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Lawrence Summers: Rubin's Neoliberal Boy Larry

News Political Economy of Casino Capitalism Recommended Links Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite
Silencing of Brooksley Born Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy Invisible Hand Hypothesis: The Theory of Self-regulation of the Markets Hyman Minsky Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Critique of neoclassical economics Rubinism Trickle down economics Rational expectations scam Monetarism Criminal negligence in financial regulation Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability
Helicopter Ben Bush Clinton Jeffrey Sachs and "shock therapy" racket Milton Friedman Phil Gramm Greenspan: Grey Cardinal of Washington
Corruption of Regulators Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy John Kenneth Galbraith Sandy Weill Martin Feldstein Financial Humor Etc

Introduction

This is a really fascinating story of a guy who is almost universally hated for his personality flaws. He is arrogant, authoritarian and unlikable. He is the person who professes neoliberal ideology, a staunch supporter of deregulation of financial sector and who played a role of a hired gun in killing Glass-Steagall. It's really amazing that he after all his adventures in Clinton administration he managed to land the important position in "the change we can believe in" (aka "it could be worse") Administration, but this is just a testament of Rubin's influence in Obama administration. Like his mentor, Summers is a prominent member of pro-Wall-street wing of the Democratic party, or as it is called Clinton's gang or “plutocratic Taliban”. As an economist Summers has gone through several (questionable) revolving doors, and that mean that it is natural to suspect his level of scientific integrity.

He became a walking illustration of corruption of the academy by special interests. Like few others (and first of all his protégé Andrei Shleifer) he became a multimillionaire due to his services to financial industry and once got $135K for a single speaking engagement in Goldman Sachs. This level of corruption of academics is a disgrace, but nothing new. Mishkin did worse things. Fat cats of economic profession institutionalize the relations typical for Academician Lysenko among students, and contribute to the problems of the society instead of helping to solve them. What $100K+ per "speaking engagement" fee means, if not a bribe with a fig leaf attached (Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics The Chronicle of Higher Education).

"Summers became wealthy through consulting and speaking engagements with financial firms. Between 2001 and his entry into the Obama administration, he made more than $20-million from the financial-services industry. (His 2009 federal financial-disclosure form listed his net worth as $17-million to $39-million.)"

"Prominent academic economists (and sometimes also professors of law and public policy) are paid by companies and interest groups to testify before Congress, to write papers, to give speeches, to participate in conferences, to serve on boards of directors, to write briefs in regulatory proceedings, to defend companies in antitrust cases, and, of course, to lobby. This is now, literally, a billion-dollar industry."

This is very disturbing but what is more disturbing that in case of Summers there is strong evidence of cronyism and nepotism during his meteoric rise to the top. Larry Summers is a nephew to both Ken Arrow and late Paul Samuelson. In a mandarinate that sure is US economic profession that's a tremendous help for any person in climbing to the top.

Summers' academic mentor was conservative economist Marty Feldstein, and he worked for Feldstein at Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers in the early 1980s. Being a protégée of Robert Rubin helped Summers to obtain lucrative government positions.

Both men are proteges of Robert Rubin, a former Clinton Treasury secretary who served on Citigroup Inc.’s board from 1999 until this year and has been criticized for allowing the bank to pile up $544 billion of derivatives and securities before it became the recipient of more government assistance than any other bank. Rubin declined to comment.”

Neoliberal deregulator and lobbyist of financial oligarchy

If one wants to be more sharp critic, he/she can view Summers as a staunch neoliberal, a typical academic servant of banking oligarchy, an academic lobbyist for financial industry.

Classic example of a modern type of neo-bribes for neoliberal economists: $135,000 for one speech at Goldman Sachs.

The popular joke that "the relationship between government and banking is the closest thing to organized crime taken over society" sounds alarmingly true, when applied to Summers activity (Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics - The Chronicle of Higher Education):

As a rising economist at Harvard and at the World Bank, Summers argued for privatization and deregulation in many domains, including finance. Later, as deputy secretary of the treasury and then treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, he implemented those policies. Summers oversaw passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed Glass-Steagall, permitted the previously illegal merger that created Citigroup, and allowed further consolidation in the financial sector. He also successfully fought attempts by Brooksley Born, chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Clinton administration, to regulate the financial derivatives that would cause so much damage in the housing bubble and the 2008 economic crisis. He then oversaw passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned all regulation of derivatives, including exempting them from state antigambling laws.

After Summers left the Clinton administration, his candidacy for president of Harvard was championed by his mentor Robert Rubin, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, who was his boss and predecessor as treasury secretary. Rubin, after leaving the Treasury Department—where he championed the law that made Citigroup's creation legal—became both vice chairman of Citigroup and a powerful member of Harvard's governing board.

Over the past decade, Summers continued to advocate financial deregulation, both as president of Harvard and as a University Professor after being forced out of the presidency. During this time, Summers became wealthy through consulting and speaking engagements with financial firms. Between 2001 and his entry into the Obama administration, he made more than $20-million from the financial-services industry. (His 2009 federal financial-disclosure form listed his net worth as $17-million to $39-million.)

Summers remained close to Rubin and to Alan Greenspan, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve. When other economists began warning of abuses and systemic risk in the financial system deriving from the environment that Summers, Greenspan, and Rubin had created, Summers mocked and dismissed those warnings. In 2005, at the annual Jackson Hole, Wyo., conference of the world's leading central bankers, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Raghuram Rajan, presented a brilliant paper that constituted the first prominent warning of the coming crisis. Rajan pointed out that the structure of financial-sector compensation, in combination with complex financial products, gave bankers huge cash incentives to take risks with other people's money, while imposing no penalties for any subsequent losses. Rajan warned that this bonus culture rewarded bankers for actions that could destroy their own institutions, or even the entire system, and that this could generate a "full-blown financial crisis" and a "catastrophic meltdown."

When Rajan finished speaking, Summers rose up from the audience and attacked him, calling him a "Luddite," dismissing his concerns, and warning that increased regulation would reduce the productivity of the financial sector. (Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and Alan Greenspan were also in the audience.)

Among key "mis-achievements" of  this staunch neoliberal, we can mention the following:

Here is how Charles Ferguson summarizes Summers deregulation zeal ( Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics - The Chronicle of Higher Education)

As a rising economist at Harvard and at the World Bank, Summers argued for privatization and deregulation in many domains, including finance. Later, as deputy secretary of the treasury and then treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, he implemented those policies. Summers oversaw passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed Glass-Steagall, permitted the previously illegal merger that created Citigroup, and allowed further consolidation in the financial sector. He also successfully fought attempts by Brooksley Born, chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Clinton administration, to regulate the financial derivatives that would cause so much damage in the housing bubble and the 2008 economic crisis. He then oversaw passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned all regulation of derivatives, including exempting them from state antigambling laws.

Justin Fox in Time wrote the following before Summers appointment to Obama administration:

Summers was an awfully controversial guy a couple years ago. And the things that made him controversial will all be revisited if he has to sit through a Senate confirmation hearing.

Here's a quick run-through of the Sins of Larry:

1. He's a loose cannon. Summers has a long history of saying what's on his mind, regardless of whether others might find it offensive. The thing about women and science was only the most infamous. There was also that memo he signed about exporting toxic waste to the developing world. [..]

Still, Summers behaved perfectly respectably during his last stint as Treasury Secretary. He is capable of keeping his mouth shut if the job requires it. What's more, he seems to have a habit of promoting the careers of people who are willing to contradict him and take him on (Andrei Shleifer and Tim Geithner spring to mind). [..]

2. He's loyal, to a fault. One of the main things that turned Harvard's faculty against Summers was the case of his protege Shleifer. Shleifer ran a Harvard-affiliated, USAID-funded office in Moscow in the 1990s that advised the Russian government on economic reform. The U.S. government later sued Harvard and Shleifer, charging that the operation was overrrun by conflicts of interest. Summers recused himself from direct dealings with the case, but in his epic dissection of the saga for Instititutional Investor, David McClintick charged that Summers did try to shield Shleifer. Harvard and Shleifer lost the suit, and Harvard had to pay $26.5 million in damages and Shleifer $2 million. I can't get as worked up about this as some people (if we could force Harvard to give the government even more money, maybe Barack Obama wouldn't have to raise your taxes), but I also know and like Andrei Shleifer, so I'm really not the best judge.

3. He's a callous right-winger. Summers' academic mentor was conservative economist Marty Feldstein, and he worked for Feldstein at Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers in the early 1980s. Paul Krugman worked there too, so that really isn't saying much. For most of the 1980s, in fact, Summers was an outspoken skeptic of financial markets and their ability to set prices rationally and steer investment wisely. As he rose to positions of power in Washington in the 1990s, though, he became a leading defender of the Washington consensus--the idea that free financial markets, free trade and fiscal discipline would bring prosperity to the world. Lately Summers has been partially reconsidering that stance in his columns for the Financial Times. If you're favorably disposed to him, as I am, you could say he's been pulling a Keynes: "When the facts change, I change my mind." But I guess if you're not so favorably disposed, you could call him a closet right-winger, a closet left-winger, or a slave to fashion.

Anyway, I'm sure Larry Summers would make a very good Treasury Secretary. Again.

... ... ...

Update: Oh, and by the way, I forgot to gratuitously mention that he used to go out with Laura Ingraham ...

Read more: http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/2008/11/06/does-larry-summers-have-too-much-baggage-to-be-treasury-secretary/?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz10ZVl6v9c

A person who is organically incapable to be honest broker

All who have worked with Larry know that he is completely incapable of being an honest broker. He is a bully. Its always his way or the highway. Here is one comment on his departure from "Bama" Whitehouser:

Summers only changes his mind if you argue from his worldview, that's why he is so often very wrong.

  1. Summers spent all of the 90's being completely wrong on climate change, because he wouldn't interpret evidence outside of his mental box.
  2. He was completely wrong on finance, with horrible results from the 90s deregulation, and did everything to ostracize people like Rajan who argued from a different perspective. Rajan had theory and data and was right, but Summers gave him the full mean girl treatment.
  3. He did not understand the finance risks, so he got Harvard in serious trouble.
  4. He shut Romer out of the stimulus debate, for reasons we aren't sure of, but she was, of course, right. And had the data and the theory completely on her side.

Summers shows again and again on the major decisions that he makes terrible judgments. Lots of people would be better at the job.

Nothing illustrates better this feature of Summers personality then the "Support of Andrei Shleifer" saga (see also Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia)

From the article about Lawrence Summers  in  Wikipedia:

Also during his stint in the Clinton administration, Summers was successful in pushing for capital gains tax cuts.[citation needed] During the California energy crisis of 2000, then-Treasury Secretary Summers teamed with Alan Greenspan and Enron executive Kenneth Lay to lecture California Governor Gray Davis on the causes of the crisis, explaining that the problem was excessive government regulation.[8] Under the advice of Kenneth Lay, Summers urged Davis to relax California's environmental standards in order to reassure the markets.[9]

Summers hailed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, which lifted more than six decades of restrictions against banks offering commercial banking, insurance, and investment services (by repealing key provisions in the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act): "Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century," Summers said.[10] "This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy."[10] Many critics, including President Barack Obama, have suggested the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis was caused by the partial repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act.[11]

Support of economist Andrei Shleifer

Harvard and Andrei Shleifer, a close friend and protege of Summers, settled a $26M lawsuit by the U.S. government over the conflict of interest Shleifer had while advising Russia's privatisation program. Summers' continued support for Shleifer strengthened Summers' unpopularity with other professors:

"I’ve been a member of this Faculty for over 45 years, and I am no longer easily shocked," is how Frederick H. Abernathy, the McKay professor of mechanical engineering, began his biting comments about the Shleifer case at Tuesday’s fiery Faculty meeting. But, Abernathy continued, "I was deeply shocked and disappointed by the actions of this University" in the Shleifer affair.

In an 18,000-word article in Institutional Investor (January, 2006), the magazine detailed Shleifer’s alleged efforts to use his inside knowledge of and sway over the Russian economy in order to make lucrative personal investments, all while leading a Harvard group, advising the Russian government, that was under contract with the U.S. The article suggests that Summers shielded his fellow economist from disciplinary action by the University.[21]

Summers' friendship with Shleifer was well known by the Corporation when it selected him to succeed Rudenstine and Summers recused himself from all proceedings with Shleifer, whose case was actually handled by an independent committee led by Derek Bok.

A classic example of academic corruption

  ...rarely has one individual embodied so much of what is wrong with economics, with academe, and indeed with the American economy. For the past two years, I have immersed myself in those worlds in order to make a film, Inside Job, that takes a sweeping look at the financial crisis. And I found Summers everywhere I turned.

... ... ...

Prominent academic economists (and sometimes also professors of law and public policy) are paid by companies and interest groups to testify before Congress, to write papers, to give speeches, to participate in conferences, to serve on boards of directors, to write briefs in regulatory proceedings, to defend companies in antitrust cases, and, of course, to lobby. This is now, literally, a billion-dollar industry. The Law and Economics Consulting Group, started 22 years ago by professors at the University of California at Berkeley (David Teece in the business school, Thomas Jorde in the law school, and the economists Richard Gilbert and Gordon Rausser), is now a $300-million publicly held company. Others specializing in the sale (or rental) of academic expertise include Competition Policy (now Compass Lexecon), started by Richard Gilbert and Daniel Rubinfeld, both of whom served as chief economist of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division in the Clinton administration; the Analysis Group; and Charles River Associates.

In my film you will see many famous economists looking very uncomfortable when confronted with their financial-sector activities; others appear only on archival video, because they declined to be interviewed.

Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Over the past 30 years, the economics profession was not only compromised by conflicts of interests but outright bought. Bought in classic old fashion way. It just became a support group for financial oligarchy. This happens both due to dominance of neoliberal ideology ("greed is good") and also via straightforward (and sometimes pre-emptive)  buy-out of  leading economists by banks and brokerages via  outrageously high "speaking fees" (although they are much less then then similar sleaking fees for politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton), sinecure positions,  and other inventive ways of transferring money into the pockets of selected academicians. Due to his close association with Rubin, Summers career provide almost classic example of this affect.

Revolving door style of corruption is probably dominant in the USA for former government officials and prominent economists. They do not took bribes. Instead the way "revolving door" mechanism works is that they are "awarded" lucrative positions in  private companies which they regulated during government service after they leave the  government service.

Which might well be even more damaging as for restriction of the ability to to act honestly the whole term of the government service. To need to "earn" your future positions, so to speak. While bribe restricts the ability to act dispassionately only from the point of accepting the bribe for the particular deregulation effort/deal/contract and mostly (often only) for the company which gave the bribe. Like is the case  with the revolving door mechanism, this "incapacity" lasts till the the end of the government service.  But it restrict the ability to act harshly with other companies, banks, brokerages only to the extent the person is afraid of disclosure and might even stimulate his to act harshly for competitors of particular company in order to protect himself from possible accusations in favoritism.

While his "achievements" in this area are probably less visible then, say, for Mankiw (who is mainly instrumental in brainwashing his students), they are were tremendously more damaging (from Wikipedia):

On October 19, 2006, he became a part-time managing director of the investment and technology development firm D. E. Shaw & Co.

Upon the death of his hero, libertarian economist Milton Friedman, Summers wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times entitled "The Great Liberator" arguing that "any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites." Summers wrote that while Friedman made real contributions to monetary policy, his real contribution was "in convincing people of the importance of allowing free markets to operate."[25]

Henry Kissinger once said that Larry Summers should "be given a White House post in which he was charged with shooting down or fixing bad ideas." [26]

In 2006 he was a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons which reviewed the work of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

He is currently the director of the White House National Economic Council[1][27].

Paul Samuelson (Swedish Bank Prize)

Summers is Samuelson’s nephew. Is this significant in any way?

The Odyssey of Larry Summers - Megan McArdle

April 7, 2009 12:54 PM

I generally agree with Megan is saying. However, Greg Mankiw did point out today that the NY Times claimed that Summers was doing consulting work for Taconic Capital while president of Harvard which does seems problematic and does weaken the apparent claim that DE Shaw was when Summers started cashing in in finance.


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Old News ;-)

[Dec 19, 2017] Do not Underestimate the Power of Microfoundations

Highly recommended!
Nice illustration of ideologically based ostrakism as practiced in Academia: "Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."
Notable quotes:
"... A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned. ..."
"... The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for ..."
"... Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR. With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities. ..."
"... To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell. ..."
"... Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys. ..."
"... "Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders." ..."
Apr 04, 2015 | Economist's View

Darryl FKA Ron -> pgl...

At the risk of oversimplifying might it not be as simple as stronger leanings towards IS-LM and kind are indicative of a bias towards full employment and stronger leanings towards DSGE, microfoundations, and kind are indicative of a bias towards low inflation?

IN general I consider over-simplification a fault, if and only if, it is a rigidly adhered to final position. This is to say that over-simplification is always a good starting point and never a good ending point. If in the end your problem was simple to begin with, then the simplified answer would not be OVER-simplified anyway. It is just as bad to over-complicate a simple problem as it is to over-simplify a complex problem. It is easier to build complexity on top of a simple foundation than it is to extract simplicity from a complex foundation.

A lot of the Chicago School initiative into microfoundations and DSGE may have been motivated by a desire to bind Keynes in a NAIRU straight-jacket. Even though economic policy making is largely done just one step at a time then that is still one step too much if it might violate rentier interests.

Darryl FKA Ron -> Barry...

There are two possible (but unlikely) schools of (generously attributed to as) thought for which internal consistency might take precedence over external consistency. One such school wants to consider what would be best in a perfect world full of perfect people and then just assume that is best for the real world just to let the chips fall where they may according to the faults and imperfections of the real world. The second such school is the one whose eyes just glaze over mesmerized by how over their heads they are and remain affraid to ask any question lest they appear stupid.

A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned.

Richard H. Serlin

Consistency sounds so good, Oh, of course we want consistency, who wouldn't?! But consistent in what way? What exactly do you mean? Consistent with reality, or consistent with people all being superhumans? Which concept is usually more useful, or more useful for the task at hand?

Essentially, they want models that are consistent with only certain things, and often because this makes their preferred ideology look far better. They want models, typically, that are consistent with everyone in the world having perfect expertise in every subject there is, from finance to medicine to engineering, perfect public information, and perfect self-discipline, and usually on top, frictionless and perfectly complete markets, often perfectly competitive too.

But a big thing to note is that perfectly consistent people means a level of perfection in expertise, public information, self-discipline, and "rationality", that's extremely at odds with how people actually are. And as a result, this can make the model extremely misleading if it's interpreted very literally (as so often it is, especially by freshwater economists), or taken as The Truth, as Paul Krugman puts it.

You get things like the equity premium "puzzle", which involves why people don't invest more in stocks when the risk-adjusted return appears to usually be so abnormally good, and this "puzzle" can only be answered with "consistency", that people are all perfectly expert in finance, with perfect information, so they must have some mysterious hidden good reason. It can't be at all that it's because 65% of people answered incorrectly when asked how many reindeer would remain if Santa had to lay off 25% of his eight reindeer ( http://richardhserlin.blogspot.com/2013/12/surveys-showing-massive-ignorance-and.html ).

Yes, these perfect optimizer consistency models can give useful insights, and help to see what is best, what we can do better, and they can, in some cases, be good as approximations. But to say they should be used only, and interpreted literally, is, well, inconsistent with optimal, rational behavior -- of the economist using them.

Richard H. Serlin -> Richard H. Serlin...
Of course, unless the economist using them is doing so to mislead people into supporting his libertarian/plutocratic ideology.

dilbert dogbert

As an old broken down mech engineer, I wonder why all the pissing and moaning about micro foundations vs aggregation. In strength of materials equations that aggregate properties work quite well within the boundaries of the questions to be answered. We all know that at the level of crystals, materials have much complexity. Even within crystals there is deeper complexities down to the molecular levels. However, the addition of quantum mechanics adds no usable information about what materials to build a bridge with.

But, when working at the scale of the most advanced computer chips quantum mechanics is required. WTF! I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories.

Poor economists, doomed to argue, forever, over how many micro foundations can dance on the head of a pin.

RGC -> dilbert dogbert...

Endless discussions about how quantum effects aggregate to produce a material suitable for bridge building crowd out discussions about where and when to build bridges. And if plutocrats fund the endless discussions, we get the prominent economists we have today.

Darryl FKA Ron -> dilbert dogbert...

"...I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories..."

[I guess it depends upon what your acceptable confidence interval on reliability is. Most important difference that controls all the domain differences between physical science and economics is that underlying physical sciences there is a deterministic methodology for which probable error is merely a function of the inaccuracy in input metrics WHEREAS economics models are incomplete probabilistic estimating models with no ability to provide a complete system model in a full range of circumstances.

YOu can design and build a bridge to your load and span requirements with alternative models for various designs with confidence and highly effective accuracy repeatedly. No ecomomic theory, model, or combination of models and theories was ever intended to be used as the blueprint for building an economy from the foundation up.

With all the formal trappings of economics the only effective usage is to decide what should be done in a given set of predetermined circumstance to reach some modest desired effect. Even that modest goal is exposed to all kinds of risks inherent in assumptions, incomplete information, externalities, and so on that can produce errors of uncertain potential bounds.

Nonetheless, well done economics can greatly reduce the risks encountered in the random walk of economics policy making. So much so is this true, that the bigger questions in macro-economics policy making is what one is willing to risk and for whom.

The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for.]

Darryl FKA Ron -> Peter K....

unless you have a model which maps the real world fairly closely like quantum mechanics.

[You set a bar too high. Macro models at best will tell you what to do to move the economy in the direction that you seek to go. They do not even ocme close to the notion of a theory of everything that you have in physics, even the theory of every little thing that is provided by quantum mechanics. Physics is an empty metaphor for economics. Step one is to forgo physics envy in pursuit of understanding suitable applications and domain constraints for economics models.

THe point is to reach a decision and to understand cause and effect directions. All precision is in the past and present. The future is both imprecise and all that there is that is available to change.

For the most part an ounce of common sense and some simple narrative models are all that are essential for making those policy decisions in and of themselves. HOWEVER, nation states are not ruled by economist philosopher kings and in the process of concensus decision making by (little r)republican governments then human language is a very imprecise vehicle for communicating logic and reason with respect to the management of complex systems. OTOH, mathematics has given us a universal language for communicating logic and reason that is understood the same by everyone that really understands that language at all. Hence mathematical models were born for the economists to write down their own thinking in clear precise terms and check their own work first and then share it with others so equipped to understand the language of mathematics. Krugman has said as much many times and so has any and every economist worth their salt.]

likbez -> Syaloch...

I agree with Pgl and PeterK. Certain commenters like Darryl seem convinced that the Chicago School (if not all of econ) is driven by sinister, class-based motives to come up justifications for favoring the power elite over the masses. But based on what I've read, it seems pretty obvious that the microfoundation guys just got caught up in their fancy math and their desire to produce more elegant, internally consistent models and lost sight of the fact that their models didn't track reality.

That's completely wrong line of thinking, IMHO.

Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR.
With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities.

To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell.

Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys.

But the key problem with neoliberalism is that the cure is worse then disease. And here mathematical masturbations are very handy as a smoke screen to hide this simple fact.

likbez -> likbez...

Here is how Rubin's neoliberal boy Larry explained the situation to Elizabeth Warren:

"Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."

Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance

Syaloch -> likbez...

Yeah, case in point.

[Dec 19, 2017] Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs.

Was it intelligence operation run by US and GB agencies with Harward economists as puppets?
Notable quotes:
"... Just look at what the West did to Iraq. Like Stiglitz I think it is more incompetence and ideology than a sinister plan to destroy Iraq and Russia. And we are reaping the results of that incompetence. ..."
"... "Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas" ..."
Dec 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. , April 03, 2017 at 01:31 PM

PGL puts the blame on Yeltsin and this is what Stiglitz writes:

"I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work."

Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs were involved in this. It would be nice if they wrote mea culpas.

"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs.

I believe the explanation was less sinister: flawed ideas, even with the best of intentions, can have serious consequences. And the opportunities for self-interested greed offered by Russia were simply too great for some to resist. Clearly, democratization in Russia required efforts aimed at ensuring shared prosperity, not policies that led to the creation of an oligarchy."

Just look at what the West did to Iraq. Like Stiglitz I think it is more incompetence and ideology than a sinister plan to destroy Iraq and Russia. And we are reaping the results of that incompetence.

2008 was also incompetence, greed and ideology not some plot to push through "shock doctrines."

If the one percent were smart they would slowly cook the frog in the pot, where the frog doesn't notice, instead of having these crises which backfire.

pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:30 PM
Nice cherry picking especially for someone who never read his chapter 5 of that great 1997 book.
libezkova -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:40 PM
The book is great, the article is junk. As Paine aptly said (in best Mark Twain style):

"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"

[Dec 19, 2017] Illiberal stagnation: Russia transition by Joseph E Stiglitz

Petty neoliberal bastard Joseph ;-) ...
Notable quotes:
"... I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. ..."
"... This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work.... ..."
"... Once one of the world's two superpowers, Russia's GDP is now about 40% of Germany's and just over 50% of France's. Life expectancy at birth ranks 153rd in the world, just behind Honduras and Kazakhstan. ..."
"... My impression is that Andrei Shleifer was a marionette, a low level pawn in a big game. The fact that he was a greedy academic scum, who tried to amass a fortune in Russia probably under influence of his wife (his wife, a hedge fund manager, was GS alumnae and was introduced to him by Summers) is peripheral to the actual role he played. ..."
"... Jeffey Sacks also played highly negative role being the architect of "shock therapy": the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets. ..."
"... In other words "shock therapy" = "economic rape" ..."
"... "Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs." ..."
"... This was not a corruption. This was the intent on Clinton administration. I would think about it as a planned operation. ..."
"... The key was that the gangster capitalism model was enforced by the Western "Washington consensus" (of which IMF was an integral part) -- really predatory set of behaviors designed to colonize Russia and make is US satellite much like Germany became after WWII but without the benefit of Marshall plan. ..."
"... My impression is that Clinton was and is a criminal. And he really proved to be a very capable mass murderer. And his entourage had found willing sociopaths within Russian society (as well as in other xUUSR republics; Ukraine actually fared worse then Russia as for the level of plunder) who implemented neoliberal policies. Yegor Gaidar was instrumental in enforcing Harvard-designed "shock therapy" on Russian people. He also create the main neoliberal party in Russia -- the Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats. Later in 1990s, it became the Union of Right Forces. ..."
"... Questionable figures from the West flowed into Russia and tried to exploit still weak law system by raiding the companies. Some of them were successful and amassed huge fortunes. Some ended being shot. Soros tried, but was threatened to be shot by Berezovsky and choose to leave for the good. ..."
"... It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus". ..."
"... It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard. ..."
"... Does deregulatin' Larry still have a job? Why? ..."
"... Yes PGL blames Yeltsin but it was the Western advisers who forced disastrous shock therapy on Russia. See the IMF, Europe and Greece for another example. No doubt PGL blames the Greeks. He always blames the victims. ..."
"... Suppose though the matter with privatization is not so much speed but not understanding what should not be subject to privatizing, such as soft and hard infrastructure. ..."
"... The persuasiveness of the Washington Consensus approach to development strikes me as especially well illustrated by the repeated, decades-long insistence by Western economists that Chinese development is about to come to a crashing end. The insistence continues with an almost daily repetition in the likes of The Economist or Financial Times. ..."
Apr 03, 2017 | www.project-syndicate.org

April 2, 2017

Illiberal stagnation: Russia transition by Joseph E Stiglitz

I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition.

This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work....

... ... ...

Once one of the world's two superpowers, Russia's GDP is now about 40% of Germany's and just over 50% of France's. Life expectancy at birth ranks 153rd in the world, just behind Honduras and Kazakhstan.

pgl , April 03, 2017 at 09:52 AM

Stiglitz returns to the issue of why post Soviet Union Russia has done so poorly in terms of economics:

"In terms of per capita income, Russia now ranks 73rd (in terms of purchasing power parity) – well below the Soviet Union's former satellites in Central and Eastern Europe. The country has deindustrialized: the vast majority of its exports now come from natural resources. It has not evolved into a "normal" market economy, but rather into a peculiar form of crony-state capitalism . Many had much higher hopes for Russia, and the former Soviet Union more broadly, when the Iron Curtain fell. After seven decades of Communism, the transition to a democratic market economy would not be easy. But, given the obvious advantages of democratic market capitalism to the system that had just fallen apart, it was assumed that the economy would flourish and citizens would demand a greater voice. What went wrong? Who, if anyone, is to blame? Could Russia's post-communist transition have been managed better? We can never answer such questions definitively: history cannot be re-run. But I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work. Fifteen years ago, when I wrote Globalization and its Discontents, I argued that this "shock therapy" approach to economic reform was a dismal failure. But defenders of that doctrine cautioned patience: one could make such judgments only with a longer-run perspective. Today, more than a quarter-century since the onset of transition, those earlier results have been confirmed, and those who argued that private property rights, once created, would give rise to broader demands for the rule of law have been proven wrong. Russia and many of the other transition countries are lagging further behind the advanced economies than ever. GDP in some transition countries is below its level at the beginning of the transition."

Stiglitz is not saying markets cannot work if the rules are properly constructed. He is saying that the Yeltsin rules were not as they were crony capitalism at their worse. And it seems the Putin rules are not much better. He mentions his 1997 book which featured as chapter 5 "Who Lost Russia". It still represents an excellent read.

RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:11 AM
"Shleifer also met his mentor and professor, Lawrence Summers, during his undergraduate education at Harvard. The two went on to be co-authors, joint grant recipients, and faculty colleagues.[5]

During the early 1990s, Andrei Shleifer headed a Harvard project under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) that invested U.S. government funds in the development of Russia's economy.

Schleifer was also a direct advisor to Anatoly Chubais, then vice-premier of Russia, who managed the Rosimushchestvo (Committee for the Management of State Property) portfolio and was a primary engineer of Russian privatization. Shleifer was also tasked with establishing a stock market for Russia that would be a world-class capital market.[14]

In 1996 complaints about the Harvard project led Congress to launch a General Accounting Office investigation, which stated that the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) was given "substantial control of the U.S. assistance program."[15]

In 1997, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) canceled most of its funding for the Harvard project after investigations showed that top HIID officials Andre Schleifer and Johnathan Hay had used their positions and insider information to profit from investments in the Russian securities markets. Among other things, the Institute for a Law Based Economy (ILBE) was used to assist Schleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a hedge fund which speculated in Russian bonds.[14]

In August 2005, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Department of Justice reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrongdoing

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

RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:26 AM
Awards:

John Bates Clark Medal (1999)

"He has held a tenured position in the Department of Economics at Harvard University since 1991 and was, from 2001 through 2006, the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics."

libezkova said in reply to RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 08:18 PM
My impression is that Andrei Shleifer was a marionette, a low level pawn in a big game. The fact that he was a greedy academic scum, who tried to amass a fortune in Russia probably under influence of his wife (his wife, a hedge fund manager, was GS alumnae and was introduced to him by Summers) is peripheral to the actual role he played.

Jeffey Sacks also played highly negative role being the architect of "shock therapy": the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets.

In other words "shock therapy" = "economic rape"

As Anne Williamson said: "Instead, after robbing the Russian people of the only capital they had to participate in the new market – the nation's household savings – by freeing prices in what was a monopolistic economy and which delivered a 2500% inflation in 1992, America's "brave, young Russian reformers" ginned-up a development theory of "Big Capitalism" based on Karl Marx's mistaken edict that capitalism requires the "primitive accumulation of capital". Big capitalists would appear instantly, they said, and a broadly-based market economy shortly thereafter if only the pockets of pre-selected members of their own ex-Komsomol circle were properly stuffed. Those who hankered for a public reputation were to secure the government perches from which they would pass state assets to their brethren in the nascent business community, happy in the knowledge that they too would be kicked back a significant cut of the swag. The US-led West accommodated the reformers' cockeyed theory by designing a rapid and easily manipulated voucher privatization program that was really only a transfer of title and which was funded with $325 million US taxpayers' dollars. "

See also http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml

libezkova said in reply to RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 07:51 PM
From the article:

"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs."

This was not a corruption. This was the intent on Clinton administration. I would think about it as a planned operation.

The key was that the gangster capitalism model was enforced by the Western "Washington consensus" (of which IMF was an integral part) -- really predatory set of behaviors designed to colonize Russia and make is US satellite much like Germany became after WWII but without the benefit of Marshall plan.

Clinton consciously chose this criminal policy among alternatives: kick the lying body. So after Russian people get rid of corrupt and degraded Communist regime, they got under the iron hill of US gangsters from Clinton administration.

My impression is that Clinton was and is a criminal. And he really proved to be a very capable mass murderer. And his entourage had found willing sociopaths within Russian society (as well as in other xUUSR republics; Ukraine actually fared worse then Russia as for the level of plunder) who implemented neoliberal policies. Yegor Gaidar was instrumental in enforcing Harvard-designed "shock therapy" on Russian people. He also create the main neoliberal party in Russia -- the Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats. Later in 1990s, it became the Union of Right Forces.

http://www.vdare.com/posts/the-rape-of-russia-explained-by-anne-williamson

== quote ==

Testimony of Anne Williamson

Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives

September 21, 1999


In the matter before us – the question of the many billions in capital that fled Russia to Western shores via the Bank of New York and other Western banks – we have had a window thrown open on what the financial affairs of a country without property rights, without banks, without the certainty of contract, without an accountable government or a leadership decent enough to be concerned with the national interest or its own citizens' well-being looks like. It's not a pretty picture, is it? But let there be no mistake, in Russia the West has truly been the author of its own misery. And there is no mistake as to who the victims are, i.e. Western, principally U.S., taxpayers and Russian citizens' whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets

... ... ...
== end of quote ==

A lot of people, especially pensioners, died because of Clinton's gangster policies in xUUSR space.

I am wondering how Russian managed to survive as an independent country. The USA put tremendous efforts and resources in destruction of Russian economy and colonizing its by creating "fifth column" on neoliberal globaliozation.

all those criminal oligarchs hold moved their capitals to the West as soon as they can because they were afraid of the future. Nobody persecuted them and Western banks helped to extract money from Russia to the extent that some of their methods were clearly criminals.

Economic devastation was comparable with caused by Nazi armies, although amount of dead was less, but also in millions.

Questionable figures from the West flowed into Russia and tried to exploit still weak law system by raiding the companies. Some of them were successful and amassed huge fortunes. Some ended being shot. Soros tried, but was threatened to be shot by Berezovsky and choose to leave for the good.

Especially hard hit was military industrial complex, which was oversized in any case, but which was an integral part of Soviet economy and employed many highly qualified specialists. Many of whom later emigrated to the West. At some point it was difficult to find physics department in the US university without at least a single person from xUSSR space (not necessary a Russian)

paine -> DrDick ... , April 03, 2017 at 04:22 PM
Too much liberal swamp gas
libezkova said in reply to paine... , April 03, 2017 at 09:33 PM
"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"

this is almost Mark Twain's level quote :-).

anne -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 06:20 PM
But I would conjecture the Deng path trumps the Yeltsin path

[ Really? Would the conjecture rest on growth of real Gross Domestic Product in China averaging 9.6% yearly while growth of real per capita GDP averaged 8.6% yearly these last 40 years? ]

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:22 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacK

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacO

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:27 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacQ

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacR

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014

(Indexed to 1990)

libezkova said in reply to paine... , April 03, 2017 at 08:28 PM
"But i'd conjecture the Deng path trumps the yeltsin path"

True.

anne -> paine... , April 04, 2017 at 07:52 AM
But I would conjecture the Deng Xiaoping path trumps the Boris Yeltsin path

[ What then is the point of such a conjecture when real per capita GDP in Russia grew a mere 15.8% from 1990 through 2015 while in China real per capita grew by a remarkable 789.1%?

Total factor productivity in Russia decreased by 16.9% from 1990 through 2014, while in China total factor productivity increased by 76.4%.

The inability to understand what China has accomplished is shocking to me. Possibly, rethinking fairly is in order. ]

point -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 06:28 PM
It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus".
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:01 AM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus

The term Washington Consensus was coined in 1989 by English economist John Williamson to refer to a set of 10 relatively specific economic policy prescriptions that he considered constituted the "standard" reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries by Washington, D.C.–based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and the US Treasury Department. The prescriptions encompassed policies in such areas as macroeconomic stabilization, economic opening with respect to both trade and investment, and the expansion of market forces within the domestic economy.

Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP;

Redirection of public spending from subsidies toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;

Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;

Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;

Competitive exchange rates;

Trade liberalization: liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs;

Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;

Privatization of state enterprises;

Deregulation: abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudential oversight of financial institutions;

Legal security for property rights.

pgl -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:18 AM
"privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else".

It does matter how it is done as Stiglitz, Dani Rodrik, and even that ProMarket blog often point out. It was done very poorly under Yeltsin.

RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:34 AM
It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard.
RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AM
Does deregulatin' Larry still have a job? Why?
Peter K. -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 01:24 PM
"It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard."

Yes PGL blames Yeltsin but it was the Western advisers who forced disastrous shock therapy on Russia. See the IMF, Europe and Greece for another example. No doubt PGL blames the Greeks. He always blames the victims.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 01:33 PM
PGL blames Yeltsin but even Stiglitz writes that it was the Washington Consensus which was to blame for the poor transition and disastrous collapse of Russia. Now we are reaping the consequences. Just like with Syria, ISIL and Iraq.
pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:27 PM
WTF? The IMF may have given bad advice but Yeltsin ran the show. And if you think Yeltsin was the victim - then you are really lost.

"No doubt PGL blames the Greeks."

You do lie 24/7. Pathetic.

anne -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 11:15 AM
Suppose though the matter with privatization is not so much speed but not understanding what should not be subject to privatizing, such as soft and hard infrastructure.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AM
That a Washington Consensus approach to Russian development proved obviously faulty is important because I would argue the approach has repeatedly proved faulty from Brazil to South Africa to the Philippines... When the consensus has been turned away from as in Brazil for several years the development results have dramatically changed but turning from the approach which allows for severe concentrations of wealth has proved politically difficult as we find now in Brazil.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:48 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad0

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacX

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:55 AM
The range in real per capita GDP growth from 1990 to 2015 extends from 15.8% to 19.8% to 41.1% to 223.1% to 789.1%. This range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:49 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad4

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad7

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:00 AM
The range in total factor productivity growth or decline from 1990 to 2014 extends from a decline of - 16.9% to - 12.2% to - 5.1% to growth of 40.9% and 76.4%. Again, this range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:10 AM
The persuasiveness of the Washington Consensus approach to development strikes me as especially well illustrated by the repeated, decades-long insistence by Western economists that Chinese development is about to come to a crashing end. The insistence continues with an almost daily repetition in the likes of The Economist or Financial Times.

I would suggest the success of China thoroughly studied provides us with remarkable policy prescriptions.

[Dec 11, 2017] How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
Looks like Browder was connected to MI6. That means that intellignece agances participated in economic rape of Russia That's explains a lot, including his change of citizenship from US to UK. He wanted better protection.
Notable quotes:
"... The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War. ..."
"... Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale. ..."
"... Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme. ..."
"... Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy. ..."
"... That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along. ..."
"... By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son. ..."
"... But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post. ..."
"... There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past. ..."
"... Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen." ..."
"... So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War. ..."
"... Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false." ..."
"... First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue. ..."
"... From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available. ..."
"... Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you. ..."
"... Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis. ..."
"... Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes. ..."
"... Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it. ..."
"... I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant. ..."
"... Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it. ..."
"... Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years. ..."
"... Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product. ..."
"... "[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row? ..."
"... "The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement. ..."
"... "The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD. ..."
"... Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination. ..."
"... Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not). ..."
"... I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them. ..."
"... backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries. ..."
"... I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. ..."
"... I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up. ..."
"... The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/ ..."
Jul 13, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: A documentary debunking the Magnitsky myth, which was an opening salvo in the New Cold War, was largely blocked from viewing in the West but has now become a factor in Russia-gate, reports Robert Parry.

Near the center of the current furor over Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 is a documentary that almost no one in the West has been allowed to see, a film that flips the script on the story of the late Sergei Magnitsky and his employer, hedge-fund operator William Browder.

The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War.

According to Browder's narrative, companies ostensibly under his control had been hijacked by corrupt Russian officials in furtherance of a $230 million tax-fraud scheme; he then dispatched his "lawyer" Magnitsky to investigate and – after supposedly uncovering evidence of the fraud – Magnitsky blew the whistle only to be arrested by the same corrupt officials who then had him locked up in prison where he died of heart failure from physical abuse.

Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale.

However, the project took an unexpected turn when Nekrasov's research kept turning up contradictions to Browder's storyline, which began to look more and more like a corporate cover story. Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme.

So, the planned docudrama suddenly was transformed into a documentary with a dramatic reversal as Nekrasov struggles with what he knows will be a dangerous decision to confront Browder with what appear to be deceptions. In the film, you see Browder go from a friendly collaborator into an angry adversary who tries to bully Nekrasov into backing down.

Blocked Premiere

Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy.

Film director Andrei Nekrasov, who produced "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes."

As a lawyer defending Prevezon, a real-estate company registered in Cyprus, on a money-laundering charge, she was dealing with U.S. prosecutors in New York City and, in that role, became an advocate for lifting the U.S. sanctions, The Washington Post reported.

That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along.

By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son.

But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post.

There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past.

Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen."

In an article about the controversy in June 2016, The New York Times added that "A screening at the Newseum is especially controversial because it could attract lawmakers or their aides." Heaven forbid!

One-Time Showing

So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.

Financier William Browder (right) with Magnitsky's widow and son, along with European parliamentarians.

After the Newseum presentation, a Washington Post editorial branded Nekrasov's documentary Russian "agit-prop" and sought to discredit Nekrasov without addressing his many documented examples of Browder's misrepresenting both big and small facts in the case. Instead, the Post accused Nekrasov of using "facts highly selectively" and insinuated that he was merely a pawn in the Kremlin's "campaign to discredit Mr. Browder and the Magnitsky Act."

The Post also misrepresented the structure of the film by noting that it mixed fictional scenes with real-life interviews and action, a point that was technically true but willfully misleading because the fictional scenes were from Nekrasov's original idea for a docu-drama that he shows as part of explaining his evolution from a believer in Browder's self-exculpatory story to a skeptic. But the Post's deception is something that almost no American would realize because almost no one got to see the film.

The Post concluded smugly: "The film won't grab a wide audience, but it offers yet another example of the Kremlin's increasingly sophisticated efforts to spread its illiberal values and mind-set abroad. In the European Parliament and on French and German television networks, showings were put off recently after questions were raised about the accuracy of the film, including by Magnitsky's family.

"We don't worry that Mr. Nekrasov's film was screened here, in an open society. But it is important that such slick spin be fully exposed for its twisted story and sly deceptions."

The Post's gleeful editorial had the feel of something you might read in a totalitarian society where the public only hears about dissent when the Official Organs of the State denounce some almost unknown person for saying something that almost no one heard.

New Paradigm

The Post's satisfaction that Nekrasov's documentary would not draw a large audience represents what is becoming a new paradigm in U.S. mainstream journalism, the idea that it is the media's duty to protect the American people from seeing divergent narratives on sensitive geopolitical issues.

Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false."

First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue.

In the meantime, there is the ad hoc approach that was applied to Nekrasov's documentary. Having missed the Newseum showing, I was only able to view the film because I was given a special password to an online version.

From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

But the Post's editors were right in their expectation that "The film won't grab a wide audience." Instead, it has become a good example of how political and legal pressure can effectively black out what we used to call "the other side of the story." The film now, however, has unexpectedly become a factor in the larger drama of Russia-gate and the drive to remove Donald Trump Sr. from the White House.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

Joseph A. Haran, Jr. , July 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you.

Rob Roy , July 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Parry isn't keeping the film viewing a secret. He was given a private password and perhaps can get permission to let the readers here have it. It isn't up to Parry himself but rather to the person(s) who have the rights to the password. I've come across this problem before.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Parry wrote: I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

Any link?? I am willing to buy it.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm

This may not be of much help, as the film is dubbed in Russian. If you want to look for the Russian versions on the internet, search for: "????? ?????? ????????? "????? ???????????. ?? ????????"

https://my.mail.ru/bk/n-osetrova/video/71/18682.html?time=155&from=videoplayer

I'll keep looking for the film with translation into some other language.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Sorry, the Russian text did not appear. Try with latin alphabet: Film Andreia Nekrasova "Zakon Magnitskogo. Za kulisami"

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1ylakLMNU

This is the same dubbed version, on youtube.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes.

incontinent reader , July 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Well stated.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Mr. Parry,

Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it.

Is there any chance you can share information regarding a means of accessing the forbidden film?

I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant.

Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it.

Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years.

Demonizing other countries is bad enough, but wilfully ignoring the potential for a nuclear war to end not only war, but life as we know it, is appalling.

Anna , July 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

"After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson "
Am I the only one who thinks that Max Boot should have been institutionalized for some time already? He is not well.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Anna,
Perhaps Max can share a suite with John McCain. Sadly, the illness is widespread and sometimes seems to be in the majority. Neo con/lib both are adamant in finding enemies and imposing punishment.

Finding splinters, ignoring beams. Changing regimes everywhere. Making the world safe for Democracy. Unless a man they don't like get elected

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

Max Boot parents are Russain Jews who seemingly instilled in him a rabid hatred for everything Russian. The same is with Aperovitch, the CrowdStrike fraudster. The first Soviet (Bolshevik) government was 85% Jewish. Considering what happened to Russia under Bolsheviks, it seems that Russians are supremely tolerant people.

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Anna, Anti-Semitism will get you NOWHERE, and you should be ashamed of yourself for injecting such HATRED into the rational discussion here.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Dear orwell

re Anna

Its not anti Semitic if its true .and its true he is a Russian Jew and its very obvious he hates Russia–as does the whole Jewish Zionist crowd in the US.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:02 am

orwell, I wonder why the truth always turns out to be so anti-semitic!?

Taras77 , July 13, 2017 at 11:17 pm

I hope you caught the preceding tucker interview with Ralph Peters, who says he is a retired us army LTC. He came off as completely deranged and hysterical. The two interviews back to back struck me as neo con desperation and panic. My respect for Tucker just went up for taking on these two wackos.

Zachary Smith , July 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

The fact that the film is being suppressed by everybody is significant to me. I don't know a thing about the "facts" of the Magnitsky case, and a quick look at the results of a Google search suggests this film isn't going to be available to me unless I shell out some unknown amount of money.

If the producers want the film to be seen, perhaps they ought to release it for download to any interested parties for a nominal sum. This will mean they won't make any profit, but on the other hand they will be able to spit in the eyes of the censors.

Dan Mason , July 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I went searching the net for access to this film and found that I was blocked at every turn. I did find a few links which all seemed to go to the same destination which claimed to provide access once I registered with their site. I decided to avoid that route. I don't really have that much interest in the Magnitsky affair, but I do wonder why we are being denied access to information. Who has this kind of influence, and why are they so fearful. I'm really afraid that we already live in a largely hidden Orwellian world. Now where did I put that tin foil hat?

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm

The Orwellian World is NOT HIDDEN, it is clearly visible.

Drew Hunkins , July 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Drew – good comment. It's very hard to "turn", isn't it? I wonder if many people appreciate what it takes to do this. Easier to justify, turn a blind eye, but to actually stop, question, think, and then follow where the story leads you takes courage and strength.

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Especially when your bucking an aggressive billionaire.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:49 am

BannanaBoat – that too!

Zim , July 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

This is interesting:

"In December 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hillary Clinton opposed the Magnitsky Act while serving as secretary of state. Her opposition coincided with Bill Clinton giving a speech in Moscow for Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank! for which he was paid $500,000.

"Mr. Clinton also received a substantial payout in 2010 from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank whose executives were at risk of being hurt by possible U.S. sanctions tied to a complex and controversial case of alleged corruption in Russia.

Members of Congress wrote to Mrs. Clinton in 2010 seeking to deny visas to people who had been implicated by Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed and died in prison after he uncovered evidence of a large tax-refund fraud. William Browder, a foreign investor in Russia who had hired Mr. Magnitsky, alleged that the accountant had turned up evidence that Renaissance officials, among others, participated in the fraud."

The State Department opposed the sanctions bill at the time, as did the Russian government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pushed Hillary Clinton to oppose the legislation during a meeting in St. Petersburg in June 2012, citing that U.S.-Russia relations would suffer as a result."

More: http://observer.com/2017/07/natalia-veselnitskaya-hillary-clinton-magnitsky-act/

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Very interesting, Zim.

Bart in Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm

"[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row?

Now I remember that Post editorial. I was one of only 20 commenters before they shut down comments. It was some heavy pearl clutching.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

WOW..excellent reporting.

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

nice backgrounder for an ever evolving story censorship is censorship by any other name!

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm

afterthought couldn't the film be shown on RT America?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:11 am

Would that not enable Bowder's employees online to claim that this documentary is Russian state propaganda, which it obviously is not because it would have been made available for free everywhere already just like RT. I believe that Nekrasov does not like RT and RT probably still does not like Nekrasov. The point of RT has never been the truth then the alternative point of view, as they advertised: Audi alteram partem.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

"The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement.

Moreover, when one reflects on the fact much of this 'body of reporting' was shoehorned after the fact into an analytical premise predicated on a single source of foreign-provided intelligence, that statement suddenly loses much of its impact.

"The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD.

'President Putin has repeatedly and vociferously denied any Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Those who cite the findings of the Russia NIA as indisputable proof to the contrary, however, dismiss this denial out of hand. And yet nowhere in the Russia NIA is there any evidence that those who prepared it conducted anything remotely resembling the kind of 'analysis of alternatives' mandated by the ODNI when it comes to analytic standards used to prepare intelligence community assessments and estimates. Nor is there any evidence that the CIA's vaunted 'Red Cell' was approached to provide counterintuitive assessments of premises such as 'What if President Putin is telling the truth?'

'Throughout its history, the NIC has dealt with sources of information that far exceeded any sensitivity that might attach to Brennan's foreign intelligence source. The NIC had two experts that it could have turned to oversee a project like the Russia NIA!the NIO for Cyber Issues, and the Mission Manager of the Russian and Eurasia Mission Center; logic dictates that both should have been called upon, given the subject matter overlap between cyber intrusion and Russian intent.

'The excuse that Brennan's source was simply too sensitive to be shared with these individuals, and the analysts assigned to them, is ludicrous!both the NIO for cyber issues and the CIA's mission manager for Russia and Eurasia are cleared to receive the most highly classified intelligence and, moreover, are specifically mandated to oversee projects such as an investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process.

'President Trump has come under repeated criticism for his perceived slighting of the U.S. intelligence community in repeatedly citing the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction intelligence failure when downplaying intelligence reports, including the Russia NIA, about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Adding insult to injury, the president's most recent comments were made on foreign soil (Poland), on the eve of his first meeting with President Putin, at the G-20 Conference in Hamburg, Germany, where the issue of Russian meddling was the first topic on the agenda.

"The politics of the wisdom of the timing and location of such observations aside, the specific content of the president's statements appear factually sound."

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia By Scott Ritter http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Abe once again, for providing us with news which will never be printed or aired in our MSM. Brennan may ignore the NIC, as Congress and the Executive Branch constantly avoid paying attention to the GAO. Why even have these agencies, if our leaders aren't going to listen them?

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Abe, I'm always amazed at how much you know. Thank you for sharing. If you have your comments in article form or on a site where they can be shared, I'd really like to know about it. I've tried, but I garble the many points you make when trying to explain historical events you've told us about.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 9:08 am

Thanks Abe. You are a real asset to us here at CN.

John V. Walsh , July 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Very good article! The entire Magnitsky saga has become so convoluted and mired in controversy and propaganda that it is very hard to understand. I remember vaguely the controversy surrounding the showing of the film at the Newseum. it is especially impressive that Nekrasov changed his opinion as fcts unfolded.

I will now try to get the docudrama and watch it.
If anyone has suggestions on how to do this, please let me know via a response. here.
Thanks.

Roger Annis , July 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

A 'Magnitsky Act' in Canada was approved by the (appointed) Senate several months ago and is now undergoing fine tuning in the House of Commons prior to a third and final vote of approval. The proposed law has the unanimous support of the parties in Parliament.

A column in today's Globe and Mail daily by the newspaper's 'chief political writer' tiptoes around the Magnitsky story, never once daring to admit that a contrary narrative exists to that of Bill Browder.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/when-it-comes-to-magnitsky-laws-its-clear-what-russia-is-looking-for/article35678618/

John-Albert Eadie , July 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Roger Annis – just little lemmings following the leader. Disgusting. I hope you posted a comment at the Globe and Mail, Roger, with a link to this article.

Britton , July 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Browder is a Communist Jew, his father has a Communist past according to his background so I know I can't trust anything he says. Hes just one of many shady interests undermining Putin I've seen over the years. His book Red Notice is just as shady. Good reporting Consortium News. Fox News promotes Browder like crazy every chance they get especially Fox Business channel.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

"Browder is a Communist " Hedge Fund managers are hardly Communist – that's an oxymoron.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not).

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm

ToivoS,

thank you for this background information.

My main intention had been to straighten out the blurring of calling a hedge fund manager communist. Nowadays everything gets blurred by people misrepresenting political concepts. Either the people have been dumbed-down by misinformation or misrepresenting is done in order to keep neo-liberalism the dominant economical model. On many occasions I had read comments of people seemingly believing that Nationalsocialism had been some variant of socialism. Even the ideas of Bernie Sanders had been misrepresented as socialist instead of social democratic ones.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Joe Average – Dave P. mentioned Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book entitled "Two Hundred Years Together" the other day. I've been reading a long synopsis of this book. What Britton says appears to be quite true. I don't know about Browder, but from what I've read the Jews were instrumental in the communist party, in the deaths of so many Russians. It wasn't just the Jews, but they played a big part. It's no wonder Solzhenitsyn's book has been "lost in translation", at least into English, for so many years.

