The Shifting Borders of Eastern Europe

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 18th, 2014

History 101

By 1300 the Mongol Golden Horde took all of Kievan Rus

Vladimir Putin took Crimea from Ukraine.  Because he said the people there are more Russian than Ukrainian.  The people there wanted to be a part of Russia instead of Ukraine.  And that the land historically has belonged to Russia.  But that’s not true.  Yes, if you go back in time the land was Russian.  But if you go further back it wasn’t.  In fact the borders of Eastern Europe have changed so much that today’s borders bear little resemblance to what they have been over time.  You can watch 1,000 years of this change play out in a video on Loiter.co (see Watch as 1000 years of European borders change).  We’ll recap some of the changes in century intervals.

In the early 1100s the Western Roman Empire was gone.  In its place was the Holy Roman Empire stretching from central Italy to the North Sea.  Spain was mostly Muslim.  France was taking shape.  The Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) was still in modern day Turkey, Greece and the Balkans.  Going north there was Hungary.  Then Poland.  And Lithuania.  To the east of these countries was the large expanse of Kievan Rus.  Modern day Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia.  And the Crimea was held by the Turkic Cumans.  But this land would change hands many times in the centuries to come.

By 1200 the Byzantine Empire moved further north into the Balkans.  While the Muslims moved into Byzantine territory from the south.  Hungary, Poland and Lithuania adjusted their borders slightly.  The Holy Roman Empire pushed further west in Europe.  The Cumans pushed into southern Kievan Rus.  While Kievan Rus moved south between the Black and Caspian seas.  By 1300 the Mongol Golden Horde (northwest part of the Mongol Empire) took all of Kievan Rus.  Hungary pushed out her borders while Poland shrank hers.  With East Prussia taking her northern lands.  Lithuania reshaped her borders in part to East Prussia.  The Byzantine Empire was reduced to a small area of the southern Balkans.  The Mongols were in Crimea.

Russia, Prussia and Hungary reduced Poland to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw by 1800

By 1400 the Ottoman Empire had replaced the Byzantines in the Balkans.  Hungary adjusted her borders a little.  East Prussia remained the same.  Poland and Lithuania had joined in a commonwealth and pushed their border south and east.  Into the lands that were once Kievan Rus.  Except for Crimea and the area just north of Crimea.  Pushing the Mongols east.  As the Republic of Novgorod and Muscovy pushed down on the Mongols from the north.  By 1500 the Ottoman Empire pushed further into southern Europe.  Into Hungary.  Crimea.  And Poland-Lithuania.  Which pushed north into East Prussia.  While Russia replaced the Republic of Novgorod and Muscovy and pushed south into Poland-Lithuania.

By 1600 the Ottoman Empire adjusted her northern borders a little.  Poland replaced the Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth.  And pushed her border slightly east into Russia.  Russia pushed her southern border to the Caspian Sea.  Sweden was across the Baltic Sea into modern day Finland and Estonia.  On Russia’s most western border.  By 1700 Hungary had pushed the Ottoman Empire back into the Balkans.  Prussia formed on the Baltic Sea west of Poland.  With East Prussia to the east of Poland on the Baltic Sea.  The Russian Empire pushed west to the Baltic Sea.  Pushing the Swedes out of Estonia and part of Finland.  Russia had also pushed south through Lithuania and pushed deep into Poland.  The Ottoman Empire was still on the northern side of the Black Sea at Russia’s southern border.

By 1800 the Russian Empire had pushed their southern border all the way to the Black Sea.  Pushing the Ottoman Empire back.  The Russians also pushed their southern border further south between the Black and Caspian seas.  They pushed west through modern day Finland to the sea.  They pushed their western border through half of what was Poland.  Hungary pushed north into what was Poland.  Prussia and East Prussia joined together, taking land from Poland on the Baltic Sea.  Russia, Prussia and Hungary left little of Poland.   What was left of her lands became the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.

Vladimir Putin has said one of the Greatest Catastrophes of the 20th Century was the Collapse of the Soviet Union

By 1900 the Ottoman Empire was pushed almost completely out of the Balkans.  Greece and Bulgaria were now on the lands the Ottomans once held.  Russia pushed their southern border between the Black and Caspian seas further into the Ottoman Empire.  Hungary pushed her southern border to Greece and Bulgaria.  And west into Austria (which would later form the Austria-Hungary Empire).  The Germanic states had formed into a greater Germany that stretched from France to Russia.  Absorbing the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.  And even pushing into Russia’s western border.

