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Should UN Administer Iraq: Kosovo's Iraqi Lessons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/5/2005
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Should the United Nations administer Iraq? Is it - as Kofi Annan, its General Secretary, insists - best-qualified to build nations? Or will it act as a bureaucracy, out to perpetuate itse...

Failure of IMF and World Bank in Fmr USSR: Uncommon Poverty of the Commonwealth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2005
The Lucerne Conference on the 9 months old CIS-7 Initiative ended two years ago with yet another misguided call upon charity-weary donors to grant the poorest seven countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) of the Commonwealth of Independent State...

Eastern Europe's Change of Climate
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2005
The 185 member states of the United Nations Climate Change Convention will meet shortly to contemplate what steps may be needed to implement the Kyoto protocol, now ratified by more than 130 countries, including Russia and the European Union. Signatories have ten years - starting in 2003 - to cut th...

Trading from a Suitcase: Shuttle Trade and Global Black Market
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2005
They all sport the same shabby clothes, haggard looks, and bulging suitcases bound with frayed ropes. These are the shuttle traders. You can find them in Mongolia and Russia, China and Ukraine, Bulgaria and Kosovo, the West Bank and Turkey. They cross the border as "tourists", sometimes as often as ...

Organ Trafficking in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/7/2005
A kidney fetches $2700 in Turkey. According to the October 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, this is a high price. An Indian or Iraqi kidney enriches its former owner by a mere $1000. Wealthy clients later pay for the rare organ up to $150,000.

CBS News aired, fiv...

Herzl's Butlers: Battle of Nationalists and Internationalists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/8/2005
James Cook misled the British government back home by neglecting to report about the aborigines he spotted on the beaches of New Holland. This convenient omission allowed him to claim the territory for the crown. In the subsequent waves of colonization, the aborigines perished. Modern Australia stan...

Russia's Second Empire
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/9/2005
History teaches us little except how little we can learn from it. Still, there is nothing new under the sun. Thus, drawing too many parallels between the environmentalist movements of the late 19th century and their counterparts in the second half of the twentieth century - would probably prove misl...

Book Review: Fragmentation of Yugoslavia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/9/2005
Book Title: The Fragmentation of Yugoslavia (2nd Edition)
Author: Aleksandar Pavkovic
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (USA) and Macmillan Press (UK)
Month, Year of publication: October 2000
Number of pages: 243

Political history is largely an account of mass violence and of the expe...

The Business of Torture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/11/2005
On January 16, 2003, the European Court of Human Rights agreed - more than two years after the applications have been filed - to hear six cases filed by Chechens against Russia. The claimants accuse the Russian military of torture and indiscriminate killings. The Court has ruled in the past against ...

The Argument For Torture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/11/2005
The problem of the "ticking bomb" - rediscovered after September 11 by Alan Dershowitz, a renowned criminal defense lawyer in the United States - is old hat. Should physical torture be applied - where psychological strain has failed - in order to discover the whereabouts of a ticking bomb and thus p...

The Disunited Nations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/12/2005
In March 2005, an increasingly isolationist United States appointed an outspoken critic of the United Nations, John Bolton, to serve as its Ambassador there. Less than two years earlier, Arab nations tabled a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly condemning the U.S.-British led "invasion...

Doctrine of Just War in the Age of Terrorism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/12/2005
In an age of terrorism, guerilla and total warfare the medieval doctrine of Just War needs to be re-defined. Moreover, issues of legitimacy, efficacy and morality should not be confused. Legitimacy is conferred by institutions. Not all morally justified wars are, therefore, automatically legitimate....

Is Education a Public Good?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/12/2005
Contrary to common misconceptions, public goods are not "goods provided by the public". Public goods are sometimes supplied by the private sector and private goods - by the public sector. This public good can be supplying meals on wheels to a grandmother in New York or providing Islam and Liberalism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/13/2005
Islam is not merely a religion. It is also - and perhaps, foremost - a state ideology. It is all-pervasive and missionary. It permeates every aspect of social cooperation and culture. It is an organizing principle, a narrative, a philosophy, a value system, and a vade mecum. In this it resembles Con...

The Ecology of Environmentalism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/14/2005
The concept of "nature" is a romantic invention. It was spun by the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century as a confabulated utopian contrast to the dystopia of urbanization and materialism. The traces of this dewy-eyed conception of the "savage" and his unmolested, unadulterated surroun...

Ukraine: Russia's Younger Brother?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/14/2005
The "Orange Revolution" in October-November 2004 was a coup d'etat. It was a disorderly, though popular, transfer of power from one group within the "Dniepropetrovsk clan", headed by Leonid Kuchma and his henchman to another faction, headed by the volatile and incompatible Viktor Yuschenko and Yulia...

Macedonia - Why the Framework Agreement will Fail - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2005
"…Many Macedonians contend they were forced to make concessions on an accelerated timetable only because of the ethnic Albanian insurgency. Javier Solana, foreign policy chief of the EU, rejected that charge saying, 'violence has not dictated the pace of progress'. Asked if the force of arms was the...

Macedonia - Why the Framework Agreement will Fail - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2005
Every conflict has its economic moments and dimensions. The current conflict in Macedonia perhaps even more so. The USA and its Western allies regard Macedonia as a bridge between Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. Hence the EU's plans for the revival of transport corridors 8 and 10 connecting th...

Ukraine: The Crouching Tiger
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2005
Reading the Western media, one would think that Ukraine's main products are grotesquely corrupt politicians, grey hued, drab, and polluted cities, and mysteriously deceased investigative journalists and erstwhile state functionaries.

When another journalist was found dead in Odessa on New Ye...

Maritime Piracy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2005
The rumors concerning the demise of maritime piracy back in the 19th century were a tad premature. The scourge has so resurged that the International Maritime Board (IMB), founded by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in 1981, is forced to broadcast daily piracy reports to all shipping comp...

Private Armies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/16/2005
In July 2002, Christopher Deliso recounted in that Dutch Radio, based on reports leaked by a Dutch military analysis firm, accused the US government of aiding and abetting terrorists in Macedonia. Not for the first time, the Americans were rumored to have hired the services of MPRI (Mili...

How the West Killed Djindjic
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/16/2005
Precisely two years ago, in March 2003, the West killed Serbia's Prime Minister since January 2001, Zoran Djindjic. By forcing him, at times against his better judgment, to surrender one more war criminal, to pursue yet another mobster, to eliminate the remaining subsidies that rendered tolerable th...

Israel's Hi, Tech - Bye, Tech
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/16/2005
During the 1990's, the number of Israeli firms on NASDAQ was the second or third largest (depending on the year) after American and Canadian ones. Israeli IPO's were hot. Israeli hi-tech was cool. The Internet was conquered by Israeli ingenuity and chutzpah.

Since then the market has matured....

Israel's Economic Intifada
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/17/2005
A Danish firm, SID, as it was canceling an order with an Israeli supplier, dispatched to it this unusually blunt message: "When the soldiers of the Israeli army brutalize the areas of the Palestinians ... we do not feel it is the time to do business with your country. We hope this ugly war will end ...

Israel - The Next Target
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/17/2005
Its leader seems more comfortable in battle fatigues than in civil suits. He has been long pursuing a policy of bloody oppression and annexation. The regime is often castigated due to rampant human rights violations. The country possesses weapons of mass destruction, though it repeatedly denies the ...

Sanctioning Sharon
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/17/2005
In a bid to strengthen the hand of the newly elected Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, the Israelis have released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and pulled, in March 2005, from Jericho and Tulkarm. In a significant change of heart, Hamas, the militant Palestinian organization, vowed to compet...

America, the Reluctant Empire
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/17/2005
When the annals of the United States are written, its transition from republic to empire is likely to warrant special attention. Nor is the emergence of this land and naval juggernaut without precedent. Though history rarely repeats itself in details - both Ancient Rome and Byzantium hold relevant -...

Fascism - The Tensile Permanence
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/18/2005
Nazism - and, by extension, fascism (though the two are by no means identical) - amounted to permanent revolutionary civil wars. Fascist movements were founded, inter alia, on negations and on the militarization of politics. Their raison d'etre and vigor were derived from their rabid opposition to l...

Collective Narcissism - Narcissism, Culture, and Society
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/18/2005
In their book "Personality Disorders in Modern Life", Theodore Millon and Roger Davis state, as a matter of fact, that pathological narcissism was the preserve of "the royal and the wealthy" and that it "seems to have gained prominence only in the late twentieth century". Narcissism, according to th...

The Sergeant and the Girl - Anatomy of a Double Standard
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/18/2005
"You can't blame the whole army. But why did they allow such a soldier to come here?"
"We believe he also has a mother an father and we cannot speak good or ill of him."
Hamdi Shabiu, father of Merita, the sexually molested, forcibly sodomized and murdered child.

"Sex offenders typically ha...

Afghan Myths - Interview with Anssi Kullberg
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/19/2005
[The interview was originally conducted in 2001. It is being re-published due to its relevancy once again] This interview was conducted with Anssi Kristian Kullberg in 2001, when he was employed as a researcher for the Legal and Country Intelligence Service, Western and Central Asia Desk, at the Fin...

Anatoly Chubais: Russia's Last Oligarch
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/19/2005
Anatoly Chubais, head of Russia's electricity monopoly, survived an assassination attempt on March 17, 2005. A roadside charge, followed by a hail of automatic gunfire, failed to remove him from the scene. Even by the imperceptible standards of eastern Europe, the crony-infested Russian version of "...

OPEC's Swan Song?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/20/2005
As oil prices shot past the $57 mark in the crude futures markets on both sides of the Atlantic, OPEC, in a meeting in March 2005, raised its combined output by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), reversing a December 2004 decision to cut production by 1 million bpd. How times change! It is instructive t...

The Economics of Conspiracy Theories
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/20/2005
Barry Chamish is convinced that Shimon Peres, Israel's wily old statesman, ordered the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, back in 1995, in collaboration with the French. He points to apparent tampering with evidence. The blood-stained song sheet in Mr. Rabin's pocket lost its bullet hole between the ni...

The Economics of American Foreign Military Bases
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/20/2005
The US military spent the first quarter of 2005 evaluating the economic and social impacts of the closure of 425 domestic bases. It seems to have dedicated no second thoughts to the relocation of its foreign outposts. Yet, the effects on local economies and populace can be as devastating and destabi...

EU and NATO - The Competing Alliances
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/21/2005
The Spanish recently (2005) endorsed the draft constitution of the European Union (EU). But such a smooth ride is rare. The vote in October 2002 in Ireland, for example, was the second time in 18 months that its increasingly disillusioned citizenry had to decide the fate of the European Union by end...

Muslims - Europe's New Jews
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/21/2005
They inhabit self-imposed ghettoes, subject to derision and worse, the perennial targets of far-right thugs and populist politicians of all persuasions. They are mostly confined to menial jobs. They are accused of spreading crime, terrorism and disease, of being backward and violent, of refusing to ...

The Distributive Justice of the Market
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/22/2005
The public outcry against executive pay and compensation followed disclosures of insider trading, double dealing, and outright fraud. But even honest and productive entrepreneurs often earn more money in one year than Albert Einstein did in his entire life. T...

Apocalyptic Population Drops in the West: And Then There Were Too Many
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/22/2005
The latest census in Ukraine revealed an apocalyptic drop of 10% in its population - from 52.5 million a decade ago to a mere 47.5 million last year. Demographers predict a precipitous decline of one third in Russia's impoverished, inebriated, disillusioned, and ageing citizenry. Births in many coun...

The Myth of the Right to Life
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/23/2005
The right to life - at least of human beings - is a rarely questioned fundamental moral principle. In Western cultures, it is assumed to be inalienable and indivisible (i.e., monolithic). Yet, it is neither. Even if we accept the axiomatic - and therefore arbitrary - source of this right, we are sti...

Computer Age: The Solow Paradox
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/23/2005
On March 21, 2005, Germany's prestigious Ifo Institute at the University of Munich published a research report according to which "More technology at school can have a detrimental effect on education and computers at home can harm learning". It is a prime demonstration of the Solow Paradox. Named af...

The Cost of Unification - German Lessons for Korea
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/23/2005
The North remains as recalcitrant and belligerent as ever. The prospects of Korean unification are best gauged in Panmunjom, scene of the armistice that ended the Korean war, where a South Korean rail line ends abruptly. The North has yet to construct the few miles to Kaesong within its territory. N...

Legalizing Crime and the Government
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/24/2005
The state has a monopoly on behaviour usually deemed criminal. It murders, kidnaps, and locks up people. Sovereignty has come to be identified with the unbridled - and exclusive - exercise of violence. The emergence of modern international law has narrowed the field of permissible conduct. A soverei...

The Crescent and the Cross - A First Encounter
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/24/2005
"In accordance with this [right to act], whenever some one of the infidel parents or some other should oppose the giving up of his son for the Janiccaries, he is immediately hanged from his doorsill, his blood being deemed unworthy."
Turkish firman, 1601

"...The Turks have built several fo...

The Crescent and the Cross - Introduction To Each Other
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/25/2005
"There are two maxims for historians which so harmonise with what I know of history that I would like to claim them as my own, though they really belong to nineteenth-century historiography: first, that governments try to press upon the historian the key to all the drawers but one, and are anxious t...

The Crescent and the Cross - Communities of God
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/25/2005
"From the beginning, people of different languages and religions were permitted to live in Christian lands and cities, namely Jews, Armenians, Ismaelites, Agarenes and others such as these, except that they do not mix with Christians, but rather live separately. For this reason, places have been des...

Macedonia to the Macedonians
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/27/2005
"Two hundred and forty five bands were in the mountains. Serbian and Bulgarian comitadjis, Greek andartes, Albanians and Vlachs ... all waging a terrorist war."
Leon Sciaky in "Farewell to Salonica: Portrait of an Era"

"(Goce Delcev died) cloak flung over his left shoulder, his white fez, wrapp...

Terrorists and Freedom Fighters in the Balkans
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/27/2005
"'Unbounded' morality ultimately becomes counterproductive even in terms of the same moral principles being sought. The law of diminishing returns applies to morality."
Thomas Sowell

There's a story about Robespierre that has the preeminent rabble-rouser of the French Revolution leaping up from...

Yugoslavia: The Insurgents and the Swastika
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/28/2005
"Even going back ten years it was easy to see something gripping Yugoslavia by the throat. But in the years since then the grip has been tightened, and tightened in my opinion by the dictatorship established by King Alexander Karageorgevitch. This dictatorship, however much it may claim a temporary ...

Black Hand: The Dream of Greater Serbia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/28/2005
The IMRO was a populist organization established by intellectuals (as such groups often do) but staffed by peasant, lumpenproletariat and dwellers of the slums formed by Macedonian refugees all over the Balkans and especially in Sofia. Its members swore allegiance on a bible and a gun - two universa...

KLA - The Army of Liberation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/29/2005
"(There is a growing tendency among foreign observers) to identify the criminal with the honest, the vandal with the civilized, the mafiosi with the nation."
Former Albanian President Sali Berisha

"They were terrorists in 1998 and now, because of politics, they're freedom fighters."
Jerry Se...

Eugenics and the Future of the Human Species
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/29/2005
"It is clear that modern medicine has created a serious dilemma ... In the past, there were many children who never survived - they succumbed to various diseases ... But in a sense modern medicine has put natural selection out of commission. Something that has helped one individual over a serious il...

Communism and Feudalism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/30/2005
The core countries of Central Europe (the Czech Republic, Hungary and, to a lesser extent, Poland) experienced industrial capitalism in the inter-war period. But the countries comprising the vast expanses of the New Independent States, Russia and the Balkan had no real acquaintance with it. To them ...

The Merits of Stereotypes
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/30/2005
"The trouble with people is not that they don't know but that they know so much that ain't so."
- Henry Wheeler Shaw

Do stereotypes usefully represent real knowledge or merely reflect counter-productive prejudice? Stereotypes invariably refer in a generalized manner to - often arbitrary - group...

The Kleptocracies of the East
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/31/2005
The process of transition from communism to capitalism was largely hijacked either by outright criminals in budding outfits of organized crime - or by pernicious and all-pervasive kleptocracies: politicians and political parties bent on looting the state and suppressing the opposition, sometimes fat...

Aleksander Lukashenka of Belarus: Europe's Pariah Strongman
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/6/2005
Most of the post-communist countries in transition are ruled either by reformed communists or by authoritarian anti-communists. It is ironic that the West - recently led more by the European Union than by the USA - helps the former to get elected even as it demonizes and vilifies the latter. The "re...

The Roller Coaster Market - On Volatility and Risk
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/6/2005
Volatility is considered the most accurate measure of risk and, by extension, of return, its flip side. The higher the volatility, the higher the risk - and the reward. That volatility increases in the transition from bull to bear markets seems to support thi...

The Roots of Anti-Americanism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/6/2005
The United States is one of the last remaining land empires. That it is made the butt of opprobrium and odium is hardly surprising, or unprecedented. Empires - Rome, the British, the Ottomans - were always targeted by the disgruntled, the disenfranchised and the dispossessed and by their self-appoin...

Corporate Fraud: Narcissism in the Boardroom
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/5/2005
The perpetrators of the recent spate of financial frauds in the USA acted with callous disregard for both their employees and shareholders - not to mention other stakeholders. Psychologists have often remote-diagnosed them as "malignant, pathological narcissists". Narcissists are driven by the need ...

Hitler - The Inverted Saint
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/5/2005
"My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a f...

Democratic Ideal and New Colonialism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/7/2005
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful concerned individuals can precipitate change in the world ... indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
(Margaret Mead)

"Democracy" is not the rule of the people. It is government by periodically vetted representatives of the people. Democracy is...

Euthanasia and the Right to Die
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/7/2005
Euthanasia, whether in a medical setting (hospital, clinic, hospice) or not (at home) is often erroneously described as "mercy killing". Most forms of euthanasia are, indeed, motivated by (some say: misplaced) mercy. Not so others. In Greek, "eu" means both "well" and "easy" and "Thanatos" is death....

Narcissistic Leaders
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/7/2005
The narcissistic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a t...

Lebanon: The Forgotten Key
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/7/2005
In April 2003, a day after he won a parliamentary vote of confidence, 58-year old Rafiq Hariri, Lebanon's multi-billionaire prime minister, reluctantly formed a new, overtly pro-Syrian government with 30 ministers, only 11 of whom are new faces. It was to have been his last. He was murdered in Febru...

Chechnya War: Economic Cost to Russia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/7/2005
One hundred and eighteen hostages and 50 of their captors died in the heavy handed storming of the theatre occupied by Chechen terrorists three years ago. Then, two years later, hundreds of children and teachers were massacred together with their captors in a school in Beslan. This has been only the...

Road to Damascus: Were Iraqi WMD Moved to Syria?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/8/2005
Was Saddam Hussein hiding in Syria? DEBKAfile, an Israeli-owned rumor mill thought so two years ago. He was supposed to be in the Mediterranean coast town of Latakia in the Cote d'Azur De Cham Resort, a neighbor of the al-Assads, the indigenous dynastic rulers. Allowing him entry was supposed to be ...

Syria's Sunshine Policy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/8/2005
Well into the 1980's, Syria - which could have been the Switzerland of the Middle East - was derided as its North Korea. Belligerent, steeped in paranoia and xenophobia, and socialist to boot - it revolved around the personality cult of the current president's late father, Hafiz al-Assad. The Wester...

China's Containment Policy Towards United States
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/8/2005
European intellectuals yearned for the mutually exclusive: an America contained and a regime-changed Iraq. The Chinese are more pragmatic - though, bound by what is left of their Marxism, they still ascribe American behavior to the irreconcilable contradictions inherent in capitalism.

The Uni...

NGOs: The Self-Appointed Altruists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/9/2005
Their arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock. Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV's, sport $3000 laptops and PDA's. They earn a two figure multiple of the local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional alt...

The Merits of Inflation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/10/2005
In a series of speeches designed to defend his record, Alan Greenspan, until a few years ago an icon of both the new economy and stock exchange effervescence, reiterated the orthodoxy of central banking everywhere. His job, he repeated disingenuously, was confined to taming prices and ensuring monet...

The Misconception of Scarcity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/10/2005
It will be only a mild overstatement to say that the science of economics, such as it is, revolves around the Malthusian concept of scarcity. Our infinite wants, the finiteness of our resources and the bad job we too often make of allocating them efficiently and optimally - lead to mismatches betwee...

Battle of the Titans - Encarta vs. the Britannica
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/14/2005
The Encarta Encyclopedia - and even more so, the Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 - is an impressive reference library. It caters effectively (and, at $70, cheaply) to the educational needs of everyone in the family, from children as young as 7 or 8 years old to adults who seek concise answers...

Demise of the Work Ethic
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/14/2005
Airplanes, missiles, and space shuttles crash due to lack of maintenance, absent-mindedness, and pure ignorance. Software support personnel, aided and abetted by Customer Relationship Management application suites, are curt (when reachable) and unhelpful. Despite expensive, state of the art supply c...

Althusser - Competing Interpellations and the Third Text
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/15/2005
With the exception of Nietzsche, no other madman has contributed so much to human sanity as has Louis Althusser. He is mentioned twice in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as someone's teacher. There could be no greater lapse: for two important decades (the 60s and the 70s), Althusser was at the eye of a...

Vladimir Putin: Janus Look
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/17/2005
Even the most careful and informed perusal of Western policy papers and official announcements leaves one baffled. What is it the West prefers? Does it plump for an affable though ineffectual and constantly inebriated Yeltsin-style leader or would it rather have a thinly disguised authoritarian like...

Foreign Direct Investment in Central and East Europe During Global Recession
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/17/2005
The brief global recession of the early years of this decade - which was neither prolonged, nor trenchant and all-pervasive, as widely predicted - had little effect on Central and Eastern Europe's traditional export markets. The region were spared the first phase of financial gloom which affected ma...

The Washington Consensus and The International Monetary Fund
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2005
In an interview he granted on April 14, 2005 to the Washington File, produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State, John Taylor, outgoing Under Secretary of the Treasury outlined the Bush administration's vision for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The ...

Balkan Intellectuals - The Poets and the Eclipse
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2005
Poets in Somalia hold an inordinate sway over the indigenous population. They sing the praises of war with the same alacrity and vehemence that they invest in glorifying peace. And the population listens and follows these dark skinned pied pipers. Lately, they have been extolling peace and peace pre...

The Bankrupt Sovereign
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/19/2005
In a little noticed speech, given in January 2003 at an IMF conference in Washington, Glenn Hubbard, then Chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, delineated a compromise between the United States and the International Monetary Fund regarding a much mooted proposal to allow countri...

Going Bankrupt: Comparing American System to Others
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/19/2005
Close to 1.6 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy (mostly under chapter 7) in 2004 - nine times as many (per capita) as did the denizens of the United Kingdom (with 35,898 insolvencies). The figure in the USA 25 years ago was 300,000. Bankruptcy has no doubt become a growth industry. This...

Eight Questions about Technology
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/20/2005
However far modern science and technology such as cloud storage wizard have fallen short of their inherent possibilities, they have taught mankind at least one lesson: Nothing is impossible. Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by th...

Nation Branding and Place Marketing - The Marketing Plan
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/20/2005
In the decades since World War II, economics prowess replaced military power as the crucial geopolitical determinant. The resilience of a country is measured by its inflows of foreign investment and by the balance of its current account - not by the number of its tanks and brigades.


Reparations to Germans and Hungarians Expelled From Czechoslovakia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/21/2005
As its disintegration in 1992 has proven, Czechoslovakia may have been merely an artificial multi-ethnic chimera. But it was also an industrial and military powerhouse. In the fateful 1930's, its - mainly heavy - industry was the 7th largest in the world. Even the Germans were awed by its well equip...

Elders of Zion and Other Global Domination Theories
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/21/2005
I was shown the same book in Yugoslavia, in Macedonia and in Bulgaria - "The World Conspiracy" - a shabby tome written by an ageing "scholar". The main, unabashedly anti-Semitic, hypothesis (presented as undisputed fact) is that the Jews rule the world supreme - always have, probably always will. Li...

Workaholism, Leisure and Pleasure
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/22/2005
The official working week in France has being reduced to 35 hours a week (though the French are tinkering with it). In most countries in the world, it is limited to 45 hours a week. The trend during the last century seems to be unequivocal: less work, more play. Yet, what may be true for blue collar...

The Bursting Asset Bubbles - Introduction (Part 1)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/22/2005
The recent implosion of the global equity markets in 1999-2002 - from Hong Kong to New York - engendered yet another round of the semipiternal debate: should central banks contemplate abrupt adjustments in the prices of assets - such as stocks or real estate - as they do changes in the consumer pric...

The Bursting Asset Bubbles - The Savings and Loans Associations Bailout
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/24/2005
Asset bubbles - in the stock exchange, in the real estate or the commodity markets - invariably burst and often lead to banking crises. One such calamity struck the USA in 1986-1989. It is instructive to study the decisive reaction of the administration and Congress alike. They tackled both the ensu...

The Bursting Asset Bubbles - Wall Street, October 1929
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/24/2005
Claud Cockburn, writing for the "Times of London" from New-York, described the irrational exuberance that gripped the nation just prior to the Great Depression. As Europe wallowed in post-war malaise, America seemed to have discovered a new economy, the secret of uninterrupted growth and prosperity,...

The Bursting Asset Bubbles - Britain's Real Estate
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/26/2005
The five ghastly "Jack the Ripper" murders took place in an area less than a quarter square mile in size. Houses in this haunting and decrepit no man's land straddling the City and metropolitan London could be had for 25-50,000 British pounds as late as a decade ago. How things change!

The ge...

The Real Threats to the Economy of the USA
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/26/2005
The outcry about offshoring (outsourcing - the relocation of domestic jobs to more efficient and cheaper suppliers abroad) is politically motivated. Outsourcing affects the vocal, politically active, emblematic, and well-connected hi-tech industry in a year of presidential elections. No wonder it ha...

Fourth Law (of Robotics)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/27/2005
The movie "I, Robot" is a muddled affair. It relies on shoddy pseudo-science and a general sense of unease that artificial (non-carbon based) intelligent life forms seem to provoke in us. But it goes no deeper than a comic book treatment of the important themes that it broaches. I, Robot is just ano...

Economics of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/27/2005
Games and role-playing are as ancient as Mankind. While many people think that modern games cost a lot when they look for video game price comparison, Rome's state-sponsored lethal public games may have accounted for up to one fifth of its GDP. They of...

The Insanity of the Defense
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/1/2005
"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing - that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and ...

Nation Branding and Place Marketing - II. The Product
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/1/2005
What products do countries offer and market and how are they tailored to the needs of specific market segments? In a marketing mix, the first and foremost element is the product. No amount of savvy promotion and blitz advertising can disguise the shortcomings of an inferior offering.


Nation Branding and Place Marketing - III. The Price
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/2/2005
A product's price reflects the shifting balance between supply and demand (scarcity) as well as the value of inputs, the product's quality, and its image as conveyed and fostered by marketing and advertising campaigns (positioning). Price is, therefore, a packet of compressed information exchanged b...

Interview with Vladimir Chukov: Bulgaria - Past, Present, and Multiethnic Future
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2005
Vladimir Chukov is Associate Professor in the Bulgarian Centre for Middle East Studies and the Department of Administrative and Political Sciences in Varna Free University.

SV: Aren't Bulgarians actually Turks? They are, after all, the descendants of the Bulgars, Turkic tribes that originated...

Technical and Fundamental Analyses of Financial Assets
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2005
The authors of a paper published by NBER on March 2000 and titled "The Foundations of Technical Analysis" - Andrew Lo, Harry Mamaysky, and Jiang Wang - claim that:

"Technical analysis, also known as 'charting', has been part of financial practice for many decades, but this discipline has not recei...

Healthcare Legislation in Countries in Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2005
Healthcare legislation in countries in transition should permit a structural reform of the sector, including its partial privatization.(Click here to learn more.) Private health insurance plans - including franchises of overseas insurance plan...

Maskirovka: Communists' Map Lies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/5/2005
In the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, maps lied. Whole towns were placed incorrectly, omitted altogether, minimized, exaggerated, or distorted. The confluence of rivers, the forking of roads, the damp darkness of tunnels were all subjected to the vagaries of official paranoia. No two maps ...

Skopje - Where Time Stood Still
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/5/2005
Frozen at an early morning hour, the stony hands of the giant, cracked clock commemorate the horror. The earthquake that struck Skopje in 1963 has shattered not only its Byzantine decor, has demolished not merely the narrow passageways of its Ottoman past, has transformed not only its Habsburgian wa...

The Psychology of Torture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/6/2005
There is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed - one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sa...

Why Do We Love to Hate Celebrities - Interview With Dr. Sam Vaknin, Ph.D
GP Interviews - 5/6/2005
Q. Fame and TV shows about celebrities usually have a huge audience. This is understandable: people like to see other successful people. But why people like to see celebrities being humiliated?

A. As far as their fans are concerned, celebrities fulfil two emotional functions: they provide a m...

The Myth of the Earnings Yield
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/7/2005
In American novels, well into the 1950's, one finds protagonists using the future stream of dividends emanating from their share holdings to send their kids to college or as collateral. Yet, dividends seemed to have gone the way of the Hula-Hoop. Few companies distribute erratic and ever-declining ...

Women in Transition - From Post Feminism to Past Femininity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/8/2005
"[In]... the brothels off Wenceslas Square, in central Prague, [where] sexual intercourse can be bought for USD 25 - about half the price charged at a German brothel... Slav women have supplanted Filipinos and Thais as the most common foreign offering in [Europe]."
The Economist, August 2000, p.1...

Sexuality, Homosexuality and the Animal Kingdom
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/8/2005
Recent studies in animal sexuality serve to dispel two common myths: that sex is exclusively about reproduction and that homosexuality is an unnatural sexual preference. It now appears that sex is also about recreation as it frequently occurs out of the mating season. And same-sex copulation and bon...

The Abu Ghraib Syndrome - Why Good People Ignore Abuse
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/9/2005
Why do good people - church-goers, pillars of the community, the salt of the earth - ignore abuse and neglect, even when it is on their doorstep and in their proverbial backyard (for instance, in hospitals, orphanages, shelters, prisons, and the like)?

I. Lack of Clear Definition


Sex or Gender
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/10/2005
"One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949)

In nature, male and female are distinct. She-elephants are gregarious, he-elephants solitary. Male zebra finches are loquacious - the females mute. Female green spoon worms are 200,000 times larger than th...

Classification of Cultures
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/18/2005
Culture is a hot topic. Scholars (Fukoyama, Huntington, to mention but two) disagree about whether this is the end of history or the beginning of a particularly nasty chapter of it. What makes cultures tick and why some of them tick discernibly better than others - is the main bone of contention.

Surviving on Nuclear Waste: Kazakhstan, Russia and Other Nuclear Waste Importers
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/18/2005
On May 11, 2005, Romania will host a two-day exercise simulating a nuclear accident. It will be conducted at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. But the real radiological emergency is already at hand and unfolding. Nuclear waste is both an environmental problem and an economic solution in the countri...

Euro and the History of Previous Currency Unions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2005
"Before long, all Europe, save England, will have one money". This was written by William Bagehot, the Editor of "The Economist", the renowned British magazine, 120 years ago when Britain, even then, was heatedly debating whether to adopt a single European Currency or not.

A century later, th...

The Emerging Water Wars
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2005
Growing up in Israel in the 1960's, we were always urged to conserve precious water. Rainfall was rare and meager, the sun scorching, our only sweet water lake under constant threat by the Syrians. Israelis were being shot at hauling water cisterns or irrigating their parched fields. Water was a mat...

Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/21/2005
"I believe that when man evolves a civilization higher than the mechanized but still primitive one he has now, the eating of human flesh will be sanctioned. For then man will have thrown off all of his superstitions and irrational taboos."
- Diego Rivera

"One calls 'barbarism' whatever he is no...

Money Laundering in A Changed World
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/21/2005
If you shop with a major bank, chances are that all the transactions in your account are scrutinized by AML (Anti Money Laundering) software. Billions of dollars are being invested in these applications. They are supposed to track suspicious transfers, deposits, and withdrawals based on overall sta...

A Dialog About Anti-Semitism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/23/2005
Rabid anti-Semitism, coupled with inane and outlandish conspiracy theories of world dominion, is easy to counter and dispel. It is the more "reasoned", subtle, and stealthy variety that it pernicious. "No smoke without fire," - say people - "there must be something to it!". In this dialog I try to d...

German State Elections
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/23/2005
The May 22, 2005 elections in North Rhine-Westphalia (with 18 million inhabitants, Germany's most populous state) are expected to determine the fate of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, his party, the Social Democrats, SPD (which ruled the state in the last four decades), and his coalition with the Gree...

Impeachment of President Clinton Revisited
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/24/2005
In the hallways of the Smithsonian, two moralists are debating the impeachment of the President of the United States of America, Mr. William Jefferson Clinton. One is clearly Anti-Clinton (AC) the other, a Democrat (DC), is not so much for him as he is for the rational and pragmatic application of m...

Russia's Energy Sector
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/24/2005
The pension fund of the Russian oil giant, Lukoil, a minority shareholder in TV-6 (owned by a discredited and self-exiled Yeltsin-era oligarch, Boris Berezovsky), forced, in February 2002, the closure of this television station on legal grounds. Thus was fired the opening shot in the re-politicizati...

The New Europeans
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/25/2005
Many of the nations of central and east Europe have spent most of their history as components of one empire or another. People in this region are used to be at the receiving end of directives and planning from the center. Though ostensibly fervid nationalists, they are ill at ease with their re-foun...

Nigerian Scams - Begging Your Trust in Africa
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/25/2005
The syntax is tortured, the grammar mutilated, but the message - sent by snail mail, telex, fax, or e-mail - is coherent: an African bigwig or his heirs wish to transfer funds amassed in years of graft and venality to a safe bank account in the West. They seek the recipient's permission to make use ...

Immortality and Mortality in the Economic Sciences
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/26/2005
The noted economist, Julian Simon, once quipped: "Because we can expect future generations to be richer than we are, no matter what we do about resources, asking us to refrain from using resources now so that future generations can have them later is like asking the poor to make gifts to the rich."<...

Economics - Psychology's Neglected Branch
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/26/2005
"It is impossible to describe any human action if one does not refer to the meaning the actor sees in the stimulus as well as in the end his response is aiming at."
Ludwig von Mises

Economics - to the great dismay of economists - is merely a branch of psychology. It deals with individual behavi...

Governments and Growth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/27/2005
It is a maxim of current economic orthodoxy that governments compete with the private sector on a limited pool of savings. It is considered equally self-evident that the private sector is better, more competent, and more efficient at allocating scarce economic resources and thus at preventing waste....

The Narcissist, God, and Social Institutions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/27/2005
"1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, heads...

How Much are These Shares Worth? - Models of Stock Valuation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/28/2005
The debate rages all over Eastern and Central Europe, in countries in transition as well as in Western Europe. It raged in Britain during the 80s.

Is privatization really the robbery in disguise of state assets by a select few, cronies of the political regime? Margaret Thatcher was accused of...

