Potemkin village

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pages: 518 words: 49,555

Designing Social Interfaces by Christian Crumlish, Erin Malone

A Pattern Language, Amazon Mechanical Turk, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, c2.com, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, ghettoisation, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, if you build it, they will come, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, Network effects, Potemkin village, recommendation engine, RFC: Request For Comment, semantic web, SETI@home, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, source of truth, stealth mode startup, Stewart Brand, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application

By the time they want to start sequestering topics from one another you’ll have already reached critical mass. Download at WoweBook.Com Community Management 389 Continue to resist calving off new groups until they are clearly and undeniably needed. Building out a thorough structure of anticipated groups or discussions before a site has any real life in it creates a “Potemkin Village,” an empty, fake site that dissipates any early momentum it might otherwise gather across too many cubbyholes. Figure 15-3. Instead of building a Potemkin Village, the architects of the relaunched dead.net site started with a judicious few groups and then let the community spawn the rest. Download at WoweBook.Com 390 Chapter 15: Good Cop, Bad Cop Collective Governance Determine how much self-governing you want your community members to do, and then give them the tools to do it with.

One of Us, One of Us.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 353 Relationships Find People Adding Friends Circles of Connections Publicize Relationships Unfriending The Ex-Boyfriend Anti-Pattern Groups Further Reading Download at WoweBook.Com 353 355 361 369 371 373 375 376 381 Contents xiii 15. Good Cop, Bad Cop.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 383 Community Management Norms Role Model Potemkin Village (Anti-Pattern) Collective Governance Group Moderation Collaborative Filtering Report Abuse What’s the Story? Further Reading 384 384 388 388 390 391 392 394 396 397 16. Where in the World?.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 399 The Local Connection Being Local Face-to-Face Meeting Party Calendaring Reminding Geo-Tagging Geo-Mapping Geo-Mashing Neighborhood Mobile and Location Further Reading 399 400 401 410 416 420 422 425 428 429 432 438 Part V.

This doesn’t preclude attending to and learning from the innovations and revealing mistakes of your users, but it is a proven method for getting patterns and norms of behavior established from the get-go. Figure 15-2. By manifesting as a full participant, a founder can seed the community with great content while actively modeling the intended behavior and reinforcing the norms and expectations of a new community. Potemkin Village (Anti-Pattern) Users may want separate areas for discussing separate topics, and site creators may have an elaborate vision of a complex arrangement of topic and groups, but instead of creating a complicated empty scaffolding in hopes of enticing community to take root (the “if you build it, they will come” fallacy), start small and compact, and then prepare to grow organically (Figure 15-3).


Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

The Enron and Theranos tactics both exemplify another dark pattern, called a Potemkin village, which is something specifically built to convince people that a situation is better than it actually is. The term is derived from a historically questionable tale of a portable village built to impress Empress Catherine II on her 1787 visit to Crimea. Nevertheless, there are certainly real instances of Potemkin villages, including a village built by North Korea in the 1950s near the DMZ to lure South Korean soldiers to defect, and, terribly, a Nazi-designed concentration camp in World War II fit to show the Red Cross, which actually disguised a way station to Auschwitz. In film, The Truman Show depicts a Potemkin village on a massive scale, where the character Truman Burbank (played by Jim Carrey) resides in an entirely fake town filled with actors as part of a reality TV show.

., 253 critical mass, viii–x, 114–15, 117, 119, 120, 129, 194, 308 critical thinking, 201 crossing the chasm, 311–12 crossing the Rubicon, 244 crowdsourcing, 203–6, 286 culture, 113, 273 organizational, 107–8, 113, 273–80, 293 customers, 300 development of, 294 personas for, 300 types of, 298–300 winner-take-most markets and, 308 Cutco, 217 Danziger, Shai, 63 dark patterns, 226–29 Potemkin villages, 228–29 Darley, John, 259 Darwin, Charles, 100, 101, 291 data, 130–31, 143, 146, 301 binary, 152 dredging of, 169–70 in graphs, see graphs mean in, 146, 149, 151 meta-analysis of, 172–73 outliers in, 148 streaks and clusters in, 144 variance in, 149 see also experiments; statistics dating, 8–10, 95 daycare center, 222–23 deadlines, 89 death, causes of, 17 death by a thousand cuts, 38 debate, 225 decisions, 1–2, 11, 31, 127, 129, 131–33, 175, 209 business case and, 207 choices and, 62–63 cost-benefit analysis in, 177–86, 189, 194 decision fatigue and, 63–64 decision tree in, 186–90, 194, 215 Eisenhower Decision Matrix, 72–74, 89, 124, 125 irreversible, 61–62, 223–24 opportunity cost and, 76–77, 80, 83, 179, 182, 188, 305 past, analyzing, 201, 271–72 pro-con list in, 175–78, 185, 189 reversible, 61–62 sequences of, 144 small, tyranny of, 38, 55 utilitarianism and, 189–90 Declaration of Independence, 222 deep work, 72, 76, 88, 278 default effect, 87–88 Defense, U.S.

., 38 oil, 105–6 Olympics, 209, 246–48, 285 O’Neal, Shaquille, 246 one-hundred-year floods, 192 Onion, 211–12 On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (Darwin), 100 OODA loop, 294–95 openness to experience, 250 Operation Ceasefire, 232 opinion, diversity of, 205, 206 opioids, 36 opportunity cost, 76–77, 80, 83, 179, 182, 188, 305 of capital, 77, 179, 182 optimistic probability bias, 33 optimization, premature, 7 optimums, local and global, 195–96 optionality, preserving, 58–59 Oracle, 231, 291, 299 order, 124 balance between chaos and, 128 organizations: culture in, 107–8, 113, 273–80, 293 size and growth of, 278–79 teams in, see teams ostrich with its head in the sand, 55 out-group bias, 127 outliers, 148 Outliers (Gladwell), 261 overfitting, 10–11 overwork, 82 Paine, Thomas, 221–22 pain relievers, 36, 137 Pampered Chef, 217 Pangea, 24–25 paradigm shift, 24, 289 paradox of choice, 62–63 parallel processing, 96 paranoia, 308, 309, 311 Pareto, Vilfredo, 80 Pareto principle, 80–81 Pariser, Eli, 17 Parkinson, Cyril, 74–75, 89 Parkinson’s law, 89 Parkinson’s Law (Parkinson), 74–75 Parkinson’s law of triviality, 74, 89 passwords, 94, 97 past, 201, 271–72, 309–10 Pasteur, Louis, 26 path dependence, 57–59, 194 path of least resistance, 88 Patton, Bruce, 19 Pauling, Linus, 220 payoff matrix, 212–15, 238 PayPal, 72, 291, 296 peak, 105, 106, 112 peak oil, 105 Penny, Jonathon, 52 pent-up energy, 112 perfect, 89–90 as enemy of the good, 61, 89–90 personality traits, 249–50 person-month, 279 perspective, 11 persuasion, see influence models perverse incentives, 50–51, 54 Peter, Laurence, 256 Peter principle, 256, 257 Peterson, Tom, 108–9 Petrified Forest National Park, 217–18 Pew Research, 53 p-hacking, 169, 172 phishing, 97 phones, 116–17, 290 photography, 302–3, 308–10 physics, x, 114, 194, 293 quantum, 200–201 pick your battles, 238 Pinker, Steven, 144 Pirahã, x Pitbull, 36 pivoting, 295–96, 298–301, 308, 311, 312 placebo, 137 placebo effect, 137 Planck, Max, 24 Playskool, 111 Podesta, John, 97 point of no return, 244 Polaris, 67–68 polarity, 125–26 police, in organizations and projects, 253–54 politics, 70, 104 ads and statements in, 225–26 elections, 206, 218, 233, 241, 271, 293, 299 failure and, 47 influence in, 216 predictions in, 206 polls and surveys, 142–43, 152–54, 160 approval ratings, 152–54, 158 employee engagement, 140, 142 postmortems, 32, 92 Potemkin village, 228–29 potential energy, 112 power, 162 power drills, 296 power law distribution, 80–81 power vacuum, 259–60 practice, deliberate, 260–62, 264, 266 precautionary principle, 59–60 Predictably Irrational (Ariely), 14, 222–23 predictions and forecasts, 132, 173 market for, 205–7 superforecasters and, 206–7 PredictIt, 206 premature optimization, 7 premises, see principles pre-mortems, 92 present bias, 85, 87, 93, 113 preserving optionality, 58–59 pressure point, 112 prices, 188, 231, 299 arbitrage and, 282–83 bait and switch and, 228, 229 inflation in, 179–80, 182–83 loss leader strategy and, 236–37 manufacturer’s suggested retail, 15 monopolies and, 283 principal, 44–45 principal-agent problem, 44–45 principles (premises), 207 first, 4–7, 31, 207 prior, 159 prioritizing, 68 prisoners, 63, 232 prisoner’s dilemma, 212–14, 226, 234–35, 244 privacy, 55 probability, 132, 173, 194 bias, optimistic, 33 conditional, 156 probability distributions, 150, 151 bell curve (normal), 150–52, 153, 163–66, 191 Bernoulli, 152 central limit theorem and, 152–53, 163 fat-tailed, 191 power law, 80–81 sample, 152–53 pro-con lists, 175–78, 185, 189 procrastination, 83–85, 87, 89 product development, 294 product/market fit, 292–96, 302 promotions, 256, 275 proximate cause, 31, 117 proxy endpoint, 137 proxy metric, 139 psychology, 168 Psychology of Science, The (Maslow), 177 Ptolemy, Claudius, 8 publication bias, 170, 173 public goods, 39 punching above your weight, 242 p-values, 164, 165, 167–69, 172 Pygmalion effect, 267–68 Pyrrhus, King, 239 Qualcomm, 231 quantum physics, 200–201 quarantine, 234 questions: now what, 291 what if, 122, 201 why, 32, 33 why now, 291 quick and dirty, 234 quid pro quo, 215 Rabois, Keith, 72, 265 Rachleff, Andy, 285–86, 292–93 radical candor, 263–64 Radical Candor (Scott), 263 radiology, 291 randomized controlled experiment, 136 randomness, 201 rats, 51 Rawls, John, 21 Regan, Ronald, 183 real estate agents, 44–45 recessions, 121–22 reciprocity, 215–16, 220, 222, 229, 289 recommendations, 217 red line, 238 referrals, 217 reframe the problem, 96–97 refugee asylum cases, 144 regression to the mean, 146, 286 regret, 87 regulations, 183–84, 231–32 regulatory capture, 305–7 reinventing the wheel, 92 relationships, 53, 55, 63, 91, 111, 124, 159, 271, 296, 298 being locked into, 305 dating, 8–10, 95 replication crisis, 168–72 Republican Party, 104 reputation, 215 research: meta-analysis of, 172–73 publication bias and, 170, 173 systematic reviews of, 172, 173 see also experiments resonance, 293–94 response bias, 142, 143 responsibility, diffusion of, 259 restaurants, 297 menus at, 14, 62 RetailMeNot, 281 retaliation, 238 returns: diminishing, 81–83 negative, 82–83, 93 reversible decisions, 61–62 revolving door, 306 rewards, 275 Riccio, Jim, 306 rise to the occasion, 268 risk, 43, 46, 90, 288 cost-benefit analysis and, 180 de-risking, 6–7, 10, 294 moral hazard and, 43–45, 47 Road Ahead, The (Gates), 69 Roberts, Jason, 122 Roberts, John, 27 Rogers, Everett, 116 Rogers, William, 31 Rogers Commission Report, 31–33 roles, 256–58, 260, 271, 293 roly-poly toy, 111–12 root cause, 31–33, 234 roulette, 144 Rubicon River, 244 ruinous empathy, 264 Rumsfeld, Donald, 196–97, 247 Rumsfeld’s Rule, 247 Russia, 218, 241 Germany and, 70, 238–39 see also Soviet Union Sacred Heart University (SHU), 217, 218 sacrifice play, 239 Sagan, Carl, 220 sales, 81, 216–17 Salesforce, 299 same-sex marriage, 117, 118 Sample, Steven, 28 sample distribution, 152–53 sample size, 143, 160, 162, 163, 165–68, 172 Sánchez, Ricardo, 234 sanctions and fines, 232 Sanders, Bernie, 70, 182, 293 Sayre, Wallace, 74 Sayre’s law, 74 scarcity, 219, 220 scatter plot, 126 scenario analysis (scenario planning), 198–99, 201–3, 207 schools, see education and schools Schrödinger, Erwin, 200 Schrödinger’s cat, 200 Schultz, Howard, 296 Schwartz, Barry, 62–63 science, 133, 220 cargo cult, 315–16 Scientific Autobiography and other Papers (Planck), 24 scientific evidence, 139 scientific experiments, see experiments scientific method, 101–2, 294 scorched-earth tactics, 243 Scott, Kim, 263 S curves, 117, 120 secondary markets, 281–82 second law of thermodynamics, 124 secrets, 288–90, 292 Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S., 228 security, false sense of, 44 security services, 229 selection, adverse, 46–47 selection bias, 139–40, 143, 170 self-control, 87 self-fulfilling prophecies, 267 self-serving bias, 21, 272 Seligman, Martin, 22 Semmelweis, Ignaz, 25–26 Semmelweis reflex, 26 Seneca, Marcus, 60 sensitivity analysis, 181–82, 185, 188 dynamic, 195 Sequoia Capital, 291 Sessions, Roger, 8 sexual predators, 113 Shakespeare, William, 105 Sheets Energy Strips, 36 Shermer, Michael, 133 Shirky, Clay, 104 Shirky principle, 104, 112 Short History of Nearly Everything, A (Bryson), 50 short-termism, 55–56, 58, 60, 68, 85 side effects, 137 signal and noise, 311 significance, 167 statistical, 164–67, 170 Silicon Valley, 288, 289 simulations, 193–95 simultaneous invention, 291–92 Singapore math, 23–24 Sir David Attenborough, RSS, 35 Skeptics Society, 133 sleep meditation app, 162–68 slippery slope argument, 235 slow (high-concentration) thinking, 30, 33, 70–71 small numbers, law of, 143, 144 smartphones, 117, 290, 309, 310 smoking, 41, 42, 133–34, 139, 173 Snap, 299 Snowden, Edward, 52, 53 social engineering, 97 social equality, 117 social media, 81, 94, 113, 217–19, 241 Facebook, 18, 36, 94, 119, 219, 233, 247, 305, 308 Instagram, 220, 247, 291, 310 YouTube, 220, 291 social networks, 117 Dunbar’s number and, 278 social norms versus market norms, 222–24 social proof, 217–20, 229 societal change, 100–101 software, 56, 57 simulations, 192–94 solitaire, 195 solution space, 97 Somalia, 243 sophomore slump, 145–46 South Korea, 229, 231, 238 Soviet Union: Germany and, 70, 238–39 Gosplan in, 49 in Cold War, 209, 235 space exploration, 209 spacing effect, 262 Spain, 243–44 spam, 37, 161, 192–93, 234 specialists, 252–53 species, 120 spending, 38, 74–75 federal, 75–76 spillover effects, 41, 43 sports, 82–83 baseball, 83, 145–46, 289 football, 226, 243 Olympics, 209, 246–48, 285 Spotify, 299 spreadsheets, 179, 180, 182, 299 Srinivasan, Balaji, 301 standard deviation, 149, 150–51, 154 standard error, 154 standards, 93 Stanford Law School, x Starbucks, 296 startup business idea, 6–7 statistics, 130–32, 146, 173, 289, 297 base rate in, 157, 159, 160 base rate fallacy in, 157, 158, 170 Bayesian, 157–60 confidence intervals in, 154–56, 159 confidence level in, 154, 155, 161 frequentist, 158–60 p-hacking in, 169, 172 p-values in, 164, 165, 167–69, 172 standard deviation in, 149, 150–51, 154 standard error in, 154 statistical significance, 164–67, 170 summary, 146, 147 see also data; experiments; probability distributions Staubach, Roger, 243 Sternberg, Robert, 290 stock and flow diagrams, 192 Stone, Douglas, 19 stop the bleeding, 234 strategy, 107–8 exit, 242–43 loss leader, 236–37 pivoting and, 295–96, 298–301, 308, 311, 312 tactics versus, 256–57 strategy tax, 103–4, 112 Stiglitz, Joseph, 306 straw man, 225–26 Streisand, Barbra, 51 Streisand effect, 51, 52 Stroll, Cliff, 290 Structure of Scientific Revolutions, The (Kuhn), 24 subjective versus objective, in organizational culture, 274 suicide, 218 summary statistics, 146, 147 sunk-cost fallacy, 91 superforecasters, 206–7 Superforecasting (Tetlock), 206–7 super models, viii–xii super thinking, viii–ix, 3, 316, 318 surface area, 122 luck, 122, 124, 128 surgery, 136–37 Surowiecki, James, 203–5 surrogate endpoint, 137 surveys, see polls and surveys survivorship bias, 140–43, 170, 272 sustainable competitive advantage, 283, 285 switching costs, 305 systematic review, 172, 173 systems thinking, 192, 195, 198 tactics, 256–57 Tajfel, Henri, 127 take a step back, 298 Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, 2, 105 talk past each other, 225 Target, 236, 252 target, measurable, 49–50 taxes, 39, 40, 56, 104, 193–94 T cells, 194 teams, 246–48, 275 roles in, 256–58, 260 size of, 278 10x, 248, 249, 255, 260, 273, 280, 294 Tech, 83 technical debt, 56, 57 technologies, 289–90, 295 adoption curves of, 115 adoption life cycles of, 116–17, 129, 289, 290, 311–12 disruptive, 308, 310–11 telephone, 118–19 temperature: body, 146–50 thermostats and, 194 tennis, 2 10,000-Hour Rule, 261 10x individuals, 247–48 10x teams, 248, 249, 255, 260, 273, 280, 294 terrorism, 52, 234 Tesla, Inc., 300–301 testing culture, 50 Tetlock, Philip E., 206–7 Texas sharpshooter fallacy, 136 textbooks, 262 Thaler, Richard, 87 Theranos, 228 thermodynamics, 124 thermostats, 194 Thiel, Peter, 72, 288, 289 thinking: black-and-white, 126–28, 168, 272 convergent, 203 counterfactual, 201, 272, 309–10 critical, 201 divergent, 203 fast (low-concentration), 30, 70–71 gray, 28 inverse, 1–2, 291 lateral, 201 outside the box, 201 slow (high-concentration), 30, 33, 70–71 super, viii–ix, 3, 316, 318 systems, 192, 195, 198 writing and, 316 Thinking, Fast and Slow (Kahneman), 30 third story, 19, 92 thought experiment, 199–201 throwing good money after bad, 91 throwing more money at the problem, 94 tight versus loose, in organizational culture, 274 timeboxing, 75 time: management of, 38 as money, 77 work and, 89 tipping point, 115, 117, 119, 120 tit-for-tat, 214–15 Tōgō Heihachirō, 241 tolerance, 117 tools, 95 too much of a good thing, 60 top idea in your mind, 71, 72 toxic culture, 275 Toys “R” Us, 281 trade-offs, 77–78 traditions, 275 tragedy of the commons, 37–40, 43, 47, 49 transparency, 307 tribalism, 28 Trojan horse, 228 Truman Show, The, 229 Trump, Donald, 15, 206, 293 Trump: The Art of the Deal (Trump and Schwartz), 15 trust, 20, 124, 215, 217 trying too hard, 82 Tsushima, Battle of, 241 Tupperware, 217 TurboTax, 104 Turner, John, 127 turn lemons into lemonade, 121 Tversky, Amos, 9, 90 Twain, Mark, 106 Twitter, 233, 234, 296 two-front wars, 70 type I error, 161 type II error, 161 tyranny of small decisions, 38, 55 Tyson, Mike, 7 Uber, 231, 275, 288, 290 Ulam, Stanislaw, 195 ultimatum game, 224, 244 uncertainty, 2, 132, 173, 180, 182, 185 unforced error, 2, 10, 33 unicorn candidate, 257–58 unintended consequences, 35–36, 53–55, 57, 64–65, 192, 232 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), 306 unique value proposition, 211 University of Chicago, 144 unknown knowns, 198, 203 unknowns: known, 197–98 unknown, 196–98, 203 urgency, false, 74 used car market, 46–47 U.S.


