At least as far as Russia is concerned. (but you'll probably get a lot of downvotes from Rand fans, regardless if they are familiar with the situation there or not).
It was interesting how right after the collapse, it was many KGB officials who jumped into the power and land-grab and became the most staunch and cutthroat capitalists practically overnight. (And, mind you, those were supposedly the most loyal communists!).
They operated (and still do) outside the law in a sort of Randian dystopia. Slowly they absorbed the government as that was one way to crush the competitors -- the ones that own the police force, for example, always had a good advantages over the ones that didn't. The ones that owned the mayor and the legislature, had a better advantage over those that just owned the police and so on, all the way to the top.
Also, can anyone say, "contract killings"? That is just a matter of daily business there. From a pure utilitarian perspective, when millions of dollars are at stake (well in Russia it could just be hundreds of thousands), and there are no legal repercussions, why not pay someone $80K to gun down your competitor? Sounds like a sound and profitable business plan. I still am kind of surprised those things are not more common in the West were large sums of money are at stake...
White collar crime is punished less severely then homicide.
The parties involved don't want to get into an arms race that isn't already started.
There is plenty of ways to make a problem go away, including the FEC and IRS.
No single party has complete control over the government and legal system.
The ones winning are the politicians, the ones loosing are the under-represented (the individual)
Edit: For certain values of winning
Anyone who watches the 'Law and Order' shows knows the police frown on rich white guys who do bad things.
I suspect that _most_ people who are in the position to make big bucks got there by having a moral code that says 'thou shalt not'. A framework for living well that allows one to thrive and be happy.
The remnants of this thuggish apparatus in Romania has just turned its energy towards the best target: money.
or maybe it is slavic way of doing business? or maybe it is just a consequence of collapse of old institutions and social structure combined with some cultural aspects?
(russian here, living in Estonia and not complaining, btw)
There's also a tendency toward oligarchy and power cliques. Again, a pattern created by Stalin in which his "dictatorship of the proletariat", or the governing clique rules quasi-divinely in the interest of the people and is not subject to any limits on their power.
You've got to see it in terms of how the ex-communist oligarchy sees it. The airport was not upgraded by the financiers. They merely found the capital and hired the people to do it. It was the workers, the citizens of the Russian federation who made the upgrades to the airport with their hard work. They discount the risk and the ability to persuade capital to focus and instead concentrate on who actually did the physical work to do the upgrade.
you've got to be kidding if you seriously think that "ex-communist oligarchy sees it" that way. They may _sound_ that way. No problem. The law and community/society/people interests are eagerly applied whenever it is in the real interests of the power top and easily brushed away whenever it isn't.
This doesn't reflect reality much. Those are just roles. One day you're a business man, the next day you participate in state-owned enterprise, the next day you're the "thug".
It's wrong to try and separate good "business men" from bad "government men" because they're all drawn from the same pool.
Yeah, and both groups "run off" from time to time.
P.S. The notion that Domodedovo was the best airport compared to other Moscow airports seems to conflict with my experience. It wasn't worse but it wasn't much better. For example, during the ice rain of late December 2010 it failed straight on its face, losing power for several hours and being unable to perform.
My comment was in relation to Atlas Shrugged and unless you've read the book, you won't necessarily understand what I mean by looters and the like.
It sometimes seems to me that the real difference between stories like this and what we see in the USA is that in the States we've learned to be more subtle about it.
I offer three examples of how USA government disrespect for the rule of law is stifling America:
1. Kelo decision: it seems to have become routine for cities to condemn viable small businesses to grab land for their big voters. For example, see Columbia University in NYC.
2. GM bailout: standard bankruptcy law, determining who should get paid, was thwarted to give unions (i.e., Democrat voting blocks) favored status. This creates disincentive for future investment.
3. Boeing's new plant: the government is trying to block Boeing from moving a plant from Washington to S. Carolina, saying that their action is intended to avoid organized labor (duh), and that's illegal.
The Boeing lawsuit is being brought in federal court by the National Labor Relations Board and remains undecided. It will be subject to the full appeals process like any other court case.
I find it odd you are citing these as "examples of how USA government disrespect... the rule of law." Could you elaborate?
The only conclusion I can see in your statements is that the government defines the law, so if the government does it, it must be within the rule of law. But obviously that's a tautology.
Kelo is probably the clearest example of the problem: the government itself turns on its ear centuries of common law, and the clear and unambiguous text of the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. The fact that the government has said that this new definition is what must be considered the law doesn't change the fact that (a) it flies in the face of the protections that Americans believed they enjoyed; and (b) created an environment in which we're all less safe in our property.
But honestly, I think that when I wrote my initial post, when I said "rule of law", what I was actually thinking was "well-understood principles of property rights and contract law".
It occurs to me that the real response is, "what is the law?". Is the law simply what the government (viz, the courts and the police) say it is? Or is the law something deeper, deriving from societal norms, the social contract, and a shared understanding of moral codes?
American exceptionalism isn't that people here are incorruptible. It's that we decided wherever possible to avoid creating positions of power and influence. Precisely because it's assumed that those positions will be abused. Making sure that there are explicit limits when those positions are necessary.
The fact that we've seen this behavior "even here" should make people realize how right the founding fathers were about the nature of power and governance. Even the idea of having a national standing army was considered risky back in the day.
At the same time though, this is an airport and government bullying, not some tech startup. I know we have our heads deep in this tech world, but come up for air for a minute and see that the differences in topic area might have had some kind of influence too.
Russian investors (or at least Yuri Milner) appear to be doing extremely well.
Yuri Milner - CEO and Managing Partner of DST (Digital Sky Technologies) is doing well because DST invests heavily outside of Russia, namely they are one of the largest institutional shareholders of Facebook.
Vkontakte = direct ripoff of facebook
What's the innovation?
Few countries, mostly asian, dare to sustain that. Rest of the world can not.
Innovation = new idea, new method, new product.
Sorry, your argument is bullshit.
I'm yet to see an example when a community proceeded with copying for an extensive period of time and didn't come up with innovations.
Also I'm yet to see an example when a community didn't copy things already existing in the field. It's just not how it works.
E.g. Phonecian alphabet -> hebrew -> greek -> latin, cyrillic. Even hangul were drawing insights from both hieroglyphs and alphabets.
And, more often than not, "clone of X" means "tl; dr; but it looks like X". People seldom bother.