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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

Their model was Alexi Stakhanov, a Donbass miner who on August 31, 1935, supposedly dug 102 tons of coal in five hours and forty-five minutes, fourteen times his assigned production quota. Stakhanov’s achievement was brought to Stalin’s attention, and subsequently turned into a miniature cult of personality. There were articles, books, and posters about Stakhanov as well as Stakhanov streets and Stakhanov squares. A Ukrainian town was renamed Stakhanov in his honor. Heroes of Labor were renamed Stakhanovites after him too, and Stakhanovite competitions were held all over the Soviet Union. The Eastern European communists would have known the Stakhanov cult very well, and some of them imitated this model with great precision. Eastern Germany’s Stakhanov was Adolf Hennecke, a coal miner who astonished his comrades in 1948 and dug 287 percent of his production quota. This was far lower than Stakhanov’s record—a German could not be expected to surpass a Russian—but Hennecke’s name soon appeared on posters and pamphlets anyway.

Their names appeared on signs and billboards. They were celebrated in the newspapers and on the radio, and they featured in public events, newsreels, and parades. Sometimes they received unexpected perks, as one female Polish textile worker remembered: In 1950 or 1952 … I don’t remember exactly … I was chosen as the best Stakhanovite in my factory. I did 250 percent of the quota … One day I went to work, of course in my daily clothes, because you do not go to work in Sunday clothes. And they gave me a ticket saying that I am going to the Stakhanovite ball. I said I was not going because I was not dressed up, but they ordered me to go. So I went with the others. It was an amazing experience: me, an ordinary worker of a sewing department, visited President Bierut himself. Bierut welcomed us, and thanked us for our good work. I received a letter of commendation.

And when she started to believe, she was proud, so proud.61 Yet in purely economic terms, the shock worker movement was a failure. For one, it created perverse incentives: workers competed to finish quickly and ignored quality. As a result, “socialist competitions” never made the economy more productive, in the Soviet Union or anywhere else. The economic historian Paul Gregory reckons that in the USSR the Stakhanovite movement had no impact on labor productivity whatsoever: the cost of the expensive prizes and higher wages for the Stakhanovites canceled out whatever value industry might have gained from the superhuman effort of individual workers.62 In political terms, the movement’s impact was more mixed. In some places, the daily quotas became a bone of contention, particularly as they began to rise faster than wages and living standards, and the party had to invent new techniques to stop the complaining.

pages: 323 words: 94,406

To the Edge of the World: The Story of the Trans-Siberian Express, the World's Greatest Railroad by Christian Wolmar

anti-communist, Cape to Cairo, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, railway mania, refrigerator car, stakhanovite, trade route, transcontinental railway, urban planning

Of course, to some extent this had the desired effect, because railway managers were terrified of delaying trains unnecessarily in case they received a knock on the door in the middle of the night, so they strove to keep the system going. Not surprisingly, as a result, the accident rate rose; and even minor mishaps could easily result in the hapless local manager being accused of being a ‘wrecker’ bent on destroying socialist society, the worst possible accusation. Under Kaganovich, too, Stakhanovite efforts were encouraged to improve productivity. Named after a miner who supposedly carved out more than 100 tons of coal in a single shift, which was, in fact, an obvious charade, Stakhanovite efforts were imposed on the railways, but to terrible effect. Specially selected train drivers were set up to ensure their locomotives pulled greater loads, or used less coal per verst, but as Westwood suggests, this usually meant that all the engineer did was ‘drive his engine badly, “thrashing” it so it produced a third more steam per hour’; but while this did increase the speed, it simply meant it ‘raised fuel consumption per horsepower to a much higher rate and brought his fireman [who had to shovel the coal into the fire box] to a state of collapse’.20 Even the relatively neglected passenger services improved in the 1930s, thanks to the investment on the line.

Transport delays – particularly on the Trans-Siberian, which was now expected to carry a much heavier load than previously – were an all too visible reflection of the society’s inefficiency, and as J. N. Westwood, the Russian railway historian, suggests, ‘Government and Party remained unconvinced that the railways were working anywhere near their real limit, a conflict that was almost inevitable . . . the two weapons [in government hands] were the purge and the Stakhanovite movement.’18 Kaganovich had more blood on his hands than almost any other of his contemporary Communist leaders, having organized forced grain confiscations during the starvation deliberately brought on by the regime in the early 1930s in Ukraine as a punishment. He was one of those who took the hardest line against the slightly better-off peasants characterized as kulaks (rich peasants, but often misused as a way of identifying those reluctant to hand over grain) by the regime, a group that was almost exterminated under Stalin’s forced collectivization of agriculture.

