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Inept Western Response to COVID-19 Will Result in Public Backlash: 3

April 1, 2020 22 comments

In the previous post, I posted links to two YouTube clips by Kim Iversen in which she makes the point that shutting down economy of most countries for many months, till the COVID-19 virus is contained, is just not feasible. Nor is it possible, without a yet to be developed and efficacious vaccine, to eliminate a highly infectious virus with a low mortality rate which has already spread all around the world. The point she was trying to make is that the bullshit being sold to you as official government response and policies is likely to cause far more collateral socio-economic damage and human deaths than the viral pandemic itself. Some of you might have also noticed that tons of online virtue signalling losers, who have never worked a manual job in their entire life or being anything other than economically secure, were infuriated by her observations and are still busy trying to censor and “de-platform” her.

It is telling that the so-called “left” in western countries is as intellectually bankrupt as the right-wing nutcases they pretend to oppose and claim moral superiority over. This similarity between supporters of the two alleged political extremes will, however, not be surprising to some readers. As you might have also read in some of my other previous posts on this topic (link 1, link 2) the governmental response to this pandemic in most western countries has so far heavily favored corporations and very rich over the majority of their citizens. Even western European countries, who have so far done more for their citizens than USA, have still not formulated an effective response. Now.. I am not saying that they won’t get their shit together eventually, but they have not shown any signs of doing that- so far. Confused at what I am talking about? Let me explain..

1] Let me ask you a series of simple questions. What percentage of all paid jobs in the west are not in the ‘essential’ category AND cannot be performed from home? You know the answer to this one- the majority. Now let us follow on to the related question. How many jobs in these sectors pay more than what you can get on unemployment insurance? The answer tro this one is that a large percentage do pay more than even the generous unemployment insurance paid in west European countries today. Things might have been different decades ago, when it was higher in those countries- but that is a topic for another post. Now, some of you might counter by pointing out the governments in many west European countries are willing to cover 75-80% of the pay (upto a certain amount) of employees for a few months, if their employer does not lay them off. Well.. the key words here are ‘if their employer does not lay them off’.

The point I am trying to make is that even if you assume this economic disruption will not extend past a few weeks, affected employers (aka corporations) will lay off a significant percentage of their employees. In other words, a shutdown which lasts more than a few weeks is going to put a massive number of people on relatively stingy unemployment insurance. This problem is hard to solve in so-called “liberal democracies” where interests and needs of corporations and capitalists always outweigh those of the majority. See.. the government of one-party states such as China can simply order its corporations to keep paying their employees at an acceptable rate, because those corporations know that they will be refunded by government and have no option other than accepting the government’s order. Even other supposedly democratic east Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea can make their corporations and businesses retain employees in ways than supposedly “liberal democracies” cannot or don’t want to.

And the situation get even more dismal once you consider things such as residential and small business rent, auto insurance, utilities and other forms of economic rents on the majority. Do you really think voluntary guidelines and suggestions to postpone rent and similar payments is going to cut it? Do you really think that people on significantly reduced income who don’t have much money saved because they were paid so poorly even before this crisis can afford the upcoming balloon payments on rent, utilities etc while being able to afford all essentials and have enough leftover to to stimulate the depressed economy by spending like they used to? And let us clear about something else, most of the trillions being given to corporations right now are going to end up in secret bank accounts in oversea tax havens- one way or the other. And this holds for large corporations that are based in west Europe as much as those based in USA.

2] No western country (which I am aware of) has thus far implemented a freeze on financial rents of any type. To put it bluntly, most of the paltry unemployment insurance payments (to those who ‘qualify’) are just going to end up in the pockets of those collect rents, credit card payments, auto loans payments etc. In other words, many large corporations will receive government money twice- once directly to “save” jobs and then indirectly as people who could barely afford these rent payments in past have to pass an even larger portion of their income onto those corporations. Now imagine what this will do for the disposable income and ability of those people to support business which do not collect such rents. And this not a trivial question as businesses which do not collect such rents employ many times the number of those that do collect rent. Imagine the effect of such an economic contraction on all those retail stores in malls and other business which depend on them. And it gets worse.

Have you seriously considered the impact of this pandemic on the financial situation of those who work in airlines, airports, tourism, hotels and restaurants. What about those who livelihood is connected to running music concerts and other large cultural gatherings? You do realize that most people working in those sectors aren’t well-paid in the best of times.. right? Have all those idiots who incessantly talk about shutting down the economy indefinitely “until the pandemic is over” understand the ramifications of such actions on the livelihood of a substantial minority of the population? Given that most western countries have still not offered to replace income of their working citizens and small businesses in addition to freezing rents, where do they think all that money necessary for restarting the economy is going to come from? Then again, virtue signalers are not known for their ability to think through their actions.

To make matters more interesting, the mortality rate of COVID-19 (once you factor in people who don’t develop symptoms and recover uneventfully) is less than 1%. And ya.. I am basing that number on countries such as South Korea and Germany who have done a much better job of extensive testing of their population than others such as Italy and Spain. Did I mention that majority of those who die will be more than 80 years old? The point I am trying to make is as follows: At some stage relatively soon (not more than four weeks from now) a lot of people who are younger and not well-paid or compensated for this shutdown will start asking questions about whether ineffectual attempts to stop a disease that kills mostly very old people is worth them losing their livelihoods and future. To make matters worse, if that is possible, the pig-headed response of bureaucrats to such concerns will only inflame this situation further. And it is going to cause far more problems in countries such as USA and UK than Italy or Spain who have the social structure necessary to deal with prolonged economic adversity.

In the next part, I will write about how the lack of realistic plans for controlling this virus or mitigating its effect and reopening economy will make the situation far worse than it has to be. Might also write about how this pandemic will diminish the already decreasing the direct and indirect power of USA (and west in general) outside their borders.

What do you think? Comments?

More Thoughts on Trump’s Latest Idiotic Move to Start a War with Iran

January 7, 2020 13 comments

In my previous post on this topic, I wrote that the extremely stupid decision by Trump to approve the assassination of Qasem Soleimani will have very significant and long-lasting effects on the geopolitical environment in the Middle-East. For starters, it is now virtually guaranteed that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons and ICBMs- mostly likely within next 2-3 years. They have seen the difference that acquiring such weapons made to the security environment of DPRK- a significantly smaller and poorer country than Iran. The assassination of Soleimani is also the final nail in the coffin for the influence of LIEbral faction within their government which had argued for better relationships with USA (and the rapidly declining west) through bad comprises such as JCPOA.

Events since Iran signed that worthless agreement have shown that hardliners who opposed to be far more realistic than the greedy LIEbrals who deluded themselves into thinking that USA (and west in general) would honor international treaties. The upcoming years will see a far harder shift in their foreign policy towards China, and away from catamite states in western Europe. In any case, the west (especially USA) are no longer producers of any resources or products which the world needs- let alone scientific or technological innovation. And now we shall talk a bit more about how Iran is likely to avenge the untimely death of Soleimani. As you will see, they have far more options than the credentialed idiots who appear on, and write in, western corporate media outlets are capable of imagining. We live in interesting times..

1] One of most obvious, but ignored, ways that Iranians could take revenge for Soleimani would be to go after Trump and his progeny. While this would be easier if Trump loses in 2020, they could go after his idiotic progeny even earlier. And it is much easier than you think give that this progeny often travel to countries that are far away from USA and Iran has the organisational capabilities of a large nation state, not some pipsqueak terrorist group. They are also likely counting on his low popularity among many Americans to make any such outcome far more acceptable than it would be otherwise. It would also be an especially audacious and very fitting response to the assassination of Soleimani. While something like this might seem unlikely to most Americans, let me remind you that we are not living in ‘normal’ times.

2] People such as Pompeo, Bolton, Esper, certain advisers to the Trump administration, yappy Chihuahua such as Marc Rubio and Lindsey Graham, rich Zionist donors to the Trump campaigns might also be targeted for assassination by Iran. They present far easier targets than Trump and depending on how things work out, they could put the fear of god into many more. It also helps that many of Trump’s advisers on foreign policy seem to be either Zionist or have strong Zionist sympathies- making them especially enticing targets for Iran. Also a lot of these people have to travel far more and have much less of a security detail than somebody such as Trump and his family. I wonder if idiots such as Pompeo and Bolton have considered that possibility.

3] Regardless of whether Israel was directly, or indirectly, involved in this assassination- it is reasonable to assume that Iran is now going to explicitly target senior Israeli officials and their families. While there was a peculiar unwritten truce between those two countries on the issue of killing members of each other’s government officials- that is now history. It is even more likely that Iran will target Israel assets working in Middle-Eastern countries, regardless of the passports they hold. It will get especially ugly in places where both countries have a presence.. such as Lebanon, Turkey, UAE etc. For too long, people working for that country have felt protected. This is likely the end of that era. It would not be surprising if Iran also started targeting people from that country when they were on vacation in other countries.

4] We cannot also forget the extent of dislike between rulers of Sunni gulf states and Iran. Once again, for a long time this dislike did not degenerate into trying to kill each others rulers and senior government officials. But things have changed now, and what was once unthinkable is now firmly within the realms of possibility. Expect lots of random bombings etc targeting gulf royalty and senior government officials in those countries. I also predict that the uneasy ‘truce’ between Iran and Saudi Arabia is finally over and one can expect Iran to start pouring weapons in Shia areas of Saudi Arabia. Things are about to get very interesting in those countries. It is hard to predict where this is all going to lead, but it will be interesting to watch.

