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Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby GHung » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 14:07:36

Plantagenet wrote:
GHung wrote:explain how 'social programs' and overall economic programs have been/can be divorced from each other...


Wealthy capitalist countries like France and Norway can generate large amounts of money through taxation that support generous social welfare systems and advanced healthcare delivery systems.

Impoverished socialist countries like Venezuela or Cuba are too poor to support generous social welfare systems or advanced healthcare delivery systems.

Cheers!


That doesn't come close to answering the question. Even in countries with high taxation, that tax money gets pumped into the 'capitalist' economy and back into circulation, increasing the velocity of capital. Like SNAP in the US, where tax dollars are a $70+ billion input into Big Food, or go to private companies who administer the program (fees); into the pockets of shareholders and employees, who, in turn, spend it on computers and other goods produced and sold by people like KJ who consider taxation 'theft'.

Of course, when there are corrupt people skimming off the top or mismanaging that money, things go bad, just like in Venezuela.

My point is that, unless all means of production and distribution are owned/controlled by the State, and all people are employed by the State, so-called 'socialist programs' are part of the economy just as private enterprise is. All economies where taxes are collected and returned to the economy via social programs, military spending, spending on infrastructure, etc. (along-side private enterprise) are hybrid economies, which would be most economies on the planet. Impossible to divorce one from the other. A certain level of wealth distribution is necessary, even if some consider that 'evil'.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Plantagenet » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 14:39:41

GHung wrote:My point is that, unless all means of production and distribution are owned/controlled by the State, and all people are employed by the State, so-called 'socialist programs' are part of the economy just as private enterprise is.


?????

Thats what socialism is-----state ownership of the "means of production and distribution."

The things you are calling "socialist programs" are actually social welfare programs. They have nothing to do with socialism----they were all invented and first implemented in prosperous capitalist societies.

This doesn't preclude socialist countries from having social welfare programs as well----but these programs are typically better in rich capitalist countries then in poor socialist ones. For instance, both France and Venezuela have "free healthcare"---but the level of service and technology is much much much better in France then in Venezuela.

CHEERS!
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 14:46:43

Ibon wrote:Onlooker, compara tu pais de origin, Colombia, con Venezuela. Colombia por gran parte ha superado sus problemas politico y hoy la economia esta creciendo, hay mucho turismo, hay un optimismo en el pueblo colombiano como no hemos visto durante mucho tiempo.

En cambio Venezuela esta jodido por incompetencia politico, por razones internos, no por culpa del imperialismo del norte.......

Te felicito Ibon, hablas excelente espanol.  Ahora para contestarle.  Es obvio que los problemas de Venezuela tienen que ver con sus antecedentes y estos antecedentes vienen desde las conquista de Espana de las Americas.  Ellos establecieron una sociedad con mucha desigualdad.  Y claro que esto es evidente en todas areas del planeta. El  punto es que bajo el regimen  Espanol,  la corrupcion era cronica  y muy evidente. Y asi se desarrollo Venezuela y otros paises Suramericanos y Centroamericano. 

Pero mas reciente hubo ese cambio dramatico de la llegada de Chavez. Ahora, que el y su gente fueron incompetentes y corruptos eso es verdad pienso yo.  Pero, Venezuela con Chavez estaba marchando sin tantos problemas y si mejoraron las circumstancias de mucha de la gente pobre.   Y ese punto es clave.  Es al raiz del los tremendos altas y bajas del precios de Aceite que se principiaron a ver una caida en la economia Venezolona. 

Now, I will speak in English, to include others.  Do any of you dispute some measure of sabotage from food importors?  Do any of you dispute that the fall in oil price hurt deeply the Venezuelan economy.?  Tanada points out that Venezuela could have diversified their Economy. Well, last I checked we still live in the age of Oil.  So, can you blame them too much if they focused on their abundant supplies of Oil as their principal Resource and method to make money.  You cannot separate a complex picture into one or a few component parts. The story of Venezuela is the story of many countries where corruption and incompetence manifest themselves and that includes Capitalist countries as well.   But the US imperial interests do not tolerate very well defiance from countries within its own Hemisphere and meddling within Venezuela seems quite apparent.  So, in summary various reasons exist for the horrible conditions now evident there.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 15:02:12

Onlooker, the US did not cripple Venezuela's economy. They did it to themselves. We participated to the extent that we were the biggest consumer of oil, and even when we did not trade directly with them because of their own laws, the oil from that country flowed through markets where US companies were the largest purchasers.