., 94 Newby, Eric, xix, 30, 253–4 Nicholas I, Tsar, 2–3, 5, 11 and railways, 13–21, 24 Nicholas II, Tsar, 58, 70, 249 foreign tour, 59–60 and railways, 59–62 and Russo-Japanese War, 139–41 Nikolaevsk, 113, 200–1 Nikolayev Railway, 16–24, 74 fares, 22 finance, 21 gauge, 18–19 lack of connections, 23 route, 18, 20 speed of construction, 21 topography, 20 travelling conditions, 22 volume of traffic, 21 Nizhneudinsk, 198 Nizhny-Novgorod, 29, 31, 39 Nizhny Tagil, 12 North Korea, 245 Novokuznetsk, 217, 219, 222 Novonikolayevsk, 73, 84–6, 156, 198, 218 see also Novosibirsk Novosibirsk, 219, 260 station architecture, 220 see also Novonikolayevsk Novosibirsk Railway Museum, 108 Ob, river, 42, 68, 73, 82, 84–5, 101, 220 Ob River–Krasnoyarsk line, 65 October Manifesto, 139–40 Odessa, 24–5, 80, 86, 184–5 Odessa Railway, 49–50 Odessa University, 48 oil, 159, 174, 246 and environmental damage, 243–4 Old Believers, 144–5 Omsk, 73–4, 81–2, 161, 260 and civil war, 184, 187–8, 190, 195–8 coal thefts, 119–20 garden city, 156 panorama, 110 population increase, 155 station architecture, 92, 253 Omsk paper currency, 197 Omsk–River Ob line, 65 Orenburg, 42, 190 Orient Express, 109 Orthodox Church, 144–5 Orwell, George, 236 Ozerlag camp complex, 234 Pacific Fleet, Russian, 38, 56, 167 Page, Martin, 93–4 Panama Canal, 75 panoramas, 109–10 Paris, 25, 51 Paris Exposition Universelle, 84, 109–10, 114 passports, internal, 1, 21, 147–9 Pasternak, Boris, 193 Pauker, General German Egorovich, 44 Pavlovsk, 15 Peking–Paris road race, 162–3 Penrose, Richard, 152–3 Penza, 140, 180 Perm, 29, 39, 41–2, 192, 195, 209 permafrost, 65, 69, 103, 125, 168 and construction of BAM, 232–3, 239–40, 243, 247 Pertsov, Alexander, 134–5 Peter the Great, Emperor, 9, 20 Peyton, Mr, 32 photography, 253–4 Plehve, Vyacheslav von, 141 Pogranichny, 122 Pokrovskaya, Vera, 81 Polish provinces, 14, 24, 28, 144 Poltava, 151 Polyanski (agent), 51 Port Arthur, 109, 114, 123, 126, 129, 131, 133–4, 137, 139, 165 Port Baikal, 89, 101, 135 post houses, 4–5 Postyshevo, 233 Posyet, Konstantin, 39–40, 44, 52 Primorye region, 36–7, 40–1 prisoners of war, 226, 234, 246 Progressive Tours, 253 propaganda, 203–7, 252 Pushechnikov, Alexander, 88–9, 96, 122 Putin, Vladimir, 244 Pyasetsky, Pawel, 109–10 rails, convex, 12 railway administrators, enlightened, 151–2 ‘railway barons’, 26, 42, 50 railway colonies, 93 railway currency, 213 Railway Guard, 127–8, 130 railway managers, and Stalin’s purges, 221–3, 225 railway troops, 238 railway workers, 117–20, 156–7 wages, 118–19 railways, horse-drawn, 11–13, 30 railways, military, 24, 45 Ransome, Arthur, 206–7 Ready, Oliver, 114 Reid, Arnot, 102–3 roads, 2–3, 5–6, 13, 20, 98, 162, 257 Rosanov, Sergei, 186 Rothschilds, 46 rouble, linked to gold, 57 Royal Engineers, 95 Russia absolutism, 1 advent of railways, 27–8 censorship, 111 collapse of communism, 247–8, 257, 259 economy, 1–3, 26, 28, 55–6, 58, 95, 97–8, 255 expansion of railway network, 41–2 expansionist policies, 122–4, 130, 139 first horse-drawn railway, 11–12 German invasion, 224–5, 232, 258 industrialization, 55, 57, 95, 207, 211, 216–19, 221, 256, 258 land reforms, 154 liberalization, 21–2, 154 opposition to railways, 13–14, 16 unified railway network, 53 Russian civil war, xvi, 133, 138, 171–201, 223 Russian Revolution (1905), xvi, 154 (1917), xvi, 9, 121, 172, 174–8, 214 Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, 199–201 Russian Technical Society, 67 Russo-Japanese War, xvi, 91, 94, 107, 121, 129–42, 154, 161, 163, 165 peace treaties and aftermath, 139, 166–7, 213–14 Russo-Turkish War, 19, 36–7, 40, 49, 140–1 St John’s, Newfoundland, 64 Saint Nicholas, 73 St Petersburg assassination of von Plehve, 141 construction of, 20 massacre of demonstrators, 139 meat deliveries to, 158 renamed Petrograd, 162 St Petersburg–Moscow highway, 2 St Petersburg–Moscow Railway, see Nikolayev Railway St Petersburg time, 115 St Petersburg–Warsaw Railway, 24–5, 28 saints’ days, 104 Sakhalin Island, 31, 80, 199, 201, 242, 249 Samara, 140 see also Kuibyshev Samarkand, 39 San Francisco, 32 Schaffhausen-Schönberg och Schaufuss, Nikolai, 168 schools, building of, 157–8 Sea of Japan, 2, 7, 31, 173 Second World War, 19, 133, 200, 218–19, 221, 223–7, 229–30, 233 Semipalatinsk, 218 Semipalatinsk Cossacks, 185 Semyonov, Gregori, 182–5, 192, 198, 200 serfs, 12, 16–18, 34, 74, 141, 178 emancipation of, 11, 34, 145, 147 Sevastopol, siege of, 24, 37 Severobaikalsk, 231, 235, 241 Severomuysky Tunnel, 241, 244, 246 Shanghai, 114, 164 Shika, river, 69, 88, 101 Shoemaker, Michael Myers, 115 shovels, 81 Siberia Allied intervention, 172–201 architecture, 156–7 area, 7–8 cartography, 66–7 climate, 1, 7–8, 243, 246 economy, 31, 36, 207 fire damage, 243 first railway, 42–3 immigration, 143–60, 207, 220 increased productivity, 158–9 indigenous peoples, 11, 65, 118, 145–6, 149 industrialization, 207, 211, 216–19, 220–2, 256, 258 infrastructure improvements, 59, 61, 83, 98, 159 population, 1, 7, 10–11, 143, 159, 219 regionalist movement, 35 and Russian Empire, 34–6 time zones, 7 travel, 3–7, 32 urbanization, 154–6 Siberian Committee, 33–4 signallers, 118–19 Simpson, James, 150–1 Sino-Japanese War, 70–1 slaves, American, 35 sleepers, 64, 81, 84, 103, 106, 239 Sleigh, Mr, 31 sleighs, 3, 6, 32 Slyudyanka, 228 snowdrifts, 104 Sofiysk, 31 Solzhenitsyn, Alexander, 231 Some Like It Hot, 116 South Manchuria Railway, 126, 128–9, 137–9, 164, 214 Southwestern Railway, 50 Sovetskaya Gavan, 231, 233, 248 Soviet Sociology, 237 Soviets, 179 Sretensk, 38, 41, 88–9, 101, 108, 121–2, 168 Stakhanovite movement, 222–3 Stalin, Joseph, 10, 177, 215, 224–6, 229–30, 235 his death, 226, 234, 242 escape route from Moscow, 226 industrialization under, 207, 211, 216–19, 220–2, 256, 258 his train, 212, 252 Standard newspaper, 133 Stankevich, Andrei, 152 stations, 27, 74, 91–3, 156–7, 219–20, 257 architecture, 92, 157, 220 catering, 103, 107–8, 209–10 military areas, 157 steamboats, 4, 13 Stephenson, George and Robert, 12 Stevens, John F., 191 Stolypin, Pyotr, 154 submarine warfare, 176 submarines, 173 Suchan coal mines, 187 Sudan, 64 Suez Canal, 37, 70, 86, 164 suicides, 10 Suprenenko, Governor, 30 Sverdlovsk, 219 see also Yekaterinburg Swedish Red Cross, 185 Syzran, 42 taiga, 68, 78–9, 83–4, 236, 238, 243 tarantasses, 3–4, 6, 32, 91, 106 Tashkent, 218 Tayga, 155 Taylor, Richard, 204, 207 Tayshet, 231, 233–4, 239, 246 Tblisi, 48 telegas, 3 telegraph systems, 33, 140, 179, 194 Tibet, 233 tigers, 80 timber, shortages of, 64, 73, 84, 124, 126 Times, The, 22, 165 Timireva, Anna, 197 Tokyo, 161, 188 Tomsk, 38, 41, 68, 86, 107, 155–6, 217 First World War bottleneck, 172, 175 and railway administration, 68, 120 Tomsk province, 155 track gauge, 15–16, 18–19, 137–8, 256–7 trains armoured trains, xvi, 179, 183, 193, 203 butter trains, 158 coal trains, 172 Lux Blue Express, 212 luxury trains, 108–11, 114, 163–4, 252 propaganda trains, 203–7 Rossiya, 117, 257–8 troop trains, 133–4 tsar’s train, 44, 113, 198 ‘typhus trains’, 197–8 V.

