The Horror of Life under Putinomics
The Swiss bank UBS has just released its 2009 Prices and Earnings report reviewing of how much people earn and how much they have to pay to afford life in all the major cities around the world. The results for Putin’sRussia are simply stunning.
They show that, among the member nations of the Group of Eight, residents of Los Angeles need to work by far the shortest time — less than 10 hours — to pay for an eight-gigabyte iPod nano (which UBS calls an “ideal example of a globally uniform product”). Montreal comes next, 10 percent longer than L.A., followed by London (15 percent longer), Tokyo (25 percent longer), Berlin (50 percent longer), Paris (60 percent longer), and Rome (twice as long).
Bringing up the rear in its usual fashion is the G8 interloper, Russia. Muscovites in Russia’s capital city must work more than three times longer than Angelinos (a whopping 36 hours) to afford an iPod — and this grossly understates the Russian burden. Moscow, unlike virtually any other major city on the planet, usurps the national wealth to an obscene extent. For most ordinary Russians in the hinterlands, earning $3 and hour and praying their wages will actually be paid, an I-pod is an unattainable fantasy.
Russia is, in other words, totally without qualifications to sit on the G-8 panel as a simple matter of economics. Consider Russia’s barbaric political and legal systems, to say nothing of its open hosility to the security interest of the other G-8 members, and it’s easy to see why John McCain has called for Russia’s ouster.
Between 2006 and 2008, the Russian currency clawed back 20% of its value against the American dollar. This meant that foreign products like TVs and blue jeans became 20% more affordable to Russians, though Russian exports became 20% more dear, costing Russian jobs.
And all of that work over the course of two years was wiped out, and then some, in the space of just six months at the end of 2008 when the ruble’s value plunged and the dollar soared, so that now it is worth 10% more than it was when the ruble began its expansion.
The same thing happened to the Russian stock market. Some Russophile idiots insisted that the stock market had nothing to do with the lives of ordinary Russians, but they now have eggski on their faces as we have seen a horrifying rise in unemployment in Russia accompanied by a dramatic drop in real wages and purchasing power.
All this came as a shock to many who thought there was something real behind the Putin economy, but in fact all there ever was was smoke and mirrors. Now, the Wizard of the KGB has been exposed, and the Russian economy lies in ruins. The world sees Russians for what they are: The barbaric denizens of a third-world banana republic run by the secret police, no different than Zimbabwe and headed down the same road of self-destruction.