The Roman Philosopher Lucius Anneaus Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE) was perhaps the first to note the universal trend that growth is slow but ruin is rapid. I call this tendency the "Seneca Effect."

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Turning the West into a new Soviet Union -2: the Demise of Restaurants


Restaurants were never a feature of the old Soviet Union, discouraged because of their bourgeois nature. Earlier on, though, Russia had restaurants patterned on the West European model. This scene is from the 1965 version of "Doctor Zhivago," taking place during the years of the Russian Revolution. It shows the contrast between the well-dressed middle-class customers and the revolutionaries singing in the street. 

This is the second post of a series dedicated on how the West is turning into an organization very similar to the old Soviet Union. The first post was titled "Becoming what we despised"

I think I was in elementary school when one of my assignments was to read a story that I still remember as one of the cruelest things I ever read in my life. It told of a peasant who went to town and decided to eat at a restaurant, something that he had never done in his life. He sat at a table, anticipating in his mind the good things he would eat. But he stumbled immediately into a problem: he couldn't read the menu. Through a series of mishaps, he managed to order three times the same peasant dish of pasta e fagioli (pasta with beans) that he used to eat every day at home. The image on the right is not directly related to this story, but it may well illustrate it (from "Storia di un Naso" by Vamba, 1953).

I imagine that the story of that poor peasant was supposed to be fun, or perhaps even "educational," although how anyone could think of such a thing escapes my mind. But the author had caught something right. A fundamental feature of restaurants in Europe was the social discrimination aspect. 
The first establishments called "restaurants" appeared in France in the late 18th century, before the French Revolution. They were different from the old "taverns" that catered mostly to travelers and non-residents. You see in the figure (from Google "Ngrams") how the term "restaurant" replaced that of "tavern" over the 19th century

In many senses, restaurants followed the evolution of the European society. The nobles of old would never dream of "eating out" -- they had their cooks, their kitchens, their mansions, as in the story told in the recent movie "Delicious." Restaurants, instead, were a typical bourgeois thing: they didn't cater to the nobles, but neither to the working class. The menu was the first barrier that kept the illiterate out (those we call "deplorables" nowadays). Then, different prices selected customers according to their wealth. Being seen to eat at a classy and expensive restaurant was a way to prove one's social status. So, the restaurant experience was patterned according to how the middle class imagined the life of nobles, including the illusion that they could afford an assorted range of servants: stewards, butlers, cooks, and maids. 

Over a couple of centuries of existence, restaurants followed the social evolution of Western society. With the prosperity of the "magic decades" of the mid 20th century, there appeared a market for restaurants for the working class. The "fast food" concept prospered, pushed onward by the new way of life, with women not anymore forced stay home to prepare food. 

If formal restaurants had mirrored the life of the Upper Class, fast food joints mirrored the life of the working class. No question of being served by waiters: customers would simply pick up their food at the counter and carry it to their table, the way they would do it at their company's canteen. The extreme of this category was the "vending machine restaurant" with no human employees at all. It was the equivalent of picking up one's tv dinner from the refrigerator, at home, and eat it in front of the TV. The concept never really caught up in the West, but it seems to be popular in Japan. 

Over the 20th century, with the increasing monetization of society, more and more people could afford to eat out, a fashion that had never existed before. Eateries soon started to fulfill a new role in addition to feeding people: socialization. Busier and busier people didn't have the time and the resources to invite friends for dinner at home, so they started to meet in restaurants. A further role also appeared with the increasing perception of rising crime. Eating out offered safety for the price of a hamburger and a soft drink. Your children could also have a safe birthday party at a fast-food restaurant.  

With time, tourism expanded the demand for eating out: restaurants popped up everywhere. Variety paid: everything that was exotic and innovative was favored and enjoyed. Entire cities, such as Florence in Italy, were turned into giant food courts to serve millions of tourists for whom the culinary experience abroad had mostly replaced the cultural one. 

In parallel, on the other side of the iron curtain, a completely different social situation was developing. During the 19th century, restaurants had been introduced in Russia in the French style, termed ресторан (restoran). But, with the Soviet Union, restaurants were discouraged by the state: they were seen as a waste of resources and their class divisive character was incompatible with the idea that the Soviet society had no social classes -- theoretically. 

Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, up to relatively recent times, you could walk along the streets of former Soviet cities and find no "Restaurant" sign. That doesn't mean, of course, that restaurants didn't exist. They did, of course, but mainly as part of hotels as a service for travelers. There was no tradition of "eating out" among Soviet citizens. But the Soviet elites, the members of the номенклату́ра (nomenklatura) had their perks and could enjoy good food in establishments reserved for them. 

Over the years, the former Soviet Union has been "westernizing" and, today, if you walk in the streets of Moscow or any other large Russian city you'll find the familiar signs of all kinds of restaurants, including ethnical and fast food ones. Curiously, though, the West may be starting a movement in the opposite direction: "sovietizing." Restaurants may be among the first victims of this trend. 

It happened during the past two years. It was unexpected, sudden, even brutal. "Eating out" had been the normal thing for nearly a century in the West. Then, with the pandemic, governments started enacting all sorts of quixotic laws, rules, and restrictions, with many of them seemingly specifically directed to punish restaurants and their customers.

Not only restaurants were forced to close during lockdowns, but when they reopened, their schedule was limited by law, they could not operate at full capacity, in some cases you could eat only outside, not inside, or maybe standing and not sitting (or the reverse). The body temperature of the customer was taken at the entrance and, for a certain period, in Italy, you were supposed to give your name and address to the management. Then, they would communicate it to the authorities as part of a statewide "tracing" mechanism (it never worked). The police could come inside at any moment to check that everyone followed the rules. 

Right now, in Italy, the QR code is replacing all the previous rules (except for face masks, still mandatory). It applies to all restaurants, everywhere: no QR code, no food. And to have a QR code you need an updated status of three vaccination shots (you'll need more in the future -- they already announced that). That leaves out all those (millions of people) who didn't want to be vaccinated and those who decided to avoid restaurants as a form of solidarity for them. In addition, the government as acted with rules that seemed to have the only purpose to stop international tourism, one of the main sources of revenue for Italian restaurants. In the photo, you see a restaurant in Venice. It was taken by the author during the Christmas tourist season at lunchtime: no customers whatsoever. 

In a city like Florence, the result was a disaster. I don't have quantitative data, but you can see the situation by walking around in Florence. The restaurants that were once chock-full of people, now are half-empty -- at best. In many cases, it is clear that the owners can resist for just a little longer, but that then they will soon go bankrupt. Many have already closed. In the picture, you see a restaurant closed and for sale in the suburbs of Florence. 

Officially, it was all part of restrictions designed to fight the pandemic. Yes, but the haphazard nature of the rules and the lack of proof that they had any effect is remarkable. What happened that made restaurants a preferred target for the government's wrath? Were they really spreading the covid around? Or were they guilty of some unspeakable sin? 

I don't think there ever was a concerted effort on the part of the PTB (powers that be) to destroy restaurants. It was just part of the "new normal" or the "Great Reset." In many ways, it involves turning back and walking in reverse the path that has led us to where we are today. 

As I said, restaurants have always been a typical middle-class thing. They appeared together with the European middle class, and they are following its destiny. During the past few decades, the middle class has been gradually pushed back into the fold of the lower class. The restaurant business could not avoid being affected by the trend. 

The tradition of eating out is still alive in the West, but the resources for doing that are not there anymore for a middle class that's struggling to survive, and failing at that. On their side, the rich, like the nobles of old, don't eat at restaurants, at least not at the same kind of restaurants that the deplorables can afford. For the very rich and politically exposed persons (PEPs), appearing at a restaurant without an armed escort would be dangerous. Like the nobles of old, they have their private cooks and exclusive places. And they socialize with each other throwing expensive parties at their homes. A habit that we find in ancient history, even in Roman times and earlier. 

You may have seen the picture of Bill Gates supposedly standing in line waiting for his turn for a burger. It is surprising that many Westerners seem to believe in this kind of cheap PR stunts. In the old Soviet Union, if Leonid Brezhnev had diffused a picture of himself standing in line to buy shoes, people would have laughed themselves to death. But it is known that Westerners are sensitive to propaganda.

