Potemkin village

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pages: 489 words: 132,734

A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook

Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pearl River Delta, Potemkin village, profit motive, rent control, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

With Matviyenko ensconced in the mayor’s office, never to have to face the voters again, she and her patron in the Kremlin were free to advance their vision of St. Petersburg as a Potemkin village. While major planned infrastructure improvements like a high-speed rail connection to Moscow and a beltway around the city were downsized, delayed, and plagued by pilfered funds, Putin shined up central St. Petersburg. Putin envisioned his rehabilitated hometown as a window through which Westerners could gaze at Russia, be reassured by how European it looked, and return home confident that the great empire to the east has finally become a “normal” European country. St. Petersburg was to be a cynical stage set of a Westernized Russia that Putin had no intention of fostering beyond the city’s boundaries. Like a true Potemkin village, the authorities cleaned up the front façades of the city’s historic imperial center while allowing the backs of the buildings to rot, a shambles of peeling paint, broken windows, and cracking stucco.

“They were able to compare all that they had seen abroad with what confronted them at every step at home: slavery of the majority of Russians, cruel treatment of subordinates by superiors, all sorts of government abuses and general tyranny.” As another Russian wrote at the time, “There was only one subject of conversation in the army from generals down to the humblest private—how wonderful life was abroad.” Their homeland’s showcase modern capital seemed nothing but an oversized Potemkin village. In 1816, six young officers from the elite Imperial Guards formed a secret society to bring constitutional government to Russia. St. Petersburg, they believed, deserved a government as modern as its buildings and its people. And St. Petersburg deserved to be run by Petersburgers: the officers called for the expulsion of foreign experts from the Russian government. When Peter the Great had first imported Western ringers, he assured his people that eventually Russians would acquire the expertise needed to run their own country.

pages: 113 words: 37,885

Why Wall Street Matters by William D. Cohan

Apple II, asset-backed security, bank run, Bernie Sanders, bonus culture, break the buck, buttonwood tree, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, financial repression, Fractional reserve banking, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, Joseph Schumpeter, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, money market fund, moral hazard, Potemkin village, quantitative easing, secular stagnation, Snapchat, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, too big to fail, WikiLeaks

The New York Stock Exchange, at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, once the very embodiment of Wall Street, is mostly just a television backdrop for the business cable networks, such as Bloomberg, CNBC, and Fox Business, that use it as a set for their continuous coverage of the financial markets. Most trading is now done electronically. To be sure, a number of important financial institutions—among them Goldman Sachs, American Express, and AIG—still have their headquarters in the vicinity of Wall Street. But by and large, Wall Street, the actual street itself, has become a mirage, a Potemkin village of a bygone era before computers and phones made physical interaction between traders and bankers somewhat obsolete. In mid-June 2016, Jim Cramer, the CNBC television anchor, tweeted a picture of the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, with the New York Stock Exchange in the background and the steps leading to the empty 23 Wall Street to the side. Right in the middle of the wonderfully manicured cobblestoned street—it used to be paved not so long ago—were four young women on yoga mats, striking a pose.

pages: 598 words: 140,612

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser

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affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, carbon footprint, Celebration, Florida, clean water, congestion charging, declining real wages, desegregation, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, European colonialism, financial innovation, Frank Gehry, global village, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute cuisine, Home mortgage interest deduction, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, job-hopping, John Snow's cholera map, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, megacity, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Works Progress Administration, young professional

The city was shedding people and had plenty of houses. Why subsidize more building? Successful cities must build in order to accommodate the rising demand for space, but that doesn’t mean that building creates success. Urban renewal, in both Detroit and New York, may have replaced unattractive slums with shiny new buildings, but it did little to address urban decline. Those shiny new buildings were really Potemkin villages spread throughout America, built to provide politicians with the appearance of urban success. But Detroit had plenty of buildings; it didn’t need more. What Detroit needed was human capital: a new generation of entrepreneurs like Ford and Durant and the Dodge brothers who could create some great new industry, as Shockley and the Fairchildren were doing in Silicon Valley. Investing in buildings instead of people in places where prices were already low may have been the biggest mistake of urban policy over the past sixty years.

Bradley Milwaukee Minneapolis Missouri Mitchell, George Phydias Mittal, Lakshmi Mobutu Sese Seko Mohammed, Sheikh Monkkonen, Eric Montreal Moses, Robert Moving to Opportunity Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mumbai building restrictions in crime in Dharavi neighborhood of disease in traffic congestion in transportation network in Mumford, Lewis murder Murthy, Narayana museums music Mysore Nagasaki Napoléon I, Emperor Napoléon III, Emperor Nashville National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) National Labor Relations Act (1935) Native Son (Wright) neighborhood preservation, see preservation Netherlands Nevins, Allan New Brighton New Deal New Orleans Hurricane Katrina in poor in New Urbanism New York City African Americans in age statistics in Bloomberg as mayor of building construction in Central Park commuting in crime in death rates in decline of entrepreneurs in environmental footprint of fair-housing law in Fifth Avenue Commission in finance in founding of garment and fashion industries in garment worker strike in Giuliani as mayor of globalization and Greenwich Village Harlem Children’s Zone in Harlem Renaissance in health in Hell’s Kitchen housing in immigrants in industries in Koch as mayor of Lindsay as mayor of Lower East Side marital statistics in Midtown Manhattan Penn Station in poor in population explosion in port of preservation in Promise Academy in public transportation in publishing industry in rebirth of restaurants in reverse commuting and rise of September 11 attack on social connections in sprawl in streets in subways in suicides in Tammany Hall in taxes in theater in transit and income zones in travel between Boston and Upper East Side wages in Washington Square water supply for zoning regulations in New York Panorama New York Philharmonic New York State energy consumption in parkway system of New York Times NIMBYism Nimitz, Chester 9/11 attacks Norberg, Karen Obama, Barack Oklahoma City Old Vic Theatre Company Olivier, Laurence Olmsted, Frederick Law Otis, Elisha O’Toole, Peter Otto, Nikolaus Owen, David Paris building regulations in bus transit in Eiffel Tower in housing in La Défense in Montparnasse Tower in paving of planning of police force formed in restaurants in schools in sewage system in transit and income zones in parks Pascal, Blaise patent citations Patni Computers Pedro II, Emperor Penn Station Pennsylvania Railroad Pericles Perlman, Philip Philadelphia Main Line in transit and income zones in water supply in Philip Augustus Phoenix Phukan, Ruban Pinker, Steven Pirelli, Giovanni Battista Pittsburgh plague Plato police policies, see public policies politics ethnic power and social groups and Ponti, Gio populations: loss of new building and wages and Potemkin villages Poulsen, Valdemar Poundbury poverty rural suburban poverty, urban African Americans and and attraction of poor to cities education and in favelas and helping people vs. places in megacities path to prosperity from public policies’ magnification of in Rio slums and ghettos transportation and Prada, Miuccia preservation in New York City printing press prisons Procopius productivity education and geographic proximity and impact of peers on skills and wages and Promise Academy property rights prosperity and wealth education and environmentalism and path from urban poverty to urbanization and Protestantism public policies building restrictions consumer cities and education and environmental; see also environmentalism helping people vs. places immigration and industrial land-use regulations level playing field in national NIMBYism and poverty magnified by preservation, see preservation suburban living encouraged by urban poverty and zoning ordinances, see zoning ordinances public spaces publishing: in New York printing technology and Pulitzer, Joseph quality of life Quigley, John Raffles, Thomas Stamford rail travel Ramsay, Gordon Rand, Ayn Ranieri, Lewis Raytheon recession Reformation Renaissance restaurants Richardson, Ralph Richmond right-to-work states Rio de Janeiro favelas in transportation in riots River Rouge plant Riverside roads asphalt paving for highways New York City streets traffic congestion and, see traffic congestion Robson Square Rochester (Minnesota) Rochester (New York) Rockefeller, Nelson Rogers, Richard Roman Empire Roosevelt, Franklin D.

