Culture and Civilization Matters

June 24, 2010

Economic Transition: From Command Economy to Capitalist Economy

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — Tags: , , — wadatripp @ 5:12 am

IS RUSSIA IN DECLINE?
In this video, Pareg Khanna makes the case that while Russia may appear to be strong in the short term, there are a number of factors that suggest that there is potential for Russian Economic decline in the long term.






WIDENING ECONOMIC GAPS BETWEEN RICH AND POOR AND YOUNG AND OLD

In the Frontline Documentary “Rich in Russia”, Sabrina Tavernise explores how the emerging capitalist society is leaving many Russians behind.




THE POTENTIAL FOR A POPULIST BACKLASH?

As we have already observed in both India and China there appears to be a familiar pattern of increasing economic disparity between the rich and poor in Russia and the potential for a populist backlash is possible.




DOES A NEW TOMORROW FOR RUSSIA LIE WITH ITS YOUTH?
The youth in Russia today, those who have grown up in a free-market economy and are distanced by time from the vestiges of the commend economy that ruled the lives of their parents and grandparents appear to be where the hope for a new tomorrow in Russia.

RUSSIA’S ECONOMIC TRANSITION: QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • How have the vestiges of Imperial/Tsarist and Totalitarian/Soviet rule influenced the Economy in Russia over the past two decades?
  • Can Putin’s Autocratic rule impose its will on the economy to continue to deliver the growth required to appease the average Russian Citizen?
  • Will social unrest boil over as a result of the increasing disparity between rich and poor in Russia?
  • Will Russia’s dependence on oil as the primary source of economic stability undermine the development of a more resilient and diversified economy?
  • How do the youth in Russia see the economy of the country unfolding over the next 20 years?

Click HERE to return to the Russia main page.

Political Transition: From Totalitarian Regime to Autocratic Rule

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — wadatripp @ 5:09 am

INTRODUCTION

In his paper, Russia: Behind the Headlines, Russian journalist Alexi Pankin, provides a historical context for the political ebbs and flows in Russia from the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.





FROM TOTALITARIAN REGIME to THE DISMANTLING OF SOVIET RULE to a TRAGIC MISSED OPPORTUNITY through ECONOMIC SHOCK THERAPY culminating in AUTOCRATIC RULE with the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED

  • Here, Pankin asserts that Russia’s greatest achievements in Democracy happened under Gorbachev in his dismantling of the Totalitarian system:



  • Pankin further asserts that in 1991, with fall of the Soviet Union, the United States was presented with a significant Opportunity to bring Western Style democracy to Russia as it had done previously in Japan and Germany:




  • Given that this opportunity was missed, Pankin outlines how Yeltsin’s Chaotic “Economic Shock Therapy” and Corrupt Privitization programs crippled the country creating an overwhelmingly perception of Western style Democracy:



  • Which ultimately culminated in the emergence of Vladimir Putin as an Autocratic ruler who has the “Consent of the Governed” in establishing a Vertical of Power in the Kremlin



  • VLADIMIR PUTIN: RUSSIA’s GOLDEN BOY

    In the Frontline Documentary “Putin’s Plan” Victoria Gamburg explores the dynamics of Putin’s Vertical of Power and the Opposition of “Other Russia” led by Garry Kasparov.




    Valadimir Posner, Russian host of the “Posner Show” suggests that Putin has become Russia’s Golden Boy and that the opposition cannot expect to get many votes.





    AUTHORITARIAN PERPETUITY OR EVENTUAL DEMOCRACY?

    Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, Gary Kasparov is convinced that- over time – Western style Democracy will ultimately prevail in Russia.




    Dmitri Trenin appears to agree with Kasparov suggesting that Russia’s evolving Capitalist society could ultimately develop into a Democracy.




    However, as David Dollar outlines here, is important to remember that the general pattern of authoritarian regimes opening up their markets and eventually ending up with Democratic Government have one important exception: Countries that sit on large reserves of oil.




