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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 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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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?
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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?
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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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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby ralfy » Sat 17 Feb 2018, 00:51:50

The irony with a competitive capitalist system is that it actually requires growing prosperity across the board. That's because the relatively few who are rich and are competing with each other can only become richer if more people earn, borrow, and spend.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 17 Feb 2018, 07:25:32

Yes Kaiser, i agree the expediency of representing tangible goods via money or whatever is obvious. So, we were destined to have some form of this representation, in the same way we were destined to have fire or the wheel etc.
The problem lies not in money per say, but in the greed and in the totally commercialized nature of our societies. When, people forget about sharing and caring and the only metric to attain survival and prosperity is the obtaining of money then you have by definition societies who overvalue the individual and undervalue common kinship and mutual assistance. And then you have because of greed and power lust, special classes of people intent on subjugating the rest into a perpetual lower position relative to them. For resources are limited and so some can have more, only if others have less. So I am not enamored by the concept of money. To me it is just an expedient tool to facilitate economics in a society. Nor am I enamored by the sanctity of life as expressed by religions. I am enamored by a sense of justice and a certain level of equality throughout society. When societies lose that sense of justice and are very unequal then something greater than lives are undervalued, human dignity is undervalued. You can cite anthropology call you want but we have progressed beyond simple primate interactions. We have culture like arts and music, we have sublime emotions like love, we have a conscience , empathy and compassion which can guide us to seek harmony and justice among each other. Or we can have societies in the grip of greed and selfishness attuned only to immediate tangible gratification. That is where the US has drifted towards. And to our detriment as witnessed by what appears to be unhappy lives in contrast to some in poorer countries who seem to live happier lives. Buddha said forsake your pleasures and you shall find peace.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby Cog » Sat 17 Feb 2018, 07:55:49

Claiming you are poor because someone else is rich lacks foundation.
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby asg70 » Sat 17 Feb 2018, 08:14:47

onlooker wrote:The problem is it works actually for a relatively few people on this planet.


I think you'll find that in all societies (including soviet russia, where the Politburo were the "very few") all the way back to neolithic times that it's been this way. Just, ya know, deal with it.

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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 17 Feb 2018, 08:25:23

z0zn0.jpg
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asg70 wrote:
onlooker wrote:The problem is it works actually for a relatively few people on this planet.


I think you'll find that in all societies (including soviet russia, where the Politburo were the "very few") all the way back to neolithic times that it's been this way. Just, ya know, deal with it.

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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 17 Feb 2018, 11:37:00

asg70 wrote: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?


Creating a startup like Facebook is an extreme example, don't you think? If you consider what success means to people in ordinary life I think you will have to admit that it occurs more randomly than that. Goals are achievable, but there is always a cost for achieving them. A person can overcome the setbacks and the ordeals, but at what cost? Oughtn't the definition of success to have something to do with understanding whether those costs are worth it? I'm not going to discount what you are saying about the difficulties of achieving work/life balance and how they especially pertain to women, except to say that men miss out when they don't engage in a similar manner. The people they are supposed to be doing what they are doing those hours for could use a little more of them, perhaps, and not their money so much. Many of them don't, and the world is poorer for it.

For many people the standard they reach is the ability to consistently pay their bills every month. If you think about it, that is a great achievement. They learn that much from their education. The rich can hand down greater in the way that they set up private schools to teach their kids, but at least the public educational system can claim this victory. They can keep things going. Fewer people save. Some people get a handle on the use of debt. A great many people get caught up in debt in an attempt to do so because the only way they had to learn was by using trial and error. Of those people who learn what a great thing debt can be, a few of them dream. Sometimes their dreams are an expression of their struggles. Sometimes they are an attempt to understand themselves. Often people stop at the first dream they have, and define themselves according to whether or not they were able to see it happen. Other people realize that a dream can be a thing that belongs to a particular place in space and time, a construct of where they are coming from and where they are going. They go through life fulfilling them, or not. Each dream comes with its own costs, and, maybe, they have learned enough to evaluate whether they should pay those costs.

One thing which I think is sorely lacking from education is the knowledge of how to lose graciously. Accepting loss, not fixating upon it, is how one starts over. Starting over is how one moves from dream to dream. Accepting loss is how one recovers from the random nature of success, how one can try just as hard as anyone else and still fail. Ultimately, it is how one recognizes change within themselves, how the journey itself can change them, if they let it.

