    In Spain life expectancy was 64.60 in 1950-1955. In 1985-1990 it was 76.85.

  181. @Thorfinnsson
    It was accounted for: https://nintil.com/2016/03/29/the-soviet-union-healthcare/

    Healthcare spending decreased from 6.5% of GDP (1965) to 6% (1970s) to 4.5% (1985) to 4% (1987), making the SU one of the countries that invested the least in healthcare.
     

    Similarly today economists have no difficulty accounting for Britain's NHS, another socialist medical system.

    As far as physical goods go, to take one datapoint Italy produced as many cars in 1990 as the entire USSR did. And ten times as many as Czechoslovakia. Adjusting for population differential that meant Italian car production was 2.5x per capita Czechoslovakia and 5x per capita the USSR. And Italian cars were better than communist cars.

    Nintil goes in depth on consumer durables: https://nintil.com/2016/06/06/the-soviet-union-durable-goods/

    https://artir.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/captura2.png

    https://artir.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/captura21.png

    I can't speak to life in 1990 Prague or Milan, not having been to either city at that time. But I do know that communist countries infamously produced shoddy goods despite substantial inputs of labor, capital, and raw materials.

    Don’t know about SU and you focus too much on production of cars. When you look at consumption across the board you get very different numbers. You can’t cherrypick. (By the way, I think Skoda has always been a better car than Fiat.)

    NHS uses an accounting system that tracks all expenses down to bandaids – and it goes into GNP. That is very different from systems that had no detailed accounting – the services were simply free, all value were estimates based on very-low valuations for the services. If an American went to a hospital in Prague in 1988 it was free, there was no way to even invoice him. None of that economic activity was properly included in GNP. All estimates can be played with – if you say that a value of a PhD in Math is $100k in US, why is it accounted for as zero in socialist Czechoslovakia? If an apartment cost 1 trillion liras per month to rent in Milano, and is free in Prague (or has $50/monthly payment), how do you adjust for that?

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I brought up cars for a couple of reasons:

    1 - I like cars
    2 - Cars are the world's largest manufacturing industry
    3 - Most people either own a car or want to own one
    4 - Car statistics are very good and go back a long time

    If you want more complete data here's a US Congressional report comparing Soviet and American consumption levels from 1981:

    https://www.jec.senate.gov/reports/97th%20Congress/Consumption%20in%20the%20USSR%20-%20An%20International%20Comparison%20(1058).pdf

    Determining price ratios and parities for this group is hampered by the fact that many goods are not comparable, and very far from all exist in the USSR. In the opinion of experts[4], a typical contemporary Soviet sewing machine is similar to one used in the US 60 years ago. The standard Soviet one-door refrigerator is not produced in the US now. There are essentially no fully automatic washing machines, electric (or gas) clothes dryers, toasters, or air conditioners in the USSR(2).

    (2) This was the opinion of American experts. In the words of lzvestiya, 3 April 1979, p.3, Soviet vacuum cleaners ‘are 20 years behind modern standards’. Home air conditioners recently began to appear, but their quality is bad. The people have not been quick to buy them (Kommercheskiy vestnik, 1982, no. 6, p. 6), although there are no central systems in apartment buildings. Toasters have also begun to appear, but they are not selling well either.
     
    The Joint Economic Committee found that Soviet consumption of consumer durables was one-eighth the American level. Things like toasters and air conditioners only first appeared in the late 1970s.

    NHS provides care for free as well. The system, by design, is free at the point of delivery.

    Communist hospitals would still have required accounting systems to pay staff, keep inventory, order supplies, etc.

    Economists adjust prices when comparing national accounts. You yourself cited GDP PPP in an earlier comment.

    As for how they adjust, that's a much more tortured topic but generally involves first establishing some sort of benchmark.

    The US government's Bureau of Economic Analysis helpfully produces reports for the public on this: https://www.bea.gov/resources/methodologies
    , @AP

    Don’t know about SU and you focus too much on production of cars. When you look at consumption across the board you get very different numbers.
     
    Okay, provide links to stats for other goods. And keep in mind quality. Commie-built vacuum cleaner wasn't equivalent of American one from the same time period.
  182. @AnonFromTN
    GDP is a fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”). Suffice it to say that imaginary rent I would pay if I were crazy enough to rent my own house from myself is counted towards the US GDP. Not to mention the bubble of “financial services” that accounts for a large chunk of GDP in the US and many European countries.

    I was in Prague a few years back, stayed in a hotel in residential area where locals live, and walked a lot not only in touristy downtown and even more touristy Gradchany, but in other places. Prague looks pretty prosperous, the beer is still good, although the variety of beer in 1990 was greater. One sign of progress I noticed is that the waiters in every restaurant in Prague now can communicate with customers in German, English, and Russian, whereas in 1990 you had to try understanding Czech. I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years). Milano, Napoli, and Roma look a lot dirtier and much more run down. But Rome has more culture, art, and history than the whole of North America.

    In Milano I stayed in the downtown, within walking distance of La Scala. That part is nice, but you notice police everywhere in surprising variety of differently colored uniforms (the same is true of any Italian city). In contrast, Prague (like Vienna or Munich) is a very low crime city, so you don’t see police anywhere. When you drive through residential areas in Milano, or Venezia, or Roma (all high-rises, like in Moscow), you see underwear drying on ropes attached to the sticks virtually in every window. This tells me that the residents don’t have room in their apartments to put a clothes dryer. You don’t see this in Prague, or in Vienna, either.

    fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”

    For comparing small differences between countries, sure, it is unreliable. However, when it is more than double GDP per capita at PPP, in one country than in another,- as in this case of Czechoslovakia vs Italy at beginning of 1990s – then there must be a real difference that is measured.

    Milano, Napoli, and Roma look a lot dirtier and much more run down.

    This can be more a cultural difference. Italy has a little run down compared to some parts of Europe, and the run down in Italy are often the more interesting areas. Italian cities are usually dirtier, than in Spain, for example, even though Italy is a wealthier country than Spain.

    I would say dirty urban style in the Italian cities indicates cultural preferences, more than their lack of wealth.

    Also people can be too obsessed about “how dirty”.

    I and my family, all loved to stay in Napoli, even though it’s not the cleanest city. Napoli is probably the coolest city in Italy, in my opinion (the graffiti and the dirt is part of its charm).

    On the other hand, in the same vacation, we also went to Sorrento, which everyone in my family hated (even though Sorrento is much cleaner than Napoli – Sorrento is too for tourists, and doesn’t have an authentic character).

    In Milano I stayed in the downtown, within walking distance of La Scala. That part is nice, but you notice police everywhere in surprising variety of differently colored uniforms (the same is true of any Italian city)

    Milan is very nice in the center. And even around south of center are some really pleasant areas as well. I wasn’t sure about the crime situation there. Generally as a tourist I feel, everywhere in Western Europe, it’s safe and worst danger is that someone will take away your phone or wallet when you are not looking.

    When you drive through residential areas in Milano, or Venezia, or Roma (all high-rises, like in Moscow), you see underwear drying on ropes attached to the sticks virtually in every window. This tells me that the residents don’t have room in their apartments to put a clothes dryer. You don’t see this in Prague, or in Vienna, either.

    This could be cultural – if in Italy, people prefer to dry clothes outside.

    If you think about space, nowadays the washing and drying machine can be together in the same machine.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    That is common in Europe and post-Soviet countries. It is not particularly efficient. If you have enough space, it is much better to have washer and drier separately (as most people do in the US).
  183. @Matra
    I didn’t see much difference between Prague and Vienna or Munich (visited all within the last few years)

    I've been in all three in the last year. Prague is noticeably shabby compared to both of them. It was my first thought when arriving in Munich from Prague. (Although the number of homeless in Munich, almost all white, was quite surprising). Prague's also shabby compared to Dresden, not exactly Germany's richest city. On Milan though you are right. Some of the trams in Milan's prime shopping areas look like the ones Prague had in the 60s.

    That was not my impression, based on seeing touristy and non-touristy areas in Munich, Vienna, and Prague. I actually drove to Prague from Leipzig via Dresden (where I spent several hours), and did not see much contrast. Every Italian city I saw in the last few years (Rome, Milan, Naples, and a few smaller cities), as well as Spanish (Madrid, Toledo, Valencia) and Portuguese (Lisbon) looked dirtier and shabbier than Prague. Out of these, I only used public transportation in Rome, and it appeared a lot worse than in Prague.

    • Replies: @AP
    Nowadays Prague has caught up, but not completely.

    As for Communist times. The early to mid 1980s, the Communist peak.

    Prague in the 1980s:

    https://markbakerprague.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/IMG_20171025_0010-2500x1800.jpg

    https://image.jimcdn.com/app/cms/image/transf/dimension=1920x400:format=jpg/path/s9de1e7002cd42a15/image/ief45bf80b3e90b1d/version/1448899217/image.jpg

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DNAZIuVX0AEwS_S.jpg

    Timeless architecture built under monarchy. But people look poor, shabby, few cars and bad ones, few stores.

    Vienna 1980s:

    https://wordsvisual.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/image1.jpeg

    https://live.staticflickr.com/7425/12518154503_e06855a393_b.jpg

    https://c8.alamy.com/comp/R073H8/wien-hundertwasserhaus-erffnung-1983-vienna-hundertwasser-house-opening-1983-R073H8.jpg

    Munich 1980s:

    https://c8.alamy.com/comp/GJTP8E/mnchen-1985-altstadt-marienplatz-und-kaufhaus-beck-am-rathauseck-munich-GJTP8E.jpg

    https://live.staticflickr.com/4012/4391663549_26cbc3934f_b.jpg

    https://c8.alamy.com/comp/GJTP2G/mnchen-1985-altstadt-blick-zur-fussgngerzone-und-zum-rathauseck-nhe-GJTP2G.jpg

    ::::::::::::::

    Cleaner, nicer cars, better dressed people, noticeably more wealth. It wasn't an accounting trick because free apartments weren't counted in Prague as our resident liar claims. Prague really was a lot poorer and shabbier back then - night and day difference.
  184. @Thorfinnsson
    Many of us here, probably most, would like to have a capitalist economic system without large numbers of non-white immigrants. Most of us have experienced this in our own countries in our own lifetimes.

    That is in fact what you have in the Visegrad group today.

    Who did the US pressure to have open borders exactly? We have the example of West Germany, but I can't think of others (not saying it didn't happen). Britain and France started importing non-white labor even before the war.

    …would like to have a capitalist economic system without large numbers of non-white immigrants.

    So would I. One thing that mass migration destroys are normal labor markets and that leads to slow destruction of middle class and family formation. Society in effect slowly commits a suicide – if our descendants are not going to be around, if we are turning it over to masses from the Third World, is it really a society any more?

