The Inevitable 20th Century Mass Life Expectancy Increase Myth

In the comments section, Uncle Milton disagrees that the tremendous strides that the USSR made in life expectancy were anything great, and suggests that they would have happened anyway even with a non-Communist government.
This argument is regularly trotted out by rightwingers whenever we point out the tremendous achievements Communists made in the 20th Century in life expectancy. The argument is that such an increase would have happened anyway with a non-Communist government. In the case of Russia, I assume this would be a Czarist regime.
First of all, I noted in response to Unc’s Czarist – Russian Orthodox Church propaganda about Ukraine being “the breadbox of Europe prior to WW1”:
The Ukraine before WW1 had an incredibly low life expectancy. Life expectancy was only 35 years! Most people did not have enough food to eat, were often, sick, weak or injured, had no medical care, and died at an early age. Regular famines swept through the area, killing many. What good is “the breadbasket of Europe” if most of the people who live there are starving?
To which Unc responded:

Substantial reforms were made in the early 20th centuries. Yes, I am sure during the era of serfdom which ended in 19th century there was hunger. My understanding is this was substantially reduced in immediate pre WWI period.Life expectancy was low in many countries at that time. It was skewed lower because of high infant mortality rates. I’ve seen your discussion of the comparison of China pre and post revolution regarding life expectancy and the Soviet Union but you should not compare between time periods within a country but to other similar countries over time.
Taiwan had an even greater increase in life expectancy from the early 20th century to the modern era. For the Soviets I would compare life expectancy in Finland to life expectancy in the USSR.

Well, let us compare similar countries then.
Russia with China, India and Albania.
1949 – life expectancy in India and China was 32. In Albania it was 35. Compare to Russia with life expectancy around 67.
In particular, note the comparison of Russia with Albania.
We also need to show how all progress in life expectancy pretty much ended by the early 1960’s in the USSR, and how life expectancy crashed with the return to capitalism in Russia. Clearly, endless advances in life expectancy are and were not inevitable in the 20th century at all. Russians had a longer life expectancy in the early 1960’s than they did in the 1990’s after the return to capitalism.
Or we can compare Cuba to the rest of Latin America and clearly they do better with life expectancy. We can compare Kerala (run by Communists for over 20 years) with other Indian states and see that Kerala has better life expectancy. We can compare Nicaragua at the end of the Sandinista reign to the rest of Latin America and note the superior health figures. Bottom line is that capitalism seems to be bad for your health.
A comparison with Finland is not ok because Finland also developed a very socialist system. Not as socialist as the USSR, but very socialist nonetheless. The freemarketeers and anti-Communists don’t like socialists much more than they like Communists, and they try to dismantle Finnish-style socialism everywhere it shows up.
Taiwan did not break the records set for greatest increase in life expectancy set by Stalin and Mao. Further, Taiwan under US tutelage created a socialist-style regime after WW2. There was a huge land reform, once again needed for industrialization as in the USSR and China. And national health care, dental care and the essentials of a social democracy were installed.
These socialist reforms were done by the US not out of some socialist goals but as a way to make Taiwan compare favorably on various indices when compared to China. Were there no Communist China to cynically compete with, the US would never have created Taiwanese social democracy.
Further, Taiwan’s growth occurred due to a massive flood of aid from the US from 1945-1965. Even Cold Warriors like the publishers of Time-Life books, “China” in 1962 confessed that the Taiwan experiment was not reproducible in China due the huge population there and the fact that the equivalent money needed to match the Taiwan money pump in China simply was not available for donation either in the US or anyone in the world.
Feeding the people of Taiwan was a difficult thing to do, but it was doable. This very rightwing book acknowledged that the main problem in China lay with feeding the population. This the Chinese Communists accomplished by the mid-1970’s.
A better comparison is China and India. Both were very large countries at about the same level of development in 1949. The comparison since then has been stark. China’s shines in almost every way.
Further, we can calculate that 100 million excess deaths occurred by 1979 in India as compared to China as a penalty for not following the Chinese model. In 1979, the excess deaths were continuing to occur at 4 million/year. Using basic math, we can calculate that at least 150 million and possibly up to or over 200 million excess deaths have occurred in India since 1949 by failure to follow the Chinese model.