pages: 537 words: 158,544

Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order by Parag Khanna

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Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, knowledge economy, land reform, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pax Mongolica, Pearl River Delta, pirate software, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Potemkin village, price stability, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

In second-world societies, some percentage of the population lives a modern lifestyle—globally connected with reliable high-wage employment—but coexists with a narrow middle class and the mass of the poor. Second-world countries would fall into a global middle class, except no such middle class exists. As in the first world, second-world states have growing public economies and inward investment, but like the third world, they have vast black markets and Potemkin villages.38 Brazil is a second-world giant that draws funds from the global market, while millions of its citizens have no idea what that is. Second-world countries are often medieval in their geographical distribution of wealth, with the capital city generating a majority of national income—and retaining it. Because such countries grow poorer in concentric circles as one gets away from the capital city, it is no surprise that from Mexico to Turkey to Iran (and even in first-world France), the only job bigger than mayor of the largest city is head of government, explaining why these countries have recently had—or nearly had—former mayors as leaders.

Every taxi driver in Kiev dreads the day his Lada or Volga sputters to a halt in the middle of the city, knowing he can’t afford to have it revived and hasn’t saved enough for a new one. Lucky, then, that Ukrainians give lifts to total strangers for a token fare. “We suffered enough together, so we still trust each other,” explained one such commuter-entrepreneur driving out of downtown Kiev late at night. As in Russia, capitalism blew its first chance to make a good impression, and Kiev, like Moscow, is a Potemkin village whose urban grandeur masks poverty that grows the farther one moves from the center. Turning Ukraine into the next Poland means elevating it from its strikingly third-world attributes, such as an overwhelming share of foreign investment directed to the capital alone and untaxed barter bazaars around the country. Kiev’s underground markets provide shelter from the torrential summer rains, but they are a paradise for pirated DVDs.

State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century by Francis Fukuyama

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Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, centre right, corporate governance, demand response, Doha Development Round, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, Hernando de Soto, information asymmetry, liberal world order, Live Aid, Nick Leeson, Pareto efficiency, Potemkin village, price stability, principal–agent problem, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system

With the hindsight of more than thirty years, it is not clear whether state capacity (or political development, in Huntington’s terminology) can be separated from legitimacy all that easily. At the end of the 1980s the Soviet Union began collapsing and losing substantial amounts of state capacity precisely because its dictatorial character delegitimated the regime in the eyes of its citizens. Its apparent degree of political development was a Potemkin village, in other words, at the time that Huntington wrote Political Order. While there have historically been many forms of legitimacy, in today’s world the only serious source of legitimacy is democracy. There is another respect in which good governance and democracy are not so easily separated. A good state institution is one that transparently and efficiently serves the needs of its clients—the citizens of the state.

pages: 239 words: 56,531

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, butterfly effect, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

in a book she designed by the same name.9 Whether we accept the hyperbole of her manifesto or not, there is much to be gained from at least thinking like a designer in this 89/11 world. Designer Michael Beirut equivocates perfectly: “Not everything is design. But design is about everything.”10 T SIDEBAR Sears -vs.- VDNX In 1939, in a six-hundred-acre park in the north of Moscow, the Exhibition of the Achievement of the Soviet People’s 102 BESPOKE FUTURES Economy opened. Known as VDNX, this propaganda park was a Potemkin village, a trade and technology fair, and a model farm all wrapped up into one. VDNX was a phantasmagoric space where the Soviet iconography of happy, healthy workers, powerful tractors, and glistening satellites was mirrored by the bounty of prize pigs and luscious produce. It was a central showplace of the Stalinist spectacle, and truly fit Maxim Gorky’s idea of socialist realism as revolutionary romanticism.11 VDNX showed life not as it was lived but rather as it ought to be lived.

pages: 554 words: 167,247

Money, Politics, Back-Room Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System by Steven Brill

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, business process, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, employer provided health coverage, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, Nate Silver, obamacare, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, the payments system, young professional

From the day he started the job he had wanted to crunch CMS’s data on hospital pricing in order to present price comparisons to the world. He ultimately persuaded CMS to do that, but, by his own account, that only came after the Time special report on medical prices created headlines around the issue, and his boss, Secretary Sebelius, and her advisers allowed him to push ahead. SONYA AND THE POTEMKIN VILLAGE Sivak had invited Gunderson to come see him because one aspect of the Obamacare website project that he had maneuvered his way into reviewing was driving him crazy. The design of the home page for the federal exchange (that would now be the gateway for the multiple insurance offerings from thirty-six states) was terrible. It was confusing and almost impossible to navigate. It looked like a bureaucracy’s website, not like Expedia or Amazon or any of the other e-commerce icons that the president liked to promise his exchange would be like.