When the oil exports from Venezuela dwindled and ceased due to mismanagement of nationalized assets, we again were not responsible, even if many of the nationalized petroleum assets were formerly owned by US companies.

You see, intentions do not matter in the least, only results. When Gray Davis decided to heavily regulate California's energy markets, and the result was rolling blackouts, he was recalled and we got Arnold the Governator for two terms. I'm sure Davis's motives were pure, but he was an idiot. About the Marxists who took over Venezuela, I have no opinion about motives, but I am certain that they acted in an extremely stupid fashion. Figuratively they shot off both their own feet and then fell, because they were unable to stand, while loudly blaming the US. As did you.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby GHung » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 15:47:35

Plantagenet wrote:
GHung wrote:My point is that, unless all means of production and distribution are owned/controlled by the State, and all people are employed by the State, so-called 'socialist programs' are part of the economy just as private enterprise is.


?????

Thats what socialism is-----state ownership of the "means of production and distribution."

The things you are calling "socialist programs" are actually social welfare programs. They have nothing to do with socialism----they were all invented and first implemented in prosperous capitalist societies.

This doesn't preclude socialist countries from having social welfare programs as well----but these programs are typically better in rich capitalist countries then in poor socialist ones. For instance, both France and Venezuela have "free healthcare"---but the level of service and technology is much much much better in France then in Venezuela.

CHEERS!


I called them "so-called" socialist programs, Planty. Try to represent others' posts a bit more honestly. I understand how hard that is for you. Other folks here seem to refer to any government-sponsored programs as 'socialist'.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby GHung » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 16:09:19

KaiserJeep wrote:Onlooker, the US did not cripple Venezuela's economy. They did it to themselves. We participated to the extent that we were the biggest consumer of oil, and even when we did not trade directly with them because of their own laws, the oil from that country flowed through markets where US companies were the largest purchasers....


C'mon, KJ. I bet you don't think the US interfered in Iran either. Ever since Chavez came to power in Venezuela, the US has been imposing its will on them in all sorts of ways. Bush the Lesser, then Obama (who called Venezuela "an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States"), sanctions, attempted coups (see: USAID, the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy and the Office of Transition Initiatives). Fact is, if a country has a lot of oil and tries to nationalize those resources, the US simply can't let them become a failed state all on their own.

After all, it's OUR oil,, right?
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 16:41:40

No, it's their oil, and their mismanagement of oil production is to blame for their present problems. As noted previously in this thread, you have to spend money to get oil revenues. You have to drill and drill and drill, and if you divert tthe needed capital into other priorities, the flow of oil dwindles and ceases.

NO, I definately think the US would prefer to buy oil from Venezuela if that were an option. It is not, because they spent all their Capital instead of reinvesting in new wells.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 17:10:31

Onlooker wrote:Do any of you dispute some measure of sabotage from food importors?
I dispute this Onlooker. Chavez and Maduro created the economic conditions that resulted in the shortages. Then they look for scapegoats to blame. Anyone but themselves. This time Maduro is blaming Heinz. Heinz did not engage in a conspiracy to sabotage the Venezuelan economy. While other companies are pulling out of Venezuela because of the adverse conditions the government created Heinz is doubling down and selling seeds to Venezuelan farmers at reduced cost:

The Kraft Heinz Company has sold 17 million seeds to Venezuelan farmers in the hopes of increasing tomato production by 400 percent amid an economic crisis in the country. Venezuela's ketchup is currently produced with 25 percent of Venezuelan tomatoes. The company wants to increase the amount of Venezuelan tomatoes used in the country's ketchup production to 40 percent. Heinz sells the seeds to Venezuelan farmers at a reduced price and the harvested tomato is sold to Heinz at a previously agreed-upon price.

"We are taking a big bet to guarantee production. The important thing to is understand well what is happening, from the hand of farmers. We must do more and produce in the country. I believe in the team formed by the government, the farmer and the company."