    RUSSIA’S POLITICAL TRANSITION: QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

    • How have the vestiges of Imperial/Tsarist and Totalitarian/Soviet rule influenced Politics in Russia over the past two decades?
    • Do the Russians equate the chaos and corruption of Yeltsin’s rule with Western Democratic Rule?
    • How do the Russians feel about the current Authoritarian “Vertical of Power” of Vladimir Putin? Would they prefer a different kind of Governmental System?
    • Can Russia continue to prosper economically without reforming its existing Authoritarian system of Government?
    • Will Putin remain Prime Minister for life or will the Free-Market Consumers of Russia today transform into Pro-Democratic Citizens in the future?

    Click HERE to return to the Russia main page.

Russia’s Relational Model and Cultural Dimensions

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — Tags: , — wadatripp @ 5:05 am

SOCIAL RELATIONAL MODEL

As has been the case in prior residencies, upon completing your blog pre-reading we ask that you provide us with a baseline on the Social Relational Model for Russia.

fiske rmt

Russia’s unfolding of history from Imperial Power to Totalitarian Rule through the Dismantling of the Soviet System and the emergence of Nationalist pride and Autocratic Rule has been replete with turmoil and abrupt transitions.

Please take the following POLL:

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS

Russia’s long and winding history has also forged alignment with a core set of Dimensions that form its unique Culture.

GLOBE CD

Please take the following POLL:

That’s It….YOU’RE DONE…..Safe Travels and See you all in Shanghai!

Click HERE to return to the Russia main page.

Societal Transition: From Soviet Serfdom and Control to Personal Freedom

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — Tags: , , — wadatripp @ 4:58 am

FROM SOVIET SERFDOM AND CONTROL

BBC Journalist Jonathon Dimbleby chronicles his journey at a particularly critical stage in Russia’s history trying to understand it, getting a sense of the past and the present, meeting a wide range of people in order to understand what Russia might be like in the Future.

In the following excerpts from Dimbleby’s journey we learn:

  • What it was like for the average person to live in communal apartments crammed with over 100 people to every floor and how Russians living in this situation have learned to separate their “life” from their “every-day life.”



  • How the hand-to-mouth existence of peasants on the margins of the economy have endured incredible hardship and famine and how, to this day, despite a lack of state support for their collectives,they remain as stoical and tenacious as they ever have been.




TO NEWFOUND FREEDOM AND AUTONOMY

On his epic journey, Dimbleby also explored:

  • How things have changed in Russia since the collapse of Communism and how the Russian people feel about their newfound freedoms.



  • How the new found capitalist autonomy in Russia is influencing perspectives on freedom and democracy. In Russia, “Democracy is Death” they say, and the freedom they enjoy is found outside the Vertical Bureaucracy of Putin’s Kremlin.




RUSSIANS EMBRACE FREEDOM BUT NOT WESTERN DEMOCRACY

Here Business Week’s Steve LeVine argues that newly liberated Russians have never in their history lived better than they are now. More Russians today are better off than they have ever been. So they are happy to indulge in their newfound freedom and support Putin’s increasingly authoritarian government.




Dibmleby explored this same question further with the next generation of Russians and found that many of them are also more than willing to back a strong autocratic leader to secure their position of power on the world stage.




RUSSIA’S SOCIETAL TRANSITION: QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Does Russian society really believe that things have never been better than they are today?
  • How comfortable does Russian society feel about navigating uncertainty to capture economic opportunity when its past is rooted in the planned and predictable path enforced under Soviet Rule?
  • How have the vestiges of Imperial/Tsarist and Totalitarian/Soviet rule influenced Society‚Äôs perspectives on freedom and democracy in Russia over the past two decades?
  • Why is Russian society so willing to support a strong Autocratic leader like Vladimir Putin? Will Russian Society always default to going along with the Czar?
  • Does the the perceived separation of the free-market consumer society from the Vertical of Power in the Kremlin present any issues for Russian Society today and in the future?

Click HERE to return to the Russia main page.

Exploring Russia’s Transitions and Tensions

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — Tags: , , , — wadatripp @ 4:51 am

RUSSIA’S TRANSITIONS AND TENSIONS

Just as we examined the impact of culture and civilization on England, the Middle East, India and China through the prism of transitions and tensions, the CCL course in St. Petersburg will be grounded in the key transitions that Russia is experiencing and the tensions that have emerged as a result.