pages: 976 words: 235,576

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, asset-backed security, assortative mating, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Emanuel Derman, equity premium, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, high net worth, hiring and firing, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, medical residency, minimum wage unemployment, Myron Scholes, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, stakhanovite, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, traveling salesman, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

Now, meritocratic habits and norms have transformed both the rich and the rest. The baton of industrious effort has been largely detached from the increasingly redundant middle class and passed up the income ladder. This merger of industry and honor explains why the middle class experiences its enforced idleness as insulting and even degrading and why the working rich commit to epidemic industry that the pursuit of mere wealth cannot rationalize. Today’s Stakhanovites are the one-percenters. POVERTY AND WEALTH Every economy may be described in terms of two kinds of inequality: high-end, which concerns the gap between the rich and the middle class; and low-end, which concerns the gap between the middle class and the poor. Economic inequality can therefore grow and shrink at the same time, as rising high-end and falling low-end inequality occur together.

Finance has remade management in its image, bringing the fetish for skill into nonfinancial firms. One might even say, speaking loosely, that management has itself become financialized. Like the innovations that transformed finance, the cascading innovations behind the managerial revolution did not arise spontaneously. Instead, they were all—every one—generated from within meritocracy, by and for the newly available supply of super-skilled, Stakhanovite workers coming out of America’s newly meritocratic schools and universities. The financial instruments through which corporate raiders accomplish their takeovers, like the other financial innovations just described, required super-skilled finance workers in order to construct, price, and trade them. (It is no coincidence that the takeover boom coincided with the rise of traders at places such as Drexel Burnham Lambert.)

The firms’ closest competitors, moreover, all cultivate similarly meritocratic reputations and actively contend for the same legal talent. Most important, a corporate raider cannot improve a target firm’s economic performance or increase its stock price unless he can replace incumbent managers with expert and industrious substitutes. The entire conceit of shareholder activism depends on deploying the increased elite managerial capacity that gives corporate takeovers their economic foundation. It requires a ready supply of Stakhanovite, super-skilled top managers who are willing and able effectively to exercise the vast powers of command that running a firm directly (without relying on middle managers) requires. It is therefore again no happenstance that the 1980s takeover boom coincided with rapid expansions and repositionings in the institutions that produce managerial capacity. Chief financial officers rose to prominence at just this time and brought the perspective of the financial markets inside their firms.

pages: 31 words: 7,670

Why America Must Not Follow Europe by Daniel Hannan

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, mass immigration, obamacare, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, stakhanovite, Upton Sinclair

In 2000, for example, they committed themselves to something called the Lisbon Agenda, designed to give the EU “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010.” To which it is tempting to remark, as Sarah Palin might put it, How’s that working out for y’all? Then again, no one ever really believed that the Lisbon Agenda would have much impact in the real world. It was intended in the spirit of one of those Soviet slogans about higher production: a Stakhanovite statement of intent. The French philosopher René Descartes famously imagined that everything we thought we could see was in fact being manipulated by a malicious demon who controlled our senses. Eurocrats evidently see themselves in the role of that demon. The EU they describe is one of high growth, full democracy, and growing global influence. But this EU exists only in European Commission communiqués, in European Council press releases, in European Parliament resolutions.

pages: 206 words: 67,030

Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture by Marvin Harris

colonial exploitation, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, stakhanovite, the market place, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, zero-sum game

On threat of being reduced to commoner status, each big man is obliged to busy himself with plans and preparations for the next feast. Since there are several big men per village and community, these plans and preparations often lead to complex competitive maneuvering for the allegiance of relatives and neighbors. The big men work harder, worry more, and consume less than anybody else. Prestige is their only reward. The big man can be described as a worker-entrepreneur—the Russians call them “Stakhanovites”—who renders important services to society by raising the level of production. As a result of the big man’s craving for status, more people work harder and produce more food and other valuables. Under conditions where everyone has equal access to the means of subsistence, competitive feasting serves the practical function of preventing the labor force from falling back to levels of productivity that offer no margin of safety in crises such as war and crop failures.

Lee found, for example, that his Bushmen worked at subsistence for only ten to fifteen hours a week. This discovery effectively destroys one of the shoddiest myths of industrial society—namely that we have more leisure today than ever before. Primitive hunters and gatherers work less than we do—without benefit of a single labor union—because their ecosystems cannot tolerate weeks and months of intensive extra effort. Among the Bushmen, Stakhanovite personalities who would run about getting friends and relatives to work harder by promising them a big feast would constitute a definite menace to society. If he got his followers to work like the Kaoka for a month, an aspiring Bushman big man would kill or scare off every game animal for miles around and starve his people to death before the end of the year. So reciprocity and not redistribution predominates among the Bushmen, and the highest prestige falls to the quietly dependable hunter who never boasts about his achievements and who avoids any hint that he is giving a gift when he divides up an animal he has killed.

pages: 1,213 words: 376,284

Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, From the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Frank Trentmann

Airbnb, Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, collaborative consumption, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, equity premium, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial exclusion, fixed income, food miles, full employment, germ theory of disease, global village, haute cuisine, high net worth, income inequality, index card, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, labour mobility, libertarian paternalism, Livingstone, I presume, longitudinal study, mass immigration, McMansion, mega-rich, moral panic, mortgage debt, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, post-materialism, postnationalism / post nation state, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, stakhanovite, the built environment, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

Across Europe, conservatives, home-builders and Christian reformers were singing variations on the same tune of civic consumerism: a man who owned his home had a stake in his country, making him an upright, loyal citizen, a buttress of family life and freedom against collectivism. In fact, not even Stalin’s Soviet Union was altogether immune from the siren call. Late Stalinism dangled the ideal of domestic comfort and home ownership before its new elite, the over-achieving Stakhanovites. In a typical piece of middle-brow fiction from 1950 Russia, Dimitri returns home and muses about his new status in life: ‘Homeowner! How the sense of this world has changed! Homeowners in Rudnogorsk were now the best shock-workers and engineers, working people. Dimitri was impatient to go with Marina to look at their new home, but it was late. His dreams carried him along with her into their own house, their new house where they would begin their life together.’65 MODERN LIVING Home ownership was part of a larger dream of modern living.

