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« An Aristotelian Foundation for Objectivity | Main | Life's Lessons, Vol. 3 »

July 19, 2005


Janet Busch

I agree with the gist of your essay, Jason, but I think it is important to recognize why the Russian people are behaving they way they are. It is due, in large part, to the immediate takeover of the economy by the Russian mafia, who took their practices, contacts, and expertise--and especially their criminality--from the black market days and dominated the business landscape from the time of the Soviet collapse.

Part of the reason the Soviet system collapsed was because of the increased corruption of the government functionaries, who were in league with the half of the criminal world which was in an internecine war with the other half of the "Thieves World." (This war among thieves began right after WWII, when some members of the Thieves World broke ranks and fought in the war on the promise of a pardon from Stalin--who broke his promise at the end of the war. Dealing with the government in any way was strictly forbidden among the thieves.) I know this is outside the scope of your essay, but anyone who would understand what is happening in Russia today needs to trace the Thieves World in Russia back to Tsarist rule.

The lesson learned from this is that once you've made business a criminal activity, when you attempt to decriminalize business, you find that the only experienced businessmen around are criminals, and you end up with criminal domination of business. This is what happened to Russia in the 90's. Before any real businesses could form out of the new freedoms, the whole area of capitalization, et al, was dominated by a partnership between the old cronies from the government, who ran the Soviet enterprises, and the Russian criminals who were in charge behind the scenes under the old system. They have murdered their way through any legitimate businessmen, as well as the reporters who tried to tell what was going on.

With no history of freedom, and no philosophy to guide them, the people were doomed from the outset. It is hard enough for Americans to contend with organized crime; how are a people who have lived solely under a criminal government to cope?

Jason Roberts

Thanks for the wonderful reply Janet!

However, I think what you said only strengthens my position. Maybe I misled you with the word "remember" instead of "learn", but my point was that the Russians do indeed need a proper philosophy to help guide them with their new freedom.

How fitting would it be for the Modern World's greatest philosopher to "return home"?


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