In the months that would follow the October launch of the exchange, it was the only part of the site that never broke down and never had to be fixed. “We did it all for a bit less than a million dollars,” Gunderson told me. “For us, that’s a pretty big deal.” As with Park’s building of the comparison shopping website, the unveiling, in late June 2013, of Sivak and Gunderson’s cool-looking home page—which the president loved—created a Potemkin village. On the surface, things looked great. But behind the façade, where CGI and the other contractors were trying to build the real website—and piling up bills that would ultimately reach $840 million—there was not much to look at. “FAST, TARGETED, LOCKED-DOWN DECISIONS ARE NEEDED” One of the steps a worried Todd Park took from his new position as U.S. chief technology officer at the White House in the winter of 2013 was to convince HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius that McKinsey & Company, the blue ribbon consulting firm, should be hired to look in on the implementation effort and, in consultants’ jargon, “pressure test” the process.

pages: 554 words: 167,247

America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System by Steven Brill

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, business process, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, employer provided health coverage, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, Nate Silver, obamacare, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, the payments system, young professional

From the day he started the job he had wanted to crunch CMS’s data on hospital pricing in order to present price comparisons to the world. He ultimately persuaded CMS to do that, but, by his own account, that only came after the Time special report on medical prices created headlines around the issue, and his boss, Secretary Sebelius, and her advisers allowed him to push ahead. SONYA AND THE POTEMKIN VILLAGE Sivak had invited Gunderson to come see him because one aspect of the Obamacare website project that he had maneuvered his way into reviewing was driving him crazy. The design of the home page for the federal exchange (that would now be the gateway for the multiple insurance offerings from thirty-six states) was terrible. It was confusing and almost impossible to navigate. It looked like a bureaucracy’s website, not like Expedia or Amazon or any of the other e-commerce icons that the president liked to promise his exchange would be like.

In the months that would follow the October launch of the exchange, it was the only part of the site that never broke down and never had to be fixed. “We did it all for a bit less than a million dollars,” Gunderson told me. “For us, that’s a pretty big deal.” As with Park’s building of the comparison shopping website, the unveiling, in late June 2013, of Sivak and Gunderson’s cool-looking home page—which the president loved—created a Potemkin village. On the surface, things looked great. But behind the façade, where CGI and the other contractors were trying to build the real website—and piling up bills that would ultimately reach $840 million—there was not much to look at. “FAST, TARGETED, LOCKED-DOWN DECISIONS ARE NEEDED” One of the steps a worried Todd Park took from his new position as U.S. chief technology officer at the White House in the winter of 2013 was to convince HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius that McKinsey & Company, the blue ribbon consulting firm, should be hired to look in on the implementation effort and, in consultants’ jargon, “pressure test” the process.

pages: 777 words: 186,993

Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani

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affirmative action, Airbus A320, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, clean water, colonial rule, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, distributed generation, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, land reform, light touch regulation, LNG terminal, load shedding, Mahatma Gandhi, market fragmentation, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, pension reform, Potemkin village, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, smart grid, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

This would have a powerful domino effect in the following years as Indian businesses invested in IT to combine their own capital flows with India’s banks and stock markets. India’s regulators were, however, still lone rangers in a governing environment that was if not hostile, at least indifferent to IT systems. Beyond our capital markets, the 1990s saw countless instances of failed IT initiatives. We have struggled here with what Keniston called India’s “Potemkin village” problem—we have plenty of showcase “pilot projects” that we have failed to expand beyond a state or city level. More than 80 percent of state-led electronification projects in the 1990s failed. Innumerable pilot e-governance projects were launched with great fanfare and then forgotten. Our government departments remained, stubbornly, environments of paper pushers, filing cabinets and typewriters.

Union of India & Ors Permanent Account Numbers (PANs) pesticides PetroChina Phule, Jyotirao Pitroda, Sam PL-480 food aid Plague Prevention Measures Planning Commission pneumonic plague police politics, Indian: author’s views on ; bipartisan or coalition; caste and ; conservative vs. liberal ; economic impact of ; education and ; factionalism in ; information technology (IT) in ; language and ; leadership in ; mass protest in ; party organizations in ; see also specific parties; populist; regional ; see also government, Indian pollution Pondicherry pongamia Pope, Carl Population Bomb,The (Ehrlich) ports post offices Post-War Plan of Educational Development “Potemkin village” problem Prabhu, Suresh Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Prahalad. K. Praj Industries Prasad, Chandrabhan Prasad, Kalka Prasad, Rajendra Pratham preventive health care price controls prices, commodity Pringle, R. K. private schools “Private Schools for the Poor” (Tooley) productivity Project Genesis Project OASIS (Old Age Social and Income Security) property taxes protectionism Provident Fund Act (1925) provident funds public distribution system (PDS) Public Grievance and Redressal system Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) public transportation Pudong, China Punjab Punjabi Suba Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Nutritious Meal Program (PTMGRNMP) Purushothaman, Roopa Qianlong, Emperor of China Qian Xinzhong “Question Box,” Quit India movement Radhakrishnan, S.

pages: 267 words: 106,340

Europe old and new: transnationalism, belonging, xenophobia by Ray Taras

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affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, carbon footprint, centre right, collective bargaining, energy security, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, illegal immigration, immigration reform, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, North Sea oil, open economy, postnationalism / post nation state, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, World Values Survey

One view is that it was the east European experience of communism and Russian domination that turned these countries into merely hybrid Europeans. Starkly put, while the west was embracing the idealism of unification after World War II, the east was confronting the harsh reality of Soviet hegemony. As the west constructed ways to integrate national economies, laws, and politics, the east had all autonomy snuffed out as Sovietization created a Potemkin village of contrived unity. Some political observers, in both the east and the west, held that these two rigid rival blocs did not amount to very much. French philosopher Étienne Balibar referred to the geopolitical division as a “phantom,” an “illusory Europe, the Europe of contradictory illusions maintained since 1920, and most particularly since 1945, by the very way that each of the two ‘blocs’ laid exclusive claim to the idea of Europe in its confrontation with the other.”22 External stimuli have profoundly affected the course of European integration.

pages: 392 words: 106,532

The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis

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anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, full employment, land reform, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine

He held court for leading capitalists while sitting under a Picasso in a New York town house; he visited—and purported to be shocked by what he saw there—a Hollywood soundstage; he pouted over being denied the opportunity, for security reasons, to visit Disneyland; he got into a shouting match with the mayor of Los Angeles; he inspected corn on an Iowa farm; and he discussed war and peace with Eisenhower at Camp David—after being assured that an invitation to this dacha was an honor and not an insult.47 No substantive agreements came out of Khrushchev’s meetings with Eisenhower, but the trip did confirm that the Soviet Union had a new kind of leader, very unlike Stalin. Whether that made him more or less dangerous remained to be seen. IX. POTEMKIN VILLAGES work as long as no one peeks behind the façade. The only way for the United States and its allies to do that in Stalin’s day had been to send reconnaissance planes along the borders of the Soviet Union, or to release balloons with cameras to drift over it, or to infiltrate spies into it. None of these measures worked: the planes got shot at and sometimes shot down, the balloons got blown in the wrong direction, and the spies got arrested, imprisoned, and often executed because a Soviet agent, Kim Philby, happened to be the British liaison officer with the American Central Intelligence Agency.48 Stalin’s U.S.S.R. remained a closed society, opaque to anyone from the outside who tried to see into it.

pages: 350 words: 107,834

Halting State by Charles Stross

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augmented reality, call centre, forensic accounting, game design, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, lifelogging, Necker cube, Potemkin village, RFID, Schrödinger's Cat, Vernor Vinge, zero day

“I’ll walk you back to the hotel.” You stand up and hold the door for her, and at the hotel she makes her awkward good-byes and strides through the door. Then the whole thing comes crashing down on your shoulders like a suit woven from slabs of slate. Jesus fuck. The panicky urge to phone Sophie is sudden and nearly irresistible—but then, what if you’re wrong? You don’t want to tear holes in the Potemkin village of her reality. So you decide to play games instead. It’s zero dark o’clock and you’re coiled up on the futon in your living room like a basket case, goggles glued to your face by a mixture of sweat and determination. Your hands are twitching and spazzing from side to side, and you’re muttering under your breath like an old alkie communing with his invisible pink proboscidean. At least, that’s how it would look to a time-travelling intruder in your wee house who didn’t know what was actually going on—the body adrift in the grip of a weird compulsion while the mind decays inside it.

pages: 291 words: 87,296

Lethal Passage by Erik Larson

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mass immigration, Menlo Park, pez dispenser, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, The Great Moderation

My drive had begun an hour earlier in Virginia Beach, on an expressway that took me past metropolitan Norfolk, then plunged under the Elizabeth River. From the highway Norfolk looked prosperous, with a perimeter of high glass buildings, a brand-new hotel, and a festive riverside development similar to Baltimore’s Harborplace. But I had been downtown several times before and knew that urban pressures had turned this portion of Norfolk into a Potemkin village. Two blocks in from the city’s gleaming rim, life seemed to stop. Abandoned buildings, some boarded, some just empty, lined block after block. The streets were clean, however. There were no piles of litter, no plumes of broken glass, and no people, just a clean desolation like that of a city awaiting a hurricane. As I traveled, the landscape gradually softened. Brittle urban architecture gave way to suburbs, then to cool green countryside.

pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

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3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

They go back to the enlightened despotism of Catherine II of Russia, the subject of Johann Baptist Lampi’s portrait hanging in Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum, the David Cameron look-alike painting that had landed Sophie Gadd on page 3 of the Daily Mail. The Italian-born Lampi hadn’t been the only late-eighteenth-century European to go to Russia to enjoy Catherine the Great’s largesse. Two English brothers, Samuel and Jeremy Bentham, also spent time there gainfully employed by Catherine’s autocratic regime. Samuel worked for Count Grigory Potemkin, one of Catherine’s many lovers, whose name has been immortalized for his “Potemkin villages” of fake industrialization he built to impress her. Potemkin gave Bentham the job of managing Krichev, his hundred-square-mile estate on the Polish border that boasted fourteen thousand male serfs.38And it was here that Samuel and his brother Jeremy, who joined him in 1786 in Krichev and is best known today as the father of the “greatest happiness” principle, invented the idea of what they called the “Panopticon,” or the “Inspection House.”

pages: 346 words: 101,255

The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George

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American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Anton Chekhov, Bob Geldof, Celtic Tiger, clean water, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, informal economy, job satisfaction, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, land reform, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Steven Pinker, urban planning

But, as an Indian biogas expert tells me, China can do this, because China can impose from on high. “India is a democracy,” the expert says. “We have to ask, to plead, to persuade. It takes longer. It is harder. China can do things faster.” Also, China can pay. Households that buy a digester get a 1,200 yuan ($175) grant toward the total cost (usually about 3,000 yuan). It all sounds perfect. Even so, I am not persuaded by the Potemkin village of Mian Zhu. To reach the regional headquarters of the Chinese Women’s Federation, which are located in the pleasant city of Xi’an, one must first walk the length of a street of shops and barbers. The barber shops have barbering equipment and the added odd extra of overly made-up women smiling insistently at my companion, a Caucasian man. At his approach, doors open and garish faces pop out before they see me and the smile disappears.

pages: 519 words: 104,396

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone

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availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equal pay for equal work, experimental economics, experimental subject, feminist movement, game design, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index card, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Potemkin village, price anchoring, price discrimination, psychological pricing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, working poor

Hermès made two of its $330,000 watches, and ultra-expensive handbags are often one to a flagship store. The illusion of an authentic supply-and-demand market for such things is aided and abetted by the Robb Report and the celebrity press. Eva Longoria was photographed carrying a Coach “Miranda” bag in hot blue python skin! Whether she paid list for it is beside the point. Even in the best economic times, luxury stores are Potemkin villages, existing to convince aspiring materialists of a world richer, more spendthrift than it actually is. Marketing consultant Dan Hill of Sensory Logic said that successful stores use high-priced items to create “a mixture of anger and happiness.” Upper-middle-class consumers are angry because they can’t afford the gear featured in the store and worn by celebrities. The knee-jerk reaction is to get happy by buying something else.

