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Venezuelan Collapse Watch

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brian0918
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I'm creating this thread to monitor the impending collapse of Venezuelan society and Hugo Chavez's power.

Beginning Friday, January 8th, Chavez simultaneously devalued his currency by half, and created a three-tiered currency system. When this exact same country tried that stunt in the 80s, it led to widespread corruption, food shortages, and inflation. So we see they've learned from their mistakes...

In addition to the currency devaluation, Chavez ordered stores to keep their prices at the same nominal value as before - effectively forcing every store and company to incur 100% of the damage of his devaluation. He sent military in the streets to crack down on any stores that attempted to raise prices, and set up phone lines where consumers could report any stores that raised prices. Stores and companies are now being seized and nationalized for attempting to stay in business.

A few days later, he enacted rolling blackouts throughout the country, for four hours per day, every other day. Likely due to personal inconvenience, he quickly repealed the blackouts in the nation's capital, Caracas.

Now, in the latest stunt aimed at combating inflation - Chavez has chosen to raise the minimum price for a person's services by 25% over the next few months. Yes, that's right, he's going to combat increasing prices by raising the price of the most important natural resource:

Mr Chavez said the minimum wage will increase by 10% in March and 15% in September to offset inflation, which is widely expected to surge following the devaluation.

Now obviously, stores and companies are expected to completely incur the blow of such a huge increase in the minimum wage. The inevitability will be more inflation, more nationalization of companies, increased unemployment, and decreased production.

It will be interesting to watch all of this unfold.

Edited by brian0918
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I love it. It's time for that nasty beast called reality to raise it's rational head... B)
I don't know what's to love about this. Or, I don't know what about this warrants a sarcastic response, even lightly sarcastic. It is both terribly sad and disgusting.
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This country is a prime example of socialism's failure.

Uh…what? Venezuela remains a bourgeois state, at the service of one bourgeois, not the working class. Hugo Chavez merely wears his red shirt to gain support from the working classes by exploiting some of the moral appeal of socialist ideas among the community, but his policies have been a complete support of the bourgeoisie, foreign investment, large state landowners, and so on, including his constitutional reform, made by him and friends, which was voted against by the Venezuelan left because it was only a maneuver to reaffirm the bourgeoisie as a tactic to gain more power. But Venezuela is not a socialist state, and Chavez is far from being a socialist, just as Stalin wasn’t, Mao, etc, at least in traditional socialism or, say, Marxist tradition, or left libertarian tradition, which are highly democratic. Venezuela is heading towards a very totalitarian social-reformist bureaucratic pro-bourgeoisie Government. I don’t see any control by the workers over production, communities, the institutions in which they work, etc. etc., I mean, what are you talking about?? If Lenin or Marx were to see what Hugo Chavez is doing, they would slap him in the face, even Stalin, who was a complete scum for socialism, would! I’m not defending Venezuela, Chavez or socialism, but people who love calling whatever sort of mixed or autocratic Government “socialism” without even analyzing if it follows the basic core minimum requirements of socialism need to think better before making this sort of claims, and abandon this little scapegoat once for all. Call it what you like, but I don’t see any prime example of socialism’s failure here.

Edited by 0096 2251 2110 8105
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If Lenin or Marx were to see what Hugo Chavez is doing, they would slap him in the face, even Stalin, who was a complete scum for socialism, would!
Well, Marx didn't get a chance to put his theories into practice. However, are you implying that either Lenin or Stalin actually went around consulting "workers" and implementing the true will of the working classes? They were both thugs who used their extremely strong will to power to rule. They were both expert at political machinations: at raising some to power, and killing them when they rose too far, keeping all on tenter hooks. Nevertheless, at any point in time, there was clearly a small minority running the country. Socialism is an ideology that sanctions statism; what you then see is statism, with a small minority taking control of the state. Go around the world to every country that speaks the language of socialism -- all sorts of countries in Africa and Asia and elsewhere -- everywhere, socialism is the ideology that allows the state to take control of various aspects of life. Once the state has such powers, it is too tempting to people with a dictatorial bent. Edited by softwareNerd
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I don't know what's to love about this. Or, I don't know what about this warrants a sarcastic response, even lightly sarcastic. It is both terribly sad and disgusting.