pages: 489 words: 132,734

A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook

Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, joint-stock company, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pearl River Delta, Potemkin village, profit motive, rent control, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, starchitect, trade route, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

With Matviyenko ensconced in the mayor’s office, never to have to face the voters again, she and her patron in the Kremlin were free to advance their vision of St. Petersburg as a Potemkin village. While major planned infrastructure improvements like a high-speed rail connection to Moscow and a beltway around the city were downsized, delayed, and plagued by pilfered funds, Putin shined up central St. Petersburg. Putin envisioned his rehabilitated hometown as a window through which Westerners could gaze at Russia, be reassured by how European it looked, and return home confident that the great empire to the east has finally become a “normal” European country. St. Petersburg was to be a cynical stage set of a Westernized Russia that Putin had no intention of fostering beyond the city’s boundaries. Like a true Potemkin village, the authorities cleaned up the front façades of the city’s historic imperial center while allowing the backs of the buildings to rot, a shambles of peeling paint, broken windows, and cracking stucco.

“They were able to compare all that they had seen abroad with what confronted them at every step at home: slavery of the majority of Russians, cruel treatment of subordinates by superiors, all sorts of government abuses and general tyranny.” As another Russian wrote at the time, “There was only one subject of conversation in the army from generals down to the humblest private—how wonderful life was abroad.” Their homeland’s showcase modern capital seemed nothing but an oversized Potemkin village. In 1816, six young officers from the elite Imperial Guards formed a secret society to bring constitutional government to Russia. St. Petersburg, they believed, deserved a government as modern as its buildings and its people. And St. Petersburg deserved to be run by Petersburgers: the officers called for the expulsion of foreign experts from the Russian government. When Peter the Great had first imported Western ringers, he assured his people that eventually Russians would acquire the expertise needed to run their own country.


pages: 350 words: 109,379

How to Run a Government: So That Citizens Benefit and Taxpayers Don't Go Crazy by Michael Barber

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Atul Gawande, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Checklist Manifesto, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, deliberate practice, facts on the ground, failed state, fear of failure, full employment, G4S, illegal immigration, invisible hand, libertarian paternalism, Mark Zuckerberg, Nate Silver, North Sea oil, obamacare, performance metric, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, school choice, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transaction costs, WikiLeaks

Hence one of Russia’s greatest military leaders has become famous in history not for what he actually accomplished, but for having these fake villages named after him – the Potemkin villages. (Another way to achieve legacy is to have something named after you.) Not everyone has pulled off such a massive deception of a visiting dignitary (and historians debate whether Potemkin himself did), but what we might call the ‘Potemkin Syndrome’ is alive and well. The chief minister of Punjab was shocked by the photographs we showed him of Punjab schools, not because he hadn’t ever visited schools, but because, whenever he had done so, the authorities had done the equivalent of a Potemkin village makeover in advance. Even for a minor celebrity like me, if they knew I was coming they tidied up and made sure the teachers were present. This is not just a syndrome in the developing world; it was the same for Blair.


pages: 113 words: 37,885

Why Wall Street Matters by William D. Cohan

Apple II, asset-backed security, bank run, Bernie Sanders, Blythe Masters, bonus culture, break the buck, buttonwood tree, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, financial repression, Fractional reserve banking, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, Joseph Schumpeter, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, money market fund, moral hazard, Potemkin village, quantitative easing, secular stagnation, Snapchat, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, too big to fail, WikiLeaks

The New York Stock Exchange, at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, once the very embodiment of Wall Street, is mostly just a television backdrop for the business cable networks, such as Bloomberg, CNBC, and Fox Business, that use it as a set for their continuous coverage of the financial markets. Most trading is now done electronically. To be sure, a number of important financial institutions—among them Goldman Sachs, American Express, and AIG—still have their headquarters in the vicinity of Wall Street. But by and large, Wall Street, the actual street itself, has become a mirage, a Potemkin village of a bygone era before computers and phones made physical interaction between traders and bankers somewhat obsolete. In mid-June 2016, Jim Cramer, the CNBC television anchor, tweeted a picture of the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, with the New York Stock Exchange in the background and the steps leading to the empty 23 Wall Street to the side. Right in the middle of the wonderfully manicured cobblestoned street—it used to be paved not so long ago—were four young women on yoga mats, striking a pose.


pages: 434 words: 117,327

Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America by Cass R. Sunstein

active measures, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, anti-communist, anti-globalists, availability heuristic, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, failed state, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, ghettoisation, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Isaac Newton, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, Nate Silver, Network effects, New Journalism, night-watchman state, obamacare, Potemkin village, random walk, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey

It is far easier to align with congressional Republicans, who will protect him from Democrats who despise him and want to topple him with scandals. Having cast his lot with congressional Republicans, that means that he, too, will serve the same donor class. Trump may have run a populist campaign, but now that he is in power, he has pretty much embraced oligarchy. His populism is mostly sloganeering—it is a Potemkin village. We might say that it takes a Potemkin village to make a Trump presidency. The Future That’s the bad news. Here is the good news. First, Trump represents the end of a cycle of politics rather than the future of politics. American politics is divided into regimes in which one party’s agenda tends to dominate. Eventually that party runs out of steam, its coalition fragments, its political agenda becomes irrelevant and inadequate to solve current problems, and the evolution of the political system undermines it.


pages: 138 words: 43,748

Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle by Jeff Flake

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, cognitive dissonance, crony capitalism, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global supply chain, immigration reform, impulse control, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, Potemkin village, race to the bottom, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, uranium enrichment, zero-sum game

The historian Francis Fukuyama, who had coined “the end of history” in an essay the year before, was much in demand, and it is likely that Havel would have been inspired by the fervor, which would explain this passage from his speech: “I often hear the question: How can the United States of America help us today? My reply is as paradoxical as the whole of my life has been. You can help us most of all if you help the Soviet Union on its irreversible but immensely complicated road to democracy.” Of course, history was not over, and the road to democracy is not irreversible—not in Moscow, not in America, not anywhere. After erecting a Potemkin village of democracy for an agonizing decade or so, the Russians thrust forward a strongman amid the chaos, a strongman who was determined to reassemble the pieces of broken empire, in the process strangling Russian democracy in its cradle. Vladimir Putin would go on to be president and is president still, and just as he disrupted democracy in his own country, he is determined to do so everywhere.