Bully at Work - Interview with Tim Field
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/28/2005
In 1994 Tim Field was bullied out of his job as a Customer Services Manager which resulted in a stress breakdown. Turning his experience to good use he set up the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line in 1996 and his web site Bully Online in 1997 since which time he has worked on over 5000 case...

Property Rights in Trasitional Countries
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/30/2005
The Kazakh minister of foreign affairs denied vehemently that Kazakhstan would revise contracts it has signed with foreign investors in the heady days of the early 1990's. It was in a meeting on March 26, 2002 with a delegation of nervous businessmen from the USA and it was expected and prudent - if...

Russia as a Creditor
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/30/2005
Russia is notorious for its casual attitude to the re-payment of its debts. It has defaulted and re-scheduled its obligations more times in the last decade than it has in the preceding century. Yet, Russia is also one of the world's largest creditor nations. It is owed more than $25 billion by Cuba ...

Slovenia - The Star Pupil
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/31/2005
The most exciting event in Slovenia in December 2001 was when a group of young army recruits spat on the national flag and sang the anthem of the now defunct former Yugoslavia. They were sent to a military psychiatrist for observation. Indeed, economically speaking, a preference for any other part o...

Economic Management in a State of War
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/31/2005
Countries with a non-convertible currency and a developing economy more and more often face low intensity and prolonged guerilla warfare which leads to a gradually worsening economic situation.

Measures number 2C, 4, 6A, 6B, 7, 9, 11A, 11B below are applicable to such a situation.


Financial Crises, Global Capital Flows and the International Financial Architecture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/1/2005
The upheavals in the world financial markets during the latter part of the 1990s were quelled by the immediate intervention of both international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the IMF and of domestic ones in the developed countries, such as the Federal Reserve in the USA. The danger seemed t...

The Rights of Animals
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/1/2005
"Animal rights" is a catchphrase akin to "human rights". It involves, however, a few pitfalls. First, animals exist only as a concept, be they small breed dogs or wild bears. Otherwise, they are cuddly cats, curly dogs, cute monkeys. A ...

The Metaphors of the Net
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/2/2005
A decade after the invention of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee is promoting the "Semantic Web".

The Internet hitherto is a repository of digital content. It has a rudimentary inventory system and very crude data location services. And while some may choose to Moral Hazard and the Survival Value of Risk
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/2/2005
Risk transfer is the gist of modern economies. Citizens pay taxes to ever expanding governments in return for a variety of "safety nets" and state-sponsored insurance schemes. Taxes can, therefore, be safely described as insurance premiums paid by the citizenry. Firms extract from consumers a markup...

Ethical Relativism and Absolute Taboos
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/3/2005
Taboos: Taboos regulate our sexual conduct, race relations, political institutions, and economic mechanisms - virtually every realm of our life. According to the 2002 edition of the "Encyclopedia Britannica", taboos are "the prohibition of an action or the use of an object based on ritualisti...

The Future of the SEC - Interview with Gary Goodenow
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/3/2005
In June 2005, William H. Donaldson was forced to resign as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The reason? As the New York Times put it: "criticism that his enforcement was too heavy-handed". President Bush chose California Rep. Christopher Cox, a Republican, to replace him.

The Debate about Cloning
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/5/2005
In a paper, published in "Science" in May 2005, 25 scientists, led by Woo Suk Hwang of Seoul National University, confirmed that they were able to clone dozens of blastocysts (the clusters of tiny cells that develop into embryos). Blastocysts contain stem cells that can be used to generate replaceme...

The Agent-Principal Conundrum
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/5/2005
In the catechism of capitalism, shares represent the part-ownership of an economic enterprise, usually a firm. The value of shares is determined by the replacement value of the assets of the firm, including intangibles such as goodwill. The price of the share is determined by transactions among arm'...

The Prices of Oil
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/7/2005
How is the price of oil determined and how important it is to the global economy?


The price of oil is no longer an important determinant of the economic health of the West.

Today, there are forward contracts, which allow one to fix the price of purchased oil w...

The Revolution of Psychoanalysis
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/7/2005
Towards the end of the 19th century, the new discipline of psychology became entrenched in both Europe and America. The study of the human mind, hitherto a preserve of philosophers and theologians, became a legitimate subject of scientific (some would say, pseudo-scientific) scrutiny.

The Str...

In Defense of Psychoanalysis - Introduction
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/8/2005
No social theory has been more influential and, later, more reviled than psychoanalysis. It burst upon the scene of modern thought, a fresh breath of revolutionary and daring imagination, a Herculean feat of model-construction, and a challenge to established morals and manners. It is now widely cons...

The Capitalist Experiment in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/8/2005
The implosion of communism was often presented - not least by Francis Fukuyama in his celebrated "The End of History" - as the incontrovertible victory of economic liberalism over Marxism. In truth, the battle raged for seven decades between two strands of socialism.

Social democracy was conc...

Revolt of the Poor: Demise of Intellectual Property?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/9/2005
Eight years ago I published a book of short stories in Israel. The publishing house belongs to Israel's leading (and exceedingly wealthy) newspaper. I signed a contract which stated that I am entitled to receive 8% of the income from the sales of the book after commissions payable to distributors, s...

Alice in Credit-Card Land
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/9/2005
Your credit card is stolen. You place a phone call to the number provided in your tourist guide or in the local daily press. You provide your details and you cancel your card. You block it. In a few minutes, it should be transferred to the stop-list available to the authorization centres worldwide. ...

The Future of Online Reference - Interview with Patrick Spain, CEO of Alacritude
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/10/2005
These are momentous times in the digital content industry. In the last quarter of 2003, Barnes and Noble withdrew from the e-books business, peddling its electronic publishing house to iUniverse and terminating the sale of digital titles from its Web site. It then proceeded to tak...

Financing Transportation Projects
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/10/2005
The role of government in facilitating transport projects is inevitable. But governments are monopolists and largely cannot be trusted with the efficient allocation of resources, not to mention the problem of corruption. So, the less the state is involved the better off everyone is. Transport has go...

The Economics of Spam
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/12/2005
Tennessee resident K. C. "Khan" Smith owes the internet service provider EarthLink $24 million, says the news report on According to the CNN, in August 2001 he was slapped with a lawsuit accusing him of violating ...

From Families to Virtual Homes
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/12/2005
On June 9, 2005 the BBC reported about an unusual project underway in Sheffield (in the United Kingdom). The daily movements and interactions of a family living in a technology-laden, futuristic home are being monitored and recorded. "The aim is to help house builders predict how we will want to use...

Book Review: "Dreamworld and Catastrophe" by Susan Buck-Morss
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/13/2005
Title of Book: Dreamland and Catastrophe – The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West
Author: Susan Buck-Morss
Publisher: The MIT Press
Month, Year of publication: June 2000
Number of pages: xvi+368

"Hell hath no fury like an intellectual spurned."
William Shakespeare, very liberal...

Book Review: "The Political Economy of Post-Soviet Russia" by Vladimir Tikhomirov
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/13/2005
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."
-Karl Marx

I remember the day in August 1998 when Russia ended its transition. As I walked to work, dwarfed by the decaying monumental buildings and potholed spacious avenues, I saw Russia...

The Roots of Pedophilia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/14/2005
Michael Jackson was just found innocent on all ten charges of child molestation by a jury. But what was he actually charged with? What is pedophilia?
Pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent children and act on their sexual fantasies. It is a startling fact that the etiology of this paraphilia is...

The Media Downloader's Profile - Interview with Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/14/2005
Q. What do you know about people illegally downloading files over the internet?

A. I know what everyone knows from being exposed to the news media and to lawsuits filed by publishers: the phenomenon is widespread and most of the millions of exchanged files are music tracks and films (though ...

Hawala, or the Bank that Never Was
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/15/2005
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA that effected airlines from major American companies like United to companies around the world such as Indonesia's Citilink airline. Attention has been drawn to the age-old, secreti...

German Bankers in Denial
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/15/2005
Denial is a ubiquitous psychological defense mechanism. It involves the repression of bad news, unpleasant information, and anxiety-inducing experiences. Judging by the German press, the country is in a state of denial regarding the faltering health of its economy and the dwindling fortunes of its f...

The Sickly State of Public Hospitals
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2005
Hospitals are caught in the crossfire of a worldwide debate, according to InnerOpen magazine. Should healthcare be completely privatized or should a segment of it be left in public hands? As the debate infects countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe....

The Balkans - The Titanic Waltz
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2005
The Austrian Embassy again held a Vienese Ball at the Alexander Palace Hotel in Skopje, Macedonia. It was as surrealistic as they get: a Viennese Ball in a decaying Balkan city in a land of former communist thieves turned capitalist robbers. It was held in a newly opened hotel, a gleaming temple of ...

Competition Laws: Philosophy of Competition (Part I)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2005
The aims of competition (anti-trust) laws are to ensure that consumers pay the lowest possible price (the most efficient price) coupled with the highest quality of the goods and services which they consume. This, according to current economic theories, can be achieved only through effective competit...

Competition Laws: Historical and Legal Considerations (Part II)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2005
Why does the State involve itself in the machinations of the free market? Because often markets fail or are unable or unwilling to provide goods, services, or competition. The purpose of competition laws is to secure a competitive marketplace and thus protect the consumer from unfair, anti-competiti...

Competition Laws: Anti-Competitive Strategies (Part 3)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2005
Any Competition Law should excplicitly include strict prohibitions of the following practices (further details can be found in Porter's book - "Competitive Strategy"). These practices characterize markets of many countries, especially those in developing countries. They influence the economy by disc...

Book Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Philosophy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/19/2005
Stevenson, Jay, P.D. - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Philosophy - Alpha Books, 2005

Philosophy is the attempt to enhance the traits we deem desirable and suppress the traits we deem unwanted (a matter of judgment) by getting better acquainted with the world around us (a matter of reality). An impr...

Saddam's One Thousand Nights - The Run-up to the Second Gulf War
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/19/2005
Iraq's latest war was yet another seemingly mortal blow to its eerily resilient economy. According to Fred Horan of Cornell University, Iraq's GNP per capita contracted by one third in the aftermath of its protracted and bloodied war with Iran. Similar drops in gross national consumption and governm...

Crisis of the Bookkeepers - Interview with David Jones
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/20/2005
On May 31, 2005, the US Supreme Court overturned the conviction of accounting firm Arthur Anderson on charges related to its handling of the books of the now defunct energy concern, Enron. It was only the latest scene in a drama which unfolded at the height of the wave of corporate malfeasance in th...

Anarchism for a Post-modern Age
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/20/2005
"The thin and precarious crust of decency is all that separates any civilization, however impressive, from the hell of anarchy or systematic tyranny which lie in wait beneath the surface."
- Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963), British writer

I. Overview of Theories of Anarchism


Nation Branding and Place Marketing - IV. The Place
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/21/2005
Some countries are geographically disadvantaged. Recent studies have demonstrated how being landlocked or having a tropical climate carry a hefty price tag in terms of reduced economic growth. These unfavorable circumstances can be described as "natural discounts" to a country's price.

What c...

Nigeria and Morocco: Oilfield Development and Inter-Ethnic Tension
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/23/2005
"Sustainable Development" is a worn out cliché - but not where it matters the most: in developing countries. There, unconstrained "development" has led to inter-ethnic strife, environmental doom, and economic mayhem. In the post Cold War era, central governments have lost clout and authority to thei...

The Russian Devolution -Center and Regions in Putin's Russia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/23/2005
A centerpiece of President's Putin overhaul of Russia is the reversion to the Kremlin of the power to appoint governors, hitherto voted into office. The popularly elected sort - admittedly a motley and venal crew - seem to have provoked his ire as far too independent and, therefore, impudent.

Internet Advertising - What Went Wrong?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/24/2005
Spielberg's blockbuster, "Minority Report", is set in the year 2054. The future - at least according to a team of MIT futurologists, hired by the cinematic genius - is the captive of embarrassingly personalized and disturbingly intrusive, mostly outdoor, interactive advertising. The way Internet adv...

Europe's Agricultural Revolution
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/24/2005
The June 2005 budget summit in Brussels foundered on the issue of farm support and subsidies which now consume directly 46.2% of the European Union's (EU) funds. Tony Blair refused to let go of Britain's infamous rebate (amounting to two thirds of its net contributions to the community's coffers) un...

Winning the European CAP (Common Agricultural Policy)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/25/2005
According to a June 2005 OECD report, and contrary to popular, media-fostered impressions, farm subsidies are being phased out almost everywhere. Turkey is an exception. It spent in 2002-4 (wasted, more like it) more than 4% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on aiding and abetting its inefficient ...

What Makes a Leader?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/26/2005
How does a leader become a leader?

In this article, we are not interested in the historical process but in the answer to the twin questions: what qualifies one to be a leader and why do people elect someone specific to be a leader.

The immediately evident response would be that the lea...

Narcissists in Positions of Authority
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/26/2005
"He knows not how to rule a kingdom, that cannot manage a province; nor can he wield a province, that cannot order a city; nor he order a city, that knows not how to regulate a village; nor he a village, that cannot guide a family; nor can that man govern well a family that knows not how to govern h...

Is My Money Safe? On the Soundness of Our Banks
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/28/2005
Banks are institutions where miracles happen regularly. We rarely entrust our money to anyone but ourselves – and our banks. Despite a very chequered history of mismanagement, corruption, false promises and representations, delusions and behavioural inconsistency – banks still succeed to motivate us...

A Comment on Campaign Finance Reform
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/28/2005
The Athenian model of representative participatory democracy was both exclusive and direct. It excluded women and slaves but it allowed the rest to actively, constantly, and consistently contribute to decision making processes on all levels and of all kinds (including juridical). This was (barely) m...

The Disintermediation of Content
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/29/2005
The recent decision of the Supreme Court of the USA (in June 2005) was hailed as a victory for the music and motion picture industries. Peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, such as Grokster, were held responsible for encouraging and making possible the violation of copyright by allowing users to download il...

The Christiane Way: Amanpour's Reporting
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/29/2005
"The primary role of journalists on the front lines is to do your best to tell a story in a situation when truth is not always readily available. It's also vital to tell what you see and question what you don't see, as well as to provide context to complicated issues."

"Some journalists might take...

Titanic, or A Moral Deliberation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/30/2005
The film "Titanic" is riddled with moral dilemmas. In one of the scenes, the owner of Star Line, the shipping company that owned the now-sinking Unsinkable, leaps into a lowered life-boat. The tortured expression on his face demonstrates that even he experiences more than unease at his own conduct: ...

Entertaining the Masses in Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/30/2005
A June 2005 IREX report, quoted by the Southeast Europe Times (SE Times), analyzes the media in countries in transition from Communism by measuring parameters like free speech, professional standards of quality, plurality of news sources, business sustainability and supporting institutions. It concl...

Purging vs. Co-opting Tyrants
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/5/2005
History teaches us that there are two types of tyrants. Those who preserve the structures and forces that carry them to power - and those who, once they have attained their goal of unbridled domination, seek to destroy the organizations and people they had used to get to where they are.


Resolving Disputes - The Lost Art
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/5/2005
Wherever interests meet - they tend to clash. Disputes are an inevitable and inseparable part of commercial life. Mankind invented many ways to settle disputes. Each way relies on a different underlying principle. Generally speaking, there are four such principles: justice, law, logic and force.

Jamaican OverDrive - Outsourcing and Offshoring Case Study
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/6/2005
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tried and failed to find proof or traces of widespread outsourcing and offshoring. “There is little hard evidence of the extent of international outsourcing and offshoring, despite widespread media attention.” - its baffled analysts co...

Digital Object Identifiers and the Future of Online Content - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/6/2005
The Internet is too rich with media. Gone are the days of people putting pictures of their concert photography in the online picture frames. With us is an overload of media. But therein lies the problem. Even powerful and soph...

Digital Object Identifiers and the Future of Online Content - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/6/2005
The DOI Foundation has unveiled the DOI-EB (EB stands for e-books) Initiative in the Book Expo America Show 2001, to, in their words: "Determine requirements with respect to the application of unique identifiers to eBooks Develop proofs-of-concept for the use of DOIs with eBooks Develop technical de...

Electricity Markets in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/8/2005
Russia's lower house, the Duma, debated, in November 29, 2002 a far reaching reform in the bloated and inefficient electricity generation sector. Worried by resurging inflation, the Russian government scrapped its plan to allow the Federal Energy Commission to fix tariffs for gas, power, and railway...

The Demise of the West?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/8/2005
The edifice of the "international community" and the project of constructing a "world order" rely on the unity of liberal ideals at the core of the organizing principle of the transatlantic partnership, Western Civilization. Yet, the recent intercourse between its constituents - the Anglo-Saxons (US...

Hitler and the Invention of the West
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/9/2005
In his book - really an extended essay - "Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order" - Robert Kagan claims that the political construct of the "West" was conjured up by the United States and Western Europe during the Cold War as a response to the threat posed by the nuclear-ar...

The Technology of Law, The Law of Technology
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/10/2005
"The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make it its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain anymore, so it eats it. (its rather like ...

The Future of the Book
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/10/2005
One of the first acts of the French National Assembly in 1789 was to issue this declaration: "The free communication of thought and opinion is one of the most precious rights of man; every citizen may therefore speak, write and print freely." UNESCO still defines "book" as "non-periodical printed pu...

Why the Beatles Made More Money than Einstein
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/11/2005
Why did the Beatles generate more income in one year than Albert Einstein did throughout his long career? Despite many offices having pictures of Einstein in poster frames, giving the impression of popularity, the Beatles still produce far more mon...

The Golden Sham - Privatizing with Golden Shares
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/12/2005
In a rare accord, both the IMF and independent analysts, have cautioned Bulgaria in early 2002 that its insistence on keeping golden shares in both its tobacco and telecom monopolies even after they are privatized - will hinder its ability to attract foreign investors to these already unappealing as...

Knowledge and Power
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/13/2005
"Knowledge is Power" goes the old German adage. But power, as any schoolboy knows, always has negative and positive sides to it. Information exhibits the same duality: properly provided, it is a positive power of unequalled strength. Improperly disseminated and presented, it is nothing short of dest...

The Encroachment of the Public
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/13/2005
As Aristotle and John Stuart Mill observed, the private sphere sets limits, both normative and empirical, to the rights, powers, and obligations of others. The myriad forms of undue invasion of the private sphere - such as rape, burglary, or eavesdropping - are all crimes. Even the state - this mono...

The Medium and the Message
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/14/2005
A debate is raging in e-publishing circles: should content be protected (the erstwhile Barnes and Noble or Digital goods model) - or should it be distributed freely and thus serve as a form of viral marketing (Seth Godin's "ideavirus")? Publishers fear that freely distributed and cost-free "cracked"...

The Matrix Revisited
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/15/2005
It is easy to confuse the concepts of "virtual reality" and a "computerized model of reality (simulation)". The former is a self-contained Universe, replete with its "laws of physics" and "logic". It can bear resemblance to the real world or not. It can be consistent or not. It can interact with the...

The Last Family
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/17/2005
There is no word for it in Russian. Platon Karatayev, the typical "Russian soul" in Tolstoy's "War and Peace", extolls, for pages at a time, the virtues of communality and disparages the individual - this otherwise useless part of the greater whole. In Macedonia the words "private" or "privacy" pert...

Parenting - The Irrational Vocation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/19/2005
The advent of cloning, surrogate motherhood, and the donation of gametes and sperm have shaken the traditional biological definition of parenthood to its foundations. The social roles of parents have similarly been recast by the decline of the nuclear family and the surge of alternative household fo...

The Happiness of Others
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/19/2005
Is there any necessary connection between our actions and the happiness of others? Disregarding for a moment the murkiness of the definitions of "actions" in philosophical literature - two types of answers were hitherto provided.

Sentient Beings (referred to, in this essay, as "Humans" or "pe...

Personality of Politicians and Acquired Situational Narcissism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/20/2005
The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a systemic, all-pervasive condition, very much like pregnancy: either you have it or you don't. Once you have it, you have it day and night, it is an inseparable part of the personality, a recurrent set of behavior patterns.

Recent research (1996...

Millenarian Thoughts About Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/20/2005
"English persons, therefore, of humanitarian and reformist disposition constantly went out to the Balkan Peninsula to see who was in fact ill-treating whom, and, being by the very nature of their perfectionist faith unable to accept the horrid hypothesis that everybody was ill-treating everybody els...

The MinMaj Rule
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/21/2005
I have a Roma (gypsy) cleaning lady. She cleans my house every fortnight. She is nice and well spoken. She values education and good manners. She is spotless, obsessively purgatory, compulsively tidy. And she hates "shiptars" (the derogatory name assigned to Macedonian Albanians). They are dirty, sh...

Taxonomy of Political Conflict In Central and Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/21/2005
When the current government of Macedonia came to power and I signed on as its economic advisor, I was asked by local journalists, with genuine amazement: "what are you doing with these villagers?" "Villagers" is just about the most pejorative word applied here to rivals and adversaries. In a Macedon...

The Pettifogger Procurators
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/24/2005
Four years ago, the most unusual event has gone unnoticed in the international press. A former minister of finance has accused the more prominent members of the diplomatic corps in his country of corruption. He insisted that these paragons of indignant righteousness and hectoring morality have tried...

The Author of This Article is a Racist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/24/2005
Or, so say many of the readers who react vehemently - not to say minaciously - to my articles. They insist that I demonize, chastise, disparage, deride and hold in contempt groups of people simply and solely because they are born in a given geographical area or are of a given genetic stock. Few stop...

East Europe's Eureka Connection
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/25/2005
A common, guttural cry of "Eureka" echoed as the peoples of East Europe and the Balkans emerged from the Communist steam bath. It was at once an expression of joy and disbelief. That the West should be willing to bankroll the unravelling of a failed social experiment, freely entered into, exceeded t...

To Give with Grace - On the Causes of anti-Americanism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/25/2005
Yankee Go Home. Nato is Nazo. American trash culture. The graffiti adorn every wall, the contempt seems to be universal. America and Americans are perceived to be uglier than ever before. It borders on hatred and xenophobia. Are we talking about Serbia in the midst of its Kosovo baptizing by fire? N...

Communism and The Rip van Winkle Institutions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/26/2005
The West - naive, provincial and parochial - firmly believed that the rot was confined to the upper echelons of communist and socialist societies. Beneath the festering elites - the theory went - there are wholesome masses waiting to be liberated from the shackles of corruption, cronyism, double-tal...

Understanding East Europeans - The Magla Vocables
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/26/2005
The Macedonians have a word for it - "Magla", fog. It signifies the twin arts of duplicity and ambiguity. In the mental asylum that the swathe of socialist countries was, even language was pathologized. It mutated into a weapon of self defence, a verbal fortification, a medium without a message, rep...

East Europe's Expat Experts
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/27/2005
In "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", Lewis Carroll wrote:
"Curtsy while you're thinking of something to say. It saves time."

What a missed career. He should have been an expat expert. To paraphrase a sentence originally written about women (no misogynism implied): "What else is a foreign cons...

East European Media
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/27/2005
"I have gone into the outer darkness of scientific and philosophical transactions and proceedings, ultra-respectable, but covered with the dust of disregard. I have descended into journalism. I have come back with the quasi-souls of lost data."
Charles Hoy Fort in "The Book of the Damned"


Rasputin in Transition: Governments In New Democracies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/31/2005
The mad glint in his eyes is likely to be nothing more ominous than maladjusted contact lenses. If not clean shaven, he is likely to sport nothing wilder than a goatee. More likely an atheist than a priest, this mutation of the ageless confidence artist is nonetheless the direct spiritual descendent...

The Balkans and The Mind of Darkness
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/31/2005
" 'Group pathologies I am not buying. Not for the Balkans anyway. Collective responsibility, historical grievances, ancient ethnic hatreds, I don't buy any of it. It's good guys and bad guys. It's the dudes, like Ralph Waldo Emerson said. 'There is no history, only biography'. Yugos should read the ...

The Myths of Yugoslavia - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/1/2005
In her book "The Culture of Lies", University of Pennsylvania, 1998, the Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic says: "The Yugoslav war is a dispiriting tale about human solidarity. Very few people sympathized with the Slovenes, when the war began, just as the Slovenes themselves unanimously closed the do...

The Myths of Yugoslavia - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/1/2005
6. Serbs were always anti-Western and the USA was First Involved Militarily in the Balkans during the Kosovo Crisis

The First World War pitted the most unlikely enemies against one another. Austria, Turkey's most avowed enemy, attacked Turkey's other mortal foe, Serbia. Bulgaria, which collaborate...

The Myths of Yugoslavia - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/1/2005
12. The Disintegration of Yugoslavia was Inevitable

Milosevic came to power (1987-9) on waves of popular support for his rabid nationalism and fake anti-establishment credentials. His first actions were directed at the Kosovo Albanians. He revoked their autonomy by altering the constitution. He de...

Milosevic's Treasure Island
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2005
Milosevic and his cronies stand accused of plundering Serbia's wealth - both pecuniary and natural. Yet, the media tends to confuse three modes of action with two diametrically opposed goals. There was state sanctioned capital flight. Gold and foreign exchange were smuggled out of Yugoslavia and dep...

No Albanian Intifada!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2005
A few of my colleagues in the international media compared the latest clashes between Albanians and Macedonians in Macedonia to the two Palestinian intifadas ("uprisings" in 1987-93 and from September 2000) in Israel. In doing so, they demonstrated their ignorance of the two regions and the four peo...

Trade Unions (Syndicates) after Communism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/3/2005
The AFL-CIO (the result of a merger, exactly 50 years ago, between the American Federation of Labour and the Congress of Industrial Organizations) is America's largest trade unions umbrella organization. When it splintered in July 2005, it merited barely a mention in the international media. Thus fa...

The Eastern Question Revisited
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/3/2005
When the USSR disintegrated virtually overnight, in 1989, its demise was often compared to that of the Ottoman Empire's. This was a very lacking comparison. Turkey's death throes lasted centuries and its decomposition was taken to be so certain that its division and partition (the "Eastern Question"...

Former Yugoslavia: Notes from an Imploding Empire
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/4/2005
I live in the outskirts of an imploding empire. Fuzzy human figures, bloodied in black and white, lynch senior politicians in full view of cameras. The parliament building is smoking. When empires die - and Yugoslavia has always been a Serbian empire - they do not explode. They reverberate and rumbl...

Old Reference Works Revived
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/7/2005
There is no source of reference remotely as authoritative as the Encyclopaedia Britannica. There is no brand as venerable and as veteran as this mammoth labour of knowledge and ideas established in 1768. It numbered the likes of Einstein and Freud among its authors. Dozens of classic articles writte...

Add Me to the List, Mr. Blair
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/7/2005
The terrorists are winning. Gradually but perceptibly, the USA and the United Kingdom (UK) are shedding their liberal democratic veneer, axing their traditions, reinterpreting their constitution (USA) and case law (UK) and, thus, becoming police states.

Both the US Patriot Act, recently exten...

Narcissists, Group Behavior, and Terrorism - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/8/2005
More about pathological narcissism and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in the Appendix. Having lived in 12 countries in 3 continents now, I firmly believe in "mass psychopathology", or in ethnopsychology. The members of a group - if sufficiently cohesive - tend to react similarly to circ...

Narcissists, Group Behavior, and Terrorism - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/8/2005
Osama bin-Laden is often labeled a narcissist (as was Hitler and are Saddam Hussein and Milosevic). Are all politicians narcissists? The answer, surprisingly, is: not universally. The preponderance of narcissistic traits and personalities in politics is much less than in show business, for instance....

Narcissists, Group Behavior, and Terrorism - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/9/2005
It is no wonder that bin-Laden and the United States are engaged in mortal combat. Adversarial narcissists often are. That the United States in a narcissistic society was suggested long ago (1979) by Christopher Lasch.

I wrote this review of Roger Kimball's "Christopher Lasch vs. the elites"...

Narcissists, Group Behavior, and Terrorism - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/9/2005
Terrorists can be phenomenologically described as narcissists in a constant state of deficient narcissistic supply. The "grandiosity gap" - the painful and narcissistically injurious gap between their grandiose fantasies and their dreary and humiliating reality - becomes emotionally insupportable. T...

Wanted: An East European Ataturk
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/10/2005
In November 2002, Citibank has become the first American bank to open a retail operation in Russia, replete with phone and Internet banking. It offers middle-class Russian clients in Moscow and St. Petersburg both ruble and dollar accounts, overdraft and loan facilities in both currencies, and even ...

Migration To Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/10/2005
The 2003 census in Russia, the first since 1989, found more than 2 million immigrants in residence. The Macedonian Ministry of the Interior, based on initial census figures, estimates that there are well over 20,000 foreigners in this country of 2 million people.

It is a little known fact tha...

Nation Branding and Place Marketing: Part 5 - Promotion, Sales, Public Relations, Marketing, and Advertising
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/11/2005
Advantages have to be communicated to potential customers if they are not to remain unrealized potentials. Moreover, communication alone - the exchange of information - is not enough. Clients have to be influenced and motivated to visit a country, invest in it, or trade with it.

This is where...

Eastern Europe: Switching Empires
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/11/2005
European Union (EU) leaders, meeting in Copenhagen in December 2002, signed an agreement to admit ten new members to their hitherto exclusive club. On May 1, 2004, they were officially admitted to the EU. Eight of the fortunate acceders are former communist countries: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungar...

The Metaphorically Correct Artist and other Romanticist Mutations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/13/2005
Every type of human activity has a malignant equivalent. The pursuit of happiness, the accumulation of wealth, the exercise of power, the love of one's self are all tools in the struggle to survive and, as such, are commendable. They do, however, have malignant counterparts: pursuing pleasures (hedo...

Game Theory: Could Western Techniques Be Implemented In Eastern Europe?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/14/2005
Could Western management techniques be successfully implemented in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)? Granted, they have to be adapted, modified and cannot be imported in their entirety. But their crux, their inalienable nucleus – can this be transported and transplanted in CEE? Theo...

Review: Microsoft Student 2006
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/15/2005
The previous versions of Encarta included a host of homework tools. These have now been made into a separate product called Microsoft Student.

Homework assignments are the bane of most students I know (not to mention their hard-pressed and nescient parents). This is mainly because of the ted...

Microsoft Embraces the Web - Encarta Premium 2006
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/15/2005
Microsoft was long derided by its critics for having failed to fully grasp the Internet revolution. It was late in developing Net technologies such as a proprietary search engine and in coping with security threats propagated through the Web.

Not any more. Earlier this year MSN rolled out a g...

The Fabric of Economic Trust
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/16/2005
Economics acquired its dismal reputation by pretending to be an exact science rather than a branch of mass psychology. In truth it is a narrative struggling to describe the aggregate behavior of humans. It seeks to cloak its uncertainties and shifting fashions with mathematical formulae and elaborat...

Divorce as a Re-Distributive Mechanism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/16/2005
"Even in modern times, in most cases husbands and wives differ in their potential for acquiring property. In separation of property, husbands and wives owning property and dealing with each other will be in the same position as unmarried adults.

There are, however, grounds for distinguishing marit...

Market Impeders and Market Inefficiencies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/17/2005
Even the most devout proponents of free marketry and hidden hand theories acknowledge the existence of market failures, market imperfections and inefficiencies in the allocation of economic resources. Some of these are the results of structural problems, others of an accumulation of historical liabi...

Scavenger Economies, Predator Economies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/17/2005
The national economies of the world can be divided to the scavenger and the predator types. The former are parasitic economies which feed off the latter. The relationship is often not that of symbiosis, where two parties maintain a mutually beneficial co-existence. Here, one economy feeds off others...

How the West Lost the East
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/18/2005
The Pew Research Center published in December 2002 a report expansively titled "What the World Thinks in 2002". "The World", reduced to 44 countries and 38,000 interviewees, included 3500 respondent from central and east Europe: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Uzb...

The Typology of Financial Scandals
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/18/2005
Tulipmania - this is the name coined for the first pyramid investment scheme in history.

In 1634, tulip bulbs were traded in a special exchange in Amsterdam. People used these bulbs as means of exchange and value store. They traded them and speculated in them. The rare black tulip bulbs were ...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement: I.Surviving the Uprising
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/20/2005
Macedonia is a small (25,000 sq. km.) landlocked country in the Balkan. It serves as a natural bridge between Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. As an inevitable result, its economy consists mainly of trading, services, low-tech, low value added industries, such as textile and plastics, and agric...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement: II. Macedonia at a Crossroads
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/20/2005
Western pressures, mainly the EU's and NATO's, yielded an agreement between Macedonian and Albanian political parties regarding the future of Macedonia (the Ohrid Framework Agreement). But such an agreement was bound to be rejected by both Macedonians and Albanians who already deeply distrust both t...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - III. The Disingenuous Dialogue
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/22/2005
NATO and the EU - and to a lesser extent the USA - are committed to preserving Macedonia's stability. The main transport corridors connecting the reformed Yugoslavia to Greece cross Macedonia. KFOR's supply routes and logistical bases are in Macedonia. NATO's southern flank - comprising the ever adv...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - IV. Thucydides' Honour
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/22/2005
"People make war because of: honour, fear, and interest."

"(Commerce is) rapidly rendering war obsolete by strengthening and multiplying the personal interests which act in natural opposition to it."
- J.S. Mill - "Principles of Political Economy" - London, 1848

"If commerce we...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - V. The Brink and the Cusp
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/24/2005
"For years Hannibal's army roamed freely, ravaging much of Italy while no Roman army dared confront him ... The Romans were forced to fight for sixteen years ... suffering fearful casualties and terrible economic damage before they were able to prevail."
Donald Kagan, "On the Origins of War and t...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - VI. Interview with Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/24/2005
[The interview was conducted by Sam Vaknin during the civil war crisis in 2001]The Prime Minister of Macedonia is a sad and disappointed man. A youthful 35 years old poet and man of letters (he published three books of experimental literature), he genuinely aches the recent events and his shattered ...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - VII. Interview with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/25/2005
Macedonia – a landlocked country at the southeastern tip of the Balkan, bordering Yugoslavia, Albanian, Bulgaria, and Greece – has been coping with an Albanian armed insurgency since February this year. The insurgents – collectively known as the NLA (National Liberation Army, or UCK in Albanian) – a...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - VIII. Interview Macedonian Finance Minister Nikola Gruevski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/25/2005
The Minister of Finance of the Republic of Macedonia is an unenviable position nowadays. It is a small country (9,600 sq. miles, 2 million inhabitants) and one of the poorest in Europe (1,900 US dollars GDP per capita). Saddled by its socialist past and an Albanian insurgency  largely imported fro...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - IX. Interview with Svetozar Janevski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/26/2005
Svetozar Janevski is the patriarch of Macedonian industry. The CEO of Macedonia's largest brewery ("Pivara Skopje" - he resigned in 2005), partner with the likes of Coca Cola and Heinekken and the licencee of McDonald's in Macedonia - he reifies both continuity and the changing times. He is also a m...

Macedonia's Framework Agreement - X. The Macedonian Lottery
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/26/2005
Every conflict has its economic moments and dimensions. The current conflict in Macedonia perhaps even more so. The USA and its Western allies regard Macedonia as a bridge between Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Albania. Hence the EU's plans for the revival of transport corridors 8 and 10 connecting th...

