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THE Venezuela Thread pt 5 (merged)

A forum for discussion of regional topics including oil depletion but also government, society, and the future.

Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 14 Feb 2018, 16:20:59

"It's not specially related to the political system"? What actually happened is that the oil business was profitable and created a large new Middle Class in Venezuela. Then Chavez and his Marxist buddies nationalized the foriegn assets in the oil fields, and made a set of bad decisions that crashed the economy in Venezuela. They managed to destroy not only oil production, but the price controls for foodstuffs pretty much caused all domestic food production to cease.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby tita » Thu 15 Feb 2018, 06:24:34

KaiserJeep wrote:"It's not specially related to the political system"? What actually happened is that the oil business was profitable and created a large new Middle Class in Venezuela. Then Chavez and his Marxist buddies nationalized the foriegn assets in the oil fields, and made a set of bad decisions that crashed the economy in Venezuela. They managed to destroy not only oil production, but the price controls for foodstuffs pretty much caused all domestic food production to cease.

But the precedent government, extremely liberal, also dried the economy of Venezuela outside oil. This was called the second dutch disease... Because the first occurred earlier in the XXth century, and dried the agricultural production. A large middle class is useless if they are unable to consume goods and services inside the country. Without a diversified economy, you end up with a small upper class and a large poor class.

The problem is that there is no policy to use efficiently the revenue from oil to develop agriculture and industry. And it takes time. It's not socialism or liberalism dictatorship that will solve Venezuela's problems. Even democracy failed.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 15 Feb 2018, 09:44:13

The only thing that will save Venezuela is re-establishing Capitalism. The country was a net exporter of food until the Marxist government instituted price controls which caused domestic food producers to fold and cease producing food beyond a bare minimum to feed themselves. Then the failure to re-invest Capital in oil production ended that as well.

At this point it is a rock and a hard place. With a record of nationalizing foriegn investments, there will be no more. So they have to bootstrap their entire economy.

Marxism cursed Venezuela.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 15 Feb 2018, 16:36:03

Dear reader. Kaiser would have you believe that governments exist in a vacuum. Or that history justifies Capitalism. I was just researching about the so called Oil Curse or Resource Curse. And lo and behold it wishes to portray the domestic local rulers and governments as the main culprits in exploiting their own citizens. Well, excuse me, money is what makes our world go around. These countries were good examples of extreme exploitation way before modern times ie. 1950 onward.

You see our whole evolution has stemmed from exploitation and the maximum power principle. Or as Kaiser would say our ape instincts. The entire world is geared to Capitalism in its basic form of private property, money and the consequent corruption as the rich get richer and the poor poorer. The exploitation is ubiquitous because that is the Nature of Capitalism. Oil has NOT cursed Venezuela. A planet of vast inequality and injustice rife with corruption has cursed Venezuela. The problem for any country is NOT wealth or lack thereof but the unequal distribution and the corruption to maintain societies which have clear cut classes so that the upper class can always have more relatively speaking. And it is so EASY. Because such is the world we live in, in which money buys you everything and where certain groups have most of the money. So, people are exploited by other people. It makes no difference to my argument whether its people within a country exploiting their own citizens or those outside of it. It is still about the rule of money and how with money people and groups get to not just enjoy the perks of money but get too tilt the playing field in all endeavors to their favor. It is done from the smallest unit ie. a family to the largest countries.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 15 Feb 2018, 16:58:36

https://listverse.com/2014/02/14/10-sho ... countries/

10 Shocking Ways The West Abuses Developing Countries
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Cog » Thu 15 Feb 2018, 17:18:10

Viva la Marxism eh onlooker?
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 15 Feb 2018, 20:34:55

The USA in fact was once a collection of 13 exploited colonies, plus a set of Stone Age natives. We were that way until we formed a collective nation based on a unique form of Capitalism, the ideological opposite of Marxism, which would not even exist as a bogus economic theory with that name for another century.

Now we are the largest, most successful First World nation on Earth, and onlooker has benefitted from living here and is one of the 330 million people to have done so. Yet somebody has filled his head with twaddle and told him that he is a victim and everybody else who doesn't live here or in a handful of other First World nations are also victims.

