A joke I heard at a wonderful Freedomfest presentation on “The Intellectual Battle for South America”. Here, however, the central question was not about economics but about philosophy. The basis for the talk:
If the evidence of failure is so striking, why keep trying with different forms of socialism?
Their answer: because it’s not about economics but about philosophy and psychology. It’s a moral question, with the almost universal mantra in South America contrary to a market based economy. Two quotes of interest which help sum up the problem. First Eva Peron:
Where there is a need there is a right.
And then from a poster that does seem to help make sense of Venezuela:
If you think greed is bad, wait till you hear about capitalism.
The perfect way to remain very poor but also extremely resentful. I was more than primed for this by my airplane book which I picked up in an op shop just before I left.
Socialism and International Economic Order by Elizabeth Tamedly
I had never come across even its title before, nor the author, but I cannot recommend it highly enough. You see it in South America but unless we are all very careful, what she describes may be coming to a country very near to you very soon.
SOME NEWS JUST IN: Venezuela Now a Military Dictatorship. A bit of detail of an unsurprising kind, specially for those who can never learn:
Venezuela’s Marxist President Nicolás Maduro closed the loop on Monday night, declaring under powers granted to himself by his “emergency decree” announced in January (later to be declared “constitutional” by his hand-picked Supreme Court) that his new Great Sovereign Supply Mission would be run by the country’s defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López (shown, right).
Maduro put everything that moves into the hands of Padrino: “All the ministries, all the ministers, all the state institutions are at the service [of] and in absolute subordination [to the new mission].”
Padrino, the head of Venezuela’s armed forces, now will be in charge of transporting and distributing what’s left of products supplied by the crippled economy, enforcing price controls, and “stimulating” the economy.
A former head of the armed forces commission in the now emasculated congress, Luis Manuel Esculpí, said, “This is now a completely militarized government. The army is Maduro’s [sole] source of authority.
In the long term, the army is the only source of authority a socialist government can depend on.