Tag: capital

“Ты куда?”: Where has Russia’s Brain Gone? (Borscht Report #6)

 

The утечка мозгов/brain drain has been a concern for Russia since the 1990s, when the collapse of the USSR and the resulting political and economic chaos pushed those with sufficient means and desire to escape to do just that. All told, about 2.5 million Russians of various ethnic and economic backgrounds left the country between 1989 and 1999, heading predominantly for the US, Israel, and the EU, especially Germany. Despite the massive gains which the Russian economy saw in the first decade of the 21st century, a further 1.6-2 million people have fled the country since 2000. It would be easy to posit that this is mostly the result of economic issues in the country brought about by Western sanctions and the fall in hydrocarbon prices, or a lack of high paying jobs for skilled people. And these are issues, but a more interesting, and telling, one is at play when we parse the data before and after 2012. 

Dispatch from Bucharest: Are we Having Another Revolution?

 

shutterstock_171837251Greeting from troubled Europe, Ricochet and America! Romania is in political turmoil. I write from calm, prosperous, populous Bucharest, probably the safest, least troubled capital in Europe. The protests and political turmoil here have nothing to do with immigration. Horror came over the weekend — I thank again my fellow Ricochetti who inquired as to my safety! — when a nightclub burned down; there are nearly three dozen dead, another seven dozen wounded. These poor souls have somehow been connected to a political anger that is rarely voiced and never articulated here.

It is no explanation, but the facts are as follows: Prime Minister Victor Ponta will resign. The leader of the party running the legislature — and, therefore, the government — made the announcement; Ponta himself has not yet spoken. In name, this is a socialist party or social-democrat party. In deed, it is the party of the oligarchy. The PM runs the country, but it is not clear on what leash he runs.

The man who runs Ponta’s socialist party is Mr. Liviu Dragnea, of whose criminal deeds no one is in doubt. He is a new, corrupt man of ambition representing one of the more important fiefdoms. He has risen through the party without any connection to popular politics. He resigned from government earlier this year — in happier times — because of an unfortunate indictment. This is not necessarily held against him by the oligarchy (I hope to explain the basics of Romanian politics in a sequel post). For now, let me give you a view of democratic politics here.

A Capital Idea

 

Washington, D.C., has been the capital of the United States since 1790. In the intervening years, of course, the country has expanded to the Pacific, and the population has spread southward and westward. So isn’t it time to at least think about moving the capital to another region? Perhaps to a red state? Perhaps to a warm area? Perhaps to a city where it’s possible to drive for more than three minutes without becoming hopelessly lost? I’m sorry, Phoenix, Arizona, but I nominate you.

Now, before you Phoenicians get too upset, think about the upside. The capital rains money on those who live and work with, for or near it. According to most estimates, six if the ten richest counties in the country are in the D.C. metro area. Plus, the Feds already own over 74% of the land in Arizona, so you’re used to them, and there’s plenty of room for shiny new edifices. As for the old ones back in D.C., they’ll become museums and such, and the tourists will continue to flock there. They’ll even be able to get near the old White House again (or, as it would likely be renamed, the White House Museum). We’ll have plenty of time to create jokes about what will be exhibited there.

Member Post

 

Interesting perspective from Neal Stephenson (author of Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and The Baroque Cycle): In Venn diagram terms, the pool of people with brilliant, world-changing ideas has a very small overlap with the pool of those who are capable of being the CEOs of funded projects. “Now that,” as a tech CEO recently told me, […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.