State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century by Francis Fukuyama

Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, centre right, corporate governance, demand response, Doha Development Round, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, Hernando de Soto, information asymmetry, liberal world order, Live Aid, Nick Leeson, Pareto efficiency, Potemkin village, price stability, principal–agent problem, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system

With the hindsight of more than thirty years, it is not clear whether state capacity (or political development, in Huntington’s terminology) can be separated from legitimacy all that easily. At the end of the 1980s the Soviet Union began collapsing and losing substantial amounts of state capacity precisely because its dictatorial character delegitimated the regime in the eyes of its citizens. Its apparent degree of political development was a Potemkin village, in other words, at the time that Huntington wrote Political Order. While there have historically been many forms of legitimacy, in today’s world the only serious source of legitimacy is democracy. There is another respect in which good governance and democracy are not so easily separated. A good state institution is one that transparently and efficiently serves the needs of its clients—the citizens of the state.


Gorbachev by William Taubman

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, card file, conceptual framework, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, haute couture, indoor plumbing, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Stanislav Petrov, trade liberalization, young professional

Gorbachev summarized his own outlook this way: “We were poor, practically beggars, but in general I felt wonderful.”5 Young Mikhail Gorbachev with his maternal grandparents, Pantelei and Vasilisa Gopkalo. THE PREHISTORY OF THE STAVROPOL area where Gorbachev was raised can be traced from the first millennium B.C., when various tribes entered the northwest Caucasus region. Stavropol itself was created in 1777 as a military base and proclaimed a city in 1785. At its center was one of several fortresses built along a line from Azov to Mozdok by Prince Grigory Potemkin (of Potemkin village fame), at the bidding of his lover, Empress Catherine the Great, to defend the southern border of the Russian Empire. Cossacks settled the area, eventually joined by serfs fleeing oppressive landowners, then by other peasants sent into forced exile. In the second part of the nineteenth century, Gorbachev’s paternal ancestors migrated from Voronezh in southern Russia, his mother’s from Chernigov in northern Ukraine.

The dissertation praised certain real Soviet achievements like the rise in rural literacy, but did so, in standard Soviet academic fashion, by comparing woebegone villages to even worse pre-1917 conditions. Phrases like “the socialist restructuring of the kolkhoz village has not entirely eliminated inequality” only hint at the gross inequality between town and country, which official ideology pledged to reduce. Reading between the lines, one can detect the Potemkin-village nature of libraries, clinics, nurseries, and old-age homes that barely deserved their names.86 Raisa Gorbachev had made herself into an accomplished social scientist. Particularly in her third chapter (“Change in the Character of Interrelations in Family Life: Affirmation of Socialist Norms and Customs in the Sphere of Nonproductive Life of the Collective Farm Peasantry”), which underlined the benighted position of women, she verged toward Western-style feminism, without using the label.

At the jewel in the district’s crown, the Likhachev Automobile Factory, he warned workers on the factory floor, “We’re using up raw materials, we’re using up energy, we’re expending labor and work time, but we’re not getting what we want. But there’s no one to complain to, comrades. You’ve got to take responsibility yourselves, to get down to work, in everything.”101 The comrades applauded and may even have meant it, but they also devoted a lot of time to concealing the full extent of the mess around the plant. As Chernyaev put it, “They had already set up ‘Potemkin villages’ before he arrived.”102 Visiting the home of an “ordinary worker,” Gorbachev was served lavish hors d’oeuvres, candies, and other delicacies. Boldin recalls that the road to a hospital’s main entrance got a new coat of asphalt from which “steam and the smell of hot tar were still rising.” Patients in the wards that Gorbachev visited were impersonated by “healthy, well-fed security officers with closely cropped hair, who warmly welcomed the medical staff and the hospital food, while finding it difficult to be precise about their ailments.”103 The Central Committee’s plenum on April 23 was a big deal, a “breakthrough,” Gorbachev proclaimed it later, the moment when he officially embraced “acceleration of social and economic development.”


pages: 598 words: 140,612

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser

affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, carbon footprint, Celebration, Florida, clean water, congestion charging, declining real wages, desegregation, different worldview, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, European colonialism, financial innovation, Frank Gehry, global village, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute cuisine, Home mortgage interest deduction, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, job-hopping, John Snow's cholera map, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, megacity, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, Thales and the olive presses, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Works Progress Administration, young professional

The city was shedding people and had plenty of houses. Why subsidize more building? Successful cities must build in order to accommodate the rising demand for space, but that doesn’t mean that building creates success. Urban renewal, in both Detroit and New York, may have replaced unattractive slums with shiny new buildings, but it did little to address urban decline. Those shiny new buildings were really Potemkin villages spread throughout America, built to provide politicians with the appearance of urban success. But Detroit had plenty of buildings; it didn’t need more. What Detroit needed was human capital: a new generation of entrepreneurs like Ford and Durant and the Dodge brothers who could create some great new industry, as Shockley and the Fairchildren were doing in Silicon Valley. Investing in buildings instead of people in places where prices were already low may have been the biggest mistake of urban policy over the past sixty years.

Bradley Milwaukee Minneapolis Missouri Mitchell, George Phydias Mittal, Lakshmi Mobutu Sese Seko Mohammed, Sheikh Monkkonen, Eric Montreal Moses, Robert Moving to Opportunity Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mumbai building restrictions in crime in Dharavi neighborhood of disease in traffic congestion in transportation network in Mumford, Lewis murder Murthy, Narayana museums music Mysore Nagasaki Napoléon I, Emperor Napoléon III, Emperor Nashville National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) National Labor Relations Act (1935) Native Son (Wright) neighborhood preservation, see preservation Netherlands Nevins, Allan New Brighton New Deal New Orleans Hurricane Katrina in poor in New Urbanism New York City African Americans in age statistics in Bloomberg as mayor of building construction in Central Park commuting in crime in death rates in decline of entrepreneurs in environmental footprint of fair-housing law in Fifth Avenue Commission in finance in founding of garment and fashion industries in garment worker strike in Giuliani as mayor of globalization and Greenwich Village Harlem Children’s Zone in Harlem Renaissance in health in Hell’s Kitchen housing in immigrants in industries in Koch as mayor of Lindsay as mayor of Lower East Side marital statistics in Midtown Manhattan Penn Station in poor in population explosion in port of preservation in Promise Academy in public transportation in publishing industry in rebirth of restaurants in reverse commuting and rise of September 11 attack on social connections in sprawl in streets in subways in suicides in Tammany Hall in taxes in theater in transit and income zones in travel between Boston and Upper East Side wages in Washington Square water supply for zoning regulations in New York Panorama New York Philharmonic New York State energy consumption in parkway system of New York Times NIMBYism Nimitz, Chester 9/11 attacks Norberg, Karen Obama, Barack Oklahoma City Old Vic Theatre Company Olivier, Laurence Olmsted, Frederick Law Otis, Elisha O’Toole, Peter Otto, Nikolaus Owen, David Paris building regulations in bus transit in Eiffel Tower in housing in La Défense in Montparnasse Tower in paving of planning of police force formed in restaurants in schools in sewage system in transit and income zones in parks Pascal, Blaise patent citations Patni Computers Pedro II, Emperor Penn Station Pennsylvania Railroad Pericles Perlman, Philip Philadelphia Main Line in transit and income zones in water supply in Philip Augustus Phoenix Phukan, Ruban Pinker, Steven Pirelli, Giovanni Battista Pittsburgh plague Plato police policies, see public policies politics ethnic power and social groups and Ponti, Gio populations: loss of new building and wages and Potemkin villages Poulsen, Valdemar Poundbury poverty rural suburban poverty, urban African Americans and and attraction of poor to cities education and in favelas and helping people vs. places in megacities path to prosperity from public policies’ magnification of in Rio slums and ghettos transportation and Prada, Miuccia preservation in New York City printing press prisons Procopius productivity education and geographic proximity and impact of peers on skills and wages and Promise Academy property rights prosperity and wealth education and environmentalism and path from urban poverty to urbanization and Protestantism public policies building restrictions consumer cities and education and environmental; see also environmentalism helping people vs. places immigration and industrial land-use regulations level playing field in national NIMBYism and poverty magnified by preservation, see preservation suburban living encouraged by urban poverty and zoning ordinances, see zoning ordinances public spaces publishing: in New York printing technology and Pulitzer, Joseph quality of life Quigley, John Raffles, Thomas Stamford rail travel Ramsay, Gordon Rand, Ayn Ranieri, Lewis Raytheon recession Reformation Renaissance restaurants Richardson, Ralph Richmond right-to-work states Rio de Janeiro favelas in transportation in riots River Rouge plant Riverside roads asphalt paving for highways New York City streets traffic congestion and, see traffic congestion Robson Square Rochester (Minnesota) Rochester (New York) Rockefeller, Nelson Rogers, Richard Roman Empire Roosevelt, Franklin D.


pages: 461 words: 139,924

The Habsburgs by Martyn Rady

Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, night-watchman state, Peace of Westphalia, Potemkin village, spice trade, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, éminence grise

For Christian von Mechel, see Kristine Patz, ‘Schulzimmer’, in Die kaiserliche Gemäldegalerie in Wien und die Anfänge des öffentlichen Kunstmuseums, ed. Gudrun Swoboda, vol. 2 (Vienna, Cologne, and Weimar, 2014), 437–57. 11. Matthew Rampley, ‘From Potemkin Village to the Estrangement of Vision: Baroque Culture and Modernity in Austria Before and After 1918’, Austrian History Yearbook, 47 (2016), 167–81 (174–5); Evonne Levy, Baroque and the Political Language of Formalism (1845–1945), (Basle, 2015), 26. 12. Carl E. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (London, 1980), 48. 13. Rampley, ‘From Potemkin Village to the Estrangement of Vision’, 174. 14. Adolf Loos, ‘Ornament and Crime’ (1908), in Ulrich Conrads, Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture, trans. Michael Bullock (Cambridge, MA, 1970), 19–24. 15.


pages: 173 words: 53,564

Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn by Chris Hughes

"side hustle", basic income, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, end world poverty, full employment, future of journalism, gig economy, high net worth, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, oil rush, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, TaskRabbit, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, uber lyft, universal basic income, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

Others started to shift uncomfortably, but no one said anything. The tour continued. When Nina Munk later visited the village, she discovered that the computers had never been connected to the Internet, and all of them were eventually stolen. The rest of the afternoon was full of similarly upbeat and evasive claims. Everything was going “extremely well,” but nothing seemed right. The Millennium Village felt more and more like a Potemkin Village to me. Finally, after spending just two or three hours in Dertu, we returned to the Land Rovers and departed. I left with more questions than answers, and over the next couple of years, I got them. Almost from the beginning, the project had been beset by controversy. A series of papers published just after my visit in 2010 called into question the Millennium Village’s marketing materials.


pages: 309 words: 54,839

Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts by David Gerard

altcoin, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Extropian, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, index fund, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Kickstarter, litecoin, M-Pesa, margin call, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, prediction markets, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Satoshi Nakamoto, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, slashdot, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, tulip mania, Turing complete, Turing machine, WikiLeaks

They mention The DAO as an excellent worked example of why this is needed.389 Microsoft: Azure Blockchain as a Service promises public, consortium or private blockchains, with any consensus algorithm you like, definitely reaching public release status with at least some of the promised features some time soon maybe. You will be able to write smart contracts in Solidity, offering all the advantages of that language that we’ve already seen with The DAO.390 Hyperledger: IBM offer the IBM Blockchain, based on Hyperledger. Hyperledger.org is a corporate open source Potemkin village of the sort IBM has long favoured: the illusion of an open project, with no “there” there. I spent half an hour dredging the site and could not find one clear statement of what this software is actually intended to do, let alone differences from and similarities to existing blockchains. Even Bitcoin blog CoinDesk notes: “Among the doubts facing Hyperledger is a perceived lack of clarity on what might be ultimately produced by the initiative.”391 If you click long enough, you’ll find a page where the participating companies have dumped their unfinished blockchain experiments.392 The main code contributor is Digital Asset Holdings; their joining announcement (on their own site, not hyperledger.org) gives as technical details only that Hyperledger is an append-only ledger and has an actual Bitcoin-style blockchain in it.393 (Digital Asset Holdings was founded by Blythe Masters, pioneer of the credit default swap, the financial instrument behind the global financial crisis of 2008 that may have provoked Nakamoto to finally release Bitcoin.)


pages: 537 words: 158,544

Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order by Parag Khanna

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, different worldview, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, land reform, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pax Mongolica, Pearl River Delta, pirate software, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Potemkin village, price stability, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

In second-world societies, some percentage of the population lives a modern lifestyle—globally connected with reliable high-wage employment—but coexists with a narrow middle class and the mass of the poor. Second-world countries would fall into a global middle class, except no such middle class exists. As in the first world, second-world states have growing public economies and inward investment, but like the third world, they have vast black markets and Potemkin villages.38 Brazil is a second-world giant that draws funds from the global market, while millions of its citizens have no idea what that is. Second-world countries are often medieval in their geographical distribution of wealth, with the capital city generating a majority of national income—and retaining it. Because such countries grow poorer in concentric circles as one gets away from the capital city, it is no surprise that from Mexico to Turkey to Iran (and even in first-world France), the only job bigger than mayor of the largest city is head of government, explaining why these countries have recently had—or nearly had—former mayors as leaders.

