Anarchy is Worse than Socialism

Socialism is bad. I need no convincing. But the collapse of Venezuela is much worse than anyone would have predicted from socialism alone:

NYTimes: ….the drop in Venezuela’s economic output under Mr. Maduro has undergone the steepest decline by any country not at war since at least 1975.

By year’s end, Venezuela’s gross domestic product will have shrunk by 62 percent since the beginning of the recession in 2013.

Venezuela has lost a tenth of its population in the past two years as people fled, even trekking across mountains, setting off Latin America’s biggest ever refugee crisis.

Venezuela’s hyperinflation, expected to reach 10 million percent this year according to the I.M.F., is on track to become the longest period of runaway price rises since that in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s.

“This is essentially a total collapse in consumption,” said Sergi Lanau, deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance…

So what is causing the tremendous drop in economic activity? Ironically, it’s not too much government but too little. Outside of the capital, the government has practically abandoned its most basic responsibility of providing law and order. The result has been widespread looting. Ordinary theft is about stealing money or valuable “final” goods like diamonds or art works. In theory, the thief receives more or less what the owner loses. Looting, however, is a special kind of theft. Looting is theft plus destruction. The person who steals a candy bar is a thief. The person who breaks a store front window and steals a candy bar is a looter. Looters destroy intermediate goods and infrastructure and gain far less than owners lose. Looting is the worst kind of theft.

He said he lost his job at a hotel when looters ransacked it in March, ripping out even window frames and cable wiring. He now collects wild plums to sell for a few cents in the city’s parks. Most of his community’s diet now consists of wild fruits, fried corn pastries and bone broth, residents said.

Farther from the state capital, conditions are worse.

…The four stone quarries that are the island’s only industry have been idle since robbers stole all power cables connecting them to the grid last year. Local opposition activists estimate up to a third of the residents have emigrated from the island in the past two years.

“It used to be a paradise,” said Arturo Flores, the local municipality’s security coordinator, who sells a fermented corn drink from a bucket to local fishermen to round up his salary, which is equivalent to $4 a month. “Now, everyone is fleeing.”

On the other side of Zulia state, in the ranching town of Machiques, the economic collapse has decimated the meat and dairy industries that had supplied the country.

Power cuts have idled the local slaughterhouse, once one of the largest in Latin America. Armed gangs extort and rustle cattle from the surviving ranchers.

“You can’t produce if there’s no law,” said Rómulo Romero, a local rancher.

…“There’s no local, regional or national government here,” said José Espina, a motorbike taxi driver there. “We’re on our own.”

To say that socialism is better than anarchy is not to defend the rotten Chavez-Maduro regime. Instead I am pointing to the relevance of Mancur’s Olson’s model of the roving and stationary bandit. Olson explained why roving bandits evolve into stationary bandits:

Under anarchy, uncoordinated competitive theft by “roving bandits” destroys the incentive to invest and produce, leaving little for either the population or the bandits. Both can be better off if a bandit sets himself up as a dictator-a “stationary bandit” who monopolizes and rationalizes theft in the form of taxes. A secure autocrat has an encompassing interest in his domain that leads him to provide a peaceful order and other public goods that increase productivity.

The process is working in reverse in Venezuela. In Venezuela, the stationary bandit regime is collapsing and it is being replaced by a regime of roving bandits.

The incentives Olson identifies will eventually result in a new stationary bandit or, if Venezuela is lucky, maybe even less banditry and better institutions. The process is already underway. Consider this:

Local shopkeepers have pulled together to repair power lines and keep telecom towers running, to feed public workers, and to procure diesel for backup generators.

“We have practically taken on the functions of the state,” said Juan Carlos Perrota, a butcher who runs Machiques’ chamber of commerce.

Local shopkeepers are repairing power lines, feeding public workers and taking over the power of the state. Awesome! ¡Viva la maquinaria de la libertad!

The process of rebuilding governance, however, is slow and the destruction of wealth and human life costly. Indeed, it’s a surprise that Venezuela has gone so far down this path. Stationary bandits are usually replaced by other stationary bandits. Juan Guaidó seems far superior to Maduro on every score but the real puzzle is how Maduro has held off the generals even as anarchy looms. Don’t the generals see that that the goose is dying?

Comments

You ask why the generals aren't acting .. maybe there is a new goose in the house.

"Last month, the Russians sent roughly 100 private military contractors to Caracas. They continue to sell arms to Nicolás Maduro’s government, and to defend him at the United Nations. Their friends in Cuba have been lurking around Venezuela for years and are now occupying a more crucial role than before, likely encouraged by Russia."

It has been a strange thing, the way the US government has gone quiet at the same time.

Hurray! It's a new Russian Conspiracy Theory. Well done, Hillary old girl.

It's a real thing that oligarchs with billions shape politics across the world now.

https://www.politico.eu/article/sebastian-kurz-triggers-austrian-election-after-far-right-scandal/

Your inability to deal doesn't change that.

The Russian Oligarchs are the Soviet Apparat who ran the place at the time like crime bosses and simply adjusted to the changing situation by maintaining power and wealth.

Socialism by definition creates unassailable fortresses of power. Both Venezuela and Russia are the natural results of that ideology taken to it's natural conclusion.

Okay. And while Russia's failed post-communist democracy and slide to kleptocracy was concerning to many of us, I don't think many understood the threat it would pose.

It is "malefactors of great wealth" taken to a whole new level.

The point of no return came when guns were banned. The citizens became serfs with no recourse from a repressive government.

Oh yeah, Venezuela would be SAVED if there were more guns.

BECAUSE IT WORKED SO WELL IN ANY OTHER WAR. AND THE USA.

Jesus Christ, Americans.

That's what separate countries are for.

Separate countries are for cucks like me!

Well, somebody would've shot Maduro by now. I don't want to encourage violence, except when you're being starved to death.

Some people never understand how the elite seize and hold power. If you are comfortable being the serf I wish you well. If you prefer to be a citizen then I wish you keep the ability to defend yourself.

I'm confused. Guns don't work well in wars?

Not as well as bombers, no.

'It's a new Russian Conspiracy Theory'

Or it is public knowledge that the Russians have made major investments that they would like to prevent from becoming major losses.

'At the end of 2015, managers at Rosneft, the Russian state-controlled oil firm, sounded the alarm to their bosses about the company’s investments in Venezuela. Rosneft’s local partner, Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, owed it hundreds of millions of dollars, according to internal documents, and there seemed no prospect things would get better.

“It will be like this for eternity,” a Rosneft internal auditor wrote in an email to a colleague in November 2015, complaining there was no progress in getting PDVSA to explain a $700 million hole in the balance sheet of a joint venture.

The email was among scores of internal Rosneft communications - including presentations, copies of official letters, memos and spreadsheets – reviewed by Reuters. They cover the firm’s operations in Venezuela between 2012 and 2015.