In this video excerpt, Dmitri Trenin, Author of “Getting Russia Right” provides a backdrop of the following transitions that Russia is currently undergoing.

You can view Trenin’s complete address on Fora.tv here

  1. Today’s Russia is powered by the two things that were absolutely antithetical to the Soviet Union: Private Money/Money and Open Borders/Open Minds
  2. The Tale of Two Cities: The City of the Kremlin and its Vertical Bureaucratic Political Power Structure and the City of Millionaire Citizens Who Increasingly Own More and More of Russia.
  3. The Ikea Index: An indicator that the common people whose economic lot is changing as they increase their participation in the emerging market economy.


ANALYZING TRANSITIONS AND TENSIONS

During our time in Russia, we will explore how the following transitions:

  • Societal: From Soviet Serfdom and Control to Personal Freedom
  • Political:From Totalitarian Regime to Autocratic Rule
  • Economic:From a Centrally Planned Command Economy to a More Open Capitalist Economy

Additionally, we will explore the resulting tensions that have emerged as a result of these transitions:

  • Societal: From the perception of Government Backed Security and Predictability to the Uncertainty and Chaos of Market Opportunity
  • Political: From Soviet Communism to Russian Nationalism.
  • Economic: From Corruption and Oligarchy to an Emergent Consumer Society



VISUALIZING THE TENSIONS AND TRANSITIONS

The chart below summarizes the Societal, Political and Economic lenses through which we will explore the region:



We will explore the Societal, Political, and Economic transitions and associated tensions in more depth in subsequent pages of this blog.

Click HERE to return to the Russia Main Page

RUSSIA BACKGROUND: A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF A LONG HISTORY

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — Tags: , , — wadatripp @ 4:47 am

INTRODUCTION

Though Russia’s history may be shorter than China’s it could be argued that it has been at least as tumultuous as that of its neighbor to the East.

In this summary Alexi Pankin provides a brief historical perspective on the challenges that his country has had to endure.




View Pankin’s complete talk on Fora.tv here.


For our purposes the CCL course we will focus more directly on the period from the beginning of the World War I (1914) onwards where Russia has experienced a number of transitions.

What follows is a brief overview of that history drawn from an excellent PBS Documentary and Website entitled Commanding Heights

The site can be accessed here.