    …US pressure to have open borders

    It was a part of the ideological package: open trade and open borders. US and its underlings all over Europe worked tirelessly for decades to remove any barriers to movement of labor, pushed for diversity, etc… Yes, at some point their Europe based pupils fully took over and even exceeded the expectations of their American teachers (who were mostly very liberal non-typical Americans).

    Why they did it? I think it goes with the global neo-liberal view of the world with a touch of libertarian idiocy. Open everything comes as part of the ideology. More specifically I believe at least some in Washington wanted to re-create the multi-racial society they had at home in Europe – maybe envy, resentment, comparative advantage. We see something similar today with Merkel-Macron pushing their own migrant failures on the east.

  185. @Beckow
    Don't know about SU and you focus too much on production of cars. When you look at consumption across the board you get very different numbers. You can't cherrypick. (By the way, I think Skoda has always been a better car than Fiat.)

    NHS uses an accounting system that tracks all expenses down to bandaids - and it goes into GNP. That is very different from systems that had no detailed accounting - the services were simply free, all value were estimates based on very-low valuations for the services. If an American went to a hospital in Prague in 1988 it was free, there was no way to even invoice him. None of that economic activity was properly included in GNP. All estimates can be played with - if you say that a value of a PhD in Math is $100k in US, why is it accounted for as zero in socialist Czechoslovakia? If an apartment cost 1 trillion liras per month to rent in Milano, and is free in Prague (or has $50/monthly payment), how do you adjust for that?

    I brought up cars for a couple of reasons:

    1 – I like cars
    2 – Cars are the world’s largest manufacturing industry
    3 – Most people either own a car or want to own one
    4 – Car statistics are very good and go back a long time

    If you want more complete data here’s a US Congressional report comparing Soviet and American consumption levels from 1981:

    https://www.jec.senate.gov/reports/97th%20Congress/Consumption%20in%20the%20USSR%20-%20An%20International%20Comparison%20(1058).pdf

    Determining price ratios and parities for this group is hampered by the fact that many goods are not comparable, and very far from all exist in the USSR. In the opinion of experts[4], a typical contemporary Soviet sewing machine is similar to one used in the US 60 years ago. The standard Soviet one-door refrigerator is not produced in the US now. There are essentially no fully automatic washing machines, electric (or gas) clothes dryers, toasters, or air conditioners in the USSR(2).

    (2) This was the opinion of American experts. In the words of lzvestiya, 3 April 1979, p.3, Soviet vacuum cleaners ‘are 20 years behind modern standards’. Home air conditioners recently began to appear, but their quality is bad. The people have not been quick to buy them (Kommercheskiy vestnik, 1982, no. 6, p. 6), although there are no central systems in apartment buildings. Toasters have also begun to appear, but they are not selling well either.

    The Joint Economic Committee found that Soviet consumption of consumer durables was one-eighth the American level. Things like toasters and air conditioners only first appeared in the late 1970s.

    NHS provides care for free as well. The system, by design, is free at the point of delivery.

    Communist hospitals would still have required accounting systems to pay staff, keep inventory, order supplies, etc.

    Economists adjust prices when comparing national accounts. You yourself cited GDP PPP in an earlier comment.

    As for how they adjust, that’s a much more tortured topic but generally involves first establishing some sort of benchmark.

    The US government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis helpfully produces reports for the public on this: https://www.bea.gov/resources/methodologies

  186. @Dmitry

    fraud (polite expression is “creative accounting”
     
    For comparing small differences between countries, sure, it is unreliable. However, when it is more than double GDP per capita at PPP, in one country than in another,- as in this case of Czechoslovakia vs Italy at beginning of 1990s - then there must be a real difference that is measured.

    Milano, Napoli, and Roma look a lot dirtier and much more run down.
     
    This can be more a cultural difference. Italy has a little run down compared to some parts of Europe, and the run down in Italy are often the more interesting areas. Italian cities are usually dirtier, than in Spain, for example, even though Italy is a wealthier country than Spain.

    I would say dirty urban style in the Italian cities indicates cultural preferences, more than their lack of wealth.

    Also people can be too obsessed about "how dirty".

    I and my family, all loved to stay in Napoli, even though it's not the cleanest city. Napoli is probably the coolest city in Italy, in my opinion (the graffiti and the dirt is part of its charm).

    On the other hand, in the same vacation, we also went to Sorrento, which everyone in my family hated (even though Sorrento is much cleaner than Napoli - Sorrento is too for tourists, and doesn't have an authentic character).


    In Milano I stayed in the downtown, within walking distance of La Scala. That part is nice, but you notice police everywhere in surprising variety of differently colored uniforms (the same is true of any Italian city)

     

    Milan is very nice in the center. And even around south of center are some really pleasant areas as well. I wasn't sure about the crime situation there. Generally as a tourist I feel, everywhere in Western Europe, it's safe and worst danger is that someone will take away your phone or wallet when you are not looking.

    When you drive through residential areas in Milano, or Venezia, or Roma (all high-rises, like in Moscow), you see underwear drying on ropes attached to the sticks virtually in every window. This tells me that the residents don’t have room in their apartments to put a clothes dryer. You don’t see this in Prague, or in Vienna, either.
     
    This could be cultural - if in Italy, people prefer to dry clothes outside.

    If you think about space, nowadays the washing and drying machine can be together in the same machine.

    That is common in Europe and post-Soviet countries. It is not particularly efficient. If you have enough space, it is much better to have washer and drier separately (as most people do in the US).

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Because they are usually quite slow drying in the combined machines? Or the condenser driers are energy inefficient? Miele combined washing and drying machines can be quite fast nowadays - it's probably not very efficient though.
  187. @Beckow
    It gets down to real subjective minutia. What is more 'shabby'? I for example find London very shabby: dirty, bad architecture, menacing, low quality people everywhere.

    The subjective visitor perceptions vary, some people are turned off by incomprehensible language signs, or opening hours for shops, or even weather. If you come to Dresden by train, it can be terrible experience - the area around the station, but if you drive in it can be wonderful.

    2018 Eurostat data about top 10 regions in EU based on GNP/capita (PPP): London is #1, Prague #7, Bratislava #8. But Munich, Vienna, Milano don't make it, although Hamburg is #3. It is a guideline and not necessarily fully accurate. But what it tells us is that black-white east-west ideological statements are often not true. This is not because of the last 25 years - it goes much deeper, there is no way a country can come out of nowhere and suddenly rank close to the top if the previous 50 years were all a failed disaster.

    My main argument is that Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Riga for all their problems are vibrant, fully-European cities determined to stay that way. London, Paris, Munich are not - they are 1 or 2 generations from being close to unliveable, overrun by migrants, non-European, dirt and crime. Milano and Vienna probably still have a chance (go Salvini!). Was it worth it? Was the early and enthusiastic adoption of the neo-liberal ideology and open borders under US pressure worth it? Was the incremental GNP growth (mostly migrants' consumption) worth what was given away permanently?

    Sure the city comparison is very subjective. It’s like talking about which people, that you like and don’t like.

    For example, you say you hate London. While I always love London, or at least some parts of London (there are many horrible areas of London – for example, all the poor areas of London, and most of East London; but there are also many beautiful places in London).

    But with measures like average income, or property prices, – it is quite possible to see that some cities and countries are richer, on average, than others. And that’s I was saying.

    I’m no going to say everything is better with capitalism than with socialism. There were many areas where life in the USSR was a lot superior than today. My point is simply about comparable economic level of areas of Europe under capitalism and communism policy.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Where was Soviet life superior to Russian Federation life in your view?
    , @AnonFromTN
    I can’t say I like or hate London. It has its redeeming qualities, but most historic buildings were destroyed in Queen Victoria times to give way to what was considered posh and properly imperial back then. So, it’s almost like Chinese cities: you know they are two-three thousand years old, but it’s hard to find something that is older than 100 years.

    In some ways London is on top: e.g., theater. You can go there to a theater every day for a year and never repeat yourself. What’s more, in sharp contrast to the US, British actors can act. In Royal Shakespeare Company you watch the play and forget that it’s in pretty outdated English, you don’t even notice it, so well they play. The only other city I know that has equally rich theater culture is Moscow. Nothing else even comes close.

    But in terms of scale and variety of things available 24/7 London loses to New York and Moscow. In terms of history and overall impressiveness it does not even come close to Rome. Compared to Rome, Paris, London, Berlin, or Madrid (not to mention Lisbon, Prague, Budapest, or Vienna) look like insignificant provincial cities. But if you want to buy food after 9 pm in Rome, you are out of luck: even longest-open small shops run by Arabs close. Whereas in New York and Moscow you can buy anything even at 3 am.
  188. @Dmitry
    Sure the city comparison is very subjective. It's like talking about which people, that you like and don't like.

    For example, you say you hate London. While I always love London, or at least some parts of London (there are many horrible areas of London - for example, all the poor areas of London, and most of East London; but there are also many beautiful places in London).

    But with measures like average income, or property prices, - it is quite possible to see that some cities and countries are richer, on average, than others. And that's I was saying.

    I'm no going to say everything is better with capitalism than with socialism. There were many areas where life in the USSR was a lot superior than today. My point is simply about comparable economic level of areas of Europe under capitalism and communism policy.

    Where was Soviet life superior to Russian Federation life in your view?

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    There are many areas where it was superior back in the USSR.

    For one example, I discussed above, the housing was often carefully planned with adequate infrastructure. schools, and transport systems, to match the new units.

    While, in new housing today (which people have to actually spend their money on), there can be chaos of building low-quality anthlls over some empty fields, and only minimal infrastructure.

    -


    For example, building these anthills in a field outside the city

    http://pravdaurfo.ru/sites/default/files/akadem_0.jpeg


    And then in the morning and evenings, the roads are not adequate (residents of the microdistrict complain they have to wait an hour to escape it by automobile).


    https://cs.pikabu.ru/images/big_size_comm/2013-07_4/13742293134941.jpg

    Eventually the residents protest enough, and they will at least build a tram to link them to the city (in the 2020s).

  189. @AnonFromTN
    That is common in Europe and post-Soviet countries. It is not particularly efficient. If you have enough space, it is much better to have washer and drier separately (as most people do in the US).

    Because they are usually quite slow drying in the combined machines? Or the condenser driers are energy inefficient? Miele combined washing and drying machines can be quite fast nowadays – it’s probably not very efficient though.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Frankly, I don’t know, never had a combined washer/drier. Considering that in the US they are mostly separate, they are unlikely to be energy efficient: the US is not concerned with energy efficiency (or the environment in general). But they work well and do their job fast (unless they are from Bosch or some other European maker – than they are slow and can’t take anything heavy). As far as appliances or detergents for clothes are concerned, American/Korean/Japanese beat European any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    The food is the opposite: there is no shittier food in the world than American, Japanese is tasty but very expensive in Japan, Korean is good but hot, whereas European is just right in every way, particularly French and some Italian stuff.
  190. @Thorfinnsson
    Where was Soviet life superior to Russian Federation life in your view?

