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)

Will the Manila Airport immigration office or the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration find out about my secret ticket to Qatar?
If I have
  • A ticket from Manila (MNL) Philippines to Singapore (SIN) - 1 SEP - AirAsia
  • A return ticket from Singapore (SIN) back to Manila (MNL), Philippines - 20 SEP - AirAsia
  • A ticket to from Singapore (SIN) to Doha (DOH) Qatar - 1 SEP - Qatar Airways

My plan is that I will fly to Singapore making the airport staff think I’m going to Singapore as a tourist, but once I reach Singapore, I will trow the return ticket away, and fly directly to Qatar.

My question is: When I check in at AirAsia desk in Manila Airport, will they find on their system that I have a ticket to Qatar from Singapore even if I hide my ticket and Qatar visa? Will any other staff like at the immigrations office in Manila airport or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration find out I’m actually traveling to Qatar through Singapore?

  • I’m Filipino
  • I have a valid tourist visa for Singapore
  • I have a valid work permit visa for Qatar

Why I’m complicating things?
Last months I went to Manila Airport to catch my 1 stop flight to Qatar, the check-in desk asked me if I have a visa, I showed them my Qatari work permit visa, then they stopped me from flying because they required me to provide some documents related to working abroad applications that will take up to 3 months to have in hand, then I can pass the immigrations office in the airport. I can avoid loosing my job in Qatar and get those documents from Philippines embassy in Qatar in less than 4 days only.

You might think that I’m breaking the law, well I’m just walking around it “legally”. My Qatari employer told me that if I didn’t enter Qatar within 4 days, my visa and contract will be considered expired. So please help me avoid loosing this once in the lifetime chance.
View Question on Quora
Can inequality in incomes of people be bad for an economy? If yes, how can it, or how does it, hamper economic growth?

Answer by Jacob VanWagoner:

Take a look at this chart.  It’s hardly gospel in terms of how the data was collected, to say much less of what the GINI coefficient actually represents, but here it is nonetheless.

The answer is clearly yes, inequality can be bad.

Usually the form of inequality that leads to very high GINI coefficients is effectively ruler/ruled, confiscate everything/give nothing, use slaves and make sure there are no skilled middles in the country.  And that’s really, really bad, not just in terms of what it does to an economy, but also what it does to the people.

How does inequality lead to inefficiency?
I’d actually say it’s the other way around — corruption leads to high levels of inequality, and high levels of inequality feeds into corruption.
View Answer on Quora
Why do those who support re-distribution think they can avoid the pitfalls of communism?

Answer by Al Nelson:

This question is really a collection of questions and so, a bargain at this price.

[rolling up sleeves] ok, let’s get started….

As always, I am only answering for myself  I have not been appointed the spokesperson for *redistributioinists everywhere.
I am only an armchair game theorist, interested in behavioral science. So feel free to apply new data bias as needed.

1. Why do re-distributionist think they can avoid the pitfalls of communism?

I don’t have a list of the pitfalls of communism. I am sure someone will be along anytime now with a list and I’ll edit in more stuff here.

Redistribution is the basis of couples and families and tribes and is also known as sharing. The idea is, stronger group members assist weaker members, to sustain the group, which nature values over the strong individual.

This is practiced in almost all democratic countries today, by some combination of these types of redistribution:

Redistribution for utility - where value is redistributed through taxes, vouchers and means-tested entitlements, because the society as a whole sees improved utility due to limited wealth balancing. In other words giving $10 to a destitute person does more good for a society than taking $10 from a millionaire does harm.

Land redistribution - for instance, when governments use eminent domain to take control of privately held land, to construct a road, for the benefit of all, despite harm to the original land owner.

Redistribution of responsibility - Most often, when the ablest members are caused to take on more responsibility for defending the group from enemies, for the good of all.

2. What will happen to individual rights  when they place the collective over the individual?

Some individual rights are traded for membership rights in the collective.

For instance, say a couple with a child ends their relationship. The collective might say, the parent that does not keep custody of the child should have a portion of their income redistributed for the care of the child. This prevents the other members of the collective from taking on all of the burden of supporting the child.

3. What makes them think they can run an effective government when government does such a poor job today?

That government is doing a poor job does not seem to be related to the government’s view on redistribution.

Looking at the GINI coefficients of  many nations, we see that the US, Mexico, Argentina and the China have similar levels of economic inequality, but their governments are more or less successful.

Some Nordic countries, like Norway (3), Sweden (5), Iceland (7) and Denmark (9) are ranked well above the US (13) in quality of life standards. Countries with very little redistribution, like South Africa (92) do not score well on quality of life.
Quality-of-life Index

4. How will they moderate their demands for taxes?

Moderation of taxes, no matter the system, occurs by fear of, or actual revolt. If the king or prince or president, caliph or kaiser takes too much, the peasants revolt. If a self proclaimed leader provides no benefits to the group, even if they take no taxes, they are useless and so, thrown out.

5. When they set fair prices for medical services or other regulated services?

I take it you mean, how will they set…
What approach, from history, do you like? Has anyone ever set fair prices for medical care? Rome was pretty hard line, but they made roads, gave free grain for bread and clean public water sources to improve health for all.
Lots of countries regulate essential services, public utilities and the like. I think that is fair.

* the term re-distributionists is not what they call themselves.
View Answer on Quora