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40 thoughts on “The Inevitable 20th Century Mass Life Expectancy Increase Myth”

  1. Robert, you confuse correlation with causation. The reason northern European countries have been successful with socialism is because of their formerly homogeneous positive culture.
    Socialism did not create the phenomena of low birth rates, financial prudence, and mutually cooperative societies. Rather, those traits are what has allowed these cultures to adopt socialism without collapsing. The difference between China and India is not that China “decided” to be communist and India inherited British capitalism. Was China “communist” in 200 BC, when India didn’t even exist?

  2. The difference between China and India is not that China “decided” to be communist and India inherited British capitalism. Was China “communist” in 200 BC, when India didn’t even exist?
    I do not follow here.

  3. Sorry I accidentally hit submit… damn touchpad.
    Anyway, a question… do you believe in democracy? India is free and democratic, while China is oppressive and authoritarian. America is still relatively democratic and capitalist, while the socialist states of Europe are becoming more politically oppressive.
    One of my main objections to socialism and statism in general is that it gives the government far too much authority, which cannot help but eventually fall into the wrong hands. We cannot, as Marx naively posited, live in a stateless and classless society. It takes a state to enforce class “equality”, and the existence of a state necessarily creates a political class system. “First among equals” is a contradiction in terms.
    Within a single generation, socialism and benevolent dictatorships are seductive. This is why George Washington must be revered as our greatest national hero. He knew that he could have been King of America, and he probably would have done an admirable job. But instead, he set a precedent for stepping down, ensuring a peaceful transition of power.
    Can socialism exist for a long time without giving way to fascism? Perhaps. But would you deny that giving more social and economic power to the government creates a fertile environment for oppressive authoritarianism?

  4. The difference between China and India is not that China “decided” to be communist and India inherited British capitalism. Was China “communist” in 200 BC, when India didn’t even exist?
    I do not follow here.”
    My point was that you cannot look at China and India as an “experimental” comparison. China has been more organized and prosperous than India for several millenia. China was sovereign, while India was tribal and colonized.

  5. Finland in 1949 wasn’t really a nordic socialist state. That basically came along in the 60s.
    Albania was a weird backwater. They certainly weren’t industrial capitalists.
    According to the conservative think tank the heritage institute, Hong Kong is the most capitalist government on the face of the planet with a life expectancy of 82. Compare that to the very communist North Korea of 67. (or so they claim..)
    Is that an apt comparison…?

  6. IMHO, India has revoked its right to democracy. The problems are so severe that a dictatorship similar to the one in China would be preferable to the garbage they have now, and I’m sure it would kill a lot fewer people too. And it will probably take an evil dictatorship to get those Indian morons to quit having so many damn babies. The problems of many places of the 3rd world, with insane poverty, exploding populations and collapsing ecosystems are so severe that we need to start thinking of extreme measures. What good is Indian “democracy” if it results in a condition like “The Ship of Saints” whereby millions of Indians are hopping on boats to flee their starving land and heading to Europe or the US? This is the reality that we are starting to look at.
    I agree with the Maoists. If Indian democracy is killing 4 million Indians a year, then maybe it’s time to get rid of the system. The only way to change that economic system is probably by armed revolution, which is the line of the armed Indian Maoists. 4 million dead a year is a 5 alarm fire and anything that can be done to reduce that number is an ok project.
    Seriously, if these 3rd world hellholes don’t stop say, destroying the rainforests or whatever, we may just have to invade their sorry asses and force them to save the planet. When Africa was granted its independence, immediately the newly freed Blacks started exterminating every large mammal on the continent. Only when the White man stepped in with a heavy hand did they stop. Sometimes a little White Man’s burden goes a long way.
    My point was that you cannot look at China and India as an “experimental” comparison. China has been more organized and prosperous than India for several millenia. China was sovereign, while India was tribal and colonized.
    Sure but the levels of development were the same. Calling Republican China organized and prosperous must be some kind of a sick joke. Ever read Pearl Buck, “The Good Earth”, set in Republican China in 1930’s. Do. Not that things were any better before the civil war of the 1920’s either. China was a feudal land run by warlords. Life was short, nasty and brutish.
    Socialism never gives way to fascism. Sometimes fascism occurs, or usually fascism occurs, as a last ditch effort to save the moneyed classes and business interests from a strong move by the Left. Fascism is generally a capitalist project. It’s rarely if ever a socialist project, but I guess it could be.
    Depends what you mean by oppressive, comparing European socialism with US capitalism (or really US weak social democracy). The US has one of the highest per capita imprisonment rates on Earth. The rates in Europe are much lower. Further, calling the weak social democracy of the US “capitalist” and calling the strong social democracies of Europe “socialist” is extremely problematic on political economic terms.