It was a period when other international oil companies had either quit the country or were freezing new onshore investments, worried about the policies of the populist socialist administration. But Rosneft, majority owned by the Russian state, doubled down, increasing its stakes in joint ventures with PDVSA and lending more, the documents show. Rosneft was standing by its Venezuelan partner just as the Kremlin was supporting leader Hugo Chavez and his successor as president, Nicolas Maduro.' https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/venezuela-russia-rosneft/

Who knows? Maybe someone formerly in the KGB knows just how cheaply the United Fruit Company was able to secure its investments in Central America two generations ago. Well, at least cheaply for the United Fruit Company - lots of other people paid a high price. And one can reasonably doubt that Putin is any greater a humanitarian than Hellary.

Well, I guess the politicians are finally heeding the experts' advice that US intervention always makes things worse. Russian intervention is so much better. So much for the Monroe Doctrine...

He knows their browser history

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Anarchy produces more cucks than socialism. I agree with Alex on this. Our system run by corrupt elites produces the most cucks however.

My understanding is that the citizens of Venezuela have been disarmed and are unable to fight the looters.

They suffer an extreme case of voters regret.

An option may be to arm and train several thousand refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. Brasil and Colombia (and maybe Chile?) need to be involved to avoid the 'Yankee imperialism' framing that will be pimped by j-skool fools. (This couldn't be kept secret for long).

That said, those smart & motivated enough to do the hard, violent things necessary to depose Maduro are mostly safely esconced in other nations. It's probably best to wait things out - when reports of cannibalism and worse start filtering out - the incentives will be there for the military to depose Maduro.

Of course, changing Venezuelan culture is going to take a decade+. The people there are effed for a long time.

I'm cruel! I don't care how fkd they are so long as they stay fkd there, not here. What I do not want is another spanish-speaking band about 10 million strong who will argue(?) forever about who did what to whom in Venezuela when.

Looting is what happens when the components are worth more than the whole. If you can't secure the hotel, then you can at least steal 'everything that isn't nailed down' and in this case, even things that are. Socialism lead inexorably to dictatorship which eventually leads to such a concentration of ... well, it isn't power, at least, useful power. Centralized capability to abuse? Something like that - which eventually leads to desperation and then to complete breakdowns. So does unlimited market forces, by the way. Revolution isn't pretty. Violent reconfiguration.

It isn't clear who is better in the long term; but nothing is going to be sorted out in this particular manner; and in the short term, many long term gains will be lost.

What is "unlimited market forces"?

Unregulated capitalism ends in equally despotic situations. Well regulated capitalism is great, well moderated socialism (like what you see in things like old age pensions, Medicare and any developed nation's medical system, except the US, of course) is great. The closer you get to the extreme fringe of any system, the worse it gets.

Name a single instance of unregulated capitalism resulting in despotism in the historical record.

'unregulated capitalism resulting in despotism'

Cuba, with the crux being 1959?

And there is some problem with definitions - many of the old European colonies would be considered 'unregulated capitalism' by most measures, but only in the colonies themselves, and generally only in terms of enriching those taking advantage of a situation where no one was concerned about those who were colonized. Haiti might be an example.

"Name a single instance of unregulated capitalism resulting in despotism in the historical record."

How about American history taking the property of native peoples, even after such presidents as Jefferson made treaties with tribes protecting their lands?

The history of plantation production was pillage and plundder: slash and burn, grow a monocrop to deplete the soil, move west to steal more land, repeat.

This was in contrast to the anabapitist farming bible stewardship of the land, improving the land with crop rotation.

I see little difference between the Southern plantation economy and the Venezuelan economy before and after Chavez. In both cases its a matter of who the winners are, exploiting and impoverishing the losers.

Cuba and Venezuela are simply cases of the traditional losers gaining political power for a time. But their revolutions were like the post Civil War "Reconstruction" experience. Treating everyone by the same rule of law with labor getting equal reward led to backlash, and efforts to restore winners (white men) exploiting losers (non-white, non-men).

In places where blacks setup their own economies on their own land, whites came in and looted and burned them out.

I think you guys first need to define "unregulated capitalism". All your examples are examples of what I would call "law of the jungle".

Unregulated capitalism would be a country where courts and police are working, but there are no top-down restrictions like minimum wage, safety regulations, etc. I think a more becoming example would be the start of the industrial revolution.

I think I would go with "there has never been 'a single instance of unregulated capitalism' so hold your question right there."

Capitalism, especially the formal types requiring a body of security laws, has never and can never exist "unregulated."

Concerning Mancur Olson: Olson is interested in what makes governments stable. In his theory, the "stationary bandit" creates stable government only when citizens believe that the autocratic ruler is able to think long-term rather than short-term, and, in particular, that the ruler values long-term productive capacity. The short-term autocrat expropriates resources when he believes that the value of the assets (to him or his regime) is greater than the short-term taxes they will produce. Thus nobody wants to invest. On this view, Maduro was not a very effective stationary bandit. In Olson's terms, the anarchy was entirely predictable.

I once read that Olson's theory, which sounds good on paper, has no empirical evidence. At at abstract level it makes sense, but perhaps Olson's model amounts to nothing more than AlexT's observation " Looting is theft plus destruction"? Also, how do you account for the relative prosperity of the Puntland in Somalia, which has no formal government? You have to assume the tribal elders are the stationary bandit? And the same for home owners associations. Ultimately, any self-defense force can be deemed a 'stationary bandit'? So the model is rather limited.

Bonus trivia: Mancur Olson wrote once that only a Stalin could hold a communist system together, not so much because of stick in the stick-and-carrot approach, but rather, the implication was, in a 'firm' the size of an entire country, like the USSR, you only get output by ordering people around, so the logical conclusion to this is that you sometimes, for efficiency reasons (moving farmers into cities for example) need to fire people. Literally in the case of Stalin (excess labor), aka "firing squad". Note that Khrushchev, Brezhnev and all the other failed to get the growth output that wartime Communism achieved, so in a sense "Stalin was the right man for the job" (of running the USSR), if you don't value human lives nor welfare economics (the USSR was good at winning wars and making war materials, but not making consumer goods and other stuff necessarily for a good life).

Maybe if Americans hadn't bought all that oil from Venezuela and propped up what amounts to little more than a gas station cosplaying as a country, things would have been different and Brazil would not have been saddled with the need of housing, healing, feeding and protecting tgousands and thousands of refugees who, day after day after day after, storm its borders yearning to breathe free. Will our country ever reimburse the Brazilian people for those expenses?!

Sure thing, Thiago. The fault here lies with Americans for buying Venezuelan goods, who must now write a check to Brazil as punishment.

We love you!

Isn't it funny how Americans refuse to buy Cuban or Iranian goods ("for democracy"), but support Saudi Arabia and supported the Venezuelan regime? Meanwhile, Brazil did the right thing and helped the refugees American policy created.

Have you not read the literature? Economic blockades don't work, historically. It just raises the cost of goods, like a tax, and war profiteers make more money and there's a welfare loss to society, but nothing more. Take money laundering. Do you know the EU and China have some of the strictest money laundering laws in the world? But it hasn't stopped anybody from laundering money from China into Greece, says my Greek lawyer.

Yet America applies blockades to other countries the same way Napoleon applied a blockade to England.

Tough laws prevent crime.

