среда, 2 марта 2022 г.

Contents

  I live in Russia and do not know much about the western countries and their customs, so, I excuse for any awkwardness in my blog and for bad English.

The aim of my blog is to promote the ideas of internet democracy. I believe that these ideas could really make the world better, if they are implemented.
Most impotant posts:







The market economy and reputation

Bitcoins and Freedom

Internet democracy

Self-curing society

Criticism of the book "Cloud democracy"

Personal responsibility of power

My blog in Russian:

https://grandrienko.com



Comments to old posts are appreciated.

Previously this blog contained an article about Russia and Ukraine, but I decided to delete it, because it has become dangerous to live in Russia and write about politics.

"The Medvedev effect" (about propaganda in Russia)

When the Nazis came to power in Germany, at first (before the war) there were no mass concentration camps in the country. The Nazis even tried to deport their Jews to Palestine, and they succeeded in deporting about 10% of German Jews:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haavara_Agreement

At the same time, the Nazis launched harsh anti-Jewish propaganda in the media. Ordinary Germans were convinced by the authorities that the Jews were to blame for all the problems of the country - unemployment, the Versailles Peace, and so on. At first, this propaganda had no effect on ordinary Germans, but later it led to anti-Jewish pogroms (“Kristallnacht”). So, neither the SS nor the police participated in these pogroms. Sometimes the police even stood up for the Jews. And Himmler offered to order the SS to protect the Jews, but Hitler considered this inappropriate.

Further, the action of propaganda was intensified many times as a result of the Anschluss of Austria, which awakened the imperial mentality of the Germans, and the war. As a result, Jewish emigration was forbidden in 1941, and the Holocaust happened.

The Holocaust was not beneficial to the leadership of Germany; it happened because anti-Jewish propaganda created a monster in the collective unconscious of the Germans (sorry for my Freudianism), and this monster gained power over the Nazis themselves.

A similar story happened in modern Russia. The Russian authorities (Putin) launched a tough anti-democratic propaganda; the purpose of this propaganda is to instill in Russians a dislike for the West and for the protest movement. In 2014, this propaganda intensified due to the annexation of Crimea, which awakened the imperial mentality of the Russians, and a new “cold war” with the West and Ukraine. As a result, something happened that is not beneficial to Putin himself: he had to dismiss in 2020 Dmitry Medvedev, who was president of Russia in 2008-2012.

Medvedev has not proven himself to be anything bad, but he has made it clear to the Russians that he is a democrat, and there was a “mini-thaw” in Russia under his presidency. Medvedev was a very convenient Putin’s successor whom Putin could trust. But a side effect of the state propaganda was that Russians developed a negative attitude towards the democrats in power, and this hit Medvedev. Now in Russia there is a certain percentage of citizens who blame the democrats in power for all the troubles of the country, and consider Putin himself a pro-Western democrat.

Another side effect of the propaganda in Russia has been the growth of pro-Stalinist sentiment among Russians: according to polls by the Levada centre, more than half of Russians are now Stalinists.

среда, 26 января 2022 г.

Consumer society and youtube

  Currently in the whole word (except probably North Korea) the consumer society is dominating. This is shown, for example, by the fact, that most people are anxious very much about their revenue and prosperity. As far as I know, there was not such anxiety in 19th century. The realities of our century, for example, are that during the wars people often suffer from economical sanctions more, than from the military operations themselves.

  Some people are trying to find out why such a situation has appeared. I have heard such interpretation from some people in Russia: “previously they wanted us to become communist builders, and now they want us to become consumers”. 
  I think that in reality the reason for emergence of the consumer society is unexpectedly banal: such mass media, as TV channels and radio stations, are obliged to put a lot of advertisement in their content, because they do not have other sources of revenue. And the excess of advertisement forms the consumer society itself.
  The first mass media were newspapers, which earned on direct sales. When radio and television appeared, these mass media appeared to have no such possibility of earnings – you can not directly pay for viewing a TV program. Because of that, TV and radio had to earn by the advertisements only. This problem in principle could be solved organizationally, in governments instituted a TV tax, calculated the ratings of TV channels and paid the channels a part of this tax, proportional to the channel’s rating. But this task proved too difficult for the politicians.
  A good amateur video concerning the subject: "history of stuff":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM

  In this video it is said, that the consumer society appeared mainly  in 1950th. This was the time when television became popular, so this video confirms the idea of the connection between the consumer society and TV ads.
  It is great that recently the paid subscription has appeared at youtube. I suppose, when the humanity transfers from TV to paid youtube, the "power of advertisment" will end. However I see that youtube bloggers place ads in their video, so I hope a next step will be made - direct payments to the authors of the videos on youtube (or transfering from youtube to Vimeo).

воскресенье, 24 октября 2021 г.

The market economy and reputation


  In market conditions, the larger the firm, the more profitable for it is to take care of its reputation. One-day firms, in particular, can only be small. It turns out that it is often beneficial for small firms to merge into large ones, but in practice this rarely happens for a number of reasons. However, there is another way: a large aggregator firm that provides quality control of the work of many small firms, providing them with a collective reputation. An example of such an aggregator is Uber, which has brought together small taxi drivers, providing them with a kind of collective reputation.
  I believe it would be a great good if there were Uber analogues for nannies, housekeepers, repairmen, electricians, etc. Such a company would take a share of the earnings of these nannies and housekeepers, and in return, check the quality of their work, and fire those who did not perform well. There is a kind of paradox here - it is beneficial for an individual nanny to have her work checked with the possibility of dismissal in case of poor quality of work, since those nannies who pass the selection will have a good reputation, and this is very beneficial for them. As an example, I can cite ordinary taxi services: if there are many complaints about a driver, the service fires him, despite the fact that he brought it money.
  If there is an analogue of Uber for nannies, it will solve the problem of fertility in Western countries, as well as the problem of “Idiocracy”, since people will be able to combine education, career, and childbirth (parents will outsource parenting to a good nanny).
  Further, I propose a new concept: “socially useful commercial advertisement”. This is a commercial advertisement that is useful and beneficial for three parties: the advertiser, the media that hosts it, and the end consumer. The principle of this advertisement is essentially based on the same “taxi principle” described above - to terminate the contract with unscrupulous advertisers for the sake of collective reputation.
  Suppose there is a firm that makes cereal breads; these breads are good for health, and the company knows about it. Further, this company offers some media to place an advertisement, and offers to conduct a study (expertise) on the impact of these breads on health. Because expertise is expensive, the firm also pays relatively large sums of money for it. Here again the mentioned principle comes up - not always “those who pay the piper call the tune”. For the media, if it is large enough, reputation is more important than this money, therefore it is interested in conducting an honest examination; in other words, money is received for the examination, but not for its result. And this is already beneficial to end consumers.
  It can be assumed that many bloggers ask themselves similar questions when they advertise. Obviously, it is more profitable for a blogger to advertise a relatively high-quality product than a low-quality one.

Friendship vs sectarianism

 I have developed a rather ambiguous attitude towards friendship. On the one hand, such qualities as honesty, kindness, adequacy, etc. help make friends (or rather keep them). But at the same time, there is an opposite tendency: educated and intelligent people, on average, are more lonely than ordinary people. Arthur Schopenhauer wrote about this.

Friendship needs common interests. For a large number of people, such interests can be football, beer gatherings, fishing, etc. For intelligent people, such things are often not very suitable.

The problem of lack of communication is not common among the sectarians. I think people join sects not because their faith in itself makes someone happy; the reason is much more prosaic (although the sectarians themselves are not aware of it) - sects help people to unite, to acquire connections. In a sect, a person can find a wife / husband, rent or lease an apartment, etc. Since it is necessary to have large issues (“snakes in one’s head”) to join a sect, it turns out that large issues make a person more successful and adaptable.

The general idea of this post can be expressed as follows: for friendship, people need common goals and hobbies, but the lower a person's level of critical thinking, the easier it is for him to end up with all sorts of erroneous goals or unhelpful hobbies, thanks to which he will unite with those like him.