  7. Russia in 1913 was a weak backwater too. Why do you need to become an industrialized state in order for folks to live a long time.
    Finnish social democracy, AFAICT, has roots going all the way back to the 19th century along with the rest of Scandanavia. Social democracy in Europe got its start in Scandinavia in the 19th Century. All of Europe went social democracy or Communist after WW2. The nonCommunist states went social democracy since the Right was completely crushed and discredited. Much or possibly most of the rightwing elites were dead, killed in the war. The rest had egg on their faces. Further, the Western elites promoted social democracy as a class compromise with the West European Left in order to stave off Communism.
    Heritage is one of the worst liars on Earth with the “free” and “not free” crap list. My understanding is that Hong Kong has a very strong social democracy inherited from the UK as a colony which was not dismantled upon independence and association with China. North Korea’s life expectancy figures were better than South Korea’s until about 1980 or so. They’ve been going through some pretty hard economic times lately, with massive crop failures, industrial collapse and even malnutrition and starvation so it’s not fair to compare them. What happened was the the USSR collapsed and the price of oil they were getting from Russia suddenly went up 10 times. There was no way they could pay that price so the whole petroleum dependent economy, including the industrial base and mechanized agriculture, simply collapsed.
    I’m not sure the point of comparing a strong social democracy to a Communist state unless you want to argue that social democracy works better. I might even agree with you on that one.

  8. We also need to show how all progress in life expectancy pretty much ended by the early 1960’s in the USSR, and how life expectancy crashed with the return to capitalism in Russia. … Russians had a longer life expectancy in the early 1960’s than they did in the 1990’s after the return to capitalism.
    Well we should also look at life expectancy in the former Soviet Block countries such as Poland (77.19) the Czech Republic (76.42), Alabania (76.4)
    Georgia (76.3) those number don’t look to bad in comparison to say Denmark at 77.96 years.
    (for reference Russia is 65.87)
    So moving away from communism does not necessarily drop your countries life expectancy rate.
    (I got the figures from Wikipedia.. )
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

  9. Hong Kong has very low taxes and no taxes on capital gains. Also they have very good contract law.
    Workers can be hired and fired very easily, unlike Europe. That’s why Heritage likes them. I don’t think they are examining whether a country has socialized medicine or not.

  10. That’s correct, Unc, but Eastern Europe moved from Communism to West European style social democracy, not insane rampant free market capitalism bleed the country dry as in Russia.
    Russia’s figures have been going up lately. It might be interesting to look at the life expectancy figures of Eastern Europe from 1989-present on a year to year basis, but that stuff is often kind of hard to find.