    There are many areas where it was superior back in the USSR.

    For one example, I discussed above, the housing was often carefully planned with adequate infrastructure. schools, and transport systems, to match the new units.

    While, in new housing today (which people have to actually spend their money on), there can be chaos of building low-quality anthlls over some empty fields, and only minimal infrastructure.

    For example, building these anthills in a field outside the city

    And then in the morning and evenings, the roads are not adequate (residents of the microdistrict complain they have to wait an hour to escape it by automobile).


    Eventually the residents protest enough, and they will at least build a tram to link them to the city (in the 2020s).

    • Replies: @AP

    For one example, I discussed above, the housing was often carefully planned with adequate infrastructure. schools, and transport systems, to match the new units.

    While, in new housing today (which people have to actually spend their money on), there can be chaos of building low-quality anthlls over some empty fields, and only minimal infrastructure.
     

    Well, in Soviet times people had to wait many years to get their own place. There were many cases of divorced couples still living together in a small apartment because neither one could get another place. Or married adults still living with parents (and grandparents) in small apartments. Nowadays these people can at least choose to move to inconvenient locations without good infrastructure.
    , @anonymous coward

    Eventually the residents protest enough, and they will at least build a tram to link them to the city (in the 2020s).
     
    Sounds like a dream for real estate investors. (Which is something like 80% of the population in Russia.)

    I doubt Russians want to go back to the time when the real estate investing situation was 10 times worse.
  191. AP says:
    @Dmitry
    There are many areas where it was superior back in the USSR.

    For one example, I discussed above, the housing was often carefully planned with adequate infrastructure. schools, and transport systems, to match the new units.

    While, in new housing today (which people have to actually spend their money on), there can be chaos of building low-quality anthlls over some empty fields, and only minimal infrastructure.

    -


    For example, building these anthills in a field outside the city

    http://pravdaurfo.ru/sites/default/files/akadem_0.jpeg


    And then in the morning and evenings, the roads are not adequate (residents of the microdistrict complain they have to wait an hour to escape it by automobile).


    https://cs.pikabu.ru/images/big_size_comm/2013-07_4/13742293134941.jpg

    Eventually the residents protest enough, and they will at least build a tram to link them to the city (in the 2020s).

    For one example, I discussed above, the housing was often carefully planned with adequate infrastructure. schools, and transport systems, to match the new units.

    While, in new housing today (which people have to actually spend their money on), there can be chaos of building low-quality anthlls over some empty fields, and only minimal infrastructure.

    Well, in Soviet times people had to wait many years to get their own place. There were many cases of divorced couples still living together in a small apartment because neither one could get another place. Or married adults still living with parents (and grandparents) in small apartments. Nowadays these people can at least choose to move to inconvenient locations without good infrastructure.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    It's not a question of housing allocation is better or worse now than in the past (obviously the now system is better than the past one, and in some ways the situation of housing supply in Russia today - of large quantity of cheap housing - is better than many Western European countries).

    The problem here is with the urban planning. Obviously the new buildings are cheap and low quality, and everyone knows that when they buy the new apartments. But lack of basic infrastructure promised, and where they can only fix a road in these projects when residents are organizing protests and attaining media attention (this is clearly something worse than in the past).

    Or when residents have to fix the water filled road of the new housing project themselves with their own money.
    https://i.imgur.com/dqYPSVU.jpg

  192. AP says:
    @Beckow
    Don't know about SU and you focus too much on production of cars. When you look at consumption across the board you get very different numbers. You can't cherrypick. (By the way, I think Skoda has always been a better car than Fiat.)

    NHS uses an accounting system that tracks all expenses down to bandaids - and it goes into GNP. That is very different from systems that had no detailed accounting - the services were simply free, all value were estimates based on very-low valuations for the services. If an American went to a hospital in Prague in 1988 it was free, there was no way to even invoice him. None of that economic activity was properly included in GNP. All estimates can be played with - if you say that a value of a PhD in Math is $100k in US, why is it accounted for as zero in socialist Czechoslovakia? If an apartment cost 1 trillion liras per month to rent in Milano, and is free in Prague (or has $50/monthly payment), how do you adjust for that?

    Don’t know about SU and you focus too much on production of cars. When you look at consumption across the board you get very different numbers.

    Okay, provide links to stats for other goods. And keep in mind quality. Commie-built vacuum cleaner wasn’t equivalent of American one from the same time period.

  193. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN
    That was not my impression, based on seeing touristy and non-touristy areas in Munich, Vienna, and Prague. I actually drove to Prague from Leipzig via Dresden (where I spent several hours), and did not see much contrast. Every Italian city I saw in the last few years (Rome, Milan, Naples, and a few smaller cities), as well as Spanish (Madrid, Toledo, Valencia) and Portuguese (Lisbon) looked dirtier and shabbier than Prague. Out of these, I only used public transportation in Rome, and it appeared a lot worse than in Prague.

    Nowadays Prague has caught up, but not completely.

    As for Communist times. The early to mid 1980s, the Communist peak.

    Prague in the 1980s:

    Timeless architecture built under monarchy. But people look poor, shabby, few cars and bad ones, few stores.

    Vienna 1980s:

    Munich 1980s:

    ::::::::::::::

    Cleaner, nicer cars, better dressed people, noticeably more wealth. It wasn’t an accounting trick because free apartments weren’t counted in Prague as our resident liar claims. Prague really was a lot poorer and shabbier back then – night and day difference.

    • Replies: @Yevardian
    Speak for yourself. The Czech photos look perfectly normal to me.
  194. @AP

    For one example, I discussed above, the housing was often carefully planned with adequate infrastructure. schools, and transport systems, to match the new units.

    While, in new housing today (which people have to actually spend their money on), there can be chaos of building low-quality anthlls over some empty fields, and only minimal infrastructure.
     

    Well, in Soviet times people had to wait many years to get their own place. There were many cases of divorced couples still living together in a small apartment because neither one could get another place. Or married adults still living with parents (and grandparents) in small apartments. Nowadays these people can at least choose to move to inconvenient locations without good infrastructure.

    It’s not a question of housing allocation is better or worse now than in the past (obviously the now system is better than the past one, and in some ways the situation of housing supply in Russia today – of large quantity of cheap housing – is better than many Western European countries).

    The problem here is with the urban planning. Obviously the new buildings are cheap and low quality, and everyone knows that when they buy the new apartments. But lack of basic infrastructure promised, and where they can only fix a road in these projects when residents are organizing protests and attaining media attention (this is clearly something worse than in the past).

    Or when residents have to fix the water filled road of the new housing project themselves with their own money.

  195. @Dmitry
    Because they are usually quite slow drying in the combined machines? Or the condenser driers are energy inefficient? Miele combined washing and drying machines can be quite fast nowadays - it's probably not very efficient though.

    Frankly, I don’t know, never had a combined washer/drier. Considering that in the US they are mostly separate, they are unlikely to be energy efficient: the US is not concerned with energy efficiency (or the environment in general). But they work well and do their job fast (unless they are from Bosch or some other European maker – than they are slow and can’t take anything heavy). As far as appliances or detergents for clothes are concerned, American/Korean/Japanese beat European any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    The food is the opposite: there is no shittier food in the world than American, Japanese is tasty but very expensive in Japan, Korean is good but hot, whereas European is just right in every way, particularly French and some Italian stuff.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Energy efficiency is for cowards and faggots. I despise Energy Star stickers and make a point of always leaving the lights on when I leave my house.

    I am a Consumer Reports subscriber. Koreans claim the top ranks in washing machines these days unfortunately, but Maytag is right behind them. Electrolux has a highly ranked machine as well, but the other European brands don't.

    American food has an undeservedly bad international reputation. I mean you live in Tennessee...

    https://amazingribs.com/files/last_meal_ribs_0.jpg

    https://amazingribs.com/files/bbq-ribs-no-sauce_0.jpg

    It's certainly not in the first rank of cuisine of course, other than our unmatched prowess in fast food.

    "European" is too broad for cuisine as well.
  196. @Dmitry
    Sure the city comparison is very subjective. It's like talking about which people, that you like and don't like.

    For example, you say you hate London. While I always love London, or at least some parts of London (there are many horrible areas of London - for example, all the poor areas of London, and most of East London; but there are also many beautiful places in London).

    But with measures like average income, or property prices, - it is quite possible to see that some cities and countries are richer, on average, than others. And that's I was saying.

    I'm no going to say everything is better with capitalism than with socialism. There were many areas where life in the USSR was a lot superior than today. My point is simply about comparable economic level of areas of Europe under capitalism and communism policy.

    I can’t say I like or hate London. It has its redeeming qualities, but most historic buildings were destroyed in Queen Victoria times to give way to what was considered posh and properly imperial back then. So, it’s almost like Chinese cities: you know they are two-three thousand years old, but it’s hard to find something that is older than 100 years.

    In some ways London is on top: e.g., theater. You can go there to a theater every day for a year and never repeat yourself. What’s more, in sharp contrast to the US, British actors can act. In Royal Shakespeare Company you watch the play and forget that it’s in pretty outdated English, you don’t even notice it, so well they play. The only other city I know that has equally rich theater culture is Moscow. Nothing else even comes close.

    But in terms of scale and variety of things available 24/7 London loses to New York and Moscow. In terms of history and overall impressiveness it does not even come close to Rome. Compared to Rome, Paris, London, Berlin, or Madrid (not to mention Lisbon, Prague, Budapest, or Vienna) look like insignificant provincial cities. But if you want to buy food after 9 pm in Rome, you are out of luck: even longest-open small shops run by Arabs close. Whereas in New York and Moscow you can buy anything even at 3 am.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    London has some of the best residential architecture of the 18th-19th centuries, which is actually the era of architecture I prefer.

    It's also a very safe city, by international standards. And there are good job opportunities for young people (much better jobs in a lot of areas, than Moscow, for example).

    Culturally, it is quite interesting (I don't so much about distinguishing cultural events and have never lived in a capital).

    The negative is that it is expensive - even with a good job, living standard can never reach very high relative to ordinary salaries.

  197. @AnonFromTN
    Frankly, I don’t know, never had a combined washer/drier. Considering that in the US they are mostly separate, they are unlikely to be energy efficient: the US is not concerned with energy efficiency (or the environment in general). But they work well and do their job fast (unless they are from Bosch or some other European maker – than they are slow and can’t take anything heavy). As far as appliances or detergents for clothes are concerned, American/Korean/Japanese beat European any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    The food is the opposite: there is no shittier food in the world than American, Japanese is tasty but very expensive in Japan, Korean is good but hot, whereas European is just right in every way, particularly French and some Italian stuff.