Schopenhauer wrote:

Nothing betrays less knowledge of humanity than to suppose that, if a man has a great many friends, it is a proof of merit and intrinsic value: as though men gave their friendship according to value and merit! as though they were not, rather, just like dogs, which love the person that pats them and gives them bits of meat, and never trouble themselves about anything else! The man who understands how to pat his fellows best, though they be the nastiest brutes, — that’s the man who has many friends.

It is the converse that is true. Men of great intellectual worth, or, still more, men of genius, can have only very few friends; for their clear eye soon discovers all defects, and their sense of rectitude is always being outraged afresh by the extent and the horror of them.

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.

To live alone is the fate of all great souls

 

понедельник, 13 сентября 2021 г.

Social lifts in big politics

 I am a supporter of democracy, but with one important caveat: I am not satisfied with the lack of efficiency in modern democracies of the West. Western countries now have too many problems, and local politicians, as a rule, do not even try to voice these problems.

  I would like more people to discuss this question - is it possible to improve modern democracy? The main goal is whether it is possible to build social and political institutions so that smart people often come to power in a democracy.
  My idea is that participatory budgeting is needed: a system in which citizens of a country vote via the Internet on how to distribute the budget money. With such a system, ministers will be able to collect funding for their departments through the participatory budgeting portal, which means that they (ministers) will be less dependent on the president  / prime minister and more on the population. Accordingly, rarer will there be a situation when the president / prime minister will alienate a too outstanding minister from power as a possible competitor for himself.
  The second point is that with participatory budgeting, people and organizations that brought a smart person to power will be able to make money on this. Suppose a party is created that declares its goal to find and promote people with outstanding qualities who will become good leaders. Having made a certain person president, such a party will be able to collect its own reward through participatory budgeting: the more this president becomes popular, the more the party will earn. I.e.,  theoretically, under such a system, finding and promoting an outstanding person will become a kind of business for party members.
  If we assume that big money gives politicians the opportunity to come to power, then participatory budgeting can turn this to the benefit of society: a good politician will be able to make big money on popularity and real achievements (only with a time delay - first spend, and only then earn).

вторник, 25 мая 2021 г.

About democracy

 I live in Russia, and many people around me call themselves opponents of democracy. Their logic is simple - we can live pretty well without democracy. I will prove that there are holes in this logic.

Currently in the world there are quite prosperous monarchical countries - Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, etc. But these monarchies are very different from the ancient monarchies - Eastern despotism. This is explained by the fact that in modern monarchies, which are adjacent to democracies, the authorities must be good, otherwise they will be overthrown. In civilizations that did not know what democracy in general was, there was such an oppression of the upper classes to the lower classes that it is scary for the reader.

When an authoritarian (for example, a monarchy) state is in the neighborhood of democracy, the authorities in it are afraid of revolution and therefore cannot afford to exploit the population too much. They understand that if the population lives worse than in the neighboring democracy, it will arrange a revolution and change the government to a democratic one. In other words, democracies exert an “ennobling” effect on neighboring authoritarian ones. Despite this impact, these authoritarian countries often pose a military threat to them.

Ancient Macedonia was more civilized than ancient Persia, despite the fact that both of these states were monarchies. This is explained by the fact that Macedonia bordered on Greece with its democratic traditions.

Another example from history is Germany in the first half of the 20th century. Germany was an authoritarian country in the neighborhood of democratic France and England, and these countries exerted an “ennobling” influence on it; thanks to the English and French revolutions, in 20th century Germany there was no serfdom and other vestiges of the Middle Ages. And despite this influence, Germany posed a military threat to England and France.

One more example is the confrontation between medieval Muscovy and the Novgorod Republic. When the Novgorod Republic existed, the peasants both in it and in the Muscovy were relatively free. But after the conquest of Novgorod by Moscow, a gradual enslavement of the peasants began, which reached its peak under Peter the Great.

If democracy in the world is discredited, then the world will slide into the second Middle Ages, and this possibility frightens me very much now. The likelihood of such a scenario will be higher if in current confrontation between Russia and Ukraine the latter is defeated.