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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Five Reasons China Won't Be A Big Threat To America's Global Power on: June 11, 2014, 06:23:39 pm
China can be a threat for American global domination, but in the very long run the USA probably have better prospects. I think the most significant of the mentioned problems of China is it's demographics. Now Chinese population is 4 times larger than that of the USA (and still USA is a superpower while China is not), but by 2100 according to projections that I've seen, this ratio will be closer to 2.5:1. United States will be able to maintain population growth and relatively high share of working age population through immigration, while Chinese population will be increasingly more aged and after several decades will start to shrink. And many areas of China seem to be overpopulated already, so even if Chinese fertility rate will rise to 2+ or China will attract enough migrants from another countries, Chinese populations have relatively little room for growth without causing significant harm for economy and environment.

On the other hand, China have its advantages. For example, Chinese students perform extremely strong in PISA and other tests that measure academic performance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PISA#China (all East Asian nations show high scores, but Chinese results seem to be especially high, considering that most part of China still belongs to the third world). If it is a real sign of exceptional level of Chinese education, China will be able to compensate decreasing numbers of working force with its high quality in the future.

In the future population growth will be a problem, not an asset. Underestimating how fundamental this change is going to be is a big mistake.

And yes, China will likely be able to achieve a very high technological level, which will be crucial. The biggest threat to the US is a decline in its educational system. In the future it wont be so easy to attract high skilled people from other countries, since opportunities will be better elsewhere. So you will have to stop wasting so many talents among disadvantaged Americans and the anti-intellectual culture in large parts of the population (and the Republican party) has to decline.

And from experience with them in universities, they are very good on tests and about theory, but they usually struggle in front of practical issues, due to the nature of their education system.

PISA tests (or, at least, intends to test; of course, every test tend to be more about theory than practice) ability to use knowledge in practice. The other survey, TIMSS, better measures theoretical knowledge, and there are countries whose students perform very good in TIMSS and not so good in PISA (Russia and to lesser extent other post-socialist Eastern European countries); but Chinese and other East Asian pupils lead in both PISA and TIMSS.
2  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Five Reasons China Won't Be A Big Threat To America's Global Power on: June 11, 2014, 06:12:55 pm
China can be a threat for American global domination, but in the very long run the USA probably have better prospects. I think the most significant of the mentioned problems of China is it's demographics. Now Chinese population is 4 times larger than that of the USA (and still USA is a superpower while China is not), but by 2100 according to projections that I've seen, this ratio will be closer to 2.5:1. United States will be able to maintain population growth and relatively high share of working age population through immigration, while Chinese population will be increasingly more aged and after several decades will start to shrink. And many areas of China seem to be overpopulated already, so even if Chinese fertility rate will rise to 2+ or China will attract enough migrants from another countries, Chinese populations have relatively little room for growth without causing significant harm for economy and environment.

All that proves is that population =/= power. The US is a superpower despite having a much lower population than China or India. It's what you do with the population that counts.

Of course, large population is not the only component of power, but it still matters. If the US would be the size of Montenegro or even Belgium by population, it never would be able to reach superpower position. And, besides decreasing population numbers, low fertility leads to population ageing, which is even worse.
3  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Five Reasons China Won't Be A Big Threat To America's Global Power on: June 09, 2014, 06:10:36 pm
China can be a threat for American global domination, but in the very long run the USA probably have better prospects. I think the most significant of the mentioned problems of China is it's demographics. Now Chinese population is 4 times larger than that of the USA (and still USA is a superpower while China is not), but by 2100 according to projections that I've seen, this ratio will be closer to 2.5:1. United States will be able to maintain population growth and relatively high share of working age population through immigration, while Chinese population will be increasingly more aged and after several decades will start to shrink. And many areas of China seem to be overpopulated already, so even if Chinese fertility rate will rise to 2+ or China will attract enough migrants from another countries, Chinese populations have relatively little room for growth without causing significant harm for economy and environment.

On the other hand, China have its advantages. For example, Chinese students perform extremely strong in PISA and other tests that measure academic performance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PISA#China (all East Asian nations show high scores, but Chinese results seem to be especially high, considering that most part of China still belongs to the third world). If it is a real sign of exceptional level of Chinese education, China will be able to compensate decreasing numbers of working force with its high quality in the future.
4  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: India gets a new state: Telangana on: June 04, 2014, 06:22:23 pm
Uttar Pradesh needs to split into several states before any other state.

Yeah, it'd be nice if they could find an arrangement in which no State has more than 100M inhabitants.

