Did 1989 matter? British Marxists and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc

New Historical Express

November 9 is the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (amongst other incidents in modern German history). This is traditionally viewed as a major turning point for the international communist movement, although I would argue that it didn’t ‘shock’ the movement like the events of 1956. I thought I would post a link to a paper I wrote in 2010 on the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and how it was received by British Marxists (from the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Socialist Workers Party and the Communist Party of Britain). Perhaps the most ‘controversial’ paper that I have written, the argument I make in it is:

This paper will focus on the Marxist left in Britain to demonstrate this argument, to show that the impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite states was for the British left much more diffuse, rather than…

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Al Pacino’s Inspirational Speech in Any Given Sunday

Classic Drugged-Out Shows – Santana at Woodstock

Carlos Santana was one of the many performers who wanted to be stoned at Woodstock.

Washington D.C.’s disastrous new streetcar line

Three Cheers for Sweatshops, Creating Opportunity and Upward Mobility for the World’s Poor People

International Liberty

From a leftist perspective, making lots of money is not necessarily a bad thing. Rich Hollywood celebrities almost always get a free pass, especially if they embrace statist beliefs.

The crowd in Silicon Valley also is generally forgiven for being rich, perhaps because they donate to politicians like Bernie Sanders.

Folks on Wall Street, by contrast, apparently are the epitome of evil. Even when they support new regulations such as Dodd-Frank, that doesn’t put them in the good graces of today’s leftists. And if they run private equity funds that earn “carried interest,” that puts them in the arch-villain category.

But there are exceptions to all these rules. If you’re a gazillionaire from the entertainment industry, even if you’re a minority, you can get yourself in trouble for the ostensible crime of committing capitalism.

And that’s what is happening to Beyoncé. She is getting lots of bad press…

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Technology and Public Goods

Brad Taylor's Blog

As a wise man once taught me in a public choice class, excludability depends on the state of technology. Example:1 the Pay & Sit park bench.

Design student Fabian Brunsing has devised a fiendish device that makes pay toilets seem positively munificent: Dubbed “Pay & Sit: The Private Bench,” it consists of a bench covered with retractable metal spikes and a coin slot. If you want to sit down on the bench without an array of spikes jamming you in the keister, you’ve got to pay €0.50 (about 70 cents US).

As seen below, this causes the spikes to retract so you can sit on the bench, and also activates a timer. Shortly before the timer expires, you’re warned by a buzzer to get up; then, the spikes shoot back up. Beware!

Spikes, it seems, provide strong incentives.

Hat tip: Anthony Martin.

1. Jumper Colon!

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Money makes people right-wing and inegalitarian

Figure 1. Evidence on switchers: The percentage of people who switched right (conservative), and previously did not vote conservative, after a lottery win

Source: Money makes people right-wing and inegalitarian | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal.

A list of bands banned by the Soviet Union circa 1985

Image

More aircraft should have belly cam as a safety measure

The surprising number of our accidents result from cabin crew not knowing how badly damaged parts of the aircraft are or the engine is on fire or has fallen off. This should be solved by been able to turn on cameras that give pilots a clear view of the various parts of the aircraft. They should not have to rely on warnings from passengers and cabin crew.

The sharemarket speaks: The Value of Offshore Secrets – Evidence from the #PanamaPapers

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