Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Global Politician, Central Europe Review, PopMatters, Bellaonline, and eBookWeb, a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.
Hawala, or the Bank that Never Was
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA, attention was drawn to the age-old, secretive, and globe-spanning banking system developed in Asia and known as "Hawala" (to change, in Arabic).
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Egoistic Friend
For a pattern of behaviour to be described as "friendship", these four conditions must be met: diminished egoism, conscious and intelligent agents, identical mental states (allowing for the communication of the friendship) and non-deterministic behaviour, the result of constant decision making.
White Farms, Black Farmers
The Western press casts him in the role of an African Saddam Hussein. Neighboring leaders supported his policies, but then succumbed to diplomacy and world opinion and, with a few notable exceptions, shunned him.
Monday, December 4, 2006
The Pathology of Love
The unpalatable truth is that falling in love is, in some ways, indistinguishable from a severe pathology.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006(3 comments)
And Then There Were Too Many
Scholars and decision-makers - once terrified by the Malthusian dystopia of a "population bomb" - are more sanguine now. Advances in agricultural technology eradicated hunger even in teeming places like India and China.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The Expat Experts
All foreign advisors belong to either of three categories: the hustlers, the bureaucrats and the corporates.
The Roots of 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 unknown.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
America, the Reluctant Empire
When the annals of the United States are written, its transition from republic to empire is likely to warrant special attention.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006(3 comments)
Is It All About Oil?
If the war was all about oil, Iraq would have been invaded by the European Union, or Japan - whose dependence on Middle Eastern oil is far greater than the United States'. The USA would have, probably, taken over Venezuela, a much larger and proximate supplier with its own emerging tyrant to boot.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006(1 comments)
The Debate about Cloning
There are two types of cloning. One involves harvesting stem cells from embryos ("therapeutic cloning"). Stem cells are the biological equivalent of a template or a blueprint. They can develop into any kind of mature functional cell and thus help cure many degenerative and auto-immune diseases.
Monday, August 21, 2006
The Merits of Inflation
The sin committed by most central banks is their lack of symmetry. They signal visceral aversion to inflation - but ignore the risk of deflation altogether.
Wednesday, August 9, 2006(8 comments)
America the Narcissist
The United states always finds itself in company with the least palatable regimes in the world.
Friday, July 28, 2006
The American Hostel
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.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
In "Altneuland" (translated to Hebrew as "Tel Aviv"), the feverish tome composed by Theodore Herzl, Judaism's improbable visionary - Herzl refers to the Arabs as pliant and compliant butlers, replete with gloves and tarbushes.
Narcissism in the Boardroom
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.
Sunday, July 2, 2006(4 comments)
A Dialog about Anti-Semitism
Rabid anti-Semitism, coupled with inane and outlandish conspiracy theories of world dominion, is easy to counter and dispel.
Why Are Politicians Corrupt?
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.
The Semi-failed State
A semi-failed state is a country whose government maintains all the trappings and appearances of power, legitimacy, and control. Yet, the semi-failed state - while going through the motions - is dead on its feet.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
The state has a monopoly on behaviour usually deemed criminal. It murders, kidnaps, and locks up people.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Encroachment of the Public
In theory, private life is insulated and shielded from social pressures, the ambit of norms and laws, and even the strictures of public morality. Reality, though, is different.
The Business of Torture
As awareness of human rights increased, as their definition expanded and as new, often authoritarian polities, resorted to torture and repression - human rights advocates and non-governmental organizations proliferated.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006(2 comments)
The Psychology of Torture
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.
Monday, May 15, 2006(7 comments)
The Argument for Torture
Should physical torture be applied - where psychological strain has failed - in order to discover the whereabouts of a ticking bomb and thus prevent a mass slaughter of the innocent?
Friday, May 12, 2006
Anarchism for a Post-modern Age
Politics, in all its forms, has failed. 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.
Thursday, May 11, 2006(1 comments)
The Madman and the Iraqi War
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.
Tuesday, May 9, 2006(4 comments)
Euthanasia and the Right to Die
Euthanasia is the intentional premature termination of another person's life either by direct intervention (active euthanasia) or by withholding life-prolonging measures and resources (passive euthanasia), either at the express or implied request of that person (voluntary euthanasia), or in the absence of such approval (non-voluntary euthanasia).
The Roots of Anti-Americanism
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.
Wednesday, May 3, 2006(3 comments)
The Clash of Islam and Liberalism
This is not a clash of civilizations. Western culture is inextricably intertwined with Islamic knowledge, teachings, and philosophy. Christian fundamentalists have more in common with Muslim militants than with East Coast or French intellectuals. Islam is not merely a religion. It is also - and perhaps, foremost - a state ideology. It is all-pervasive and missionary.
Monday, May 1, 2006(2 comments)
Narcissism, Culture, and Society
There are malignant narcissists among subsistence farmers in Africa, nomads in the Sinai desert, day laborers in east Europe, and intellectuals and socialites in Manhattan.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
The Emerging Water Wars
There is no reason to assume that water would cause more warfare than oil or national pride. But water scarcity sure causes dislocation, ethnic tension, impoverishment, social anomy, and a host of other ills. It is in fending off these pernicious, all-pervasive, and slow-acting social processes that we should concentrate our efforts.
Monday, April 24, 2006
The narcissistic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.
Monday, April 24, 2006(5 comments)
NGOs - The Self-Appointed Altruists
Always self-appointed, they answer to no constituency. Though unelected and ignorant of local realities, they confront the democratically chosen and those who voted them into office. A few of them are enmeshed in crime and corruption. They are the non-governmental organizations, or NGO's.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The Morality of Child Labor
Reports regarding child labor surface periodically. Children crawling in mines, faces ashen, body deformed. The agile fingers of famished infants weaving soccer balls for their more privileged counterparts in the USA.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Add Me to the List, Mr. Blair
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.