5] While it is a foregone conclusion that Iran will now target american soldiers and mercenaries in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan etc- we should not forget their native support staff. See.. for each american solider or mercenary, there are probably 5-20 local people who support their presence. It certainly helps that targeting the ‘help’ would be far more easier, and rewarding, for Iran. Very few people are willing to make an extra buck if such a gig comes with a reduced life-expectancy for themselves and their families. This outcome is especially likely in Iraq and Afghanistan, where there is no shortage of other locals (proxies) who hate those who work for whatever is left of the american occupation. Readers might have noticed that most of the possible actions Iran might take in response to Soleimani assassination are not conventional warfare.

In an upcoming part, I will go into some detail about what conventional warfare options are available to Iran. As you will see, they are far more numerous than most “credentialed” western idiots in the MSM are willing to admit.

What do you think? Comments?

Quick Thoughts on Trump’s Upcoming Order About Internet Monopolies

August 13, 2019 3 comments

A few days ago, I started seeing articles about people within the Trump administration leaking various drafts of an upcoming executive order which would allegedly “break the internet”. Other presstitutes have written pieces about how this order would “censor” the internet, and still others claim it would be “illegal” or something along those lines. As usual, my thoughts on this topic are nuanced and about the larger picture as opposed to most clickbait-type ‘hot takes’ found on the internet. Also, I am not going to pretend knowledge about the final version of that executive order nor will my views on this topic be popular with everyone.

So let us start by talking about the real reason why we are even having this discussion. It is no secret that the public image of internet monopolies, tech companies and basically anything they touch has suffered an irreversible decline during the past decade. Remember how you used to believe about Google, Amazon, FakeBook, Twitter, Apple etc were “innovators” in 2008-2009? Remember that time when most of you believed that Google could make no mistake and how their search engine used to just work. It might be hard to believe, but there was a time when Google did not deliberately crappify their products through generations of bad design or shove unpopular and monopolistic changes down their user’s throats. They once even had OK customer service. I know the previous sentence is hard to believe.. but it is true.

While Google has gone down the proverbial shitter to become an inferior version of IBM from the 1960s, it is clearly not the only tech company which taken that route. Indeed, I cannot think of a single internet or tech company which has not become an unpopular, inferior and shittier version of itself over the past decade. Adobe, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, FakeBook, Cisco, Twitter, Apple and even Intel have become sorry excuses of what they used to be a decade ago. Sure.. they have become more profitable and made their upper management much richer, but have lost the battle for their public image. But why would this matter? After all, monopolies and oligopolies don’t have to care about what their customers think.. right?

Regrettably for their autistic founders and sterile drones.. I mean workers, public image matters- even if you are a monopoly or oligopoly. That is why totalitarian governments in “communist” eastern bloc countries fell so quickly in the late 1980s to early 1990s. That is also why ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ works so well in China. The ability to deliver adequately, on time and fulfill public expectations is the most important predictor of whether an organization or institution retains public trust and good will. But why is it important to retain good will, if (as some autists at Google believe) one can manipulate perceptions at will. Well.. for starters, you cannot manipulate public perception over any significant length of time. Isn’t that obvious by now?

The second reason is more important and, as you will soon see, goes to the heart of the issue. Turns out, popular legitimacy is extremely important for medium- to long- term survival of any institution. Without such legitimacy even the most tyrannical institutions become fragile and implode under the slightest external stresses. Ever wonder why people in China have a far higher opinion of their government than people in USA. Here is a clue.. look at photos of the same part of any city in China from 1990 and today. Now do the same for USA. It is important to note that people who grew up in USA between 1933 and 1974 have a far higher opinion of government because they saw it largely deliver what was promised.

But how is any of this relevant to a proposed executive order which would gut legal protection to large social media platforms currently granted under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. See.. if something like this had been proposed by even an allegedly popular president like Obama in 2008, 2012 or even 2014, it would have elicited massive public outrage. There would have a series of large movements against such an idea, and a groundswell of popular support for tech companies. Do you see anything like that now, and don’t forget that Trump is an unpopular president by historical standards. So what changed between 2012-2014 and 2019? Well.. a lot, and none of it has helped the public image of internet and tech monopolies.

The precise moment when people started hating internet and tech monopolies varies from person to person, but here are some important milestones. For some, it was the progressive crapification of google maps and email starting sometime in 2012. For others, it was the SJW-led censorship in the wake of Gamergate in 2013. Many detested the underhanded tactics used by Microsoft to push Windoze 10 (aka spyware as operating system) on its customer base starting 2015. Others were mortified by Snowden’s disclosure about the nexus between large tech corporations and government surveillance agencies in 2013. Others started hating them after learning about how most smartphone apps spy on their users without explicit consent.

Still others got tired of a seemingly endless series of hostile site redesigns. Some got burned by interactions with Amazon, Paypal, Yelp, Uber and other “darlings” of tech sector. Many others have come to hate these corporations because of how they constantly mistreat and abuse their customers and this includes everyone from Microsoft and Apple to all those “voice assistants” which spy on you 24/7. Then there is Internet of Shit.. I mean Internet of Things, an idea so horrendous from a security viewpoint that I am still not sure whether anybody who buys “connected” and “smart” devices has any capacity for rational thought. And we haven’t even talked about arbitrary censorship etc on social media and sites such as YouTube.

To make a very long story short, internet and tech monopolies are now so hated and despised that a significant minority would vote for a presidential candidate whose sole campaign promise was to torture and kill anybody and everybody associated with this deeply tainted sector of the economy. And this is the environment in which Trump is going to sign his executive order about regulation internet monopolies in the near future. Regardless of how bad a solution his stupid flunkies come up with, it will be widely seen as good- if only because it shits on the aspy losers in Silly Valley and Seattle. And we have seen this dynamic before.. in 2016.

As some of you might remember, I was able to predict Trump winning the republican nomination and presidency because of my ability to sense the depth of hatred, contempt and disgust most people felt towards all those establishment parasites.. I mean politicians. It was this popular hatred for, and lack of trust in, certain institutions which allowed that orange conman to defeat 16 republicans and then HRC. We are likely to see a repeat of this, where even the most ineffectual and counterproductive legislation by Trump will be welcomed by a majority of people just because they enjoy seeing somebody finally kick Silly Valley types in the balls.

I cannot resist pointing out that the democratic party had multiple opportunities over the last decade (and even past 2 years) to start reigning in internet and tech monopolies. But they did no such thing, given how much Silly Valley contributes to their party. In fact, Obama went further than doing nothing and encouraged consolidation in tech sector and turned a blind eye to their ever increasing abuses. Let me make another prediction.. most people are going to get boners watching the aspy losers of internet and tech monopolies squeal like a pig after such an executive order is passed- even if its bad, stupid and dangerous in the long-term.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Thoughts on Continued Existence of the Black Misleadership Class

February 18, 2019 20 comments

Regular readers of this blog know that I have written more than a few posts about the topic of race in america- specifically as it relates to factors behind continued and systemic racism against black people. And yes, they are were and are discriminated against because of their (relatively darker) skin color and ancestry rather than the continent of their origin. For all those people who want to keep using the term ‘African-American’- let me remind you that Elon Musk is technically African-American. Anyway.. in some of my previous post on this subject, I have written about why the quest for respectability and acceptance by whites was based on a flawed idea, how the willingness of blacks of accept white narratives about them has been super problematic and why conversion to Christianity was the second worst thing that happened to black people in USA.

And this brings me the topic of this post, or more precisely, how I came up with idea of writing it. Over the past few years, I noticed something interesting about the response of almost all of the so-called ‘black leadership’ types to large protests about police brutality against black people. To make a long story short, even though they acknowledged the existence of this problem almost every single one of them did nothing beyond push for a few cosmetic measures and make long speeches. And this includes that black neoliberal president aka Obama. In other words, they took great care not to upset the status quo while using those events to cynically get more black people to vote for them in elections. When I looked at this issue in more detail, it became obvious that we have not gone past the level of change achieved by the civil rights moment of 1950s-60s.

Which is a nice way of saying that black ‘leadership’ since the 1970s has largely been about pretending to fight for equality for their constituency while simultaneously supporting the status quo and getting rich. As a recent example, Stacey Abrams (one of the alleged new non-white stars of democratic party) was supportive of republican gerrymandering to reduce the power of black voters in Georgia as long as it consolidated her own position. You might also remember that in 2015 it was revealed that Chicago police operated a “secret” site for disappearing mostly black people, and this occurred in a city that has been democratic control (and significant non-white presence in local government) for decades. The point I am trying to make is there is something peculiar about the black leadership class in USA which makes it unusually willing to screw over its own people while pretending to care about them.

Contrast that to what you see in politicians from other ethic groups, who either simply pretend to be “honorary” whites (Booby Jindal, Nikki Haley) or are actually involved in taking effective steps to benefit both their constituencies and ethnicities. Most black political leadership types, on the other hand, build their careers and rise to power via strong support of black voters but then conveniently go along with narratives and policies which perpetuate systemic racism and discrimination against their own people. You might remember how enthusiastically many members of the congressional black caucus (including frauds such as Maxine Waters and John Lewis) supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 democratic primary. Which is funny since legislation passed under her husband, Bill Clinton, to reform the criminal and welfare system screwed over the lives of millions of black people. Also, HRC tried to become popular with white voters in the 1990s by labeling young black men as super-predators.