  11. Ok, so how do they fund the social democracy? They must force employers to pay for it somehow, since it seems that the state has no tax base from which to derive even a basic income! A bare-bones system like that leaves a lot to be desired. The Hong Kong Flu exploded out of Hong Kong in 1968 and killed 1 million people worldwide.
    Another thing to point out is that Hong Kong’s wealth is derived frankly by the exploitation of cheap labor in nearby areas, similar to Singapore’s. The wealth of these places is dependent on exploitation of poor workers and poor nations and hence is not reproducible on a world scale for all nations. In Singapore, sure, they are rich, but the whole place is run by poor workers from Malaysia who commute there to work.
    IOW, the whole world cannot become Hong Kong or Singapore. Only a few places can be, and the rest get screwed. It’s a lousy model.

  12. I’m not sure the point of comparing a strong social democracy to a Communist state unless you want to argue that social democracy works better. I might even agree with you on that one.
    I have basically no problems with most medical care being subsidized by the state. One could look at it in the same light as funding road building, police, or the military. Basically a public good which serves the interest of all.
    I do have issues with funding people who only seem to be good at reproducing or who consume drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. The latter I am pretty sure can get someone in pretty big trouble in places like Singapore.

  13. Regarding Singapore.. given that they are a City-State I can see why they use migrant labor, although much of it does not come from Malaysia..mostly the Philippines and China. All I can say about labor in Singapore versus the Philippines is that it wouldn’t take much to have better work conditions and pay than P.I.

  14. The Socialist Democracy models has it large flaws also. Basically every Western European country is facing a future crisis of a lack of younger people to support the aging population and the various social goods handed out.
    The US will eventually also face this crisis and I suspect a growing propensity to transfer money from those who work to those who do not. (Be it the elderly, disabled, “disabled”, dysfunctional, criminal, or lazy…)

  15. Females who consume alcohol and drugs during pregnancy need to be arrested and quarantined in safehouses for the duration of their pregnancy. FAS is long-term. A friend met a guy who has it who is in his 20’s and the guy is just gone. He’s unable to work or function and can’t remember much of anything. Further, he is paranoid. The guy really needs to be institutionalized.
    I am sure that the Hong Kong state funds itself some way or another. And despite my snipe at their public health system, I believe what they got out of 1968 is one of the world’s top notch first tier anti-flu public health apparatuses. It’s going into full gear with this crazy Swine Flu.
    I guess my point Unc is that Hong Kong and Singapore are anomalies that rely on exploitation of poorer peoples and nations for their wealth. They can’t be reproduced on a mass scale. Follow?

  16. And I’m glad to hear you support social democracy! I knew there was a socialist lurking somewhere in the stone capitalist heart of yours.
    It’s true that the social democratic model has some serious problems, but so do all of the alternatives, no?

  17. I guess my point Unc is that Hong Kong and Singapore are anomalies that rely on exploitation of poorer peoples and nations for their wealth. They can’t be reproduced on a mass scale. Follow?
    Yes I get it .. I chose HK because I knew it considered the most capitalistic by Heritage. We could look at Japan and South Korea. Neither of which have many migrant workers. They aren’t very socialistic but do have paternalistic arrangements vis a’ vis the worker and the company.

  18. Actually, Japan is a social democracy too, but the corporations are the state! It’s really most interesting. All of the social democratic functions of the state, health care, dental care, disability, social security, retirement medical care (Medicare), on and on and on and on, are funded by the corporations themselves as benefits to their lifetime workers. As the corporations took over this function from the state, the state did not need to do so. It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon.