In any case, the current Western elites are acting just like the old Soviet elites. They don't care about what the commoners eat, although they are worried that they may revolt if they go hungry. So, they tend to allow a basic supply of food for the deplorables, but they consider restaurants (and the associated tourism) as a waste of resources. The rich much prefer to funnel the surplus produced by the economy into their own pockets rather than having it dissipated by the commoners. Worse, restaurants are a place where the deplorables can socialize and maybe concot evil plans. So, it is better to force them to stay at home.

The Covid pandemic offered plenty of excuses to stop people from eating out. Different factors reinforced each other. One result of the financial strain is that the quality of the food and of the service is going down (I can testify that myself). And I shiver at the thought of what they could do to the food they serve to you in order to save a little money. Finally, the QR code turned out to be the perfect method to keep the deplorables out. It is a more sophisticated and tuneable tool than the old written menu. 

So, Western restaurants are in the crosshair and it is unlikely that they will survive, at least in the form we are used to seeing them. It is not so much because the PTB are evil -- they are no more evil than most categories. It is mostly because the economic contraction coming from the twin impact of depletion and pollution is pushing the Western economy back to what it was a couple of hundred years ago. 

And what is in store for us, the deplorables? We have to adapt, as always people do when things change. Our ancestors would have found our habit of "eating out" weird and incomprehensible. Yet, sharing food remains one of the basic ways for humans to socialize. Even in the old Soviet Union, people did socialize. They would do that mostly at home, cheaply, rather than paying money to multinational restaurant chains. In terms of material goods, they were surely much poorer than the average Western family, and the living quarters were cramped -- no suburban two-story homes for them! They had to adapt and help each other locally. And they surely did. 

Curiously (actually, not so curiously), we are seeing something similar in Italy. People being barred from entering restaurants are organizing informal parties in the street. The photo shows a "free aperitif" in Italy with free food for everyone and no need for QR codes). It looks remarkably similar to the paintings of life in a medieval village that Peter Bruegel left to us. But, of course, the police tend to intervene in force to disperse those subversives!
Things always keep moving. We may need to accept that not everything can be monetized and that there are ways to socialize that don't necessitate paying money for bad food and the pretended "safety" of a restaurant. In my case, like a peasant of old, I haven't eaten at a restaurant for months, and I am discovering that it is perfectly possible to do that and be perfectly happy. And no "espresso" coffee either. Another Italian tradition that's going down the drain. 

Maybe we can retake our lives in our hands and socialize the way our ancestors have been doing for millennia. Maybe we will return to the ancient peasant use of the veglia (vigil) when several families would collect in someone's home to chat and save on the wood for eating. Or maybe we'll get back to something like the Sumerian times when the alewives served beer to everyone with the blessing of the Goddess of Beer Ninkasi. Why not?

Below: a Sumerian QR code to assign rations of beer. Some things never change, some things always return. 

Note added after publication: on the subject of restaurants, you may be interested in this article by Kara Voght describing how mom and pop restaurants lost it big with the pandemic, unlike the large restaurant chains (h/t Christine Eleanor Anderson). You may also be interested in this recent article by Jeffrey Tucker that arrives to conclusions similar to mine. As a general note about PEPs in restaurants, I can cite two cases I know of in Italy. Some years ago, the mayor of Florence was having dinner at a restaurant, when another customer rose up and criticized him for some policies he disapproved. According to the newspapers, the mayor was so distressed to have been addressed by a commoner that he suffered a minor nervous breakdown. More recently, the mayor of Rome had dinner with his wife in a restaurant. Later, he was accused to have paid for the dinner with the city's official credit card. It was all part of a smear campaign orchestrated against him and, in this case, it was only based on the statement of the restaurant owner. It was shown that it was a complete fabrication, but only after that he had been forced to resign.  


  1. I would point out that in Iron Age world the custom was different, hosting feasts was one of the major way with which various notables established social prestige. Religious events featured huge feasts paid for by the wealthy, along with games and various entertainments.