Greeks Bearing Gifts - Greek Investments in the Balkans
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/28/2005
On December 10, 2001 the Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group, proposed a solution to the Greek-Macedonian name dispute. It was soon commended by the State Department. The Greeks and Macedonians were more lukewarm but positive all the same. The truth, though, is that Macedonia is in...

Total Annihilation: The Fate of the State of Israel
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/28/2005
The Anti-Israeli:

The State of Israel is likely to end as did the seven previous stabs at Jewish statehood - in total annihilation. And for the same reasons: conflicts between secular and religious Jews and a racist-colonialist pattern of deplorable behavior. The UN has noted this recidivist misco...

Suicide - The Murder of Oneself
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/29/2005
Those who believe in the finality of death (i.e., that there is no after-life) – they are the ones who advocate suicide and regard it as a matter of personal choice. On the other hand, those who firmly believe in some form of existence after corporeal death – they condemn suicide and judge it to be ...

Morality as a Mental State
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/29/2005
Moral values, rules, principles, and judgements are often thought of as beliefs or as true beliefs. Those who hold them to be true beliefs also annex to them a warrant or a justification (from the "real world"). Yet, it is far more reasonable to conceive of morality (ethics) as a state of mind, a me...

The Myth of Great Albania - I. Introduction
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/30/2005
To the politicians of the Balkans - almost without exception corrupt and despised by their own constituencies - the myth of Great Albania comes handy. It keeps the phobic Macedonians, the disdainful Serbs and the poor and crime ridden Albanians united and submissive - each group for differing reason...

The Myth of Great Albania - II. History
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/30/2005
From Illyrium to Skanderberg

There is very little dispute among serious (that is, non-Greek, non-Macedonian and non-Serb) scholars that the Albanians are an ancient people, the descendants of the Illyrians or (as a small minority insists) the Thracians. The Albanian language is a rather new...

The Myth of Great Albania - III. More History
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/31/2005
For Albania, the Ottoman occupation was an unmitigated misfortune. Albania - culturally, a veritable part of Italy in the past - was cut off from it and from the Renaissance it spawned. The Turks brought with them their venal type of devastation, not only economic, not only physical, not only in hum...

The Myth of Great Albania - IV. Modern History
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/31/2005
Zog commenced his 14 years long reign first as president and then as king (Zog the first, needless to add). He ruled over a time bomb. The forces he suppressed with his foreign backed army were rather alive and well, though in an underground sort of way. In dire need of funds, after the self-inflict...

The Professions of the Narcissist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/1/2005
The narcissist naturally gravitates towards those professions which guarantee the abundant and uninterrupted provision of Narcissistic Supply. He seeks to interact with people from a position of authority, advantage, or superiority. He thus elicits their automatic admiration, adulation, and affirmat...

On Earthquakes and Tsunamis
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/1/2005
Tsunami - a seismic sea wave - means in Japanese "harbor-wave". It is also misleadingly called "tidal wave". It is an ocean wave caused by an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 on the Richter scale (or greater) that occurs less than 50 kilometers beneath the seafloor. Tsunamis can also be caused by volcani...

America's Second Civil War
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/6/2005
[Reprinted with permission from: "The Second Civil War in the USA and its Aftermath" by Sam Vaknin] "The polities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries swung between extremes of nationalism and polyethnic multiculturalism. Following the Great War (1914-8), the disintegration of most of the conti...

The Armenian Genocide
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/6/2005
The Armenian massacres in Turkey started in the 19th century and continued well after the Armenian genocide of 1915 in which some 600,000 Armenians perished. The Armenians were also raided by Kurdish tribesmen on a regular basis. An Ottoman military tribunal, convened between 1919-21, even convicted...

Traumas as Social Interactions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/7/2005
We react to serious mishaps, life altering setbacks, disasters, abuse, and death by going through the phases of grieving. Traumas are the complex outcomes of psychodynamic and biochemical processes. But the particulars of traumas depend heavily on the interaction between the victim and his social mi...

Britain's Abdication Crisis Revisited
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/7/2005
The love affair of Edward, Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) and Wallis Simpson in 1936 is the stuff of romantic dramas. Alas, reality was a lot less inspiring. Even as she was being wooed by her regal paramour - and while still being married to Ernest Aldrich Simpson, who knew of the Prince's attentio...

The Aung San Family in Myanmar
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/8/2005
Aung San Suu Kyi is a much revered opposition leader in Myanmar (Burma) (born 1945). She has bravely resisted - and still does - the murderous military regime in her homeland and has won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

Her mother was ambassador to India in the 1960s. She is cherished by all her ...

Chavez's Inspiration - Simon Bolivar
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/8/2005
Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) is a Latin American folk hero, revered for having been a revolutionary freedom fighter, a compassionate egalitarian and a successful politician. He is credited with the liberation from Spanish colonial yoke of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, a country named...

Myths of the American Civil War
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/9/2005
The Civil War (1861-5) has spawned numerous myths and falsities. The Republicans did not intend to abolish slavery - just to "contain" it, i.e., limit it to the 15 states where it had already existed. Most of the Democrats accepted this solution.

This led to a schism in the Democratic party....

History of Calendars
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/9/2005
Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7. Their "old new year" is a week later, on January 14. It is all Julius Caesar's fault ...

The Romans sometimes neglected to introduce an extra month every two years to amortize the difference between their lunar calendar and the natural sol...

Ian Fleming - James Bond's Creator
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/10/2005
Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908-1964), the author of the James Bond 007 novels, was the grandson of a Scottish banker and the son of a Conservative MP (Member of Parliament). His father died in the first world war. In his will, he bequeathed his property to his widow on condition she never remarries.

Crime Fighting Computer Systems and Databases
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/10/2005
As crime globalizes, so does crime fighting. Mobsters, serial killers, and terrorists cross state lines and borders effortlessly, making use of the latest advances in mass media, public transportation, telecommunications, and computer networks. The police - there are 16,000 law enforcement agencies ...

The First Serial Killer - Ed Gein
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/11/2005
Ed Gein is also known as The Butcher of Plainfield, The Plainfield Butcher, The Mad Butcher, The Plainfield Ghoul. A serial killer who served as the inspiration to numerous films, among them Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, Maniac, Three on a Meathook, Deranged, Ed Gein, The Movie, and the Texas Ch...

Another Look at Mahatma Gandhi
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/11/2005
Many myths abound about Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand known as Mahatma "Great Souled") Gandhi (1869-1948). He was not born to a poor Indian family. His father was dewan (chief minister) of Porbandar, the capital of a small principality in Gujarat in western India under British suzerainty. He later b...

Encyclopedia Britannica 2006
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/12/2005
The Encyclopedia Britannica 2006 (established in 1768) is a completely revamped product. Its interface is intuitive and uncluttered. It is far more fun to use. For instance, it now offers a date-based daily selection of relevant articles. The search box is persistent - no need to click on the toolba...

The Family of Jesus Christ
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/12/2005
Was Jesus born 2002 years ago? Was he born in year zero? The first year AD was 1 - so, Jesus could not have been born in year zero. The very concept of zero was invented much later. Numerous historical minutia in the gospels indicate that Jesus must have been born before 4 BC. For example, He was sa...

The Story of the Guillotine
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/13/2005
The guillotine was first put to lethal use on April 25, 1792, at 3:30 PM, in Paris at the Place de Greve on the Right Bank of the Seine. It separated highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier's head from the rest of his body.

The device was perfected - though not invented- by Doctor Joseph Ignace ...

The Truth About Maxim Gorky
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/13/2005
Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) is widely considered a Bolshevik author, closely allied with the likes of Lenin and Stalin. But this is far from the truth.

Gorky's real name was Alexei Maximovich Peshkov. He chose the pseudonym "Gorky" - "bitter" in Russian - to describe his early experiences from th...

Decision Support Systems
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/14/2005
Many companies in developing countries have a very detailed reporting system going down to the level of a single product, a single supplier, a single day. However, these reports – which are normally provided to the General Manager - should not, in my view, be used by them at all. They are too detail...

Zoran against the World - Entrepreneurship in Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/14/2005
Technologically, it is probably the most advanced printing facility in the Balkan. It cost almost $2.5 million. It was constructed in less than a year. And it is in dirt-poor and war-torn Macedonia.

Behind this incredible tale of entrepreneurship, uncommon in these nether-regions, stands Zora...

Another Look at American Indians
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/15/2005
Native Americans are often cast in the role of victims of White aggression and unbridled avarice-driven or gratuitous violence, especially in the territories known collectively today as the United States. But the first massacre was perpetrated by Indians in the British colony Jamestown, in Virginia ...

The Discovery of Personal Hygiene
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/15/2005
Personal hygiene was rediscovered only in the late 19th century, having been popular in ancient Greece and Rome almost two thousand years before.

Water was considered by the sophisticates - perhaps justly - to be the carrier of disease. Bathing in water was a hazardous exercise. Royalty used ...

The Semi-failed State
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/18/2005
The US State Department's designation of "rogue state" periodically falls in and out of favor. It is used to refer to countries hostile to the United States, with authoritarian, brutal, and venal regimes, and a predilection to ignore international law and conventions, encourage global or local terro...

Nation Branding and Place Marketing - 6. The Sales Force and Marketing Implementation Oversight
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/18/2005
How should a country translate its intangible assets into dollars and cents (or euros)?

Enter its Sales force and marketing intermediaries.

Even poor countries should allocate funds to train and maintain a skilled sales force and pay its wages, expenses, and perks. Salespeople are the ...

Nokia - From Start to Finnish
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/19/2005
Some companies have at least nine lives, it would seem. Nokia was founded in southwestern Finland, in 1865, by a mining engineer, one, Frederik Idestam, as a wood-pulp mill. An eponymous town formed around it. Independently, the Finnish Rubber Works took on the town name in the 1920s, having been es...

The USSR That Could Have been - Lenin's New Economic Policy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/19/2005
Mikhail Gorbachev (1931- ) was not the first to introduce Perestroika - the economic liberalization of the communist system along capitalistic lines. During the Russian civil war (1918-1922) the Bolsheviks implemented what they called "War Communism" (1917-1921), the militarization of the economy. B...

Lindbergh, Charles Augustus
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/20/2005
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was the first person to cross the Atlantic in a nonstop flight. This made him an instant celebrity. When, in 1932, his 19-months old son was kidnapped and murdered, the nation was appalled.

Finally, a German carpenter, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was apprehended and, f...

The Friendly Clubs - EU and NATO
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/20/2005
In September 2005, NATO announced that, "advised" by the USA, it was postponing the intake of new members, among them Macedonia, to 2008. The European Union is unlikely to jump at the opportunity and delay its own third wave of enlargement.

In May 2004, Cyprus, that beacon of political stabi...

Nero Sets Rome Ablaze
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/21/2005
According to the historian Suetonius, Emperor Nero (37-68), fifth Emperor of Rome from AD 54 to 68, was a fan of murder. Clad in disguise, he assaulted passing pedestrians in back alleys, stabbed them repeatedly, and dumped the bodies into the sewer. When he was almost killed by one of his would-be ...

Human-made Monsters
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/21/2005
Humans made monsters by inhuman treatment abound in literature. In "The Man Who Laughs", published in 1869, the French author, Victor Hugo (1802-1885), described the comprachicos thus:

"The comprachicos (child buyers) were strange and hideous nomads in the 17th century. They made children int...

Lysenko and Stalin's Genetics
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/22/2005
Trofim Denisovich Lysenko (1898-1976) was an agronomist. During the reign of Lenin and Stalin years in the Soviet Union, he became the chief proponent of the work of the self-taught plant breeder Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin (1855-1935) and his brand of Lamarckism - a pre-Darwinian theory of evoluti...

The Building of the Pentagon
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/22/2005
The Pentagon was completed in 16 months. It was built on a swamp and on the area of the old Washington airport. Trucks hauled some 5.5 million cubic yards (4.2 million cubic meters) of junk and soil and dumped it in the marshes. The building's foundation rests on 41,492 concrete piles.

The p...

Slavery in the USA
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/25/2005
Spanish settlements in the territory of the current-day USA owned slaves as early as 1526. Twenty one African chattel slaves were first brought to British North America ( to Jamestown, Virginia) in 1619. They joined white indentured laborers (servants) from all over Europe as well as Indian (Native...

The American Revolution
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/25/2005
The American Revolution was a civil war between Loyalists to the British crown (aka Tories, about one fifth of the population), supported by British expeditionary forces, and Patriots (or Whigs) in the 13 colonies that constituted British North America.

About 20-25% of the populace in the col...

The Uganda Scheme
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/26/2005
Theodore Herzl, the visionary who founded Zionism, was an assimilated Jew, who did not consider Palestine the optimal choice for a resurgent Jewish nationalism.

When the British offered to him a homeland in East Africa (today's Uganda), he accepted and proposed it to the Sixth Zionist Congres...

The First September 11
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/26/2005
September 11, 2001 was not the first time an airplane crashed into a skyscraper. Actually, such tragedies are more common than is thought.

On July 28, 1945, for instance, a U.S. Army B-25 bomber traveling at 200 miles (c. 370 kilometers) per hour in heavy fog crashed into the Empire State Bui...

The Tale of the Humble Popcorn
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/27/2005
Corn pollen more than 80,000 years old was found in Mexico. Proper popcorn was known in China, Sumatra, and India for at least 5000 years. Popped popcorn and kernels 5600 years old were discovered in the "Bat Cave" in New Mexico in 1948-1950. Popcorn kernels - ready to pop - were unearthed in ancien...

Facts and Figures about the Presidents of the USA
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/27/2005
The first president of the united States was not George Washington. Washington was the first president under the Constitution of June 21, 1788, ratified by 1790. The first constitution of the USA was titled "Articles of Confederation" and was in force between 1781 and 1788. It created a single house...

The Roman Family
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/28/2005
The father in the Roman family (paterfamilias) exercised absolute and lifelong power. He ruled over all other family members (patria potestas): his wife, children, and slaves. If the father's father was alive - then he was the supreme authority in the household. Fathers were even allowed to execute ...

More About the Prohibition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/28/2005
Prohibition - the legal enforcement of abstinence from alcoholic beverages - is not an American invention. The USA was preceded by the Aztecs, ancient China, feudal Japan, the Polynesian islands, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Canada, and India, and all the Muslim countries (where prohibi...

Typhoid Mary
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/29/2005
Mary Mallon was a "healthy carrier" of an infectious disease, the first ever reported and observed in the New World. But, since then, and throughout the first two decades of the 20th century, more than 100 people were added annually to the rolls of "healthy carriers" of typhoid in New-York alone.

The Invention of Television
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/29/2005
The transmission of images obsessed inventors as early as 1875 when George Carey of Boston proposed his cumbersome system. Only five years later, the principle of scanning a picture, line by line and frame by frame - still used in modern television sets - was proposed simultaneously in the USA (by W...

The Teapot Dome Scandal
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/3/2005
With the exception of Watergate, there has never been a scandal more egregious and with wider implications than the Teapot Dome affair during the presidency of Warren G. Harding. It involved the secret leasing to private companies of oil-containing tracts owned by the Navy, mainly in Wyoming and Cal...

The Constitution of the Weimar Republic
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/3/2005
The Weimar Republic was established in February 1919 in defeated Germany and lasted until March 1933, when it was replaced with Hitler's Third Reich. The Constitution of the Weimar Republic was adopted in August 1919. It created a bicameral house of representatives: the Reichstag, a national assembl...

Life of Leonardo da Vinci
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/4/2005
Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, architect, cartographer, engineer, scientist and inventor in the 15th century. Yet, despite his genius, he referred to himself as "senza lettere" (the illiterate, the man without letters). For good reason: until late in life, he was unable to read, or writ...

The Origins of Biological and Chemical Warfare
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/4/2005
Chemical and biological warfare are not an invention of the 20th century. Solon (638-559 BC) used a strong purgative, the herb hellebore, in the siege of Krissa. During the 6th century BC, the Assyrians poisoned enemy wells with rye ergot. In the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), the Spartans flung su...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part I)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/12/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative stage. Sam Vaknin have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor details. These are published for the purpose of "internet time travel". It is interesting to recal...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part II)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/12/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative stage. Sam Vaknin have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor details. These are published for the purpose of "internet time travel". It is interesting to recal...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part III)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/16/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part IV)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/18/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part V)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/18/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part VI)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/18/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part VII)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/19/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part VIII)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/19/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part IX)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/21/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part X)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/20/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XI)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/21/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XII)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/21/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XIII)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/24/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XIV)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/24/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XV)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/25/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XVI)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/25/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XVII)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/26/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XVIII)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/26/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XIX)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/27/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Internet - A Medium or a Message? (Part XX)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/27/2005
These essays were published by the Israeli (Hebrew) edition of PC Magazine back in 1996, when the Internet was in its formative epoch. I have left them essentially unchanged, except for a few minor errata I corrected. I find time travel fascinating. It is interesting to recall the mainstream view, t...

Serial Killers
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/28/2005
Countess Erszebet Bathory was a breathtakingly beautiful, unusually well-educated woman, married to a descendant of Vlad Dracula of Bram Stoker fame. In 1611, she was tried - though, being a noblewoman, not convicted - in Hungary for slaughtering 612 young girls. The true figure may have been 40-100...

The Varieties of Corruption
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/28/2005
To do the fashionable thing and to hold the moral high ground is rare. Yet, denouncing corruption and fighting it satisfies both conditions. Yet, corruption is not a monolithic practice. Nor are its outcomes universally deplorable or damaging. One would do best to adopt a utilitarian approach to it....

The Green-Eyed Capitalist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/31/2005
Conservative sociologists self-servingly marvel at the peaceful proximity of abject poverty and ostentatious affluence in American - or, for that matter, Western - cities. Devastating riots do erupt, but these are reactions either to perceived social injustice (Los Angeles 1965) or to political oppr...

The Madman and the Iraqi War
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/31/2005
It is the war of the sated against the famished, the obese against the emaciated, the affluent against the impoverished, the democracies against tyranny, perhaps Christianity against Islam and definitely the West against the Orient. It is the ultimate metaphor, replete with "mass destruction", "coll...

Nation Branding and Place Marketing - VIII. The Psychology and Demographics of the Consumer
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/1/2005
The country's "customers" are its investors, tourists, traders, market intermediaries, NGOs, and office-holders in other countries and in multilateral institutions. Understanding their psychology and demographics is crucial. Their interactions with one another take place in a complex environment, af...

Nation Branding and Place Marketing - Marketing Implementation, Evaluation, and Control
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/1/2005
How can a country (region, state, city, municipality, or other polity) judge the efficacy of its attempts to brand or re-brand itself and, consequently, to attract customers (investors, tourism operators, bankers, traders, and so on)?

Marketing is not a controlled process in an insulated lab....

Pathological Envy in Post-Communism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/4/2005
The distinction between fiction and non-fiction became ever subtler in the "Underground" world of post-socialism, "After the Rain" of communism. In a lethal embrace, in an act of unprecedented intercourse, literature penetrated reality as only the most fervent lovers or the most avid haters do. A to...

Russia's Vodka Wars
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/4/2005
Vodka is a crucial component in Russian life. And in Russian death. Alcohol-related accidents and cardiac arrests have already decimated Russian life expectancy by well over a decade during the last decade alone. Vodka is also big business. The brand "Stolichnaya" sells $2 billion a year worldwide. ...

IMF: Kill or Cure?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/4/2005
IMF - Kill or Cure. This was the title of the cover page of the prestigious magazine, "The Economist" in its issue of 10/1/98. The more involved the IMF gets in the world economy - the more controversy surrounds it. Economies in transition, emerging economies, developing countries and, lately, even ...

The IMF Deconstructed: A Dialogue Between Tom Rodwell and Sam Vaknin, December 1998
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/6/2005
The following is a standard IMF document, taken from its own website. Underlined phrases are related to categories A and / or B (see below). The phrases here are general examples as part of general criticism of the ideological tone and "aesthetic" of the IMF. This dialogue is a combination of philos...

Anarchy as an Organizing Principle
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/6/2005
The recent spate of accounting fraud scandals signals the end of an era. Disillusionment and disenchantment with American capitalism may yet lead to a tectonic ideological shift from laissez faire and self regulation to state intervention and regulation. This would be the reversal of a trend dating ...

Atheism in a Post-Religious World (Book Review)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/8/2005
Tremblay, Francois - Atheism in a Post-religious World - Suite101, 2004

"If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would strictly follow the teachings of the New, he would be insane"
-(Robert Ingersoll)

Is ours a post-religious world?...

Look Back: Winners of the 1997 Nobel Prizes in Economy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/8/2005
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1997, to Professor Robert C. Merton, Harvard University, and to Professor Myron S. Scholes, Stanford University, jointly. The prize was awarded for a new method to deter...

On Dis-ease
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/9/2005
Threatened by yet another bird flu pandemic (click here to learn more), we are well-advised to study the very concept of disease. Dr. Oz recommended garcinia cambogia as a way to cure us...

The Egotistic Friend
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/9/2005
What are friends for and how can a friendship be tested? By behaving altruistically, would be the most common answer and by sacrificing one's interests in favour of one's friends. Friendship implies the converse of egoism, both psychologically and ethically. But then we say that the dog is "man's be...

Life, Politics and The Madness of Playing Games
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/10/2005
If a lone, unkempt, person, standing on a soapbox were to say that he should become the Prime Minister, he would have been diagnosed by a passing psychiatrist as suffering from this or that mental disturbance. But were the same psychiatrist to frequent the same spot and see a crowd of millions salut...

The Truman Show
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/10/2005
"The Truman Show" is a profoundly disturbing movie. On the surface, it deals with the worn out issue of the intermingling of life and the media. Examples for such incestuous relationships abound:

Ronald Reagan, the cinematic president was also a presidential movie star. In another movie ("The...

On Empathy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2005
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1999 edition) defines empathy as: "The ability to imagine oneself in anther's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. It is a term coined in the early 20th century, equivalent to the German Einfühlung and modelled on "sympathy." The term ...

Narcissism and Evil
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2005
In his bestselling "People of the Lie", Scott Peck claims that narcissists are evil. Are they?

The concept of "evil" in this age of moral relativism is slippery and ambiguous. The "Oxford Companion to Philosophy" (Oxford University Press, 1995) defines it thus: "The suffering which results fr...

The Gulf between Baghdad and Doha
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/13/2005
On April 8, 2003, in a testimony before the Senate Steel Caucus, industry executives urged legislators to ignore the future decision of a World Trade Organization appeals panel, widely expected to uphold an earlier preliminary ruling that U.S.-imposed steel tariffs flouted international trade law.

Vojvodina - The Hungarian Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/13/2005
In October 2005, Parliamentary Assembly of Europe members tabled a draft resolution castigating the human rights situation in the province of Vojvodina. As EU accession looms larger for Serbia and Montenegro, such resolutions are bound to proliferate. Vojvodina is widely regarded as a test case and ...

The Wages of Science
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/14/2005
In the United States, Congress approved, In February 2003, increases in the 2003 budgets of both the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. America is not alone in - vainly - trying to compensate for imploding capital markets and risk-averse financiers.

In 1999, chance...

The Costs of Coalition Building
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/14/2005
Foreign aid, foreign trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) have become weapons of mass persuasion, deployed in the building of both the pro-war, pro-American coalition of the willing and the French-led counter "coalition of the squealing".

By now it is clear that the United States will ha...

Switzerland's Cheesy Economy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/15/2005
In a series of referenda in 2003-5, Swiss citizens transformed their country forever, economically aligning it with the European Union and opening it up to work migration. It was an uncharacteristic response to increasingly worrisome times.

In March 2003, Switzerland's annual rate of inflatio...

Russia's Idled Spies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/15/2005
On November 11, 2002, Sweden expelled two Russian diplomats for spying on radar and missile guidance technologies for the JAS 39 British-Swedish Gripen fighter jet developed by Telefon AB LM Ericsson, the telecommunications multinational. The Russians threatened to reciprocate. Five current and form...

The Demonetization of Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/16/2005
In December 2002, Poland decided to purchase 48 F-16 Falcons from Lockheed Martin Corporation - an American defense contractor. Pegged at $3.5 billion, this is the biggest defense order ever issued by an east or central European country. The financial package includes soft loans and a massive offset...

Demise of the Mittelstand
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/16/2005
According to a survey of German executives by the influential Ifo think tank, German business confidence rose in January 2003 for the first time in eight months - albeit imperceptibly, from 87.3 to 87.4. A poll conducted by ZEW, another brain trust, confirmed these findings. On past form, though, th...

Economies of the Middle East
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/18/2005
On February 24, 2003, in the Islamic Financial Forum in Dubai, Brad Bourland, chief economist for the Saudi American Bank (SAMBA), breached the embarrassed silence that invariably enshrouds speakers in Middle Eastern get-togethers. He reminded the assembled that despite the decades-long fortuity of ...

Global Differential Pricing
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/20/2005
In April 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and the US-based Global Health Council held a 3-days workshop about "Pricing and Financing of Essential Drugs" in poor countries. Not surprisingly, the conclusion was:

"... ...

The Blessings of the Black Economy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/20/2005
Some call it the "unofficial" or "informal" economy, others call it the "grey economy" but the old name fits it best: the "black economy". In the USA "black" means "profitable, healthy" and this is what the black economy is. Macedonia should count its blessings for having had a black economy so stro...

Microsoft's MS Student 2007
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/26/2006
The previous versions of Encarta included a host of homework tools. Last year, these have been made into a separate product called Microsoft Student. It has now been gainfully repackaged and very much enhanced. Among the new or revamped features: free online access to MSN Encarta Premium, Step-by-St...

The West in the Balkans - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/27/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, May 2004.
Kosovo cannot be compared to Croatia or Bosnia. Kosovo was (and, technically, is) an integral part of Serbia, an autonomous province, not a republic-constituent of the former Federal Yugoslavia. During the initial phases of KLA ac...

The West in the Balkans - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/28/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, May 2004.
The breakup of Macedonia is not inevitable - but Kosovo's independence is. What makes it unavoidable is history. Kosovo is an ethnically homogeneous, clearly demarcated, territory whose denizens fervently aspire to be independent ...

The West in the Balkans - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/29/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, May 2004
There isn't a single country in the Balkan - Serbia included - whose political elite, past and present, is not thoroughly criminalized. Crime, business, and politics are inextricable in this part of the world. Kosovo is no differen...

SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the Aliens Conundrum - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/30/2006
I. The Six Arguments against SETI

The various projects that comprise the 45-years old Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) raise two important issues:

(1) do Aliens exist and

(2) can we communicate with them.

If they do and we can, how come we never encountered an...

SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the Aliens Conundrum - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/31/2006
(1) How can we tell the artificial from the natural? How can we be sure to distinguish Alien artifacts from naturally-occurring objects? How can we tell apart with certainty Alien languages from random noise or other natural signals?

(2) If we have absolutely nothing in common with the Aliens...

How Diasporas Can Help the Motherland
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/27/2007
The following steps are considered to be the "minimum package" in the strengthening of relationships between countries of origin and national diasporas:

1. The granting to the diaspora of unlimited or, at the very least, restricted voting rights in the Motherland (e.g., Macedonia)

2. ...

Why is the Macedonian Stock Exchange Unsuccessful?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/24/2008
The Macedonian Stock Exchange (MSE) is not operating successfully. True, some of the parameters which we use to measure the success of a stock exchange have lately improved in the MSE. For instance, the monthly money volume has increased together with the number of transactions. But this is a far cr...

Macedonia and the Global Crisis: Weighing the Options
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/16/2009
Forum organized by the Association of Chambers of Commerce , May 28, 2009


Macedonia's external financing needs (as expressed in its current account deficit) are big. The trade deficit is also unsustainable. Macedonia's sources of foreign exchange are drying up, as well...

Theodicy: The Problem of Evil
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/22/2009
''There is nothing that an omnipotent God could not do.' 'No.' 'Then, can God do evil?' 'No.' 'So that evil is nothing, since that is what He cannot do who can do anything.'

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (480? - 524?), Roman philosopher and statesman, The Consolation of Philosophy

Alternative Energies and Other Fairy Tales
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/25/2009
The quest for alternative, non-fossil fuel, energy sources is driven by two misconceptions: (1) The mistaken belief in "peak oil" (that we are nearing the complete depletion and exhaustion of economically extractable oil reserves) and (2) That market mechanisms cannot be trusted to provide adequate ...

Israel, Obama, Iran, and Journalism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/26/2009
"During Netanyahu's visit, Israel shared intelligence with the CIA regarding the potential for a terrorist attack which will dwarf 9/11 if Iran is allowed to continue with its nuclear designs and share its outcomes with allies such as Hamas and the Hizbullah. Iranian proliferation is a direct threat...

Self-defeating Environmentalism: The Case of Nuclear Energy Technologies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/31/2009
More than 70% of contracts for new nuclear power plants were cancelled between 1970 and 1990. Nuclear energy has proven to be by far too expensive, partly the outcome of meager investment in research and development. But why didn't this promising industry seek efficiency and productivity gains? Why ...

Financial Investor, Strategic Investor
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/26/2005
In the not so distant past, there was little difference between financial and strategic investors. Investors of all colors sought to safeguard their investment by taking over as many management functions as they could. Additionally, investments were small and shareholders few. A firm resembled a hou...

The Process of Due Diligence
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/26/2005
A business which wants to attract foreign investments must present a business plan. But a business plan is the equivalent of a visit card. The introduction is very important - but, once the foreign investor has expressed interest, a second, more serious, more onerous and more tedious process commenc...

Slush Funds
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/27/2005
According to David McClintick ("Swordfish: A True Story of Ambition, Savagery, and Betrayal"), in the late 1980's, the FBI and DEA set up dummy corporations to deal in drugs. They funneled into these corporate fronts money from drug-related asset seizures.

The idea was to infiltrate global cr...

On Being Human
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/27/2005
Are we human because of unique traits and attributes not shared with either animal or machine? The definition of "human" is circular: we are human by virtue of the properties that make us human (i.e., distinct from animal and machine). It is a definition by negation: that which separates us from ani...

The Habit of Identity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/28/2005
In a famous experiment, students were asked to take a lemon home and to get used to it. Three days later, they were able to single out "their" lemon from a pile of rather similar ones. They seemed to have bonded. Is this the true meaning of love, bonding, coupling? Do we simply get used to other hum...

Euphoric and Dysphoric Phases in Marriage
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/28/2005
Despite all the fashionable recent theories against marriage from corporations making money on honeymoon packages to religion perpetuating traditional roles, the reasons to get married largely remain the same. True, there have been role reversals and new st...

The Good Enough Family
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/29/2005
The families of the not too distant past were orientated along four axes. These axes were not mutually exclusive. Some overlapped, all of them enhanced each other.

People got married for various reasons:

1. Because of social pressure and social norms (the Social Dyad)

2. To form...

The Pathology of Love
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/29/2005
Recebts studies buttress the unpalatable truth that falling in love is, in some ways, indistinguishable from a severe pathology. Behavior changes are reminiscent of psychosis and, biochemically speaking, passionate love closely imitates substance abuse. Appearing in the BBC series Body Hits on Decem...

The Science of Superstitions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/1/2005
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science."

Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, 1931
The debate between realism and anti-realism is, at least, a century old. Does Science describe...

Nature vs. Mankind
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/1/2005
The Second Law of Thermodynamics predicts the gradual energetic decay of physical closed systems ("entropy"). Arguably, the Universe as a whole is precisely such a system.
Locally, though, order is often fighting disorder for dominance. In other words, in localized, open systems, order sometimes...

Is Psychology a Science?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/2/2005
All theories - scientific or not - start with a problem. They aim to solve it by proving that what appears to be "problematic" is not. They re-state the conundrum, or introduce new data, new variables, a new classification, or new organizing principles. They incorporate the problem in a larger body ...

The Ubiquitous Project Gutenberg - Interview with Michael Hart, Its Founder
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/2/2005
Michael Hart conceived of electronic books (e-books) back in 1971. Most pundits agree that in the history of knowledge and scholarship, e-books are as important as the Gutenberg press, invented five centuries ago. Many would say that they constitute a far larger quantum leap. As opposed to their pri...

Religion and Science
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/4/2005
There are many kinds of narratives and organizing principles. Science is driven by evidence gathered in experiments, and by the falsification of extant theories and their replacement with newer, asymptotically truer, ones. Other systems - religion, nationalism, paranoid ideation, or art - are based ...

The Life Cycle of Science
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/4/2005
"There was a time when the newspapers said that only twelve men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe that there ever was such a time... On the other hand, I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics... Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid...

The Complexity of Simplicity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/7/2005
"Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine."
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Complexity rises spontaneously in nature through processes such as self-organization. Emergent phenomena are common as are emergent traits, not reducible to basic compone...

Danger - Banks Ahead!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/7/2005
Banks are the most unsafe institutions in the world. Worldwide, hundreds of them crash every few years. Two decades ago, the US Government was forced to invest hundreds of billions of Dollars in the Savings and Loans industry. Multi-billion dollar embezzlement schemes were unearthed in the much fete...

Being First, Being Original, Being Innovative
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/8/2005
There is an often missed distinction between Being the First, Being Original, and Being Innovative.

To determine that someone (or something) has been the first, we need to apply a temporal test. It should answer at least three questions: what exactly was done, when exactly was it done and was...

Space Industry in Russia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/8/2005
The recent (December 2005) spate of news about Russia's space program was decidedly mixed. According to Space News, the 17-country European Space Agency (ESA) declined to participate in Russia's $60 million, two-year Clipper manned and winged space vehicle program, a touted alternative to NASA's Cre...

The Importance of Human Life
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/9/2005
The preservation of human life is the ultimate value, a pillar of ethics and the foundation of all morality. This held true in most cultures and societies throughout history.

On first impression, the last sentence sounds patently wrong. We all know about human collectives that regarded human ...

How to Write a Business Plan
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/9/2005
There are many types of symbols. Money from investors, banks or financial organisations is one such kind of symbols. A successful Business Plan (=a successful manipulation of symbols) is one which brings in its wake the receipt of credits (money, another kind of symbol). What are the rules of manipu...

Economic Revolutions and Symbols
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/11/2005
Five thousand years ago, people were still roaming the earth as nomads. They carried along their few precious possessions in their hands and on their backs. They hunted and gathered food at random.

Then came the Agricultural Revolution: people settled down and got attached - physically, emoti...

The European Bank for the Retardation of Development
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/11/2005
In typical bureaucratese, the pensive EBRD analyst ventures with the appearance of compunction: "A number of projects have fallen short of acceptable standards (notice the passive, exculpating voice - SV) and have put the reputation of the bank at risk". If so, very little was risked. The outlandish...

Public Procurement and Very Private Benefits
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/12/2005
In every national budget, there is a part called "Public Procurement". This is the portion of the budget allocated to purchasing services and goods for the various ministries, authorities and other arms of the executive branch. It was the famous management consultant, Parkinson, who once wrote that ...

Soccer: The East European League In Development
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/12/2005
The Champions League is a rich man's club, complain football teams from nine south and east European countries. They are bent on setting up an alternative dubbed the "Eastern League". The revolt is led by Dinamo Bucharest and Greece's Olympiakos Pireu and has been joined by 14 other clubs: Steaua an...