Every taxi driver in Kiev dreads the day his Lada or Volga sputters to a halt in the middle of the city, knowing he can’t afford to have it revived and hasn’t saved enough for a new one. Lucky, then, that Ukrainians give lifts to total strangers for a token fare. “We suffered enough together, so we still trust each other,” explained one such commuter-entrepreneur driving out of downtown Kiev late at night. As in Russia, capitalism blew its first chance to make a good impression, and Kiev, like Moscow, is a Potemkin village whose urban grandeur masks poverty that grows the farther one moves from the center. Turning Ukraine into the next Poland means elevating it from its strikingly third-world attributes, such as an overwhelming share of foreign investment directed to the capital alone and untaxed barter bazaars around the country. Kiev’s underground markets provide shelter from the torrential summer rains, but they are a paradise for pirated DVDs.


pages: 200 words: 64,329

Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain by Fintan O'Toole

Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, colonial rule, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, full employment, Khartoum Gordon, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment

Edward St Aubyn epitomized it in Some Hope: ‘They’re the last Marxists… The last people who believe that class is a total explanation. Long after that doctrine has been abandoned in Moscow and Peking it will continue to flourish under the marquees of England. Although most of them have the courage of a half-eaten worm… and the intellectual vigour of dead sheep, they are the true heirs of Marx and Lenin.’45 In an elitist view of the world, rules would not matter. The EU’s institutions were Potemkin villages, flimsy and easily knocked over. Brexit would, naturally, be settled behind the scenes by unelected power-brokers. Merkel would do as she was told and, as the EU is a German front, Brussels would snap its heels and produce the proper offer of infinite cake. That this belonged in the realm of an imaginary construct is obvious from its most glaring contradiction: if the German car bosses could order Merkel to produce a lovely Brexit for Britain, why could the British car bosses, who opposed Brexit, not stop it altogether?


pages: 554 words: 167,247

America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System by Steven Brill

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, business process, call centre, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, crony capitalism, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, employer provided health coverage, medical malpractice, Menlo Park, Nate Silver, obamacare, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, the payments system, young professional

From the day he started the job he had wanted to crunch CMS’s data on hospital pricing in order to present price comparisons to the world. He ultimately persuaded CMS to do that, but, by his own account, that only came after the Time special report on medical prices created headlines around the issue, and his boss, Secretary Sebelius, and her advisers allowed him to push ahead. SONYA AND THE POTEMKIN VILLAGE Sivak had invited Gunderson to come see him because one aspect of the Obamacare website project that he had maneuvered his way into reviewing was driving him crazy. The design of the home page for the federal exchange (that would now be the gateway for the multiple insurance offerings from thirty-six states) was terrible. It was confusing and almost impossible to navigate. It looked like a bureaucracy’s website, not like Expedia or Amazon or any of the other e-commerce icons that the president liked to promise his exchange would be like.

In the months that would follow the October launch of the exchange, it was the only part of the site that never broke down and never had to be fixed. “We did it all for a bit less than a million dollars,” Gunderson told me. “For us, that’s a pretty big deal.” As with Park’s building of the comparison shopping website, the unveiling, in late June 2013, of Sivak and Gunderson’s cool-looking home page—which the president loved—created a Potemkin village. On the surface, things looked great. But behind the façade, where CGI and the other contractors were trying to build the real website—and piling up bills that would ultimately reach $840 million—there was not much to look at. “FAST, TARGETED, LOCKED-DOWN DECISIONS ARE NEEDED” One of the steps a worried Todd Park took from his new position as U.S. chief technology officer at the White House in the winter of 2013 was to convince HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius that McKinsey & Company, the blue ribbon consulting firm, should be hired to look in on the implementation effort and, in consultants’ jargon, “pressure test” the process.


pages: 239 words: 56,531

The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld

Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, anti-globalists, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business cycle, butterfly effect, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

in a book she designed by the same name.9 Whether we accept the hyperbole of her manifesto or not, there is much to be gained from at least thinking like a designer in this 89/11 world. Designer Michael Beirut equivocates perfectly: “Not everything is design. But design is about everything.”10 T SIDEBAR Sears -vs.- VDNX In 1939, in a six-hundred-acre park in the north of Moscow, the Exhibition of the Achievement of the Soviet People’s 102 BESPOKE FUTURES Economy opened. Known as VDNX, this propaganda park was a Potemkin village, a trade and technology fair, and a model farm all wrapped up into one. VDNX was a phantasmagoric space where the Soviet iconography of happy, healthy workers, powerful tractors, and glistening satellites was mirrored by the bounty of prize pigs and luscious produce. It was a central showplace of the Stalinist spectacle, and truly fit Maxim Gorky’s idea of socialist realism as revolutionary romanticism.11 VDNX showed life not as it was lived but rather as it ought to be lived.


pages: 254 words: 68,133

The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory by Andrew J. Bacevich

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, clean water, Columbian Exchange, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, gig economy, global village, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, illegal immigration, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Occupy movement, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, price stability, Project for a New American Century, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, school choice, Silicon Valley, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, WikiLeaks

All made a polite show of interest in what I had to say. From time to time, I trooped down to Washington to testify before some congressional committee. And on a few occasions, I appeared on national news programs, typically as a sort of foil for guests spouting establishment views. Virtually all of this was theater, as I soon came to realize. I had inadvertently become a minor player in what was the political equivalent of a Potemkin village, pretending to debate matters that were not in actuality up for discussion. All the chatter served one purpose only: It distracted attention from the shackles imposed by what passed for conventional wisdom. As for Donald Trump, he was now commanding a far wider audience. During the Bush era, he prospered and became a major media presence, treated as both laughingstock and sage. In April 2004, he even hosted Saturday Night Live, one of the nation’s highest accolades.


The Politics of Pain by Fintan O'Toole

banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, colonial rule, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, Desert Island Discs, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, full employment, Khartoum Gordon, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment

Edward St Aubyn epitomized it in Some Hope: ‘They’re the last Marxists… The last people who believe that class is a total explanation. Long after that doctrine has been abandoned in Moscow and Peking it will continue to flourish under the marquees of England. Although most of them have the courage of a half-eaten worm… and the intellectual vigour of dead sheep, they are the true heirs of Marx and Lenin.’45 In an elitist view of the world, rules would not matter. The EU’s institutions were Potemkin villages, flimsy and easily knocked over. Brexit would, naturally, be settled behind the scenes by unelected power-brokers. Merkel would do as she was told and, as the EU is a German front, Brussels would snap its heels and produce the proper offer of infinite cake. That this belonged in the realm of an imaginary construct is obvious from its most glaring contradiction: if the German car bosses could order Merkel to produce a lovely Brexit for Britain, why could the British car bosses, who opposed Brexit, not stop it altogether?


pages: 777 words: 186,993

Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani

addicted to oil, affirmative action, Airbus A320, BRICs, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, clean water, colonial rule, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, distributed generation, farmers can use mobile phones to check market prices, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, knowledge economy, land reform, light touch regulation, LNG terminal, load shedding, low cost airline, Mahatma Gandhi, market fragmentation, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, open economy, Parag Khanna, pension reform, Potemkin village, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, smart grid, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

This would have a powerful domino effect in the following years as Indian businesses invested in IT to combine their own capital flows with India’s banks and stock markets. India’s regulators were, however, still lone rangers in a governing environment that was if not hostile, at least indifferent to IT systems. Beyond our capital markets, the 1990s saw countless instances of failed IT initiatives. We have struggled here with what Keniston called India’s “Potemkin village” problem—we have plenty of showcase “pilot projects” that we have failed to expand beyond a state or city level. More than 80 percent of state-led electronification projects in the 1990s failed. Innumerable pilot e-governance projects were launched with great fanfare and then forgotten. Our government departments remained, stubbornly, environments of paper pushers, filing cabinets and typewriters.

Union of India & Ors Permanent Account Numbers (PANs) pesticides PetroChina Phule, Jyotirao Pitroda, Sam PL-480 food aid Plague Prevention Measures Planning Commission pneumonic plague police politics, Indian: author’s views on ; bipartisan or coalition; caste and ; conservative vs. liberal ; economic impact of ; education and ; factionalism in ; information technology (IT) in ; language and ; leadership in ; mass protest in ; party organizations in ; see also specific parties; populist; regional ; see also government, Indian pollution Pondicherry pongamia Pope, Carl Population Bomb,The (Ehrlich) ports post offices Post-War Plan of Educational Development “Potemkin village” problem Prabhu, Suresh Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Prahalad. K. Praj Industries Prasad, Chandrabhan Prasad, Kalka Prasad, Rajendra Pratham preventive health care price controls prices, commodity Pringle, R. K. private schools “Private Schools for the Poor” (Tooley) productivity Project Genesis Project OASIS (Old Age Social and Income Security) property taxes protectionism Provident Fund Act (1925) provident funds public distribution system (PDS) Public Grievance and Redressal system Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) public transportation Pudong, China Punjab Punjabi Suba Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Nutritious Meal Program (PTMGRNMP) Purushothaman, Roopa Qianlong, Emperor of China Qian Xinzhong “Question Box,” Quit India movement Radhakrishnan, S.


pages: 607 words: 185,487

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James C. Scott

agricultural Revolution, business cycle, clean water, colonial rule, commoditize, deskilling, facts on the ground, germ theory of disease, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, new economy, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit maximization, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, stochastic process, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, working poor

Such is even the case where, as in Stalinist collectivization, the state devotes great resources to enforcing a high degree of formal compliance with its directives. Those who have their hearts set on realizing such plans cannot fail to be frustrated by stubborn social realities and material facts. One response to this frustration is a retreat to the realm of appearances and miniatures-to model cities and Potemkin villages, as it were.1' It is easier to build Brasilia than to fundamentally transform Brazil and Brazilians. The effect of this retreat is to create a small, relatively self-contained, utopian space where high-modernist aspirations might more nearly be realized. The limiting case, where control is maximized but impact on the external world is minimized, is in the museum or the theme park. "° This miniaturization of perfection, I think, has a logic all its own, in spite of its implicit abandonment of large-scale transformations.

Here, incidentally, is where I think Goran Hyden's otherwise interesting book misses the boat altogether. The resistance of the Tanzanian peasantry seems less a consequence of some age-old "economy of affection" than a rational response to painful memories of the dire consequences of many state schemes, most of which had miscarried. 48. Elsewhere, in Tanga for example, there are cases of "Potemkin villages" being created for a Nyerere visit and dismantled later. See Hyden, Beyond Ujamaa in Tanzania, pp. 101-8. 49. Mwapachu, "Operation Planned Villages," quoted in Coulson, African Socialism in Practice, p. 121. 50. Henry Bernstein, "Notes on State and the Peasantry: The Tanzanian Case;' Review of African Political Economy 21 (May-September 1981): 57. 51. Jannik Boesen, quoted in Coulson, Tanzania, p. 254. 52.


pages: 242 words: 73,728

Give People Money by Annie Lowrey

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, full employment, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, late capitalism, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, mobile money, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, post scarcity, post-work, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, total factor productivity, Turing test, two tier labour market, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

I asked my tour guide, Soo-jin, what the song said. “The usual,” she responded. “Stuff about how South Koreans are the tools of the Americans and the North Koreans will come to liberate us from our capitalist slavery.” Looking at the denuded landscape before us, this bit of pomposity seemed impossibly sad, as did the incomplete tunnel from North to South scratched out beneath us, as did the little Potemkin village the North Koreans had set up in sight of the observation deck. It was supposedly home to two hundred families, who Pyongyang insisted were working a collective farm, using a child care center, schools, a hospital. Yet Seoul had determined that nobody had ever lived there, and the buildings were empty shells. Comrades would come turn the lights on and off to give the impression of activity.


pages: 291 words: 87,296

Lethal Passage by Erik Larson

mass immigration, Menlo Park, pez dispenser, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, The Great Moderation

My drive had begun an hour earlier in Virginia Beach, on an expressway that took me past metropolitan Norfolk, then plunged under the Elizabeth River. From the highway Norfolk looked prosperous, with a perimeter of high glass buildings, a brand-new hotel, and a festive riverside development similar to Baltimore’s Harborplace. But I had been downtown several times before and knew that urban pressures had turned this portion of Norfolk into a Potemkin village. Two blocks in from the city’s gleaming rim, life seemed to stop. Abandoned buildings, some boarded, some just empty, lined block after block. The streets were clean, however. There were no piles of litter, no plumes of broken glass, and no people, just a clean desolation like that of a city awaiting a hurricane. As I traveled, the landscape gradually softened. Brittle urban architecture gave way to suburbs, then to cool green countryside.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

They go back to the enlightened despotism of Catherine II of Russia, the subject of Johann Baptist Lampi’s portrait hanging in Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum, the David Cameron look-alike painting that had landed Sophie Gadd on page 3 of the Daily Mail. The Italian-born Lampi hadn’t been the only late-eighteenth-century European to go to Russia to enjoy Catherine the Great’s largesse. Two English brothers, Samuel and Jeremy Bentham, also spent time there gainfully employed by Catherine’s autocratic regime. Samuel worked for Count Grigory Potemkin, one of Catherine’s many lovers, whose name has been immortalized for his “Potemkin villages” of fake industrialization he built to impress her. Potemkin gave Bentham the job of managing Krichev, his hundred-square-mile estate on the Polish border that boasted fourteen thousand male serfs.38And it was here that Samuel and his brother Jeremy, who joined him in 1786 in Krichev and is best known today as the father of the “greatest happiness” principle, invented the idea of what they called the “Panopticon,” or the “Inspection House.”


pages: 280 words: 83,299

Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline by Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, commoditize, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, gender pay gap, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, global reserve currency, Gunnar Myrdal, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Snow's cholera map, Kibera, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, off grid, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile, urban planning, working-age population, young professional, zero-sum game