I say that you should reimburse Brazil, What happens in Venezuela is your fault because you once bought a candy from a store whose owner had a Venezuelan friend. Obviously what Maduro does its on you.

Like most socialist dictatorships, Venezuela's was fueled by hatred of the rich. The original idea was that most criminals were poorer, and most victims were richer. Ergo, going easy on crime enforcement was favoring an important Chavez constituency. From my recollection of his speeches Chavez definitely commiserated with squatters, looters, and thieves.

Chavez’s daughter somehow managed to end up with about 3 billion dollars. I think she lives elsewhere now.

In other words abandoning some types of law and order IS a component of socialism. We see micro-versions of this same phenomenon here in the US so it shouldn't be a surprise.

Indeed.

https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/05/18/politics/donald-trump-war-crime-pardons/

If you want law and order in a democracy, take care of it.

Public order offenses (from crapping on the street, open drug sales) to violent assault on teachers by students are often ignored because it would be violate “social justice” enforce these norms. Of course the poor can’t avoid the resulting degraded public order.

Not only that, arresting public order offenders and housing them, maybe even long-term commitment to mental health facilities, costs money.

Libertarian catch-22? They shouldn't poop on the sidewalk .. but they (and we taxpayers!) have rights.

Yes, anarchy and libertarianism are exactly the same thing.

You nailed it again. Anyone who is not a liberal Democrat wants to disband the police force and empty the prisons.

Kudos for blaming Trump for Venezuela. The bonus was sprinkling further conspiracy delusions into the mix.

Yes, Venezuela is Trumps fault because he...because he .. something something Russia. Meanwhile the Democrat Party has been literal friends with Maduro and Chavez for years. Including the probable Democrat Party presidential nominee in 2020. Who also traveled to (Soviet) Moscow for his honeymoon.

If X comes before Y, Y probably did not cause X. X=Chavez Y=Trump

But that is not to say X is necessarily unsimilar to Y. They may share characteristics.

“You ask why the generals aren't acting .. maybe there is a new goose in the house.

"Last month, the Russians sent roughly 100 private military contractors to Caracas. They continue to sell arms to Nicolás Maduro’s government, and to defend him at the United Nations. Their friends in Cuba have been lurking around Venezuela for years and are now occupying a more crucial role than before, likely encouraged by Russia."

It has been a strange thing, the way the US government has gone quiet at the same time.”

Your implication is that a new Russian conspiracy is in effect, and is the reason that Trump hasn’t....something ...something unspecified of course.

Your point wasn’t “Chavez/Maduro are incompetent and so is Trump,” your point was there’s another conspiracy.

You should apply to FIFA, your goal shifting abilities would be more useful there.

We all remember your two years of Manchurian Candidate rants. The Mueller Report shut you up for about 1 week, and now we’re back to Manchurian Candidate 2, Venezuela Boogaloo.

Seek therapy.

I note that whenever you don't like they day's news, you invent old "Manchurian Candidate rants."

I don’t have emotional swings based on news. I couldn’t care less about our political outrages de jur. And I’m not psychotically violent against Jews like you have proven to be. You’re a violent and delusional anti-Semite. Every post it’s Jews this and Jews that.

You need to seek help and/or hospitalization. Your entire identity is wrapped in conspiracy theorizing, sexual fetishization, and insane anti-Jew and anti-Russian-Jew conspiracy theories.

I think his last name rhymes with all-in.

The Zionist Entity must not be encouraged.

Then why did President Captain Bolsonaro recognize and support the Zionist Entity? Won't that encourage it?

'Like most socialist dictatorships, Venezuela's was fueled by hatred of the rich.'

You may want to ask why Chavez was so successful at convincing his compatriots to support him. It was not hatred of the rich as much as how to define the term 'compatriot' - check into the demographics of Venezuela to get an idea of why Chavez was supported by so many, at least at first.

Along this line, Evo Morales is deemed a hero by some Bolivians for raising the status of South American Indian phenotype individuals at the expense of more "white" phenotypes. Does make sense.

Yep - there is always more at play than simple 'hatred of the rich' when looking at politics in South America. Particularly in those countries where those that consider themselves 'European' are in the minority.

Whether hatred of the rich also aligned with hatred of Europeans is up for debate. It doesn't change the nature of Chavez turning a blind eye towards crime.

Bolivia is an interesting case because besides being a socialist country (tax the rich to pay for services), they seem to have high regard for property rights. Thus, small businesses rise, fall, and flourish and do a lot of good.

It's not complete anarchy yet, because the Maduro government is still in place despite the attempt by the opposition party (favored by the U.S) to claim it is the legitimate authority. One of your colleagues has written about the case of a country completely losing its central government, and how that was better than the socialist regime that preceded it in Better Off Stateless: Somalia Before and After Government Collapse.

Interesting.

Perhaps Somalia is not truly stateless, depending on your definition of the state, but rather is now organized around tribal rules. As long as everyone agrees on the rules and cultural norms, it could work. In fact, that is how all of our ancestors organized themselves.

When you say, "favored by the US," I'm sure you meant to say, "recognized by most of the international community."

"he lost his job at a hotel when looters ransacked it in March, ripping out even window frames"

We now have a definitive answer on whether broken windows create demand for jobs.

But the idea that repairing a broken window creates GDP is a fallacy, that's why it's called the glazier's fallacy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

But, if you believe the below cites, the first Maduro is a war criminal / tyrant, the second Maduro less so, and the Nth Maduro is both a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize as well as The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel?

(Wikipedia): Areas that have had repeated disasters tend to invest more in skills and education (possibly because this is preferred to riskier investment in infrastructure, which might be destroyed again), and they tend to have a higher total factor productivity (possibly also because infrastructure destroyed in disasters is replaced with better infrastructure, as, for instance, in the Great Fire of London). These tendencies could in theory lead to longer-term economic benefits (which may cause GDP growth). Cites: [9][12] Bennett, Drake (July 6, 2008). "How disasters help". The Boston Globe; Skidmore, Mark; Toya, Hideki (October 2002). "Do natural disasters promote long-term growth?". Economic Inquiry. 40 (4): 664–687. doi:10.1093/ei/40.4.664. ISSN 1465-7295

Most of the “roving bandits” “looters”, were armed and sponsored by Chavez and Maduro, perhaps thinking anarchy would help defend them… In order to know what’s happening in Venezuela one cannot ignore the “colectivos.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colectivo_(Venezuela)

Alex needs to be convinced? The Venezuelans haven't hit the last stage yet:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

But no worries, we should talk about Trump some more.

A soldier shot an unarmed girl at the river with her friends. A jury of his military peers convicted him. If Trump pardons him, what is he really doing?

He's eating the last bites of the "we must stay silent" souls, and dragging you down to his hell.

That is a little more important to Americans that whatever TF is going on in Venezuela.

Take a chill pill, sonny.

"We Must Stay Silent." Look in the mirror.

I didn't see anywhere (did a search) this massive, universal crime against humanity.

UCMJ much? Jury? I don't think you would call it that. Peers? You crazy, man. Military justice is to justice like military music is to music.