    In fact social status was established and demonstrated by the distribution of largesse. The Roman annona wasn’t welfare in the modern sense, it was derived from these customs, it was a way for the Emperor to demonstrate his status and prestige.

    1. Correct. I added a line to the post to mention this point

    2. But I also think that the Annona wasn't done for the prestige of specific persons. It was more like our pension system. The government keeps people alive because it would be unseemly to see people dropping dead in the streets. But the Rich Romans did entertain each other to show their wealth.

    3. The difference with today's super-rich, is thanks to media, Instagram etc. they don't need ordinary people to actually physically attend their banquets for their self-promotion.
      I should think restaurants will survive, but along the continuum from fast food, casual dining, proper restaurant and fine dining, the middle will be squeezed.

    4. Et not quite.
      Iron Age society was very different from the succeeding Medieval one, there was no class structure, no notions of a social order established by God. The society was very fluid and egalitarian. The Iron Age notables were more like Mafia bosses who constantly have to work to earn respect and whose wealth and power is dependent on their clients, the largesse is in the same style as Al Capone opening kitchens for the unemployed during the depression or a modern drug lord funding public facilities on his territory. The feasts were not for other rich people, they were for the common people for the purpose of recruiting more clients, in the early days they were warriors, later voters who supported their patron.

      Like mobsters these notables earned their position by providing glory, plunder, business opportunities, protection and support for their clients in exchange for loyalty and support. Should they fail in this, their clients would move to better patrons.

      No there was no Roman state, there was a supersized Iron Age chiefdom where the legions were the personal clients of the Emperor and his slaves freedmen and associates staffed what little administration there was. A formal bureaucracy appeared only during the Empire’s decline as the Iron Age social ethic crumbled.

    5. Not quite, this wasn’t Iron Age notables entertaining each other and it wasn’t an ego boosting show.

      The Iron Age notables were more like Mafia bosses than nobility. Their social position and power was utterly dependent on the size of their following. The more clients you had, the more power and wealth to you and your followers. The feasts and lavish entertainments declared the host to be a man of great skills and leadership, one worthy of being one’s patron. Good clients increase their patron’s power and received support and protection in return. The clients in early days were warriors who would fight for their patron, traders who would give a share of their profits for support and protection.

      Iron Age society was stateless, anybody without a protector could be robbed, killed or enslaved with impunity, the whole patron-client system created a stable structure and the feasts were part of the social rituals that maintained it.

      This extended even to the religious sphere where relationships with the Gods were conducted according to these rituals. Iron Age society lacked any concept of a divinely ordained social order, it was fluid and egalitarian.

      No Ugo, there was no Roman state as we understand it, there was a supersized Iron Age chiefdom where the legions were the Emperor’s personal clients and members of his personal household staffed the administration, a formal bureaucracy was formed only under Diocletian and Constantine as the traditional social ethic was crumbling.

    6. Total nonsense. Restaurant failures were high before Covid. Too many lousy operators.
      Stop sniveling because you don't like governments trying to keep people safe from their irresponsible neighbors.
      I guess you think it should still be okay to smoke on airplanes.

    7. Great comment, anonymous. Now, using the same kind of logic you use, let me say that I guess you think it should still be okay to forcibly sterilize inferior humans.

  2. Have you forgotten that we could have actually done something meaningful to stop transmission and if we had done that we could have forgotten about the whole thing somewhere around August 2020? Instead containment was abandoned.

    Of course restaurants are half empty, only a clinically insane person would go indoors without a mask right now.

    On the other hand, the number of clinically insane individuals is about to explode due to the brain damage from COVID so there is that too...

    P.S. The really major story of the pandemic is indeed the slide back to two centuries ago, but that is primarily directly to do with the pandemic itself. Since the mid-20th century we did not allow any new pathogens to become established in the population other than HIV (which was silently spreading for decades before it was identified but could be stopped with modern tools even at that stage). And we largely eliminated most of them from the lives of people in much of the world. That is what "civilization" means.

    There were a lot of close calls that could have become pandemics but were not because the pathogen was contained.

