The Iron Lady

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Mo
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Mo »

Does your timeline not have Grenada? ;)

Afghanistan military aid started under Carter and the other two were small potatoes in comparison to the other crap we got involved in before. I guess I should have been a little less absolute.
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Fin Fang Foom
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Fin Fang Foom »

Mo wrote:Does your timeline not have Grenada? ;)

Afghanistan military aid started under Carter and the other two were small potatoes in comparison to the other crap we got involved in before. I guess I should have been a little less absolute.
The United States Marines are not a proxy force. Reagan escalated Afghanistan on a very large scale, and El Salvador and Nicaragua were not small potatoes for proxy wars.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Shem wrote:
Asharak wrote:I wouldn't say the Soviets were a non-entity back then, but they were actually on their last legs and it was the Afghan war that finished them off.
It did a lot of damage, but you can't underestimate glasnost and perestroika. Putting free speech before economic development meant that people were free to take out their frustrations about their crappy standard of living on the government. Can't really blame the leaders, since it's not like they had a lot of historical examples to draw wisdom from, but their government definitely would have been longer-lasting if they had done something more like China. And, I think we'd all be better off for it had they done so.
Really? I can't quite wrap my brain around that idea. I think China could revitalize and make peace with America because they only had 20 or so nukes that were nominally pointed at America, but mostly there to make sure Russia and India didn't start to feel froggy. Americans didn't care if China did OK, because they were largely irrelevant to our strategic interests. A revitalized USSR, on the other hand, would've been perceived as a massive threat to the US and western Europe. The Cold War would've dragged on for decades, draining the American and Soviet economies alike. Can't see the upside, really.

EDIT: Well, Russia today would be better off, but that's pretty much it. Small possibility that Al Qaeda would never have formed, but that's too much of a wild card to predict.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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lunchstealer wrote:
Shem wrote:
Asharak wrote:I wouldn't say the Soviets were a non-entity back then, but they were actually on their last legs and it was the Afghan war that finished them off.
It did a lot of damage, but you can't underestimate glasnost and perestroika. Putting free speech before economic development meant that people were free to take out their frustrations about their crappy standard of living on the government. Can't really blame the leaders, since it's not like they had a lot of historical examples to draw wisdom from, but their government definitely would have been longer-lasting if they had done something more like China. And, I think we'd all be better off for it had they done so.
Really? I can't quite wrap my brain around that idea. I think China could revitalize and make peace with America because they only had 20 or so nukes that were nominally pointed at America, but mostly there to make sure Russia and India didn't start to feel froggy. Americans didn't care if China did OK, because they were largely irrelevant to our strategic interests. A revitalized USSR, on the other hand, would've been perceived as a massive threat to the US and western Europe. The Cold War would've dragged on for decades, draining the American and Soviet economies alike. Can't see the upside, really.

EDIT: Well, Russia today would be better off, but that's pretty much it. Small possibility that Al Qaeda would never have formed, but that's too much of a wild card to predict.
I suspect that if instead of Gorbachev they had someone with more of a Stalinist bent, the USSR could've kept limping along for at least another generation. Two specific things I recall to support this theory: one, I have a circa-1986 Time-Life book about life inside the Soviet Union (of course, the writers had no idea the whole thing would collapse in five years), and there was a chapter at the end mentioning then-new premier Gorbachev, and how he said something along the lines of "Our government needs to be more moral." (Meaning, less oppressive-assholish.)

Second, reading an after-the-fact article about the collapse of the USSR, the article said that much of the problem was, the government plain ran out of money -- specifically mentioned not even having food enough to feed Moscow. Which is indeed a huuuuuuge problem ... if the government has enough basic decency to think "Okay, whatever happens, we can't let huge swaths of our own people starve to death." Gorbachev plainly had this attitude. People like Stalin or the late unlamented Kim Jong Il did not.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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If you can't feed your capital city*, you're fucked.