What is sad about the triumph of reality over ignorance?

The people of Venezuela elected this thug, they elected him on his promises to steal from the productive and give to the unproductive. They praised him for tuning their need into a compulsion and mortgage on the productive effort of others. Their majority spoke loud and clear and they got exactly the democracy they deserved. The rest should have left or should be expecting the worse yet to come.

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I don’t see any control by the workers over production

That sounds like Marxism. Socialism has many definitions. Ie:

Dictionary.reference.com says

An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity. There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise. All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists.

but his policies have been a complete support of the bourgeoisie, foreign investment, large state landowners, and so on, including his constitutional reform

This doesn't seem contradictory to socialism at all, really. In fact, everything you mentioned in this quote is an example of mixed capitalism, which is what you mentioned before. Mixed capitalism is defined as a combination of capitalism and socialism.

And Stalin? Slapping Hugo Chavez? For what? Why would Stalin be mad at Hugo Chavez, for any reason other than perhaps rivalry of dictatorship?

Edited by Black Wolf
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Well, Marx didn't get a chance to put his theories into practice. However, are you implying that either Lenin or Stalin actually went around consulting "workers" and implementing the true will of the working classes? They were both thugs who used their extremely strong will to power to rule. They were both expert at political machinations: at raising some to power, and killing them when they rose too far, keeping all on tenter hooks. Nevertheless, at any point in time, there was clearly a small minority running the country. Socialism is an ideology that sanctions statism; what you then see is statism, with a small minority taking control of the state. Go around the world to every country that speaks the language of socialism -- all sorts of countries in Africa and Asia and elsewhere -- everywhere, socialism is the ideology that allows the state to take control of various aspects of life. Once the state has such powers, it is too tempting to people with a dictatorial bent.

That sounds like Marxism. Socialism has many definitions. Ie:

Dictionary.reference.com says

An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity. There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise. All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists.

This doesn't seem contradictory to socialism at all, really. In fact, everything you mentioned in this quote is an example of mixed capitalism, which is what you mentioned before. Mixed capitalism is defined as a combination of capitalism and socialism.

And Stalin? Slapping Hugo Chavez? For what? Why would Stalin be mad at Hugo Chavez, for any reason other than perhaps rivalry of dictatorship?

Ok, I’m not wasting much time on this, it’s all very well documented in modern historical literature and the sources are available to anyone who is truly interested in this topic. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. When I say Lenin, I’m talking about prior to 1917 Lenin, before taking power, destroying organs of workers control, the soviets, factory councils, etc. etc. this clearly has nothing to do with socialism, it’s the exact opposite, he was merely being opportunistic, in fact, he didn’t even believe that it was possible to have socialism in the Soviet Union. Now, when I say Stalin, well, he was obviously not a socialist, we don’t ever bother to talk about it, at least I’m not gonna, but what I was trying to point out is that he was, in my view, superior to Chavez in his methods and closer to socialism in his ideology. You know, everyone can have their say. I didn’t think it would be necessary to go deep into this. Yes, well, what I said is approximately what you (softwareNerd) said, I don’t think it’s much related to my answer, but sure I would agree with the last part of your post. Now, Black Wolf, *sigh* I’m not going there, seriously... You’ll have to do your own homework. I think I was clear enough when I said “traditional socialism or, say, Marxist tradition, or left libertarian tradition”, but if you think that “feudal socialism”, “German socialism”, “petty-bourgeois socialism”, “conservative socialism”, "stalinism", "social democracy", "nazism", "libertarian socialism", etc. etc. are all “socialism”, and "socialism" means absolutely all of them because you found this internet dictionary two-line definition, then “anarcho-capitalism”, “corporate capitalism”, “crony capitalism”, “state capitalism”, “finance capitalism”, “technocapitalism”, “state monopoly capitalism”, etc. etc. are all capitalism, including the Soviet Union! There. “Some socialist tolerate capitalism”? And you even stressed this?? What would you call a “capitalist that tolerates socialism”? A capitalist? And, excuse me?? Bourgeois class in a socialist system? And you think that “this doesn't seem contradictory to socialism at all”?? Ok, that’s enough, I should stop here. And I know what “mixed capitalism” is, which BTW is a very very loose generality, I just don’t see why you would even raise this completely unnecessary point.