  • 1910-1913: Imperial Russia is the largest state territory on earth, with the largest population in Europe and the world’s biggest army. It is Europe’s chief source of agricultural exports, and with rich mineral resources, the chief recipient of foreign investment.
  • 1914-1916: During World War I, Germany invades Russia. Six million men are mobilized, and Russia’s factories converted to a war footing. Nicholas II takes personal command of the army at the front, leaving his new government leaderless in the capital. Conscription, heavy loss of life, and hyperinflation lead to terrible social distress. By 1916 Russia has lost 3.5 million men.
  • 1917: Military incompetence, inflation, low wages, and food shortages add to growing dissatisfaction with the monarchy. Demonstrations in the capital lead to a general strike and Nicholas II’s abdication. A provisional government fails to restore order. Led by Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks seize power and establish an emergency dictatorship that aims to abolish private property and socialize the state.
  • 1918-1920: Lenin unilaterally ends the war with Germany. Russia descends into a three-year civil war between the “red” Bolsheviks and the “white” counterrevolutionary armies for control of the former empire. The capital is moved to Moscow, and the Communist Party machine emerges from Bolshevik ranks. The siege economy and state monopoly leaves production at a virtual standstill and the cities without food. Russia’s postwar industrial output is less than 20 percent of the prewar level, with whole sectors of the economy destroyed. Traditional Russian society is virtually destroyed, providing a blank slate on which the new institutions of a new Soviet state are created.
  • 1921-1928: The triumphant Bolsheviks set about transforming the tsarist empire into a quasi-federation of states, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), established in 1922. Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) restores certain aspects of a market economy and brings about a dramatic economic improvement. In 1922 Joseph Stalin is appointed general secretary, and Lenin dies two years later.
  • 1929-1940: Stalin overturns the NEP and begins the collectivization of agriculture. Confiscation of private farms sparks widespread protests. The First Five-Year Plan is passed in a program to modernize the USSR through forced industrialization. Stalin uses terror backed by purges, show trials, executions, and mass deportations to the Gulag to secure his rule. Victims of Stalin’s mass arrests, forced to work as prisoner employees in prison camps, form a core of the Soviet economy. By 1939 the Gulag is the largest employer in Europe. As the Depression hits the rest of the world, the Soviet economy powers ahead. But as Soviet agriculture is forcibly collectivized, at significant human cost, production drops by 30 percent.
  • 1941-1945: During World War II, the Red Army successfully repulses Germany’s invasion and itself marches west, annexing Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Eastern Germany. The USSR suffers an estimated 20 million deaths, but its part in the Allied victory helps consolidate the Communist Party’s grip on power. After the war, the USSR emerges as Europe’s greatest military power, and one of two global superpowers.
  • 1946-1952: The loss of some 25 million people, especially young men, during the war, has profound social implications. In 1946 Stalin launches a policy of Zhdanovschina, a cultural war against innovation, modernism, and Western sympathies. Stalin sets about reconstructing the Soviet economy. The Fourth Five-Year Plan aims to rebuild the industrial base and exceed prewar production levels. With the Red Army’s blockade of occupied West Berlin, the Cold War begins. In 1949 the Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb.
  • 1953-1963: Nikita Khrushchev, named first secretary upon Stalin’s death, begins a period of cultural thaw and de-Stalinization in an effort to decentralize the Soviet system of repression and secrecy, and to realize the “dream of socialism with a human face.” The Virgin Lands Campaign aims to boost agricultural yields. The Warsaw Pact is created in 1955 to counter NATO, and in 1961 the Berlin Wall is erected.
  • 1964-1975: Khrushchev is ousted, and Leonid Brezhnev is made first secretary. His regime focuses on recentralizing power and control. A timid reform of industry fails to alter the economic system’s declining efficiency and productivity. But when world oil prices skyrocket during the 1973 oil crisis, Soviet coffers fill up with hard currency that will help to prop up the Soviet economy for more than a decade. Brezhnev’s rule is a time of relative plenty. The minimum wage is raised, and the standard of living improves significantly. The five-day work week is introduced and basic holiday entitlement raised. The 1977 constitution enshrines the right to a private land plot.
  • 1976-1985: Several strokes leave Brezhnev critically ill and he dies in 1982. The economy buckles under the burden of a renewed arms race with the U.S. and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Stability turns into virtual paralysis as Brezhnev’s successors, themselves ailing, argue the merits of reform and inaction. Yuri Andropov dies in 1984, Konstantin Chernenko a year later.
  • 1986-1988: Following his appointment as leader, Mikhail Gorbachev begins a campaign of openness in public life (Glasnost) and political and economic restructuring (Perestroika), while committed to socialist ideals. Managers of state enterprises are given some independence, certain private businesses legalized. But an oil-price collapse and an anti-alcoholism campaign deprive the state of major revenues.
  • 1989-1991: Gorbachev’s relaxation of controls creates an economic halfway house. As output plummets, shortages, rationing, and queues grow increasingly severe. A desperate attempt to restore centralized planning proves unworkable. Boris Yeltsin becomes president of the Russian Republic in the first-ever election for a Russian leader. After a political struggle, Gorbachev resigns as general secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR (CPSU), and the CPSU is subsequently made illegal. The Berlin Wall falls, and Eastern Europe breaks free from communism and Soviet control. A loose Commonwealth of Independent States replaced the USSR, which is fragmenting along nationalist and ethnic lines.
  • 1992-1995: Yeltsin tries to transform Russia’s economic system and social structure into a democratic market economy via Shock Therapy. The abolishment of state subsidies results in huge price rises. Hyperinflation hits, reaching 2,323 percent. State industry is sold through voucher privatization. Corruption and profiteering run rampant. Yeltsin suppresses an armed uprising by the Supreme Soviet and reimposes rule by decree.
  • 1996-1999: A second wave of privatization dubbed Loans for Shares sees strategic state assets sold to a few magnates, nicknamed “oligarchs.” Their support helps Yeltsin overcome a resurgent Communist Party to be reelected president. His bankrupt government sells bonds at high interest rates to raise money, but the Asian financial crisis forces Russia to default on its debts, and in 1999 Yeltsin resigns.
  • 2000-2003: With promises to reverse Russia’s decline, Vladimir Putin is elected president. Maintaining market reforms and instituting a tax overhaul to boost revenue and business, he attempts to steer Russia toward World Trade Organization membership. The oil industry booms. Putin consolidates his grip on power, delivering stability but raising fears of authoritarianism. Russia opposes the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
  • 2008:Dmitry Medvedev is elected the third President of the Russian Federation. Putin is named Prime Minister for Life.



