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May 17 2016

Just 3 Years Ago, Salon Extolled Economic Miracle in Socialist Venezuela

These are not good times to be a Venezuelan. Thanks to the socialism imposed by Hugo Chavez and carried forward by his successor Nicolas Maduro, the nation is on the verge of absolute collapse, complete with food shortages, runaway inflation, riots, looting, vigilante justice, dictatorial decrees, power outages, skyrocketing infant mortality, et cetera. Reliant on the government for food, people have been reduced to hunting cats, dogs, and birds to fend off starvation. Next time the lights come on for a few hours, Venezuelans should cheer themselves up by reading this 2013 Salon article describing how Chavez bestowed upon them an economic miracle:

Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal [i.e., free market] economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.

For instance, according to data compiled by the UK Guardian, Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double and both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved. Then there is a remarkable graph from the World Bank that shows that under Chavez’s brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted (the Guardian reports that its “extreme poverty” rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent just a decade later). In all, that left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America. Additionally, as Weisbrot points out, “college enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.”

Any short-term improvements under Chavez were a result of looting the oil industry for over $1 trillion. People knew it couldn’t last, and it didn’t.

But back to Salon’s 2013 gloating:

When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.

For a flamboyant ideologue like Chavez, that meant him being seen by the transnational elite as much more than an insignificant rogue leader of a relatively small country. He came to be seen as a serious threat to the global system of corporate capitalism.

So while they are gnawing on any stray cats they manage to catch, Venezuelans can console themselves that they are striking a blow against the global system of corporate capitalism that allows others to eat steak.

Frighteningly, the reason the liberal deep thinkers tried right up to the edge of complete societal collapse to paint a smiley face on the tragedy socialism inflicted on Venezuela is that they want the same sort of system imposed on the USA.

The progressive intelligentsia wants the same for us.

On a tip from J.

25 Responses to “Just 3 Years Ago, Salon Extolled Economic Miracle in Socialist Venezuela”

  1. TheChaoticStorm says:

    About ten years ago, I spoke to a Venezuelan who told me just how bad things were getting in the country. It was dangerous, businesses were closing, the government was out of control, and getting food was already becoming difficult. He was grateful he still had access to the Internet.

    That was ten years ago – imagine how much worse it has gotten since then.

    If I were to venture a guess, Salon didn’t actually interview anyone in Venezuela.

  2. TED says:

    INDEX Volume 1…

  3. TED says:

    The LEFT love to rename stuff – here’s THEIRS!!!

  4. Torcer says:

    How Can Millennials Fall For Sanders’ Socialist Paternalism?
    The American Left Continues Lovemaking with Long-dead Idea of State Control
    How Can Millennials Fall For Sanders’ Socialist Paternalism?
    The American Left Continues Lovemaking with Long-dead Idea of State Control

    The cadavers of central planning remain unburied in countries like China, Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba, but their intellectual decomposition is evident.

    How then do we explain the popularity of governmental economic interventionism revealed, for example, by the youthful support for socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, when the wide-ranging evidence of the failure of collectivism is ignored by Mr. Sanders and his followers?
    Yes, we all want to live in a just society, but charging government with bringing about, say, a predetermined distribution of holdings, can only be accomplished by violating individual rights. The paternalistic expanded government sought by Mr. Sanders requires diminished liberty and injustice.

    Even if it were possible to achieve a desired distribution of holdings for one instant, such a distribution would immediately begin to break down by individuals choosing to save in different measures, or to exchange goods with each other.

    Continuous interference with our liberties would be required to take from one person the holdings that others choose to transfer to them.

    If under the logic of some socialistic chimeric calculus, certain goods are to be guaranteed to some individuals, then other individuals must be coerced to pay for those goods. This conception of rights is inherently unjust — requiring that the state treat some individuals differently from others.

    Socialist paternalism also embodies the view that “other” people cannot be trusted to make good decisions about their lives, thus requiring government to step in. Notice that it is only “other” people that cannot make good decisions. We do not want government to make decisions about our own lives.

    Idealistic young students demonize business as a self-interested pursuit that encourages and rewards selfish behavior. It does not follow that business is about exploiting customers. In a free enterprise system, profits result not from harming customers, but from innovation and creating superior value.

  5. Torcer says:

    And that’s the reader’s digest version….

  6. Scuttlebuttin' says:

    Egalitarian Alliance ‏@TrueEgAl 16 hours ago

    @ZbraPntedDonky @davidsirota I searched “salon venezuela” and it was all “US intervention”.



  7. Kevin R. says:

    You know what socialism really is? It’s the return of jungle law. When you destroy property rights and declare everything is one big commons you’ve thrown away civilization and made everything one big jungle. And there’s only one law in the jungle: might is right. The only way to decides who gets what in the jungle is to be the biggest meanest animal. And after awhile all you have left after what was created back in civilized days is the jungle and people reduced to the state of animals.

  8. Ken Abbott says:

    So they finally ran out of other people’s money and reaped the consequences, just as Mrs. Thatcher said. Has Mr. Sirota (the author of the 2013 Salon gloat) come forward yet to face the music?

  9. […] Source: Moonbattery » Just 3 Years Ago, Salon Extolled Economic Miracle in Socialist Venezuela […]

  10. Buffalobob says:

    I can visualize a picture of Michael More lying on the floor of that supermarket slowly wasting away.(it would take years of course).

