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1989 The Berlin Wall: My Part in Its Downfall by Peter Millar
anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sinatra Doctrine, urban sprawl, working-age population
If several thousand East Berliners had genuinely turned out to watch the motorcades flash by, they were still outnumbered by the plainclothes Stasi goons who fronted the lines, pumping their fists into the air and shouting ‘Hoch! Hoch! Hoch!’, the traditional, militarised old Prussian version of ‘Hip, Hip, Hooray!’ The East German and Soviet leaders still greeted each other on arrival and departure with the old comrades’ kiss – just as they had done in Brezhnev’s day – even if those of us who considered Soviet kisses another branch of Kremlinology couldn’t help but notice that Gorbachev puckered up as if kissing a lemon. Only a week later US President Ronald Reagan visited West Berlin and delivered a challenge to the Soviet leader that would, more than two years later, seem like a prophetic demand: ‘General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalisation, come here to this gate.
Instead of a dynamic change from the slurred speech and stumbling gait of the senile Leonid Brezhnev, the new man in the Kremlin was more often on a dialysis machine in the Central Committee’s private hospital. Andropov had suffered from kidney problems for years but they were now acute. Within months of taking the top job he almost totally disappeared from view, leaving keynote speeches to be given by other politburo members, eagerly watched by those of us who styled ourselves – like Connie in John LeCarré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy trilogy – Kremlinologists. We would hatch theories as to what speech on which occasion, which nuance and what announcement of policy gave hints as to who might be next in line of succession to the all-important role of general secretary of the Communist Party. The American correspondents had barely managed to get their New York anchors to pronounce the Soviet leader’s name properly, with the stress on the second rather than first syllable when Andropov finally dropped off.
The Soviet Union’s supply of elderly leaders was gradually running out. Sooner or later – and the way things were going it looked like sooner – there would have to be a switch to a new generation. Even so, there were still a few of the older generation lingering in the corridors of power hoping for a chance to step into the big office, if they didn’t fall off their perch first. As a result every Kremlinologist in Moscow was constantly on the watch for changes in television programming – a switch from regular broadcasts to classical music was a surefire indicator someone big had snuffed it – or for Red Square being closed off at an unusual time (a preparation for a funeral). In November 1984 the defence minister Dmitry Ustinov, who had been in the job for eighteen years and was already in his mid-seventies, was added to the communal at-risk list after he failed to turn up at the annual Red Square parade to commemorate the 1917 revolution.
Meltdown: How Greed and Corruption Shattered Our Financial System and How We Can Recover by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, William Greider
Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carried interest, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Exxon Valdez, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, kremlinology, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, McMansion, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, new economy, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, sovereign wealth fund, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, union organizing, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K
Also until very recently, the Fed has maintained that it didn’t even take detailed minutes of these meetings; actually, it has been taping them for years and hid that fact from Congress for seventeen years. It repeated the denials to Representative Gonzalez last fall, when he pointedly asked about the existence of tapes or transcripts. Facing intensified Congressional scrutiny, Fedsters enjoyed a sudden onrush of recovered memory and acknowledged the existence of the tapes and transcripts. Such secrecy has spawned the Fed-watching industry, a racket reminiscent of Kremlinology, in which every institutional twitch is scrutinized for clues to policy changes. Fed watchers, many of them recent alumni of the central bank, “earn” salaries well into the six figures for their work; greater openness at the Fed would reduce their importance, if not put them out of business, a rare form of unemployment that would be entirely welcome. Even though F.O.M.C. members would no doubt invent all sorts of clever euphemisms to express the dangers of excessively low unemployment, televising the F.O.M.C.’s proceedings on C-SPAN would still be an enlightening glimpse into the mentality of power.