Venezuela's economic crisis, which was exacerbated by a decrease in oil prices, has led to a shortage of basic goods -- including food and medicines. Though many companies have left Venezuela citing difficult conditions under a socialist regime, Magno Reis said Heinz Food of Venezuela is there to stay. "Venezuela is one of the main operations of Heinz Foods in Latin America. This is a key country for us. We have plants in Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Mexico," Magno Reis added. "The important thing is to understand is that we are fighting to produce. We will not leave from here."
Heinz sells 17M tomato seeds to Venezuelan farmers for 400% production increase

Maduro is throwing mud on a company that is staying and trying to increase food production in his country. This is classic Chavez and Maduro. Blame the capitalists for everything. Do you have any idea how hard it is to try and run a business in Venezuela onlooker? This is just one sad story I read:

When a Venezuelan entrepreneur we know launched a manufacturing company in western Venezuela two decades ago, he never imagined he’d one day find himself facing jail time over the toilet paper in the factory’s restrooms. But Venezuela has a way of turning yesterday’s unimaginable into today’s normal.

The entrepreneur’s ordeal started about a year ago, when the factory union began to insist on enforcing an obscure clause in its collective-bargaining agreement requiring the factory’s restrooms to be stocked with toilet paper at all times. The problem was that, amid deepening shortages of virtually all basic products (from rice and milk to deodorant and condoms) finding even one roll of toilet paper was nearly impossible in Venezuela—let alone finding enough for hundreds of workers. When the entrepreneur did manage to find some TP, his workers, understandably, took it home: It was just as hard for them to find it as it was for him.

Toilet-paper theft may sound like a farce, but it’s a serious matter for the entrepreneur: Failing to stock the restrooms puts him in violation of his agreement with the union, and that puts his factory at risk of a prolonged strike, which in turn could lead to its being seized by the socialist government under the increasingly unpopular President Nicolas Maduro. So the entrepreneur turned to the black market, where he found an apparent solution: a supplier able to deliver, all at once, enough TP to last a few months. (We’re not naming the entrepreneur lest the government retaliate against him.) The price was steep but he had no other option—his company was at risk. But the problem wasn’t solved.

No sooner had the TP delivery reached the factory than the secret police swept in. Seizing the toilet paper, they claimed they had busted a major hoarding operation, part of a U.S.-backed “economic war” the Maduro government holds responsible for creating Venezuela’s shortages in the first place. The entrepreneur and three of his top managers faced criminal prosecution and possible jail time. All of this over toilet paper.
Venezuela Is Falling Apart

Can you believe that? This guy goes out of his way to buy toilet paper at insane black market prices just so his employees can wipe their ass. And now he may be going to jail for "hoarding" toilet paper and participating in the US backed economic war against Venezuela. WTF? And that's just one story about toilet paper. There are many more sad tales of the shortages in Venezuela that are not just impacting consumers but producers as well.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Plantagenet » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 17:45:01

There's something about so-called socialist countries and toilet paper----the socialists just don't get it. I don't know if they think toilet paper is an upper class bourgeois luxury and the comrades in the working class don't need it or what, but toilet paper is one of the first things to disappear, never to return again, when a country goes socialist.

When I visited the USSR, back in the day, there was no toilet paper. Bathrooms instead had bits of torn up copies of "Pravda" in a little pile on the floor. And they were often all wet, since they were sitting next to the toilet. Don't think about it. Just be sure to bring a good supply of your own toilet paper..

About the nicest gift a western visitor could bring to a friend in the USSR was a suitcase full of good quality American toilet paper and toiletries.

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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby GHung » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 18:08:35

Plantagenet wrote:There's something about so-called socialist countries and toilet paper----the socialists just don't get it. I don't know if they think toilet paper is an upper class bourgeois luxury and the comrades in the working class don't need it or what, but toilet paper is one of the first things to disappear, never to return again, when a country goes socialist.

When I visited the USSR, back in the day, there was no toilet paper. Bathrooms instead had bits of torn up copies of "Pravda" in a little pile on the floor. And they were often all wet, since they were sitting next to the toilet. Don't think about it. Just be sure to bring a good supply of your own toilet paper..

About the nicest gift a western visitor could bring to a friend in the USSR was a suitcase full of good quality American toilet paper and toiletries.

Cheers!