    Energy efficiency is for cowards and faggots. I despise Energy Star stickers and make a point of always leaving the lights on when I leave my house.

    I am a Consumer Reports subscriber. Koreans claim the top ranks in washing machines these days unfortunately, but Maytag is right behind them. Electrolux has a highly ranked machine as well, but the other European brands don’t.

    American food has an undeservedly bad international reputation. I mean you live in Tennessee…

    It’s certainly not in the first rank of cuisine of course, other than our unmatched prowess in fast food.

    “European” is too broad for cuisine as well.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I enjoy eating all sorts of international cuisine, but still have very fond memories of visiting Aunt Ann on her 180 acre farm in southern Minnesota. Mouth watering beef roasts, real mashed potatoes, super sweet corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, the best homemade coleslaw and fresh biscuits out of the oven smothered in butter were a staples on her kitchen table. Stove top coffee (not the wimpy 'European drip' we've all been brainwashed into drinking) and the absolute best homemade apple and cherry pies, ala mode. Sure, American cakes don't always hold up (I'm a big fan European tortes), but no other country in the world makes pies as well as the ones made by American hands. Maybe you're too young to remember really good American home cooking, but thanks to Auntie Ann, I'm not!
    , @AnonFromTN
    Look, I lived in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Tennessee. I traveled a lot, visited more than 40 states in the US, as well as at least 20 different countries. American food is the worst. First, look at the list of ingredients on any label and you find something that approaches a catalogue of a chemical company. Europeans rightly believe that if food has more than five ingredients, it is not edible. Look at fruits and veggies in any grocery store in the US – everything looks beautiful and tastes like shit. Apparently, they were selected for looks and ease of transportation, but not for taste or flavor. Look at meat and fish: nothing has the smell it should, even lamb. Try American beer from any big producer, like Budweiser: it is horsepiss, worse than the beer they used to sell in the USSR. Many microbreweries produce good staff, but none of the big producers makes beer worse the name. I know only two specifically American foods that are really good: prime ribs and cheesecake.

    The saving grace of America is that in every city you can find stores selling ethnic foods of various kinds. Even in Nashville, which hardly qualifies as a city (unless you like country music, that is) there are Chinese and Indian stores, as well as a Russian store where you meet Eastern Europeans and Germans, who all have the same ideas about bread and sausage, radically different from what Americans consider bread and sausage. Interestingly, American servicemen who were stationed in Europe and had a chance to taste real food also go there. A lot of things are better in the US than in Europe, but food is certainly not one of them.
    , @Dmitry
    Unlike for cars (where they are often reportedly unreliable), for kitchen products, Germans seem quite reliable, at least anecdotally. So I would recommend German kitchen projects, instead of Korean or somewhere like that.

    It could be changing now though. German kitchen products have been outsourcing production - for example, to Turkey, Spain, Romania etc. But I think Gaggenau brands are still made Germany. Miele still seems mainly made in Germany as well (although sometimes in Romania).

    My parents bought German products for the kitchen about 17 years ago. Since this time, almost nothing was broken. My mother replaced the washing & drying machine a few months ago. But all the cooker, oven, fridge, freezer, dishwasher - have been working for many years and few needs for repairmen visits.

  198. @Thorfinnsson
    Energy efficiency is for cowards and faggots. I despise Energy Star stickers and make a point of always leaving the lights on when I leave my house.

    I am a Consumer Reports subscriber. Koreans claim the top ranks in washing machines these days unfortunately, but Maytag is right behind them. Electrolux has a highly ranked machine as well, but the other European brands don't.

    American food has an undeservedly bad international reputation. I mean you live in Tennessee...

    https://amazingribs.com/files/last_meal_ribs_0.jpg

    https://amazingribs.com/files/bbq-ribs-no-sauce_0.jpg

    It's certainly not in the first rank of cuisine of course, other than our unmatched prowess in fast food.

    "European" is too broad for cuisine as well.

    I enjoy eating all sorts of international cuisine, but still have very fond memories of visiting Aunt Ann on her 180 acre farm in southern Minnesota. Mouth watering beef roasts, real mashed potatoes, super sweet corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, the best homemade coleslaw and fresh biscuits out of the oven smothered in butter were a staples on her kitchen table. Stove top coffee (not the wimpy ‘European drip’ we’ve all been brainwashed into drinking) and the absolute best homemade apple and cherry pies, ala mode. Sure, American cakes don’t always hold up (I’m a big fan European tortes), but no other country in the world makes pies as well as the ones made by American hands. Maybe you’re too young to remember really good American home cooking, but thanks to Auntie Ann, I’m not!

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Rather I'm too foreign. My fond memories of this nature are all in Sweden.

    I've been invited to the homes of various real Americans for dinner of course. I had an old stock Texan girlfriend in my early 20s whose family prepared remarkably delicious food.

  199. @Mr. Hack
    I enjoy eating all sorts of international cuisine, but still have very fond memories of visiting Aunt Ann on her 180 acre farm in southern Minnesota. Mouth watering beef roasts, real mashed potatoes, super sweet corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, the best homemade coleslaw and fresh biscuits out of the oven smothered in butter were a staples on her kitchen table. Stove top coffee (not the wimpy 'European drip' we've all been brainwashed into drinking) and the absolute best homemade apple and cherry pies, ala mode. Sure, American cakes don't always hold up (I'm a big fan European tortes), but no other country in the world makes pies as well as the ones made by American hands. Maybe you're too young to remember really good American home cooking, but thanks to Auntie Ann, I'm not!

    Rather I’m too foreign. My fond memories of this nature are all in Sweden.

    I’ve been invited to the homes of various real Americans for dinner of course. I had an old stock Texan girlfriend in my early 20s whose family prepared remarkably delicious food.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I'm curious to know (since you've alluded to the 'unmatched prowess of American fast food' several times in your past comments) what might be your very favorite brand and dish? I find Carl's Jr's mouth watering angus beef burgers a pretty good way to go..........
  200. @Thorfinnsson
    Rather I'm too foreign. My fond memories of this nature are all in Sweden.

    I've been invited to the homes of various real Americans for dinner of course. I had an old stock Texan girlfriend in my early 20s whose family prepared remarkably delicious food.

    I’m curious to know (since you’ve alluded to the ‘unmatched prowess of American fast food’ several times in your past comments) what might be your very favorite brand and dish? I find Carl’s Jr’s mouth watering angus beef burgers a pretty good way to go……….

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Among fast food outlets, Waffle House (it’s a Southern chain, you won’t find them in the West or North-East) serves good quality, although unimaginative, food.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Carl's Jr/Hardee's is one of the best burger chains for sure. It does have an unfortunate problem in that the franchisees don't have the same uniformly high standards for cleanliness that McDonald's does, so sometimes the bathrooms aren't clean. Remember that what McDonald's really sells is reliability, predictability, convenience, and affordability. Amazing business.

    California's In 'n Out chain is probably the best. 4x4 animal style protein style (lettuce wrap). I'm also very fond of Culver's and Steak 'n Shake.

    The new "fast casual" category (e.g. Chipotle) of restaurants is a welcome American innovation as well.
  201. @Thorfinnsson
    Energy efficiency is for cowards and faggots. I despise Energy Star stickers and make a point of always leaving the lights on when I leave my house.

    I am a Consumer Reports subscriber. Koreans claim the top ranks in washing machines these days unfortunately, but Maytag is right behind them. Electrolux has a highly ranked machine as well, but the other European brands don't.

    American food has an undeservedly bad international reputation. I mean you live in Tennessee...

    https://amazingribs.com/files/last_meal_ribs_0.jpg

    https://amazingribs.com/files/bbq-ribs-no-sauce_0.jpg

    It's certainly not in the first rank of cuisine of course, other than our unmatched prowess in fast food.

    "European" is too broad for cuisine as well.

    Look, I lived in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Tennessee. I traveled a lot, visited more than 40 states in the US, as well as at least 20 different countries. American food is the worst. First, look at the list of ingredients on any label and you find something that approaches a catalogue of a chemical company. Europeans rightly believe that if food has more than five ingredients, it is not edible. Look at fruits and veggies in any grocery store in the US – everything looks beautiful and tastes like shit. Apparently, they were selected for looks and ease of transportation, but not for taste or flavor. Look at meat and fish: nothing has the smell it should, even lamb. Try American beer from any big producer, like Budweiser: it is horsepiss, worse than the beer they used to sell in the USSR. Many microbreweries produce good staff, but none of the big producers makes beer worse the name. I know only two specifically American foods that are really good: prime ribs and cheesecake.

    The saving grace of America is that in every city you can find stores selling ethnic foods of various kinds. Even in Nashville, which hardly qualifies as a city (unless you like country music, that is) there are Chinese and Indian stores, as well as a Russian store where you meet Eastern Europeans and Germans, who all have the same ideas about bread and sausage, radically different from what Americans consider bread and sausage. Interestingly, American servicemen who were stationed in Europe and had a chance to taste real food also go there. A lot of things are better in the US than in Europe, but food is certainly not one of them.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
    Budweiser should be compared with Heineken. Heineken is slightly better, but not by much.

    You can't compare German craft beer with American mass market beers. I would say American craft beers on average are as good as German craft beer. It seems that most American craft beers tend to be IPAs, so they have a more bitter taste. Czech Pilsners have a similar bitter taste that I dislike. I usually drink beer with my food. Beers with strong tastes mess up the flavor of the food I'm eating unless I wash it down with water before taking a bite.

    Just like I prefer anthills to houses, country music to boring classical music, I prefer watered down mass market beer of any nationality to craft beer because of their lower alcohol content and less strong flavors.
    , @Thorfinnsson
    There's no shortage of food in Europe with more than five ingredients. The European Union even helpfully catalogs all permitted food additives with E numbers. See what the British government has to say on this: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/eu-approved-additives-and-e-numbers

    Fruits and vegetables vary. California strawberries are worthless compared to those from Belgium and Sweden. Big and beautiful...with nothing but white cellulose inside. On the other hand Michigan blueberries are spectacular. No difference in apples.

    Meat and fish--varies again, and this also varies within Europe itself country to country. Beef in Europe, especially on the continent, is definitely worse. All decent steak you can buy in a French market is imported from Australia, Britain, and the USA. The best lamb in Europe, as in America, is from Australia and New Zealand. Chicken in Europe is definitely better. Fish--depends on what you like. US for obvious reasons has better available of good Pacific Ocean fish like Sockeye.

    As for beer...lol. The "piss" you describe is a style of beer known as pale adjunct lager. It's inexpensive and delicious when chilled ice cold. Outside of the British isles, where real ale was always available, the beer available throughout Europe is basically the same, though slightly better in countries with a German brewing tradition producing real pilsner. Now as you say there's craft beer everywhere so it's moot if you're not fond of cold lager beer.

    Foreigners complaining about American bread is a very old tradition, and it's admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.

