Post by Oleg Smirnov Post by KPGH Post by Oleg Smirnov Post by KPGH
In Europe today all sorts of schemes seem to be devised to
reestablish government based on the assumption of basic inequality.
The justification for which is apparently always derived from some
sort of teleological 'grand scheme' in which some people are
destined to 'direct' (exploit) others under 'humane conditions' --
It is not quite clear what specifically are you talking about.
In the US (as well as in Russia) there's a popular belief that
Europe today is notably 'socialist'. High taxes and redistribution
Don't know about Russia, but in US informed options seem to mostly
view 'redistribution' and 'socialism' as political slogans without
much actual meaning.
For a regime to be able to 'redistribute', it first needs to able to
'tax' -- that is, to take away involuntarily by force if necessary.
So the regime that levies taxes also makes and/or enforces the rules
that governs outcomes of negotiations between citizens that in turn
influences the distribution of any cooperative surplus between them.
Thus, it seems a bit disingenuous for a ruling elite to allow great
differences in wealth to develop and to continue to exist by not
adjusting the rules of negotiation amoung citizens, and then return a
portion as a kind of gift inspired by 'socialism'.
The motive for European 'socialism' (christian- and social democracy)
might have been inspired by Machiavelli who I think remarks in The
Discourses that a ruling class that wishes to maintain its position,
should keep the population poor and present as gift what cannot
I recalll that the last time I looked into that long ago, Japan was
the only country where the contribution of the affluent to the
national budget in terms of percentage of income was actually more
than that of the lower classes that lived from paycheck to paycheck.
You seem to say that the European 'socialism' is a technique to keep
inequality in a soft power way? I myself think the modern 'western'
mainstream leftism (in the US especially) is rather a perversion. But
more specifics is necessary to clarify kinds of beneficiaries within
'basic inequality', and the teleological way it's rationalized.
I think the left-right categorization of political groupings originated
in the french parliament before the revolution. On the right were seated
those that wanted to conserve the existing order as much as possible,
while on the left were situated those seeking to reform the system but
without upsetting the existing order and elite of which they were part.
That went well...
The basic tenet of 'socialism' seems that people have an innate
inclination to cooperate, and so what is required is to remove
impediments that obstruct cooperation. Unfortunately there's to my
knowledge no evidence that this is true. On the contrary people seem to
have an innate tendency to compete, but will conditionally suspend
competion if cooperation is required for efficient production or
competition with (groups of) others.
The tenet of the liberal left in the US was to my understanding always
that for equal opportunity to exist to some degree, it is required to
not only protect the citizen by affording them negative basic rights
that shielded them predatory action, but also to afford them a degree of
positive rights that shielded them from inaction when they found
themselves deprived of basic necessities in the midst of plenty.
The socialist left in Europe on the other hand seems more dominated by a
paternalistic motives hedonistic elites: the lower classes had a 'right'
to be spared real hardship, but this 'right' emanated from the kindness
of elites that were at least owed gratitude in exchange.
Since the Blair and Schreuder administrations in Europe there might have
been a shift in focus in corporatism from entitlements to obligations to
the point where the poor were obligated to labor 'for free' (that is, in
exchange for state-provided sustenance that was previously provided as
welfare) because this allegedly in the interests of claimants who
otherwise would have nothing to do and degenerate. Since the
Clinton-administration the US apparently adopted somewhat similar
paternalistic 'workfare' schemes.
However, the notion that a state, to keep a market system stable,
somehow needs to counterbalance the 'natural tendency' for wealth to
accumulate as a result of unequal positions of individual negotiators
and classes, is to my understanding part of the discourse in the US on
both the (serious) 'left' and 'right'. In Europe on the other hand, the
emphasis with regard to the distribution of wealth is apparently almost
completely put on 'ideology'-- in other words, the need for charity
distributed by an upper-class without much regard for the need to
maintain a level of social mobility to avoid oligarchy.
Post by Oleg Smirnov Post by KPGH Post by Oleg Smirnov
Ideas of basic inequality are usually linked to 'ancestral dignity',
real or fictional, but they were in most popular use at the time
when hard power and forcible subjugation were considered valid and
legit ways to set 'order'. To make teleological justifications
practically usable requires more or less strong indoctrination of
I think the utilitarian approach is primarily that the cooperative
surplus should be maximized, and to that end inequality should be
kept to a minimum as disenfranchised populations tend to circumvent
or ignore the law and cost money to suppress.
Post by Oleg Smirnov Post by KPGH
To the extend that mr. Gorbachev had a strategy, it might have
been to pull off something like mr Deng Xiaoping pulled off with
reforms in china. But never mind the talk about a 'European home'
and such, it seemed that, given the rhetoric of mr Reagan and ms
Thatcher, this time the US and its clients were ready. :-)
I don't know enough about Russia but suspect, assuming that its
government was not extremely naive and 'dropped the ball', it
effectively surrendered after losing the cold war. And like in the
aftermath of WW1, the victors might then have then overreached
while planning a big party. This might then have resulted in a
state af semi-anarchy in which a western-backed kleptocracy
started attaching the national wealth. This then might have caused
a 'social vacuum' that eventually was filled by the current
government that mitigated the process but was unable to formulate a
new national narrative?