Moving on.. why did people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have such long careers in the public spotlight? Can you think of two more ineffectual “leaders” for the “black community”? It is as if they were supported from outside to bamboozle their own community. More importantly, what did they achieve other than getting themselves in the news by making speeches? Can you think of one major problem (even at the local level) which these two conmen helped solve, over their multiple decades in the public spotlight? How can these people be even presented as semi-authentic leaders? There are, in anything, living examples of almost everything a leader should not be. To make matters worse, their younger replacements are at least as bad.

Take Kamala Harris, a woman who built her career by pandering to the fears and prejudices of white CONservative voters. A woman who gleefully described how she enjoyed jailing poor black women for the truancy of their children, but did not prosecute foreclosure fraud perpetrated by rich white guys, tried to help cover sexual abuse by clergy and laughed at prospect of marijuana legalization in 2014. Now she has suddenly remembered her Jamaican roots and pretends to give a shit about black people. Then there is the overwrought drama queen aka Cory Booker. We could write a paperback about his dishonest behavior, and here is a small taste. He is also a well-known confabulater, faithful servant to pharma and all-round embarrassment. And let us not forget Obama, the ultimate black neoliberal politician, who had no qualms about throwing millions of poor (and heavily non-white) people on the street in aftermath of housing bubble after 2009.

How do these self-hating scam artists end up becoming “leaders” of their communities?

What do you think? Comments?

On the Difference in Outcomes for China and India in Post-1945 Era: 3

February 16, 2019 11 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about how post-1949 Chinese leadership put in a lot of effort to improve the conditions of its people, even if their motivations were not purely altrusitic. Then again, the same is true of every government which has every existed in human history and the present. In sharp contrast, the Indian leadershit has remained mired in their self-chosen role as darker white sahibs carrying the “white mans burden” and lording over an allegedly hopeless bunch of subhumans. One commentator in the previous post of this series made a comment to the effect that it sounded like how things work in south and central american countries- where an incompetent whiter elite (with the assistance of dying white countries) mismanage and lord over less whiter people, who they see as less than human. Yep.. that is about right.

In the previous post, I also wrote about how the Chinese leadership took a pragmatic approach to improving literacy through a variety of reforms and programs. They also built, and in some cases rebuilt, institutions and bureaucracies to function for them and their people. Sure.. they had to break a few hundred thousand eggs to achieve that- but you cannot deny that the results are quite impressive and functional. More importantly, these institutions now either do what they are meant to do, or do not interfere in what other institutions are doing. In other words, the Chinese leadership was able to build and maintain a unitary and coordinated governmental system with a pretty decent level of accountability. And all this within first three decades after 1949. So why were they able to achieve something which their Indian counterparts thought to be impossible.

Conventional explanations for this, usually put forth by allegedly “credentialed” white idiots, try to paint this as some sort of exception or aberration. However that is not the case, as some version of this had been previously implemented in Japan and the Koreas. For example, modernization of Japan starting in Meiji era and its rebuilding after WW2 was achieved by implementing a watered-down version of what China started doing after 1949. The same is true of South Korea after the early 1960s. You might have noticed that all these examples have something else common to them- other than being east-asian. Ready.. they were, or are, mostly single-party systems.. yes, even Japan. But didn’t India also have effectively have a single party system for first 2-3 decades after 1947? Yes, they did and the Congress party won most elections as the state and federal level for 2-3 decades after “independence”. So why did it work in east-Asia but not in India?

Which brings us to the part about accountability- for elected officials as well as bureaucrats. As I mentioned in previous parts of this series, almost every single Indian politician and elected official came from families who collaborated with the British colonizers of India. They had risen to their positions without facing any real challenge, struggle or conflict. Most had no real skills beyond regurgitating what they learned in British universities and they saw themselves as darker whites rather than Indians. As I said in previous part, they believed anything some white guy in an expensive suit would tell them. The Indian bureaucracy was no better and filled with sad excuses for human beings who enjoyed abusing and screwing over their own people by using rules and regulations written up for that purpose by their erstwhile colonial masters.

Long story short, both the political class and bureaucracy of India was made up of incompetent losers who saw themselves as lesser whites rather than Indians. And there is one more thing.. the bureaucracy and political system continued to exist as two independent and antagonistic centers of power. Contrast that to successful east-asian countries where the political leadership and bureaucracy are different faces of the same system. There is a good reason why I used the words such as unitary and coordinated to describe the Chinese system. But why does any of this matter? Also, does it matter that much? Well.. let me show you with a couple of examples.

Very few of you know that India was first Asian country to build its own supersonic combat aircraft. Ya.. India built the HF-24 Marut and successfully tested it in the early 1960s. While the team leader of the project was Kurt Tank, almost everybody else in the project was Indian and they went from nothing to flying prototypes in about 6 years. So what did the Indian political leadershit and bureaucracy do in response to this success? The sabotaged it in every way they could- from denying funding for better imported engines to crippling the organisation setup for developing indigenous engines. Even worse, they spent a lot of effort trying to make sure that all the knowledge and expertise gained through that project was lost. But why?

The “conventional” explanation for this behavior is that USSR offered them decent inexpensive combat aircraft. However that is not true since the USSR which made such aircraft in multiple thousands was not really bothered by this indigenous effort. Moreover, it filled a role distinct from the aircraft they supplied to India at that time. The real reasons have far more to do with the Indian psyche, especially those of its white-worshiping idiot politicians and bureaucrats. The thing is.. they could not believe that people of their skin color could make world-class products. To make matters worse, they had no ability to understand concepts such as iterative development and using the insight gained in one project to advance others. But most fatally, they believed in what white scammers told them about the nature of money.

Now contrast this to what China did during the same time period. After getting all the equipment from USSR to manufacture Mig-15s, 17, 19s etc they first kept cranking out replicas. While not the best combat aircraft of that era (mid 1960s), they were good enough. But far more importantly, they used that opportunity to train a shitload of engineers who would then go on to improve these aircraft and eventually build far better ones. They did this at a time when they were as poor as India and in politically worse shape. They also did the same with soviet diesel-electric submarines, infantry weapons, artillery etc. Did you notice that they never stopped these projects or disbanded their experienced teams regardless of domestic upheavals and other issues. Why not? And where did they get the money to do all these things?

The answer to first part of those questions is that they, unlike their Indian counterparts, were not incompetent white-worshipping idiots. The second and related answer is that they saw money in a very different way to their Indian and white counterparts. To make another long story short, they implemented a form of what we today call modern monetary theory, which is fancy way of saying that they printed money and allocated resources as necessary to get important things done while making sure that this new money did not enter the general circulation at levels large enough to cause runaway inflation and currency devaluation. So ya.. they pretty much printed money and rigged their system to deliver what they wanted, which they could do because of the size of their country. Their Indian equivalents chose to believe “credentialed” white eCONomists.

In the next part of this series, I will show you (with more examples) how a unitary and coordinated government policy gave China a huge advantage over India in other sectors.

What do you think? Comments?

American ‘HealthCare’ System Has Been a Scam for Over Two Decades

February 10, 2019 6 comments

What do you call a service which keeps on getting expensive much faster than general monetary inflation but which does not improve? How about calling it a scam. In the past, I have written a few posts about this general area such as the american ‘healthcare’ system is crap, a majority of people now see doctors as no better than credentialed scammers and how life expectancy in USA has always been about class, not race. Yesterday, I came across a tweet in my twitter feed containing a graph which tracked the amount of money spent on healthcare in USA since 1960. Intrigued, I looked up the source and used the more realistic inflation adjusted option. Having seen many other graphs and infographics about the ‘healthcare’ system, I noticed something right away. Here.. have a look at the attached figure to spot what I am talking about.

You might have noticed that the increase in calculated average life-expectancy at birth from world bank data has a peculiar relationship with cost in USA. For starters, the calculated average life-expectancy at birth has improved by just shy of 9 years since 1960. But isn’t that a good thing? Well.. sure, but have a look at how it correlated with cost. It had already reached the 74 year mark in 1981, when the total cost was about 440 billion USD (inflation adjusted)- which is about 1/4th of what it costs now. But it gets better.. or worse. In 1998, the average calculated life-expectancy at birth was 76.6 years and cost about 1,016 billion USD (inflation adjusted). Long story short, average life expectancy has increased by only 2 years over the previous 20 years- but the costs have more than doubled over the same time span.

Even worse, average life-expectancy has been slowly falling over the past two years– but costs keep on going up. While USA spends a bit over 18 % of its GDP on ‘healthcare’, other developed countries achieve significantly better results by spending less than half that amount and their average life expectancy is 3-4 years higher and still rising slowly. So what is happening in the american system? Well many things.. first, the income of doctors started rising a lot after 1980 due to the introduction of billing codes. Impressed by the ability of doctors to extort the system, hospitals joined in the act and used their leverage to out-exploit them starting in the mid-1990s, which is also when pharma got in on the act. So far, none of the three want to stop. And why should they? Too many boomer idiots still want to delude themselves into believing that the american ‘healthcare’ system is the “best in the world”. Keep believing..

