Sunday, August 9, 2020

Apologists for Communism

A man walks past a mosaic depicting late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (left) and Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 30, 2019.

Yes, the crash of the Venezuelan economy was not 100% due to its Communist government.   But does 99% make it any better?  Thank God we don't have murals like this of Trump!

An interesting article argues that "socialism" is not to blame entirely for the predicament Venezuela is in.  Once one of the richest countries in the world, today it is one of the poorest.   And yes, you have to calculate these things on a per capita basis.  The authors of that article use overall GDP to argue that Venezuela wasn't that well off during its heyday.  That's a small lie - and you know about how liars work.

But the big lie is in boldface in the article.  The author admits that the Maduro and Chavez governments basically destroyed the Veenzualan oil industry through utter ineptness. Since the country was a single-industry economy - oil - destroying the oil industry destroyed the economy.  Yes, the collapse of oil prices over the years has been a huge factor as well, but even with such a decline, an efficiently run oil business would have supported the economy in that country.
But further, according to Foreign Policy magazine, Chávez, and those he appointed to run Venezuela's oil monopoly, knew little about the nation's biggest industry.
“He was ignorant about everything to do with oil, everything to do with geology, engineering, the economics of oil,” Pedro Burelli, a former Petróleos de Venezuela board member, told the magazine. “His was a completely encyclopedic ignorance.”

In 2010, ahead of an upcoming election and as the global price of oil fell, Chávez announced he was decreasing the value of the bolivar, the nation's currency. It was worth more than the U.S. dollar but dropped after Chávez's decision, then continued to plummet. 
They have more oil than Saudi Arabia - and you don't see people starving there, do you?  Devaluing the currency and having "official" prices for food (and a thriving black market) are common tactics that Communist countries use - tactics that economists (and history) have shown are always doomed to failure.  Again, the marketplace is not an artificial construct of man, but our default mode of operation.   You cannot decree what prices are in the market, without distorting the marketplace.

What irks me is that the author of the article is going out of his way to minimize the excesses of the Communist regime and maximize other influences. It is, in short, a propaganda piece.  I was shocked that he didn't blame Yankee Imperialism - after all, that is a common tactic of South American dictators of all bents.

If this was something on the opinion page, fine.  But MSN is calling it a "fact check" which sort of puts fact-checking in a bad light.