Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Starting next Tuesday and for the next three months this book will be available for pre-order right on this blog. (It will also be available elsewhere, but on terms that don't come close to making book-writing a sustainable proposition, so if you want me to keep writing you should get the book directly from me.) As the publication date nears, I will also be publishing some excerpts. [Minor note: there has been some confusion regarding the book's subtitle; please ignore it.]
This book is based on the identically titled article I published on this blog in February of 2008, just as financial collapse was starting to gather steam. Since then, this article has been read nearly 100,000 times on this blog alone (it has been reposted on many other web sites) and it is its enduring popularity that has convinced me to write a book-length treatment.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
|The End of Fun|
Friday, January 11, 2013
In this interview, recorded late last year, I discuss the differences in orientation between Russia, which is changing perhaps too swiftly, and the US, which remains stuck in the past. I also talk about community, and about lack of it, and what it means to live among people who insist on their right to remain strangers and who expect nothing from each other or their public officials. I also mention the force behind American political and social stasis: the desperate wish for a future that resembles the past—the American equivalent of Soviet nostalgia.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
During my brief winter sojourn in Russia a tiny cold war has erupted between Russia and the USA. First, Mitt Romney calls Russia “our number one enemy” during the presidential election campaign. Then, after the election, the US passes the “Magnitsky Act” which promises to arrest funds and deny visas to certain Russian officials based on a secret list. The Russian legislature then responds with the “Dima Yakovlev Bill,” named after a Russian boy who died of heat stroke after his American adoptive parents left him locked in a car for nine hours. In addition to vaguely symmetric retaliatory measures, this bill bans Americans from adopting Russian orphans. This last little add-on may initially seem rather daft as state policy, but it has some interesting properties as Russian propaganda, of which you may not be aware. Although from the US perspective this move has an inane “...or I will shoot my dog” element to it, spun around the other way it makes it look as if valiant Russian politicians are trying to stop American fiends from torturing and killing innocent Russian orphans.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
It's the first of the year, which is a traditional time for prognosticators to do some prognosticating. Since I have already explained at length why it is quite possible to accurately predict that something will eventually happen, but near-impossible to predict when it will happen (due to total lack of relevant data on which to base such predictions) I won't repeat myself here. Nor will I offer any predictions as to the timing of various stages of collapse. (I know that the USA will collapse politically, financially and commercially, but I don't know when; nor does anyone else.) Instead, I would like to point out what I think is unlikely to happen in 2013: I find it unlikely that this will be the year when the various elites running the show here (elected and unelected officials, academic authorities, corporations, think-tanks, mass media, etc.) will admit defeat: “The financial collapse of 2008 was the end of an era. What came before cannot be brought back. We have been pretending that it can be brought back for half a decade, but now we give up. Let's let the whole house of cards fall down, so that we can start over.” Do you see any of them rising up and saying something like that? I don't.