Material desires would advance communism. ‘Life is getting better, life has become more joyous,’ Stalin pronounced in 1935. This slogan was trumpeted from department stores, the fun fair at Gorky Park and in popular song. After years of deprivation, comrades were told to enjoy tennis, silk stockings and jazz by Antonin Ziegler’s Czech band. Red Army officials learnt to dance the tango. Heroic workers, the Stakhanovites, received gramophones and a Boston suit (for him) and a crêpe de Chine dress (for her). A Soviet House of Fashions opened its doors in Moscow in 1936, and the USSR set out to overtake France in the production of perfume. Novelty was encouraged. Chocolate and sausage makers raced to expand their ranges; in 1937, Moscow’s Red October factory produced over five hundred different kinds of chocolates and candies.

Red consumerism challenged the divide between needs and wants. Luxury was no longer decadent. It was the socialist future, to be enjoyed by all. This approach can be understood as a particular Soviet version of the ‘politics of productivity’ which all inter-war regimes wrestled with. Dangling watches and phonographs in front of workers would make them work harder. ‘We want to lead a cultured life,’ Party leader Miron Djukanov, a miner, told fellow Stakhanovites in 1935: ‘[W]e want bicycles, pianos, phonographs, records, radio sets, and many other articles of culture.’59 Greater productivity, in turn, would allow socialism to overtake and crush capitalism. Stalinism aimed at an extreme version of the ‘industrious revolution’. Hard work would catapult ordinary people into a new material era, as in the case of E. M. Fedorova, a garment worker in Leningrad’s Red Banner Factory who was rewarded with a watch, a tablecloth, an electric samovar, an electric iron and a phonograph and records for exceeding her targets – in addition to the works of Lenin and Stalin.60 Stalin’s consumerism had a paternalist touch: the ‘father of the people’ looked after all workers.

pages: 572 words: 94,002

Reset: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money: The Unconventional Early Retirement Plan for Midlife Careerists Who Want to Be Happy by David Sawyer

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, bitcoin, Cal Newport, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Attenborough, David Heinemeier Hansson, Desert Island Discs, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, financial independence, follow your passion, gig economy, hiring and firing, index card, index fund, invention of the wheel, knowledge worker, loadsamoney, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage debt, passive income, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart meter, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

Buy the same amount when they’re going up as when they’re going down. Either way, you’re on to a winner. Action If you do believe there’s more to life than this – that you are the captain of your fate – then a financial independence plan with stock market investing at its core is what RESET suggests. All you need do is devise a plan and stick to it. Mutual funds: actively managed So, without further ado, let’s move on to the Stakhanovite workhorse and secret weapon of the RESET investing plan: the humble mutual fund. There are two types of mutual funds: actively managed and passively managed. Let’s take actively managed first. When most people refer to “mutual funds” or “unit trusts” or “OEICs”, they are talking about ones that are actively managed. Actively managed funds have these characteristics: They are managed by star fund managers, individuals with sometimes-excellent records of generating better-than-average returns on your investment.

If the cost isn’t prohibitive, pick the fund manager you use to manage your money to buy and sell your shares. Fidelity now offers this service to UK small investors (us) without having to go through an adviser. Do your stocks research. Favour stocks that pay dividends, but consider those that don’t, too. Adopt a long-term (five-year-plus) stock investment strategy, as Warren Buffett does. Don’t try to time the market; set and forget. Let that globally diversified low-cost Stakhanovite bunch of index funds do 95%-plus of your portfolio’s heavy lifting. Keep an eye on the charges. For example, towards the middle of last year, we invested well under 5% of our stash in three companies: Apple (quarter), Microsoft (quarter) and Berkshire Hathaway B (half) after cashing in Standard Life windfall shares. I did my (extensive) research on all three firms, after discarding scores of alternatives (Fidelity didn’t offer a share dealing service to direct customers without an adviser at the time).

pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour: How 500 Million Commuters Survive the Daily Journey to Work by Iain Gately

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, corporate raider, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, global pandemic, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, low skilled workers, Marchetti’s constant, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Although, in theory, every comrade over the age of eighteen was entitled to order a new car, a Volga cost six times the average worker’s annual salary, and there was a waiting list of eight to ten years. Indeed, the only types of people likely to be able to drive to work in Russia in the 1950s and 1960s were members of the elite – artists with international reputations, Olympic champions, military and party officials and Stakhanovites*4 who could jump the queues and get a car straight away. Second-hand cars were equally hard to come by for the average worker. Once people had a Volga, they were reluctant to sell them and they also had to go through official centres to do so, where ‘a commission of specialists evaluated the car and set a price’. People who wanted to purchase a used vehicle then registered with the centre, whose cadres chose the lucky individual who would be allowed to buy.

They decided that as ‘a fundamental norm’ the desirable time for trips to work should not exceed 30–40 minutes for medium-sized cities, or an hour for larger ones. Beyond these limits productivity seemed to fall by 2.5 to 3 per cent for each extra ten minutes spent in transit. Official disapproval and the general absence of facilities notwithstanding, commuting crept into the Soviet Union in the last decade of its ‘great stagnation’ (1964–85). The Stakhanovites of freedom of movement appeared in the main in small cities. They were categorized as ‘young, low-skilled workers, occupying positions requiring low qualifications and yielding low wages’, and served as cannon fodder during the USSR’s last, futile attempt to win the Cold War through communist economics. Their mobility was permitted by the state because it was cheaper than having to build new tower blocks in the cities, and ‘substituting migration with commuting’ became official policy.

pages: 631 words: 171,391

One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs

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, yellow journalism

What a joke, thought Anatoly Gribkov, the General Staff represen- tative. "Only someone with no military background, and no understanding of the paraphernalia that accompanied the rockets themselves, could have reached such a conclusion." The most Soviet commanders on Cuba could do was order a crash program to bring all the missiles to combat readiness as quickly as possible. Soviet soldiers were accustomed to Stakhanovite labor campaigns, organized bursts of mass enthusiasm designed to "fulfill and overfulfill the plan." Fortunately, the R-12 regiments were almost at full strength. By October 23, 42,822 Soviet soldiers had arrived in Cuba—out of a planned deployment of around 45,000. Overnight, the missile sites swarmed with laborers. It took one regiment three and a half hours to erect the first semicircular beam for a nuclear warhead shelter.