I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them.

Dave P. , July 13, 2017 at 7:37 pm

backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries.

In recent history, no country went through this kind of plunder on a scale Russia went through during ten or fifteen years starting in 1992. Russia was a very badly ravaged country when Putin took over. Means of production, finance, all came to halt, and society itself had completely broken down. It appears that the West has all the intentions to do it again.

Bruce Walker , July 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. Then he got to John McCain with all his lies and bullshit and was responsible for the sanctions on Russia. All the comments aboutBrowders grandfather andCommunist party are all true but hardly important. Except that it probably was how Browder was able to get his fingers on the pie in Russia. And he sure did get his fingers in the pie BIG TIME.

I am a Canadian and am aware of Maginsky Act in Canada. Our Minister Chrystal Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago both of these two you could say are not fans of Putin, I certainly don't know what they spoke about but other than lies from Browder there is no reason she should have been talking with him. I have made comments on other forums regarding these two meeting. Read Browders book and hopefully see the documentary that this article is about. When I read his book I knew instantly that he was a crook a charloten and a liar. Just the kind of folk John McCain and a lot of other folks in US politics love. You all have a nice Peacefull day

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:38 am

Joe Average – "I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's."

No, it doesn't put the blame entirely on the Jews; it just spells out that they did play a large part. As one Jewish scholar said, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was too much of an academic, too intelligent to ever put the blame entirely on one group. But something like 40 – 60 million died – shot, taken out on boats with rocks around their necks and thrown overboard, starved, gassed in rail cars, poisoned, worked to death, froze, you name it. Every other human slaughter pales in comparison. Good old man, so civilized (sarc)!

But someone(s) has been instrumental in keeping this book from being translated into English (or so I've read many places online). Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" and his other books have been translated, but not this one. (Although I just found one site that has almost all of the chapters translated, but not all). Several people ordered the book off Amazon, only to find out that it was in the Russian language. LOL

Solzhenitsyn does say at one point in the book: "Communist rebellions in Germany post-WWI was a big reason for the revival of anti-Semitism (as there was no serious anti-Semitism in the imperial [Kaiser] Germany of 1870 – 1918)."

Lots of Jewish people made it into the upper levels of the Soviet government, academia, etc. (and lots of them were murdered too). I might skip reading these types of books until I get older. Too bleak. Hard enough reading about the day-to-day stuff here without going back in time for more fun!

I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up.

Keep smiling, Joe.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:58 am

Dave P. – I told you, you are a wealth of information, a walking encyclopedia. Interesting about your co-worker. Sounds like it was a free-for-all in Russia. Yes, I totally agree that Putin has done and is doing all he can to bring his country back up. Very difficult job he is doing, and I hope he is successful at keeping the West out as much as he can, at least until Russia is strong and sure enough to invite them in on their own terms.

Now go and tell your wife what I said about you being a "walking encyclopedia". She'll probably have a good laugh. (Not that you're not, but you know what she'll say: "Okay, smartie, now go and do the dishes.")

Chucky LeRoi , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

Just some small scale, local color kind of stuff, but living in the USA, west coast specifically, it was quite noticeable in the mid to late '90's how many Russians with money were suddenly appearing. No apparent skills or 'jobs', but seemingly able to pay for stuff. Expensive stuff.

A neighbor invited us to her 'place in the mountains', which turned out to be where a lumber company had almost terra-formed an area and was selling off the results. Her advice: When you go to the lake (i.e., the low area now gathering runoff, paddle boats rentals, concession stand) you will see a lot of men with huge stomachs and tiny Speedos. They will be very rude, pushy, confrontational. Ignore them, DO NOT comment on their rudeness or try to deal with their manners. They are Russians, and the amount of trouble it will stir up – and probable repercussions – are simply not worth it.

Back in town, the anecdotes start piling up quickly. I am talking crowbars through windows (for a perceived insult). A beating where the victim – who was probably trying something shady – was so pulped the emergency room staff couldn't tell if the implement used was a 2X4 or a baseball bat. When found he had with $3k in his pocket: robbery was not the motive. More traffic accidents involving guys with very nice cars and serious attitude problems. I could go on. More and more often somewhere in the relating of these incidents the phrase " this Russian guy " would come up. It was the increased use of this phrase that was so noticeable.

And now the disclaimer.

Before anybody goes off, I am not anti-Russian, Russo-phobic, what have you. I studied the Russian language in high school and college (admittedly decades ago). My tax guy is Russian. I love him. My day to day interactions have led me to this pop psychology observation: the extreme conditions that produced that people and culture produced extremes. When they are of the good, loving , caring, cultured, helpful sort, you could ask for no better friends. The generosity can be embarrassing. When they are of the materialistic, evil, self-centered don't f**k with me I am THE BADDEST ASS ON THE PLANET sort, the level of mania and self-importance is impossible to deal with, just get as far away as possible. It's worked for me.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm

backwardsevolution,

thanks for the info. I'll add the book to the list of books onto my to-read list. As far as I know a Kibbutz could be described as a Communist microcosm. The whole idea of Communism itself is based on Marx (a Jew by birth). A while ago I had started reading "Mein Kampf". I've got to finish the book, in order to see if my assumption is correct. I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's.

The most known Russian Oligarchs that I've heard of are mainly of Jewish origin, but as far as I know they had been too young to be commissars at the time of the demise of the USSR. At least one aspect I've read of many times is that a lot of them built their fortunes with the help of quite shady business dealings.

With regard to President Putin I've read that he made a deal with the oligarchs: they should pay their taxes, keep/invest their money in Russia and keep out of politics. In return he wouldn't dig too deep into their past. Right at the moment everybody in the West is against President Putin, because he stopped the looting of his country and its citizens and that's something our Western oligarchs and financial institutions don't like.

On a side note: Several years ago I had started to read several volumes about German history. Back then I didn't notice an important aspect that should attract my attention a few years later when reading about the rise of John D. Rockefeller. Charlemagne (Charles the Great) took over power from the Merovingians. Prior to becoming King of the Franks he had been Hausmeier (Mayor of the Palace) for the Merovingians. Mayor of the Palace was the title of the manager of the household, which seems to be similar to a procurator and/or accountant (bookkeeper). The similarity of the beginnings of both careers struck me. John D. Rockefeller started as a bookkeeper. If you look at Bill Gates you'll realize that he was smart enough to buy an operating system for a few dollars, improved it and sold it to IBM on a large scale. The widely celebrated Steve Jobs was basically the marketing guy, whilst the real brain behind (the product) Apple had been Steve Wozniak.

Another side note: If we're going down the path of neo-liberalism it will lead us straight back to feudalism – at least if the economy doesn't blow up (PCR, Michael Hudson, Mike Whitney, Mike Maloney, Jim Rogers, Richard D. Wolff, and many more economists make excellent points that our present Western economy can't go on forever and is kept alive artificially).

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:50 am

Joe Average – somehow my reply to you ended up above your post. What? How did that happen? You can find it there. Thanks for the interesting info about John D. Rockefeller, Gates, Jobs and Wozniak. Some are good managers, others good at sales, while others are the creative inventors.

Yes, Joe, I totally agree that we are headed back to feudalism. I don't think we'll have much choice as the oil is running out. We'll probably be okay, but our children? I worry about them. They'll notice a big change in their lifetimes. The discovery and capture of oil pulled forward a large population. As we scale back, we could be in trouble, food-wise. Or at least it looks that way.

Thanks, Joe.

Miranda Keefe , July 14, 2017 at 5:48 am

Charlemagne did not take over from the Merovingians. The Mayor of the Palace was not an accountant.

During the 7th Century the Mayor of the Place more and more became the actual ruler of the Franks. The office had existed for over a century and was basically the "prime minister" to the king. By the time Pepin of Herstal, a scion of a powerful Frankish family, took the position in 680, the king was ceremonial leader doing ritual and the Mayor ruled- like the relationship of the Emperor and the Shogun in Japan. In 687 Pepin's Austrasia conquered Neustria and Burgundy and he added "Duke of the Franks" to his titles. The office became hereditary.

When Pepin died in 714 there was some unrest as nobles from various parts of the joint kingdoms attempted to get different ones of his heirs in the office until his son Charles Martel took the reins in 718. This is the famous Charles Martel who defeated the Moors at Tours in 732. But that was not his only accomplishment as he basically extended the Frankish kingdom to include Saxony. Charles not only ruled but when the king died he picked which possible heir would become king. Finally near the end of his reign he didn't even bother replacing the king and the throne was empty.

When Charles Martel died in 741 he followed Frankish custom and divided his kingdom among his sons. By 747 his younger son, Pepin the Short, had consolidated his rule and with the support of the Pope, deposed the last Merovingian King and became the first Carolingian King in 751- the dynasty taking its name from Charles Martel. Thus Pepin reunited the two aspects of the Frankish ruler, combining the rule of the Mayor with the ceremonial reign of the King into the new Kingship.

Pepin expanded the kingdom beyond the Frankish lands even more and his son, Charlemagne, continued that. Charlemagne was 8 when his father took the title of King. Charlemagne never was the Mayor of the Palace, but grew up as the prince. He became King of the Franks in 768 ruling with his brother, sole King in 781, and then started becoming King of other countries until he united it all in 800 as the restored Western Roman Emperor.

When he died in 814 the Empire was divided into three Kingdoms and they never reunited again. The western one evolved into France. The eastern one evolved in the Holy Roman Empire and eventually Germany. The middle one never solidified but became the Low Countries, Switzerland, and the Italian states.

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:45 am

The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/

Since the inti-Russian tenor of the Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland is in accord with the US ziocons anti-Russian policies (never mind all this fuss about WWII Jewish mass graves in Ukraine), "Chrysta" is totally approved by the US government.

Joe Average , July 14, 2017 at 11:32 pm

I'll reply to myself in order to send a response to backwardsevolution and Miranda Keefe.

For a change I'll be so bold to ignore gentleman style and reply in the order of the posts – instead of Ladies first.

backwardsevolution,

in my first paragraph I failed to make a clear distinction. I started with the remark that I'm adding the book "Two Hundred Years Together" to my to-read list and then mentioned that I'm right now reading "Mein Kampf". All remarks after mentioning the latter book are directed at this one – and not the one of Solzhenitsyn.

Miranda Keefe,

I'm aware that accountant isn't an exact characterization of the concept of a Mayor of the Palace. As a precaution I had added the phrase "seems to be similar". You're correct with the statement that Charlemagne was descendant Karl Martel. At first I intended to write that Karolinger (Carolings) took over from Merowinger (Merovingians), because those details are irrelevant to the point that I wanted to make. It would've been an information overload. My main point was the power of accountants and related fields such as sales and marketing. Neither John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs actually created their products from scratch.

Many of those who are listed as billionaires haven't been creators / inventors themselves. Completely decoupled from actual production is banking. Warren Buffet is started as an investment salesman, later stock broker and investor. Oversimplified you could describe this activity as accounting or sales. It's the same with George Soros and Carl Icahn. Without proper supervision money managers (or accountants) had and still do screw those who had hired them. One of those victims is former billionaire heiress Madeleine Schickedanz ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Schickedanz ). Generalized you could also say that BlackRock is your money manager accountant. If you've got some investment (that dates back before 2008), which promises you a higher interest rate after a term of lets say 20 years, the company with which you have the contract with may have invested your money with BlackRock. The financial crisis of 2008 has shown that finance (accountants / money managers) are taking over. Aren't investment bankers the ones who get paid large bonuses in case of success and don't face hardly any consequences in case of failure? Well, whatever turn future might take, one thing is for sure: whenever SHTF even the most colorful printed pieces of paper will not taste very well.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:13 pm

History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks on

http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1nppst

History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks . EVER SINCE THE Emperor Constantine established the legal position of the church in the

Many Bolsheviks fled to Germany , taking with them some loot that enabled them to get established in Germany. Lots of invaluable art work also.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 am

Cal – read about "History's Greatest Heist" on Amazon. Sounds interesting. Was one of the main reasons for the Czar's overthrow to steal and then flee? It's got to have been on some minds. A lot of people got killed, and they would have had wedding rings, gold, etc. That doesn't even include the wealth that could be stolen from the Czar. Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow in the first place, get some dough and run with it?

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm

@ backwards

" Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow"'

imo some of both. I am sure when they were selling off Russian valuables to finance their revolution a lot of them set aside some loot for themselves.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Cal – thank you. Good books like this get us closer and closer to the truth. Thank goodness for these people.

Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 11:45 am

An autocratic oligarch would probably be a better description. He probably believes like other Synarchist financiers that they should rightfully rule the World, and see democratic processes as heresy against "The Natural Order for human society", or some such belief.

Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

Looking up "A short definition of Synarchism (a Post-Napoleonic social phenomenon) by Lyndon LaRouche" would give much insight into what's going on. People from the intelligence community made sure a copy of a 1940 army intelligence dossier labelled something like "Synarchism:NAZI/Communist" got into Lyndon's hands. It speaks of the the Synarchist method of attacking a targeted society from both extreme (Right-Left) ends of the political spectrum. I guess this is dialectics? I suppose the existence of the one extreme legitimizes the harsh, anti-democratic/anti-human measures taken to exterminate it by the other extreme, actually destroying the targeted society in the process. America, USSR, and (Sun Yat Sen's old Republic of) China were the targeted societies in the pre-WWII/WWII yearsfor their "sins" of championing We The People against Oligarchy. FDR knew the Synarchist threat and sided with Russia and China against Germany and Japan. He knew that, after dealing with the battlefield NAZIs, the "Boardroom" NAZIs would have to be dealt with Post-War. That all changed with his death.The Synarchists are still at it today, hence all the rabid Russo-phobia, the Pacific Pivot, and the drive towards war. This is all being foiled with Trump's friendly, cooperative approach towards Russia and China.

mike k , July 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Big Brother at work – always protecting us from upsetting information. How nice of him to insure our comfort. No need for us to bother with all of this confusing stuff, he can do all that for us. The mainstream media will tell us all we need to know .. (Virginia – please notice my use of irony.)

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Do you remember mike K when porn was censored, and there were two sides to every issue as compromise was always on the table? Now porn is accessible on cable TV, and there is only one side to every issue, and that's I'm right about everything and your not, what compromise with you?

Don't get me wrong, I don't really care how we deal with porn, but I am very concerned to why censorship is showing up whereas we can't see certain things, for certain reasons we know nothing about. Also, I find it unnerving that we as a society continue to stay so undivided. Sure, we can't all see the same things the same way, but maybe it's me, and I'm getting older by the minute, but where is our cooperation to at least try and work with each other?

Always like reading your comments mike K Joe

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Joe,

when it comes to the choice of watching porn and bodies torn apart (real war pictures), I prefer the first one, although we in the West should be confronted with the horrible pictures of what we're assisting/doing.

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 5:27 pm

This is where the Two Joe's are alike.

mike k , July 13, 2017 at 6:07 pm

I do remember those days Joe. I am 86 now, so a lot has changed since 1931. With the 'greed is good' philosophy in vogue now, those who seek compromise are seen as suckers for the more single minded to take advantage of. Respect for rules of decency is just about gone, especially at the top of the wealth pyramid.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Yep

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Distraction from critical thinking, excellent observation ( please forget the NeoCon Demos they are responsible for half of the nightmare USA society has become.

ranney , July 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Wow Robert, what a fascinating article! And how complicated things become "when first we practice to deceive".
Abe thank you for the link to Ritter's article; that's a really good one too!

John , July 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm

If we get into a shooting war with Russia and the human race somehow survives it Robert Parry' s name will one day appear in the history books as the person who most thoroughly documented the events leading up to that war. He will be considered to be a top historian as well as a top journalist.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm

"Browder, who abjured his American citizenship in 1998 to become a British subject, reveals more about his own selective advocacy of democratic principles than about the film itself. He might recall that in his former homeland freedom of the press remains a cherished value."

A Response to William Browder
By Rachel Bauman
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/response-william-browder-16654

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm

William Browder is a "shareholder activist" the way Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a "human rights activist".

Both loudly bleat the "story" of their heroic "fight for justice" for billionaire Jewish oligarchs: themselves.

http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.686922.1447865981!/image/78952068.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_625/78952068.jpg

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm

"never driven by the money"
https://www.thejc.com/culture/books/be-careful-of-putin-he-is-a-true-enemy-of-jews-1.61745

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:50 am

Abe – "never driven by the money". No, he would never be that type of guy (sarc)!

"It's hard to know what Browder will do next. He rules out any government ambitions, instead saying he can achieve more by lobbying it.

This summer, he says he met "big Hollywood players" in a bid to turn his book into a major film.

"The most important next step in the campaign is to adapt the book into a Hollywood feature film," he says. "I have been approached by many film-makers and spent part of the summer in LA meeting with screenwriters, producers and directors to figure out what the best constellation of players will be on this.

"There are a lot of people looking at it. It's still difficult to say who we will end up choosing. There are many interesting options, but I'm not going to name any names."

What the ..? I can see it now, George Clooney in the lead role, Mr. White Helmets himself, with his twins in tow.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:56 am

Is it not impressive how money buys out reality in the modern world? This is why one can safely assume that whatever is told in the MSM is completely opposite to the truth. Would MSM have to push it if it were the truth? You may call this Kiza's Law if you like (modestly): " The truth is always opposite to what MSM say! " The 0.1% of situations where this is not the case is the margin of error.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

"no figure in this saga has a more tangled family relationship with the Kremlin than the London-based hedge fund manager Bill Browder [ ]

"there's a reticence in his Jewish narrative. One of his first jobs in London is with the investment operation of the publishing billionaire Robert Maxwell. As it happens, Maxwell was originally a Czech Jewish Holocaust survivor who fled and became a decorated British soldier, then helped in 1948 to set up the secret arms supply line to newly independent Israel from communist Czechoslovakia. He was also rumored to be a longtime Mossad agent. But you learn none of that from Browder's memoir.

"The silence is particularly striking because when Browder launches his own fund, he hires a former Israeli Mossad agent, Ariel, to set up his security operation, manned mainly by Israelis. Over time, Browder and Ariel become close. How did that connection come about? Was it through Maxwell? Wherever it started, the origin would add to the story. Why not tell it?

"When Browder sets up his own fund, Hermitage Capital Management -- named for the famed czarist-era St. Petersburg art museum, though that's not explained either -- his first investor is Beny Steinmetz, the Israeli diamond billionaire. Browder tells how Steinmetz introduced him to the Lebanese-Brazilian Jewish banking billionaire Edmond Safra, who invests and becomes not just a partner but also a mentor and friend.

"Safra is also internationally renowned as the dean of Sephardi Jewish philanthropy; the main backer of Israel's Shas party, the Sephardi Torah Guardians, and of New York's Holocaust memorial museum, and a megadonor to Yeshiva University, Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute and much more. Browder must have known all that. Considering the closeness of the two, it's surprising that none of it gets mentioned.

"It's possible that Browder's reticence about his Jewish connections is simply another instance of the inarticulateness that seizes so many American Jews when they try to address their Jewishness."

http://forward.com/news/376788/the-secret-jewish-history-of-donald-trump-jrs-russia-scandal/

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:15 am

Abe – what a web. Money makes money, doesn't it? It's often what club you belong to and who you know. I remember a millionaire in my area long ago who went bankrupt. The wealthy simply chipped in, gave him some start-up money, and he was off to the races again. Simple as that. And I would think that the Jews are an even tighter group who invest with each other, are privy to inside information, get laws changed in favor of each other, pay people off when one gets in trouble. Browder seems a shifty sort. As the article says, he leaves a lot out.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm

In 1988, Stanton Wheeler (Yale University – Law School), David L. Weisburd (Hebrew University of Jerusalem; George Mason University – The Department of Criminology, Law & Society; Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law). Elin Waring (Yale University – Law School), and Nancy Bode (Government of the State of Minnesota) published a major study on white collar crime in America.

Part of a larger program of research on white-collar crime supported by a grant from the United States Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice, the study included "the more special forms associated with the abuse of political power [ ] or abuse of financial power". The study was also published as a Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper

The research team noted that Jews were over-represented relative to their share of the U.S. population:

"With respect to religion, there is one clear finding. Although many in both white collar and common crime categories do not claim a particular religious faith [ ] It would be a fair summary of our. data to say that, demographically speaking, white collar offenders are predominantly middle-aged white males with an over-representation of Jews."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2632989

In 1991, David L. Weisburd published his study of Crimes of the Middle Classes: White-Collar Offenders in the Federal Courts, Weisburd found that although Jews comprised only around 2% of the United States population, they contributed at least 9% of lower category white-collar crimes (bank embezzlement, tax fraud and bank fraud), at least 15% of moderate category white-collar crimes (mail fraud, false claims, and bribery), and at least 33% of high category white-collar crimes (antitrust and securities fraud). Weisburg showed greater frequency of Jewish offenders at the top of the hierarchy of white collar crime. In Weisbug's sample of financial crime in America, Jews were responsible for 23.9%.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:26 am

What I find most interesting is how Putin handles the Jews.

It is obvious that he is the one who saved the country of Russia from the looting of the 90s by the Russian-American Jewish mafia. This is the most direct explanation for his demonisation in the West, his feat will never be forgiven, not even in history books (a demon forever). Even to this day, for example in Syria, Putin's main confrontation is not against US then against the Zionist Jews, whose principal tool is US. Yet, there is not a single anti-Semitic sentence that Putin ever uttered. Also, Putin let the Jewish oligarchs who plundered Russia keep their money if they accepted the authority of the Russian state, kept employing Russians and paying Russian taxes. But he openly confronted those who refused (Berezovsky, Khodorovsky etc). Furthermore, Putin lets Israel bomb Syria under his protection to abandon. Finally, Putin is known in Russia as a great supporter of Jews and Israel, almost a good friend of Nutty Yahoo.

Therefore, it appears to me that the Putin's principal strategy is to appeal to the honest Jewish majority to restrain the criminal Jewish minority (including the criminally insane), to divide them instead of confronting them all as a group, which is what the anti-Semitic Europeans have traditionally been doing. His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. I still do not know if his strategy will succeed in the long run, but it certainly is an interesting new approach (unless I do not know history enough) to an ancient problem. It is almost funny how so many US people think that the problem with the nefarious Jewish money power started with US, if they are even aware of it.

Cal , July 16, 2017 at 5:41 am

" His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. "

The Jews have no power without their uber Jew money men, most of whom are ardent Zionist.
And because they get some benefits from the lobbying heft of the Zionist control of congress they arent going to go against them.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Bill Browder with American-Israeli interviewer Natasha Mozgovaya, TV host for Voice of America.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbgNeQ_xINM

In this 2015 tirade, Browder declared "Someone has to punch Putin in the nose" and urged "supplying arms to the Ukrainians and putting troops, NATO troops, in all of the surrounding countries".

The choice of Mozgovaya as interviewer was significant to promote Browder with the Russian Jewish community abroad.

Born in the Soviet Union in 1979, Mozgovaya immigrated to Israel with her family in 1990. She became a correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth in 2000. Although working most of the time in Hebrew, her reports in Russian appeared in various publications in Russia.

Mozgovaya covered the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, including interviews with President Victor Yushenko and his partner-rival Yulia Timoshenko, as well as the Russian Mafia and Russian oligarchs. During the presidency of Vladimir Putin, Mozgovaya gave one of the last interviews with the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. She interviewed Garry Kasparov, Edward Limonov, Boris Berezovsky, Chechen exiles such as Ahmed Zakaev, and the widow of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

In 2008, Mozgovaya left Yedioth Ahronoth to become the Washington Bureau Chief for Haaretz newspaper in Washington, D.C.. She was a frequent lecturer on Israel and Middle Eastern affairs at U.S. think-tanks. In 2013, Mozgovaya started working at the Voice of America.

HIDE BEHIND , July 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Gramps was decended from an old Irish New England Yankee lineage and in my youth he always dragged me along when the town meetings were held, so my ideas of American DEmocracy stem from that background, one of open participation.
The local newspapers had more social chit chat than political news of international or for that mstter State or Federal shenanigansbut everu member in that far flung settled communit read them from front to back; ss a child I got to read the funny and sports pages until Gramps got finidhed reading the "News Section, always the news first yhen the lesser BS when time allowed,this habit instilled in me the sence of
priority.
Aftrr I had read his dection of paper he would talk with me,even being a yonker, in a serious but opinionated manner, of the Editorial section which had local commentary letterd to the editor as large as somtimes too pages.
I wonder today at which section of papersf at all, is read by american public, and at how manyadults discuss importsn news worthy tppics with their children.
At advent of TV we still had trustworthy journalist to finally be seen after years of but reading their columns or listening on radios,almost tottaly all males but men of honesty and character, and worthy of trust.
They wrre a part of all social stratas, had lived real lives and yes most eere well educated but not the elitist thinking jrrks who are no more than parrots repeating whatevrr a teleprompter or bias of their employers say to write.
Wrll back to Gramps and hid home spun wisdom: He alwsys ,and shoeed by example at those old and somrtimes boistrous town Halls, that first you askef a question, thought about the answer, and then questioned the answer.
This made the one being question responsible for the words he spoke.
So those who have doubts by a presumed independent journalist, damn right they should question his motives, which in reality begin to answer our unspoken questions we can no longer ask those boobs for bombs and political sychophants and their paymasters of popular media outlets.
As one who likes effeciency in prodution one monitors data to spot trends and sny aberations bring questions so yes I note this journalist deviation from the norms as well.
I can only question the why, by looking at data from surrounding trends in order to later be able to question his answers.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:07 am

Hide Behind – sounds like you had a smart grandpa, and someone who cared enough about you to talk things over with you (even though he was opinionated). I try to talk things over with my kids, sometimes too much. They're known on occasion to say, "Okay, enough. We're full." I wait a few days, and then fill them up some more! Ha.

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Here's a thought; will letting go of Trump Jr's infraction cancel out a guilty verdict of Hillary Clinton's transgressions?

I keep hearing Hillary references while people defend Donald Trump Jr over his meeting with Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya. My thinking started over how I keep hearing pundits speak to Trump Jr's 'intent'. Didn't Comey find Hillary impossible to prosecute due to her lack of 'intent'? Actually I always thought that to be prosecuted under espionage charges, the law didn't need to prove intent, but then again we are talking about Hillary here.

The more I keep hearing Trump defenders make mention of Hillary's deliberate mistakes, and the more I keep hearing Democrates point to Donald Jr's opportunistic failures, the more similarity I see between the two rivals, and the more I see an agreed upon truce ending up in a tie. Remember we live in a one party system with two wings.

Am I going down the wrong road here, or could forgiving Trump Jr allow Hillary to get a free get out of jail card?

F. G. Sanford , July 14, 2017 at 12:42 am

I've been saying all along, our government is just a big can of worms, and neither side can expose the other without opening it. But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers like it's a game of chicken. My guess is, everybody is gonna get a free pass. I read somewhere that Preet Bharara had the goods on a whole bunch of bankers, but he sat on it clear up to the election. Then, he got fired. So much for draining the swamp. If they prosecute Hillary, it looks like a grudge match. If they prosecute Junior, it looks like revenge. If they prosecute Lynch, it looks like racism. When you deal with a government this corrupt, everybody looks innocent by comparison. I'm still betting nobody goes to jail, as long as the "deep state" thinks they have Trump under control.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 1:29 am

It's like we are sitting on the top of a hill looking down at a bunch of little armies attacking each other, or something.

I'm really screwy, I have contemplated to if Petraues dropped a dime on himself for having a extra martial affair, just to get out of the Benghazi mess. Just thought I'd tell you that for full disclosure.

When it comes to Hillary, does anyone remember how in the beginning of her email investigation she pointed to Colin Powell setting precedent to use a private computer? That little snitch Hillary is always the one when caught to start pointing the finger .she would never have lasted in the Mafia, but she's smart enough to know what works best in Washington DC.

I'm just starting to see the magic; get the goods on Trump Jr then make a deal with the new FBI director.

Okay go ahead and laugh, but before you do pass the popcorn, and let's see how this all plays out.

Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.

Joe

Lisa , July 14, 2017 at 4:22 am

"Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see."

Joe, where does this quote originate? Or is it a paraphrase?
I once had an American lecturer (political science) at the university, and he stressed the idea that we should not believe anything we read or hear and only half of what we see. This was l-o-o-ng ago, in the 60's.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 10:59 am

The first time I ever heard that line, 'believe nothing of what you see', was a friend of mine said it after we watched Roberto Clemente throw a third base runner out going towards home plate, as Robert threw the ball without a bounce to the catcher who was standing up, from the deep right field corner of the field .oh those were the days.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm

JT,
Clemente had an unbelievable arm! The consummate baseball player I have family in western PA, an uncle your age in fact who remembers Clemente well. Roberto also happened to be a great human being.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm

I got loss at Forbes Field. I was seven years old, it was 1957. I got separated from my older cousin, we got in for 50 cents to sit in the left field bleachers. Like I said I loss my older cousin so I walked, and walked, and just about the time I wanted my mum the most I saw daylight. I followed the daylight out of the big garage door, and I was standing within a foot of this long white foul line. All of a sudden this Black guy started yelling at me in somekind of broken English to, 'get off the field, get out of here'. Then I felt a field ushers hand grab my shoulder, and as I turned I saw my cousin standing on the fan side of the right field side of the field. The usher picked me up and threw me over to my cousin, with a warning for him to keep his eye on me. That Black baseball player was a young rookie who was recently just drafted from the then Brooklyn Dodgers .#21 Roberto Clemente.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:12 pm

You were a charmed boy and now you are a charmed man. Great story life is a Field of Dreams sometimes.

Zachary Smith , July 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.

My introduction to this had the wording the other way around:

"Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see."

This was because the workplace was saturated with rumors, and unfortunately there was a practice of management and union representatives "play-acting" for their audience. So what you "saw" was as likely as not a little theatrical production with no real meaning whatever. The two fellows shouting at each other might well be laughing about it over a cup of coffee an hour later.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 am

Sanford – "But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers " That's funny writing.

Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

yessir, love it

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:41 am

Absolutely, one of the best political metaphors ever (unfortunately works in English language only).

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:19 pm

BTW, they are flashing at each other not only can openers then also jail cells and grassy knolls these days. But the can openers would still be most scary.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 2:13 am

Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries, like binary options, have been allowed to flourish here.

A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."

The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."

In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.

The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.

When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.

Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.

According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.

Despite his service as a useful idiot propagating the Magnitsky Myth, Bharara discovered that for Russian Jewish oligarchs, criminals and scam artists, the motto is "Nikogda ne zabyt'!" Perhaps more recognizable by the German phrase: "Niemals vergessen!"

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:00 am

Abe – wow, what a story. I guess it's lucrative to "never forget"! Bandits.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=6180

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
NCJRS Abstract
The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

NCJ Number: NCJ 006180
Title: CRIMINALITY AMONG JEWS – AN OVERVIEW

United States of America
Journal: ISSUES IN CRIMINOLOGY Volume:6 Issue:2 Dated:(SUMMER 1971) Pages:1-39
Date Published: 1971
Page Count: 15
.
Abstract: THE CONCLUSION OF MOST STUDIES IS THAT JEWS HAVE A LOW CRIME RATE. IT IS LOWER THAN THAT OF NON-JEWS TAKEN AS A WHOLE, LOWER THAN THAT OF OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS,

HOWEVER, THE JEWISH CRIME RATE TENDS TO BE HIGHER THAN THAT OF NONJEWS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS FOR WHITE-COLLAR OFFENSES,

THAT IS, COMMERCIAL OR COMMERCIALLY RELATED CRIMES, SUCH AS FRAUD, FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTCY, AND EMBEZZLEMENT.

Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences ; Adult offenders ; Minorities ; Behavioral science research ; Offender classification

Country: United States of America
Language: English

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm

Cal – that does not surprise me at all. Of course they would be where the money is, and once you have money, you get nothing but the best defense. "I've got time and money on my side. Go ahead and take me to court. I'll string this thing along and it'll cost you a fortune. So let's deal. I'm good with a fine."

A rap on the knuckles, a fine, and no court case, no discovery of the truth that the people can see. Of course they'd be there. That IS the only place to be if you want to be a true criminal.

Skip Scott , July 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Thanks again Abe, you are a wealth of information. I think you have to allow for anyone to make a mistake, and Bharara has done a lot of good.

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:45 am

USA justice for Oilygarchs; Ignore capital crimes and mass destruction ; concentrate on entertaining shenanigans.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 11:39 pm

If Trump wants to survive he better let go of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Lets start here:

Trump's personal attorneys are reportedly fed up with Jared Kushner
http://www.businessinsider.com/jared-kushner-trump-lawyers-donald-jr-emails-2017-7

Longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz and his team have directed their grievance at Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser.
Citing a person familiar with Trump's legal team, The Times said Kasowitz has bristled at Kushner's "whispering in the president's ear" about stories on the Russia investigation without telling Kasowitz and his team.
The Times' source said the attorneys, who were hired as private counsel to Trump in light of the Russia investigation, view Kushner "as an obstacle and a freelancer" motivated to protect himself over over Trump. The lawyers reportedly told colleagues the work environment among Trump's inner circle was untenable, The Times said, suggesting Kasowitz could resign

Second
Who thinks Jared works for Trump? I don't.
Jared works for his father Charles Kushner, the former jail bird who hired prostitutes to blackmail his brother in law into not testifying against him. Jared spent every weekend his father was in prison visiting him.,,they are inseparable.

Third
So what is Jared doing in his WH position to help his father and his failing RE empire?

Trying to get loans from China, Russia, Qatar,Qatar

And why Is Robert Mueller Probing Jared Kushner's Finances?

Because of this no doubt:..seeking a loan for the Kushners from a Russian bank.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/03/sergei-gorkov-russian-banker-jared-kushner

The White House and the bank have offered differing accounts of the Kushner-Gorkov sit-down. While the White House said Kushner met Gorkov and other foreign representatives as a transition official to "help advance the president's foreign policy goals." Vnesheconombank, also known as VEB, said it was part of talks with business leaders about the bank's development strategy.
It said Kushner was representing Kushner companies, his family real estate empire.

Jared Kushner 'tried and failed to get a $500m loan from Qatar before
http://www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Americas › US politics
2 days ago –
Jared Kushner tried and failed to secure a $500m loan from one of Qatar's richest businessmen, before pushing his father-in-law to toe a hard line with the country, it has been alleged. This intersection between Mr Kushner's real estate dealings and his father-in-law's

The Kushners are about to lose their shirts..unless one of those foreign country's banks gives them the money.

At Kushners' Flagship Building, Mounting Debt and a Foundered Deal
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/nyregion/kushner-companies-666-fifth-avenue.html
The Fifth Avenue skyscraper was supposed to be the Kushner Companies' flagship in the heart of Manhattan -- a record-setting $1.8 billion souvenir proclaiming that the New Jersey developers Charles Kushner and his son Jared were playing in the big leagues.
And while it has been a visible symbol of their status, it has also it has also been a financial headache almost from the start. On Wednesday, the Kushners announced that talks had broken off with a Chinese financial conglomerate for a deal worth billions to redevelop the 41-story tower, at 666 Fifth Avenue, into a flashy 80-story ultraluxury skyscraper comprising a chic retail mall, a hotel and high-priced condominiums"

Get these cockroaches out of the WH please.,,,Jared and his sister are running around the world trying to get money in exchange for giving them something from the Trump WH.

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:52 am

The NYC skyline displays 666 in really really really HUGE !!!! numbers. Perhaps the USA government as Cheney announced has gone to the very very very DARK side.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Yea 666 probably isn't a coincidence .lol

Chris Kinder , July 14, 2017 at 12:15 am

What I think most comments overlook here is the following: the US is the primary imperialist aggressor in the world today, and Russia, though it is an imperialist competitor, is much weaker and is generally losing ground. Early on, the US promised that NATO would not be extended into Eastern Europe, but now look at what's happened: not only does the US have NATO allies and and missiles in Eastern Europe, but it also engineered a coup against a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine, and is now trying to drive Russia out of Eastern Ukraine, as in Crimea and the Donbass and other areas of Eastern Ukraine, which are basically Russian going back more than a century. Putin is pretty mild compered to the US' aggressive stance. That's number one.

Number two is that the current anti-Russian hysteria in the US is all about maintaining the same war-mongering stance against Russia that existed in the cold war, and also about washing clean the Democratic Party leadership's crimes in the last election. Did the Russians hack the election? Maybe they tried, but the point is that what was exposed–the emails etc–were true information! They show that the DNC worked to deprive Bernie Sanders of the nomination, and hide crimes of the Clintons'! These exposures, not any Russian connection to the exposures, are what really lost Hillary the election.

So, what is going on here? The Democrats are trying to hide their many transgressions behind an anti-Russian scare, why? Because it is working, and because it fits in with US imperialist anti-Russian aims which span the entire post-war period, and continue today. And because it might help get Trump impeached. I would not mind that result one bit, but the Democrats are no alternative: that has been shown to be true over and over again.

This is all part of the US attempt to be the dominant imperialist power in the world–something which it has pursued since the end of the last world war, and something which both Democrats and Republicans–ie, the US ruling class behind them–are committed to. Revolutionaries say: the main enemy is at home, and that is what I say now. That is no endorsement of Russian imperialism, but a rejection of all imperialism and the capitalist exploitative system that gives rise to it.

Thanks for your attention -- Chris Kinder

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:58 am

Chris – good post. Thanks.

mike k , July 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

Chris, I think most commenters here are aware of everything you summarized above, but we just don't put all that in each individual post.

Paranam Kid , July 14, 2017 at 6:40 am

It is ironic that Browder on his website describes himself as running a battle against corporate corruption in Russia, and there is a quote by Walter Isaacson: "Bill Browder is an amazing moral crusader". http://www.billbrowder.com/bio

HIDE BEHIND , July 14, 2017 at 10:02 am

One cannot talk of Russian monry laundering in US without exposing the Jewish Israeli and many AIPAC connections.
I studied not so much the Jewish Orthodoxy but mainly the evolution of noth their outlook upon G.. but also how those who do not believe in a G.. and still keep their cultural cohesiveness
The largest money laundering group in US is
both Jewish and Israeli, and while helping those of their cultural similarities, their ecpertise goes. Very deep in Eastern U.S. politics and especially strong in all commercial real estate, funding, setting up bribes to permitting officials,contractors and owners of construvtion firms.
Financials some quite large are within this Jew/Israel connections, as all they who offshore need those proper connections to do so. take bribes need the funding cleaned and
flow out through very large tax free Jewish Charity Orgd, the largest ones are those of Orthodox.
GOV Christie years ago headed the largest sting operation to try and uproot what at that time he believed was just statewide tax fraud and laundering operations, many odd cash flows into political party hacks running for evrry gov position electefd or appointed.
Catchng a member of one of the most influential Orthofox familys mrmbers, that member rolled on many many indivifuals of his own culture.
It was only when Vhristies investigative team began turning up far larger cases of laundering and political donations thst msinly centered in NY Stste and City, fid he then find out howuch power this grouping had.
Soon darn near every AIPAC aided elected politico from city state and rspecially Congress was warning him to end investigation.
Which he did.
His reward was for his fat ass to be funded for a run towards US Presidency, without any visibly open opposition by that cultural grouping.
No it is not odd for Jewery to charge goyim usury or to aid in political schemes that advance their groups aims.
One thing to remenber by the Bible thumpers who delay any talks of Israel ; Christian Zionist, is that to be of their culture one does not have to believe in G.
There are a few excellent books written about early days Jewish immigrant Pre Irish andblre Sicilian mafias.
The Jewish one remainst to this day but are as well orgNized as the untold history of what is known as "The Southern mafia.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Hide Behind – fascinating! I guess if we ever knew half of what goes on behind the scenes, we'd be shocked. We only ever know things like this exist when people like you enlighten us, or when there's a blockbuster movie about it. Thanks.

Deborah Andrew , July 14, 2017 at 10:03 am

With great respect and appreciation for your writing about the current unsubstantiated conversations/writing about 'Russia-gate' I would ask if 'the other side of a story' is really what we want or, is it that we want all the facts. Analysis and opinions, that include the facts, may differ. However, it is the readers who will evaluate the varied analysis and opinions when they include all the facts known. I raise this question, as it seems to me that we have a binary approach to our thinking and decision making. Something is either good or bad, this or that. Sides are taken. Labels are added (such as conservative and progressive). Would we not be wiser and would our decision making not be wiser if it were based on a set of principles? My own preference: the precautionary principle and the principle of do no harm. I am suggesting that we abandon the phrase and notion of the 'other side of the story' and replace it with: based on the facts now known, or, based on all the facts revealed to date or, until more facts are revealed it appears

BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

HEAR -- HEAR -- Excellent --

Zachary Smith , July 14, 2017 at 11:04 am

I would ask if 'the other side of a story' is really what we want or, is it that we want all the facts.

Replying to a question with another question isn't really good form, but given my knowledge level of this case I can see no alternative.

How do you propose to determine the "facts" when virtually none of the characters involved in the affair appear trustworthy? Also, there is a lot of evidence (displayed by Mr. Parry) that another set of "characters" we call the Mainstream Media are extremely biased and one-sided with their coverage of the story.

Again – Where am I going to find those "facts" you speak of?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:52 am

Spot on.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Deborah Andrew – good comment, but the problem is that we never seem to get "the other side of the story" from the MSM. You are right in pointing out that "the other side of the story" probably isn't ALL there is (as nothing is completely black and white), but at least it's something. The only way we can ever get to the truth is to put the facts together and question them, but how are you going to do that when the facts are kept away from us?

It can be very frustrating, can't it, Deborah? Cheers.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Nice comment.

None of us can know the exact truth of anything we ourselves haven't seen or been involved in. The best we can do is try to find trusted sources, be objective, analytical and compare different stories and known the backgrounds and possible agendas of the people involved in a issue or story.

We can use some clues to help us cull thru what we hear and read.

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don't discuss it -- especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.

2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the 'How dare you!' gambit.

3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such 'arguable rumors'. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a 'wild rumor' from a 'bunch of kids on the Internet' which can have no basis in fact.

4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.

5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary 'attack the messenger' ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.

6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism, reasoning -- simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent's viewpoint.

7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.

8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough 'jargon' and 'minutia' to illustrate you are 'one who knows', and simply say it isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.

9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.

10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man -- usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with – a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.) Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually then be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues -- so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.

11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the 'high road' and 'confess' with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made -- but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, 'just isn't so.' Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly 'call for an end to the nonsense' because you have already 'done the right thing.' Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for 'coming clean' and 'owning up' to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.

12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to lose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.

13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic which forbears any actual material fact.

14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best with issues qualifying for rule 10.

15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.

16. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won't have to address the issue.

17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can 'argue' with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.

18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can't do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how 'sensitive they are to criticism.'

19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the 'play dumb' rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.

20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations -- as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.

21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed and unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed. Usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim.

22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.

23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.

24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of theircharacter by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.

25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen. .

Note: There are other ways to attack truth, but these listed are the most common, and others are likely derivatives of these. In the end, you can usually spot the professional disinfo players by one or more of seven (now 8) distinct traits:

Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist
by H. Michael Sweeney
copyright (c) 1997, 2000 All rights reserved

(Revised April 2000 – formerly SEVEN Traits)

1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.

2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. .

3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.

4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.

5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for 'conspiracy theorists' and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain.Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.

6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of 'artificial' emotionalism and an unusually thick skin -- an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later -- an emotional yo-yo. With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game -- where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.

7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat 'freudian', so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within.

8) BONUS TRAIT: Time Constant. Wth respect to News Groups, is the response time factor. There are three ways this can be seen to work, especially when the government or other empowered player is involved in a cover up operation:
1) ANY NG posting by a targeted proponent for truth can result in an IMMEDIATE response. The government and other empowered players can afford to pay people to sit there and watch for an opportunity to do some damage. SINCE DISINFO IN A NG ONLY WORKS IF THE READER SEES IT – FAST RESPONSE IS CALLED FOR, or the visitor may be swayed towards truth.
2) When dealing in more direct ways with a disinformationalist, such as email, DELAY IS CALLED FOR – there will usually be a minimum of a 48-72 hour delay. This allows a sit-down team discussion on response strategy for best effect, and even enough time to 'get permission' or instruction from a formal chain of command.
3) In the NG example 1) above, it will often ALSO be seen that bigger guns are drawn and fired after the same 48-72 hours delay – the team approach in play. This is especially true when the targeted truth seeker or their comments are considered more important with respect to potential to reveal truth. Thus, a serious truth sayer will be attacked twice for the same sin.

Michael Kenny , July 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

I don't really see Mr Parry's point. The banning of Nekrasov's film isn't proof of the accuracy of its contents and even less does it prove that anything that runs counter to Nekrasov's argument is false. Nor does proving that a mainstream meida story is false prove that an internet story saying the opposite is true. "A calls B a liar. B proves that A is a liar. That proves that B is truthful." Not very logical! What seems to be established is that the lawyer in question represents a Russian-owned company, a money-laundering prosecution against which was settled last May on the basis of what the company called a "surprise" offer from prosecutors that was "too good to refuse". This "Russian government attorney" (dixit Goldstone) had information concerning illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr jumped at it and it makes no difference whether he was tricked or even whether he actually got anything, his intent was clear. In addition DNC "dirt" did indeed appear on the internet via Wikileaks, just as "dirt" appeared in the French election. MacronLeaks proves Russiagate and "Juniorgate" confirms MacronLeaks. The question now is did Trump, as president, intervene to bring about this "too good to refuse" offer? That question cannot just be written off with the "no evidence" argument.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

God, you are persistent if nothing else. Keep repeating the same lie until it is taken as true, just like the MSM. You say that Russia-gate, Macron leaks, etc can't be written off with the "no evidence" argument (how is that logical?), and then you trash a film you haven't even seen because it doesn't fit your narrative. Maybe some evidence is provided in the film, did you consider that possibility? That fact that Nekrasov started out to make a pro Broder film, and then switched sides, leads me to believe he found some disturbing evidence. And if you look into Nekrasov you will find that he is no fan of Putin, so one has to wonder what his motive is if he is lying.

I am wondering if you ever look back at previous posts, because you never reply to a rebuttal. If you did, you would see that you are almost universally seen by the commenters here as a troll. If you are being paid, I suppose it might not matter much to you. However, your employer should look for someone with more intelligent arguments. He is wasting his money on you.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Propaganda trolls attempt to trash the information space by dismissing, distracting, diverting, denying, deceiving and distorting the facts.

The trolls aim at confusing rather than convincing the audience.

The tag team troll performance of "Michael Kenny" and "David" is accompanied by loud declarations that they have "logic" on their side and "evidence" somewhere. Then they shriek that they're being "censored".

Propaganda trolls target the comments section of independent investigative journalism sites like Consortium News, typically showing up when articles discuss the West's "regime change" wars and deception operations.

Pro-Israel Hasbara propaganda trolls also strive to discredit websites, articles, and videos critical of Israel and Zionism. Hasbara smear tactics have intensified due to increasing Israeli threats of military aggression, Israeli collusion with the United States in "regime change" projects from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and Israeli links to international organized crime and terrorism in Syria.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 3:04 am

Gee Abe, you are a magician (and I thought that you only quote excellent articles). Short and sharp.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm

When they have a hard time selling that they're being "censored" (after more than a dozen comments), trolls complain that they're being "dismissed" and "invalidated" by "hostile voices".

exiled off mainstreet , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Aaron Kesel, in Activistpost documents the links between Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS, the company engaged by the Clintons to prepare the defamatory Christopher Steele Dossier against Trump later used by Comey to help gin up the Russian influence conspiracy theory. In the article, it is true the GPS connection may have involved her lobbying efforts to overturn the Magnitsky law, not the dossier, but it is also interesting that she is on record as anti-Trump and having associations with Clinton democrats. Though it may have been part of the beginnings of a conspiracy, the conspiracy may have developed later and the meeting became something they related back to to bolster this fraudulent dangerous initiative.

mike k , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 pm

I think as you say Skip that most on this blog have seen through Michael Kenny's stuff. Nobody's buying it. He's harmless. If he's here on his own dime, if we don't feed him, he will get bored and go away. If he's being payed, he may persist, but so what. Sometimes I check the MSM just to see what the propaganda line is. Kenny is like that; his shallow arguments tell me what we must counter to wake people up.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Yeah mike k, I know you're right. I don't know why I let the guy get under my skin. Perhaps it's because he never responds to a rebuttal.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 3:14 am

Then you would have to waste more time rebutting the (equally empty) rebuttal.

The second thing is that many trolls suffer from DID, that is the Dissociative Identity Disorder, aka sock puppetry. There is a bit of similarity in argument between David and Michael and HAWKINS, only one of them rebuts quite often.

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Another excellent article! I wrote a very detailed blog post in which I methodically take apart the latest "revelation" about Donald Trump Jr.'s emails. I talk a lot about the Magnitsky Act, which is very relevant to this whole story.

Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 4:43 pm

I always like reading your articles Philippe, you have a real talent. Maybe read what I wrote above, but I'm sensing this Trump Jr affair will help Hillary more than anything, to give her a reprieve from any further FBI investigations. I mean somehow, I'm sure by Hillary's standards and desires, that this whole crazy investigation thing has to end. So, would it not seem reasonable to believe that by allowing Donald Jr to be taken off the hook, that Hillary likewise will enjoy the taste of forgiveness?

Tell me if you think this Donald Trump Jr scandal could lead to this Joe

PS if so this could be a good next article to write there I go telling the band what to play, but seriously if this Russian conclusion episode goes on much longer, could you not see a grand bargain and a deal being made?

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Thanks for the compliment, I'm glad you like the blog. I wasn't under the impression that Clinton was under any particular danger from the Justice Department, but even if she was, she doesn't have the power to stop this Trump/Russia collusion nonsense because it's pushed by a lot of people that have nothing to do with her except for the fact that they would have preferred her to win.

Abe , July 14, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Excellent summary and analysis, Philippe. Key observation:

"as even the New York Times admits, there is no evidence that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort for 20-30 minutes on 9 June 2016, provided any such information during that meeting. Donald Trump Jr. said that, although he asked her about it, she didn't give them anything on Clinton, but talked to him about the Magnitsky Act and Russia's decision to block adoption by American couples in retaliation. Of course, if we just had his word, we'd have no particularly good reason to believe him. But the fact remains that no documents of the sort described in Goldstone's ridiculous email ever surfaced during the campaign, which makes what he is saying about how the meeting went down pretty convincing, at least on this specific point. It should be noted that Donald Trump Jr. has offered to testify under oath about anything related to this meeting. Moreover, he also said during the interview he gave to Sean Hannity that there was no follow-up to this meeting, which is unlikely to be a lie since he must know that, given the hysteria about this meeting, it would come out. He may not be the brightest guy in the world, but surely he or at least the people who advised him before that interview are not that stupid."

Philippe Lemoine , July 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Thanks!

exiled off mainstreet , July 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Your own necpluribus article was one of the best I've seen summarising the whole controversy, and your exhaustive responses to the pro-deep state critics was edifying. I am now convinced that your view of Veselnitskaya's role in the affair and the nature her connections to the dossier drafting company GPS being based on their unrelated work on the magnitsky law is accurate.

Mike , July 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Pretty interesting:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-jr-russia-bill-browder-testify-senate-links-natalia-veselnitskaya-steele-dossier-a7840061.html

Big Tim , July 15, 2017 at 12:31 am

"Bill Browder, born into a notable Jewish family in Chicago, is the grandson of Earl Browder, the former leader of the Communist Party USA,[2] and the son of Eva (Tislowitz) and Felix Browder, a mathematician. He grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended the University of Chicago where he studied economics. He received an MBA from Stanford Business School[3] in 1989 where his classmates included Gary Kremen and Rich Kelley. In 1998, Browder gave up his US citizenship and became a British citizen.[4] Prior to setting up Hermitage, Browder worked in the Eastern European practice of the Boston Consulting Group[5] in London and managed the Russian proprietary investments desk at Salomon Brothers.[6]"

Rake , July 15, 2017 at 9:13 am

Successfully keeping a salient argument from being heard is scary, given the social media and alternative media players who are all ripe to uncover a bombshell. Sy Hersh needs to convince Nekrasov to get his documentary to WkiLeaks.

Anna , July 15, 2017 at 10:25 am

"Sy Hersh needs to convince Nekrasov to get his documentary to WkiLeaks."
Agree.

P. Clark , July 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm

When Trump suggested that a Mexican-American judge might be biased because of this ethnicity the media said this was racist. Yet these same outlets like the New York Times are now routinely questioning Russian-American loyalty because of their ethnicity. As usual a ridiculous double standard. Basically the assumption is all Russians are bad. We didn't even have this during the cold war.

Cal , July 15, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Yes indeed P. Clark .that kind or hypocrisy makes my head explode!

MichaelAngeloRaphaelo , July 15, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Enough's Enough
STOP DNC/DEMs
#CryBabyFakeNewsBS

Support Duly ELECTED
@POTUS @realDonaldTrump
#BoycottFakeNewsSponsors
#DrainTheSwamp
#MAGA

Roy G Biv , July 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm

CN article on 911 truthers:

https://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/011511.html

Finnish wonderer , July 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Wow, I just learned via this article that in US Nekrasov is labeled as "pro-Kremlin" by WaPo. That's just too funny. He's in a relationship with a Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala, who is very well known for her anti-Russia mentality. Nekrasov is defenetly anti-Kremlin if something. He was supposed to make an anti-Kremlin documentary, but the facts turned out to be different than he thought, but still finished his documentary.

Mark Dankof , July 15, 2017 at 3:21 pm

The lengths to which the Neo Conservative War Cabal will go to destroy freedom of speech and access to alternative news sources underscores that the United States is becoming an Orwellian agitation-propaganda police state equally dedicated to igniting World War III for Netanyahu, the Central Banks, our Wahhabic Petrodollar Partners, and a pipeline consortium or two. The Old American Republic is dead.