Not news. Silenced news: Four thousand, or so, Americans die at the hands of criminal invaders each year.

One was shot. Twenty-five million, and counting, criminals made it. That's the unreported crisis. That's the omitted news story.

Yesterday was Armed Forces Day. You're welcome.

So there are things worse than silence.

But this is indeed what the silence is supporting, the idea that "Americans die at the hands of criminal invaders each year" so kill them back randomly.

And not a nation of law and order.

"Quem Trumpis vult perdere, prius dementat"

I said an unarmed girl was shot, and you said "rabbit."

Your rabbit was random crime by other people. That's sick man, but go ahead and wear that on your sleeve.

@Anonymous - you make some good points but in my book you would lose all credibility if you were against the pardons of Marc Rich and Conrad Black, both wrongly committed for minor 'economic' crimes of the USSR variety, i.e., non crimes (evading economic sanctions in the case of Rich was like speeding 56 mph in a 55 mph zone, nothing). I hope you're not that ideological to be against these just pardons?

Bonus trivia: libertarian idol Judge Richard Posner hated Conrad Black, and he's the one that heard Black's appeal!

I am not a lawyer, but from my perspective it seems the presidential pardon has gone from abused to abused^2.

I really don't know where this leads. Perhaps the ability of the executive has to be restricted.
We never had to worry in the past about a president sending people out to do crimes, with a pardon as part of the promise. Now if we aren't there, we are darned close.

And in terms of which crimes are really crimes, maybe that was a real live slippery slope in action.

Is a crime really a crime when a nation has stopped caring? At that point, which crimes are crimes?

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-presidential-seal-federal-election-commission-deblasio-political-20190517-4vhkqxh27fealg54yvmfnemqzi-story.html

Which war criminal was given a pardon ?

Please explain. Not seeing any reports about pardons for the Fort Leavenworth crowd apart from Manning by Obama.

It's possible that we can head it off. George Conway(*) retweeted:

https://twitter.com/ScottHech/status/1129910409295740928

* - what a family

He wasn’t given a pardon by Trump. Trump apparently gave him some semblance of pre-trial bail. I thought liberals wanted defendants to be released when determined to be not dangerous??

His trial hasn’t even begun.

Do you have a point except from your every day “every Jew in America is bad” refrain?

Folks, the last stage of socialism is cannibalism. Trump is irrelevant.

The founders feared anarchy, which was gaining traction in some places in the new nation. Washington in particular was concerned that the anarchists would motivate Great Britain to invade and conquer the unstable new nation. Indeed, Washington was so concerned that he pushed through many compromises at the constitutional convention in Philadelphia (he was chair of the convention), producing a document that has serious flaws but was acceptable to all but three delegates (including George Mason). The alternative, no constitution, might have been the trigger for GB to invade according to Washington. I oppose socialism for many reasons, but the main reason is that it relies on people to make decisions, flawed decisions made by flawed people. Sure, markets can be flawed, but compared to people, not so much. I would point out that monopoly power is essentially the same thing as socialism, flawed people (the monopolists) making flawed decisions. I would also point out that excessive inequality can result in either socialism or anarchy. No, not because the poor are jealous of the rich, but because the rich lose confidence in the economy and resist taxes (and engage in tax evasion) to invest in public goods and abjure investments in productive capital, the engine for economic growth and prosperity, because aggregate demand is insufficient to induce the investment. The beauty of markets is that markets self-correct flaws, including excessive inequality, provided government does not intervene and instead allows markets to work their magic. Markets, the key to economic efficiency, personal freedom, and long-term prosperity. What's not to love?

Do you also not believe in Say's law? Sticky prices? Money illusion? Collective bargaining laws? Those are all, at heart, socialist constructs.

Jean-Baptiste Say was an unreconstructed Smithian.

>>Don’t the generals see that that the goose is dying?
Why care when one can simply leave with the loot? Most of them almost certainly have large bitcoin stashes, overseas holdings, etc.

>collapse of Venezuela is much worse than anyone would have predicted from socialism

No, Alex. It is much worse than YOU (or other statists) would have predicted.

The normals are looking at Venezuela and saying "this seems about right, based on repeated historical events."

Still, we give you credit for even using the word "socialism" to describe the horrors of Venezuela. Baby steps, Alex!

wut?

In other places socialism led to millions being exterminated in labor camps and killing fields. Venezuela is still on the milder side of socialist achievements.

Plenty of looting going on in the US as well. Copper is commonly stripped out of uninhabited buildings and those under construction. Since the wiring ripped out of Venezuelan buildings can't be eaten it must be sold for cash or bartered. Who is on the receiving end?

Good points. In the slums of Manila, I know of some junk shops. Of interest is they do most of their business at night, I've stayed with them for a while, and you get Slim Shady customers on bikes with bags of scrap metal (as you say Cu is king) and, on a rickety scale, the metal is weighed, the purity is estimated, and cash on the barrel head is paid, no questions asked. More than pays the rent. I asked the junk store owner, what if somebody brings a municipal lamp post to you for sale? They said there are laws against that, and if a store owner is caught accepting clearly stolen or vandalized goods, they are fined by the police. There *is* honor among thieves!

Depends on the neighborhood.

Wealthy and middle-class neighborhoods have very low rates of property crime.

Though poor neighborhoods have more property crime, it is amazing how little crime there is and how much of that crime is committed by such a small group of people. Most people living in poor neighborhoods are honorable, indeed heroic, imho. I base this on my experience living in a ghetto in my youth.

The rule of law is an idea, not an institution, that resides in the minds of the people. That said, once there is a total breakdown, as in Somalia in the early 90's, Liberia, or now Venezuela you have an every-man-for-himself situation. Even so, there are those people, like the shopkeepers in this article, that organize themselves to implement rules to create order and security. It is amazing really ...

It is thoroughly dishonest, or at least embarrassingly naive to talk about Venezuela as if what is happening there occurred in a vacuum unto itself.

It's silly and criminally incomplete to ignore global politics, oil politics, Big Business (tm), and the US covert apparatus when talking about the situation there. As if throwing around the word "socialism" explains everything, when in fact it doesn't explain anything.

It certainly is "silly and criminally incomplete to ignore global politics, oil politics, Big Business (tm), and the US covert apparatus". So, how much of a criminally incompetent fool do you have to be to ignore all that and attempt a "Bolivarian revolution" anyway?

Venezuela was predictably wrecked because of the policies Chavez and Maduro pursued. You can claim all day long that the reason those policies wrecked Venezuela was they angered the powers-that-be. But without any way to stop those powers-that-be, what kind of idiot would deliberately provoke them?

Well, of course, the exact same idiot who, in February 1992, went, "Hey, comrades, now that the Soviet Union has fallen and there is longer any counterbalance to the US in the world, it's time to attempt a socialist coup in the Western Hemisphere! I'm sure that a US president whose previous jobs include Texas oilman and CIA director will quietly acquiesce! This is moment to strike!"

It's very tedious to read the writings of people who just can't shake their political bias, even for a moment. You have a hammer and the world is a nail.

Go ahead, swing away until your arm gets tired.