The country is centrally and strategically located in East Africa, with the Indian Ocean, Uganda, and Tanzania on its borders. It also shares borders with Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Somalia. Yes, it’s a rough neighborhood, but Kenya represents a zone of relative calm within the region, which makes it attractive for international businesses. That said, the flash of a modern airport represents a bit of a Potemkin village. About 75 percent of Kenya’s workers are still occupied either full- or part-time in agriculture, which represents about a third of the economy.181 Only about a quarter of the citizenry earns a salary from either a private- or public-sector employer, which is the very definition of a modern workforce.182 The unemployment rate in Kenya could be as high as 40 percent.183 Half the population doesn’t believe it gets enough to eat and about a third reports sometimes going to bed hungry.184 Seven out of ten Kenyans say they earn less than US$700 per month.185 Four in ten live below the poverty line.186 This is a country in which about half the population lives the old life of premodern subsistence.


pages: 274 words: 85,557

DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You by Misha Glenny

Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, BRICs, call centre, Chelsea Manning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, illegal immigration, James Watt: steam engine, Julian Assange, MITM: man-in-the-middle, pirate software, Potemkin village, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stuxnet, urban sprawl, white flight, WikiLeaks, zero day

This being one of those historical moments that emerge once in a generation, and where human greed and fantasy coincide, it was not long before banks and venture capitalists convinced themselves that e-commerce was a guarantee of quick riches. They began pouring money into these companies, the great majority of which were intrinsically worthless entities despite having been capitalised to the tune of millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars. The first major bubble of the globalised age had begun, and how fitting that the bubble was in high-tech stocks. But while most dot.com companies were indeed commercial Potemkin villages, firms already well established in the real world found that there were distinct advantages to conducting part of their business on the Web. Banks were swift out of the traps in this regard because, as already noted, it dawned on them that if they could persuade their clients to make payments and manage their accounts online, then they would not have to pay employees to do so. Those customers who felt comfortable with the Web were almost certain to prefer the close control over their finances that Internet banking enabled.


pages: 265 words: 93,231

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

Asperger Syndrome, asset-backed security, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, medical residency, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Robert Bork, short selling, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, too big to fail, value at risk, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

When gold had been trading around $650 an ounce for the past two years, an option to buy it for $2,000 an ounce anytime during the next ten years might well be badly underpriced. The longer-term the option, the sillier the results generated by the Black-Scholes option pricing model, and the greater the opportunity for people who didn't use it. Oddly, it was Ben, the least personally conventional of the three, who had the Potemkin-village effect of making Cornwall Capital appear to outsiders to be a conventional institutional money manager. He knew his way around Wall Street trading floors and so also knew the extent to which Charlie and Jamie were being penalized for being perceived by the big Wall Street firms as a not terribly serious investor or, as Ben put it, "a garage band hedge fund." The longest options available to individual investors on public exchanges were LEAPs, which were two-and-a-half-year options on common stocks.


pages: 327 words: 90,542

The Age of Stagnation: Why Perpetual Growth Is Unattainable and the Global Economy Is in Peril by Satyajit Das

"Robert Solow", 9 dash line, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collaborative economy, colonial exploitation, computer age, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Downton Abbey, Emanuel Derman, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, happiness index / gross national happiness, Honoré de Balzac, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, Innovator's Dilemma, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, margin call, market design, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, open economy, passive income, peak oil, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Rana Plaza, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, rising living standards, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, seigniorage, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, the payments system, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Online humorists manufactured other acronyms for attractive investment opportunities: one was ANARCHY (Albania, Nauru or North Korea, Afghanistan, Romania, Chad, Haiti, and Yemen). In early 2011, as North Africa and the Middle East were rent apart by political uprisings, an anonymous blogger wrote that emerging market investors were hunting in the MIST for CIVETS with only BRICS. Notwithstanding their long-term potential, emerging markets increasingly resembled Potemkin villages. In 2013, Goldman Sachs advised clients to reduce investments in these markets, arguing that the shift in global economic power had been overdramatized. Returns were less attractive and risks were higher than previously believed. In 2014, slumping, oversupplied real-estate markets prompted embattled Chinese developers to try different approaches to entice buyers. These included attractive women dressed as imperial concubines, discounts for people who lost weight, and appeals to patriotism.


pages: 329 words: 88,954

Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

As Steven Marcus puts it, in his history of the young Engels’s sojourn in Manchester, “The point to be taken is that this astonishing and outrageous arrangement cannot fully be understood as the result of a plot, or even a deliberate design, although those in whose interests it works also control it. It is indeed too huge and too complex a state of organized affairs ever to have been thought up in advance, to have preexisted as an idea.” Those broad, glittering avenues, in other words, suggest a Potemkin village without a Potemkin. That mix of order and anarchy is what we now call emergent behavior. Urban critics since Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs have known that cities have lives of their own, with neighborhoods clustering into place without any Robert Moses figure dictating the plan from above. But that understanding has entered the intellectual mainstream only in recent years—when Engels paced those Manchester streets in the 1840s, he was left groping blindly, trying to find a culprit for the city’s fiendish organization, even as he acknowledged that the city was notoriously unplanned.


pages: 346 words: 101,255

The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George

American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Anton Chekhov, Bob Geldof, Celtic Tiger, clean water, glass ceiling, indoor plumbing, informal economy, job satisfaction, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, land reform, low cost airline, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, Pepto Bismol, Potemkin village, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Steven Pinker, urban planning

But, as an Indian biogas expert tells me, China can do this, because China can impose from on high. “India is a democracy,” the expert says. “We have to ask, to plead, to persuade. It takes longer. It is harder. China can do things faster.” Also, China can pay. Households that buy a digester get a 1,200 yuan ($175) grant toward the total cost (usually about 3,000 yuan). It all sounds perfect. Even so, I am not persuaded by the Potemkin village of Mian Zhu. To reach the regional headquarters of the Chinese Women’s Federation, which are located in the pleasant city of Xi’an, one must first walk the length of a street of shops and barbers. The barber shops have barbering equipment and the added odd extra of overly made-up women smiling insistently at my companion, a Caucasian man. At his approach, doors open and garish faces pop out before they see me and the smile disappears.


pages: 307 words: 102,734

The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River by Dan Morrison

airport security, colonial rule, indoor plumbing, Joan Didion, Khartoum Gordon, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Potemkin village, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley

It will all be tourists and businessmen. Don’t be surprised if you see a tall hotel where Gurna used to be.” The new New Gurna had the plastic look of a planned community. Stuccoed houses of maroon and beige sat end to end; their wooden-shuttered windows opened onto wide and empty paved streets, with a streetlight on every short block. Skinny saplings rose from the curb every forty feet. At first it looked like a Potemkin village; there was no one to be seen, no sign of life. But it was hot—why would there be? I walked down the middle of the street like a sunstroked gunfighter until I found Umar Khalifa sitting in the meager shade of his front porch. He rose slowly to my greeting and offered me a chair. It was a difficult move to the new village, he said. “I told them I would leave when I was dead.” That was three months ago.


Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America by Christopher Wylie

4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, chief data officer, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, computer vision, conceptual framework, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Etonian, first-past-the-post, Google Earth, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

., Nix had the London office staff set up a fake office in Cambridge, complete with rented furniture and computers. On the day Bannon was scheduled to arrive, he said, “Okay, everyone, we’re working out of our Cambridge office today!” And we all packed up to go out there and work. Nix also hired a handful of temps and several scantily clad young women to staff the would-be office for Bannon’s visit. The whole thing felt ludicrous. Gettleson and I messaged each other, sharing links about Potemkin villages, the fake Russian towns set up in old tsarist Russia to woo Catherine the Great when she visited in 1783. We christened the office the Potemkin Site and made relentless fun of Nix for coming up with such a stupid idea. But when I walked around the fake office with Bannon, two months after I first met him in a Cambridge hotel, I could see the light in his eyes. He was buying it and loving every moment of it.


pages: 267 words: 106,340

Europe old and new: transnationalism, belonging, xenophobia by Ray Taras

affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, carbon footprint, centre right, collective bargaining, energy security, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, North Sea oil, open economy, postnationalism / post nation state, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, World Values Survey

One view is that it was the east European experience of communism and Russian domination that turned these countries into merely hybrid Europeans. Starkly put, while the west was embracing the idealism of unification after World War II, the east was confronting the harsh reality of Soviet hegemony. As the west constructed ways to integrate national economies, laws, and politics, the east had all autonomy snuffed out as Sovietization created a Potemkin village of contrived unity. Some political observers, in both the east and the west, held that these two rigid rival blocs did not amount to very much. French philosopher Étienne Balibar referred to the geopolitical division as a “phantom,” an “illusory Europe, the Europe of contradictory illusions maintained since 1920, and most particularly since 1945, by the very way that each of the two ‘blocs’ laid exclusive claim to the idea of Europe in its confrontation with the other.”22 External stimuli have profoundly affected the course of European integration.


pages: 350 words: 107,834

Halting State by Charles Stross

augmented reality, Boris Johnson, call centre, forensic accounting, game design, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, lifelogging, Necker cube, Potemkin village, RFID, Schrödinger's Cat, Vernor Vinge, zero day

“I’ll walk you back to the hotel.” You stand up and hold the door for her, and at the hotel she makes her awkward good-byes and strides through the door. Then the whole thing comes crashing down on your shoulders like a suit woven from slabs of slate. Jesus fuck. The panicky urge to phone Sophie is sudden and nearly irresistible—but then, what if you’re wrong? You don’t want to tear holes in the Potemkin village of her reality. So you decide to play games instead. It’s zero dark o’clock and you’re coiled up on the futon in your living room like a basket case, goggles glued to your face by a mixture of sweat and determination. Your hands are twitching and spazzing from side to side, and you’re muttering under your breath like an old alkie communing with his invisible pink proboscidean. At least, that’s how it would look to a time-travelling intruder in your wee house who didn’t know what was actually going on—the body adrift in the grip of a weird compulsion while the mind decays inside it.


pages: 392 words: 106,532

The Cold War: A New History by John Lewis Gaddis

American ideology, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, full employment, land reform, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine

He held court for leading capitalists while sitting under a Picasso in a New York town house; he visited—and purported to be shocked by what he saw there—a Hollywood soundstage; he pouted over being denied the opportunity, for security reasons, to visit Disneyland; he got into a shouting match with the mayor of Los Angeles; he inspected corn on an Iowa farm; and he discussed war and peace with Eisenhower at Camp David—after being assured that an invitation to this dacha was an honor and not an insult.47 No substantive agreements came out of Khrushchev’s meetings with Eisenhower, but the trip did confirm that the Soviet Union had a new kind of leader, very unlike Stalin. Whether that made him more or less dangerous remained to be seen. IX. POTEMKIN VILLAGES work as long as no one peeks behind the façade. The only way for the United States and its allies to do that in Stalin’s day had been to send reconnaissance planes along the borders of the Soviet Union, or to release balloons with cameras to drift over it, or to infiltrate spies into it. None of these measures worked: the planes got shot at and sometimes shot down, the balloons got blown in the wrong direction, and the spies got arrested, imprisoned, and often executed because a Soviet agent, Kim Philby, happened to be the British liaison officer with the American Central Intelligence Agency.48 Stalin’s U.S.S.R. remained a closed society, opaque to anyone from the outside who tried to see into it.


pages: 519 words: 104,396

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone

availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equal pay for equal work, experimental economics, experimental subject, feminist movement, game design, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index card, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, laissez-faire capitalism, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Potemkin village, price anchoring, price discrimination, psychological pricing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, social intelligence, starchitect, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, working poor

Hermès made two of its $330,000 watches, and ultra-expensive handbags are often one to a flagship store. The illusion of an authentic supply-and-demand market for such things is aided and abetted by the Robb Report and the celebrity press. Eva Longoria was photographed carrying a Coach “Miranda” bag in hot blue python skin! Whether she paid list for it is beside the point. Even in the best economic times, luxury stores are Potemkin villages, existing to convince aspiring materialists of a world richer, more spendthrift than it actually is. Marketing consultant Dan Hill of Sensory Logic said that successful stores use high-priced items to create “a mixture of anger and happiness.” Upper-middle-class consumers are angry because they can’t afford the gear featured in the store and worn by celebrities. The knee-jerk reaction is to get happy by buying something else.


pages: 390 words: 119,527

Armed Humanitarians by Nathan Hodge

Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, European colonialism, failed state, friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, jobless men, Khyber Pass, kremlinology, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, old-boy network, Potemkin village, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, walking around money

Surabi was infuriated; I later learned that she called all government officials in Kabul demanding that the Americans leave Bamyan. Colonel Spellmon, the commander of Task Force Warrior, flew up to Bamyan to smooth things over, but also warned the locals that if the Americans left, they would take all their money with them. The school visit in the Panjshir was not a mere photo opportunity intended to win over the Beltway elites with images of progress; the valley was not a Potemkin village. The Bagram outreach was a genuine effort to win friends and influence people in the communities around a vital base. Road projects were some measure of progress, even if they weren’t sustainable. But to replicate this success throughout Afghanistan would require a generation-long military commitment and a generation-long investment by the U.S. taxpayer. It would require a military and diplomatic apparatus that was completely reorganized around a new mission of building the rudiments of a functioning Afghan state.


pages: 395 words: 115,753

The Metropolitan Revolution: The Rise of Post-Urban America by Jon C. Teaford

anti-communist, big-box store, conceptual framework, desegregation, Detroit bankruptcy, East Village, edge city, estate planning, Golden Gate Park, Gunnar Myrdal, Haight Ashbury, housing crisis, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, rent control, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, young professional

According to him, suburbs were “fostering an unhealthy way of life,” and, echoing the screeds of the 1950s, he believed that suburbanization had produced “a bitter harvest of individual trauma, family distress, and civic decay.”19 Among the most vehement of the turn-of-the-century foes of suburban sprawl was James Howard Kunstler, who in a series of books leveled an unrelenting barrage of rhetoric on the edgeless city. It was “depressing, brutal, ugly, unhealthy, and spiritually degrading,” a landscape of “jive-plastic commuter tract home wastelands, … Potemkin village shopping plazas with … vast parking lagoons,” and “Orwellian office parks featuring buildings sheathed in the same reflective glass as the sunglasses worn by chain-gang guards.” It was “destructive, wasteful, toxic,” a blight on the nation and a plague on its people.20 At the close of the century, Time magazine concluded with some exaggeration: “Everybody hates the drive time, the scuffed and dented banality, of overextended suburbs.”21 Whereas many of the earlier diatribes of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s had focused on the suburbs’ destructive impact on the central city, the attacks of the 1990s emphasized the edgeless city’s toll on the natural environment.