    Since you live in TENNESSEE you might want to try the local barbecue. Amazing Ribs dot com recommends the following restaurants in Tennessee:

    BE Scott's, Lexington
    A&R Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    The Bar-B-Q Shop, Memphis
    Central BBQ, Memphis
    Charley Vergos' Rendezvous, Memphis
    Corky's Ribs & BBQ, multiple locations in Memphis and elsewhere in TN
    Cozy Corner, Memphis
    Germantown Commissary, Memphis
    Interstate Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Neely's Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Payne's, Memphis
    Tops Bar-B-Q, Memphis
    City CafŽ, Memphis
    Canale's Grocery, Eads, TN, In an old grocery store
    Bozo's, Mason

    Lastly Europe has many nations with varied food cultures. French food culture, other than their shabby beef steaks, blows everyone else out of the water. French supermarkets make you almost embarrassed to be American (until you notice with pride that they sell American steaks and sometimes salmon). On the other hand the food culture in, say, Scotland is nothing to write home about. In fact such Scottish "traditions" as "deep fried pizza" might make you think you're at the Texas State Fair.
    , @DreadIlk
    US has a lot of good food you just have to pay more for it if you are in the city.
  202. @Mr. Hack
    I'm curious to know (since you've alluded to the 'unmatched prowess of American fast food' several times in your past comments) what might be your very favorite brand and dish? I find Carl's Jr's mouth watering angus beef burgers a pretty good way to go..........

    Among fast food outlets, Waffle House (it’s a Southern chain, you won’t find them in the West or North-East) serves good quality, although unimaginative, food.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I'm in luck, there's about 10 locations in the Phoenix area. What do you like? Bert's chili any good?...
    , @AP
    Tried it once on a drive to Florida - I disagree.
    , @AquariusAnon
    I'm not a big fan of Waffle House waffles; they are usually soggy. If you do get a waffle, make sure to ask for a dark waffle. Although if you put enough syrup and butter on their un-crispy, soggy waffles, they can taste pretty well Their hash browns however, are very good. Get them scattered, smothered, and chunked.

    My main complaint about Waffle House is that they give you too much food, especially if you order the All Star Special.

    I would say my favorite chain restaurant in the US is Cookout, followed by Arby's and Five Guys. Chick Fil A is good too but I prefer dark meat to white meat. In Nashville, try Hattie B's for fast food-priced fried chicken but with big, high quality portions. You can get either white meat or dark meat.

  203. @AnonFromTN
    Among fast food outlets, Waffle House (it’s a Southern chain, you won’t find them in the West or North-East) serves good quality, although unimaginative, food.

    I’m in luck, there’s about 10 locations in the Phoenix area. What do you like? Bert’s chili any good?…

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    In my experience, everything they serve was made of good quality fresh ingredients, unlike McDonalds burgers that taste like they were frozen 40 years ago half a world away. Even their coffee is not as awful as McDonalds or Burger King, although it is lower quality than Starbucks, not to mention real Italian coffee (BTW, Italian cafes serve coffee called Americano, which, according to them, you get by diluting real coffee with hot water ~3-4-fold).
    Waffle House food is like German: good and satisfying, but not sophisticated.
  204. @Mr. Hack
    I'm in luck, there's about 10 locations in the Phoenix area. What do you like? Bert's chili any good?...

    In my experience, everything they serve was made of good quality fresh ingredients, unlike McDonalds burgers that taste like they were frozen 40 years ago half a world away. Even their coffee is not as awful as McDonalds or Burger King, although it is lower quality than Starbucks, not to mention real Italian coffee (BTW, Italian cafes serve coffee called Americano, which, according to them, you get by diluting real coffee with hot water ~3-4-fold).
    Waffle House food is like German: good and satisfying, but not sophisticated.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    The Quarter Pounder hamburger sandwiches at McDonald's are now made with fresh beef. Total game changer.

    McDonald's coffee is good these days but weak. If you have some patience you can get one of their McCafe espresso drinks and have them add extra espresso.

    Americano is diluted espresso. It was created to allow serving something similar to coffee to Americans and Northern Europeans not accustomed to the espresso-based coffee culture which dominates the Western Mediterranean. It also saves on capital equipment and space as then no separate machine for making coffee is needed.
  205. @AnonFromTN
    Among fast food outlets, Waffle House (it’s a Southern chain, you won’t find them in the West or North-East) serves good quality, although unimaginative, food.

    Tried it once on a drive to Florida – I disagree.

  206. @AnonFromTN
    Look, I lived in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Tennessee. I traveled a lot, visited more than 40 states in the US, as well as at least 20 different countries. American food is the worst. First, look at the list of ingredients on any label and you find something that approaches a catalogue of a chemical company. Europeans rightly believe that if food has more than five ingredients, it is not edible. Look at fruits and veggies in any grocery store in the US – everything looks beautiful and tastes like shit. Apparently, they were selected for looks and ease of transportation, but not for taste or flavor. Look at meat and fish: nothing has the smell it should, even lamb. Try American beer from any big producer, like Budweiser: it is horsepiss, worse than the beer they used to sell in the USSR. Many microbreweries produce good staff, but none of the big producers makes beer worse the name. I know only two specifically American foods that are really good: prime ribs and cheesecake.

    The saving grace of America is that in every city you can find stores selling ethnic foods of various kinds. Even in Nashville, which hardly qualifies as a city (unless you like country music, that is) there are Chinese and Indian stores, as well as a Russian store where you meet Eastern Europeans and Germans, who all have the same ideas about bread and sausage, radically different from what Americans consider bread and sausage. Interestingly, American servicemen who were stationed in Europe and had a chance to taste real food also go there. A lot of things are better in the US than in Europe, but food is certainly not one of them.

    Budweiser should be compared with Heineken. Heineken is slightly better, but not by much.

    You can’t compare German craft beer with American mass market beers. I would say American craft beers on average are as good as German craft beer. It seems that most American craft beers tend to be IPAs, so they have a more bitter taste. Czech Pilsners have a similar bitter taste that I dislike. I usually drink beer with my food. Beers with strong tastes mess up the flavor of the food I’m eating unless I wash it down with water before taking a bite.

    Just like I prefer anthills to houses, country music to boring classical music, I prefer watered down mass market beer of any nationality to craft beer because of their lower alcohol content and less strong flavors.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    German (Bavarian-stile) beer is more sweet than bitter, at least the darker varieties I like. Dark Czech beer is similar. In fact, Belgian and French beer is also not bitter. Bitter is a pure Anglo-Saxon thing, I don’t like it, either. The bitterest I can tolerate is Guinness, so I like non-bitter British beers, but not the bitter ones. There is plenty of American microbrewery beers that are not IPA and taste good. Say, in Seattle in a good beer place you can have 90-140 kinds of beer, ~2/3 of which are not IPA.

    Heineken is nothing to write home about, but it’s way above Bud. Many German, Czech, Belgian, French, Irish, and British lighter beers are mass-market, but taste like beer, not like Bud. I also like beer with my food, and I like good food, so Bud offends me. One of my colleagues explained to me why Bud or Coors is so bad, while microbrewery beers are good. He said that if you can save a penny per bottle by compromising quality, when you make 10 thousand bottles, you won’t do it, but if you make 10 million, you will.
  207. @AnonFromTN
    Among fast food outlets, Waffle House (it’s a Southern chain, you won’t find them in the West or North-East) serves good quality, although unimaginative, food.

    I’m not a big fan of Waffle House waffles; they are usually soggy. If you do get a waffle, make sure to ask for a dark waffle. Although if you put enough syrup and butter on their un-crispy, soggy waffles, they can taste pretty well Their hash browns however, are very good. Get them scattered, smothered, and chunked.

    My main complaint about Waffle House is that they give you too much food, especially if you order the All Star Special.

    I would say my favorite chain restaurant in the US is Cookout, followed by Arby’s and Five Guys. Chick Fil A is good too but I prefer dark meat to white meat. In Nashville, try Hattie B’s for fast food-priced fried chicken but with big, high quality portions. You can get either white meat or dark meat.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Yes, their waffles are the worst they offer. Their meats and potatoes are good. Yes, their portions are staggering, so I am careful not to order too much.
  208. @Mr. Hack
    I'm curious to know (since you've alluded to the 'unmatched prowess of American fast food' several times in your past comments) what might be your very favorite brand and dish? I find Carl's Jr's mouth watering angus beef burgers a pretty good way to go..........

    Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s is one of the best burger chains for sure. It does have an unfortunate problem in that the franchisees don’t have the same uniformly high standards for cleanliness that McDonald’s does, so sometimes the bathrooms aren’t clean. Remember that what McDonald’s really sells is reliability, predictability, convenience, and affordability. Amazing business.

    California’s In ‘n Out chain is probably the best. 4×4 animal style protein style (lettuce wrap). I’m also very fond of Culver’s and Steak ‘n Shake.

    The new “fast casual” category (e.g. Chipotle) of restaurants is a welcome American innovation as well.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    Another welcome innovation in the fast food market is the advent of Asian fast food restaurants. In my area we have plenty of stand alone Asian places, but two chains offer some fast and 'imaginative' choices: Pei Wei and Panda Express. They're both fast and clean and at least at Pei Wei offer dishes from a wide array (if not limited choices) of different Asian cuisines. The prices are very comparable to the stand alone restaurants that offer more variety and of course the ubiquitous 'all you can eat', that has its pluses and minuses.
  209. @AnonFromTN
    Look, I lived in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Tennessee. I traveled a lot, visited more than 40 states in the US, as well as at least 20 different countries. American food is the worst. First, look at the list of ingredients on any label and you find something that approaches a catalogue of a chemical company. Europeans rightly believe that if food has more than five ingredients, it is not edible. Look at fruits and veggies in any grocery store in the US – everything looks beautiful and tastes like shit. Apparently, they were selected for looks and ease of transportation, but not for taste or flavor. Look at meat and fish: nothing has the smell it should, even lamb. Try American beer from any big producer, like Budweiser: it is horsepiss, worse than the beer they used to sell in the USSR. Many microbreweries produce good staff, but none of the big producers makes beer worse the name. I know only two specifically American foods that are really good: prime ribs and cheesecake.

    The saving grace of America is that in every city you can find stores selling ethnic foods of various kinds. Even in Nashville, which hardly qualifies as a city (unless you like country music, that is) there are Chinese and Indian stores, as well as a Russian store where you meet Eastern Europeans and Germans, who all have the same ideas about bread and sausage, radically different from what Americans consider bread and sausage. Interestingly, American servicemen who were stationed in Europe and had a chance to taste real food also go there. A lot of things are better in the US than in Europe, but food is certainly not one of them.