The world today is full of conspiracy theories. Many of those are spun up by groups of people who cannot 'win' unless they are able to manipulate large numbers of people to behave a certain way. It's not much different than how marketing works, only that there is an element of nostalgic reticence to accept loss rather than a buying into a self-image commensurate with the purchase of a product. The threads of nationalism and jingoism that these machinations(to prohibit the acceptance of loss) produce can, however, be dangerous. Deeper still, are these aggregations that are like clots in the wind. They are formed of enough thought so as not to be chaotic, but lack any sort of central focus. People converge around what they think are common ideals, but soon find there is enough difference between one and the other's interpretation of those ideals that they usually find themselves at odds with each other. Many times, when a person religiously pursues one of these ideas they even find that they are at odds with themselves.
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Venezuela’s Petro: Stable Coin For Crypto-Economy Or Illegal

Unread postby AdamB » Sun 25 Feb 2018, 19:24:05


Starting in late 2017 Venezuela’s President Nikolas Maduro began expanding heavily into media space in an attempt to promote a new payment instrument– the government-issued cryptocurrency Petro. On Feb. 20 the pre-sale of Petro was launched and has already raised $735 mln, according to Maduro’s Twitter. Total amount of PTR issued for sale is 100 mln and is worth $6 bln. The pre-sale will end on March 19. The following questions are raised by this controversial project: what is Petro in an economic context and what would be its possible real use in the global economy? Is it a cryptocurrency, a stable coin, oil futures, new government debt instrument or something else? What is its possible economic impact? Which legal issues could follow? image courtesy of CoinTelegraph Having carefully studied the Petro white paper and other data available, we present below the results of the


Venezuela’s Petro: Stable Coin For Crypto-Economy Or Illegal Oil Futures?
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Re: Oil Has Cursed Venezuela

Unread postby kublikhan » Mon 03 Sep 2018, 20:17:29

Maduro’s cryptocurrency, supposedly backed by Venezuela’s oil reserves, is a very hollow promise. To be sure, few analysts expected much from the “petro,” Maduro’s hastily launched cryptocurrency. The new cryptocurrency has unsurprisingly failed to catch on.

The petro is supposed to be backed by 5 billion barrels of oil located in Atapirire, a small town in Venezuela’s remote savanna in the middle of the country. Reserves in this region are the lynchpin of the petro, and as such, they are intended to underwrite the regime’s plan for economic recovery. But as Reuters details in a special report, the region is not only lacking in oil production, but there is no visible effort at developing oil in this area at all. The only evidence of an oil presence were old rigs that have clearly been inoperable for a long time, as they are rusted out and covered in weeds. “There is no sign of that petro here,” a local resident told Reuters. Worse, the town suffers from blackouts, hunger, poverty and decrepit infrastructure, an increasingly common plight for the country on the whole. A cabinet minister involved in the project told Reuters that “nobody has been able to make use of the petro...nor have any resources been received.”

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s oil production continues to erode at a rapid rate. Output fell to just 1.278 million barrels per day in July, down roughly 50,000 bpd from a month earlier and down more than 500,000 bpd since the fourth quarter of 2017. There is almost no chance of improvement for the foreseeable future.

Thus, the meltdown continues. Maduro is going to need to come up with something better than a hapless and inept attempt at a new cryptocurrency to resolve the country’s deep depression.
The Collapse Of Venezuela's Imaginary Oil Currency

"Crude oil production in Venezuela is practically falling at an average of 10% every quarter and has been since mid-2017. A scenario with oil production in the country losing at least another 500,000 barrels per day by the end of the year is not unrealistic." GlobalData also forecast that Venezuelan crude oil production would fall to around one million barrels per day by the end of 2018. This is a steep decline from the three million barrels per day that Venezuela produced in 2011.

Platts reported this week that Venezuela has already warned eight international customers that it wouldn't be able to meet its crude oil commitments to them in June. Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA is contractually obligated to supply 1.495 million barrels per day to those customers in June, but only has 694,000 barrels per day available for export.

If the GlobalData forecast is correct, then the temporary interruption of Venezuela's exports may be permanent, as they will be plunging toward zero by the end of the year.
Venezuela's Oil Exports Are Headed Toward Zero
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