Europe's Theme Parks
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/13/2005
War - especially coupled with a globally sluggish economy - has a contradictory effect on the consumption of entertainment. Disposable incomes plummet curtailing the sales of medium to big ticket items such as cruises and resort vacations. But people - besieged by anxiety and bad news - also wish to...

Lies People Tell
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/13/2005
All people lie some of the time. They use words to convey their lies while their body language usually gives them away. This is curious. Why did evolution prefer this self defeating strategy? The answer lies in the causes of the phenomenon.

We lie for three main reasons and these give rise to...

The Cult of the Narcissist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/14/2005
The narcissist is the guru at the centre of a cult. Like other gurus, he demands complete obedience from his flock: his spouse, his offspring, other family members, friends, and colleagues. He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his followers. He punishes the wayward and the strayin...

Ignorance and Punishment
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/14/2005
The fact that one is ignorant of the law does not a sufficient defence in a court of law make. Ignorance is no protection against punishment. The adult is presumed to know all the laws. This presumption is knowingly and clearly false. So why is it made in the first place?

There are many types...

Government and Corruption
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/17/2005
Izetbegovic, the late nominal president of the nominal Bosnian state, the darling of the gullible western media, denied that he and his cronies and his cronies' cronies stole 40% of all civilian aid targeted at Bosnia - a minor matter of 1 billion US dollars and change, in less than 4 years. The tri...

Academia For Sale
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/17/2005
Mira Markovic is an "Honorary Academic" of the Russian Academy of Science. It cost a lot of money to obtain this title and the Serb multi-billionnaire Karic was only too glad to cough it up. Whatever else you say about Balkan cronies, they rarely bite the hand that feeds them (unless and until it is...

The Caveman and the Alien
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/19/2005
When Chancellor Kohl's party and Edith Cresson are suspected of gross corruption - these are labelled "aberrations" in an otherwise honest West. When NASA in collaboration with its UK counterpart blow a 130 million US dollars spacecraft to smithereens having confused the metric system for its pound/...

Post-Communist Nation: Micromanaging Malignant Optimism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/20/2005
"(America risks adopting)... a grasshopper mode - peripatetic, noisy, hopping into other people's backyards, and unready when the weather turns nasty."
Walter McDougall in "Foreign Policy in America in the Twenty First Century: Alternative Perspectives, Hoover Institution Press, 2001

Never befo...

Eastern European Arms Sales to Rogue States
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/25/2005
In a desperate bid to fend off sanctions, the Bosnian government banned In October 2002 all trade in arms and munitions. A local, Serb-owned company was documented by the State Department selling spare parts and maintenance for military aircraft to Iraq via Yugoslav shell companies.

Heads rol...

The Plight of the Kosovar
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/26/2005
Rumour has it that from now on, citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will need a hard-to-obtain visa to enter the Czech Republic. This already is the case with Bosnians, for instance. Officials in Macedonia believe that this is intended to stem a flow of future Kosovar immigrants. I...

Lucky Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/27/2005
In October 1998, the unreformed communists of the SDSM - the Socialists - lost the elections in Macedonia by a wide margin to an improbable coalition. It consisted of the VMRO - fervent nationalists with Bulgarian roots, headed by the poet-politician Ljubco Georgievski - and the Democratic alternati...

The Black Birds of Kosova
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/27/2005
The real war over Kosovo hasn't even started yet. When NATO finishes coercing Yugoslavia into submission, when the smoke clears and the charred remains of corpses and houses cleared - then the real conflict will erupt. It will be a conflict between moderate Albanians (as represented by Ibrahim Rugov...

The Balkans Between Omerta and Vendetta
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/1/2006
In a State Department briefing on Thursday, August 5th, 1999, the spokesman of this venerable and ever-so-truthful organ of the American administration, James Rubin, said: "We have supported and continue to support the regime in Montenegro that is a democratic regime that has pursued a democratic co...

Macedonia: Black Magic, White Magic
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/1/2006
Germany's economy collapsed following a reparations agreement which sapped and consumed less than 10% of its GDP. America's economy collapsed, its unemployment soared, its stock exchange vanished and it entered a deflationary cycle which necessitated the most pervasive federal intervention in its hi...

The Dark Clouds of NATO
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/2/2006
Appendix 7.3 to the "Assessment of Environmental Impact of Military Activities During the Yugoslavia Conflict - Preliminary Findings, June 1999" contains a list of 105 "Industrial Targets in Yugoslavia before June 5, 1999". Item 28 reads:

"Agricultural and food processing plant and a cow bree...

Eyewitness Impressions Of The Kosovo War in 1999
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/3/2006
It often rains in Skopje nowadays. Sudden, thunderous outpourings of acidulous and gluey fluid. People say it is the pollution from 12,000 tonnes of bombs dropped 20 km from here. The unions warn of a hot autumn. The omens are ominous. It looks like an economic crash rather than a soft landing. Tony...

Europe and the Spectrum of Auctions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/17/2006
Months of procrastination and righteous protestations to the contrary led to the inevitable: the European Commission assented on September 2002 to a joint venture between Germany's T-mobile and Britain's mmO2 to share the mammoth costs of erecting third generation - 3G in the parlance - mobile phone...

Ukraine and the Processing of Export Zones
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/22/2006
Ukrainian President, Leonid Kuchma, told, in Fenruary 2003, an assembly of senior customs service officials that "it is necessary to put an end to (Ukraine's 11 free economic and 9 priority) zones (and) liquidate them completely. (They) have become semi-criminal zones, and this refers not only to th...

The Delicate Art of Balancing the Budget
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/23/2006
Government budgets represent between 25% and 50% of he Gross Domestic Product (GDP), depending on the country. The members of the European Union (Germany, France) and the Scandinavian countries represent the apex of this encroachment upon the national resources. Other countries (Great Britain, to na...

The Benefits of Oligopolies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/24/2006
The Wall Street Journal has recently published an elegiac list:

"Twenty years ago, cable television was dominated by a patchwork of thousands of tiny, family-operated companies. Today, a pending deal would leave three companies in control of nearly two-thirds of the market. In 1990, three big publ...

Narcissism at a Glance
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/26/2006
Primary Narcissism, in psychology is a defense mechanism, common in the formative years (6 months to 6 years old). It is intended to shield the infant and toddler from the inevitable hurt and fears involved in the individuation-separation phase of personal development.

Secondary or pathologic...

The Narcissism of Differences Big and Small
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/27/2006
Freud coined the phrase "narcissism of small differences" in a paper titled "The Taboo of Virginity" that he published in 1917. Referring to earlier work by British anthropologist Ernest Crawley, he said that we reserve our most virulent emotions – aggression, hatred, envy – towards those who resemb...

Manners of Speech
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/30/2006
Scholars like J. L. Austin and H. P. Grice have suggested novel taxonomies of speech acts and linguistic constructs. The prevailing trend is to classify speech according to nits functions - indicative, interrogative, imperative, expressive, performative, etc.

A better approach may be to class...

Almost Independent: The Conclave of Exclaves
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/31/2006
Cabinda is a member of the Hague based UNPO - the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. Among the dozens of other members are Abkhazia, the Albanians in Macedonia, Bashkortostan, Gaguzia, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Some erstwhile members became independent states - including Estonia, East Timor,...

The Concert of Europe, Interrupted
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/1/2006
"(Plan for establishing) an economic organization ... through mutual customs agreements ... including France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Austria, Poland, and perhaps Italy, Sweden, and Norway".
The German "September Plan" to impose an economic union on the vanquished nations of Europe following a...

Eastern Europe: The Mendicant Journalists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/3/2006
Aleksandr Plotnikov died in June 2002 in his dacha. He was murdered. He has just lost a bid to restore his control of a local paper in Tyumen Oblast in Russia. Media ownership is frequently a lethal business in eastern Europe. The same week, Ukrainian National Television deputy chief, Andryi Feshche...

The Crucial Year - The Balkans in 2003
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/4/2006
Macedonia is a useful microcosm of the post-communist countries of the Balkan (self-importantly renamed by its denizens "Southeast Europe"). Prodded by its pro-Western president, Boris Trajkovski, it vocally - though implausibly - aspires to NATO and European Union membership. Its socialist prime mi...

Wikipedia and the Credibility of Online Information
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/5/2006
The Wikipedia was touted as the greatest reference work in history. A collaborative effort of contributors and editors across time and space, it bloated into hundreds of thousands of articles on subjects both deserving and risible. Anyone with a connection to the Internet and a browser can edit the ...

The Role of Central Banks in Banking Crises
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/11/2006
Central banks are relatively new inventions. An American President (Andrew Jackson) even cancelled its country's central bank in the nineteenth century because he did not think that it was very important. But things have changed since. Central banks today are the most important feature of the financ...

Austrian Banking - Interview with Wolfgang Christl
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/11/2006
In the second half of 2005, Erste Bank, Austria's second largest, took over yet another East and Central European financial institution: Romania's BCR (Romanian Commercial Bank). This acquisition threw into sharp relief the post-Communist Mittel-European strategy of Austrian banks, big and small.

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/13/2006
Nikola: The Republic of Macedonia is at the bottom of the ladder, as far as foreign investments are considered, among the countries in transition. It is not a coincidence. The general judgement of all the relevant economic institutions and experts in and out of Macedonia is that there is a need for ...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/14/2006
Nikola: Other things happened in Eastern Europe, but not in Macedonia in 1997, both in business and in finances.

- In February 1997 Isuzu from Japan confirmed that it will build a $250 million USD machine factory in Tuchy in southern Poland.
- In April, the Moscow county assumed the cont...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/18/2006
Sam: It may come as a surprise to many, but foreign investors are as interested in psychology as they are in economics. The first things they enquire about have nothing to do with GDP per capita, the rate of inflation and its forecasts, domestic interest rates, the living standards, the available in...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/19/2006
Nikola: And while one is having a problem with insufficient capital, others have a problem investing the surplus of capital, a problem of high liquidity.

For example, the Nomura company, as one of the most powerful investment banks in the world, with shareholders' capital of over 15 billion dollar...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/20/2006
Sam: The world has gone through a major cycle of physical colonization in the last five centuries. European countries conquered, by military means, large swathes of land with rich raw materials and mineral resources. They clashed with each other often and the outcomes of these clashes were eternaliz...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part VI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/22/2006
The person that this project would be entrusted to, must have enormous knowledge in the field of international finances and must exceptionally well know the problems and needs of Macedonia.

Under the coordination of the specially assigned person by the government (he should be a member of th...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part VII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/23/2006
The legal environment is the starting point of serious intentions for attracting large amounts of foreign investments. There is a need for customized laws and/or for the introduction of changes to existing laws, which will give the capital market in Macedonia at least approximately equal conditions ...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part VIII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/26/2006
Nikola: A second big problem for the entry of foreign capital, is that in the current Foreign Exchange Working Law (Official newspaper of RM No 30/93) a specific possibility for the entry of foreign currency into Macedonia for the purposes of buying securities is not foreseen.
In article 90, ite...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part IX
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/28/2006
Nikola: The possibility for certain privileges on the basis of the invested foreign capital is provided in the Law of Customs Officials (The Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia no. 20/93, 1/95, 24/95, 31/95,63/95,40/96 and 15/97) and in the Income Tax Law (Gazette of RM no. 80/93……71/96) which are ...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part X
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/1/2006
Nikola: Besides the promotion of Macedonia and legal provisions, the third very important component of attracting foreign capital is the opening of foreign Western mega-national bank branches. At least four reasons can be given. They are:

1. Decreasing the risk to the foreign investor's mone...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part XI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/2/2006
Nikola: The macroeconomic policy in Macedonia is relatively well received by foreign investors. According to the recent report of Merrill Lynch the stability in Macedonia will be preserved only if the real economy is rebuilt. So far this is not happening, judging by the slow growth and stagnating ex...

Foreign Investments and Developing Countries: Dialog With Former Finance Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski, Part XII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/3/2006
The government of Macedonia should revive the issuing of bonds in Macedonia, and above all, Government and Municipal bonds. The government will appear as the guarantor, and at the beginning, the government can serve as the guarantor of corporate bonds issues of the best Macedonian companies (with a ...

Observing the Apocalypse
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2006
I. The New Politics

Politics, in all its forms, is bankrupt. The notion that we can safely and successfully hand over the management of our daily lives and the setting of priorities to a political class or elite is thoroughly discredited. Politicians cannot be trusted, regardless of the system in ...

The American Hostel
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/7/2006
The movie "Hostel" (2005) is a potent depiction of gore and graphic horror. More subtly, it is also a counterfactual and jingoistic political allegory for the post 9-11 age. A couple of wholesome American youths (one of them a Jew) are nabbed by a ring of east Europeans who cater to the depraved nee...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-1: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/8/2006
NG: The characteristics of the Republic of Macedonia, in its post independence period, from a macro point of view of the activities of exports and imports, are:

- The presence of high trade deficits;
- An increase in the portion of imports not covered by the export of goods;
- A bad ...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-2: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/10/2006
NG: Indeed, from these data it is easy to conclude that the deficit level is not the only important parameter – there are others that count in trying to determine the consequences. It is obvious that the deficit in RM has seriously restricted its economic development (as distinct from some other cou...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-3: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/13/2006
SV: Macedonians (politicians as well as "the people") adopted a magical mode of thinking. They believe that Macedonia is geo-strategically so important, that it will never be abandoned by the West. True, unilateral grants, aid and other non-returnable transfers have dwindled lately (to the point of ...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-4: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/13/2006
SV: It is a paradox of sorts that only governments can secure the conditions necessary for the operation of free markets. A good government prepares the way for its own act of disappearance from the marketplace. It should construct the edifice and let other tenants occupy it. There are a few things ...

Slobodan Milosevic is Dead
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/14/2006
On February 12, 2001 I published this article in a few online media. It speaks for itself.

Wouldn't everyone be better off if Slobodan Milosevic were to die? Mysteriously, of course, in a serendipitous car accident, as is the habit in these parts. Or, mercifully and less obtrusively, in a sudden o...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-5: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2006
NG: Within the scope of the roles of increasing investments and changing the economic structure there is the implementation of an efficient court system, which will create an environment in which the commercial banks of RM, by a speedier settlement of their own claims, will make long-term and cheape...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-6: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/16/2006
SV: Macedonia belongs to a much derided economic club, whose members are fervently trying to abandon it: the club of the group of countries who export mainly raw materials and semi finished goods and import finished products. This is the classical definition of a colony in the old mercantilist theor...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-7: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/19/2006
NG: I wish it too, what you are saying, and I would be very happy when RM becomes a country which is not in need of state simulative intervention in order to change the economic structure.

However, I am not talking about some strictly managed system, about which I don't even think. Every cou...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-8: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/20/2006
SV: If the government decides to finance exports of consumer goods directly, it can, indeed, do so through export subsidies or through credits provided by a specialist bank or through the general banking system, as you suggest. I think it is wrong. But I agree with you that the best source would be ...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-9: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/21/2006
NG: Besides the above-mentioned sources of financing, the development of the capital markets, as a source of financing in RM, will depend on the establishment and development of investment funds. The privatization model wasn't best suited for the development of this kind of institutions, which will ...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-10: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/22/2006
SV: Wine and apples are two fine examples of the "Macedonian Malaise" (typical to most so called "countries in transition"). The condition is characterized by an overwhelming sense of inferiority. Having been oppressed and subjugated for so long, small nations convince themselves that they deserve i...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-11: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/23/2006
NG: A few months ago we have discussed attracting foreign investments to RM. One of the most important measures, for attaining a suitable balanced state in RM, should be directed at attracting foreign commercial investments in RM.

Foreign investments bring fresh and non-returnable capital, w...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-12: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/24/2006
NG: The first problem of the three that I mentioned can be solved by the employment of managerial techniques involving better organization and the combining of resources and by the state creating a better economic environment (monetary measures, bonuses, etc.).

Besides, all these problems co...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-13: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/25/2006
SV: One technical comment, though. TQM is a more comprehensive management philosophy, which revolves around the assurance of quality in all phases of the economic activity of the firm. But TQM is one of many such philosophies (and lately very much out of favour). These fads are by no means comparabl...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-14: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/26/2006
SV: As I said earlier, imports, in themselves are good to the economy because they optimize the use of economic resources through increased efficiency of the allocation of economic resources. The question is only: WHAT is imported. There are imported goods which generate sufficient income in the fut...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-15: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/27/2006
SV: You touched upon the three alternatives available to small countries that wish to increase their exports and to extract themselves from a chronic state of poverty (=of deficits). The first alternative, is to attach itself to one big economic power. This is the case of the Czech Republic and used...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-16: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/2/2006
SV: It is a big debate whether the state should intervene in the operation of free markets. Granted, the state is not the most efficient economic player. It is slow, corrupt, ignorant, influenced by non-commercial considerations, short-sighted and either too aggressive or too placid. On the other ha...

Trade Deficits and the Health of the Economy-17: Dialog with Nikola Gruevski, former Minister of Finance of Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/3/2006
SV: There is no point in separating the issues of education and management. The students of today are the managers of tomorrow. This old generation of mostly corrupt political commissars masquerading as managers and robbing the assets of the firms they are entrusted with – is bound to pass. Biology ...

The Secret Art of Power - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/4/2006
An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited".

Dear RCM,

I liked the epistolary format. If you agree - shall we continue at least one more dialogue this way? I want to suggest the title (heavily borrowed from you): THE ...

The Secret Art of Power - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/7/2006
Dear Roberto,

I enjoyed your letter greatly. You finally provided me with an insight as to why we feel so ambivalent about technology. But in this letter I would like to attempt a phenomenology of knowledge and the power it exercises or is associated with.

David Deutsch in his "Fabric of Re...

The Secret Art of Power - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/8/2006

Codes can be classified according to any number of taxonomies. But I would like to concentrate in this letter on the spatial versus the temporal cyphers.

Most codes are physical entities with a limited and well-defined spatial presence. They do not evolve- they have no future. They con...

Why do We Celebrate Birthdays
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/10/2006
Why do we celebrate birthdays? What is it that we are toasting? Is it the fact that we have survived another year against many odds? Are we marking the progress we have made, our cumulative achievements and possessions? Is a birthday the _expression of hope sprung eternal to live another year?

The Secret Art of Power - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/10/2006
Dear Sam,

Your letter broaches some of the great problems of the (post)-modern world. Though I am not sure whether your conclusions are right. My lack of knowledge of economics hinders my argumentation, but, I would like you to explain to our readers (and to me) the relationship between Market and...

The Secret Art of Power - Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/11/2006
Dear Roberto,

Allow me to deviate from my usual behaviour by extensively quoting an article published in "The Economist" dated October 30th, 1999. The article is titled "Politics and Silicone Valley -":

"The rise of Americas high-tech industry is not just a windfall for presiden...

The Secret Art of Power - Part VI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/17/2006
Dear Sam,

It far from my intention to deny the possibilities of non-linear systems and all that. Multiplicity of info-lines, a wide variety of articulations, the velocity of communication... all those things are good news (I have studied them in my book Chaos AD, using complexity and chaos theorie...

The Secret Art of Power - Part VII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2006
Dear Sam,

Well, nothing more to add to the letter. Your letter has shown us our modern world and put us just on the line to confront the great questions (by the way, your comment on the PlayStation is very perspicacious. You should see the film "eXistenZ" (directed by David Cronenberg) which explo...

The Complusive Giver
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2006
To all appearances, the compulsive giver is an altruistic, empathic, and caring person. Actually, he or she is a people-pleaser and a codependent. The compulsive giver is trapped in a narrative of his own confabulation: how his nearest and dearest need him because they are poor, young, inexperienced...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/19/2006
"The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make it its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain anymore, so it eats it. (its rather like ...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/20/2006
An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin
Author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited"

Dear RCM,

No amount of self-deprecation will suffice to hide the fact that you are an original thinker. One does not to be a lawyer to discuss the law, the way...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/23/2006
Hi, Sam

Fortunately recovered from my technological injuries (computer´s malaise) and its blind laws and we can go on with our dialogue.

By the way, I have to say that interactive work is one of the best achievements of technology. Your exposition of "the quasi-identity of law and technology" ...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/24/2006
Dear RCM,

It is always such a gift to receive your letters. They provoke in me uncontrollable floods of thoughts which I can rarely capture by putting pen to paper (yes, I blush in admitting to such retro devices...

Mankind is coming back a full circle - from ideograms through alphabet to ...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/1/2006
Informal law system will win, there is no question in mind. Not only because they constitute a better organizational model but because they are more adept at processing the raw material of the next millennium, information. Thus, they are better positioned to guarantee the survival of our race.

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part VI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/2/2006
Or consider Turing's universal computers (machines):

In 1936 an American (Alonzo Church) and a Briton (Alan M. Turing) published independently (as is often the coincidence in science) the basics of a new branch in Mathematics (and logic): computability or recursive functions (later to be develope...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part VII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2006
Dear Sam,

It is always my intention to offer our readers not only speculative ideas but also "pragmatic" lessons. But before descending to terrestrial considerations, I would like to briefly comment on some of your, as usual, interesting opinions.

I will maintain your order:


The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part VIII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/4/2006
I fully share your view that both the Law and Technology (as I told you, I regard them as two manifestations of one and the same thing) - are concerned with the preservation and propagation of identity.

The Law (religious and secular alike) is chiefly concerned with the protection of what IS, of ...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part IX
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/5/2006
Now we can try to define "definition" itself:

"Definition" – A statement which captures the meaning, the use, the function and the essence (the identity) of a term or a concept. Let us go one level higher. Let us define ABSENCE rather than PRESENCE, nothing rather than something, inaction rather ...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part X
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/6/2006

I must say that your "apparent" disgressions on linguistic problems and concerning life-after-death are no disgression at all but very pertinent questions (all my analyses are, in fact, based solely upon life and death). These two are, in my opinion, the only pair of words that remain clear....

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part XI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/8/2006
A culture can be described by using a few axes:

Distinguishing versus Consuming Cultures

Some cultures give weight and presence (though not necessarily equal) to each of their constituent elements (the individual and social structures). Each such element is idiosyncratic and unique. Such cultu...

The Technology of Law and The Law of Technology - Part XII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/10/2006
Hi Sam,

I am not worried at all about being in full agreement with you - it is you who should be worried indeed.

But, I think we are not dealing with the same question. I am presenting this question in absolute terms. Though all those considerations about cultures are interesting indeed, it is...

Surpassing Man - Part I - An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/11/2006
I have not been asked, as I should have been asked, what the name Zarathustra means in precisely my mouth, in the mouth of the first immoralist: for what constitutes the tremendous uniqueness of that Persian in history is precisely the opposite of this. Zarathustra was the first to see in the strugg...

Surpassing Man - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/19/2006
Dear Roberto,

This letter is an opening salvo. I will save the heavy amunition (mainly Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Fichte, Hegel, Weber, others) to later.

Mankind is at an unprecedented technological crossroads. The confluence of telecommunications, mass transport, global computer networks and the...

The New Dark Ages
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2006
When I was growing up in a slum in Israel, I devoutly believed that knowledge and education will set me free and catapult me from my miserable circumstances into a glamorous world of happy learning. But now, as an adult, I find myself in an alien universe where functional literacy is non-existent ev...

Surpassing Man - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/21/2006
Dear Roberto,

In your opening gambit you most definitely asked the pertinent question - to ask what will replace Man is to ask WHAT is Man. There is an interesting infinite regression here, a recursiveness which is the result of a unique trait of intelligence: introspection. Humans are BOTH the s...

Why Are Politicians Corrupt?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/22/2006
Most politicians bend the laws of the land and steal money or solicit bribes because they need the funds to support networks of patronage. Others do it in order to reward their nearest and dearest or to maintain a lavish lifestyle when their political lives are over.

But these mundane reasons...

Surpassing Man - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/23/2006
Hi Sam,

I enjoyed your letter. As far as I know your summary of Nietsche's philosophy is the best one I've seen - it should be taught is such way in high schools. I would like to add just a small commentary. There can be no question that the Nazis would have been a real object of Nietzsche's hate...

Surpassing Man - Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/24/2006
Dear RCM,

Long time no heard. I was busy publishing my latest graphomania ("After the Rain - How the West Lost the East").

The big flaw in the arguments of philosopher-anthropolgists (from Montaigne to Nietzsche) - whether prescriptive or descriptive - is that they didn't seem to have asked the...

Surpassing Man - Part VI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/25/2006
Dear Sam,

I almost agree with your arguments. The trouble lies, as ever, in that we are both the observer and the observed. This, at least, is what defines "humans". This strange property of observing and the communication of our observations to others - language- is what sets us apart.


Surpassing Man - Part VII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/26/2006
Dear Roberto,

Here is a more prosaic vision, devoid of spirits and Divine Beings - but, I think, a more natural progression from our current point of departure.

In his dreams of electric sheep, Man is drawn inexorably to his technological alter-ego. A surrealistic landscape of broken Bosch...

Surpassing Man - Part VIII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/27/2006
Dear Sam,

I liked your prognosis, it is quite correct :-). By the way, I do not know if I share Aurobindo's ideas. I just intended to demonstrate how different "surpassings" can be seen from different side of world. Yours is that of the West, technological, utopic, fantastic and titanic.


Surpassing Man - Part IX
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/27/2006
Dear Sam,

Your last letter is so condensed, so finely drawn, that I have almost nothing to say. That's the way I see the short-term future. All your prognoses, either pertaining to genetics, or to robots and culture seem to be quite correct. They are - if we can put it this way - the most probabl...

Live and Let Live, Nature's Message
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/29/2006
Both now-discarded Lamarckism (the supposed inheritance of acquired characteristics) and Evolution Theory postulate that function determines form. Natural selection rewards those forms best suited to carry out the function of survival ("survival of the fittest") in each and every habitat (through th...

The Pathological Charmer
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/30/2006
The narcissist is confident that people find him irresistible. His unfailing charm is part of his self-imputed omnipotence. This inane conviction is what makes the narcissist a "pathological charmer". The somatic narcissist and the histrionic flaunt their sex appeal, virility or femininity, sexual p...

The Misanthropic Altruist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/31/2006
Some narcissists are ostentatiously generous - they donate to charity, lavish gifts on their closest, abundantly provide for their nearest and dearest, and, in general, are open-handed and unstintingly benevolent. How can this be reconciled with the pronounced lack of empathy and with the pernicious...

The Industrious Spies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/1/2006
The Web site of GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System) lists 18 "state of the art equipments (sic) used for advanced spying". These include binoculars to read lips, voice activated bugs, electronic imaging devices, computer taps, electromagnetic induction detectors, acoustic stethoscopes, fib...

Infrastructure and Prosperity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/6/2006
In the past, if you were to mention the word "infrastructure", the only mental association would have been: "physical". Infrastructure comprised roads, telephone lines, ports, airports and other very tangible country spanning things. Many items were added to this category as time went by, but they a...

Manufactured Scarcity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/7/2006
Conspiracy theorists have long alleged that manufacturers foster scarcity by building into their products mechanisms of programmed obsolescence and apopstosis (self-destruction).

But scarcity is artificially manufactured in less obvious (and far less criminal) ways. Technological advances, pr...

Dividing the Loot
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/8/2006
It is when the going gets better, that the going gets tough. This enigmatic sentence bears explanation: when a firm is in dire straits, in the throes of a crisis, or is a loss maker - conflicts between the shareholders (partners) are rare. When a company is in the start-up phase, conducting research...

Trading in Sovereign Promises
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/12/2006
Martin Schubert and his investment boutique, European Inter-American Finance, in joint venture with Merrill Lynch and Aetna, pioneered the private trading of sovereign obligations of emerging market economies, including those in default. In conjunction with private merchant banks, such as Singer Fri...

The Case of the Compressed Image
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/13/2006
Forgent Networks from Texas wanted to collect a royalty every time someone compresses an image using the JPEG algorithm. It urged third parties to negotiate with it separate licensing agreements. It bases its claim on a 21 year old patent it acquired in 1997 when VTel, from which Forgent was spun-of...

The Chinese Room Revisited
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/14/2006
Whole forests have been wasted in the effort to refute the Chinese Room Thought Experiment proposed by Searle in 1980 and refined (really derived from axioms) in 1990. The experiment envisages a room in which an English speaker sits, equipped with a book of instructions in English. Through one windo...

Thoughts on the Internet's Founding Myths
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/15/2006
Whenever I put forth on the Internet's numerous newsgroups, discussion fora and Websites a controversial view, an iconoclastic opinion, or a much-disputed thesis, the winning argument against my propositions starts with "everyone knows that ...". For a self-styled nonconformist medium, the Internet ...

The Turtle Syndrome
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2006
The mobile office is a long established reality. Today's laptops are as powerful as most desktops and have as much memory and as many accessories. One can communicate through them, using faxing and electronic mail software. They can be connected to both mobile and fixed phones. A person can carry hi...

Global Economy: Surfing the Third Wave
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/17/2006
Five thousand years ago, people were still roaming the earth as nomads. They carried along their few precious possessions in their hands and on their backs. They hunted and gathered food at random.

Then came the Agricultural Revolution: people settled down and got attached - physically, emoti...

The Cultural Narcissist - Part I: Lasch in an Age of Diminishing Expectations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/18/2006
"The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety. He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life. Liberated from the superstitions of the past, he doubts even the reality of his own existence. Superficially relaxed and tolerant, he finds little use for ...

The Cultural Narcissist - Part II: Lasch in an Age of Diminishing Expectations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/19/2006
Lasch envisioned a communitarian society, one where men are self made and the State is gradually made redundant. This is a worthy vision and a vision worthy of some other era. Lasch never woke up to the realities of the late 20th century: mass populations concentrated in sprawling metropolitan areas...

The Cultural Narcissist - Part III: Lasch in an Age of Diminishing Expectations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/20/2006
Lasch just ingeniously reversed the argument. The same characteristics, he said, are to be found in today's elites, "those who control the international flow of money and information, preside over philanthropic foundations and institutions of higher learning, manage the instruments of cultural produ...

The Cultural Narcissist - Part IV: Lasch in an Age of Diminishing Expectations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/21/2006
Lasch was a fanatic religious man. He would have rejected this title with vehemence. But he was the worst type: unable to commit himself to the practice while advocating its employment by others. If you asked him why was religion good, he would have waxed on concerning its good result. He said nothi...

The Construct of Normal Personality
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/22/2006
Personality disorders are dysfunctions of our whole identity, tears in the fabric of who we are. They are all-pervasive because our personality is ubiquitous and permeates each and every one of our mental cells. I just published the first article in this topic titled "What is Personality?". Read it ...

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) - Pros and Cons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/23/2006
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition, text revision [American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV-TR, Washington, 2000] - or the DSM-IV-TR for short - describes Axis II personality disorders as "deeply ingrained, maladaptive, lifelong behavior patterns". But the classificatory model the...

The Six Sins of the Wikipedia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/26/2006
It is a question of time before the Wikipedia self-destructs and implodes. It poses such low barriers to entry (anyone can edit any number of its articles) that it is already attracting masses of teenagers as "contributors" and "editors", not to mention the less savory flotsam and jetsam of cyber-li...

Healthcare in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/27/2006
Transition has trimmed Russian life expectancy by well over a decade. People lead brutish and nasty lives only to expire in their prime, often inebriated. In the republics of former Yugoslavia, respiratory and digestive tract diseases run amok. Stress and pollution conspire to reap a grim harvest th...

What is Intuition?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/28/2006
I. The Three Intuitions

IA. Eidetic Intuitions

Intuition is supposed to be a form of direct access. Yet, direct access to what? Does it access directly "intuitions" (abstract objects, akin to numbers or properties - see "Bestowed Existence")? Are intuitions the objects of the mental act of Intui...

Mortgage Financed Construction
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/30/2006
The Buyers<>1. The Buyers of residential property form an Association.

2. The Buyers' Association signs a contract with a construction company chosen by open and public tender.

3. The contract with the construction company is for the construction of residential property to be owned by the Buye...

Whose Brain Is It Anyway?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/7/2006
In "Being John Malkovich", a quintessential loser, an out-of-job puppeteer, is hired by a firm, whose offices are ensconced in a half floor (literally. The ceiling is about a metre high, reminiscent of Taniel's hallucinatory Alice in Wonderland illustrations). By sheer accident, he discovers a tunne...

America the Narcissist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/8/2006
The majority of worldwide respondents to the last two global Pew enter surveys (in 2002 and 2006) regarded the United States as the greatest menace to world peace - far greater than the likes of Iraq or China. Thinkers and scholars as diverse as Christopher Lasch in "The Cultural Narcissist" and The...

American Bases To Be Moved From Germany To Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/10/2006
Invited by a grateful United States, the Czech Republic sent in February 2003 a representative to meet with Iraqi opposition in Kurdish north Iraq. The country was one of the eight signatories on a letter, co-signed by Britain, Italy, Spain and the two other European Union central European candidate...

The History of Personality Disorders
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/11/2006
Well into the eighteenth century, the only types of mental illness - then collectively known as "delirium" or "mania" - were depression (melancholy), psychoses, and delusions. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the French psychiatrist Pinel coined the phrase "manie sans delire" (insanity wi...

Better Get Sick in Germany
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/12/2006
The Germans, ever the pragmatic sort, call their hospitals - "houses of the sick" or "houses of those suffering". In English the word "hospital" derives from Latin and denotes hosting or hospitality. This may well be the main difference between the German health system and the Anglo-Saxon one. While...

The Social Impact of Psychopaths and Antisocials
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/13/2006
Is the psychopath, sociopath, and someone with the Antisocial Personality Disorder one and the same? The DSM says "yes". Scholars such as Robert Hare and Theodore Millon beg to differ. The psychopath has antisocial traits for sure but they are coupled with and enhanced by callousness, ruthlessness, ...

Trends for a Not-so-new Millennium
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/14/2006
We construct maps of the world around us, using cognitive models, organizational principles, and narratives that we acquire in the process of socialization. These are augmented by an incessant bombardment of conceptual, ideational, and ideological frameworks emanating from the media, from peers and ...

Employment and Unemployment - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/17/2006
Communism abolished official unemployment. It had no place in the dictatorship of the proletariat, where all means of production were commonly owned. Underemployment was rife, though. Many workers did little else besides punching cards on their way in and out.

For a long time, it seemed as th...

Employment and Unemployment - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/18/2006
II. The Facts

IIa. Labour Mobility

"Mobility", "globalization", "flextime" - media imagery leads us to believe that we move around more often, and change (less secure) jobs more frequently. It is not so. By many measures, the world is less globalized today than it was a century ago. Contrary to ...

Employment and Unemployment - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/19/2006
IIf. Unemployment and Inflation

Another common misperception is that there is some trade off between unemployment and inflation. Both Friedman and Phelps attacked this simplistic notion. Unemployment seems to have a "natural" (equilibrium) rate, which is determined by the structure and operation o...

Employment and Unemployment - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/20/2006
III. The Solutions

IIIa. Tweaking Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits provide a strong disincentive to work and, if too generous, may become self-perpetuating. Ideally, unemployment benefits should be means tested and limited in time, should decrease gradually and should be withheld from...