    There’s no shortage of food in Europe with more than five ingredients. The European Union even helpfully catalogs all permitted food additives with E numbers. See what the British government has to say on this: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/eu-approved-additives-and-e-numbers

    Fruits and vegetables vary. California strawberries are worthless compared to those from Belgium and Sweden. Big and beautiful…with nothing but white cellulose inside. On the other hand Michigan blueberries are spectacular. No difference in apples.

    Meat and fish–varies again, and this also varies within Europe itself country to country. Beef in Europe, especially on the continent, is definitely worse. All decent steak you can buy in a French market is imported from Australia, Britain, and the USA. The best lamb in Europe, as in America, is from Australia and New Zealand. Chicken in Europe is definitely better. Fish–depends on what you like. US for obvious reasons has better available of good Pacific Ocean fish like Sockeye.

    As for beer…lol. The “piss” you describe is a style of beer known as pale adjunct lager. It’s inexpensive and delicious when chilled ice cold. Outside of the British isles, where real ale was always available, the beer available throughout Europe is basically the same, though slightly better in countries with a German brewing tradition producing real pilsner. Now as you say there’s craft beer everywhere so it’s moot if you’re not fond of cold lager beer.

    Foreigners complaining about American bread is a very old tradition, and it’s admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.

    Since you live in TENNESSEE you might want to try the local barbecue. Amazing Ribs dot com recommends the following restaurants in Tennessee:

    BE Scott’s, Lexington
    A&R Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    The Bar-B-Q Shop, Memphis
    Central BBQ, Memphis
    Charley Vergos’ Rendezvous, Memphis
    Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, multiple locations in Memphis and elsewhere in TN
    Cozy Corner, Memphis
    Germantown Commissary, Memphis
    Interstate Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Neely’s Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Payne’s, Memphis
    Tops Bar-B-Q, Memphis
    City CafŽ, Memphis
    Canale’s Grocery, Eads, TN, In an old grocery store
    Bozo’s, Mason

    Lastly Europe has many nations with varied food cultures. French food culture, other than their shabby beef steaks, blows everyone else out of the water. French supermarkets make you almost embarrassed to be American (until you notice with pride that they sell American steaks and sometimes salmon). On the other hand the food culture in, say, Scotland is nothing to write home about. In fact such Scottish “traditions” as “deep fried pizza” might make you think you’re at the Texas State Fair.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack

    it’s admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.
     
    It's the type of bread and the amount that you consume that can be deleterious to your health. Remember the similar public health scares over eggs, butter, dairy, meat, coffee, etc;? Well, now it's bread's turn to be public enemy #1. I'm a bread connoisseur and drive close to 20 miles to get a loaf of Russian Borodinsky bread that's made and half baked in Germany and then flown to my local Russian store and finished being baked here. A slice a day is quite healthy and provides excellent roughage and energy for my daily needs. Thorifinnsson, don't cuck out over bread and listen to those malnourished twerpy doctors who don't seem to make it much more over 60, anyway! :-)
    , @Swedish Family

    Foreigners complaining about American bread is a very old tradition, and it’s admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.
     
    Your parents will have loving memories of this classic campaign

    http://www.faktoider.nu/img/6-8-plakat.jpg
    , @AnonFromTN
    Southern BBQ is OK, but BBQed suckling pig in Barcelona beats it hands down. Yes, Europe is very different. I agree that French food is best overall, but there are outstanding local foods elsewhere, like prosciutto in Italy (especially crudo), some cheeses there (not only Parmesan), or Manchego cheese (particularly Corazon de Ronda variety) in Spain. Of course, pizza in Scotland is ridiculous (although Germans also adopted a pizza-like dish as their own), but Scots also serve various meats with potatoes, which are more authentic and tastier. The best pizza I know is in the US, whereas in Italy, if you ask for pizza with two toppings, they make one half with one and the second half with the other. UK in general is the low end (as Poirot said, “you don’t have cuisine, you have food”). I guess that’s why now English food is Indian.

    Fruits and veggies are the best in Russia (after it adopted counter-sanctions and switched to domestic production, the quality of all foods there improved dramatically), but you can get very good fruits and veggies in Italy. To my surprise, the quality of fruits and veggies in Spain went way down in the last 10 years. I guess that’s EU regulations, which Italians naturally ignore (in their inclination to disregarded all regulations they resemble Russians).

    Beer is best in Belgium, France, Czech republic, and Germany. I also like non-bitter British beers (like summer ale, hobgoblin, etc.). Italian beer is a joke (but still way better than Bud).

    In white wines France beats everyone, but there are very good reds in Italy (Brunello, Vino Nobile de Montepulcano, etc.) and in Spain. Surprisingly, really good whites are made on Santorini, whereas the rest of Greece makes mediocre stuff.

    Best coffee is in Italy (filtered) and Russia (Turkish stile), best teas (and sweet things to go with them) in the UK and Russia. German food is solid, but uninspiring, but even that beats US food. I have never been in Sweden and many other countries, so can’t compare their foods.
  210. @AnonFromTN
    In my experience, everything they serve was made of good quality fresh ingredients, unlike McDonalds burgers that taste like they were frozen 40 years ago half a world away. Even their coffee is not as awful as McDonalds or Burger King, although it is lower quality than Starbucks, not to mention real Italian coffee (BTW, Italian cafes serve coffee called Americano, which, according to them, you get by diluting real coffee with hot water ~3-4-fold).
    Waffle House food is like German: good and satisfying, but not sophisticated.

    The Quarter Pounder hamburger sandwiches at McDonald’s are now made with fresh beef. Total game changer.

    McDonald’s coffee is good these days but weak. If you have some patience you can get one of their McCafe espresso drinks and have them add extra espresso.

    Americano is diluted espresso. It was created to allow serving something similar to coffee to Americans and Northern Europeans not accustomed to the espresso-based coffee culture which dominates the Western Mediterranean. It also saves on capital equipment and space as then no separate machine for making coffee is needed.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    I gave up on McDonalds years ago. I guess I need to give it a try again. Maybe next trip (McDonalds are virtually at every highway exit).
  211. @Thorfinnsson
    Carl's Jr/Hardee's is one of the best burger chains for sure. It does have an unfortunate problem in that the franchisees don't have the same uniformly high standards for cleanliness that McDonald's does, so sometimes the bathrooms aren't clean. Remember that what McDonald's really sells is reliability, predictability, convenience, and affordability. Amazing business.

    California's In 'n Out chain is probably the best. 4x4 animal style protein style (lettuce wrap). I'm also very fond of Culver's and Steak 'n Shake.

    The new "fast casual" category (e.g. Chipotle) of restaurants is a welcome American innovation as well.

    Another welcome innovation in the fast food market is the advent of Asian fast food restaurants. In my area we have plenty of stand alone Asian places, but two chains offer some fast and ‘imaginative’ choices: Pei Wei and Panda Express. They’re both fast and clean and at least at Pei Wei offer dishes from a wide array (if not limited choices) of different Asian cuisines. The prices are very comparable to the stand alone restaurants that offer more variety and of course the ubiquitous ‘all you can eat’, that has its pluses and minuses.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    I've never actually been to a Panda Express, though of course I know what it is.

    There's now a Japanese fast casual steak chain operating in the USA: https://ikinaristeakusa.com

    I haven't been to one yet but my friends in New York report it's quite good.

    I've always thought that steak is ideally suited for fast casual, and apparently the Japanese agree.

    , @Hyperborean
    How far away is this from "actual Asian cuisine"?
    , @AnonFromTN
    What is called Chinese food in the US is actually the food of their Muslims. Han Chinese food is much tastier and more varied, but you can only get it in China (maybe in some Chinatowns in the US, I don’t know).
  212. @Mr. Hack
    Another welcome innovation in the fast food market is the advent of Asian fast food restaurants. In my area we have plenty of stand alone Asian places, but two chains offer some fast and 'imaginative' choices: Pei Wei and Panda Express. They're both fast and clean and at least at Pei Wei offer dishes from a wide array (if not limited choices) of different Asian cuisines. The prices are very comparable to the stand alone restaurants that offer more variety and of course the ubiquitous 'all you can eat', that has its pluses and minuses.

    I’ve never actually been to a Panda Express, though of course I know what it is.

    There’s now a Japanese fast casual steak chain operating in the USA: https://ikinaristeakusa.com

    I haven’t been to one yet but my friends in New York report it’s quite good.

    I’ve always thought that steak is ideally suited for fast casual, and apparently the Japanese agree.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    Steak is not really a Japanese food. The food in Japan is good (although they tend to include too much rice), but expensive. They sell a single tomato or persimmon for $3-5, but man, they taste great. I never tried so good persimmons in my life, and I only had comparable tomatoes in Southern Russia. Japanese even make sushi with raw horse meat, and they are is delicious. Japanese food in the US is a lot less varied. The best sushi outside of Japan I had in Hawaii, but it’s not quite the US.
  213. @Thorfinnsson
    There's no shortage of food in Europe with more than five ingredients. The European Union even helpfully catalogs all permitted food additives with E numbers. See what the British government has to say on this: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/eu-approved-additives-and-e-numbers

    Fruits and vegetables vary. California strawberries are worthless compared to those from Belgium and Sweden. Big and beautiful...with nothing but white cellulose inside. On the other hand Michigan blueberries are spectacular. No difference in apples.

    Meat and fish--varies again, and this also varies within Europe itself country to country. Beef in Europe, especially on the continent, is definitely worse. All decent steak you can buy in a French market is imported from Australia, Britain, and the USA. The best lamb in Europe, as in America, is from Australia and New Zealand. Chicken in Europe is definitely better. Fish--depends on what you like. US for obvious reasons has better available of good Pacific Ocean fish like Sockeye.

    As for beer...lol. The "piss" you describe is a style of beer known as pale adjunct lager. It's inexpensive and delicious when chilled ice cold. Outside of the British isles, where real ale was always available, the beer available throughout Europe is basically the same, though slightly better in countries with a German brewing tradition producing real pilsner. Now as you say there's craft beer everywhere so it's moot if you're not fond of cold lager beer.

    Foreigners complaining about American bread is a very old tradition, and it's admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.

    Since you live in TENNESSEE you might want to try the local barbecue. Amazing Ribs dot com recommends the following restaurants in Tennessee:

    BE Scott's, Lexington
    A&R Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    The Bar-B-Q Shop, Memphis
    Central BBQ, Memphis
    Charley Vergos' Rendezvous, Memphis
    Corky's Ribs & BBQ, multiple locations in Memphis and elsewhere in TN
    Cozy Corner, Memphis
    Germantown Commissary, Memphis
    Interstate Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Neely's Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Payne's, Memphis
    Tops Bar-B-Q, Memphis
    City CafŽ, Memphis
    Canale's Grocery, Eads, TN, In an old grocery store
    Bozo's, Mason

    Lastly Europe has many nations with varied food cultures. French food culture, other than their shabby beef steaks, blows everyone else out of the water. French supermarkets make you almost embarrassed to be American (until you notice with pride that they sell American steaks and sometimes salmon). On the other hand the food culture in, say, Scotland is nothing to write home about. In fact such Scottish "traditions" as "deep fried pizza" might make you think you're at the Texas State Fair.

    it’s admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.

