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I found this NYT article very interesting, mostly for the things that are not said.
And I've chosen to put this here instead of Ukraine thread as I wanted to make a point about modern Capitalism flaws.

As pointed in the article and some knew already, West made some miscalculations of what was the capacity of Russian artillery production. I believe that the reason for this miscalculation wasn't necessary propaganda but that the analysts made the calculation with a Western capitalism mindset. Which is of course heavily cost driven.
Having lived many years in a communist country I saw a model of economy being at least partly purpose driven, where factories can be kept idle or with few production just to give jobs to people. Or construction that serves partly this purpose, i.e. ghost cities of China.
I haven't been to Russia but I suspect there are some elements of this mentality in its economy especially when it comes to military industrial production.

Below some extracts from the article:

"Before the war, one senior Western defense official said, Russia could make 100 tanks a year; now they are producing 200... Western officials also believe Russia is on track to manufacture two million artillery shells a year — double the amount Western intelligence services had initially estimated Russia could manufacture before the war...
As a result of the push, Russia is now producing more ammunition than the United States and Europe. Overall, Kusti Salm, a senior Estonian defense ministry official, estimated that Russia’s current ammunition production is seven times greater than that of the West...

Russia’s production costs are also far lower than the West’s, in part because Moscow is sacrificing safety and quality in its effort to build weapons more cheaply, Mr. Salm said. For instance, it costs a Western country $5,000 to $6,000 to make a 155-millimeter artillery round, whereas it costs Russia about $600 to produce a comparable 152-millimeter artillery shell, he said."

The price difference $5,000 to $6,000 with $600 can not in my opinion be explained by just sacrificing safety and quality, if the result as per the article is comparable. It requires a completely different philosophy in how an economy is set up. The cost of military production in US is overblown and margins out of this world. Thus US Industrial Military Complex can afford buying the entire Political Elite and then some.
And it may be the first time ever we are seeing the shortcomings of this system in plain view during this war of attrition, where the entire West cannot keep up in ammunition production with a single country under huge sanctions.

I always thought that profit at all costs is not the way to go and that countries should keep some bad margins -but critical- production in house. Countries should never privatise water, electricity, public health, you name it, nor seeking huge profits out of their military production.
Going even further it was West greed that made China, as we were seeking to maximise profits.
@Jer 's comment the other day made me realise that US were so hurry to make profits that instead of give it some time and outsource manufacturing to Mexico they did it in China.
I never thought about that before but it's mind boggling actually. Except if there were another reason than rush for fast profits and I'm open to suggestions.

Speaking of which, we should really be looking to move as much U.S. manufacturing as possible from China, Vietnam, and Taiwan over to Mexico. No time zone issues, less of a language barrier, reduced shipping costs, and anything that benefits Mexico's economy and standard of living will help to ease illegal immigration on the southern U.S. border.

Food for thought.


Russia has managed to overcome sanctions and export controls imposed by the West to expand its missile production beyond prewar levels, according to U.S., European and Ukrainian officials, leaving Ukraine especially vulnerable to intensified attacks in the coming months.
In addition to spending more than $40 billion providing weapons for Ukraine, the United States has made curbing Russia’s military supply a key part of its strategy to support Kyiv.
As a result of the sanctions, American officials estimate that Russia was forced to dramatically slow its production of missiles and other weaponry at the start of the war in February 2022 for at least six months. But by the end of 2022, Moscow’s military industrial manufacturing began to pick up speed again, American officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the sensitive assessment now concede.
Russia subverted American export controls using its intelligence services and ministry of defense to run illicit networks of people who smuggle key components by exporting them to other countries from which they can be shipped to Russia more easily. In less than a year since the war began, Russia rebuilt trade in critical components by routing them through countries like Armenia and Turkey. U.S. and European regulators have been trying to work together to curb the export of chips to Russia, but have struggled to stop the flow to pass through countries with ties to Moscow.