Employment and Unemployment - Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/21/2006
IIIe. Administrative Measures: Early Retirement

A favorite of post-communist countries in transition, early retirement was liberally applied in order to get rid of "technologically-redundant" workers and thus trim under-employment.

Romania, for instance, offered its workers a handsome up-fr...

Microsoft's Encarta Premium 2007
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/23/2006
While Microsoft Encarta Premium 2006 marked Microsoft's commitment to the Web - Microsoft Encarta Premium 2007 marks its commitments to its own technology. The new Encarta relies on Microsoft's powerful, flexible, scalable, and adaptable .Net Framework 2.0. There a price to pay, of course: the time ...

Russia's Role in a Brave, New World
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/1/2006
This article was originally written in May 1999. How little has changed! Replace Yeltsin with Putin and the text, regrettably, is utterly applicable - even more so than when it was written. A president (Yeltsin) almost impeached. An important politician sacked due to incompetence. Business tycoons u...

First and Last Days in Kosovo - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, March
The West invested fortunes – billions of dollars (and euros) in maintaining this illusory truce. In a way, the West bribed both the local politicians and Kosovo’s impoverished population (as it has been doing in other con...

First and Last Days in Kosovo - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/3/2006
Excerpts from an interview granted to, March
“Greater Albania” is a boogeyman gleefully exploited by non-Albanians in the region. “Greater Serbia” and “Greater Bulgaria” (even “Greater Greece”) are far more realistic (and they are not). Moreover, Albanians are not a...

America's Steeling a March on Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/3/2006
The recent steel spats between the USA and, among others, the EU, is a classic case of suicidal protectionism. American steel producers ended up imposing quotas and tariffs on manufacturers they have only recently purchased in central and eastern Europe.

The battle is far from over. US produc...

Pharmaceuticals in Central and East Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/4/2006
According to Wellbeingdoctor web site, Novartis, the Swiss drug giant announced in January 2003 that it will unite its 14 brands of generic drugs under the Sandoz name, harking back to its origins as a manufacturer of affordable, of...

The Exclusionary Conscience
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/8/2006
The self-identity of most nation-states is exclusionary and oppositional: to generate solidarity, a sense of shared community, and consensus, an ill-defined "we" is unfavorably contrasted with a fuzzy "they". While hate speech has been largely outlawed the world over, these often counterfactual dich...

Russia's Israeli Oil Bond
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/14/2006
In October 2002, Russia and Israel - erstwhile bitter Cold War enemies - have agreed to make use of Israel's neglected oil pipeline, known as the Tipline. The conduit, an Iranian-Israeli joint venture completed in 1968 is designed to carry close to a million barrels per day, circumventing the Suez c...

Europe's Four Speeds
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/16/2006
Pomp and circumstance often disguise a sore lack of substance. The three days summit of the Central European Initiative is no exception. Held in Macedonia's drab capital, Skopje, the delegates including the odd chief of state, discussed their economies in what was presumptuously dubbed by them the "...

The Skoda Model
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/17/2006
Skoda Auto, the Czech-based carmaker, is completing its transformation from manufacturer of smoke-belching, low-budget, communist-era clunkers to producer of upscale, affordable, BMW-alikes. "Skoda" means in Czech pity or shame - an apt moniker for the company's erstwhile products.

No more. I...

The Economic Freedom of Indices
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/20/2006
The quality of Wall Street research has suffered grievous blows these last six years. Yet, publishers of political and economic indices largely escaped unscathed. Though their indicators often influence the pecuniary fate of developing countries, they are open to little scrutiny and criticism.

Microsoft's Third Front
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/23/2006
Elated investors greeted chairman Bill Gates and chief executive officer Steve Ballmer for Microsoft's victory in the titanic antitrust lawsuit brought against it by the Department of Justice and assorted state attorneys general. They also demanded that Microsoft distribute its pile of cash - $40 bi...

Defense Mechanisms in Politics - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/8/2006
According to Freud and his followers, our psyche is a battlefield between instinctual urges and drives (the id), the constraints imposed by reality on the gratification of these impulses (the ego), and the norms of society (the superego). This constant infighting generates what Freud called "neuroti...

Defense Mechanisms in Politics - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/9/2006

Everyone fantasizes now and then. It helps to fend off the dreariness and drabness of everyday life and to plan for an uncertain future. But when fantasy becomes a central feature of grappling with conflict, it is pathological. Seeking gratification - the satisfaction of drives or desires ...

Defense Mechanisms in Politics - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/10/2006
Projection is unconscious. People are rarely aware that they are projecting onto others their own ego-dystonic and unpleasant characteristics and feelings. But, sometimes, the projected content is retained in the subject's awareness. This creates a conflict. On the one hand, the patient cannot admit...

The Kidnapping of Content
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/14/2006
Latin kidnapped the word "plagion" from ancient Greek and it ended up in English as "plagiarism". It literally means "to kidnap" - most commonly, to misappropriate content and wrongly attribute it to oneself. It is a close kin of piracy. But while the software or content pirate does not bother to hi...

The Basic Dilemma of the Artist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/15/2006
"I know of no 'new programme'. Only that art is forever manifesting itself in new forms, since there are forever new personalities-its essence can never alter, I believe. Perhaps I am wrong. But speaking for myself, I know that I have no programme, only the unaccountable longing to grasp what I see ...

Invasion of the Amazons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/18/2006
The last few years have witnessed a bloodbath in tech stocks coupled with a frantic re-definition of the web and of every player in it (as far as content is concerned). This effort is three pronged:

Some companies are gambling on content distribution, such as Will Online Content Ever be Profitable? - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/19/2006

1. Content Suppliers

The Ethos of Free Content

Content Suppliers is the underprivileged sector of the Internet. They all lose money (even sites which offer basic, standardized goods - books, CDs), with the exception of sites profering sex, tourism and The Living Book
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/24/2006
Dan Poynter and Danny Snow - the acknowledged gurus of the e-book revolution - did it again. The fourth edition of their tome is a "living book". The public release is slated for December 2006-January 2007. But no two volumes will be alike. An appendix in the POD paperback edition will...

The Encyclopedia Britannica 2007 Opens to the Web
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/25/2006
The Encyclopedia Britannica 2007 (established in 1768) is again a completely revamped product. The rate of innovation in the last two editions is impressive and welcome. Its interface is intuitive and uncluttered and it is great fun to use. For instance, it offers a date-based daily selection of re...

Will Online Content Ever be Profitable? - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/28/2006
3. The Money

Where is the capital needed to finance content likely to come from? Again, there are two schools: According to the first, sites will be financed through advertising - and so will search engines and other applications accessed by users. Certain ASPs (Application Service Providers whic...

Wikipedia vs. Britannica - Interview with Tom Panelas
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/29/2006
Tom Panelas is the Encyclopedia Britannica's Director of Corporate Communications.

Q. Is the Wikipedia an encyclopedia in any sense of the word?

A. I don't think it's crucial that everyone agree on whether Wikipedia is or is not an encyclopedia. What's important is that people who might use...

Will Online Content Ever be Profitable? - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/3/2006
The Future History of the Internet as a Medium

The internet is simply the latest in a series of networks which revolutionized our lives. A century before the internet, the telegraph, the railways, the radio and the telephone have been similarly heralded as "global" and transforming. Every medium ...

Will Online Content Ever be Profitable? - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/4/2006

This phase is the next in the Internet's history, though, it seems, few realize it.

It is characterized by enhanced activities of legislation. Legislators, on all levels, discover the medium and lurch at it passionately. Resources which were considered "free", suddenly are t...

Will Online Content Ever be Profitable? - Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/6/2006
2. Content Related Fees

This was prevalent in the Net until recently. Even potentially commercial software, like iOS 7.0.4 Jailbreak for iPhone, can still be downloaded for free. In many countries television viewers still pay for television broadcas...

Migration and Brain Drain
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/9/2006
Human trafficking and people smuggling are multi-billion dollar industries. At least 50% of the 150 million immigrants the world over are illegal aliens. There are 80 million migrant workers found in virtually every country. They flee war, urban terrorism, crippling poverty, corruption, authoritaria...

Is Le Pen Right: Immigrants and the Fallacy of Labour Scarcity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/10/2006
Jean-Marie Le Pen - France's dark horse presidential contender - is clearly emotional about the issue of immigration and, according to him, its correlates, crime and unemployment. His logic is dodgy at best and his paranoid xenophobia ill-disguised. But Le Pen and his ilk - from Carinthia to Copenha...

Employee Benefits and Ownership
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/12/2006
Aligning the interests of management and shareholders in the West by issuing stock options to the former - has failed miserably. Options are frequently re-priced in line with the decline in share prices, thus denuding them of their main incentive. In other cases, fast eroding stock options motivated...

Entrepreneurship and Workaholism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/13/2006
The Dutch proudly point to their current rate of unemployment at less than 2%. Labour force participation is at a historically high 74% (although in potential man-hour terms it stands at 62%). France is as hubristic with its labour policies - the 35 hours week and the earlier reduction in employers'...

The Future of Work
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/14/2006
A US Department of Labor report published, aptly, on Labor Day 1999, summed up the conventional wisdom regarding the future of this all-pervasive pastime we call "work". Agriculture will stabilize, service sector jobs will mushroom, employment in the manufacturing sector will be squeezed by "just in...

Gender Bias in Diagnosing Personality Disorders
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/17/2006
Ever since Freud, more women than men sought therapy. Consequently, terms like "hysteria' are intimately connected to female physiology and alleged female psychology. The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the bible of the psychiatric profession) expressly professes gender bias: personality dis...

Competition Laws and Industrial Action - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/18/2006
Should the price of labor (wages) and its conditions be left entirely to supply and demand in a free market - or should they be subject to regulation, legislation, and political action?

Is industrial action a form of monopolistic and , therefore, anti-competitive behavior?

Should emplo...

Google-Wikipedia-MySpace - How Teenagers Hijacked the Internet
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/19/2006
A recent (late 2006) study by Heather Hopkins from Hitwise demonstrates the existence of a pernicious feedback loop between Google, Wikipedia, MySpace, and Blogspot. Wikipedia gets 54% of its traffic from Google search results. The majority of Wikipedia visitors then proceed to MySpace or Blogspot, ...

Competition Laws and Industrial Action - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/23/2006

Why does the State involve itself in the machinations of the free market? Because often markets fail or are unable or unwilling to provide goods, services, or competition. The purpose of competition laws is to secure a competitive marketplace and thus ...

Competition Laws and Industrial Action - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/24/2006
(Based on Porter's book - "Competitive Strategy")

Anti-competitive practices influence the economy by discouraging foreign investors, encouraging inefficiencies and mismanagement, sustaining artificially high prices, misallocating scarce resources, increa...

Competition Laws and Industrial Action - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/25/2006
Maintain excess capacity to be used for "fighting" purposes to discipline ambitious rivals.

Such excess capacity could belong to the offending firm or - through cartel or other arrangements - to a group of offending firms. A labor union, for instance, can selectively aid one firm by being le...

Statistics of Abuse and Stalking
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/26/2006
Contrary to common opinion, there has been a marked decline in domestic violence in the last decade. Moreover, rates of domestic violence and intimate partner abuse in various societies and cultures - vary widely. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that abusive conduct is not inevitable and is only ...

International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/30/2006
The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is published by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. It included mental health disorders for the first time in 1948, in its sixth edition. In 1959, following widespread criticism of its classificatory scheme, the WHO commissioned a ...

Metaphors of the Mind
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/1/2006
The brain (and, by implication, the mind) have been compared to the latest technological innovation in every generation. The computer metaphor is now in vogue. Computer hardware metaphors were replaced by software metaphors and, lately, by (neuronal) network metaphors.

Metaphors are not confi...

Bestowed Existence
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/7/2006
Knives and forks are objects external to us. They have an objective - or at least an intersubjective - existence. Presumably, they will be there even if no one watches or uses them ever again. We can safely call them "Objective Entities".

Our emotions and thoughts can be communicated - but th...

The Dance of Jael
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/15/2006
"Envy is forever looking upwards. It does not look sideways. In 'Facial Justice' Hartley (1960) describes a life after a catastrophic war. A Dictator has decreed that envy is so destructive that it has to be eliminated. The citizens are coerced to be as alike each other as possible. The worst crime ...

The Definition of Definitions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/16/2006
The sentence "all cats are black" is evidently untrue even if only one cat in the whole universe were to be white. Thus, the property "being black" cannot form a part of the definition of a cat. The lesson to be learnt is that definitions must be universal. They must apply to all the members of a de...

Small Businesses - Big Obstacles
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/20/2006
Everyone is talking about small businesses. In 1993, when it was allowed in Macedonia, more than 90,000 new firms were registered by individuals. Now, less than three years later, official figures show that only 40,000 of them still pay their dues and present annual financial statements. These firms...

Liquidity or Liquidation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/21/2006
Large parts of the world today suffer from a severe liquidity crisis. The famed globalization of the capital markets seems to confine itself, ever more, to the richer parts, the more liquid exchanges, the more affluent geopolitical neighbourhoods. The fad of "emerging economies" has all but died out...

Homo Balkanus
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/22/2006
Written: August 18, 1999

Could have been written today

How does one respond to a torrent of belligerent correspondence from Balkanians arguing against the belligerence of Balkanians asserted by one in one's articles? Were it not sad, it surely would have been farcical. Only yesterday (August 17t...

Making your Workers your Partners
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/23/2006
There is an inherent conflict between owners and managers of companies. The former want, for instance, to minimize costs - the latter to draw huge salaries as long as they are in power.

In publicly traded companies, the former wish to maximize the value of the stocks (short term), the latter ...

The Inferno of the Finance Director
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/24/2006
Sometimes, I harbour a suspicion that Dante was a Finance Director. His famous work, "The Inferno", is an accurate description of the job.

The CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is fervently hated by the workers. He is thoroughly despised by other managers, mostly for scrutinizing their expense ac...

Anger and Society - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/26/2006
Anger is a compounded phenomenon. It has dispositional properties, expressive and motivational components, situational and individual variations, cognitive and excitatory interdependent manifestations and psychophysiological (especially neuroendocrine) aspects. From the psychobiological point of vie...

Anger and Society - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/27/2006
Anger in healthy persons is diminished through action. It is an aversive, unpleasant emotion. It is intended to generate action in order to eradicate this uncomfortable sensation. It is coupled with physiological arousal. But it is not clear whether action diminishes anger or anger is used up in act...

Meritocracy and Brain Drain
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/4/2006
Groucho Marx, the famous Jewish-American comedian, once said:

"I would never want to belong to a club which would accept me as a member."

We are in the wake of the downfall of all the major ideologies of the 20th century - Fascism, Communism, etc. The New Order, heralded by President B...

To Grow Out of Unemployment
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/6/2006
There is a connection between economic growth and unemployment. There is a connection between growth and inflation. Therefore, commonsense (and financial theory) goes, there must be a connection between inflation and unemployment. A special measure of this connection is the Non Accelerating Inflatio...

Battling Macedonia's Cancer: Unemployment
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/6/2006
The official figures are staggering: 35% of the workforce - about 280,000 people - are unemployed and looking for a job. Each 1.43 employee support 1 unemployed person. In the USA the figure is 3.3 to 4 employees supporting all the unemployed AND all the pensioners!

The truth is less ominous....

The Agenda of Trade
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/11/2006
Formation:Asom Sanjukta Mukti Morcha or the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was formed on April 7, 1979 by Bhimakanta Buragohain, Rajiv Rajkonwar alias Arabinda Rajkhowa, Golap Baruah alias Anup Chetia, Samiran Gogoi alias Pradip Gogoi, Bhadreshwar Gohain and Paresh Baruah at the Rang Ghar in...

Employee and Management Owned Firms
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/12/2006
Margaret Thatcher started a world trend during her tenure as Prime Minister on Downing Street. It is called: Privatization. It consisted of the transfer of control of a state-owned enterprise to the Private Sector. This was done by selling the shares of the company. At times, the control itself was ...

The Professions of the Future
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/14/2006
Predicting the future is a tricky business. There have been countless ridiculous failures at identifying the trends and products which will determine the future shape of our life and our environment. Even more difficult is trying to guess which of us will be deemed a useful member of the community...

Eastern Europe: Leapfrogging to Cellular
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/15/2006
The government of former Yugoslavia, usually strapped for cash, has agreed to purchase 29 percent of Telekom Srbija, of which it already owns 51 percent. It will pay the seller, Italia International, close to $200 million. The Greek telecom, OTE, owns the rest.

In January 2003, the Serb priva...

The Demise of the Dinosaur PTTs
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/16/2006
Telecommunications is the most important physical infrastructure in the modern world. It is more important than roads because it can replace them. It is more important than office buildings because it allows for the formation of virtual offices. It is more crucial than legal and institutional system...

Corruption and Transparency - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/19/2006
I. The Facts

Just days before a much-awaited donor conference, the influential International Crisis Group (ICG) recommended to place all funds pledged to Macedonia under the oversight of a "corruption advisor" appointed by the European Commission. The donors ignored this and other recommendat...

Corruption and Transparency - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/20/2006
We can classify corrupt and venal behaviors according to their outcomes:

a. Income Supplement - Corrupt actions whose sole outcome is the supplementing of the income of the provider without affecting the "real world" in any manner.

b. Acceleration or Facilitation Fees - Corrupt practices ...

The Public Sector - An Uncertain Future
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/26/2006
What is: big, hated, outdated and indispensable? Answer: the Public Sector.

Everyone likes to complain about the deterioration of services provided by the Government and about how it obstructs the development of the Private Sector.

The Public Sector is composed of two elements:


The Public Sector in Economies in Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/2/2007
In the previous article ("The Public Sector - An Uncertain Future"), we described the various methods developed in the West to cope with the ever-burgeoning public sector.

Yet, economies in transition everywhere in the world have learned a lesson the hard way: not everything that is Western -...

The Shadowy World of International Finance
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/3/2007
Strange, penumbral, characters roam the boardrooms of banks in the countries in transition. Some of them pop apparently from nowhere, others are very well connected and equipped with the most excellent introductions. They all peddle financial transactions which are too good to be true and often are....

The Enrons of Russia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/4/2007
Hermitage Capital Management, an international investment firm owned by HSBC London, is suing PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), the biggest among the big four accounting firms (Andersen, the fifth, is being cannibalized by its competitors).

Hermitage also demands to have PwC's license suspended i...

The Criminality of Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/5/2007
Human vice is the most certain thing after death and taxes, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin. The only variety of economic activity, which will surely survive even a nuclear holocaust, is bound to be crime. Prostitution, gambling, drugs and, in general, expressly illegal activities generate c. 400 bi...

Why is the Macedonian Stock Exchange Unsuccessful?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/23/2007
The Macedonian Stock Exchange (MSE) is not operating successfully. True, some of the parameters which we use to measure the success of a stock exchange have lately improved in the MSE. For instance, the monthly money volume has increased together with the number of transactions. But this is a far cr...

Macedonia's Great Opportunity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/24/2007
Five thousand years ago, people were still roaming the earth as nomads. They carried along their few precious possessions in their hands and on their backs. They hunted and gathered food at random.

Then came the Agricultural Revolution: people settled down and got attached - physically, emoti...

Macedonia: Equity, Europe, Investments
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/25/2007
Economic theory describes the individual player in the marketplace as rational and cold blooded, always calculating risks versus profits. But reality is much more complex. Economy is 90% psychology: fashions, emotions, fears, hopes and expectations, past history and future visions. A phenomenon like...

Personality Disorders as an Insanity Defense
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/30/2007
"It is an ill thing to knock against a deaf-mute, an imbecile, or a minor. He that wounds them is culpable, but if they wound him they are not culpable." (Mishna, Babylonian Talmud)

Some personality disorders are culture-bound. Critics charge that these "mental illnesses" mostly serve as an o...

Casino Gaming in Developing Countries - A Mistake or a Blessing?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/31/2007
154,000,000. This is the number of Americans who visited the gambling institutions in the USA in 1995. Another 177,000,000 participated in other forms of gambling: US poker sites, car races, horse races, other sports tournaments. They have s...

Hedging Foreign Exchange Risks
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/1/2007
The exchange rate of the Macedonian denar against the major hard currencies of the world has remained stable in the last few years. Because of the IMF restrictions, the local Narodna (Central) Bank does not print money and there are no physical denars in the economy and in the local banks.


Don't Hurry to Invest in Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/5/2007
In the near past, Macedonia seemed to have been bent on breaking its own record of surrealism. While politicians in other countries in transition from communism and socialism strive to be noticed for not stealing, their Macedonian counterparts, without a single exception, aim to steal without being ...

Bosnia - An Economy in Search of a State
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/6/2007
Bosnia-Herzegovina (heretofore "Bosnia") is an artificial polity with four, tangentially interacting, economies. Serbs, Croats and their nominal allies, the Bosniaks each maintain their own economy. The bloated, fractured, turf conscious, inefficient, and often corrupt presence of the international ...

Romania - Europe's Heart Failure
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/7/2007
Romanians like to compare their country to the heart of Europe. If so, Europe has been in a continuous state of cardiac arrest. Romania is still so backward and corrupt that even venerable foreign leaders get entangled in its sleaze.

According to various press reports (e.g., in "Ananova"), on...

Romania's Private Defense
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/11/2007
Romanian President, Ion Iliescu, contested his homeland's geography. In April 2003, at a joint press conference with Bulgaria's President Parvanov, he cast both countries as "central-south European" rather than the derogatory "Balkan". Both joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union in January 2007 ...

Marketing Macedonia: The Public Relations and Promotion of Countries in Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/12/2007
Speech delivered at the AIESEC congress in Skopje, 1997

Many Macedonians ask me: why do foreign investors refrain from investing in Macedonia?

This reminds me of one Jewish joke and of three (true) stories.

The stories first:

In the November 1st, 1997 edition of the prestigiou...

Free Economic Zones in Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/13/2007
Question: What is a free zone?

Answer: There is an important distinction which the media is not aware of between FREE ZONES and FREE ZONE SITES.

To quote from the law:

"A free zone site represents a detached, enclosed and marked area of the territory of the Republic of Macedonia on which comme...

Nature, Aesthetics, Pleasure, and Ethics
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/19/2007
The distinction often made between emotions and judgements gives rise to a host of conflicting accounts of morality. Yet, in the same way that the distinction "observer-observed" is false, so is the distinction between emotions and judgements. Emotions contain judgements and judgements are formed by...

Ten Questions About Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/20/2007
Ten Questions You Wanted Answered About Macedonia - But Never Dared to Ask:

1. How Big is the Macedonian Market?

2 million consumers

10 million consumers

20 million consumers

60 million consumers

Most People answer…

2 million consumers


Narcissist vs. Psychopath
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/21/2007
We all heard the terms "psychopath" or "sociopath". These are the old names for a patient with the Antisocial Personality Disorder (AsPD). It is hard to distinguish narcissists from psychopaths. The latter may simply be a less inhibited and less grandiose form of the former. Indeed, the DSM V Commit...

Affiliation and Morality
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/22/2007
The Anglo-Saxon members of the motley "Coalition of the Willing" were proud of their aircraft's and missiles' "surgical" precision. The legal (and moral) imperative to spare the lives of innocent civilians was well observed, they bragged. "Collateral damage" was minimized. They were lucky to have co...

The Manifold of Sense - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/25/2007
"Anthropologists report enormous differences in the ways that different cultures categorize emotions. Some languages, in fact, do not even have a word for emotion. Other languages differ in the number of words they have to name emotions. While English has over 2,000 words to describe emotional categ...

Parapsychology and the Paranormal
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/1/2007
I. Introduction

The words "supernatural", "paranormal", and "parapsychology" are prime examples of oxymorons. Nature, by its extended definition, is all-inclusive and all-pervasive. Nothing is outside its orbit and everything that is logically and physically possible is within its purview. If some...

The Manifold of Sense - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/3/2007
Sense data are entities cyclically defined. Their existence depends upon being sensed by a sensor equipped with senses. Yet, they define the senses to a large extent (imagine trying to define the sense of vision without visuals). Ostensibly, they are entities, though subjective. Allegedly, they poss...

Legitimizing Final Causes
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/5/2007
In his book, Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, published in 2002, Howard Bloom suggests that all the organisms on the planet contribute to a pool of knowledge and, thus, constitute a "global brain". He further says that different life-forms "strike deals...

The Partiality of Wholeness
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/13/2007
Religious people believe in the existence of a supreme being. It has many attributes but two of the most striking are that it seems to both encompass and to pervade everything. Judaic sources are in the habit of saying that we all have a "share of the upper divine soul". Put more formally, we can sa...

Parsimony – The Fourth Substance
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/14/2007
Occasionalism is a variation upon Cartesian metaphysics. The latter is the most notorious case of dualism (mind and body, for instance). The mind is a "mental substance". The body – a "material substance". What permits the complex interactions which happen between these two disparate "substances"? T...

Book Review: "Morals for the 21st Century" by John Baines
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/20/2007
Texts written by (often) megalomaniac, self-appointed "teachers", invariably display the same sad attributes. Most blatantly, they contain false pretensions to knowledge. "John Baines" (the pseudonym of a Chilean "contemporary philosopher") pretends to know physics, psychoanalysis, and philosophy, t...

The Economics of Expectations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/21/2007
Economies revolve around and are determined by "anchors": stores of value that assume pivotal roles and lend character to transactions and economic players alike. Well into the 19 century, tangible assets such as real estate and commodities constituted the bulk of the exchanges that occurred in mark...

The Nature of Reality - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/22/2007
An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin

My dear Roberto,

I suggest the following map of the terrain we are going to explore together. It is by no means terra incognita. It has been visited before. But a long time has passed and new features have emerged. In short: it s...

The Nature of Reality - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/23/2007
An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin

Dear RCM,

As usual, your letter is a feast of erudition disguised as ignorance dipped in provocation. I ask you to trust me. That is, to close your eyes and to follow me, holding my virtual hand. In this letter, I will pose two q...

The Nature of Reality - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/24/2007
An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin

Dear Roberto,

I learned to like your vehement and passionate responses. To my mind, they are the hallmarks of a true intellectual. To me, the impassioned intellectual is an oxymoron. Curiosity is such an urgent drive, truth such...

The Nature of Reality - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/2/2007
Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin

Dear RCM,

Questions as all-encompassing as the ones you presented in your last letter call for a period of gestation. The same Hofstadter reviled by you posed the following question:

Is there any difference between a "real" hurricane and a hurri...

The Nature of Reality - Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/3/2007
An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin

Dear RCM,

As letters go, I will try and make this one my last excursion into theory (though I cannot promise not to pepper my next ones with more). I will deal with fractals in the "practical" group of letters. Today I will writ...

The Nature of Reality - Part VI
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/4/2007
An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin

Dear Roberto,

I wish I could hide behind established physics. Unfortunately, the ideas presented in my previous letter to you are all mine and borrowed from my Ph.D. thesis. They have nothing to do with current trends in physics...

The Nature of Reality - Part VII
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/5/2007
An Epistolary Dialogue Between Roberto Calvo Macias and Sam Vaknin

Dear Roberto,

What is the essence of the Turing Test that you so often refer to? It is about the ultimate or potential indistinguishability of reality from its imitation or simulation. If "artificial" intelligence were to become ...

Web 2.0 - Hoarding, not Erudition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/6/2007
Hoarding has replaced erudition everywhere. People hoard e-books, mp3 tracks, and photos. They memorize numerous fact and "facts" but can't tell the difference between them or connect the dots. The synoptic view of knowledge, the interconnectivity of data, the emergence of insight from treasure-trov...

Iraq's Oil for Food Revisited
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/9/2007
It is payback time. The United States has every intention of sidelining France, Germany and Russia in the lucrative reconstruction of a war-ravaged Iraq. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, said, last Wednesday, that Washington is bent on "streamlining" the 8 years old U.N. oil...

Iraq's Middle Class
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/10/2007
Iraq had no middle class to speak of until the oil boom of the 1960s-1970s. At the turn of the previous century, Baghdad sprawled across a mere tenth of its current area. However, since then and as late as 1987, the Iraqi capital was renowned throughout the Arab realm for its superior infrastructure...

Is Transition from Communism Possible?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/11/2007
Can Socialist Professors of Economics Teach Capitalism? Is Transition from Communism Possible? Lest you hold your breath to the end of this article - the answers to both questions in the title are no and no. Capitalism cannot be "learned" or "imported" or "emulated" or "simulated". Capitalism (or, r...

Iraq's Revenant Sons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/12/2007
Iraqi Jews - a quarter of a million strong - are known in Israel for their haughtiness and broad education, the latter often the cause of the former. They were forced to flee Arab-nationalist Iraq in 1941-1951, following the rise of Nazism and, later, the establishment of the State of Israel.

Forgiving Iraq's Debts
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/14/2007
The French were at it again in April 2003. Any reduction in Iraq's mountainous $120 billion external debt should be negotiated within the Paris Club of creditor nations, they insisted. It ought not - indeed, cannot - be tackled bilaterally. And what about another $200 billion in war reparations and ...

The Sudeten in Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2007
Bernard Kouchner, the former administrator of Kosovo, has warned against producing a a second Cyprus in Macedonia. He probably meant a territory divided along ethnic lines by a foreign army. But here the comparison ends. The ethnically cleansing invading Turkish army was not invited by both parties ...

Macedonia in Crisis: Interview with Sam Vaknin
GP Interviews - 4/19/2007
Q1: Was there any threat of economic sanctions against Republic of Macedonia by the international mediators and/or representatives of EU/US during the crisis of 2001?Were there threat or sanctions by the international community before 2001 due to ethnic tensions within the country?

A1: The answers...

Macedonia is not Bosnia: Interview with Edward Joseph
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/20/2007
This interview was conducted in 2000 with Edward Joseph, then head of the Macedonia office of the International Crisis Group (ICG). It proved prescient and is as actual today as it had been then. Ed Joseph's biography is a fair proxy to the history of the Balkan since 1992, the year he landed in Sar...

Resistance to Learning
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/21/2007
The denizens of the Balkans resist learning. They reject newfangled knowledge not because they are traditionalists - but because they are craven and because they are pragmatic.

Craven first:

In the paranoid and surrealistic landscape of the former Soviet Bloc, to admit to ignorance is ...

Empathy and Personality Disorders
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/21/2007
What is Empathy?

Normal people use a variety of abstract concepts and psychological constructs to relate to other persons. Emotions are such modes of inter-relatedness. Narcissists and psychopaths are different. Their "equipment" is lacking. They understand only one language: self-interest. Their ...

Serial and Mass Killers as Familiar Figures
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/22/2007
Interview (High School Project of Brandon Abear)

1 - Are most serial killers pathological narcissists? Is there a strong connection? 5 - Is the pathological narcissist more at risk of becoming a serial killerthan a person not suffering from the disorder?

A. Scholarly literature, biographica...

Victim reaction to Abuse by Narcissists and Psychopaths
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/23/2007
Personality disorders are not only all-pervasive, but also diffuse and shape-shifting. It is taxing and emotionally harrowing to watch how a loved one is consumed by these pernicious and largely incurable conditions. Victims adopt varying stances and react in different ways to the inevitable abuse i...

Web 2.0 - Erudition, Not Hoarding: Response to Sam Vaknin
Michael Hart - 4/27/2007
It is the last sentence in Sam Vaknin's article that I reply to in the greatest spirit, no matter how his earlier, important, and well-taken points might be. Sam might well call me one of the hoarders, except that I give away as much as I can. However, I am one of the few who believe a local storag...

The Price of Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/30/2007
Macedonia was most heavily damaged during Operation Allied Force. But one would do well to separate the irreversible damages from the reversible ones. The former have a corrosive, pernicious effect - the latter, though harmful and painful, can be remedied through added aid and investment and the ado...

Why did Milosevic Surrender?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/1/2007
Why did Milosevic surrender? I originally asked that question on June 21, 1999. So why did he? Not because of NATO. Ground damage assessment based on the number of withdrawing troops and their hardware and on a detailed inventory of charred remains in most of Kosovo - prove that this air campaign wa...

The Treasure Trove of Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/2/2007
Nothing like a juicy, photogenic human catastrophe to enrich corrupt politicians and bottom-line-orientated, stock-option-motivated corporate executives. The Balkan is teeming with both these sad days. Even as the war was raging, shortages of food and other supplies led to the dispensation of politi...

NATO's Next War
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2007
The real, protracted, war is about to start. NATO and the international peacekeeping force against an unholy - and, until recently, improbable - alliance. Milosevic (or post-Milosevic Serbia) and the KLA against the occupying forces. It is going to be ferocious. It is going to be bloody. And it is g...

The Deadly Antlers: Evolution of Euro-Atlantic Structures
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/7/2007
The Irish Elk roamed the earth 10,000 years ago. They had the largest pair of antlers ever grown - 3.6 meters (12 feet) across. Every year they grew new antlers from nubs prominently displayed on their heads. They were awesome to behold. They fought ferociously. They seemed eternal. Then the weather...

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/17/2007
I. Recommendations

Get the Real Picture

No one in Macedonia knows the real picture. How many are employed and not reported or registered? How many are registered as unemployed but really have a job? How many are part time workers – as opposed to full time workers? How many are officially employe...

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/18/2007
The principle governing any incentive scheme intended to encourage employers to hire hitherto unemployed workers must be that the employer will get increasing participation in the wage costs of the newly hired formerly unemployed workers – more with every year the person remains employed. Thus, a gr...

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/19/2007
The dissemination of information regarding employment practices, opportunities, market requirements, etc. should be a prime component of the activity of the Employment Bureau. It must transform itself from a mere registry of humans to an active, computerized exchange of labour. This can be done thro...

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2007
The macroeconomic policies of Macedonia are severely constrained by its international obligations to the IMF and the World Bank. Generally, a country can ease interest rates, or provide a fiscal boost to the economy by slashing taxes or by deficit spending.

Counter-cyclical fiscal policies ar...

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/21/2007
We are all under the spell of magic words such as “mobility”, “globalization” and “flextime”. It seems as though we move around more frequently, that we change jobs more often and that our jobs are less secure. The facts, though, are different.

The world is less globalized today than it was a...

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part 6
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/22/2007
Another common misperception is that there is some trade off between unemployment and inflation. Both Friedman and Phelps attacked this notion. Unemployment seems to have a “natural” (equilibrium or homeostatic) rate, which is determined by the structure of the labour market. The natural rate of une...

Macedonia vs. Unemployment, Part 7
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/23/2007
Macedonia has executed a workforce survey for the first time in 1996. In this survey the following definitions were used:

Economically Active: The combined numbers of the employed and the unemployed

Employed: People aged 15 or more who worked for a wage (in cash or in kind) or had inco...

What the Czech National Bank (CNB) can Learn from Israel
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/28/2007
The (Czech National Bank) CNB is one of the most autonomous in the world. It is also heavily influenced by current economic fashions. These fashions were propagated and disseminated throughout the world by the IMF in the last two decades with disastrous consequences. The IMF (and most central banks)...