Nope.

you sed
"As if throwing around the word "socialism" explains everything, when in fact it doesn't explain anything."
if you really think that "socialism" explains "nothing" about whats currently happening in venezuala
you could have a delusional disorder
diagnostic code: 297.1.?

Yes, I will amend my statement. Socialism is in fact at the root of the problem.

Once the term socialism was affixed to the situation, it was inevitable that the US would seek to undermine and disrupt it by any means available.

And thus, given that Hugo Chavez himself coined the slogan "Patria, socialismo o muerte" for his movement, you're saying that Hugo Chavez personally made it inevitable that there would be a disaster in Venezuela.

Well in that sense yes. Defying the washington consensus is inevitably bloody and often fatal and millions of innocents will suffer.

These nations need to learn to accept their fate and enjoy their rape. Because the consequence for any deviation is clear and unambiguous

Yes, America is responsible for Venezuela’s situation. We forced them to print money to pay for goods and services.

We forced them to nationalize the oil industry.

We forced them to siphon the maintenance budget and pay it to regime cronies instead.

We forced them to fire petroleum engineers and hire family members of regime cronies instead.

We forced them to curtail private industry. After all, they’re just capitalist pigs exploiting labor!

We forced them to institute price controls after nationalizing industry, causing shortages of everything from flour to toilet paper.

We forced them to eliminate the powers of the legislature, and create from thin air a rubber stamp legislative body.

We forced them to use their military to make cocaine trafficking a major government industry.

Or no, sorry, it’s the sanctions that went into effect in 2019, well after they hit 1 million percent inflation that caused the problems.

You’re an apologist for Holomodor 2.0, and yes, when people begin to resort to cannibalism you can keep making excuses for a tyrant and blaming America.

You fucking idiot.

Are you one of those people who walk down the street hearing voices and hollering at passersby?

Your sophistry and strawmen are pathetic

He forgot that we forced them to vote for Chavez.

They aren’t children. Did they think they could defy the last 100 years of history? Or was it voting themselves Other People’s Money? It’s always great until the money runs out. The money has and will always run out.

Yeah, it's like when the Chileans elected Allende. I mean, like, how could the United States NOT overthrow him?

Salvador Allende won only 36.61% of the popular vote. His two right-wing rivals vote-split with 35.27% and 28.11%. The margin of victory was less than 40,000 votes. (Wikipedia)

PS, based on the Mitrokhin archive, there is good reason to believe that Allende colluded with the Russians before the election and sought and received campaign funding from them. Plus ça change...

Are you suggesting that Russian meddling counts, but US meddling does not?

Left wing version of straw man and sophistry: Facts.

You fucking Holomodor apologist. Babies are starving and dying right now and you’re blaming America because it feels good.

You’re the left wing version of Republicans holding snowballs in the Senate.

Fly to Caracas you fucking imbecile. Jesus Christ. I’ve lived in Latin America multiple times, this is super typical. Any tropical storm and it’s La Cia that caused it.

You’re a great example of why voting should be tied to IQ. Grow the fuck up.

You should take a break.

It only took you two posts to call me a dead baby apologist, merely for pointing out that Venezuela is hardly a controlled test case for how socialism inevitably leads to anarchy.

Put down the bottle and get a grip.

You will, forever, have supported the Holomodor 2.0.

That’s you. You own it. Forever.

As always it comes down to brown people being killed so a white liberal feels good about himself.

But sure, as always, blame the Jews.

McMike is a silly boy lefty - we have lots of them here in CA.

Don't blunt your pick on that stone.

I think there are better options for lefties who find themselves embarrassed by Venezuela. Off the top of my head:

1. Argue that the Bolivarian Revolution was betrayed by Maduro! If Chavez had not died prematurely all would be well (a variation on the argument that the USSR would never have descended into madness, genocide and show-trials if only St Lenin had lived and that bastard Stalin hadn't taken over). Or...

2. Admit that Socialism can be done badly. When it becomes violent, corrupt, authoritarian and non-democratic, things can go spectacularly wrong. Argue that what YOU favor is *democratic* socialism (like and Bolivarian Venezuela has long since stopped being that -- if it ever really was.

Of course, I don't buy those arguments, either, but they're more plausible and sane than blaming the disaster in Venezuela on Big Business, Big Oil, the CIA (and presumably also Blackwater, the Koch brothers, and Fox News).

It appears that you suffer from an inability to cope with complexity. The need to blame a single cause to your liking is an unfortunate habit.

It is impossible to understand what is or might have been if western powers did not interfere in violent and highly disruptive ways, or leave its legacy of coups and proxy coups, and lesser malfeasances across the globe, not the least of which is massive economic terrorism stretching back fairly uninterrupted to colonial times.

The sanity or criminality of an particular set of local leaders does not alter that. It is as idiotic as solely blaming Saddam for the situation in Iraq, where of course he was our guy, until he wasn't. Or bin Laden for that matter, who is impossible to discuss without discussing the CIA, the Soviets, and Saudi oil.

Only an idiot or a liar tries to describe an experiment without considering the Hawthorne effect.

I'm a libertarian. I have no love for the way the many ways the U.S. has engaged in assorted foreign intrigues over the past century or so. But I don't see that as any sort of significant factor in Venezuela's implosion. The economy was spectacularly mismanaged. Businesses were expropriated, political opponents were jailed, PDVSA was starved of investment needed to maintain oil production, and there was corruption on a massive scale (Chavez's daughter is reportedly the richest person in Venezuela). This disaster was homemade in Venezuela.

The irony here is they'd be in a lot better shape if the US had engineered a coup.

Yeah, we got a real good track record on that

It's a bit hard to imagine it being any worse. Has there ever been a U.S.-supported coup that ended worse than 2019 Venezuela?

Not that I know of. Are Venezuelans lining up to get into Chile or are Chileans lining up to get into Venezuela?

All of these things you list, whether true or not, did not occur in a vaccuum. And you know it.

For a country that goes apoplectic over some allegedly russian facebook posts.
Our hypocritical double standards are galactic.

Whats going on in venezuala is no more homegrown than whats happened in iraq

It's actually way fucking more homegrown than Iraq. Did I miss the U.S. military invasion of Venezuela? You are an apologist for mass murder, plain and simple.

"For a country that goes apoplectic over some allegedly russian facebook posts."

I didn't. I thought the whole Russian influence panic was absurd from the beginning. As is your suggestion that nebulous U.S. influence somehow caused Chavez and then Maduro to loot and destroy their own country.

While I don’t want to defend the Chavez/Maduro governments on their own merits – doubtless there has been rampant corruption and at least some economic mismanagement – U.S. sanctions, motivated by attempts to force regime change, must be part of the reasonable explanation of the current chaos. Since the U.S. imposed sanctions, Venezuela’s exports are down 40%. The next measured statistics could drop further, as the deadline for U.S. firms to operate under existing contracts expired on April 28 (https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-venezuela-oil-exports/venezuelan-pdvsas-oil-exports-steady-in-april-flow-to-cuba-continues-data-idUKKCN1S82BN?rpc=401&). Clearly this is a recent phenomenon and is not responsible for prior economic issues; but the NY Times article is about Venezuela now, not last year.
Perhaps the generals aren’t acting because Maduro has a much stronger base of support among the people of Venezuela (https://therealnews.com/stories/the-calm-after-the-storm-in-venezuela-opposition-and-government-measure-support-in-streets), because Guaidó has exposed his weakness with multiple failed power grabs, or because they oppose U.S. incursions into internal Venezuelan affairs on principle.