This would also entail splitting Maharashtra, and Bihar again depending on how strict the criterion was.

That's what I meant, yes. Tongue

Or else just split Uttar Pradesh and walk the Karnataka-Maharashtra and Jharkhand-Bihar borders north a little bit, but that stops making demographic sense after a while.

I'm not sure about Bihar-Jharkhand border (in both states Hindi is the main spoken language), but it's absolutely unreasonable to move border between Marathi-speaking Maharashtra and Kannada-speaking Karnataka just to distribute population between them more equally. Especially considering that Maharashtra already claims Marathi-speaking part of Karnataka: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgaum_border_dispute.
5  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: June 04, 2014, 06:14:46 pm

Tartars still (slightly) outnumbered Russians by 1926: 140 thousand to 121 thousand out of the total of around 380 thousand (I guess, the Civil War did not treat the local population kindly Sad ). There were also nearly 50 thousand Ukrainians, as well as 40 thousand Germans, 10 thousand Bulgarians and 6.5 thousand Greeks, all of whom would also be later expelled by Stalin (I am not sure about the Greeks), and 4 thousand Jews, who would be killed by Hitler.
It is a data for rural area. In total population (incl. Sevastopol and other cities) Russians significantly outnumbered Tatars (301 thousand vs. 179 thousands; source in Russian: http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/rus_nac_26.php?reg=788).

The situation did, likely, change by the late 1930s, of course. Unfortunately, we do not have another proper census in the Soviet Union till 1959, as the 1939 census is well known to be seriously falsified. In fact, there had been a real census in 1937, but those results were scrapped, as they did not conform to what Stalin wanted to hear: given the sad fate of those who organized the 1937 census, their successors had the incentives not to produce surprises. While I do not think that falsifying the ethnic composition of Crimea was an objective at the time (the main "fault" of the 1937 demographers had been to give "too low" population numbers, which, likely, reflected the real disasters that happened in between), but I am simply not sure it would be appropriate to use the 1939 result as a proper historical source.
Yes, I agree that 1939 data is not reliable (looking at change in ethnic composition between 1897 and 1926, influx of Russian and Ukrainian migrants was high, and it is possible that in Crimea numbers are real or close to real: 558 thousands Russians and 219 thousands Tatars; but nothing can be said for sure).
6  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: May 28, 2014, 05:45:23 pm
Many of those Russians in Crimea have lived there for generations -  quite a few have ancestors who had lived there before WWII.
Moreover, they became largest ethnic group before Stalin's deportations, by 1900 numbers of Russians and Crimean Tatars were equal.
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: May 28, 2014, 05:42:44 pm
And, in any case, in Donetsk you cannot even do the ethnic cleansing properly. The difference between the local Russians and local Ukrainians is tiny.
It is also important that there are very many pro-Russian ethnic Ukrainians and pro-Ukrainian ethnic Russians. Ethnicity correlates with political affiliation, but not determines it. In Crimea in 2008 55% of Ukrainians stated they would support joining Russia and 30% opposed joining (in comparison, 76% of Russians supported and 14% opposed - difference is significant, but not huge; and I don't think that numbers have changed much since then). Many people (probably most of them) have mixed ancestry, and in many cases difference between Russians and Ukrainians exists in name only. All this makes ethnic cleansing practically meaningless.
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Crimean status referendum: March 16, 2014 on: April 26, 2014, 08:57:19 pm
Recently found this pre-referendum survey: http://avaazpress.s3.amazonaws.com/558_Crimea.Referendum.Poll.GfK.pdf.

What is interesting:
1. The younger age group, the lower number of those who self-identified as Ukrainians. This means that in Crimea Russians assimilate Ukrainians, not vice versa (not very surprising taking in mind overwhelming prevalence of Russian language and Russian culture).
2. However, in the oldest age group more people voted for joining with Russia, and if option "Leave status of Crimea the same as it was before February 2014" would be available, it would be more popular in the youngest age group and less popular in the oldest one. Nothing surprising too: elder people tend to be more nostalgic of Soviet past when Russia and Crimea were parts of a single country, and many of them were even born in Russia (then RSFSR) before Crimea was transferred to Ukraine, while those whom are 18-35 years were raised or even born in independent Ukraine and relatively larger number of them are ideologically liberal (i. e. pro-Western, pro-EU and critical of Russian political regime). And share of Crimean Tatars is very low in the oldest age group, it certainly contributed too.
3. Most of those who was polled were satisfied with only 2 voting options and believed that presence of Russian troops don't influence how freely people vote.
4. Results in Sevastopol, where Russian influence always was especially strong and Crimean Tatar population is negligible, aren't as different from other Crimea as I would expect. Difference between Simferopol and Sevastopol is less than a margin of error.