Yep. When I studied there in 1974, we were told to stuff as much TP into our suitcases as we could. It was gold on the (very busy) black market, along with blue jeans and American cigarettes. Soviet customs tended to take a few packs of smokes but left TP and clothing alone.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Plantagenet » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 18:19:55

GHung wrote:
Plantagenet wrote:There's something about so-called socialist countries and toilet paper----the socialists just don't get it. I don't know if they think toilet paper is an upper class bourgeois luxury and the comrades in the working class don't need it or what, but toilet paper is one of the first things to disappear, never to return again, when a country goes socialist.

When I visited the USSR, back in the day, there was no toilet paper. Bathrooms instead had bits of torn up copies of "Pravda" in a little pile on the floor. And they were often all wet, since they were sitting next to the toilet. Don't think about it. Just be sure to bring a good supply of your own toilet paper..

About the nicest gift a western visitor could bring to a friend in the USSR was a suitcase full of good quality American toilet paper and toiletries.

Cheers!


Yep. When I studied there in 1974, we were told to stuff as much TP into our suitcases as we could. It was gold on the (very busy) black market, along with blue jeans and American cigarettes. Soviet customs tended to take a few packs of smokes but left TP and clothing alone.


Wow! You studied in Russia. Thats really cool. Where did you study and how long did you spend in Russia?

I've made one trip to Magadan and Siberia and two trips to Kamchatka for scientific work with Russian colleagues, but only spent about 3 weeks there each time. I went once during the glory days of the USSR, once during the faltering Yeltsin transition to capitalism and democracy, and once during the Putin kleptocracy.

Pretty amazing to see all the changes. The first time when the USSR was still extant, I almost starved. Not much food was getting out to Magadan and store shelves were just about empty and there weren't any restaurants other then two for communist officials. Locals, even prominent scientists, were getting by growing potatoes in fields just outside of town. The last time private cars brought in from Japan were everywhere, there were casinos and private restaurants and lots of food, but you had to bribe customs officials to get equipment into the country, and bribe officials to get permits to travel and do scientific work, and pay more bribes to get your samples and equipment released and back out of the country.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 18:20:32

Okay first let me preface what may be a long post by saying I respect all of you as intelligent people and decent human beings. Having said that we just have a difference of opinion about what type of country we live in and the true nature of Capitalism as its been practiced in the 20th century and into the 21st one.

I read a book back in about the year 2000, which really opened my eyes. The title is " The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward the Local" by Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith. The year is was published was 1997. Since that time as is my pencant for being curious, I have done some research. And boy, the things I have uncovered are really a sad testament to the insatiable greed and thirst for power of individuals and of the US as an Empire. The reason I am trying to summarize all this is that it is important to give context to what the forces of Capitalism do and what they are about and so then gain a perspective of why someone like Chavez hated the US so much. I will include certain watchwords. Tri-lateral commission, Council of Foreign Relations, Bildernberg group, Project for a New American Century, WTO, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, SAP (Structural Adjustment Programs). Okay, now let me tell you briefly what I learned. First off, I was already hearing bad things about US involvement since I was growing up in this country. My parents are from Colombia. S.A. Well, basically Corporations and the Capitalistic agents are relentless and merciless in how they go about exploiting the entire planet. From direct invasions to more subtle operations. See another book "Confessions of an Economic hitman". The point being that South and Central America have been severely exploited by the Capitalistic forces and Western imperialism. The wars there, the government abuse of their own people ie. murders, torture, disapperances, etc. See "School of the Americas", where people were trained to murder and torture. So, now with that background, you see the perspective of Chavez. It would have been so easy to acquiesce and give foreign Corporations easy access to Venezuelas resources especially the Oil. Chavez knew the Western Oil companies had the expertise to exploit their rich oil resources. Yet, he also know his people would not see any benefit from all this oil. Venezuela would continue the path of many of this Continents countries and become an ever more unequal society. So, maybe partly out of self interest but also altruism he chose to start a movement ie. the Bolivarin Revolution to kick out foreign entities and have his country be internally managed and controlled.

Did he make errors, for sure. Was corruption still evident, for sure. But understand that Oil was the leverage he and Venezuela had. He knew that is what the imperialists most coveted. So, he tried to have his cake and eat it too. Meaning attend to the needs of the poor and thus gain widespread following and support, while trying to exploit his countries vast oil resources. He understood that only with widespread support could he hope to stave off the ever present outside interests. Well the oil price fell, he seemed to have neglected the agricultural sector, and foreign companies put economic pressure on Venezuela. So that is how I see it, knowing from extensive reading how much influence and power the Western economic and banking hegemons have on this planet and how they have been so active in extending and cementing their domination.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 18:35:55

Chavez had total control, in an oil market that may have had momentary low prices, but also had China, India, and Indonesia ramping up oil purchases hugely.