The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape by James Howard Kunstler

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A Pattern Language, blue-collar work, California gold rush, car-free, City Beautiful movement, corporate governance, Donald Trump, financial independence, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, germ theory of disease, indoor plumbing, jitney, land tenure, mass immigration, means of production, megastructure, Menlo Park, new economy, oil shock, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, working poor, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

Ever-busy, ever-building, ever­ in-motion, ever-throwing-out the old for the new, we have hardly paused to think about what we are so busy building, and what we have thrown away. Meanwhile, the everyday landscape becomes more night­ marish and unmanageable each year. For many, the word development itself has become a dirty word. Eighty percent of everything ever built in America has been built in the last fifty years, and most of it is depressing, brutal, ugly, unhealthy, and spiritually degrading-the jive-plastic commuter tract home waste­ lands, the Potemkin village shopping plazas with their vast parking lagoons, the Lego-block hotel complexes, the "gourmet mansardic" junk-food joints, the Orwellian office "parks" featuring buildings sheathed in the same reflective glass as the sunglasses worn by chain­ gang guards, the particle-board garden apartments rising up in every meadow and cornfield, the freeway loops around every big and little city with their clusters of discount merchandise marts, the whole destruc­ tive, wasteful, toxic, agoraphobia-inducing spectacle that politicians proudly call "growth. " The newspaper headlines may shout about global warming, extinc­ tions of living species, the devastation of rain forests, and other world­ wide catastrophes, but Americans evince a striking complacency when it comes to their everyday environment and the growing calamity that it represents.

pages: 307 words: 102,734

The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River by Dan Morrison

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airport security, colonial rule, indoor plumbing, Khartoum Gordon, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Potemkin village, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley

It will all be tourists and businessmen. Don’t be surprised if you see a tall hotel where Gurna used to be.” The new New Gurna had the plastic look of a planned community. Stuccoed houses of maroon and beige sat end to end; their wooden-shuttered windows opened onto wide and empty paved streets, with a streetlight on every short block. Skinny saplings rose from the curb every forty feet. At first it looked like a Potemkin village; there was no one to be seen, no sign of life. But it was hot—why would there be? I walked down the middle of the street like a sunstroked gunfighter until I found Umar Khalifa sitting in the meager shade of his front porch. He rose slowly to my greeting and offered me a chair. It was a difficult move to the new village, he said. “I told them I would leave when I was dead.” That was three months ago.

pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation by Satyajit Das

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9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Online humorists manufactured other acronyms for attractive investment opportunities: one was ANARCHY (Albania, Nauru or North Korea, Afghanistan, Romania, Chad, Haiti, and Yemen). In early 2011, as North Africa and the Middle East were rent apart by political uprisings, an anonymous blogger wrote that emerging market investors were hunting in the MIST for CIVETS with only BRICS. Notwithstanding their long-term potential, emerging markets increasingly resembled Potemkin villages. In 2013, Goldman Sachs advised clients to reduce investments in these markets, arguing that the shift in global economic power had been overdramatized. Returns were less attractive and risks were higher than previously believed. In 2014, slumping, oversupplied real-estate markets prompted embattled Chinese developers to try different approaches to entice buyers. These included attractive women dressed as imperial concubines, discounts for people who lost weight, and appeals to patriotism.

pages: 265 words: 93,231

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

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Asperger Syndrome, asset-backed security, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, medical residency, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Robert Bork, short selling, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, too big to fail, value at risk, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

When gold had been trading around $650 an ounce for the past two years, an option to buy it for $2,000 an ounce anytime during the next ten years might well be badly underpriced. The longer-term the option, the sillier the results generated by the Black-Scholes option pricing model, and the greater the opportunity for people who didn't use it. Oddly, it was Ben, the least personally conventional of the three, who had the Potemkin-village effect of making Cornwall Capital appear to outsiders to be a conventional institutional money manager. He knew his way around Wall Street trading floors and so also knew the extent to which Charlie and Jamie were being penalized for being perceived by the big Wall Street firms as a not terribly serious investor or, as Ben put it, "a garage band hedge fund." The longest options available to individual investors on public exchanges were LEAPs, which were two-and-a-half-year options on common stocks.

pages: 329 words: 88,954

Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

As Steven Marcus puts it, in his history of the young Engels’s sojourn in Manchester, “The point to be taken is that this astonishing and outrageous arrangement cannot fully be understood as the result of a plot, or even a deliberate design, although those in whose interests it works also control it. It is indeed too huge and too complex a state of organized affairs ever to have been thought up in advance, to have preexisted as an idea.” Those broad, glittering avenues, in other words, suggest a Potemkin village without a Potemkin. That mix of order and anarchy is what we now call emergent behavior. Urban critics since Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs have known that cities have lives of their own, with neighborhoods clustering into place without any Robert Moses figure dictating the plan from above. But that understanding has entered the intellectual mainstream only in recent years—when Engels paced those Manchester streets in the 1840s, he was left groping blindly, trying to find a culprit for the city’s fiendish organization, even as he acknowledged that the city was notoriously unplanned.

pages: 1,509 words: 416,377

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty by Bradley K. Martin

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anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, four colour theorem, illegal immigration, informal economy, kremlinology, land reform, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Potemkin village, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, special economic zone, stakhanovite, UNCLOS, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

. *** Whether visiting factories and farms or simply riding for mile after mile through broad streets lined “with trees and neat, multi-story apartment buildings in the park-studded capital of Pyongyang, I found the contrast between what was being said by outsiders and what I was seeing with my own eyes very sharp indeed. I was not the first visitor to wonder whether the authorities had arranged for visitors to see only showplaces, built—like a Potemkin village of Czarist Russia—to disguise underlying poverty and impress the credulous. My chance to take an unguided tour came after I realized that my hosts never scheduled appointments for me from roughly one o’clock in the afternoon until three or four. Instead, they kept urging me to take a rest in my room. It dawned on me that the North Koreans observed the custom of the siesta.38 They were leaving that time free because the people I wanted to interview would be napping—and because the guide and interpreter themselves wanted to rest.

At that point Tanaka acknowledged that, living in an affluent residential area that was something of a cocoon, isolated from most North Koreans, he “did not know what the ordinary life in the republic was. So I cannot tell whether I lived a luxurious life or not.” He added, “As to the issue of hunger, as well, I really do not know about it.” Tanaka’s comments ring a bell. There is evidence that Kim Il-sung’s vastly more splendid isolation in real palaces—combined with the efforts of underlings to report only good news and expose him to Potemkin villages that oozed fake prosperity—kept the Great Leader from realizing the full extent of his people’s plight. There is other evidence, however, that even on some occasions when Kim did know what was really happening he was having such a good time as Great Leader that he didn’t want to inconvenience himself in order to deal with such mundane matters. Former ideology chief Hwang Jang-yop told of “an incident that occurred during the time when electricity supply was so poor that there were frequent blackouts even in Pyongyang.”

