Archives for 2009

Freedom, Welfare, and the Future

The welfare state, or what we conceive of as such today, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although pre-modern states did perform some pro-welfare functions such as regulating prices and wages, maintaining workhouses for the poor and even a limited form of targeted social support[1], this spending was framed not in terms of the state’s fulfillment […]

Translation: Russia’s Sex Traditions

Sean recently suggested Russianists study the history of smell in Russia. I have an even better idea: a history of sex in Russia, or rather my translation of the tabloid article Сексуальные традиции на Руси (Russian Sexual Traditions). It’s historically and culturally inaccurate in more than a few places, but will hopefully make for a light […]

Interview @ Siberian Light

10 Myths about Russia’s Demography

This post tries to debunk some popular, but misguided, views on demographic trends in today’s Russia. These consist of the perception that Russia is in a demographic “death spiral” that dooms it to national decline (Biden, Eberstadt, NIC, CIA, Stratfor, etc). Some extreme pessimists even predict that ethnic Russians – ravaged by AIDS, infertility and alcoholism […]

Documentary Review: Lessons from Byzantium

I finally watched the film Гибель Империи. Византийский урок (Death of an Empire: the Byzantine Lesson), narrated by Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, the father-confessor of Vladimir Putin. This film takes a stylized interpretation of the decline and fall of the Byzantine Empire – the root cause of which is attributed to mystical factors such as loss of faith […]

Cliodynamics: Mathematizing History

One of the most interesting emerging sciences today, in my opinion, is cliodynamics. Their practitioners attempt to come to with mathematical models of history to explain “big history” – things like the rise of empires, social discontent, civil wars, and state collapse. To the casual observer history may appear to be chaotic and fathomless, devoid […]

Book Review: Jared Diamond – Guns, Germs, and Steel

While trawling through my computer archives, I stumbled across this book review of Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel” from five years ago. Overall, it’s a great book, better than his follow-up “Collapse”, which is also interesting – especially in the psychological aspects of “collapse”, like creeping normalcy and “landscape amnesia” – but far from […]

The Deeper Meaning of Climategate

As someone who has stuck his neck out for the imminent reality of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in both his real and online life, it would be fitting for me to comment on the Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident (and as per usual, what was originally meant as a “comment” has blossomed into a […]

References: Peak Oil And Resource Depletion (up to 2010)

Although I have several articles on the threats posed to industrial civilization by runaway global warming and ecological degradation on Sublime Oblivion (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), I have yet to cover the Charybdis of resource depletion in as much detail (1, 2, 3, 4). As such, I have assembled many links to relevant […]

Defending the Loop

Following my posting of Russia’s Sisyphean Loop, the influential East-Central Europe expert, Vlad Sobell, wrote up an interesting critique at the Untimely Thoughts Russia Discussion Group. It addresses what may be considered some weak, or at least not thoroughly explained, points from the original article, so I thought it would be useful to reproduce it […]

Russia’s Sisyphean Loop

Anatoly Karlin @ www.DaRussophile.com PDF version | DOC version Russia’s Sisyphean Loop The Eternal Return to the Future? In this article I attempt to explain Russia’s historical cycles of failed Westernization and to project its future socio-political trajectory. First, I note the nature of and linkages between Russia’s geography, cultural traditions and imperial cycles. Second, […]

Philosophical Musings #1

1. Long Live Death! Why is everyone so afraid of death? Granted, it is directly opposed to our instinct of self-preservation; but in reality, our intellect should recognize it as the road to the ultimate freedom – a world free of boxes, restrictions, the prison of existence itself. As the Japanese saying goes, “while duty […]

Diasporas and Barbarians

During one conversation at Sean’s Russia Blog, the commentator Evgeny referred me to a work by Russian political analyst & nationalist Konstantin Krylov, Поведение (“Behavior”). In it he tries to classify the world’s civilizations into four ethical systems (South – tribal, East – collectivist, West – individualist, North – kind of like communism?, and not […]

We Need a Fat Tax!

Edit 2013: It is with regret that I now acknowledge a lot of what I thought I knew about optimal eating some years back was wrong. Please disregard this post. Sometime ago I wrote that introducing a fat tax is a good idea on the grounds that fatty foods are unhealthy and addictive (like drugs), […]

Thinking about Nuclear War

I have always been fascinated by nuclear war. Mountain bunkers, missile gaps, MAD, – what is there not to like? So this post will be devoted to the doomsday weapons which continue tantalizing us with visions of post-nuclear nirvana. Because yes, despite the post-Cold War reduction in the Russian and US arsenals (consisting mostly of warheads […]

Europe, The Black Continent

I am going to start off by looking at Europe, defined as the region under the influence of Western Christianity and/or the European Union (not Russia or Turkey, which will be covered in a later Eurasia Report). The Big Questions Demographic problems: aging, low fertility and Eurabia? The unsustainability of the modern welfare state? Cultural […]

Russia’s “Abortion Apocalypse”: А был ли мальчик?

Remember the hysterical stories back in winter 2009 about how Russia was going to see soaring abortions that would strip away all the “transient” improvements in its fertility rate over the last few years? Remember the glee this gave to Russophobes who saw it as a vindication of their criticisms / rantings against the Russian […]

Book Review: Ha-Joon Chang – Kicking Away the Ladder

Chang, Ha-Joon – Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective (2002) Category: economy; history; industrial policy; Rating: 5/5 Summary: Kicking Away the Ladder:How the Economic and Intellectual Histories of Capitalism Have Been Re-Written to Justify Neo-Liberal Capitalism (Ha-Joon Chang) Much has been said of the smug arrogance, cultural aloofness and end-of-history conceit characterizing the […]

Book Review: Alexander Werth – Moscow War Diary

Review of “Moscow War Diary” (A. Werth) Werth, Alexander – Moscow War Diary (1942) Category: history, Soviet Union, WW2; Rating: 4/5 Soviet Resilience under Fire On 22nd June 1941, the armed columns of Nazi Germany began rolling into Russia, heralding the start of the Great Patriotic War. For Alexander Werth, a correspondent for the British Sunday […]

The Return of the Reich?

This is my second follow-up post to The Belief Matrix, in which I attempted to advance a universal model for civilizational responses to subsistence crises (The Malthusian Loop) and the Western challenge (The Sisyphean Loop). This time I will look at Germany, a nation that was always torn between its hard-assimilated Roman / Western identity, and German […]