Economic sanctions don't work says theory and practice, so the reason for Venuezuela's problems lie elsewhere. Cuba routinely says to its people, in street posters (I've visited there, on my EU passport, for the girls) that the US sanctions is why they are poor. The reason Venezuela is having problems pumping oil is that the country has fallen into "anarchy" and the looting. There's a spectacular BBC video showing natural gas being vented into a lake there, since nobody wants to repair the pipeline. It's pretty dramatic, and if any fisherman is foolish enough to be smoking in the vicinity, it will make for an even more spectacular video.

If I recall my political economy classes correctly, professors believe “sanctions don’t work” because the targeted regimes typically cut back on programs for civilians to fund military and/or population control. Isn’t that consistent with saying that sanctions could lead to the humanitarian crisis that the Times reported?

The U.S. has blocked PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil-owned oil and natural gas company, from repatriating assets. When was your video filmed? Could this help explain the state of Venezuela's natural gas infrastructure?

Your socialist pol sci profs are wrong, my free-market econ profs are right. ;-) The idea that a simple gas pipe leak, which takes a turning of a shut-off valve upstream of the leak, and a welder skilled in underwater welding to do the repair (not easy, but not hard to find), is due to US blocking of PDVSA assets, is ludicrous. Far more likely that the welder and his family took off, as did most of the refinery workers, since they are not being paid. Lake Maracaibo is probably where the leaking gas pipe is.

Here's an article that argues that 40,000 Venezuela deaths are due to US sanctions.

http://cepr.net/publications/reports/economic-sanctions-as-collective-punishment-the-case-of-venezuela

Why the hell are we imposing sanctions on this stressed country?

+1. The Exodus if skilled oil worker has been ongoing pre-dates Maduro. Those with smarts & talent are in the US, Canada, Brasil, etc.

The generals are with Maduro because they are in the narco business and will surely die (or be imprisoned) if the regime collapses.

"Anarchy is Worse than Socialism"

"Anarchy" literally means 'without rulers'.

Alex apparently thinks Rulers are essential to civilized society, but humans can easily organize, defend themselves, and prosper without granting a small segment of their group a formal Monopoly on the sanctioned use of force in that group.
Ordered & free societies do not require violent masters/rulers to make everybody do right.

Government/rulers are usually the worst, violent disruptors to society.
Venezuela chaos was directly caused by its Rulers (government).

Ponder the immense world wars death toll of 20th Century -- all caused by supposedly essential 'government' rulers applying their notions of "Law & Order". Un-ruled populations could never come near that level of death and destruction.

Collectivist/socialists are the worst violent offenders (Mao/Stalin/Hitler/etc)

wait a minute!
this could be the explanation for why those masked postmodern marxists hitting people in the head with those weird u shaped bike locks!

Bryan Caplan argues for AnCap saying that private security forces and private arbitrage do a better job than government police and law and the latter is not necessary.

I'm not sure the AnCap vision is wrong. But clearly, in Venezuela, we didn't see an AnCap utopia with cryptocurrency security forces keeping crime under control.

If everybody in Fairfax County woke up tomorrow to learn that all government had disappeared the results would be quite different than Venezuela's. Hanson will admit this even if Caplan won't.

Ideologues like Caplan think it's just a matter of everybody having the right ideas (like mine!). The fact that only people of a certain mix of intelligence and the Big Five traits will dream up those ideas and put the necessary procedures place to immanentize them simply does not occur to the intellectual ideologue.

The first claim is safe: "Different" covers a wide range of outcomes.

I completely disagree with your second claim that functioning AnCap requires a very specific type of demographics.

I totally agree with biological differences in temperament and the people make the culture.

But quality deregulation can benefit everyone and be supported by everyone. Consider a small victory: taxi deregulation and the rise of Uber/Lyft taxi services. Everyone can appreciate that and benefit from it. It's positive sum. There are similar big-win political deregulations to be had in health care and other fields that even people from Venezuela can buy into and benefit from.

Central government control has disappeared from large sections of Syria, Libya and Somalia. The outcome has been pretty much what you'd expect from the majority demographic. But yes, I think we agree more than we disagree. A monopolistic central government that gets lots of arms and foreign aid shouldn't be one of the things that people in low-tier countries get to fight each other over.

The Wild West is an example of anarchy. Those people were self sufficient adults in an area with few or any laws. People had guns and they policed themselves. While the Wild West wasn’t perfect, it still thrives.

This is more like dependent helpless children being abandoned by their parents. They aren’t able to defend themselves (gun laws still apply) and they haven’t developed the life skills needed to be self sufficient because they’ve been trained to depend on others.

If Massachusetts and Texas both collapsed, Im pretty sure there would be a LOT less looting in Texas. Texas literally has a culture of shooting looters. (eg Joe Horn controversy)

I’m not a fan of anarchy, but this says more about Venezuelan culture than anything else.

"I’m not a fan of anarchy, but this says more about Venezuelan culture than anything else."

I think you are onto something.

I have to ask, "why did the people of Venezuela elect Chavez in the first place?"

Was it economic insecurity among the Chavez supporters? Interracial hatred? Lack of social mobility and resentment of the rich and middle-class?

Venezuela was a beautiful and resource rich nation, competently run (?), stable, with a solid middle class and the expertise to run a lucrative oil industry.

Wtf happened?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Venezuela

Wtf happened?

Democracy ran to its logical conclusion, that's what. Venezuela's mean IQ is 84. You probably need an IQ of 105 for informed civic engagement. At 90 IQ and lower you're largely a creature of impulse versus intellect. If that's most of your country, it will not be a pleasant place. I should add that intelligence is not the only factor, e.g., the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, and Mao's China. The Big 5 traits are important too.

Most of Venezuela's smart fraction have been leaving for some time now. I don't think there's anybody left who could be the Venezuelan Pinochet. Juan Guido is photogenic and has Langley on speed dial but to be an effective dictator you need more than that.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0094582X09355429

Abstract

balance sheet of the 10 years of Chavismo in power refutes both the opposition’s demonization of it and the rosy depiction of it in the official media. Viewed objectively, the Venezuelan experience coincides with the historical tendency for socialist nations to score high on the social front and show weakness with regard to the stimulation of production of consumer goods. While the Chávez government has incorporated massive numbers of the formerly marginalized into the decision-making process, diversified technological and commercial ties, and asserted greater national control in the economic sphere, it has failed to substantially boost production in spite of a windfall in oil revenue and has moved very slowly toward institutionalization. Judged by liberal standards, Venezuelan democracy is deficient on a number of counts, but in terms of the standards associated with radical democracy (emphasizing majority rule and the participation of the popular sectors of the population) it fares much better.

you sed
"the Venezuelan experience coincides with the historical tendency for socialist nations to score high on the social front"
+1 postmodern
a lotta venezualan people pretty malnourished
and their health care system is fubared
we are gonna take the position that venezuala does not score
high on the social front!