., 92 Perry, William, 635, 637, 647 ping-pong diplomacy, 139–140 Pochonbo, battle of, 39–40, 212, 214 population, 139 relocation, mass, 112, 232, 294, 408, 544, 626–627 police function, 6 manpower, 262 See also police state; Public Security; State Security police state, 60, 89, 262 intensification under Kim Jong-il, 397 See also Public Security; punishment; purges; State Security; surveillance political offenders. See punishment; purges; surveillance post–Korean War period (1950s), 93–119 Potemkin villages, 178, 499, 518–519 power, electric, 177 Kim Il-sung’s priority use of, 499–500 Pyongyang system modernized, 662 shortage, 295, 329, 345, 503, 638 and coal mines, 559, 643 easing, 663 propaganda. See culture; indoctrination; Kim Il-sung: personality cult of; Kim Jong-il: personality cult of; news media; subversion, of North Korea; subversion, of South Korea prostitution, 188, 201, 458, 590, 623 protest, 344–345, 441, 543, 545–547, 550, 611 Public Security (police), 262, 263–264, 269, 291 Pueblo incident, 128–133, 135, 534 punishment, 290–304 banishment (internal exile), 290, 293, 294, 298, 301–302, 557–558, 614–615, 616–628 without change in social class, 627 commitment to mental institution as, 589 demotion, for remaining dry-eyed after Kim Il-sung’s death, 508 detention centers, 290–291 execution, 290 of accused spy for South Korea, 549 of agriculture minister, 575, 624 of camp-inmate family for escape try, 609 of coup plotters, associates, 546 of defector attempting to rescue family members, 460 of exhumed corpse, ritual, 575 of father as little son watches, 301 of failed assassin, 695 for hearing gossip about Kim Jong-il’s private life, 687 of official’s wife, at drinking party, for criticizing Kim Jong-il, 287 of personality cult critics, 292 of political prison camp inmates, 299 public, suspended, 631 seen as alienating elite, 648 for sexual promiscuity, 201–202 of Southerners during Korean War, 89 of woman who told authorities she had slept with Kim Jong-il, 318 expulsion, from school or job, 290, 377, 429, 432, 574 house arrest, 293 political prisons and prison camps, 280, 290–291, 293–294, 302–304, 557–558, 560, 562–564, 615 “destroy three generations of a family,” 290, 572, 607, 609 experiments on prisoners, 604 families of spies who fail sent to, 541 guards’ testimony, 604–610 inmates’ testimony, 298–300, 596–600 leniency to families of offenders, new policies, 416, 572, 617, 631 prisoners released (1984–86), 589 production in, 562, 615 short stature of inmates, 609 slow-death camps, 291, 572, 604 uniforms worn in, 562, 609 prison, women’s, 616 prisons, ordinary, 291, 329–330, 562, 611–613 reformatories (labor drill units), 291 revolutionary work classes, 574, 580 purges, 293 of artists and literary people, 171, 240–243 military 1969–1970, as succession maneuver, 277 1992, of military dissidents, 546, 548, 673 in 1950s, 94–96, 106–107, 109–111, 292 thought examination committees in, 110 Pyongyang capture of, 80 construction in, 119, 295 controls on population and entry, 233, 294, 344, 405, 626–627 priority in distribution of goods, services, electricity, 449, 499–500, 576 rebuilding of, after Korean War, 93, 96 retaking of, 83 showcase role, 295 transportation in, 2, 177, 494 radio, external broadcasts pending congressional bills regarding, 677–678 receivers capable of tuning in, 6, 368, 379, 423–424, 431–432, 495, 496, 522, 526, 601 (see also subversion, of North Korea: balloon drops) Radio Free Asia, Korean-language service, 297, 379, 385, 392, 401, 407, 454, 455, 496, 522, 526, 601 South Korean, 310, 368, 385, 390, 406–407, 420, 422, 424, 432, 570, 584, 600–602 Voice of America, 368, 495–496 Rangoon bombing, 323 Reagan, Ronald, 152–153 regime change Gang of Four scenario, 492–493 South Korea’s caution, 672 U.S. advocates of, 86, 672–674, 677–678 See also coup d’état regime collapse, prospects, 433, 440, 449, 454, 457, 478, 494, 503, 522, 553–555, 626, 635, 659, 672, 683–684 religion belief as political offense, 292, 599 See also Buddhism, Christianity Republic of Korea (South Korea, ROK) formation of, 62 Respected Mother (omonim), 701–703 revisionism, Soviet and Eastern European, 121, 474, 574, 652 See also co-existence, peaceful; Stalinism: de-Stalinization Rhee Syngman Connally remarks abhorred by, 67 economic development lagging under, 100 land reform postponement sought by, 91 northward invasion hopes of, 62, 65–66, 79, 87, 99 overthrown, 104 Republic of Korea proclaimed by, 61 senility, 114 trusteeship opposed by, 54 Ridgway, Gen.

pages: 568 words: 162,366

The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea by Steve Levine

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Berlin Wall, California gold rush, computerized trading, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, fixed income, indoor plumbing, Khyber Pass, megastructure, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, Potemkin village, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, trade route

Crews from a workforce of fourteen thousand had been frantic to dress up the blocks of drab Soviet-era shops and apartments that the president’s motorcade would pass as it moved along Respublikansky Prospekt. And so they had slapped thousands of yards of white and brown vinyl onto the front and sides of more than a hundred buildings, giving them a halfway cheerful look. Nobody bothered disguising the back walls, since they would be out of sight. The overall effect was that of a Potemkin village. There was one other problem—the city’s name. The word akmola means “white grave,” which prompted much mocking from Kazakhs and foreigners scornful of their president’s grandiose venture. Nazarbayev, stung by the jibes, promptly ordered that the city be renamed Astana, which simply means “capital.” (One joke that made the rounds had a man meeting a friend on the street. “Hello,” he says, “I’d like you to meet my wife.

