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Linky World


[C1] To combat infanticide, China set up “safe havens” for abandonment (like we do with fire stations). Unfortunately, so many babies are being abandoned that they’re shutting them down.

[C2] Beijing’s smoking bans are not going over well.

[C3] Residents of Beijing are fleeing the pollution.

[C4] China, where wealthy women embark on an expensive campaign to find a status-appropriate man.

[C5] Made in China means more than you might think.

[C6] From Aaron David: I find propaganda completely fascinating

Latin America:

mayan art photo

Image by vaticanus Linky World

[LA1] Is Puerto Rico’s debt crisis about to cause a mass exodus? How can those left behind rebound?

[LA2] Maybe the solution for Puerto Rico is to ditch the US and rejoin Spain.

[LA3] Peter Weber is worried that the leftist leaders of Latin America today may become the rightist leaders of Latin America of yesterday.

[LA4] I made a bit of a joke a while back about Elian Gonzales getting on to Facebook when he “gets enough Internet”, but Cuba’s Internet problem is serious.

[LA5] Good news in Mexico? Murders are declining. Bad news in Mexico, the economy is struggling. The two were supposed to be connected.

[LA6] Protests in Brazile, demanding that the president be removed. Such calls seem to be frequent in South America.


african art photo

Image by thebard1 Linky World

[Af1] Ryan Cooper looks at why African independence turned out to be such a disaster.

[Af2] Laura Seay and Alex de Waal discuss how to help people victims of international violent conflicts.

[Af3] Ayo Sogunro looks at what Africa might look like if colonialism had never happened. Benajamin Denison and Andrew Lebovich argue that there were already borders before colonialization, thank you very much.


[N1] Nima Sanandaji argues that Scandinavia’s success as a social democracy is exaggerated, and it’s success was despite rather than because of its welfare state.

[N2] Sweden’s tumble in the international education rankings has been blamed on school choice, but could at least some of it be immigration?

[N3] Sweden is experiencing white flight.

[N4] This is a pretty brilliant ploy, reminding me of the climactic line of A Time To Kill.

[N5] We think of Icelanders as being Nordic, but they might be more Anglo-Saxon.

[N6] Looking more closely at the Iceland miracle.

Eastern Europe:

hungarian art photo

Image by Orin Zebest Linky World

[EE1] Hungary may be trying to cozy up to the Russians, but they’re learning English.

[EE2] Kiev has some pretty attractive cops, and they’re available for selfies.

[EE3] Charles Brett kind of likes Estonia’s digital citizenship regime.

[EE4] Serfdom has consequences.

[EE5] Andy Pascal went to his summer house in Romania and discovered it had been replaced by a cornfield. More on the history of house theft.

[EE6] Via Aaron David, a look at ancient Greek art.


[Ra1] Australia has something of a Wyoming problem with the Northern Territory, which is insufficiently populated for statehood but too big to be ignored. What about merging it with South Australia?

[Ra2] I hadn’t thought about it explicitly in this manner, but the Australia-Siberia connection kind of makes sense. And here is Stanislav Zakharkin talking about the Siberian movement.

[Ra3] In case you were curious about how to go about purchasing a Russian tank.

[Ra4] Dostoevsky Reads Hegel in Siberia and Bursts into Tears.

[Ra5] Castrating sex offenders? What could go wrong?

[Ra6] A look at Alice Springs, Australia’s murder capital.

Image by Cea. Linky World

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47 thoughts on “Linky World

    • C3: One of the best decisions of the Chinese government was to go on epic of transit construction in order to avoid some of the bad effects of growing car culture. It isn’t as effective as people would like but Chinese cities would be even more polluted and unlivable if everybody had to drive everywhere. This is also a good argument on why industrializing countries should seriously consider the more expensive and slower route that uses cleaner, up to date technology rather than the faster, stinking route. Learn from the 19th and early 20th century people.

      C4: This is an inadvertent result of China’s Family Planning Policy. From having to work with a lot of Chinese immigrants, I learned that China’s dating culture is very materialistic. A lot of this is because the male:female ratio is so skewed that a woman’s parents or sometimes a woman can demand a lot from a potential mate. China being a Confucian country despite Mao’s best efforts results in a lot of women listening to their parents on who to date.

      LA2: If Spain decided to treat Cuba and Puerto Rico has overseas provinces rather than colonies during the 19th century, like France did with some of it’s possessions overseas, than they would probably still be part of Spain today.