  19. Those figures are from the CIA and of course they are no good.
    The good figures show only Costa Rica and Chile have a higher life expectancy than Cuba. Costa Rica has long had a functional social democracy. I still argue that Costa Rica is no good because there is a 7% malnutrition rate. Cuba’s malnutrition rate is near zero – only 2%. Capitalism is crap! It can’t even feed it’s own people! Further, there are horrible urban slums in Costa Rica that you will never see in Cuba. They are dangerous, there are whores (including little girl whores down to 13 yrs old) and criminals everywhere, open sewers running in the streets, no plumbing, no running water, no elec, no nothing. There’s nothing like that in Cuba. Capitalism can’t even get rid of shantytowns! Why not? What’s so hard about it? About 1/3 of Chile’s public schools are actually literally falling apart and the government won’t even fix them because they only care about private schools. If you have $, you send your kids to private schools in Chile, and the state only cares about people with money. There is an extreme gap between the rich and poor in Chile (vastly worse than in the US) and the usual horrible crime (mostly property crime) to go along with it. Who needs this? The rich live in Medieval Style castle like communities with huge walls around their homes with barbed wire on top to keep the teeming poor from ripping them off. What crap! Cuba is better.
    Life expectancy in Russia went from 35 to 7o from 1913 to 1956.
    In 1949, when USSR life expectancy was at about 67, life expectancy in capitalist India and China was at 32! Life expectancy in capitalist Albania was 35! So much for the inevitable rise in life expectancy in the 20th century.
    The capitalists have no argument here. Capitalism is bad for your health, bottom line, no more argument.

  20. I still argue that Costa Rica is no good because there is a 7% malnutrition rate. Cuba’s malnutrition rate is near zero – only 2%.
    7% in CR ..? How are these figures tabulated…? I’ve been to Costa Rica… I didn’t see anyone who was emaciated. By some standards they are many people in the US who are malnourished but.. that’s on a voluntary basis.. Crystal Meth, Crack, Booze, etc.
    As for 13 year old hookers. I’m calling bullshit. That’s one for tabloids. Ok so maybe there are a few cases but they sure as hell aren’t in public view. And by the way.. I was “naughty” there so yes I would have been in the venues were they could have been presented. Overall I’d say the average hooker in CR is a 30 year old single mom.
    Unlike the US they have a saner view about the older profession, it’s legal (pimping is not..) and safer than here. Cuba as you may know also has quite a few hookers. (George Bush claimed that Cuba had a bunch of underage hookers.. I think that’s BS also..) The penalties are very severe for adults sleeping with girls as young as 13.
    We’ve this discussion before.. you were quoting me figures about “communist” Vietnam in comparison to now “capitalist” China.. that didn’t match up at all with what I experienced. In both places cash is king. You want any real medical treatment … you better hope you have the cash. (Unless you are connected government official (in which you probably have the cash anyway..) or an NVA veteran…)
    Further, there are horrible urban slums in Costa Rica
    CR urban areas have ugly architecture but I wouldn’t say there are horrible urban slums. Not that I saw. And my dad and I went around much of the immediate area of CR.
    What may surprise you is they have problems with illegal immigrants because they have little border control: Colombians, Hondurans, Panamanians, Nicaraguans, and Salvadorans. My dad speaks fluent Spanish. Many of thuggish looking types didn’t speak the local dialect.

  21. Most of the impoverished population in Costa Rica are probably Nicaraguans and Panamanians not actual Costa Ricans.
    Bingo…. add Salvadorans, Colombians, and Salvadorans.

  22. As you may know Cuba’s economy collapsed during the “special period” after their support from the Soviets and before they developed their tourist economy for Western (capitalist) tourists. For a while at least there were quite a few sex tourists. A friend of mine visited during the special period. There was widespread hunger.. he had two sisters a 16 and an 18 year old offer themselves overnight for basically $10. He ended buying them dinner and not sleeping with them. (Knowing him and his emotional description of the event I think it’s quite true..)
    Cuba is deriving a lot of income from capitalist tourists and capitalist companies involved in mining and oil exploration:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3266509.stm
    Sex tourism in Cuba:
    http://www.globalpolicy.org/socecon/develop/2003/0326cuba.htm