pages: 481 words: 120,693

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberation theology, light touch regulation, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Not especially, he said, but he wished it had been easier and quicker to identify and befriend the right decision maker in the civil service. RED OLIGARCHS On March 5, 2012, the three thousand members of the National People’s Congress gathered in Beijing for their annual ten-day meeting. The National People’s Congress is nominally the highest governmental body in China. In practice, real power resides with the twenty-five-member Politburo and its Standing Committee. The National People’s Congress partly serves as a political Potemkin village, a rubber-stamp legislature whose role is to create a pretense of popular representation in what is an authoritarian system, just as the “elections,” with their 99 percent majorities, did in the Soviet era. But the National People’s Congress isn’t purely ornamental. The NPC’s March meeting is held every year alongside the annual Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Together, the two events are known as the lianghui—or two meetings—and they form the most important event on the Chinese political calendar.

pages: 390 words: 119,527

Armed Humanitarians by Nathan Hodge

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Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, European colonialism, failed state, friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, jobless men, Khyber Pass, kremlinology, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, old-boy network, Potemkin village, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, walking around money

Surabi was infuriated; I later learned that she called all government officials in Kabul demanding that the Americans leave Bamyan. Colonel Spellmon, the commander of Task Force Warrior, flew up to Bamyan to smooth things over, but also warned the locals that if the Americans left, they would take all their money with them. The school visit in the Panjshir was not a mere photo opportunity intended to win over the Beltway elites with images of progress; the valley was not a Potemkin village. The Bagram outreach was a genuine effort to win friends and influence people in the communities around a vital base. Road projects were some measure of progress, even if they weren’t sustainable. But to replicate this success throughout Afghanistan would require a generation-long military commitment and a generation-long investment by the U.S. taxpayer. It would require a military and diplomatic apparatus that was completely reorganized around a new mission of building the rudiments of a functioning Afghan state.

pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

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A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

“While it was perhaps natural and inevitable that languages like Fortran and its successors should have developed out of the concept of the von Neumann computer as they did, the fact that such languages have dominated our thinking for twenty years is unfortunate. It is unfortunate because their long-standing familiarity will make it hard for us to understand and adopt new programming styles which one day will offer far greater intellectual and computational power.” Is the entire edifice of software engineering as we know it today a Potemkin village facade? Do we need to start over from the ground up? Today, one vocal advocate of this view is Jaron Lanier, the computer scientist whose dreadlocked portrait was briefly imprinted on the popular imagination as the guru of virtual reality during that technology’s brief craze in the early 1990s. Lanier says that we have fallen into the trap of thinking of arbitrary inventions in computing as “acts of God.”

pages: 406 words: 113,841

The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, bank run, basic income, big-box store, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, job automation, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, microcredit, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, payday loans, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

Ten thousand at any one time are sanctioned, out of 180,000 on cash assistance.” Community Voices Heard had documented stories of welfare recipients either doing make-work or literally having to sit hours a day doing nothing in a jobs center that is such in name only, just so that the Big Apple’s welfare bureaucracies could say that work requirements were being met. It was a façade worthy of the fabled Potemkin village creators. Similar situations abound around the country. In 2012, in California alone, according to Jessica Bartholow, 72,000 adults were being sanctioned with a loss of food stamps because they couldn’t find jobs. All of this makes for a double-whammy on the poorest and most difficult to employ section of the population. In the middle of this extraordinary recession, noted Youdelman with deliberate understatement, ramping up punitive enforcement efforts when the poorest of the poor attempted to gain food assistance “seemed odd and counter-intuitive to us.”

pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

They dispute the evidence and data about weak economic dynamism by claiming that current methodologies to measure the growth of productivity, prices, and GDP fail to capture technological shifts generally and the current innovation spurt specifically. Consequently, the real economy is driven by innovation more than is suggested by economic data. It is statistics, not the real economy, which show the innovation illusion. There is a problem with the map, not the territory. National accounts are rather like Potemkin villages: they hide the reality. This argument comes in three different instalments. First, recent economic data cover a period when cyclical effects have hidden the structural shifts taking place in the Western economy. Second, there is a growing disconnect between recorded data in national accounts and the real improvements of products created by new technology. In this way, the real or social value of innovation is higher than the recorded market value of the same innovation, and the gap between them has grown recently.

pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

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23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, turn-by-turn navigation, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

But other times Google would identify behavior that it judged an attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in its ranking system and would adjust the system to shore up those weaknesses—relegating those using that method to the bottom of the results pile. Generally, the places that got such treatment had no business showing up in the upper reaches of results for popular keywords: they sneakily worked their way up by creating Potemkin villages full of “link farms” designed to pump up a PageRank. Nonetheless, companies whose sites were downgraded in that matter were often outraged. “It’s not like we’ve put all our eggs in one basket,” said the president of an SEO company called WebGuerrilla to CNET in October 2002, “it’s just that there’s no other basket.” That was the month that a company called SearchKing sued Google after a bad night at the Google dance lowered its PageRank score from 8 to 4 and its business tanked.

pages: 506 words: 167,034

Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane

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affirmative action, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, dark matter, Donald Trump, Donner party, feminist movement, financial independence, invisible hand, Magellanic Cloud, placebo effect, Potemkin village, publish or perish, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, space pen, Stephen Hawking, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent, your tax dollars at work

During our first break from the Kodak moments I pulled my family to the beach. I would see Donna again, so I devoted my time to my mom and children. The kids were now old enough to make the beach house visit after being cleared by the flight surgeon. As I had been in previous launch good-byes, I was honest with them now about the risks. I didn’t talk up the danger, but neither did I paint a Potemkin village for them. SinceChallenger ’s loss I was even more determined to keep them informed. I had heard that one of the older children watchingChallenger ’s destruction from the LCC roof had screamed, “Daddy, you said this could never happen!” I wanted my children and mom to know it could happen and to be prepared as much as possible. I was filled with a father’s pride as I watched my children. Pat was in the final weeks of his senior year at Notre Dame.

pages: 598 words: 169,194

Bernie Madoff, the Wizard of Lies: Inside the Infamous $65 Billion Swindle by Diana B. Henriques

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, break the buck, British Empire, centralized clearinghouse, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, corporate raider, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Thorp, financial deregulation, financial thriller, fixed income, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, index fund, locking in a profit, mail merge, merger arbitrage, money market fund, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, riskless arbitrage, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Small Order Execution System, source of truth, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, transaction costs, traveling salesman

On Madoff’s orders, he kept a supply of old letterhead stationery and used it when backdated paperwork was needed for files that regulators wanted to see. In time, he even ordered the creation of a software program that made it look to an observer as if a trader at one computer terminal were buying or selling for an investor’s account, when in fact the “trader” was merely exchanging keystrokes with another staff member at a computer hidden in a room down the hall. This Potemkin village paper trail became so convincing that Madoff was able to fool dozens of insufficiently sceptical regulators and inadequately observant lawyers and accountants for years. Another consequence of the SEC’s breakup of the casual “friends and family” network run by Avellino & Bienes was that Madoff came to rely far more on those larger, more professionally marketed sources of cash known as hedge funds.