Meanwhile, every time somebody has tried to implement the flawed ideas of Marx and Engels, they have failed, and most have joined the list of the most evit despots and villians in history. This has happened by my count to 45 nations, the last being Venezuela. Meanwhile, the list of First World nations contains nothing except Capitalist nations, including perhaps soon China, a mighty and brand new Second World economy which managed to avoid the Marxist Doom and is struggling to join the short list of most successful Capitalists. It needs only to establish a series of elections and to enact a Constitution to protect the rights of it's citizens to join the First World. If it manages this, it will be the first successful former Marxist nation.

Amazingly, onlooker - in defiance of all reason - continues to believe in a failed economic theory and to reject the only working one. He will not be swayed from this belief no matter how many times Marxism fails. But in order to maintain his flawed beliefs he must first blame the latest failure of Marxism on Capitalism.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 15 Feb 2018, 20:58:02

First off for those who have bothered to follow the ongoing debate between me and Kaiser, will have noted that I have never specifically identified myself as a Marxist or Communist. Our debate is an honest one with Kaiser and I humbly think a fascinating one. And it comes down to this. Kaiser has reiterated that Capitalism is the natural form of behavior arising from our ape like instincts and urges. I have already conceded that I do not specifically disagree with that. However, I believe we humans are and can be more individually and collectively than that. Extensive research has been done by Jane Goodall and others on primate behavior. They have discovered that only do primates have these primitive aggressive selfish instincts but also altruistic and sharing type behavior.

Now in relation to the "success" of Capitalism. That success simply boils down to the rule of might you can say. In this case might equivalent to money. That readers is why throughout our history, our societies have been characterized by extreme inequality and injustice. Now another recent feature of Capitalsim that must be stressed is how it is in fact driving us to the precipice of possible extinction. Kaiser states that this is simply due to overpopulation. But one must also remember that our assault on the Earth is not just from our numbers but also from the technologies and consumers culture that are a byproduct of Capitalism. And that in fact the ethos of Capitalism growth parleys into population growth. as Markets have always sought extra people as workers, soldiers and as consumers. And that the conditions to allow for this growth were made possible precisely because of thriving Economies. So, then I ask is all this really a Success for our species? Or in fact quite the opposite as I contend.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 00:32:05

onlooker wrote:So, then I ask is all this really a Success for our species? Or in fact quite the opposite as I contend.


This has little to do with Venezuela, but I feel nature is amoral. I feel humans are ultimately a neurotic species because we, above all others, have developed a sense of morality (think of the tree of good and evil). Morality's closest analog in the natural world is familial bonding, which allows pets or disparate species to sometimes coexist if they imprint each other as parent/child/sibling. So above the family you have the TRIBE. Morality's purpose in nature is to protect the tribe, the fundamental unit of humanity. Baked into the cake of tribalism is hypocrisy. Justice is for us, not them. In times of scarcity it's necessary to institute lifeboat ethics. The tribe gets precedence over the not-tribe. In mixed groups, tribalism takes the form of ideology/politics, something you see play out here.

The difference between left and right leanings is that the left is more apt to think of humanity as a collective and the right is more insular. The right, despite greater religiosity, is "I'm alright jack, keep your hands off of my stack". The left is wage redistribution and the peace corp and trying to find excuses for suicide-bombers or serial-killers rather than insisting on individual responsibility.

Guess which mode of thinking will be more adaptive in the waning days of overshoot and die-off?

Utopian ideas make the most sense in a world of abundance, not shortages. Moral ideals go out the window when the store shelves go empty or waves of starving hoards are storming the border.

So I feel left-leaning talking points trying to attack people's guilty conscience and taking trips down memory lane about Dole pineapple and what not are really kind of barking up the wrong tree when it comes to doomerism. Overshoot is a zero-sum game of musical-chairs. You better the hell get used to the idea of throwing someone out of the lifeboat because if anyone's gonna survive, those sort of choices will be necessary.

BOLD PREDICTIONS
-Billions are on the verge of starvation as the lockdown continues. (yoshua, 5/20/20)

HALL OF SHAME:
-Short welched on a bet and should be shunned.
-Frequent-flyers should not cry crocodile-tears over climate-change.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 03:03:39

What onlooker failed to mention is that Anthropology has also found that animal altruistic behavior exists only in times of abundance. When food grows scarce, animals care for themselves and their offspring, even to the point of cannibalizing other primates.