The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape by James Howard Kunstler

A Pattern Language, blue-collar work, California gold rush, car-free, City Beautiful movement, corporate governance, Donald Trump, financial independence, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, germ theory of disease, indoor plumbing, jitney, land tenure, mass immigration, means of production, megastructure, Menlo Park, new economy, oil shock, Peter Calthorpe, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, Ronald Reagan, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, working poor, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

Ever-busy, ever-building, ever­ in-motion, ever-throwing-out the old for the new, we have hardly paused to think about what we are so busy building, and what we have thrown away. Meanwhile, the everyday landscape becomes more night­ marish and unmanageable each year. For many, the word development itself has become a dirty word. Eighty percent of everything ever built in America has been built in the last fifty years, and most of it is depressing, brutal, ugly, unhealthy, and spiritually degrading-the jive-plastic commuter tract home waste­ lands, the Potemkin village shopping plazas with their vast parking lagoons, the Lego-block hotel complexes, the "gourmet mansardic" junk-food joints, the Orwellian office "parks" featuring buildings sheathed in the same reflective glass as the sunglasses worn by chain­ gang guards, the particle-board garden apartments rising up in every meadow and cornfield, the freeway loops around every big and little city with their clusters of discount merchandise marts, the whole destruc­ tive, wasteful, toxic, agoraphobia-inducing spectacle that politicians proudly call "growth. " The newspaper headlines may shout about global warming, extinc­ tions of living species, the devastation of rain forests, and other world­ wide catastrophes, but Americans evince a striking complacency when it comes to their everyday environment and the growing calamity that it represents.


pages: 359 words: 113,847

Siege: Trump Under Fire by Michael Wolff

Bernie Madoff, Boris Johnson, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, forensic accounting, gig economy, high net worth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, impulse control, Jeffrey Epstein, Julian Assange, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, Saturday Night Live, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, WikiLeaks

As with all his existential crises, arguably coming as fast as any in political history, he flipped it. He was fine. Melania was fine. Their marriage was fine. Totally fine. It was the world around him that was toxic, cruel, evil, obsessed, full of lies. Indeed, the consensus was that Trump did not recognize that anything here was beyond the normal course of business, either in his marriage or, more generally, in his personal life. His marriage might be a Potemkin village, but that’s what it was supposed to be. That was the arrangement! This was a perverse sort of logic. There was no marriage—not, at least, that anyone had ever seen. So how could there be a problem with the marriage? Here, to various onlookers, was the distinction upon which many of their own careers and futures depended. Was Donald Trump the what-me-worry cynical master of having it all?


pages: 406 words: 113,841

The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, bank run, basic income, big-box store, collective bargaining, deindustrialization, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, job automation, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, microcredit, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration

Ten thousand at any one time are sanctioned, out of 180,000 on cash assistance.” Community Voices Heard had documented stories of welfare recipients either doing make-work or literally having to sit hours a day doing nothing in a jobs center that is such in name only, just so that the Big Apple’s welfare bureaucracies could say that work requirements were being met. It was a façade worthy of the fabled Potemkin village creators. Similar situations abound around the country. In 2012, in California alone, according to Jessica Bartholow, 72,000 adults were being sanctioned with a loss of food stamps because they couldn’t find jobs. All of this makes for a double-whammy on the poorest and most difficult to employ section of the population. In the middle of this extraordinary recession, noted Youdelman with deliberate understatement, ramping up punitive enforcement efforts when the poorest of the poor attempted to gain food assistance “seemed odd and counter-intuitive to us.”


pages: 378 words: 120,490

Roads to Berlin by Cees Nooteboom, Laura Watkinson

Berlin Wall, centre right, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Peace of Westphalia, Potemkin village, rent control

I felt a sense of euphoria at all that activity, but also, I will admit, something more like a shiver of disquiet, because of the implications, because of the power that was in evidence here, which seemed such a contrast to Germany’s recent lamentations, as though that had all been some kind of masquerade, a theatrical gimmick to lull the rest of the world to sleep. If what I was witnessing here was not some kind of phantasm, a Potemkin village, then it must simply be exactly what my eyes could see: a vision of future power. Here, with the thunderous force of the pile driver, a page was being turned. No fewer than three pasts were being buried in this place; history was being dug into the soil of this magical landscape of orgiastic labor at the rate of a million images per second: trams, fashions, armies, bunkers, barriers, walls, the People’s Police, all of them disappearing beneath the foundations of the temples to the new powers.


pages: 1,509 words: 416,377

Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty by Bradley K. Martin

anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, four colour theorem, illegal immigration, informal economy, kremlinology, land reform, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Potemkin village, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, special economic zone, stakhanovite, UNCLOS, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

. *** Whether visiting factories and farms or simply riding for mile after mile through broad streets lined “with trees and neat, multi-story apartment buildings in the park-studded capital of Pyongyang, I found the contrast between what was being said by outsiders and what I was seeing with my own eyes very sharp indeed. I was not the first visitor to wonder whether the authorities had arranged for visitors to see only showplaces, built—like a Potemkin village of Czarist Russia—to disguise underlying poverty and impress the credulous. My chance to take an unguided tour came after I realized that my hosts never scheduled appointments for me from roughly one o’clock in the afternoon until three or four. Instead, they kept urging me to take a rest in my room. It dawned on me that the North Koreans observed the custom of the siesta.38 They were leaving that time free because the people I wanted to interview would be napping—and because the guide and interpreter themselves wanted to rest.

At that point Tanaka acknowledged that, living in an affluent residential area that was something of a cocoon, isolated from most North Koreans, he “did not know what the ordinary life in the republic was. So I cannot tell whether I lived a luxurious life or not.” He added, “As to the issue of hunger, as well, I really do not know about it.” Tanaka’s comments ring a bell. There is evidence that Kim Il-sung’s vastly more splendid isolation in real palaces—combined with the efforts of underlings to report only good news and expose him to Potemkin villages that oozed fake prosperity—kept the Great Leader from realizing the full extent of his people’s plight. There is other evidence, however, that even on some occasions when Kim did know what was really happening he was having such a good time as Great Leader that he didn’t want to inconvenience himself in order to deal with such mundane matters. Former ideology chief Hwang Jang-yop told of “an incident that occurred during the time when electricity supply was so poor that there were frequent blackouts even in Pyongyang.”

., 92 Perry, William, 635, 637, 647 ping-pong diplomacy, 139–140 Pochonbo, battle of, 39–40, 212, 214 population, 139 relocation, mass, 112, 232, 294, 408, 544, 626–627 police function, 6 manpower, 262 See also police state; Public Security; State Security police state, 60, 89, 262 intensification under Kim Jong-il, 397 See also Public Security; punishment; purges; State Security; surveillance political offenders. See punishment; purges; surveillance post–Korean War period (1950s), 93–119 Potemkin villages, 178, 499, 518–519 power, electric, 177 Kim Il-sung’s priority use of, 499–500 Pyongyang system modernized, 662 shortage, 295, 329, 345, 503, 638 and coal mines, 559, 643 easing, 663 propaganda. See culture; indoctrination; Kim Il-sung: personality cult of; Kim Jong-il: personality cult of; news media; subversion, of North Korea; subversion, of South Korea prostitution, 188, 201, 458, 590, 623 protest, 344–345, 441, 543, 545–547, 550, 611 Public Security (police), 262, 263–264, 269, 291 Pueblo incident, 128–133, 135, 534 punishment, 290–304 banishment (internal exile), 290, 293, 294, 298, 301–302, 557–558, 614–615, 616–628 without change in social class, 627 commitment to mental institution as, 589 demotion, for remaining dry-eyed after Kim Il-sung’s death, 508 detention centers, 290–291 execution, 290 of accused spy for South Korea, 549 of agriculture minister, 575, 624 of camp-inmate family for escape try, 609 of coup plotters, associates, 546 of defector attempting to rescue family members, 460 of exhumed corpse, ritual, 575 of father as little son watches, 301 of failed assassin, 695 for hearing gossip about Kim Jong-il’s private life, 687 of official’s wife, at drinking party, for criticizing Kim Jong-il, 287 of personality cult critics, 292 of political prison camp inmates, 299 public, suspended, 631 seen as alienating elite, 648 for sexual promiscuity, 201–202 of Southerners during Korean War, 89 of woman who told authorities she had slept with Kim Jong-il, 318 expulsion, from school or job, 290, 377, 429, 432, 574 house arrest, 293 political prisons and prison camps, 280, 290–291, 293–294, 302–304, 557–558, 560, 562–564, 615 “destroy three generations of a family,” 290, 572, 607, 609 experiments on prisoners, 604 families of spies who fail sent to, 541 guards’ testimony, 604–610 inmates’ testimony, 298–300, 596–600 leniency to families of offenders, new policies, 416, 572, 617, 631 prisoners released (1984–86), 589 production in, 562, 615 short stature of inmates, 609 slow-death camps, 291, 572, 604 uniforms worn in, 562, 609 prison, women’s, 616 prisons, ordinary, 291, 329–330, 562, 611–613 reformatories (labor drill units), 291 revolutionary work classes, 574, 580 purges, 293 of artists and literary people, 171, 240–243 military 1969–1970, as succession maneuver, 277 1992, of military dissidents, 546, 548, 673 in 1950s, 94–96, 106–107, 109–111, 292 thought examination committees in, 110 Pyongyang capture of, 80 construction in, 119, 295 controls on population and entry, 233, 294, 344, 405, 626–627 priority in distribution of goods, services, electricity, 449, 499–500, 576 rebuilding of, after Korean War, 93, 96 retaking of, 83 showcase role, 295 transportation in, 2, 177, 494 radio, external broadcasts pending congressional bills regarding, 677–678 receivers capable of tuning in, 6, 368, 379, 423–424, 431–432, 495, 496, 522, 526, 601 (see also subversion, of North Korea: balloon drops) Radio Free Asia, Korean-language service, 297, 379, 385, 392, 401, 407, 454, 455, 496, 522, 526, 601 South Korean, 310, 368, 385, 390, 406–407, 420, 422, 424, 432, 570, 584, 600–602 Voice of America, 368, 495–496 Rangoon bombing, 323 Reagan, Ronald, 152–153 regime change Gang of Four scenario, 492–493 South Korea’s caution, 672 U.S. advocates of, 86, 672–674, 677–678 See also coup d’état regime collapse, prospects, 433, 440, 449, 454, 457, 478, 494, 503, 522, 553–555, 626, 635, 659, 672, 683–684 religion belief as political offense, 292, 599 See also Buddhism, Christianity Republic of Korea (South Korea, ROK) formation of, 62 Respected Mother (omonim), 701–703 revisionism, Soviet and Eastern European, 121, 474, 574, 652 See also co-existence, peaceful; Stalinism: de-Stalinization Rhee Syngman Connally remarks abhorred by, 67 economic development lagging under, 100 land reform postponement sought by, 91 northward invasion hopes of, 62, 65–66, 79, 87, 99 overthrown, 104 Republic of Korea proclaimed by, 61 senility, 114 trusteeship opposed by, 54 Ridgway, Gen.


pages: 481 words: 120,693

Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, assortative mating, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, call centre, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, commoditize, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, double helix, energy security, estate planning, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, global village, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, high net worth, income inequality, invention of the steam engine, job automation, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, liberation theology, light touch regulation, linear programming, London Whale, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, NetJets, new economy, Occupy movement, open economy, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, postindustrial economy, Potemkin village, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Solar eclipse in 1919, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, the new new thing, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, trade route, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, Washington Consensus, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

Not especially, he said, but he wished it had been easier and quicker to identify and befriend the right decision maker in the civil service. RED OLIGARCHS On March 5, 2012, the three thousand members of the National People’s Congress gathered in Beijing for their annual ten-day meeting. The National People’s Congress is nominally the highest governmental body in China. In practice, real power resides with the twenty-five-member Politburo and its Standing Committee. The National People’s Congress partly serves as a political Potemkin village, a rubber-stamp legislature whose role is to create a pretense of popular representation in what is an authoritarian system, just as the “elections,” with their 99 percent majorities, did in the Soviet era. But the National People’s Congress isn’t purely ornamental. The NPC’s March meeting is held every year alongside the annual Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Together, the two events are known as the lianghui—or two meetings—and they form the most important event on the Chinese political calendar.