Russia’s re-energized military production is especially worrisome because Moscow has used artillery to pound Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines, and its missiles to attack the electric grid and other critical infrastructure, and to terrorize civilians in cities. Officials fear that increased missile stocks could mean an especially dark and cold winter for Ukrainian citizens.
In the meantime, the Pentagon is working to find ways to help Ukrainians better take down the missiles and drones fired by Russia at civilian targets in Kyiv and military targets around the country. The Pentagon has provided Patriot air defense systems and cajoled allies to provide S-300 air defense ammunition, both of which have proven effective. It has also provided other air defenses like the Avenger system and the Hawk air defense system.
But Ukraine does not have enough air defense systems to cover the entire country, and must pick the sites it defends. An increased barrage of missiles could overwhelm the country’s air defenses, Ukrainian officials said.
In October 2022, the United States gathered international officials in Washington in an effort to strengthen sanctions on the Russian economy. At the time, American officials said they believed the sanctions and export controls were working in part because they deterred countries from sending microchips, circuit boards, computer processors and other components needed for precision guided weaponry as well as necessary components for diesel engines, helicopters and tanks.
But Russia adapted quickly with its own efforts to secure supplies of the needed parts.
Today, Russian officials have remade their economy to focus on defense production. With revenue from high energy prices, Russia’s security services and ministry of defense have been able to smuggle in the microelectronics and other Western materials required for cruise missiles and other precision guided weaponry. As a result, military production has not only recovered but surged.

Before the war, one senior Western defense official said, Russia could make 100 tanks a year; now they are producing 200.
Western officials also believe Russia is on track to manufacture two million artillery shells a year — double the amount Western intelligence services had initially estimated Russia could manufacture before the war.

As a result of the push, Russia is now producing more ammunition than the United States and Europe. Overall, Kusti Salm, a senior Estonian defense ministry official, estimated that Russia’s current ammunition production is seven times greater than that of the West.
Russia’s production costs are also far lower than the West’s, in part because Moscow is sacrificing safety and quality in its effort to build weapons more cheaply, Mr. Salm said. For instance, it costs a Western country $5,000 to $6,000 to make a 155-millimeter artillery round, whereas it costs Russia about $600 to produce a comparable 152-millimeter artillery shell, he said.

Still, Russia faces some shortcomings. It does not have huge inventories of missiles, though they have more of some kinds — like the Kh-55 air-launched cruise missile — in stock now than they did at the beginning of the war, according to people briefed on intelligence reports.

“In certain areas, they’ve been able to significantly ramp up production,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, an international security expert and chairman of Silverado Policy Accelerator, a Washington-based think tank.
In cases where Russia needs millions of one particular component, export controls can grind production to a halt. But the chips needed to make a couple of hundred cruise missiles would fit into a few backpacks, which makes evading sanctions relatively simple, Mr. Alperovitch said.

American officials said they can slow, but not stop Russia from smuggling the parts it needs for missile production and that it was unrealistic to think Moscow would not react to the American curbs. One way Russia has adapted is by shipping components to third countries then diverting them there back to Russia, according to the Commerce Department.
“Because the controls were having a real impact, the Russian government didn’t just throw up their hands and say, ‘You got us, we give up,’ ” said Matthew S. Axelrod, the Commerce Department’s assistance secretary for export enforcement. “They got more and more creative with their evasion attempts. And we have been really aggressively working a number of different ways to clamp down.”

Currently, the United States and the European Union have a joint list of 38 different categories of items whose export to Russia is restricted. American officials said nine of the 38, mostly microelectronics that power missiles and drones, are the highest priority to block.
American and European officials have been working with banks to develop a warning system to alert governments to possible sanctions violations. So far American banks have alerted the U.S. government to 400 suspicious transactions. The Commerce Department has been able to use a third of those suspicious activity reports in its investigations.
On Aug. 31, the Commerce Department accused three people of taking part in an illicit Russian procurement network. One of the three, Arthur Petrov, a Russian-German national, was arrested and charged by the Justice Department with export control violations.
Mr. Petrov is accused of acquiring microelectronics from U.S.-based exporters for the purpose of sending them to Cyprus, Latvia or Tajikistan. Once there, other companies helped send the components onward, eventually making their way to Russia.
One of the challenges for the U.S. government is that Russia does not need higher-end chips that are easier to track, but commoditized chips that can be used in a wide range of things, not just guided missiles.

