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>One is PAVEL. I have to see how he signs >on, but his websites are : The other fellow
>signs on as... elron.

Nard, Pavel and 'elron' is one man. ) I just use this nickame to write here. I would like to change it, but nobody knows how to do it.

I cannot say a lot on this theme, because of my poor English. But few words here:

Economics of USSR never were good. Even in 70-s. It was the best time for common people. There were rather wealthy life, but with no choice of products (goods) and with chaos (disorder) in industry and anywhere. That was bad. These years killed USSR's economy.

Common people did not feel agression on tirany these years. Of course, there were dissidents and listening to communist's ideology was not pleasure.

USSR was not destoyed. It has died by itself. These kind of economical system was not vital. It is not 'market economy' - it has no mechanisms of self-regulation. It was built on blood and bones and died when there were no murders. The death of that system was the matter of time.

And.. people need freedom!

P. S. There were no rivers of blood in 60-s and 70-s. Most of people really thought that they live in good, kind country. Anyway, who wants war? Only politicians! Nobody _hated_ America during 'cold war' (there are some idiots anywhere, but there are not a lot of them). Nobody wanted to kill. Nobody wanted to build an empire. During WWII people thought they were fighting fascist, not germans.

That's what i think.

[This message has been edited by elron (edited 09-27-2004).]
Posts: 173 | Location: Russia | Registered: 05 February 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ussr was destroyed - it bankruped itself out on the arms race which it was forced to follow for fear of US agression (and out of pride, of course).
Cheers, Translator
Posts: 626 | Location: Maple, Ontario, Canada | Registered: 23 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mr. Dark, your comments are reinforced dramatically by a video by A&E Biography entitled Joseph Stalin: Red Terror. Do a quick read of Animal Farm and them view the stark historical footage of the documentary.
For thirty horrible years the stage was his. What followed, and then stared down by President Reagan, is now history.

How unfortunate for the wonderful cultures and magnificent lands that make up the Russian country. This was not the fault of the West. Freedom must be felt in your heart and flow through your veins before you can truly understand what it is. Everyone should be so blessed.

RE: http://store.aetv.com/html/product/index.jhtml?id=14099
Posts: 732 | Registered: 29 November 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ah, another political discussion. Just the kind of 'tar baby' to tempt the unwary. (Translator, the term is from American folk tale.)
First, Translator: you are Polish, I believe. You've read Jerzy Kosinski, author of the modern classic, 'The Painted Bird'. (His succeeding novels deteriorated as he sank deeper into a bizarre lifestyle). You may not know that when he first emigrated to the USA, in the 1950's, he wrote under the pseudonym of 'Joseph Novak'. 'Joseph Novak' did not write novels, or short stories. He wrote two volumes of anecdotal denunciations of communism, focusing specifically on how it warped the fabric of Polish life and distorted --- one might say 'poisoned' --- interpersonal relationships. He hated it so much it took him two volumes to get it all out. Although there is little doubt in my mind that the CIA 'sponsored' him and arranged for publication, still, the power and plentitude of his anecdotes is beyond convincing --- it's thrilling. You might go to any used book website and see if you can locate him.
Secondly, I agree with you that the 'transition' from communism to gangster capitalism, in both Poland and Russia, was done so brutally that 'criminal' is not too strong a word for it. The two leaders, Yeltsin and Walesea (sp?), competent men in their own limited spheres, were credulous oafs when it came to economic advice offered by the American Enterprise Institute. (I believe the free-market triumphalists of AEI were the principal 'advisers' in both cases. They seemed motivated by the desire to punish the citizens of both countries for ever having been communist, and they took, I believe, special pleasure in ripping away every sort of 'safety net'. A lucky glimpse into their dreams: " --- if only we were unleashed!") 'Shock treatment' is what they called it.
Next, Mr. Dark:
Hello, good to meet you; I look forward to many fruitful discussions & collaborations as we separate wheat from chaff. Regarding 'sunk costs', or 'start-up costs': let us review capitalism's. First, England, 1300-1500. When wool became England's chief money-earning export, fields used to support a subsistence peasantry were forcibly converted to grazing. The people were set on the road to die of hunger, disease, exhaustion: but money accumulated rapidly in the mercantile circles of London. The human cost has not been accurately estimated. Deaths in the tens of thousands, surely.
Next, sugar. As Europe acquired a taste for the white powder, lands were seized in the Azores and then the Caribbean and then in Brazil. Natives were captured, fed to the maw of sugar cultivation, and died en masse --- worked to death. Africans were brought over to take their place. The lifespan of a slave who survived the passage was 7 years: investors plotted with this figure in mind. Deaths: ten million is probably not excessive. Loss of future, hopes, descendants: all of that too. But bankers and merchants in Western Europe waxed prosperous: subsidiary industries of cloth, leatherwork, and glasswork grew up.
Tobacco, coffee, rubber: the story's the same. Lands taken; natives and then Africans fed to the furnace of profits --- start-up costs. Capitalization.
You might be saying: but that was all a long time ago. Surely things are better now. If you are, then your argument is the same as Translator's, and you cannot pretend to a moral advantage. Things are better for us, perhaps. We're comfortable. But what we've gained in affluence we've lost in historical memory, empathy and honesty. A simple trade-off.
As capitalism continues to expand into untouched niches and fresh geographic areas, it continues to plow under all resistance as brutally as ever: but now its rationale is shaped to modern tastes. Plausible deniability is heavily used. We didn't know. It wasn't us --- it was those darn private contractors. Boys are a little wild sometimes, heh-heh.
So, yeah, let's look at start-up costs. Translator goes easy on Stalin because he lived in the aftermath and saw some benefits. Perhaps you are tempted to do the same. If you do, then you cancel any argument you may have against Translator. No way out for any of us: we must all embrace a darkly informed gradualism. Start-up costs: anyone who believes that that horn only hooks "the other guy" is not fully thinking.
I recommended 'Joseph Novak' to Translator; I'm going to hint that you should try Jack London's 'People of the Abyss' if you want to feel that old-time socialist fervor. Its simplicity is morally cleansing. Or, for a more bitter cup, Howard Fast's 'Spartacus'.
Well, I hope you consider these things, and I send all the best to you and yours. Again the Vulcan farewell. h.rousseau.
Posts: 34 | Location: houston | Registered: 30 August 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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How do I edit a post? That writing is too jerky, too 'shorthand'. Where is the elegance? I apologize.
Posts: 34 | Location: houston | Registered: 30 August 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Apparently you read only a portion of my post on capitalism. I love Marx's essay, "Alienation" and require it of all my Introduction to Philosophy students. (In fact, they have to turn their essays in tomorrow on it.) Capitalism is, indeed flawed. Marx, in my view, in this essay, nails its flaws head on. I don't think much of his solution, but the description of the problem is strong.