    It’s the type of bread and the amount that you consume that can be deleterious to your health. Remember the similar public health scares over eggs, butter, dairy, meat, coffee, etc;? Well, now it’s bread’s turn to be public enemy #1. I’m a bread connoisseur and drive close to 20 miles to get a loaf of Russian Borodinsky bread that’s made and half baked in Germany and then flown to my local Russian store and finished being baked here. A slice a day is quite healthy and provides excellent roughage and energy for my daily needs. Thorifinnsson, don’t cuck out over bread and listen to those malnourished twerpy doctors who don’t seem to make it much more over 60, anyway! 🙂

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Most doctors are still whole grain balanced diet cucks. There's a few who know better now at least like Jason Fung, but that's also counterweighted by a new breed of lunatic vegan physicians.

    I'm sure that traditional bread (hard to find, though getting better) is fine if consumed with meals and you're active and don't overeat.

    Still not optimal in light of what we've learned about insulin, glucose, ketones, mTOR, etc.

    There may also be a benefit to carbohydrate consumption (which would include bread) for those attempting to build muscle mass, though this is unproven. It makes inherent sense given the typical growth/longevity trade-off. Some bodybuilders even consume casein before going to bed in order to keep the growth going longer.

    If you're that into bread why don't you just make your own? Get a bread machine, a stand mixer, and some starter culture or whatever.

    , @AnonFromTN
    Our Russian store sells Borodinsky bread made in NY. It is pretty good. Only Russians and Germans make good rye bread. BTW, real bread (not American Styrofoam) has lots of vitamins, which are good for you. The best wheat white bread is French and Italian.
  214. @Mr. Hack

    it’s admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.
     
    It's the type of bread and the amount that you consume that can be deleterious to your health. Remember the similar public health scares over eggs, butter, dairy, meat, coffee, etc;? Well, now it's bread's turn to be public enemy #1. I'm a bread connoisseur and drive close to 20 miles to get a loaf of Russian Borodinsky bread that's made and half baked in Germany and then flown to my local Russian store and finished being baked here. A slice a day is quite healthy and provides excellent roughage and energy for my daily needs. Thorifinnsson, don't cuck out over bread and listen to those malnourished twerpy doctors who don't seem to make it much more over 60, anyway! :-)

    Most doctors are still whole grain balanced diet cucks. There’s a few who know better now at least like Jason Fung, but that’s also counterweighted by a new breed of lunatic vegan physicians.

    I’m sure that traditional bread (hard to find, though getting better) is fine if consumed with meals and you’re active and don’t overeat.

    Still not optimal in light of what we’ve learned about insulin, glucose, ketones, mTOR, etc.

    There may also be a benefit to carbohydrate consumption (which would include bread) for those attempting to build muscle mass, though this is unproven. It makes inherent sense given the typical growth/longevity trade-off. Some bodybuilders even consume casein before going to bed in order to keep the growth going longer.

    If you’re that into bread why don’t you just make your own? Get a bread machine, a stand mixer, and some starter culture or whatever.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    The types of breads that I'm talking about are real 'whole grains' not white flour concoctions enhanced with some whole grains and then injected with food colorings to make them look dark. And I'm not talking about eating more than one slice per day, unless you're a construction worker or burn large amounts of calories per day. Is casein inherent in bread?

    BTW, telling a Ukrainian to not eat any bread is like telling a Greek not to eat any olives, or a Mexican not to eat any peppers or tortillas - it just doesn't happen! :-)

    , @Anon
    You and your mTOR. Ther is nothing proven to matter for human health beyond glucose level and LDL-cholesterol level. You can shove rapamycin up all your holes, and you will not get one extra day of healthy life.
  215. @Thorfinnsson
    Most doctors are still whole grain balanced diet cucks. There's a few who know better now at least like Jason Fung, but that's also counterweighted by a new breed of lunatic vegan physicians.

    I'm sure that traditional bread (hard to find, though getting better) is fine if consumed with meals and you're active and don't overeat.

    Still not optimal in light of what we've learned about insulin, glucose, ketones, mTOR, etc.

    There may also be a benefit to carbohydrate consumption (which would include bread) for those attempting to build muscle mass, though this is unproven. It makes inherent sense given the typical growth/longevity trade-off. Some bodybuilders even consume casein before going to bed in order to keep the growth going longer.

    If you're that into bread why don't you just make your own? Get a bread machine, a stand mixer, and some starter culture or whatever.

    The types of breads that I’m talking about are real ‘whole grains’ not white flour concoctions enhanced with some whole grains and then injected with food colorings to make them look dark. And I’m not talking about eating more than one slice per day, unless you’re a construction worker or burn large amounts of calories per day. Is casein inherent in bread?

    BTW, telling a Ukrainian to not eat any bread is like telling a Greek not to eat any olives, or a Mexican not to eat any peppers or tortillas – it just doesn’t happen! 🙂

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Casein is a dairy protein. Just brought it up as an example of how bodybuilders prioritize growth. Carbohydrates activate mTOR, are insulinogenic (but then so is protein), and are energy dense without being satiating. All useful in building muscle mass, though there are some low-carb and zero-carb bodybuilders and athletes getting good results.

    You can abstain from bread if you want to. Three weeks to form a habit. Today is 159 days without alcohol for me for instance.

    Not saying you need to abstain or anything--it's just not that big of a deal once you're used to it.
  216. @Mr. Hack
    Another welcome innovation in the fast food market is the advent of Asian fast food restaurants. In my area we have plenty of stand alone Asian places, but two chains offer some fast and 'imaginative' choices: Pei Wei and Panda Express. They're both fast and clean and at least at Pei Wei offer dishes from a wide array (if not limited choices) of different Asian cuisines. The prices are very comparable to the stand alone restaurants that offer more variety and of course the ubiquitous 'all you can eat', that has its pluses and minuses.

    How far away is this from “actual Asian cuisine”?

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I wouldn't really know? It's comparable to what is produced in many of the stand alone Asian American restaurants. Kung Pao chicken stiry fry anybody?...Most cuisines are enhanced by adding onions, garlic and peppers, that are added to many of these fast food dishes. I don't think that 'orange chicken' is a 'real' Asian dish anyhow (but it can be tasty)?
  217. @Hyperborean
    How far away is this from "actual Asian cuisine"?

    I wouldn’t really know? It’s comparable to what is produced in many of the stand alone Asian American restaurants. Kung Pao chicken stiry fry anybody?…Most cuisines are enhanced by adding onions, garlic and peppers, that are added to many of these fast food dishes. I don’t think that ‘orange chicken’ is a ‘real’ Asian dish anyhow (but it can be tasty)?

  218. @AquariusAnon
    Budweiser should be compared with Heineken. Heineken is slightly better, but not by much.

    You can't compare German craft beer with American mass market beers. I would say American craft beers on average are as good as German craft beer. It seems that most American craft beers tend to be IPAs, so they have a more bitter taste. Czech Pilsners have a similar bitter taste that I dislike. I usually drink beer with my food. Beers with strong tastes mess up the flavor of the food I'm eating unless I wash it down with water before taking a bite.

    Just like I prefer anthills to houses, country music to boring classical music, I prefer watered down mass market beer of any nationality to craft beer because of their lower alcohol content and less strong flavors.

    German (Bavarian-stile) beer is more sweet than bitter, at least the darker varieties I like. Dark Czech beer is similar. In fact, Belgian and French beer is also not bitter. Bitter is a pure Anglo-Saxon thing, I don’t like it, either. The bitterest I can tolerate is Guinness, so I like non-bitter British beers, but not the bitter ones. There is plenty of American microbrewery beers that are not IPA and taste good. Say, in Seattle in a good beer place you can have 90-140 kinds of beer, ~2/3 of which are not IPA.

    Heineken is nothing to write home about, but it’s way above Bud. Many German, Czech, Belgian, French, Irish, and British lighter beers are mass-market, but taste like beer, not like Bud. I also like beer with my food, and I like good food, so Bud offends me. One of my colleagues explained to me why Bud or Coors is so bad, while microbrewery beers are good. He said that if you can save a penny per bottle by compromising quality, when you make 10 thousand bottles, you won’t do it, but if you make 10 million, you will.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    I mostly agree with your assessment of American beers, although like Thorfinnsson I have become accustomed to drinking most American lagers ice cold, and they do the trick on a hot day. The current IPA fad going on in the US is a sad development. The first time that I knew that there was really terrible beer in the world was when I drank Heinecken - the world's most over hyped beer. Life is bitter enough without having to be reminded of this by the beer that you're holding in your hand? Like you I really like Belgian style beers, both blonde and dark. The Belgians just seem to make beer the way the good Lord intended, flavorful (like good bread) with a lingering field honey aftertaste. The only thing wrong with Belgian beers is that they're quite expensive. Even the American knock off brands are pricey, although I recently picked up a great six pack of New Belgium Abbey Ale for $8, not bad considering what you get.
  219. @AquariusAnon
    I'm not a big fan of Waffle House waffles; they are usually soggy. If you do get a waffle, make sure to ask for a dark waffle. Although if you put enough syrup and butter on their un-crispy, soggy waffles, they can taste pretty well Their hash browns however, are very good. Get them scattered, smothered, and chunked.

    My main complaint about Waffle House is that they give you too much food, especially if you order the All Star Special.

    I would say my favorite chain restaurant in the US is Cookout, followed by Arby's and Five Guys. Chick Fil A is good too but I prefer dark meat to white meat. In Nashville, try Hattie B's for fast food-priced fried chicken but with big, high quality portions. You can get either white meat or dark meat.

    Yes, their waffles are the worst they offer. Their meats and potatoes are good. Yes, their portions are staggering, so I am careful not to order too much.

  220. @Thorfinnsson
    There's no shortage of food in Europe with more than five ingredients. The European Union even helpfully catalogs all permitted food additives with E numbers. See what the British government has to say on this: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/eu-approved-additives-and-e-numbers

    Fruits and vegetables vary. California strawberries are worthless compared to those from Belgium and Sweden. Big and beautiful...with nothing but white cellulose inside. On the other hand Michigan blueberries are spectacular. No difference in apples.

    Meat and fish--varies again, and this also varies within Europe itself country to country. Beef in Europe, especially on the continent, is definitely worse. All decent steak you can buy in a French market is imported from Australia, Britain, and the USA. The best lamb in Europe, as in America, is from Australia and New Zealand. Chicken in Europe is definitely better. Fish--depends on what you like. US for obvious reasons has better available of good Pacific Ocean fish like Sockeye.