“It makes our job harder because there are a lot of countries that it’s legal and totally fine to sell those chips to for legitimate commercial purposes,” Mr. Axelrod said. “The problem is when those chips then get diverted and shipped to Russia.”
American and Western officials say there is some good news. Russian production is still not keeping pace with how fast the military is burning through ammunition and wearing out equipment. For example, even though Russia is on pace to produce two million rounds of ammunition a year, it fired about 10 million rounds of artillery last year. That has led Moscow to desperately search for alternative sources to increase its stocks, most recently by trying to secure a weapons deal with North Korea, U.S. and Western officials said.
And although Moscow has been successful in smuggling processors and circuit boards, it is facing a shortage of rocket propellant and basic explosives, American officials said, material that can be harder to smuggle than circuit boards. Those shortages are likely to constrain Moscow if it tries to step up further production of ammunition, missiles or bombs.
Russia’s increased military production has also come at a great cost to the Russian economy, particularly as interest rates spike in the country. Sanctions have taken a toll on the Russian economy’s overall health, and overcoming Western export bans has not come cheaply, said American and Western officials. The senior Western defense official said that Russia had reallocated nearly a third of its commercial economy toward arms production. The country faces a labor shortage that could make further industrial gains harder to achieve too.
Russia cut back on its attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid during the summer. But as temperatures plunge, some Ukrainian and Western analysts and government officials think Russia could renew the terror campaign on Kyiv, in hopes that it will sap Ukrainians’ will to fight.

U.S. officials hope the steady supply of air defense ammunition and additional help to improve how Ukraine intercepts Russian attacks could help counter a reinforced barrage of missiles. And Ukrainian defenses have — in some situations — grown stronger.

“Ukrainians have become better in defending their infrastructure and building defenses around their power stations and critical power grids,” Mr. Salm said. “They have become better at fixing and making sure that the impact of the power outages and other utility outages are not as harsh.”
 
Going even further it was West greed that made China, as we were seeking to maximise profits.
@Jer 's comment the other day made me realise that US were so hurry to make profits that instead of give it some time and outsource manufacturing to Mexico they did it in China.
I never thought about that before but it's mind boggling actually. Except if there were another reason than rush for fast profits and I'm open to suggestions.
Nah, you hit that one on the head.

Unchecked capitalism is gross, for sure. Corporations are monomaniacally focused on short-term (and to a lesser extent long-term) profit, and you can trust that without regulation they will eventually make any move that will benefit their bottom line, regardless of the consequences. That's why for any situation where the more profitable choice will negatively impact society, you have to have a regulation to keep it in check.

It's certainly possible to overregulate or misregulate industry (see the U.S. state of California for many examples, or these attempts to force a law enforcement backdoor into end-to-end encryption schemes, which would render them completely exploitable and useless), but in general the U.S. errs on the side of underregulation, which carries its own set of problems. At least we have 50 separate Petri dishes where we can gather data on what works and what doesn't, so hopefully more informed choices can be made going forward.
 
What is your take why US didn't outsource manufacturing to Mexico instead of China?
I’m not an expert by any means, but it looks like the usual reasons — companies will go wherever they can turn the highest profit.

Basic manufacturing like T-shirts spent some time in Mexico, but in the 1990s it became so much cheaper in China that it was worth moving it there, even with the added shipping expenses. It gradually became more expensive in China, so that low-end manufacturing moved to Vietnam, then to Bangladesh.

Tech manufacturing required more capital investment and specific skill sets, so you couldn’t do it just anywhere. We moved a lot of that to Japan and Taiwan at first, then South Korea; and when China got their capability up to snuff but with lower costs, things largely moved there. After the Trump tariffs were put in place, it actually became cheaper to move a lot of that manufacturing to Vietnam or India (though India’s quality control has issues), or back to Japan.

