Inside Venezuela

A report from ground level in Venezuela via Rebel News.

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11 Responses to Inside Venezuela

  1. stackja

    Hugo Chávez the darling of the MSM.

  2. Mark M

    So, having agitated for billions of tax-payer dollars spent cramming failed technology into the electricity grid, the green grifters in the renewables racket are proposing more tax-payer money for people not to use it?

    Energy users could be paid to reduce use

    Austrazuaela, you’re standing in it.

  3. Tel

    The latest from Paul Bugman (Jan. 29, 2019):

    That’s a shameful line of argument. In fact, whenever you see someone invoking Venezuela as a reason not to consider progressive policy ideas, you know right away that the person in question is uninformed, dishonest, or both. It basically shows that the speaker or writer isn’t willing to engage in serious discussion, preferring to scare people with a boogeyman of which he or she knows nothing.

    In fact, whenever you see someone playing the man, using “shut up” words like “white supremacist” and refusing to address the issue, you know right away that the person in question is uninformed, dishonest, or both. It basically shows that the speaker or writer isn’t willing to engage in serious discussion, preferring to scare people with a boogeyman of which he or she knows nothing.

    What, after all, do we learn from the Venezuelan experience? Yes, the country is a mess. Venezuela has always been a one-industry economy, with huge inequality. Hugo Chavez got into power because of rage against the nation’s elite, but used the power badly. He seized the oil sector, which you only do if you can run it honestly and efficiently; instead, he turned it over to corrupt cronies, who degraded its performance. Then, when oil prices fell, his successor tried to cover the income gap by printing money. Hence the crisis.

    Ahhh time for a quick fact check … has Venezuela “always been a one-industry economy”? Do a 20 second search on Wikipedia for starters:

    Prior to the 1950s and the initiation of large-scale oil exports, agriculture, fishing, and forestry were central to the Venezuelan economy, producing more than half the gross domestic product (GDP).

    So that’s one thing that he quite literally got wrong … although over time they increased their dependency on oil, it certainly wasn’t ALWAYS that way. Gosh, more than half the GDP … that’s quite a bit. They easily had the capability to feed themselves, nice!

    Has Venezuela always had “huge inequality”? Well you might guess he’s wrong about that as well, but here’s a reference from Oxfam:

    But the thing that surprised me is Venezuela, which has overtaken Ecuador, Paraguay and Costa Rica to become the most equal (or since this is Latin America, the least unequal) country in the region. And this in a massively oil dependent country, when natural resource dependence typically leads to high levels of inequality, because it generates few jobs, and revenues tend to go to the well connected few.

    That was written in 2008, right in the middle of the Chávez wealth redistribution … so we can conclude that wealth was indeed successfully redistributed, and inequality was successfully reduced. It didn’t fix a broken economy but the statistics were exactly what the supporters of redistribution were looking to achieve, so don’t blame “inequality” for the failure.

    Did Hugo Chavez “seize the oil sector”? Actually no, the Venezuelan oil industry was nationalized by Carlos Andrés Pérez, in 1976 when Hugo Chávez was only 21 years old. The oil sector was already nationalized well before Hugo Chávez but it became more politicized after 2002. That’s quite a different question, but here is the relevant comment from Wikipedia:

    In 2002, many of the employees of PDVSA went on strike against the policies of Chávez, who in response fired over 19,000 workers from the company. Intevep, the research and development arm of PDVSA, reportedly lost 80% of its workers, severely damaging PDVSA’s ability to innovate and compete in the global petroleum market.

    The performance of PDVSA did degrade, it’s hard to say that was caused by corruption … mostly sacking all the competent people ends up leaving you with incompetent people. Most of the analysts claim that the problem with PDVSA has been lack on investment, aging equipment, etc. Profits of PDVSA were redistributed to social programs instead of going into expanding the business … but wait! Redirecting profits away from business and into social programs is exactly what people like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders all support … so if this counts as “corrupt cronies” then we have to apply the same rules to the Domcrat Party surely. Running a sector “honestly and efficiently” must include reinvestment to ensure continuation of the industry rather than sucking it dry for redistribution purposes. There’s zero chance of AOC being capable of understanding this.

    The ONLY thing that Bugman got right in the above quote is that there was money printing … and these things almost always descend into money printing, but wait again! AOC openly supports MMT which is perfectly literally money printing! MMT says, don’t worry about budgets, print first, consequences later.