What do you think? Comments?

Contemporary Transgenderism is Based in Regressive CONservatism

February 4, 2019 14 comments

Readers of this blog will be aware of my rather dim view of certain social movements which claim to be liberal and progressive, but are the opposite of what they claim. I have written more than a few posts about how SJW-ism and how the causes it promotes are actually quite regressive (link 1, link 2 and link 3). I have also been a strong supporter of causes, such as freedom of speech, which are currently unpopular just because losers like Alex Jones are invoking it to defend their odious behavior (link 4 and link 5). Moreover, unlikely many self-anointed progressives, it is my opinion that giving your consent or more power to governments and corporations is a really bad idea (link 6 and link 7). My beliefs don’t fit within intellectually dishonest ‘left-right’ classification which dominate the mind of incestuous circle-jerkers aka “credentialed intellectuals”.

Some of you might be aware that I have written posts on this area such as- Contemporary Elite Support for Transgender Rights and Neoliberalism, On the Most Likely Mode of Discreditation for TransGenderism Ideology and Some Thoughts on How TransGenderism Will Likely Lose Public Support. In these, I covered issues such as the connection of this ideology with neoliberalism and late-capitalism and how institutional support for it is eerily reminiscent of past support for other bad ideas such as eugenics and residential schools. To put it another way, I am not a big fan of that ideology- especially the way in which its proponents are trying to force their worldviews on other people. Some might ask.. “how is that different from struggle for gay and lesbian rights”? Well.. glad you asked, because there is a big difference between them and transgenderism.

But before we go there, let us be clear about something- I have always believed that no person or institution has any right to tell or enforce how another person should live their life or who they should have sex with- as long as it does not involve animals or children. In other words, society should not discriminate between people irrespective of their sexual preferences and lifestyle. But isn’t this belief at odds with my strong support for gay and lesbian rights versus my expressed thoughts about the ideology of transgenderism? Well.. no, because gay and lesbian rights are not in the same category as transgenderism. Confused? Here is the long-form explanation which starts by looking at how the gay and lesbian rights movement came into being.

The modern movement for gay and lesbian rights in west started sometime during late-1960s. While there are many reasons for why it started at that time- it is best understood as being an extension of the sexual revolution and various civil rights movements. So.. ya, the movement for gay and lesbian rights started and grew as a movement for equal legal rights and legal protection from discrimination. And yes, there is a very good reason that I am emphasizing the part about legal equality. You might have noticed that this movement, over the next few decades, was primarily focused on achieving legal equality rather than social acceptance. But why? Why focus on the legal part and not the social part. The simple answer to that question is that legal equality is readily attainable while social acceptance cannot be forced.

A more complex answer requires us to understand its philosophical underpinnings. Specifically, the gay and lesbian rights movement was and is largely based in progressive principles. But isn’t the movement of transgender ideology based in progressive principles too? Well no, it is not and the way I described it provides a partial clue. See, the gay and lesbian rights movements are not independent and free-standing ideologies. Instead they are part of progressive humanism, which is why they were successful and are so uncontroversial today. They demanded equal legal rights because they were also human, rather than somehow special or different. Nor did they try to impose their belief system on other people or make constant demands from others to recognize and celebrate their “specialness”. They just wanted to treated like everyone else.

Now compare this to the ideology of contemporary transgenderism, more precisely how it works in real life. For starters, everyone else is supposed to just shut up and accept any new brainfart emanating from the vocal self-anointed leaders of that movement. Anybody who does not do so immediately is labelled as a denier or heretic. And don’t forget that they are all “extra-special” people with a unique connection to something that nobody else can understand. Accepting this ideology by mutilating your genitals and secondary sexual characteristics is supposed to provide you with a magic cure for all your mental issues and help you get into the inner circle. Is it just me, or does this sound a lot like the reactionary bullshit you usually see in religions and cults?

But it gets worse. Have you noticed that those who change their gender (especially from male to female) go for conventionally hyper-feminine look, dress and behavior? But why is that so? Why do they crave socially sanctioned feminine and masculine looks, dress and mannerisms? Let me contrast that with gay men and lesbian women. Have you noticed that both come in a very wide range of looks, dress and mannerisms? While the media, sadly, often still portrays gay men as effeminate queens, most people who have interacted in real life know that they cover the full range of masculinity. In other words, most gay guys are like straight guys. The same is true for lesbian women. Most are not the ultra-masculine “dykes” still sadly portrayed in media. Most of them are like straight women and it is even harder to tell them apart than gay and straight men.

And this brings us to why I said that the ideology of transgenderism is based in a regressive form of CONservatism. One major difference between CONservatism and progressive humanism is that the former requires people to conform and fit into narrow definitions of what they are “meant” to be. That is why, for example, CONservatives were historically against women wearing pants or not dressing in allegedly “approved” ways. This is, also, why women who appear on CONservative news outlets dress and style themselves in a particular hyper-feminine manner. To make a long story short, any ideology which directly or indirectly pushes its followers to conform to narrow “traditional” choices in style, dress and behavior is by definition CONservative. Now combine this insight with the previously mentioned bit about its highly cultish nature and you will why it is fundamentally different from the movement for gay and lesbian rights.

What do you think? Comments?

Understanding the Real History Behind ‘Wolfenstein’ Video Game Series

January 28, 2019 7 comments

Almost anybody who has played video games, with some regularity, over the past two decades has gone through at least one release in the long-running ‘Wolfenstein‘ game series. My personal favorites in that series are Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein: The New Order. Perhaps some of you might be aware that the overall plot and environment of most games in that series is based in a somewhat fanciful extrapolation of reality. While nobody is claiming that reanimated mummies, the raised undead or fire zombies are real, a lot of what is found in the most popular releases of that series (specifically Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus) are based in real events, facts, persons and possibilities.

For example, one of the central elements of ‘Return to Castle Wolfenstein’ involves the player trying to stop attempts by Nazis (especially Heinrich Himmler) from resurrecting ‘Heinrich the Fowler‘- who also happens to be final boss of that game. It just so happens that Himmler was deeply into a lot of mystical BS and had a peculiar obsession with that particular Saxon king from 10th century AD. Similarly one of the mini-bosses in that game, Marianna Blavatsky, is a sendup of Helena Blavatsky– a real life “psychic” medium from late 19th century whose teachings had a major (if unintentional) influence of development of the belief system behind certain parts of Nazi ideology. In fact, here is a post which talks about some of this from 2006.

Himmler, when he was not planning mass murder, was into a lot of mystical stuff. For example, he was a big supporter of pre-ww2 expeditions into Tibet and other “archaeological” projects to establish the veracity of his beliefs. He was also a big supporter of what is now called ‘Nazi archaeology‘. It is also true that many senior scientists and engineers in that regime found Himmler’s forays into mysticism amusing, to put if mildly, but never confronted him publicly because of his position. Did I mention that Castle Wolfenstein is based on Castle Wewelsburg, though its location is influenced by that of Kehlsteinhaus. Furthermore, many of the advanced weapon systems depicted in the 2001 game are based in reality.

Similarly, later releases of that game such as ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’ (2014) are based on pretty decent extrapolations of what might have happened if funny-mustache guy and his flunkies had been more competent. While we are unlikely to have seen giant robots driven by brains or super laser guns- the game does a pretty good job of capturing the type of society and world which would have resulted from Nazi Germany wining WW2 or achieving a stalemate that was equivalent to victory. In that respect they do a much better job at writing believable alternate history than ‘The Man in the High Castle‘ series by Amazon.

Now let me ask you a question.. Have you ever wondered about the convergence of personalities, zeitgeist and events which ultimately led to the Nazi Ideology? As it turns out the answer is not straightforward and it all starts about 50 years before they came to power. To make a very long story short, the original impetus for popularity of mystical beliefs which would one day become Nazism started out as a reaction to socio-economic displacement caused by Industrial revolution in Germany. The initial popularizers of those ideas, such as the Helena Blavatsky, were probably into it to become famous and make a few bucks. In fact, this moment should be seen as German equivalent of the spiritualism craze that swept Britain between the 1870s-1930s.

Racism and belief in Eugenics were also not unique to Germany, during that era. Some of you might know that Nazi Germany got a lot of its ideas about Race and Eugenics from USA. Social Darwinism, too, had its roots in Britain and USA. Which brings us to the next question- Why did Nazism develop in 1920-145 era Germany and not.. say.. in USA or Britain? The answer to that question requires us to understand something important and relevant, even today.The precursor to Nazi regime, aka the Wiemar republic, was fine with then contemporary levels of racism, anti-semitism, eugenics etc. But they slowly lost, over a period of over ten years, all of their credibility with most people in that country. Also the rich in Germany preferred fascists over socialists.

And that is how funny-mustache guy and his flunkies got in power. It certainly helped that were able to combine all those new-ish currents of belief and ideology into a somewhat coherent ideology. While a lot of videos on YT suffer from YouTube face, overenthusiastic presenters and poorly researched bits by idiots with a British accent, some are better. So here are two long clips (unfortunately containing poor quality footage) which do a very good and objective job of explaining how various streams of Nazi ideology combined into their final form. They are a bit on the longish side, but totally worth the time.

Clip 1 (about 51 minutes long)

Clip 2 (about 54 minutes long)

What do you think? Comments?

