Feb 21, 2014 at 7:04 am #1313580
Even without a Television it is hard to escape the reports of what is going on in Venezuela.
Here is a piece recommended by one of my favorite current journalists, Kevin Gosztola, that offers a slightly different take:Feb 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm #2075846
Why do you like him so much Kat? Him and his buddies spend their entire time justifying and defending the socialist countries in South America.
He spends his time with his socialist buddies defending more government spending and Keynesian economics….just not buying it.Feb 21, 2014 at 11:33 pm #2075919
I don't like everything he stands for ( I am not a believer in Keynesian economics for one) but that does not mean I cannot appreciate some really good articles he writes and recommends. His articles on NSA surveillance and on our drone wars are well worth a read.Feb 22, 2014 at 7:14 am #2075957
Keynes said that the free market, left to itself, will have extreme economic booms and busts. The government can moderate these economic cycles with government fiscal stimulus.
After the 1930 great depression everyone got all Keynesian. We didn't really pull out of it until WWII which was the biggest stimulus imaginable.
In late 1900s, when we were in economic bubble, Keynes fell out of favor by some, because everything was fine (we were in bubble).
In 2007 when we had "the great recession" everyone (except Michael and Kat) got Keynesian again. The only complaint was, why didn't we save Lehman Brothers too.
The problem was, the de-regulation of financial institutions (which is sort of Keynesian). The huge federal deficit in the early 2000s (opposite of Keynesian) made things worse by stimulating and economy that was already overheating.
You could argue that mortal humans screw things up as bad as they moderate the economic cycles, but before 1930 there were frequent "great depressions", after, when we became somewhat Keynesian, the economic cycles aren't nearly as bad.Feb 22, 2014 at 7:19 am #2075961
Better go spend some money to help the economy Jerry, wether you need the stuff or not, whether you can afford it or not.Feb 22, 2014 at 8:00 am #2075971
That's not Keynesian – he was just talking about the government.
But, if we spend more on stuff we don't need, it will increase the economy by that amount.
I'm not saying that people should buy stuff they don't need just to stimulate the economy, but if you're trying to understand economic policy, you have to be mindful of this.
Like raising minimum wage will increase wages of poor people, but a few people will lose their jobs, so maybe you have to combine this with better education so those people can get another, better job.Feb 22, 2014 at 8:11 am #2075973
I get it Jerry, I just disagree.
Edited. Jerry, you do find a way of derailing threads to push your agenda. Relentless. Your comment about myself and Michael being the only 2 not to jump on board with the plan……is ludicrous to say the least. And no, the only complaint was not " why did we not save the Lehman brothers too?"…..rather that there should not be a "too big to fail".Feb 22, 2014 at 8:38 am #2075983
I may be guilty of thread derailing at times : )
I ignored Micheal's repudiation of Keynes.
But when you did also, I couldn't help myself.
Okay, there are more than just you and Micheal that disagree with Keyens, I was just trying to be humorous.
Do you think the government/federal reserve should have just ignored the collapse in 2008? AIG would have failed for sure. AIG insured all these other financial instruments, so probably every other financial institution would have then also failed. And all the big companies like GM. And all the little companies.
Okay, Venezuela – I don't really have an opinion, but Chavez was a brutal dictator. I assume Maduro is no better.
In the 20th century, the U.S. (and U.K. and other western countries) used their military to support any brutal dictator as long as they went along with us and sold us their resources cheaply. Chavez didn't go along with us so we didn't support him.
This military policy was very short sided and has resulted in the chaos we see today. But the wars seem less extreme with time. WWII not as bad as WWI? Korea, Vietnam,…, Iraq/Afganistan progressively better? At least to us.Feb 22, 2014 at 8:42 am #2075984
"And no, the only complaint was not " why did we not save the Lehman brothers too?"…..rather that there should not be a "too big to fail"."
But isn't that Keyensian too? The government moderating economic cycles with economic policies? In this case, having regulations on how big a bank can be?
You can just not bail it out, but then the entire economy collapses, as happened before 1930.Feb 22, 2014 at 9:40 am #2075999
"I assume Maduro is no better."