    That principle of elimination of dangerous pathogens was completely given up now. And it has been given up not just with respect to COVID, but probably for everything future, and also past (watch how things like measles will make a return in the coming years).

    For some reason almost nobody understands what "living with the virus" means -- it means life expectancy in the 40s without vaccines, and in the 60s with, if we are lucky, due to annual reinfections. And severely diminished quality of life for most long before that from the organ damage.

    That is the real civilizational decline story here. Restaurants are a very minor issue, but yeah, let's focus on that, it is what truly matters

    1. You know, Georgi, this comment of yours makes me think that at least one line of my post was completely correct.

  3. Some minor quick (hopefully) funny obsevations,

    1. Breznev hit the shoes on the table, so he had to change them often
    2. Bill Gates has to convince you to eat a vegan-burger nowadays,
    tomorrow it will be a bourger made of bits and bytes...
    3. There are a lot of self-services in Moscow,
    but you can't recognize them until you can
    read stolovaya in cyrillc characters.
    From outside the stolovaya building could be a stock
    or an office or a garage as well ...
    4. I can accept qr-code exhibition for my beer,
    but, then we must return fully to the Hammurabi's code.
    The host who adds water to the bear is sentenced to
    death by drowning!

    1. I think it was Khrushchev who banged his show on the table, wasn't he?

    2. And, indeed, I can imagine that adding water to a bear can be dangerous!

    3. You are right on both the points!

  4. Well Ugo, this is funny and enjoyable and there is much to add after I consult some of my many food anthropology books in my 600 cookbook collection! Fortunately I am living in Mexico where we (thank god!) have not been hysterical about "transmission" and I've been eating in Luna de Queso's garden restaurant, Companios and Bove and other places...both inside and out...since the beginning of this covidiot show...of course, none of my friends believe there is a "vax" which is true, and we are all cheerfully uncontaminated by the spike protein being injected into us. There are no dictated QR codes and non one has suggested one in two years. Nor do I know anyone who has had "covid"....nice large parties out here in the campo too....So, the unpretentious restaurants with excellent Mex food I go to are full and fun and doing well and with good food turn over, one isn't afraid of being poisoned by old, leftovers. Too bad for the rest of the world. Thank god for Mexico!!!! Viva Mexico!

    Now Diamond Jim Brady and Lillian Russell....and their restaurant going....not middle class and huge fun. Thanks for this. More later. Christine

    1. Viva Mexico! Viva Zapata! Viva Pancho Villa!


      I named my perrita after Adelita....cooked for the soldiers...(!!!) The Red Army Choir does a version of this song....revolutions being revolutions...

      Pancho Villa had 24 or 25 wives....that idiot Pershing never could catch him. Finally a Mex president assassinated him. I guess he just wouldn't die of the 1918

    3. Ugo, this post is so rich that I don't think a comment can do it justice, however, just a couple of months ago my 30ish nephew and his bride to be toured Italy (pretty much the way I toured it with someone in the 80s....Gritti Palace, nice restaurants, Amalfi, Florence)....with no fear of covid, no hyperventiliating about covid. You know 4 of 5 people who contact covid barely know it. And they aren't afraid of it.They followed this with a birthday eating weekend in NY with no fear either...Korean, Russian, bagels. What on earth goes on in the risk calculator of the covidiots is beyond me...and I'm 73 and have had cancer twice, with death threats, yet, local restaurants that I know, neighborhood super spreader gatherings are just fine for me. I go out less now because I don't go into town that often, using my time in the country to prepare for nuclear war (lol)...and, I have fewer guests at this point in history.

