Speaking of dysfunction (and heading downhill towards third-world status), I thought I'd written before about corruption surrounding construction of the Sochi Olympics site. I think what I thought I'd written about before was an article talking about there being as much as $30B in graft involved in the construction. Given an initial estimate of $12B for entire construction, it just blew my mind that a number like that was even feasible.
I can't find that article now, but I just ran across a newer article on the ongoing theft in the Economist. It neither confirms nor corroborates the specific figure I'm remembering, but certainly shows that the spirit of what I'm remembering is correct.
Of course, there are two other big issues to go with it. The first is, why host the winter olympics in one of the warmest places in Russia? And two, how much money was spent in bribes to the IOC to land the Olympics in the first place?
Kind of makes you feel sorry for the Russian people, doesn't it?
Also, the talk in the first article of how corporatist policies sunk the USSR kind of begs the question of where the US is going, as many people are trying to raid the US treasury for everything they can take, as well. And having a disturbing amount of success, as can be seen by the size of corporate bailouts, and what those companies have suffered since (nothing, aside from a small amount of public shaming and a few toothless regulations).