* There is a "they think you're a deity exception here
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Re: The Iron Lady

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lunchstealer wrote:
Shem wrote:
Asharak wrote:I wouldn't say the Soviets were a non-entity back then, but they were actually on their last legs and it was the Afghan war that finished them off.
It did a lot of damage, but you can't underestimate glasnost and perestroika. Putting free speech before economic development meant that people were free to take out their frustrations about their crappy standard of living on the government. Can't really blame the leaders, since it's not like they had a lot of historical examples to draw wisdom from, but their government definitely would have been longer-lasting if they had done something more like China. And, I think we'd all be better off for it had they done so.
Really? I can't quite wrap my brain around that idea. I think China could revitalize and make peace with America because they only had 20 or so nukes that were nominally pointed at America, but mostly there to make sure Russia and India didn't start to feel froggy. Americans didn't care if China did OK, because they were largely irrelevant to our strategic interests. A revitalized USSR, on the other hand, would've been perceived as a massive threat to the US and western Europe. The Cold War would've dragged on for decades, draining the American and Soviet economies alike. Can't see the upside, really.
China hasn't made peace with America. They've just started buying and selling crap with us, and the economic links have made war so expensive as to be unthinkable. The exact same thing could have happened with the Soviets if they had taken the same path. And not only would that have left us with a stronger global economy, it would have eliminated all the downstream effects that arose as a result of the collapse; the massive expansion of mafia groups from the former Soviet union, the expansion of the global drug trade that they drove, the fears of nuclear materials and expertise being readily available due to the lack of money to lock them down, the list goes on. To say nothing of the tremendous improvements the Russians would have seen. I think you're underestimating the degree to which ideology can and is washed away by the prospect of hard currency.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Shem wrote: To say nothing of the tremendous improvements the Russians would have seen.
I may be misreading you here, but I don't think Russia would have been better off on the Chinese model. The Soviet Nomenklatura was the seed of the oligarchs and the bureaucratic kleptocracy. I think the result would have been much the same, except the oligarchs would be in the Central Committee of the CPSU rather than in Putin's United Russia Party
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Eric the .5b »

Aresen wrote:
Shem wrote: To say nothing of the tremendous improvements the Russians would have seen.
I may be misreading you here, but I don't think Russia would have been better off on the Chinese model. The Soviet Nomenklatura was the seed of the oligarchs and the bureaucratic kleptocracy. I think the result would have been much the same, except the oligarchs would be in the Central Committee of the CPSU rather than in Putin's United Russia Party
Yeah, China got to where it is now by starting reforms before I was born. Doing it at the last minute wouldn't have worked, and nobody in charge of the USSR would have gone that route when they had time.

While the idea's an intriguing springboard for a very different 70s-to-present alternate history, I can't figure out any reasonable divergence.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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The China Russia cross-country comparison is tough. In 1989, (when the fates of the two communist oligarchies really started to diverge), Russia (and (most of) the Soviet Union in total, but most of all Russia) was at a much more 'advanced' state of industrialization and urbanization. Even today, the per capita GDP (nominal) of Russia is about 2.5 times that of China.

Having your capital and your principal city in the same place (Moscow) also creates a different dynamic than when they are not (New York vs Washington) and yet different when there's a peer competitor (Beijing vs Shanghai).
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Shem wrote:China hasn't made peace with America. They've just started buying and selling crap with us, and the economic links have made war so expensive as to be unthinkable. The exact same thing could have happened with the Soviets if they had taken the same path.
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Fin Fang Foom »

A big part of the USSR's problem was that they had run out of cheap inputs. China, on the other hand, had lots of cheap inputs (i.e. labor) that was available and they are just now starting to run low on.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Raising this thread from the dead to confess that I know very little about Margaret Thatcher (history is hard, okay?) but it's always seemed to me from the types of criticism she got and the types of people she got it from, that she was probably actually pretty great?

Anyway a new season of The Crown has dropped and so far my vague impressions are being confirmed ... lotta wharrrrbbbbllllggggarblllll from the lefties I follow, anyway
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Re: The Iron Lady

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I wish she was ours.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Ellie wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 00:39 Raising this thread from the dead to confess that I know very little about Margaret Thatcher (history is hard, okay?) but it's always seemed to me from the types of criticism she got and the types of people she got it from, that she was probably actually pretty great?
Eh, she wasn't Satan, but she also wasn't the savior of Britain she sometimes gets presented as. Her reforms increased dynamism in the British economy, but they also shredded the safety net and replaced it with...pretty much nothing. And the benefits never really trickled down, with the resulting disaffection being a big driver of Brexit and the breakdown of the Thatcherite consensus.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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It’s amusing to me that the TV show has the royal family as the fun loving carefree ones and Thatcher as a boring drone. Who knows, it might actually be true.