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

“While it was perhaps natural and inevitable that languages like Fortran and its successors should have developed out of the concept of the von Neumann computer as they did, the fact that such languages have dominated our thinking for twenty years is unfortunate. It is unfortunate because their long-standing familiarity will make it hard for us to understand and adopt new programming styles which one day will offer far greater intellectual and computational power.” Is the entire edifice of software engineering as we know it today a Potemkin village facade? Do we need to start over from the ground up? Today, one vocal advocate of this view is Jaron Lanier, the computer scientist whose dreadlocked portrait was briefly imprinted on the popular imagination as the guru of virtual reality during that technology’s brief craze in the early 1990s. Lanier says that we have fallen into the trap of thinking of arbitrary inventions in computing as “acts of God.”


pages: 504 words: 126,835

The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon, Bjorn Weigel

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, American ideology, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, BRICs, Burning Man, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, Colonization of Mars, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discounted cash flows, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, fear of failure, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, global supply chain, global value chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, income per capita, index fund, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Martin Wolf, mass affluent, means of production, Mont Pelerin Society, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technological singularity, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, University of East Anglia, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

They dispute the evidence and data about weak economic dynamism by claiming that current methodologies to measure the growth of productivity, prices, and GDP fail to capture technological shifts generally and the current innovation spurt specifically. Consequently, the real economy is driven by innovation more than is suggested by economic data. It is statistics, not the real economy, which show the innovation illusion. There is a problem with the map, not the territory. National accounts are rather like Potemkin villages: they hide the reality. This argument comes in three different instalments. First, recent economic data cover a period when cyclical effects have hidden the structural shifts taking place in the Western economy. Second, there is a growing disconnect between recorded data in national accounts and the real improvements of products created by new technology. In this way, the real or social value of innovation is higher than the recorded market value of the same innovation, and the gap between them has grown recently.


pages: 1,477 words: 311,310

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500 to 2000 by Paul Kennedy

agricultural Revolution, airline deregulation, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, imperial preference, industrial robot, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, long peace, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, night-watchman state, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, oil shock, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, University of East Anglia, upwardly mobile, zero-sum game

Finally, no assessment of Russia’s overall capacities in this period can avoid some comments upon the regime itself. Although certain foreign conservatives admired its autocratic and centralized system, arguing that it gave a greater consistency and strength to national policies than the western democracies were capable of, a closer examination would have revealed innumerable flaws. Czar Nicholas II was a Potemkin village in person, simple-minded, reclusive, disliking difficult decisions, and blindly convinced of his sacred relationship with the Russian people (in whose real welfare, of course, he showed no interest). The methods of governmental decision-making at the higher levels were enough to give “Byzantinism” a bad name: irresponsible grand dukes, the emotionally unbalanced empress, reactionary generals, and corrupt speculators, outweighing by far the number of diligent and intelligent ministers whom the regime could recruit and who, only occasionally, could reach the czar’s ear.

Whether one considers the rapid growth of Russian land- and sea-based strategic missile systems, the thousands of aircraft and tens of thousands of main battle tanks, the extraordinary developments in the surface navy and in the submarine fleet, the specialist activities (airborne and amphibious warfare units, chemical warfare, intelligence and “disinformation” activities), the end result is impressive. It may or may not have cost as much in real terms as the Pentagon’s own allocations; but it undoubtedly gives the USSR a range of military capabilities which only the rival American superpower possesses. This is not a twentieth-century military Potemkin village, ready to collapse at the first serious testing.161 On the other hand, the Soviet war machine also has its own weaknesses and problems, and certainly ought not to be presented as an omnipotent force, able to execute with consummate efficiency all of the possible military operations which the Kremlin might require of it. Since the dilemmas which face the strategy-makers of the other large Powers of the globe are also being pointed out in this chapter, it is only proper to draw attention to the great variety of difficulties confronting Russia’s military-political leadership—without, however, jumping to the opposite conclusion that the Soviet Union is therefore unlikely to “survive” for very long.162 Some of the difficulties facing Russian military decision-makers over the middle to longer term derive directly from the economic and demographic problems of the Soviet state which have been outlined above.


Three Felonies A Day by Harvey Silverglate

Berlin Wall, Home mortgage interest deduction, illegal immigration, Julian Assange, mandatory minimum, medical malpractice, mortgage tax deduction, national security letter, offshore financial centre, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technology bubble, urban planning, WikiLeaks

Proceedings of the 17th Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, March 6, 2003, quoted in John Gibeaut, Junior G-Men, 89 A.B.A. J. 46, 48 (June 2003). 16. Professor Dershowitz has used this formulation on numerous occasions in his Harvard Law School classes. See Harvey A. Silverglate, “Ashcroft’s big con: False confessions, coerced pleas, show trials — the Justice Department’s reliance on Soviet-style tactics has turned the war on terror into a Potemkin village,” The Boston Phoenix, June 25, 2004, available at http://bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/top/features/ 17. three felonies a day 289 documents/03936976.asp. See also Paul Craig Roberts, “Fake Crimes,” Feb. 4, 2004, available at http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts29.html. 18. Giglio v. U.S., 405 U.S. 150 (1972). 18 U.S.C. § 201(c)(2): “Whoever directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any person, for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceedings, before any court…or for or because of such person’s absence therefrom, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.” 19. 20.


Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer

back-to-the-land, clean water, commoditize, double helix, invisible hand, music of the spheres, oil shale / tar sands, p-value, Pepto Bismol, Potemkin village, scientific worldview, the built environment, the scientific method

It hurts me even to bring the ideas of the Honorable Harvest here; I feel protective of them. I want to cup them like a small warm animal in my hands and shelter them from the onslaught of their antithesis. But I know they are stronger than this. It’s not the Honorable Harvest that is the aberration, though—it is this marketplace. As leeks cannot survive in a cutover forest, the Honorable Harvest cannot survive in this habitat. We have constructed an artifice, a Potemkin village of an ecosystem where we perpetrate the illusion that the things we consume have just fallen off the back of Santa’s sleigh, not been ripped from the earth. The illusion enables us to imagine that the only choices we have are between brands. Back home I wash away the last bits of black soil and trim the long white roots. One big handful of leeks we set aside, unwashed. The girls chop the slender bulbs and the leaves, and they all go into my favorite cast iron skillet with way more butter than a person should probably have.


pages: 393 words: 127,312

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times in Television by Louis Theroux

Burning Man, Columbine, East Village, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, Potemkin village, Silicon Valley, the market place

My parents had split up by now, and while it had been abundantly foreshadowed, it was still weirdly upsetting and at the same time a little bit exciting. I felt licensed to feel a level of anger and alienation that was already in me. I had the feeling that at the point of leaving home, home itself had disappeared – and not just disappeared but been exposed as hollow, based on lies and improvisations. A Potemkin village erected by its own inhabitants to convince themselves that they were normal and well cared for. Looking back, with my own children as my future judges, I see these characterizations as unfair, but it was how I felt. And in a positive way, emerging from the fog of my own indoctrination, I felt what was probably a salutary urge to make something of myself, to separate myself from my family, to prove something, though exactly what was as yet unclear.


Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, clean water, Corn Laws, coronavirus, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, energy transition, failed state, Gary Taubes, global value chain, Google Earth, hydraulic fracturing, index fund, Indoor air pollution, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, land tenure, Live Aid, LNG terminal, long peace, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, renewable energy transition, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Y2K

Commoner had come to fame in the early 1950s when he helped the Nobel Prize–winning chemist and peace activist Linus Pauling to circulate a petition calling for a moratorium on weapons testing. Their argument was that the testing risked contaminating the public.70 Commoner viewed nuclear power plants as a “non-warlike excuse for continuing the development of nuclear energy . . . a kind of political Potëmkin Village.” Nuclear energy, Commoner argued, was constructed in order to justify President Eisenhower’s nuclear arms testing. “It’s the most expensive charade in history,” Commoner argued.71 The Sierra Club board of directors was taken aback by Pesonen’s proposal. “Don’t you dare mention public safety,” one of them warned Pesonen. “The Sierra Club can talk about scenic beauty, and maybe the loss of scenic beauty, but not about public safety.


pages: 519 words: 155,332

Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall--And Those Fighting to Reverse It by Steven Brill

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, failed state, financial deregulation, financial innovation, future of work, ghettoisation, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, immigration reform, income inequality, invention of radio, job automation, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, old-boy network, paper trading, performance metric, post-work, Potemkin village, Powell Memorandum, quantitative hedge fund, Ralph Nader, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, telemarketer, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor

No one would know that when Gingrich and his band of renegades attacked Democrats for being corrupt or even being soft on communism, the absence of argument back from the other side was not because they did not dispute the charges, but because Gingrich and the others were pretty much talking to themselves. For years, the Democrats didn’t pay much attention to the Gingrich and friends television show because, even though the Republicans frequently used sound bites of their best performances to promote themselves, C-Span’s actual viewership was minimal. However, Gingrich’s C-Span antics reached such a fever pitch in 1984 that Democratic speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill decided to reveal the Potemkin Village nature of the House “debate” by ordering the cameras to show the empty chamber. O’Neill then took the floor to accuse Gingrich of impugning the integrity of members of the House. The dramatic confrontation made headlines, with a video clip broadcast on the evening news. All of this was happening at a time when President Reagan and O’Neill, a Massachusetts liberal, were famously cutting deals, with the help of Gingrich’s putative House boss, Republican minority leader Bob Michel.


The Cigarette: A Political History by Sarah Milov

activist lawyer, affirmative action, airline deregulation, American Legislative Exchange Council, barriers to entry, British Empire, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, fixed income, Frederick Winslow Taylor, G4S, global supply chain, imperial preference, Indoor air pollution, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Kitchen Debate, land tenure, new economy, New Journalism, Philip Mirowski, pink-collar, Potemkin village, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, Silicon Valley, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, Torches of Freedom, trade route, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, women in the workforce

The New York Times reported a story of fellowship and goodwill between Iowans and Soviets—most of whom hailed from the Ukraine, “Russia’s closest approximation of Iowa.” While Iowans’ eyes may have been set on the “Soviet Russians” in their midst, the Times reporter was transfixed by the shiny tractors and new farm equipment. In the reporter’s words, “the ordinary Iowa farmer … has a minimum of two new cars and they are usually brand-new Buicks or Oldsmobiles or Cadillacs.” Iowa was the anti-Potemkin village. Urban newspapermen argued that farmer success was too good to be true, not because it was fake, but because it was real—and that taxpayers kept farmers “living in clover and Cadillacs.”91 As fewer and fewer Americans were living on farms, the prospects for gaining the sympathies of the American people seemed to dwindle. Farm population continued its decline after World War II. In 1945, 18 percent of Americans lived on farms.


pages: 568 words: 162,366

The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea by Steve Levine

Berlin Wall, California gold rush, computerized trading, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, fixed income, indoor plumbing, Khyber Pass, megastructure, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, oil rush, Potemkin village, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, trade route

Crews from a workforce of fourteen thousand had been frantic to dress up the blocks of drab Soviet-era shops and apartments that the president’s motorcade would pass as it moved along Respublikansky Prospekt. And so they had slapped thousands of yards of white and brown vinyl onto the front and sides of more than a hundred buildings, giving them a halfway cheerful look. Nobody bothered disguising the back walls, since they would be out of sight. The overall effect was that of a Potemkin village. There was one other problem—the city’s name. The word akmola means “white grave,” which prompted much mocking from Kazakhs and foreigners scornful of their president’s grandiose venture. Nazarbayev, stung by the jibes, promptly ordered that the city be renamed Astana, which simply means “capital.” (One joke that made the rounds had a man meeting a friend on the street. “Hello,” he says, “I’d like you to meet my wife.


pages: 506 words: 167,034

Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut by Mike Mullane

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, dark matter, Donald Trump, Donner party, feminist movement, financial independence, invisible hand, Magellanic Cloud, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Pepto Bismol, placebo effect, Potemkin village, publish or perish, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, space pen, Stephen Hawking, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent, your tax dollars at work

During our first break from the Kodak moments I pulled my family to the beach. I would see Donna again, so I devoted my time to my mom and children. The kids were now old enough to make the beach house visit after being cleared by the flight surgeon. As I had been in previous launch good-byes, I was honest with them now about the risks. I didn’t talk up the danger, but neither did I paint a Potemkin village for them. SinceChallenger ’s loss I was even more determined to keep them informed. I had heard that one of the older children watchingChallenger ’s destruction from the LCC roof had screamed, “Daddy, you said this could never happen!” I wanted my children and mom to know it could happen and to be prepared as much as possible. I was filled with a father’s pride as I watched my children. Pat was in the final weeks of his senior year at Notre Dame.


pages: 710 words: 164,527

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Charles Lindbergh, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, deindustrialization, European colonialism, facts on the ground, fiat currency, financial independence, floating exchange rates, full employment, global reserve currency, imperial preference, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lateral thinking, margin call, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Monroe Doctrine, New Journalism, open economy, Paul Samuelson, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, psychological pricing, reserve currency, road to serfdom, seigniorage, South China Sea, special drawing rights, The Great Moderation, the market place, trade liberalization, Works Progress Administration