The American founding fathers were clear and consistent that capitalism ONLY worked in a culture where judeo/christian moral values prevailed. Neither I, nor the founding fathers, ever endorsed unrestrained capitalism.

But it is not just the founding fathers or myself. Adam Smith -- the theoretical father of capitalism -- argued vociferously that wealth attained at the harm of others destroys the possibility of happiness in those who gain it. In other words, Adam Smith himself never defended or argued for unrestrained capitalism. In his book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, He devotes an entire chapter specifically to the immorality of persons gaining wealth to the detriment of others.

The excesses you cite are excesses that neither I, nor the American founding fathers, nor Adam Smith would justify. All of us would call the behaviour you cite as immoral. People are not sunk costs.
Posts: 2769 | Location: McKinney, Texas | Registered: 11 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mr. Dark,

I think that capitalism is an ongoing process, not a goal. That its, there's a constant balancing between the unfettered freedom of pure capitalism and the necessary controlling limitations of government. I happen to believe that the Founding Fathers were right about capitalism thriving in a Judeo-Christian society by I also think a sound system of laws is necessary as well. Only not too many laws. Just enough to make things fair. Which, I guess, is the crux of this whole argument: what's fair?


You edit your posts by clicking on the little icon with that looks like a paper with writing on it and the pencil/pen beside it. Look and you'll find it. Or, you might try composing your reply in Word, edit it, then cut and paste it to he Reply box.


Posts: 614 | Location: Oklahoma City, OK | Registered: 30 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I also think a sound system of laws is necessary. I strongly believe safety net programs are a valid function of government. There are things government does well. I'm not a radical libertarian. I'm a huge fan, for example, of the space program, public education (at all levels -- kindergarten through college), safety net programs, medicare/medical, unemployment insurance, etc.


Excellent historical counter-examples, by the way. (For what it's worth, in my view, your writing, given the environment of an on-line bulletin board, presented your positions effectively.)

[This message has been edited by Mr. Dark (edited 10-02-2004).]
Posts: 2769 | Location: McKinney, Texas | Registered: 11 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Mr. Dark,

Some of my favorite "big government" programs are the National Park System, the Interstate Highway system (Although, as you and I know, the Interstate between OKC and Dallas can use some improvement.)and the library system. (Not a function of the Federal Government but then, why not?)