Then came World War I.  And afterwards the borders of Europe were greatly changed.  The Austria-Hungary Empire was broken into Romania, Yugoslavia, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.  The eastern half (approximately) of the greater Germany was given to a reconstituted Poland.  With East Prussia bordering Poland on the north and separated from Germany (Hitler’s opening shots in World War II was to recover this lost territory).   To the north of Poland and East Prussia were Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.  Russia was now the Soviet Union with her western border pushed slightly back from where it was before World War I.  Bordering Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Romania in the west.  And pushed back out of Finland.  The Soviet southern border between the Black and Caspian seas was pushed back a little.  And Turkey replaced what was left of the Ottoman Empire.

After World War II the Soviet Union pushed her border through Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to the Baltic Sea.  After the Soviet Union fell Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia restored their borders.  And the former lands of the Kievan Rus are now divided between Russia in the north and east.  Belarus between Poland and Russia.  And Ukraine bordering Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova to the west.  The Black Sea to the south.  And Russia to the east.  With Crimea a part of Ukraine.  Well, until recently, that is.  As Russia has recently annexed Crimea.  And may be looking further west.  For this former KGB officer—Vladimir Putin—has said one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century was the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Which he began to put back together with his annexation of Crimea.

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The Swedes reintroduce the Profit Incentive into the Health Care Equation to fix their National Health Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 19th, 2013

Week in Review

Obamacare will transform American health care into a more top-down national health care system.  Because the American left always wanted national health care.  For the power over the economy it will give them.  Not so much for the quality of health care.  For the quality of national health care has not been historically as good as the quality of private health care.  But the left doesn’t care.  Because it’s not about the quality of health care.  It’s about having power over one-sixth of the U.S. economy.

But they tell us it’s about providing high-quality health care to everyone.  Not just for the rich people who can afford it.  Which they can do if they take out the profit incentive from the health care equation.  For that’s what is driving up health care costs.  Greedy doctors and hospitals.  Who are profiting on sick people.  Which is just immoral to those on the left.  No.  The only way to fix health care is by removing the profit incentive from the health care equation.  Like they’ve done in Sweden.  The model of socialism the left so wants to see in the United States (see A hospital case posted 5/18/2013 on The Economist).

SAINT GORAN’S hospital is one of the glories of the Swedish welfare state. It is also a laboratory for applying business principles to the public sector. The hospital is run by a private company, Capio, which in turn is run by a consortium of private-equity funds, including Nordic Capital and Apax Partners. The doctors and nurses are Capio employees, answerable to a boss and a board…

Welcome to health care in post-ideological Sweden. From the patient’s point of view, St Goran’s is no different from any other public hospital. Treatment is free, after a nominal charge which is universal in Sweden…

Staff used to waste precious time looking for defibrillator machines and the like. Then someone suggested marking a spot on the floor with yellow tape and insisting that the machines were always kept there…

St Goran’s is the medical equivalent of a budget airline. There are four to six patients to a room. The decor is institutional. Everything is done to “maximise throughput”. The aim is to give taxpayers value for money. Hospitals should not be in the hotel business, the argument goes…

Spreading efficiency will not be easy, however. Europeans instinctively recoil from private companies making money from health care. British placards protest against modest reforms with pictures of fat cats helping the health minister to disembowel a patient labelled “NHS” (National Health Service). Even in Sweden, the mood has grown more hostile since some private-equity companies were embroiled in scandals at nursing homes…

Private health-care companies have several advantages over public organisations. They have more incentive to make services more efficient, since they typically keep some of the savings. They are better at persuading their employees to adopt new ideas. And they are better at spreading new ideas across borders. Europe should be proud of its public-health services. But if it wants them still to be affordable in the future, it should allow more private companies into the mix.

Hmmm.  The model socialism that the left so admires is using the profit incentive to fix their national health care.  Which means it must have been broken.  Just to show the differences in the way bureaucrats and ‘for profit’ people think consider the tape ‘X’ on the floor to mark the spot where a defibrillator should be stored.  The centralized authority couldn’t make that happen.  The top-down bureaucracy couldn’t figure a way to make people spend less time looking for a defibrillator.  Just something else to look forward to as Obamacare begins to reorganize American health care from the top down.