  23. Things were bad in Cuba during the special period, but that is over and through. Once again consider what happens when the price of oil goes up 10X overnite and you lose your best trading partner and there’s an embargo that makes it hard to trade with anyone else.
    China’s public health system has pretty much fallen apart. We Leftists are not too happy with that. You can buy insurance from the state that pays 85% of fees but it’s a bit expensive. I cannot speak of Vietnam’s health care system, but I know they have one of the lowest unemployment rates on Earth and their malnutrition rate is way lower than Thailand or the Philippines (nearby capitalist states).
    There is not a lot of violent crime in Chile but the property crime is just horrible. Any country where the people with money live behind moats and huge walls topped with barbed wire to keep out the teeming hordes of poor out to rip them off can take their system and shove it right up their ass.
    I read a thing about Costa Rica based on interviews with older guys who went down there to live. You can indeed easily buy a 13 yr old girl down there. No one cares either. And the description of the slums of the major cities were truly terrible. Malnourished people do not necessarily look emaciated. There is a lot of poverty in the rural areas of Costa Rica. Malnutrition rates are here, or at least the link was working a while back.

  24. Great stuff, Robert. You’re firing both barrels here, but of course I have to quibble a couple of things:
    “Eastern Europe moved from Communism to West European style social democracy, not insane rampant free market capitalism bleed the country dry as in Russia.”
    Where did that happen? Or, in other words, no – it wasn’t as immediately catastrophic but it was much the same. Since the end of communism the Eastern European countries have been ruled by US funded and supported collaborators, supporting US aims for Nato, and letting capital do what it will, without any regard for their people. Most young Poles seem to be working as cleaners or labourers in London now. Czechoslovakia and Hungary are favourite destinations for weekend charter-flight whoring breaks, their only viable industry. Shanty towns are growing, education and health care have just about gone. It has been a perfect model of the American idea of ‘freedom’ – freedom for investors to make money, and freedom for the people to starve. Bulgaria is too corrupt to get let into the EU yet, or was that Romania, or both of them. TOO CORRUPT TO GET LET INTO THE EU? And the EU is a crime gang!
    and this:
    “When Africa was granted its independence, immediately the newly freed Blacks started exterminating every large mammal on the continent. Only when the White man stepped in with a heavy hand did they stop. Sometimes a little White Man’s burden goes a long way.”
    This brings up a little cartoon strip in my head:
    scene 1:
    2 black men leaning on a fence, heads twisting back as if looking for something. One says ” is he gone?” ” Yup”
    scene 2: they’re in a field firing off their double barreled shotguns – lions, tigers, elephant and giraffes flying into the air in bits and pieces.
    ” I’ve waited so long for this, motherfuckers!”
    scene 3: close up – black man’s face looking sheepish as a white hand taps him on the shoulder.
    Plllllllease!!!
    Race realist –
    “America is still relatively democratic and capitalist, while the socialist states of Europe are becoming more politically oppressive.”
    That’s how they control you, by keeping any information that might contradict that out of the mainstream. It is so far from the truth, at least for Western Europe. Robert’s on the right track with his comments about your prison population, but more than that – miscarriages of justice make the news in W.Europe and can be righted. You just take it for granted, and think it no big deal, that there are hundreds of innocents on death row, tens of thousands fitted up and given incredible sentences for things like shoplifting and marijuana. It’s regarded as a joke that prisoners can expect to be anally raped. You’re so wrong about Europe. You seriously need to visit, or better live here for a year, and get the feel of it. You’re just so used to living in brutality that you assume it’s normal. Well, the US keeps up a constant pressure to try and make it normal everywhere, and it’s taking it’s toll on Europe, especially the UK, but no way have we got anything like as bad as the US yet.

  25. Ummm… Lafeyette, I am a European citizen and I have spent years of my life there.
    In America, we have a lot of prisoners because we have a lot of criminals. No one in America gets locked up for shoplifting or a gram of dope. Our prisons are so overcrowded that even assault and robbery are unlikely to land you in the clink. Our American prisoners are, for the most part, indisputably guilty of several heinous crimes.
    But I’d still rather live in a country with a high crime rate than a country where unpopular opposition parties are suppressed in the government-controlled media and threatened with prosecution for their unpopular views.
    Yes, for now Europe is still a better place to live than America. But that is because of the European people, not their silly governments.