    As for beer...lol. The "piss" you describe is a style of beer known as pale adjunct lager. It's inexpensive and delicious when chilled ice cold. Outside of the British isles, where real ale was always available, the beer available throughout Europe is basically the same, though slightly better in countries with a German brewing tradition producing real pilsner. Now as you say there's craft beer everywhere so it's moot if you're not fond of cold lager beer.

    Foreigners complaining about American bread is a very old tradition, and it's admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.

    Since you live in TENNESSEE you might want to try the local barbecue. Amazing Ribs dot com recommends the following restaurants in Tennessee:

    BE Scott's, Lexington
    A&R Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    The Bar-B-Q Shop, Memphis
    Central BBQ, Memphis
    Charley Vergos' Rendezvous, Memphis
    Corky's Ribs & BBQ, multiple locations in Memphis and elsewhere in TN
    Cozy Corner, Memphis
    Germantown Commissary, Memphis
    Interstate Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Neely's Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Payne's, Memphis
    Tops Bar-B-Q, Memphis
    City CafŽ, Memphis
    Canale's Grocery, Eads, TN, In an old grocery store
    Bozo's, Mason

    Lastly Europe has many nations with varied food cultures. French food culture, other than their shabby beef steaks, blows everyone else out of the water. French supermarkets make you almost embarrassed to be American (until you notice with pride that they sell American steaks and sometimes salmon). On the other hand the food culture in, say, Scotland is nothing to write home about. In fact such Scottish "traditions" as "deep fried pizza" might make you think you're at the Texas State Fair.

    Foreigners complaining about American bread is a very old tradition, and it’s admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.

    Your parents will have loving memories of this classic campaign

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    http://www.faktoider.nu/socialstyrelsen.html

    Looks like they were already gone by then.

    But I'll ask my aunt and uncle about it.
  221. @Dmitry
    There are many areas where it was superior back in the USSR.

    For one example, I discussed above, the housing was often carefully planned with adequate infrastructure. schools, and transport systems, to match the new units.

    While, in new housing today (which people have to actually spend their money on), there can be chaos of building low-quality anthlls over some empty fields, and only minimal infrastructure.

    -


    For example, building these anthills in a field outside the city

    http://pravdaurfo.ru/sites/default/files/akadem_0.jpeg


    And then in the morning and evenings, the roads are not adequate (residents of the microdistrict complain they have to wait an hour to escape it by automobile).


    https://cs.pikabu.ru/images/big_size_comm/2013-07_4/13742293134941.jpg

    Eventually the residents protest enough, and they will at least build a tram to link them to the city (in the 2020s).

    Eventually the residents protest enough, and they will at least build a tram to link them to the city (in the 2020s).

    Sounds like a dream for real estate investors. (Which is something like 80% of the population in Russia.)

    I doubt Russians want to go back to the time when the real estate investing situation was 10 times worse.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    That is a new residential district outside (really more than kilometer of empty space from already unattractive edge of) Ekaterinburg.

    Infrastructure level is unacceptable now, but I think it will obviously improve in the 2020s and eventually solve some of the problems.

    Prices to purchase there are very low, and it is good value for money only because it is so cheap. However, I think the prices will never increase there either, so it won't be a good investment.

    Despite high population density, the atmosphere will be very tedious, and you are living more than a kilometer away from what used to be an outside edge of the city.


    -

    On the other hand, there are much better similar new projects being constructed now (in case anyone here would ever be interested) in the city, where life, convenience and infrastructure will be immediately at acceptable levels, and you can have a normal life.

    Below is a much better project, where you have normal infrastructure of the city, and really not a bad area. For this better situation, however, prices are almost doubled (it is around $80,000 for a 60 m² apartment).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqbHWjivRI0

  222. @Mr. Hack
    The types of breads that I'm talking about are real 'whole grains' not white flour concoctions enhanced with some whole grains and then injected with food colorings to make them look dark. And I'm not talking about eating more than one slice per day, unless you're a construction worker or burn large amounts of calories per day. Is casein inherent in bread?

    BTW, telling a Ukrainian to not eat any bread is like telling a Greek not to eat any olives, or a Mexican not to eat any peppers or tortillas - it just doesn't happen! :-)

    Casein is a dairy protein. Just brought it up as an example of how bodybuilders prioritize growth. Carbohydrates activate mTOR, are insulinogenic (but then so is protein), and are energy dense without being satiating. All useful in building muscle mass, though there are some low-carb and zero-carb bodybuilders and athletes getting good results.

    You can abstain from bread if you want to. Three weeks to form a habit. Today is 159 days without alcohol for me for instance.

    Not saying you need to abstain or anything–it’s just not that big of a deal once you’re used to it.

  223. @Swedish Family

    Foreigners complaining about American bread is a very old tradition, and it’s admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.
     
    Your parents will have loving memories of this classic campaign

    http://www.faktoider.nu/img/6-8-plakat.jpg

    http://www.faktoider.nu/socialstyrelsen.html

    Looks like they were already gone by then.

    But I’ll ask my aunt and uncle about it.

  224. @Thorfinnsson
    There's no shortage of food in Europe with more than five ingredients. The European Union even helpfully catalogs all permitted food additives with E numbers. See what the British government has to say on this: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/eu-approved-additives-and-e-numbers

    Fruits and vegetables vary. California strawberries are worthless compared to those from Belgium and Sweden. Big and beautiful...with nothing but white cellulose inside. On the other hand Michigan blueberries are spectacular. No difference in apples.

    Meat and fish--varies again, and this also varies within Europe itself country to country. Beef in Europe, especially on the continent, is definitely worse. All decent steak you can buy in a French market is imported from Australia, Britain, and the USA. The best lamb in Europe, as in America, is from Australia and New Zealand. Chicken in Europe is definitely better. Fish--depends on what you like. US for obvious reasons has better available of good Pacific Ocean fish like Sockeye.

    As for beer...lol. The "piss" you describe is a style of beer known as pale adjunct lager. It's inexpensive and delicious when chilled ice cold. Outside of the British isles, where real ale was always available, the beer available throughout Europe is basically the same, though slightly better in countries with a German brewing tradition producing real pilsner. Now as you say there's craft beer everywhere so it's moot if you're not fond of cold lager beer.

    Foreigners complaining about American bread is a very old tradition, and it's admittedly true that American bread is bad. Fortunately bread is only regularly consumed by fools so this is irrelevant.

    Since you live in TENNESSEE you might want to try the local barbecue. Amazing Ribs dot com recommends the following restaurants in Tennessee:

    BE Scott's, Lexington
    A&R Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    The Bar-B-Q Shop, Memphis
    Central BBQ, Memphis
    Charley Vergos' Rendezvous, Memphis
    Corky's Ribs & BBQ, multiple locations in Memphis and elsewhere in TN
    Cozy Corner, Memphis
    Germantown Commissary, Memphis
    Interstate Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Neely's Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Payne's, Memphis
    Tops Bar-B-Q, Memphis
    City CafŽ, Memphis
    Canale's Grocery, Eads, TN, In an old grocery store
    Bozo's, Mason

    Lastly Europe has many nations with varied food cultures. French food culture, other than their shabby beef steaks, blows everyone else out of the water. French supermarkets make you almost embarrassed to be American (until you notice with pride that they sell American steaks and sometimes salmon). On the other hand the food culture in, say, Scotland is nothing to write home about. In fact such Scottish "traditions" as "deep fried pizza" might make you think you're at the Texas State Fair.

    Southern BBQ is OK, but BBQed suckling pig in Barcelona beats it hands down. Yes, Europe is very different. I agree that French food is best overall, but there are outstanding local foods elsewhere, like prosciutto in Italy (especially crudo), some cheeses there (not only Parmesan), or Manchego cheese (particularly Corazon de Ronda variety) in Spain. Of course, pizza in Scotland is ridiculous (although Germans also adopted a pizza-like dish as their own), but Scots also serve various meats with potatoes, which are more authentic and tastier. The best pizza I know is in the US, whereas in Italy, if you ask for pizza with two toppings, they make one half with one and the second half with the other. UK in general is the low end (as Poirot said, “you don’t have cuisine, you have food”). I guess that’s why now English food is Indian.

    Fruits and veggies are the best in Russia (after it adopted counter-sanctions and switched to domestic production, the quality of all foods there improved dramatically), but you can get very good fruits and veggies in Italy. To my surprise, the quality of fruits and veggies in Spain went way down in the last 10 years. I guess that’s EU regulations, which Italians naturally ignore (in their inclination to disregarded all regulations they resemble Russians).

    Beer is best in Belgium, France, Czech republic, and Germany. I also like non-bitter British beers (like summer ale, hobgoblin, etc.). Italian beer is a joke (but still way better than Bud).

    In white wines France beats everyone, but there are very good reds in Italy (Brunello, Vino Nobile de Montepulcano, etc.) and in Spain. Surprisingly, really good whites are made on Santorini, whereas the rest of Greece makes mediocre stuff.

    Best coffee is in Italy (filtered) and Russia (Turkish stile), best teas (and sweet things to go with them) in the UK and Russia. German food is solid, but uninspiring, but even that beats US food. I have never been in Sweden and many other countries, so can’t compare their foods.

    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Italians get second place.

    I unfortunately have not yet been to Russia. Fortunately I don't eat a lot of plants, so I don't have to be disappointed routinely by their poor quality. This poor quality stems from consumer demand to have plant foods available year round and all over the world.

    Apparently you only like pilsner beer.
    , @AP

    Southern BBQ is OK, but BBQed suckling pig in Barcelona beats it hands down
     
    The Rendezvous place in Memphis is one of the best meals I have had.

    Other excellent foods in the USA:

    Steak in Texas
    Lobster and clam chowder in New England
    Pizza in Chicago and in New Haven (completely different, but both are good)
    Good sushi in northern NJ
    Wild blueberries sold in Maine are as good as strawberries and raspberries in Russia and Ukraine (typically American fruits are much less tasty).

    Food in Canada is noticeably better than in the USA.

    Only fast food I eat is Chick Fil-a and In & Out (when on the West Coast or in Texas). My wife says McDonalds has good milk shakes and I believe her, but I don't like milkshakes.
  225. @Thorfinnsson
    The Quarter Pounder hamburger sandwiches at McDonald's are now made with fresh beef. Total game changer.

    McDonald's coffee is good these days but weak. If you have some patience you can get one of their McCafe espresso drinks and have them add extra espresso.

    Americano is diluted espresso. It was created to allow serving something similar to coffee to Americans and Northern Europeans not accustomed to the espresso-based coffee culture which dominates the Western Mediterranean. It also saves on capital equipment and space as then no separate machine for making coffee is needed.

    I gave up on McDonalds years ago. I guess I need to give it a try again. Maybe next trip (McDonalds are virtually at every highway exit).