11/01/2019

Is It Socialism or Is It the Russians?

Trump and other small minds often like to point to Russia and China as examples of countries that “tried” communism and socialism and proved it to be an impossibly corruptible system. Russia, for example, has “tried” several forms of government; from kings to capitalism. Regardless of the political system Russia has tried, the end result has been a total clusterfuck. If you were being generous, you might pretend that Russia has a difficult climate which makes creating an organized society complicated to impossible. That would require ignoring all of the countries with similar or more harsh climates who have fashioned just, economically sound societies with a high quality of life. The only rational way to look at Russia’s failure to create anything resembling a decent quality of life is to acknowledge that Russians are, on average, dumb as bricks. 

Their current experiment with capitalism is a case-in-point. Without even a brief nod to economic equality and an attempt to approximate a middle class, Russia’s oligarchs quickly moved from being corrupt and rich government officials to being corrupt and rich “capitalists.” The Russian public and what passes for a working class accepted it and even applauded it. Russia’s huge military class can be told to march into a burning pit, dragging their spouses and children with them, without complaint. The Russian people, overwhelmingly, are the most gullible, passive, and corruptible collection of semi-humans on the planet. That is true to the point that if you are a white supremist and you have a spot of Russian blood in your veins, you are a walking, talking joke. 

Even fairly useful pieces of data like the unemployment rate are messed up in Russia. While the advertised unemployment rate is currently 4.9%, the facts are that Russian companies generally don’t fire employees, they just pay them less during down times. A LOT less. The alternatives are unemployment compensation of $24 to $124 a month, which is small but so is the Russian minimum wage of $175/month. As the Russian labor spokesman says, "The official unemployment benefits are mostly symbolic. . ." Russians generally don’t bother to register for benefits that barely exist, so their unemployment statistics are barely meaningful.
Russians are good at breaking things, though. While there is no evidence that Russian programmers could write a successful computer program regardless of how lucrative that could be, they are fairly competent hackers and computer thieves. Of course, their success is assisted by Putin’s little handmaiden, Trump, and the drain-swamping collection of idiots, racists, and traitors Trump and the Trumpanzees who do pretty much anything the Russian and US oligarchs tell them to do. Trump has opened up the US for Russian interference so blatantly that so-called “conservatives” weren’t even upset when the FBI’s cybersecurity brain-trust resigned rather than go along with Trump’s collusion. So far, it appears to be impossible for Trump and gang to do anything that will put off his loyal fans. He wasn’t joking or exaggerating when he said he could kill someone and those idiots would stick with him. 

All that said, nothing about the failure of socialism and/or communism in Russia reflects badly on either economic system. Russians can’t do anything well, let alone manage a social system that relies on competence, social justice, economic equality, and democratic principles to offset the natural human tendencies toward entropy and corruption. If you want to honestly look at functional socialist nations, you need to be making comparisons with Finland, Iceland, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands. Picking the dumbest, most corrupt and mismanaged failed states to compare against ourselves might be gratifying, but that is not information if you are looking for actual data about which economic system supports and provides the best quality of life, democratic values, social and economic equality, and is most sustainable.

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