The Czechs' Indian Gambit
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/29/2007
Then Czech deputy Minister for Industry and Trade, Miroslav Somol, sounded upbeat in his visit to India in early January 2003. At a meeting of the Confederation of Indian industry on Jan 6, 2003 he reminded the audience of their country's close economic collaboration with the erstwhile Czechoslovaki...

Straf - Corruption in Central and Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/31/2007
The three policemen barked "straf", "straf" in unison. It was a Russianized version of the German word for "fine" and a euphemism for bribe. I and my fiancée were stranded in an empty ally at the heart of Moscow, physically encircled by these young bullies, an ominous propinquity. They held my passp...

Hungary's Ever Closer Union
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/1/2007
Hungary is in the throes of strife, both economic and political. It looks bad but it is useful to recall how things were in March 2002 when Hungary's accession to the European Union (EU) was in balance. Russian mobsters love Budapest and not only for its views and cosmopolitan atmosphere. They can e...

Red Sun Rising - Hungary's Elections
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/2/2007
Hungary is in the throes of strife, both economic and political. It looks bad but it is useful to recall how things were in April 2002 when Hungary went to crucial elections as its accession to the European Union (EU) hung in balance. The Slovaks, perhaps a trifle prematurely, rejoiced. The Czech CT...

Deja Googled
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/13/2007
The Internet may have started as the fervent brainchild of DARPA, the US defence agency - but it quickly evolved into a network of computers at the service of a community. Academics around the world used it to communicate, compare results, compute, interact and flame each other. The ethos of the com...

Germany's Copyright Levy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/15/2007
Based on the recommendation of its Patent Office and following fierce lobbying by VG Wort, an association of German composers, authors and publishers, Germany enforced a three years old law and imposed a copyright levy of $13 plus 16 percent in value added tax per new computer sold in the country.

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) - Pros and Cons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/20/2007
The role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in promoting growth and sustainable development has never been substantiated. There isn't even an agreed definition of the beast. In most developing countries, other capital flows - such as remittances - are larger and more predictable than FDI and ODA (Of...

Can Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Figures be Trusted?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/24/2007
The formula to calculate GDP is this: GDP (Gross Domestic Product) = Consumption + investment + government expenditure + net exports (exports minus imports) = Wages + rents + interest + profits + non-income charges + net foreign factor income earned.

But the GDP figure is vulnerable to "cre...

Globalization - Liberalism's Disastrous Gamble
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/25/2007
From Venezuela to Thailand, democratic regimes are being toppled by authoritarian substitutes: the military, charismatic left-wingers, or mere populists. Even in the USA, the bastion of constitutional rule, civil and human rights are being alarmingly eroded (though not without precedent in wartime)....

Short Selling and Volatility
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/26/2007
Short selling involves the sale of securities borrowed from brokers who, in turn, usually borrow them from third party investors. The short seller pays a negotiated fee for the privilege and has to "cover" her position: to re-acquire the securities she had sold and return them to the lender (again v...

The Affair of the Vanishing Content
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/27/2007
"Digitized information, especially on the Internet, has such rapid turnover these days that total loss is the norm. Civilization is developing severe amnesia as a result; indeed it may have become too amnesiac already to notice the problem properly."
(Stewart Brand, President, The Long Now Founda...

Rule of Law, Discrimination, and Morality
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/29/2007
In an article titled "Places Far Away, Places Very near - Mauthausen, the Camps of the Shoah, and the Bystanders" (published in Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck (eds.) - The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined - Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana U...

Impact of Minimum Wage on Germany's Economy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/1/2007
Germany is debating the introduction of a minimum wage. The country is a special case because it is a hybrid capitalist-socialist economy and it has the Mittelstand (family-controlled small and medium enterprises). Labor mobility is limited (the labor market is not ideal or frictionless).


The Territorial Web
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/3/2007
The Net was supposed to dissolve anachronistic national borders and cultural boundaries. It was expected to vitiate distance - both physical and mental. It was hailed as the invention that will unify Mankind and harmonize (though not homogenize) civilizations, east and west.

Yet, this was not...

The Fall and Fall of the P-Zine
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/13/2007
The circulation of print magazines has declined precipitously in the last 24 months. This dissolution of subscriber bases has accelerated dramatically as economic recession set in. But a diminishing wealth effect is only partly to blame. The managements of printed periodicals - from dailies to quart...

The Poor Nation's Defense Mechanisms
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/14/2007
All the countries in the mutilated post-Communist parts of Europe inevitably ended up poor. Yet, as opposed to their neighbors, some polities failed to alleviate their misery or ameliorate their dire predicament. The denizens of these states are not only impoverished - they also feel like losers and...

Microsoft Student 2008
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/20/2007
Homework assignments are the bane of most students I know (not to mention their hard-pressed and nescient parents). This is mainly because of the tedious and mind-numbing chores of data mining and composition. Additionally, as knowledge multiplies every 5-10 years, few parents and teachers are able ...

The Internet and the Library
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/21/2007
"In this digital age, the custodians of published works are at the center of a global copyright controversy that casts them as villains simply for doing their job: letting people borrow books for free."
- (ZDNet quoted by "Publisher's Lunch on July 13, 2001)

It is amazing that the traditio...

Wikipedia - Can Teenagers Write An Encyclopedia?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/22/2007
The vast majority of Wikipedia contributors and editors are under the age of 25. Many of the administrators (senior editors) are in their teens. This has been established by a survey conducted in 2003 and in various interviews with Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of the enterprise.

The truth is ...

Interview: Peter Suber On Copyright Law and Free Online Scholarship
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/24/2007
The battle between owners of content and its users extends to all corners of the publishing world. Following a brief period of enthusing about "synergies", most media companies, content aggregators, content providers - movie and recording studios, publishers, news organizations - came to view the di...

Exclusionary Ideas of Progress
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/25/2007
Communism, Fascism, Nazism, and Religious Fundamentalism are as utopian as the classical Idea of Progress, which is most strongly reified by Western science and liberal democracy. All four illiberal ideologies firmly espouse a linear view of history: Man progresses by accumulating knowledge and weal...

The Universal Intuitive Interface
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/26/2007
The history of technology is the history of interfaces - their successes and failures. The GUI (the Graphic User Interface) - which replaced cumbersome and unwieldy ttext-based interfaces (DOS) - became an integral part of the astounding success of the PC.

Yet, all computer interfaces hithert...

Don't Blink: Interview with Jeff Harrow
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/28/2007
Jeff Harrow is the author and editor of the Web-based multimedia "Harrow Technology Report" journal and Webcast, available at He also co-authored the book "The Disappearance of Telecommunications". For more than seventeen years, beginning with "The Rapidly Changing Face of Co...

The Role of Politicians
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/3/2007
It is a common error to assume that the politician's role is to create jobs, encourage economic activity, enhance the welfare and well-being of his subjects, preserve the territorial integrity of his country, and fulfill a host of other functions.

In truth, the politician has a single and exc...

Renaissance and Nazism as Ideas of Progress
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/5/2007
The Renaissance ("rebirth" c. 1348-1648) evolved around a modernist and, therefore, reactionary idea of progress. This statement is not as nonsensical as it sounds. As Roger Griffin observed in his essay "Springtime for Hitler" (The New Humanist, Volume 122 Issue 4 July/August 2007):


Environmentalism and Post-modernism as Ideas of Progress
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/6/2007
By definition, most reactionary ideas of progress hark back to an often illusory past, either distant or recent. There, in the mists of time, the proponents of these social movements search for answers and remedies to the perceived ills of their present. These contemporary deficiencies and faults ar...

Regulate the Internet!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/13/2007
With the advent of Web 2.0 and UGC (User-generated Content), the Internet has completed its transformation into an anarchic and lawless ochlocracy (mob-rule). The Internet is a mass medium and like all media it must be regulated. The laws that apply offline must and, in due time, as legislators are ...

Germany's Fourth Reich
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/14/2007
In an assertive, unified, and resurgent Germany, the Holocaust is now the butt of manifestly anti-Semitic jokes. This would have been unthinkable only 10 years ago. Yet, in meetings I have had over the last 4 years with young German scholars, intellectuals, artists, and budding politicians, as alcoh...

How Acts of Terror Lead to Tyranny and Dictatorships
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/16/2007
On February 27, 1933, the German Reichstag was consumed by an enormous blaze. Hitler, whose immense popularity was based on his promises to resurrect Germany's economy, immediately accused the Communists - his political opponents - of instigating the conflagration. He had thousands of of their leade...

Latent Nazis -Conversations with Young German Intellectuals
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/20/2007
In in his controversial tome, "Hitler's Willing Executioners", the author, Daniel Goldhagen, posits that the Germans underwent a miraculous transformation in the wake of their devastating defeat in World war II. En masse, they have abandoned their centuries-old rabid, virulent, and ultimately lethal...

Voucher Communities - the Solution to Unemployment?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/21/2007
I. Executive Summary

"Voucher Communities" are communities of unemployed workers organized in each municipality. The unemployed exchange goods and services among themselves in a barter-like or countertrade system. They use a form of "internal money": a voucher bearing a monetary value.

Thus, an ...

Asset Confiscation and Asset Forfeiture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/22/2007
The abuse of asset confiscation and forfeiture statutes by governments, law enforcement agencies, and political appointees and cronies throughout the world is well-documented. In many developing countries and countries in transition, assets confiscated from real and alleged criminals and tax evaders...

Escaping the Malthusian Trap
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/26/2007
In his book, "A Farewell to Alms" (Princeton University Press, 2007), Gregory Clark, an economic historian at the University of California, Davis, suggests that downward social mobility in England caused the Industrial Revolution in the early years of the 19th century. As the offspring of peasants d...

Project Gutenberg's Anabasis
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/28/2007
As people are discussing how to buy youtube views to promote their business, it is important to remember an earlier and scholastically more significant Project Gutenberg. In October 2003, Project Gutenberg (PG) - the Web's first and largest online library ...

Leapfrogging Transition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/30/2007
In many countries in transition cellular phones are more ubiquitous than the fixed-line kind. Teledensity is vanishingly low throughout swathes of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Broadband and e-commerce are distant rumors (ISDN is available in theory but not so in practice - DSL and ADSL are not ...

The Idea of Reference
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/31/2007
The Wikipedia was touted as the greatest reference work in history. A collaborative effort of contributors and editors across time and space, it bloated into hundreds of thousands of articles on subjects both deserving and risible. Anyone with a connection to the Internet and a browser can edit the ...

Information Technology at a Crossroads: Interview with Joe Santana and Jim Donovan
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/1/2007
In the wake of the brutal burst of the dotcom bubble, the corporate role of information technology and its purveyors has been at the heart of a heated debate. "Manage IT" is a just-published guide for IT managers, authored by Joe Santana and Jim Donovan.

Question: How did you come to write th...

Why Do We Love Sports?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/6/2013
The love of - nay, addiction to - competitive and solitary sports cuts across all social-economic strata and throughout all the demographics. As a passive consumer (spectator), a fan, or as a participant and practitioner, everyone enjoys one form of sport or another. Wherefrom this universal propen...

Happy Birthday, Macedonia!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/9/2007
The Republic of Macedonia is 16 years old: an adolescent with the problems and promises that characterize puberty. The country now has a young and dynamic leadership which has succeeded, in one short year, to transform Macedonia's image both domestically and abroad. According to repeated polls, for ...

Addiction to Fame and Celebrity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/10/2007
Question: Are Narcissists addicted to being famous?

Answer: You bet. This, by far, is their predominant drive. Being famous encompasses a few important functions: it endows the narcissist with power, provides him with a constant Source of Narcissistic Supply (admiration, adoration, approval, awe),...

The Cyber Narcissist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/11/2007
To the narcissist, the Internet is an alluring and irresistible combination of playground and hunting grounds, the gathering place of numerous potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, a world where false identities are the norm and mind games the bon ton. And it is beyond the reach of the law, the ...

The Encyclopedia Britannica 2008
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/12/2007
The Encyclopedia Britannica 2008 (established in 1768), both Ultimate and Deluxe, builds on the success of its completely revamped previous editions in 2006 and 2007. The rate of innovation in the last two versions was impressive and welcome. It continues apace in this rendition with Britannica Biog...

The Interrupted Self
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/13/2007
In a series of experiments described in articles published in Science in mid 2007, British and Swiss researchers concluded that "their experiments reinforce the idea that the 'self' is closely tied to a 'within-body' position, which is dependent on information from the senses. 'We look at 'self' wit...

The Madness of Playing Games
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/13/2007
If a lone, unkempt, person, standing on a soapbox were to say that he should become the Prime Minister, he would have been diagnosed by a passing psychiatrist as suffering from this or that mental disturbance. But were the same psychiatrist to frequent the same spot and see a crowd of millions salut...

Dr. Watson and Mr. Hastings
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/15/2007
"Who's the fairest of them all?" – asks the Bad Queen in the fairy tale. Having provided the wrong answer, the mirror is smashed to smithereens. Not a bad allegory for how the narcissist treats his "friends".

Literature helps us grasp the intricate interactions between the narcissist and memb...

Lights Out in the Balkans - Interview with Aleksandar Dimishkovski of BID Consulting, Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/27/2007
Until recently and for four years, Aleksandar Dimishkovski worked as a business and finance correspondent in Macedonia's best-selling daily newspaper, "Dnevnik". In the past year, he also served as a personal advisor to the general manager of a foreign-owned company that has established its network...

The Education of Macedonia - Interview with Ljubica Grozdanovska of BID Consulting
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/2/2007
Until recently and for five years, Ljubica Grozdanovska worked as a journalist in Macedonia's best-selling daily newspaper, "Dnevnik", covering issues on every level of education in the country. Three months ago, she became correspondent for the prestigious Czech e-zine Transition Online (TOL), agai...

Narcissism and Addiction
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/3/2007
In our attempt to decipher the human psyche (in itself a mere construct, not an ontological entity), we have come up with two answers:

I. That behaviors, moods, emotions, and cognitions are wholly reducible to biochemical reactions and neural pathways in the brain. This medicalization of what...

AIDS - Europe's New Plague
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/11/2007
The region which brought you the Black Death, communism and all-pervasive kleptocracy now presents: AIDS. The process of enlargement to the east may, unwittingly, open the European Union's doors to the two scourges of inordinately brutal organized crime and exceptionally lethal disease. As Newsweek ...

Abortion - The Aborted Contract
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/12/2007
The issue of abortion is emotionally loaded and this often makes for poor, not thoroughly thought out arguments. The questions: "Is abortion immoral" and "Is abortion a murder" are often confused. The pregnancy (and the resulting fetus) are discussed in terms normally reserved to natural catastrophe...

On Achievement
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/13/2007
If a comatose person were to earn an interest of 1 million USD annually on the sum paid to him as compensatory damages – would this be considered an achievement of his? To succeed to earn 1 million USD is universally judged to be an achievement. But to do so while comatose will almost as universally...

The Adrenaline Junkie
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/15/2007
Narcissistic Supply is exciting. When it is available, the narcissist feels elated, omnipotent, omniscient, handsome, sexy, adventurous, invincible, and irresistible. When it is missing, the narcissist first enters a manic phase of trying to replenish his supply and, if he fails, the narcissist shri...

Jesus Christ, Narcissist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/20/2007
Note: Though most of the quotes in this essay are from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, I was careful to compare them with the texts of the other three canonical gospels. Where the gospels disagree, I avoided using the quote altogether.

Illegitimate and adopted children, especially of humble orig...

Balkan Rational Exuberance - Interview with Alexandar Dimishkovski of BID Consulting
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/5/2007
The Balkans as a region is experiencing a confluence of events of both fundamental and technical nature that augur well, as far as its economies go. Accession to the huge and unified market of the European Union (and to NATO) is closer and more realistic than ever. Two decades of transition from soc...

The Rule of Law vs. Obedience to the Law
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/10/2007
We often misconstrue the concept of the "rule of Law" and take it to mean automatic "obedience to laws". But the two are antithetical. Laws have to earn observance and obeisance. To do so, they have to meet a series of rigorous criteria: they have to be unambiguous, fair, just, pragmatic, and equita...

A Dialog on Elites Between By Sam Vaknin and Roberto Calvo Macias - Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2007
SV: In my view you use some weak criteria when you mention haughtiness. Let me explain myself. Either you define elite as "any group of people in power" (you have rejected this definition when I proposed it earlier) - or you define it as "a group of WORTHY people, who exercise power to improve the p...

A Dialog on Elites Between By Sam Vaknin and Roberto Calvo Macias - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2007
SV: Mankind spent the last 300 years trying to refute these two hidden assumptions. Liberal philosophers disputed the purported identifiable talent for political leadership. Think about people like Truman in the USA or Hitler until 1919. Could you have guessed that they will become great leaders? Ha...

A Dialog on Elites Between By Sam Vaknin and Roberto Calvo Macias Between By Sam Vaknin and Roberto Calvo Macias - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2007
SV: I think that yours is an outdated definition of elite. For instance: in the USA, the White folks constitute the elite. They are better educated, richer and so on. But, of course, they far outnumber the blacks. The case was even clearer during the apartheid days. It is wrong to confuse "elite" an...

A Dialog on Elites Between By Sam Vaknin and Roberto Calvo Macias - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2007

This is always the first phase of noblesse. All ancient lineages start as robbers and sackers. Actual hackers do the same. They steal what they need.

But soon, big responsibilities appear in the horizon. When the Internet status begins to be encroached upon by state and imperial po...

A Dialog on Elites Between By Sam Vaknin and Roberto Calvo Macias - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2007

"No bird soars too high, if it soars with its own wings"
Proverbs of Hell
William Blake

Elite. A terrible world. A select minority, that assumes leadership. All elites have been hated in all epochs, or so claimed "well -informed historians".

A lot has been written about eli...

Macedonia's Titanic Waltz Or: Why Macedonians Spit in the Streets and Trash Their Environment
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/12/2007
It is a well-noted phenomenon: Macedonians behave one way at home and in another, more civilized manner, when they are traveling abroad. Most egregiously, they spit in public and trash their environment. Why the stark differences in conduct?

Clearly, Macedonians feel that they are guests in t...

Nikola Gruevski's Way Out
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/13/2007
Title of Book: The Way Out: Foreign Direct Investment, Economic Development, and Employment
Author: Nikola Gruevski
Publisher: Evropa 92 Kochani
Month, Year of publication: October 2007

# of pages: 210

Nikola Gruevski, the youthful and dynamic Prime Minister of Macedonia, has ...

A Brief History of the Book
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/19/2007
With more people trying to buy YouTube views, it makes sense to look back at the history of the book. What is a book? How has it evolved?

I. What is a Book?

UNESCO's arbitrary and ungrounded definition of "book" is:

"Non-periodical pri...

Folie a Plusieurs
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/3/2007
By design, both agents were shrouded in darkness. I could see their silhouettes, the army-like crew cut, the wire-rimmed glasses, the more senior agent's hearing aid. Their hands rested, lifeless and stolid, on the plain wooden conference table that separated us. They were waiting for my response, i...

Overview of the Macedonian Stock Exchange - December 2007
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/8/2007
The Macedonian Stock Exchange, as measured by its MBI-10 index, rose to a record high of close to 10,500 in mid-2007. It has since shed 40% of its gains. This correction, or, rather, rout has its roots is a series of converging factors.

The multiple failure of the financial system in the Unit...

Leasing Real Estate in Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/14/2007
The subprime mortgage crisis in the United States is spreading globally, effecting prices even for an Iskandar Property in Singapore. Real estate values are deemed inflated in many countries around worl...

The Demise of the Expert and the Ascendance of the Layman
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/22/2007
In the age of Web 2.0, authoritative expertise may slowly waning. The layman reasserts herself as a fount of collective mob "wisdom". Information - unsorted, raw, sometimes wrong - substitutes for structured, meaningful knowledge. Gatekeepers - i...

Central Banks and the Credit Crunch of 2007
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/24/2007
I. The Credit Crunch of 2007

The global credit crunch induced by the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, in the second half of 2007, engendered a tectonic and paradigmatic shift in the way central banks perceive themselves and their role in the banking and financial systems.

On D...

Passive-Aggressive Bureaucracies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/27/2007
Collectives - especially bureaucracies, such as for-profit universities, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), the army, and government - tend to behave passive-aggressively and to frustrate their constituencies. This misconduct is often aimed at releasing tensions and stress that the individuals...

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Global Recession and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/4/2008
Part I. The Republic of Macedonia - A Case Study (2007)

Ever since its reluctant declaration of independence in 1991, Macedonia occupied the bottom of the list of countries in transition from Communism, as far as absolute dollar figures of FDI go. At 80.6 million USD, FDI in 2003 barely budged fr...

Macedonia's Report Card - 10 Things that Could Go Wrong
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/8/2008
Like Blanche Dubois in "Streetcar Named Desire", Macedonians now prefer fantasy over harsh reality. They lash out at anyone who wishes to offset their euphoria with a long, hard look at hazards, real achievements, and true future prospects.

Under the tutelage of the Gruevski government, Maced...

Miscalculating Inflation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/18/2008
The most accurate yardstick of inflation is the GDP deflator (which includes the prices of capital goods and export and import prices). Regrettably, it is rarely used or mentioned in public.

The Consumer Price Index is not the same as the Living Expenditures Index.

The Living Expendit...

One Hundred Paintings of Solitude - Sergej's Macedonian Magic
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/21/2008
Sergej Andreevski is one of Macedonia's foremost painters. I visited his studio in the outskirts of Skopje to avail myself of a rare opportunity: an open invitation by a practicing artist to enter his mind.

Sergej is an action painter in an age of for-hire artisanship, he is an expressionist...

Common Problems with Psychological Laboratory Tests
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/5/2008
Psychological laboratory tests suffer from a series of common philosophical, methodological, and design problems.

A. Philosophical and Design Aspects

1. Ethical – Experiments involve the patient and others. To achieve results, the subjects have to be ignorant of the reasons for the ...

Kosovars and other Albanians - Why Great Albania is a Myth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2008
To the politicians of the Balkans - almost without exception corrupt and despised by their own constituencies - the myth of Great Albania comes handy. It keeps the phobic Macedonians, the disdainful Serbs and the poor and crime ridden Albanians united and submissive: each group for different, idiosy...

Secession, National Sovereignty, and Territorial Integrity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/9/2008
On February 17, 2008, Kosovo became a new state by seceding from Serbia. It was the second time in less than a decade that Kosovo declared its independence.

Pundits warned against this precedent-setting event and foresaw a disintegration of sovereign states from Belgium to Macedonia, whose re...

Greece and its Investments in the Balkans: Trojan Horse or Reliable Partner?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/13/2008
Even as Greece and Macedonia continued to wrestle with the name issue (should the young Republic monopolize the ancient name or not), the former continued its furious pace of investments in the latter.

According to the Greek newspaper, Elefteros Topos, between the years 2000-2006, Greeks inve...

Context, Background, Meaning
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/16/2008
I. The Meaning-Egg and the Context-chicken

Did the Laws of Nature precede Nature or were they created with it, in the Big Bang? In other words, did they provide Nature with the context in which it unfolded? Some, like Max Tegmark, an MIT cosmologist, go as far as to say that mathematics is not mer...

Interview with Sam Vaknin: Private Armies and Private Military Companies
Barry Zellen - 3/18/2008
Barry Zellen conducted this interview with Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. Dr. Vaknin ( is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is the associate editor of the Global Polit...

BUCHAREST SUMMIT: Macedonia to be invited to Join NATO despite Greece
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/1/2008
High-placed NATO officials informed the Chronicle a few weeks ago that, if the negotiations between Macedonia and Greece regarding what has come to be known as "the name issue" fail, NATO will invite Macedonia to join the alliance, effective June 30, 2009, and conditioned upon a resolution of its bi...

No American Security Guarantees for Macedonia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/9/2008
On the strength of a Greek veto, Macedonia did not receive an invitation to join NATO, while Albania and Croatia, the two other members of the Adriatic Charter Group did.

As partial compensation, the USA may sign a "technical-military" agreement with Macedonia, but it will NOT include "secur...

America's Failure: Russia and Serbia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/13/2008
The United States had two strategic goals as it faced its reluctant allies in NATO in the April 2008 Bucharest Summit:

1. To seal NATO's commitment to encompass and extend its security guarantees to Southeast Europe (the western Balkans, notably Macedonia, Albania, and Croatia, aka the Adriat...

The USA, Israel's Friendly Bully
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/16/2008
It is common knowledge that, in international affairs, emotions defer to self-interest. As George Orwell noted in his masterpiece, "1984", the flux of circumstance may render yesterday's foe tomorrow's friend.

Thus, ever since the USA bombed Yugoslavia in 1999 and then proceeded to champion t...

Primary Technology, Consumer Technology, and World Peace
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2008
Paradigm shifts in science and revolutionary leaps in technology are frequently coterminous with political and military upheavals. The dust usually requires three centuries to settle. Such seismic waves and tectonic shifts occurred between the 12th and 14th centuries AD, again starting with the 15th...

Why Waste?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/11/2008
I. Waste in Nature

Waste is considered to be the by-product of both natural and artificial processes: manufacturing, chemical reactions, and events in biochemical pathways. But how do we distinguish the main products of an activity from its by-products? In industry, we intend to manufacture the fo...

Interview with Ray Power, main shareholder and General Manager of iDevelop, Macedonia and Chairman of the British Business Group
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/12/2008
1. Can you briefly describe your product, your market niche, and marketing strategy?

RP: In brief, it is a solution that allows companies to monitor their website traffic in real time and initiate chats with those visitors without any downloads etc. Our primary market is the SME (Small to Medium ...

The Inversion of Colonial Roles
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/15/2008
The traditional mercantilist roles of colonizer and colonies were inverted over the last few decades. For millennia, colonial
empires consisted of a center which consumed raw materials and produced and sold finished goods to the periphery whose role was to extract minerals and cultivate commodit...

Measures to Contain Inflation and the Trade Deficit
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2008
Countries around the world - from Vietnam to Kazakhstan - have adopted these measures to reduce their burgeoning inflation and trade deficit:

Hedging (fixing the future prices of foodstuffs, oil, and commodities by purchasing forward contracts in the global markets)

Removal of impo...

The Death of the Written Word and the Rebirth of Speech
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2008
Well into the 16th century, people in a quest for knowledge approached scholars who, in turn, consulted musty, hand-written tomes in search of answers. Gutenberg's press cut out these middlemen. The curious now obtained direct access to the accumulated wisdom of millennia in the form of printed, bou...

Parenting as a Moral Obligation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/21/2008
Do we have a moral obligation to become parents? Some would say: yes. There are three types of arguments to support such a contention:

(i) We owe it to humanity at large to propagate the species or to society to provide manpower for future tasks

(ii) We owe it to ourselves to realize o...

Balkan Lessons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/2/2008
Interview granted by Sam Vaknin to Barry Scott Zellen, Deputy Editor, "Strategic Insights", and Research Editor of the Arctic Security Project at the Center for Contemporary Conflict.

Q. During the 1990s, American and NATO forces directly engaged, through diplomatic and military means, the ch...

Interview with Barry Scott Zellen: Arctic Lessons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/5/2008
Barry Scott Zellen is the Deputy Editor of "Strategic Insights", and Research Editor of the Arctic Security Project at the Center for Contemporary Conflict.

Q. In your book "Breaking the Ice: From Land Claims to Tribal Sovereignty in the Arctic" (Lexington Books, 2008) you describe the long a...

Interview with Ljubomir Danilov Frckoski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/15/2008
Ljubomir Danilov Frcksoki ("Frcko" to his friends) is by far Macedonia's most prominent public intellectual. The author of this struggling nation's first constitution in 1991, he also contributed to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which, in the wake of an armed insurgency, has defined, ten years late...

What's Wrong With Macedonia's Inflation and Trade Deficit Figures?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/19/2008
Something is not right with Macedonia's statistics.


Macedonia's trade deficit in the first FOUR months of 2008 ballooned to 903 million USD, almost double the figure for the same period in 2007.

If this continues, Macedonia's trade deficit will equal 2.7 billion...

Classification of Social Attitudes to Health
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/2/2008
Somatic societies place emphasis on bodily health and performance. They regard mental functions as secondary or derivative (the outcomes of corporeal processes, "healthy mind in a healthy body"). Cerebral societies emphasize mental functions over physiological and biochemical processes. They regard ...

What Determines the Price of Oil?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/3/2008
The price of oil is no longer an important determinant of the economic health of the West. To create the same amount of economic output, manufacturers use much less oil than they used to.

Moreover, today, there are futures contracts, which allow one to fix the price of purchased oil well in a...

No Foreign Banks - A Curse or a Blessing?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/7/2008
The Austrian Erste Bank has just published a report about the state of the banking system in Central and Eastern Europe. Macedonia is not even mentioned. The banking sectors of Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Ukraine are poised to grow the fastest, as these countries catch up with the West.


Why Some Governments Like Inflation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/28/2008
Some governments like and encourage inflation because inflation masks the true situation and makes them look good. Inflation helps to deceive the public and even experienced observers. How?

1. As the general price level increases (in other words, as the prices of virtually everything go up),...

Why Obama Will be Worse Than Bush
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/29/2008
I. Historical Prolegomena

In the last few decades, the electorate of the United States of America has voted into the White House either psychopathic leaders or narcissistic ones. George Bush junior is a prime example of the former, while Bill Clinton of the latter. Barack Obama appears to be a nar...

Landlocked Countries and Growth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/3/2008
Macedonia has consistently ranked lowest in Europe in a variety of economic dimensions: from FDI to productivity. Its endemic poverty is the inevitable outcome of multiple factors: its corrupt and incompetent political elite; rent-seeking businessmen; primitive banking system; bankrupt education sys...

Democracy and Prosperity Don't Always Go Together
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/8/2008
Many nations have chosen prosperity over democracy. As they see it, yes, they can't speak their mind or protest or criticize or even joke lest they be arrested or worse - but, in exchange for giving up these freedoms, they have safer streets, food on the table, they are fully employed, they receive ...

Crashing and Cashing, Pumping and Dumping: Stock Manipulation in the U.S. Economy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/11/2008
In early July, 2008, America's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and New York Stock Exchange Regulation announced that they will investigate the spreading of unsubstantiated or patently false rumors in order to manipulate the prices of stocks.

Barack Obama - Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/13/2008
Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist. Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama,...

Dangerous Liaisons: Online Banking
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/15/2008
Banks in developing countries offer to their customers financial services, products and product reviews through the Internet. However, as opposed to their counterparts in the West, none of them is aggressively pushing its clientele to adopt online banking. Thi...

Georgian Lessons for Small Nations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/18/2008
Small nations can learn seven important lessons from Russia's invasion of Georgia:

1. The West, led by the USA, is militarily over-extended, politically fractured, and its European members - notably, Germany - are heavily dependent on the uninterrupted delivery of Russian energy. It can prov...

Why Apartment Rental Prices in Developing Countries are So High?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/26/2008
In most developed countries, the renting of residential property (apartments) provides the owner with an annual income equal to 2-3% of the value of his or her real estate. In developing countries, owners make 6-7%. An apartment selling for 100,000 euros will often rent for 7000 euros a year. One pa...

Minorities or Immigrants? The Kven and Sami Peoples of Norway
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/27/2008
The phrase "minority rights" conjures abhorrent images of Palestinians tortured in Israeli prisons; Aegean Macedonians expelled from Greece or incarcerated on remote islands, there to perish; and Native-Americans confined to wasteland "reservations", having been decimated for decades. But, the sad t...

Greek-American Plan to Resolve Macedonia's Name Issue?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/29/2008
According to reliable sources, on September 23, in the presence of the foreign ministers of both countries, Condolenzza Rice, Secretary of State of the United States of America, will present a plan to resolve a festering dispute between Greece, its (anti-American) nominal NATO ally, and Macedonia, a...

Macedonian Wages Among the Highest in the World
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/1/2008
"Invest in Macedonia", implored the government's campaign, because wages here are among the lowest in Europe. Are they?

The average salary in Macedonia is c. 200 euros per month and the cost to the employer - what with wage taxes and contributions to the pension and health funds thrown in - ...

The Encyclopedia Britannica 2009
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/9/2008
The Encyclopedia Britannica 2009 (established in 1768), both in its Ultimate (now also called "Student and Home") and Deluxe versions, builds on the success of its completely revamped previous editions in 2006-8. The rate of innovation in the last three versions was impressive and welcome. It contin...

Microsoft's Student and Encarta Premium 2009
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/29/2008
Homework assignments are the bane of most students I know (not to mention their hard-pressed and nescient parents). This is mainly because of the tedious and mind-numbing chores of data mining and composition. Additionally, as knowledge multiplies every 5-10 years, few parents and teachers are able ...

What Really Happened on September 11? Interview with David Ray Griffin
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/29/2008
On September 11, I entertained a couple of house guests, senior journalists from Scandinavia. I remember watching in horror and disbelief the unfolding drama, as the United States was being subjected to multiple deadly attacks on-screen. I turned to the international affairs editor of a major Danish...

It is Europe's and Asia's Turn Now
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/13/2008
The crisis in the United States has little to do with its real economy. Last quarter, GDP there grew by an impressive 3.3%. IBM's profits are up 22% year on year. American commercial banks, though in need of re-capitalization, are sound. Its investment banks - the sources of the current crisis - are...

The Greek-Macedonian Name Issue as a Moral Dilemma
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/28/2008
Imagine the following:

In a bad neighborhood, plagued by outbursts of violent crime, one of the neighbors is wealthy and middle aged. Let us call him Mr. Greece.

His property borders on the ramshackle dwelling of a young adult who is destitute and ill. His name is Mr. Macedonia.

Notes on the Credit Crisis
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/3/2008
The global crisis of 2007-9 was, actually, a confluence of unrelated problems on three continents. In the United States, investment banks were brought down by hyper-leveraged investments in ill-understood derivatives. As stock exchanges plummeted, the resulting devastation and wealth destruction spi...

Who Needs the European Dis-Union?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/4/2008
The current global financial crisis should have been the European Union's finest hour. The countries comprising this much coveted club could have joined to battle the waves of bank failures, industrial closures, layoffs, and bankruptcies that are threatening to overwhelm their economies from Iceland...

Are Free Markets Dead?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/5/2008
Three of the most important functions of free markets are: price discovery, the provision of liquidity, and capital allocation. Honest and transparent dealings between willing buyers and sellers are thought to result in liquid and efficient marketplaces. Prices are determined, second by second, in a...

There is no Free Lunch
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/6/2008
During the months of September-October 2008, governments throughout the world took a series of unprecedented steps to buttress tottering banks. In the USA, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department have flooded the financial system with liquidity; granted commercial banking licenses to the few...

Paul Krugman: The Nobelist Blogger
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/7/2008
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 2008 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel to Professor Paul Robin Krugman (born 1953).

Krugman belongs to a generation of "activist" economists, such as Larry Summers, Glen Hubbard, and Ben Bernanke...

Cash is King
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/8/2008
Libya has recently emerged as the second-biggest shareholder in Unicredit, Italy's number one bank and Europe's sixth largest banking institution, with a massive presence in Central and Eastern Europe. Japanese, Chinese, and Arab investors and sovereign wealth funds are purchasing Western assets at ...