  1. LA1 – people have been leaving Puerto Rico for decades. Its only now with a birthrate that’s half of what it was during the West Side Story days that it’s finally causing a net decline in the islands population


  2. Af1: This is pretty much standard liberal thought on the topic. I happen to agree with it but it is basically summing up all the assumed scholarship in a few paragraphs. A big problem with a lot of African independence movements was that they tended to be lead by one charismatic figure rather than a collection of people like the American Revolution or Meiji Restoration. When you have one person has a figure, it leads to dictatorship kind of easily because that person is seen as key to independence. South Africa lucked out that Mandela could learn from the mistakes of past African independence leaders.

    The fact that African independence occurred during the hey day of the Soviet Union was another unhappy accident as the article pointed out. Most people in the former colonies associated capitalism and free markets with colonial domination. Since America was in the grips of the Civil Rights struggle and many White Americans were clearly hateful towards people of color, the United States was not in the best place to provide a capitalist alternative even though we tried. Vietnam didn’t exactly help either. This led a lot of the former colonies to make some truly monumental bad economic choices for some obvious reasons.

    Another issue is that for the new countries to make the right choices would require delayed gratification on a national level. Without a military dictatorship, this is kind of hard to do on a political level. Most of the leaders of the new countries were probably unwilling to tell their citizens that they are going to have to endure poverty and economic exploitation for a generation or so longer. South Korea and Taiwan got away with this by being a military dictatorship in republican clothing. Singapore got away with it by playing loud and fast with the rules of democracy. Most other new African and Asian nations would not be able to pull national delayed gratification off though.


  3. Af3: I’m in agreement with both links. The first link avoids a lot of the problems of alternate history regarding an African that was never subject to colonialism. When a lot of people imagine an alternative history with a non-colonized African, they imagine that it will turn out to match their political fantasies. This peace points out that a never colonized Africa would probably be more monarchal in political order and the economy would be radically different. There would probably be many more African countries. According to the Fortunes of Africa, there were about 10,000 political units of various forms and size in Africa on the eve of colonialism. Colonialism greatly reduced these numbers. What I’m imagining is that internal African conquest would reduce these numbers but not to the same extent that colonialism did.

    As to the second link, distinct sub-nationalities were present in the Middle East along with general Arab nationalism and emerging Political Islam. A distinct Lebanese identity was already emerging because of the Mount Lebanon Province in the Ottoman Empire. The Arab immigrants to North and South America during the late 19th and early 20th century tended to refer to themselves as Syrians. There was also a distinct Egyptian identity. Than you had the other non-Arab groups like the Jews in Israel/Palestine or the Kurds, Armenians, Turks, and Iranians.


  4. LA3 – The implication of this piece is that there were no left-wing autocrats in Latin America in the 70s and 80s. Never mind Castro, Ortega himself, name checked in the article, was a left wing autocrat before he became a left wing democrat. Going back to his roots would just be coming around full circle.


  5. C6: I saw a display of communist worker propaganda in Zurch a number of years ago. Fell in love with the imagery and design. Ended up getting some Old Soviet posters framed. Missed out on the chemical weapons one though :(


    That’s a pretty cool poster.

    N3: What? Folks in Sweden are tribal too? SHOCKING.
    Money quote: “Acceptance of diversity is in proportion to your distance from it”

    Ra3: Me so want. Get the right permits and I bet you can shoot it, after you make it functional again. Hmm large caliber explosive shells.


    • “Ra3: Me so want. Get the right permits and I bet you can shoot it, after you make it functional again. Hmm large caliber explosive shells.”

      Actually, you’re not allowed to own military equipment unless it’s been decommissioned, and part of the decommissioning process involves cutting apart the breech-blocks of weapons with a torch. You’re allowed to weld them back together again afterwards, but they’ll never be able to hold enough pressure to shoot anything.

      There was a tank museum down the road a piece from where I used to live, which is where I learned that. The museum also had a couple of SCUD missiles, complete with launchers, which apparently caused quite a stir when one was delivered in a not-entirely-decommissioned state.


      • I liked the nuclear torpedo I just saw at Pearl Harbor with the markings on it indicating that it had been fully decommissioned. I’m sure there’s a checklist and they probably don’t have their interns fill it out.


  6. N2 RE: Sweden Education Issues and Immigration

    Based on that essay you linked to and others like it (the Spectator one makes the claim that no one has produced evidence that the privatization of Sweden’s education system correspond with the drop in scores. That’s a pretty bold statement, as there are countless papers on this. Perhaps they meant they found this less convincing?), immigration absolutely plays a role in that drop. Much like in America, it is taboo in some circles to make the case that:

    1. Students from other countries/cultures may have significantly difficulties adapting to their new schools (this goes beyond simple language issues).

