Uncomplicating Vladimir Putin

Modeling Vladimir Putin on Marginal Revolution

1. Putin is a crazy hothead
2. Putin is rational…He simply wills evil ends
3. Putin…pursues his evil ends effectively.
4. Putin lives in a world where power is so much the calculus…It is hard for we peons to grasp the emotional resonance that power has for Putin and for some of his Russian cronies.

It’s amazing how difficult the analysis of intention is when we don’t understand value. When we think that money is the only thing that has value, we are constantly befuddled when we see people try to control any other type of value. When you understand that control of any value has value, it all becomes very simple.

Can you imagine this analysis if, instead of controlling Crimea, Putin seized billions of dollars?

Why has Putin seized this money? Is it because:

1) Putin was bored and it seemed like fun.

2) Putin likes the color green. Perhaps the long winters in Russia depress him and the green reminds him of Spring.

3) Putin likes the portraits of presidents on the bills. They remind him of power and Putin craves and relentlessly pursues power.

It seems absurd in this context, doesn’t it?  Humans appreciate value.  Like to keep the value they have and try to grow the amount under their control.  Putin is human.  Crimea is valuable (millions of people, a port on the Black Sea, oil, commerce, etc.) Putin is trying to increase the amount of value he controls. Simple.

Our collective lack of ability to see anything but money as having value causes to vastly underprotect the other value we control. Control of things like: who we buy products from, who can give us a ride in their car, who we let stay at our house. We protect our money and vigorously resist tax increases but our money is only a small part of the value we control and we should vigorously protect the rest of the value we control as well. Ukraine failed to protect it’s value and now we are left trying to infer what “the emotional resonance that power has for Putin.”