Why Do We Love Pets?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/10/2008
The presence of pets activates in us two primitive psychological defense mechanisms: projection and narcissism.

Projection is a defense mechanism intended to cope with internal or external stressors and emotional conflict by attributing to another person or object (such as a pet) - usually fa...

Why all the Stock Exchanges Collapsed
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/11/2008
In the wake of the global credit crunch, stock exchanges throughout the world collapsed in tandem. Why?

1. All of them - from the mighty Wall Street to the puny Macedonian Stock Exchange - have come to depend on a regular and inexorable flow of foreign portfolio capital to sustain the bull m...

Who Needs Investment Funds?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/12/2008
The credit and banking crisis of 2007-9 has cast in doubt the three pillars of modern common investment schemes. Mutual funds (known in the UK as "unit trusts"), hedge funds, and closed-end funds all rely on three assumptions:

Assumption number one

That risk inherent in assets such a...

The Shifting Sands of Finance Lingo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/15/2008
In 1976, the word "subprime" used to mean: a loan offered to desirable, creditworthy clients with its interest rate set below the prime rate. Within less than 15 years it came to be defined by this arbiter of proper usage, the Oxford English Dictionary, as: "Of or designating a loan, typically havin...

The Next Crisis: Imploding Bond Markets
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/16/2008
To finance enormous bailout packages for the financial sector (and potentially the auto and mining industries) as well as fiscal stimulus plans, governments will have to issue trillions of US dollars in new bonds. Consequently, the prices of bonds are bound to come under pressure from the supply sid...

True Prophets are Bad Team-players
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/7/2008
Prophets and prognosticators of social, political, and economic trends are often shunned, outcast, mocked, or outright punished. Even when their predictions come true during their own lifetime, they are rarely acknowledged or compensated for the abuse and mistreatment meted out to them throughout th...

Human Trafficking in Macedonia and Kosovo
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/22/2008
(Original tables here: )

Human trafficking is a sterile term, used to mask the grimmest of realities. Popular culture - from Peter Robinson's police procedural "Strange Affair" to the film "Taken" - captures the more sensationalis...

Gruevski's Macedonia, Greece, and Alexander the Great, History's Forgotten Madman
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/6/2009
The government of Macedonia has recently changed the name of its puny airport to "Alexander the Great". This was only the latest symptom of a growing cult of personality. Modern-day Macedonians, desperately looking for their ancient roots in a region hostile to their nationhood, have latched onto th...

Why Recessions Happen and How to Counter Them
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/19/2009
The fate of modern economies is determined by four types of demand: the demand for consumer goods; the demand for investment goods; the demand for money; and the demand for assets, which represent the expected utility of money (deferred money).

Periods of economic boom are characterized by a...

Strong Men and Political Theatres - The "Being There" Syndrome
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/19/2009
"I came here to see a country, but what I find is a theater ... In appearances, everything happens as it does everywhere else. There is no difference except in the very foundation of things."

(de Custine, writing about Russia in the mid-19th century)

Four decades ago, the Polish-Americ...

The Decline of Text and the Re-emergence of the Visual
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/26/2009
YouTube has already replaced Yahoo and will shortly overtake Google as the primary Web search destination among children and teenagers. Its repository of videos - cheap YouTube views were heretofore mere entertainment - is now beginning to also serve as a ...

The Next 18 Months: Recession, False Recovery, Depression
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/22/2009
The Obama stimulus package, worth some 800 billion USD, the 1.9 trillion USD in TARP funds and the endless Fed injections and auctions are bound to revive the moribund American economy by the third and fourth quarter of 2009. The Dow-Jones is likely to touch 10900, consumption will recover, as will ...

The Map as the New Media Metaphor
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/22/2009
Moving images used to be hostages to screens, both large (cinema) and small (television). But, the advent of broadband and the Internet has rendered visuals such as video chat, independent of specific hardware and, therefore, portable. One can watch video on a bewild...

The Role of Governments in Global Crises
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/25/2009
Market failures signify corruption and inefficiency in the private sector. Such misconduct and misallocation of economic resources is usually thought to be the domain of the public sector, but actually it goes on eveywhere in the economy.

Wealth destruction by privately-owned firms is typica...

The Hazards of Biofuels
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/25/2009
Technologies that appear at first blush and in the lab to be both benign and efficacious often turn out, upon widespread implementation, to be counter-productive or even detrimental. We have yet to accurately capture and model the complexity of reality. Emergent phenomena, unintended consequences, u...

Do You Recognize Barack Obama in These Texts? - First Series
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/2/2009
This is the first in a series of articles examining Obama's psychological makeup in minute detail.

By now, the world had two years of exposure to Barack Obama. We all have followed his exploits and antics; have watched him on television; have heard his speeches; have witnessed his scripted an...

Bankers and Stockbrokers as Malignant and Psychopathic Narcissists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/4/2009
The perpetrators of the recent spate of financial frauds in the USA acted with callous disregard for employees, investors, and shareholders - not to mention other stakeholders. Yet, they are the tip of a pernicious iceberg of perfidious, self-enriching, callous, and antisocial bankers, stockbrokers,...

The Current Global Crisis in Historical Context
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/9/2009
Housing and financial crises often precede, or follow the disintegration of empires. The dissolution of the Habsburg and the British empires, as well as the implosion of the USSR were all marked by the eruption and then unwinding of imbalances in various asset, banking, and financial markets.

How Michael Hart Revolutionized the Internet
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/17/2009
In the annus mirabilis of 1971, Michael Hart conceived of electronic books (e-books), open sourcing, and of user-generated content in one stroke of genius.

Hart established Project Gutenberg: a repository of tens of thousands of public domain texts, freely available online. It is the largest...

Facts and Fictions in the Securities Industry
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/24/2009
The securities industry worldwide is constructed upon the quicksand of self-delusion and socially-acceptable confabulations. These serve to hold together players and agents whose interests are both disparate and diametrically opposed. In the long run, the securities markets are zero-sum games and th...

Twitter: Narcissism or Age-old Communication?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/26/2009
It has become fashionable to castigate Twitter - the microblogging service - as well as the desire to buy YouTube views, as an expression of rampant narcissism. Yet, narcissists are verbose and they do not take kindly to limitations imposed on them by thir...

Is Energy Security Desirable?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/11/2009
The pursuit of "energy security" has brought us to the brink. It is directly responsible for numerous wars, big and small; for unprecedented environmental degradation; for global financial imbalances and meltdowns; for growing income disparities; and for ubiquitous unsustainable development.


Political Codependence and Cults of Personality
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/28/2009
Political personality cults rely on the codependence of their adherents to foster a bond that is hard to sever between the Leader and his followers. It is, therefore, crucial to understand this psychological attachment disorder.
Typology of Codependents

Codependence is a complex, multi-fac...

Classification of Abusive Behaviors
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/28/2009
Abusive conduct is not a uniform, homogeneous phenomenon. It stems and emanates from multiples sources and manifests in a myriad ways. Following are a few useful distinctions which pertain to abuse and could serve as organizing, taxonomical principles (dimensional typologies) in a kind of matrix.

The Pros and Cons of Corruption
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/1/2009
Corruption runs against the grain of meritocratic capitalism. It skews the level playing-field; it guarantees extra returns where none should have been had; it encourages the misallocation of economic resources; and it subverts the proper functioning of institutions. It is, in other words, without a...

Is God Necessary?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/4/2009
Could God have failed to exist (especially considering His omnipotence)? Could He have been a contingent being rather than a necessary one? Would the World have existed without Him and, more importantly, would it have existed in the same way? For instance: would it have allowed for the existence of ...

God, the Fine-tuned Universe and the Emergence of Life
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/11/2009
"The more I examine the universe, and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the Universe in some sense must have known we were coming." — Freeman Dyson

"A bottom-up approach to cosmology either requires one to postulate an initial state of the Universe that is careful...

Narcissistic Injury, Narcissistic Wound, and Narcissistic Scar
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/11/2009
Narcissistic Injury

An occasional or circumstantial threat (real or imagined) to the narcissist's grandiose and fantastic self-perception (False Self) as perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, and entitled to special treatment and recognition, regardless of his actual accomplishments (or lack there...

The Republic of North Macedonia and Palestine: Obama Loses Patience with Bush Allies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/3/2009
I. "The Republic of North Macedonia" and Greece

On August 26, 2008, I published an article titled Greek-American Plan to Resolve Macedonia's Name Issue?. In it, I described an American plan to resolve the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece (see note at the bottom of the first section o...

Macedonians in Denial about the Name Issue Dispute with Greece
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/5/2009
Faced with an unprecedented choice between their identity and their future, Macedonians resort to a classic psychological defense mechanism: denial. Greece demands that the Republic of Macedonia change its name, or else forget about its Euro-Atlantic aspirations: NATO membership and EU accession. Ma...

What is the Real Size of Macedonia's Foreign Exchange Reserves?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/13/2009
Here are the facts as they emerge from the periodical (mostly annual) reports of Macedonia's central bank, Narodna Banka na Republika Makedonija - NBRM, for short.

1. Towards the end of 2008, Macedonia's foreign exchange reserves amounted to c. 1.6 billion euros.

2. Macedonia's foreign...

Steering Macedonia towards Health
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/13/2009
As healthcare systems go, Macedonia's is far from being the worst. By various criteria, Macedonia has attained more than all its neighbors and has even done better than the vastly richer countries of the EU or Israel. These accomplishments are rendered even more incredible if one considers the fact ...

Healthcare Reform Checklist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/19/2009

Healthcare legislation in countries in transition, emerging economic, and developing countries should permit - and use economic incentives to encourage - a structural reform of the sector, including its partial privatization.


· Universal healthcare vs. ...

Ensuring a Sustainable Future for Generations to Come
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/19/2009
What can we do to ensure that generations to come have a sustainable future?

Nothing much. The question, as it is posed, caters to our narcissistic presumptuousness and grandiosity in that it implies that we can predict the future with a modicum of certainty and act to subvert it or change it...

Greek Carrots in the Macedonian Salad?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/3/2009
Greece is putting together a package of economic incentives to be included in any compromise regarding the name issue with the Republic of Macedonia (for an overview of this convoluted conflict, see note below). The measures are intended to restore Greece's tattered relationship with the United Stat...

Preparations for Attack on Iran Almost Complete
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/10/2009
Late last year, Israel embarked on a coordinated campaign of leaks to the press regarding its determination to take out Iran's nuclear facilities if Obama's then-new administration fails to sway the Iranians diplomatically. Israel is unwilling to accept a nuclear Iran: "It is not an option", say its...

Visa Liberalization: A Threat to Macedonia?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/13/2009
An Executive Summary of a Research Report Dated 07/06/2009

The client authorized the publication of the Executive Summary only.

Macedonian citizens will enjoy visa-free travel to most destinations in Europe starting in early 2010. The liberalization of the visa regime is welcomed in th...

Attack on Iran to Include Ground Forces
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/16/2009
An eventual attack on Iran may include ground forces. Units of Sayeret Matka"l ("Headquarters Scouts", Israel's elite special forces) have been transferred to the mock in Biq'at Hayareach ("Moon Vale"), not far from Eilat. They have spent the last few weeks training there: parachuting, paragliding, ...

Attack on Iran: Rift in the Military and the Role of Commandos
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/19/2009
The targets for Israel's attack on Iran have been chosen: one is close to the sea, the other is inland. Members of Sayeret Matka"l are now conducting joint (often nightly) exercises with Israel's Navy SEALS (the "Shayetet") off the coast of Ashkelon and on the beaches of Haifa. While the deployment ...

Attack on Iran: Israel Turns to Russia
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/25/2009
Russian senior air defense officers, accompanied by mid-level diplomats have recently visited Israel. The discussions focused on Iran and their contents are only partly know. Israel may be asking Russia to leverage its growing influence within Iran to rein in the latter's nuclear weapons agenda. In ...

Using Data from Nazi Medical Experiments
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2009
"Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fru...

Social Values and the Health System
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/4/2009
There are as many health systems and models as there are countries. This is because healthcare is a public good and, thus, reflects the social and cultural values of the societies that design and adopt them.

I. Social and Cultural Values

We should distinguish social and cultural values...

The Concepts of Boundary and Trace
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/23/2009
The concepts of boundary and trace are intimately intertwined and are both fuzzy. Physical boundaries are often the measurable manifestations of the operation of boundary conditions. They, therefore, have to do with discernible change which, in turn, is inextricably linked to memory: a changed state...

European Banks Threatened by Identity Theft
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/23/2009
European banks, from Sweden to Austria, are likely to face, in the near future, an unprecedented wave of attempts at identity theft. Hackers from Latvia to Ukraine and from Serbia to Bulgaria are now targeting financial institutions. The global crisis has added to the rows of unemployed former spies...

Gmail not Safe, Google not Comprehensive
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/23/2009
I. Gmail Not Safe

Gmail has a gaping security hole, hitherto ignored by pundits, users, and Google (the company that owns and operates Gmail) itself.

The login page of Gmail sports an SSL "lock". This means that all the information exchanged with Gmail's servers - the user's name and p...

Should Communities be Allowed to Generate Their Own Power?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/25/2009
Until well into the 1930s local communities in the West produced their own energy, drilled their own water and hauled it, and, in general, were self-sufficient as far as the consumption of utilities was concerned. The New Deal and the Depression brought this to a halt: governments monopolized both t...

The Misanthrope's Manifesto
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/1/2009
The Misanthrope's Manifesto

1. The unbridled growth of human populations leads to:

I. Resource depletion;

II. Environmental negative externalities;

III. A surge in violence;

IV. Reactive xenophobia (owing to migration, both legal and illegal);

V. A gener...

The Britannica 2010 Victorious?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/7/2009
With the demise of Microsoft's Encarta (it has been discontinued) and the tribulations of the Wikipedia (its rules have been revamped to resemble a traditional encyclopedia, alienating its contributors in the process), the Encyclopedia Britannica 2010 (established in 1768) may have won the battle of...

Obama's Nobel Prize will Exacerbate His Narcissistic Tendencies
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/9/2009
Within a single year, Barrack Obama had been elected to the Presidency of the United States and had won the Nobel Peace Prize. While the merits of the first achievement are debatable, there is a consensus, even among his most ardent supporters, fans, and acolytes that he absolutely does not deserve ...

Adolescent Cultures
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/11/2009
The tripling of the world's population in the last century or so fostered a rift between the majority of industrial nations (with the exception of the United States) and all the developing and less developing countries (the "third world"). The populace in places like Western Europe and Japan (and ev...

Founding Fathers and The Character of States
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/11/2009
Even mega-states are typically founded by a small nucleus of pioneers, visionaries, and activists. The United States is a relatively recent example. The character of the collective of Founding Fathers has a profound effect on the nature of the polity that they create: nations spawned by warriors ten...

The Dethroning of Man in the Western Worldview
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/14/2009
Whatever its faults, religion is anthropocentric while science isn't (though, for public relations considerations, it claims to be). Thus, when the Copernican revolution dethroned Earth and Man as the twin centers of God's Universe it also dispensed with the individual as an organizing principle and...

Carbon-neutral Transport Systems: Are We Doing Enough?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/14/2009
Are we doing enough to ensure a rapid and smooth transition to carbon neutral transport systems this century?

The sense of urgency evident in this question emanates from two scenarios: peak oil and global warming. I am using the word "scenarios" judiciously as the first is bogus and the secon...

The Incorporeal World of "Surrogates"
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/18/2009
In the futuristic sci-fi film "Surrogates" (2009), people stay at home, their nervous system wired to allow them to remote control a robot, their surrogate. The robot and its operator, the human being, are an ontological unity: both share identical, objective experiences. There is one exception: whe...

Global Warming and Climate Change as Opportunities
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/18/2009
How must society adapt to rapid climate change to minimise severe upheaval?

The question makes two explicit assumptions, both of which are controversial and disputed: that climate change is rapid and that it will result in severe upheaval. Similarly, it is not clear whether the best reaction ...

QUIZ: Who is This Politician? HINT: Not who you think!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/27/2009
He was born to a part of the population that was often despised and mocked by the majority.

He was "abandoned" by his parents early on in his life.

He spent his formative years abroad, outside his country.

He never accomplished anything of note before he became the leader of his...

Pears Cyclopedia The World in Your Hand
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/29/2009
"Affection" and "attachment" are terms rarely used in a review of a reference title - but, they are the ones that come to my mind as I contemplate the new (2009-2010) edition of Pears Cyclopedia, one of many editions I possess. I confess to my addiction proudly: control freak that I am, I like holdi...

Cyber-celebrity vs. "Real" World Fame
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/31/2009
I know at least ten people whose personal Websites attract as many unique visitors a year as the number of copies sold of Dan Brown's books. Yet, Dan Brown is a global celebrity and they remain largely anonymous. Why is that? Fame is defined as the number of people who have heard about you. If the s...

Dow-Jones: On the Way to 4800
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/3/2009
A prediction I made in February 2009 (when the Dow-Jones was hurtling towards 6500) came true. In an article dated February 22, 2009 and titled "The Next 18 Months: Recession, False Recovery, Depression", I wrote:

"The Obama stimulus package, worth some 800 billion USD, the 1.9 trillion USD i...

Seven Concepts in Derivatives
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/3/2009
The implosion of the markets in some complex derivatives in 2007-9 drew attention to this obscure corner of the financial realm. Derivatives are nothing new. They consist of the transfer of risk to third parties and the creation of a strong correlation or linkage between the prices of one or more un...

Swine Flu as a Conspiracy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/12/2009
The Internet has rendered global gossip that in previous epochs would have remained local. It also allowed rumour-mongers to leverage traditional and trusted means of communication - texts and images - to lend credence to the most outlandish claims. Some bloggers and posters have not flinched from d...

Vanity Publishing will Rescue the Print Media
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/22/2009
The circulation of print magazines has declined precipitously in the last few years. This dissolution of subscriber bases has accelerated dramatically as economic recession set in. But a diminishing wealth effect is only partly to blame. The managements of printed periodicals - from dailies to quart...

Macedonia's great accomplishment is to have survived
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/19/2009
Interview granted by Sam Vaknin to the Portuguese newsmagazine Politika, November 8, 2009

Q. In October the European commission has recommended that Macedonia should start its EU accession negotiations… Do you think the entrance of Macedonia in the EU will happen in 2012 as predicted?


Iraq, the Kurds, and Israel: Entwined Futures
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/20/2009
Interview granted to Koshan Ali Zamanee, Yakgrtu Newspaper (organ of Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) in Iraq), December 20, 2009

Q: What is your perspective about Iraq War? Do you think that is just or not?

Imagine a village of 220 inhabitants (the international community of nations). I...

Can We Be Pleased with the Progress We Made on Climate Change Mitigation?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/20/2009
The response to climate change has hitherto been characterized either by dewy-eyed romanticism or by malignant optimism ("if we only recognize the magnitude and nature of the problem and throw money and new technologies at it, all will be well"). These twin fallacies (really, psychological defense m...

Obama's Narcissism Made Worse in First Year in Office
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/8/2010
Predictably, Barack Obama’s narcissistic behaviours grew worse and more visible during his first year in office. As I noted in a radio interview (an observation later picked up by George F. Will), Obama’s first person “pronoun density” has increased since his inauguration. Properly measured, first p...

The Negative Survival Value of Taboos
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/10/2010
Most taboos - especially those appertaining to sex and food - have clear survival value: coprophagia and cannibalism may be fatal and pedophilia and incest can have a deleterious effect on the quality of the gene pool. But taboos are creatures of their time. Their longevity and resistance to rationa...

The Invention of Telling the Truth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/14/2010
The extent of confusion that reigns when we discuss the concept of truth is evident in the film "The Invention of Lying". The movie takes place in a world where people are genetically unable to lie. When one of them, presumably an aberrant mutant (his son inherits his newfound ability), stumbles acr...

The Body as a Torture Chamber
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/15/2010
There is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed: one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The process of chronic disease invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. It does so publicly, enhancing the sufferer...

Why the West Should Have Sided with Hitler Against Stalin
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/21/2010
Hitler was right to have been shocked by the failure of his wager: that the British Empire will side with him against the equally murderous Bolshevik Stalin. Hitler and Stalin were two of a kind: mass murderers, bent on an expansionist-imperialist agenda, promoters of ideologies that placed the stat...

Are commercial partnerships between science and industry the best way to reduce GHG emissions?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/21/2010
If the reduction of GHG (Greenhouse Gases) is a public good, it should be provided mainly by the government (or by NGOs), possibly - but not necessarily - in conjunction with industry. If cutting emissions is essentially a commercial or private good, it is best left to market forces (firms, exchange...

Positioning the Encyclopedia Britannica
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/24/2010
In the age of the Wikipedia, nearly-accurate information is ubiquitous. Granted, the data are riddled with errors and do not amount to structured knowledge. Still, Wikipedia-like online efforts are more than adequate for the needs of the vast majority of users. When in search of fault-free, in-depth...

The Great Recession: Plus ca change ...
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/26/2010

Two years later, many of the problems and imbalances that gave rise to the Great Recession are still with us and, owing to the might of special interest groups and Wall Street, are unlikely to be effectively tackled. This - coupled with the rampant mismanagement of public finances - virtually gu...

Do the Jews Have a Right to the Land of Israel (Palestine)?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/26/2010
When the Jews rebelled against the occupying Romans, they knew full well what might be the consequences of their actions: exile followed by the eventual loss of their land. After all, the peoples that later coalesced into the Jewish nation have conquered the territory that was to become the Land of ...

The Battle of Books against Television in Eastern Europe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/3/2010
The cramped offices of Toper, Macedonia's leading publisher of reference works, are a shrine to the book. Thickset tomes - mainly translations from the English - are strewn everywhere. The proud owners show us their latest crop: two beautifully bound, quality paper volumes - the Concise Britannica w...

The Age of Stupid
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/6/2010
We live in a civilization that glorifies and elevates stupid people. The heroes of the previous centuries were all philosophers, scientists, and authors. Our role models are muscle-bound footballers, empty-headed pop stars, and rapacious, narcissistic businessmen. This dumbing down of Mankind is the...

Transformations of Aggression
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/6/2010
Prone to magical thinking, the narcissist is deeply convinced of the transcendental meaning of his life. He fervently believes in his own uniqueness and "mission". He constantly searches for clues regarding the hidden - though inevitable - meaning of his personal life. The narcissist is forever a "p...

Immature, Rogue, and Failed States
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/7/2010
An immature state is a polity whose elites are dysfunctional, venal, and narcissistic; whose economy is not viable, frequently dependent on handouts; and whose coherence is threatened by a lack of social consensus. Immature states typically lack political traditions, change agents, goal-oriented bur...

Paradigm-Shifting vs. Paradigm-sustaining Science
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/7/2010
It is interesting to note that paradigm-shifting work is often produced by non-specialist outsiders, gifted amateurs, and laymen (such as Da Vinci, Steno, Mandel, Freud, and, to some extent, Einstein). As Thomas Kuhn noted, run of the mill scientists are vested and invested in the status quo and nor...

Why Narcissists Cheat on their Spouses, Commit Adultery and have Extramarital Affairs and Liaisons
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/12/2010
Narcissists cheat on their spouses, commit adultery and have extramarital affairs and liaisons for a variety of reasons which reflect disparate psychodynamic processes:

1. In the quest for narcissistic supply, the somatic narcissist resorts to serial sexual conquests.

2. Narcissists ar...

Europe's Torture Exports
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/22/2010
A report published in March 2010 by Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation and titled “From Words to Deeds” accused European companies of manufacturing and selling “tools of torture”. Among these were fixed wall restraints, metal "thumb-cuffs", and electroshock "sleeves" and "cuffs"...

REVIEW: The Britannica Guide to Climate Change
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/12/2010
Climate change and its cause, global warming, are concepts that are far less controversial today than they were a mere five years ago. Yet, both still generate heated debates online and off the Net and not only among ignorant laymen: scientists and politicians butt heads and shower insults on their ...

PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist Revised) Test: What's Wrong with Psychological Tests
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/12/2010
The second edition of the PCL-R test, originally designed by the controversial maverick Canadian criminologist Robert Hare in 1980 and again in 1991, contains 20 items designed to rate symptoms which are common among psychopaths in forensic populations (such as prison inmates or child molesters). It...

Why is Mathematics so Successful?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/16/2010
In earlier epochs, people used myths and religious narratives to encode all knowledge, even of a scientific and technological character. Words and sentences are still widely deployed in many branches of the Humanities, the encroachment of mathematical modeling and statistics notwithstanding. Yet, ma...

Second Ohrid Framwork Agreement: Resolution of the Greek-Macedonian Name Dispute
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2010
Proposed on April 11, 2010 in preparation for a simulation-game initiated by the author and conducted under the auspices of A1 TV in Ohrid, April 23-25, 2010.
The only way to resolve the seemingly intractable name dispute between Greece and Macedonia is to internationalize it. The negotiations sh...

Misuse of the Concept of "Erga Omnes" in the Greek-Macedonian Name Dispute
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/22/2010
The "name issue" involves a protracted dispute over the last 18 years between two Balkan polities over Macedonia's right to use its constitutional name, "The Republic of Macedonia". The Greeks claim that Macedonia is a region in Greece and that, therefore, the country Macedonia has no right to monop...

Symbol and Essence
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/24/2010
Aborigines in Australia believe that the entire universe is regenerated whenever they chant their songlines (Yiri). This is reminiscent of the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, which postulates that particles – and, really, the entire world – are the outcomes of choices made by observe...

Greece to Pull Out of the Eurozone?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/28/2010
Greece authorities are dusting off an old contingency plan to pull out of the eurozone and reinstate the drachma. This will allow the cash-strapped country to print money to meet its budgetary demands without the shackles and constraints imposed by membership in the club of 16 rich European economie...

Dow-Jones: I Told You So 14 Months Ago
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/2/2010
In February 2009 (when the Dow-Jones was hurtling towards 6500) I made a startling prediction:

"The Obama stimulus package, worth some 800 billion USD, the 1.9 trillion USD in TARP funds and the endless Fed injections and auctions are bound to revive the moribund American economy by the third...

A Classification of Lies and Confabulations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/28/2010
A statement constitutes a lie only if at least one of the interlocutors knows it to be untrue, yet insists or assumes that it is true. If all the parties involved in the exchange know that the statement is false or if none of them know whether it is false or true, then it is fiction or an act of fai...

The Wikipedia Cult
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/28/2010
Interview granted to Daniel Tynan, May 2010

Q. When did the cult start?

A. I was involved with both the Wikipedia and its predecessor, the Nupedia. When the Nupedia was shelved and the Wikipedia launched, the first clusters of contributors regarded themselves as knowledge-afic...

Systemic Risk in European Banking: I Told You So 20 Months Ago!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/1/2010
Reuters, June 1, 2010: "The ECB said on Monday the debt problems facing the euro zone could lead to a wave of bad loans hitting banks in the region."

In an article titled "It is Europe's and Asia's Turn Now" and dated October 13, 2008 (

Putin's Last Days?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/2/2010
I. Putin's Twilight

Putin is losing his grip on power. His allies - not least former KGB and current FSB operatives - are deserting him in droves, put off by his recent economic failures as much as by his clownish and narcissistic public conduct. Erstwhile faithful oligarchs are now hedging t...

Why Do People Pay Taxes?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/3/2010
It is commonly - albeit erroneously and counterfactually - thought that taxpayers are intimidated into the fulfilment of their fiscal obligations and that tax collection is mainly about coercion. The truth is different.

People pay taxes because they want to belong to a collective, share a co...

Israel and Turkey: The Impossible Alliance
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/12/2010
In June 2010, Turkey voted against the UN Security Council resolution that imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran for its enrichment of uranium. Earlier in 2010, Turkey and Brazil have struck a deal with Iran to have two thirds of its nuclear fuel shipped outside its territory to be treated. Ir...

Israeli Military Attack on Iran This Summer?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/12/2010
Late last year, Israel embarked on a coordinated campaign of leaks to the press regarding its determination to take out Iran's nuclear facilities if Obama's then-new administration fails to sway the Iranians diplomatically. Israel is unwilling to accept a nuclear Iran: "It is not an option", say its...

Is Wikipedia a Cult? Wikipedia strikes back
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2010
In response to Dan Tynan's excellent article about Wikipedia (,2), Wikipedia struck back, in an article typically riddled with blatant lies and not so subtle distortions (see the text below).

Two examples:...

Aliens ‘R Us: The Ten Errors of Science Fiction
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/27/2010
In all works of science fiction, there are ten hidden assumptions regarding alien races. None of these assumptions is a necessity. None of them makes immanent or inevitable sense. Yet, when we read a sci-fi novel or watch a sci-fi movie we tend to accept all of them as inescapable. They amount to a ...

The Hitler File: Prologue
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/3/2010
Based on hundreds of newly-discovered documents in archives the world over – now …


Israel Sarid Roth is the only son of two survivors of the Holocaust. When his boss at the Genocide Monitoring Group sends him to Israel on a routine assignment, he finds himself at the de...

Order and the Universe
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/14/2010
Earth is a complex, orderly, and open system. If it were an intelligent being, we would have been compelled to say that it had "chosen" to preserve and locally increase form (structure), order and complexity.

This explains why evolution did not stop at the protozoa level. After all, these mo...

Sexsomnia and the Immaculate Conception of Jesus Christ
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/16/2010
"I am with child” – says Mariam, her eyes downcast. In the murk he could not tell if her cheeks are flushed, but the tremor in her voice and her posture are signs enough. They are betrothed, he having paid the mohar to her family two moons ago with witnesses aplenty. She was a virgin then: the elder...

Deflation and the Value of Cash
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2010
I. Deflation
Traditional economics claims that deflation actually increases the value of cash to its holder by enhancing its purchasing power in an environment of declining prices (negative growth in the average price level), which is why cash for st...

Deflation in the USA and its Effects on Consumption and Investment
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/11/2010
Interview granted to, August 2010

Q. Why would deflation happen in the United States?

A. For deflation to happen in the USA, an unlikely confluence of economic developments and policy errors must occur. Unemployment must resurge and reach levels of well above 15% on a prol...

Public Intellectuals: The Rise of the Librarians and the Decline of the Author
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/14/2010
There are two flavours of public intellectual: librarians and authors.

Librarians possess a synoptic view of mostly trivial and anecdotal data, interspersed with histories, accepted truths, slogans, catchphrases, clichés, and platitudes. They are good at composing bibliographies, regurgitati...

Print Books (p-books) and Electronic Books (e-books): Different Packaging or Revolution?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/15/2010
The first-ever print runs were tiny by our standards and costly by any standard. Gutenberg produced fewer than 200 copies of his eponymous and awe-inspiring Bible and died a broken and insolvent man. Other printers followed suit when they failed to predict demand (by readers) and supply (by authors ...

BOOK REVIEW Radical State: How Jihad is Winning over Democracy in the West
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/15/2010
Radical State: How Jihad is Winning over Democracy in the West
By: Abigail R. Esman
Praeger Security International (Imprint of Praeger, Santa Barbara, Dnever and Oxford), 2010

"Radical State" is a terrifying account of how militant Islam ended up transmogrifying its victims, casting the...

Envy as the Foundation of Capitalism
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/17/2010
In the 18th century, the political philosopher and novelist Jean-Jacques Rousseau made a distinction between amour de soi and amour propre. The former involved striking a balance between regard for one's own welfare and well-being and the empathy that one owed and felt towards others. It was another...

The Agent-Principal Problem in Politics
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/30/2010
The agent-principal problem is rife in politics. In the narrative that is the modern state, politicians are supposed to generate higher returns to citizens by increasing the value of the state's assets and, therefore, of the state. In the context of politics, assets are both of the economic and of t...

Greek-Macedonian Name Issue Myths Debunked
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/2/2010
In the absence of the glare of the global media, its coverage and exposure, the fourth-rate diplomats that stand in for the International Community in Macedonia ineffectually cajole its government with thinly veiled threats, Cassandra-like apocalyptic scenarios, and verbal bribery. To achieve their ...

Mideast Peace Talks Aimed to Forestall Israeli Attack on Iran
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/3/2010
Obama invited the leaders of Israel and Palestine (as well as Egypt and Jordan) to Washington for a peace conference in early September 2010 in order to forestall an imminent Israeli attack on Iran scheduled for September 6-8, 2010. Israel exacted a price for its newfound transigence in American jet...

The Psychology of Spree Shooters
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/4/2010
Most spree shooters are loners. They are either schizoid (with deficient interpersonal skills) or paranoid and even paranoid-schizophrenic (psychotic, delusional). Their dysfunction is all-pervasive: their family life, career, romantic relationships, professional and material accomplishments are all...

Basel III and the Safety of Banks
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/14/2010
In the wake of the Great Recession (2007-8) - a crisis largely of the financial system - the multinational Basel Committee and the Group of Central Bank Governors and Heads of Supervision, comprised of central bankers, banking supervisors, and regulators more than doubled the amount of equity (Tier ...

The Film "Inception" and its Errors
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/14/2010
In the film "Inception", Dom Cobb, is an "extractor": he steals confidential information by hacking into a subject's brain during a dream and conning the victim into disclosing his secrets. This intellectually-challenging and visually-captivating film makes a series of assumptions, none of which wit...

Britannica's Reference Galaxy 2011
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/20/2010
The Encyclopedia Britannica has long been much more than a venerable print reference work. A decade ago it pioneered a freemium website (some content free, other content behind a pay wall). This has now flourished into a comprehensive walled garden of knowledge. Additionally, the Britannica publishe...

Economic Trust and Mistrust Numercal Index
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/26/2010
I suggest a simple index of economic trust with the following variables, all of which are scored on a scale of 1 to 10:

T (i) = P+L+C+I+S+M+V+F+R+W

The index can thus range from 0 to 100, with 100 signifying total, absolute, unreserved, all-pervasive, and enduring economic trust and 0 ...

Stuxnet: First Phase in now-aborted Israeli Military Attack on Iran
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/28/2010
Stuxnet is a worm which attacks Siemens SCADA industrial controls. It uses various vectors to enter a system and spread through a network. It leverages two zero-day software vulnerabilities (largely patched by Microsoft by now) and two pilfered digital certificates from Taiwan. It was developed by t...

REVIEW Pears Cyclopedia 2010-2011
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/28/2010

The 2010-2011 edition of Pears Cyclopedia offers no new topics, but adds considerable heft to the "Britain Today", "Literary Companion", and "Medical Matters" sections. The "Life and Leisure" chapter has been expanded to comprise the "The World of Dance" and "The Great Outdoors" on top of the de...

Monopolizing the Field of Vision: From AND Screens to OR Screens
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/8/2010
1. Screens that Include Reality vs. Screens that Exclude It

Screens have been with us for centuries now: paintings are screens and so are windows. Yet, the very nature of screens has undergone a revolutionary transformation in the last decade or so. All the screens that preceded the PDA's (Pe...

Nikola Gruevski, my friend: Time to Start the Revolution!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/20/2010
Nikola Gruevski, Macedonia’s Prime Minister, is the most popular politician his country has ever had. Yet, instead of leveraging this overwhelming mandate to transform Macedonia and reform it from the roots up, he opted for “change by a thousand cuts”, a gradualist, incremental approach to the funda...