On the Desire of Democrats to Believe in Myth of Russian Interference

April 26, 2017 18 comments

While I would have preferred to not write about this topic, it is clear that the democratic elite and MSM are still flogging what is obviously still a very dead horse. As some of you might remember, my previous post on this topic was about how the narrative surrounding Russia hacking the 2016 election demonstrated the intellectual bankruptcy of the democratic establishment and their MSM lapdogs. At that time, I had hoped that the passage of a couple of months would lessen the desire of the democratic establishment to peddle this ridiculous narrative, especially since it was not gaining any traction among voters who were not already highly partisan democrats.

Well.. we are in late-April 2017, and the democratic establishment is still busy pushing this comical narrative, while simultaneously ignoring the many other unpopular actions taken by Trump since he assumed office on Jan 20. Consequently, the democratic establishment and party are now widely seen as an ineffectual opposition to Trump at best and an irrelevant, if entertaining, freak show at worst. It is therefore not surprising that all substantive and successful opposition to Trump’s many brain-farts have come from places other than the official opposition. For example, it was pressure from pissed-off voters rather than concerted actions by the democratic establishment which scuttled his first attempt to repeal ‘Obamacare’. Similarly, it was the judiciary rather than the democratic establishment has taken the lead in opposing Trump’s many executive orders.

Moreover, the democratic establishment has been more than eager to support Trump’s ill-advised saber-rattling against Syria, N.Korea and Iran. It is also establishment democrats who cheer the loudest when Trump breaks yet another one of his populist campaign promises. It is therefore not surprising that the democratic party brand has become less popular with voters since the election. It is also no secret that their massive and sustained loss of power at multiple levels of elected government over last 8 years has not helped the situation. You might have also noticed that the losses of 2016 and prior years have not resulted in any real change in the general direction or strategy (if they had either to begin with) of the democratic party. I should also add that the most popular politician in USA is Bernie Sanders, who still rightly calls himself an independent.

My point is the democratic establishment has more in common with a cult in terminal decline than a functional political party with a future- unless they want to be the nominal opposition in perpetuity. But what does any of this have to with the core reason behind the desire of the democratic party to continue believing in the myth of Russian interference in the 2016 election. As you will soon see.. a lot. Let us start by trying to list all the main reasons that most people give for the seeming obsession of the democratic establishment with finding some evidence, however weak and phony, to link Trump with Russia and Putin.

There are those who point out, quite correctly, that democrats obsession with finding a Russian “connection” to Trump have their roots in a modernized version of cynical red-bating such as that practiced by McCarthy in the 1950s. While that analysis is generally correct, I see it as a second order symptom of a much deeper systemic problem. Another possibility is that democrats are so desperate and short of ideas to get rid of Trump that they are literally grasping on straws and tweets of an unstable performance artist like Louise Mensch. Once again, there is a lot of truth in that view but it is at best a second order symptom rather than the root cause. Still others see the whole “Russian interference” sideshow as a way for the deep-state to control Trump, and they too have a point but not the root cause.

The root cause (in my opinion) stems from the fact that establishment democrats are still unable to understand, let alone come to terms with, the loss of HRC in the 2016 election. I am sure that, by now, some of you must have read or heard undeserved hagiographies of HRC by establishment liberals and wondered if the authors in question actually believed a single word of what they wrote or said. Here is what I think.. In most cases, all those “liberal” celebrities and intellectuals who peddled those HRC hagiographies did (and do) actually believe most of what they said or wrote. But why would that be the case? Why would supposedly smart and credentialed people be so blind to the many glaring flaws of HRC as a presidential candidate?

I think that is comes down to their professed religion aka neoliberalism. HRC was the perfect neoliberal candidate in that her public profile put a checkmark on every point in the neoliberal scoresheet. She was white, female, rich, from a well-known family, “credentialed”, had a full resume, center-right on all issues except a few social ones, fiscally conservative, hawkish on foreign policy, in favor of stealth privatizing everything, capable of endless empty platitudes. In other words, HRC was a neoliberal wet dream- even more so than Obama. Furthermore, she hired mostly ivy-league people for her campaign team, invested in big data and every other fashionable bullshit scam and presented a very “polished” and “professional” public image.

And yet she lost to a reality TV host with a bad comb who had the hots for his own daughter and a style of speaking that made more in common with pro-wrestling than “serious” politics. Her loss to Trump, you see, is totally baffling to all those who believe in the religion of neoliberalism. They are simply incapable of mentally processing the idea that there might be people who do not want to vote for this living breathing epitome of american neoliberalism. It is as if the greatest saint of their religion was defeated by an underling of the Devil before their very eyes. They are therefore doing what most people whose belief system has been thrashed and defeated do.. find a scapegoat and then blame it on the devil.

As far as establishment democrats are concerned, Bernie Sanders is the scapegoat and Putin is the Devil. Thinking in this manner is far easier than admitting that their belief system was defective and prone to failure. You might recall that in the middle-ages, Christians in Europe blamed Jews and the Devil for massive plague epidemics. Oddly enough, they were never able to come up with a convincing rational explanation for why either of the two alleged culprits might be the cause of their misfortunes. I guess it was just easier for them to think like that than consider alternate possibilities which would question their existent belief systems.

What do you think? Comments?

How CONservative Subhumans Think: Apr 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 76 comments

Regular readers of my blog know that I have never seen CONservatives as anything other as subhumans who will willingly slave away to enrich their real exploiters. Rarely does a day go by when I do not come across one more example of why people of the CONservative mindset are subhuman tools. The remainder of this post is based upon one recent, and very clear instance, of why CONservatives are subhumans.

Edit: Here is a more recent post that explains the gist of my argument.

It all started with a recent article in Washington Post about the effect of rising university tutions on the ability to students to feed themselves- More college students battle hunger as education and living costs rise

When Paul Vaughn, an economics major, was in his third year at George Mason University, he decided to save money by moving off campus. He figured that skipping the basic campus meal plan, which costs $1,575 for 10 meals a week each semester, and buying his own food would make life easier. But he had trouble affording the $50 a week he had budgeted for food and ended up having to get two jobs to pay for it. “Almost as bad as the hunger itself is the stress that you’re going to be hungry,” said Vaughn, 22, now in his fifth year at GMU. “I spend more time thinking ‘How am I going to make some money so I can go eat?’ and I focus on that when I should be doing homework or studying for a test.”

To make a long story short, the above linked article talks about how rising tuition costs and decreasing (or harder to obtain) student financial aid causes food insecurity for university students who do not come from well-to-do backgrounds. As many of you might also be aware of, university tuition fees in the USA have consistently grown at rates far higher than gross inflation, wage growth or even health care for the last thirty years. It is noteworthy that this rise in fees has not translated into wage increases for the tenured university faculty or support staff. Indeed, universities are now heavily dependent on temporary sessional instructors who get paid only a fraction of what the shrinking tenured faculty makes. FYI- all of that extra income from ever-increasing tution fees is mostly spent on “wealth” management for the university, sports teams and athletic facilities, salaries for a greatly expanded administrative staff and other stuff that has no positive effect on the quality of teaching.

So what aspect of this article ticked me off. Well.. it was not so much the article, as some of the comments that made me write this post. Here are a few of the more typical examples.

ChrisMallory 4/15/2014 8:48 AM MDT
Have these special snowflakes never heard of Ramen noodles? Get them on sale at 10 packs for a dollar and eat like a king.

joepah 4/11/2014 12:28 PM MDT [Edited]
You can buy a 50 lb sack of rice for $25 and a 5 quart bottle of veg oil for $10. 25 lbs dried black bean $23. 1 lb salt $1. Not the most exciting food but provides all the fat and carbos to keep you going. Flour lard and veggies can be cheap. Give me $100 at month and I can feed a college student, IF they are willing to learn to cook.

ceemanjo 4/10/2014 6:48 PM MDT
I was hungry every night my first year of graduate school, lost fifteen pounds and I wasn’t fat to start with. After a while, I learned that you can live off potatoes and beans. It is truly amazing how little you can spend on food. Do you want to live like that your whole life? No. But it doesn’t hurt for a few years. I look back with some fondness to my struggling student days. I think we should lighten up about this. It is actually a good thing for college kids to be hungry sometimes, good learning experience. A good inexpensive college dish is ramen with cabbage and carrots. You can fill your stomach for less than a dollar. Ramen isn’t much good for you but it fills you up and the cabbage and carrots are. Potatoes are cheap.

Terrence Lorelei 4/10/2014 4:47 PM MDT
Well, something tells me that Mommy and Daddy (or, Mommy and Mommy) won’t really let their little darlings starve. Also, the ridiculous arguments about following the models of some silly Euro-weenie nation simply do not hold water; a nation of 330 MILLION in a free-enterprise system cannot be compared to a mini-nation of 10 million socialists, all living just above the poverty line due to government confiscation of most of their paychecks. But then again, the spoiled American under-25 crowd simply will never understand that they are NOT owed anything until they earn it.

CivilUser 4/10/2014 12:20 PM MDT
What happened to Ramen Noodles? They still sell those dont they? Thats what got me through school. That and a used rice cooker that always had rice cooking. Meal plans at my school were for the kids who had parents with money.