Roy G Biv , July 15, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Interesting to note that each and everyone of David's comments were bleached from this page. Looks like he was right about the censorship. Sad.

Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Note "allegations that are unsupported by facts".

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/01/19/a-reminder-about-comment-rules-2/

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Duly noted Abe. But you should adhere to the first part of the statement that you somehow forgot to include:

From Editor Robert Parry: At Consortiumnews, we welcome substantive comments about our articles, but comments should avoid abusive language toward other commenters or our writers, racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia), and allegations that are unsupported by facts.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:06 pm

My favorite was David's claim that he contributed to this zine whilst it was publishing articles not to his liking (/sarc). I kindly reminded him that people pay much more money to have publishing the way they like it – for example how much Bezos paid for Washington Post, or Omidyar to establish The Intercept.

Except for such funny component, David's comments were totally substance free and useless. Nothing lost with bleaching.

Roy G Biv , July 16, 2017 at 5:44 am

You're practicing disinformation. He actually said he contributed early on and had problems with the recent course of the CN trajectory. Censorship is cowardly.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Consortium News welcomes substantive comments.

"David" was presenting allegations unsupported by facts and disrupting on-topic discussion.

Violations of CN comment policy are taken down by the moderator. Period. It has nothing to do with "censorship".

Stop practicing disinformation and spin, "Roy G Biv".

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm

I stopped contributing after the unintellectual dismissal of scientific 911 truthers. And it's easy for you to paint over my comments as they have been scrubbed. There was plenty of useful substance, it just ran against the tide. Sorry you didn't appreciate it the contrary viewpoint or have the curiosity to read the backstory.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm

The cowardly claim of "censorship".

The typical troll whine is that their "contrary viewpoint" was "dismissed" merely because it "ran against the tide".

No. Your allegations were unsupported by facts. They still are.

Martyrdom is just another troll tactic.

dub , July 15, 2017 at 9:44 pm

torrent for the film?

Roy G Biv , July 16, 2017 at 5:56 am

Here is the pdf of the legal brief about the Magnitsky film submitted by Senator Grassly to Homeland Security Chief. Interesting read and casts doubt on the claims made in the film, refutes several claims actually. Skip past Chuck Grassly's first two page intro to get to the meat of it. If you are serious about a debate on the merits of the case, this is essential reading.

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2017-04-04%20CEG%20to%20DHS%20(Akhmetshin%20Information)%20with%20attachment.pdf

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Yes, very interesting read. By all means, examine the brief.

But forget the spin from "Roy G Biv" because the brief actually refutes nothing about Andrei Nekrasov's film.

It simply notes that the Russian government was understandably concerned about "unscrupulous swindler" and "sleazy crook" William Browder.

After your finished reading the brief, try to remember any time when Congress dared to examine a lobbying campaign undertaken on behalf of Israeli (which is to say, predominantly Russian Jewish) interests, the circumstances surrounding a pro-Israel lobbying effort and the potential FARA violations involved. or the background of a Jewish "Russian immigrant".

Note on page 3 of the cover letter the CC to The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Feinstein was born Dianne Emiel Goldman in San Francisco, to Betty (née Rosenburg), a former model, and Leon Goldman, a surgeon. Feinstein's paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Her maternal grandparents, the Rosenburg family, were from Saint Petersburg, Russia. While they were of German-Jewish ancestry, they practiced the Russian Orthodox faith as was required for Jews residing in Saint Petersburg.

In 1980, Feinstein married Richard C. Blum, an investment banker. In 2003, Feinstein was ranked the fifth-wealthiest senator, with an estimated net worth of US$26 million. By 2005 her net worth had increased to between US$43 million and US$99 million.

Like the rest of Congress, Feinstein knows the "right way" to vote.

David , July 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm

So you're saying because a Jew Senator was CC'd it invalidates the information? Read the first page again. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is obligated to CC these submissions to the ranking member of the Committee, Jew heritage or not. Misinformation and disinformation from you Abe, or generously, maybe lazy reading. The italicized unscrupulous swindler and sleazy crook comments were quoting the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after the Washington screening of Nekrasov's film and demonstrating Russia's intentions to discredit Browder. You are practiced at the art of deception. Hopefully readers will simply look for themselves.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Ah, comrade "David". We see you're back muttering about "disinformation" using your "own name".

My statements about Senator Feinstein are entirely supported by facts. You really should look into that.

Also, please note that quotation marks are not italics.

And please note that the Russian Foreign Minister is legally authorized to present the view of the Russian government.

Browder is pretty effective at discrediting himself. He simply has to open his mouth.

I encourage readers to look for themselves, and not simply take the word of one Browder's sockpuppets.

David , July 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm

It won't last papushka. Every post and pended moderated post was scrubbed yesterday, to the cheers of you and your mean spirited friends. But truth is truth and should be defended. So to the point, I reread the Judiciary Committee linked document, and the items you specified are in italics, because the report is quoting Lavrov's comments to a Moscow news paper and "another paper" as evidence of Russia's efforts to undermine the credibility and standing of Browder. This is hardly obscure. It's plain as day if you just read it.

David , July 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Also Abe, before I get deleted again, I don't question any of you geneological description of Feinstein. I merely pointed out that she is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and it is normal for the Chairman of the Committee (Republican) to CC the ranking member. Unless of course it is Devin Nunes, then fairness and tradition goes out the window.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

It's plain as day, "David" or whatever other name you're trolling under, that you're here to loudly "defend" the "credibility" and "standing" of William Browder.

Sorry, but you're going to have to "defend" Browder with something other than your usual innuendo, blather about 9-11, and slurs against RP.

Otherwise it will be recognized for what it is, repeated violation of CN comment policy, and taken down by the moderator again.

Good luck to any troll who wants to "defend" Browder's record.

But you're gonna have to earn your pay with something other than your signature unsupported allegations, 9-11 diversions, and the "non-Jewish Russian haters gonna hate" propaganda shtick.

David , July 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I wish you would stop with the name calling. I am not a troll. I have been trying to make simple rational points. You respond by calling me names and wholly ignoring and/or misrepresenting and obfuscating easily verifiable facts. I suspect you are the moderator of this page, and if so am surprised by your consistent negative references to Jews. I'm not Jewish but you're really over the top. Of course you have many friends here so you get little push back, but I really hope you are not Bob or Sam.

Anonymous , July 16, 2017 at 10:26 am

We can see that it was what can be considered to be a Complex situation, where it was said that someone had Dirt on Hillary Clinton, but there was No collusion and there was No attempted collusion, but there was Patriotism and Concern for Others during a Perplexing situation.

This is because of what is Known as Arkancide, and which is associated with some People who say they have Dirt on the Clintons.

The Obvious and Humane thing to do was to arrange to meet the Russian Lawyer, who it was Alleged to have Dirt on Hillary Clinton, regardless of any possible Alleged Electoral advantage against Hillary Clinton, and until further information, there may have been some National Security Concerns, because it was Known that Hillary Clinton committed Espionage with Top Secret Information on her Unauthorized, Clandestine, Secret Email Server, and the Obvious cover up by the Department of Justice and the FBI, and so it was with this background that this Complex situation had to be dealt with.

This is because there is Greater Protection for a Person who has Dirt or Alleged Dirt on the Clintons, if that Information is share with other People.

This is because it is a Complete Waste of time to go to the Authorities, because they will Not do anything against Clinton Crimes, and a former Haitian Government Official was found dead only days before he was to give Testimony regarding the Clinton Foundation.

We saw this with Seth Rich, where the Police Videos has been withheld, and we have seen the Obstruction in investigating that Crime.

The message to Leakers is that Seth Rich was taken to hospital and Treated and was on his way to Fully Recovering, but he died in hospital, and those who were thinking of Leaking Understood the message from that.

There was Also concern for Rob Goldstone, who Alleged that the Russian Lawyer had Dirt on the Clintons.

We Know that is is said Goldstone that he did Not want to hear what was said at the meeting.

This is because Goldstone wanted associates of Candidate Donald Trump to Know that he did Not know what was said at that meeting.

We now Know that the meeting was a set up to Improperly obtain a FISA Warrant, which was Requested in June of 2016, and that is same the month and the year as the meeting that the Russian Lawyer attended.

There was what was an Unusual granting of a Special Visa so that the Russian Lawyer could attend that set up, which was Improperly Used to Request a FISA Warrant in order to Improperly Spy on an Opposition Political Candidate in order to Improperly gain an Electoral advantage in an Undemocratic manner, because if anything wrong was intended by Associates of Candidate Donald Trump, then there were enough People in that meeting who were the Equivalent of Establishment Democrats and Establishment Republicans, because we Know that after that meeting, that the husband of the former Florida chair of the Trump campaign obtained a front row seat to a June 2016 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing for the Russian Lawyer.

There are Americans who consider that the 2 Major Political Party Tyranny has Betrayed the Constitution and the Principles of Democracy, because they oppose President Donald Trump's Election Integrity Commission, because they think that the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats are the Bribed and Corrupted Puppets of the Shadow Regime.

We Know from Senator Sanders, that if Americans want a Political Revolution, then they will need their own Political Party.

There are Americans who think that a Group of Democratic Party Voters and Republican Party Voters who have No association with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, and that they may be named The Guardians of American Democracy.

These Guardians of American Democracy would be a numerous Group of People, and they would ask Republican Voters to Vote for the Democratic Party Representative instead of the Republican who is in Congress and who is seeking Reelection, in exchange for Democratic Party Voters to Vote for the Republican Party Candidate instead of the Democrat who is in Congress and who is seeking Reelection, and the same can be done for the Senate, because the American People have to Decide if it is they the Shadow Regime, or if it is We the People, and the Establishment Republicans and the Establishment Democrats are the Bribed and Corrupt Puppets of the Shadow Regime, and there would be equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats replaced in this manner, and so it will Not affect their numbers in the Congress or the Senate.

There could be People who think that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was Unacceptability Biased and Unacceptability Corrupt during the Democratic Party Primaries, and that if she wants a Democratic Party Candidate to be Elected in her Congressional District, then she Should announce that she will Not be contesting the next Election, and there could be People who think that Speaker Paul Ryan was Unacceptability Disloyal by insufficiently endorse the Republican Presidential nominee, and with other matters, and that if he wants a Republican Party Candidate to be Elected in his Congressional District, then he Should announce that he will Not be contesting the next Election, and then the Guardians of American Democracy can look at other Dinos and Rinos, including those in the Senate, because the Constitution says the words: We the People.

There are Many Americans who have Noticed that Criminal Elites escape Justice, and Corruption is the norm in American Politics.

There are those who Supported Senator Sanders who Realize that Senator Sanders would have been Impeached had he become President, and they Know that they Need President Donald Trump to prepare the Political Landscape so that someone like Senator Sanders could be President, without a Coup attempt that is being attempted on President Donald Trump, and while these People may not Vote for the Republicans, they can Refuse to Vote for the Democratic Party, until the conditions are there for a Constitutional Republic and a Constitutional Democracy, and they want the Illegal Mueller Team to recuse themselves from this pile of Vile and Putrid McCarthyist Lies Invented by their Shadow Regime Puppet Masters,

There are Many Americans who want Voter Identification and Paper Ballots for Elections, and they have seen how several States are Opposed to President Donald Trump's Commission on Election Integrity, because they want to Rig their Elections, and this is Why there are Many Americans who want America to be a Constitutional Republic and a Constitutional Democracy.

MillyBloom54 , July 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm

I just read this article in the Washington Monthly, and wish to read informed comments about this issue. There are suggestions that organized crime from Russian was heavily involved. This is a complicated mess of money, greed, etc.

http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/07/10/trumps-inner-circle-met-with-no-ordinary-russian-lawyer/

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Yes, very interesting read. By all means, examine the article, which concludes:

"So, let's please stay focused on why this matters.

"And why was Preet Bharara fired again?"

Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries have been allowed to flourish in Israel.

A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."

The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."

In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.

The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.

Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.

When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.

Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.

According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.

Why was Bharara fired?

Any real investigation of Russia-Gate will draw international attention towards Russian Jewish corruption in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) sectors, and lead back to Israel.

Ain't gonna happen.

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Remember Milly that essentially one of the first things Trump did when he came into office was fire Preet, and just days before the long awaited trial. Then, Jeff Sessions settled the case for 6 million without any testimony on a 230 million dollar case, days after. Spectacular and brazen, and structured to hide the identities of which properties were bought by which investors. Hmmmm.

David , July 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm

By the way Milly, great summary article you have linked and one that everyone who is championing the Nekrasov film should read.

Abe , July 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

The "great" article was not written by a journalist. It's an opinion piece written by Martin Longman, a blogger and Democratic Party political consultant.

From 2012 to 2013, Longman worked for Democracy for America (DFA) a political action committee, headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Since March 2014, political animal Longman has managed the The Washington Monthly website and online magazine.

Although it claims to be "an independent voice", the Washington Monthly is funded by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and well-heeled corporate entities http://washingtonmonthly.com/about/

Longman's credentials as a "progressive" alarmist are well established. Since 2005, he has been the publisher of Booman Tribune. Longman admits that BooMan is related to the 'bogey man' (aka, bogy man, boogeyman), an evil imaginary character who harms children.

Vladimir Putin is the latest bogey man of the Democratic Party and its equally pro-Israel "opposition".

Neither party wants the conversation to involve Jewish Russian organized crime, because that leads to Israel and the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby that funds both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Very interesting.

[Dec 07, 2017] Amy Klein, in particular her book Shock Doctine tells how Milton Friedman's neoliberal economics was brought to S. America, Russia, Iraq, and other vulnerable nations to devore them by the greedy Vampire Squid with insatiable appetite for money and unchallenged world power.

Dec 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

edNels , December 7, 2017 at 3:45 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski

I read her books,

To others: Even FB may gain some historical wisdom by reading Amy K.'s description of the Chicago School of Economics and how Milton Friedman's economic "Shock Doctrine" was brought to S. America, Russia, Iraq, and other awe struck nations vulnerable to the greedy Vampire Squid's insatiable appetite for money and unchallenged world power.

you must mean Naomi Klein, who wrote "Shock Doctrine". She's great and looks good too. Recently some British black woman interviewed her and she was nicely poised and patient with the Dodo. Milton Friedman, whata guy, is he any relative of Thomas (alla'akbar ) Friedmin? (whata other f'n guy too.

I think Vampire Squid was a phrase that Taibbi started about Wall St. But haven't seen much of him lately.

[Dec 03, 2017] How Criminals Built Capitalism by Clive Crook

That explains why after dissolution of the USSR organized crime reached such level: this is standard capitalism development scenario.
Notable quotes:
"... In fact, the evolution of the modern economy owes more than you might think to these outlaws. That's the theme of " Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance " by Ian Klaus. It's a history of financial crimes in the 19th and early 20th centuries that traces a recurring sequence: new markets, new ways to cheat, new ways to transact and secure trust. As Klaus says, criminals helped build modern capitalism. ..."
"... Cochrane, in a way, was convicted of conduct unbecoming a man of his position. Playing the markets, let alone cheating, was something a man of his status wasn't supposed to do. Trust resided in social standing. ..."
"... The stories are absorbing and the larger theme is important: "Forging Capitalism" is a fine book and I recommend it. But I have a couple of criticisms. The project presumably began as an academic dissertation, and especially at the start, before Klaus starts telling the stories, the academic gravity is crushing. ..."
"... Nonetheless, Klaus is right: Give the markets' ubiquitous and ingenious criminals their due. They helped build modern capitalism, and they aren't going away. Just ask Bernie Madoff. ..."
Apr 05, 2015 | Bloomberg View

Whenever buyers and sellers get together, opportunities to fleece the other guy arise. The history of markets is, in part, the history of lying, cheating and stealing -- and of the effort down the years to fight commercial crime.

In fact, the evolution of the modern economy owes more than you might think to these outlaws. That's the theme of "Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance" by Ian Klaus. It's a history of financial crimes in the 19th and early 20th centuries that traces a recurring sequence: new markets, new ways to cheat, new ways to transact and secure trust. As Klaus says, criminals helped build modern capitalism.

And what a cast of characters. Thomas Cochrane is my own favorite. (This is partly because he was the model for Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" novels, which I've been reading and rereading for decades. Presumably Klaus isn't a fan: He doesn't note the connection.)

Cochrane was an aristocrat and naval hero. At the height of his fame in 1814 he was put on trial for fraud. An associate had spread false rumors of Napoleon's death, driving up the price of British government debt, and allowing Cochrane to avoid heavy losses on his investments. Cochrane complained (with good reason, in fact) that the trial was rigged, but he was found guilty and sent to prison.

The story is fascinating in its own right, and the book points to its larger meaning. Cochrane, in a way, was convicted of conduct unbecoming a man of his position. Playing the markets, let alone cheating, was something a man of his status wasn't supposed to do. Trust resided in social standing.

As the turbulent century went on, capitalism moved its frontier outward in every sense: It found new opportunities overseas; financial innovation accelerated; and buyers and sellers were ever more likely to be strangers, operating at a distance through intermediaries. These new kinds of transaction required new ways of securing trust. Social status diminished as a guarantee of good faith. In its place came, first, reputation (based on an established record of honest dealing) then verification (based on public and private records that vouched for the parties' honesty).

Successive scams and scandals pushed this evolution of trust along. Gregor MacGregor and the mythical South American colony of Poyais ("the quintessential fraud of Britain's first modern investment bubble," Klaus calls it); Beaumont Smith and an exchequer bill forging operation of remarkable scope and duration; Walter Watts, insurance clerk, theatrical entrepreneur and fraudster; Harry Marks, journalist, newspaper proprietor and puffer of worthless stocks. On and on, these notorious figures altered the way the public thought about commercial trust, and spurred the changes that enabled the public to keep on trusting nonetheless.

The stories are absorbing and the larger theme is important: "Forging Capitalism" is a fine book and I recommend it. But I have a couple of criticisms. The project presumably began as an academic dissertation, and especially at the start, before Klaus starts telling the stories, the academic gravity is crushing.

Trust, to be simple with our definition, is an expectation of behavior built upon norms and cultural habits. It is often dependent upon a shared set of ethics or values. It is also a process orchestrated through communities and institutions. In this sense, it is a cultural event and thus a historical phenomenon.

No doubt, but after a first paragraph like that you aren't expecting a page-turner. Trust me, it gets better. When he applies himself, Klaus can write. Describing the messenger who brought the false news of Napoleon's death, he says:

Removed from the dark of the street, the man could be seen by the light of two candles. He looked, a witness would later testify, "like a stranger of some importance." A German sealskin cap, festooned with gold fringes, covered his head. A gray coat covered his red uniform, upon which hung a star Neighbors and residents of the inn stirred and peered in as the visitor penned a note.

Tell me more.

My other objection is to the book's repeated suggestion that Adam Smith and other classical proponents of market economics naively underestimated the human propensity to deceive and over-credited the market's ability to promote good behavior. Klaus doesn't examine their claims at length or directly, but often says things such as:

The sociability in which Adam Smith had placed his hopes for harnessing self-interest was not a sufficient safeguard in the sometimes criminal capitalism of the ruthless free market.

Of course it wasn't. Smith didn't believe that the market's civilizing tendencies, together with humans' instinct for cooperation, were a sufficient safeguard against fraud or breach of contract or other commercial wrongs. He was nothing if not realistic about human nature. And by the way, many of the subtle adaptations to the shifting risk of fraud that Klaus describes were private undertakings, not government measures. Far from being surprised by them, Smith would have expected their development.

Nonetheless, Klaus is right: Give the markets' ubiquitous and ingenious criminals their due. They helped build modern capitalism, and they aren't going away. Just ask Bernie Madoff.

To contact the author on this story: Clive Crook at ccrook5@bloomberg.net

[Nov 30, 2017] The people who worked in int l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing austerity or reform policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Notable quotes:
"... "The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since. ..."
"... According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia. ..."
"... For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel. ..."
"... And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience. ..."
Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Many countries suffered, not because they were Russian or Brazilian or Mexican, but because the opportunity for gain was there.

anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
There's some common ground between the reds and whites in that the reds tapped into nationalist sentiments, hence the wars of national liberation around the world being supported by the communists: Korea, Vietnam, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa, etc. The script has flipped with the western countries now being the 'godless' ones who are trying to destroy religion, the family and traditional ways of life. The 1% were horrified that there was an ideology out there that advocated taking their loot away so they used all their resources in combatting it, even being willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon in doing so. They'd take the world down with them rather than lose their positions of power and money. Now that the ideology is no longer there it's just back to the business of robbing everyone weaker than them. All the hysteria about Putin is simply that he's built up the Russian state to where they can resist and that he's not a fellow slaveholder like them.

The intervention in Syria has unhinged parts of the west where they thought they could rob and kill anywhere they pleased but now have been successfully resisted. Political systems come and go but the people have endured for the past thousand years, something the fat cats of the west are trying to destroy to enlarge their slave plantation.

peterAUS , November 29, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
@anon

he's not a fellow slaveholder like them .

Quick Google:
Inequality in Russia

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

" With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country's wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world's major economies. ."

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wealth-inequality-in-russia-in-photos-2017-7?r=US&IR=T#/#li-mi-yan-photographed-this-series-in-moscow-1

" Russia has greater economic disparity than any other major global power. In 2016, Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report found that the wealthiest 10% of people in Russia controlled 89% of the country's wealth ..

"The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.

The headline findings: official Russian estimates drastically understate national inequality; Russia is as unequal as the USA or even moreso; Russian inequality is more intense than the inequality in other post-Soviet states and in post-Deng China.

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 [Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman/World Wealth and Income Database]"

Etc

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 8:25 am GMT
@anon

People used to stage revolutions in order to bring communism to their countries. Plenty of examples for that: Russia, China, Cuba and many others. Of course, those people were deluded, right? Who would want to bring a system that preaches economic equality? It must be someone who is out of their mind. Has there ever been a capitalist revolution where someone took up arms trying to bring capitalism to their country? Must be because it's such a humane and desirable system. Also, a lot of people think that Islam is a backward religion. Really? Then how come it tolerates socialism (communism), better than Christianity ever did? Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan they were all socialist at some point. That's why the greatest democracy set their sights on them to destroy them. Because, you see, by their calculations, no matter how extremist and backward the Islam gets, it's still more progressive than socialism or communism. Helluva math there. The game has always been about preserving capitalism, and not the most benign version either. Which is too bad, because capitalism has been known to tolerate dictatorship, fascism, Nazism, slavery – pretty much the ugliest forms of government the sick human mind can come up with, but it can't tolerate little bit of socialism. Because you see, socialism is worse than any of those lovely political systems. Democracy (capitalism) is too pure for that, such a fragile and delicate thing that it is.

I am surprised Sweden hasn't been bombed yet, for their flirting with socialism, but the way the things are going over there, they don't have to be bombed. They did themselves in by following someone's stupid ideas about multiculturalism – which of course is also a form of socialism – racial one, instead the real deal – the economic socialism that the greatest democracy of them all is so afraid of.

Kiza , November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
When the Serbians in different parts of Yugoslavia started being attacked by the West, I was constantly pointing out that in recent times, since WW1, an attack on Serbia has been a kind of introduction to an attack on Russia. In other words, I had no doubt that Russia was next.

But, there is one huge difference between Serbia and Russia. Whilst the Serbians killed very few of those Western Zionist military mercenaries who were killing Serbians directly or using their Croat, Muslim and Albanian proxies, if attacked the Russian military could kill hundreds of thousands of the Western mercenaries. This is why whilst the war on Serbia was real and bloody only on Serbians and the Bosnian Muslim proxies, the war on Russia would be totally disastrous for the Anglozionist Empire. This is the only reason a shooting war on Russia has not started already.

For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel.

And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience.

yeah , November 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Well, what evidence have you for asserting that Putin is a thug? You saw through the media's false reporting earlier as you admit, so how come you again swallow the load of marbles that they dish out?

And while Putin may or may not be feared by "near abroad" he certainly is feared by those who seek total dominance of the planet. The thing is, he is not an easy pushover and that is what is behind the thug claims. Many thinking people admire his intellect, statesmanship, and skill in dealing with major problems of our times. The media also hates him because he shows up the western leaders for the clowns that they are.

A principled US Government would have dealt very differently with Russia and Putin. There is no inherent conflict of interest with Russia once global dominance is discarded as the main policy objective.

Avery , November 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

{The only people that fear Putin is the near abroad, .}

Sure, if you say so, Bub.
Texas* is, of course, 'near aboard' .

[Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.]

_______________________
*
[Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"]

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a23547/russias-new-icbm-could-wipe-out-texas/

disturbed_robot , November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Wow, this is the most refreshing and clear minded comment I've seen here in a while. Nice job WorkingClass, you've managed to keep your mind clear and not buy into the BS. You've given me some hope Thank you.

Anonymous , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Inequality in Russia

The supposed leaders of the West are busy trying to replace or at the very least water down their own populations with a totally different set of people from far away. Obviously these supposedly democratic leaders loathe what are supposed to be their own people but rather see all those below them as just so many replaceable units of labor, the mark of a "slaveholder". Putin has helped his people immensely. Life expectancies had plummeted into the 50′s and that's now been improved greatly as well as living standards. He's popular because he's done much for the people he identifies with, unlike Western leaders who hold their noses when anywhere near the citizenry. If the Russians like him then they must not be as worried about some issues as critics outside the country appear to be.

L.K , November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT
Very interesting interview with Professor McCoy:

On Contact: Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy

WorkingClass , November 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@disturbed_robot

Thanks for the kind words.

Aedib , November 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT
@James N. Kennett

It is hard to find people in the West who "hate the Russian people themselves"; but in place of hatred there is definitely fear – fear of Russia's military strength.

Disagree. The enormous propagandistic effort to demonize Russia in the West, not only reveals fear. It also reveals hate, at least on most of the elites. Most people are indifferent toward Russia but elites definitively have fear to the bear. You can test some people by simply naming "Russia" and you will see on their eyes a quite irrationala mix of hate and fear. I think this is result of an Orwellian propaganda effort aimed at injecting fear to "Eurasia".

This fear is exaggerated by the US military-industrial complex for its own purposes;

Agreed.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Given any two races or culture , what they are and what I think of them hardly matters. However pitted against each other it will cultivate and create good conditions for the scum of both of them and embroil the rest in the conflict. It is an against of chaos for a hostile order.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

"Why should the west try to destroy Russia? They're doing a great job of it all by themselves"

How many times have you visited Russia?

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Right. Those were capitalist revolutions. You are bang on. Capitalism is one of the most tolerant systems of all kinds of extremism, as I already mentioned. Capitalism has been known to tolerate monarchy, fascism, Nazism, various forms of dictatorships, slavery, pretty much everything. But they draw the line at tolerating socialism, like it's the worst extremism they have ever tolerated. My point is, capitalism is pretty robust system, it's not some delicate beauty that will fall apart if it comes in touch with socialism. Democracy is only a window dressing, it has never been about democracy, it has always been about capitalism.

AB_Anonymous , November 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
There's nothing easier nowadays than becoming a Kremlin (or any other kind of) Troll. Just start talking about things as they are and you're half way through. Keep talking that way a bit longer, and you'll forever become another precious source of income for the army of no-talent crooks with unlimited rights and zero oversee from those for whom they officially work. These guys are simply used to build their entire careers and financial well-beings by adjusting reality to their needs. They've been doing it for decades. Why not, as long as the true bosses are happy ? Why not, when the MSM will make population to swallow anything, no matter how idiotic and illogical it is ?

[Nov 30, 2017] The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

The people who worked in int'l finance in the 90s (representing countries to the WB and IMF) knew about the criminal callousness of these institutions when pushing 'austerity' or 'reform' policies. Local elites sometimes were complacent and profited (those privatizations! those newly opened markets!), sometimes resisted, but the US and the multilateral system –financial or otherwise– are ruthless and very hard to resist.

Many countries suffered, not because they were Russian or Brazilian or Mexican, but because the opportunity for gain was there.

anon , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
There's some common ground between the reds and whites in that the reds tapped into nationalist sentiments, hence the wars of national liberation around the world being supported by the communists: Korea, Vietnam, insurgencies in Latin America, Africa, etc. The script has flipped with the western countries now being the 'godless' ones who are trying to destroy religion, the family and traditional ways of life. The 1% were horrified that there was an ideology out there that advocated taking their loot away so they used all their resources in combatting it, even being willing to take the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon in doing so. They'd take the world down with them rather than lose their positions of power and money. Now that the ideology is no longer there it's just back to the business of robbing everyone weaker than them. All the hysteria about Putin is simply that he's built up the Russian state to where they can resist and that he's not a fellow slaveholder like them.

The intervention in Syria has unhinged parts of the west where they thought they could rob and kill anywhere they pleased but now have been successfully resisted. Political systems come and go but the people have endured for the past thousand years, something the fat cats of the west are trying to destroy to enlarge their slave plantation.

peterAUS , November 29, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
@anon

he's not a fellow slaveholder like them .

Quick Google:
Inequality in Russia

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/apr/25/unequal-russia-is-anger-stirring-in-the-global-capital-of-inequality

" With the richest 10% owning 87% of all the country's wealth, Russia is rated the most unequal of the world's major economies. ."

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/wealth-inequality-in-russia-in-photos-2017-7?r=US&IR=T#/#li-mi-yan-photographed-this-series-in-moscow-1

" Russia has greater economic disparity than any other major global power. In 2016, Credit Suisse's Global Wealth Report found that the wealthiest 10% of people in Russia controlled 89% of the country's wealth ..

"The World Wealth and Inequality project's latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas "Capital in the 21st Century" Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.

The headline findings: official Russian estimates drastically understate national inequality; Russia is as unequal as the USA or even moreso; Russian inequality is more intense than the inequality in other post-Soviet states and in post-Deng China.

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016 [Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman/World Wealth and Income Database]"

Etc

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 8:25 am GMT
@anon

People used to stage revolutions in order to bring communism to their countries. Plenty of examples for that: Russia, China, Cuba and many others. Of course, those people were deluded, right? Who would want to bring a system that preaches economic equality? It must be someone who is out of their mind. Has there ever been a capitalist revolution where someone took up arms trying to bring capitalism to their country? Must be because it's such a humane and desirable system. Also, a lot of people think that Islam is a backward religion. Really? Then how come it tolerates socialism (communism), better than Christianity ever did? Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan they were all socialist at some point. That's why the greatest democracy set their sights on them to destroy them. Because, you see, by their calculations, no matter how extremist and backward the Islam gets, it's still more progressive than socialism or communism. Helluva math there. The game has always been about preserving capitalism, and not the most benign version either. Which is too bad, because capitalism has been known to tolerate dictatorship, fascism, Nazism, slavery – pretty much the ugliest forms of government the sick human mind can come up with, but it can't tolerate little bit of socialism. Because you see, socialism is worse than any of those lovely political systems. Democracy (capitalism) is too pure for that, such a fragile and delicate thing that it is.

I am surprised Sweden hasn't been bombed yet, for their flirting with socialism, but the way the things are going over there, they don't have to be bombed. They did themselves in by following someone's stupid ideas about multiculturalism – which of course is also a form of socialism – racial one, instead the real deal – the economic socialism that the greatest democracy of them all is so afraid of.

Kiza , November 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm GMT
When the Serbians in different parts of Yugoslavia started being attacked by the West, I was constantly pointing out that in recent times, since WW1, an attack on Serbia has been a kind of introduction to an attack on Russia. In other words, I had no doubt that Russia was next.

But, there is one huge difference between Serbia and Russia. Whilst the Serbians killed very few of those Western Zionist military mercenaries who were killing Serbians directly or using their Croat, Muslim and Albanian proxies, if attacked the Russian military could kill hundreds of thousands of the Western mercenaries. This is why whilst the war on Serbia was real and bloody only on Serbians and the Bosnian Muslim proxies, the war on Russia would be totally disastrous for the Anglozionist Empire. This is the only reason a shooting war on Russia has not started already.

For my money, Saker emphasises the supposed friendliness of the Western people towards Russia too much. It is not the Western people who want to attack Russia then the Western Anglozionist elite, but the Western people really do not care, as long as it is not the blood of their progeny and their own money paying for bringing Russia to heel.

And if Russia is destroyed, just like Ukraine, then there could be some lucrative jobs when the Western Zio-elite starts dismembering the Russian corpse. And well paying jobs are in great demand in the bankrupt West. The unwritten contract that the Western people have with their Anglozionist elite says: find a way to destroy Russia without a global nuclear war, cheaply, without serious dying on our side and throw us a few bones and we will gladly hybernate our moral conscience.

yeah , November 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Well, what evidence have you for asserting that Putin is a thug? You saw through the media's false reporting earlier as you admit, so how come you again swallow the load of marbles that they dish out?

And while Putin may or may not be feared by "near abroad" he certainly is feared by those who seek total dominance of the planet. The thing is, he is not an easy pushover and that is what is behind the thug claims. Many thinking people admire his intellect, statesmanship, and skill in dealing with major problems of our times. The media also hates him because he shows up the western leaders for the clowns that they are.

A principled US Government would have dealt very differently with Russia and Putin. There is no inherent conflict of interest with Russia once global dominance is discarded as the main policy objective.

Avery , November 29, 2017 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

{The only people that fear Putin is the near abroad, .}

Sure, if you say so, Bub.
Texas* is, of course, 'near aboard' .

[Russia has begun testing of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the RS-28 Sarmat. Sarmat can carry a payload of up to ten tons of nukes. The missile system is set to enter service in 2018.
The RS-28 Sarmat is the first entirely new Russian ICBM in decades. The heavyweight missile weighs 100 tons and can boost 10 tons. Russia claims the Sarmat can lift 10 heavyweight warheads, or 16 lighter ones, and Russian state media has described it as being able to wipe out an area the size of Texas or France.]

_______________________
*
[Russia's New ICBM Could "Wipe Out Texas"]

http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a23547/russias-new-icbm-could-wipe-out-texas/

disturbed_robot , November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Wow, this is the most refreshing and clear minded comment I've seen here in a while. Nice job WorkingClass, you've managed to keep your mind clear and not buy into the BS. You've given me some hope Thank you.

Anonymous , Disclaimer November 29, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Inequality in Russia

The supposed leaders of the West are busy trying to replace or at the very least water down their own populations with a totally different set of people from far away. Obviously these supposedly democratic leaders loathe what are supposed to be their own people but rather see all those below them as just so many replaceable units of labor, the mark of a "slaveholder". Putin has helped his people immensely. Life expectancies had plummeted into the 50′s and that's now been improved greatly as well as living standards. He's popular because he's done much for the people he identifies with, unlike Western leaders who hold their noses when anywhere near the citizenry. If the Russians like him then they must not be as worried about some issues as critics outside the country appear to be.

L.K , November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT
Very interesting interview with Professor McCoy:

On Contact: Decline of the American empire with Alfred McCoy

WorkingClass , November 29, 2017 at 7:03 pm GMT
@disturbed_robot

Thanks for the kind words.

Aedib , November 29, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT
@James N. Kennett

It is hard to find people in the West who "hate the Russian people themselves"; but in place of hatred there is definitely fear – fear of Russia's military strength.

Disagree. The enormous propagandistic effort to demonize Russia in the West, not only reveals fear. It also reveals hate, at least on most of the elites. Most people are indifferent toward Russia but elites definitively have fear to the bear. You can test some people by simply naming "Russia" and you will see on their eyes a quite irrationala mix of hate and fear. I think this is result of an Orwellian propaganda effort aimed at injecting fear to "Eurasia".

This fear is exaggerated by the US military-industrial complex for its own purposes;

Agreed.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

Given any two races or culture , what they are and what I think of them hardly matters. However pitted against each other it will cultivate and create good conditions for the scum of both of them and embroil the rest in the conflict. It is an against of chaos for a hostile order.

gwynedd1 , November 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

"Why should the west try to destroy Russia? They're doing a great job of it all by themselves"

How many times have you visited Russia?

Cyrano , November 29, 2017 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Philip Owen

Right. Those were capitalist revolutions. You are bang on. Capitalism is one of the most tolerant systems of all kinds of extremism, as I already mentioned. Capitalism has been known to tolerate monarchy, fascism, Nazism, various forms of dictatorships, slavery, pretty much everything. But they draw the line at tolerating socialism, like it's the worst extremism they have ever tolerated. My point is, capitalism is pretty robust system, it's not some delicate beauty that will fall apart if it comes in touch with socialism. Democracy is only a window dressing, it has never been about democracy, it has always been about capitalism.

AB_Anonymous , November 29, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
There's nothing easier nowadays than becoming a Kremlin (or any other kind of) Troll. Just start talking about things as they are and you're half way through. Keep talking that way a bit longer, and you'll forever become another precious source of income for the army of no-talent crooks with unlimited rights and zero oversee from those for whom they officially work. These guys are simply used to build their entire careers and financial well-beings by adjusting reality to their needs. They've been doing it for decades. Why not, as long as the true bosses are happy ? Why not, when the MSM will make population to swallow anything, no matter how idiotic and illogical it is ?

[Nov 29, 2017] How I became a Kremlin Troll by The Saker

Nov 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

The Soviet authorities had long listed me, and my entire family, as dangerous anti-Soviet activists and I, therefore, could not travel to Russia until the fall of Communism in 1991 when I immediately caught the first available flight and got to Moscow while the barricades built against the GKChP coup were still standing. Truly, by this fateful month of August 1991, I was a perfect anti-Soviet activist and an anti-Communist hardliner. I even took a photo of myself standing next to the collapsed statue of Felix Derzhinsky (the founder of the ChK – the first Soviet Secret police) with my boot pressed on his iron throat. That day I felt that my victory was total. It was also short-lived.

Instead of bringing the long-suffering Russian people freedom, peace, and prosperity, the end of Communism in Russia only brought chaos, poverty, violence, and abject exploitation by the worst class of scum the defunct Soviet system had produced. I was horrified. Unlike so many other anti-Soviet activists who were also Russophobes, I never conflated my people and the regime which oppressed them. So, while I rejoiced at the end of one horror, I was also appalled to see that another one had taken its place. Even worse, it was undeniable that the West played an active role in every and all forms of anti-Russian activities, from the total protection of Russian mobsters, on to the support of the Wahabi insurgents in Chechnya, and ending with the financing of a propaganda machine which tried to turn the Russian people into mindless consumers to the presence of western "advisors" (yeah, right!) in all the key ministries. The oligarchs were plundering Russia and causing immeasurable suffering, and the entire West, the so-called "free world" not only did nothing to help but helped all the enemies of Russia with every resource it had. Soon the NATO forces attacked Serbia, a historical ally of Russia, in total violation of the most sacred principles of international law. East Germany was not only reunified but instantly incorporated into West Germany and NATO pushed as far East as possible. I could not pretend that all this could be explained by some fear of the Soviet military or by a reaction to the Communist theory of world revolution. In truth, it became clear to me that the western elites did not hate the Soviet system or ideology, but that they hated Russian people themselves and the culture and civilization which they had created.

By the time the war against the Serbian nation in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo broke out, I was in a unique situation: all day long I could read classified UNPROFOR and military reports about what was taking place in that region and, after work, I could read the counter-factual anti-Serbian propaganda the western corporate Ziomedia was spewing out every day. I was horrified to see that literally everything the media was saying was a total lie. Then came the false flags, first in Sarajevo, but later also in Kosovo. My illusions about "Free World" and the "West" were crumbling. Fast.

Fate brought me to Russia in 1993 when I saw the carnage of meted out by the "democratic" Eltsin regime against thousands of Russians in Moscow (many more than what the official press reported). I also saw the Red Flags and Stalin portraits around the parliament building. My disgust by then was total. And when the Eltsin regime decided to bring Dudaev's Chechnia to heel triggering yet another needless bloodbath, that disgust turned into despair. Then came the stolen elections of 1996 and the murder of General Lebed. At that point, I remember thinking "Russia is dead."

So, when the entourage of Eltsin suddenly appointed an unknown nobody to acting President of Russia, I was rather dubious, to put it mildly. The new guy was not a drunk or an arrogant oligarch, but he looked rather unimpressive. He was also ex-KGB which was interesting: on one hand, the KGB had been my lifelong enemy but on the other hand, I knew that the part of the KGB which dealt with foreign intelligence was staffed by the brightest of the brightest and that they had nothing to do with political repression, Gulags and all the rest of the ugly stuff another Directorate of the KGB (the 5th) was tasked with (that department had been abolished in 1989). Putin came from the First Main Directorate of the KGB, the "PGU KGB." Still, my sympathies were more with the (far less political) military intelligence service (GRU) than the very political PGU which, I was quite sure by then, had a thick dossier on my family and me.

Then, two crucial things happened in parallel: both the "Free world" and Putin showed their true faces: the "Free world" as an AngloZionist Empire hell-bent on aggression and oppression, and Vladimir Putin as a real patriot of Russia. In fact, Putin slowly began looking like a hero to me: very gradually, in small incremental steps first, Putin began to turn Russia around, especially in two crucial matters: he was trying to "re-sovereignize" the country (making it truly sovereign and independent again), and he dared the unthinkable: he openly told the Empire that it was not only wrong, it was illegitimate (just read the transcript of Putin's amazing 2007 "Munich Speech").

Putin inspired me to make a dramatic choice: will I stick to my lifelong prejudices or will I let reality prove my lifelong prejudices wrong. The first option was far more comfortable to me, and all my friends would approve. The second one was far trickier, and it would cost me the friendship of many people. But what was the better option for Russia? Could it be that it was the right thing for a "White Russian" to join forces with the ex-KGB officer?

SteveLancs , November 28, 2017 at 5:44 am GMT

The transcript for the 2007 speech is here in English, plus questions and answers

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Speech_and_the_Following_Discussion_at_the_Munich

NoseytheDuke , November 28, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT
@SteveLancs

Thanks for that Steve, I had intended to search for it but got sidetracked by visits to the vet. What strikes me whenever I read a transcript of Putin's speeches is the precision of his language, it's really impressive. It really isn't fair to compare that to the loose waffle of GWB or the Trumpster but even WJC or BHO who were considered to be commendable orators just lack the fine edge and the gravitas of Putin.

[Oct 30, 2017] IMF forced Russia to allow other former Soviet countries to use, and issue, Rubles, thereby delaying the introduction of national currencies by a year, and giving the other former Soviet countries a motivation to issue huge quantities of currency, and thereby driving hyperinflation

Notable quotes:
"... New York Magazine ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

saskydisc , October 27, 2017 at 7:21 pm

I am reading Alex Krainer's book on Bill Browder. After introducing himself, he summarized Browser's Red Alert, then spends several chapters giving the context of the 1990s US/IMF rape of Russia via Yeltsin. One thing that he mentions of which I was not aware, is that the IMF forced Russia to allow other former Soviet countries to use, and issue , Rubles, thereby delaying the introduction of national currencies by a year, and giving the other former Soviet countries a motivation to issue huge quantities of currency, and thereby driving hyperinflation. He portrays Jeffrey Sachs as possibly a geopolitical useful idiot of the US and IMF.

The IMF refused to give loans to actually assist the transition, but they had no problem giving Yeltsin a 6.7 billion dollar loan for the Chechen war. Banks were given loans "to support the ruble," which were promptly used to bet against same.

At times, the conduct of the Harvard connected personnel in Russia became so blatantly criminal that the FBI investigated and prosecuted. Harvard defended the guilty parties, and even paid a 31 million dollar US fine to settle the matter, and kept the guilty party as faculty.

rkka , October 28, 2017 at 1:08 pm
By the way, Jeff Sachs has come to the conclusion that he was used in exactly that way, that the USG never intended to actually assist Russia's transition, but to make the process as prolonged and destructive as possible.

And then there was the US support to Yeltsin's reelection campaign in '96. In January Yeltsin was polling with a 5% approval rating. 55% of Russians thought he should resign rather than seek reelection, mostly because his policies had them dying off by almost a million a year. Funny that. He and the 'Family' seriously considered cancelling the election and ruling by decree.

Instead, they decided to steal it, with the assistance of Western governments & the IMF. In March, President Clinton prevailed on the IMF to release about $10b to the Russian government, which used the funds to support Yeltsin's reelection. Years of wage arrears for government workers were suddenly cleared, as if by magic! Zyuganov was buried under a tsunami of stories that he intended to bring back War Communism and the Purges from both State and Oligarch-owned media, while getting no coverage of his actual positions from same. Zyuganov adhered to the legal limits on campaign spending, while Yeltsin exceeded them by a couple of orders of magnitude, with no consequence. And to top it all off, there was flagrant use of 'administrative resource' and outright voter fraud. Mr. Michael Meadowcroft, the leader of the OSCE election monitoring team, told The Exile of the heavy pressure he got from Western governments to minimize his reporting of how the Yeltsin reelection team was abusing Russian political processes in every possible way to ensure his reelection and the continuation of the policies that had Russians dying off by almost a million a year.

And so in '96 Western media celebrated the 54% majority vote for the guy with the 5% approval rating as 'A Triumph of Democracy!'

In 2012 they called it 'Massive Fraud!' when the guy with the 66% approval rating got 63% of the vote.

The only possible conclusion from this is that Western government care nothing for what Russians think, or how, or even whether, they live, only that the Russian government submit.

Their big problem for Western governments is that Russian voters now understand this, which puts them beyond the influence of the Anglosphere Foreign Policy Elite & Punditocracy.

This drives the AFPE&P up the wall, for they are obsessed with having 'Leverage' and 'Influence' and cannot stand having none.

And so they bleat about a miniscule Facebook ad buy.

saskydisc , October 28, 2017 at 4:23 pm
The desperation is in full display. One interesting thing that I notice is that the apolitical people are not aware, and even forget the propaganda shortly after being subjected to it. While this has the downside of making them uninterested in the facts, it does make them indifferent to the propaganda as well. Should they be dragooned into fighting, they will fight to survive, rather than to conquer.

As such, the powers that still are, are out of options. Winning a battle such as a colour revolution is more expensive to their aims in the long run than not initiating one, yet they need to steal other countries' wealth to roll over their expense accounts. I need to work up my cynicism and invest in popcorn.

saskydisc , October 28, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Another nice little detail that Krainer includes is the sending of large sums of mint US banknotes to Russian banks involved in money laundering for gangs. This was done by a bank owned by Browser's "angel" investor, Edmond Safra, and he lists how the regulators went out of their way to avoid their legal responsibilities in that matter. He also spends some time on Browder's confession that his (Browder's) pretensions of being in opposition to Soros outfit Renaissance Capital was a ruse, as Browder admits to having conducted much business with same.

He also spends some pages looking at Browder's tax evasion through transfer pricing (selling cheaply abroad, to a tax haven) using avionics outfit AVISMA.

Finally, some humour: when Browder got served his summons, he started complaining that he left the US due to prosecution of his family. Under examination, it turns out that his immediate family included professors at prestigious US universities, long after McCarthy, but long before he opted for UK citizenship.

marknesop , October 29, 2017 at 12:48 pm
Yes, I did a piece on that long ago , probably before your time here. It included some very useful links, some of which probably still work – perhaps the most eye-popping being Robert Friedman's "The Money Plane", from New York Magazine . Check it out; I think you'll find it enlightening.

I did not know that Renaissance Capital was connected to Soros, though; that's news to me, and I guess you can always learn something.

saskydisc , October 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm
Will check it out. Krainer does cite one of your pieces, in a different matter.
saskydisc , October 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm
You go into more detail, e.g. that the purpose of the shell companies was to take ownership of and manipulate Gazprom et alia. You also have more detail on Safra -- Krainer did not mention his death, and I don't recall him mentioning Mr North.
marknesop , October 29, 2017 at 9:06 am
And there is considerable anecdotal confirmation – which I realize is not evidence – that Zyuganov actually won the election, but was so stupefied and frightened at the prospect of leading such a restive country that he allowed the election to be stolen from him without opposing it. If true, he has never spoken of it himself to my knowledge. But others have.
Pro-Freedom , October 29, 2017 at 9:08 am
For that matter, there likely wouldn't not have been a Putin presidency.
kirill , October 29, 2017 at 10:30 am
Zyuganov was 5th column comprador who made sure the Communist Party did not evolve and thereby ensuring its long term oblivion.
Matt , October 29, 2017 at 10:45 am
Per Dugin, that technically qualifies him as a 6th columnist:

http://katehon.com/1318-sixth-column.html

This structure sure is stable, kek.

[Oct 21, 2017] Socialism, Land and Banking 2017 compared to 1917 by Michael Hudson

Notable quotes:
"... Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized. ..."
"... Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia's October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves socialist or "labour" since the 1980s have supported neoliberal policies that are the opposite of socialist policy. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism. ..."
"... Few socialist parties or theorists have dealt with the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that now accounts for most increase in wealth. Instead of evolving into socialism, Western capitalism is being overcome by predatory finance and rent extraction imposing debt deflation and austerity on industry as well as on labor. ..."
"... Failure of Western economies to recover from the 2008 crisis is leading to a revival of Marxist advocacy. The alternative to socialist reform is stagnation and a relapse into neofeudal financial and monopoly privileges. ..."
"... Russia's Revolution ended after 74 years, leaving the Soviet Union so dispirited that it ended in collapse. The contrast between the low living standards of Russian consumers and what seemed to be Western success became increasingly pronounced. ..."
"... When the Soviet Union dissolved itself in 1991, its leaders took neoliberal advice from its major adversary, the United States, in hope that this would set it on a capitalist road to prosperity. But turning its economies into viable industrial powers was the last thing U.S. advisors wanted to teach Russia. [3] Their aim was to turn it and its former satellites into raw-materials colonies of Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt – victims of capitalism, not rival producers. ..."
"... It should not be surprising that banks became the economy's main control centers, as in the West's bubble economies. Instead of the promised prosperity, a new class of billionaires was endowed, headed by the notorious Seven Bankers who appropriated the formerly state-owned oil and gas, nickel and platinum, electricity and aluminum production, as well as real estate, electric utilities and other public enterprises. It was the largest giveaway in modern history. The Soviet nomenklatura became the new lords in outright seizure that Marx would have characterized as "primitive accumulation." ..."
"... The American advisors knew the obvious: Russian savings had been wiped out by the polst-1991 hyperinflation, so the new owners could only cash out by selling shares to Western buyers. The kleptocrats cashed out as expected, by dumping their shares to foreign investors so quickly at such giveaway prices that Russia's stock market became the world's top performer for Western investors in 1994-96. ..."
"... The basic neoliberal idea of prosperity is financial gain based on turning rent extraction into a flow of interest payments by buyers-on-credit. This policy favors financial engineering over industrial investment, reversing the Progressive Era's industrial capitalism that Marx anticipated would be a transition stage leading to socialism. Russia adopted the West's anti-socialist rollback toward neofeudalism. ..."
"... Russia joined the dollar standard. Buying Treasury bonds meant lending to the U.S. Government. The central bank bought U.S. Treasury securities to back its domestic currency. These purchases helped finance Cold War escalation in countries around Russia. Russia paid 100% annual interest in the mid-1990s, creating a bonanza for U.S. investors. On balance, this neoliberal policy lay Russia's economy open to looting by financial institutions seeking natural resource rent, land rent and monopoly rent for themselves. Instead of targeting such rents, Russia imposed taxes mainly on labor via a regressive flat tax – too right wing to be adopted even in the United States! ..."
"... Theories of Surplus Value ..."
"... This Western financial advice became a textbook example of how not ..."
"... By 1991, when the Soviet Union's leaders decided to take the "Western" path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus. Appearances were saved by a wave of unproductive credit and debt creation to sustain the bubble economy that finally crashed in 2008. ..."
"... The same debt overgrowth occurred in the industrial sector, where bank and bondholder credit since the 1980s has been increasingly for corporate takeovers and raiding, stock buybacks and even to pay dividends. Industry has become a vehicle for financial engineering to increase stock prices and strip assets, not to increase the means of production. The result is that capitalism has fallen prey to resurgent rentier ..."
"... Theories of Surplus Value ..."
"... American Journal of Economics and Sociology ..."
"... Super-Imperialism ..."
"... The Great Credit Crash ..."
"... The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model ..."
"... Journal of Economic Issues ..."
Oct 20, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
Socialism a century ago seemed to be the wave of the future. There were various schools of socialism, but the common ideal was to guarantee support for basic needs, and for state ownership to free society from landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. In the West these hopes are now much further away than they seemed in 1917. Land and natural resources, basic infrastructure monopolies, health care and pensions have been increasingly privatized and financialized.

Instead of Germany and other advanced industrial nations leading the way as expected, Russia's October 1917 Revolution made the greatest leap. But the failures of Stalinism became an argument against Marxism – guilt-by-association with Soviet bureaucracy. European parties calling themselves socialist or "labour" since the 1980s have supported neoliberal policies that are the opposite of socialist policy. Russia itself has chosen neoliberalism.

Few socialist parties or theorists have dealt with the rise of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector that now accounts for most increase in wealth. Instead of evolving into socialism, Western capitalism is being overcome by predatory finance and rent extraction imposing debt deflation and austerity on industry as well as on labor.

Failure of Western economies to recover from the 2008 crisis is leading to a revival of Marxist advocacy. The alternative to socialist reform is stagnation and a relapse into neofeudal financial and monopoly privileges.

Socialism flowered in the 19 th century as a program to reform capitalism by raising labor's status and living standards, with a widening range of public services and subsidies to make economies more efficient. Reformers hoped to promote this evolution by extending voting rights to the working population at large.

Ricardo's discussion of land rent led early industrial capitalists to oppose Europe's hereditary landlord class. But despite democratic political reform, the world has un-taxed land rent and is still grappling with the problem of how to keep housing affordable instead of siphoning off rent to a landlord class – more recently transmuted into mortgage interest paid to banks by owners who pledge the rental value for loans. Most bank lending today is for real estate mortgages. The effect is to bid up land prices toward the point where the entire rental value is paid as interest. This threatens to be a problem for socialist China as well as for capitalist economies.

