Regarding Sr. Chavez

Politically, what Chavez did was successful. But that success came at the cost of the future. Instead of building a more stable foundation for long-term prosperity, Chavez started cutting chunks out of the house and handing them out to the crowd. Socialists, especially, take note: he essentially destroyed one of the most competent, successful, state run companies in the world.

It is a problem for socialism and socialists. Politicians get to run things. And when they do they\’ll be run for political reasons, not economic or business.

10 thoughts on “Regarding Sr. Chavez”

  1. Yeah but, it’s just what successive Frnch presidents did to Elf Aquitaine. It became Mitterand’s personal bank account – oh he was a socialist too, wasn’t he ?

    Petroleos de Venzuela may have been a competent company, but the rest of the country seemed to have been run by the Marx Brothers for years.

  2. So Much for Subtlety

    It is a problem for socialism and socialists. Politicians get to run things. And when they do they-ll be run for political reasons, not economic or business.

    That is not a bug, it is a feature. People who make a lot of money are obviously not the sort of people who should be making important decisions. That ought to be for morally righteous people – you know, the sort of people who did PPE or went to ENA. Like Polly – if only the sexist pigs at Oxford had not forced her to drop out.

    Chavez dead, The Guardian and BBC hit hardest.

  3. Bemused Bystander

    Same with the New Deal. Everyone knows it was economically irrelevant and probably extended the Great Depression but it helped FDR get elected four times.

    There’s been research that Brazilian and Chilean social democratic governments were more effective at poverty alleviation than Piggy Chavez’s bloated blustering (http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/inequality-latin-america-2011-10.pdf) but they weren’t overtly anti-Murka so they don’t get lionised by Milne, Galloway and Monbiot et al.

  4. I’m not an admirer of Chavez – there’s too much truth in the criticism McArdle quotes of his autocratic habits. But what she has to say about his economic policies is characteristically ill-considered.

    If you’re a poor country enjoying an oil bonanza, there are two things you should do to promote future prosperity. One is to invest in educating your population, which, as McArdle grudgingly acknowledges, Chavez successfully did. The other is to pump the oil as slowly as you reasonably can, to avoid a wasteful and unsustainable boom. It’s stupid to criticize him for not pumping oil as quickly as possible instead.

  5. So Much for Subtlety

    Paul, I don’t think anyone is criticising him for educating the population. In so far as we can tell. Nor for holding out for higher prices for oil. But you assume he chose to pump slowly. There is no evidence I know of this. Why do you think this was a choice?

    In the meantime there is plenty of evidence, some mentioned by MM, that he ruined the non-oil sections of the economy. High crime, high inflation, and uncertainty will do that you know. So Venezuela has less of a real economy apart from the oil then it used to.

    Whatever Chavez’s policies were, they should be judged according to whether they left Venezuela better off in the long run. And the answer seems pretty clear – God no.

    But the Left has a need to boost their crippled personalities by worshiping some Stalin-like figure. It is sad they are reduced to buffoons like Chavez.

  6. SMFS

    Also not a fan of Chavez. He did something for the poor – not a lot and very inefficiently, but he did. The reason why Marx was wrong about the revolution occurring in Britain (and in Germany) was that the ruling classes agreed to the compromise that is social democracy. The Venezuelan elite did not. For which they got Chavez.

    Chavez has undermined the rule of law, the separation of powers and the Venezuelans will be paying for it for probably decades as uncertainty and instability have become the norm. His policies were badly thought out, badly implemented, (except where they destroyed existing structures – like the PDVSA) and were typically leftwing. We should remember him as an object lesson in gross lefty stupidity, and remember that the Venezuelan ruling class helped to create him. Compromise is far better than getting a Chavez.

  7. The reason there was no revolution in Britain, Germany nor anywhere else without a lot of help from war and stupidity is that Marx was full of shit. His theories say the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer so revo is inevitable. But both rich and poor have got richer.

    Chavez was a vicious buffoon.

  8. So Much for Subtlety

    Ken – “Also not a fan of Chavez. He did something for the poor – not a lot and very inefficiently, but he did.”

    I agree. That was not my point. It is easy to stave off hunger by eating your own leg, but it is not a useful long term strategy. And yet that is more or less what he did with the economy. Venezuela’s dependence on oil grew under the fat clown. Venezuela is worse off in the long run.

    “The reason why Marx was wrong about the revolution occurring in Britain (and in Germany) was that the ruling classes agreed to the compromise that is social democracy. The Venezuelan elite did not. For which they got Chavez.”

    That is not true. The reason Marx was wrong is because he was wrong – a growing economy ends poverty. It is true that workers were able to vote for other people-s money at about the same time, but that is not what caused the middle classes. After all, Britain let workers vote precisely when? And when did they vote for socialism?

    “and remember that the Venezuelan ruling class helped to create him. Compromise is far better than getting a Chavez.”

    I have no brief for the ruling classes of Latin America, but actually South America has been vulnerable to this sort of buffoonery for a long time. That won’t stop any time soon. It is part of Latin culture. Look at Italy. Socialist or not. I suppose it means that when you do get a totalitarian ruler he is often a buffoon too – look at Mussolini – but a fairly moderate buffoon as totalitarian rulers go. Although I am not sure where I would put Castro and Romania in that scheme of things.

  9. Mr Ecks, SMFS

    It’s been a while since I read much Marx, but I’m fairly certain that the Marxist historical dialectic was that the workers would be exploited and alienated by the providers of capital. I don’t think Marx stated that the poor would get poorer as the rich got richer or that the growth in the economy would not end poverty.

    In practice, the demands for greater political rights and for greater equity came in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century and were met in great part in the advanced economies of Western Europe and the US, where Marx believed that capitalism, most advanced would lead to revolution. I see this as where Marx was wrong, he thought that the capitalist class would keep power concentrated and also refuse to share, whereas this did not occur. The Communist Party Manifesto of 1848 is overtaken by the developments of the 1884 Representation of the People Act.

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