The great human die-off has of course already begun. Parts of Asia and Afrika and South America have become uninhabitable and refugees are streaming from them. The USA has become one of their destinations.

TEOTWAWKI has happened for them, and they have made rational decisions to move North where there exist places where the economy still functions. In the process they walk away from their country, their posessions, and their hopes for the future.

Among them are now Venezuelans, and they too are coming to the USA as refugees. It is a dramatic demonstration of how Capitalism works and Marxism fails. If any of you doubt that, you are welcome to become a refugee to Venezuela.

Consider these things before deciding who is correct in this ongoing controversy.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby tita » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 04:52:38

KaiserJeep wrote:The country was a net exporter of food until the Marxist government instituted price controls which caused domestic food producers to fold and cease producing food beyond a bare minimum to feed themselves.

Okay, you are idealizing the situation in 1998 and you are just telling lies to make your point. The exportations were not due to overproduction, but a switch to non-essential food aimed for exportation, resulting in shortages for the population. I'm not arguing about how good is Marxism or Capitalism. Every country have some agriculture policy aimed to stimulate internal production and consumption, except New Zealand who have a remarkable agriculture sector. USA subsidize the sector (it gave 20 billions in 2005). Even if you want to reach competitiveness on free markets, you need some good policy to start it. Something that Venezuela failed to implement for decades.

And I agree that Chavez failed to reverse the situation. He tried, and probably because it was so controlled by the government, it failed. But pure liberalism also failed before. Sure, more capitalism is needed in Venezuela, but they also need better working policies. And if the current crisis end up with the same kind of neo-liberal governement that ruled in the 90's, Venezuela is sure to plunge again in a few years.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 06:28:07

I will concede that now and goiing forward, Kaiser and Asg are right. That some form of economic life boat ethics must be implemented. So naturally Capitalism is the preferred mode of economics given that its basis is a form of life boat ethics whereby those with money prosper and those without do not. So, in the recent times of abundance whereby everyone on the planet could have lived a relatively decent life, instead we have seen vast swaths of humanity consigned to a destitute life of squalor for the simple reason that they have not had money.

I do not see this as a defense of Capitalism rather an indictment of it and how it functions. Did Africa wholesale adopt Communism? No. They were not guilty of that but rather a far greater crime of being easy to exploit given the penchant of people to see them as inferior because of their color. So, yes refugees are coming to the rich countries even as a huge divide is growing within these rich countries of the have's and have nots. The refugees for the time being may get lucky and receive basic sustenance in rich countries. Then consistent with Capitalism we will begin to see the Lifeboat ethics highlighted exquisitely by people innured to the lifeboat or cut throat ethics so exemplefied by Capitalism.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 08:16:12

Except "lifeboat or cutthroat ethics" really has nothing to do with Capitalism. It so happens that Capitalism works and produces a functioning economy, whereas Marxism fails. If there were ever a successful Marxist nation, then it too would attract refugees.

Onlooker, much of what you would "blame" on Capitalism is simply because it is a system that works, where others fail. There are failed Capitalist nations in History, although typically the failure occurs because of external factors, not ethics and not because the economic system is defective in some way. Two examples of failed Capitalist economies are the Weimar Republic (which actually failed because of external factors imposed by the nations which "won" WW1) and Zimbabwe in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, when they were "troubled" by race war.

Both of these economies were felled by hyperinflation, which is defined as currency inflation at a rate of more than 50% in a single month. This is related to monetary policy rather than type of economy. Fundamentally if the government prints money instead of raising taxes to enable higher rates of government spending, it makes the government and country vulnerable to hyperinflation.

Note that if hyperinflation occurs, it typically destroys the middle class of a country, not the 1% or the very wealthy, which tend to own assets that are resistent to monetary inflation such as real estate. Hyperinflation is mainly the result of expansionist monetary policies and not at all related to the economic system in use in a given country.

Note that even the mighty US economy would be vulnerable to hyperinflation. One point where we were in dire danger of such was during the recent candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders, because of his avowed intent to spend until he had "fixed" everything in the USA that he perceived was wrong. This would have happened because of the modern proverb "a fool and his money are soon parted", which is popularly believed to have existed since the Protestants and Catholics went their seperate ways.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 10:42:50

onlooker wrote:I do not see this as a defense of Capitalism rather an indictment of it and how it functions.