Landlords, banks and the cost of living

The classical economists sought to make their nations more competitive by keeping down the price of labor so as to undersell competitors. The main cost of living was food; today it is housing. Housing and food prices are determined not by the material costs of production, but by land rent – the rising market price for land.

In the era of the French Physiocrats, Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, this land rent accrued to Europe's hereditary landlord class. Today, the land's rent is paid mainly to bankers – because families need credit to buy a home. Or, if they rent, their landlords use the property rent to pay interest to the banks.

The land issue was central to Russia's October Revolution, as it was for European politics. But the discussion of land rent and taxation has lost much of the clarity (and passion) that guided the 19 th century when it dominated classical political economy, liberal reform, and indeed most early socialist politics.

In 1909/10 Britain experienced a constitutional crisis when the democratically elected House of Commons passed a land tax, only to be overridden by the House of Lords, governed by the old aristocracy. The ensuing political crisis was settled by a rule that the Lords never again could overrule a revenue bill passed by the House of Commons. But that was Britain's last real opportunity to tax away the economic rents of landlords and natural resource owners. The liberal drive to tax the land faltered, and never again would gain serious chance of passage.

The democratization of home ownership during the 20 th century led middle-class voters to oppose property taxes – including taxes on commercial sites and natural resources. Tax policy in general has become pro- rentier and anti-labor – the regressive opposite of 19 th -century liberalism as developed by "Ricardian socialists" such as John Stuart Mill and Henry George. Today's economic individualism has lost the early class consciousness that sought to tax economic rent and socialize banking.

The United States enacted an income tax in 1913, falling mainly on rentier income, not on the working population. Capital gains (the main source of rising wealth today) were taxed at the same rate as other income. But the vested interests campaigned to reverse this spirit, slashing capital gains taxes and making tax policy much more regressive. The result is that today, most wealth is not gained by capital investment for profits. Instead, asset-price gains have been financed by a debt-leveraged inflation of real estate, stock and bond prices.

Many middle-class families owe most of their net worth to rising prices for their homes. But by far the lion's share of the real estate and stock market gains have accrued to just One Percent of the population. And while bank credit has enabled buyers to bid up housing prices, the price has been to siphon off more and more of labor's income to pay mortgage loans or rents. As a result, finance today is what is has been throughout history: the main force polarizing economies between debtors and creditors.

Global oil and mining companies created flags of convenience to make themselves tax-exempt, by pretending to make all their production and distribution profits in tax-free trans-shipping havens such as Liberia and Panama (which use U.S. dollars instead of being real countries with their own currency and tax systems).

The fact that absentee-owned real estate and natural resource extraction are practically free of income taxation shows that democratic political reform has not been a sufficient guarantee of socialist success. Tax rules and public regulation have been captured by the rentiers , dashing the hopes of 19 th -century classical reformers that progressive tax policy would produce the same effect as direct public ownership of the means of production, while leaving "the market" as an individualistic alternative to government regulation or planning.

In practice, planning and resource allocation has passed to the banking and financial sector. Many observers hoped that this would evolve into state planning, or at least work in conjunction with it as in Germany. But liberal "Ricardian socialist" failed, as did German-style "state socialism" publicly financing transportation and other basic infrastructure, pensions and similar "external" costs of living and doing business that industrial employers otherwise would have to bear. Attempts at "half-way" socialism via tax and regulatory policy against monopolies and banking have faltered repeatedly. As long as major economic or political choke points are left in private hands, they will serve s springboards to subvert real reform policies. That is why Marxist policy went beyond these would-be socialist reforms.

To Marx, the historical task of capitalism was to prepare the way for socializing the means of production by clearing away feudalism's legacy: a hereditary landlord class, predatory banking, and the monopolies that financial interests had pried away from governments. The path of least resistance was to start by socializing land and basic infrastructure. This drive to free society from economic overhead in the form of hereditary privilege and unearned income by the "idle rich" was a step toward socialist management, by minimizing rentier costs (" faux frais of production").

Proto-socialist reform in the leading industrial nations

Marx was by no means alone in expecting a widening range of economic activity to be shifted away from the market to the public sector. State socialism (basically, state-sponsored capitalism) subsidized pensions and public health, education and other basic needs so as to save industrial enterprise from having to bear these charges.

In the United States, Simon Patten – the first economics professor at the new Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania – defined public infrastructure as a "fourth factor of production" alongside labor, capital and land. The aim of public investment was not to make a profit, but to lower the cost of living and doing business so as to minimize industry's wage and infrastructure bill. Public health, pensions, roads and other transportation, education, research and development were subsidized or provided freely. [1]

The most advanced industrial economies seemed to be evolving toward some kind of socialism. Marx shared a Progressive Era optimism that expected industrial capitalism to evolve in the most logical way, by freeing economies from the landlordship and predatory banking inherited from Europe's feudal era. That was above all the classical reform program of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and the intellectual mainstream.

But the aftermath of World War I saw the vested interests mount a Counter-Enlightenment. Banking throughout the Western world find its major market in real estate mortgage lending, natural resource extraction and monopolies – the Anglo-American model, not that of German industrial banking that had seemed to be capitalism's financial future in the late 19 th century.

Since 1980 the Western nations have reversed early optimistic hopes to reform market economies. Instead of the classical dream of taxing away the land rent that had supported Europe's hereditary landed aristocracies, commercial real estate has been made virtually exempt from income taxation. Absentee owners avoid tax by a combination of tax-deductibility for interest payments (as if it is a necessary business expense) and fictitious over-depreciation tax credits that pretend that buildings and properties are losing value even when market prices for their land are soaring.

These tax breaks have made real estate the largest bank customers. The effect has been to financialize property rents into interest payments. Likewise in the industrial sphere, regulatory capture by lobbyists for the major monopolies has disabled public attempts to keep prices in line with the cost of production and prevent fraud by breaking up or regulating monopolies. These too have become major bank clients.

The beginning and end of Russian socialism

Most Marxists expected socialism to emerge first in Germany as the most advanced capitalist economy. After its October 1917 Revolution, Russia seemed to jump ahead, the first nation to free itself from rent and interest charges inherited from feudalism. By taking land, industry and finance into state control, Soviet Russia's October Revolution created an economy without private landlords and bankers. Russian urban planning did not take account of the natural rent-of-location, nor did it charge for the use of money created by the state bank. The state bank created money and credit, so there was no need to rely on a wealthy financial class. And as property owner, the state did not seek to charge land rent or monopoly rent.

By freeing society from the post-feudal rentier class of landlords, bankers and predatory finance, the Soviet regime was much more than a bourgeois revolution. The Revolution's early leaders sought to free wage labor from exploitation by taking industry into the public domain. State companies provided labor with free lunches, education, sports and leisure activity, and modest housing.

Agricultural land tenure was a problem. Given its centralized marketing role, the state could have reallocated land to build up a rural peasantry and helped it invest in modernization. The state could have manipulated crop prices to siphon off agricultural gains, much like Cargill does in the United States. Instead, Stalin's collectivization program waged a war against the kulaks. This political shock led to famine. It was a steep price to pay for avoiding rent was paid to a landlord class or peasantry.

Marx had said nothing about the military dimension of the transition from progressive industrial capitalism to socialism. But Russia's Revolution – like that of China three decades later – showed that the attempt to create a socialist economy had a military dimension that absorbed the lion's share of the economic surplus. Military aggression by a half dozen leading capitalist nations seeking to overthrow the Bolshevik government obliged Russia to adopt War Communism. For over half a century the Soviet Union devoted most of capital to military investment, not provide sufficient housing or consumer goods for its population beyond spreading literacy, education and public health.

Despite this military overhead, the fact that the Soviet Union was free of a rentier class of financiers and absentee landlords should have made the Soviet Union the world's most competitive low-cost economy in theory. In 1945 the United States certainly feared the efficiency of socialist planning. Its diplomats opposed Soviet membership on the ground that state enterprise and pricing would enable such economies to undersell capitalist countries. [2] So socialist countries were kept out of the IMF, World Bank and the planned World Trade Organization, explicitly on the ground that they were free of land rent, natural resource rent, monopoly rent and financial charges.

Capitalist economies are now privatizing and financializing their basic needs and infrastructure. Every activity is being forced into "the market," at prices that need to cover not only the technological costs of production but also interest, ancillary financial fees and pension set-asides. The cost of living and doing business is further privatized as financial interests pry roads, health care, water, communications and other public utilities away from the public sector, while driving housing and commercial real estate deeply into debt.

The Cold War has shown that capitalist countries plan to continue fighting socialist economies, forcing them to militarize in self-defense. The resulting oppressive military overhead is then blamed on socialist bureaucracy and inefficiency.

The collapse of Russian Stalinism

Russia's Revolution ended after 74 years, leaving the Soviet Union so dispirited that it ended in collapse. The contrast between the low living standards of Russian consumers and what seemed to be Western success became increasingly pronounced. In contrast to China's housing construction policy, the Soviet regime insisted that families double up. Clothing and other consumer goods had only drab designs, needlessly suppressing variety. To cap matters, public opposition to Russia's military personnel losses in Afghanistan caused popular resentment.

When the Soviet Union dissolved itself in 1991, its leaders took neoliberal advice from its major adversary, the United States, in hope that this would set it on a capitalist road to prosperity. But turning its economies into viable industrial powers was the last thing U.S. advisors wanted to teach Russia. [3] Their aim was to turn it and its former satellites into raw-materials colonies of Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt – victims of capitalism, not rival producers.

Russia has gone to the furthest anti-socialist extreme by adopting a flat tax that fails to distinguish wages and profits of labor and capital from unearned rental income. By also having to pay a value-added tax (VAT) on consumer goods (with no tax on trading in financial assets), labor is taxed much higher than the wealthy.

Most Western "wealth creation" is achieved by debt-leveraged price increases for real estate, stocks and bonds, and by privatizing the public domain. The latter process has gained momentum since the early 1980s in Margaret Thatcher's Britain and Ronald Reagan's America, followed by Third World countries acting under World Bank tutelage. The pretense is that privatization will maximize technological efficiency and prosperity for the economy as a whole.

Following this advice, Russian leaders agreed that the major sources of economic rent – natural resource wealth, real estate and state companies – should be transferred to private owners (often to themselves and associated insiders). The "magic of the marketplace" was supposed to lead the new owners to make the economy more efficient as a byproduct of making money in the quickest way possible.

Each Russian worker got a "voucher" worth about $25. Most were sold off simply to obtain money to buy food and other needs as many companies stopped paying wages. Russia had wiped out domestic savings with hyperinflation after 1991.

It should not be surprising that banks became the economy's main control centers, as in the West's bubble economies. Instead of the promised prosperity, a new class of billionaires was endowed, headed by the notorious Seven Bankers who appropriated the formerly state-owned oil and gas, nickel and platinum, electricity and aluminum production, as well as real estate, electric utilities and other public enterprises. It was the largest giveaway in modern history. The Soviet nomenklatura became the new lords in outright seizure that Marx would have characterized as "primitive accumulation."

The American advisors knew the obvious: Russian savings had been wiped out by the polst-1991 hyperinflation, so the new owners could only cash out by selling shares to Western buyers. The kleptocrats cashed out as expected, by dumping their shares to foreign investors so quickly at such giveaway prices that Russia's stock market became the world's top performer for Western investors in 1994-96.

The Russian oligarchs kept most of their sales proceeds abroad in British and other banks, beyond the reach of Russian authorities to recapture. Much was spent on London real estate, sports teams and luxury estates in the world's flight-capital havens. Almost none was invested in Russian industry. Wage arrears often mounted up half a year behind. Living standards shrank, along with the population as birth rates plunged throughout the former Soviet economies. Skilled labor emigrated.

The basic neoliberal idea of prosperity is financial gain based on turning rent extraction into a flow of interest payments by buyers-on-credit. This policy favors financial engineering over industrial investment, reversing the Progressive Era's industrial capitalism that Marx anticipated would be a transition stage leading to socialism. Russia adopted the West's anti-socialist rollback toward neofeudalism.

Russian officials failed to understand the State Theory of money that is the basis of Modern Monetary Theory: States can create their own money, giving it value by accepting it in payment of taxes. The Soviet government financed its economy for seventy years without any need to back the ruble with foreign exchange. But Russia's central bank was persuaded that "sound money" required it to back its domestic ruble currency with U.S. Treasury bonds in order to prevent inflation. Russian leaders did not realize that dollars or other foreign currencies were only needed to finance balance-of-payments deficits, not domestic spending except as this money was spent on imports.

Russia joined the dollar standard. Buying Treasury bonds meant lending to the U.S. Government. The central bank bought U.S. Treasury securities to back its domestic currency. These purchases helped finance Cold War escalation in countries around Russia. Russia paid 100% annual interest in the mid-1990s, creating a bonanza for U.S. investors. On balance, this neoliberal policy lay Russia's economy open to looting by financial institutions seeking natural resource rent, land rent and monopoly rent for themselves. Instead of targeting such rents, Russia imposed taxes mainly on labor via a regressive flat tax – too right wing to be adopted even in the United States!

When the Soviet Union dissolved itself, its officials showed no apprehension of how quickly their economies would be de-industrialized as a result of accepting U.S. advice to privatize state enterprises, natural resources and basic infrastructure. Whatever knowledge of Marx's analysis of capitalism had existed (perhaps in Nicolai Bukharin's time) was long gone. It is as if no Russian official had read Volumes II and III of Marx's Capital (or Theories of Surplus Value ) where he reviewed the laws of economic rent and interest-bearing debt.

The inability of Russia, the Baltics and other post-Soviet countries to understand the FIRE sector and its financial dynamics provides an object lesson for other countries as to what to avoid. Reversing the principles of Russia's October 1917 Revolution, the post-Soviet kleptocracy was akin to the feudal epoch's "primitive accumulation" of the land and commons. They adopted the neoliberal business plan: to establish monopolies, first and most easily by privatizing the public infrastructure that had been built up, extracting economic rents and them paying out the resulting as interest and dividends.

This Western financial advice became a textbook example of how not to organize an economy. [4] Having rejoined the global economy free of debt in 1991, Russia's population, companies and government quickly ran up debts as a result of its man-made disaster. Families could have been given their homes freely, just as corporate managers were given their entire companies virtually for free. But Russian managers were as anti-labor as they were greedy to grab their own assets from the public domain. Soaring housing prices quickly plagued Russian's economy with one of the world's highest-priced living and business costs. That prevented any thought of industrial competitiveness with the United States or Europe. What passed for Soviet Marxism lacked an understanding of how economic rents and the ensuing high labor costs affected international prices, or how debt service and capital flight affected the currency's exchange rate.

Adversaries of socialism pronounced Marxist theory dead, as if the Soviet dissolution meant the end of Marxism. But today, less than three decades later, the leading Western economies are themselves succumbing to an overgrowth of debt and shrinking prosperity. Russia failed to recognize that just as its own economy was expiring, so was the West's. Industrial capitalism is succumbing to a predatory finance capitalism that is leaving Western economies debt-ridden. [5] The underlying causes were clear already a century ago: unchecked financial rentiers , absentee ownership and monopolies.

The post-Soviet collapse in the 1990s was not a failure of Marxism, but of the anti-socialist ideology that is plunging Western economies under domination by the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector's symbiosis of the three forms of rent extraction: land and natural resource rent, monopoly rent, and interest (financial rent). This is precisely the fate from which 19 th -century socialism, Marxism and even state capitalism sought to save the industrial economies.

A silver lining to the Soviet "final" stage has been to free Marxist analysis from Russian Marxology. Its focus of Soviet Marxology was not an analysis of how the capitalist nations were becoming financialized neo- rentier economies, but was mainly propagandistic, ossifying into a stereotyped identity politics appealing to labor and oppressed minorities. Today's revival of Marxist scholarship has begun to show how the U.S.-centered global economy is entering a period of chronic austerity, debt deflation, and polarization between creditors and debtors.

Financialization and privatization are submerging capitalism in debt deflation

By 1991, when the Soviet Union's leaders decided to take the "Western" path, the Western economies themselves were reaching a terminus. Appearances were saved by a wave of unproductive credit and debt creation to sustain the bubble economy that finally crashed in 2008.

The pitfalls of this financial dynamic were not apparent in the early years after World War II, largely because economies emerged with their private sectors free of debt. The ensuing boom endowed the middle class in the United States and other countries, but was debt financed, first for home ownership and commercial real estate, then by consumer credit to purchase of automobiles and appliances, and finally by credit-card debt just to meet living expenses.

The same debt overgrowth occurred in the industrial sector, where bank and bondholder credit since the 1980s has been increasingly for corporate takeovers and raiding, stock buybacks and even to pay dividends. Industry has become a vehicle for financial engineering to increase stock prices and strip assets, not to increase the means of production. The result is that capitalism has fallen prey to resurgent rentier interests instead of liberating economies from absentee landlords, predatory banking and monopolies. Banks and bondholders have found their most lucrative market not in the manufacturing sector but in real estate and natural resource extraction.

These vested interests have translated their takings into the political power to shed taxes and dismantle regulations on wealth. The resulting political Counter-Reformation has inverted the idea of "free market" to mean an economy free for rent extractors, not free from landlords, monopolists and financial exploitation as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and other classical economists had envisioned. The word "reform" as used by today's neoliberal media means undoing Progressive Era reforms, dismantling public regulation and government power – except for control by finance and its allied vested interests.

All this is the opposite of socialism, which has now sunk to its nadir through the Western World. The past four decades have seen most of the European and North American parties calling themselves "socialist" make an about-face to follow Tony Blair's New Labour, the French socialists-in-name and the Clinton's New Democrats. They support privatization, financialization and a shift away from progressive taxation to a value-added tax (VAT) falling on consumers, not on finance or real estate.

China's socialist diplomacy in today's hostile world

Now that Western finance capitalism is stagnating, it is fighting even harder to prevent the post-2008 crisis from leading to socialist reforms that would re-socialize infrastructure that has been privatized and put a public banking system in place. Depicting the contrast between socialist and finance-capitalist economies as a clash of civilizations, U.S.-centered "Western" diplomacy is using military and political subversion to prevent a transition from capitalism into socialism.

China is the leading example of socialist success in a mixed economy. Unlike the Soviet Union, it has not proselytized its economic system or sought to promote revolution abroad to emulate its economic doctrine. Just the opposite: To avert attack, China has given foreign investors a stake in its economic growth. The aim has been to mobilize U.S. and other foreign interests as allies, willing customers for China's exports, and suppliers of modern production facilities in China.

This is the opposite of the antagonism that confronted Russia. The risk is that it involves financial investment. But China has protected its autonomy by requiring majority Chinese ownership in most sectors. The main danger is domestic, in the form of financial dynamics and private rent extraction. The great economic choice facing China today concerns the degree to which land and natural resources should be taxed.

The state owns the land, but does fully tax its rising valuation or rent-of-location that has made many families rich. Letting the resulting real-estate and financialized wealth dominate its economic growth poses two dangers: First, it increases the price that new buyers must pay for their home. Second, rising housing prices force these families to borrow – at interest. This turns the rental value of land – value created by society and public infrastructure investment – into a flow of interest to the banks. They end up receiving more over time than the sellers, while increasing the cost of living and doing business. That is a fate which a socialist economy must avoid at all costs.

At issue is how China can best manage credit and natural resource rent in a way that best meets the needs of its population. Now that China has built up a prosperous industry and real estate, its main challenge is to avoid the financial dynamics that are subjecting the West to debt deflation and burying Western economies. To avoid these dynamics, China must curtail the proliferation of unproductive debt created merely to transfer property on credit, inflating asset prices in the process.

Socialism is incompatible with a rentier class of landlords, natural resource owners and monopolists – the preferred clients of banks hoping to turn economic rent into interest charges. As a vehicle to allocate resources "the market" reflects the status quo of property ownership and credit-creation privileges at any given moment of time, without consideration for what is fair and efficient or predatory. Vested interests claim that such a market is an immutable force of nature, whose course cannot be altered by government "interference." This rhetoric of political passivity aims to deter politicians and voters from regulating economies, leaving the wealthy free to extract as much economic rent and interest as markets can bear by privatizing real estate, natural resources, banking and other monopolies.

Such rent seeking is antithetical to socialism's aim to take these assets into the public domain. That is why the financial sector, oil and mineral extractors and monopolists fight so passionately to dismantle state regulatory power and public banking. That is the diplomacy of finance capital, aiming to consolidate American hegemony over a unipolar world. It backs this strategy with a neoliberal academic curriculum that depicts predatory financial and rentier gains as if they add to national income, not simply transfer it into the hands of the rentier classes. This misleading picture of economic reality poses a danger for China sending its students to study economics at American and European universities.

The century that has elapsed since Russia's October 1917 Revolution has produced a substantial Marxist literature describing how finance capitalism has overpowered industrial capitalism. Its dynamics occupied Marx in Volumes II and III of Capital (and also his Theories of Surplus Value ). Like most observers of his era, Marx expected capitalism to make a substantial step toward socialism by overcoming the dynamics of parasitic capital, above all the tendency for debt to keep on expanding at compound interest until it produces a financial crash.

The only way to control banks and their allied rentier sectors is outright socialization. The past century has shown that if society does not control the banks and financial sector, they will control society. Their strategy is to block government money creation so that economies will be forced to rely on banks and bondholders. Regulatory authority to limit such financial aggression and the monopoly pricing and rent extraction it supports has been crippled in the West by "regulatory capture" by the rentier oligarchy.

Attempts to tax away rental income (the liberal alternative to taking real estate and natural resources directly into the public domain) is prone to lobbying for loopholes and evasion, most notoriously via offshore banking centers in tax-avoidance enclaves and the "flags of convenience" sponsored by the global oil and mining companies. This leaves the only way to save society from the financial power to convert rent into interest to be a policy of nationalizing natural resources, fully taxing land rent (where land and minerals are not taken directly into the public domain), and de-privatizing infrastructure and other key sectors.

Conclusion

Markets have not recovered for the products of American industry and labor since 2008. Industrial capitalism has been sacrificed to a form of finance capitalism that is looking more pre-capitalist (or simply oligarchic and neofeudal) with each passing year. The resulting polarization forces every economy – including China – to choose between saving its bankers and other creditors or freeing debtors and lowering the economy's cost structure. Will the government enforce bank and bondholder claims, or will it give priority to the economy and its people? That is an eternal political question spanning pre-capitalist, capitalist and post-capitalist economies.

Marx described the mathematics of compound interest expanding to absorb the entire economy as age-old, long predating industrial capitalism. He characterized the ancient mode of production as dominated by slavery and usury, and medieval banking as predatory. These financial dynamics exist in socialist economies just as they did in medieval and ancient economies. The way in which governments manage the dynamics of credit and debt thus are the dominant force in every era, and should receive the most pressing attention today as China shapes its socialist future.

Notes.

[1] I give the details in "Simon Patten on Public Infrastructure and Economic Rent Capture," American Journal of Economics and Sociology 70 (October 2011):873-903.

[2] My book Super-Imperialism (1972; new ed. 2002) reviews this discussion during 1944-46.

[3] I discuss the IMF and World Bank plan to wipe out Russian savings with hyperinflation and make manufacturing investment uneconomic in "How Neoliberal Tax and Financial Policy Impoverishes Russia – Needlessly," Mir Peremen (The World of Transformations), 2012 (3):49-64 (in Russian). МИР ПЕРЕМЕН 3/2012 (ISSN 2073-3038) Mir peremen М. ХАДСОН, Неолиберальная налоговая и финансовая политика приводит к обнищанию России, 49-64.

[4] I give details in "How Neoliberals Bankrupted 'New Europe': Latvia in the Global Credit Crisis," (with Jeffrey Sommers), in Martijn Konings, ed., The Great Credit Crash (Verso: London and New York, 2010), pp. 244-63, and "Stockholm Syndrome in the Baltics: Latvia's neoliberal war against labor and industry," in Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson , eds., The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model (Routledge 2014), pp. 44-63.

[5] For more analysis see Dirk Bezemer and Michael Hudson, " Finance is Not the Economy: Reviving the Conceptual Distinction ," Journal of Economic Issues , 50 (2016: #3), pp. 745-768.

[Oct 18, 2017] Spy Schools How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities by Nick Roll

Notable quotes:
"... Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities ..."
"... The Boston Globe ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The Price of Admission ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... Inside Higher Ed ..."
"... look back to Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mao, Mussolini et.al with THIER use of domestic agencies to impose lock-step thinking and to ferret out free-thinkers. ..."
"... It is amazing how many biochemists and microbiologists from the People's Republic of China would e-mail me asking if I had a position in my "lab," touting their bench skills, every time I published a paper on the federal bioterrorism program, medical civic action programs, etc. ..."
"... When I started teaching 48 years ago, the president of my college was James Dovonan, Bill Donovan's (founder of the OSS) brother, portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie, "Bridge of Spies." ..."
"... Beyond NIH funded grant-based research, Homeland Security, Energy, Defense, and the Intelligence Community agencies have long histories of relationships with American academia. This could be funded research, collaborative research, shared personnel relationships, or all other manner of cooperation. Sometimes it's fairly well known and sometimes it's kept quiet, and sometimes it's even classified. But it is much more extensive and expansive than what Golden describes, and much less "cozy" or suspicious. ..."
"... For years I have said that it is foolish to look to universities for moral guidance, and this story is one more instance. In this case, the moral ground is swampy at best, and the universities do not appear to have spent a lot of time worrying about possible problems as long as the situation works to their advantage financially. ..."
"... Does Golden discuss at all the way in which the CIA and other intelligence services funnel money into academic research without the source of the funding ever being revealed? This was common practice in the 1960s and 1970s, and colleges like MIT were among those involved in this chicanery. ..."
"... Where has IHE been for the past several decades? Read Rosenfeld's book, Subversives..... about the FBI's illegal acts at Berkeley. Or read this, a summary of his book: https://alumni.berkeley.edu... Or read George R. Stewart, The Year of the Oath. ..."
www.chronicle.com
October 3, 2017

The CIA Within Academe 21 Comments

Book documents how foreign and domestic intelligence agencies use -- and perhaps exploit -- higher education and academe for spy operations.
Foreign and domestic intelligence services spar and spy on one another all across the world. But it would be naïve to think it's not happening in the lab or classroom as well.

In his new book, Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America's Universities ( Henry Holt and Company ), investigative journalist Daniel Golden explores the fraught -- and sometimes exploitative -- relationship between higher education and intelligence services, both foreign and domestic. Chapters explore various case studies of the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation using the open and collaborative nature of higher education to their advantage, as well as foreign governments infiltrating the U.S. via education.

"It's pretty widespread, and I'd say it's most prevalent at research universities," Golden, an editor at ProPublica and an alumnus of The Boston Globe 's "Spotlight" team, told Inside Higher Ed . "The foreign intelligence services have the interest and the opportunity to learn cutting-edge, Pentagon-funded or government-funded research."

Golden, who has also covered higher education for The Wall Street Journal , previously wrote about the intersection of wealth and admissions in his 2006 book The Price of Admission .

Each of the case studies in Spy Schools , which goes on sale Oct. 10, is critical. One could read the chapters on the Chinese government's interest in U.S. research universities as hawkish, but then turn to the next chapter on Harvard's relationship with the CIA and read it as critical of the American intelligence establishment as well.

"People of one political persuasion might focus on [the chapters regarding] foreign espionage; people of another political persuasion might focus on domestic espionage," Golden said. "I try to follow where the facts lead."

Perhaps the most prestigious institution Golden examines is Harvard University, probing its cozy relationship with the CIA. (While Harvard has recently come under scrutiny for its relationship with the agency after it withdrew an invitation for Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow -- after the agency objected to her appointment -- this book was written before the Manning incident, which occurred in September.) The university, which has had varying degrees of closeness and coldness with the CIA over the years, currently allows the agency to send officers to the midcareer program at the Kennedy School of Government while continuing to act undercover, with the school's knowledge. When the officers apply -- often with fudged credentials that are part of their CIA cover -- the university doesn't know they're CIA agents, but once they're in, Golden writes, Harvard allows them to tell the university that they're undercover. Their fellow students, however -- often high-profile or soon-to-be-high-profile actors in the world of international diplomacy -- are kept in the dark.

"Kenneth Moskow is one of a long line of CIA officers who have enrolled undercover at the Kennedy School, generally with Harvard's knowledge and approval, gaining access to up-and-comers worldwide," Golden writes. "For four decades the CIA and Harvard have concealed this practice, which raises larger questions about academic boundaries, the integrity of class discussions and student interactions, and whether an American university has a responsibility to accommodate U.S. intelligence."

But the CIA isn't the only intelligence group operating at Harvard. Golden notes Russian spies have enrolled at the Kennedy School, although without Harvard's knowledge or cooperation.

When contacted by Inside Higher Ed , Harvard officials didn't deny Golden's telling, but defended the university's practices while emphasizing the agreement between the university and the CIA -- which Golden also writes about -- on not using Harvard to conduct CIA fieldwork.

"Harvard Kennedy School does not knowingly provide false information or 'cover' for any member of our community from an intelligence agency, nor do we allow members of our community to carry out intelligence operations at Harvard Kennedy School," Eric Rosenbach, co-director of the Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said in a statement.

While Golden said the CIA's involvement on campus raises existential questions about the purpose and integrity of higher education, Harvard maintained that the Kennedy School was living up to its mission.

"Our community consists of people from different spheres of public service. We are proud to train people from the U.S. government and the intelligence community, as well as peace activists and those who favor more open government," Rosenbach said in his statement. "We train students from a wide range of foreign countries and foreign governments, including -- among others -- Israel, U.K., Russia and China. That is consistent with our mission and we are proud to have that reach."

On the other hand, other countries are interested in exploiting U.S. higher education. Golden documents the case of Ruopeng Liu, a graduate student at Duke University who siphoned off U.S.-government-funded research to Chinese researchers. Liu eventually returned to China and has used some of the research for his Chinese-government-funded start-up ventures.

Golden is comprehensive, interviewing Duke researchers who worked with Liu, as well as dispatching a freelance journalist in China to interview Liu (he denied wrongdoing, saying his actions were taken as part of higher education's collaborative norms regarding research projects). Despite questions that arose while Liu was a student, he received his doctorate in 2009 without any formal questions or pushback from the university. A week before Liu defended his dissertation, Golden notes that Duke officials voted to move forward in negotiations with the Chinese government regarding opening a Duke campus in China -- raising questions about whether Duke was cautious about punishing a Chinese student lest there were negative business implications for Duke. ( The building of the campus proved to be a controversial move in its own right. )

The Duke professor Liu worked under told Golden it would be hard to prove Liu acted with intentional malice rather than out of genuine cultural and translational obstacles, or ethical slips made by a novice researcher. Duke officials told Inside Higher Ed that there weren't any connections between Liu and the vote.

"The awarding of Ruopeng Liu's degree had absolutely no connection to the deliberations over the proposal for Duke to participate in the founding of a new university in Kunshan, China," a spokesman said in an email.

These are just two chapters of Golden's book, which also goes on to document the foreign exchange relationship between Marietta College, in Ohio, and the controversial Chinese-intelligence-aligned University of International Relations. Agreements between Marietta and UIR, which is widely regarded a recruiting ground for Chinese intelligence services, include exchanging professors and sending Chinese students to Marietta. Conversely, Golden writes, as American professors teach UIR students who could end up spying on the U.S., American students at Marietta are advised against studying abroad at UIR if they have an interest in working for the government -- studying at UIR carries a risk for students hoping to get certain security clearances. Another highlight is the chapter documenting the CIA's efforts to stage phony international academic conferences, put on to lure Iranian nuclear scientists as attendees and get them out of their country -- and in a position to defect to the U.S. According to Golden's sources, the operations, combined with other efforts, have been successful enough "to hinder Iran's nuclear weapons program."

But Golden's book doesn't just shed light on previously untold stories. It also highlights the existential questions facing higher education, not only when dealing with infiltration from foreign governments, but also those brought on by cozy relationships between the U.S. intelligence and academe.

"One issue is American national security," Golden said. "Universities do a lot of research that's important to our government and our military, and they don't take very strong precautions against it being stolen," he said. "So the domestic espionage side -- I'm kind of a traditionalist and I believe in the ideal of universities as places where the brightest minds of all countries come together to learn, teach each other, study and do research. Espionage from both sides taints that that's kind of disturbing."

After diving deep into the complex web that ties higher education and espionage together, however, Golden remains optimistic about the future.

"It wouldn't be that hard to tighten up the intellectual property rules and have written collaboration agreements and have more courses about intellectual safeguards," he said. "In the 1970s, Harvard adopted guidelines against U.S. intelligence trying to recruit foreign students in an undercover way they didn't become standard practice [across academe, but], I still think those guidelines are pertinent and colleges would do well to take a second look at them."

"In the idealistic dreamer mode, it would be wonderful if the U.N. or some other organization would take a look at this issue, and say, 'Can we declare universities off-limits to espionage?'"

Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 8:18 AM

Equating the presence and activities of US intelligence on campuses with that of foreign intelligence is pretty obtuse moral relativism. US academia and US intelligence alike benefit from cooperation, and the American people are the winners overall. By the way, is it really necessary to twice describe this relationship as "cozy"? What does that mean, other to suggest there's something illicit about it?

Grace Alcock -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 4, 2017 1:30 AM

It'd be nice if American intelligence was paying a bit more attention to what goes on in academic research--as far as I can tell, the country keeps making policies that don't seem particularly well-informed by the research in relevant areas. Can we get them to infiltrate more labs of scientists working on climate change or something?

Maybe stick around, engage in some participant observation and figure that research out? It's not clear they have any acquaintance with the literature on the causes of war. Really, pick a place to start, and pay attention.

alsotps -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 5:20 PM

If you cannot see how a gov't intelligence agency, prohibited from working in the USA by statute and who is eye-deep in AMERICAN education is wrong, then I am worried. Read history. Look back to the 1970's to start and to the 1950's with FBI and the military agents in classrooms; then read about HUAC.

Now, look back to Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mao, Mussolini et.al with THIER use of domestic agencies to impose lock-step thinking and to ferret out free-thinkers.

Get it? it is 'illicit!"

Nicholas Dujmovic -> alsotps , October 4, 2017 12:38 PM

Actually, I read quite a bit of history. I also know that US intelligence agencies are not "prohibited from working in the USA." If they have relationships in academia that remind you of Stalin, Hitler, etc., how have US agencies "imposed lock-step thinking and ferreted out free-thinkers?" Hasn't seemed to work, has it? Your concern is overwrought.

Former Community College Prof -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 12:12 PM

"Cozy" might refer to the mutual gains afforded by allowing the federal government to break many rules (and laws) while conducting their "intelligence operations" in academe. I do not know if I felt Homeland Security should have had permission to bring to this country, under false premises supported by ICE and accrediting agencies, thousands of foreign nationals and employed them at companies like Facebook, Apple, Morgan Stanley and the U.S. Army. While Homeland Security collected 16K tuition from each of them (and the companies that hired these F-1s didn't have to pay FICA) all our nation got was arrests of 20 mid level visa brokers.

https://www.nytimes.com/201...

Personally, I think cozy was quite complimentary as I would have chosen other words. Just imagine if there are additional "undercover students" with false credentials in numbers significant enough to throw off data or stopping universities and colleges from enforcing rules and regulations. If you set up and accredit a "fake university" and keep the proceeds, it strikes me as illicit.

alsotps -> Former Community College Prof , October 3, 2017 5:21 PM

Hey...don't imagine it. Read about Cointelpro and military 'intelligence' agents in classes in the early 1970's....

Trevor Ronson -> Nicholas Dujmovic , October 3, 2017 2:36 PM

And behaving as if the "the presence and activities of US intelligence on campuses" is something to accept without question is also "obtuse moral relativism". We are talking about an arrangement wherein a / the most prestigious institutions of higher learning has an established relationship with the CIA along with some accepted protocol to ongoing participation.

Whether it is right, wrong, or in between is another matter but please don't pretend that it's just business as usual and not worthy of deeper investigation.

alsotps -> Trevor Ronson , October 3, 2017 5:16 PM

Unfortunately for many people, it IS business as usual.

George Avery , October 3, 2017 9:46 AM

It is amazing how many biochemists and microbiologists from the People's Republic of China would e-mail me asking if I had a position in my "lab," touting their bench skills, every time I published a paper on the federal bioterrorism program, medical civic action programs, etc.

Never mind that I primarily do health policy and economics work, and have not been near a lab bench since I returned to school for my doctorate.....anything with a defense or security application drew a flurry of interest in getting involved.

As a result, I tended to be very discerning in who I took on as an advisee, if only to protect my security clearance.

alsotps -> George Avery , October 3, 2017 5:22 PM

PAr for the course for both UG and grad students from China who have not paid a head hunter. ANY school or program offering money to international students was flooded by such inquiries. Get over yourself.

John Lobell , October 3, 2017 6:25 AM

When I started teaching 48 years ago, the president of my college was James Dovonan, Bill Donovan's (founder of the OSS) brother, portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie, "Bridge of Spies."

We had a program in "Tropical Architecture" which enrolled students form "third world" countries. Rumor was -- --

jloewen , October 3, 2017 10:38 AM

When I got my Ph.D. from Harvard in 1968, the Shah of Iran got an honorary doctorate at the same commencement. The next year, by pure coincidence!, he endowed three chairs of Near Eastern Studies at H.U.

alsotps -> jloewen , October 3, 2017 5:24 PM

Absolutely a coincidence! You don't think honoraria have anything whatsoever to do with the Development Office do you? (Snark)

Kevin Van Elswyk , October 3, 2017 9:31 AM

And we are surpised?

Robert4787 , October 4, 2017 6:28 PM

So glad to see they're on campus. Many young people now occupy the CIA; the old "cowboys" of the Cold War past are gone. U may find this interesting>> http://osintdaily.blogspot....

TinkerTailor1620 , October 3, 2017 5:29 PM

Hundreds of government civil servants attend courses at the Kennedy School every year. That a few of them come from the CIA should be no surprise. It and all the other intelligence agencies are nothing more than departments within the federal government, just like Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, the FDA, Energy, and so on. Nothing sneaky or suspicious about any of it. Why anyone with cover credentials would tell the Kennedy School admin that is beyond me. When I was in cover status, I was in cover status everywhere; to not be was to blow your cover, period, and was extremely dangerous.

Beyond NIH funded grant-based research, Homeland Security, Energy, Defense, and the Intelligence Community agencies have long histories of relationships with American academia. This could be funded research, collaborative research, shared personnel relationships, or all other manner of cooperation. Sometimes it's fairly well known and sometimes it's kept quiet, and sometimes it's even classified. But it is much more extensive and expansive than what Golden describes, and much less "cozy" or suspicious.

Phred , October 3, 2017 1:49 PM

For years I have said that it is foolish to look to universities for moral guidance, and this story is one more instance. In this case, the moral ground is swampy at best, and the universities do not appear to have spent a lot of time worrying about possible problems as long as the situation works to their advantage financially.

alsotps -> Phred , October 3, 2017 5:25 PM

The key, here, is financially. The bean counters and those whose research is funded don't look hard at the source of the funding. Just so it keeps coming.

Jason , October 4, 2017 6:34 PM

Academic treason.

Sanford Gray Thatcher , October 4, 2017 6:13 PM

Does Golden discuss at all the way in which the CIA and other intelligence services funnel money into academic research without the source of the funding ever being revealed? This was common practice in the 1960s and 1970s, and colleges like MIT were among those involved in this chicanery.

Remember also how intelligence agency money was behind the journal Encounter? Lots of propaganda got distributed under the guise of objective social science research.

donald scott , October 3, 2017 6:05 PM

Where has IHE been for the past several decades? Read Rosenfeld's book, Subversives..... about the FBI's illegal acts at Berkeley. Or read this, a summary of his book: https://alumni.berkeley.edu... Or read George R. Stewart, The Year of the Oath.

In the research for my biography of Stewart I found significant information about CIA presence on the UC Berkeley campus, in the mid-twentieth century, which reached in to the highest levels of the administration and led to a network of "professors" recruited by that unAmerican spy agency.

The oaths, the current gender wars and the conviction by accusation of harassment are all later attempts to politicize education and turn fiat lux into fiat nox. IHE should be writing more about that and about the current conviction by sexual accusation, and the effect of such on free thought and free inquiry.

[Aug 17, 2017] Google Culture Wars

Notable quotes:
"... So, noting that on average, men have 90% more upper body strength than women, would I not be able to claim that any woman my height or less will not have my upper body strength? ..."
"... The problem is that PC is on the way to functioning like militant Islam with regard to unbelievers and apostates. ..."
"... "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them". ..."
"... "There are only two important days in the life of any person, the day that your are born and then day you find out why." ..."
"... The supreme irony of l'affaire Damore is that was a primary point of Damore's memo and the response was perhaps the best proof of the validity of that point possible. Hence my "inept thinkers" comment. ..."
"... Look how Canadian 'hate speech laws' began with silencing 'Neo-Nazis' (fake ones, btw) and then spread to going after those who don't use proper pronouns. Self-Righteous Addiction created all these Self-Righteous Junkies. ..."
"... The bigger question is why Homo Sapiens is the only primate on the planet where The female is expected to be equal to the male ..."
"... The whole argument "for equality" is fundamentally flawed – it is the wrong goal. As individuals we humans want to be different – not equal. We want to bring something different to the table of social interaction. People who are equal have nothing to give to each other. ..."
"... P.S. No matter our intellectual capabilities, for 99% of us – doing a good job of raising our children – is the most lasting thing that we can ever do. They are our true legacy – what we do on the job is all too soon lost in the evolution of business. ..."
"... it is quite likely that variation is bigger in males, as usual with many other traits. ..."
Aug 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 4:20 pm GMT

OT, but I am looking for a list of references to criticism of the criticism of The Bell Curve or supporters of The Bell Curve.

Can anyone help. A quick search via Duck Duck Go turned up a couple.

James Thompson > , Website August 16, 2017 at 5:05 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Fine, but better to read a few chapters of the book.

res > , August 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm GMT

Thank you for your comprehensive post.

One thought about:

This argument makes me smile. Hyde seems to take as granted that males have an advantage on "tightly timed tests for mathematical and spatial tasks". Is it simply my male point of view that to do well on any test, in the sense of getting things right, and doing so quickly, would be considered a double advantage? Why regard speedy thinking as a complexity of interpretation? Why is speed in correctly completing a task judged to be "speed as much as skill"? Absurdly, the prompt and correct completion of a task seems to be cast as mere male impetuosity. Furthermore, any employer reading this argument would be justified in thinking "On difficult tasks involving maths and spatial analysis, women need more time" so, given a chance, it might be better not to employ them.

Agreed, but the timing issue for spatial tests actually strikes me as even more important than that. I am good at typical spatial tests, but one thing I have noticed is that for the hardest items I find myself going through a very working memory loaded process of checking whether a rotation works for a variety of details (number of details being limited by WM). I am pretty sure this process is more g loaded than spatial (have to find, remember, and analyze these differences). It is also slow at my WM limits (I trial and error choose which details to focus on for the hardest items). I am certain I could improve my performance by making pen and paper notes, but consider that cheating on those tests. It would be interesting to explore differences in solution speed and style both within and between groups (e.g. do similar scoring men and women differ in technique?).

Thus I tend to think the need for more time indicates a relative deficit in "real" spatial skill in favor of g. Whether this "real" spatial skill is what drives the relationship of spatial skills with programming is unclear, but I think it might be. I would hypothesize that it might not be easy for someone like me to emulate the reasoning a higher spatial ability person might use to solve real world problems (rotations are a relatively simple special case problem). If so, presumably this problem would be even worse for someone with even less "real" spatial ability.

Part of what I base my self assessment on is my sense that some people just immediately see the answer to hard spatial problems. Another part of this is my experience with tasks like navigating in complex topographical environments (I suspect that is a related skill). I routinely encounter people who I think are much better at navigation than I am (especially considered in tandem with more g loaded differences). My sense is that this instant recognition correlates with g but is a separate ability (perhaps more separate than the spatial test correlations indicate given my substitutability observation above). I would be very interested in either anecdotal observations or research discussing this!

Overall, my takeaways from the whole l'affaire Damore (surprised I haven't seen this pun used yet, just searched and here is a use , though I disagree with it that post and the comments are worth a look) are:

res > , August 16, 2017 at 5:20 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Perhaps a good start is to read (or at least skim) Intelligence, Genes, and Success: Scientists Respond to The Bell Curve as a collection of critiques of The Bell Curve which seem better than most. Then look for critiques of that book and its papers.

Another approach would be to look at Linda Gottfredson's work, most notably: Mainstream Science on Intelligence: An Editorial With 52 Signatories, History, and Bibliography

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.366.7808&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Though IIRC that is more useful as a source of information to form critiques than as ready made rebuttals to any particular work.

P.S. I agree with Dr. Thompson about reading TBC, but based on your other comments assume you have done so already.

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 6:29 pm GMT

The Note makes it very clear that men and women "differ in part due to biological causes", that many such differences are small, with significant overlaps, and that you cannot say anything about an individual on the basis of population level distributions.

So, noting that on average, men have 90% more upper body strength than women, would I not be able to claim that any woman my height or less will not have my upper body strength?

res > , August 16, 2017 at 7:40 pm GMT

@Peripatetic commenter Short answer, no. Though it arguably depends on where you fall in the male range and the population size (which controls how much of an outlier one can expect to occur). If you want to make this more concrete, here is a paper on strength differences which seems to imply (though I don't see it stated) a Cohen's d of about 3 for upper body strength: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4756754/
Plugging that into the visualizer here (3 is the maximum value supported) you see only 13% overlap: http://rpsychologist.com/d3/cohend/
Worth noting that these analyses don't account for size differences (so your equal height condition skews things).

To answer your question a different way, try looking at world championship weightlifting results. Can you lift more than the strongest woman there less than or equal to you in height (or weight as a proxy)? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_Olympic_weightlifting

https://rawpowerlifting.com/records/world_records/

Razib's grip strength post is a worthwhile look at this sort of thing: https://www.unz.com/gnxp/men-are-stronger-than-women-on-average

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

To answer your question a different way, try looking at world championship weightlifting results. Can you lift more than the strongest woman there less than or equal to you in height (or weight as a proxy)?

I don't do weight training but if I did, I think I could and I would assert that world championship male weight lifters could.

Peripatetic commenter > , August 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

I started reading https://people.ok.ubc.ca/lgabora/papers/Gabora-Russon-EOI-2011.pdf

and found this:

The more we learn about nonhuman intelligence, however, the more we find that abilities previously thought to be uniquely human are not. For example, it was thought until the 1960s that humans alone make tools. But then Jane Goodall (1963) found wild chimpanzees making them. Later, several other species were found making tools too (Beck, 1980). Thus, ideas about what marks the boundary between human and nonhuman intelligence have undergone repeated

There is an enormous qualitative difference between the tools that Chimps (or other primates) use and something like, say, https://www.thoughtco.com/acheulean-handaxe-first-tool-171238 .

What is the use of making such statements? Chimps are not going to suddenly start making screw drivers or knives or bows and arrows etc. Is it thought that all other tool making is layered on top of the neural support Chimps use for making their very primitive tools?

Priss Factor > , Website August 17, 2017 at 4:38 am GMT

2 Kevins says we are living 'matriarchy'.

wayfarer > , August 17, 2017 at 4:44 am GMT

"Google Memo: Fired Employee Speaks Out!"

utu > , August 17, 2017 at 4:44 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 8:44 am GMT

I suspect that no one with enough intelligence to think clearly understands what all the fuss is about. I have never been particularly successful at anything, despite my IQ of over 160 (according to Mensa). The only clearcut effect this has had, as far as I can make out, is that most people find my conversation obscure and boring.

If an IQ 60% above average confers no apparent practical advantage, what is the point in squabbling heatedly about hypothetical differences on the order of 1%? It is surely well established, even if it weren't glaringly obvious to common sense, that while pure intelligence is vital in some fields of work, its effects are usually swamped by those of other characteristics such as persistence, enthusiasm, charisma and empathy.

Indeed, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the very most intelligent people are disproportionately prone to mental disorders, existential horror, and despair. There is a lot to hate and fear in the world, and most people seem to be spared the worst consequences by the simplest of defence mechanisms – a sheer failure to notice.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 8:52 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter "Is it thought that all other tool making is layered on top of the neural support Chimps use for making their very primitive tools?"

Yes. Although of course we are not chimps, nor are we directly descended from chimps. The human brain is immensely flexible and adaptable, and once the practice of solving problems by making tools became established, a whole vast new world opened up. Note that people were making stone tools for a very, very long time before the first metals were discovered. Note also that many of the human race's greatest discoveries may have been made only once or twice before spreading worldwide.

One serious weakness that most humans suffer from is an inability to visualize long periods of time. Just as, to the average citizen, a million, a billion, and a trillion are all more or less just "lots and lots", most of us really cannot conceive of a million years or what might happen in such a time. At about three generations per century, a million years represents about 30,000 generations. A mere 50 generations ago the Roman Empire was still flourishing.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

@res Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed comments.

On the speed issue, for all tasks, I was objecting to Hyde's implied distinction between speed and ability, because ability is related to speed. I think that W.D.Furneaux was onto this issue years ago, and progressed it well. From memory, I have classified his key insight as saying that intellectual achievement depended on: speed, accuracy and persistence.

The first two are often a trade-off, though of course the brightest people are both speedy and accurate. Persistence is often an ignored characteristic, though it is a key part of most great intellectual achievements.

As regards g, at higher levels of ability it account for less variance.

1. Furneaux, W. D., Nature, 170, 37 (1952). | ISI |
2. Furneaux, W. D. "The Determinants of Success in Intelligence Tests" (paper read to Brit. Assoc. Adv. Sci., 1955).
3. Furneaux, W. D., Manual of Nufferno Speed Tests (Nat. Found. Educ. Res., London, 1955).
4. Furneaux, W. D., in Intellectual Abilities and Problem Solving Behaviour in Handbook of Abnormal Psychology (edit. by Eysenck, H. J.) (Pergamon Press, London, 1960)

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 10:50 am GMT

@Peripatetic commenter I think you are right if we alter it from "any woman" to "almost any woman", simply because the difference in body strength (in the paper Res references, and in the others) is a d of 3.5 so I wouldn't bother with further calculations to correct for height. What would make a difference is the small numbers of elite women athletes, as shown in the paper Razib posted.

If one simplifies the whole issue to look at height, weight and body strength together, then women are at risk in any physical encounter with men, even old ones. This has been noticed before, resulting in kind societies paying extra respect to and showing more consideration for women, and in less kind societies to their abuse.

Miro23 > , August 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm GMT

I find the ferocity of some of the replies to Damore extreme. The vehemence of the opposition is coruscating, and absolute. These issues should be matters of scholarly debate, in which the findings matter, and different interpretations contend against each other.

Or maybe it's not for ferocious attacks or scholarly debate. It's just a difference of opinion (remember "diversity") – not something to get so excited about. The problem is that PC is on the way to functioning like militant Islam with regard to unbelievers and apostates.

Moi > , August 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm GMT

Free speech is an interesting concept – but don't try to put it into practice.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 1:19 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh Dear Tom,
An IQ of 160 is only found in 1 in 31,560 persons, being higher than 99.9976142490% of the population. This is more than a 60% advantage over the average citizen. IQ points are not percentages.

The work of Benbow and Lubinski shows that the higher the intelligence the greater the achievement. While other personality factors may be involved, they have yet to be shown to be as important. Typically, high ability people are shown to be more balanced than average, with lower rates of mental disorder.

dc.sunsets > , August 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

@James Thompson Not to worry. We have Hollywood providing young women with all the confidence necessary that, should she walk down a dark alley and be accosted by a man, she will likely strike him a few times in the face and walk away unscathed.

/sarc off.

If women grasped even vaguely just how great is the gulf between them and the overwhelming majority of men, I suspect we'd see a lot fewer women using their divorce attorney to torment their soon-to-be (or already) ex-husband. I've watched women metaphorically poke the most dangerous animal on Planet Earth, an adult male human, as he sits in a cage that lacks bars.

The only time I've seen the "Entertainment Industry" show what can really happen in a confrontation between a typical woman and a typical (in this case viciously predatory) man, it was in a foreign-made film titled "Irreversible," available on Amazon Video. It was without a doubt the most horrifying rape-beating ever put on film, and watching it would scare the living daylights out of women. It ran rings around any horror film ever made.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 2:10 pm GMT

@Moi That's nothing new, either.

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them".

– Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar, Ch. XX

Moi > , August 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh Sam Clemens was sui generis. And I love this one of his: "There are only two important days in the life of any person, the day that your are born and then day you find out why."

szopen > , August 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm GMT

Well, I was looking for people-vs-things preference differences expressed in easily calculable terms (i.e. something in terms of "men are rated as 10 on this trait, with SD 2, while women as 8, with SD 1.8″) but I couldn't; Can anyone help?

The best I could found was the study which claimed that in people-vs-things rating, within the top 25% of topc scorers – which would be, if I understood correctly, people who are the most interested in things (as contrasted with "interested in people") ratio of women to men is 0.287. That would mean there would be around 78% men, 22% women.

Now, the question is what is the cutoff for going to STEM, ie. what is average "things" preference for people to decide to follow career in STEM (or, more specifically, in engineering and computer science). Depending on value of this cutoff, the gap in CS and engineering might be, indeed, completely explained away by difference in people-vs-things interest, or even might imply men are discriminated against, HOWEVER, seeing as some of those preferences are calculated, I wonder whether it is not a kind of circular argument, kind of "there are more men into computer-related work, because more men are interested in computers".