I didn't say anything - I shared an abstract without comment.

It would be interesting to drill down into the Venezuelan debacle, but it looks to be pretty ugly. A big hairball.

Maybe this is why Venezuela failed:

From the abstract ...

"...While the Chávez government has incorporated massive numbers of the formerly marginalized into the decision-making process..."

Chavez invited the inmates to run the asylum.

nonsense. The wild west is a myth based on a brief chaotic period of dislocation after the civil war.

The first thing most wild westerners did was form governments; pass laws; hire law enforcement; seek help from the Feds for security, rail lines, and water systems; and petition Washington for statehood.

Most of the notions of self-governance or justice at the barrel of a gun were quickly de-romanticized in the wake of range wars and local corruption, and most of the players on both sides of events like the Lincoln County war or OK Coral were crooks and scumbags who terrorized towns and were bad for business. Most of the shootings were lopsided ambushes, that led to vendettas, factionalization, and feuds in response to which most of the citizens begged the state/Feds to come in and break up.

The modern west is a massive federally subsidized system of water projects, subsidized resource extraction, and dependence on state and federal facilities for jobs.

the real puzzle is how Maduro has held off the generals even as anarchy looms. Don’t the generals see that that the goose is dying?

When asking anything about Venezuela's current generals, remember they were given their rank under Hugo Chavez, a guy who thought two months after the fall of the Soviet Union was the right strategic moment to attempt a military coup to install a left-wing government in a country in the Western Hemisphere.

Adjust your expectations of them being able to count past ten with their shoes on accordingly.

"Adjust your expectations of them being able to count past ten with their shoes on accordingly"
You had me in stitches there, The Lunatic : kudos!

This is intellectual laziness. Do you think government disappearing from, say, Iowa would look the same as Venezuela? But that's a ridiculous counter-factual because the majority of Iowans would never come close to voting in the clumsy, consumptive socialism that's the norm for a lot of Central and South America.

People make countries. The mean IQ in Venezuela is 84.

hmmm. Iowans voted for Trump. And his clumsy consumptive trade tantrum.

Arguing the granular pros and cons of free trade and tariffs is a lot different from the thought processes of the average Venezuelan.

Do you think someone like Robert Mugabe actually read Mises or Hayek and said to himself, "I reject the classical liberal arguments thusly!"

Are you suggesting that the average iowan has read hayek?

I'm suggesting that the average Iowan has higher intelligence and lower time preference than the average Venezuelan.

It's funny how those ridiculous IQ studies by Richard Lynn change when the people studied get an education. To do well on an IQ test, you have to be able to read the test. I'm not saying there are no differences in ability between populations, but the Flynn effect is alive and well and mostly applies to populations at the lower end of the spectrum. The Ashkenazi Jews do not keep getting smarter and smarter. (Sorry Steve.)

I think the average Iowan could read Hayek if they wanted to, some of them in the original German. The average Venezuelan might be able to also, if they had a Spanish translation and, more importantly, the incentive to do so. Figuring out how to organize a society isn't a top priority when you're starving and being shot at.

" Flynn effect is alive and well " Google 'reverse Flynn effect' and you'll see it hasn't been for a few decades. Also, I don't think anyone needs to read Hayek to have a decent basic understanding of economics. And lastly, see McMike 12:32 - Iowans are clearly anti-authoritarian.

"It's funny how those ridiculous IQ studies by Richard Lynn change when the people studied get an education. To do well on an IQ test, you have to be able to read the test."

Do you honestly hold this belief? That IQ researchers just forgot to control for whether a person taking a written test could read?

I believe that any test showing that Equatorial Guinea has an average IQ of 59 has methodological problems. They probably controlled for whether the subject could read at a third grade level, so it showed that they could read at a third grade level, implying an IQ of 59. If you seriously think that Equatorial Guineans are as stupid as an institutionalized cognitive disability patient in America you are pretty gullible.

And I am something of a race realist. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

I should have said "the average Eq Guinean." This board needs an edit function.

The reverse Flynn effect shows up when the poorly educated (whom Donald Trump loves) have many more children than the well educated, or when the well educated leave the country. That may be the case in Venezuela, but birthrates there are pretty low and the reverse Flynn effect doesn't seem like a plausible explanation for what can very easily be explained by Communism, the defense of the regime by Russia and China, and America's inability or unwillingness to act.

The last article I saw about it was in the Nordic countries. Maybe immigration though.

Though I agree with you at the lower bounds IQ test aren't telling the full story.

lol. Have you actually been to Iowa? I have spent some time in Iowa.

I mean, the folks are generally nice and all, but, well... it's not exactly a Mensa meeting down at the Maid Rite

I have been to Iowa. What is remarkable is the small number of really stupid people, not the large number of really smart ones, who have decamped to Chicago, New York, and California. It only takes an IQ of 100 to be capable of carrying on a normal conversation. I'm pretty sure Iowa would test closer to 105.

As I said upthread, 105 IQ is probably the minimum for informed civic engagement. Around the 90 range, and you are more instinct and impulse than intelligence. At a full standard deviation below the former US average of 100 (now at 98-99), a substantial majority of Venezuelans won't be figuring out the supply-demand curve any time soon. If someone in your extended family tested in that range, they would have physiological and morphological "tells" that would distinguish them from other family members.

Absent a Pinochet simply taking power and ordering the Venezuelans to work for a living, they are not going to figure it out on their own.

It’s more complicated than this. Henry Wallace was produced by Iowa. Read about him and agrarian populism/localized socialism. Of course, this is a far cry from massive nationalistic socialism like in Venezuela. Difference is largely due to scale.

The attempt to implement socialism will lead to anarchy. Since the idea of socialism itself is not a feasible concept. You either stop with the madness and have a mixed economy (like the USSR did in the 1920s) or you try to go all the way and anarchy and social breakdown is the result.

So there is no such thing as stating that "socialism is better than anarchy" since socialism by itself is not a feasible concept. It is more accurate to say that attempting to implement the ideal of socialism will lead to anarchy.

"Socialism is bad."

That's what you say.

But what part of socialism is bad?

We have many socialist organizations in the United States. The military is a socialist organization run by the state. Schools are run by the state. Fire departments are run by the state. Police are run by the state. Interstate highway construction is run by the state.

So tell me what the hell is wrong with socialism?

And Social Security, despite decades of efforts to raid and undermine it, remains the single most successful major government program in the history of the world. It has survived as mute testament and middle finger to wall Street for three generations. The pirates might manage to kill it yet, because the very existence of it drives them beserk. Not unlike Chavez did come to think of it.

Medicare, meanwhile, waits quietly and persistently as well, ready when leaders of character and independence are ready to use it properly.

Social security is being undermined by anyone who has less than three children.

That's why immigration is important!

Why do you call them socialist?