He made all the management calls, and all the mistakes. He did not have to deal with US oil companies, and for the most part did not do so. Remember this: his economy failed because he could not PRODUCE oil from some of the richest oil fields in the world, not because of anything that banks or oil importing countries did - Chavez did in Venezuela himself.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Plantagenet » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 18:41:14

onlooker wrote: Chavez knew the Western Oil companies had the expertise to exploit their rich oil resources. Yet, he also know his people would not see any benefit from all this oil.


I also respect you and your opinions, but I must disagree with you there. To say Venezuelans received no benefit from the oil so Chavez had to nationalize it is clearly wrong.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans worked in the oil biz, both directly for foreign companies and also for Venezueland companies. Those people bought clothes, cars, food, houses and were a powerful economic engine for the Venezuelan economy. The Venezuelan government also received huge amounts of money as royalties and lease payments for the oil. In fact there was a great deal of benefit to Venezuela and Venezuelans in the oil biz.

No doubt Chavez believed he could get even MORE money for his country by Nationalizing the oil. But Chavez was playing the role of the doofus who killed the golden goose. Chavez's dumb policies have resulted in tens of thousands of Venezuelans who worked in the oil sector losing their jobs, while the government lost the expertise and royalties and lease payments and now is bankrupt. Chavez and Maduro can sell the oil, but they fired most of the people who previously worked there and oil production has plunged due to mismangement. Today the economy in Venezeula is basically destroyed.

Thats what Chavez actually did----he ruined his own country's economy. Today people are starving in Venezuela, and over a million Venezuelans have fled as refugees, most to neighboring countries in South America.

The problem Venezuela faces isn't oil----oil is actually a source of great wealth. The problem is clearly the misguided policies of Chavez and Maduro have ruined the economy.

venezuela-migrants-leaving-home

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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 19:09:53

Another Marxist destroys another previously working Capitalist economy. That's forty-odd times Marxism has failed to succeed, and zero successes. You'd think that an intelligent person would note this score before trying again. But the lure will always be that each of these Marxist despots believe they are the "right person" to succeed.

Yet a bunch of Lefty professors in the USA are still poisoning young minds with Marxist BS. This would not be happening if those silly acadamia nuts had real work experience in the real world outside of a campus.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby GHung » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 19:33:15

Plantagenet wrote: ....Wow! You studied in Russia. Thats really cool. Where did you study and how long did you spend in Russia?....


I spent about 4 months on an exchange program tutored by a British scholar my dad knew (both my parents were academics). I found out going into spring semester of 10th grade that I would graduate highschool at least a year early (having come into a public school that year from a Catholic prep school; another story) and my parents decided my time would be better spent somewhere besides an entitled upper middle-class public school, even though they had devoted their lives to public education.

We spent about a month each in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Moscow, and spent a few weeks touring Ukraine, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Poland; always staying and studying with University students. Back to Moscow, I contracted a strange persistent flu virus and my parents decided I better get care somewhere besides Russia. On to Copenhagen where I got great care in their "socialized" health system. Cost me all of about $12. I managed to fit in Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and a couple of days in France. Those old Eurail passes were the bomb, eh? I've been back to most of those places since, and many more.

So I get back to the US, back to highschool, and couldn't cope so well. Seemed absurdly superficial, so I wrote my parents a long letter, packed my pack (I was always a trekker/wanderer), and set out to discover America again, through different eyes. Hitch-hiking was still in vogue, and riding the freight trains was a great adventure. The hobos I hung with were some of the wisest people I've ever met. I lived/worked in Arizona for a while and woke up on my 17th birthday in a snowstorm on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I guess I spent my 16th year on a walkabout. Beat the shit out of public school.