affirmative action, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Firefox, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, kremlinology, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, national security letter, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, web application, WikiLeaks
In essence, Sensenbrenner proposed a return to the targeted model of spying. He asserted: ‘Intelligence professionals should pursue actual leads – not dig through haystacks of our private data.’ Meanwhile, Senators Wyden and Udall, the two critics of the NSA in pre-Snowden times, introduced their own draft legislation to stop warrantless snooping on Americans. Wyden suggested that the Senate should have the power to confirm the NSA’s new director. In Kremlinological fashion, the White House had let it be known that it favoured a clear-out at the top. Alexander – a four-star general – confirmed his departure from the NSA in March 2014. (The Wall Street Journal, citing a senior US official, said Alexander offered his resignation in June. The White House declined it.) Other officials whispered that it would be a good idea if Clapper moved on at the same time.
Making the Future: The Unipolar Imperial Moment by Noam Chomsky
Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Frank Gehry, full employment, Howard Zinn, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, precariat, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, working poor
As for the likeliest scenario, it looks unpleasantly close to the worst case, but human affairs are not predictable: Too much depends on will and choice. Containing Iran August 20, 2007 In Washington a remarkable and ominous campaign is under way to “contain Iran,” which turns out to mean “containing Iranian influence,” in a confrontation that Washington Post correspondent Robin Wright calls “Cold War II.” The sequel bears close scrutiny as it unfolds under the direction of former Kremlinologists Condoleezza Rice and Robert M. Gates, according to Wright. Stalin had imposed an Iron Curtain to bar Western influence; Bush-Rice-Gates are imposing a Green Curtain to bar Iranian influence. Washington’s concerns are understandable. In Iraq, Iranian support is welcomed by much of the majority Shiite population. In Afghanistan, President Karzai describes Iran as “a helper and a solution.” In Palestine, Iranian-backed Hamas won a free election, eliciting savage punishment of the Palestinian population by the United States and Israel for voting “the wrong way.”
Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh
Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Arthur Eddington, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Fellow of the Royal Society, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, kremlinology, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, RAND corporation, Simon Singh, Wolfskehl Prize
Conway remembers the atmosphere in the department’s tea-room: ‘We’d gather for tea at 3 o’clock and make a rush for the cookies. Sometimes we’d discuss mathematical problems, sometimes we’d discuss the O.J. Simpson trial, and sometimes we’d discuss Andrew’s progress. Because nobody actually liked to come out and ask him how he’s getting on with the proof, we were behaving a little bit like Kremlinologists. So somebody would say: “I saw Andrew this morning” – “Did he smile?” – “Well, yes, but he didn’t look too happy.” We could only gauge his feelings by his face.’ The Nightmare E-mail As winter deepened, hopes of a breakthrough faded, and more mathematicians argued that it was Wiles’s duty to release the manuscript. The rumours continued and one newspaper article claimed that Wiles had given up and that the proof had irrevocably collapsed.
Wall Street: How It Works And for Whom by Doug Henwood
accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, central bank independence, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, labor-force participation, late capitalism, law of one price, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, London Interbank Offered Rate, Louis Bachelier, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-coupon bond
The threat of subpoenas from Gonzalez caused a sudden bout of recovered memory syndrome at the Fed; for 17 years, it had denied that it even took detailed minutes at FOMC meetings; in fact, it had been taping and transcribing them all along. The Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, however, ended Gonzalez' reign of terror. Still, despite this whiff of glasnost, the Fed remains an intensely secretive institution. This opaqueness has spawned an entire Fed-watching industry, a trade reminiscent of Kremlinology, in which every institutional twitch is scrutinized for clues to policy changes. Fed watchers "earn" salaries well into the six figures for such work; greater openness at the Fed would reduce their importance, if not put them out of business, a rare form of unemployment that would be entirely welcome. The Fed also manipulates the media ably; reporters, eager for a leak from a central bank insider, will print anything whispered in their ears, whether or not it's true — leaks sometimes designed to mislead or enlighten the markets, and other times the product of some internal struggle.