Dear Alex,

Anarchy does not imply the absence of rules and mechanisms for their implementation. Your mentioning of the example of the grass-root initiative to fix power-lines and the link to David Friedman’s book show that you realize it. The situation in Venezuela is the product of a particularly disfunctional State, not anarchy. In anarchy, people would openly create institutions to provide policing and services. This is impossible in Venezuela now. Those “armed civil servants” that disappeared, are ready to show up again to extort money as soon as free institutions with the appearance of having money start to exist. With all due respect, I would suggest you to be a bit more careful in choosing the words of your titles.

"the real puzzle is how Maduro has held off the generals even as anarchy looms. Don’t the generals see that that the goose is dying?"

He's made common cause with the "roving bandits" to prop up his regime precisely because he can't be certain of the loyalty of the army. I think you had a somewhat similar dynamic in Syria, where Assad empowered people who were basically just thugs and bandits to help him maintain power. The stationary bandit sometimes needs to sell out to the roving bandits just to stay in power -- that's not a sustainable equilibrium, perhaps, but I don't think it's unusual. See, e.g. the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in the West, and its increasing reliance on barbarian auxiliaries invited in from just across the border.

On reflection, that truly was an idiotic and lazy post.

Newsmax level mouthbreather bait.

It's ridiculous. There's a long and notorious list of failed capitalist countries in various states of decay, lawlessness, starvation, and corruption and collapse of services. What the hell does THAT prove?

Are there though?

Perhaps someone needs to write a book called "Big Government: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero." Or is that the subtitle to the latest Michael Lewis book?

Chavez and Maduro’s Socialism eroded the Venezuelan economy slowly and then finally all of a sudden, bringing on anarchy.

Saying living under Socialism is better than anarchy is just pointing out that living under Socialism before it drives a country to the Socialist end state is preferable to living in a country after Socialism has driven it to its end state.

The fact that a market based economy is a complex system that cannot be immediately reconstituted after being destroyed does not argue for trying to rebuild under Socialist doctrines. It argues for rebuilding while trying to establish the legal frameworks and distributed power that nurture a healthy market economy.

This is by far the single clumsiest piece of analysis I've seen on MR. Look at your own quotes, if government is so good, why hasn't a new stationary bandit established order yet? The same critique of absent anarchist institutions must also apply to equally to absent government institutions.

And why do we see neither government or anarchist institutions arising? Just a hunch, but the fact that the generals aren't interested in establishing order doesn't mean they wouldn't swiftly move in to crush anyone who tried to set up competing institutions to establish order instead. Rather than "Anarchy" this is government imposed chaos. The end-game of socialism; not an alternative to it.

How is the government controlling resources and stealing from citizens then running them down with military vehicles anarchy? Even if venezuela is quazi anarchic at the moment wouldn't the actions of the socialist government which led these people to starvation and fearing for their lives be the issue....not the lack of rulers?

Is Australia still socialist? It's been a while since an American has told me it is, so I thought I'd check. I am forced to put money into a retirement account and some people can get free eyeglasses from the government. (The Kentucky Fried Wallaby billboard says "OBEY" after you put them on.)

"OBEY"

I loved that movie!

What did you think of Morrison's win?

Bad. We won't get light vehicle fuel efficiency standards now which make a lot of sense for a country with no car industry that only produces oil equal to 13-14% of its consumption. It would have improved national security and saved us money. The only thing that should have been an election issue was whose fuel efficiency standards plan was the best.

Morrison is also the guy who paraded around in Parliament with a lump of coal, so you can probably guess what we can expect from this government on environmental issues. But we will still end up with about 50% renewable electricity by 2030. Our coal power stations are too old and the cost of renewables too low for it to be anything much else. The Coal-ition was able to get rid of our carbon price but they won't be able to introduce a negative carbon tax, no matter how much some of them may want to.

I am not a votary of a socialist economy but certainly the standard of living of Russians improved under central planning compared to what it was under the czars. The standard of school education especially in math and science was high and health care was far better than what it was before planning was introduced. What is wrong in acknowledging that Soviet socialism did have some merits?

In comparison to feudalism... ok... but the downsides included murdering tens of millions of people, so...

And frankly the czars are basic back, are they not?

Seems a bit problematic to compare a civil war setting with anarchy, in the sense of the idea most of its proponents articulate.

"In theory, the thief receives more or less what the owner loses."

If that's "theory," it's a very poor one. Thieves everywhere receive only a small fraction of the value of what the owner loses.

For example: someone breaks into your house to steal a TV. The TV is stolen goods, and because of that will be sold for a fraction of its replacement cost. Whereas the owner loses not only the TV but must pay to repair the broken window, and whatever other messes the thief left behind while searching for valuables.

And that's a burglary, where violence (or credible threat of violence, such as a knife pressed to your throat) was not used.

Theft is rarely even close to symmetrical; even for non-violent crime, I'd expect the victim's loss to be at least an order of magnitude greater than the thief's gain.

Although it's surely true that too little government can be worse than too much. Depending on how murderous the "too much" government is, of course.

It should be kept in mind that what has been happening is the worst economic disaster in Latin American history ever. Cuba is much more socialist than Venezuela, but it has seen nothing like this.

It is a combination of things. The main oil company was nationalized (socialized) long before Chavez came in and ran well. He and Maduro destroyed it by appointing corrupt cronies to replace efficient technocrats.

The part that probably has the most to do with socialism is food production. About 20% of the land, large haciendas, was nationalized, but nobody took them over and they fell out of production. Furthermore, the price controls, especially given the hyperinflation, have led to a massive crash of food production.

The rest of the economy is half baked socialism, scattered nationalizations and price controls, but a majority of the means of production is privately owned and the overall average tax rate is 31 percent, lower than in the US, although that is tied to the high deficits that are feeding the hyperinflation.

The place is a mess and law and order does seem to be breaking down, but many factors are involved.

Oh, and Rosneft does now own a big chunk of Venezuela's oil, which they wish to maintain.

"About 20% of the land, large haciendas, was nationalized"

Given the repeated chilling 20th century experience of this enterprise, I would think even the most devout modern Marxists would be hesitant to repeat it.

The anarchy-archy spectrum is different than the order-chaos spectrum. Collapse of institutions, if not simultaneously replaced, leads to chaos. Collapse of archy, if not simultaneously replaced, leads to anarchy.

When institutions are heavily and pervasively archic, as in strong state socialism, then collapse of archy must also create chaos.

When institutions tend to be more spontaneously ordered, as in market and other cultural voluntary institutions, archy is more decoupled, and collapse of archy does not produce as much chaos.

It is a mistake to confuse anarchy with chaos just because you witness an extreme corner of one quadrant of the grid.

Why are academics always apologists for Socialism?

He did say he disliked socialism. He just dislikes it less than anarchy. How would you rank evils without appearing to be an apologist for the lesser evil?

Interesting approach, but it is way too theoretical. In Venezuela, the government acts as the roving bandits, or looters as well. They consume natural resources and government funds in an unsustainable fashion; to the point that even reaches intermediate goods and infrastructure. I do not think it is a problem of "it’s not too much government but too little"; but a problem of a government that is so inefficient in its roots, that it destroys everything it touches

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