  4. Tel
    #2926010, posted on February 5, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Is the author’s name really Paul Bugman? Combined with the “inaccuracy” and general desperate special pleading, it’s got me wondering whether it’s a very clever satire site. So hard to tell these days.

  5. Tel

    Tim, I humbly apologize … autocorrect is something I often struggle with … but the gist of my point stands (once you fix a few small typos).

    It was not my intent to insult any bugs!!

    The site where I got the story is called “New York Times” (search on that quote above if you have never heard of them) which is not to the best of my knowledge written by the same people who do The Onion but I understand why so many people confuse the two.

  6. Ah, I see.
    The real name is Krudman, or something like that.
    Apologies for being so obtuse.

  7. Dr Fred Lenin

    Hes “no ’lation “ to the krudster is he Tim ? that and the NYT would account for the lies and lack of research. Venezuela the pearl of progessive success ,innit?

  8. Nob

    At its best, Pedevesa was a corrupt, plodding NOC, like so many others.


    Don’t make me laugh.

  9. Nob

    The big mistake many made back then was thinking things could only get better.

  10. Colonel Crispin Berka, King's Fusiliers Corps.

    Venezuela? What Venezuela? Never heard of it.
    On a completely unrelated matter, let’s talk about reintroducing marginal income tax rates of 90%.
    Because “it worked in the United States of America”. This wasn’t the first time a non-economist has used a univariate analysis of the economy to give credit to their hobby horse, and it won’t be the last.
    But boy do the kids love this “ballsy” “historian” sticking it to the man. [ ] Yay for higher taxes on the rich, upvote upvote.

    From Vox I find this is the same guy whose “book Utopia for Realists is a passionate argument for Universal Basic Income, open borders, and a 15-hour workweek as important and achievable goals.”
    There you have it, weekly holidays and a guaranteed income for me, but 70% taxes and the threat of the withdrawal of the “social license to operate” for you. That’s what I call equality!

    Remember Chomsky’s admonishment, Venezuela is not *true* socialism, it’s State Capitalism, the word capitalism being preceded by a grimace, pronounced with contempt, and terminated with a spitball.
    But then how is any tax-funded programme not also State Capitalism? Isn’t federally-funded education, defense, and healthcare currently State Capitalism too? Gosh old Noam must have so many enemies… on the left!
    Chavez was certainly saying all the right socialist words back in 2005:

    “Everyday I become more convinced, there is no doubt in my mind, and as many intellectuals have said, that it is necessary to transcend capitalism. But capitalism can’t be transcended from with capitalism itself, but through socialism, true socialism, with equality and justice. But I’m also convinced that it is possible to do it under democracy, but not in the type of democracy being imposed from Washington,” he said.

    Clearly we should interpret this explicit reference to “true socialism” as hollow rhetoric from just another politician who talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk.

    Chomsky’s favoured alternative is “Anarcho-syndicalism” where the means of production are collectively owned by sector and region-specific groups, not by a federal government. This sounds like basically a bunch of corporations that aren’t officially owned by any single person, but then neither is any publicly listed company on the very capitalist stock-exchange. The difference appears to be that workers have earned their influence over the operation of the syndicate by merit of their work for it, whereas capitalist shareholders are masters of the “pay to win” game of the stock market without earning their voting rights and dividends by any labour or skill in that corporation. So you see to be the sort of socialism that Chomsky would approve, you’d have to reorganise control of production into socialist workers councils.
    Oh wait, Chavez did that too.

    Felix Martinez, general secretary of the New Generations of Mitsubishi Motors Workers (MMC) said in Anzoategui: “We want the workers to be the driving force behind the control of production in factories, so that products aren’t sold at speculative prices on the street, this will be achieved through worker control and the collective contract.”

    I doubt there’s many cars being sold on the street today in Caracas, so that would be mission accomplished then? Shame about the food and medicine though.

    Hit the panic button, put that web site straight down the memory hole.
    Venezuela? What Venezuela? Never heard of it.

  11. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    He seized the oil sector, which you only do if you can run it honestly and efficiently; instead, he turned it over to corrupt cronies, who degraded its performance.

    Oh, that was the great mistake?? How silly of us not to see that and know that we need to just get it right next time. As if.

    What happened in Venezuela is Socialism 101. Grab whatever looks good for your cronies and hold on tight. If it doesn’t go belly up sooner, don’t worry it will always go belly up later. Socialists have no idea of what makes an economy tick. And they never will have, because under socialism, the ticking heart of economies dies stone cold dead. It’s a feature, not a bug.

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