Posts: 614 | Location: Oklahoma City, OK | Registered: 30 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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believe it or not, but I've done a very extensive study of Kosinski, which study led me to find out quite a nuber of intersting anecdotes about the man. His life story is fascinating. For example, while at the Jageilonian University, in order to get an approval to travel to the US, he created 4 ficticious characters (all professors) who wrote letters on his behalf and recommended him highly to the party officials. It was through this that he managed to emigrate to America. Another anecdote - he was invited to Roman Polasky's house (with whom he was a good friend) on a certian infamous night. As, however, his bags were accidentlally flown to a different airport than the one he landed at, he decided to spend the night in a hotel. As is well known, Manson's family did thir deed that night, and all occupants of Polansky's estate were brutally murdered. One more little anecdote - Kosinsky had a hell of a hard time publishing novels in the US. WHenever he approached a publisher, he was turned down for his novels were "too Polish" in thought. He decided to copy a novel by some pure american on his own typewriter, and sent that copy to the publisher. It too was denided, for it was too "Polish". Suffice it to say that he dropped links with that publisher and went elsewhere.
On to your arguments: You are very well versed in history, I see, which is a good thing, for that comes by rarely. However, aside from a literary critisim from a man who emigrated from the country in its days on Unglory, you've not actually given me a sound argument to fight against. True, he was deeply anti-communist, as was Czeslaw Milosz and others who wrote against the system from afar. True, they had some very good points. But I'm not talking about the system in the 50's or 60's as they are - I'm talking late 70's and 80's (though Poland was never that bad even in the 60's).
I am glad that you've managed to list off some of the things that you did in your part to MR Dark, for it saved me the necessity to do it myself.
Also, I don;t quite go easy on Stalin - if you technically look at it, because of him more people died in Poland than because of Hitler. I'm simply sying that the sins of Stalin should not have much to do with what came some 30 years aftert his death - and that to dismantle the system was simply the wrong thing to do.
Walesa was indeed an interesting character; what he wasnt for sure was a politician or an economist. I had the priveladge of talking to him one-on-one for 20 minutes, and I realized that although he might be an icon in Poland, and respected for what he did in 1980, he was still a simple man who should have melt into history past 1987.
I would finally agree with you that the Capitalization of Poland (and russia too, of course) was done highly incorrectly - but even if it was done correctly, whatever that means, I wouldn't agree with it. Communism created people in Poland that I deeply respect; people who wrote things for the sake of writing, not for profit. Gone are the great learning centres in Poland; liberal arts are in shambles, and the most prevalent major is marketing. Poland became less cultured, and there is no two ways about it. If you look at the western world, you see a very similar thing - arts majors are looked down upon as parasites who can't do anything right. PHD's are only as good as the number of books they write per year. So aside from the economical distater that the free market brought, the cultural one is even greater. And, people have no more medicare (what they have is laughable). Gotta go. Chew on this for a while.
Cheers, Translator
Posts: 626 | Location: Maple, Ontario, Canada | Registered: 23 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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rousseau > As for Kosinski, I only ever read PAINTED BIRD. Is this indeed his best work (as I suspect it might be), or is the rest equally worth seeking out? Also, I'm curious about your remark anent the author's 'bizarre lifestyle' about which I know next to nothing. Care to elaborate on that? Greetings.
Posts: 149 | Location: Ostend, Belgium | Registered: 11 July 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What a wealth of postings! And the correspondents are dauntingly well-informed. No shooting fish in a barrel this trip.

Gothic: In my opinion, 'Bird' is his best. Others might differ. I was unable to finish any other novel. But I read the pseudonymous works in their entirety. 'Lifestyle' will be touched on below.

Mr. Dark:
I am carefully considering a reply. I would not want to rush to print and so present a weaker case than the discussion deserves. So let us let this one incubate and hatch.

I know nothing, nothing about how communism worked in Poland, so I am not making an argument. I tossed Kosinski at you partly because I wanted to see how you'd respond --- in particular to his bleak view --- and partly to establish myself as a Knowledgeable Guy. I have to say, though, your anecdotes were unexpected and entertaining, and I have one from a writer who met him at a New York S&M club, unuseable at this website, or at any other I'd care to visit, actually.

Let me free-associate, bouncing tangentially off your post. I believe that in most major cities of the world a civilized/humanist/artistic group of people has emerged who do not necessarily believe in what the authorities say or do; and it is not odd to find some of these people in state-subsidized positions by day and more skeptical postures by night. Vaclav Havel exemplifies this group, in that he occupied the "utterly out" position under the former regime and the ultimate "in" position under its successor. (I was very sorry to see him die.) Those whom you first admired are now in their descendance, the winter of their discontent. It is no more than their --- our --- natural position.

This group is my natural environment, although I have lived in a sort of hungering exile from them most of my life. My loyalty to them is a tribal loyalty to a transnational group. Whether in our out, subsidized or persecuted, in Moscow or Prague or Valparaiso or Mexico City --- they're my people, in that they are, with some exceptions, people of good will and some ability who have heads on their shoulders and can think with some degree of facility --- and their loyalty is to a humane outcome for every situation. I am not too disturbed if some of them --- us --- lose their stipends in Poland because we get them so seldom: our natural position is to be mistrusted and occasionally sentenced to a few years in prison, as were Daniel and Sinyavsky in Russia --- two names whose 'crimes' I can scarcely remember. A little paranoia makes for a literature that shines all the more brightly. Notice I say a 'little' paranoia, a 'little' mistrust and persecution. This was the situation in the old S. U.