Also, it seems that i saw in one study taht this difference decreases with age, which is strange. This would contradict the theory that the preference is driven by the social expectations (because, then "sexist" expectations would cause is to go up with age) but this could be explained by "it is caused by biology" theory; HOWEVER, the bad thing and the weakness is that "it's caused by biology" could be used to justify BOTH increasing and decreasing the gap – a realisation which leaves bad taste in my mouth.

Anyway I'd love to see
(1) studies quantifying the differences on a scale, not saying "the effect is large with Cohen's d=1.23″
(2) studies looking at specifically computer science and comparing their preferences with general population
(3) studies measuring the trait in very early age

res > , August 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT

@James Thompson Thanks for expanding on the speed, accuracy and persistence idea. And giving references!

I am having trouble chasing down your references though. This 1967 letter gives a very similar list of references but states that there were errors in the 1952 Furneaux paper equations: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v214/n5092/abs/2141056a0.html

This book (The Measurement of Intelligence, edited by Michael? Eysenck, copyright 1973, I actually have a copy but am having trouble finding it, I think that chapter would be a good starting point for me): https://books.google.com/books?id=wjLpCAAAQBAJ&pg=PA236&lpg=PA236
gives a title for your first reference: Some Speed, Error and Difficulty Relationships within a Problem-solving Situation
From which I find: https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v170/n4314/abs/170037a0.html
It is nice that Nature assigns DOIs to its old papers. That appears to be a two page letter. Interesting, but I am having trouble drawing inferences from it.

I am not sure I communicated my agreement with your earlier speed, accuracy, and persistence comments. I was trying to extend the idea to consider that slow speed might be an indicator of the substitution of skills (other than persistence, though that is certainly critical there) for the skill nominally being tested for. In my earlier example, g for spatial ability. For another example, I took an online autism test a while ago (identifying emotions from pictures). I scored above average (in a good way ; ), but found myself again using a more "logical" (g based IMHO) process for the harder items. I doubt that is the way most people approach that test (though I could be wrong) and my result might overstate my ability on the skill they are trying to test .

The fundamental distinction I am trying to make is between solving a problem in the same way (or sufficiently similar) just more slowly and solving the problem using a fundamentally different approach (or skill/ability?!). The former could be viewed as changing the clock speed on a computer and I think corresponds with the point you make about persistence. For the latter envision a case where one person solves a problem using visual intuition and a quick mathematical check while another person uses an extended mathematical derivation. I think this kind of substitutabiltity could be a problem in subtests intended to measure a specific skill (e.g. spatial!). And g is a very useful Swiss army knife ; ).

Perhaps this is a second order effect relative to the basic speed/persistence issue and should (could?) not really be considered until that has been solved? I guess I am just interested in anyone who has thought about this substitutability idea in the more general form. Furneaux seems focused on the speed side. In particular, Furneaux limits his consideration to the 10-85% range of difficulty while my personal experience is much more about the hard end of the difficulty scale.

This seems like a fairly obvious idea to me so I presume it has been considered. Perhaps some combination of "second order effect" and "hard to test" prevents something having been done about it?

One other thought that occurs to me. Does Furneaux's deemphasis of higher D(ifficulty) items say something about the difficulty of creating high ceiling tests? Is it possible that the combination of substitutability and more idiosyncratic skill profiles at the high end are part of that problem?

res > , August 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

@Miro23

It's just a difference of opinion (remember "diversity") – not something to get so excited about.

The supreme irony of l'affaire Damore is that was a primary point of Damore's memo and the response was perhaps the best proof of the validity of that point possible. Hence my "inept thinkers" comment.

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm GMT

@dc.sunsets "No one is insuring your foods are safe".

Actually, Western governments have for decades been going out of their way to recommend actively unhealthy foods and drinks. In 1865, in 1910 and in 1939 it was clearly understood everywhere that meat, fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables, and nuts, together with some dairy and fruit, were the essential dietary items. Carbohydrates, sugars and grains in particular, were clearly understood to be fattening and probably causative of many diseases.

Yet since the US government led the charge with its McGovern Committee Report in the 1970s, Western governments have been warning against meat, saturated fat, and other healthy foods while urging consumption of more foods made from sugars and grains. We all require about 20% of daily energy from protein, and the rest is a mixture of fats and carbs. Cut out the fats, and that means 70-80% carbs, which leads inexorably to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and for many people eventual diabetes.

Did I mention that Senator McGovern represented a grain-producing state?

Tom Welsh > , August 17, 2017 at 3:51 pm GMT

@res

I would like, in this context, to repeat my quotation of Alfred Korzybski's declaration.

"I have said what I have said. I have not said what I have not said".

Intelligent, let alone constructive, discourse will not be possible until everyone understands that saying and takes care to make sure they understand what others mean.

James Thompson > , Website August 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm GMT

@res Good points. Sorry about the references: I took the first ones to hand, and should have searched through my own posts. Have done that now, and found this:

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/you-want-it-good-or-you-want-it-tuesday

This will add some content, but I agree that I did not properly answer your question. I think the question you raise would be considered a task solving strategy problem: "I have tried shape, as I did on the easier items, but that doesn't work for this more difficult problems, so I will try feature categorization". That is, you went from a modular solution to a g-loaded general strategy when the module seemed to fail you.

My first point is that if we can find someone who solves even the difficulty problem easily, we hire them because their module does the job for us!
Second, and more interestingly, most problem solving approaches fail when the problem is both novel and very difficult. (I cannot say what makes a problem difficult, but it probably relates to the number of items and the number of operations involved in solving it). At that point in the act of creation, people try all manner of re-framings and re-descriptions, in the hope that an analogy might open up a new line of attack. For example, I cannot assist anyone with finding new elements. Despite that, out of ignorance I can make some suggestions. For example, would anything be gained by taking the target close down to absolute zero? Would it make it easier to hit something?

So, problem-solving strategies often become the real test. That also involves working out what problems you don't have to solve. During the Manhattan project one group started worrying that in focusing the charges they would get wear in the system which would throw out their very crucial calculations about the critical mass required. After a while a team member pointed out the obvious fact that the firing mechanism would only be used once.

You are right that a different approach is what we generally need for very difficult problems.
Sorry that I cannot answer all your interesting questions.

res > , August 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh That is a good quote. Perhaps I am being a bit dense, but I don't see the applicability to my comment 32. Especially given that I was not responding to you. Perhaps you could elaborate?

If anything the obligation to understand lies first with those criticizing Damore's memo.

Priss Factor > , Website August 17, 2017 at 6:34 pm GMT

@schrub

I don't mind DS not existing. The question is IF they can go after DS, where does it end?

Look how Canadian 'hate speech laws' began with silencing 'Neo-Nazis' (fake ones, btw) and then spread to going after those who don't use proper pronouns. Self-Righteous Addiction created all these Self-Righteous Junkies.

Delinquent Snail > , August 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm GMT

@Tom Welsh What? 3 generations a century? That would mean people are having kids in their 30s . Which didn't happen until this last century. Its more like 4-5, maybe even 6, generations a century.

I agree humans can't visualize large spans of time. Plus, a very large minority think the world was created 2017 years ago, so that doesn't help.

Astuteobservor II > , August 17, 2017 at 7:08 pm GMT

I find the ferocity of some of the replies to Damore extreme. The vehemence of the opposition is coruscating, and absolute. These issues should be matters of scholarly debate, in which the findings matter, and different interpretations contend against each other. Expressing different opinions should be a cue for debate, not outrage.

this is why I support him.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 7:50 pm GMT

The bigger question is why Homo Sapiens is the only primate on the planet where The female is expected to be equal to the male .

Art > , August 17, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

The whole argument "for equality" is fundamentally flawed – it is the wrong goal. As individuals we humans want to be different – not equal. We want to bring something different to the table of social interaction. People who are equal have nothing to give to each other.

Our goal is to find a niche for ourselves – there is room for all different capabilities in a rational society. There is only so much need for rocket scientists.

Proving that men and women are equal is fools work.

Smart people will endeavor to prove that all work is of value – and deserving of a living compensation.

Peace -- Art

P.S. No matter our intellectual capabilities, for 99% of us – doing a good job of raising our children – is the most lasting thing that we can ever do. They are our true legacy – what we do on the job is all too soon lost in the evolution of business.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMT

@James Thompson

Cspan had an excellent two hour or so interview of the guy on one of their weekend book shows a decade or so ago. Worth the search and a download of at least the audio.

szopen > , August 17, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT

@res Thanks a lot for a link to "interpretating cohen's d"! FInally I understood the concept

However, the problem with COhen's d is that it assumes – if I am not mistaken – the equal standard deviations, while I think it is quite likely that variation is bigger in males, as usual with many other traits. That would mean that using "d" would not truly reflect the ratios of population over some cutoff, am i right?

res > , August 17, 2017 at 10:02 pm GMT

@szopen My understanding is the official definition of Cohen's d uses the pooled SDs of the subpopulations, but I am not sure how rigorously that subtlety is observed. For example, this page gives them as alternate definitions: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Cohen%27s_d

I am not sure how much of a difference that makes in practice. That might be a good thing to investigate with some simulations.

Bill Jones > , August 17, 2017 at 11:45 pm GMT

@CanSpeccy

"To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not O.K."

Even if it demonstrably true. Can't let reality get in the way of the religion , can we?

[Aug 11, 2017] The federal government recognizes Diversity as a number of protected class groups that self-identify as being underprivileged, oppressed, disadvantaged, underutilized, and underserved. by Thompson

Aug 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Simply because the immediate reaction to the Google Memo concentrated on sex differences I gathered together some posts on sex differences, showing that the sexes differ somewhat in their abilities: not very much, but enough to make a difference at the extremes, and it is the extremes which make a difference to technology based societies, and to a technology dependent world. I left out any mention of the notion that a "diverse" workforce is better than better than a workforce selected purely on ability to do the task in question. My mistake, which I will try to repair now.

I wondered, some years ago, what evidence there was for the proposition that diversity was a good thing. I would like to collect more proposals, because the ones sent to me proved unconvincing. You may have heard a claim that having women in the workforce boosts profits by 40%. This turns out to be a misunderstood joke.

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/davos-diversity

Now to the general claim that having women in a group boosts anything, or that having a variety of intellectual levels in a group boosts anything. That was taken apart in a set of experimental studies by Bates and Gupta.

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/group-iq-doesnt-exist

My conclusion was:

So, if you want a problem solved, don't form a team. Find the brightest person and let them work on it. Placing them in a team will, on average, reduce their productivity. My advice would be: never form a team if there is one person who can sort out the problem.

Perhaps Damore was a guy who could sort out problems, until the last problem, that is.

I repeat my January 2015 request: if you have any good studies showing that having a sexually or racially diverse workforce boosts profits over a workforce selected on competence alone, please send me send them to me in a comment to this item.

Roast beef, August 10, 2017 at 4:18 pm GMT

https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=8128F3C0-99BC-22E6-838E2A5B1E4366DF

Some of the findings of our initial report are confirmed – greater diversity in boards and management are empirically associated with higher returns on equity, higher price/book valuations and superior stock price performance. However, new findings emerge from this added management analysis – we find no evidence that female led companies reflect greater financial conservatism where leverage is concerned. Also, dividend payout ratios have been shown to be higher. Female CEOs have proven to be less acquisitive than men when assuming the leadership position. The analysis makes no claims to causality though the results are striking.

epochehusserl , August 10, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT

Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords made up by Gramscian marxists to rationalize group rights made up by the courts after not being satisfied with equality under the law. Those buzzwords do nothing to resolve the existential and morals issues raised by group rights. Whose diversity and inclusion are the best anyways? What if I think I would be enriched by this rather than that diversity and inclusion?

TheJester , August 10, 2017 at 5:42 pm GMT

An Example: Talented Individuals vs. Mediocre Groups

In the late 1990s, I was in charge of a regional office of a high tech company that had a problem. We had delivered a complex air defense system but the command module could not communicate with the missile batteries. This was serious stuff. The company put teams of software developers on the problem back at the main campus. They worked for over a month without result. The customer was getting antsy, which is a euphemism for nasty.

Then, the company deployed Burt (not his real name) to the customer location to see what he could do. Burt sat at the conference table in my outer office reading reams of code printed in large binders like a novel (I'm not kidding) no notes, just reading and noticing. Burt didn't even bother with a computer screen or debugging software.

Then, he exclaimed, "I've got it!" (I'll always remember that moment.) Burt noticed that the date format for the commands being sent from the command module was in a different format than the date format expected by the missile batteries.

QED a technical problem that had been plaguing the company for months, that had immobilized a major air defense system, and that had put the company's product line at risk solved by an individual with a few hours of work. I made sure that Burt got a big bonus.

The point: If you ran a startup hoping to bring "creative destruction" to a sector in a high-tech society, would you want (1) a politically correct software development team carefully tailored to meet affirmative action quotas for males, females, Blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, lesbians, and the transgendered in spite of their IQs and personal qualities or, as James Damore argues, would you want (2) a group of "Burt's" acting alone or in concert because of their IQs and unique personal qualities?

The histories of Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and Google suggest the latter. The former brings with it progressively higher social and financial "carrying costs" that prejudice the success of any bleeding-edge high-tech endeavor.

MikeyParks , August 10, 2017 at 6:35 pm GMT

When the "diversity" is strictly cosmetic and all points of view are basically identical, what you have is not diversity, it's as Damore described it, an "echo chamber." Google should be smart enough to know this. I would guess that this kind of non-diverse diversity hinders productivity because there are no new ideas, just regurgitations of the party line.

res , August 10, 2017 at 6:44 pm GMT

I like this one: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/diverse-backgrounds-personalities-can-strengthen-groups

In a recent article disentangling what researchers have learned over the past 50 years, Margaret A. Neale finds that diversity across dimensions, such as functional expertise, education, or personality, can increase performance by enhancing creativity or group problem-solving. In contrast, more visible diversity, such as race, gender, or age, can have negative effects on a group!at least initially.

Of course viewpoint diversity is never what is actually meant by "diversity."

Sadly that article did not include a link to the research. I think this is it (free full text): http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1529-1006.2005.00022.x
The summary has a paragraph matching my quote above.

Anonymous , Disclaimer August 10, 2017 at 7:09 pm GMT

We used to abhor meetings back in the days before the US military was feminized and subject to collaborative group think. So much to do so little time.

We called meetings and other collaborative exercises "circle jerks".

From Wikipedia:

A circle jerk is a sexual practice in which a group of men or boys form a circle and masturbate themselves or each other. In the metaphorical sense, the term is used to refer to self-congratulatory behavior or discussion amongst a group of people, usually in reference to "boring time-wasting meetings or other events".

I suspect that "circle jerks" will become more frequent as Google transitions to a more female-friendly, collaborative organizational structure.

James Thompson , Website August 10, 2017 at 8:35 pm GMT

@Roast beef Thanks. Reading it now. Makes good points, but hard to find appropriate comparison companies for longitudinal comparisons. As authors say, it could be bigger companies doing the "female quota" thing while smaller companies are less inclined or less able to do so. Still reading it, and mostly thinking about the methods .

lump1 , August 11, 2017 at 1:52 am GMT

This is definitely an important question to tackle directly. My two bits is that we should try to disentangle causality if possible. It's not enough just to find correlations between high valuation and racial diversity. It might be like finding correlations between high valuation and having Michelin-star chefs in the company cafeteria. I bet the correlation exists, but it happens because already-successful companies get money to blow on inessential nice things. Diversity is a nice thing that already-successful companies can buy when they have money to spare, but just because they end up with it doesn't mean that it helped them succeed. I mean, it might – I don't know the data – but mere correlations could mislead us. Correlations across time would impress me more. If individual companies grow faster when more diverse and slower after they lose diversity, then the findings would be harder to dismiss.

YetAnotherAnon , August 11, 2017 at 8:56 am GMT

Off topic, but it seems Guardian readers are woke to the "everyone must go to university" scam. Bit late but never mind.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/02/i-feel-like-wasting-life-readers-overqualified-jobs

Top rated comment

I think the "50% of the population must have degrees" brigade are to blame for this. It was always going to devalue the worth of an academic degree by attempting to have half of the population wandering the job centres armed with a useless (but very costly) scrap of parchment.

What on earth were successive governments thinking?

But even if the degrees are not as valuable as the salesman (who came to your school and persuaded you, age 17, to sign up for a £60k loan with hefty interest rates) told you, at least you've had three years of leftie indoctrination (e.g. "no borders, no nations" or "Farage is a racist") which will stand our elites in good stead over your lifetime. And you've paid for it yourself!

Dieter Kief , August 11, 2017 at 11:17 am GMT

"if you want a problem solved, don't form a team"

Novels are written by one person – (as Steve Sailer mentions here and there, novels, especialy the really good ones, are very complex things). Great works of art or compositions, – mostly the same thing as in the novels-example.

Pop-music (Rock etc. too) might be an exception: Here, groups yield very interesting results.
(On usually not that high intellectual levels – is that the reason for this exception?)

James Thompson , Website August 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm GMT

Interesting example of pop-music. Usually the song writers are far fewer than the song players.

Joe Franklin , August 11, 2017 at 3:23 pm GMT

@epochehusserl Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords made up by Gramscian marxists to rationalize group rights made up by the courts after not being satisfied with equality under the law. Those buzzwords do nothing to resolve the existential and morals issues raised by group rights. Whose diversity and inclusion are the best anyways? What if I think I would be enriched by this rather than that diversity and inclusion? Diversity and Inclusion are euphemisms when employed by leftist (i.e. Democrats and Neocons) .

The federal government recognizes Diversity as a number of protected class groups that self-identify as being underprivileged, oppressed, disadvantaged, underutilized, and underserved.

Protected class groups identify the Nazi and white supremacist as their common oppressor.

The federal government recognizes Inclusion as federal entitlements for protected class groups.

Here's an example of several federal protected class groups recognized and entitled by the University of Nebraska:

http://www.unk.edu/about/compliance/aaeo/hiring_guidelines/identification_of_protected.php

Identification of Protected Class Groups

The following five groups are considered "Protected Classes" under various federal laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires reporting employment information on the first two groups, females and minorities, which are traditionally underutilized.

See also

Google Sex French Fries Fear and Loathing in Psychology Friday Movies

The Motivational Quotient

The Lack of Progress in Science: Sex Differences Razib Khan July 31, 2016 1,300 Words 100 Comments Genetics Allows the Dead to Speak from the Grave Razib Khan June 14, 2015

[Aug 11, 2017] Making Sense of the Google Memo

Notable quotes:
"... Neuroscientist Debra W. Soh, writing at Quillette, observes that ..."
"... It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness. ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

...Damore has joined an increasing number of people from the worlds of business and academia to be sacrificed at the altar of diversity. In an unsurprising public relations move, Google has succeeded in saving some face by appeasing the partisans of political correctness and of so-called equality. Meanwhile, those who don't subscribe to the progressive delusion may feel more anxious at the prospect of failing to play the coward's game correctly. Can one sneeze these days without offending the HR department?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, in a memo laden with incoherence and hypocrisy, says that

we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects "each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination."

The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldn't have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being "agreeable" rather than "assertive," showing a "lower stress tolerance," or being "neurotic."

At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent. So to be clear again, many points raised in the memo!such as the portions criticizing Google's trainings, questioning the role of ideology in the workplace, and debating whether programs for women and underserved groups are sufficiently open to all!are important topics. The author had a right to express their views on those topics!we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions.

What were those "harmful gender stereotypes," so "offensive" to the good team members at Google? Let's take a look at the first paragraph of the memo that has so many people worried about the white patriarchal obstacle that, now as ever, stands cruelly in the progressive path.

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can't have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

Surely no unbiased reader can fail to find Damore's words eminently reasonable. Though recently fired, the man is no enemy of diversity and inclusion, nor does he say sexism is not a real problem. There is nothing here (or elsewhere in the memo) to suggest he is not fair-minded. Indeed, if you read his memo, you will surely see!so long, again, as you are not biased!that as people go, Damore is exceptionally fair in his perceptions and reasoning, though it is well to remember Emerson's maxim: "To be great is to be misunderstood." Damore is concerned to give some nuance to understanding the issues since, after all, it is not prima facie evident that men and women are utterly the same; with the result that, where a corporation's representation of gender does not wholly reflect the national population, sexism is present by definition. The crucial phrase is "differences in distribution." Though feminists, progressives and Leftists generally are keen to deny it, men and women are not mere blank slates on which the "unequal" environment imprints its ink; we should not assume as a matter of course that something is awry if the workplace reflects! as it inevitably must !those gender differences which we all seem to notice the moment we leave it.

Neuroscientist Debra W. Soh, writing at Quillette, observes that

within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men!when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences!are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that's considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you'd be laughed at.

Sex researchers recognize that these differences are not inherently supportive of sexism or stratifying opportunities based on sex. It is only because a group of individuals have chosen to interpret them that way, and to subsequently deny the science around them, that we have to have this conversation at a public level. Some of these ideas have been published in neuroscientific journals!despite having faulty study methodology!because they've been deemed socially pleasing and "progressive." As a result, there's so much misinformation out there now that people genuinely don't know what to believe.

Also at Quillette , eminent evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller remarks that "almost all of the Google memo's empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately. Its key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, cultures, and history."

Steven Pinker himself!he of the very solid liberal credentials!has published much rigorous work on natural gender differences, in both intelligence and personality traits. Here he is on YouTube, giving a talk which might be used to support James Damore's case:

Note, what is so revealing, that Pinker takes care to appease the dogmatic academic crowd via the usual trite and simplistic reduction of human history to patriarchal oppression, lest, like Ibsen's Dr. Stockmann, he be thought an enemy of the people. It can't be that man simply found himself in a harsh world in which his superior brute strength was an immense advantage. It can't be that a severe division of labor was for most of history inevitable for the sexes. Like the Jews, man has always been behind the scenes, conspiring to oppress everyone. Well, at least Pinker was prudent. After all, those aggressive, broad-shouldered feminists have been known to body slam many an hysterically logical speaker.

Like Geoffrey Miller's, Pinker's work helps us to see better what ordinary people already know well enough from everyday life (and which, thankfully for them, they feel no need to deny, outside of the increasingly touchy workplace, anyway): that men and women are indeed different; nor is it obvious, in a sane world, why that should be such a scandal. For these differences, qua differences, are value neutral. My working-class mother, who never finished high school, is not obviously inferior as a person to Heather MacDonald, despite my own admiration for that excellent and courageous scholar-journalist.

It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness. Many if not most Google employees surely do have exceptionally high IQs. That men should so excel at the Google corporation!as they do at so many other things at the highest level!reflects Nature itself and is consistent with a massive amount of empirical findings. It is also consistent with many traditional stereotypes, for the most part. The psychologist Lee Jusim, among others, has done excellent work on the overwhelming accuracy (though typically, much suppressed) of stereotypes. If you want to see a humorous example of the truth of stereotypes, see the exceedingly emotional reactions by the female Google employees!who have made their disgust well-known on Twitter!that Pichai describes in the second paragraph where I quote him above. It is reported that many female Google employees stayed home from work on Monday, triggered into melancholy by Damore's truthful words. Tragically, the feminist quilting bee soon degenerated into a wild intersectional tizzy, the rotund blue and pink-haired ladies of various races and gender identities squabbling over whose cat should first be allowed to peck at Damore's soon to be flayed carcass. Looking at the photos and social media accounts of Google's Diversity-rabble, one is struck by how stereotypical they are; virtually everyone looks fresh from a Judith Butler conference at Bryn Mawr college: trans-this, queer-that, communist, ad nauseam . Defective specimens of divorce culture, therapy culture, and human folly and degeneration generally. Persons who, hardly ever having been around traditional masculinity, cannot but misunderstand it, and with the all-too-human fear and hatred of the unknown. Perusing pictures of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, one perceives, quite palpably, a typical skinny, weak, effete twenty-first century Last Man: born to take orders from nasty women and resentment-pipers generally

Gender differences may be bad news for Feminist Dogma, yet as Pinker says in his talk, the truth cannot be sexist, nor should it be "harmful"!to an adult mind, at least. Of course, like Lawrence Summers, who was obliged to step down from the Harvard Presidency a while back for not going along with Feminist Dogma, Pinker has caught fire from feminists!increasingly nasty women, as it were. Sundar Pichai, like our feminists, says all the right things about diversity and the like, but when it comes to the reality of one gender being better, on average, at, say, engineering, he goes in for cant about "harmful gender stereotypes." If, though, anybody was to say, what there is also much evidence to support, that women, on average, are better at language skills than men, nobody would be troubled. Such hypocritical intolerance by the partisans of tolerance should be expected to continue apace, unless we others make a principled stand. Looking at the academy and at our intellectuals in general, we may wonder how so many people can manage to walk upright without a spine. Alas, more vital work for the deplorables.

The Diversity Idol is confused and inherently self-defeating. As Debra W. Soh puts it in the The Globe and Mail ,

research has shown that cultures with greater gender equity have larger sex differences when it comes to job preferences, because in these societies, people are free to choose their occupations based on what they enjoy.

As the memo suggests, seeking to fulfill a 50-per-cent quota of women in STEM is unrealistic. As gender equity continues to improve in developing societies, we should expect to see this gender gap widen.

The Diversity Idol also reeks of hypocrisy. Where are all the calls for more women in bricklaying and coal mining, fields in which there are hardly any women?

As for women's relative lack of leadership positions, at Google and elsewhere, much the best explanation is that by Jordan Peterson. The issue is not so much lack of ability as (sensible) lack of interest. Why, Peterson asks, should women want anything to do with what is commonly called leadership, seeing as it is generally a quite mad and foolish affair (endless work and stress, all for wealth that does not make happy)? Women's relative lack of interest in so-called leadership!which ultimately, today as yesterday, amounts in the main to men vying to outdo one another in order to win the favor of women in the sexual marketplace!signifies their greater good sense, which certainly is of a piece with their greater psychological and emotional discernment generally, and quite a long way from man's lunatic competitiveness and zeal for mammon. It is well to reflect on just what women are really missing out on by not exercising the power that men do, all in all. Is it a power worth having, most of the time? Do we not find our highest good when we are free to pursue that which has inherent value? Then too, there is the reality, hardly recognized in our time, that, as G.K. Chesterton put it, "feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands." For my own part, though an awful cook, I should rather be a house husband at home tending to my children than live a professional death-in-life at some touchy, humorless office.

In our status-obsessed society, there are constant gripes about how women are "excluded" from exercising power in the workplace. Meanwhile nobody says anything about the enormous psycho-biological power women possess simply by virtue of being women. This power, of course, is essentially determined by a woman's attractiveness, which is closely associated with youth and good health. No surprise, then, that women all over the world are forever trying to appear as attractive as possible, to the cost of billions every year. Such power, though inevitably prevalent in the workplace itself, far transcends it: it is a law of Nature itself, and indeed one of the strongest. As noted above, the endless male struggle for status mostly comes down to being able to obtain a desirable woman.

Today we see countless attractive young women spending vast amounts of time uploading photos of themselves on social media. How many wish to be a star! Hence that increasingly common phenomenon the duck face, which some might take for a kind of strange medical affliction: "Pucker up," thinks the generic young beauty in her vanity; "everybody's watching!" Like women on the many dating websites and apps, these social media darlings find that they can hardly keep up with all the male attention!surely an intoxicating pleasure, although doubtless often corrupting. No matter their intentions, and whether they are aware of it or not, such women are extremely powerful. The notion that a woman like Emily Ratajkowski is "oppressed" because of her "objectification" is absurd beyond description. Hers is a most willful objection; there is massive power in it; and even if the stunner was not affluent through her modeling and other endeavors, she would still not have to work: countess men would get in line to provide for her, now as ever. On the other hand, take away Bill Gates' billions, and how many women would even give that unattractive, uncharming fellow the time of day?

Google and other corporations, to maximize their profits, feel obliged to keep the diversity crowd happy. Yet there is, ironically, nothing the diversity crowd opposes more than diversity itself. To see this, consider that to effect "social justice," we must all become thesame , like a mad God who chooses to bungle His creation. For, so long as I differ from you in some way or other, it will always be possible to make a value judgment!of inferiority, of superiority, or of whatever!concerning that difference. And this would be true even if everyone had the same amount of money, even if there were no private property, and so on. For the most part, the social justice crowd is not motivated by benevolent justice, but by wicked resentment: that is why it wants not universal economic sufficiency (which I strongly support, insofar as it is achievable), but equality of outcome; with the result that comparative value judgment will be impossible.

Now equality of outcome derives from human psychology, from the permanent truth that there's nothing we children of pride detest more than the thought: "That person is better than me." Seeing other people perceive that superiority induces the same burning, violent envy, like a child who wants to destroy his parent's favored sibling. Indeed, from childhood on, man!the esteeming animal!defines himself in terms of competition, of rank, of hierarchy. No artist or athlete wants to be equal to another. Not every person, waxing indignant about inequality, wants to make the same income as every neighbor; very few do, in fact. Like suffering and death, this extreme competiveness is a law of Nature, from which we merely issue. Try to get rid of it, and see what mediocrity, corruption and degeneration follow. I say, look around you.

Biographical note: Christopher DeGroot is a writer and independent scholar in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

CanSpeccy > , Website August 11, 2017 at 4:27 am GMT

regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it.

Pichai is is an idiot. If a vast majority of "Googlers" disagreed with Damore's memorandum, how come most oppose his firing .

If Google's board wishes to avoid massive damage to the company, they should fire Pichai without delay on the grounds of his dishonesty and stupidity.

But the won't.

Good.

Let the manipulative, globalist, scum suffer massive damage to their credibility: credibility they do not deserve.

bliss_porsena > , August 11, 2017 at 4:58 am GMT

I have just staggered through Pepe Escobar on the Goolag Deep Swamp Memo and beg to be excused from more of the same, or similar.

jilles dykstra > , August 11, 2017 at 6:10 am GMT

Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London
already argues that truth does not matter any more.

TG > , August 11, 2017 at 7:46 am GMT

The field of Optometry is increasingly dominated by women. I have served on the admissions committee for an optometry school, and we'd like a better balance between male and female, but if most of the best applicants are female, well that's that and nobody whines. Many of these applicants are quite up-front about choosing optometry because it offers a better work-life balance than, say, ophthalmic surgery, and again, so what?

New enrollment in US medical schools is now 50/50 between men and women, and will likely become majority female before too long. Where is the angst?

And I remind you that, on average, people with degrees in medicine and optometry have significantly larger salaries than people with degrees in engineering, and significantly longer careers. On balance, I'd not say that professional women are doing all that bad. It's just that, for whatever reasons, the smart women tend to choose medicine over engineering. I fail to see a problem here.

Dieter Kief > , August 11, 2017 at 8:56 am GMT

The Pope, Emerson an Chesterton quotes are great. Especially the Pope-quote.
Thanks for putting Pinker, Peterson and Soh at the right place in the big picture.

These lines are a little bit misleading, because siblings rivlary is nothing exclusively boyish. There are women-athletes who want to win too, aren't there?

Seeing other people perceive that superiority induces the same burning, violent envy, like a child who wants to destroy his parent's favored sibling. Indeed, from childhood on, man!the esteeming animal!defines himself in terms of competition, of rank, of hierarchy. No artist or athlete wants to be equal to another. Not every person, waxing indignant about inequality, wants to make the same income as every neighbor; very few do, in fact.

((Article is very good – if a tad long, maybe.))

Zogby > , August 11, 2017 at 11:13 am GMT

How come noone is discussing the role that Pinchai is himself a product of affirmitive action plays in this? Do people really believe an Indian immigrant would serve as CEO of Google, as CEO of Microsoft if not for affirmitive action? Being CEO is not an engineering position. There are plenty of native-born mainstream Americans that could do these jobs. Most large American companies would never give the job of CEO to an immigrant from a 3rd-world country. Some of the business men that founded large companies may be immigrants, but it's different if they built the company. They're in control. Pinchai is just a hired hand, like Damore was.

Njguy73 > , August 11, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

"Science is an odd sort of pursuit, way off the beaten track of human intellection There were theologians and politicians long, long, long before there were scientists. In dark moments I am inclined to think the former will still be with us long after the latter have been eliminated, probably via mass lynching Scientists themselves tend to forget this because they associate mainly with other scientists."

John Derbyshire, 2007

http://www.johnderbyshire.com/Opinions/Religion/religionandpolitics.html

jim jones > , August 11, 2017 at 11:28 am GMT

Good thread on Reddit by a hiring manager about the realities of diversity:

https://www.reddit.com/r/KotakuInAction/comments/6scd84/long_my_experience_as_a

Anonymous > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm GMT

"It is well-established by Pinker and other scientists that women have higher IQs on average, while men preponderate the extremes of brilliance and dullness."

First time I'm hearing that claim. I've heard about the flatter, wider Bell Curve for men but the average IQ was either the same or even higher. That's also more logical since men need higher IQs to both prove themselves as providers and charm the pants off their mates. Women love intelligence + health in their mates while men look for beauty + health. A highly stratified, unequal and un-meritocratic (old money, castes or arranged marriages) system can distort the choices quite a bit but that's the baseline.

This is also interesting if true:

Recent research using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today's human population is descended from twice as many women as men.

I think this difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To get that kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entire history of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced.

https://archive.is/9F5rK

CanSpeccy > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:24 pm GMT

@The Alarmist Damone is somebody's shill. Nobody with two functioning brain cells would publish that memo in that environment without some expectation of losing his job; either he is looking for fame and a payout, or he is simply insane.

Damone [sic] is somebody's shill.

.So exposing the reality of liberal-leftist bigotry, bullying and discrimination is proof that you're "sombody's shill"? What kind of bullshit argument is that?

Nobody with two functioning brain cells would publish that memo in that environment without some expectation of losing his job; either he is looking for fame and a payout, or he is simply insane.

Which reveals what a scoundrel mentality you have. Exposing corruption, bigotry, and manipulation of the public mind through the control of information is something you think a sane person would do, only for fame or money.

The idea of blowing the whistle on a bunch of dirty manipulators, bigots, bullies and scumbags who routinely misdirect the public for both political ends or to boost profits because you no longer wish to work with them, or because you think the public should know what such people are doing, or because you believe in propagating truth not using the most powerful tools for the enlightenment of humanity for the purpose of pushing some grotesque leftist agenda is, apparently, to a moral numbskull such as yourself, unintelligible.

What a sick society America has become, that it can produce individuals who not only think as you do, but who think anyone who thinks otherwise is insane.

But the cherry on the cake is that Damore did not blow the whistle on anyone. He merely circulated a memorandum among what Pichai, Google's idiot savant CEO, calls "Googlers". It was Pichai, confirming his own idiocy, who blew the whistle on himself by firing Damore.

What delicious irony. The shit CEO of the dirty search engine company, dicked himself.

anonymous > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra Christopher Lasch, 'The Culture of Narcissism, American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations', 1979, 1980, London
already argues that truth does not matter any more. Thanks for referencing this book. Read it when it was first published. As such it served as my introduction to Lasch, who was a very prescient thinker (read "The True and Only Heaven"). And here's what's disturbing: Lasch, as I recall, pointed out that narcissism is in fact a mental disorder which is considered to be so deep-seated as to be impossible to cure.

[Aug 11, 2017] Steve Sailer

Aug 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

From Ben Kurtz :

Google has just earned itself a lawsuit.

California Labor Code § 1102 requires that "no employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity." Furthermore, the "whistleblower" provisions at §1102.5 prohibit employers from adopting rules preventing disclosure of, or retaliating against an employee for having disclosed, "information to a person with authority over the employee, or another employee who has authority to investigate, discover or correct the violation if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation of or noncompliance with a local, state, or federal rule or regulation, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee's job duties."

The memo in question quite plausibly falls into both statutory sections -- advocating that someone "stop alienating conservatives" sure sounds like political activity, and warning of corporate policies and procedures "which can incentivize illegal discrimination," and asking that the employer cease "restricting [certain] programs and classes to certain genders or races" sure sounds like information which an employee would have "reasonable cause to believe" concerns noncompliance with federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

Even better: Somebody could go to jail for this.

Section 1103 provides: "An employer or any other person or entity that violates this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable, in the case of an individual, by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year or a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) or both that fine and imprisonment, or, in the case of a corporation, by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).

Alec Leamas (hard at work) > , August 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm GMT

@jjbees I had this thought this morning, and while I know it has been said a million times, it still leaves me in awe:

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

The people at the top don't really believe it. But they do think saying so or acting as if it is true is a fatal breach of decorum and evidence that the speaker doesn't want it to be true. It's like telling a committed Christian that heaven doesn't seem all that nice or desirable.

From a practical perspective, it's harmful to say at Google because of the inevitable flip-outs and resultant lack of productivity.

Think about being in Babu's shoes – you've taken over a tech giant headquartered in the most socially radical region of the United States, which has employed countless employees who skew young and have been steeped from childhood in equalist fantasies. Even if James Damore's statements are correct and even if acting in conformity with the realities he sets forth would lead to the long term financial health and well-being of the Company, in the short term it's a disaster to have all of your Monster Baby employees pitching fits and potentially acting as saboteurs inside the organization to punish you for not getting rid of the heretic. It's easier to throw the occasional James Damore into the volcano (ensuring he will probably be the last) and take the legal consequences than to leave him in place and see the place burnt to the ground.

oddsbodkins > , August 11, 2017 at 2:27 pm GMT

@jjbees It's always tempting to think that one's enemies are collectively insane. They aren't.

Even Japanese soldiers who held out on islands for years were not insane. What they were is loyal, dedicated, and convinced.

tullamore92 > , August 11, 2017 at 3:11 pm GMT

@jjbees https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/124952-in-my-study-of-communist-societies-i-came-to-the

schmenz > , August 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm GMT

@reiner Tor This makes them all the more dangerous. Exactly.

anon > , Disclaimer August 11, 2017 at 3:33 pm GMT

I think Google should just pack up and move a little north. They can setup shop in Canada (Vancouver is a nice city; they have lot of real estate on Vancouver Island, if they want to build a silicon valley). The politics in US is simply too poisonous for an information/knowledge/wisdom plumber.

Tim Howells > , August 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm GMT

Yeah, yeah but does the employee belong to a protected class? Don't get your hopes up.

Achmed E. Newman > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm GMT

@reiner Tor

It is so obviously true that men and women are different, that people of different races are different, that for someone to say otherwise is simply insane. These people are insane.

This makes them all the more dangerous.

Hence, the invention of the straight-jacket – probably by some white man or something. Go long straight-jackets, bitchez! [/style: zerohedge-commenter]

San Fernando Curt > , Website August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm GMT

The day they haul out Cherry Sundae and clap him in irons would be de day ob de Jubilee. I won't hold my breath.

KM32 > , August 11, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT

There is zero chance that he'll be prosecuted for this. What the law says is one thing, and how it is interpreted is another.

NickG > , August 11, 2017 at 4:59 pm GMT

Is a Google Executive Headed for Jail?

This would have been vastly more entertaining in pukka colonial vernacular .

Is Google's top coolie to be banged up in the chokey?

James Bowery > , Website August 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm GMT

It's an execrable law but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't recognize the perverse "social justice" it would provide, if not selectively enforced. Of course, it will be selectively enforced, as are all such execrable laws.

If I could, I'd sentence every CEO, and every journalist covering the Damore story to read this:

http://jimbowery.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-mau-mauing-of-james-damore.html

Desiderius > , August 11, 2017 at 5:03 pm GMT

@jjbees It's sad funny reading the Heterodox Academy's response which bends over backward to take the madness seriously in a vain (in more ways than one) attempt to preserve their centrist brand.

Jack D > , August 11, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT

@reiner Tor Any child can believe things that are simply and obviously true, but as Orwell observed, "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge – "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual."

reiner Tor > , August 11, 2017 at 5:48 pm GMT

@Jack D Yes, but it doesn't make them any less crazy. Or dangerous.

Jim Don Bob > , August 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm GMT

Please God!

whorefinder > , Website August 11, 2017 at 5:57 pm GMT

Yeah, he ain't going to jail.

Everyone knows these kinds of "crimes" are really there to be used against white men. They are selectively enforced. So California will either decline to prosecute!and if questioned, say Newspeakingly that there "not enough evidence"!or, if they are forced prosecute, give him probation.

This is rather how "hate crime" legislation (which is clearly unconstitutional, but hey, Diversity!) works. Blacks whined about how they're always criminals and whitey isn't, legislators responded with legislation giving judges the power to overpunish whiteys in white/nonwhite crimes to satisfy the bloodlust. And when blacks commit one? The prosecutors ignore the hate crime aspects and treat it as a non-hate crime.

This happens in a lot of physical fights. In fights, people tend to scream lots of demaning insults at each other; it's the nature of the adrenaline (and in men, also testosterone) kicking in. SO if a white and black and get in a fight and the white lets a racial slur slip out!even if the fight clearly began over something non-racial(i.e. a traffic incident, a fight over a girl)!-the prosecutors will climb all over each other to get whitey on a hate crime. But even if a blacks starts out with the clear intention to assault white people for being white!"I'm going to go beat up some white people, yo, I hate them"! you watch how rarely they get the "hate crime" charge.enhancement.

It's Bonfire of the Vanities 's theme writ into law.

keuril > , August 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT

@Jack D Any child can believe things that are simply and obviously true, but as Orwell observed, "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge - "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual."

Therefore, believing in absurd stuff is sort of an intellectual badge – "I believe in stuff that is absurd on its face and have the ability to rationalize anything. So you know that I must be a bona fide intellectual

That is, by the way, exactly how Amazon has achieved its ludicrous valuation!an army of insecure, pseudo-intellectual analysts affirming that a company that has never managed a substantial profit in more than 20 yrs as a public corporation can indefinitely "reinvest revenues something something." The same madness we find in the political sphere exists in the financial sphere as well.

[Aug 11, 2017] Google's ideological echo chamber

The most stupid thing to do was to fire this guy. The paper raises an important question -- at what point affirmative action becomes discrimination. But the author does not understand that gender bias is an important part of identity wedge -- a powerful tool under neoliberalism to split and marginalized opposition to neoliberal fat cats adopted and polished by Clintonized Democratic Party (DemoRats).
Notable quotes:
"... ( Editor's note: The following is a 10-page memo written by an anonymous senior software engineer at Google.) ..."
"... This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed. ..."
"... [1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google's Mountain View campus, I can't speak about other offices or countries. ..."
"... [2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I'd be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations. ..."
"... [3] Throughout the document, by "tech", I mostly mean software engineering. ..."
"... [4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal. ..."
"... [5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race. ..."
"... [6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I've seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs. ..."
"... [7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their "capitalist oppressors," the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the "white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy." ..."
"... [8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy. ..."
"... [9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power. ..."
"... [10] "The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men's problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak." ..."
"... [11] Political correctness is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against," which makes it clear why it's a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians. ..."
Aug 11, 2017 | www.wnd.com

( Editor's note: The following is a 10-page memo written by an anonymous senior software engineer at Google.)

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can't have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

TL:DR

Background [1]

People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document.[2] Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it's a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.

Google's biases

At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.

Left Biases

Right Biases

Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google's left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I'll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that's required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.

Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech [3]

At Google, we're regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it's far from the whole story.

On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because:

Note, I'm not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are "just." I'm simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there's significant overlap between men and women, so you can't say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

Personality differences

Women, on average, have more:

Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that "greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men's and women's personality traits." Because as "society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider." We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.

Men's higher drive for status

We always ask why we don't see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

Status is the primary metric that men are judged on[4], pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

N on-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap

Below I'll go over some of the differences in distribution of traits between men and women that I outlined in the previous section and suggest ways to address them to increase women's representation in tech and without resorting to discrimination. Google is already making strides in many of these areas, but I think it's still instructive to list them:

Philosophically, I don't think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principles reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google!with Google's diversity being a component of that. For example currently those trying to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google's funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

The Harm of Google's biases

I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We're told by senior leadership that what we're doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology[7] that can irreparably harm Google.

Why we're blind

We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the "God > humans > environment" hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change) the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ[8] and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren't on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists learn left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what's being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap[9]. Google's left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we're using to justify highly politicized programs.

In addition to the Left's affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and areeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue [sic] affecting men, he's labelled as a misogynist and whiner[10]. Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women's oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of "grass being greener on the other side"; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is spent to water only one side of the lawn.

The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness[11], which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn't harbored the violent leftists protests that we're seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment.

Suggestions

I hope it's clear that I'm not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn't try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don't fit a certain ideology. I'm also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I'm advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

My concrete suggestions are to:

De-moralize diversity.

As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the "victims."

Stop alienating conservatives.

Confront Google's biases.

Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.

Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.

Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.

De-emphasize empathy.

Prioritize intention.

Be open about the science of human nature.

Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

[1] This document is mostly written from the perspective of Google's Mountain View campus, I can't speak about other offices or countries.

[2] Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason. I'd be very happy to discuss any of the document further and provide more citations.

[3] Throughout the document, by "tech", I mostly mean software engineering.

[4] For heterosexual romantic relationships, men are more strongly judged by status and women by beauty. Again, this has biological origins and is culturally universal.

[5] Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race.

[6] Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I've seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs.

[7] Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their "capitalist oppressors," the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the "white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy."

[8] Ironically, IQ tests were initially championed by the Left when meritocracy meant helping the victims of the aristocracy.

[9] Yes, in a national aggregate, women have lower salaries than men for a variety of reasons. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power.

[10] "The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men's problems are more often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood,, due to our gendered idea of agency. This discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak."

[11] Political correctness is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against," which makes it clear why it's a phenomenon of the Left and a tool of authoritarians.

[Aug 09, 2017] Equality Or Diversity - An Outrageous Memo Questions Google

That reminds my witch hunt against Summers after his unfortunate speech (although there were other, much more valid reasons to fire him from his position of the president of Harvard; his role in Harvard mafia scandal ( Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia ) is one ).
Notable quotes:
"... Google's Ideological Echo Chamber - How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
memo about " Google's Ideological Echo Chamber - How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion ":
At Google, we're regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it's far from the whole story. On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren't just socially constructed because:
- ...
- ...

Google company policy is in favor of "equal representation" of both genders. As the existing representation in tech jobs is unequal that policy has led to hiring preferences, priority status and special treatment for the underrepresented category, in this case women.

The author says that this policy is based on ideology and not on rationality. It is the wrong way to go, he says. Basic differences, not bias, are (to some extend) responsible for different representations in tech jobs. If the (natural) different representation is "cured" by preferring the underrepresented, the optimal configuration can not be achieved.

The author cites scientific studies which find that men and women (as categories, not as specific persons) are - independent of cultural bias - unequal in several social perspectives. These might be life planning, willingness to work more for a higher status, or social behavior. The differences evolve from the natural biological differences between men and women. A gender preference for specific occupations and positions is to be expected, Cultural bias alone can not explain it. It therefore does not make sense to strive for equal group representation in all occupations.


From James Damore's memo

From there he points to the implementation of Google's policy and concludes:

Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

Google fired the engineer. Its 'Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance' stated:

We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company. [..] Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

(Translation: "You are welcome to discuss your alternative policy views - unless we disagree with them.")

The current public discussion of the case evolves around "conservative" versus "progressive", "left" versus "right" categories. That misses the point the author makes: Google's policy is based on unfounded ideology, not on sciences.

The (legal) "principle of equality" does not imply that everyone and everything must be handled equally. It rather means that in proportion with its equality the same shall be treated equally, and in proportion with its inequality the different shall be treated unequally.

The author asks: Are men and women different? Do these differences result in personal occupation preferences? He quotes the relevant science and answers these questions with "yes" and "yes". From that follows a third question: What is the purpose of compelled equal representation in occupations when the inherent (natural gender) differences are not in line with such an outcome?

Several scientist in the relevant fields have stated that the author's scientific reasoning is largely correct. The biological differences between men and women do result in observable social and psychological differences which are independent of culture and its biases. It is to be expected that these difference lead to different preferences of occupations.

Moreover: If men and women are inherently equal (in their tech job capabilities) why does Google need to say that "diversity and inclusion are critical to our success"? Equality and diversity are in this extend contradictory. (Why, by the way, is Google selling advertising-space with "male" and "female" as targeting criteria?)

If women and men are not equal, we should, in line with the principle of equality, differentiate accordingly. We then should not insist on or strive for equal gender representation in all occupations but accept a certain "gender gap" as the expression of natural differences.

It is sad that Google and the general society avoid to discuss the questions that the author of the memo has asked. That Google fires him only confirms his claim that Google's policy is not based on science and rationality but on a non-discussible ideology.

Posted by b on August 8, 2017 at 01:41 PM | Permalink

TSP | Aug 8, 2017 2:03:15 PM | 1

I worked under a lady CEO. It was so refreshing compared to life under men. There was open dialogue, I felt I could voice ideas safely.

I think all CEO's would be females. It's like their social approaches to inclusion is unilaterally better than (white) men.

Is that sexist?

(From a 50 year old white man).

karlof1 | Aug 8, 2017 2:06:12 PM | 2
Thanks, b, for the change in academic realms from geopolitics to anthropology. You wrote:

"The biological differences between men and women do result in observable social and psychological differences which are independent of culture and its biases."

I disagree. From an anthropological perspective, biological differences form the basis for all cultures and thusly cannot be independent of culture since they form its core. Yes, Google's policy is ideological, but what policy can claim to be ideologically neutral? IMO, the answer is none. Here I invoke Simon de Beauvoir's maxim that females are "slaves to the species" that she irrefutably proves in The Second Sex . Fortunately, some societies based upon matrilineal cultures survived into the 20th century thus upending the male dominated mythos created to support such culturally based polities.

marxman | Aug 8, 2017 2:18:30 PM | 3
bell curve much? read the Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould. generally your work is excellent but this post is of poor quality.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:45:39 PM | 4
The truth is google only hire women so that the nerds working there can get laid.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:48:13 PM | 5
@TSP

Were you beaten senselessly by your dad when you were a child?

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 2:50:21 PM | 6
Social engineering is what it is. Social engineering is what it does.

It's an elite corporate project to androgynise humanity, a la 1984.

Simply put, women will not achieve their full potential outside the family.

The corporate project will continually have to put in place special discriminatory measures to pretend they're equal in the SMET areas when all the evidence shows they're not, other than in very special cases.

It's a project that's doomed to failure in the end, but much misery will be caused to both men and women as this elite project continues.

Thankfully, the rest of the world isn't as brainwashed as Westerners.

They're the future.

Bruce Ballai | Aug 8, 2017 2:52:24 PM | 7
You can disagree with B's science, and you can disagree with James' science. James was fired for expressing his opinions and beliefs. This is so little about sexism and so much about freedom of speech and freedom to consider other ideas. Bias shut that down at Google. These comments are in line with shutting down independent thinking. I'm a little surprised to see that sort of ideology here. When people - like B, like James - put their own circumstances at risk for the sake of open mindedness, they deserve as much support as culture and society can offer.
Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 2:54:50 PM | 8
If Google or other silicon valley tech companies dont hire unqualified women, the place would be a sausage fest of socially inept nerds
Bamdad | Aug 8, 2017 2:55:42 PM | 9
Ivan Illich wrote a very interesting and controversial book "Gender" on the difference between Gender and Sex. I do recommend every one to read this book (and all of other Illich's writings).
james | Aug 8, 2017 2:57:20 PM | 10
thanks b... this is more politically correct material.. it is what canada and probably many western countries have been doing for some time.. google is a piece of crap corporation as far as i am concerned, so this is in keeping with their neo-liberal agenda..

@7 bruce... i agree it is about freedom of speech, something sorely missing in the politically correct realm of western society at this point in time..

dh | Aug 8, 2017 3:04:46 PM | 11
'non-discussible ideology'.....great phrase b. None of it much matters because in 10-20 everybody will be bi-sexual or trans-gender anyway. Any hold outs will be required to attend re-education courses.
anon | Aug 8, 2017 3:12:33 PM | 12
he says men are better than women - women are "neurotic" and can't handle stress and don't do as much hard work as men and spend more money and on and on and on....

his level of argument and citation is about that of a teenager. he makes a lot of statements with no support, such as men are better coders than women because women like social interaction more. and even if men really are more cutthroat than women, his assumption is that being cutthroat in management makes better companies. (Microsoft made great money, not great products.)

furthermore, his definition of 'left' and 'right' are narrowed to probably his entire life experience which appears to be just out of college?

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:14:18 PM | 13
There is some hope though.

The whole SJW thing is being exposed day and daily for the complete nihilistic fraud it is.

Especially in America.

If you wanted to destroy a country then Gender Games is the way to go.

Globalists must destroy the US and Europe to achieve their goal, but they must just keep them alive until Russia is destroyed.

A delicate balancing act.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:18:11 PM | 14
Left and Right are elite frauds, though the Left primarily carried forward the gender destruction project.

The Right was bullied into it and for the most part has jumped aboard.

They seem to be fighting back a bit now.

james | Aug 8, 2017 3:20:20 PM | 15
@11 dh.. lol.. that's about it... it isn't enough us old white males are trying to be flexible here...
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:21:12 PM | 16
@6

"Simply put, women will not achieve their full potential outside the family.

The corporate project will continually have to put in place special discriminatory measures to pretend they're equal in the SMET areas when all the evidence shows they're not, other than in very special cases."

I really wonder how someone can go through life interacting with women every day, and most likely having wives, daughters, nieces, etc, and still hold the opinion that "by the way, you're inferior shit and stupid and only good for producing babies". I would think first of all that actual interaction with women would reveal this not to be the case, but if nothing else I would think not being a freaking sociopath with a bleak worldview would prevent someone from being ending up as such a douchebag.

I also love stuff like this: "It's an elite corporate project to androgynise humanity, a la 1984."

Good god, masculinity is the most fragile thing in existence. Anything, absolutely anything, that in any way threatens its privileged position brings forth the waves of hyperbolic whinging. Talk about being triggered. How about you stop defining your manliness by subjugating women. Efforts to correct inequalities do not mean men are being turned into women, or whatever gibberish you're complaining about.