Unfortunately survey don't include data by age group, it would be especially interesting.
9  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Indian Politics and Political Parties - General Discussion on: April 25, 2014, 07:59:44 pm
I don't understand why they can't finally merge into a single party.
10  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Indian Politics and Political Parties - General Discussion on: April 24, 2014, 05:22:51 pm
I made some comments and additions that can be helpful for readers (I don't pretend to be a big expert in Indian politics though).
Communist Party of India (Marxist): Maoist party. Currently ruling in Tripura and the main opposition in West Bengal and Kerala.
I wouldn't call them Maoist. Yes, they descended from CPI faction that supported China in 1962 Sino-Indian war but it was long time ago. Since then hardline Maoists split from CPI(M) and formed various minor groups. Now many of them are engaged in Naxalite uprising, and Naxalite leaders denounce CPI(M) no less vehemently than other parliamentary parties.

Quote
Nationalist Congress Party: Splintered from Congress because they opposed Sonia Gandhi's leadership based on her foreign birth. Nevertheless, they continue to align with the Sonia Gandhi led Congress almost always, except in Kerala where they're part of the Left Front.
They didn't continue, they participated in 1999 elections independently but returned to INC-led coalition very soon.

Quote
Bahujan Samaj Party: Majority Society Party. Party targeting lower Caste voters.
To be precise: not all lower Caste voters, but mostly voters from Scheduled Castes (Dalits).

Quote
Telugu Desam Party: Telugu Lands Party. Party advocating for Telugu speakers. Currently the main opposition in soon to be split Andhra Pradesh. Currently aligned with the BJP.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi: Unsure of translation. Another party for Telugu speakers.

YSR Congress: Splinter of Congress in Andhra Pradesh lead by the son of former Chief Minister YSR.
It should be noted that TRS (as it name intends) is a main proponent of Telangana state while TDP and YSRCP oppose its creation, and currently Telangana issue seems to be by far the most important in Andhra Pradesh.

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Biju Janata Dal: Biju People's Party. Ruling party in Odisha. Another splinter of Janata Dal. Named after its founder Biju Patnaik, whose son is its current leader. Currently in an alliance with the BJP against Congress on the state level.
But in ongoing general elections BJD is not aligned with BJP. BJD leader Naveen Patnaik holds position of Odisha CM since 2000 and is known as successful and highly popular politician.

Quote
Samajwadi Party: Socialist Party. Current ruling party in Uttar Pradesh although it has some national presence as well. Another splinter from Janata Dal. Currently unaligned but friendly with the Left Front. Has supported Congress in the past.
Core of its electorate consists of Yadav caste and Muslims.

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All India Forward Bloc: Party which claims the ideological legacy of Nazi collaborator Subhas Chandra Bose. They nevertheless have a hammer and sickle on their party flag and are aligned with the Communists. Real life social fascists?
If I understand right, he wasn't fascist (and modern AIFB is not fascist), but he was able to ally with anybody to achieve Indian independence as soon as possible. But still he was a collaborator, so it is interesting how easily Communists ally with his successors.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: India 2014 on: April 24, 2014, 04:05:08 pm
The Modi wave in WB, while being unlikely to generate much in terms of seats, seems to be helping the Left Front which was left for dead as it has been hemorrhaging cadres at the grassroots level as a permanent Left Front government seems to be replaced by a permanent TMC government.  The BJP, unlike in 2009, is running candidates in all 42 seats which will cut into the TMC and to some extent INC vote based.  If Left Front can hold on to its 2009 vote share then it might manage to get 20 seats and beat back the TMC landslide.

I thought TMC and INC will benefit more from BJP strengthening, because larger share of their voters are Muslims who won't vote for BJP, especially Modi-led, under any circumstances.
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ukraine Crisis on: April 12, 2014, 03:27:19 pm
Regardless of the situation in Ukraine (for the record, Putin is clearly awful and I would strongly oppose any further incursion into Ukraine given that his support even in the heavily Russian areas is somewhat flimsy at best), but the Kuril Islands are unambiguously Russian territory under the San Francisco Treaty and Japan's continued claim on them is a bit worrying given the nationalist trends of its government and populace. At least Russia's claimed responsibility for Stalin's many crimes.