      Now, having said that, the reason I am more difficult about unknown restaurants has nothing to do with people breathing in them or covid crazies. It's knowing that the ingredients are often cheap and contaminated and the treatment of the food and animals horrid. Teaching environmental law in Egypt I realized only a fool ate fish from the Med...and in fact at a dinner party in Cairo one night an Iraqi steel merchant told me no self respecting Italian would eat from the Med, (my god the illegal pollution from the factories dumping in France, Italy, Spain not to mention the cruise ships using the whole place as a toilet...) they got their fish from the Red we knew we should, and that didn't even begin to touch watching in horror as the "best" lamb in Egypt was eating plastic bags on the road when we drove out to Marsah Matrrouh....or knowing about the toxic carcinogenic sludge used for potatoes in Washington state....or the Egyptian salt flats where poisons went straight to sale. And, of course, with low attendance, food poisoning is possible...why we eat as high turnover taco carts (or koshary, high turnover, vegan in Cairo) comfortably and happily here, why our fish comes from Baja or Nayarit...not the oil platform side.

      The WEF can take the QR code and shove it. I don't even own a smartphone, but I'm not eating poisoned trash from Monsanto, restaurant or not. There's an excellent book, Several Ways to Die in Mexico City about the terrible deterioration of Mexican food after NAFTA and the damage to the health of Mexicans....My campesino neighbors have virtually all organic food they raise themselves...ergo general good health in my community.

      Restaurants aren't going to die here; but local ingredients, and well priced, nice owners we know are thriving is right. This is the only restaurant I want to see thrive....

    4. Yes. Another big problem with restaurants is the fact that being in financial distress, they are temped to save on the quality of the ingredients. And that means at best stomach aches, but it could be worse. I must say that after a few months of no restaurants, my digestive system seems to have been doing very well.

      Glad that you liked my post. I have also eaten fish from the Red Sea, in Jordan. It was very good, indeed. But you CAN eat good fish from the Mediterranean Sea, but you must buy it in places where you know they won't poison you.

    5. Just finally watched the youtube with Enzo....thanks for the intro!


  5. "it is not so much because the PTBs are evil -- they are no more evil than most categories. "

    This could be true, and if the elites continued to act as ever, without bothering for our health, they could be excused in this way.
    But now the PTBs pretend they do care a lot about our health, so I imagine they won't be forgiven at all.

    This resembles something you can find in the gospel (John 9:41)
    “If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

    In other words elites are acting as hypocrates.
    This is not a good way to rule.

    It is like during the french revolution. As long as the king
    did not try to run away abroad with his family,
    majority only asked about a reformed monarchy.
    But when it was sound clear that his formost
    concern was about himself and his family,
    nonarchy and the king were doomed.

    So I suspect that the elites would not survive the upcoming of thruth.
    Technology and the medias give PTBs a power far greater than in the past.
    And maybe they could still manage to suppress the truth.
    But I love truth far more than actual elites.
    And THEY chose to lie, deliberately.
    Was Louis XVI evil? No, he was a poor fellow and I pity him
    and his family. I could not pity the elites now; I am not
    sure if, in the future, I should pity them
    or just myself and my

    Everybody that is working for the truth to emerge, is against the
    elites, this cannot be avoided any longer. PTBs chose to refuge abroad in lies; it is their responsability, and it is very dangerous, even for them. Maybe someone will recognize them, however disguised and bring back to Paris!

  6. Those who lived under the Soviet Union know very well that the finest of the food could be ordered in Moscow and other major cities' restaurants. But why so?

    The plumber that fixes for Mr Gates the kitchen cannot ride on a donkey going to site - owing to poverty.

    Even if forced to be that poor to ride a donkey, his tools must be made of expensive hard metals;

    Making those tools requires armies of other people manufacturing the plumber's tools, and the bigger tools that manufacture the smaller tools - who cannot be kept riding donkeys to work forever - this is why humans have stopped building Great Pyramids long ago...

    Gates will never enjoy the energy-luxury of fossil fuels alone - even if he wants to take all fossil fuels to himself - and himself only...

    It cannot be right that the gallon of gasoline a burger-flipper purchases to drive to work has taken millions of man-hour until made it into the fuel tank - but the flipper is able to pay for all that - by burger-flipping from 9 to 5...

    Humans have enjoyed the abundance of finite fossil fuels traded cheaper than water as if looted - thank only to our mentally-compromised Western Civilisation...

    That is why our Western Civilisation feels and acts - like having all the right to decide - who lives and who dies....