Ah! I've figured out the trick to editing. The rest of the post was an intemperate outburst. Let that be an abrupt ending if it must. Best wishes to all & to all a good night.

[This message has been edited by h.rousseau (edited 10-03-2004).]

[This message has been edited by h.rousseau (edited 10-03-2004).]
Posts: 34 | Location: houston | Registered: 30 August 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ah, waves of shame wash over me. I've had an intemperate outburst. I've been trying to edit the last half of the whole damn thing out, but my computer illiteracy trips me up. Material is inappropriate for the site. I do not wish to be self-defined in this manner.

This is no silly game of 'pretend'. I really can't get rid of it.

Hmmm . . . this post is now irrelevant, but I cannot delete it. Message says only forum leader can do so. Oh, well.

[This message has been edited by h.rousseau (edited 10-03-2004).]
Posts: 34 | Location: houston | Registered: 30 August 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Want it deleted? I find it kind of refreshing, actually.
Posts: 7266 | Location: Dayton, Washington, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Then let's pass on.

Last night I went to the bar and sat down in the midst of three empty seats. There was Sarah to my right, her mouth flapping strange pleasantries & greetings: hello to you too, Sarah: I asked for a simple ornage juice. The TV flickered down. The blue neon lit the air around me faintly.

Someone to my left was speaking to me. Who? What? Why, it was Chris --- young nuke room engineer, spent seven years on a sub; the Navy is still playing tag and chicken with the Russians, if his stories are correct. He was bursting; he had to share; he was in the first phases of a Mailer intoxication.

Chris had first come to the bar a few weeks ago, new to the neighborhood: from a conversation with me, he'd quickly divined that our bar --- I am part owner --- was a double-layered cake: first layer, mindless partyin' kids; second layer is grownups who talk about Serious Matters --- lit & pol. So on his next vist he sat down carrying a copy of 'Piers Plowman', and began talking e.e.cummings.

Somewhere along the line I had recommended Mailer to him, and now he was deliriously reading 'The Armies of the Night'. The electricity had connected, and the juice had begun to flow. He quoted passages, scenes, paragraphs. This was myself, 35 years ago.

We grooved on Mailer a while, then I changed the subject.

"I've been going on-line, to a website where people message each other. It's a literary website, the website of an author."

He nodded, sharply watching. Kids know about these things.

"And I made an utter fool of myself. I live --- we all live --- this mundane life, it's a slow grind, taking care of all the details; but apparently I have this other part, waiting for its chance to fly, the Masked Superhero Avenger. Everything that's not satisfied in real life. It's a romantic conception of self, detached from reality. Well, I got on line, and he broke out, and he flew."

Chris was smiling knowingly. He talked about chat rooms he'd been to. I plowed ahead. I had it all laid out in my mind.

"During the years of the great Student Uprisings, from one end of the world to the other, the late 60's and through the 70's, I'd identified strongly. We were noble and beautiful, and against all the established order. We were the crowds in Paris and Cologne and Berkeley and Mexico City, In Prague and Guatemala City and Buenos Aires. Fifteen years later, Moscow, Peking. I had a romantic sense of identification with it all.

"Then when I was online typing a reply to this guy from Poland, the Masked Avenger busted out. I re-read the post; I could see exactly the points at which the Superhero snapped the bolts that held him down to reality. And he flew. The fellow from Poland seemed, you know, intelligent, cosmopolitan, well-grounded, leftish in politics; just by answering me he opened the door for the Masked Avenger to come crashing out." And, I though, I hadn't realized what a danger the Avenger presented to my everyday persona. The Avenger is all romance and no sense. Through the day I'm jamming screwdrivers into nonworking equipment and correcting the mistakes of young semi-bright bartenders. Am I going to become an on-line werewolf by night? I hope not.

So Chris absolved me. He understood online flights. I was speaking to him as I would to a Catholic priest, if I still believed in that folderol. "Go, my son, and sin no more."

I had gone back to the website and erased most of the post after four hours. But I knew that in the interim the Whole World had read it. The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl. So now I post this online mea culpa and get on with the discussion.

To Translator:
I have 'chewed on that' for a while --- put it into the old computer up top. Feel free to expand on what you've described, if you care to. I've enjoyed the way you kept your equanimity on-line through discussions that could have veered out of control; I thought I had the same steady hand. Apparently not.

To Mr. Dark:
Ain't it great when somebody actually reads what you recommend, and it takes hold?
Posts: 34 | Location: houston | Registered: 30 August 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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