Venezuela’s hyperinflation fuels misery for poor but enriches elite through


#1

But they have free healthcare and 100% literacy, so I’m calling it a wash…


#2

When has socialism EVER been anything other than the enrichment of the elite and impoverishment of everyone else?


#3

More research ought to be done into who it is, precisely, that controls the money borrowed by countries to carry their national debt.

My thesis is that left-leaning ruling parties have no qualms about putting their country-men and -women into debt because that, too, benefits the super wealthy elites that are 1) pushing for globalism by undermining the sovereignty of nation states, and 2) keeping those left-leaning governments in power by funding them and their debt producing policies.

This is, in reality, treason from within, but justified by leftist politicians by appeals to “idealistic” principles, which, in fact, are merely an extortionist power grab by the mega-rich who have no principles or allegiances, whatsoever. The politicians are useful pawns, and not very bright, or moral, at that.

As Soros stated in the 60 Minutes interview, something to the effect that, “If it isn’t me that benefits then someone else will. So why not me?”

Words to live by, I suppose, if you have no moral principles to begin with.


#4

Well, it is “free” when and if you can get it.

Now if only there was food at an affordable price.

On the other hand, nothing wrong with making food a little more UNavailable, according to some.


#5

Hyperinflation is awful. And it is entirely caused by fiat currency and the state. The best way the state has found to rob from people is fiat currency. Most states just nick you for a few cents on the dollar each year. But the greedy ones push it too far until you have this.


#6

Related news, that Trump discussed intervening in Venezuela, this may be all made up as well.


#7

Can you define socialism here? Most European countries are “social democratic”, in that they have a social safety net, but still encourage free enterprise. Taxes might be a bit high for most Americans to digest, but it strikes me that a kind of hybrid system does work. I might also argue that in certain kinds of capitalist economies, the elites have enriched themselves greatly at the expense of the ordinary man on the street.

But whatever Venezuela pretended to be, what it really has been since Chavez came to power is a kleptocracy. Yes, lots of money was thrown on the poor, but in a totally unsustainable fashion, but at the same time the Chavistas basically bought the generals that could topple them with lots and lots of money, not to mention spending a lot of money on like-minded Latin American states. The absurd discounts that Cuba got on Venezuelan oil did a lot to keep the Castro regime afloat in the wake of the loss of Soviet subsidies. But ultimately people like Chavez enriched themselves obscenely (his daughter is purportedly one of the richest women in South America).

I won’t defend central economic planning, which has been shown to be unsustainable. Countries like China and the USSR did rapidly industrialize, so I guess some credit has to go to that, but the human cost was obscene (Mao’s Five Year Plan was one of the greatest human catastrophes in history). But I’m cautious to condemn all forms of socialism. After all, even the US has a welfare state. For me, a capitalist system with a reasonable sets of regulations to prevent abuses, break up abusive monopolies, along with a strong central bank that (at least most of the time) can provide some level of stability, is the way to go.

I wonder if Venezuela would even be in such bad shape if it had in fact been a real socialist economy. It would have gone broke, of course, with the collapse of oil prices, but not as quickly and not so precipitously. The fact is that while Maduro sets his armed forces, police, and various gangs of leftist thugs to the task of beating the populace into starving submission, while tens of thousands flee the country outright, you can be sure he and his fellow Chavistas have their loot hidden all over the world, and if things get to hot, and there’s a colonels coup, I’m sure the jet is on the tarmac ready to fly them to Cuba or Russia or wherever they are their suitcases full of gold and money will take them.


#8

There is a graphic out that shows socialism tends to fail but then, people will say, “wasn’t done right”.

Sure, Sweden and other countries have a safety net, we might call some of that socialism but I would think it would be highly idealistic at least, in the present time, to think Venezuela would ever have any sort of model like Sweden.


#9

It really boils down to what you call socialism. Socialism is really more of a group of economic theories, with Communism and some forms of anarchism at one end, and “social democracy” at the other. The Nordic countries are social democratic states. They have relatively high taxes, but still encourage free enterprise (and indeed, countries like Sweden are some of the most capitalistic countries in the world in that regard). The theory being that the taxpayer, including businesses, should fund the social safety net for the general welfare, but a capitalist system is needed to fund those benefits.

Venezuela was frankly pretty incoherent. Nationalizing industries seemed to have more to do with rewarding loyalists, particularly in the military, and little enough to do with any kind of central planning. I think more extreme forms of socialism, particularly collectivism, are always going to be doomed, but it took the Soviet Union seventy years to collapse, whereas the Chavistas have been in power two decades, and have basically burned through all the money.


#10

I don’t think of socialism, communism, fascism as different things. All are variations on a single theme. That theme is that a select circle of people gets control of the reins of power and then utilizes that to accrue the benefits of the society to themselves. It “goes bad” (worse) when the condition of the populace requires more and more coercion to keep an ever-increasing number of parasites in the clover.