  26. “Eastern Europe moved from Communism to West European style social democracy, not insane rampant free market capitalism bleed the country dry as in Russia.”
    Bullshit – after the collapse of Sovietism Eastern Europe was economically raped by the international Jewish plutocrats just like Russia was; the Jewish bloodsuckers don’t even try to hide it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwmUUhsfKuc

  27. To Robert:
    I cannot speak of Vietnam’s health care system, but I know they have one of the lowest unemployment rates on Earth and their malnutrition rate is way lower than Thailand or the Philippines (nearby capitalist states).
    Well Japan is also nearby capitalist state, should we compare Japan and North Korean..? As I said, I think calling Vietnam communist is a joke. I have been in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines many times. It would be more apt to compare the influence of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Catholicism. You have more beggars in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam’s largest city..) than Bangkok, HCM City doesn’t have any public transit (and it’s a huge city..) Bangkok has buses (for many years) and light rail.
    The Vietnamese can hold and trade (and the do the latter vigorously..) land, automobiles, whatever. Street vendors and taxi drivers in VN are some of the most aggressive people I have met anywhere. There may be a few state enterprises left (as there are in China..) but I would bet the number of people employed by the government is lower than the US.
    Here’s the description of Vietnam and nutrition:
    “In Viet Nam the nutritional status of children is poor and the country has the highest malnutrition rate among countries in the region. The prevalence of underweight among children under 5 years of age is 40%, that of stunting is 36% and that of wasting is 10%. According to WHO criteria these rates indicate important public health problems.
    Adults are also affected by malnutrition as indicated by the proportion of individuals with a BMI under 18.5 kg/m2 which is of approximately 40% for both men and women.”
    Doesn’t sound that great to me.
    But really it’s irrelevant… what drives those countries is neither libertarian capitalism nor communism. From my observations the order of general prosperity would be Thailand > Vietnam > the Philippines. The latter suffers from very high birth rates because of the love of Jesus.
    I called a friend of mine whose father used to be a member of the Vietnamese communist party. (and whose still has some connections..) He said they still pay lip service to the idea but that for all intents and purposes it’s fully capitalist… and that there are fewer social safety nets than in the US.
    Really Robert… I would like to have a chat with you after you traveled in Vietnam for one month about how communist they are..
    “There is not a lot of violent crime in Chile but the property crime is just horrible.”
    Well I haven’t been to Chile
    “I read a thing about Costa Rica based on interviews with older guys who went down there to live. You can indeed easily buy a 13 yr old girl down there. No one cares either. ”
    Interviews, when and where..? As for no on cares part .. all I can say is , people get rewards for turning in pedophiles in Costa Rica. That’s a serious motivator to care. I never saw a woman close to 13 hooking in CR. There may be the rare incident but that happens here also… but say that it’s common in the US is ridiculous.
    “And the description of the slums of the major cities were truly terrible. ”
    They don’t have major cities.. they have one major city: San Jose. I don’t know who is feeding you this information about the truly terrible slums. There are areas that are weird and there’s quite a few illegal aliens. I’d say it’s less about commie vs. evil capitalism but about exerting authority. CR doesn’t have an army and has a rather low number of police officers. As for kowtowing to capitalists, it’s apparently almost impossible to open a mine there as one geologist told me.
    “Malnutrition rates are here, or at least the link was working a while back.”
    Looking at the link I see nothing about the 7% malnutrition of Costa Rica or the 2% rate of Cuba.