But the question is, are the Northern Territories part of the Kuril Islands or are they littoral islands of Hokkaido?  They never were under Russian/Soviet control before 1945.

And what if the (Ukrainian) population of those islands pronounces for Japan?

This is not a thing that will happen.

Depends on how you ask Smiley))
Aren't the Kurils majority Russian, though?

From 2010 Census: Kuril district (Iturup) - 4637 Russians, 349 Ukrainians (and I doubt that many of them can say a few words in Ukrainian...); South Kuril district (Kunashir, Shikotan, Habomai) - 7043 Russians, 466 Ukrainians. I don't know what people settled there after 1945, but even if most of them were Ukrainians, they assimilated long time ago.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Ukraine 2014 on: April 11, 2014, 03:11:01 am
The SPU are just barely reformed Communists (they actually endorsed Simonenko in the last presidential election).
How exactly did they endorse him? Their leader Moroz ran independently of the KPU (and got 0.38% of votes).
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Ukraine 2014 on: April 03, 2014, 05:09:43 pm
Why two? If we'll count those who can win, then there is almost certainly only one candidate. If those who can go into second round, then 3 candidates. In the most recent poll (the first after Klitshchko withdrew), Tihipko took second place, so he can go into runoff. By the way, 4th place (after Poroshenko - 38.3%, Tihipko - 17.9 % and Tymoshenko - 11.6 %) unexpectedly goes to Yuriy Boyko (6.9 %). According to the same poll, 60% of those who voted for Yanukovych in the 2010 run-off still undecided, so Tihipko has room to grow, and 65% of those who then supported Tymoshenko now intend to vote for Poroshenko.

Tihipko and Boyko refused to withdrew, so Party of Regions threatens to expel them. It is very possible that PoR will split and what remain of it will become more extreme pro-Eastern party controlled by Rinat Akhmetov (it seems that Dobkin was nominated because he is Akhmetov's protege).
15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Ukraine 2014 on: March 29, 2014, 12:52:30 pm
Party of Regions surprisingly nominated Dobkin instead of Tihipko. Dobkin called other candidates who are PoR members (Tihipko, Boyko and Tsaryov) to withdraw.

So that's it ? Only two candidates ? Poroshenko and Timoshenko ? Well, talk about a disappointment... This will be dull. So who do you think is perceived as the "Eastern compatible" candidate this time ? I'd say Timoshenko a little bit more than Poroshenko, but I don't know.

Anyway, do you think this will mean very low turnout in the East or what ?

I've seen only one poll that includes information about how different regions will vote: http://www.kiis.com.ua/?lang=rus&cat=reports&id=240&page=1&t=3. According to it, of three main Western candidates (Klichko, Poroshenko, Tymoshenko) Tymoshenko have relatively slightly more support in the East while Klichko in the West. But it is not clear how will be Tihipko, Dobkin and Symonenko voters divided between Poroshenko and Tymoshenko in the runoff (and how many of them will not vote)...

Probably turnout in the East will be low in the first round and even lower in case of Poroshenko - Tymoshenko runoff.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Ukraine 2014 on: March 29, 2014, 12:31:41 pm
Interestingly, none of the major candidates is a proper Westerner. In fact, many are not even born in Ukraine. Timoshenko is from Dnipropetrovsk and is not even ethnically Ukrainian (Timoshenko is her married name). Poroshenko is from the part of the former Bessarabia that is now in Ukraine (born right at the border with Moldova). Tyhipko is from Moldova itself. Klitschko (though not a candidate anymore) is a Soviet military brat, born in Kyrgyzstan. Symonenko is from Donetsk. Lyashko is from Chernihiv, studied in Kharkiv. Only Tyahnibok is from Lviv.

And Yuschenko, whose main electoral base was Galicia, is from Sumy Oblast. On other hand, although Chernihiv and Sumy are east of Dnieper, they are electorally "Western".
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Ukraine 2014 on: March 27, 2014, 05:04:45 pm
Joint poll by SOCIS, KIIS, Rating and Razumkov Center places Poroshenko in 1st place (36.2%; Klichko on a distant 2nd place with 12.9%). Klichko, Tymoshenko and Tihipko are more or less at the same level (10-13%), then Dobkin, Symonenko, Lyashko and Hrytsenko (all about 5%). Dobkin polled better than I would suppose, probably he attracted those Eastern voters for whom Tihipko isn't enough Eastern.