There's actually no much confusion about Russia's 'national
narrative'. It's just not very simple because of uneven history. The
USSR had dismantled itself mainly due to its inner logics, and if
the 'western' ideologues had interpreted it as a tribalist
'surrender' then it's their (or yours) problem. The post-Soviet
people still remain unaware that they 'surrendered' to someone. If
someone ardently lusts to make them believe so then this one should
start war against Russia.
It doesn't really seem to matter what the population was aware of.
The facts are to my understanding that the economy collapsed while
the union fell apart. Whatever was valuable was scooped up a by
emerging kleptocracy with international connections if not support,
while NATO went on a rampage in eastern Europe that was only halted
after Russia send troops through the Roki tunnel and into Crimea?
Probably not exactly what mr. Gorbachev had in mind when he responded
to the call of mr Reagan in berlin to "Tear Down This Wall". :-)
I find it hard to believe that the leadership of the USSR elected to
pursue policies that resulted in a spectacular drop in life
expectancy and more. From the perspective of the natioal interest,
something must therefore have gone horribly wrong akin of being
overrun by a hostile invader. So it stand to reason that either
mistakes were made, or the leadership judged the outcome to be
When I say that the USSR dismantled itself due to its inner logics it
in no way means that the Soviet leadership at the time somehow planned
or prepared such an outcome and had some 'strategy' in advance.
The Soviet inner logics rather led to the fact that its policy makers
eventually brought the matters to such a state when they no longer
were able to keep the system in integrity. You are mistaken if you
believe that the Soviet government was not naive. The issue was
precisely that they were pretty naive - Mr. Gorbachyov and his
The late USSR was quite a graminivorous beast, and this new generation
of leaders was a product of the Soviet humanistic-internationalistic
education with simple idealized views on human society and human
nature. Gorbachyov started reforms with the aim to refurbish and
accelerate the USSR, he in no way planned to end it. But the
innovative policies were poorly thought out and poorly balanced which
led to unforeseen effects that damaged economy and destabilized the
In the end, Gorbachyov started to change his agenda on the fly and
more followed the flow rather then led, and thus he had become the
Gorby The West loves - well, loved, already in the past - so much.
In the 1990s, the utterly deplorable situation in the post-Soviet
space was not a result of 'communism' as such, it was a result of the
hapless reform effort and the subsequent shock and demoralization of
Neither the low oil price nor Afghanistan were the main reasons for
the Soviet 'collapse', rather the main reason was that the USSR,
through its own doctrinairism, made itself incapable for flexible
Like in prosecuting war, for successfully kick-starting an industrial
economy a considerable degree of centralization of ownership in a
dedicated elite is probably desirable because then most of the wealthy
available will be dedicated to producing industrial capital rather then
However, in a next phase when enough capital is created, the ownership
of it needs to be spread more evenly amoug the population because lower
classes will be inclined to spend a greater part of personal wealth on
consumables. This is because the marginal utility of consumption is
inversely related to personal wealth.
This transformation to boost the demand for consumer-goods is (in
peacetime) probably critical for continuance of the grows of wealth,
because it is critical for maintaining the demand for capital goods that
are no longer needed to produce more capital goods. It is also a
dangerous transformation because existing wealthy elites will resist it
as it involves a shift away from their high status.
I suppose that in this process China is at the crossroad, the US has
been corrupting itself over the past 30+ years (symbolized by the
'Greenspan put'?), and Europe after WW2 dodged the problem by
distributing part of over-concentrated wealth as an ostensible moral
obligation of ruling elites -- that is, until the perceived menace of
communism dissipated after which the problem apparently came to the
surface as a resurgence of modern of fascism being the corporatist
cousin of christian- and social democracy. :-)
Post by Oleg Smirnov
For the post-Soviet peopie it's there internal story, and if some
folks seek to claim "we defeated you" then it's natural to disagree
with these delusional ones. Moreover, the post-Soviet Russia has
largely preserved the Soviet military might and is still capable to
nuke out the US as well as Europe if necessary. The US/EU-cracy need
to have realized it.
Never mind the people. After the USSR apparently god outmaneuvered by
the Raegan administration which was however in geopolitical terms only
partial successful, the Russia state seems to have got stuck with
oligarchy and now maintains the part of the ussr that is most suited to
maintain oligarchy. And that probably means spending much of the
proceeds of minerals on maintaining what in the US was labeled the
The plan was probably to turn Russia into a kind of golf-state that
would squander wealth created by exporting minerals on US military
hardware and 'investments' in US based and/or controlled funds while
maintaining plausible deniability with respect to activities akin to
The problem for europa seems indeed that it has faithfully served the US
in the failed process to establish 'the next American age', but were
cast aside themselves when the strategic focus started to shift to the