It’s a continuum, not a distinct set of systems. The U.S. is fairly low on the “scale”. We are forced to support a lot of people who live better than we do. But the economy is fairly generous and we put up with it. Sweden is rather more so, but well within the bounds that keep a society from exploding. Iran is a bit closer to the outer edge. The Mullahs are billionaires who are serving the interests of other billionaires (the big Bazaari) and the people suffer for it. Venezuela and Cuba are on the far end of the spectrum. The privileged and their protectors take nearly all of the economy’s output and people starve.


#11

Socialism fails because it takes away personal initiatives and property rights. People have to be coerced (by a police state) to participate. It will never be “done right” because it goes against human nature.


#12

I remember some wag commenting that apologists for socialism say it doesn’t work because people have never done it right. On the contrary, it doesn’t work because people DO do it right.


#13

Just ask the people in Ukraine, Hungary, Poland. Ask the East Germans who died trying to escape.


#14

No matter how many retrials of the socialist experiment are run, the number will never be enough for some because they themselves weren’t involved in conducting those trials.

So let’s rerun the experiment with millions of new Guinea pigs and new controls, because those who carried out the genocides in the past just weren’t as competent, or as good, or as efficient, or as all knowing as the new socialists conceive themselves to be.


#15

Well, to be fair, Fascism, depending on how you define it, seems to reasonably well economically. Certainly Hitler built a pretty vigorous economy, one that basically took Germany from an economic collapse to a war machine capable of holding off the Allies for the better part of six years. Some of the Latin American right wing dictatorships had a decidedly fascist air about them, and at least for the ruling classes did reasonably well. So while I think they’re on a continuum as far as the lack of freedoms and tyrannies go, clearly there are significant differences in economic outcomes.

Look at China, where capitalism has certainly been adopted, but it remains the same autocratic technocracy that Deng Xiaoping instituted after he won control after the death of Mao. I think one has to be cautious when talking about political systems versus economic systems. It’s easy enough with Communism and related breeds of socialism, since economics and politics are so integrally intertwined (that is, at least in Marx’s thought, the only way collectivism can work). The Fascists and other related political systems had no issue with profits, providing power was maintained. Men got very rich under the likes of Hitler, Franco and Pinochet, and businesses, providing they didn’t partake in any kind of political activity, were left to their own devices.

So that’s the real difference, and it is a significant one in economic terms. Collectivism cannot tolerate any free enterprise, or at least any significant free enterprise, since it represents both a threat to the economic system and political power. With far right autocracies, so long as the businesses are either being run by friends of the regime, or remain decidedly a-political, they’re not only tolerated, but in many cases encouraged. A lot of those far right autocracies and dictatorships relied pretty heavily on foreign investment. Franco had pretty close relationships with a number of Western democracies, and even Mussolini was seen in a fairly tolerant light right up until he joined up with Germany.


#16

Yeah, no. There is the inherent problem, right there.

The lives and well-being of people, and the economy that is tied fundamentally to those, are far too nimble and changing to suffer from “central planning.”

What Google, Facebook and Twitter are now doing, in terms of thought-policing, are what all socialists will end up doing in terms of political, economic, and social policing.

No need to run that experiment again, it has been replicated time and again.

Even if there is socialist success in one small area, that becomes incentive for trying it in more areas, until the implosion is inevitable.

Power and responsibility are best distributed at the lowest and most local level, and a light hand is all that is required for individuals to look after their own needs and the needs of those for whom they are responsible.


#17

There are some things that only a central government can do. Even the Founding Fathers understood that.


#18

Hitler’s Germany was running on fumes until it was able to loot other countries. Mussolini’s Italy was already on an economic decline before WWII. But for WWII, I think we would likely have seen both fail economically.

To me, if I didn’t make it clear what I meant, there is no real difference among socialist systems other than the level of coercion each has to use in order to ensure compliance within the society.

The Soviet Union was never “collectivist”. It was a country in which a ruthless elite took power and milked the country dry to maintain its own privilege. It maintained that power through a very expensive system of coercion. The expense of that coercion ultimately proved too much for the country to maintain any longer. It did defer its demise by looting eastern Europe after WWII. But that could last only so long.

No matter what the political system calls itself and no matter what myths it employs, they are all economic systems. It just happens that a handful of countries’ elites demand and receive relatively little and don’t have to have storm troopers or Chekists to keep them in power because of that relative moderation. In others, they demand a lot, and it costs a lot.


#19

Sure. Like protect national boundaries, set rules for civil behaviour, enact laws regarding economic contracts and ensure transactions are impartial and fair, and protect citizens from each other in terms of violence or abuse.

Those are not “central planning” in terms of directing the economy, the society or the culture towards some future ideal. They are more like setting the fair ground rules of the game and making sure those rules are followed by everyone. There is no “planning” in terms of aiming at some outcome or other, except that fair rules are followed and truthfulness is the ground for all commerce and trade.

This would be akin to an editor’s relationship to the writer. The editor’s, or the government‘s, focus is the grammar, clarity and structure of the story, but the writer, or the people, tell their own story.

The editor, nor the government, is not the “central planner” of the story – that is NOT their function.


#20

The presence of the commerce and supremacy clauses demonstrate that the Founding Fathers intended that the Federal Government would at times take an interventionist approach. After all, the US had already experimented with a decentralized governing model; the Articles of Confederation, and they were a disaster.


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