Shumkov, Nikolai Siberia Sidorov, Ivan Sierra del Cristal Mountains Sierra del Rosario Sierra Madre Sierra Maestra Mountains Sigint (signals intelligence) Silver Bank Passage Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) Siskiyou County Airport 613th Tactical Fighter Squadron Skagerrak Strait Sochi Sokolov, Aleksandr Solovyev, Yuri Sopkas Sorensen, Theodore Khrushchev letter drafts merged by Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) Southeast Asia South Pacific, nuclear tests in Soviet soldiers, Cuban views on Soviet Union Berlin and China's schism with CIA revelation of Cuban missile sites of in Cuba Cuba's defense agreement with demise of economy of Hungary's relations with intelligence problems of nuclear equality pursued in nuclear tests of RFK's visit to "Task 1 targets" in U-2s over U.S. north vs. south defense against weakness of in World War II Spain Spanish-American War Special Group (Augmented) spetsnaz alerts Sputnik Stakhanovite labor campaigns Stalin, Joseph World War II and Standard Oil of New Jersey State Department, U.S. decoys from Dobrynin summoned to "further action" and Khrushchev correspondence and planning of Cuban government in U-2 loss and Statsenko, Igor Stern, Sheldon Steuart Motor Company building Stevenson, Adlai Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-52s and DEFCON-2 of DEFCON-3 of LeMay's creation of Minuteman missiles and in search for Grozny U-2 loss over Soviet Union and Strategic Rocket Forces strategic weapons, Soviet disadvantage in submarines, Soviet Foxtrot, see Foxtrot submarines naval blockade and U.S.

pages: 604 words: 165,488

Mr Five Per Cent: The Many Lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, the World's Richest Man by Jonathan Conlin

accounting loophole / creative accounting, anti-communist, banking crisis, British Empire, carried interest, Ernest Rutherford, estate planning, Fellow of the Royal Society, light touch regulation, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Network effects, Pierre-Simon Laplace, rent-seeking, stakhanovite, Yom Kippur War

He was no longer a young man chipping in around the office. As of 1928 he had a wife to support, the actress Doré Plowden, whom he had met at the tables in Monte Carlo. Nubar was also concerned at the growing influence of his brother-in-law, Kevork. Kevork’s character was very different from Nubar’s: quiet, reserved and somewhat nervy.41 In the early years Calouste had treated Kevork (‘Kev’) as something of a drudge, taking full advantage of his Stakhanovite love of accounts. Calouste may have hoped that Kev’s good habits would rub off on his daughter, Rita. The pair had had a son, Mikhael, in 1927. Married twice, Nubar remained childless, and was doomed to remain so, having suffered a childhood attack of mumps, which had left him infertile. Could Calouste really have forgotten this? It seems that he chose to, for he continued to chivvy Nubar on his failure to provide an heir.42 In early 1931 Calouste invited Nubar to spend time with him at Cannes, where Calouste thought they had reached a modus vivendi.

The ‘philosopher’ pose allowed the elderly Gulbenkian to appear shrewd without having to come down on one side or the other. Like other members of the pre-1914, London-based ‘aristocratic bourgeoisie’ described by historians Jose Harris and Pat Thane, so Gulbenkian ‘combined grand dynastic aspiration with an unpretentious devotion to the ethic of work’.12 Gulbenkian preached this work ethic to his son and grandson, and practised it to an almost Stakhanovite degree himself. Though his itinerant lifestyle orbited around grand hotels and resorts synonymous with opulence, his was not a life of ease. His dress was formal, yet modest: in middle age he sometimes evaded paparazzi simply by dint of not looking like a millionaire. Irritated to discover that his expensive Patek Philippe had broken yet again, Gulbenkian asked his valet where he had purchased his own more reliable watch.

pages: 212 words: 68,690

Independent Diplomat: Dispatches From an Unaccountable Elite by Carne Ross

barriers to entry, cuban missile crisis, Doha Development Round, energy security, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, iterative process, meta analysis, meta-analysis, one-China policy, Peace of Westphalia, Pearl River Delta, stakhanovite, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, zero-sum game

If you make an enormous effort of imagination, you can just about conjure up a picture of the human beings whose existence is at stake — the victims of genocide in Rwanda, the civilians massacred during a rebel advance in the Congo — but it is a stretch, and sooner or later you stop doing it because it’s upsetting, tiring and, frankly, unnecessary. It’s easier just to do what’s necessary, write the report, negotiate the resolution, get home (our hours are long, even by the Stakhanovite standards of New York City). And slowly but surely you become deadened to it all. Wars, brutalities, peace plans, blah, blah, blah. Though we were at the heart of things, we seemed to be missing the point. Terms — diplomatic words, statistics, resolutions — were our tools to arbitrate a world of blood and agony. We were dealing with reality but working in abstraction. Something was missing. ––––––––––––––––– This something was not just absent in that airless room; it is an absence in the entire discourse of foreign policy.

pages: 200 words: 71,482

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

Buckminster Fuller, Ernest Rutherford, Khartoum Gordon, Murray Gell-Mann, stakhanovite, wage slave

Murray's seemingly dilatory state was as nothing when compared to the molasses-in-January progress in the scriptoria over on the European mainland. And he eventually realized it when, some years later, he was able to write approvingly of the speed with which his own dictionary-making machine was functioning. `We have already overtaken Grimm, and have left it behind.' But that was in the future: just now, matters seemed to grind exceeding slow. These first 8,365 words had been won with the expenditure of Stakhanovite degrees of labour. * * * Before describing just what was in—and what was not in— Murray's first fascicle, a small but significant fact needs to be pointed out: something that will make rather more sense when we come to the very end, or least to the most modern part, of this story. A detailed textual analysis throws up in these very early parts of the Dictionary certain slight idiosyncrasies of style, a certain lack of consistency, a vague impression of (dare one say it?)

Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres by Jamie Woodcock

always be closing, anti-work, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, David Graeber, invention of the telephone, job satisfaction, late capitalism, means of production, millennium bug, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, profit motive, social intelligence, stakhanovite, women in the workforce

His unsuccessful attempts led him to ask ‘what will happen tomorrow if I still can’t do that soldering? Will they throw me out? How ridiculous! A day and a half on the job . . . and then fired for being incapable!’3 In the call centre, the television screen on the wall taunted workers with sales figures, acting as a constant reminder of how each individual worker compares to others. I found it nerve-wracking as I struggled to get sales while watching the more established, near-Stakhanovite workers constantly adding more sales. However, after a month or so I began to regularly make sales, not quite enough to ‘graduate’, but enough not to suffer Linhart’s fearful outcome. In a typical shift I would make approximately three to four hundred phone calls. The majority of these calls would go through to answerphone, especially during the part of the shift taking place during normal working hours.

pages: 309 words: 92,177

The Ghost by Robert Harris

airport security, carbon footprint,, Nelson Mandela, stakhanovite, white picket fence