Click HERE to return to the Russia main page.

PREPARING FOR RUSSIA: SOME FACTS AND FIGURES

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — Tags: , — wadatripp @ 4:45 am

DIGGING DEEP INTO THE DATA FOR THE REGION
For those of you who value digging deeper into the numbers you can always check out the CIA World Factbook page for Russia.

Click here to access the CIA page

The presentation below summarizes the evolution of the Russian economy after 1991 when Boris Yeltsin became the first popularly elected president of Russia following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Hint:To view the presentation in fullscreen mode click the menu button on the far left and select “View Fullscreen”.

As we prepare to embed ourselves into this vast region it is important to consider the sudden and significant Societal, Political and Economic Transitions the region has experienced as it emerged from Soviet rule less than two decades ago

Are you up for it? Lets GO!

Click HERE to return to the Russia Main Page

WELCOME TO TERM 5: Next Stop……St.PETERSBURG

Filed under: Term 5 St. Petersburg — Tags: , — wadatripp @ 4:36 am

Congratulations on completing Term 4 and welcome to Term 5!

It is difficult to believe that – with this residency in Russia – we are rounding the final corner of the CCMBA program before we convene in Durham for the final residency.

NEXT STOP: RUSSIA!
Our global circumnavition takes us next to St. Petersburg, arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world, created by Peter the Great and capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years.



PREPARING FOR THE RUSSIA EXPERIENCE
This brief video should whet our appetite for the experience we are about to embark upon next month. Russia’s vastness is almost unimaginable. It is by far the largest country in the world, covering more than ninth of the Earth’s land area and 9 time zones.



BLOG OUTLINE:
As was the case in London, Dubai, Delhi, and Shanghai we have developed this set of blog pages with rich-media content that we believe you will find relevant to the topics we will be discussing during our time in St. Petersburg.

Here is the outline:

  • Preparing for Russia: Some Facts and Figures. Click HERE to view.
  • Background on Russia: A Brief Overview of a Long History. Click HERE to view.
  • Exploring Russia’s Transitions and Tensions. Click HERE to view
  • Societal Tension: From Soviet Serfdom and Control to Personal Freedom. Click HERE to view.
  • Political Tension: From Totalitarian Regime to Autocratic Rule. Click HERE to view.
  • Economic Tension: From Command Economy to Capitalist Economy. Click HERE to view.
  • Russia’s Relational Model and Cultural Dimensions: Please take the Polls! Click HERE to view.

We encourage you to review the contents of this blog and to post any comments, questions, or issues that come to mind as a result of having done so. Also, if you have good resources to add to the discussion, please be sure to include them in the Comment Section.

It is our sincere hope that we begin a robust virtual dialogue via this blog that we can synthesize during our time together at the residency.

See you in St. Petersburg!

Click HERE to return to CCL main page.