“If there was no one left to appease,” Keynes scoffed, echoing White’s view of the State Department, “the FO would feel out of a job altogether.”65 Remarkably, given Keynes’s leading role on the front line of the financial side of Britain’s war efforts, Churchill paid little heed to Keynes’s labors. His five-volume history of the war contains a single reference to the great economist.66 The PM’s strategy throughout the war was to focus on surviving it. Central to that strategy was to cultivate Roosevelt and his personal emissaries (such as Hopkins), whom he sought relentlessly to entrance with his Potemkin village of Anglo-America. All else was distraction. Keynes, though he allowed his frustrations to bubble over in front of the Americans more often than did Churchill, nonetheless shared with the PM the tendency ultimately to ascribe kindly intentions to his negotiating counterparts, even when these were not manifest in their behavior. But things are sometimes exactly as they seem. Morgenthau and White were not making irrational demands; they were simply making unpalatable ones.


pages: 598 words: 169,194

Bernie Madoff, the Wizard of Lies: Inside the Infamous $65 Billion Swindle by Diana B. Henriques

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, break the buck, British Empire, buy and hold, centralized clearinghouse, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, corporate raider, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Thorp, financial deregulation, financial thriller, fixed income, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, index fund, locking in a profit, mail merge, merger arbitrage, money market fund, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, riskless arbitrage, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Small Order Execution System, source of truth, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, transaction costs, traveling salesman

On Madoff’s orders, he kept a supply of old letterhead stationery and used it when backdated paperwork was needed for files that regulators wanted to see. In time, he even ordered the creation of a software program that made it look to an observer as if a trader at one computer terminal were buying or selling for an investor’s account, when in fact the “trader” was merely exchanging keystrokes with another staff member at a computer hidden in a room down the hall. This Potemkin village paper trail became so convincing that Madoff was able to fool dozens of insufficiently sceptical regulators and inadequately observant lawyers and accountants for years. Another consequence of the SEC’s breakup of the casual “friends and family” network run by Avellino & Bienes was that Madoff came to rely far more on those larger, more professionally marketed sources of cash known as hedge funds.


pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, turn-by-turn navigation, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

But other times Google would identify behavior that it judged an attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in its ranking system and would adjust the system to shore up those weaknesses—relegating those using that method to the bottom of the results pile. Generally, the places that got such treatment had no business showing up in the upper reaches of results for popular keywords: they sneakily worked their way up by creating Potemkin villages full of “link farms” designed to pump up a PageRank. Nonetheless, companies whose sites were downgraded in that matter were often outraged. “It’s not like we’ve put all our eggs in one basket,” said the president of an SEO company called WebGuerrilla to CNET in October 2002, “it’s just that there’s no other basket.” That was the month that a company called SearchKing sued Google after a bad night at the Google dance lowered its PageRank score from 8 to 4 and its business tanked.


The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union by Serhii Plokhy

affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Sinatra Doctrine, Stanislav Petrov, Transnistria

The US president would then fly to Kyiv to see another rising star, the leader of Ukraine, the second-largest Soviet republic. Soviet power was no longer concentrated in the hands of one person and was not wielded in Moscow alone. It was becoming increasingly dispersed, and the program of the summit, which included meetings with republican leaders, underlined that reality. Bush would have to try to look past the Potemkin villages of the new Soviet political edifice to see the future. The president had had many opportunities to discuss these questions with his advisers. It was now time to judge the new Soviet reality for himself. His immediate question was how to help Gorbachev stay in power and continue the honeymoon in Soviet-American relations. MIKHAIL GORBACHEV HAD HIGH HOPES for the Moscow summit. This would be his third meeting with Bush in slightly more than a year.


pages: 913 words: 219,078

The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War by Benn Steil

Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, disintermediation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, imperial preference, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, kremlinology, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, open economy, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, the market place, trade liberalization, Transnistria, Winter of Discontent, Works Progress Administration, éminence grise

From left: British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, and French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault. * * * THREE * * * RUPTURE MARCH 9, 1947: MARSHALL’S C-54 arrived in Moscow from Berlin on a brisk, snowy afternoon. In preparation for the secretary’s motorcade, the Soviets had decked out the area around the embassy, creating “a virtual Potemkin village” to showcase the nation’s heroic economic recovery. The avenues gleamed, the garbage having been shunted into nearby alleys. The decision for Marshall to stay at Spaso House, the embassy residence, was wise, or fortunate; the refurbished Moskva Hotel, where his staff stayed, was bugged.1 George Catlett Marshall was the first American general given the five-star rank, and the first career soldier appointed secretary of state.


pages: 901 words: 234,905

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, Joan Didion, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, twin studies, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Chapter 11 The Fear of Nihilism THE FINAL FEAR of biological explanations of the mind is that they may strip our lives of meaning and purpose. If we are just machines that let our genes make copies of themselves, if our joys and satisfactions are just biochemical events that will someday sputter out for good, if life was not created for a higher purpose and directed toward a noble goal, then why go on living? Life as we treasure it would be sham, a Potemkin village with only a façade of value and worth. The fear comes in two versions, religious and secular. A sophisticated version of the religious concern was formulated by Pope John Paul II in a 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “Truth Cannot Contradict Truth.”1 The Pope acknowledged that Darwin’s theory of evolution is “more than just a hypothesis,” because converging discoveries in many independent fields, “neither sought nor fabricated,” argue in its favor.


pages: 778 words: 239,744

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Burning Man, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, fault tolerance, fear of failure, gravity well, high net worth, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Khartoum Gordon, lifelogging, neurotypical, pattern recognition, place-making, post-industrial society, Potemkin village, Richard Feynman, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, the market place, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl

She was thrilled at the beauty of her subjects and at their surprisingly educated voices as they sang and tilled the soil. She went back to the palace and eventually died at the age of sixty-seven, still at least notionally unaware that she ruled an impoverished, brutal nation ripening towards a staggering violence. (She died of a stroke. There was, contrary to the prurient slander, no horse penis involved.) In short, I have been building Potemkin villages: faking it. The trouble is that with Gnomon in my head, and now with the crash dive, I’ve run out of places to put myself that aren’t either my central console or my autonomous survival systems, like breathing and regulating body temperature and so on: all the gubbins that happens in the brain at such a low level that we basically don’t really think about it. I’ve shunted myself into some part of the firmware, erasing what was there, and I honestly don’t know what it does.


pages: 934 words: 232,651

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 by Anne Applebaum

active measures, affirmative action, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, centre right, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, land reform, language of flowers, means of production, New Urbanism, Potemkin village, price mechanism, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Slavoj Žižek, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, union organizing, urban planning

Those who disobeyed any of the rules could be put in a punishment barrack and deprived of food or could be sent to spend the night lying on a plank in a “wet” cell, where water seeped in from the sides, sometimes knee-deep. To observe all of these Soviet innovations, and presumably to offer suggestions for improvement, Soviet advisers paid periodic visits to the camp, as did Rákosi. As in the USSR a Potemkin village was created in anticipation of their arrival: prisoners were cleaned, workplaces were tidied up, flowers were even planted around the camp perimeter. Just as the Gulag began to close down after Stalin died, so too did Recsk cease to operate after the Soviet leader’s demise. Garasin’s reward—or perhaps his punishment—for importing a Soviet-style concentration camp to Hungary was to become, in subsequent years, the Hungarian ambassador to Mongolia.


The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World (Hardback) - Common by Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, air freight, airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, double entry bookkeeping, equity premium, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, market bubble, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, new economy, North Sea oil, oil shock, open economy, Pearl River Delta, pets.com, Potemkin village, price mechanism, price stability, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, reserve currency, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, stocks for the long run, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, urban renewal, working-age population, Y2K, zero-sum game

Accordingly, the published levels of Chinese GDP are probably reasonably useful in evaluating the resources needed for its production— that is, as a measure of the value of needed input. Even after adjusting for the questionable quality of some of China's data, the results of the reforms that commenced in the late 1970s remain truly remarkable. One needs only to observe the vast changes in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, and the lesser but still real changes in the rest of the country, to conclude that China is anything but a Potemkin village. In my experience, it has been the technocrats in the Chinese government—mostly in the central bank, the finance ministry, and, surprisingly, the regulatory agencies—who have pressed for market initiatives. Most of them, however, serve only in advisory capacities. The key policy de- 308 More ebooks visit: http://www.ccebook.cn ccebook-orginal english ebooks This file was collected by ccebook.cn form the internet, the author keeps the copyright.


pages: 972 words: 259,764

The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot

American ideology, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, drone strike, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Golden Gate Park, jitney, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration

“What a place,” he lamented. “It got me down.”41 To get away from “the protocol” and get a taste of the real war, he asked Diem to borrow a helicopter and a member of his staff to tour the provinces. Diem wanted to know where he was going. Lansdale refused to say. “I’ll tell your pilot that; I don’t want to tell you,” he replied, because he didn’t want to give the president time to construct a Potemkin village for his inspection. Diem played along, assigning his secretary of defense, Nguyen Dinh Thuan, to accompany Lansdale, and even providing some sandwiches for them to munch en route.42 Early on the morning of January 10, 1961, only ten days before John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, Lansdale, along with Joe Redick and Thuan, took off in a South Vietnamese C-47 transport aircraft from Saigon bound for Soc Trang, a provincial capital with a South Vietnamese army base set amid one of the world’s lushest rice-growing regions, the Mekong Delta.


pages: 945 words: 292,893

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, digital map, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, low earth orbit, microbiome, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, selection bias, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise

As such, Ivy and Dinah and Konrad and Zeke ought to have been freaking out at this point. But none of them—not even Zeke—reacted very much. “You’ve all thought it too,” Sean said. “Even an Asp-hole like me can see it in your faces.” “Okay, maybe we’ve all thought it,” Dinah admitted. “How could you not think it? But, Sean, what you might not have seen, being based on the ground, is how serious everyone up here is about making this work. If it were just a Potemkin village, we’d be seeing different stuff.” Sean held his hands up, palms out, placating her. “Can we just agree that there might be a range of views down on the ground? And that some people, perhaps highly placed, see its primary function as an opiate of the masses? Like the video you pop into your car’s DVD player to keep the kids quiet during a long drive.” “People like that are not going to be our friends when it comes to getting the resources we need,” Ivy said.


pages: 1,199 words: 332,563

Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition by Robert N. Proctor

bioinformatics, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, index card, Indoor air pollution, information retrieval, invention of gunpowder, John Snow's cholera map, language of flowers, life extension, New Journalism, optical character recognition, pink-collar, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, publication bias, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, speech recognition, stem cell, telemarketer, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Upton Sinclair, Yogi Berra

In some contacts with potential academic or professional supporters, we indicated the Rogers & Cowan affiliation, but said that we were seeking third-party assistance on social issues for a range of clients. At no time did we mention that we were researching on behalf of RJR.34 Of course what really makes this pretense of “corporate and social responsibility” ring hollow is the brute fact of needless megadeaths. One might as well (again) talk about the high ethics of a criminal gang, or the quality of construction at some Potemkin village. USEFUL ALLIES, DEAR FRIENDS What is the point of sports sponsorships? The companies get good advertising, of course, and therefore increased profits (“positive sales ‘ruboff’ ”) but also good PR and political allies. Philip Morris defended its bowling program, for example, by noting that Merit cigarettes were helping to build awareness of the sport in “a smoker-friendly environment.”


Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980 by Rick Perlstein

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, affirmative action, airline deregulation, Alistair Cooke, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, business climate, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, death of newspapers, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, energy security, equal pay for equal work, facts on the ground, feminist movement, financial deregulation, full employment, global village, Golden Gate Park, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, kremlinology, land reform, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, oil shock, open borders, Potemkin village, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, traveling salesman, unemployed young men, union organizing, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, wages for housework, walking around money, War on Poverty, white flight, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, yellow journalism, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Then he walked away with an envelope containing $50,000 in cash. On August 10, Time magazine reported that Jeff Carter, the president’s twenty-seven-year-old son, was a 50 percent partner in a consulting firm that had been paid $200,000 by the corrupt, violent dictator of the Philippines. Then, it was August 11—time for the Democratic convention to begin. * * * THE HOST CITY LINED THE highways from the airports with geraniums—Potemkin-village illusions, just like in Detroit. The social scene was certainly better. A committee of eighty volunteers, recruited from the glitterati to host delegations, competed to one-up one another. Songwriter David Rose bet he could offer more sumptuous hospitality for his state than Sesame Street producer Christopher Cerf could offer his, with a date with The Muppet Show’s Miss Piggy going to the winner.


Europe: A History by Norman Davies

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, centre right, charter city, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, Corn Laws, cuban missile crisis, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of DNA, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equal pay for equal work, Eratosthenes, Etonian, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial independence, finite state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, global village, Honoré de Balzac, Index librorum prohibitorum, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land reform, liberation theology, long peace, Louis Blériot, Louis Daguerre, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, Peace of Westphalia, popular capitalism, Potemkin village, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, spinning jenny, Thales of Miletus, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, Transnistria, urban planning, urban sprawl

As soon as the imperial barge hove into sight Potemkin’s men, all dressed up as jolly peasants, raised a hearty cheer for the Empress and the foreign ambassadors. Then, as soon as it turned the bend, they stripped off their caps and smocks, dismantled the sets, and rebuilt them overnight further downstream. Since Catherine was Potemkin’s lover at the time, it is not possible to believe that she was ignorant of the ploy; the principal dupes were the foreign ambassadors. ‘Potemkin Villages’ has become a byword for the long Russian tradition of deception and disinformation.1 Force and fraud are the stock-in-trade of all dictatorships. But in Russia Potemkinism has been a recurring theme. On this subject, the views of a professional deceptionist may not be entirely irrelevant. According to a senior KGB defector, Western opinion has been skilfully and systematically duped ever since Lenin’s NEP.