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:22:14 PM | 17
With respect to the commenter alias "karlof1", you seem to have drifted off-topic somewhat.

Please point out specifically where the author of the now infamous Google memo seeks to in any way denigrate women to a position in any way resembling slavery.

You have signally failed to refute anything in the memo as you have resorted to the lazy straw man of sexism.

You can doubtless try harder and probably do better -- 0/10, for now, and see me at the end...

And while you're at it, why is feminism preferable to chauvinism - do please explain clearly and try to stay on point.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:25:23 PM | 18
Who, I mean who!

Who truly believes that women prefer coding all day long.

You need to be a bit autistic spectrum to enjoy that.

That's why there's so many nerds in these areas.

Perhaps women need to be given extra vaccines at a young age and then they'll develop the skills necessary to succeed in these spheres.

Trading your sociality for nerdom is not a choice many women want to make.

I wouldn't make it myself, and I worked in this area.

Used to make my brain hurt, a lot.

All abstract, nothing tactile.

keep women human, is what I say!

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 3:29:57 PM | 19
Merasmus

The family is not an inferior thing. Women are not an inferior thing.

The family is the centre of life and women its masters.

That's where they will achieve a truly fulfilling life.

Why should women want to demean themselves by accepting the poor male equivalent of female creativity.

Dafranzl | Aug 8, 2017 3:36:05 PM | 20
I was a pilot for Lufthansa and really had no problems with our
ladypilots. Of course they had and have the same salary as males. But what was interesting:only a few chose to apply for the job, with LH this meant to pass a test then enter the pilotschool and passt al checks, incl. licencing. But:the percentage of the few who reallly passed all this was around 90 percent, I mean, a girl who wants this real tech job and is intelligent will get it. Boys tend to overestimate their abilities and therefor fail. Only about 10 percent who try the test actually pass it. That is pne typical gender difference. PS:I am male ;)
T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:42:57 PM | 21
Completely agree with poster "Anti-Soros" -- "Merasmus" is twisting this obtusely beyond all recognition, read the memo, "Merasmus", and make your own mind up, so as you don't come over so utterly lopsided and brainwashed in your awareness of sexual politics. And, on that note, as to "Dafranzl", is your comment not verging on real, like genuine, sexism in that you are expressing some kind of shock horror that women can actually pass a couple of tests and fly a plane?
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:46:10 PM | 22
@Anti-Soros

I'm pretty sure it should be up to the women to decide what they want to do with their lives. Some may want to be housewives, others don't. It's about freedom of choice (you know, that thing conservatives are always claim they care so much about). You really don't see any problem with men telling women what women truly want in life, and ensuring that that one thing is the only option available to them, do you? It's amazing how men will declare that the different sexes have different natural spheres, and then put family in the women's column, and literally everything else, and the freedom to choice from all those other things, in the men's column.

Anti-Soros | Aug 8, 2017 4:03:23 PM | 23
Merasmus

You seem to think that the family and children are some sort of lower form of achievement.

Where'd you get that idea?

As I said, female creativity is the closet thing to godliness any human can get.

Don't trade that for poor male efforts at creativity.

There only sadness and frustration lie.

So much so indeed that the elite project in creativity is currently engaged in attempting to undermine God and Female creativity with its own version of androids, robots and all the rest of the cheap Frankenstein tricks for which frustrated males and their ersatz creativity are famous.

When will a bridge or an app, a poem, a book, a piece of music, ever come close to creating and nurturing life itself.

Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 4:07:20 PM | 24
There is a big cultural problem that keep women out of technical fields. In the west, the striving to a career leads to a sudden mid 30s realization that maybe they do want a family. My experience with west Africans is that they marry younger, have their families and get on with careers. This also has the benefit of them going into the work force when they are a bit more mature, and have actual life responsibilities.
okie farmer | Aug 8, 2017 4:19:29 PM | 25
The Mismeasure of Man
From Wikipedia

The Mismeasure of Man

Stephen Jay Gould

The Mismeasure of Man is a 1981 book by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.[1] The book is both a history and critique of the statistical methods and cultural motivations underlying biological determinism, the belief that "the social and economic differences between human groups!primarily races, classes, and sexes!arise from inherited, inborn distinctions and that society, in this sense, is an accurate reflection of biology."[2]
The principal assumption underlying biological determinism is that, "worth can be assigned to individuals and groups by measuring intelligence as a single quantity." This argument is analyzed in discussions of craniometry and psychological testing, the two methods used to measure and establish intelligence as a single quantity. According to Gould, the methods harbor "two deep fallacies." The first fallacy is "reification", which is "our tendency to convert abstract concepts into entities"[3] such as the intelligence quotient (IQ) and the general intelligence factor (g factor), which have been the cornerstones of much research into human intelligence. The second fallacy is that of "ranking", which is the "propensity for ordering complex variation as a gradual ascending scale."[3]
The revised and expanded second edition (1996) analyzes and challenges the methodological accuracy of The Bell Curve (1994), by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray. Gould said the book re-presented the arguments of what Gould terms biological determinism, which he defines as "the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity, its location within the brain, its quantification as one number for each individual, and the use of these numbers to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups!races, classes, or sexes!are innately inferior and deserve their status."[4]

Piotr Berman | Aug 8, 2017 4:22:17 PM | 26
For starters, good coding is not a male characteristic, because most of the gender is quite terrible. So the question is: are "good coders" a more sizable minority among men or women? Both percentages are culture related, and they probably have a gender component.

A weird thing is the gender ratio of women/men students of computer science seems quite even in some Asian cultures, like Iranian, and very lopsided (1-9, 2-8) in American culture that has a "feminity ideals" like "girls are not good at math". That is overlayed with relatively meager rewards in American society for engineering fields, compared to law and medicine. I suspect that the ratio of male jurists in Iran is very lopsided, so girls, for the want of good legal jobs, go for engineering and math. (That is not a serious theory.)

Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 4:37:41 PM | 27
@Anti-Soros

Ah, benevolent sexism. Putting women on a pedestal and making it their prison.

"Women are not an inferior thing."

It would help in convincing others that you actually believe this if you hadn't literally opened with (and then reiterated later) saying that women are generally too stupid to work in STEM fields.

"Who truly believes that women prefer coding all day long."

You could start by asking some women programmers. Though I really should point out the false dichotomy you're engaging in here: women can be mothers or they can be something else, in your mind they can never be both.

"So much so indeed that the elite project in creativity is currently engaged in attempting to undermine God"

Because I'm sure the (supposed) creator of the entire universe can be undermined by a hairless chimpanzee. "And I would have gotten away with it too, if hadn't been for you meddling humans!"

@T-Sixes

I don't particularly care about the memo or its asinine content. I'm responding to what people have said in these comments.

As for the memo itself, neither side comes out looking particularly good. The engineer's memo essentially boils down to "girlz r stoopid, and need to get out of my workplace" (he's not attempting to engage in debate, which some of his defenders have claimed, as in 'he's just asking questions and the PC police are too scared to engage him'), and Google's response was "you voiced an unacceptable opinion so we're going to fire you" (they aren't interested in debate either, but he wasn't offering one in the first place). It also has a lot of the inane 'both sides have good points, the best answer is in the middle' centrist faux wisdom I've come to expect from the type of idiot who makes up most of the Silicon Valley echo-chamber. Ah yes, the right is 'pragmatic'. They're pragmatically destroying their economies by forever seeking tax cuts and the reduction of a national 'debt' they don't even understand the nature of. Spare me.

Thegenius | Aug 8, 2017 4:38:00 PM | 28
@26
Women are more group oriented and dont like to do solitary work like coding
Damon Harris | Aug 8, 2017 4:46:21 PM | 29
Convenient that we just ignore the substantial body of research on gender bias in professional fields, particularly tech.

Abstract

Biases against women in the workplace have been documented in a variety of studies. This paper presents a large scale study on gender bias, where we compare acceptance rates of contributions from men versus women in an open source software community. Surprisingly, our results show that women's contributions tend to be accepted more often than men's. However, for contributors who are outsiders to a project and their gender is identifiable, men's acceptance rates are higher. Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.

Damon Harris | Aug 8, 2017 4:47:03 PM | 30
Link to the earlier post: https://peerj.com/articles/cs-111/
Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 4:50:17 PM | 31
@26

The explanation for Iran I've heard is that STEM fields simply aren't held in high esteem in Iran, so at a minimum it's a dearth of male interest in the area that has created a lot of openings for women. On top of that there may be cultural/social pressure for women to go into less prestigious fields while all the 'more important' areas are dominated by men. It's certainly fun to think about how projects like Iran's recent ballistic missile test are in large part facilitated by female input. If Iran is to hold the US at bay (or punish it heavily should it actually attack), it's going to be with weapons created by people working in fields that are apparently held in low esteem.

james | Aug 8, 2017 4:58:00 PM | 32
one thing women can do that men can't? that's right.. some things are factual.. a lot of stuff is culturally and socially imposed though... women working doing coding.. have at it.. forcing equal numbers being hired sure seems like 'politically correct thinking' to me... give the job based on the qualifications.. skip with the politically correct bullshit..
Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 5:05:11 PM | 33
@okie farmer
Perhaps different types of intelligence exist, but if they do, they are highly correlated, hence the emphasis on (the mathematically dubious) g .

FWIW, I advocate a modified lead/iodine deficiency model to explain most variation in IQ. Unlike older studies, more recent studies have found a small IQ gap between men and women, and women having a narrower IQ range (standard deviation) than men, i.e. fewer outliers high and low. If you look at US blacks, they have a narrower standard deviation of IQ than whites as well as a lower mean IQ. This may be understood quite readily:

Healthy pubertal brain development adds to the standard deviation e.g. 9 points standard deviation in my proposed model---12^2+9^2=15^2, where 15 is the defined std deviation over population of IQ. Poor environment e.g. poison or lacking nutrition cause mean to differ as well.

The environmental argument is usually attacked on the basis of twin studies, e.g. using the Falconer equations. That is because the equations are not usually derived from first principles. To wit, one has mean environmental effect, deviation from mean environmental effect correlated with gene, and uncorrelated with genes, which might not even be environmental, but simple developmental noise. Those arguing that twin studies show the environmental effect to be small, ignore that means are subtracted in calculating the Pearson correlation.

For women, especially after bromide replaced iodine in preparing dough for bread, late 70s or early 80s, the need for iodine will not be met sufficiently during puberty, as both breasts and the brain require iodine for development, in large quantities, and with feminising endocrine disruptors in greater quantities in the environment, breast sizes have risen on average (cup size inflation). Note deviation from previous generations' size should matter for same genes, not deviation from population mean, so if daughter is bigger than mother, e.g., then lower IQ expected, but not because daughter is bigger than agemate, as the environmental mean is shared (but does not enter Falconer equations' correlations, being subtracted)...

With US blacks, lead poisoning is still an issue, albeit much smaller than during the 90s. Look at the NHANES III data---the histogram of blood lead is nearly inverse, which suggests sporadic poisoning (lead paint, with dBLL/dt=R-BLL (ln 2)/\tau_{1/2} where R is the rate of intake (function of time, zero most of the time under sporadic poisoning). Also, sub-Saharan Africa largely avoided the Bronze Age, going straight to iron work---the Bantu used a bit of copper but not much evolutionary pressure to develop resistance to lead uptake. If you read e.g. Unz review, I did previously argue that blacks in US are more likely to live in lead painted housing, based on BLL, but US data show whites as likely to live in such housing---blacks take up more lead for same environment.

Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 5:07:33 PM | 34
Forgot to add---lead almost always is present in soft metal e.g. copper deposits.
ab initio | Aug 8, 2017 5:10:44 PM | 35
I find it fascinating that the liberal snowflake SJWs claim to promote diversity except diverse opinion. There's a reason that the neocons were liberals.

And the communist heroes of the left including Lenin & Mao are comparable to the fascists with my way or the highway to death.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 5:12:48 PM | 36
depends entirely on the type of jobs applied for. If one can pass the physical and mental tests for the job applied for, gender or race shouldn't matter. That's assuming the employer's requirements are reasonable.
somebody | Aug 8, 2017 5:13:08 PM | 37
Google probably knows that Russia and China have competitive advantage in employing women.

BBC

According to Unesco, 29% of people in scientific research worldwide are women, compared with 41% in Russia. In the UK, about 4% of inventors are women, whereas the figure is 15% in Russia.

or here

Is engineering destined to remain a male-dominated field? Not everywhere. In China, 40% of engineers are women, and in the former USSR, women accounted for 58% of the engineering workforce.

Women get these jobs when they are needed, if not, they are expected to stay at home. It is not about free speech, feminism, ability or choice.

This plateau is of concern to policy experts. For the last decade, the European Commission has highlighted the risks related to the shortage of engineers and has called on member states to draw more widely on the pool of female talent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics warned last year that the demand for computer engineers in the U.S. would see an increase of 36% by the year 2012. It seems urgent in these conditions to train more women. So what are the obstacles?

Google needs those female engineers. As simple as that.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 5:19:14 PM | 38
P.S.---If men weren't so afraid of the power women weld, because of our lust for pro-creation, things could be different.
karlof1 | Aug 8, 2017 5:19:39 PM | 39
T-Sixes @17--

I didn't address the content of the memo, if you had read more carefully. I quoted a sentence b wrote and went on from there. Seems your knee-jerk hit you I the head.

Lea | Aug 8, 2017 5:34:19 PM | 40
The same thing had been said in 2011 by a Norwegian documentary, "Brainwash" (highly recommended viewing, it can be found on Youtube with English subtitles).
The Norwegian government cut its funding for "Gender studies" after its airing.

I am a woman, and its seems to me the politically correct comments here all have one thing in common: they confuse two distinct notions, difference and inferiority.
I feel different from men, I know I am, but in no way do I feel inferior. I am not interested in sports, cars or coding. I am interested in psychology, childhood and fashion. Sorry, it's not cultural, since it's the same the world over. I will add it cannot be cultural, because the sex roles are differentiated in the animal kingdom too. Take a male lion and a female - the male naps, she hunts. All the other animals equally show different patterns of behaviour according to their sex, save ants, amoebae, viruses and other microbes, bugs or non-mammals. So, pretending that there are no differences between men and women, when all it takes is two minutes of observation of nature (let alone a clothes shop during sales) is sheer gaslighting.

Men and woman are complementary, which is way more beautiful, diverse and life-enhancing than that drab uniformity/sameness that, it seems to me, emanates from people who are so narcissistic they are scared stiff of anything that is not their mirror image.

As for me, I love men, and I love the fact we are different. With men's abilities and women's, there is nothing we can't accomplish together.

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:36:15 PM | 41
@Merasmus

"I don't particularly care about the memo or its asinine content. I'm responding to what people have said in these comments."

-- OK, so be a good girl and make yourself useful: you can start with the housework. Please explain how can you comment so vitriolically upon specific matters you admit that know almost nothing about?

"As for the memo itself, neither side comes out looking particularly good. The engineer's memo essentially boils down to "girlz [sic] r stoopid [sic], and need to get out of my workplace""

-- You are mistaken, as usual: the points are societal, biological and anthropological in their character and not AT ALL driven by chauvinism, which your bitter and ill-informed input, certainly, is.

"(he's [sic] not attempting to engage in debate, which some of his defenders have claimed, as in 'he's just asking questions and the PC police are too scared to engage him'), and Google's response was "you voiced an unacceptable opinion so we're going to fire you" (they aren't interested in debate either, but he wasn't offering one in the first place)."

-- Absolute nonsense, as usual: the guy's gripe seemed to be that there's no oxygen in which to engage with certain subject matter. There's a stultifying, stifling, suffocating, oppressive atmosphere perpetuated and sustained by people just like you, "Merasmus".

"It also has a lot of the inane 'both sides have good points, the best answer is in the middle' centrist faux wisdom I've come to expect from the type of idiot who makes up most of the Silicon Valley echo-chamber."

-- You mean, it's balanced and considered? Have you finally read it now, then?

"Ah yes, the right is 'pragmatic'. They're pragmatically destroying their economies by forever seeking tax cuts and the reduction of a national 'debt' they don't even understand the nature of. Spare me."

-- Are we drifting tediously away from the salient points, due to your total lack of knowledge or awareness of what you are talking about?

T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:41:10 PM | 42
@karlof1 - so, to be clear, you are commenting on an article regarding a memo you haven't read? Do you not think it might be an advisable next step for you to take the time to read the memo, in order to better inform yourself, so that you don't keep jerking and hitting yourself in the head?
T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 5:46:05 PM | 43
If you would like to read the memo, let me help you: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf
Temporarily Sane | Aug 8, 2017 6:26:24 PM | 44
@TSP 1
I worked under a lady CEO. It was so refreshing compared to life under men. There was open dialogue, I felt I could voice ideas safely.

I think all CEO's would be females. It's like their social approaches to inclusion is unilaterally better than (white) men.

Is that sexist?

Your experience says more about your boss as an individual and has little or nothing to do with her gender. The worst boss I have had was a woman and so was the best boss I have worked for.

The myth of the "kinder, gentler" female leader has been thoroughly debunked. Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher were both women. Thinking woman are morally and ethically "purer" than men is ridiculous.

As for Google vs. the engineer...of course he was fired. Corporations are not democracies. They are top-down dictatorships.

smuks | Aug 8, 2017 6:38:28 PM | 45
Sorry, but you miss a or perhaps 'the' crucial point here.

So let's say that men & women are indeed different, and this also influences their job preferences, independently of societal influence. I have my doubts, but let's just assume it for now.

Now if an employer thinks that men and women have different qualifications and strengths, s/he might come to the conclusion that they complement each other. It would thus make perfect sense to build teams with a balanced gender mix, in order to optimize results for the company. Whether or not each individual employee is the best possible hire is secondary - it's overall performance that counts.

Actually the first commenter TSP pretty much confirms this thesis, albeit only anecdotally.

PS. had to laugh reading post #4, thanks!

james | Aug 8, 2017 6:50:00 PM | 46
@40 lea. thanks.. i see it much the same way as you..

@45 smuks... as i mentioned - hire people, regardless of sex, race, and etc - based off merit and qualifications.. skip with the politically correct bs.. yes, i agree with @1, however anecdotal is it and i got a laugh from @4 too!

as for a lack of engineers and etc in the west.. i always think back to the joke about their being 30 engineers for every 1 banker in japan, verses 30 banker types for 1 engineer in the usa.. it was something like that... i guess you could throw in real estate sales people instead of bankers if you want... it paints a picture that probably has a good degree of relevance to the changing fortunes of countries, or cultures that pursue a certain path, over other ones also available.

George Smiley | Aug 8, 2017 7:07:43 PM | 47
What awful discussion here. Says a lot that the most adult and mature commentators here are those that I find myself somewhat in disagreement with.

Looking forward to your next piece though as always Bernard. Not that I don't like this either per se - but I'd be lying if I didn't say I find your non-geopolitical work to result in the silliest and most ideological of discussions and commentators. Though I still encourage you to keep doing what fufils you regardless.

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 8, 2017 7:49:44 PM | 48
...
Good god, masculinity is the most fragile thing in existence.
...
Posted by: Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 3:21:12 PM | 16

How dare you ponder male flaws in a debate about female flaws!?

Curtis | Aug 8, 2017 8:26:23 PM | 49
I agree with his ultimate conclusion:
Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

Forced equality is not the way to go. It winds up twisting society in bad ways. Is this the number one problem facing the US and American businesses? Isn't group think bad whether from the inside or the outside? Playing one group (sex, race, etc) off against the other does make a good distraction.

Merasmus | Aug 8, 2017 8:42:28 PM | 50
@T-Sixes

I'm not a woman, you idiot. And I never said I hadn't read it, I said I wasn't addressing it, only responding to things said in these comments.

>various [sics]

Good job! It's almost like I was mocking the memo-maker as a grown up version of the kind of boy who puts 'No Girls Allowed' signs outside his treehouse. A kind of manchild, if you will.

"Absolute nonsense, as usual: the guy's gripe seemed to be that there's no oxygen in which to engage with certain subject matter. There's a stultifying, stifling, suffocating, oppressive atmosphere perpetuated and sustained by people just like you, "Merasmus"."

Riiiiiiiiiiight.

The part about centrism is in relation to the memo explicitly talking about Left and Right politics, and how each side supposedly has valid points. This is precisely the type of centrism that is a. destroying the US and the EU, and b. rapidly disintegrating, especially in America.

@Lea

One key difference would be that humans are (ostensibly) a higher lifeform that isn't driven entirely by instinct. So appealing to how things work in the wider natural world is something of a non-starter. Regardless, even if you were going to do that, there are creatures far more closely related to us than lions we could draw comparisons to. For some *strange* reason people appealing to nature never have much to say about the Bonobo...

"So, pretending that there are no differences between men and women, when all it takes is two minutes of observation of nature"

Literally no one is making this claim though. I have literally never met a feminist who claimed sexual dimorphism didn't exist in humans. What I seen is a whole lot of people who absolutely refuse to differentiate between sex and gender, however.

"Men and woman are complementary [...] With men's abilities and women's, there is nothing we can't accomplish together."

Nice sentiment. The problem is I have never met anyone who, while complaining about women in the workplace and talking about how there's some natural division of labor, then suggested anything like a 50/50 split. Or even 60/40, or 70/30. Instead, they do what Anti-Soros above does, and relegate women to breeding and housekeeping, making the divide more like 90/10 or 95/5 or some similar extremely lopsided value. They give to men by far the greater share of opportunity and freedom, and claim this is a natural and fair division, while telling the women they shouldn't even desire more, and should be content with a 'woman's unique happiness'.

NemesisCalling | Aug 8, 2017 8:46:56 PM | 51
@40 Lea

Nailed it. And I believe the purpose of b's foray into gender and/or lgbtq discrimination is that, currently, it is intrinsically tied to the empire's tactics of subversion and infiltration. It upsets me to no end that fomenting discord between the yin and the yangs of the world is the lockstep modus operandi of the bringers of chaos. "Linear" thinking a la "women can't do it" or "women must do it" are really just distractions, and they are important architectural designs of the true believers in the uniparty who are trying to crush the way to peace.

Any meddlesome actions taken by any entity, whether affirmative action or discrimination against men due to preferencing female hires, is sure to end in disaster anyway. Look at the US and tell me it is not a powder keg. Russia, in the wisdom of ages, saw the ngos in their country for what they were. Eliminating these meddlesome devices is best by nipping them in the bud.

The female always overcomes the male anyway by weakness and stillness. Water over rock. When women want to be rock (Hillary Clinton), you've got problems.

ben | Aug 8, 2017 9:08:59 PM | 52
Lea @ 40: Very thoughtful and insightful comment, thanks..

Unfortunately, most men can't get by the second strongest drive in human existence, the drive to pro-create, and it clouds our thinking. History gives credence to this theory.

psychohistorian | Aug 8, 2017 9:15:31 PM | 53
I haven't seen the term patriarchy introduced to this discussion. I think patriarchy is a good term for the historical attitudes that assert innate/generic/gender related qualitative differences between female/male capabilities.

I posit that women are better at gestating children than men and any other comparison is mostly self serving conjecture because of woefully inadequate science.

And I agree with NemesisCalling that ".....it is intrinsically tied to the empire's tactics of subversion and infiltration. It upsets me to no end that fomenting discord between the yin and the yangs of the world is the lockstep modus operandi of the bringers of chaos. "Linear" thinking a la "women can't do it" or "women must do it" are really just distractions, and they are important architectural designs of the true believers in the uniparty who are trying to crush the way to peace."

x | Aug 8, 2017 9:15:51 PM | 54
@ Posted by: Lea | Aug 8, 2017 5:34:19 PM | 40

A pleasently mature position expressed clearly.

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 8, 2017 9:22:18 PM | 55
...
..."Dafranzl", is your comment not verging on real, like genuine, sexism in that you are expressing some kind of shock horror that women can actually pass a couple of tests and fly a plane?

Posted by: T-Sixes | Aug 8, 2017 3:42:57 PM | 21

There was nothing ambiguous about what Dafranzl wrote. He expressed genuine respect and explained why he is NOT surprised by their success.

falcemartello | Aug 8, 2017 9:27:45 PM | 56
Oh the totalitarian times we are living.
gepay | Aug 8, 2017 9:31:14 PM | 57
I read the memo. Compare the tone of the memo to the misogyny and sexism of the miners in the movie North Country starring Charlize Theron - the racism of the segregated South of the 50s. There were a number of statements he definitely should have left out even if he thinks they are true. "Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employees sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power." or "Women are more prone to stress" (although I would agree with him if he had said - women who are mothers worry more than men) "Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance). This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs." He could have left out his poor analysis of left-right. It is true for me that suffocating and/or just silly political correctness is found more often on the left liberal side. Of many conservatives it can be said, "The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental." Robert Anton Wilson He did show a bias when discussing the differences between men and women. Maybe because I'm an older white man I didn't find them so much insulting as debatable.
There are many other statements that I found correct "men take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths." "Philosophically, I don't think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women." It certainly is true that many of the problems that diverse peoples or women have are equally true of many white men not in the upper crust. "This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed." (Have I found this to be true - revisionist Holocaust history for example)
I certainly think he shouldn't have been fired for bring up these issues. The differences between men and women as they relate to employment should be considered and studied. His firing, in fact, proves one of the points he was trying to make.
Grieved | Aug 8, 2017 9:39:28 PM | 58
Wow.

So this is what they call identity politics. And this is how it drives out issue-based discussion - in this case freedom of expression within the corporation.

Got it, thanks.

ps.. @ 37 somebody - thanks for that slice of real life.

fudmieer | Aug 8, 2017 10:28:34 PM | 59
observable biological diffs (karlof1); womanless females (AntiSoros). google perks (thegenius); thought blockouts (Ballai); neo-liberal agenda (james); non-discussible ideology (dh); a unique corporate category-classified androgine (Merasmus); blinder-enhanced directed-answer response (T-Sixes); amazing test results (Dafranzl); the (statistically) mature woman (Hohan Meyer); determinism (okie farmer); absolutes (ab initio); train more women (somebody); different but not inferior; even complimentary (Lea); top down dictators (Sane); flaws (Hoarsewhisperer); discriminatory (Curtis); rocking women are problems (NemesisCalling);
please consider the following http://www.unz.com/jman/the-five-laws-of-behavioral-genetics/
Johan Meyer | Aug 8, 2017 10:48:34 PM | 60
@59 I actually referred to that piece obliquely, by calling variation not correlated with genes, 'noise,' in particular his last point, from Emil Kierkegaard. Btw if the latter is reading, Mr Kierkegaard, in our last email exchange, in references to a paper by Debes, you interpreted his beta (-2.2) times his proxy (blood lead level's base 10 logarithm) naively, to wit that the logarithm of blood lead level predicts IQ. A simple problem, involving that same ODE---maternal leave, paid or not---expectant mothers' exposure to lead during the pregnancy, under the frequent poisoning regime (gasoline/petrol) will roughly stop upon taking maternal leave, and thus the (linear) dose during the pregnancy will be linearly related to the logarithm of the cord (birth) blood lead level. There is more to say, and I shall email a more detailed commentary shortly...
Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:34:00 PM | 61
@45

The memo actually said something similar about using the complementary traits of men and women in teams. He mentioned how women's traits were good for the design of user interfaces and men's traits were good for the back end. What made Steve Jobs so distinctive wasn't that he was a great engineer or inventor (he wasn't). He thought about user experience like a woman. Apple was great on the "female" side of software engineering while Microsoft was great on the "male" side. Microsoft did, and still does, better on the back end but, as Jobs famously criticized them for about 25 years ago, their products lacked culture and taste.

Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:37:08 PM | 62
Camille "if it were up to the women we would still be living in grass huts" Paglia would have a field day with this one.
Thirdeye | Aug 8, 2017 11:53:56 PM | 63
@25

IQ is not biological determinism. Saying that it is strictly hereditary is. There is a strong correlation between IQ and ability to perform intellectual tasks, and with social performance up to about IQ 120. The correlation drops away above that because the extremely profound thinking at which higher IQ provides an advantage is less tied to social performance. I see no contradiction between saying IQ is a valid measure of cognitive ability and saying that it is culturally influenced. Some cultures do not foster the development of cognitive ability.

[Jul 23, 2017] Many critics of the USSR seems to fall into assessment of the Soviet Experiment mode in a careless way. It is terribly misleading to discuss theses questions without any reference to the tremendous impact external pressures had on the course of the Soviet Unions development

Notable quotes:
"... While I respect the author for raising this topic, he seems to fall into "assessment of the Soviet Experiment" mode in a careless way. I realize I tend to repetition about this, but it is terribly misleading -- perhaps "disorienting" would be a better term -- to discuss theses questions without any reference to the tremendous impact external pressures -- call it "intersystemic conflict," "international conflict," whatever -- had on the course of the Soviet Union's development. While it could be argued that capitalist economies also faced external pressures, that would miss the question of how such pressures impact on a society in the process of formation ..."
"... Then, as far as the "collapse of the Soviet Union" goes, there's no mention about the choice ..."
"... What from the standpoint of the Times editorial board looks like a necessary start-over was in fact a sloppily-carried decision, or merely an unintended outcome, of a section of the elite seizing an opportunity to enrich themselves. ..."
"... It's obvious that people can enjoyably engage in cooperative behavior, but if they can do so under a barrage is another matter. The one thing that we can be certain of is that if capitalist elites aren't thoroughly demoralized they will do whatever they can to 'prove' TINA. ..."
"... West had spent several billion dollars in cash to bribe significant portions of the Soviet elite (Soros, via his foundation, was especially active). And large part of the elite war already poisoned by neoliberalism and wanted to become rich. So while pre-conditions for the collapse of the USSR were internal (communist ideology was actually discredited in early 70th; economic stagnation started around the same time, Communist Party leadership completely degraded and became a joke in 80th ), external pressures and subversive activity played the role of catalyst that made the process irreversible. ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

hemeantwell , July 21, 2017 at 10:58 am

While I respect the author for raising this topic, he seems to fall into "assessment of the Soviet Experiment" mode in a careless way. I realize I tend to repetition about this, but it is terribly misleading -- perhaps "disorienting" would be a better term -- to discuss theses questions without any reference to the tremendous impact external pressures -- call it "intersystemic conflict," "international conflict," whatever -- had on the course of the Soviet Union's development. While it could be argued that capitalist economies also faced external pressures, that would miss the question of how such pressures impact on a society in the process of formation . We're talking about questions of constrained path dependence of a fundamental order that the experimentalist mode of thinking misses. Etc, etc.

Then, as far as the "collapse of the Soviet Union" goes, there's no mention about the choice by significant sections of the Soviet elite to engage in looting instead of developing a transitional program that would protect viable sections of the Soviet economy under market socialism.

What from the standpoint of the Times editorial board looks like a necessary start-over was in fact a sloppily-carried decision, or merely an unintended outcome, of a section of the elite seizing an opportunity to enrich themselves.

While it is essential to try to determine the viability of alternative economic systems in comparison what we've got now, doing so without taking into account the tremendously destructive opposition a transition would face is, in a way, to blithely continue on in a "Soviet Experiment" mentality.

It's obvious that people can enjoyably engage in cooperative behavior, but if they can do so under a barrage is another matter. The one thing that we can be certain of is that if capitalist elites aren't thoroughly demoralized they will do whatever they can to 'prove' TINA.

Outis Philalithopoulos Post author , July 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm

I was a little confused by this comment. I'm not opposed to looking at the impact of external pressures, but I am opposed to treating them as monocausal.

Your preferred pattern of historical explanation shifts during the course of your comment. When discussing the USSR in the process of formation, you concentrate on bringing out external pressures and therefore considering the choices of the leadership as highly constrained. When discussing the collapse of the Soviet Union, you instead stress the choices of the leadership elite to "seize an opportunity to enrich themselves."

I'm not even sure why you would assume that your thesis about the elite choosing to engage in looting is opposed to anything that I'm saying.

I agree with you on is that it is possible to think both about what a self-sustaining better society might look like, and also the extent to which it's hard to get there within the constraints of current power structures. They are not the same question, and I think both are worth pondering.

likbez , July 21, 2017 at 11:16 pm

hemeantwell,

Very good points:

"Then, as far as the "collapse of the Soviet Union" goes, there's no mention about the choice by significant sections of the Soviet elite to engage in looting instead of developing a transitional program that would protect viable sections of the Soviet economy under market socialism.

What from the standpoint of the Times editorial board looks like a necessary start-over was in fact a sloppily-carried decision, or merely an unintended outcome, of a section of the elite seizing an opportunity to enrich themselves. "

West had spent several billion dollars in cash to bribe significant portions of the Soviet elite (Soros, via his foundation, was especially active). And large part of the elite war already poisoned by neoliberalism and wanted to become rich. So while pre-conditions for the collapse of the USSR were internal (communist ideology was actually discredited in early 70th; economic stagnation started around the same time, Communist Party leadership completely degraded and became a joke in 80th ), external pressures and subversive activity played the role of catalyst that made the process irreversible.

The fact that neoliberalism was rising at the time means that this was the worst possible time for the USSR to implement drastic economic reforms and sure mediocre politicians like Gorbachev quickly lost control of the process. With some important help of the West.

The subsequent economic rape of Russia was incredibly brutal and most probably well coordinated by the famous three letter agencies: CIA (via USAID and "Harvard mafia") ) and MI6 and their German and French counterparts. See

Brain drain, especially to the USA and Israel was simply incredible. Which, while good for professionals leaving (although tales of Russian Ph.D swiping malls are not uncommon, especially in Israel ) , who can earn much better money abroad, is actually another form of neocolonialism for the countries affected:

Oregoncharles , July 22, 2017 at 12:57 am

It was a tragically missed opportunity to try genuine socialism. Instead of essentially selling the state enterprises to the Mafia, they could have been GIVEN, probably broken up, to the workers in them. It would have been instant worker-owned, market regulated – what? We don't have a familiar name for it, but it might be what Marx meant by "socialism."

Ironically, the Bolsheviks first set up such co-operatives, called soviets, but soon seized them in favor of state ownership. End of the socialist experiment. It's quite possible they were far more Russian than Marxist.

Moneta , July 22, 2017 at 8:14 am

The US economy hit a wall in the 70s. Instead of readjusting internally, it used its reserve currency and global exploitation to gain an extra few decades of consumerism. If exploitation is acceptable, then we could say that capitalism wins. However, capitalism will work until there is nothing left to exploit.

In the meantime, the USSR was set up in a way where it could not follow

IMO, left leaning theoretical communism would have trouble surviving when in competition with a system based on short-termism such as capitalism. This competition against short-termism would force the communist country to turn into a form of fascism just to stop the opportunists which happen to have the skills from defecting.

MikeC , July 22, 2017 at 9:51 am

While in the Peace Corps serving in Africa (after 2010), I had a former military doctor (originally from Moldavia) who I'd see due to ongoing health issues. He served in Angola as a doctor during the civil wars and had pictures of the people he helped who were injured in the war. He was hands down the most competent doctor I saw who was employed by the PC. This was by a wide margin of competence too. I had not illusions about the Peace Corps and it purpose (to put the kind face on US empire?). We'd talk quite a bit, and he was still bitter about the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Gorbachev who he blamed for its demise, due to the lower standards of living and hardships now faced by many in the Eastern bloc and in Russia itself. In all honesty, though I identify with the far Left, this was new to me since I never realized that anyone would long for those days since all I ever heard about as a youth (due to propaganda of course) was about long bread lines and the gray world of the lives of those in the Soviet Union. Kukezel's comments above, and other information I have gained over the time had somewhat expanded my ideas and understanding regarding the system, as have my growing understanding of just how unjust our system in the US is becoming more unjust year after year.

I am not knowledgeable enough, possibly not smart enough, to understand the finer points of the discussion here concerning Marx, but I do think it possible for we as a species to create better systems to organize our world other than one predicated on the profit motive. Besides being unsustainable in a world of finite resources and the possibility that we humans will destroy the possibility to exist, we need to creatively try new forms of organization. The problem with the concentration of power of present day capitalism is that it seems so adaptable to new ways to effectively change. I know some Marx but am limited, but he was very impressed with capitalism's way to adapt to preserve itself.

Unfortunately, at times I become too cynical about the ability of the human species intellect and abitlity to go beyond short-term solutions. We just may not be able to get past our limitations as a creature. In short, I just don't know if we are smart enough to do what is best for survival. Like my Peace Corps doctor, I too sometimes wax nostalgic for a past that will never return, back to the sixties when it seemed the distribution of wealth was more egalitarian, unions brought about some economic justice, and the concentration of power and wealth was not so dramatic as it is today. I just never know if I was too blind, or deluded, at the time to see that maybe those weren't actually better times in that the system itself was built upon the same exploitation has existed in all of US history. So all this good discussion at times brings me back to the question–is our historical evolution not far enough along a continuum for us to change before it is too late? That's a bummer of a thought, I know, but the present political manifestations keep blunting any optimism I still possess.

Anon , July 22, 2017 at 7:39 pm

I too sometimes wax nostalgic for a past that will never return, back to the sixties when it seemed the distribution of wealth was more egalitarian, unions brought about some economic justice, and the concentration of power and wealth was not so dramatic as it is today.

That was "white priveledge" back then. It's passing is what led to Trump and the epidemic of homelessness.

[Jul 22, 2017] USSR collapse and the evils of Yeltsin regime

Notable quotes:
"... After the processes of industrialization and urbanization had completely, there was nowhere for the economy to go, and the low growth combined with the ossification of bureacratic structures and the entrenchment of the World War II generation in power meant a lack of job opportunities. All of this contributed to the malaise that killed productivity and increased alcoholism, creating a self-feedback loop. Yeltsin and his cronies calculated that if the USSR transitioned to a capitalist economy, they stood to make a lot of money, so they met in secret and agreed to its dissolution. The public wanted reform, but they didn't want full-blown capitalism, certainly not of the variety Russia saw in the 90's. ..."
"... Especially considering the fact that Marx was arguably the greatest thinker of the modern era and his contributions were not at all limited to the 'isms' that people fought for in his name, I think a much better topic for a post would have been "common Cold War misconceptions about Russia and Marxism." ..."
Jul 22, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

John , July 22, 2017 at 4:47 am

I would rather live in Cuba than in Haiti, and the country's economic performance is all the more impressive considering the economic warfare wrought upon it by the US.

48% of Russians regret the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the second largest political party in Russia after Putin's is the Communist Party (article from The Nation circa 2012). And this isn't a political party claiming to bring about a new socialist society but rather one that promises to bring back the communism of the Brezhnev era.

Russia was a backwards country at the beginning of World War I and saw its industry annihilated by the war. The peace treaty ceded its industrial heartlands, and then it was ripped apart by the civil war of the 1920's. But this didn't compare to World War II, which wiped out an entire generation of Russians.

Yet within 12 years of the war's end, they were the first to put an object into space, and four years later they were the first to put a human into orbit. They Americans, who had been unscathed by the war, were blessed with nearly unlimited natural resources and had the most powerful economy and military in in history, saw their attempt blow up on the launchpad.

At this time in America, people actually thought socialism might win out. The Soviets certainly thought so. In the first two decades after World War II, their economy was probably the fastest growing in history. They were so confident that their system was superior that they assumed they could beat the American capitalists in every way, including providing the general populace with consumer goods. This promise, made during the "Kitchen Debates" and throughout the 60's and 70's, when the government officially embraced consumerism, was a horrible miscalculation that eventually contributed greatly to the public's discontent with the regime.

After the processes of industrialization and urbanization had completely, there was nowhere for the economy to go, and the low growth combined with the ossification of bureacratic structures and the entrenchment of the World War II generation in power meant a lack of job opportunities. All of this contributed to the malaise that killed productivity and increased alcoholism, creating a self-feedback loop. Yeltsin and his cronies calculated that if the USSR transitioned to a capitalist economy, they stood to make a lot of money, so they met in secret and agreed to its dissolution. The public wanted reform, but they didn't want full-blown capitalism, certainly not of the variety Russia saw in the 90's.

Especially considering the fact that Marx was arguably the greatest thinker of the modern era and his contributions were not at all limited to the 'isms' that people fought for in his name, I think a much better topic for a post would have been "common Cold War misconceptions about Russia and Marxism."

This is supposed to be a heterodox economics blog but it's always from the Keynesian perspective and never from the Marxist. Considering Keynes's thoughts on the Labour Party, for one, I think more perspectives are needed in informing discussion on how to approach questions of social justice. Marxian economists predicted the crisis just as well as the Keynesians. Let's listen.

[Jul 10, 2017] The article above also doesn't mention Larry Summers

www.unz.com

Maj. Kong , December 29, 2014 at 11:42 am GMT

Putin's biggest mistake was not creating the fake two party system. America has given the world many gifts, and our system of party politics is one of the best for maintaining control of a large nation. If Vlad had followed this advice, and created the real illusion of democracy in Russia, the West would have found him much harder to oppose.

http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/till-death-berezovsky-defends-backing-putin/?_r=0

Article is by Gessen, and clearly biased against Russia, but I think the idea is still a good one.

Putin has arguably aged badly as a leader, and considers himself too indispensable, much like Jiang Zemin in China. Though by Russian standards, he's the best since Alexander II.

Dutch disease is another mark against Russia, which Putin hasn't done much about, and which arguably makes them more dependent on the West (and possibly China) than they should be.

The article above also doesn't mention Larry Summers, which is a profound insight to which particular businessmen got away with it.

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2006/03/real-larry-summers-scandal.html

Maj. Kong , December 29, 2014 at 11:48 am GMT

http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/harvards-best-and-brightest-aided-russias-economic-ruin/

http://www.thenation.com/article/harvard-boys-do-russia

Back from when the left was more interested in hating capitalism, than the eeevil White Christian male.

[Jul 04, 2017] Summers as a defender of Flat Earth theory

Highly recommended!
Apr 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova said in reply to T... April 12, 2017 at 06:05 AM

"Yes, adding more epicycles will do the trick."

http://personal.lse.ac.uk/reisr/papers/17-wrong.pdf

This guy is funny (and actually rather clueless, Summers is much better ) defender of "Flat Earth" theory:

== quote ==

A related criticism of macroeconomics is that it ignores financial factors. Macroeconomists supposedly failed to anticipate the crisis because they were enamored by models where financial markets and institutions were absent, as all financing was assumed to be efficient (De Grawe, 2009, Skidelsky, 2009). The field would be in denial if it continued to ignore these macro-financial links.

One area where macroeconomists have perhaps more of an influence is in monetary policy. Central banks hire more PhD economists than any other policy institution, and in the United States, the current and past chair of the Federal Reserve are distinguished academic macroeconomists, as have been several members of the FOMC over the years. In any given week, there are at least one conference and dozens of seminars hosted at central banks all over the world where the latest academic research is discussed. The speeches of central bank governors refer to academic papers in macroeconomics more than those by any other policymaker.

... ... ...

A separate criticism of macroeconomic policy advice accuses it of being politically biased. Since the early days of the field, with Keynes and the Great Depression, macroeconomics was associated with aggressive and controversial policies and with researchers that wore other hats as public intellectuals. Even more recently, during the rational expectations microfoundations revolution of the 1970s, early papers had radical policy recommendations, like the result that all systematic aggregate-demand policy is ineffective, and some leading researchers had strong political views. Romer (2016) criticizes modern macroeconomics for raising questions about what should be obvious truths, like the effect of monetary policy on output. He lays blame on the influence that Edward Prescott, Robert Lucas and Thomas Sargent had on field. Krugman (2009) in turn, claims the problem of macroeconomics is ideology, and in particular points to the fierce battles between different types of macroeconomists in the 1970s and 1980s, described by Hall (1976) in terms of saltwater versus freshwater camps.

...Macroeconomists, instead, are asked to routinely produce forecasts to guide fiscal and monetary policy, and are perhaps too eager to comply.

Reply Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 08:26 AM

djb said...

"Is something really wrong with macroeconomics? - Ricardo Reis"

I appreciate that the author thinks the solution is to have young people look at economics with fresh eyes to bring up new approaches this is a quote when describing how they pick fresh young economists to go on a tour and present their findings:

"the choices are arguably not biased in the direction of a particular field, although they are most likely all in the mainstream tradition"

unfortunately the mainstream tradition is full of biase and restrictions about what is allow to be considered and what is not so if all you allow are people who are expanding on the "mainstream tradition" I think you are severely restricting yourself further a lot of good ideas from the past have been discarded, not allowed, ridiculed, not really analyzed or expanded upon.... presented or taught or represented by people who have never studied the ideas directly got them third hand or 5th hand , from people who misrepresent the ideas in the first place

want fresh new ideas? go back to the beginning of economics, understand over and over what the founds say , go read Adam Smith directly, read the generally theory by Keynes directly don't just assume the verion samuelson gave us of Keynes represents what he actually said, or Hansen or hicks, or what ever nonsense they are passing along today as "what Keynes said" reevaluation the who field over and over

And yea, study over and over the current teachings so you really understand it intuitively don't allow magical thinking to let you "pretend" you got it don't accept that its impossible to really understand it and "that's just what the equations show" understand the limitations, figure out when our fearless leaders and "great minds" and elder statesman of economics are "overplaying their hand" and concluding more than they can this is hard work and it takes dedication and don't assume that econometrics is the only real economics and that theory is "unprovable" or "always subjective" because without theory there is no econometrics, there is just a bunch of meaningless numbers

so yea we can use fresh young minds taking a new look at things but we will nowhere if all we allow is that "they are most likely all in the mainstream tradition"

[Jun 28, 2017] Considering that Russia was gang-raped by Bill Clinton's Oligarch friends .a gang rape that caused a demographic collapse of the Russian population .Russia's subsequent recovery has been miraculous

Jun 28, 2017 | www.unz.com

War for Blair Mountain

June 22, 2017 at 10:44 pm GMT

@Mr. Hack


The only thing that Russia wanted from Ukraine is not to allow themselves to become threat to Russia by joining NATO. Ukraine, having wasted all other options for normal development, couldn't resist taking the offer of cashing in on becoming a threat to Russia. Ukraine tries to justify this based on some past historical grievances from the 1930's.
What total lunacy and hippocracy. Do I really need to remind you that before 2014 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO membership was not a popular option for most Ukrainians. But now, after the deceitful land grab by Russia of Crimea and three years of proxy directed war in Donbas orchestrated in Moscow, most Ukrainians now look favorably towards NATO membership. Latest polls show that 55.9% o Ukrainians now favor NATO integration (I think that pre 2014 it was less than 15%) and 66.4% now favor EU integration. You reap what you sew, Putinista fanboys. Bye, bye 'NovoRossiya'! http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2017/06/17/7147228/ The engine that drove the US into an economic power house was decades of violating free market principles

The engine that drove German economic success was being bailed out by the US right after WW2..

Considering that Russia was gang-raped by Bill Clinton's Oligarch friends .a gang rape that caused a demographic collapse of the Russian population .Russia's subsequent recovery has been miraculous

OOPS These comments were meant for Priss Factor not Mr. Hack

[Jun 26, 2017] After the collapse of the USSR neoliberal vultures instantly circled the corpse and have had a feast. Geopolitical goals of the USA played important role in amplifying the scope of plunder of Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The reasoning was simple and is not hard to understand: Carthago delenda est. ..."
"... In a way McCain can be viewed now as a caricature of the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who is said to have used it as the conclusion to all his speeches. ..."
Jun 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , June 25, 2017 at 04:31 PM

1994

China's experience does not show that gradual reform is superior to the shock therapy undertaken in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union....

-- Jeffrey Sachs and Wing Thye Woo

[ Of course, China's experience had already showed and continues all these years after just the opposite. This is very, very important. ]

libezkova -> anne... , June 26, 2017 at 08:09 AM
Your discussion just again had shown that there is no economics, only a political economy.

And all those neoliberal perversions, which are sold as an economic science is just an apologetics for the financial oligarchy.

Apologetics of plunder in this particular case.

In a way the USSR with its discredited communist ideology, degenerated Bolshevik leadership (just look at who was at the Politburo of CPSU at the time; people much lower in abilities then Trump :-) and inept and politically naïve Mikhail Gorbachev at the helm had chosen the most inopportune time to collapse :-)

And neoliberal vultures instantly circled the corpse and have had a feast. Geopolitical goals of the USA also played important role in amplifying the scope of plunder.

No comparison of performance of Russia vs. China makes any sense if it ignores this fact.

Paine -> anne... , June 25, 2017 at 06:30 PM
Lesson for the week

Deng ?
yes

Sachs ?
Nyet

anne -> Paine ... , June 25, 2017 at 07:11 PM
While I would argue with the economic advice given the Russian government after 1988, I am simply trying to understand the reasoning behind the advice, no more than that.
libezkova -> anne... , June 26, 2017 at 08:15 AM
The reasoning was simple and is not hard to understand: Carthago delenda est.

In a way McCain can be viewed now as a caricature of the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who is said to have used it as the conclusion to all his speeches.

History repeats "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

[Jun 26, 2017] Jefferey Sachs shork therapy was a plunder of Russia

Unfortunatly Russia has its own fifth column of "Chicago boys" (called Chubasyata) to implement those distarous for common people measures
What Russia needed at the time was a Marshall plan. Instead Clinton mefia (Which at the very top included Rubin and Summers) adopted the plan to plunder and colonize Russia. It did not work.
economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... June 25, 2017 at 04:31 PM

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jeffrey_Sachs2/publication/5060711_Structural_Factors_in_the_Economic_Reforms_of_China_Eastern_Europe_and_the_Former_Soviet_Union/links/572f9f5e08ae744151904b90/Structural-Factors-in-the-Economic-Reforms-of-China-Eastern-Europe-and-the-Former-Soviet-Union.pdf

1994

Structural factors in the economic reforms of China, Eastern Europe, and the Former Soviet Union
By Jeffrey Sachs and Wing Thye Woo

Discussion

By Stanley Fischer - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The facts with which Jeffrey Sachs and Wing Woo have to contend are, first, that Chinese economic reform has been successful in producing extraordinary growth - the greatest increase in economic well-being within a 15-year period in all of history (perhaps excluding the period after the invention of fire); but second, that reform in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (EEFSU) has been accompanied not by growth but by massive output declines (in countries that are reforming as well as in those, such as Ukraine, which are not).

The interpretation of these facts with which they have to contend is that Chinese reform - described variously as piecemeal, pragmatic, bottom-up, or gradual - has been successful because it has been gradualist and EEFSU reform has failed because it has applied shock treatment. The conclusion is that EEFSU should have pursued a gradualist reform strategy, perhaps one that started with economic rather than political reform. Many also imply that there is still time for gradualism.

Sachs and Woo reject the view that economic reform in EEFSU should have been gradualist, though they do approve of the gradualist Chinese approach to the creation of a non-state industrial sector. They argue that the structure of the economy was responsible for the success of the Chinese reform strategy, and that there are no useful lessons for EEFSU from the Chinese case.

Reform in China started in an economy in which 80 percent of the population was rural, in which planning had never been pervasive, and in which economic control was in any case quite decentralized. Further, Chinese industrial growth has come largely from new firms, largely town and village enterprises, and there has been no reform of the state-owned enterprise (SOE) sector. In EEFSU by contrast, the industrial sector was extremely large, and there was no hope of starting a significant private sector without restructuring industry.

The authors make this argument with the aid of a model, basically one that says that the private sector in a reforming EEFSU economy is so heavily taxed that it does not pay an individual to move to that sector from the subsidized industrial sector. In China by contrast, agricultural reform freed up labour whose opportunity cost was below the earnings available in the industrial private (or at least TVE) sector - and in addition, because the SOE sector was relatively small, the industrial private sector was taxed less than in EEFSU. The model is linear and ignores uncertainty, but there can be no doubt that it is very difficult to start new firms in much of EEFSU. That, more than the earnings of an individual already in that sector, seems to be the equivalent of the tax that Sachs and Woo include; indeed, earnings for those who succeed in moving to the private sector are typically higher than they are in the state sector.

Sachs and Woo also argue that the data exaggerate China's success and EEFSU's output declines. I was initially inclined to discount this argument, but now believe it has a real basis, and that all that needs doing is to fill in the numbers....

Reply Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 04:17 PM anne -> anne... , June 25, 2017 at 04:25 PM
Reading the paper by Samuel Marden, which was important in understanding the economic transformation of China, was also an important experience in understanding why Jeffrey Sachs, Wing Thye Woo and Stanley Fischer expressly rejected the Chinese experience in looking to a development model for the Soviet Union as the Soviet Union was geographically transformed.

The Chinese development model worked dramatically well, the Soviet model that Sachs, Wing and Fischer supported was as dramatically disruptive and self-defeating.

anne -> anne... , June 25, 2017 at 04:31 PM
1994

China's experience does not show that gradual reform is superior to the shock therapy undertaken in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union....

