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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Russia, Ukraine, Population and Geometric Growth

      Jerry Pournelle recently published a comment from me. He had previously been discussing Russian population decline and said that Putin's aim in Crimea/Ukraine is a desperate search, not for territory but for more Russians. That is a reasonable position but I considered that there is a better way to get people.

Putin Needs Russians 
Presumably he doesn’t really understand how free enterprise works much better than Obama. He has plenty of money. all he has to do is put lots of it into child support, probably only of children who have at least 2 ethnic Russian grandparents though that would get a lot of western fingerwagging. 
If you tax something you will get less of it. if you subsidize it, enough, you will get more. 
That would be cheaper than wars. 
One of the lessons of wars since the industrial revolution is that a nation no longer gets powerful by grabbing the territory of unfriendly neighbors if you have to keep their recalcitrant population too. Britain learned this in Ireland and India & learned the opposite lesson about the strength of friends in Australia and Canada (& despite a little carelessness in 1776 in the US too). 
I once calculated that by 2050, at present rates of population growth <> [my article ] Yemen will have a larger population and a more aggressive population than Russia (more aggressive because poorer, more crowded and large families make young men more expendable). Not problems I wish on either.  
Best Wishes
Neil Craig
I am quite certain that Mr. Putin understands family incentives and tax breaks. And not wanting recalcitrant minorities is likely to look very high in his calculations. In the case of the Crimea the benefits of annexation outweigh the costs.  In the cast of the ‘stans’, it is better to lure the Russians to Russia; the land is not really wanted. With the Ukraine itself things get complicated.  I suspect Russians are quite capable of rational analysis on these issues.

      I like his gentle chiding of the possibility that Obama and his circle might have not an infinitely worse understanding of free markets than the ex-KGB colonel Putin has. Having read some speeches from both I have to accept he is probably right. Ditto on a whole range of other subjects.

      Jerry's site is one that should be read by anybody who is philosophically interested in politics rather than simply as a way of using tribalism to fleece the voters and by anybody who supports human progress. I am proud to say that his site and earlier writings are probably my primary political influence so you know who to blame.

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"Obama and his circle might have not an infinitely worse understanding of free markets than the ex-KGB colonel Putin has."

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” [Upton Sinclair]
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