StockholmNative
Cooking the Greatest Filipino Dish - Chicken Curry (at De Castro Subd., Brgy. Sta Lucia, Pasig City)

Cooking the Greatest Filipino Dish - Chicken Curry (at De Castro Subd., Brgy. Sta Lucia, Pasig City)

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (at De Castro Subd., Brgy. Sta Lucia, Pasig City)

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (at De Castro Subd., Brgy. Sta Lucia, Pasig City)

Bluecheese Pasta with Mushrooms (at De Castro Subd., Brgy. Sta Lucia, Pasig City)

Bluecheese Pasta with Mushrooms (at De Castro Subd., Brgy. Sta Lucia, Pasig City)

I am trying to quit smoking, I need Kaliber White Portion. Send me one stock from Sweden please! (at Brgy Sta.Lucia)

I am trying to quit smoking, I need Kaliber White Portion. Send me one stock from Sweden please! (at Brgy Sta.Lucia)

How did the collapse of the Soviet Union affect the world?

Answer by Chris Terry:

In almost endless ways, we are still dealing with the aftershocks now.

Here are just some of the ways in which the collapse of the USSR affected the world. I am sure others can think of other ways:

  • A new wave of democracy as old Communist regimes collapsed in Eastern Europe, in particular, and as the US abandoned its support for authoritarian right-wing regimes in Latin America, especially, as the country no longer felt the need to put stopping the USSR ahead of democracy and human rights.
  • A new focus on democracy and human rights as an outcome of foreign policy, rather than an attempt at containing the Soviets, no matter the cost
  • The end of wars in places like Angola, where the two sides were essentially proxies for the two superpowers
  • The US becoming the sole superpower and the creation of a unipolar world (though we are now, arguably, seeing the rise of additional poles)
  • Independence for ex-Soviet republics such as the Baltic states, Ukraine and the Central Asian Republics such as Kazakhstan
  • The collapse of the Russian economy, mass-poverty, the rise of gangster capitalism, leading to cynicism of democracy and capitalism, and the eventual rise of Vladimir Putin
  • An existential crisis for the political left as liberal capitalism appeared to have won, throwing the credibility of statist solutions into doubt. Communist parties were most effected, often becoming much more moderate parties, or collapsing, but more moderate left-of-centre parties also rapidly moved to the centre and embraced a more capitalistic view.
  • The Gulf War (which would have never happened in the previous bipolar set-up as the USSR would have blocked it)
  • The reunification of Germany
  • The disintegration of Yugoslavia and the resultant Balkan wars
  • The mujahideen of Afghanistan (including Osama bin Laden) refocusing their hatred upon the ‘decadent’ West, rather than the Soviets who they had originally fought
  • The acceleration of China’s opening up of its economy
  • The opening up of India’s economy
  • The spread of international capitalism to Eastern Europe and throughout Asia, creating new markets
  • The expansion of the European Union from 12 member states to 28 member states
  • The deepening of European integration with the Maastricht Treaty which transitioned the European Economic Community into becoming the European Union.

That is just what I could think of in a 5 minute brainstorm, I am sure others can think of many more.

The world has changed almost unimaginably. For me, personally, there is a very clear impact. I sit, right now, on my bed, with my girlfriend lying next to me. I am British, she is Romanian. Had we been born twenty years earlier than we were then we would have been born on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain. It is highly unlikely that either of us would be able to visit the other’s country. Romania was incredibly closed even by Eastern European standards, only friends of the regime were generally allowed to go outside it and my girlfriend’s family were low-level political dissidents.

Instead, my other half finished university and was then able to win a scholarship at the London School of Economics. The cost of her degree and her ability to emigrate were aided by Romania’s joining the EU in 2007. This allowed us to meet and begin our relationship two years ago.

Had Ceaucescu’s dictatorship continued in Romania then she would have not been able to leave the country. In fact she may not have even survived. She was born two months before the communist dictatorship collapsed. When she was born, there were no goods on the shelves and thousands were starving. Her mother contracted a virus which made her unable to breastfeed. She needed baby formula. But there was no baby formula available in the shops because of the dire economic situation. Her mother was only able to feed her because a neighbour of theirs, who they believe was working for the Securitate, the Romanian secret police, was able to get them formula on the black market.

If you look at Romanians born in the 1980s, like my partner, and Romanians born in the 1990s you can see the visible difference in height, with the latter much taller as their generation was not malnourished.

The end of the Soviet Union resulted in massive, convulsive world changes, but perhaps the biggest change is for the literally billions of people who’ve seen their life chances rapidly improve.
How did the collapse of the Soviet Union affect the world?
What were the arguments against creation of the Eurozone and why didn’t they prevail?

