Spoiler. The current demonstrations and riots in Chile that started as protests against a 3.75% increase in public transportation tariffs. The focus of the demonstrations seems to have turned into demands of a fairer society. The protests may be justified. And the rage over military forces patrolling the streets, reminding people about Pinochet’s brutal regime is understandable. But contrary to what we read and hear from the often-ill-informed media, and what Leftists want us to believe, the people of Chile are not subject to oppression and impoverishment by neo-liberal policies. In fact, if one looks at Chile over time, incomes have increased, and inequality decreased.
Spoiler. Once a year or so, Putin addresses the Russian people. During these shows, he likes to boost about Russia’s super weapons. He also boosts about the technological capacity, or even superiority of Russia. But the explosion at the White Sea casts some doubt about Putin’s claims. The development of these nuclear driven missiles is a technology that the US for good reasons decided not to pursue decades ago.
The above-mentioned failure reflects the disastrous economic policy that has turned Russia into a low-productive economy with weak innovation capacity. But Putin does not care about ordinary Russians welfare. What he does care about is keeping the grip on power and protecting his oligarchs’ wealth.
Spoiler: Communist leaders promised people in their countries to build socialist paradises. But life in the Soviet Union and its satellite states were miserable. People were poorer and did not live as long as people in the west. People in communist countries died earlier not only because of the mass executions, slave labour in- and outside of prison camps and regime-made famines but also because of environmental disasters causing diseases among the populations.
Spoilers. In Poland, reforms of the economy were made even during Communist rule. Following the end of Communist rule, ambitions to join the EU and support from the EU and IMF gave further impetus to reform. As one of the earlier reformers, Poland has turned into a growth engine. Not being part of the Soviet Union was a bliss for Poland but being a Soviet republic turned out to be a curse for Ukraine. No reforms were made by its post-Soviet leadership during its first three years of independence.
Opaque liberalisations and privatisations that followed enriched former “Red directors”. During this time the oligarchs emerged. They have since not only dominated large sectors of the Ukrainian economy but also the political arenas. From then on, Ukraine’s people have been robbed and deprived of reasonable standards of living. While the influence from external factors, especially the EU, was beneficial for Poland, Russian influence and armed interventions have prevented Ukraine from growing.