Because that's a lot easier than actually educating oneself on the issue before commenting…..Feb 22, 2014 at 9:45 am #2076004
Like I said, I don't really have an opinion, but Kat was complaining about me derailing her thread (that she already derailed herself) so I thought it polite to comment on her thread : )
So, what's the deal with Maduro? Is he the same as Chavez (who selected him I believe)?Feb 22, 2014 at 10:08 am #2076011
"Like I said, I don't really have an opinion, but Kat was complaining about me derailing her thread (that she already derailed herself)"
Well that's a bit of bullshit, Jerry. Kat did not derail her own thread, she responded to a question from Michael. Then you went off on one of your well-worn (out) economic dissertations. At least be honest about it.Feb 22, 2014 at 10:21 am #2076017
Micheal said something against Keynesism
Then Kat did
I seem to remember you saying anti-Keynes things
I just don't understand going back to before 1930 when there was one great depression after another
It's reasonable to be critical of what the government does, but if you're saying the government just just let the free market take care of things, that seems imprudentFeb 22, 2014 at 10:25 am #2076020
Well, I've participated in this drift long enough, but I will add: Jerry, I always knew you had some right wing in you. Unable to admit when you're wrong, blame it on others instead, make unsubstantiated claims about others, and then hit your talking points again. Bravo. Ted Cruz would be proud!Feb 22, 2014 at 10:39 am #2076025
I guess I'm dumb
I don't understand what you're saying I'm wrong about that I refuse to admit
I do sometimes say something in jest that I assume is obvious, like lumping Michael and Kat togetherFeb 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm #2076136
I believe in Keynesian Economics and I think Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman is right on target to cure the economy.
The right wing idea of using austerity has proven false in Europe as well as in the US. Spain has 25 percent unemployment, Greece is broke, Italy is broke as well.
How the United States got out of the depression was through government spending. It is historical fact.
Now on the topic of Venezuela and our South American neighbors Krugman shows some interesting data.
South America And as Krugman points out if the right wing politics work so well like the privatized pension system in Chile why are the people in Chile not so thrilled about it.Feb 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm #2076162
I looked at wikipedia – they're usually somewhat objective
They said Chavez was popularly elected, there were some human rights claims against him but he didn't do like China or Soviet Union killing zillions of people. Chavez thinks that Soviet and China authoritarianism isn't correct, but believes in democratic elections. Chavez is favorable to capitalism. Chavez had a bunch of programs to help poor, like education.
What's bad about Chavez to the U.S., is that he uncouraged OPEC to raise prices on oil and he spoke up about U.S. imperialism. What I hate about U.S. policy in the 20th century, we supported governments that were willing to sell us their resources cheaply, otherwise we tried to overthrow them (which would be Chavez).
That's consistent with your Maduro article – he was popularly elected and the opposition is supported by the U.S. that wants to overthrow him (because he wants to raise oil prices and calls out U.S. imperialism?)
(nice, simple Keynes summary Scott)Feb 23, 2014 at 11:18 am #2076283
Thanks for the article Kat. It gives a perspective of a side rarely given a voice in the mainstream media. I lived for 3 years in Bogota, Colombia from 2010 to 2013 and aside from the influence of the NED, IRI, and NDI, we should also acknowledge the strong influence the Uribistas have not only in the depiction of Venezuela to the general public in Colombia (very antagonistic in general) but within Venezuela itself. I'm not saying the Chavistas and Maduro camp isn't corrupt themselves, or that they haven't mis-managed the economy in certain ways, but what we get from the media on this issue is very biased. Venezuela was a neo-liberalists/capitalists dream in the 50s-70s from all accounts I've heard/read. However, this meant a widening wealth gap, and of course the people who were being exploited to fuel this economic growth were muted under positive press regarding drastically increased standards of living for the elite, and eventually a good portion of the middle class. In the 90s, with the Bolivarian Revolution, Chavez planned to redistribute some of this economic success to the lower classes in forms of social projects/nationalization of profitable enterprises namely oil. Problem is they didn't do it all that efficiently. The elites (and their money) fled the country as their large enterprises were nationalized, oil prices fell, and corruption on part of the Chavez government made things significantly worse. Essentially the standard of living improved a bit for the low class but really went downhill for the elites and middle class.
A big problem I noticed while in Colombia and the little time I've spent in Venezuela, is that the idea of progress and surplus value were/are still the guiding principals behind the Venezuelan government. The culture is fundamentally consumerist in its ideology. The socialist experiment can't work under these ideological conditions; they are contradictory. In terms of Chavez's "brutal oppression" and his label as a "dictator", they are largely media fabrications from what I've gathered. Also, Chavez sort of embraced that image because he was a powerful person who had a voice to criticize the capitalist/imperialist system. Like many a Latin American male, Chavez was a "machista" and loved the limelight, and always defined himself as the mortal enemy of the capitalist/imperialist system.