While comments such as the ones highlighted above are now becoming the minority opinion, they were until very recently the majority opinion. But why? It should be obvious to all but the brain-damaged that there are no real constraints in providing every single person on this planet more than enough to eat. The technology and resources to do so have existed for a few decades now. Nor is money a real issue, partly because it is not real to begin with and can be produced in unlimited amounts at a touch of a button. Furthermore, the USA spends infinitely more money on far more dubious causes such as “stealth” aircraft that cannot fly in the rain, nation “building” in the middle-east and spying on its loyal “citizens” (subjects).

It is clear that food insecurity in university students is not due to a real lack of food, money or social utility. It is about creating artificial scarcity.

But why? What is the rationality behind creating artificial scarcity? Well.. while there is no rationality behind creating artificial scarcity, there is certainly a logic- a CONservative one. As I have said before, CONservatives are almost exclusively motivated by making the lives of someone else, usually less fortunate than them, miserable. They are, as a group, incapable of relating to other humans and indeed any other life forms in any other way. CONservatives have no real interest, or belief, in concepts such as personal responsibility, frugality, utility, or honesty. Indeed, they only invoke such concepts to try to shame and handicap naive people. CONservatives are just a bunch of pathetic parasites who were not lucky or smart enough to make it into the big leagues. They spend the rest of their pathetic lives trying to win small personal victories by trying to screw over other people. The only real and lasting solution to this problem involves the sudden disappearance of all CONservatives and their progeny.

What do you think? Comments?

Profit, unlike Gain, is a Measure of Theft from the System

March 24, 2014 7 comments

The idea that profit-driven capitalism is the only system capable of delivering sustained improvement in living standards is a deeply cherished belief of many Americans, despite considerable evidence to the contrary. Some of you might even argue that the dissolution of the Soviet Union is definitive evidence of that ‘there is not other way’. Of course, doing so would require us to ignore that state communism did take Russia from a chaotic 19th century society to a superpower within 30 years, inspite of the massive damages inflicted by Stalin’s paranoia and WW2.

We would also have to ignore that the massive and unprecedented increase in the standard of living in the USA from the mid-1930s to mid-1980s was largely financed by direct and indirect government spending. Imagine an American middle-class without the New Deal, WW2-related spending, GI Bill, Space Race and all other Cold War related spending. But this is not a post about which flavor of capitalism is better than which flavor of state communism. Instead I will try to show how one of the fundamental proxy measures of success in capitalism (and state communism) eventually up destroying them.

I am certainly not the first to point out that monetary profit is fundamentally a measure of theft from other people or groups. However unlike many others, I am more interested in its downstream and knockon effects than the morality and mindset of those who benefit from it. There is also the interesting issue of why capitalism seems to “work” as long as it is kept under control, but becomes destructive to almost everybody once it is unregulated. In my opinion, all of this comes down to difference between profit and gain.

Some of you will counter by saying that “but aren’t profit and gain two words for the same thing”. Well.. not quite and let me explain. We use the word profit to denote a situation where one party benefits at the expense of another party. It is fundamentally impossible for all the parties involved in a profitable transaction to gain from it and is therefore a zero-sum interaction. Now contrast that an interaction where some parties gain more than others but pretty much everybody gets a pretty good and fair deal. Still confused? Let us look at some examples.

Consider the case of a generic multinational corporation which has managed to increase its reported profit by off-shoring its manufacturing base to a low-income country. So who are the winners and losers in this type of scenario? The biggest winners in this scenario are almost always the top-level management, large stockholders and those involved in the financial (and other) intermediation necessary to make it happen. Minor winners include the poorly paid workers in the low-income countries now working at a slightly better paying job and the consumers who benefit from a slightly cheaper product. So who are the big losers in this transaction? Well.. everybody else- starting from the unemployed workers to local business who depended on those workers and the local governments who depended on tax revenue from those workers, business and the corporation.

Now consider the case of a company, business or an institution developing a new way to fulfill some human need or desire. How many people were negatively affected by the development of computer technology? What about antibiotic drugs? What about better automobiles or airplanes? What about effective vaccines for diseases like polio? In each of the above examples, pretty much everybody benefited (or gained) far more than they lost. Moreover each of these products increased the size of the economy without a significant increase in income inequality. That is the important, and crucial difference, between profit and gain. You might also notice that my description of gain is pretty close to most peoples mental image of functional capitalism.

So why is gain-based capitalism in full retreat and why has its profit-based form taken over?

It comes down to concentration of power in the hands of a few large players or oligopolization. Capitalism, or indeed any other system, works best when there are many and almost equally capable competing players in the system. That is also why capitalism seems to function pretty well when a new area opens up for business. But sooner or later you will end up with a handful of major players who will dominate the new area.

But why would narrowing the list of players favor profit over gain. Well.. once again there are many interrelated reasons but they all arise from one characteristic common to all large human organisations- who runs them. The higher levels of large and established organisations are almost always dominated by sociopaths who have learned to climb the pyramid by stepping on others. These climbers often have no understanding of what it takes to make the enterprises they are leading function properly, nor are they interested in making them function properly.

The mindset of these sociopaths is dominated by two interlinked desires. Firstly, they want to subjugate and impoverish everyone else. Secondly, they want to do so while basking in material comfort. They have no interest, desire or even the mental ability to be anything else. These billionaires, “business leaders”, CEOs, board members, banksters, head honchos etc are functionally identical to parasites or viruses in that they both lack a purpose for existence and an internal ability to restrain themselves. They survive and thrive by exploiting the structure of the system and eluding systemic attempts to destroy them. But why are they so interested in generating more profit and suppressing gain? The answer to that question lies in what happens to monetary profit once it is generated.

Monetary profit, unlike gain, is almost never reinvested back into the system. In other words, all money made as profit exits the functional economy and impoverishes everybody else.

Only sovereign governments can replenish this supply of money. It is therefore not surprising that billionaires and other rich people spend lots of their time making sure that the government does not replenish this supply or that they get most of that replenishment. It is not about more money for them, as much as it is about less money for everybody else. Of course, it certainly helps that they have a whole bunch of morons to do their dirty work.

What do you think? Comments?

Film Remakes, Sequels, Prequels and the True Nature of Capitalism

March 1, 2014 13 comments

Have you ever wondered why mainstream movie-making in the last twenty years has gravitated towards remakes, sequels and prequels of previously successful movies? Why do movie studios keep on making newer version of old hits? What is purpose of making progressively inferior sequels or prequels of questionable quality? Now there are some who would say that all literature, theater and cinema is derivative (cleverly plagiarized and recycled) and there is some truth to that. But that is not what I am talking about. Let me explain my point with a few examples.

The original Star Wars and lords of the rings franchises are indeed clever rehashes of epics centered around reluctant hero trope. Furthermore, such epic stories are found across diverse cultures and eras. However reading the Odyssey, Scandinavian sagas or even the much earlier Epic of Gilgamesh does not diminish the enjoyment of watching the original star wars films or the LOTR trilogy because while they all have the same basic story structure, each one takes great effort to create and populate its own unique and self-consistent universe. Similarly modern superhero characters have more than a passing resemblance to the trans-human/semi-divine characters that populate ancient myths and stories. Yet once again, the creators of most modern superhero characters took considerable effort to make them and the worlds they inhabit as unique and richly detailed as possible.

Now contrast this level of creativity and effort to that seen (or not seen) in the Star Wars and LOTR “prequels”. Or take movie remakes- Why do most modern movie remakes and sequels suck so badly? Compare the original Robocop movie to its recent remake. Or compare the remake of Total recall to its far more innovative original version. This is not to say that every remake, prequel or sequel sucks. There are examples where the reboot was as good or better than the original such as Scarface (1983 vs 1932) or the Mummy (1999 vs 1932). Note that both examples of successful remakes mentioned in the previous sentence were quite different from the original versions. Having said that movies in which the remake, sequel or prequel are better than the original are exceptions and not the rule.

But why is that so and what does it have to do with the true nature of capitalism?

The short answer to that question is as follows- trying to relentlessly increase and optimize monetary profits from any new source of income will always kill the proverbial golden egg laying goose. The somewhat longer answer to that question requires us to first take an honest look at what capitalism (or any other materialism based -ism) is really about.

In the preceding paragraph, I hinted that the tendency of capitalism to kill golden egg laying geese is shared by other material-based ideologies (such as state communism). But why would that be so? Aren’t materialism based ideologies more “scientific” and therefore superior to other ways of looking at the world? Well.. it depends and here is why.

Materialism based (reductionist) models work best when the systems are small in size, fundamental in nature and/or tractable. So materialism based models are perfect for doing things such as predicting the motion of planets, understanding the physical nature of matter, launching artificial satellites, synthesizing some new chemical compound or designing a new engine or vehicle. Their predictive value starts to decrease as the systems become more complex or chaotic- yet they are still quite useful for understanding phenomena as diverse as biological evolution, speciation or weather systems. Reductionist models however reach the end of their usefulness when we enter the realms of complex, fundamentally unstable and adaptive systems such as human societies.

Models based in reductionism work well only as long as the fundamental components of the system and interactions between are constant, predictable and measurable. We simply cannot do that with human societies of even basic complexity. This is where reductionist thinkers make two fundamental errors.