Answer by Darrell Francis:

The primary criticism during the creation of the euro was that Europe did not represent an optimum currency area. This is somewhat ironic given the fact that Robert Mundell, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics partially for his work on optimum currency areas, was an advocate of the euro. Mundell’s reason for supporting the Eurozone mostly comes as a result of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, which led exchange rates to fluctuate wildly. His concern was that unstable exchange rates would hurt economic development in Europe.

Critics were concerned about the lack economic coordination between member states and the risk of asymmetric shock. An asymmetric shock is when one region within a currency union goes into recession while the rest continue to grow, leading to a disconnect in economic priorities. As it turned out, this concern was well founded. The Greece Debt Crisis has been exacerbated by the fact that economic growth in northern Europe keeps the euro from depreciating in value.

Milton Friedman was a critic of the euro, writing this article in 1997: The Euro: Monetary Unity To Political Disunity?

His conclusion:
The drive for the Euro has been motivated by politics not economics. The aim has been to link Germany and France so closely as to make a future European war impossible, and to set the stage for a federal United States of Europe. I believe that adoption of the Euro would have the opposite effect. It would exacerbate political tensions by converting divergent shocks that could have been readily accommodated by exchange rate changes into divisive political issues. Political unity can pave the way for monetary unity. Monetary unity imposed under unfavorable conditions will prove a barrier to the achievement of political unity.

The euro is in some ways a case where politics won out over economics. Prior to the euro, many western European countries belonged to its predecessor, the European Monetary System. In this system, the German mark became the dominant currency and all other countries were forced to follow its lead in setting their own monetary policies.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was fear that a reunified Germany would exert even greater dominance over Europe. To counter this, Germany was forced to agree to the creation of the euro. The idea was that a currency union would reduce Germany’s influence. We now know this did not work as planned. It should be noted that the UK was originally supposed to be part of the eurozone. Had it joined, Germany’s influence would have been significantly diminished.

Another case of politics winning over economics was the fact that Greece was allowed to join. Even at the time, there were serious doubts about Greece’s preparedness to join the euro. However, politicians were keen on having the euro introduced throughout the entire EU at once as a symbolic political gesture. As we know now, Greece lied about its financial situation.
What were the arguments against creation of the Eurozone and why didn’t they prevail?
What are the best examples of the law of unintended consequences in action?

Answer by Oby Sumampouw:

I thought this story is pretty cute.

In 1950s, a malaria outbreak occurred among Borneo’s Dayak people. The World Health Organization (WHO) tried to alleviate the problem by spraying the Dayak people’s thatch-roofed huts with DDT. The DDT killed the malaria bearing mosquitos but also killed the parasitic wasp that kept thatch-eating caterpillars under control. At nightfall the buzz of the malarial, bloodsucking mosquitoes was stilled, but sharp cracks and then wild screaming followed as people’s roofs caved in.
But this was hardly the end of the problem. The geckos ate the toxic mosquitos. Normally these lizards can race over water for yards. They reeled like drunks on a DDT Saturday night. The neighborhood cats, after seeing all these drugged geckos couldn’t help but stuff themselves full of geckos.
Then the cats died.
Thus the rats rejoiced. With their primary predators gone, their population exploded. Rats were everywhere and they were all scurrying over and through the Dayak’s roofless hut. The rodents were a greater threat than the mere skin-crawling, toe-biting mosquitoes. The rats are known to carry diseases like bubonic plague - a condition that’s more serious than malaria. (hundreds of millions of people in Europe died because of this plague. see Black Death)
So what was the World Health Organization to do? They were afraid of additional disasters that might occur if they poisoned the rats.
Someone finally had the bright idea that what was needed was to reintroduce the natural predators of the rats. They needed cats. New cats. A lot of new cats. But how could the WHO transport thousands of cats into a remote section of Borneo?

Introducing: Parachuting cats!

One morning as the Dayak people awoke and came out of their dwellings, they heard the droning of a slow-flying aircraft. Soon the sky was littered with parachuting pussycats. Operation Cat Drop rained 14000 felines down on Borneo. As soon as the cats hit the ground — undoubtedly, on all four legs — their ears went up, and they raced to an undisclosed location (for reasons known only to cats — or the aliens who control them). Before too long, the cats got around to the business of mousing, or in this case, ratting and the Dayaks were saved from mosquitoes, rats and the World Health Organization!

—Paraphrased from The good life by Charles Colson.
What are the best examples of the law of unintended consequences in action?
What are the economics behind printing of currency?
The basis of determining maximum amount that can be printed and floated in an economy. The effect of printing currency without cash reserves against each print.
What are the economics behind printing of currency?
What is wrong with the Philippines?
Wasabi Potato Chips…my latest snack addiction (at De Castro Subd., Brgy. Sta Lucia, Pasig City)

Wasabi Potato Chips…my latest snack addiction (at De Castro Subd., Brgy. Sta Lucia, Pasig City)