“He wouldn’t have got nearly such a large advance.” “Two years after leaving office? He wouldn’t have got even half.” “And nobody saw this coming?” “I raised it with Adam every so often. But history doesn’t really interest him—it never has, not even his own. He was much more concerned with getting his foundation established.” I sat back in my seat. I could see how easily it all must have happened: McAra, the party hack turned Stakhanovite of the archive, blindly riveting together his vast and useless sheets of facts; Lang, always a man for the bigger picture—“the future not the past”: wasn’t that one of his slogans—being feted around the American lecture circuit, preferring to live, not relive, his life; and then the horrible realization that the great memoir project was in trouble, followed, I assumed, by recriminations, the sundering of old friendships, and suicidal anxiety.

pages: 312 words: 91,835

Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization by Branko Milanovic

"Robert Solow", Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, mittelstand, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, Paul Samuelson, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, post-industrial society, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, stakhanovite, trade route, transfer pricing, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

In terms of inequality reduction, undoubtedly yes. But in terms of growth and innovation, no. For a long time, socialist policy-makers held that too much wage equalization eliminated incentives for acquiring new skills and working hard. In the “heroic” phase of socialism, this could be compensated for through “socialist emulation”—psychic income and social esteem acquired by those who, like the miner Aleksei Stakhanov, eponymous hero of the Stakhanovite movement, worked hard for no pecuniary return. But, in the long run, this system was unsustainable. A slew of socialist reforms in the 1960s were supposed to address defects in the system; allowing enterprises to keep more money and distribute it to the best workers was supposed to increase productivity. But the reforms failed on the bedrock of a system that, ideologically, could not afford large differences in income between people and whose political elite did not want to relinquish control of enterprises.

pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-work, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

What a Demand Can Do’, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, 2014, at 4.Weeks, Problem with Work, pp. 218–24, 175. 5.This is one aspect that distinguishes them from the concept of ‘transitional demands’ articulated by Trotsky. See Trott, ‘Walking in the Right Direction?’; Leon Trotsky, The Transitional Program: Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International (London: Bolshevik Publications, 1999). 6.On the criteria of desirability, viability and achievability, see Erik Olin Wright, Envisioning Real Utopias (London: Verso, 2010), pp. 20–5. 7.For an example of the former, see the Stakhanovite movement, or Lenin’s comments on Taylorist management methods: ‘The Russian is a bad worker compared with people in advanced countries … We must organise in Russia the study and teaching of the Taylor system and systematically try it out and adapt it to our own ends.’ Vladimir Lenin, ‘The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government’, 1918, Marxists Internet Archive, at; Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Stakhanovism and the Politics of Productivity in the USSR, 1935–1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

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

The tyranny of DNA would seem to run counter to the principles of emergence: if all the cells are reading from the same playbook, it’s not a bottom-up system at all; it’s the ultimate in centralization. It would be like an ant colony where each ant started the day with a carefully planned agenda: forage from six to ten; midden duty until noon; lunch; and then cleanup in the afternoon. That’s a command economy, not a bottom-up system. So does this mean our genes are secret Stalins, doling out the fixed plan for growth to the Stakhanovites of our cells? Are we more like a socialist housing complex than an ant colony? No one questions that DNA exerts an extraordinary influence over the development of our cells, and that each cell in our body contains the same genetic blueprint. If each cell were simply reading from the chromosomal playbook and behaving accordingly, you could indeed make the argument that our bodies don’t function like ant colonies.

Corbyn by Richard Seymour

anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, credit crunch, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, first-past-the-post, full employment, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, liberal world order, mass immigration, means of production, moral panic, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, pension reform, Philip Mirowski, precariat, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, Wolfgang Streeck, working-age population, éminence grise

The Telegraph for its part began to intersperse its online pieces about the leadership challenge with a video segment titled ‘Angela Eagle MPs’ best moments’. In a profile box, it affirmed that her ‘reputation as a fierce public debater with a quick wit helped her become the unity candidate’.24 The Guardian offered both Angela Eagle and her sister, Maria Eagle, a predictably soft-soap interview, accentuating their ‘working-class roots, their Stakhanovite work ethic and self-confidence to spare’.25 The Mirror carolled her virtues as a ‘unity candidate’ who was loyal to her party, had ‘wiped the floor’ with opponents in parliamentary debates, and – crucially – was admired by the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde.26 ‘Eagle Dares’, the Sun exulted, quoting a number of MPs supporting her stance and none of her critics. It ran an article by Hilary Benn supporting Eagle’s bid which, with borrowed Churchillian tones, repetitively extolled her ‘courage’.

pages: 385 words: 105,627

The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom by Simon Winchester

Berlin Wall, British Empire, David Attenborough, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of gunpowder, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, New Urbanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stakhanovite, Stephen Hawking, Ted Kaczynski, trade route

And the offending car-door was thereafter secured with a dog-chain. Despite Needham’s occasional air of autocratic disdain, people were eternally eager to help him, support him, and surround him with care. He employed a woman whom he called Auntie Violet to make him breakfast and tea: she worked for him, buttering the crumpets he liked to toast on his electric fire, until she was well over ninety. And once it was realized that even a Stakhanovite like Needham could be tempted to join others for afternoon tea, a variety of distinguished men and women, crumpet lovers and tea drinkers all, would stop by to dine informally with him, often memorably. One professor stopped in to talk about rain gauges—whereupon Needham discovered for him, quite accidentally, a reference to what turned out to be the first rain gauge ever made, in a book on mathematics in the Yuan dynasty.

pages: 388 words: 125,472

The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones

anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bonus culture, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, citizen journalism, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, G4S, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, housing crisis, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, James Dyson, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, Monroe Doctrine, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Neil Kinnock, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, statistical model, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transfer pricing, union organizing, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent

But in an attempt to contradict his further claim that ‘all writers are vain, selfish and lazy’, I want to make clear that this struggle was far from my own: all books are collective efforts, and this one is far from an exception. Firstly, a very special thanks to my editor, Tom Penn. Tom edited my first book, Chavs, and ensured it was a success, but his efforts in editing this book have been truly Stakhanovite. He hammered the text into shape, challenged and prodded me, and often seemed to know what I was trying to say better than myself. Then there’s my brilliant agent, Andrew Gordon. I owe everything to Andrew: he inexplicably took a punt on me, dragged me from obscurity, and gave me the chance to be a writer. It was a big risk and it took huge faith on his part, and I am unable to thank him enough.

pages: 405 words: 121,999

The Human Tide: How Population Shaped the Modern World by Paul Morland

active measures, agricultural Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, Corn Laws, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Donald Trump, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, global pandemic, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nelson Mandela, Ponzi scheme, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, sceptred isle, stakhanovite, Thomas Malthus, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce, working-age population