How many studies have shown that evenly splitting the world's resources across all living humans would reduce everyone down to Bangladeshi standards of living have you read? How much would you be willing to sacrifice and how hard would you be willing to pressure/shame the rest of society to sacrifice so you could rest your head on the pillow each night knowing that not a single human had less than another?

These are rhetorical questions because I know damn well that this is ultimately just a mental exercise on your part.

This is also true of most liberals. They are compassionate for the poor mostly out of a sense of GUILT but while they may donate to charities, they are not going to completely give away all their creature comforts in order to level the playing-field. Since they will not take it to that level, their attempts to demonize the capitalist system (aka the mouth that feeds them) is hypocritical.

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BOLD PREDICTIONS
-Billions are on the verge of starvation as the lockdown continues. (yoshua, 5/20/20)

HALL OF SHAME:
-Short welched on a bet and should be shunned.
-Frequent-flyers should not cry crocodile-tears over climate-change.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby evilgenius » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 12:55:49

It still matters most to whom and at what level you are born into. That doesn't go away with ranking of nations. I'd like to suggest that this points to a poor educational system over a basic inequality. Nobody is born wise. They, especially, are not born with knowledge. They are born with certain behavioral tendencies. People who succeed under capitalism compete for their success. If you have a job you compete with other people who can do your job. The market sets your wages. This is the level where most people wind up. It's the one where people less deliberately enter into competition. Their ignorance means lower wages. That ignorance can be compounded by efforts on the part of those who employ them to dis-empower them.

Why is it that when we look at inequality we always try to correct it at the point of manifestation rather than address the reasons for its existence? The educational system in the US and the rest of the West currently owes its existence to an effort to provide workers to industrial factories who meet at least a minimum standard. It wasn't designed to produce entrepreneurs. As such, it serves as a socializing mechanism that does not prepare most people for competition. Society assumes that the instincts which KaiserJeep speaks about will kick in and offer people those things. But what that does is relegate competition to the arena of the emotions. It is at the level of the emotions where there are only winners and losers. We are constantly told that winners are special people. They aren't like the rest of us. I think we need to understand that until winners are like the rest of us we aren't really getting to the successful place that capitalism can take us. We are supposed to find motivation to compete instead of it taking place on a more intellectual level where it can be taken apart mathematically and understood legally, not because of received knowledge interpreted to us by those who've won and told us how, but held by the average person as a result of their proper education.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 16:29:10

It's a nature vs. nurture debate. Simply not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. For instance, think of the wage-gap between men and women. A large part of that is due to different sets of priorities men and women tend to have. Men don't have to worry as much about work-life balance. Women try to squeeze having a family in someplace, and that means not being chained to your desk 60-80 hours a week. But that's what it takes to create a startup like Facebook. If you reorder education to encourage that sort of obsessive-compulsive like drive that it takes to be an entrpreneur then what is that going to do to what's left of a family unit that's already in disarray?

BOLD PREDICTIONS
-Billions are on the verge of starvation as the lockdown continues. (yoshua, 5/20/20)

HALL OF SHAME:
-Short welched on a bet and should be shunned.
-Frequent-flyers should not cry crocodile-tears over climate-change.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 17:36:16

Funny the comments. I think you all are missing how unlevel the playing field is. Educational systems and business opportunities are virtually non existent in some countries. It is like that rather stupid refrain that says that poor people simply are lazy that is why they are poor. Sorry, but some of these poor people around the world, work as hard if not harder than any persons in rich world countries. Oh and Asg, the hypocrisy angle is getting rather stale. My not going to live in say a poor area of Africa and submit to the quality of life there has nothing to do with the rationality of my arguments.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 17:44:28

asg70 wrote:
onlooker wrote:I do not see this as a defense of Capitalism rather an indictment of it and how it functions.


How many studies have shown that evenly splitting the world's resources across all living humans would reduce everyone down to Bangladeshi standards of living have you read? How much would you be willing to sacrifice and how hard would you be willing to pressure/shame the rest of society to sacrifice so you could rest your head on the pillow each night knowing that not a single human had less than another?