Firstly, they try to use an external and artificial standard unit (money) to keep track of exchanges in the system. While the amounts of money exchanged might initially have some correlation to the actual value of most interactions in the system- it always reaches a point where the amounts exchanged between components in the system has little (or no) correlation to the actual value of the interactions. However the quantity and flow of money in the system are now increasingly seen as the only legitimate measure of value of anything or any person in the system. Money becomes a proxy measure for something it can no longer be accurately used to measure.

The triumph of money as the only way to measure the worth of anything results in the second type of reductionist error. The quest for more money results in the ever-increasing use of reductionist models (and thinking) to optimize interactions and actions. It is this mindset that leads to mediocre, insipid or just plain shitty movie remakes, sequels and prequels- while simultaneously starving truly innovative ideas and concepts. The people who make decisions about movie funding therefore have little interest in the quality or craft of the final product. They are principally motivated by the predicted monetary returns on their ill-gained money.

That is why capitalism, communism and all other reductionist -isms, which use artificial gameable proxy units, to model the real world ultimately end up destroying the very things that make their existence possible.

What do you think? Comments?

Capitalism Cannot Function Without an Endless Supply of New Suckers

October 31, 2013 55 comments

Have you ever wondered if capitalism could become a victim of its own “success” in ways other those put forth by Marx over a century ago. While it is certainly possible that the effects of declining profits and progressive impoverishment of the majority will derail capitalism in a world where there is not much left to plunder or conquer in an economically viable manner, there is an alternative (and possibly synergistic) pathway for things to fall apart.

The reason you have probably never heard of this ‘other’ pathway is because the conditions that made its existence possible are relatively new. Even today- most economic thought, literature and analysis is the product of people mired in the mindset of previous eras. It also helps that doing so keeps the rich patrons of these sophists (economists and intellectuals) happy and thereby ensures a steady stream of table scraps.

So how did I stumble across this pathway? Well.. it comes down to an extension of one of my observations about human beings. We are often told by “intellectuals” that human beings do things because they are naturally competitive. But how many people would jump through all the hoops and cripple themselves in ways that are considered “normal” in developed societies if they were really doing it for themselves?

What kind of moron would slave away for a house in the suburbs where he would be subject to the simultaneous tyranny of his aging hateful wife and municipal zoning guidelines? What kind of idiot slaves away to live his life surrounded by superficial and scheming people at work (colleagues) and home (neighbors)? What idiot would slave away in occupations that involved high stress or high levels of insecurity? What moron would enter vocations with decade long education and internship requirements but not much in terms of job security?

It is clear that the mindset, worldview and behaviors of the average blue- or white-collar person in all developed countries are blatantly irrational. So why do they persist, or more accurately- why was that behavior so prevalent in the past?

In one of my previous posts, I had put forth the idea that civilization as we know it is a ponzi scheme. I chose that particular term since it best describes the overall structure, mode of functioning and life-cycle of civilization. But it also describes how they grow and become bigger. Civilizations, like ponzi schemes, require a continuous influx of new naive members to scam, exploit, enslave and sacrifice. But why? Well for one you have to pay off the higher ranking (but non-apex) members in the scheme. But there is another reason especially relevant to the fate of capitalism in developed countries with low rates of fertility.

A significant minority of people who cannot move up the pyramid will eventually understand the true nature of the system, even if that realization occurs at a subconscious level.

Civilization always results in a significant minority of its members becoming cynical, disloyal and self-serving once they wise up. There is therefore a constant and unrelenting need for more naive suckers to replace and possibly help eliminate those who have wised up. Finding such new suckers was very easy in the pre-contraception era when the average women has more than two kids who lived to adulthood. But barely or below replacement fertility makes that much harder and hence we had immigration for decades. But today even countries like Mexico and India, not to mention China, have fertility rates that are close to or below replacement.

But what does any of this have to do with an alternate pathway for the demise of capitalism?

The answer to that question lies in the high level of similarity between civilization and capitalism in one area – producing cynical burnouts with nothing left to lose. However capitalist societies are also far more efficient at producing such individuals as they burn the inter-personal goodwill and institutional loyalty of their lower ranking members at far higher rates and levels than their pre-capitalist counterparts. Furthermore, the continuous and ultimately counterproductive competitions that characterize such societies are unsustainable in the absence of high level of growth and some wealth redistribution. The high ambient instability of careers in such societies, even those which involve a lot of personal investment and sacrifice, do not make things any better.

Many societies with these features attempt to stabilize themselves through social welfare programs and regulations to improve career/lifestyle stability. While such measures can be partially effective in the short to medium term, they fail in the long-term for reasons linked to human greed and short-sightedness. Moreover they do not produce fewer cynical burnouts- only slightly less bitter ones. There is a reason why even countries as ordered, stable and affluent as Switzerland, Germany and Japan are not full of highly motivated and enthusiastic people.

Now some of you will say.. but what about the USA? isn’t it an exception to the pattern of capitalistic societies having a significant number of burnt out and cynical people? and isn’t the per woman fertility slightly above replacement or something like that? Well.. let us go through each point.

Firstly the USA is not an exception to the pattern of capitalistic societies having a significant number of burnt out and cynical people. It was just a late comer to that club for reasons I shall explain in a moment. As I have previously said, ponzi schemes can grow and appear stable as long as they can afford to pay off the higher ranking (but non-apex) members in the scheme. So things looked great as long as those born between 1930 and 1945 were getting excellent jobs and enjoying the fruits of rapid and fairly egalitarian post-WW2 expansion. They started dimming a bit when those born between 1945 to 1961 started their working lives but things still looked good and the overall system had enough inertia to keep the real party going into the 1990s. The fall of the USSR, opening of low wage countries like China and India, low interest rates on credit and the housing bubble helped the USA stretch it into the mid-2000s.

But the real cracks were visible as early as the mid-1980s. It was the beginning of an era where wages of average people stopped keeping pace with productivity or inflation. It was also the beginning of a breakdown in the implicit social contract that had existed in the USA since 1933. Lifetime job and stable careers slowly became a thing of the past, as did the formal and informal social welfare system. While this trend initially affected only the blue-collar workers, by the early-1990s even white-collar workers started feeling its effects. While the tech boom in the later half of 1990s and housing bubble in the first half of the 2000s masked the decline somewhat, it was obvious to many that something fundamental about the system had changed.

But which age group is most observant about such subtle but fundamental shifts? Is it the people who grew up before the 1980s and 1990s or those who were born and grew up in those decades? My point is that the mindset, worldview and behavior of those in their 20s and 30s today is a far better indicator of where things will go. So what do we see in that group?

Do we see tons of optimism in that age group? How many of them believe in a stable livelihood or the possibility of lifelong relationships? How many of them have kids, let alone one or two kids? How many will eventually have more than two kids? How many of them trust institutions? How many of them believe in a bright future filled with endless opportunities for growth? How many of them are crushed under student debt and working part-time jobs that don’t require degrees? How many want to move to faraway cities? and if not, why not? and most importantly- are things getting better or worse?

My point is that people in that age group have, throughout the developed world, become cynical burnouts. Even more importantly- the system has far less leverage over them than their parents generation.

Now there are many minor yet highly publicized reasons for this lack of leverage, from the growth of the internet, game consoles and smartphones etc. But the two major reasons are seldom mentioned so let me do that for you. First.. you cannot threaten what does not obviously exist (their children) or things whose existence is a matter of blind faith (secure livelihoods, meaningful relationships). The threat of sudden job loss, intermittent poverty and a generally uncaring and cruel society cannot extract enthusiastic compliance from somebody who sees that as inevitable even if they play by the rules. You cannot threaten a long-term homeless guy with lifelong poverty, especially if he knows that his compliance does not guarantee you will honor your end of the deal.

Secondly- social pressures don’t mean a lot in societies where almost every relationship is superficial, adversarial or mercenary in nature. This is especially so in an era where less fucked-up alternatives are readily available. People are no longer restricted to interacting with those in their immediate physical vicinity and now often prefer those who are not. Who wants to hang around people they don’t trust, despise or don’t care about.

But what this have to with capitalism, especially its american incarnation? Let me put it this way.. capitalism requires the majority to work hard and sacrifice for the enrichment of a small minority. However getting the majority to keep on playing this rigged game requires a decent chance of mediocre rewards (real or imagined), skin in the game (future of their children, family, friends) and social reinforcement. Without them- even the best lies, propaganda and marketing become useless rather quickly.

In the past capitalism could get around such problems by tapping into the then almost limitless supply of naive young suckers and desperate wannabe-american immigrants. However we no longer have a surplus of naive suckers or desperate immigrants who want to be american- and that is not going to change anytime in the near future.

What do you think? Comments?

The Unflattering Reason Behind Extreme Accumulation of Money : 1

October 26, 2013 23 comments

More than a few of my previous posts have centered on, or around, an odd but rarely asked, question.

“What is the point of accumulating money beyond the ability to spend it?”

Now, stupid sophists defending the status quo might say that its is impossible to determine what is enough. Curiously these sophists are seldom well off, let alone truly rich, making their defense of the status quo a bit odd. Perhaps they believe that their incessant barking on behalf of the rich might get them get a few more table crumbs or leftovers. But who knows..

Anyway, back to the question at hand. I have previously written that the reasons for accumulating money beyond the point of usability cannot be rational. But what if they are still logical. Confused? Let me explain. An action can be simultaneously logical and irrational, because logic is a mechanistic process in which the inputs don’t have to be factual or real.