Maximizing throughput?  That’s a business term.  An alien concept to those in government.  And to their friends in labor unions.  Which will descend on the health care system under Obamacare.  Who will represent health care workers.  Not patients.  And their answer to everything will be more people working fewer hours.  Which will increase the cost of health care.  Just as it increased costs in American manufacturing.  Chasing it out of the country.  So there will be no maximizing throughput under a government/union controlled health care system.  Just more of what the Swedes are trying to get away from by reintroducing the profit incentive into the health care equation.

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Cancer Survival Rates differ in Britain based on Locality and trail European Survival Rates

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 15th, 2012

Week in Review

Despite Britain’s national health care British patients don’t receive equal health care.  Or equal chances of survival.  For all hospitals in the NHS are not the same.  Despite that being one of the driving arguments for national health care.  So everyone has access to quality care.  Not just the rich.  Or the otherwise located (see Jeremy Hunt: cancer postcode lottery ‘cannot be right’ by Rowena Mason posted 12/10/2012 on The Telegraph).

Jeremy Hunt, who took over the role in September, said it “cannot be right” that some patients have a worse chance of surviving because they do not live near the best hospitals…

Last night, he expressed disbelief at the huge variation in survival rates for bowel cancer patients within five years of diagnosis based on their location.

“It cannot be right that the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer varies between areas – 68 per cent in the highest and 40 per cent in the lowest,” Mr Hunt said last night…

Five-year survival rates for bowel cancer have more than doubled over the last 40 years, but British patients still have a higher chance of dying from the disease than in many parts of Europe…

For some cancer types, survival rates are 10 to 15 per cent lower in England than in comparable countries like Australia, Canada and Sweden.

Here’s why your chances are better of dying from colorectal cancer in the UK than in Australia, Canada and Sweden.  Costs.  National health care is very, very expensive.  And the more patients you have the greater these costs are.  But if the costs grow so great for, say, an aging population, nations with more patients may have to make budget cuts, increase wait times and ration services more than nations with fewer patients.  As the NHS is doing.

The UK can’t fight cancer as well as Sweden because the UK has over 6 times (6.52) the population Sweden has.  The UK can’t fight cancer as well as Australia because the UK has almost 3 times (2.73) the population Australia has.  The UK can’t fight cancer as well as Canada because the UK has almost twice (1.78) the population Canada has.  And the United States under Obamacare will not be able to fight cancer as well as the UK because the United States has 5 times (5.06) the population the UK has.

The smaller the population the easier national health care is.  Because fewer patients means less cost.  No one has ever tried national health care on the scale the United States is about to try under Obamacare.  Or what Obamacare will morph into once it drives the private health insurance companies out of the market.  And the worst thing is that unlike patients in the UK, Canada, Australia and Sweden who had the option of traveling to the United States for better health care, there will be no place for Americans to travel to once Obamacare reduces the quality of American health care.  Just a pill to take to manage our pain until we feel pain no more.

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Sweden goes Conservative and Deficit Free

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 22nd, 2012

Week in Review

So far the Keynesian advice has been consistent to get us out of these financial difficult times.  And wrong.  If you want proof look at Sweden.  When the Keynesians said stimulus the Swedes did instead something wholly anathema to Keynesians.  They cut taxes.  And guess what?  They don’t have a debt crisis.  How about that?  But wait.  It gets better.  They no longer have a deficit (see Sweden’s Finance Minister Helped Cut The Deficit — By Cutting Taxes by Adam Taylor posted 4/20/2012 on Business Insider).

With the Swedish deficit wiped out last year (and Borg’s Conservatives voted back into power) the decision is now looking increase wise.

“Everybody was told “stimulus, stimulus, stimulus”,” he tells Fraser. “It was surprising that Europe, given what we experienced in the 1970s and 80s with structural unemployment, believed that short-term Keynesianism could solve the problem.” Non-economists, he says, “might have a tendency to fall for those kinds of messages”.

Instead, Borg cut taxes in a bid to lure entrepreneurs, and lowered benefits to make up the difference. Entrepreneurs “are the source of job creation,” says Borg.

The history is all there to see.  Keynesian economics failed in the Seventies.  Absolutely.  But those who thought like Anders Borg, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, did what he did in the Eighties.  Thatcher turned the UK around.  And Reagan turned the U.S. around.  Pity no one remembers history these days.  Other than Sweden’s Finance Minister. 

A conservative in Sweden?  Who would of thunk it?  If only Europe and the United States would follow Sweden’s lead then they, too, could have smaller deficits.  And more prosperous economies.  But, alas, they simply can’t put their people before their politics.  Apparently.

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