Not to mention that a big part of how a major modern capitalistic economy functions is (drum roll please): access to significant pools of capital, to allow businesses to form, grow, and function.

So pretending that no one having access to a meaningful amount of capital would allow capitalism to work is a COMPLETE nonstarter to anyone with a shred of knowledge about, say, the intersection between capitalism, capital, and economics.

Economic reality has this annoying habit of intruding on certain purist "fairness" ideals.

....

Very simple example: having no kids and working a LOT during my career, I didn't buy a house until I was retired. (By choice. People with kids likely would want a house though.)

Now, how many couples with kids under 40 or even 60 years of age could reasonably be expected to raise their family AND buy a home with NO mortgage? Anyone? Bueller?
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 17:54:03

Really? That is in fact that way Capitalism works. Money is unevenly distributed because only with money usually can more money be made. Money is the key that unlocks all the doors of Capitalism. The more you have the more you can make and vice-versa. Capitalism works just fine that is its success. The problem is it works actually for a relatively few people on this planet. The rest are out of luck. And please do not tell me that more people are somewhat well off that ever in history. If by well enough you mean surviving perhaps. But not well off by standards and quality of life. The Industrial Revolution and Modernity has passed by unnoticed by billions who lack proper healthcare, proper diet, proper education, proper sanitation, proper housing etc.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 16 Feb 2018, 20:44:29

Yes of course, money is a beautiful abstraction, a way of keeping score in the game of life. Before you quibble about the "beautiful" descriptor, consider that in the absence of money, one would be hoarding food or petroleum or clean water or anything of value. We don't do that, we freely distribute those necessities of life, while hoarding abstract money instead. The primitive form of money when invented was a circle of metal stamped with the image of a king. Then it evolved through printed banknotes to it's ultimate form and ultimate abstraction, digital bits in the memory banks of computers. I have thought a lot about the abstraction of money, having spent a career designing and manufacturing computers for the sole purpose of counting money and making myriad forms of financial tranactions.

The fact that we hoard money - a completely abstract concept - instead of any physical thing of absolute value, is what enables all financial and economic systems of all forms, including Capitalism and Marxism and everthing else. The obsessingly tracked "Dow Jones Industrial Average" is an abstract construct of other abstractions, all of which are measured in dollars, a completely abstract measure.

Yes we owe our success as a species more to money than to medicine or agriculture or digital electronics or fossil fuels. The fact that most people unthinkingly accept and use money in spite of it's abstract nature is actually astonishing. You were of course introduced to this very early in life by the gifts of coins when you noticed that coins could be exchanged for candy, ice cream, and other delights.

For the love of money is the root of all evil. - 1 Timothy 6:10 KJV


....is assuredly true. Also and equally true, is that money is the root of all that is good within life. To truly understand and appreciate the beauty of life, one has to appreciate the score keeping system we use, which is money, a thing of great beauty and perhaps the greatest of man's ideas.

Edit: The terminology and judgements that you are making are worth some analysis. For one thing, the terms "poor" and "proper" are relative metrics. A person on welfare only in the USA is among the lower 10% income bracket here, but the top 1% in the World. YOU are a part of the USA's Middle Class unless I miss my guess, as are most PO.com members including me. All of us number among the most fortunate people on Earth, and in the context of the World, the top 1%. Each of us is wealthier, healthier, happier, has more freedom, and is in every way that matters, better off than royalty a century ago.

.....billions who lack proper healthcare, proper diet, proper education, proper sanitation, proper housing etc.


I would simply point out that the World's poor are also better off today, in spite of the fact that there are so very many of them. Yet you in your priviledged position of the 1% think that they don't have enough. What purpose would be served by giving them "proper healthcare, proper diet, proper education, proper sanitation, proper housing etc."? If we did so, there would be more of them, right up until the point where the planet's ecology breaks from profound sickness and other symptoms of human overpopulation. This concept of the sanctity of human life is an artifact of Western philosophy dating back to the Ancient Greeks, and is present in all Western religions, including the modern popular ones Scientific Atheism, Agnosticism, and Humanism - which ARE religions in the basic sense.

If you had also simply studied Anthropology, during your formal education or afterwards, we would not be having this conversation. Consider for one moment that most modern academics exist in profound ignorance of the true nature of primate humans.
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