It’s just such a reversal from the Queen movie (the one will Helen Miriam)
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Shem wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 01:21
Ellie wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 00:39 Raising this thread from the dead to confess that I know very little about Margaret Thatcher (history is hard, okay?) but it's always seemed to me from the types of criticism she got and the types of people she got it from, that she was probably actually pretty great?
Eh, she wasn't Satan, but she also wasn't the savior of Britain she sometimes gets presented as. Her reforms increased dynamism in the British economy, but they also shredded the safety net and replaced it with...pretty much nothing. And the benefits never really trickled down, with the resulting disaffection being a big driver of Brexit and the breakdown of the Thatcherite consensus.
This is why you never ever trust progressives when they act like it's all about healthcare. The idea that the UK has no safety net post Thatcher is literally hilarious.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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VILLAGER #3: And she turned my healthcare into a newt!
SIR BEDEVERE: A newt?
VILLAGER #3: It got better.
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Shem
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Shem »

JasonL wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 10:55
Shem wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 01:21
Ellie wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 00:39 Raising this thread from the dead to confess that I know very little about Margaret Thatcher (history is hard, okay?) but it's always seemed to me from the types of criticism she got and the types of people she got it from, that she was probably actually pretty great?
Eh, she wasn't Satan, but she also wasn't the savior of Britain she sometimes gets presented as. Her reforms increased dynamism in the British economy, but they also shredded the safety net and replaced it with...pretty much nothing. And the benefits never really trickled down, with the resulting disaffection being a big driver of Brexit and the breakdown of the Thatcherite consensus.
This is why you never ever trust progressives when they act like it's all about healthcare. The idea that the UK has no safety net post Thatcher is literally hilarious.
I love it when you argue against stuff I didn't actually say. It's totally cool and not at all infuriating.

But yeah, Thatcher's poverty policies were perfect, and it's total coincidence that the poverty rate doubled under her leadership, and the UK went from having a one of the lowest rates in western Europe to one of the highest.
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Jennifer
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Jennifer »

JasonL wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 10:55
Shem wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 01:21
Ellie wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 00:39 Raising this thread from the dead to confess that I know very little about Margaret Thatcher (history is hard, okay?) but it's always seemed to me from the types of criticism she got and the types of people she got it from, that she was probably actually pretty great?
Eh, she wasn't Satan, but she also wasn't the savior of Britain she sometimes gets presented as. Her reforms increased dynamism in the British economy, but they also shredded the safety net and replaced it with...pretty much nothing. And the benefits never really trickled down, with the resulting disaffection being a big driver of Brexit and the breakdown of the Thatcherite consensus.
This is why you never ever trust progressives when they act like it's all about healthcare. The idea that the UK has no safety net post Thatcher is literally hilarious.
FWIW, a strict reading of the phrase "shredded the safety net and replaced it with...pretty much nothing" suggests the post-Thatcher status quo is not "no safety net," but "a shredded one."

Which does indeed mesh with the lefty-Brit complaints I used to read back in the Guardian -- they admit (indeed, take for granted) that poor people do get government help, but say it's not enough. (This also led to the occasionally hilarious comment from people who read my columns about my own personal life and finances [e.g. "why I unapologetically danced in strip clubs to pay for college and still consider myself a feminist"], and accused me of lying about how dire my college-era financial status otherwise would've been: because they assumed I was British, and thus received various allowances and benefits apparently given to university students. Nope -- the only government assistance my American-student ass got was bankruptcy-proof student loans which, in the long run, hurt me far more than they helped. Which invariably left the Brits absolutely gobsmacked, when I told them.)
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Jennifer »

Huh. Possibly related, possibly not, but: I was just-now taking part in a thoroughly unrelated Facebook discussion -- someone wondered how Peggy got to be a nickname for Margaret, so I linked to a recently-read blog post saying why -- and in the margin of that post, the "recent" list had one called "thrift store," which I naturally clicked on, and it mused over why America says "thrift store" to describe what Britons call "charity shops," and offered this speculation:
I was watching an American TV programme or film recently, I can’t remember what exactly, when I noticed someone use the term thrift store. I’d of course heard it used many times in the past, but this time I began to wonder why this American term is so different from its British-English version, charity shop.

