America today feels like the last days of the Soviet Union

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/15/insulin-lines.html

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#2

The opposition doesn’t oppose? I wonder where he gets his news.

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#3

Maybe we should build the wall after all; that way, when our society crumbles and our government implodes, Vladimir Putin can stand in front of it and say:

“Mr. Trump, tear down this wall!”

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#4

Word.

That does make it hard to keep alive the thing with feathers that never asks a crumb of me.

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#5

There is a bit of false equivalency in Haque’s article when he says “the Republicans and Democrats don’t differ very much”. The more accurate statement would be that “the Republicans and the Democratic establishment don’t differ very much on fiscal policy and the neoliberal consensus”.

Otherwise, the article is dead-on about the general Soviet-isation of American life during this late-stage capitalist phase. We’ve also seen it happening in small ways. For example, when Whole Foods implemented its “order-to-shelf” inventory management system it basically established a centralised command economy for the corporation. The result was Soviet-style empty store shelves in a capitalist enterprise.

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#6

It’s like reverse Tolstoy… All ascendant nations are ascendant in their own ways, but the ones teetering on collapse are exactly the same… I guess.

Note

This is just a joke. I don’t actually believe this.

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#7

That’s not a great example. All corporations are internally like giant command economies, this one just had a terrible implementation of inventory:

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#8

Most corporations are internally command economies of some sort. Although it is interesting to see that Whole Foods owned by Amazon is particularly incompetent in theirs. A popular idea lately is that while Soviet-style command economies failed, that was due to the limited information and data processing ability they had and that a modern command economy with the Internet and deep learning would succeed. Maybe not.

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#9

Depressing, but the excerpt feels accurate. Off to read the whole thing.

ETA

Americans are offered a set of false choices — between implosion, the Republican way, or collapse, the Democrat way. Neither of these, though, amounts to progress. The result is the functional equivalent of one-party rule.

I would argue that depends on how you define “progress”. Things are progressing, and when the end comes, it (hopefully) won’t be THE end. Something else will form. “The only way out is through.”

ETA 2

While reading the whole post on Medium, this came up on my playlist and just seemed to fit well:

Life’s been so good to me,
Has it been good to you?
Has it been everything
That you expected it to be?
Was it as good for you
As it was good for me?
And was it everything
That it was all set up to be?

In the middle of a big tornado,
On the tip of everyone’s tongue.
In the belly of a giant whale,
All the girls just want to have fun.
In the look of a frightened neighbor,
In a big warm bed at night,
In a broken elevator,
In the teeth of a dog that bites.
In the middle of a revolution,
In the look of a child’s face,
In the silence of the dinner table,
In the stillness of disgrace.

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#10

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#11

I agree – specifically, a terrible Soviet-style implementation that prioritised the requirements of the corporations and its shareholders (analogous to the CPSU and senior party members) over the consumers it supposedly served. It’s a question of the mentality informing the system, in both cases one where the consumer/end-user/citizen is often contemptuously placed last.

Facebook’s core system is grounded to an even greater degree in this Soviet-style mentality. Meanwhile, say what you will about Walmart (and you can say a lot), their supply chain’s primary focus is getting goods to consumers.

The crappy inventory system was in place before Amazon bought WF, and Amazon immediately went to work trying to fix it. Amazon’s issues are more about how they handle labour, and it’s by intent rather than incompetence.

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#12

Reminds me of an interesting book I read just after the Great Recession:

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#13

Orlov is great. Here’s the original presentation:

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2006-12-04/closing-collapse-gap-ussr-was-better-prepared-collapse-us/

Evgeny Morozov has also written a lot on parallels between the declining Soviet Union and the modern U.S.

I’d also add this book to the reading list. It’s not specifically about the last decades of the USSR, but it does indirectly reference on some of the core systemic problems that afflicted it and that currently afflict Western society:

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#14

In a lot of very real ways, a Democratic administration would be doing the polar opposite of what Trump is doing. They would not have passed last years’ tax bill and in fact would be raising marginal rates, most likely. They would be preserving ACA and preparing for universal health insurance. They would not be mass detaining immigrants. And so on. These are not little differences, although it is true that the Democrats have not confronted the corporate powers that fund both parties in any very direct or radical way.

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#15

Well, good thing we already got that oligarchy thing in place to to avoid the rush.

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#16

Your faith in the corporate-funded democratic establishment is far greater than mine.

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#17

I assume that was a brief, instagrammable moment. Hasn’t affected any of the stores around here, to my knowledge.

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#18

Awesome Sanders DolchStossLegende.

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#19

America today feels like the last days of the Soviet Union

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#20

When was it otherwise in the US?

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