Poroshenko wins second round againt Klichko, Tymoshenko and Tihipko by a huge margins (42.9 to 15.3%, 46.3 to 11.6 % and 50.8 to 14.4 % respectively). So if he will run and if nothing will change dramatically, he will easily win and even have a chance to do this in the first round.

Right Sector received only 2.7% in the parliamentary poll, and its leader Yarosh 1.4% in the presidential poll, even less than Svoboda and Tyahnybok.
18  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Moscow signals concern for Russians in Estonia on: March 21, 2014, 02:52:07 pm
If Russian Maidan happens, Putin's done.
Unlike Ukrainian Maidan, Russian Maidan won't be supported by half of the population and overwhelming majority of capital's inhabitants, and probably that difference will be crucial. 2011-2012 protests led to almost nothing.
19  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: The Russian Annexation of Crimea on: March 20, 2014, 10:22:17 am
It's very difficult to have a fair referendum with Russian troops on your soil. My heart goes out to the Cossacks, who have been drifting back since the early 90's and will soon be 'stateless' yet again.

Cossacks? Maybe you meant Crimean Tatars?
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Crimean status referendum: March 16, 2014 on: March 18, 2014, 05:56:43 pm
The total number of voters in Sebastopol exceeds the number of residents - not registered voters, not those of voting age, but of all residents - who had been known to live there.

No, it's not true (obviously, even if results are totally rigged, those who held and rigged referendum aren't totally dumb). Official number is 274 thousands (89.5% of total voters). But one of referendum organizers mistakenly declared that 474 thousands voted (or journalists misheard him - and then spread his statement).
21  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: If you were to organize a G(insert number), which countries would you choose? on: March 15, 2014, 07:56:22 pm
As for the possible organization of largest democratic countries, it would generate endless disputes over who should and who shouldn't be included, because democracy measures are not as objective as measures of economical development.

The only debates I can remember are the ones about Russia.
Among current G8 members - yes. I meant debates around possible new G8 members. For example, Turkey and Indonesia were mentioned in the thread, and many doubt that they are democratic.

What doubt is there that Indonesia is democratic???

OK, I don't remember anyone stated that it is an authoritarian regime, but, for example, Indonesia is "partly free" (not "free") according to Freedom House and "flawed democracy" according to Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Ukraine 2014 on: March 13, 2014, 08:42:09 am
Poll by Social Monitoring Centre (never heard about this pollster, but number don't seem highly dubious):
Tymoshenko 15.5%
Klitschko 14.2%
Poroshenko 13.7%
Tigipko 11.4%
Symonenko 6.4%
Tyahnybok 3.7%
Lyashko 3%
Don't know 16.7%
Wouldn't vote 15.4%

But in the runoff Tymoshenko can beat only Tigipko and would lose to Klitschko and Poroshenko.
23  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: If you were to organize a G(insert number), which countries would you choose? on: March 13, 2014, 08:35:31 am
As for the possible organization of largest democratic countries, it would generate endless disputes over who should and who shouldn't be included, because democracy measures are not as objective as measures of economical development.

The only debates I can remember are the ones about Russia.
Among current G8 members - yes. I meant debates around possible new G8 members. For example, Turkey and Indonesia were mentioned in the thread, and many doubt that they are democratic.
24  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: If you were to organize a G(insert number), which countries would you choose? on: March 13, 2014, 04:54:46 am
It all depends on how we define G(number). For example, Wikipedia article states that "The Group of Eight (G8) is a forum for the governments of a group of eight leading industrialised countries" (but isn't China an industrialized country?), and not a single word about democracy.

I always thought of G8 as a group of largest and most powerful developed (or, in another words, First World) countries (whether a nation developed or developing can be determined by HDI or GDP per capita). If so, then Russia should be replaced with South Korea and G7 stay the same as now.

It probably makes more sense to group largest world economies regardless of whether they developed or not, democratic or not, but such group already exists (G20).

As for the possible organization of largest democratic countries, it would generate endless disputes over who should and who shouldn't be included, because democracy measures are not as objective as measures of economical development.

BTW interesting that G8 composition nearly matches composition of pre-WW1 great powers club (minus Austria-Hungary since it ceased to exist; plus Canada).
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Ukraine 2014 on: March 07, 2014, 04:10:49 pm
So who's winning in the east?
Tihipko clearly winning with 16.7%. And in the South he is winning too, though by a very slim majority. If he'll mobilize enough undecided and "against all" voters in the South-East, he'll go into the second round.
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