Farewell by Sergei Kostin, Eric Raynaud
He told jokes about the living mummy Brezhnev had already become, and he repeated rumors about murky mafia-type deals involving Brezhnev’s relatives and entourage. Vetrov’s probable reasoning about the situation matched most of his compatriots and contemporaries: the Brezhnevian regime was a disgrace, but Marxism-Leninism was a just cause. Or, as went a popular sarcasm about Marxist theories at the time, “Communism is inevitable.” The feeling that communism was deeply entrenched in the USSR was shared not only by the Soviets but also by most “Kremlinologists.” From the Russian standpoint, nothing in Vetrov’s behavior substantiated the assumption that he was a shadow fighter against the communist system or a trailblazer for perestroika. That assumption, which seemed to be a certitude for the DST and the French media, was laughable to the Soviets who had known Vetrov. On the French side, the interpretation is different. First, as we already know, Jacques Prévost had been quite surprised by Vetrov’s vindictive remarks about his superiors and even the Communist Party, indicating a possible early rejection of the regime.
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, Khyber Pass, kremlinology, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, 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
.* The U.S. military, Barnett was basically saying, wanted bellum: a straightforward fight against an enemy whose soldiers wore uniforms and had regular military formations. What it was engaged in, however, was guerra, the thankless, ambivalent task of playing globo-cop. And it was not equipped to handle the latter. Had the Berlin Wall never come down, Barnett probably would probably have made a career as a Kremlinologist, counting ICBM payloads in advance of arms control talks with the Soviets. But his timing was off: He graduated from Harvard University’s Soviet area studies program in 1986, just as Mikhail Gorbachev began accidentally dismantling the Soviet system through perestroika and glasnost. He completed his Ph.D. in 1990—his dissertation compared Romanian and East German policies in the Third World—just a year before the final collapse of the Soviet Union.
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks
The original PageRank patent, open for all to see, clandestinely accumulated a thick crust of tweaks and adjustments intended to combat web baddies: the “link farms” (sites that link to other sites only to goose their Google rankings), the “splogs” (spam blogs, which farm links in the more dynamic weblog format); and the “content farms” (which rapidly and clumsily aggregate content based on trending Google searches, so as to appear at the top of search engine result pages, or SERPs). Beneath the façade of sleek interfaces and neatly ordered results, guerrilla war simmers between the search engineers and the spammers.39 The war with legitimate content providers is just as real, if colder. Search engine optimizers parse speeches from Google the way Kremlinologists used to pore over the communiqués of Soviet premiers, looking for ways to improve their showing without provoking the “Google Death Penalty” that de-indexes sites caught gaming the system. And just as wartime gives governments reasons (and excuses) to hide their plans from the public, Google has used the endless battle against spam and manipulation to justify its refusal to account for controversial ranking decisions.40 Google is an ambitious company.
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, F. W. de Klerk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Sinatra Doctrine, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra
The younger man—Gorbachev was fifty-five at Reykjavik and relatively new in his office—faced far more serious problems than the old man, comfortably ensconced in his. All his options were bad; some were just less bad than others. The years before Reykjavik had been a bad patch for Soviet leaders. Some hope sprang, after nearly twenty years of stagnation under Leonid Brezhnev, in the spring of 1983 when Yuri Andropov came to power. The former KGB head was seen as the man who could modernize the U.S.S.R. at home and abroad. Kremlinologists proclaimed his elevation a good thing, because Andropov would be both ready and able to change things. Ready because only the KGB had access to the information that was available abroad, showing just how far behind the U.S.S.R. had slipped—compared not only with other industrialized nations, but also with its satellite minions in Eastern Europe. Perhaps unique in the annals of imperialism, the center of the sprawling Soviet empire, Russia, was poorer than the countries it ruled over.
anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bolshevik threat, centre right, collective bargaining, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, kremlinology, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, nuremberg principles, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, trickle-down economics, union organizing
The revolution that overthrew the Arbenz government was engineered 81 and instigated by those people in Guatemala who rebelled against the policies and ruthless oppression of the Communist-con-trolled government.48 Later, Dwight Eisenhower was to write about Guatemala in his memoirs. The former president chose not to offer the slightest hint that the United States had anything to do with the planning or instigation of the coup, and indicated that his administration had only the most tangential of connections to its execution.49 (When Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs were published in the West, the publisher saw fit to employ a noted Kremlinologist to annotate the work, pointing out errors of omission and commission.) Thus it was that the educated, urbane men of the State Department, the CIA and the United Fruit Company, the pipe-smoking, comfortable men of Princeton, Harvard and Wall Street, assured each other that the illiterate peasants of Guatemala did not deserve the land which had been given to them, that the workers did not need their unions, that hunger and torture were a small price to pay for being rid of the scourge of communism.
The end of history and the last man by Francis Fukuyama
affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, centre right, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, European colonialism, F. W. de Klerk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, labour mobility, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, nuclear winter, open economy, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, strikebreaker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions
This was suggested by Henry Kissinger in "The Caricature of Deng as Tyrant Is Unfair," Washington Post (August 1, 1989), p. A 2 1 . 19. Ian Wilson and You Ji, "Leadership by 'Lines': China's Unresolved Succession," Problems of Communism 39, no. 1 (January—February 1990): 28—44. 20. Indeed, these societies were regarded as so different that they were studied by separate disciplines of "Sinology," "Sovietology," or "Kremlinology," that paid attention not to the broad sweep of civil society, but only to politics, its supposed sovereign, and often the politics of a group of ten or twelve powerful men at that. NOTES, PAGES 3 9 - 4 6 347 Chapter 4. The Worldwide Liberal Revolution 1. Dokumente zu Hegels Entwicklung, ed. J . Hoffmeister (Stuttgart, 1936), p. 352. 2. An overview of this change is given, inter alia, in Sylvia Nasar, "Third World Embracing Reforms to Encourage Economic Growth," New York Times (July 8, 1991) p.
The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia by Peter Hopkirk
Another British visitor, Thomas Raikes, writing in 1838, drew attention to the menace of Russia’s rapidly growing military and naval power, and forecast that Britain and Russia would very soon be at war. Nor were such views confined to the British: A celebrated French observer, the Marquis de Custine, who toured Russia in 1839, returned with similar forebodings about St Petersburg’s ambitions. In his La Russe en 1839, a work still quoted by Kremlinologists today, he warned: ‘They wish to rule the world by conquest. They mean to seize by armed force the countries accessible to them, and thence to oppress the rest of the world by terror. The extension of power they dream of . . . if God grants it to them, will be for the woe of the world.’ The British press largely shared this sense of doom. In an editorial written shortly before the fate of the Khivan expedition was known, The Times declared: ‘The Russians have well nigh mastered the whole of the northern kingdoms of Central Asia . . . they are in possession of the great lines of inland traffic which once made Samarkand, and now make Bokhara, a position of first rate commercial importance; and . . . having crossed a vast tract of horrid desert, they now stand preparing or prepared . . . to launch their armed hordes towards the more fertile regions of Hindustan.’
air freight, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doomsday Clock, global village, Google Earth, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, stakhanovite
Perhaps there had been some kind of coup in the Kremlin, with the relatively moderate Khrushchev replaced by hardliners or forced to do their bidding. Over at the CIA, officials noted that the premier had not been seen in public for two days. Nobody guessed the truth, which was that Khrushchev himself had detected a wavering in the U.S. position and decided to exploit it. One thing was certain, said Llewellyn Thompson, the ExComm's inhouse Kremlinologist. The latest missive from Khrushchev was the official position of the Soviet leadership. "The Politburo intended this one." 11:17 A.M. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27 (10:17 A.M. HAVANA) A U.S. Navy Crusader flew over the Soviet command post in El Chico almost at the same time the generals decided to shoot down Target Number 33. Moments later, it joined another reconnaissance plane that had taken a slightly southerly route, over the port of Mariel and an intermediate- range missile site at Guanajay.
Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay
3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Yogi Berra
Abu Dhabi eventually arrived with an eleventh-hour rescue, and the bankers agreed to take a haircut on their loans, but the damage to its reputation had been done. No one will lend Dubai no-questions-asked money ever again. It will have to pay its own way. Dubai Inc. has endured heavy restructuring since. Many of Sheikh Mo’s top lieutenants have been merged or purged; high-profile developers have been jailed for fraud. Financial markets wait for the other shoe to drop, while emirates Kremlinologists wonder what price Abu Dhabi will ultimately charge for its help. (Naming the onetime Burj Dubai after its ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is suspected to be a down payment.) In hindsight, Dubai was almost fatally overleveraged in hype as well as debt. Unwinding its untenable positions entailed the world’s awe cur-dling into schadenfreude. Planeloads of journalists who once breathlessly touted every pleasure dome in Xanadu returned to pass judgment, switching their metaphors to Ozymandias: “The towers of Dubai will become casualties not of human greed but of architectural folly,” predicted one screed in The Guardian.
Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century by Tom Bower
Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, bonus culture, corporate governance, credit crunch, energy security, Exxon Valdez, falling living standards, fear of failure, forensic accounting, index fund, interest rate swap, kremlinology, LNG terminal, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, new economy, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, passive investing, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, price stability, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, transaction costs, transfer pricing, éminence grise
Their confidence was ill-judged. Chevron’s alignment with the Kazakh government against Moscow offended Putin, who refused to meet O’Reilly. Frustrated by John Browne’s smooth diplomacy in using Tony Blair to engage Putin and finalize his deal, O’Reilly urged former US secretary of state George Shultz and Condoleezza Rice to advance Chevron’s case. But, like the diplomats at the American embassy and the Kremlinologists hired by Chevron, they were unable to offer insight or access to Sechin or Putin. “It’s too early to see Putin,” O’Reilly told Khodorkovsky, to conceal Chevron’s exclusion. “We’ve got to keep these negotiations confidential.” In essence, Chevron’s executives were offering Khodorkovsky shares for nearly the same valuation in a merged company as Raymond was proffering in cash. The parallel negotiations by two compartmentalized Yukos teams were intended to be top secret, but Raymond had heard about Chevron’s involvement within a week.
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, microbiome, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise
On one level she was one of the luckiest people in the human race. She was going to get to stay alive. At the same time, she and the others got very little information from the planet, and had to piece things together from a jumble of clues. She’d compared notes on this with Ivy, who had confirmed that even she had little to go on, and what she did hear contradicted itself from hour to hour. It had all become Kremlinology. Back in the heyday of the Soviet Union, the only way for Westerners to guess what was going on there was to look at the lineup of dignitaries on Lenin’s Tomb in the May Day parade, and riddle it out from the seating chart and who shook hands with whom. Now Dinah was doing the same thing with these three faces on the screen. Sparky was no use. He’d spent so much time in space that he had developed a kind of thousand-light-year stare.
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
Were things happening the way Collins, writing in 1996, had postulated? No outsider can know for sure about much of anything that happens in North Korea, of course. But there are always the Pyongyang-watcher’s fallback techniques of analysis based on scraps of information from all kinds of sources including defector testimony and the regime’s news media and propaganda—the sort of “tea leaf reading” that also characterized the work of kremlinologists and sinologists. Thus, my attempt to solve another, seemingly unrelated mystery—-why the DPRK had barred United Nations World Food Program aid monitors from thirty-nine of the North’s counties—turned out to be instructive. My findings suggested that Kim Jong-il and company so far might have avoided falling into the trap of Phase Four, as Collins defined it. In that case, the Kim family regime (let us eschew obvious comparisons to Satan and his beastly manifestations) still might have some staying power.