    Since James Watt, what's called Capitalism has proved Communistic at core - schitsopherinic enough to always hide behind its back a periodical genocide cycles and Gulags - rhythmic like a metronome

    Gates will never be able to be the only person affording buying gasoline - while the rest are forced to ride donkeys...

    The heavily-popularised narrative on the internet 24/7 all last 2 decades - claiming it is Price which what's self-organising the international fossil fuels market (often called Neo Peak Oil Movement and Finite World Oiliers) - is shenanigans...

    So why Gates doesn't declare all the richest oil fields in Iraq his own property, for example, never sharing a drop of it with others...

    He needs people to extract the stuff...

    These people cannot ride donkeys to work extracting the stuff, or having their tools made of wood or clay.

    What is the minimum number of those people Gates needs for the task - keeping the oil in Iraq for himself and himself only?

    8 billion people - flat out - including B-52 and Sukhois crewmen...

    One would think that Catherine Austin Fitts is really talking Crypto Currencies here...

    Actually - she is trying too hard not to let the audience realising the real problem is that - there is no such thing called Capitalism - it is all about finite energy resources, or the lack of them...

    Fitts' turns circular, confusing, blunt, mishmash and never possible to understand from her - something explaining head from tail.

    See here how this rewarding art of communications-for living is strongly seen in the field of Physics, too.

    Thermodynamically, there is no such thing called Capitalism - the rest is shenanigans and choreography - whether that be the 20th Century Physics, Crypto Currencies, going to a Moscow's restaurant during the Soviet Union era - or becoming Mr Gates.

    "Energy, like time, flows from past to future"


  7. It's the same here in Australia although we seem to be moving towards the English idea of dropping even the QR codes. They only remain for restaurants and other hospitality venues which fits nicely with your point. Restaurants are very wasteful of food from what I understand.

    Anyway, I've been having friends over to my house where I grow a lot of my own food. It turns out I can cook a better breakfast than most cafes. My homemade pesto is a particular favourite combined with fresh eggs from the backyard chickens. If people can throw off the shackles of ideologies and expectations they might find in some ways life can improve in the time ahead.

  8. >The concept never really caught up in the West, but it seems to be popular in Japan.

    Vending machine restaurants are popular in the Netherlands, almost every city center has one.

    That is where extremes touch: Soviet materialism and Protestant thriftiness.

  9. On a different note there is a worthwhile interview with Dr. Meadows of LTG fame just published on Resilience.

    Spoiler alert... Dr. Meadows talks about oil.And war.

    Ugo recentely mentioned that it's time to be careful about what we say on a public forum...

    attempt to link

  10. Here in Tucson, the restaurants never closed and are doing great business, but Arizona and several other States in the South and Southwest have apparently been islands of sanity in a sea of madness...

    1. Arizona is also number one or two in excess deaths (fighting with MS for that dubious honor), having lost 0.5-0.7% of the population.

      And this is just the start, most of the mass mortality from this virus is in the future.

      We were supposed to be way past allowing that sort of thing to happen as a "civilization", but there we are.

  11. Might I suggest we all ignore Orlov or at least not support his finances. For repeating Putin's propaganda.

    1. Right. Let's follow the MSM propaganda instead. The Mighty Wurlitzer, it's been called.

      I would reserve judgment of any kind at this juncture.

    2. I follow both MSM, Russian and Ukrainian propaganda, Ukrainian prop is winning at the mo, why? Because they are young and tech savy.

      Both Orly is agreeing with this "military operation"

      "First, a couple of words about the Ukraine, because it is such a hottest topic. Smart people have been warning the Ukrainians for 20 years. If they did not hear and did not understand, they alone are to blame. I believe that the decisions taken by the Kremlin were correct and timely, and the good results are plain to see."

      The Kremlin (putin) were right? To send thousands of 18/19/20 yr olds to their deaths?


      PS I dont support any imperial war mongering be it US, UK EU or RU

      Small is beautiful and Russia is ugly huge!

  12. Just to remember that "eating out" was in the way the norm in European cities before cooking stoves came into fashion. From ancient Rome to the early 20th century, even if people did not always "eat out" they would buy street food.