-- Jeffrey Sachs and Wing Thye Woo

[ Of course, China's experience had already showed and continues all these years after just the opposite. This is very, very important. ]

[Jun 26, 2017] After 1991 Eastern Europe and FSU were mercilessly looted. That was tremendous one time transfer of capital (and scientists and engineers) to Western Europe and the USA. Which helped to secure Clinton prosperity period

Notable quotes:
"... If America were a free and democratic country, with a free press and independent publishing houses (and assuming, of course, that Americans were a literate people), Williamson's book would topple the Clinton regime, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the rest of the criminal cabal that inhabits the world of modern corporate statism faster than you could say "Jonathan Hay." ..."
"... Hay, for those who need an introduction to the international financial buccaneers who control our lives, was the general director of the Harvard Institute of International Development (HIID) in Moscow (1992-1997), who facilitated the crippling of the Russian economy and the plundering of its industrial and manufacturing infrastructure with a strategy concocted by Larry Summers, Andre Schliefer (HIID's Cambridge-based manager), Jeffrey Sachs and his Swedish sidekick Anders Aslund, and a host of private players from banks and investment houses in Boston and New York - a plan approved and assisted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. ..."
"... These third-generation Bolsheviks - led by former Pravda hack Yegor Gaidar, grandson of a Bolshevik who achieved prominence as the teenage mass murderer of White Army officers, now heads the Moscow-based Institute for Economies in Transition - became instant millionaires (or billionaires) and left the Russian workers virtual slaves of them and their new foreign investors. ..."
"... Ironically, when Harvard's Sachs and Hay started identifying Russians they could work with, they ignored - or shunned - the most capable talent at hand: those numerous Russian economists who for 20 years had been studying the Swiss economist Wilhelm von Roepke and his disciple, Ludwig Erhard, father of Germany's "economic miracle" in anticipation of the day when Communism would collapse. Somewhat sardonically, Williamson notes that one, probably unintended, benefit of Gorbachev's perestroika was the recruitment of these Russian economists by top U.S. universities. ..."
"... On another level, Contagion is about the workings of international finance, the consolidation of capital into fewer and fewer hands, and the ruthless, death-dealing policies it inflicts on its target countries through currency manipulation, inflation, depression, taxation and war - with emphasis on Russia but with attention also given to Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, the Balkans, and other countries, and how it uses its control over money to produce social chaos. ..."
"... Those who read Williamson's book will find particularly interesting her treatment of the Federal Reserve, and how this "bank" was designed to plunder the wealth of America through war, debt, and taxation, in order to maintain what is nothing more nor less than a giant pyramid scheme that depends on domination of the earth and its resources. ..."
"... The policies inflicted on Russia by the banks were cruel to the Nth degree; but the policy implementers - Williamson employs the derogatory Russian word m yakigolovy ("soft-headed ones") applied to the Americans - were a foppish lot, streaming into Russia by the thousands (the IMF, alone, with 150 staffers) with their outrageous salaries and per diem allowances, renting out the finest dachas, bringing in their exotic consumer goods, driving up prices for goods and rents, spurring a boom in the drug and prostitution businesses, and then watching, cold-heartedly, the declining fortunes of their hosts as they lost everything - including the artistic heritage of the country. ..."
"... Gore, who was raised to be President, has impeccable Russian connections. His father, of course, was Lenin financier Armand Hammer's pocket senator, and it was Hammer who paid for Al Jr.'s expensive St. Alban's Prep schooling; and, as Williamson reports, Al Jr.'s daughter married Andrew Schiff, grandson of Jacob, who, as a member of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., underwrote anti-czarist political agitation for two decades before Lenin's coup, and congratulated Lenin upon his successful revolution. ..."
"... By March 1999, Russia was now a financial basket case, and billions, if not tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer-backed loans had vanished into the secret bank accounts of both Russian and American gangster capitalists, and the news was starting to make little vibrations on Capitol Hill. "The U.S. administration's response to the debacle was repulsively similar to a typical Bill Clinton bimbo-eruption operation: Having ruined Russia by cosseting her in debt, meddling ignorantly in her internal affairs, and funding a drunken usurper, his agents denied all error and slandered ('slimed') her," writes Williamson. ..."
"... The cost to the American taxpayers of Clinton regime bailouts in a three-and-a-half-year period, Williamson notes, is more than $180 billion! The "new financial architecture" Clinton has erected, she writes, "isn't new at all, but rather something the international public lenders have been wanting for decades, i.e., an automatic bailout for their own bad practices." ..."
"... As the extent of the corruption of the Clinton-Yeltsin "reform" plan for Russia unfolded last year, with the attendant Bank of New York scandal, the mysterious death of super banker Edmond Safra in his Monte Carlo penthouse, the collapse of the Russian stock market, and the whiplash effect in Southeast Asia, Congress was pressed to hold hearings. ..."
"... What resulted, as Williamson accurately narrates it, was just a smoke screen, show hearings that barely rose above the seriousness of a Gilbert and Sullivan farce - though they did result in proposed new domestic banking laws that, if passed, will effectively make banks another federal police force responsible for reporting to the U.S. government the most minute financial transactions of U.S. citizens. ..."
"... In this regard, it is instructive to quote Williamson at length: "If the FBI, [Manhattan District Attorney] Robert Morgenthau, or Congress were serious about getting to the bottom of the plundering of Russia's assets and U.S. taxpayers' resources, they would show far more professional interest in exactly what was said and agreed in the private meetings [U.S. Treasury secretary] Larry Summers, Strobe Talbott, and [former Treasury Secretary] Robert Rubin conducted with Anatoly Chubais [former Russian finance minister, who oversaw the distribution and sale of Russian industries], and Sergie Vasiliev [Yeltsin's principal legal adviser, and a member of the Chubais clan], and later Chubais again in June and July of 1998. ..."
"... And why did Michel Camdessus [who left the presidency of the IMF earlier this year] announce his sudden retirement so soon after Moscow newspapers reported that a $200,000 payment was made to him from a secret Kremlin bank account? . . . ..."
"... You see, as this book explains, the Clinton's Russia policy did not just plunder Russians, leaving them destitute while creating a new and ruthless class of international capitalist gangsters at U.S. taxpayer expense; it had the double consequence of bringing all Americans deeper into the bankers' New World Order by increasing their debt load, decreasing their privacy, and restricting their civil rights. If only Americans cared. ..."
Jun 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova -> anne..., June 25, 2017 at 06:47 PM

After 1991 Eastern Europe and FSU were mercilessly looted. That was tremendous one time transfer of capital (and scientists and engineers) to Western Europe and the USA. Which helped to secure "Clinton prosperity period"

China were not plundered by the West. Russia and Eastern Europe were. That's the key difference.

For Russia this period was called by Anne Williamson in her testimony before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives "The economic rape of Russia"

http://thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Economics&Finance/+Doc-Economics&Finance-GovernmentInfluence&Meddling/BankstersInRussiaAndGlobalEconomy.htm

Paul Likoudis has an interesting analysis of this event: https://paullikoudis.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/the-plunder-of-russia-in-the-1990s/

Sorry long quote

How Clinton & Company & The Bankers Plundered Russia by Paul Likoudis

May 4, 2000

The other day I was surprised to learn that Jeffrey Sachs, the creator of "shock therapy" capitalism, who participated in the looting of Russia in the 1990s, is now NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top adviser for health care. So we in NY will get shock therapy, much as the Russians did two decades ago. Here is a story I wrote for The Wanderer in 2000:

===

How Clinton & Company & The Bankers Plundered Russia

by Paul Likoudis

In an ordinary election year, Anne Williamson's Contagion would be political dynamite, a bombshell, a block-buster, a regime breaker.

If America were a free and democratic country, with a free press and independent publishing houses (and assuming, of course, that Americans were a literate people), Williamson's book would topple the Clinton regime, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the rest of the criminal cabal that inhabits the world of modern corporate statism faster than you could say "Jonathan Hay."

Hay, for those who need an introduction to the international financial buccaneers who control our lives, was the general director of the Harvard Institute of International Development (HIID) in Moscow (1992-1997), who facilitated the crippling of the Russian economy and the plundering of its industrial and manufacturing infrastructure with a strategy concocted by Larry Summers, Andre Schliefer (HIID's Cambridge-based manager), Jeffrey Sachs and his Swedish sidekick Anders Aslund, and a host of private players from banks and investment houses in Boston and New York - a plan approved and assisted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Contagion can be read on many different levels.

At its simplest, it is a breezy, slightly cynical, highly entertaining narrative of Russian history from the last months of Gorbachev's rule to April 2000 - a period which saw Russia transformed from a decaying socialist economy (which despite its shortcomings, provided a modest standard of living to its citizens) to a "managed economy" where home-grown gangsters and socialist theoreticians from the West, like Hay and his fellow Harvardian Jeffrey Sachs, delivered 2,500% inflation and indescribable poverty, and transferred the ownership of Russian industry to Western financiers.

Williamson was an eyewitness who lived on and off in Russia for more than ten years, where she reported on all things Russian for The New York Times, Th e Wall Street Journal, and a host of other equally reputable publications. She knew and interviewed just about everybody involved in this gargantuan plundering scheme: Russian politicians and businessmen, the new "gangster" capitalists and their American sponsors from the IMF, the World Bank, USAID, Credit Suisse First Boston, the CIA, the KGB - all in all, hundreds of sources who spoke candidly, often ruthlessly, of their parts in this terrible human drama.

Her account is filled with quotations from interviews with top aides of Yeltsin and Clinton, all down through the ranks of the two hierarchical societies to the proliferating mass of Russian destitute, pornographers, pimps, drug dealers, and prostitutes. Some of the principal characters, of course, refused to talk to Williamson, such as Bill Clinton's longtime friend from Oxford, Strobe Talbott, now a deputy secretary of state and, Williamson suspects, a onetime KGB operative whose claim to fame is a deceitful translation of the Khrushchev Memoirs. (A KGB colonel refused to confirm or deny to Williamson that Clinton and Talbott visited North Vietnam together in 1971 - though he did confirm their contacts with the KGB for their protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam in Moscow. See especially footnote 1, page 210.)

The 546-page book (the best part of which is the footnotes) gives a nearly day-by-day report on what happened to Russia; left unstated, but implied on every page, is the assumption that those in the United States who think what happened in Russia "can't happen here" better realize it can happen here.

Once the Clinton regime and its lapdogs in the media defined Russian thug Boris Yeltsin as a "democrat," the wholesale looting of Russia began. According to the socialist theoreticians at Harvard, Russia needed to be brought into the New World Order in a hurry; and what better way to do it than Sachs' "shock therapy" - a plan that empowered the degenerate, third-generation descendants of the original Bolsheviks by assigning them the deeds of Russia's mightiest state-owned industries - including the giant gas, oil, electrical, and telecommunications industries, the world's largest paper, iron, and steel factories, the world's richest gold, silver, diamond, and platinum mines, automobile and airplane factories, etc. - who, in turn, sold some of their shares of the properties to Westerners for a song, and pocketed the cash, while retaining control of the companies.

These third-generation Bolsheviks - led by former Pravda hack Yegor Gaidar, grandson of a Bolshevik who achieved prominence as the teenage mass murderer of White Army officers, now heads the Moscow-based Institute for Economies in Transition - became instant millionaires (or billionaires) and left the Russian workers virtual slaves of them and their new foreign investors.

When Russian members of the Supreme Soviet openly criticized the looting of the national patrimony by these new gangsters early in the U.S.-driven "reform" program, in 1993, before all Soviet institutions were destroyed, Yeltsin bombed Parliament.

Ironically, when Harvard's Sachs and Hay started identifying Russians they could work with, they ignored - or shunned - the most capable talent at hand: those numerous Russian economists who for 20 years had been studying the Swiss economist Wilhelm von Roepke and his disciple, Ludwig Erhard, father of Germany's "economic miracle" in anticipation of the day when Communism would collapse. Somewhat sardonically, Williamson notes that one, probably unintended, benefit of Gorbachev's perestroika was the recruitment of these Russian economists by top U.S. universities.

In the new, emerging global economy, it's clear that Russia is the designated center for heavy manufacturing - just as Asia is for clothing and computers - with its nearly unlimited supply of hydroelectric power, iron and steel, timber, gold and other precious metals.

This helps explain why America's political elites don't give a fig about the closing down of American industries and mines. As Williamson observes, Russia is viewed as some kind of "closet."

What is important for Western readers to understand - as Williamson reports - is that when Western banks and corporations bought these companies at bargain basement prices, they bought more than just industrial equipment. In the Soviet model, every unit of industrial production included workers' housing, churches, opera houses, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, etc., and the whole kit-and-caboodle was included in the selling price. By buying large shares of these companies, Western corporations became, ipso facto, town managers.

Another Level

On another level, Contagion is about the workings of international finance, the consolidation of capital into fewer and fewer hands, and the ruthless, death-dealing policies it inflicts on its target countries through currency manipulation, inflation, depression, taxation and war - with emphasis on Russia but with attention also given to Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, the Balkans, and other countries, and how it uses its control over money to produce social chaos.

Those who read Williamson's book will find particularly interesting her treatment of the Federal Reserve, and how this "bank" was designed to plunder the wealth of America through war, debt, and taxation, in order to maintain what is nothing more nor less than a giant pyramid scheme that depends on domination of the earth and its resources.

Williamson is of that small but noble school of economics writers who believe that the academic field of economics is not some esoteric science that can only be comprehended by those with IQs in four digits, and she - drawing on such writers as Hayek and von Mises, Roepke and the late American Murray Rothbard - explains in layman's vocabulary the nuts and bolts of sound economic principles and the real-world effects of the Fed's policies on hapless Americans.

Contagion also serves up a severe indictment of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the other international "lending" agencies spawned by the Council on Foreign Relations and similar "councils" and "commissions" which are fronts for the big banks run by the Houses of Rockefeller, Morgan, Warburg, et al.

The policies inflicted on Russia by the banks were cruel to the Nth degree; but the policy implementers - Williamson employs the derogatory Russian word m yakigolovy ("soft-headed ones") applied to the Americans - were a foppish lot, streaming into Russia by the thousands (the IMF, alone, with 150 staffers) with their outrageous salaries and per diem allowances, renting out the finest dachas, bringing in their exotic consumer goods, driving up prices for goods and rents, spurring a boom in the drug and prostitution businesses, and then watching, cold-heartedly, the declining fortunes of their hosts as they lost everything - including the artistic heritage of the country.

Williamson describes brilliantly that heady atmosphere in Moscow in the early days of the IMF/USAID loan-scamming: a 24-hour party. There were bars like the Canadian-operated Hungry Duck, which lured Russian teenage girls into its bar with a male striptease and free drinks, "who, once thoroughly intoxicated, were then exposed to crowds of anxious young men the club admitted only late in the evening."

The Third Level

At a third and more intriguing level, Contagion is about America's criminal politics in the Clinton regime, and, inevitably, the reader will put Williamson's book down with the sense that Al Gore will be the next occupier of the White House.

Gore, who was raised to be President, has impeccable Russian connections. His father, of course, was Lenin financier Armand Hammer's pocket senator, and it was Hammer who paid for Al Jr.'s expensive St. Alban's Prep schooling; and, as Williamson reports, Al Jr.'s daughter married Andrew Schiff, grandson of Jacob, who, as a member of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., underwrote anti-czarist political agitation for two decades before Lenin's coup, and congratulated Lenin upon his successful revolution.

Williamson also documents Gore's intimate involvement with powerful Wall Street financial houses, and his New York breakfast meeting with multibillionaire George Soros (a key Russian player) just as the Russian collapse was underway.

Williamson tells an interesting story of Gore's response to the IMF/World Bank/USAID plunder of U.S. taxpayers for the purpose of hobbling Russia.

By March 1999, Russia was now a financial basket case, and billions, if not tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer-backed loans had vanished into the secret bank accounts of both Russian and American gangster capitalists, and the news was starting to make little vibrations on Capitol Hill. "The U.S. administration's response to the debacle was repulsively similar to a typical Bill Clinton bimbo-eruption operation: Having ruined Russia by cosseting her in debt, meddling ignorantly in her internal affairs, and funding a drunken usurper, his agents denied all error and slandered ('slimed') her," writes Williamson.

"Pundits and academics joined government officials in bemoaning Mother Russia's thieving ways, her bottomless corruption and constant chaos, all the while wringing their soft hands with a schoolmarm's exasperation. Russia's self-appointed democracy coach Strobe Talbott ('Pro-Consul Strobe' to the Russians) would get it right. An equally sanctimonious Albert Gore - the same Al Gore who'd been so quick to return the CIA's 1995 report detailing Viktor Chernomyrdin's and Anatoly Chubais' personal corruption with the single word 'Bullshit' scrawled across it - took the low road and sniffed that the Russians would just have to get their own economic house in order and cut their own deal with the IMF. . . ."

The cost to the American taxpayers of Clinton regime bailouts in a three-and-a-half-year period, Williamson notes, is more than $180 billion! The "new financial architecture" Clinton has erected, she writes, "isn't new at all, but rather something the international public lenders have been wanting for decades, i.e., an automatic bailout for their own bad practices."

As the extent of the corruption of the Clinton-Yeltsin "reform" plan for Russia unfolded last year, with the attendant Bank of New York scandal, the mysterious death of super banker Edmond Safra in his Monte Carlo penthouse, the collapse of the Russian stock market, and the whiplash effect in Southeast Asia, Congress was pressed to hold hearings.

What resulted, as Williamson accurately narrates it, was just a smoke screen, show hearings that barely rose above the seriousness of a Gilbert and Sullivan farce - though they did result in proposed new domestic banking laws that, if passed, will effectively make banks another federal police force responsible for reporting to the U.S. government the most minute financial transactions of U.S. citizens.

Double Effect

In this regard, it is instructive to quote Williamson at length: "If the FBI, [Manhattan District Attorney] Robert Morgenthau, or Congress were serious about getting to the bottom of the plundering of Russia's assets and U.S. taxpayers' resources, they would show far more professional interest in exactly what was said and agreed in the private meetings [U.S. Treasury secretary] Larry Summers, Strobe Talbott, and [former Treasury Secretary] Robert Rubin conducted with Anatoly Chubais [former Russian finance minister, who oversaw the distribution and sale of Russian industries], and Sergie Vasiliev [Yeltsin's principal legal adviser, and a member of the Chubais clan], and later Chubais again in June and July of 1998.

"Instead of allowing Larry Summers to ramble casually in response to questions at a banking committee hearing, the Treasury secretary should be asked exactly who suckered him - his Russian friends, his own boss [former Harvard associate Robert Rubin, his boss at Treasury who was once cochairman at Goldman Sachs], or private sector counterparts of the Working Committee on Financial Markets [a White House group whose membership is drawn from the country's main financial and market institutions: the Fed, Treasury, SEC, and the Commodities & Trading Commission]. . . . Or did he just bungle the entire matter on account of wishful thinking? Or was it gross incompetence?

"The FBI and Congress ought to be very interested in establishing for taxpayers the truth of any alleged 'national security' issues that justified allowing the Harvard Institute of International Development to privatize U.S. bilateral assistance. It too should be their brief to discover the relationship between the [Swedish wheeler-dealer and crony of Sachs, Anders] Aslund/Carnegie crowd and Treasury and exactly what influence that relationship may have had on the awarding of additional grants to Harvard without competition. On what basis did Team Clinton direct their financial donor, American International Group's (AIG) Maurice Greenberg (a man nearly as ubiquitous as any Russian oligarch in sweetheart public-funding deals), to Brunswick Brokerage when sniffing out a $300 million OPIC guarantee for a Russian investment fund. . . .

And why did Michel Camdessus [who left the presidency of the IMF earlier this year] announce his sudden retirement so soon after Moscow newspapers reported that a $200,000 payment was made to him from a secret Kremlin bank account? . . .

"American and Russian citizens can never be allowed to learn what really happened to the billions lent to Yeltsin's government; it would expose the unsavory and self-interested side of our political, financial, and media elites. . . . Instead, the [House] Banking Committee hearings will use the smoke screen of policing foreign assistance flows to pass legislation that will effectively end U.S. citizens' financial privacy while making them prisoners of their citizenship. . . . The Banking Committee will use the opportunity the Russian dirty money scandal presents to reanimate the domestic 'Know Your Customer' program, which charges domestic banks with monitoring and reporting on the financial transactions in which middle-class Americans engage. This data is collected and used by various government agencies, including the IRS; meaning that if a citizen sells the family's beat-up station wagon or their 'starter' home, the taxman is alerted immediately that the citizen's filing should reflect the greater tax obligation in that year of the sale. . . . Other data on citizens for which the government has long thirsted will also be collected by government's newest police force, the banks. . . ."

You see, as this book explains, the Clinton's Russia policy did not just plunder Russians, leaving them destitute while creating a new and ruthless class of international capitalist gangsters at U.S. taxpayer expense; it had the double consequence of bringing all Americans deeper into the bankers' New World Order by increasing their debt load, decreasing their privacy, and restricting their civil rights. If only Americans cared.

[Jun 25, 2017] How Clinton's Bankers Plundered Russia by Paul Likoudis

Notable quotes:
"... You see, as this book explains, the Clinton's Russia policy did not just plunder Russians, leaving them destitute while creating a new and ruthless class of international capitalist gangsters at U.S. taxpayer expense; it had the double consequence of bringing all Americans deeper into the bankers' New World Order by increasing their debt load, decreasing their privacy, and restricting their civil rights. If only Americans cared. ..."
May 04, 2000 | economistsview.typepad.com

The other day I was surprised to learn that Jeffrey Sachs, the creator of "shock therapy" capitalism, who participated in the looting of Russia in the 1990s, is now NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top adviser for health care. So we in NY will get shock therapy, much as the Russians did two decades ago.

Here is a story I wrote for The Wanderer in 2000:

===

How Clinton & Company & The Bankers Plundered Russia

by Paul Likoudis

In an ordinary election year, Anne Williamson's Contagion would be political dynamite, a bombshell, a block-buster, a regime breaker.

If America were a free and democratic country, with a free press and independent publishing houses (and assuming, of course, that Americans were a literate people), Williamson's book would topple the Clinton regime, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the rest of the criminal cabal that inhabits the world of modern corporate statism faster than you could say "Jonathan Hay."

Hay, for those who need an introduction to the international financial buccaneers who control our lives, was the general director of the Harvard Institute of International Development (HIID) in Moscow (1992-1997), who facilitated the crippling of the Russian economy and the plundering of its industrial and manufacturing infrastructure with a strategy concocted by Larry Summers, Andre Schliefer (HIID's Cambridge-based manager), Jeffrey Sachs and his Swedish sidekick Anders Aslund, and a host of private players from banks and investment houses in Boston and New York - a plan approved and assisted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Contagion can be read on many different levels.

At its simplest, it is a breezy, slightly cynical, highly entertaining narrative of Russian history from the last months of Gorbachev's rule to April 2000 - a period which saw Russia transformed from a decaying socialist economy (which despite its shortcomings, provided a modest standard of living to its citizens) to a "managed economy" where home-grown gangsters and socialist theoreticians from the West, like Hay and his fellow Harvardian Jeffrey Sachs, delivered 2,500% inflation and indescribable poverty, and transferred the ownership of Russian industry to Western financiers.

Williamson was an eyewitness who lived on and off in Russia for more than ten years, where she reported on all things Russian for The New York Times, Th e Wall Street Journal, and a host of other equally reputable publications. She knew and interviewed just about everybody involved in this gargantuan plundering scheme: Russian politicians and businessmen, the new "gangster" capitalists and their American sponsors from the IMF, the World Bank, USAID, Credit Suisse First Boston, the CIA, the KGB - all in all, hundreds of sources who spoke candidly, often ruthlessly, of their parts in this terrible human drama.

Her account is filled with quotations from interviews with top aides of Yeltsin and Clinton, all down through the ranks of the two hierarchical societies to the proliferating mass of Russian destitute, pornographers, pimps, drug dealers, and prostitutes. Some of the principal characters, of course, refused to talk to Williamson, such as Bill Clinton's longtime friend from Oxford, Strobe Talbott, now a deputy secretary of state and, Williamson suspects, a onetime KGB operative whose claim to fame is a deceitful translation of the Khrushchev Memoirs. (A KGB colonel refused to confirm or deny to Williamson that Clinton and Talbott visited North Vietnam together in 1971 - though he did confirm their contacts with the KGB for their protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam in Moscow. See especially footnote 1, page 210.)

The 546-page book (the best part of which is the footnotes) gives a nearly day-by-day report on what happened to Russia; left unstated, but implied on every page, is the assumption that those in the United States who think what happened in Russia "can't happen here" better realize it can happen here.

Once the Clinton regime and its lapdogs in the media defined Russian thug Boris Yeltsin as a "democrat," the wholesale looting of Russia began. According to the socialist theoreticians at Harvard, Russia needed to be brought into the New World Order in a hurry; and what better way to do it than Sachs' "shock therapy" - a plan that empowered the degenerate, third-generation descendants of the original Bolsheviks by assigning them the deeds of Russia's mightiest state-owned industries - including the giant gas, oil, electrical, and telecommunications industries, the world's largest paper, iron, and steel factories, the world's richest gold, silver, diamond, and platinum mines, automobile and airplane factories, etc. - who, in turn, sold some of their shares of the properties to Westerners for a song, and pocketed the cash, while retaining control of the companies.

These third-generation Bolsheviks - led by former Pravda hack Yegor Gaidar, grandson of a Bolshevik who achieved prominence as the teenage mass murderer of White Army officers, now heads the Moscow-based Institute for Economies in Transition - became instant millionaires (or billionaires) and left the Russian workers virtual slaves of them and their new foreign investors.

When Russian members of the Supreme Soviet openly criticized the looting of the national patrimony by these new gangsters early in the U.S.-driven "reform" program, in 1993, before all Soviet institutions were destroyed, Yeltsin bombed Parliament.

Ironically, when Harvard's Sachs and Hay started identifying Russians they could work with, they ignored - or shunned - the most capable talent at hand: those numerous Russian economists who for 20 years had been studying the Swiss economist Wilhelm von Roepke and his disciple, Ludwig Erhard, father of Germany's "economic miracle" in anticipation of the day when Communism would collapse.

Somewhat sardonically, Williamson notes that one, probably unintended, benefit of Gorbachev's perestroika was the recruitment of these Russian economists by top U.S. universities.

In the new, emerging global economy, it's clear that Russia is the designated center for heavy manufacturing - just as Asia is for clothing and computers - with its nearly unlimited supply of hydroelectric power, iron and steel, timber, gold and other precious metals.

This helps explain why America's political elites don't give a fig about the closing down of American industries and mines. As Williamson observes, Russia is viewed as some kind of "closet."

What is important for Western readers to understand - as Williamson reports - is that when Western banks and corporations bought these companies at bargain basement prices, they bought more than just industrial equipment. In the Soviet model, every unit of industrial production included workers' housing, churches, opera houses, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, etc., and the whole kit-and-caboodle was included in the selling price. By buying large shares of these companies, Western corporations became, ipso facto, town managers.

Another Level

On another level, Contagion is about the workings of international finance, the consolidation of capital into fewer and fewer hands, and the ruthless, death-dealing policies it inflicts on its target countries through currency manipulation, inflation, depression, taxation and war - with emphasis on Russia but with attention also given to Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, the Balkans, and other countries, and how it uses its control over money to produce social chaos.

Those who read Williamson's book will find particularly interesting her treatment of the Federal Reserve, and how this "bank" was designed to plunder the wealth of America through war, debt, and taxation, in order to maintain what is nothing more nor less than a giant pyramid scheme that depends on domination of the earth and its resources.

Williamson is of that small but noble school of economics writers who believe that the academic field of economics is not some esoteric science that can only be comprehended by those with IQs in four digits, and she - drawing on such writers as Hayek and von Mises, Roepke and the late American Murray Rothbard - explains in layman's vocabulary the nuts and bolts of sound economic principles and the real-world effects of the Fed's policies on hapless Americans.

Contagion also serves up a severe indictment of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the other international "lending" agencies spawned by the Council on Foreign Relations and similar "councils" and "commissions" which are fronts for the big banks run by the Houses of Rockefeller, Morgan, Warburg, et al.

The policies inflicted on Russia by the banks were cruel to the Nth degree; but the policy implementers - Williamson employs the derogatory Russian word m yakigolovy ("soft-headed ones") applied to the Americans - were a foppish lot, streaming into Russia by the thousands (the IMF, alone, with 150 staffers) with their outrageous salaries and per diem allowances, renting out the finest dachas, bringing in their exotic consumer goods, driving up prices for goods and rents, spurring a boom in the drug and prostitution businesses, and then watching, cold-heartedly, the declining fortunes of their hosts as they lost everything - including the artistic heritage of the country.

Williamson describes brilliantly that heady atmosphere in Moscow in the early days of the IMF/USAID loan-scamming: a 24-hour party. There were bars like the Canadian-operated Hungry Duck, which lured Russian teenage girls into its bar with a male striptease and free drinks, "who, once thoroughly intoxicated, were then exposed to crowds of anxious young men the club admitted only late in the evening."

The Third Level

At a third and more intriguing level, Contagion is about America's criminal politics in the Clinton regime, and, inevitably, the reader will put Williamson's book down with the sense that Al Gore will be the next occupier of the White House.

Gore, who was raised to be President, has impeccable Russian connections. His father, of course, was Lenin financier Armand Hammer's pocket senator, and it was Hammer who paid for Al Jr.'s expensive St. Alban's Prep schooling; and, as Williamson reports, Al Jr.'s daughter married Andrew Schiff, grandson of Jacob, who, as a member of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., underwrote anti-czarist political agitation for two decades before Lenin's coup, and congratulated Lenin upon his successful revolution.

Williamson also documents Gore's intimate involvement with powerful Wall Street financial houses, and his New York breakfast meeting with multibillionaire George Soros (a key Russian player) just as the Russian collapse was underway.

Williamson tells an interesting story of Gore's response to the IMF/World Bank/USAID plunder of U.S. taxpayers for the purpose of hobbling Russia.

By March 1999, Russia was now a financial basket case, and billions, if not tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer-backed loans had vanished into the secret bank accounts of both Russian and American gangster capitalists, and the news was starting to make little vibrations on Capitol Hill. "The U.S. administration's response to the debacle was repulsively similar to a typical Bill Clinton bimbo-eruption operation: Having ruined Russia by cosseting her in debt, meddling ignorantly in her internal affairs, and funding a drunken usurper, his agents denied all error and slandered ('slimed') her," writes Williamson.

"Pundits and academics joined government officials in bemoaning Mother Russia's thieving ways, her bottomless corruption and constant chaos, all the while wringing their soft hands with a schoolmarm's exasperation. Russia's self-appointed democracy coach Strobe Talbott ('Pro-Consul Strobe' to the Russians) would get it right. An equally sanctimonious Albert Gore - the same Al Gore who'd been so quick to return the CIA's 1995 report detailing Viktor Chernomyrdin's and Anatoly Chubais' personal corruption with the single word 'Bullshit' scrawled across it - took the low road and sniffed that the Russians would just have to get their own economic house in order and cut their own deal with the IMF. . . ."

The cost to the American taxpayers of Clinton regime bailouts in a three-and-a-half-year period, Williamson notes, is more than $180 billion! The "new financial architecture" Clinton has erected, she writes, "isn't new at all, but rather something the international public lenders have been wanting for decades, i.e., an automatic bailout for their own bad practices."

As the extent of the corruption of the Clinton-Yeltsin "reform" plan for Russia unfolded last year, with the attendant Bank of New York scandal, the mysterious death of super banker Edmond Safra in his Monte Carlo penthouse, the collapse of the Russian stock market, and the whiplash effect in Southeast Asia, Congress was pressed to hold hearings.

What resulted, as Williamson accurately narrates it, was just a smoke screen, show hearings that barely rose above the seriousness of a Gilbert and Sullivan farce - though they did result in proposed new domestic banking laws that, if passed, will effectively make banks another federal police force responsible for reporting to the U.S. government the most minute financial transactions of U.S. citizens.

Double Effect

In this regard, it is instructive to quote Williamson at length: "If the FBI, [Manhattan District Attorney] Robert Morgenthau, or Congress were serious about getting to the bottom of the plundering of Russia's assets and U.S. taxpayers' resources, they would show far more professional interest in exactly what was said and agreed in the private meetings [U.S. Treasury secretary] Larry Summers, Strobe Talbott, and [former Treasury Secretary] Robert Rubin conducted with Anatoly Chubais [former Russian finance minister, who oversaw the distribution and sale of Russian industries], and Sergie Vasiliev [Yeltsin's principal legal adviser, and a member of the Chubais clan], and later Chubais again in June and July of 1998.

"Instead of allowing Larry Summers to ramble casually in response to questions at a banking committee hearing, the Treasury secretary should be asked exactly who suckered him - his Russian friends, his own boss [former Harvard associate Robert Rubin, his boss at Treasury who was once cochairman at Goldman Sachs], or private sector counterparts of the Working Committee on Financial Markets [a White House group whose membership is drawn from the country's main financial and market institutions: the Fed, Treasury, SEC, and the Commodities & Trading Commission]. . . . Or did he just bungle the entire matter on account of wishful thinking? Or was it gross incompetence?

"The FBI and Congress ought to be very interested in establishing for taxpayers the truth of any alleged 'national security' issues that justified allowing the Harvard Institute of International Development to privatize U.S. bilateral assistance. It too should be their brief to discover the relationship between the [Swedish wheeler-dealer and crony of Sachs, Anders] Aslund/Carnegie crowd and Treasury and exactly what influence that relationship may have had on the awarding of additional grants to Harvard without competition. On what basis did Team Clinton direct their financial donor, American International Group's (AIG) Maurice Greenberg (a man nearly as ubiquitous as any Russian oligarch in sweetheart public-funding deals), to Brunswick Brokerage when sniffing out a $300 million OPIC guarantee for a Russian investment fund. . . . And why did Michel Camdessus [who left the presidency of the IMF earlier this year] announce his sudden retirement so soon after Moscow newspapers reported that a $200,000 payment was made to him from a secret Kremlin bank account? . . .

"American and Russian citizens can never be allowed to learn what really happened to the billions lent to Yeltsin's government; it would expose the unsavory and self-interested side of our political, financial, and media elites. . . . Instead, the [House] Banking Committee hearings will use the smoke screen of policing foreign assistance flows to pass legislation that will effectively end U.S. citizens' financial privacy while making them prisoners of their citizenship. . . . The Banking Committee will use the opportunity the Russian dirty money scandal presents to reanimate the domestic 'Know Your Customer' program, which charges domestic banks with monitoring and reporting on the financial transactions in which middle-class Americans engage. This data is collected and used by various government agencies, including the IRS; meaning that if a citizen sells the family's beat-up station wagon or their 'starter' home, the taxman is alerted immediately that the citizen's filing should reflect the greater tax obligation in that year of the sale. . . . Other data on citizens for which the government has long thirsted will also be collected by government's newest police force, the banks. . . ."

You see, as this book explains, the Clinton's Russia policy did not just plunder Russians, leaving them destitute while creating a new and ruthless class of international capitalist gangsters at U.S. taxpayer expense; it had the double consequence of bringing all Americans deeper into the bankers' New World Order by increasing their debt load, decreasing their privacy, and restricting their civil rights. If only Americans cared.

[Apr 27, 2017] Mark Ames: Credit Suisse Decries Russian Inequality After Playing Leading Role in Creating It

Notable quotes:
"... By Mark Ames, founding editor of the Moscow satirical paper The eXile and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast with Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan). Subscribe here . Originally published at The Exiled ..."
"... Can hugely rich new capitalists weather a backlash from the angry masses? ..."
"... Great piece. Mark Ames and his former eXile comrades Yasha Levine and Matt Taibbi write some of the most honest and ideologically neutral critiques of the current political and economic clusterfuck. The Guardian, OTOH, is pure neoliberal establishment propaganda. ..."
"... 'Why do I get the feeling that this "playbook" is being resurrected to manage a "privatization" of the American "safety net?" ..."
Apr 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on April 27, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. At the end, Ames explains why this sudden handwringing about Russian inequality is newsworthy:

Without any of this context, it's as though Russia's extremes of inequality that Credit Suisse just reported on suddenly appeared out of nowhere, as a manifestation of Vladimir Putin's innate evil. As though nothing preceded him-the 1990s had never happened, and our Establishment has always sincerely cared about how Russians must suffer from inequality and corruption. Erasing history like this has a funny way of making America look exceptionally good, and Russia look exceptionally bad.

As anyone who knows a smidge about this sordid history could tell you, the US's neoliberal reforms set the stage for a plutocratic land grab, with members of the Harvard team advising the State Department feeding at the trough in a big way. As we've written, the fact that Harvard paid $26.5 million in fines, yet Larry Summer not merely failed to sanction the professor who headed the team, his personal friend Andrei Shleifer, but actually protected him was the proximate cause of the ouster of Summers as Harvard president .

By Mark Ames, founding editor of the Moscow satirical paper The eXile and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast with Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan). Subscribe here . Originally published at The Exiled

The Guardian just published a piece on Russia's inequality problem - first and worst in the world, according to a new Credit Suisse report . Funny to see Credit Suisse wringing its hands over Russian inequality, given that bank's active complicity in designing and profiting off the privatization of Russia in the early-mid 1990s. Shortly before Credit Suisse arrived in Russia, it was the most equal country on the planet; a few years after Credit Suisse arrived and pocketed up to hundreds of millions in profits, Russia was the most unequal country on earth, and it's pretty much been that way since.

Credit Suisse's new Russia branch was set up in 1992, and it was led by a young twenty-something American banker named Boris Jordan, the grandson of wealthy White Russian emigres. Jordan was key to the bank's success, thanks to his cozy relationships with Russia's neoliberal "young reformers" in charge of privatizing the former Communist country. In the first wave of voucher privatization-when all Russians were issued vouchers which they could then either convert into shares in a newly-privatized company, or sell off-Credit Suisse's Boris Jordan gobbled up 17 million of Russia's privatization vouchers, over 10 percent of the total.

Inside connections were the key. While working for Credit Suisse, Jordan advised the Yeltsin government on how to implement its Russia's disastrous voucher privatization scheme. Jordan worked together with the two of the most powerful US-backed Russian free-marketeers: Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, architect of the shock therapy program that led to the mass impoverishment of tens of millions of Russians; and Anatoly Chubais, architect of Russia's privatization program, which created Russia's new billionaire oligarch class. Gaidar's shock therapy confiscated wealth from the masses; Chubais' privatization concentrated wealth in a few hands. And Jordan's Credit Suisse advised, traded off, and profited from this wealth transfer. This was the trio that played a central role in creating the inequality that Credit Suisse is now wringing its hands over. (You can read an interview with Jordan about how he co-advised the voucher implementation in 1992, which is stunning for a lot of reasons- he admits they sped up its implementation of voucher privatization to make sure that Russia's parliament, i.e. representative democracy, couldn't interfere with it. Democracy was not something anyone involved in Russia's privatization in the 1990s gave a shit about.)

The conflicts-of-interest here were so over-the-top, they were almost impossible to wrap your head around: Credit Suisse banker Boris Jordan helped implement the voucher privatization scheme with Russia's top political figures; and Credit Suisse massively profited off this same privatization scheme. And it was all done with the full backing and support of the US Treasury Department and the IMF.

(Another major beneficiary of Russian privatization vouchers was a murky hedge fund run by the billionaire Chandler brothers. They made a killing snapping up vouchers cheap, converting them into stakes in key Russian industries, and selling their stakes for huge profits. I wrote about them a couple of years ago because one of the Chandler brothers plowed some of his Russia loot into something called the Legatum Institute -a Dubai-based neocon front group that's been bankrolling the "Russia disinformation panic!" for several years now, issuing report after report after report on the Kremlin disinformation scare by their protege Peter Pomerantsev . You have to let these vulture-capitalist billionaires wet their beaks a little, or they'll raise an army of human rights activists to regime-change your ass.)

Shock therapy, first implemented in 1992 and not really ended until Russia's devastating financial crash in 1998, was politically useful in that by confiscating the Russian middle-class's and lower-class's savings, it created a massively unequal society. And that alone drove Russia further from its Communist recent past, which was the political goal that justified everything.

In 1994, this same young Credit Suisse banker, Boris Jordan, told Forbes' Paul Khlebnikov about a scheme he was trying to sell to the Yeltsin regime. It was called "loans-for-shares" and when it was finally adopted at the end of 1995, it resulted in what many considered the single largest plunder of public wealth in recorded history: The crown jewels of Russian industry-oil, gas, natural resources, telecoms, state banks-given away to a tiny group of connected bankers. It was this scheme, first devised by a Credit Suisse banker, that created Russia's world-famous oligarchy.

The scheme went something like this: The Yeltsin regime announced in late 1995 auctions under which bankers would lend the government money in exchange for "temporary" control over the revenue streams of Russia's largest and most valuable companies. After a period, the government would "repay" the "loans" and the banks would give the their large stakes back to the government.

In reality, every single "auction" was rigged by the winning bank, which paid next to nothing for its control over an oil company/nickel company/etc. Even the little money paid by this bank was often stolen from the state. That's because Russia used a handful of private banks as authorized treasury institutions to transfer government salaries and other funds around the country. This allowed the same bankers who were authorized as state treasury banks to keep those funds for themseles rather than distribute them to the teachers, doctors and scientists as salaries-so they did what was in their rational self-interest and kept the money, delaying salary payments for months or even years at a time, while they used the funds for themselves to speculate, or to buy up assets in auctions they rigged for themselves. It was pure libertarian paradise on earth-everything von Hayek and von Mises dreamed of-in practice.

By the time the loans-for-shares was actually put into effect in late 1995, Credit Suisse's Boris Jordan joined up with an anointed banker-oligarch, Vladimir Potanin, to set up their own investment bank, Renaissance Capital. They raised their first private equity fund, Sputnik Capital-with George Soros and Harvard University as co-investors-and Sputnik Capital went on to take advantage of the loans-for-shares investment opportunities, which had even more help from the fact that Yeltsin made Potanin his Finance Minister in 1996.

This sudden mass wealth transfer from the many to the few had a devastating effect on Russia's population. Inflation in the first two years of shock therapy and voucher privatization ran at 1,354% in 1992, and 896% in 1993, while real incomes plunged 42% in 1992 alone; real wages in 1995 were half of where they were in 1990 (pensions in 1995 were only a quarter in real terms of where they were in 1990). According to very conservative official Russian statistics, GDP plunged 44% from 1992-1998 - others put the GDP crash even higher, 50% or more. By comparison the Soviet GDP fell 24% during its war with Nazi Germany, and the US's GDP fell 30% during the Great Depression. So what happened in the 1990s was unprecedented for a major developed country-by the end of the decade and all of the Washington/financial industry-backed reforms, Russia was a basket case, a third-rate country with an even bleaker future. Capital investment had collapsed 85% during that decade-everyone was stripping assets, not investing in them. Domestic food production collapsed to half the levels during perestroika; and by 1999, anywhere from a third to half of Russians relied on food grown in their own gardens to eat. They'd reverted to subsistence farming after a decade of free market medicine.

All of this had a catastrophic effect on Russians' health and lives. Male Russian life expectancy dropped from 68 years during the late Soviet era, to 56 in the mid-1990s, about where it had been a century earlier under the Tsar. Meanwhile, as births plunged and child poverty and malnutrition soared, Russia's death-to-birth ratio reached levels not seen in the 20th century. According to Amherst economist David Kotz, over 6 million Russians died prematurely during the US-backed free-market reforms in the 1990s. What's odd is how little pity or empathy has ever been shown for those Russians who were destroyed by the reforms we backed, advised funded, bribed, coerced, and were accessory to in every way. They weren't entirely America's fault; Yeltsin and his US-backed "market bolsheviks" had their own cynical, ideological and political reasons to restructure Russia's political economy in the most elitist, hierarchical unequal manner possible. But if the US had acted differently, given how much influence the Clinton Administration had with the Yeltsin regime, things could certainly have turned out differently. The point is-they didn't. The inequality was the surest sign of success. It only became something to wring our hands about later, a soft-power weapon to smack them with, now that we have little to zero influence over Russia.

It's interesting that our literature is filled with plenty of official empathy for Weimar German victims of that country's hyperinflation, but nothing of the sort for Russians of the 1990s, who were, it was argued, being ennobled and lifted up by the linear thread of liberal history-they were heading towards the bright market-based future, can't let a few knocks and scratches distract us! Can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs, as the West's Stalin apologists used to say.

Here, for example, is a typical cheerleader story about the new Russian inequality, published in Businessweek in 1996-a fluff job on Boris Jordan's Russian backer, Vladimir Potanin. Notice how the headline/subheader make clear that the hero of this narrative is the Russian billionaire, and the villains are the "angry masses" of poor envious Russians:

The Battle for Russia's Wealth

Can hugely rich new capitalists weather a backlash from the angry masses?

Russia's answer to J.P. Morgan could not be less like the eccentric, bulbous-nosed original. Vladimir O. Potanin is a shy, athletic man of 35. Holding court in his rosewood-paneled office on Moscow's Masha Poryvaeva Street, the president of Oneximbank quietly gives instructions to two strapping bodyguards at his door. Cool and controlled, Potanin is a standout in a group of dynamic businessmen who have seized huge slices of the economy.

Which reads a lot like this fluff job in the Los Angeles Times, published around the same time, headlined "Whiz-Kid Banker Named to Russian Cabinet" . Which reads a lot like a Businessweek followup up with even more shameless hagiography, headlined "The Most Powerful Man in Russia" . You can try reading that last one if you want, but I recommend keeping a vomit bag close by-and a cyanide pill for good measure.

So this is the sordid and depressing backstory to the Credit Suisse report on Russian inequality-the story you definitely won't and don't read about in Credit Suisse's own account. They're a bank; their reports, while perhaps truthful, are far from The Truth-more like marketing pamphlets than serious scholarship.

Credit Suisse made a killing in Russia in the early-mid 1990s, dominating two-thirds of Russia's capital markets deals-while tens of millions sank into desperate poverty. That too is inequality.

Jordan himself remained a powerful celebrity-investor through the early Putin era. In 1997, Boris Jordan was caught up in a major scandal surrounding the privatization of the national telecoms concern, Svyazinvest-which was won by a consortium that included Soros, Harvard, and a bank owned by Finance Minister Potanin and his partner, Mikhail Prokhanov, who today owns the Brooklyn Nets. The scandal was this: The government official in charge of auctioning off the telecoms to Soros-Harvard-Potanin-Jordan consortium, Alfred Kokh, had been given a shady $100,000 book advance by a shady Swiss company connected to Potanin's bank. The book had not been written; the advance was unusually high; and the Swiss "publisher" which had never published a book before was itself incorporated and led by none other than Boris Jordan's cousin, Tikhon Troyanos.

The revelations led to scandals, and Yeltsin was forced to fire his privatization chief Alfred Kokh, along with a handful of other corrupt US-backed "young reformers" caught getting paid on the eve of a rigged auction.

But what did it really matter? What really mattered to everyone who matters was the political structure of Russia's economy. No longer egalitarian, no longer a threat to the neoliberal order-it now had the world's most unequal society, and that was a good thing, because the new elites would identify their interests more with the interests of their Davos counterparts than with the interests of the "backwards" Russian masses, whose fate was their problem, not ours. This is when racist caricatures of the "backwards" Russian masses help-you don't have to empathize with them, history is sending them to the trash heap of history, not you. The world was safe for business, and that was all the affirmation anyone needed to hear.

At the end of the Yeltsin era, I visited the sprawling suburban Moscow "compound" owned by Potanin and his banking partner, Mikhail Prokhorov, as well as Renaissance Capital-the bank first founded with Boris Jordan in the mid-1990s. It was a huge gated compound with several buildings, a mini-hotel, and a nightclub/concert hall. One of the first things I saw entering the gaming hall building was two familiar-looking men in track suits playing backgammon: Vladimir Potanin, billionaire oligarch; and Alfred Kokh, the fired, disgraced head of Yeltsin's privatization committee.

The financial crisis of 1998 left Russia's in complete tatters, and Boris Jordan was never the big shot that he had been before. His real value was providing cover for the new boss Vladimir Putin as he re-centralized power under Kremlin control. The first upstart oligarch that Putin took down was Vladimir Gusinsky. He was briefly jailed and then exiled to Israel. His once-respected opposition TV station, NTV, was "bought" by Gazprom, and Gazprom, needing a western-friendly face for its hostile takeover, hired Boris Jordan as the new general director of the network-and his old partner-in-crime, Alfred Kokh, the disgraced ex-privatization chief, as chairman of NTV's board. Almost immediately, 25 NTV journalists- half the staff- "resigned" . Jordan's job was to blunt western criticism of the Kremlin as it destroyed the lone critical voice on Russian television, and two years later, his job done, he moved on.

Today Jordan still runs the Sputnik Fund , such as it is-mostly a web site as far as I can tell. And he is listed as the founder of New York University's "NYU Jordan Center for the Advance Study of Russia" . He looks like such a minor figure now.

Without any of this context, it's as though Russia's extremes of inequality that Credit Suisse just reported on suddenly appeared out of nowhere, as a manifestation of Vladimir Putin's innate evil. As though nothing preceded him-the 1990s had never happened, and our Establishment has always sincerely cared about how Russians must suffer from inequality and corruption. Erasing history like this has a funny way of making America look exceptionally good, and Russia look exceptionally bad.

Temporarily Sane , April 27, 2017 at 3:21 am

Great piece. Mark Ames and his former eXile comrades Yasha Levine and Matt Taibbi write some of the most honest and ideologically neutral critiques of the current political and economic clusterfuck. The Guardian, OTOH, is pure neoliberal establishment propaganda. It really went downhill after Katherine Viner replaced Allan Rusbridger as chief editor. If the Snowden affair happened today they would probably be loudly calling for his arrest.

Lambert Strether , April 27, 2017 at 4:50 am

Seconded!

Lambert Strether , April 27, 2017 at 4:49 am

On the headline: "Well, I should hope so!"

ambrit , April 27, 2017 at 5:14 am

Why do I get the feeling that this "playbook" is being resurrected to manage a "privatization" of the American "safety net?" When it happened in Russia, the Russians ended up with Vladimir Vladimirovitch rising to stem the tide of officially sanctioned criminality. One could say that Russia has had precious little experience with "representational" governance, and thus a return to some form of autocracy was understandable. America, on the other hand, has, supposedly, a storied history of representative governance. So far, that "story" isn't showing signs of turning out so well for the "angry masses" of the Homeland. What, then, will America "put up with" to see the mere appearance of social justice? This is where the supposed "opposition" party, the Democrats, have fallen down. They aren't even "talking" a good game today. The longer these tensions continue, and increase, the greater the damage from the eventual unwinding will be.

Carolinian , April 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

The job of the Dems is to herd the sheep in the right direction. They do this by pretending to be lefties while keeping the true alternative, socialism, in its box. One could argue the whole history of the 20th century after WW1 was about keeping socialism in its box. Funny how the end of the Evil Empire–at least notionally committed to socialism–has made the situation in the West so much worse. It's almost a though those 20th century progressive reforms were only intended to keep the commies at bay. Now the plutocrats don't have to pretend any more.

Mark P. , April 27, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Ambrit wrote: 'Why do I get the feeling that this "playbook" is being resurrected to manage a "privatization" of the American "safety net?"

Because many of the same sociopaths who learned how to loot a collapsing empire after the fall of the USSR took the lessons learned and applied them over here.

'The Harvard Boys Do Russia'
https://www.thenation.com/article/harvard-boys-do-russia/

'Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the Economic Rape of Russia'
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml

Thuto , April 27, 2017 at 6:54 am

Well this is to be expected isn't it. The same banks that go around the world selling their brand of "market based reforms" then turn around and wring their hands when the post-reform economy has been stratified in favour of the 1%. It's almost as if registering their concern about the inequality levels they had a hand in creating somehow assuages their guilt. In my own country South Africa, one of the most unequal societies in the world, we are drowning in a constant, ad nauseum barrage of media commentary about how orthodox neoliberal thinking is the only thing that will save the country. Such stories of how orthodoxy itself plunged a country like Russia into economic anarchy are sadly lacking, in fact speaking ill of orthodoxy is anathema and one suspects that journalists are either infected with terminal gullibility vis a vis neoliberal thinking or are towing the line to stay in their jobs

David Barrera , April 27, 2017 at 9:22 am

Thanks for this great article It looks like Popper's positivism did wonders for George Soros. As he would say: "I made a killing". Sure nothing a couple of his humanitarian NGO's can not fix!

Fool , April 27, 2017 at 10:50 am

This is terrific - and the Yeltsin-Clinton photograph is too perfect.

I suppose we'll never forgive the Russians for how bad they let neoliberal capitalism look.

Martin Finnucane , April 27, 2017 at 12:19 pm

I suppose we'll never forgive the Russians for how bad they let neoliberal capitalism look.

I think that in some circles there's a deeply seated viral antagonism toward Russia and Russians that goes far beyond, and is far more deeply laid, than the liberal-v-not-liberal clash of civilizations du jour. Like herpes, this particular disease bubbles to the surface under certain conditions, such as a the Ukraine coup. Perhaps the virus first broke out around the time of the Venetian Sack of Constantinople ?

Ask a Russian. If you ask a Western liberal and you'll get nothing but a blank stare. Of course Russia bad . That's all we need to known. Full stop. My Western liberal conscience is clean.

The rank hypocrisy involved reminds one of Obama's gratuitous Russia bashing . And who is more iconically Western, more iconically liberal, than President Obama? Obama is nothing if not cool, and Western liberalism is coolness itself.

Susan the other , April 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I've wondered what a better alternative would have looked like – instead of looting and refitting Russia to join a neoliberal capitalist world. Wasn't it Jeffrey Sachs, now reformed, who said shock therapy would be the fastest and least painful way to get Russia up and running? And Putin has been a tightrope walker all along and seems to be very sensible. Almost too sensible. He has his nationalist opponents on one side (the late, great Boris Nemtsov was one) who say he is giving Russian wealth away to the West and his western-neoliberal detractors one the other side who call him a nationalist tyrant. In between he has the backing of the Russian people. Very agile.

PlutoniumKun , April 27, 2017 at 12:39 pm

The obvious alternative way would be the various routes followed by the former Iron Curtain countries. Most had some form of shock therapy, if none as extreme as that in Russia, probably because they don't have the easy to grab mineral resources. None have done as well as hoped, but some have been moderately successful by steering a middle course – The Czech Republic and Poland have done reasonably well over the past 20 years. In general, I would say that those which opted for slower and gentler market reform did better than the 'get it over quick' ones. The one country that tried not to change – Belarus – is still standing, if a bit of a basket case.

JohnnyGL , April 27, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Keep in mind the EU played a much more constructive role back then. The elites at the time really wanted integration and modernization to work, especially in the Central European countries like those ones you listed.