April 5, 2010

China’s Social Relational Model and Cultural Dimensions

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , — wadatripp @ 9:39 pm

SOCIAL RELATIONAL MODEL

As has been the case in prior residencies, upon completing your blog pre-reading we ask that you provide us with a baseline on the Social Relational Model for China.

fiske rmt

For 16 centuries, China was an Agrarian society that maintained stability by adhering to Confucianism. During the last two centuries China has experienced significant turmoil. From Semi-Colonialism and Japanese Occupation followed by Communist Rule under Mao yielding to Rapid Economic Growth under Deng Xiaoping, China’s Social Relational model has likely changed significantly.

Please take the following POLL:

CULTURAL DIMENSIONS

China’s long and winding history has also forged alignment with a core set of Dimensions that form its unique Culture.

GLOBE CD

Please take the following POLL:

That’s It….YOU’RE DONE…..Safe Travels and See you all in Shanghai!

Click here to return to the China Main Page

Economic Tension: From Economic Backwater to the World’s Fastest Growing Economy

Filed under: Term 4 Shanghai — Tags: , , , , , — wadatripp @ 9:35 pm

INTRODUCTION

In the 2007 paperback edition of his book One Billion Customers, author James McGregor provides some clear insights into the economic transformation that China is experiencing.:

  • Chinese business continues to have incredible gains in world commerce. Chinese companies inhale best practices from around the globe. Six Sigma and ISO-9000 management principles are as deeply ingrained in the minds of Chinese managers now as were the slogans in Mao’s Little Red Book in their childhoods.
  • The world’s multinationals have poured into China to build world-class facilities that are critical parts of their global supply and R&D chains.
  • China has taken enormous steps to open its markets widely since joining the World Trade Organization. Foreign companies aren’t hesitating to move in where they can and gobble up market share and Chinese-owned companies.
  • While serveral hundred million people have been pulled from extreme poverty in the past three decades, the gap between rich and poor is getting larger and larger. The richest 10 percent of Chinese families now possess 40 percent of the country’s private assets while the poorest 10 percent own only 2 percent.
  • The average annual income of a Beijing resident is $2,263, while a farmer in Qinghai earns $277 annually.
  • Rich and poor in China now share the world’s dirtiest country. You can taste the putrid air in much of China, which is now home to sixteen of the world’s most polluted cities, and the rivers and lakes are colored in rainbow hues from industrial effluent.






THE RAPID RISE OF A NEW ECONOMIC SUPERPOWER

30 years ago, China was number 137 on the GDP list – just slightly ahead of Malawi. Today, China has the second largest GDP in the world. In the following video CNN’s Maria Bartoromeo interviews John and Doris Naisbitt about China’s booming economy and how it has fared during the most recent economic crisis.




IS THIS ECONOMIC GROWTH TREND SUSTAINABLE?

David Dollar suggests that the prospects for China’s continued growth are good for the next decade or so. However, as the labor force shrinks due to China’s One Child Policy and environmental degradation continues as China maintains focus on Economy over Environment, China will face issues for sustainable economic growth.




CHINA’S PRIMARY CHALLENGE IS ADDRESSING ECONOMIC DISPARITY

Jack Perkowski suggests that China’s Leadership is clearly aware of the challenge of getting the remaining 900 million poor people up the income ladder as quickly as possible to avoid the unrest that could emerge from economic disparity.





ECONOMIC DISPARITY TRUMPS ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

In his book, China Shakes the World, James Kynge suggests that Environmental Degradation is an important negative consequence of China’s rapid economic growth and the corrupt practices of local governments.




SKATING OVER THE “THIN ICE” OF SOCIAL UNREST AND ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE

As only he can, Tom Stewart succinctly summarizes the very delicate balance that China’s Leadership is dealing with as it strives to maintain sustainable economic growth.




CHINA’S ECONOMIC TRANSITION: QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Will social unrest explode in China as a result of the increasing disparity between the rich and poor?
  • Do the Chinese believe that the 30 year trend of 10% growth per year is economically and enviornmentally sustainable?
  • Do the Chinese believe that the Government should take a more balanced approach in driving economic growth while moderating environmental degradation?
  • Are the Chinese concerned about their ability to continue to access natural resources to fuel their growth? How might their “No Strings Attached” policies in dealing with trading partners create negative unanticipated outcomes for the country?

Click here to return to the China Main Page

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