Mexico has been making investments in tech education, teaching formal software development processes in state colleges, etc.; and while I was still working I saw a number of companies nearshoring their contract help back to Mexico as a result. If they can provide a high quality pool of workers at a low-enough cost (and they can still charge a little more than China or India for physical manufacturing because the lower shipping fees would still keep their overall cost lower), then we could certainly move a lot more manufacturing their way.
 
I’m not an expert by any means, but it looks like the usual reasons — companies will go wherever they can turn the highest profit.

Yeap, I don't see any other explanation that makes sense. In my opinion for reasons that outlined in my long post (better balance between purpose -driven vs cost -driven economies), it's worthy to outsource in Mexico /Americas or even bring some manufacturing back, even if it were more expensive than China.
 
I was wondering how long it would take our resident reactionary right-winger to try and come up with something to justify a fascist coup d'état… :D

Told you so @____no5 :lol:

@JudasMyGuide With all due respect, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree to avoid wasting bandwidth. :)
 
I take offence to that, actually. You may dislike or hate me, but please, for the love of God, do not call me right-winger.
I would counter that you are definitely more "left-wing" than I am "right-wing", at least from what I gather.

Economically, I'm pretty left and I disagree with what is being called "right" as much as with the "left". I guess that's the fate of people who are beyond the binary spectrum. My reactionarism goes back even further, if anything, don't worry.

Like I said, I dislike Pinochet, but that won't make me glorify his opposition. Just like Franco being rather despicable won't make me glorify his opposition either. To me, this boils down to the "evil vs evil".

I don't like US interventionism in general, but I can also understand it. And there are surely "more despicable" acts than that, unlike you insinuated.

Being comfortably in the West, it is quite easy to be an armchair Communist (or a sympathisant). It's all about equality and justice, right?

Being from a country where people were being sent to the Red Tower of Death, mining and processing radioactive material, forced to have the same clothes, filled with radioactive dust, until they died from the exposition, usually within 3-6 weeks for reasons like "had a sister in Vienna" or "father was against the forced collectivisation"... well, that gives you a different perspective.

Communism is just as wicked as Nazism, it just turns the hate and bile towards different people. But it's in the very basic tenets of the ideology. Class struggle, materialism and so on. And Allende wasn't doing a great job not showing that part, from what I posted.

Whatever.

Yes, it seems we will have to agree to disagree. Just don't call me right-wing, I hate people like Thatcher or Reagan with passion. Just because I disagree with you, doesn't mean I'm on the opposite side of the only spectrum you happen to know ... or that I was washed up with propaganda and detached from reality. I just hate that you have a bent and you don't even see it. That's why I joined a conversation I usually wouldn't. Well, that one I didn't manage to change.

Anyway, like you said, with all due respect, I'm out.
 
Just like Franco being rather despicable won't make me glorify his opposition either. To me, this boils down to the "evil vs evil".

As the great-grandchild of a primary school teacher who faced a fascist firing squad merely for doing his job under a democratically elected government (thankfully he did not die, otherwise I would not be here), this comment just goes on to show that you do not know arse from elbow. :)

Anyway, let’s agree to disagree. If we ever meet face-to-face, I’ll buy you a beer so we can have a friendly discussion (and disagreement). Please do not make me listen to Blink-182 though! ;)

P.S. I could not help but chuckle when reading the “armchair communist” comment, as that is what right-wing sympathisers in Spain would say about anyone who was left-of-centre. :lol: Either way, I take no offence, although I am a socialist believer in democracy rather than a communist. :D
 
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Yeah, we're all grandchildren of someone, aren't we? I am also influenced by my family's history and the history of my country. I am willing to admit that it might sometimes skewer my vision/worldview, sorry!

I wouldn't want this to become hostile and I would also love to both buy you a beer and let myself be bought one as well. In a proper conversation, I think we might be surprised at how much would we would agree with each other on various topics.