I'm still waiting for a society that is willing to put their faith and trust in a truly socialist framework. The fact is it has never happened. There is just too much connotation that goes along with the terminology and until we stop jumping to conclusions when we hear "socialism", "communism", etc. it is unlikely to get anywhere. And I think more importantly, until people stop consuming in ways that are detrimental to the exploited class in the 3rd world, the situation will continue to be dire for these people and their environment.
I'm not trying to create a thread drift, just giving support to the idea that we don't get the full picture from the media, and that it is interesting and beneficial to hear other interpretations of the situation. And hopefully, assuming not many people here on BPL actually have had the opportunity to live and immerse themselves in this part of the world, such a discussion can bring us past the knee-jerk responses we get whenever this subject is brought up, and foment more questions that will guide us toward further investigation.Feb 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm #2076336
@kat – fair enough. I dislike their bias more than you. But agreed that the viewpoint is informative.
@jerry – quit derailing everything man. I was asking Kat a simple question.
@Scott- nobel prize was given to Obama (joke), Kofi Annan (corruptly steering UN funds to his son), Arafat (do I need to say more?) and Moniz and Haber. In other words it isn't the be-all end-all. Krugman meanwhile won the award for something other than his support of Keynes. Also please note that he is the minority among economists for a reason…
@william -"I'm still waiting for a society that is willing to put their faith and trust in a truly socialist framework."
Do you really want another colossal failure? Socialism sounds good to the naïve, but it fails for a reason. I like the claim from socialists that nobody has done it pure enough! Or the claim that it can't exist in a capitalist world….and that if everybody went socialist it would work. Pure socialism is doomed to failure.Feb 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm #2076348
Michael, how can we know if we've never tried? That was my point. I don't know if it will work or not, but I'm ready for something different. I won't address your other points because I get the feeling you aren't interested in listening and also the thread is about the Venezuelan situation and this particular articles coverage of it.
Just out of curiosity, and trying to keep the thread on topic, what points in the article do you disagree with and why? What other insights can you personally bring to the specific issue outside of blanket criticisms of socialism?
Thanks again Kat for pointing me towards this news source, I find it interesting and intelligent.Feb 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm #2076469
We can know that it will not work because it isn't logical. I can go into all the details but no argument is ever won or lost on the internet. Years of study has shown it won't work. (I will say that I am not a right as jerry believes on everything…but that is off topic as you pointed out.)
On Venezuela…I was questioning Kat's liking of the author is all. Despite having a friend that spent years in S.A. and all that, I am not venturing into that debate. I will refrain from commenting on that issue since I can't speak to the facts with enough confidence. I didn't mean to stir that up honestly. I was speaking about the author in an honest question to Kat is all. I only laid out my personal dislikes of the author to show WHY I didn't like him since that would be the next step if I hadn't already done so.
But I don't just have blanket criticisms of socialism…but that is another entire thread!Feb 23, 2014 at 10:18 pm #2076476
Michael, what color is the sky in your world? Supply side economics has failed. The trickle down did not work and the deficits exploded. It is just a fact you refuse to accept. Supply side economics failed miserably. That is why we are in the mess we are in currently.Feb 24, 2014 at 1:07 am #2076488
@davidadairLocale: West DakotaFeb 24, 2014 at 11:32 am #2076576
Michael, I too agree that now is not the time or place for that debate, although I respectfully disagree on your views of economics/social structure.
It seems that the "Arab Spring" is apparently no longer limited to the so-called "Arab region". It's sad to see all the death and destruction, and the outcomes of these uprisings are still up in the air. Considering I don't plan on joining in on any of these battles I appreciate those giving a voice to the muted.
edited for spelling, it always gets meFeb 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm #2076660
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Arafat (do I need to say more?)"
Yeah, Michael, I'd love to hear more from you about Arafat. Why don't you talk a little about Menachim Begin while you're at it? Or Ariel Sharon? Or Yitzhak Rabin, not the "peacemaker" of the early 90's, but the ethnic cleanser of 1948. Charming guys, the lot of them.
"Also please note that he is the minority among economists for a reason…"
Yup, 2 actually; he's smarter, and he actually has a heart.
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