JohnnyGL , April 27, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Not directly related, but for wider context, very similar programs happened in Mexico during the Salinas administration (1988-1994) around the same time. NAFTA in 1994 was the 'reward' for the Mexican elites doing as they were told.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/10/privatizing-mexico/

Here's an old NYT article which aims for a tone of 'cheerleading with reservations', but does give you a sense of the corruption involved during the biddings, especially around TelMex and the resulting problems.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/27/world/going-private-special-report-mexico-sells-off-state-companies-reaping-trouble.html?pagewanted=all

Of course, we know how the story ends in Mexico with the 1994-5 Tequila Crisis, much like the story ended in Russia with the 1998 default which crushed the LTCM hedgies.

Martin Finnucane , April 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Also, Carlos Slim became the richest man in the world. Meritocracy rocks! Go suck a heuvo gordo, you socialistas sucias!

Susan the other , April 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm

I've wondered what a better alternative would have looked like – instead of looting and refitting Russia to join a neoliberal capitalist world. Wasn't it Jeffrey Sachs, now reformed, who said shock therapy would be the fastest and least painful way to get Russia up and running? And Putin has been a tightrope walker all along and seems to be very sensible. Almost too sensible. He has his nationalist opponents on one side (the late, great Boris Nemtsov was one) who say he is giving Russian wealth away to the West and his western-neoliberal detractors one the other side who call him a nationalist tyrant. In between he has the backing of the Russian people. Very agile.

PKMKII , April 27, 2017 at 1:40 pm

My one minor quibble is the assertion that those in the West put the blame of the downfall of the Russian masses on the masses themselves. Most of those in the West are either ignorant, or in denial, of how bad it got for the average Russian in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. They were taught that the USSR was a hellhole where everyone lived in horrific poverty except for the party leaders. So they saw the horrible conditions under Yeltsin and company as a continuation of how things had always been. Some even argue it got better, painting any report showing things were better under the USSR as communist propaganda.

[Apr 04, 2017] Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs were involved in economic rape of Russia. It would be nice if they wrote mea culpas.

Apr 04, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. , April 03, 2017 at 01:31 PM
PGL puts the blame on Yeltsin and this is what Stiglitz writes:

"I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work."

Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs were involved in this. It would be nice if they wrote mea culpas.

"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs.

I believe the explanation was less sinister: flawed ideas, even with the best of intentions, can have serious consequences. And the opportunities for self-interested greed offered by Russia were simply too great for some to resist. Clearly, democratization in Russia required efforts aimed at ensuring shared prosperity, not policies that led to the creation of an oligarchy."

Just look at what the West did to Iraq. Like Stiglitz I think it is more incompetence and ideology than a sinister plan to destroy Iraq and Russia. And we are reaping the results of that incompetence.

2008 was also incompetence, greed and ideology not some plot to push through "shock doctrines."

If the one percent were smart they would slowly cook the frog in the pot, where the frog doesn't notice, instead of having these crises which backfire.

pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:30 PM
Nice cherry picking especially for someone who never read his chapter 5 of that great 1997 book.
libezkova -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:40 PM
The book is great, the article is junk.

As Paine aptly said (in best Mark Twain style):

"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"

[Apr 04, 2017] Privatization in Russia was done according to the expert advice of deregulating Larry Summers gang from Harvard

Apr 04, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne , April 03, 2017 at 10:01 AM
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/illiberal-stagnation-russia-transition-by-joseph-e--stiglitz-2017-04

April 2, 2017

Illiberal Stagnation
By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ

I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work....

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:01 AM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus

The term Washington Consensus was coined in 1989 by English economist John Williamson to refer to a set of 10 relatively specific economic policy prescriptions that he considered constituted the "standard" reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries by Washington, D.C.–based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and the US Treasury Department. The prescriptions encompassed policies in such areas as macroeconomic stabilization, economic opening with respect to both trade and investment, and the expansion of market forces within the domestic economy.

  1. Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP;
  2. Redirection of public spending from subsidies toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;
  3. Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;
  4. Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;
  5. Competitive exchange rates;
  6. Trade liberalization: liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs;
  7. Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;
  8. Privatization of state enterprises;
  9. Deregulation: abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudential oversight of financial institutions;
  10. Legal security for property rights.
pgl -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:18 AM
"privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else".

It does matter how it is done as Stiglitz, Dani Rodrik, and even that ProMarket blog often point out. It was done very poorly under Yeltsin.

RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:34 AM
It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard.
RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AM
Does deregulatin' Larry still have a job?

Why?

Peter K. -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 01:24 PM
"It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard."

Yes PGL blames Yeltsin but it was the Western advisers who forced disastrous shock therapy on Russia.

See the IMF, Europe and Greece for another example. No doubt PGL blames the Greeks. He always blames the victims.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 01:33 PM
PGL blames Yeltsin but even Stiglitz writes that it was the Washington Consensus which was to blame for the poor transition and disastrous collapse of Russia. Now we are reaping the consequences. Just like with Syria, ISIL and Iraq.
pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:28 PM
Yep - you still have not read what he wrote. As usual.
pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:27 PM
WTF? The IMF may have given bad advice but Yeltsin ran the show. And if you think Yeltsin was the victim - then you are really lost.

"No doubt PGL blames the Greeks."

You do lie 24/7. Pathetic.

anne -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 11:15 AM
Suppose though the matter with privatization is not so much speed but not understanding what should not be subject to privatizing, such as soft and hard infrastructure.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AM
That a Washington Consensus approach to Russian development proved obviously faulty is important because I would argue the approach has repeatedly proved faulty from Brazil to South Africa to the Philippines... When the consensus has been turned away from as in Brazil for several years the development results have dramatically changed but turning from the approach which allows for severe concentrations of wealth has proved politically difficult as we find now in Brazil.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:48 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad0

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacX

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:55 AM
The range in real per capita GDP growth from 1990 to 2015 extends from 15.8% to 19.8% to 41.1% to 223.1% to 789.1%. This range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:49 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad4

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad7

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:00 AM
The range in total factor productivity growth or decline from 1990 to 2014 extends from a decline of - 16.9% to - 12.2% to - 5.1% to growth of 40.9% and 76.4%. Again, this range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:10 AM
The persuasiveness of the Washington Consensus approach to development strikes me as especially well illustrated by the repeated, decades-long insistence by Western economists that Chinese development is about to come to a crashing end. The insistence continues with an almost daily repetition in the likes of The Economist or Financial Times.

I would suggest the success of China thoroughly studied provides us with remarkable policy prescriptions.

[Apr 04, 2017] It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russias misfortune as the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russias transition according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus .

Notable quotes:
"... Too much liberal swamp gas [In Stiglitz's book] ..."
"... I love joe. His technical intuition is peerless. But he is mushy at heart. Social values involved. Unlike say chomsky ..."
"... It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus". ..."
Apr 04, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
DrDick -> pgl... April 03, 2017 at 11:01 AM
A great piece by Stiglitz.
pgl -> DrDick ... April 03, 2017 at 12:29 PM
I've been encouraging folks to read his 1997 book - in particular chapter 5. When I do, the Usual Suspects decided to attack by questioning Stiglitz's credential.

One of them cited Wikipedia noting it relied on World Bank research. Of course, Stiglitz headed the World Bank back then. Go figure.

paine -> DrDick ... , April 03, 2017 at 04:43 PM
Excellent book sent Ken Rogoff on a rampage
paine -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 04:46 PM
Read open letter to Stiglitz
anne -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 06:13 PM
http://www.imf.org/external/np/vc/2002/070202.htm

An Open Letter *

By Kenneth Rogoff,
Economic Counsellor and Director of Research,
International Monetary Fund

To Joseph Stiglitz,
Author of "Globalization and Its Discontents"

Washington D.C., July 2, 2002

* Used as opening remarks at a June 28 discussion of Mr. Stiglitz's book at the World Bank, organized by the World Bank's Infoshop

anne -> DrDick ... , April 03, 2017 at 06:31 PM
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2002/08/15/globalization-stiglitzs-case/

August 15, 2002

Globalization: Stiglitz's Case By Benjamin M. Friedman

Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph E. Stiglitz

paine -> DrDick ... , April 03, 2017 at 04:22 PM
Too much liberal swamp gas [In Stiglitz's book]
paine -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 04:20 PM
The obvious contrast does not exist

But id conjecture the Deng path trumps the Yeltsin path

paine -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 04:26 PM
Nothing liberal values can help

Development is not humanistic or [is] about ballot box choices

Clio sets harsh conflicts in our path albeit of our own Making

paine -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 04:31 PM
I love joe. His technical intuition is peerless. But he is mushy at heart. Social values involved. Unlike say chomsky
anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:22 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacK

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015

(Percent change)

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacO

August 4, 2014

Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015

(Indexed to 1990)

anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:27 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacQ

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacR

November 1, 2014

Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014

(Indexed to 1990)

libezkova -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 08:28 PM
"But id conjecture the Deng path trumps the yeltsin path"

True.

point -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 06:28 PM
It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus".

[Apr 03, 2017] Shleifer also met his mentor and professor, Lawrence Summers, during his undergraduate education at Harvard. The two went on to be co-authors, joint grant recipients, and faculty colleagues

Notable quotes:
"... Could Russia's post-communist transition have been managed better? We can never answer such questions definitively: history cannot be re-run. But I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. ..."
"... This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work. Fifteen years ago, when I wrote Globalization and its Discontents, I argued that this "shock therapy" approach to economic reform was a dismal failure. ..."
"... Today, more than a quarter-century since the onset of transition, those earlier results have been confirmed, and those who argued that private property rights, once created, would give rise to broader demands for the rule of law have been proven wrong. Russia and many of the other transition countries are lagging further behind the advanced economies than ever. GDP in some transition countries is below its level at the beginning of the transition." ..."
"... In the matter before us – the question of the many billions in capital that fled Russia to Western shores via the Bank of New York and other Western banks – we have had a window thrown open on what the financial affairs of a country without property rights, without banks, without the certainty of contract, without an accountable government or a leadership decent enough to be concerned with the national interest or its own citizens' well-being looks like. ..."
"... And there is no mistake as to who the victims are, i.e. Western, principally U.S., taxpayers and Russian citizens' whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets ..."
Apr 03, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
pgl , April 03, 2017 at 09:52 AM
Stiglitz returns to the issue of why post Soviet Union Russia has done so poorly in terms of economics(Illiberal Stagnation by Joseph E. Stiglitz - Project Syndicate):

"In terms of per capita income, Russia now ranks 73rd (in terms of purchasing power parity) – well below the Soviet Union's former satellites in Central and Eastern Europe. The country has deindustrialized: the vast majority of its exports now come from natural resources. It has not evolved into a "normal" market economy, but rather into a peculiar form of crony-state capitalism .

Many had much higher hopes for Russia, and the former Soviet Union more broadly, when the Iron Curtain fell. After seven decades of Communism, the transition to a democratic market economy would not be easy. But, given the obvious advantages of democratic market capitalism to the system that had just fallen apart, it was assumed that the economy would flourish and citizens would demand a greater voice. What went wrong? Who, if anyone, is to blame?

Could Russia's post-communist transition have been managed better? We can never answer such questions definitively: history cannot be re-run. But I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition.

This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work. Fifteen years ago, when I wrote Globalization and its Discontents, I argued that this "shock therapy" approach to economic reform was a dismal failure.

But defenders of that doctrine cautioned patience: one could make such judgments only with a longer-run perspective. Today, more than a quarter-century since the onset of transition, those earlier results have been confirmed, and those who argued that private property rights, once created, would give rise to broader demands for the rule of law have been proven wrong. Russia and many of the other transition countries are lagging further behind the advanced economies than ever. GDP in some transition countries is below its level at the beginning of the transition."

Stiglitz is not saying markets cannot work if the rules are properly constructed. He is saying that the Yeltsin rules were not as they were crony capitalism at their worse. And it seems the Putin rules are not much better. He mentions his 1997 book which featured as chapter 5 "Who Lost Russia". It still represents an excellent read.

RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:11 AM
"Shleifer also met his mentor and professor, Lawrence Summers, during his undergraduate education at Harvard. The two went on to be co-authors, joint grant recipients, and faculty colleagues.[5]

During the early 1990s, Andrei Shleifer headed a Harvard project under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) that invested U.S. government funds in the development of Russia's economy.

Schleifer was also a direct advisor to Anatoly Chubais, then vice-premier of Russia, who managed the Rosimushchestvo (Committee for the Management of State Property) portfolio and was a primary engineer of Russian privatization. Shleifer was also tasked with establishing a stock market for Russia that would be a world-class capital market.[14]

In 1996 complaints about the Harvard project led Congress to launch a General Accounting Office investigation, which stated that the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) was given "substantial control of the U.S. assistance program."[15]

In 1997, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) canceled most of its funding for the Harvard project after investigations showed that top HIID officials Andre Schleifer and Johnathan Hay had used their positions and insider information to profit from investments in the Russian securities markets. Among other things, the Institute for a Law Based Economy (ILBE) was used to assist Schleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a hedge fund which speculated in Russian bonds.[14]

In August 2005, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Department of Justice reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrongdoing

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

RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:26 AM
Awards:

John Bates Clark Medal (1999)

"He has held a tenured position in the Department of Economics at Harvard University since 1991 and was, from 2001 through 2006, the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics."

libezkova -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 08:18 PM
My impression is that Andrei Shleifer was a marionette, a low level pawn in a big game.

The fact that he was a greedy academic scum, who tried to amass a fortune in Russia probably under influence of his wife (his wife, a hedge fund manager, was GS alumnae and was introduced to him by Summers) is peripheral to the actual role he played.

Jeffey Sacks also played highly negative role being the architect of "shock therapy": the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets.

In other words "shock therapy" = "economic rape"

As Anne Williamson said:

"Instead, after robbing the Russian people of the only capital they had to participate in the new market – the nation's household savings – by freeing prices in what was a monopolistic economy and which delivered a 2500% inflation in 1992, America's "brave, young Russian reformers" ginned-up a development theory of "Big Capitalism" based on Karl Marx's mistaken edict that capitalism requires the "primitive accumulation of capital". Big capitalists would appear instantly, they said, and a broadly-based market economy shortly thereafter if only the pockets of pre-selected members of their own ex-Komsomol circle were properly stuffed.

Those who hankered for a public reputation were to secure the government perches from which they would pass state assets to their brethren in the nascent business community, happy in the knowledge that they too would be kicked back a significant cut of the swag. The US-led West accommodated the reformers' cockeyed theory by designing a rapid and easily manipulated voucher privatization program that was really only a transfer of title and which was funded with $325 million US taxpayers' dollars. "

See also http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml

libezkova -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 07:51 PM
From the article:

"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs."

This was not a corruption. This was the intent on Clinton administration. I would think about it as a planned operation.

The key was that the gangster capitalism model was enforced by the Western "Washington consensus" (of which IMF was an integral part) -- really predatory set of behaviors designed to colonize Russia and make is US satellite much like Germany became after WWII but without the benefit of Marshall plan.

Clinton consciously chose this criminal policy among alternatives: kick the lying body. So after Russian people get rid of corrupt and degraded Communist regime, they got under the iron hill of US gangsters from Clinton administration.

My impression is that Clinton was and is a criminal. And he really proved to be a very capable mass murderer. And his entourage had found willing sociopaths within Russian society (as well as in other xUUSR republics; Ukraine actually fared worse then Russia as for the level of plunder) who implemented neoliberal policies. Yegor Gaidar was instrumental in enforcing Harvard-designed "shock therapy" on Russian people. He also create the main neoliberal party in Russia -- the Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats. Later in 1990s, it became the Union of Right Forces.

http://www.vdare.com/posts/the-rape-of-russia-explained-by-anne-williamson

Testimony of Anne Williamson

Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives

September 21, 1999


In the matter before us – the question of the many billions in capital that fled Russia to Western shores via the Bank of New York and other Western banks – we have had a window thrown open on what the financial affairs of a country without property rights, without banks, without the certainty of contract, without an accountable government or a leadership decent enough to be concerned with the national interest or its own citizens' well-being looks like. It's not a pretty picture, is it? But let there be no mistake, in Russia the West has truly been the author of its own misery. And there is no mistake as to who the victims are, i.e. Western, principally U.S., taxpayers and Russian citizens' whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets

... ... ...

A lot of people, especially pensioners, died because of Clinton's gangster policies in xUUSR space.

I am wondering how Russian managed to survive as an independent country. The USA put tremendous efforts and resources in destruction of Russian economy and colonizing its by creating "fifth column" on neoliberal globalization.

all those criminal oligarchs hold moved their capitals to the West as soon as they can because they were afraid of the future. Nobody persecuted them and Western banks helped to extract money from Russia to the extent that some of their methods were clearly criminals.

Economic devastation was comparable with caused by Nazi armies, although amount of dead was less, but also in millions.

Questionable figures from the West flowed into Russia and tried to exploit still weak law system by raiding the companies. Some of them were successful and amassed huge fortunes. Some ended being shot. Soros tried, but was threatened to be shot by Berezovsky and choose to leave for the good.

Especially hard hit was military industrial complex, which was oversized in any case, but which was an integral part of Soviet economy and employed many highly qualified specialists. Many of whom later emigrated to the West. At some point it was difficult to find physics department in the US university without at least a single person form xUSSR space (not necessary a Russian)

[Mar 31, 2017] Larry Summers is going rogue but only long after the horse has left the barn

Notable quotes:
"... As head of Barack Obama's National Economic Council during 2009 and 2010 at the height of the foreclosure crisis, Larry Summers broke many promises to help homeowners while simultaneously dismissing Wall Street's criminality. ..."
"... Now, after the Obama administration has left power and Summers has no ability to influence anything, he finds himself "disturbed" that settlements for mortgage misconduct are full of lies. ..."
"... Of course, the Wall Street Democrats, AKA Democratic partisan hacks that infest this blog, spent years defending Obama for his lax treatment of criminal bankers. (And these same folks were also among the most avid advocates of 'trickle down monetary policy,' which involved the Fed's showering cheap money on its owners, the Wall Street banking cartel and their wealthy clientele, while raising the margin over prime rates to their credit card victims/customers.) ..."
Mar 31, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
JohnH March 31, 2017 at 10:46 AM

Larry Summers is going rogue? (But only long after the horse has left the barn!)

"As head of Barack Obama's National Economic Council during 2009 and 2010 at the height of the foreclosure crisis, Larry Summers broke many promises to help homeowners while simultaneously dismissing Wall Street's criminality.

Now, after the Obama administration has left power and Summers has no ability to influence anything, he finds himself "disturbed" that settlements for mortgage misconduct are full of lies.

Those of us who screamed exactly this for years, when Summers might have been able to do something about it, are less than amused."

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/30/larry-summers-had-the-power-to-punish-wall-street-now-hes-slamming-obamas-gentle-treatment/

Of course, the Wall Street Democrats, AKA Democratic partisan hacks that infest this blog, spent years defending Obama for his lax treatment of criminal bankers. (And these same folks were also among the most avid advocates of 'trickle down monetary policy,' which involved the Fed's showering cheap money on its owners, the Wall Street banking cartel and their wealthy clientele, while raising the margin over prime rates to their credit card victims/customers.)

[Mar 29, 2017] I fear Summers at least as much as I fear robots

Mar 29, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , March 29, 2017 at 06:17 AM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/27/larry-summers-mnuchins-take-on-artificial-intelligence-is-not-defensible/

March 27, 2017

The robots are coming, whether Trump's Treasury secretary admits it or not
By Lawrence H. Summers - Washington Post

As I learned (sometimes painfully) during my time at the Treasury Department, words spoken by Treasury secretaries can over time have enormous consequences, and therefore should be carefully considered. In this regard, I am very surprised by two comments made by Secretary Steven Mnuchin in his first public interview last week.

In reference to a question about artificial intelligence displacing American workers,Mnuchin responded that "I think that is so far in the future - in terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs - I think we're, like, so far away from that [50 to 100 years], that it is not even on my radar screen." He also remarked that he did not understand tech company valuations in a way that implied that he regarded them as excessive. I suppose there is a certain internal logic. If you think AI is not going to have any meaningful economic effects for a half a century, then I guess you should think that tech companies are overvalued. But neither statement is defensible.

Mnuchin's comment about the lack of impact of technology on jobs is to economics approximately what global climate change denial is to atmospheric science or what creationism is to biology. Yes, you can debate whether technological change is in net good. I certainly believe it is. And you can debate what the job creation effects will be relative to the job destruction effects. I think this is much less clear, given the downward trends in adult employment, especially for men over the past generation.

But I do not understand how anyone could reach the conclusion that all the action with technology is half a century away. Artificial intelligence is behind autonomous vehicles that will affect millions of jobs driving and dealing with cars within the next 15 years, even on conservative projections. Artificial intelligence is transforming everything from retailing to banking to the provision of medical care. Almost every economist who has studied the question believes that technology has had a greater impact on the wage structure and on employment than international trade and certainly a far greater impact than whatever increment to trade is the result of much debated trade agreements....

DrDick -> anne... , March 29, 2017 at 10:45 AM
Oddly, the robots are always coming in articles like Summers', but they never seem to get here. Automation has certainly played a role, but outsourcing has been a much bigger issue.
Peter K. -> DrDick ... , March 29, 2017 at 01:09 PM
I'm becoming increasing skeptical about the robots argument.
jonny bakho -> DrDick ... , March 29, 2017 at 05:13 PM
They are all over our manufacturing plants.
They just don't look like C3PO
JohnH -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , March 29, 2017 at 06:21 AM
I fear Summers at least as much as I fear robots...
Peter K. -> JohnH... , March 29, 2017 at 07:04 AM
He's just a big bully, like our PGL.

He has gotten a lot better and was supposedly pretty good when advising Obama, but he's sort of reverted to form with the election of Trump and the prominence of the debate on trade policy.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> JohnH... , March 29, 2017 at 07:15 AM
Ditto.

Technology rearranges and changes human roles, but it makes entries on both sides of the ledger. On net as long as wages grow then so will the economy and jobs. Trade deficits only help financial markets and the capital owning class.

Paine -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , March 29, 2017 at 09:59 AM
There is no limit to jobs
Macro policy and hours regulation
can create

We can both ration job hours And subsidies job wage rates
and at the same time
generate
As many jobs as wanted

All economic rents could be converted into wage subsidies
To boost the per hour income from jobs as well as incentivize diligence skill and creativity

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Paine... , March 29, 2017 at 12:27 PM
Works for me.
yuan -> Paine... , March 29, 2017 at 03:50 PM
jobs, jobs, jobs.

some day we will discard with feudal concepts, such as, working for the "man". a right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a right to income.

tax those bots!

yuan -> yuan... , March 29, 2017 at 03:51 PM
or better yet...collectivize the bots.
RGC -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , March 29, 2017 at 08:47 AM
Summers is a good example of those economists that never seem to pay a price for their errors.

Imo, he should never be listened to. His economics is faulty. His performance in the Clinton administration and his part in the Russian debacle should be enough to consign him to anonymity. People would do well to ignore him.

Peter K. -> RGC... , March 29, 2017 at 09:36 AM
Yeah he's one of those expert economists and technocrats who never admit fault. You don't become Harvard President or Secretary of the Treasury by doing that.

One time that Krugman has admitted error was about productivity gains in the 1990s. He said he didn't see the gains from computers in the numbers and it wasn't and they weren't there at first, but later productivity numbers increased.

It was sort of like what Summers and Munchkin are talking discussing, but there's all sorts of debate about measuring productivity and what it means.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RGC... , March 29, 2017 at 12:29 PM
Yeah. I am not a fan of Summers's, but I do like summers as long as it does not rain too much or too little and I have time to fish.

[Mar 06, 2017] Robots are Wealth Creators and Taxing Them is Illogical

Notable quotes:
"... His prescription in the end is the old and tired "invest in education and retraining", i.e. "symbolic analyst jobs will replace the lost jobs" like they have for decades (not). ..."
"... "Governments will, however, have to concern themselves with problems of structural joblessness. They likely will need to take a more explicit role in ensuring full employment than has been the practice in the US." ..."
"... Instead, we have been shredding the safety net and job training / creation programs. There is plenty of work that needs to be done. People who have demand for goods and services find them unaffordable because the wealthy are capturing all the profits and use their wealth to capture even more. Trade is not the problem for US workers. Lack of investment in the US workforce is the problem. We don't invest because the dominant white working class will not support anything that might benefit blacks and minorities, even if the major benefits go to the white working class ..."
"... Really nice if your sitting in the lunch room of the University. Especially if you are a member of the class that has been so richly awarded, rather than the class who paid for it. Humph. The discussion is garbage, Political opinion by a group that sat by ... The hypothetical nuance of impossible tax policy. ..."
"... The concept of Robots leaving us destitute, is interesting. A diversion. It ain't robots who are harvesting the middle class. It is an entitled class of those who gave so little. ..."
"... Summers: "Let them eat training." ..."
"... Suddenly then, Bill Gates has become an accomplished student of public policy who can command an audience from Lawrence Summers who was unable to abide by the likes of the prophetic Brooksley Born who was chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the prophetic professor Raghuram Rajan who would become Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Agreeing with Bill Gates however is a "usual" for Summers. ..."
"... Until about a decade or so ago many states I worked in had a "tangible property" or "personal property" tax on business equipment, and sometimes on equipment + average inventory. Someday I will do some research and see how many states still do this. Anyway a tax on manufacturing equipment, retail fixtures and computers and etc. is hardly novel or unusual. So why would robots be any different? ..."
"... Thank you O glorious technocrats for shining the light of truth on humanity's path into the future! Where, oh where, would we be without our looting Benevolent Overlords and their pompous lapdogs (aka Liars in Public Places)? ..."
"... While he is overrated, he is not completely clueless. He might well be mediocre (or slightly above this level) but extremely arrogant defender of the interests of neoliberal elite. Rubin's boy Larry as he was called in the old days. ..."
"... BTW he was Rubin's hatchet man for eliminating Brooksley Born attempt to regulate the derivatives and forcing her to resign: ..."
Mar 05, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Larry Summers: Robots are wealth creators and taxing them is illogical : I usually agree with Bill Gates on matters of public policy and admire his emphasis on the combined power of markets and technology. But I think he went seriously astray in a recent interview when he proposed, without apparent irony, a tax on robots to cushion worker dislocation and limit inequality. ....

pgl : , March 05, 2017 at 02:16 PM

Has Summers gone all supply-side on his? Start with his title:

"Robots are wealth creators and taxing them is illogical"

I bet Bill Gates might reply – "my company is a wealth creator so it should not be taxed". Oh wait – Microsoft is already shifting profits to tax havens. Summers states:

"Third, and perhaps most fundamentally, why tax in ways that reduce the size of the pie rather than ways that assure that the larger pie is well distributed? Imagine that 50 people can produce robots who will do the work of 100. A sufficiently high tax on robots would prevent them from being produced."

Yep – he has gone all supply-side on us.

cm -> pgl... , March 05, 2017 at 02:46 PM
Summers makes one, and only one, good and relevant point - that in many cases, robots/automation will not produce more product from the same inputs but better products. That's in his words; I would replace "better" with "more predictable quality/less variability" - in both directions. And that the more predictable quality aspect is hard or impossible to distinguish from higher productivity (in some cases they may be exactly the same, e.g. by streamlining QA and reducing rework/pre-sale repairs).

His prescription in the end is the old and tired "invest in education and retraining", i.e. "symbolic analyst jobs will replace the lost jobs" like they have for decades (not).

anne -> cm... , March 05, 2017 at 04:36 PM
Incisive all the way through.
jonny bakho -> pgl... , March 05, 2017 at 02:52 PM
Pundits do not write titles, editors do. Tax the profits, not the robots.

The crux of the argument is this:

"Governments will, however, have to concern themselves with problems of structural joblessness. They likely will need to take a more explicit role in ensuring full employment than has been the practice in the US."

Instead, we have been shredding the safety net and job training / creation programs. There is plenty of work that needs to be done. People who have demand for goods and services find them unaffordable because the wealthy are capturing all the profits and use their wealth to capture even more. Trade is not the problem for US workers. Lack of investment in the US workforce is the problem. We don't invest because the dominant white working class will not support anything that might benefit blacks and minorities, even if the major benefits go to the white working class

pgl -> jonny bakho... , March 05, 2017 at 03:35 PM
"Tax the profits, not the robots." Exactly. I suspect this is how it would have to work since the company owns the robots.
cm -> pgl... , March 05, 2017 at 03:53 PM
In principle taxing profits is preferable, but has a few downsides/differences:

Not very strong points, and I didn't read the Gates interview so I don't know his detailed motivation to propose specifically a robot tax.

cm -> pgl... , March 05, 2017 at 03:58 PM
When I was in Amsterdam a few years ago, they had come up with another perfidious scheme to cut people out of the loop or "incentivize" people to use the machines - in a large transit center, you could buy tickets at a vending machine or a counter with a person - and for the latter you would have to pay a not-so-modest "personal service" surcharge (50c for a EUR 2-3 or so ticket - I think it was a flat fee, but may have been staggered by type of service).

Maybe I misunderstood it and it was a "congestion charge" to prevent lines so people who have to use counter service e.g. with questions don't have to wait.

cm -> cm... , March 05, 2017 at 04:03 PM
And then you may have heard (in the US) the term "convenience fee" which I found rather insulting when I encountered it. It suggests you are charged for your convenience, but it is to cover payment processor costs (productivity enhancing automation!).
anne -> cm... , March 05, 2017 at 04:59 PM
And then you may have heard (in the US) the term "convenience fee" which I found rather insulting when I encountered it. It suggests you are charged for your convenience, but it is to cover payment processor costs (productivity enhancing automation!)

[ Wonderful. ]

JohnH -> pgl... , March 05, 2017 at 06:43 PM
Why not simplify things and just tax capital? We already property? Why not extend it to all capital?
Paine -> jonny bakho... , March 05, 2017 at 05:10 PM
Lack of adequate compensation to the lower half of the job force is the problem. Lack of persistent big macro demand is the problem . A global traiding system that doesn't automatically move forex rates toward universal. Trading zone balance and away from persistent surplus and deficit traders is the problem

Technology is never the root problem. Population dynamics is never the root problem

anne -> Paine... , March 05, 2017 at 05:31 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cVq0

January 15, 2017

Nonfarm Business Productivity and Real Median Household Income, 1953-2015

(Indexed to 1953)

anne -> Paine... , March 05, 2017 at 05:35 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cOU6

January 15, 2017

Gross Domestic Product and Net Worth for Households & Nonprofit Organizations, 1952-2016

(Indexed to 1952)

Mr. Bill -> anne... , March 05, 2017 at 06:30 PM
Really nice if your sitting in the lunch room of the University. Especially if you are a member of the class that has been so richly awarded, rather than the class who paid for it. Humph. The discussion is garbage, Political opinion by a group that sat by ... The hypothetical nuance of impossible tax policy.
Mr. Bill -> pgl... , March 05, 2017 at 06:04 PM
The concept of Robots leaving us destitute, is interesting. A diversion. It ain't robots who are harvesting the middle class. It is an entitled class of those who gave so little.
run75441 -> Mr. Bill... , March 05, 2017 at 06:45 PM
Sigh>

After one five axis CNC cell replaces 5 other machines and 4 of the workers, what happens to the four workers?

The issue is the efficiency achieved through better through put forcing the loss of wages. If you use the 5-axis CNC, tax the output from it no more than what would have been paid to the 4 workers plus the Overhead for them. The Labor cost plus the Overhead Cost is what is eliminated by the 5-Axis CNC.

It is not a diversion. It is a reality.

anne -> anne... , March 05, 2017 at 02:20 PM
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/03/economists-behaving-badly/

January 3, 2009

Economists Behaving Badly
By Paul Krugman

Ouch. The Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog has a post * linking to Raghuram Rajan's prophetic 2005 paper ** on the risks posed by securitization - basically, Rajan said that what did happen, could happen - and to the discussion at the Jackson Hole conference by Federal Reserve vice-chairman Don Kohn *** and others. **** The economics profession does not come off very well.

Two things are really striking here. First is the obsequiousness toward Alan Greenspan. To be fair, the 2005 Jackson Hole event was a sort of Greenspan celebration; still, it does come across as excessive - dangerously close to saying that if the Great Greenspan says something, it must be so. Second is the extreme condescension toward Rajan - a pretty serious guy - for having the temerity to suggest that maybe markets don't always work to our advantage. Larry Summers, I'm sorry to say, comes off particularly badly. Only my colleague Alan Blinder, defending Rajan "against the unremitting attack he is getting here for not being a sufficiently good Chicago economist," emerges with honor.

* http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/01/01/ignoring-the-oracles/

** http://www.kc.frb.org/publicat/sympos/2005/PDF/Rajan2005.pdf

*** http://www.kc.frb.org/publicat/sympos/2005/PDF/Kohn2005.pdf

**** https://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/sympos/2005/PDF/GD5_2005.pdf

cm -> pgl... , March 05, 2017 at 03:07 PM
No, his argument is much broader. Summers stops at "no new taxes and education/retraining". And I find it highly dubious that compensation/accommodation for workers can be adequately funded out of robot taxes.

Baker goes far beyond that.

cm -> cm... , March 05, 2017 at 03:09 PM
What Baker mentioned: mandatory severance, shorter work hours or more vacations due to productivity, funding infrastructure.

Summers: "Let them eat training."

Paine -> anne... , March 05, 2017 at 05:19 PM
We should never assign a social task to the wrong institution. Firms should be unencumbered by draconian hire and fire constraints. The state should provide the compensation for lay offs and firings. The state should maintain an adequate local Beveridge ratio of job openings to Job applicants

Firms task is productivity max subject to externality off sets. Including output price changed. And various other third party impacts

anne -> anne... , March 05, 2017 at 02:33 PM
Correcting:

Suddenly then, Bill Gates has become an accomplished student of public policy who can command an audience from Lawrence Summers who was unable to abide by the likes of the prophetic Brooksley Born who was chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the prophetic professor Raghuram Rajan who would become Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Agreeing with Bill Gates however is a "usual" for Summers.

Tom aka Rusty : , March 05, 2017 at 02:19 PM
Until about a decade or so ago many states I worked in had a "tangible property" or "personal property" tax on business equipment, and sometimes on equipment + average inventory. Someday I will do some research and see how many states still do this. Anyway a tax on manufacturing equipment, retail fixtures and computers and etc. is hardly novel or unusual. So why would robots be any different?
pgl -> Tom aka Rusty... , March 05, 2017 at 02:38 PM
I suspect it is the motivation of Gates as in what he would do with the tax revenue. And Gates might be thinking of a higher tax rate for robots than for your garden variety equipment.
Paine -> Tom aka Rusty... , March 05, 2017 at 05:22 PM
There is no difference Beyond spin
Paine -> Paine... , March 05, 2017 at 05:28 PM
Yes some equipment in side any one firm compliments existing labor inside that firm including already installed robots Robots new robots are rivals

Rivals that if subject to a special " introduction tax " Could deter installation
As in
The 50 for 100 swap of the 50 hours embodied in the robot
Replace 100. Similarly paid production line labor
But ...

There's a 100 % plusher chase tax on the robots

Why bother to invest in the productivity increase
If here are no other savings

anne : , March 05, 2017 at 02:28 PM
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/bill-gates-wants-to-undermine-donald-trump-s-plans-for-growing-the-economy

February 20, 2017

Bill Gates Wants to Undermine Donald Trump's Plans for Growing the Economy

Yes, as Un-American as that may sound, Bill Gates is proposing * a tax that would undermine Donald Trump's efforts to speed the rate of economic growth. Gates wants to tax productivity growth (also known as "automation") slowing down the rate at which the economy becomes more efficient.

This might seem a bizarre policy proposal at a time when productivity growth has been at record lows, ** *** averaging less than 1.0 percent annually for the last decade. This compares to rates of close to 3.0 percent annually from 1947 to 1973 and again from 1995 to 2005.

It is not clear if Gates has any understanding of economic data, but since the election of Donald Trump there has been a major effort to deny the fact that the trade deficit has been responsible for the loss of manufacturing jobs and to instead blame productivity growth. This is in spite of the fact that productivity growth has slowed sharply in recent years and that the plunge in manufacturing jobs followed closely on the explosion of the trade deficit, beginning in 1997.

[Manufacturing Employment, 1970-2017]

Anyhow, as Paul Krugman pointed out in his column **** today, if Trump is to have any hope of achieving his growth target, he will need a sharp uptick in the rate of productivity growth from what we have been seeing. Bill Gates is apparently pushing in the opposite direction.

* https://qz.com/911968/bill-gates-the-robot-that-takes-your-job-should-pay-taxes/

** https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cABu

*** https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cABr

**** https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/20/opinion/on-economic-arrogance.html

-- Dean Baker

anne -> anne... , March 05, 2017 at 02:30 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cABu

January 4, 2017

Nonfarm Business Labor Productivity, * 1948-2016

* Output per hour of all persons

(Percent change)


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cABr

January 4, 2017

Nonfarm Business Labor Productivity, * 1948-2016

* Output per hour of all persons

(Indexed to 1948)

anne -> anne... , March 05, 2017 at 02:32 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cN2z

January 15, 2017

Manufacturing employment, 1970-2017


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cN2H

January 15, 2017

Manufacturing employment, 1970-2017

(Indexed to 1970)

Ron Waller : , March 05, 2017 at 02:43 PM
Yes, it's far better that our betters in the upper class get all the benefits from productivity growth. Without their genetic entitlement to wealth others created, we would just be savages murdering one another in the streets.

These Masters of the Universe of ours put the 'civil' in our illustrious civilization. (Sure it's a racist barbarian concentration camp on the verge of collapse into fascist revolutions and world war. But, again, far better than people murdering one another in the streets!)

People who are displaced from automation are simply moochers and it's only right that they are cut out of the economy and left to die on the streets. This is the law of Nature: survival of the fittest. Social Darwinism is inescapable. It's what makes us human!

Instead of just waiting for people displaced from automation to die on the streets, we should do the humane thing and establish concentration camps so they are quickly dispatched to the Void. (Being human means being merciful!)

Thank you O glorious technocrats for shining the light of truth on humanity's path into the future! Where, oh where, would we be without our looting Benevolent Overlords and their pompous lapdogs (aka Liars in Public Places)?

Peter K. : , March 05, 2017 at 03:14 PM
I think it would be good if the tax was used to help dislocated workers and help with inequality as Gates suggests. However Summers and Baker have a point that it's odd to single out robots when you could tax other labor-saving, productivity-enhancing technologies as well.

Baker suggests taxing profits instead. I like his idea about the government taking stock of companies and collecting taxes that way.

"They likely will need to take a more explicit role in ensuring full employment than has been the practice in the US.

Among other things, this will mean major reforms of education and retraining systems, consideration of targeted wage subsidies for groups with particularly severe employment problems, major investments in infrastructure and, possibly, direct public employment programmes."

Not your usual neoliberal priorities. Compare with Hillary's program.

greg : , March 05, 2017 at 03:34 PM
All taxes are a reallocation of wealth. Not taxing wealth creators is impossible.

On the other hand, any producer who is not taxed will expand at the expense of those producers who are taxed. This we are seeing with respect to mechanical producers and human labor. Labor is helping to subsidize its replacement.

Interesting that Summers apparently doesn't see this.

pgl -> greg ... , March 05, 2017 at 03:38 PM
"Not taxing wealth creators is impossible."

Substitute "impossible" with "bad policy" and you are spot on. Of course the entire Paul Ryan agenda is to shift taxes from the wealthy high income to the rest of us.

cm -> pgl... , March 05, 2017 at 04:12 PM
Judging by the whole merit rhetoric and tying employability to "adding value", one could come to the conclusion that most wealth is created by workers. Otherwise why would companies need to employ them and wring their hands over skill shortages? Are you suggesting W-2 and payroll taxes are bad policy?
pgl -> cm... , March 05, 2017 at 05:15 PM
Payroll taxes to fund Soc. Sec. benefits is a good thing. But when they are used to fund tax cuts for the rich - not a good thing. And yes - wealth may be created by workers but it often ends up in the hands of the "investor class".
Paine -> cm... , March 05, 2017 at 05:45 PM
Let's not conflate value added from value extracted. Profits are often pure economic rents. Very often non supply regulating. The crude dynamics of market based pricing hardly presents. A sea of close shaveed firms extracting only. Necessary incentivizing profits of enterprise
Paine -> Paine... , March 05, 2017 at 05:47 PM
Profiteers extract far more value then they create. Of course disentangling system improving surplus ie profits of enterprise
From the rest of the extracted swag. Exceeds existing tax systems capacity
Paine -> Paine... , March 05, 2017 at 05:51 PM
One can make a solid social welfare case for a class of income stream
that amounts to a running residue out of revenue earned by the firm
above compensation to job holders in that firm

See the model of the recent oboe laureate


But that would amount to a fraction of existing corporate " earnings "
Errr extractions

Chris G : , March 05, 2017 at 04:21 PM
Taking this in a different direction, does it strike anyone else as important that human beings retain the knowledge of how to make the things that robots are tasked to produce?
Paine -> Chris G ... , March 05, 2017 at 05:52 PM
As hobbies yes
Chris G -> Paine... , March 05, 2017 at 05:55 PM
That's it? Only as hobbies? Eesh, I must have a prepper gene.
cm -> Chris G ... , March 05, 2017 at 06:50 PM
The current generation of robots and automated equipment isn't intelligent and doesn't "know" anything. People still know how to make the things, otherwise the robots couldn't be programmed.

However in probably many cases, doing the actual production manually is literally not humanly possible. For example, making semiconductor chips or modern circuit boards requires machines - they cannot be produced by human workers under any circumstances, as they require precision outside the range of human capability.

Chris G -> cm... , March 05, 2017 at 08:22 PM
Point taken but I was thinking more along the lines of knowing how to use a lathe or an end mill. If production is reduced to a series of programming exercises then my sense is that society is setting itself up for a nasty fall.

(I'm all for technology to the extent that it builds resilience. However, when it serves to disconnect humans from the underlying process and reduces their role to simply knowledge workers, symbolic analysts, or the like then it ceases to be net positive. Alternatively stated: Tech-driven improvements in efficiency are good so long as they don't undermine overall societal resilience. Be aware of your reliance on things you don't understand but whose function you take for granted.)

Dan : , March 05, 2017 at 05:00 PM
Gates almost certainly meant tax robots the way we are taxed. I doubt he meant tax the acquisition of robots. We are taxed in complex ways, presumably robots will be as well.

Summers is surely using a strawman to make his basically well thought out arguments.

In any case, everyone is talking about distributional impacts of robots, but resource allocation is surely to be as much or more impacted. What if robots only want to produce antennas and not tomatoes? That might be a damn shame.

It all seems a tad early to worry about and it's hard to see how what ever the actual outcome is, the frontier of possible outcomes has to be wildly improved.

Paine -> Dan ... , March 05, 2017 at 05:57 PM
Given recent developments in labor productivity Your Last phrase becomes a gem

That is If you end with "it's hard to see whatever the actual outcome is The frontier of possible outcomes shouldn't be wildly improved By a social revolution "

Sandwichman : , March 05, 2017 at 08:02 PM
Larry Summers is clueless on robots.

Robots do not CREATE wealth. They transform wealth from one kind to another that subjectively has more utility to robot user. Wealth is inherent in the raw materials, the knowledge, skill and effort of the robot designers and fabricators, etc., etc.

The distinction is crucial.

libezkova -> Sandwichman ... , March 05, 2017 at 08:23 PM
"Larry Summers is clueless on robots."

While he is overrated, he is not completely clueless. He might well be mediocre (or slightly above this level) but extremely arrogant defender of the interests of neoliberal elite. Rubin's boy Larry as he was called in the old days.

BTW he was Rubin's hatchet man for eliminating Brooksley Born attempt to regulate the derivatives and forcing her to resign:

== quote ==
"I walk into Brooksley's office one day; the blood has drained from her face," says Michael Greenberger, a former top official at the CFTC who worked closely with Born. "She's hanging up the telephone; she says to me: 'That was [former Assistant Treasury Secretary] Larry Summers. He says, "You're going to cause the worst financial crisis since the end of World War II."... [He says he has] 13 bankers in his office who informed him of this. Stop, right away. No more.'"

libezkova : March 05, 2017 at 08:09 PM
Market is, at the end, a fully political construct. And what neoliberals like Summers promote is politically motivated -- reflects the desires of the ruling neoliberal elite to redistribute wealth up.

BTW there is a lot of well meaning (or fashion driven) idiotism that is sold in the USA as automation, robots, move to cloud, etc. Often such fashion driven exercises cost company quite a lot. But that's OK as long as bonuses are pocketed by top brass, and power of labor diminished.

Underneath of all the "robotic revolution" along with some degree of technological innovation (mainly due to increased power of computers and tremendous progress in telecommunication technologies -- not some breakthrough) is one big trend -- liquidation of good jobs and atomization of the remaining work force.

A lot of motivation here is the old dirty desire of capital owners and upper management to further to diminish the labor share. Another positive thing for capital owners and upper management is that robots do not go on strike and do not demand wage increases. But the problem is that they are not a consumers either. So robotization might bring the next Minsky moment for the USA economy closer. Sighs of weakness of consumer demand are undeniable even now. Look at auto loan delinquency rate as the first robin. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/02/27/subprime-auto-loan-delinquencies-hit-six-year-high/81027230/

== quote ==
The total of outstanding auto loans reached $1.04 trillion in the fourth-quarter of 2015, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. About $200 billion of that would be classified as subprime or deep subprime.
== end of quote ==

Summers as a staunch, dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal of course is against increasing labor share. Actually here he went full into "supply sider" space -- making richer more rich will make us better off too. Pgl already noted that by saying: "Has Summers gone all supply-side on his? Start with his title"

BTW, there is a lot of crazy thing that are going on with the US large companies drive to diminish labor share. Some o them became barely manageable and higher management has no clue what is happening on the lower layers of the company.

The old joke was: GM does a lot of good things except making good cars. Now it can be expanded to a lot more large US companies.

The "robot pressure" on labor is not new. It is actually the same old and somewhat dirty trick as outsourcing. In this case outsourcing to robots. In other words "war of labor" by other means.

Two caste that neoliberalism created like in feudalism occupy different social spaces and one is waging the war on other, under the smoke screen of "free market" ideology. As buffet remarked "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

BTW successes in robotics are no so overhyped that it is not easy to distinguish where reality ends and the hype starts.

In reality telecommunication revolution is probably more important in liquation of good jobs in the USA. I think Jonny Bakho or somebody else commented on this, but I can't find the post.

[Feb 01, 2017] WTO is very clear that income taxes cannot discriminate to favour exports

Notable quotes:
"... While the WTO process would grind on, protectionist acts by other nations would be licensed immediately. ..."
Feb 01, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. -> Peter K.... February 01, 2017 at 11:33 AM , 2017 at 11:33 AM

Larry Summers:

"Third, the tax change will harm the global economy in ways that reverberate back to America. It will be seen by other countries and the World Trade Organisation as a protectionist act that violates US treaty obligations.

Proponents may argue that it should be legal because it is like a value added tax, but the WTO is very clear that income taxes cannot discriminate to favour exports.

While the WTO process would grind on, protectionist acts by other nations would be licensed immediately."

http://larrysummers.com/2017/01/08/us-tax-reform-is-vital-but-trumps-plan-is-flawed/

[Jan 21, 2017] Disillusioned in Davos

Jan 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Larry Summers:
Disillusioned in Davos : Edmund Burke famously cautioned that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." I have been reminded of Burke's words as I have observed the behavior of US business leaders in Davos over the last few days. They know better but in their public rhetoric they have embraced and enabled our new President and his policies.

I understand and sympathize with the pressures they feel. ... Businesses who get on the wrong side of the new President have lost billions of dollars of value in sixty seconds because of a tweet. ...

Yet I am disturbed by (i) the spectacle of financiers who three months ago were telling anyone who would listen that they would never do business with a Trump company rushing to praise the new Administration (ii) the unwillingness of business leaders who rightly take pride in their corporate efforts to promote women and minorities to say anything about Presidentially sanctioned intolerance (iii) the failure of the leaders of global companies to say a critical word about US efforts to encourage the breakup of European unity and more generally to step away from underwriting an open global system (iv) the reluctance of business leaders who have a huge stake in the current global order to criticize provocative rhetoric with regard to China, Mexico or the Middle East (v) the willingness of too many to praise Trump nominees who advocate blatant protection merely because they have a business background.

I have my differences with the new Administration's economic policies and suspect the recent market rally and run of economic statistics is a sugar high. Reasonable people who I respect differ and time will tell. My objection is not to disagreements over economic policy. It is to enabling if not encouraging immoral and reckless policies in other spheres that ultimately bear on our prosperity. Burke was right. It is a lesson of human experience whether the issue is playground bullying, Enron or Europe in the 1930s that the worst outcomes occur when good people find reasons to accommodate themselves to what they know is wrong. That is what I think happened much too often in Davos this week.

JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 20, 2017 at 03:24 PM
Larry Summers lecturing us about bullies! Precious!

"Larry Summers Is An Unrepentant Bully"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-s-goodman/larry-summers-bully-fed_b_3653387.html

Like so much of the tit-for-tat between Democrats and Republicans, what's OK for to do is NOT OK for you to do!!!

anne : , January 20, 2017 at 12:24 PM
https://books.google.com/books?id=SFNADAAAQBAJ&pg=PT951&lpg=PT951&dq=%22No+man,+who+is+not+inflamed+by+vainglory+into+enthusiasm%22&source=bl&ots=ufx9GiMtls&sig=jJgSGfaCuCQFzBa9KiNBKCoaYgQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjE7YCOxtHRAhWjLMAKHVmSDFAQ6AEIHDAB#v=onepage&q=%22No%20man%2C%20who%20is%20not%20inflamed%20by%20vainglory%20into%20enthusiasm%22&f=false

1770

Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents

No man, who is not inflamed by vainglory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united Cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

-- Edmund Burke

anne -> anne... , -1
Edmund Burke famously cautioned that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

-- Lawrence Summers

[ Edmund Burke never cautioned this. ]

anne -> Chris G ... , January 20, 2017 at 06:42 PM
Notice the fear of association or community of Milton Friedman:

http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/libertarians/issues/friedman-soc-resp-business.html

September 13, 1970

The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits
By Milton Friedman - New York Times

When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the "social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system," I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned "merely" with profit but also with promoting desirable "social" ends; that business has a "social conscience" and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades....

Gibbon1 -> anne... , January 20, 2017 at 07:37 PM
When I used to read Delong's blog before Delong went off on Sanders because Delong thought that Hillary Clinton would give Delongs son a job...

There was economics student that penned a response where he mentioned that the economics profession generally dislikes models with negative externalities. But truly loath models that incorporate positive externalities.

A positive externality is where some action on your part benefits you _and_ benefits some third party.

One can assume Milton Friedman and his followers find that concept revolting indeed.

anne -> anne... , January 20, 2017 at 12:52 PM
While I was not in Davos, I read about the proceedings and meeting in the Western European and Chinese press and was impressed by the community emphasis placed on social justice. Possibly there was considerable individual resistance to the public theme, and Lawrence Summers would readily sense such resistance, but the public theme from the speech by Xi Jinping on was encouraging and portrayed in Western Europe and China as encouraging.
kthomas -> anne... , January 20, 2017 at 02:19 PM
The headline of his post is somewhat misleading. He was not really talking about Davos.
Chris G -> kthomas... , January 20, 2017 at 05:53 PM
Let me rephrase: Name me some Fortune 500 companies who consider potential societal impacts of their actions and, as a result, sometimes make decisions which don't maximize their profits but are the "right" thing to do for the community/their workers/the environment/etc.? What Fortune 500 companies are motivated by things beyond maximizing profits for shareholders?

My point is that corporate leaders who are charged to act to maximize profits will always be cowards when it comes to moral and ethical issues. If their job is to maximize profits. If they don't want to lose their job then that's what they'll do - act to maximize profits. Where would Summers get the idea that they would act any differently? Do the people he's referring to have a track record of choosing the moral high ground over profits? If they do then I could understand surprise and disappointment that they're folding. But they've never had to face that choice before let alone chosen moral high ground over money, have they?

anne -> Chris G ... , January 20, 2017 at 05:55 PM
My point is that corporate leaders who are charged to act to maximize profits will always be cowards when it comes to moral and ethical issues. If their job is to maximize profits. If they don't want to lose their job then that's what they'll do - act to maximize profits. Where would Summers get the idea that they would act any differently? Do the people he's referring to have a track record of choosing the moral high ground over profits? ...

[ Properly argued, sadly. ]

Winslow R. : , January 20, 2017 at 02:02 PM
I recall Summers/Romer with both houses and Obama blowing their chances to do something for the middle/working class.

Summers/Delong said if the stimulus was too small we could always get another later, yet that chance to do something never came and he did nothing.....

I'd like Larry to ponder whether it was he who did nothing.

[Jan 17, 2017] Clinton administration tried to destroy Russian economics

Notable quotes:
"... U.S. assistance to Chubais continued even after he was dismissed by Yeltsin as First Deputy Prime Minister in January 1996. Chubais was placed on the HIID payroll, a show of loyalty that USAID Assistant Administrator Thomas A. Dine said he supported. ..."
"... Bill Clinton was all out after Russia, Talbot and his neocon advisors! ..."
"... The look the other way when the united Germany sent a brigade size armored set to Croatia to do Serbs. ..."
"... In Jul 1997 Poland, Hungary and Czech republic were entered in to NATO. ..."
"... Regarding Russia, Clinton was more interested in domination that development...a consistent theme in US history since its beginning. ..."
"... Instead of promoting democracy, the US rigged the 1996 election in favor of the drunkard Yeltsin. ..."
"... To hear the all the whining of Democrats and of the security state, the chickens may have come home to roost. ..."
Jan 17, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
RC AKA Darryl, Ron : January 17, 2017 at 03:53 AM
RE: Trump and Gorbachev