Honestly, I would really love that and I hope it will happen one day.

Anyway, thanks for letting this steer into a friendly territory, I wish you only the best. Thanks for being nicer than you might have been.

Just - once again, please don't think of me as "right-wing". Socially, yes, I am an old-fashioned reactionary, a monarchist, a traditionalist, a Catholic Romantic, but economically and politically, I have a very strong social consciousness. When you say "right wing", I think of Thatcher at best and Trump at worst and I am really neither.

And I am genuinely sorry for whatever oppression happened to your family, it was never my intention to make light of that.
 
@JudasMyGuide Also I thought you are right leaning, as you are self-proclaimed conservative.

It depends a lot on what your definition of "right" is - if you mean the old school definition "there is a certain stratification natural to humans as opposed to blind or forced egalitarianism", than yes, I am right-leaning in that regard, although politically I am very much for solidarity, taking care of the weak and downtrodden and overcoming the precipices.

If you mean the newer definition of "laissez-faire capitalism, neoliberalism, asocial politics" and so on, than that is what I deny wholeheartedly.

That second definition only got intertwined with "conservatism" in the 80s at the latest, I'd think.

To me, "conservatism" (I much rather use the term "reactionary" to refer to myself, though) means adherence to universal moral principles, virtues, families, environment (which means preservation of nature and the less concrete everywhere, the better), art and so on, though with a certain "stabilising" accentuation. To me, conservatism is a complex, holistic thing that never considers one thing on its own, but always as a part of the general order and that changing it might have these and these consequences.
To me, conservatism also means hating capitalism for its materialistic nature, for its tendency to exploit the weak, hating corporations and huge businesses and of course, hating state when it has too much power and control over people.

To quote Chesterton
“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types -- the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.”

In that regard, I might be closer to admiring the ruins, if only slightly so.

If anything, I guess the closest would be traditional conservatism (this is not a self-identification, I've been told this by people more politically well-versed than me)

Trad.jpg

but remember, that the "transcendent moral principles" I profess are complex, all-encompassing and often directly against what many people would think as being under "conservatism".


I would agree a lot (well, I would agree in, like, 94 % of everything) with people like Chesterton or Tolkien, whose positions were also complex and transcended categories, i. e. who were definitely "conservative" as I define the term, yet weren't really on the right. In fact, Chesterton tried to propose a system that would not be capitalism or socialism, based on actual Church teachings - Distributism. I quite like that one.


To paraphrase him for the final time (I put it together from memory, some of this he says only implicitly, but you get my drift):
Capitalism and Socialism are, in many regards, the same. They are both materialistic (meaning they know only tangible matter and deny the spiritual and the metaphysical) and both desire power, the difference is merely that under Socialism the state owns all corporations whereas under Capitalism corporations own all states. Both are inherently toxic and both should be avoided - or at least, whichever is winning at the moment, should be mitigated by the other.
If pressed and forced to choose, with a gun at my head, I would still probably pick Socialism, because there the care for the human being is at least proclaimed if never put into action. But we should love neither, because both are of this world and therefore both are fallen and deeply flawed.
 
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Honestly, this reductive one-dimensional political spectrum that people often try to assign everything to (usually grouped into just two giant buckets of liberals and conservatives) has never been a great tool, and it's even more dangerous in a world where authoritarianism vs. libertarianism has arguably become a more important defining difference.

Activists on both the left and the right (in the U.S. at least) have taken an appalling turn toward Orwellian authoritarianism in recent decades, with the progressives pushing "goodthink", borderline thought policing, and rewriting of history to overcorrect the stories of historically oppressed groups, while the conservatives are pushing "doublethink" and have been moving toward informally implementing the guts of all four Orwellian ministries (Truth, Peace, Love, Plenty) through their propaganda outlets and foreign policy. For now I am much more concerned about resisting this rush toward statism, dogmatism, and misinformation than I am about specific philosophical or policy differences. We need to be teaching our children critical thinking, civics, objective and circumspect history (neither whitewashed nor anti-whitewashed), and STEM in addition to the usual humanities, and we shouldn't be indoctrinating them into any particular set of values at school other than encouraging curiosity and trusting objective evidence and solid reasoning.