Misspent youth taught me a lot. Anyway, eventually back to school for a few years, then the Navy; on to more adventures.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 19:36:56

Onlooker, you make it sound like only under Chavez did Venezuela's poor see their standard of living rise. That's not true. The fate of the poor in Venezuela goes up and down with the fortunes of oil:

By the 1960s and the 1970s, the governments in Venezuela were able to maintain social harmony by spending fairly large amounts on public programmes. In 1970, Venezuela had become the richest country in Latin America, and one of the 20 richest countries in the world, with a per capita higher that Spain, Greece and Israel. Venezuelan workers were known for enjoying the highest wages in Latin America, a situation that dramatically changed when oil prices collapsed during the 1980s.

The economy contracted and inflation levels rose, remaining between 6 and 12 percent from 1982 to 1986. The inflation rate surged in 1989 to 81 percent, the same year the capital city of Caracas experienced rioting during the Caracazo following the cuts in government spending and the opening of markets by the then president, Carlos Andres Perez.

By the mid-1990s under Caldera, Venezuela saw annual inflation rates of 50-60 percent, and an inflation rate of 100 percent in 1996, three years before Chavez took office. The number of people living in poverty rose from 36 percent to 66 percent in 1995 with the country suffering a severe bank crisis.
Venezuela's worst economic crisis: What went wrong?

So you see, it wasn't just Chavez that had the idea to spend oil wealth on social programs. This has been a popular policy option in Venezuela for decades. Of course when oil prices tank that's when the flaws of the policy come to light. Chavez blamed the capitalists for squandering the wealth of the previous oil boom and that's the reason Venezuelans were suffering during the low oil prices of the 80s and 90s. He said he would do things differently. Turns out, not so much. He did the exact same "spend all of the oil boom on social programs" policy option of his predecessors. He had the good fortune to come to power just as an oil boom was getting under way.

Except Chavez and Maduro added their own share of inept policy decisions to the mix that made things much worse during the oil bust phase(see my previous posts). So trying to put most of the blame on outside forces is downplaying the severe damage Chavez and Maduro did to their own country. Even if Chavez believed imperialists were out to exploit his country at every turn that doesn't mean he shouldn't be held accountable for the damage his own policies did.
The oil barrel is half-full.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Plantagenet » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 19:43:03

GHung wrote:
Plantagenet wrote: ....Wow! You studied in Russia. Thats really cool. Where did you study and how long did you spend in Russia?....


I spent about 4 months on an exchange program tutored by a British scholar my dad knew (both my parents were academics). I found out going into spring semester of 10th grade that I would graduate highschool at least a year early (having come into a public school that year from a Catholic prep school; another story) and my parents decided my time would be better spent somewhere besides an entitled upper middle-class public school, even though they had devoted their lives to public education.

We spent about a month each in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Moscow, and spent a few weeks touring Ukraine, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Poland; always staying and studying with University students. Back to Moscow, I contracted a strange persistent flu virus and my parents decided I better get care somewhere besides Russia. On to Copenhagen where I got great care in their "socialized" health system. Cost me all of about $12. I managed to fit in Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and a couple of days in France. Those old Eurail passes were the bomb, eh? I've been back to most of those places since, and many more.

So I get back to the US, back to highschool, and couldn't cope so well. Seemed absurdly superficial, so I wrote my parents a long letter, packed my pack (I was always a trekker/wanderer), and set out to discover America again, through different eyes. Hitch-hiking was still in vogue, and riding the freight trains was a great adventure. The hobos I hung with were some of the wisest people I've ever met. I lived/worked in Arizona for a while and woke up on my 17th birthday in a snowstorm on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I guess I spent my 16th year on a walkabout. Beat the shit out of public school.

Misspent youth taught me a lot. Anyway, eventually back to school for a few years, then the Navy; on to more adventures.


Wow. I'll pay more attention to your posts in the future. That sounds like a one hell of a lot of living and education on the road for a young man to go through before he's even turned 18.

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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby GHung » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 19:56:42

Thanks, Planty. BTW: My pack was a little bigger than that 8O

.... and I'm a firm believer that young folks these days, especially in America, aren't tested enough in real-world ways. They're 'soft', and have little experience. Joseph Campbell had a lot to say about that.
Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit nothing but their Souls. - Anonymous Ghung Person
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Subjectivist » Wed 20 Dec 2017, 20:30:36

Onlooker Venezuela has plenty of farms and ranches to go along with those oil wells. In any sensible scenario they should be food exporters like Argentina, not net importers dependent on oil revenues to feed themselves.
II Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
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