For example, burning women accused of having sex with the devil requires that particular entity to exist in the first place and is therefore irrational. However it can be perfectly logical if you were one of those perpetually fearful and greedy semi-retards who believed in the existence of the devil, especially one interested in having sex with human females.

Coming back to our era, a closer look at much of what we think is ‘normal’ and ‘right’ just does hold up to rational scrutiny. Many of my previous posts are about the sheer irrationality underlying a wide variety of systems- from the basic structure of “civilized” society, the bizarre illusion of money, the worthlessness of supposedly important inter-personal relationships to the futility of loyalty to institutions that demand it. To put it another way- most conventional expectations, norms, rules and behaviors are not rational. But what if they are still logical? and more importantly- what does that say about the real nature of the human mind?

One of the main feature of conventional models for the human mind, be they religious, secular or “scientific”, is the assumption that human beings are intrinsically good, rational, caring or at least capable of all those things. Even religious models that portray human as sinful and fallen, or whatever their secular equivalent are, allow for the possibility of being saved, lifted or “enlightened”.

But what if that is not the case? Could it be the vast majority of humans, including the supposedly smart ones, are fundamentally incapable of being rational.

This question is best answered by looking at the entirety of available evidence (aka historical evidence from multiple sources) factoring in the inevitable underlying contexts and biases. Throughout most of the last 5,000 odd years (aka the age of civilization) the general standard of human living was very low and even the very rich were an infection, poisoning or puncture wound away from death. To make things easy and clear, let us temporarily ignore the actions and behavior of insecure and desperate people under constant stress or duress.

We will therefore, for the time being, willingly ignore most of human history- even though it strongly suggests humans are highly irrational.

Let us focus on societies where a combination of resources and technology make it possible to deliver a very high quality of life to all their members. In case you are wondering, I am talking about the situation in developed countries after WW2- especially after the early 1960s. Studying such societies allows us to eliminate the role of scarcity on human behavior or the ability to reason.

Does the functioning of these societies suggest that humans are capable of rational behavior when not under any real resource constraints?

The answer to this question is complicated. From the end of WW2 to the late 1970s, the socioeconomic changes in these countries suggested that human beings might be capable of rationality- at least under certain conditions. Those times were characterized by very significant technological progress and considerable improvement in the living standards of the median person in those societies. This era was also characterized by fairly low income inequality and a realistic chance to improve ones position in society. It was as if after millennia of screwing around without anything to show for it, human societies had finally found the ability and institutional structures to provide a safe, stable and reasonably good existence for almost all of its members.

But there have been many changes since the late-1970s and almost all of them have taken those developed societies increasingly further away their early post-WW2 vision. But why? It is very clear that we do not lack the technology, resources, productivity or ability to extend the general socioeconomic improvements that occurred within the first three decades after WW2. But every single developed society has abandoned the path of improving the lives of its median, let alone its poorer, members.

How can we account for the rise of neo-liberalistive/neo-conservative (neo-feudal) ideologies throughout developed countries since the early 1980s?

There are those who see this is the result of clever propaganda, institutional capture or mass media-driven brainwashing. While this line of thought might sound appealing to those who see average humans as fundamentally good and therefore gullible victims, there are reasons to believe that it is not the case. You might have noticed that a lot of the ideas recycled by neo-conservatives or neo-liberals, from “personal responsibility” to “work ethic”, are actually old lies and fairy tales.

So what makes people want to believe in obvious lies such as “work ethic”, “meritocracy”, “invisible hand of market”, “creative destruction” and “personal discipline” while discarding other equally old and popular lies about the role of divine entities in human affairs.

Are people really that stupid, unobservant and innumerate? Then there is the troubling question of why the middle class is so eager to believe in the lies, scams and bait-and switches which trick, hurt and abuse them the most. Surely, they are not that retarded or unobservant. I also don’t believe that this behavior is due to learned helplessness. A rational person who understood his lack of control over events would not strive for the benefit of those who were abusing him.

Could it be that most people believe in or play along with norms, rules and paradigms that are against their rational interests because it provides surreptitious satisfaction of much deeper urges in their minds?

In a couple of my previous posts (Link 1 and Link 2) I had suggested that hoarding money beyond ones ability to spend it was irrational as it offered no real objective benefits to the hoarder. But what if hoarding money was about depriving others of resources, security and happiness rather than improving your own existence. Furthermore, what if the behavior of the rich is merely an exaggeration of how most humans relate to each other.

Have you considered the possibility that the primary intention behind almost all “normal” human interpersonal interaction is to somehow con, swindle, abuse, hurt, maim or kill the other party?

In upcoming parts of this series, of which there will be many, I shall demonstrate how my model of the human mind is a far better fit for available evidence on human behavior in a variety of situations.

What do you think? Comments?

The Connection Between “Crime” and Hope

June 19, 2013 10 comments

The consistent and simultaneous fall in violent ‘crime’ rates for the USA, and pretty much every other developed country, over the last 20 years has baffled many ‘experts’. They have offered a multitude of often conflicting explanations for this phenomena ranging from a reduction in childhood exposure to lead, an older population, better policing, legalized abortion to longer prison sentences. But there are two major problems with almost all of their explanations.

1. They assume that A leads to B. For example- Low ‘IQ’ = more ‘criminal’ behavior or longer prison sentences = fewer ‘felons’ on the street.

2. More importantly, they assume that ‘crime’ is not a manifestation of something far more deep-seated.

Let us start by trying to define what ‘crime’ is, and is not. What make something a crime, anyway? Is it the net negative effect of an action or behavior or is it something else. I have partially answered that particular question in one of my older posts- How Laws and Legalism Destroy Societies, but let me summarize it thus:

All ‘crimes’ are defined by laws, rules and regulations rather than by their actual impact on society.

Here are a few examples. Consider prostitution, which at its core is an exchange of sex for money. Why is it illegal in some countries such as the USA? Is the exchange of sex for money in prostitution fundamentally different from a similar exchange occurring in the course of a marriage, cohabitational relationship or during the creation of a pornographic film? Or take drugs like marijuana or opiates.. isn’t all the criminality associated with them due to the fact that they are illegal in the first place rather than their effect on human behavior? What about the onerous rules and regulations associated with living in gated communities? Do they serve any purpose other than mollifying the egos of a few prissy bitches with control issues? What about laws and rules used by monopolies to extract rent or hinder competition? You get the general idea..

Which brings me to another point I made in that post

Laws are made by those with power for maintaining and extending their parasitic behaviors.

All ‘crimes’ should therefore be seen as attempts by the less-powerful to do what the more-powerful are already doing. Don’t believe me? Here are some examples: The system labels you as a ‘murderer’ if you kill another human being, but it is OK if you are a cop- even if you killed the ‘wrong’ person. Similarly, a death caused by a negligent or greedy doctor will almost never result in prosecution, but try doing that if you don’t have an ‘official’ medical license. Or consider how easy it is for a business to declare bankruptcy and stiff its creditors as compared to doing the same via personal bankruptcy.

Which brings us to one of the more peculiar question about the motivations behind committing ‘crimes: What combination of factors, circumstances and conditions makes the risk of getting caught worth the potential payoff?

A few of you might say that people who commit ‘crimes’ do so because they cannot accurately assess the risks because of their supposedly low ‘IQ’, poor future time-orientation or some other assorted bullshit reason. I think otherwise because the very fact that laws, rules, regulations, penalties and prisons have been unable to stop ‘crime’ suggest that there is something else driving the need to do what they do.

I believe that all ‘crime’ is driven by the HOPE for a better future.

People sell sex and drugs because they want to have more money and a better life tomorrow. Organised crime exists because its members can reasonably expect more income and a better lifestyle in the future. Also note that ‘criminals’ always try to maximize their life-expectancy and profit rather than go all out nihilistic and watch the world burn. Even revolutions require a significant degree of belief in a better future, and this is why people revolt on the streets in Turkey, Brazil and Egypt but not the USA, Germany or Canada.

I therefore see ‘crime’ as an expression of hope in the future of that society.

‘Crime’ rates in the USA were high during the 1960s-1980s because those who committed ‘crimes’ had high hopes of a better future. Similarly the high rates of ‘crimes’ in South- and Central- American countries should be seen as an expression of faith in the future viability of those societies. It is also no accident that low-crime societies like Japan, South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden etc are also full of people who have no hope for a better future. If you don’t believe me, just look at their fertility rates. How else do you explain the decision of so many people who live comfortable and relatively safe lives in paternalistic societies to not have kids?

They have already figured out (at some level) that their rigid and formulaic societies do not offer a realistic chance for a better future. However they are also not opting for suicide without a pretty good reason. So they just go through the motions of being alive in a somewhat detached manner, if only to keep up the appearance of systemic vitality and purpose.

We also cannot forget the role of modern-medical technology, especially contraception, in enabling this to occur on a scale unthinkable in any previous era. In those eras, surplus fertility would have quickly provided new suckers to replace the disenchanted and world-weary. However, that is not the case today and not just in the more affluent countries. Even the less affluent ones such as India, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Brazil have fertility rates that are near, at or below replacement levels. We just don’t have that seemingly infinite supply of new suckers anymore.

What do you think? Comments?