The best way to fight propaganda from all directions is to prepare people to think critically, check sources, reach their own conclusions, and debate their conclusions with others to continue to surface the greater truth. And we need to preserve the people's right to express their views even when they're unpopular, because there have been many times in history when the most unpopular opinion wound up being the correct one.
 
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Agreed, I'm a self-proclaimed moderate or centrist. To my right-leaning/conservative friends I'm a dirty commie, to my left-leaning/liberal friends I'm practically a racist Nazi. To everyone else I'm just an idiot.

What I do know is this. When people talk about The evils of this or that, it isn't the thing itself that is the problem. For example, We've been talking about the horrors of the Soviet Union and by extension, communism/socialism. But the problem isn't Communsim/Socialism, the problem was the Soviet Union's totalitarian government. The problem in South Korea, the U.S and Japan isn't capitalism, it's good ol' fashion greed. While all three countries are work and status obssessed, the U.S in particular also has a nasty police state that is obvious to anyone who isn't white. What happens at BLM protests are not exceptions to the rule, they are the rule. You know what? Fuck that, even if you're white, The NSA, FBI, CIA is listening in on everyone and probably have files on most people. So the hypercapitalism we see in the states, with no public healthcare system to speak of and laughable social safety nets, isn't capitalisms fault in and of itself, but of the corporations who have the polititicians in their pockets and answer to shareholders, not their employees or customers.
 
The problem in South Korea, the U.S and Japan isn't capitalism, it's good ol' fashion greed. While all three countries are work and

South Korea & Japan are not your typical capitalistic states. They look more like autocratic democracies run by conglomerates, kind of what feudalism would look like if peasants could vote.

Singapore which is also autocratic or even HK and UAE do not give me this feeling. Anyway, I can't say it better.
 
South Korea & Japan are not your typical capitalistic states. They look more like autocratic democracies run by conglomerates, kind of what feudalism would look like if peasants could vote.

Singapore which is also autocratic or even HK and UAE do not give me this feeling. Anyway, I can't say it better.
True, Not 100% on Japan, but South Korea is practically ran by Samsung. What I meant is, whether it's a handful of companies like in the U.S (wal-mart, Amazon, Google, Raytheon, etc) or one (I know there's a "big four," but c'mon) like in S.K, the point is these countries are beholden to these companies.
 
For US my take is that you have the co-called deep state who runs the show; Military Industrial Complex & Big Pharma plus a garniture of Big Tech which is not so deep routed as the first two.
Of course US system is more evolved and elegant than South Korea & Japan, another league entirely.

Strong institutions for one and people are hard wired to defend their democracy as something sacred. No matter how real is that democracy the way Americans are experiencing it is something beautiful in my eyes. I realized that during the Trump drama after the 2020 elections and up to January 6th.
 
I hate people like Reagan with passion
Mate, he certainly contributed to both your and my country being no longer under the evil empire.
But, back to earlier posts of yours regarding beers and such: I disagree with @GhostofCain 's leftism because of my background as I've mentioned elsewhere but I understand it; I disagree with your religious views as you know; and yet, as you also said, I'm pretty sure we all have a lot in common regarding what's right and what's wrong basically.
So if we three ever meet, beer's on me, me being the eldest. :)
 
Mate, he certainly contributed to both your and my country being no longer under the evil empire.
But, back to earlier posts of yours regarding beers and such: I disagree with @GhostofCain 's leftism because of my background as I've mentioned elsewhere but I understand it; I disagree with your religious views as you know; and yet, as you also said, I'm pretty sure we all have a lot in common regarding what's right and what's wrong basically.
So if we three ever meet, beer's on me, me being the eldest. :)

Happy to agree to disagree with you on politics and agree on religion mate. Let’s hope we’ll have a beer together at some point.
 
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