(of whom there are 160 now) Unfortunately, we have some pressing commitments at the moment, which will last up to January 27th.
This means that there will be few, if any, posts until then.
Nonetheless, we certainly don’t plan to stop blogging, and here’s a look at some of the topics that are going to come up once we free up some time:
Annals of Trick-Tankery: a critique of 2008 Freedom House ratings, how the scores are biased depending on the foreign policies of the state in question and of the functioning of the organization itself; how the Economist Democracy Index is a lot better, albeit still flawed, and our own calculation of Russia’s, the US’s, and Georgia’s state of democracy according to its methodology. (about 1/2 complete)
A look at Heritage Foundation’s newly released 2008 Index of Economic Freedom.
A critique of The Myth of the Authoritarian Model.
A look at history: namely, the history of the death penalty in Russia, focusing on the law codes of Kievan Rus which were unique for their (medieval) time in their abhorrence towards cruel and unusual punishments. (planned)
A Digression: Education as the Elixir of Economic Growth. We consider that the single most important thing towards enabling economic growth isn’t the amount of freedom in an economy (as long as it isn’t planned), the resources or whether the country is democratic or authoritarian. It’s human capital, which is best proxied by education, which can be measured by such things as literacy rates, tertiary graduation rates, PISA maths/science scores, TIMMS math/science scores and average years of schooling.
Plotting a graph of the education index against GDP / capita reveals a very strong correlation, which becomes very apparent when the effects of oil wealth (which artificially inflates GDP) or planned-economy legacy (which artificially lowers GDP) is factored in. The conclusion is, as long as a country pursues basically sound macroeconomic policies AND has a well-educated population, catch-up to developed levels is ineviatable. This is also the reason why Eastern Europe and China will develop much more rapidly than Brazil, Mexico or India.
A look at the bizarre Final Phase conspiracy theorists, who assert that the Soviet Union never collapsed, commies still run Russia (and China and Poland) and are planning to invade the West with tens of thousands of tanks hidden underneath Mount Yamantau…or something like that.
Flotsam and Jetsam: lots of movies, books, etc, explore what happens during a zombie uprising somewhere in middle America. We’ll try to do the same for Russia. How will it fare relative to the rest of the world? We try to construct a ZPI (Zombie Preparedness Index), taking into account factors like population density, geographical barriers, environmental sustainability, firearms ownership, military strength, social cohesion, the transport system, connectivity and socio-economic development
From Da Russophile with Love