Aaron Soltz, an Old Bolshevik and sometimes referred to as the conscience of the Party, insisted that in the new ‘Socialist Reality’, abortion was no longer required: ‘Our life becomes more gay, more happy, rich and satisfactory. But the appetite, as they say, comes with the meal. Our demands grow from day to day. We need new fighters… We need people.’ He talked of ‘the greatest happiness of motherhood’. Others compared mothers to Stakhanovite workers and justified punishment for abortion on the grounds of the need to ‘protect the health of women’ and ‘safeguard the rearing of a strong and healthy younger generation’.54 Yet despite the newly minted pro-natalism of its Communist leadership, Russia’s fertility rate continued to fall. The human tide could not even be held back by Stalin ‘the Great Architect’, and it turned out it was easier to determine the output of steel or tractors than of children.

pages: 410 words: 119,823

Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield

3D printing, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, post-work, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

What we will discover, I think, is that we urgently need to reinvent (particularly, but not just) a left politics whose every fundamental term has been transformed: a politics of far-reaching solidarity, capable of sustaining and lending nobility to all the members of a near-universal unnecessariat. But we will also discover something else. We needed work, though not in any hackneyed dignity-of-labor sense. We certainly didn’t need to rouse ourselves to Stakhanovite exertions on behalf of uncaring employers; we didn’t benefit from being forced to simulate team-spiritedness, amidst all the profoundly dispiriting banality of our fluorescent-lit cubicles; and it goes without saying we didn’t need to suffer the insults of cretinous customers, working out their neuroses and class frustrations across the counter. All too often work cost us our health, our dreams, our lives.

pages: 224 words: 91,918

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

Asilomar, Bonfire of the Vanities, Buckminster Fuller, edge city, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, Menlo Park, Ronald Reagan, stakhanovite, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen

The scene breaks up in a covey of Flag People bobbing off the bus... Never trust a Prankster! ... Shit! ... That shakes them up all over again in Haight-Ashbury, there's no getting around that. A whole new inflammation of paranoia. The lunger heads are slithering up and down the store fronts on Haight Street. They're hunkered down gabbling in the India-print living rooms. The whole thing takes a Stakhanovite left turn. Kesey is not a right deviationist but a left deviationist. He's not going to cop out by telling the kids to stop taking LSD, that's just the cover story. Instead he's going to pull a monster prank that will wreck the psychedelic movement once and for all... Well, the acid heads in Haight-Ashbury are like a tribe in one respect, anyway, I can see that. It's all jungle drums and gossip with them, they love it, they swim in it, like fish in a stream in a cave ...

Ukraine by Lonely Planet

Anton Chekhov, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, centre right, Honoré de Balzac, low cost airline, megacity, Skype, stakhanovite, trade route

The hilarious price list posted at reception features ‘rooms without comfort’ (a direct translation of the Russian for ‘without bathroom’) – perhaps someone should point out this linguistic faux pas (we didn’t). The restaurant often heaves with Uman’s shaven-headed and short-skirted celebrating weddings to a techno beat. Uman Hotel Unrenovated Soviet $ ( 452 632; vul Radyanska 7; r with shared/ private bathroom per person from 50/92uah) You would expect much, much worse from this centrally located Soviet-style hotel. The rooms, while tatty, are well attended to by Stakhanovite maids, the beds aren’t deal-breakers and the communal showers have been spruced up. No breakfast, but still one of Ukraine’s true bargains. Celentano Pizzeria $ (vul Radyanska 15; pizzas around 20uah) Ukraine’s ubiquitous pizza chain is a blessing in restaurant-starved Uman. Kadubok Shynok Ukrainian $ (vul Radyanska 7; mains around 20uah) On the east side of Uman Hotel, this cafe-cum-restaurant serves Ukrainian and Russian classics including tasty borshch.

pages: 514 words: 152,903

The Best Business Writing 2013 by Dean Starkman

Asperger Syndrome, bank run, Basel III, call centre, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, computer vision, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, factory automation, fixed income, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, late fees, London Whale, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Parag Khanna, Pareto efficiency, price stability, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, stakhanovite, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, the payments system, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, wage slave, Y2K, zero-sum game

Today TED is an insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering—a place where ideas, regardless of their quality, go to seek celebrity, to live in the form of videos, tweets, and now e-books. In the world of TED—or, to use their argot, in the TED “ecosystem”—books become talks, talks become memes, memes become projects, projects become talks, talks become books—and so it goes ad infinitum in the sizzling Stakhanovite cycle of memetics, until any shade of depth or nuance disappears into the virtual void. Richard Dawkins, the father of memetics, should be very proud. Perhaps he can explain how “ideas worth spreading” become “ideas no footnotes can support.” The Khannas’ book is not the only piece of literary rubbish carrying the TED brand. Another recently published TED book called The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It—coauthored by Philip Zimbardo, of the Stanford Prison Experiment fame, is an apt example of what transpires when TED ideas happen to good people.

pages: 475 words: 156,046

When They Go Low, We Go High: Speeches That Shape the World – and Why We Need Them by Philip Collins

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, collective bargaining, Copley Medal, Corn Laws, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, F. W. de Klerk, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, invention of the printing press, late capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, plutocrats, Plutocrats, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rosa Parks, stakhanovite, Thomas Malthus, Torches of Freedom, World Values Survey

He remains the keenest student of rhetoric ever to have held high office. He had studied Cicero and Aristotle and he decided, to use the latter’s term, to be forensic in the military detail he offered. Large sections of this speech are the work of an expressive war reporter. We know from the transcript now held at Churchill College, Cambridge, that he sweated over this text, as he did with all his speeches. Churchill was a Stakhanovite labourer, whose methods of composition were eccentric. For weeks he would try out phrases at dinner, interrupting conversations to sound out the rhythm of a new witticism. He would write while on the telephone, circling the Great Hall at Chequers, propped up in bed or looking at maps of the conflict. But perhaps Churchill’s favourite location for writing was his bath. He was inordinately proud of being able to control the taps with his feet as he dictated.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Anton Chekhov, glass ceiling, security theater, stakhanovite

At the same time, the most stalwart workers in the urban centers were wearying under the burden of the continuous workweek; artists faced tighter constraints on what they could or could not imagine; churches were shuttered, repurposed, or razed; and when revolutionary hero Sergei Kirov was assassinated, the nation was purged of an array of politically unreliable elements. But then, on the seventeenth of November 1935, at the First All-Union Conference of Stakhanovites, Stalin himself declared: Life has improved, comrades. Life is more joyous. . . . Yes, generally speaking such a remark falling from the lips of a statesman should be swept from the floor with the dust and the lint. But when it fell from the lips of Soso, one had good reason to lend it credence. For it was often through secondary remarks in secondary speeches that the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party signaled the shifts in his thinking.

pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village,, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lifelogging, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, moral panic, Narrative Science, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Parag Khanna, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel,, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Want to price my car rental or car insurance? Let me share with you my regular car’s ‘black box’ data to prove I am a safe driver. Want me to prove I will be a diligent, responsible employee? Let me share with you my real time blood alcohol content, how carefully I manage my diabetes, or my lifelong productivity records.” In other words, there are very good reasons why those with excellent health, impressive driving habits, and Stakhanovite productivity will be excited to track and share their data. But what about the poor and the sick? What about those who don’t have the time or the stamina—which those who work three daily jobs to stay afloat might lack—to engage in self-tracking? And what if the poor and the sick do embrace self-monitoring? What are they likely to discover? That they eat food high in calories and saturated fat and that they never “check in” at their local gym because the membership fees are too high or because they never have the time with all the odd jobs they are working?