The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World (Hardback) - Common by Alan Greenspan

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air freight, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, equity premium, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, North Sea oil, oil shock, open economy, Pearl River Delta, pets.com, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, reserve currency, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, working-age population, Y2K, zero-sum game

Accordingly, the published levels of Chinese GDP are probably reasonably useful in evaluating the resources needed for its production— that is, as a measure of the value of needed input. Even after adjusting for the questionable quality of some of China's data, the results of the reforms that commenced in the late 1970s remain truly remarkable. One needs only to observe the vast changes in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, and the lesser but still real changes in the rest of the country, to conclude that China is anything but a Potemkin village. In my experience, it has been the technocrats in the Chinese government—mostly in the central bank, the finance ministry, and, surprisingly, the regulatory agencies—who have pressed for market initiatives. Most of them, however, serve only in advisory capacities. The key policy de- 308 More ebooks visit: http://www.ccebook.cn ccebook-orginal english ebooks This file was collected by ccebook.cn form the internet, the author keeps the copyright.

pages: 934 words: 232,651

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 by Anne Applebaum

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active measures, affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, centre right, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, land reform, language of flowers, means of production, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, price mechanism, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Slavoj Žižek, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, union organizing, urban planning

Those who disobeyed any of the rules could be put in a punishment barrack and deprived of food or could be sent to spend the night lying on a plank in a “wet” cell, where water seeped in from the sides, sometimes knee-deep. To observe all of these Soviet innovations, and presumably to offer suggestions for improvement, Soviet advisers paid periodic visits to the camp, as did Rákosi. As in the USSR a Potemkin village was created in anticipation of their arrival: prisoners were cleaned, workplaces were tidied up, flowers were even planted around the camp perimeter. Just as the Gulag began to close down after Stalin died, so too did Recsk cease to operate after the Soviet leader’s demise. Garasin’s reward—or perhaps his punishment—for importing a Soviet-style concentration camp to Hungary was to become, in subsequent years, the Hungarian ambassador to Mongolia.

pages: 710 words: 164,527

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, deindustrialization, European colonialism, facts on the ground, fiat currency, financial independence, floating exchange rates, full employment, global reserve currency, imperial preference, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, margin call, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, New Journalism, open economy, Paul Samuelson, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, psychological pricing, reserve currency, road to serfdom, seigniorage, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, the market place, trade liberalization, Works Progress Administration

“If there was no one left to appease,” Keynes scoffed, echoing White’s view of the State Department, “the FO would feel out of a job altogether.”65 Remarkably, given Keynes’s leading role on the front line of the financial side of Britain’s war efforts, Churchill paid little heed to Keynes’s labors. His five-volume history of the war contains a single reference to the great economist.66 The PM’s strategy throughout the war was to focus on surviving it. Central to that strategy was to cultivate Roosevelt and his personal emissaries (such as Hopkins), whom he sought relentlessly to entrance with his Potemkin village of Anglo-America. All else was distraction. Keynes, though he allowed his frustrations to bubble over in front of the Americans more often than did Churchill, nonetheless shared with the PM the tendency ultimately to ascribe kindly intentions to his negotiating counterparts, even when these were not manifest in their behavior. But things are sometimes exactly as they seem. Morgenthau and White were not making irrational demands; they were simply making unpalatable ones.

pages: 901 words: 234,905

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Chapter 11 The Fear of Nihilism THE FINAL FEAR of biological explanations of the mind is that they may strip our lives of meaning and purpose. If we are just machines that let our genes make copies of themselves, if our joys and satisfactions are just biochemical events that will someday sputter out for good, if life was not created for a higher purpose and directed toward a noble goal, then why go on living? Life as we treasure it would be sham, a Potemkin village with only a façade of value and worth. The fear comes in two versions, religious and secular. A sophisticated version of the religious concern was formulated by Pope John Paul II in a 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth.”1 The Pope acknowledged that Darwin’s theory of evolution is “more than just a hypothesis,” because converging discoveries in many independent fields, “neither sought nor fabricated,” argue in its favor.

pages: 1,199 words: 332,563

Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition by Robert N. Proctor

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bioinformatics, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, index card, Indoor air pollution, information retrieval, invention of gunpowder, John Snow's cholera map, language of flowers, life extension, New Journalism, optical character recognition, pink-collar, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, publication bias, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, speech recognition, stem cell, telemarketer, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Upton Sinclair, Yogi Berra

In some contacts with potential academic or professional supporters, we indicated the Rogers & Cowan affiliation, but said that we were seeking third-party assistance on social issues for a range of clients. At no time did we mention that we were researching on behalf of RJR.34 Of course what really makes this pretense of “corporate and social responsibility” ring hollow is the brute fact of needless megadeaths. One might as well (again) talk about the high ethics of a criminal gang, or the quality of construction at some Potemkin village. USEFUL ALLIES, DEAR FRIENDS What is the point of sports sponsorships? The companies get good advertising, of course, and therefore increased profits (“positive sales ‘ruboff’ ”) but also good PR and political allies. Philip Morris defended its bowling program, for example, by noting that Merit cigarettes were helping to build awareness of the sport in “a smoker-friendly environment.”

pages: 945 words: 292,893

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

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clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, digital map, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, microbiome, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, selection bias, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise

As such, Ivy and Dinah and Konrad and Zeke ought to have been freaking out at this point. But none of them—not even Zeke—reacted very much. “You’ve all thought it too,” Sean said. “Even an Asp-hole like me can see it in your faces.” “Okay, maybe we’ve all thought it,” Dinah admitted. “How could you not think it? But, Sean, what you might not have seen, being based on the ground, is how serious everyone up here is about making this work. If it were just a Potemkin village, we’d be seeing different stuff.” Sean held his hands up, palms out, placating her. “Can we just agree that there might be a range of views down on the ground? And that some people, perhaps highly placed, see its primary function as an opiate of the masses? Like the video you pop into your car’s DVD player to keep the kids quiet during a long drive.” “People like that are not going to be our friends when it comes to getting the resources we need,” Ivy said.