  11. Torcer says:

    Glenn Reynolds: Don’t be a sucker for socialism via @usatoday

    Glenn Reynolds: Don’t be a sucker for socialism
    From the USSR to Venezuela, experience reveals Sanders’ policies wouldn’t enrich anyone but a ruling elite.
    It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that’s not by accident.

    Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich. When you look at a socialist country like Venezuela, you find that the rulers are fabulously wealthy even as the ordinary citizenry deals with empty supermarket shelves and electricity rationing.

    The daughter of Venezuela’s socialist ruler, Hugo Chavez, is the richest individual in Venezuela, worth billions of dollars, according to the Miami-based Diario Las América. In Cuba, Fidel Castro reportedly has lived — pretty much literally — like a king, even as his subjects dwelt in poverty. In the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as Hedrick Smith reported in his The Russians, the Communist Party big shots had lavish country houses and apartments in town stocked with hand-polished fresh fruit, even as the common people stood in line for hours at state-run stores in the hopes of getting staples.

    There’s always a lot of talk about free health care, but it’s generally substandard for the masses and fancy for the elite. (The average Cuban or Venezuelan peasant — or Soviet-era Russian — doesn’t get the kind of health care that people at the top get.)

    Well, this is old news: George Orwell explained the phenomenon in his Animal Farm many decades ago. But people keep falling for it: Like Ponzi schemes, socialism is an evergreen form of fraud, egged on by suckers eager to believe the lies hucksters tell them.

  12. Torcer says:

    Socialism Is Dying Everywhere — Except The U.S.
    Socialism: Around the world, nations that have been foolish enough to adopt socialist policies either collapsed or are well on their way to doing so. Why, then, are so many in the U.S. enthralled with the idea?

    A quick look at the world’s countries in direst economic shape reveals that many, if not most, have one thing in common: They rely on top-down socialist control, rather than free markets, to run their economies. The former, history amply shows, are doomed to fail. There are no long-term socialist success stories. None.

    Then there’s Venezuela’s nightmare. After the death of socialist dictator Hugo Chavez, his successor kept socialist policies in place. Today, as even the liberal Atlantic Monthly admits, “Venezuela is falling apart.” Shortages of food, energy and such basic commodities as toilet paper are rampant. The government has imposed a two-day workweek to save money. Riots, thefts and blackouts are common. Once oil-rich, Venezuelans now forage dirty streets for food — including stray dogs and cats.

    Get the picture? Socialism is a failure, a brutal one. In its name, during the 21st century, millions of people were impoverished and disenfranchised, while over 100 million were murdered.

    And yet, as Europe and South America move away from socialism, some in the U.S. embrace it. Polls show socialism is popular among millennials, and many young Americans support socialist Bernie Sanders for president. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. As Jonah Goldberg observed, “Schools have been force-feeding left-wing propaganda to kids like it was feed for geese at a foie gras factory.”

    Sadly, blogger Bruce McQuain adds, “The left will never face the reality of their utopian central control’s failure everywhere and in whatever flavor it is tried.”

  13. KHarn says:

    The old communist plan:
    1. During times of famine, confiscate food and sell it abroad to prove that not only is there NOT a famine, but you have a “surplus”.
    2. Sit back and wait for the “useful idiots” to write glowing articles about your “success”.
    3. PROFIT!

  14. KHarn says:

    There are three classes under socialism:
    The workers. They make things.
    The rulers. They control what the workers make.
    The gunmen. They keep the workers in line and protect the rulers from the workers.

  15. Kevin R. says:

    Yep. Like they say, socialism is the nationalization of the means of production. What they don’t advertise is that the means of production is YOU.

  16. DavidD says:

    ” ‘ “…and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.” ‘ ”

    As in, …and the amount of unfunded future liabilities has quadrupled.

    No wonder they went downhill.

  17. Nobama says:

    Venezuela Is Falling Apart

    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.

  18. TED says:


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  20. […] Just 3 Years Ago, Salon Extolled Economic Miracle in Socialist Venezuela […]

  21. magic1114 says:

    And there are still mutton-heads in this country that will swear that socialism works; all the other times it’s been tried they didn’t do it right! I guess it’s going to take another 200 million dead before they finally get the picture that socialism/communism is a fools dream!

  22. StephaneDumas says:

    No need to guess how Salon and Sean Penn will react when, and not if, Maduro will get the same treatment as Nicholas Causescu get in the late 1980s in Romania, that is if he didn’t get out of Venezuela first.

  23. […] 3 years ago, Salon extolled economic miracle in socialist Venezuela […]

  24. PostLiberal says:

    For instance, according to data compiled by the UK Guardian, Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double

    According to the Guardian, GDP per capita increased from $4105 in 1999 to $10180 in 2011. The World Bank gives similar figures for GDP per capita in current dollars: $4078 in 1999 to $10754 in 2011.

    When the GDP per capita is put into constant dollars, we get a much different figure.
    GDP per capita (constant 2005 US$)
    1999 $5150
    2011 $6179
    This is a per capita increase of 20% in constant dollars. Latin America had an increase of 26% during the same time, so Venezuela underperformed compared to its peers, even with the oil export bonanza.

    Chavez’s first decade in office saw… infant mortality …almost halved.
    In 1999, Venezuela ranked 6th in Infant Mortality in Latin America. In 2011, Venezuela ranked 7th. That suggests that compared to its neighbors, Chavista Venezuela’s performance in reducing Infant Mortality was, compared to its neighbors, rather pedestrian.

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