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

Historian Kathryn Weathersby has found that a large part of the archival record of Soviet–North Korean relations during the period consists of messages from Pyongyang—often from Kim Il-sung himself—asking Moscow to send specialists.45 As the state took over some 90 percent of industry in 1946, it outlawed many of the labor abuses of the past. A new law set standard working hours and mandated sexual equality in pay levels. Kim’s government proceeded with Soviet-style economic planning from 1947. Soviet assistance poured in. The regime called upon the hard work and enthusiasm of those subjects who felt grateful for the end of the old order and the dawn of the new. Stakhanovite campaigns urged industrial workers to sacrifice for productivity. One highly publicized group of locomotive factory workers marched off as “storm-troopers” and reopened an abandoned coal mine, to cope with a coal shortage that was keeping trains from running. A campaign exhorted farmers to turn over portions of their rice harvests for “patriotic” use in emulation of a farmer named Kim Je-won; he supposedly had been so moved by land reform that he donated thirty bales out of his rice harvest, leaving only enough to feed his family for the following year.46 Kim Il-sung traveled far and wide to give “on-the-spot guidance” to his subjects.

In the dark days of 1951, Kim supposedly came up with a vision for the rebuilt Pyongyang and called in an architect to discuss it as planes buzzed and anti-aircraft guns boomed. “Already his eyes saw the splendid, the magnificent streets extending one beyond the other, … the beautiful parks where children frolicked and cultural institutions of marble and granite stood.”12 When the time came to transform the vision into reality, Kim turned the capital’s reconstruction into a nationwide “battle,” in the Soviet Stakhanovite pattern, with college students and office workers pressed into service to keep the building sites humming day and night.13 Other “battles” ensued, to rebuild factories and transportation facilities as Pyongyang fully nationalized the country’s industry. Clearing away the ashes and ruins of war, North Koreans laid an impressive base for economic development. between 1954 and 1958, Pyongyang reported that combined output from mining, manufacturing and power transmission increased more than threefold.14 Industry’s role in generating national income rapidly outdistanced that of agriculture—a key indication of industrial development.15 between 1947 and 1967, per capita income was reported to have grown at an average rate of 13.1 percent a year.16 Other communist countries helped, but there is a debate whether that help came in the philanthropic form of foreign aid or in simple trade and investment.

pages: 870 words: 259,362

Austerity Britain: 1945-51 by David Kynaston

Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, continuous integration, deindustrialization, deskilling, Etonian, full employment, garden city movement, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, job satisfaction, labour mobility, light touch regulation, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, occupational segregation, price mechanism, rent control, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, stakhanovite, strikebreaker, the market place, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery, wealth creators, women in the workforce, young professional

This was Sir Charles Bartlett, managing director from 1929 to 1953, a highly intelligent paternalist who liked his workforce to call him ‘The Skipper’. Given considerable autonomy by his American masters, and inheriting a fairly brutal, hire-and-fire regime, he presided through the 1930s and 1940s over a gradual, quiet and almost entirely successful revolution – in which, crucially, workers were treated as human beings rather than Stakhanovite extras in a remake of Metropolis. Bartlett’s approach to industrial relations had several main features: avoiding lay-offs wherever possible, so that the workforce became more stable; paying good wages; using what was known as the Group Bonus System in order to enhance motivation and give the workforce at least a limited sense of control; introducing a profit-sharing scheme; developing an impressive range of social and welfare amenities; and, at the very core of Bartlett’s strategy from 1941, promoting the Management Advisory Committee (to which each area of the factory sent a representative elected by secret ballot) as a forum for meaningful rather than fig-leaf consultation.

pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Airbnb, Akira Okazaki, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, British Empire, business cycle, buy low sell high, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, Costa Concordia, creative destruction, crony capitalism, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping,, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Ferguson, Missouri, fundamental attribution error, Georg Cantor, George Akerlof, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Hans Rosling, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, Hernando de Soto, immigration reform, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, lake wobegon effect, land reform, liberation theology, lone genius, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, North Sea oil, Occupy movement, open economy, out of africa, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pax Mongolica, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Philip Mirowski, pink-collar, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, rent control, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, spinning jenny, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, the rule of 72, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, uber lyft, union organizing, very high income, wage slave, Washington Consensus, working poor, Yogi Berra

In common with many devout and modern Christians, his argument assumes that the economy is zero-sum. The pursuit of profit—if the profit is not achieved from protections and monopolies supported by the state’s monopoly of violence, monopolies greatly strengthened in socialist or regulatory states—leads to betterment for all, a joy in work serving others, a form of solidarity that has proven superior to Great Leaps Forward or Stakhanovite campaigns organized by Party officials, or for that matter Christian charity. But anyway radical Protestantism affirmed the significance of this-world life and by 1800, for example, was recommending missionary sainthood in aid of the ordinary lives of Africans or Chinese, even among Protestants (the Catholics in the Portuguese, Spanish, and French empires had been doing it for centuries). “I’m from Protestant Christianity, and I’m here to help you.”

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

After 1937, the reorientation of the Soviet economy toward a massive armament program was bound to affect industrial continuity and to distort the earlier planning. Above all, there were the great purges. Whatever the reasons for Stalin’s manic, paranoid assault upon so many of his own people, the economic results were serious: “civil servants, managers, technicians, statisticians, even foremen”133 were swept away into the camps, making Russia’s shortage of trained personnel more acute than ever. While the terror no doubt drove many to demonstrate a Stakhanovite loyalty to the system, it also greatly inhibited innovation, experimentation, open discussion, and constructive criticism: “the simplest thing to do was to avoid responsibility, to seek approval from one’s superior for any act, to obey mechanically any order received, regardless of local conditions.”134 It saved one’s skin; but it did not help the growth of a complex economy. Having been born out of a war, and feeling acutely threatened by potential enemies—Poland, Japan, Britain—the USSR devoted a large share of the state budget (12–16 percent) to defense expenditures for much of the 1920s.