    2. Having a poor immigrant family that is uneducated will significantly increase difficulty for their children in their new schools. For much of the discussions on immigration, there is a focus on larger macro economic pros and cons, but the costs put on our schools to help these students “catch up” is pretty significant, and often not reflected in state or national scores.


    • Besides the language barrier, I see little difference in the problems of educating children from poor and/or indifferent immigrant families and the children of poor and/or indifferent native families. Some of the best students also come from immigrant families.

      I’m really not sure what good could come from restricting immigration unless we can also restrict capital. Restricting the ability of people to move to different countries would effectively bind the poor, working class, and most of the middle class to where they are while leaving the international class of the wealthy intact considering the current political economy.


      • I see little difference in the problems of educating children from poor and/or indifferent immigrant families and the children of poor and/or indifferent native families.

        It can be quite true that threre is no difference, but that immigration is resulting in importing an underclass that otherwise either wouldn’t be there or would be there with better language skills and cultural integration. The immigrant demographic profile may not come close to matching that of the average native.

        Economically, more immigration or less immigration is likely beside the point, as far as this goes. The demographic profile (specifically in terms of education, wealth, age, language, etc) is likely much more significant.


        • Maybe because it is of my particular ancestry but getting wrapped up about immigration and the problems of multi-culturalism is not easy for me. I understand the concerns in theory but if it were not for an accident of history and a lucky fluke in 1948, Jews would still be in perpetual minority status. In some places we would accepted and part of the social fabric like in the United States we would be isolated from the social fabric and persecuted like in Eastern Europe or the Middle Eastern and North African countries. Some places would be in-between sorts of places. The ability to get up and move somewhere has been a great help for the Jews. The inability to do so has gotten us screwed in some of the worst ways imaginable.

          There are lots of ethnic groups in the world that do not have the benefit of an nation-state behind them. They exist at the graces of the majority. Often times the only way they can survive persecution is to move en mass to elsewhere. When the anti-immigration forces come up with a solution besides FYIGM and it’s not my problem, I’d give them a fairer hearing.


            • I suppose you mean the Palestinian one to Green Line Israel. My feeling is that it is a really tricky issue. Trying to create a unified binational state in Israel/Palestine is not going to work for a variety of reasons that should be obvious. Israel is also not going to commit national suicide by letting millions of Arabs into Green Line Israel. Your not going to convince any Israeli government to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians and leave the West Bank and Gaza but also take on millions of new Arab citizens at the same time. That would make the entire thing a farce from the Israeli point of view.

              Yet, an independent state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza can not support all the Palestinians forced to live in refugee camps by the other Arab states. The other Arab states are either in a state of chaos or if not in a state of chaos, will obviously choose not to do the right thing. They consistently made the wrong choice since 1948 and will continue to do so.

              There is simply no good solution to the problem.


        • Thats assuming that the new immigrants even to integrate culturally. Why bother integrating when a country like the US will let them live in a cultural bubble and liberals encourage them to do so?


              • Oh no we are sending plenty of missionaries to teach you all the wonders of gay sex and frivolous abortion.
                But really, America is a big melting pot and you all need to let go of the cultural primitivism and learn to assimilate with civilized people.


          • They aren’t living in a cultural bubble. Not in the slightest. To think otherwise is to live in vast ignorance of American Society.

            What immigrants are not doing, however, is acting like White people. It says a lot that White conservatives can’t tell the difference between “Isn’t becoming American” and “Isn’t becoming like me”.


  7. N2: Science has pretty conclusively demonstrated that it’s entirely due to the single aspect I personally find most objectionable.


  8. N4: This also fits well into the discussion we had at aarondavid’s comment on cultural imperialism. I have a feeling that a lot of the societal conflicts that are occurring at the present are because the globalized economy is forcing the liberal and still illiberal parts of the world to interact with each other. It is going about as well as expected. Many places in the world, including certain sections of society in the developed world, are not as liberal as the developed world is. Sometimes the difference is minute and sometimes it is startling. The liberal parts of the world are trying to get the illiberal parts of the world or their societies and catch up and are failing.


    • Here’s what she told Andrea Mitchell in a Big Interview:

      “I’m sorry that this has been confusing to people and raised a lot of questions. … You know, I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done, we had so many problems around the world. I didn’t really stop and think, ‘what kind of email system will there be?’”

      So, condescension on the one hand (she’s “sorry”? really?) and apparently a lie on the other (since she had enough time to decide to privately pay the State staffer to maintain the server). Man, she just keeps digging herself deeper.


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