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  1. I've been seeing this "Golden Billion" theory mentioned more and more online: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_billion The golden billion (Russian: золотой миллиард, tr. zolotoy milliard) is the theory that indefinite elites pull strings to amass wealth and destroy regular people’s lives.[1] It is popular in the Russian-speaking world.[2] According to Sergey Kara-Murza, the golden billion consumes the lion's share of all resources on the planet. If at least half of the global population begins to consume resources to the same extent, these resources wouldn't be sufficient.[3] This is partly based on the ideas of Thomas Malthus, in that emphasis is placed on the scarcity of natural resources. However, whereas Malthus was mostly concerned with finite global crop yields, anti-globalists that advocate the idea of a "golden billion" are mostly concerned with finite natural resources such as fossil fuels and metal. According to Kara-Murza, the developed countries, while preserving for their nationals a high level of consumption, endorse political, military and economic measures designed to keep the rest of the world in an industrially undeveloped state and as a raw-material appendage area for the dumping of hazardous waste and as a source of cheap labor.[4] The theory, which holds that the wealth of the West, including that of the lower classes, is mostly based on exploitation of the former colonies in the third world, is not new in Russia, where it was first popularized by Vladimir Lenin, in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. Lenin described the relationship between capitalism and imperialism, wherein the merging of banks and industrial cartels produces finance capital. The final, imperialist stage of capitalism, originates in the financial function of generating greater profits than the home market can yield; thus, business exports (excess) capital, which, in due course, leads to the economic division of the world among international business monopolies, and imperial European states colonising large portions of the world to generate investment profits. Whereas Lenin and other Marxist anti-imperialists such as Immanuel Wallerstein called for an end to the domination of developed nations through international communism, Kara-Murza and his contemporaries in Russia believe that a restriction of free trade (especially with the West), and various methods of state intervention in the economy is the best solution. This economic rationale for protectionism dates back to the early United States and is known as the infant industry argument. The crux of the argument is that nascent industries often do not have the economies of scale that their older competitors from other countries may have, and thus need to be protected until they can attain similar economies of scale. The argument was first explicated by Alexander Hamilton in his 1790 Report on Manufactures, was systematically developed by Daniel Raymond, and was later picked up by Friedrich List in his 1841 work The National System of Political Economy, following his exposure to the idea during his residence in the United States in the 1820s. The differences in incomes in first-world countries and third-world countries cannot be explained by differences in individual productivity. For example, the Caterpillar (CAT) factory in Tosno, Russia has the highest productivity of all CAT factories in Europe, but the workers are paid about an order of magnitude less. The difference is even more startling when comparing the wages of textile workers in United States factories and in China sweatshops. This means that the multinational corporations appropriate a disproportionally high share of the surplus value in "developing" countries. The argument usually holds that the continuation of this exploitation retards the development and prosperity of the developing nations. Hence, globalization and modern capitalism benefit mostly the golden billion, while people in the so-called "developing" countries are getting the short end of the stick.
  2. Two murder-suicides 1 day apart? Hmmm. https://www.businessinsider.com/2-russian-oligarchs-found-dead-spain-moscow-reports-2022-4 Two Russian oligarchs were found dead alongside their wives and children one day apart, according to multiple reports. Vladislav Avayev, the former vice president of Gazprombank, was found dead of a gunshot wound in his Moscow apartment on Monday, Russia's state-run Tass news agency reported. The Moscow investigations department did not name the victims in its public statement about the case, but Tass said an unnamed source confirmed their identities. Investigators wrote in their statement that they are prioritizing a theory that Avayev shot his wife and daughter, and then himself. More than 2,000 miles away, in Spain, another oligarch — Sergei Protosenya — was found hanged, with his wife and daughter stabbed to death, Spanish TV channel Telecinco reported. His body was found Tuesday, Spanish outlet El Punta Vui reported. He was found with a bloodstained knife and an ax at his side, Telecinco reported. Protosenya was the former vice president and chief accountant of Novatek, a major gas company with close connections to Gazprombank. He and his wife and daughter were staying in a rented luxury villa in Lloret de Mar, a coastal Catalan town, for the Easter period, according to Telecinco. Police were alerted to the deaths when Protosenya's son, who was in France, raised the alarm after nobody picked up the phone, Telecinco reported. The Mossos D'Esquadra, the Catalan police force, confirmed on Tuesday it is investigating three deaths, again without naming the victims. A spokesman for the force referred Insider to the public statement when asked for further information on Protosenya's death. Mossos D'Esquadra did not assign a motive, but according to El Punta Vui, a working theory for investigators is also that Protosenya killed his family before hanging himself. Protosenya left no suicide note, and there were no bloodstains on his body, El Punta Vui reported, without citing sources. He had a personal fortune of more than $433 million, according to Telecinco. Neither of the men were on an international sanctions list in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
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