  28. The piece was written by some crazy feminists who went down to Costa Rica and were reporting on prostitution down there. The slums were in San Jose. The guys they interviewed were middle aged American guys who had moved down there. The description of the horrible slums was in that article. The piece was up on the web a while back. I was really shocked by the description of the slums there.
    I don’t know how they define pedophiles down in Costa Rica. Maybe pre-pubertal. The girls start fucking around 13 or 14 and the society thinks that’s ok since she is seen as a woman.
    Much of Vietnam’s economy is still publicly-owned, FWIW. Part of the problem is that we completely destroyed the place and then refused to pay to clean it up. If Vietnam has gone capitalist, well, those malnutrition figures are a pretty sorry way to advocate for Vietnamese capitalism. I don’t know a whole lot about their system, but I know that the Nepalese Maoists are calling them sellouts and saying that the Vietnamese went capitalist.
    Try this link instead. I did tons of research on this issue a while back, but the links might not be any good.
    I’m really not sure why you are arguing with me about all this stuff. There really isn’t any debate anymore that socialist, variously defined, does a better job of feeding people, causes less starvation and malnutrition, and produces better health figures, including longer lives, than capitalism. Only the craziest of capitalists are arguing against that. That would be the libertarian nuts. OTOH, everyone knows that capitalism is better at production and wealth creation.
    Costa Rica still has a pretty good social democracy, but it’s taken a battering. And 7% malnutrition is way worse than 2%, where is essentially zero. There’s lots of really bad poverty in the Costa Rican countryside.

  29. As you can see, Unc, Costa Rica has a very socialist system when it comes to nutrition, health care, and even plumbing and water supply. So really we are arguing here about what kind of socialism works better, Costa Rican socialism or Cuban socialism. Costa Rica’s achievements, bandied about by enemies of Cuba, are the result of one of the most developed social democracies in Latin America.
    6% malnutrition in Costa Rica. It’s widely acknowledged that malnutrition is near zero in Cuba.

  30. The piece was written by some crazy feminists who went down to Costa Rica and were reporting on prostitution down there. The slums were in San Jose. The guys they interviewed were middle aged American guys who had moved down there. The description of the horrible slums was in that article.
    No surprise Rob… likely very biased. As I said the average age for the oldest profession (that I saw..) was around 30. So some feminists from the US interviews some old guys (likely drunk off their ass..) who claim one can “buy” a 13 year old. Uhhh yeah.. good luck with that pedophiles. A US citizen can be arrested and deported for having sex with anyone under the age of 18 outside of the US, regardless of local laws. US embassies and NGOs have made local police well aware of this law.
    CR definitely has less control via the police, borders, and military (what have you..) than Cuba. Some people accept this, some people do not. If one were to exact the kinds of controls that Cuba has I think the crime rate in CR would drop quickly.

  31. RE: Costa Rica and buying 13 year old hookers (with no consequences..) :
    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2001/09/46481
    “A Canadian man was sentenced in Costa Rica this week to 23 years in prison for sexually exploiting underage girls and distributing their pictures over the Internet.”
    “Hanny, a retired auditor of Egyptian origin, bought a house in an upper-middle class district of San José three years ago, Harris said. He preyed on neighborhood girls ranging from 12 to 15 years, plying them with drugs and alcohol and paying them for sex.”
    So crap like can and has happened in the US. (Roman Polanski anyone..?)

  32. I honestly do not think some guy screwing 14 and 15 yr old girls is a pedophile. 13 is getting a little young! Anyway, I just object to this whole crazy line of thinking. It’s creating mass hysteria and it’s being mostly led by lunatic feminists and rightwing cultural conservatives. It’s also all about “females have no self-control and need to be protected from evil males.” In addition, it has set up this notion that all males are potential pedos. The feminist scum already says we are all potential rapists, but now if we get around kids, we are potential pedos too.

  33. You know how you see a good post and start clicking through the categories in fear of running into something ugly? We don’t 100% agree with everything you say, but we do like your take on Russian history and we’ll definitely keep reading. And yes, life expectancy is plummeting along with education levels, healthcare and pretty much everything else.
    On a lighter note: celebrating tomorrow? 😉

  34. Thx for the comments guys. Nice to see some Russians hanging out here. Sorry to hear that the depressing news continues from your country. I was hoping that things were going to turn around at some point.

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