Store and shop I’ve already covered, but I find it very interesting that American English emphasises thrift, but but British English stresses the charity aspect.

Not to over simplify things (and I’ll state from the get go that I’m not indulging in generalisations about American people), but it does seem to neatly encapsulate some of the main differences between American culture, and its forebears in Europe.

British English emphasises that these shops are charity operations, to help those in need. But American English, in a country where capitalism and rugged individualism are inextricably woven into the national identity, emphasises the economic aspect (finding a bargain), and downplays the charity aspect (everyone can achieve the American Dream on their own)....

https://englishlanguagethoughts.com/202 ... ift-store/
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Team JasonL
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Re: The Iron Lady

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UK is in the middle of pretty much every OECD chart including relative poverty. Yes yes "western europe" as a benchmark. What's that actually look like? It's way better to have a decade of structural unemployment and high inflation.

https://data.oecd.org/inequality/poverty-rate.htm
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Re: The Iron Lady

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JasonL wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 17:55 UK is in the middle of pretty much every OECD chart including relative poverty. Yes yes "western europe" as a benchmark. What's that actually look like? It's way better to have a decade of structural unemployment and high inflation.

https://data.oecd.org/inequality/poverty-rate.htm
Peculiar how Thatcherites didn't pitch it as an either/or situation. Also peculiar how you hand-wave away a doubling of the poverty rate over the period in question. Bad news; those people don't compare themselves to the OECD. They compare themselves to how they used to be, or how their parents were. I know you find that stupid and unreasonable, just like I know that you finding it stupid and unreasonable is why they've dismissed your policy prescriptions in favor of Trump-style populism.

Thatcherism created losers as well as winners. A lot of losers, and instead of addressing that fact, the technocratic consensus spent the next 20 years insisting that wasn't the case, and that in aggregate, we're all better off, never mind that the people doing worse were all clustered together far from the benefits. Which just made them fall further behind. And if you want those people to stop thinking your ideas are crap and going for Brexit/Trump-style populism, you need to come to terms with that, and figure out how to address it.
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

Yes, people compare themselves to how they were or how their parents were and even the most ardent market supporting politician doesn't say, oh, by the way, some of you are going to fall through the safety net once we take out every other strand. Now, that said, what was Britain's likely fate had Thatcher not won and instituted market reforms to, you know, improve the creation of wealth Labor was too busy distributing? Counterfactual, but it's not unreasonable to believe the average Brit would be worse off still in the mid to long run. And that's pretty much been the history of social welfare throughout Europe. You make lots of money in an 'unfair' market economy, disgruntled prols vote in social welfare reforms to redistribute that wealth, creation of new wealth begins to ebb until the socialism needs to be dialed back some. Rinse, repeat.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Shem wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 18:41
JasonL wrote: 17 Nov 2020, 17:55 UK is in the middle of pretty much every OECD chart including relative poverty. Yes yes "western europe" as a benchmark. What's that actually look like? It's way better to have a decade of structural unemployment and high inflation.

https://data.oecd.org/inequality/poverty-rate.htm
Peculiar how Thatcherites didn't pitch it as an either/or situation. Also peculiar how you hand-wave away a doubling of the poverty rate over the period in question. Bad news; those people don't compare themselves to the OECD. They compare themselves to how they used to be, or how their parents were. I know you find that stupid and unreasonable, just like I know that you finding it stupid and unreasonable is why they've dismissed your policy prescriptions in favor of Trump-style populism.

Thatcherism created losers as well as winners. A lot of losers, and instead of addressing that fact, the technocratic consensus spent the next 20 years insisting that wasn't the case, and that in aggregate, we're all better off, never mind that the people doing worse were all clustered together far from the benefits. Which just made them fall further behind. And if you want those people to stop thinking your ideas are crap and going for Brexit/Trump-style populism, you need to come to terms with that, and figure out how to address it.
Right - pay people infinity benefits they demand, ensure nobody ever ever is a loser in any policy ever through transfers, and so on. Except, those thing create a worse economy objectively. Nobody wants 1975. What they want is all the stuff they felt made them secure but also all the dynamism. But that's not a thing.
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