Dark Corners of Cosmology
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/21/2010
When we look out to the Cosmos, we survey an inventory of all the objects – stars, galaxies, and, now, planets – that had ever existed. Owing to the limited speed of light, our telescopes peer not only out to space but back in time as well. There is no way of knowing whether what we see still exists...

The Uselessness of Indices Produced by NGOs: Transparency International and Heritage Foundation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/29/2010
Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index

Like many other an NGO (non-governmental organization) Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) is mainly preoccupied with perpetuating itself and its raison d’etre. This it accomplishes by making three highly questionable claims: ...

The Day Barack Obama, Narcissist Snaps and Loses It
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/31/2010
His domestic policy agenda hotly disputed and resented by large swathes of the electorate, Obama has become an albatross on the neck of a hitherto adulating Democratic Party. Come November 2010, he is bound to suffer a resounding rebuke at the polls – this on top of an unprecedented drop in his appr...

Names of Collectives (Sets) versus Names of Individuals
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/9/2010
Individuals are members of classes or sets (hereinafter referred to as “collectives”). Names of collectives are fundamentally different to names of individuals:

Individuals cannot own their names, collectives can and strive to possess their names and protect them against incursion and misuse....

Corporate and Product Brands as Stereotypes
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/16/2010
Brands can be viewed as reputation-based stereotypes which are the emergent outcomes of mass opinions and judgements (mainly communicated via word-of-mouth); public perceptions and misperceptions; cognitive and emotional elements and deficits; and new data. Brands are impermanent and amenable to con...

Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism in Romania
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/18/2010
Interview granted to the Romanian newspaper Adevarul

Q. Do you think there are huge networks of traffic in organs that operate in Romania? How many Romanians it is estimated, in your opinion, annually sell organs?

A. "Huge" would be an exaggeration. Globally, about 10,000 orga...

Korea: Imminent Unification
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/23/2010
By late 2010, a succession war was simmering in North Korea. His panoply of suddenly-bestowed senior political and military posts notwithstanding, the generals and military establishment were less than happy and impressed with Kim Jong-un, the younger son of the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. Each side f...

Italy will Kill the Euro - Not Spain or Portugal
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/24/2010
In recent days, the finance magazines focused on how empty Ibiza rentals have been as Spain's travel sector has suffered. But it is Berlusconi's restive and anti-European coalition partners who are mulling ...

Wikileaks Framed: Manipulated by State Department, Leak Intentional
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/2/2010
On November 29 Wikileaks released the first batch of documents from the leaked dump of American diplomatic correspondence. Almost a week earlier, on November 23, I published in an article titled "Korea: Imminent Unification" in which I stated that the US and China were secretly ...

Wikileaks Framed, Manning Scapegoated; Stuxnet Victorious, Centrifuges Ruined, Civilian Casulaties
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/14/2010
1. Wikileaks Framed, Manning Scapegoated

Our sources tell us that Manning Bradley, the alleged mastermind behind the Wikileaks furor, actually did not have access to most of the documents leaked. He did have Top Secret clearance, but only with regards to specific types of documents pertaining...

Patricide: How Young Leaders Mistreat Their Predecessors
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/14/2010
By definition, leaders are authority figures and, as such, stand in for one’s father, especially in patriarchal and traditionalist societies. Old-school psychoanalysts would tell you that such substitution is bound to provoke one’s latent Oedipal complex and proclivity for patricide, whether actual ...

Updates: NATO to Pull Out of Macedonia, Castro Brothers' Feud
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/19/2010

I wrote and published the article below (titled "NATO Shuns Macedonia") on December 19 in and the Chronicle Media Group.

Nine days later, on December 28, 2010, Brigadier-General David Humar, Chief of Mission of NATO in Skopje, announced that he is leaving ...

Theochlocracy and Narcissism: The Case of the United States of America
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/6/2011
I coined the neologism “theochlocracy” to describe the noxious mixture of theocracy and ochlocracy (mob-rule). Yet, as distinct from the former, in a theochlocracy, church and state are constitutionally separated. The power is not in the hands of the clergy, but, putatively, in the hands of the peop...

The Second Middle Ages
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/14/2011
The fourth quarter of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first herald a period akin, in some respects, to certain stretches of the Middle Ages. The High Middle Ages – especially after the conquest of Spain by the Arabs (Moors) - was characterized by rapid technological and scie...

Europe's Rigged Sovereign Bond Auctions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/14/2011
On January 12 and 13, 2011, Spain, Portugal, and Italy successfully sold 22 billion euros of new debt in the form of sovereign 5-year and 10-year bonds. The European Union (EU) spin-doctored the outcomes of these auctions as a great success for everyone from estat...

Can Macedonia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Inflation Figures be Trusted?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/14/2011
GDP figures are not an exact science. All over the world, GDP numbers are politicized and subject to heavy manipulation. There are at least 3 known methodologies to calculate GDP and, for each of these methodologies, there are two alternative formulas which take into account completely different eco...

The European Union as a Fear-driven, Defensive, and Phobic Project
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/30/2011
The European project variably known as the European Community and the European Union is driven by fear, not by promise. It is and has always been a phobic, defensive enterprise rather than a hope-filled polity.

Its founders, in the mid-fifties, sought to prevent future waves of virulent and a...

Riots in Egypt about Food and Jobs, not about “Freedom” and "Democracy"
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/31/2011
In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008-9, riots erupted all over the world, from Thailand to the Ivory Coast and from Yemen to Albania. For some reason, the demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt were singled out by the international media and cast as the Middle-Eastern equivalents of the French Re...

"Democracy", Egyptian-style
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/11/2011
The revenant (many would say ersatz) Egyptian, Mohamed ElBaradei, self-appointed and self-imputed leader of the "democracy" movement in his newly-discovered homeland, called yesterday on the army to commit a putsch against the government. The fawning, cliche-ridden, politically-correct, navel-gazing...

Macedonia's Minister of Education Cleans Academe's Augean Stables
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/21/2011
Finally, a true reform: Macedonia's youthful and intrepid Minister of Education is attempting to overhaul the country's bloated academic institutions by introducing basic principles, long accepted everywhere else in the appointment and tenure of professors: publish or perish; merit over nepotism; an...

Dancing as an Evolutionary Strategy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/3/2011
Dances are thinly disguised simulations of sex acts. But there’s more to dancing than bawdy ribaldry. The sweaty proximity allows the partners to exchange an enormous amount of information about their respective bodies: from joint suppleness, through spatial orientation and coordination, and down to...

Organ Trafficking in the Middle East
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/7/2011
Interview granted to El Pais
Q. Why do Israelis buy more organs for transplantation than other nations?

A. Because Israeli doctors and businessmen (and, more generally, Jewish doctors in places like South Africa) are heavily involved in the trade. Jewish religion forbids the donation of or...

Macedonia's Hopeful Holocaust
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/10/2011
Macedonia boasts one of only four major Holocaust memorials in the world (the others are in Jerusalem, Washington, and Berlin). For a country of 2 million people with fewer than 130 Jews and no tourism to speak of this is a curious circumstance. That Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” is a bestseller in Macedoni...

Forms, Pattern, and Substance
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/5/2011
We cannot conceive of any process of production without the dubious aid of the Watchmaker’s Metaphor: an artisan; a plan, or program, or procedure; raw materials, or inputs; and the finished product – all four elements distinct from one another. Yet, in nature, this division of labor is rarely true:...

Effects on Emerging Economies of Downgrading of US Credit Rating
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/29/2011
Standard and Poore’s have changed the outlook for the credit rating of American Federal obligations (including Treasuries) from “stable” to “negative”. This means that the rating agency believes that the current fiscal haemorrhage (budget deficit) of the USA is not sustainable. The value of American...

Reclaiming Time
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/1/2011
The commoditization and commercialization of Time are recent phenomena. Until the advent of the Industrial Revolution, man’s time was at the mercy of Nature and the seasons or surrendered to superiors and masters to be allocated at their will. Serfs and servants, vassals, and clergy were mere cogs i...

Obama Executed Osama (bin-Laden) to Avoid Revelations, Disclosures
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/2/2011
On May 1, 2011 Osama bin-Laden was allegedly shot in the head by Navy Seals during an operation in Pakistan. The order came directly from US President Obama and he also monitored the firefight from the White House Situation Room as it unfolded.

Bin-Laden's body was first whisked away to Afgh...

CIA and ISI Built bin-Laden Compound, Obama Ordered Assasination in Live Feed
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/4/2011
UPDATE DATED May 4, 2011 at 20:30 CET

The United States shared with the Israelis the two-way wireless and satelite video feeds (provided by the raiding party's helmet-cams and drop-down transmitters) of the assault on bin-Laden's compound. At a certain p...

The Raid on bin-Laden: Information released confirms Global Politician Exclusive
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/10/2011
UPDATED May 10, 2011 at 13:30 CET

On May 2, a mere few hours after bin-Laden was assassinated in Pakistan, and then again on May 4, I published in Global Politician detailed articles regarding the raid, its background, and its unfolding (the entire texts of these 2 articles are appended below...

Conditions for a Successful Relationship between Diaspora and State
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/15/2011
Conditions for a Successful Relationship between Diaspora and State

For a mutually-beneficial and long-term relationship between Diaspora and state to exist and develop, there are a few preconditions:

1. That the center (the state) and the Diaspora share a strong, cohesive sense of ...

Narcissists and Hotel Maids: The Strauss-Kahn Affair and Beyond
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2011
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the scandal-ridden former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. But, if he did try to rape the hotel maid and let her go about her business making the bed and throw ...

June 2021: Ten Predictions for the Coming Decade
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/24/2011
1. Italy, the euro, and the US dollar

On November 24, 2010, I published (in Global Politician and elsewhere) an article titled “Italy will Kill the Euro”. Six months later, credit rating agencies have downgraded Italy’s outlook from “stable” to “negative”. Italy is in worse shape than mos...

How The Stupid Took Over the World
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/4/2011
The Stupid, the Retarded, and the Moronic are everywhere: among the working classes, of course, but increasingly you can find them displacing the erstwhile elites, spawning hordes of mindless politicians, idiot business tycoons, narcissistic media personalities, vacuous celebrities, illiterate bests...

Macedonia: The Case of the Abused PCL
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/5/2011
In January 2011, the Republic of Macedonia became the first country to benefit from the IMF’s PCL (Precautionary Credit Line): a contingent “insurance policy” of c. $650 million USD. At the time, the Executive Board of the IMF and the Fund’s Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara made very clear...

Arab Spring, Israeli Winter
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/11/2011
Israel, the Big Powers, and the true New World Order

The Jews and their state, Israel, have always sported a pro-colonial predilection, relying on "Big Powers" (Britain, France, then the United States of America) to sort out the Middle-Eastern quagmire in Israel's favor. This default policy ...

Narcissistic Immunity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/9/2011
"We permit all things to ourselves and that which we call sin in others is experiment for us, for there is no crime to the intellect."

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Aren't narcissists deterred by the consequences of their actions and behaviour?



Metamorphosis: Digital Presence of Print Newspapers (Lecture Notes)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/12/2011
Stage 1: Brainstorming



Print versus Web primacy
Content flow models
The Web as an income or profit center
The Web as a marketing tool
The community aspects of the Web (interactivity, UGC -...

South Sudan vs. Kosovo: Secession, National Sovereignty, and Territorial Integrity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/13/2011
In July 2011, South Sudan became a new state by seceding from Sudan, follwing decades of civil war and a referendum.

When Kosovo attained its independence in February 2008, some pundits warned against this precedent-setting event and foresaw a disintegration of sovereign states from Belgium t...

Can the Albanians in Macedonia be Bought off?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/15/2011
The once and future Prime Minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, has surrendered large swathes of his government to his Albanian coalition partners, DUI, the political incarnation of the rugged insurgents who roiled the country in an armed conflict in 2001. Even the sensitive Ministry of Defense is...

From Madoff to Murdoch to Greece: Whatever Happened to Ethics?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/18/2011
The former head of the biggest stock exchange in the world swindles his clients. The editors and journalists of Britain's largest paper hack the phone of the victims of crime and terrorism. Greek workers paralyze the country, refusing to give up early and costly pensions. American congressmen say th...

The Morality of Child Labor
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/21/2011
From the comfort of their plush offices and five to six figure salaries, self-appointed NGO's often denounce child labor as their employees rush from one five star hotel to another, $3000 subnotebooks and PDA's in hand. But they forget that outside of the West where we can hire companies like

Portfolio Management Theory And Technical Analysis Lecture Notes
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/25/2011
The Bill of Rights of the Investor

1. To earn a positive return (=yield) on their capital.

2. To insure his investments against risks (=to hedge).

3. To receive information identical to the that of ALL other investors - complete, accurate and timely and to form independent judg...

The Greatest Savings Crisis in History
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/27/2011
In 1996-7, a saving bank named TAT collapsed in Macedonia, eliminating the savings of thousands of people of all walks of life and nearly causing a recession.

A crisis the size of the TAT crisis, is, inevitably, political. It involves thousands of citizens, many decision makers, and the very ...

Fimaco Wouldn't Die: Russia's Missing Billions
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/1/2011
Throughout the early 2000s, Russia's Audit Chamber - with the help of the Swiss authorities and their host of dedicated investigators - claimed that it is about to solve a long standing mystery. An announcement by the Prosecutor's General Office was said to be imminent. The highest echelons of the l...

The Case of Maltin's Movie Guides: The Expert and the Crowd
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/2/2011
In an age of crowdsourcing and mob "wisdom" made available on every mobile device, why invest in a reference book? With dozens of user reviews available on websites such as and for each film ever shot, however obscure - why bother with Maltin's voluminous fine-print doors...

US Dollar, Bonds to Benefit from Debt Downgrade
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/8/2011
In August 2011, the rating of US debt was downgraded by Standard and Poor's. The other major rating agencies, Moody's and Fitch, left the USA's top-notch AAA

rating untouched. This means that interest rates on future American borrowing are unlikely to rise: investors charge higher interest on...

Two Down (Europe, USA), One to Go (China): The Chinese Ponzi Scheme and the Oncoming Global Depression
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/10/2011
Mounting sovereign debts crises in Europe and an anaemic rebound in America's economy were more than offset by the emergence of Asia – and, in particular China and India - as a global powerhouse. Yet, the warning signs are there: China's economic "miracle" has long been based on an artificial rate o...

Is the USA a Failed State?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/12/2011
Its credit rating downgraded (in August 2011 by Standard and Poor’s), its politicians deadlocked in a bipartisan danse macabre, it middle-class impoverished, its hordes of long-term unemployed a fixture. It has been called a rogue state, a colonialist-imperialist throwback, the puppet of Zionism. Bu...

Alexander the Great: Murdered in Babylon, Resurrected in Skopje
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/13/2011
Was Alexander the Great murdered in Babylon? In a historical mystery which combines Dan Brown's narrative panache (but with far superior writing skills), Agatha Christie's sense of drama and mis-en-scene, and Paul Johnson's synoptic view, Graham Phillips makes a convincing case that, indeed he was. ...

The Insanity of the Insanity Defense
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/16/2011
By Sam Vaknin
Author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"

Aron Levy, who kidnapped, murdered and dismembered 8-year old Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn now faces a battery of defense-appointed experts in an attempt to plead NGRI (“Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity”). He has a history of...

REVIEW Thieves: One Dirty TV Pastor and the Man Who Robbed Him
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/18/2011
TITLE: Thieves: One Dirty TV Pastor and the Man Who Robbed Him (Denver, Trey Smith Books, 2011)

AUTHOR: Trey Smith

REVIEW by: Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"

The story unfolded in "Thieves" is so implausible that the author dedicates its first 2...

The Hubris of East Europe's Peasants
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/19/2011
The denizens of the former Soviet and socialist countries are marked by their resistance to learning from others. Now that the West is mired in multiple troubles and failures, they feel that their way of life and their mentality, their choices and their policies have been vindiacted and are superior...

Psychopathic Narcissists: The Uncanny Valley of Cold Empathy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/22/2011
Cold Empathy evokes the concept of “Uncanny Valley”, coined in 1970 by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori. Mori suggested that people react positively to androids (humanlike robots) for as long as they differ from real humans in meaningful and discernible ways. But the minute these contraptions c...

NGOs: The Parasitic Altruists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/24/2011
Their arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock. Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV's, sport $3000 laptops and PDA's. They earn a two figure multiple of the local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional alt...

Israel to Apologize to Turkey and Egyptian Military to Ban Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/25/2011
These just in: Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak prevailed over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Israel decided to apologize to Turkey for "mistakes" committed by the Israeli special forces during the "justified" operation aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla, in which 9 Turkish citizens died.

Crisis of Growth, Crisis of Measuring Growth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/26/2011
The sovereign debt crisis of 2010-2 emanated from the realization that lower growth rates throughout the industrialized West were insufficient to guarantee the repayment of debts accumulated by governments. The proceeds of the credits and loans assumed by public sectors throughout Europe and in the ...

Macedonia’s 2011 Independence Day Interview with Stevo Pendarovski
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/5/2011
I have been fortunate to meet Stevo Pendarovski several times, in his official capacities, and “for coffee”. On all occasions, I found him to be level-headed, incisively analytical, and a true public intellectual. At the same time, his views are never trite, or conventional. He always introduces new...

The Republic of Macedonia is 20 years Old
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/6/2011
The Republic of Macedonia is 20 years old: an adult with the problems and promises that characterize early puberty. The country now has a young and dynamic leadership which has succeeded to transform Macedonia's image both domestically and abroad for better and for worse. According to repeated polls...

Narcissist's Reactions to Deficient, Fake, Negative, Low-grade, or Static Narcissistic Supply
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/9/2011
The narcissist presents to the world a facade of invincibility, equanimity, superiority, skilfulness, cool-headedness, invulnerability, and, in short: indifference.

This front is penetrated in times of great crises that threaten the narcissist's ability to obtain Narcissistic Supply, or when ...

September 11: The True Story?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/11/2011
In 1983, I was an up and coming young Vice-President in a closely-held and secretive Jewish family multi-billion USD group of companies. I was transferred to New-York and given a corner office on a high floor in one of the Twin Towers. I hated the glass-encased building: it was ugly, massive, impers...

Macedonia: Press Freedom Index, Riding the Tiger
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/13/2011
1. Macedonia’s own Media Freedom Index: The Basis for Informed Debate

SEEMO, the Vienna-based offshoot of International Press Institute (IPI), is slated to send a fact-finding mission to Macedonia in October 2011. Enraged journalists and pseudo-journalists on both sides of the politi...

BOOK REVIEW: The Oldale Curiosity Shop
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/15/2011
“Who, or Why, or Which, or What: A Global Gazetteer of the Instructive and Strange” by John Oldale – London and New-York, Particular Books (Penguin Group), 2011

The classic gazetteer is a numbing compilation of places: their names, their coordinates in an attendant eye-taxing mini-atlas, and ...

Modern Hagiography: Steven Jobs and Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/8/2011
Steven Jobs had one important insight in his entire life: that people are imbeciles and should be treated as such. Prior to this epiphany, this college dropout had failed in everything he had done and touched, to the point of being ousted by a soft-drinks executive from the very company he had found...

Britannica Everywhere?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/11/2011

Britannica Online

Encyclopedia Britannica 2011-2012 Ultimate Editions

Britannica Guides and CD-ROMs


The Encyclopedia Britannica has long been much more than a venerable print reference work. A decade ago it pioneered a freemium website (some conte...

It's the Same Banking Crisis, Stupid!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/15/2011
The crisis that started in 2008 is a banking crisis and it is still going strong, from mortgages to payday loans. Banks all over the world over-leveraged their capital and extended loans unwisely to the undeserving. American financial institutions lent mo...

Macedonian Banks are Safer than West Europe's Banks
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/8/2011
Even under the best case scenario (in which banks take a 50% haircut on the credits they have extended to profligate Greece, but there is no default) French, Italian, German, and Austrian banks run a collective capital shortfall of c. 40 billion euros. Add to this the EU's new banking capital adequa...

Eurozone Crisis: You Read It First in Global Politician, almost TWO YEARS ago!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/9/2011
Almost two years (!) before anyone dreamed of a eurozone crisis, a Greek default, and soaring yields on Italian bonds, Global Poilitician has published a series of articles predicting all three events. Click on the links and judge for yourselves:

Pay attention to the dates of publication:

Germany is Next to Fall
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/16/2011
As the crisis in Italy is threatening to spread to France, Austria, Belgium, and other "solid citizens" of the eurozone, pundits have hitherto ignored the greatest threat: Germany. With its economy stagnant (0.5% projected GDP growth this year), Germany has assumed hundreds of billions of euros in n...

Merkel Out: Political Crisis in Germany
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/25/2011
The only person standing between a solution to the eurozone sovereign debt and banking crises and a total meltdown is Angela Merkel. She refuses to countenance a change in the role and charter of the European Central Bank (ECB) to allow for (admittedly inflationary) quantitative easing; she rejects ...

Egypt: Back to the Future (Interview with Sam Vaknin)
Koshan Ali Khidhir (Zamanee) - 11/30/2011
Sam Vaknin is an economic and political analyst and the Editor-in-Chief of "Global Politician".

Q. What was the main cause of starting Arab revolution, especially in Egypt?

SV: In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008-9, riots erupted all over the world, from Thailand to the Ivory Co...

Private Education - A Bad Idea?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/2/2011
I am not too impressed with the level of public education. But is private education the solution?

In economics textbooks, education often appears as a "public good." Contrary to common misconceptions, public goods are not "goods provided by the public" (read: by the government). Public goods ...

China: On the Way to a Deflationary Crisis
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/12/2011
Consumer price inflation in China is down to 4.2%. The growth rates of industrial production (output), exports, and imports are all down. China is on the path to deflation.

Mounting sovereign debts crises in Europe and an anaemic rebound in America's economy were more than offset by the emerg...

What Will Happen to My Euros?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/14/2011
Investors have lost confidence in the political leadership of the Eurozone: in their commitment to the project, their solidarity, their willingness and ability to adopt unpopular measures, and their managerial competence.

So, are the days of the euro numbered? is it on its way to the garbage ...

Make War and Money: Innovate!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/20/2011
War and money confer an evolutionary advantage on Mankind by spurring innovation: hence their ubiquity. Attempts to foster creativity and genius via state largesse, the education system, and bolstering entrepreneurship pale in comparison to the accomplishments wrought on by belligerence and cupidity...

Judaism’s Child Play
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/8/2012
Judaism is the only monotheistic religion which expressly allots a crucial role in its rites and ceremonies to infants, their predilections, and their pursuits. Children are positively encouraged and incentivized – often monetarily – to disrupt even the most solemn proceedings with questions (in Pas...

Maltin's Movie Guides Keep Giving
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/11/2012
Maltin’s Movie Guide requires no booting, minimal “surfing”, and no software, or special hardware. It is always on and it is authoritative in the best sense of the word: implying erudition, not bullying. It is updated sufficiently frequently to remain relevant in its field, though, admittedly, a web...

ECB Fostering the Next Banking Crisis
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/13/2012
As 2011 came to a close and in the first months of 2012, the European Central Bank (ECB) initiated a massive injection of liquidity into Europe’s embattled banking system. The ECB provided 3-year loans amounting to half a trillion euros at nominal and minimal interest rates. At first, the risk-avers...

Is Religion the Root of All Evil? Is Dawkins Right?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/17/2012
Richard Dawkins, the famous evolutionary biologist, traces the roots of evil to organized religion and to faith itself: the belief in a God has spawned all manner of wickedness and malice throughout history, he claims.

But, religion is merely a private case of a much-larger phenomenon: Man’s...

Bodily Effects of Torture and Abuse
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/31/2012
There is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed – one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sa...

The Death Knell of Success in Business
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/16/2012
The film “The Artist” describes the waning career of a megastar of the era of silent movies when he refuses to make the transition into the epoch of “talkies” (films with sound.) He mocks the innovation and then challenges it by producing a lavish production of yet another silent epic. His inevitabl...

The Delegitimization of Torture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/29/2012
Throughout human (and Western) history and well into the 19th century torture was considered in large swathes of the world (and of Europe) to be a legitimate tool of interrogation, intended mainly to prove innocence and weed out the guilty. Torture was socially accepted and condoned. Both Church and...

Atrocities are Good, Massacres are even Better!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/18/2012
In 1979, during my first year of compulsory service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), I was assigned to a unit of the much-dreaded “Golani” division. The unit’s remit encompassed a few villages in the West Bank. Jimmy Carter was visiting the region and we were tasked with suppressing any sign of o...

Parasite singles, boomerang kids, and accordion families
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/21/2012
The Japanese call them “parasite singles”, the Americans “boomerang kids”. Sociologists refer to the “accordion family”: it expands and then contracts as children return to what should have been an “empty nest.” With an anemic jobs market (youth unemployment hovers above 20% throughout the industria...

IQCRACY: Against Barbarians with iPads
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/23/2012
The survival of the species depends on the establishment of an IQcracy, a Platonian Republic of the Intellect. At the top, serving as leaders and decision-makers, would be people with 150 IQ and higher. A soaring Intelligence Quotient (IQ), by itself, is insufficient, of course. Members of this elit...

Gunter the Grass and the Spirit of a New Germany
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/6/2012
In an attempt to recapture the long-lost limelight, the former Waffen SS volunteer turned Germany's self-imputed anti-Nazi conscience, Gunter Grass, published a badly written poem in which he warned against German complicity in an imminent annihilation of the Iranian people by a nuclear-armed Israel...

The Demise of Empathy in Business and the Workplace
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2012
Empathy is at the foundation of both altruism and collaboration. Thus, while it does consume scarce resources, empathy confers important evolutionary advantages both from the individual’s point of view (cooperation) and from the species’s (altruism.)

Yet, we are witnessing a marked decline i...

The Demise of Empathy at Home and in the Family and the Role of Technology
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/4/2012
The importance of technology in our homes has skyrocketed in recent years and decades. Empathy is on a precipitous decline in the family and home environments. Technology is partly to blame, but so are other social and economic trends.

On June 9, 2005 the BBC reported about an unusual project...

Cold Empathy and Warm Empathy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2012
Empathy is comprised of two components:

I. Cold Empathy: an intersubjective agreement as to the mental content (especially emotions) of two or more human subjects;

II. Warm Empathy: the emotional response to Cold Empathy.

Cold Empathy is an act of taxo...

Time-limited Marriage: Solution to Cheating and Divorce?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/10/2012
The ancient institution of monogamous marriage is ill-suited to the exigencies of modern Western civilization. People of both genders live and work longer (which renders monogamy impracticable); travel far and away frequently; and are exposed to thousands of tempting romantic alternatives via social...

The Dynamics of Modern Marriages
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/8/2012
Until recently, couples formed around promises of emotional exclusivity and sexual fidelity, uniqueness in each other’s mind and life, and (more common until the 1940s) virginity. Marriage was also a partnership: economic, or related to childrearing, or companionship. It was based on the partners’ p...

Sex - Or Gender? Film Review: "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" (2012)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/18/2012
Modern pop culture bombards us with gender stereotypes, which by now have become truisms: women are always sensitive, misunderstood, in touch with their emotions and neglected; men are commitment-phobic, confused, narcissistic, hypersexed, and hell-bent on frustrating the opposite number.

It ...

The Social Costs of Small Business
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/22/2012
Big Business (with 1000 employees or more) and traditional business (central office or factory) provided workers with a network of social contacts and with opportunities to fraternize and befriend others. These workplaces fostered the formation of formal and informal emotional and economic peer-base...

REVIEW Pears Cyclopedia 2012-2013
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/29/2012
The 2012-2013 edition of Pears Cyclopaedia is the first major revision in some time. It adds considerable heft to veteran chapters as well as re-introduces categories of knowledge from previous editions.

The “Chronicle of Events” is brought up to May 2012. The special topic in history this y...

I Hate This Brave, New World
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/1/2012
I hate this brave, new world where:

Illiteracy is 140 characters long and has a face-book;

Everyone has a thousand virtual "friends", but virtually no real friend;

Every child has a mother and multiple fathers, but no parents;

Knowledge is a matter of opinion and opinions...

Iran, Israel on Verge of Agreement
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/5/2012
Prompted by senior figures in both the current, Obama, administration and the previous, Bush administration, Israel agreed to major concessions in secret negotiations with Iran which have been taking place in Geneva since April of last year.

The outlines of the emerging agreement, which is of...

Friction, Efficiency, and Volatility in Financial Markets
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/16/2012
It is an open question whether frictionless markets are more efficient. Traders and investors need time to digest new information; incorporate it in models and theories regarding the markets and specific securities; map out the full implications of recent developments; resolve issues in Original vs. Copy and the Question of Context
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/17/2012
Consider these conundrums:

1. A brilliant geek invents a 3D printer which replicates flawlessly the Mona Lisa. Leonardo’s masterpiece and the copy spewed out by the machine are indistinguishable even under an electron microscope: they cannot be told apart. In which sense, therefore, is th...

Thoughts Regarding Our Dystopic Future
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/29/2012
Many futurologists - professional (Toffler) and less so (Naisbitt) - tried their hand at predicting the future. They proved quite successful at foretelling major trends but not as lucky in delineating their details. This is because, inevitably, every futurologist has to resort to crude tools such as...

Once and Future Monogamy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/2/2013
The ancient institution of monogamous marriage is ill-suited to the exigencies of modern Western civilization. People of both genders live and work longer (which renders monogamy impracticable); travel far and away frequently; and are exposed to tempting romantic alternatives via social networking a...

People-pleasers and Pathological Charmers
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/30/2013
People-pleasers dread conflicts and wish to avoid them (they are conflict-averse) - hence their need to believe that they are universally liked. Some choose people-pleaser professions and learn how to become a social worker, a counselor or a community organi...

The New Matriarchy and the Redundant Male
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/10/2013
From the dawn of history to the late 1950s, the collective had been the organizing principle of human affairs. The pursuit of happiness was channelled via collectives and even dissidents and rebels formed collectives to express their grievances. But, this old system brought humanity to the verge of ...

Albanian Dreams, Macedonian Nightmares
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/9/2013
The once and future Prime Minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, has surrendered large swathes of his government to his Albanian coalition partners, DUI, the political incarnation of the rugged insurgents who roiled the country in an armed conflict in 2001. Even the sensitive Ministry of Defense is...

Impulse Control and Narcissistic Fear of Failure
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/28/2013
Many narcissistic defences, traits, and behaviours revolve around the compulsive need to sustain a grandiose self-image of perfection (“perfectionism”).

Paradoxically, deficient impulse control helps achieve this crucial goal. Impulsive actions and addictive behaviours render failure impossi...

Croatia, Albania, Macedonia and EU Accession: The View from Brussels
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/24/2013
From our window in the iconic, art deco, double glazed windows, the recently renovated and surprisingly affordable Hotel Regent Esplanade in Zagreb, Croatia’s increasingly chic capital city, my wife, Lidija, and I watch the swelling police pres...

QR Codes: the Ubiquitous Content Management System
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/13/2013
QR (Quick Response) codes are graphical barcodes: square black dots arranged in a grid on a white background. Subject to the installation of an app, they can be scanned by devices such as smartphones and digital cameras and call up text, videos, audio snippets, and other digitized content. QR codes ...

Children of Same-sex Couples
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/2/2013
With same-sex marriage becoming a legal reality throughout the world, and with many benefits from lower taxes to expat health insurance or other key solution being available to gay couples, another issue comes up because many more children are go...

Do We Need Another Black Death?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/2/2013
The Black Death – an epidemic of bubonic plague in the 14th century – decimated between one third and one half of Europe’s population, yet it was the best thing to have happened to Mankind in many centuries, says Mike Jamison of the the best solution...

The Pears Cyclopedia 2013-4 Edition
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/30/2013
I keep being astounded by the extent to which this one volume cyclopaedia is maintained meticulously up to date by a dedicated team of scholar-contributors, headed by the indefatigable polymath, Dr. Chris Cook. Hundreds of entries in dozens of sections reflect the latest developments and knowledge i...

Narcissists, Social Media, and Porn
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/11/2013
Social media, such as and the cheap YouTube views, have become the playground of narcissists, psychopaths, and sadists who post extreme and, at times, illegal porn and revel in the reactions to it, thus garnering vicarious narcissistic supply. Vi...

Britannica Online, Britannica DVD 2014
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/7/2013
Britannica Online

The Britannica’s rich online content adds context and dollops of information to the already unsurpassed DVD (see below). It has been completely re-designed and is now Google-like in its simplicity, clutter-free and user-friendly as never before. Indeed, buyers of any of the ...

The Death of Traditional Sex in a Unisex World
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/7/2013
Traditional sex – the heady cocktail of lust and emotional bonding - is all but dead. In a culture of casual, almost anonymous hookups, suppressing attendant emerging emotions is the bon ton and women and men drift apart, zerovalent atoms in an ever-shifting, kaleidoscopic world, separated by a yawn...

Psychology of The Lifestyle (Swinging)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/13/2013
The Lifestyle involves sexual acts performed by more than two participants whether in the same space, or separately. It is also known as “swinging”, “wife-, or spouse-swapping”, “wife-, or spouse-sharing”, “group sex” and, where multiple people interact with a single person, “gangbanging”. Swinging ...

Munchausen and Munchausen by Proxy Syndromes: Forms of Pathological Narcissism?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/24/2013
Patients afflicted with the Factitious Disorder colloquially known as “Munchausen Syndrome” seek to attract the attention of medical personnel by feigning or by self-inflicting serious illness or injury. “Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome” (Factitious Illness or Disorder by Proxy, or Imposed by Another, ...

Solitude as a Rational Choice
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/29/2013
“Purebred” schizoids shrug off their disorder: they simply don’t like being around people and they resent the pathologizing of their lifestyle “choice” to remain aloof and alone. They consider the diagnosis of Schizoid Personality Disorder to be spurious, a mere reflection of current social coercive...

The Film "Her" and Interspecies Romance
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/1/2014
The opening scene of the film "Her" unfolds in a brightly lit, pastel colored den of iniquity where scribes compose letters surreptitiously written on behalf of lovers, parents, and children. The missives are touching, funny - and utterly fake. The protagonist is one such surrogate communicator, giv...

Narcissistic Offspring, Narcissistic Parents
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/27/2014
The Japanese call them “parasite singles”, the Americans “boomerang kids”. Sociologists refer to the “accordion family”: it expands and then contracts and then expands again as children return to what should have been an “empty nest.”

Why do youngsters opt to live with their parents rather th...

Economic Impact of the Crimea Crisis on Europe's Economy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/12/2014
Interview granted to Nova Makedonija on March 10, 2014

1. Russia is on of the main sources of energy (natural gas) for Europe and the Russian market is one of the biggest export markets for EU. Also, USA have exports in Russia and imports worth billions. Do you think NATO countries will risk ...

Making Sense of Nonsense
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/20/2014
“Nonsense” is an ambiguous word that conflates a lack of coherent meaning, a profound defect in the chain of reasoning (which excludes even falsity), and a flaunting of common sense. In literature, nonsense is often the outcome of a multiplicity of possible, usually mutually-exclusive meanings.



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