Edited by 0096 2251 2110 8105
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What is sad about the triumph of reality over ignorance?

The people of Venezuela elected this thug, they elected him on his promises to steal from the productive and give to the unproductive. They praised him for tuning their need into a compulsion and mortgage on the productive effort of others. Their majority spoke loud and clear and they got exactly the democracy they deserved. The rest should have left or should be expecting the worse yet to come.

It's not just the "triumph" of reality over ignorance, it's an entire developed nation systematically destroying itself. Imagine yourself as a citizen of that country right now. What are you to make of everything? How are you to get out if you did understand what is going on? What would your life be like after you left? If you stayed until the collapse, what would your life be like then?

Sure, Venezuela will be another notch in the history books against socialism and dictatorship, but I can't call it a triumph. Nobody wins.

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Chavez thinks he can defy the laws of economics. Apparently people don't seem to follow his scheme after the devaluation of the bolivar. If you "speculate" and raise prices, your business will be confiscated by and re-distributed to the "people".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8464960.stm

Every Venezuelan who's stood in opposition to Chavez and his insane reforms have my sympathies; the rest however deserve to face the reality they have now inflicted on themselves.

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Every Venezuelan who's stood in opposition to Chavez and his insane reforms have my sympathies; the rest however deserve to face the reality they have now inflicted on themselves.

Clearly he continues to enjoy a large base of support in Venezuela. Unfortunately conditions usually have to get pretty bad before the moochers and the parasites decide that they can't take any more.

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Sure, Venezuela will be another notch in the history books against socialism and dictatorship, but I can't call it a triumph. Nobody wins.

I'm not so sure. History shows us that the vast majority of the people living in nations that manage to crawl out from under socialism or despotism or any of a host of thugism's end up much better off than they were. Is it easy? Hell no but all you have to do is look at the people in the nations of Eastern Europe to see that even as socialistic as some of those nations are today they are far better off than they were under Communism.

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  • 1 month later...
Uh…what? Venezuela remains a bourgeois state, at the service of one bourgeois, not the working class. Hugo Chavez merely wears his red shirt to gain support from the working classes by exploiting some of the moral appeal of socialist ideas among the community, but his policies have been a complete support of the bourgeoisie, foreign investment, large state landowners, and so on, including his constitutional reform, made by him and friends, which was voted against by the Venezuelan left because it was only a maneuver to reaffirm the bourgeoisie as a tactic to gain more power. But Venezuela is not a socialist state, and Chavez is far from being a socialist, just as Stalin wasn’t, Mao, etc, at least in traditional socialism or, say, Marxist tradition, or left libertarian tradition, which are highly democratic. Venezuela is heading towards a very totalitarian social-reformist bureaucratic pro-bourgeoisie Government. I don’t see any control by the workers over production, communities, the institutions in which they work, etc. etc., I mean, what are you talking about?? If Lenin or Marx were to see what Hugo Chavez is doing, they would slap him in the face, even Stalin, who was a complete scum for socialism, would! I’m not defending Venezuela, Chavez or socialism, but people who love calling whatever sort of mixed or autocratic Government “socialism” without even analyzing if it follows the basic core minimum requirements of socialism need to think better before making this sort of claims, and abandon this little scapegoat once for all. Call it what you like, but I don’t see any prime example of socialism’s failure here.

And at what point do you not get that 'democratic socialism' is completely contradictory? You can't vote what everyone's values will be, and vote yourself the product of their labors. If people disagreed on things like who does what, or who gets what, then how does a vote solve that? Because it means that you know ahead of time what crimes you'll be punished for? Oh, but it's democratic, so there's no punishment. It's a voluntary arrangement? You volutarily associate with the commune, and you all lovingly vote for what's best then are committed to the result? If you don't like it, you can 'opt out' of the commune. Oh wait, isn't that market capitalism? Idiot.

Marxism leads to violence because it's all about compulsion and sacrifice. Sacrificing others. Even Marx understood that. I hate this post-modern neo-Marxist bs. Lenin was a monster, but a good Marxist. I do not apologize for my tone. You have to understand that your very ignorance, in the context of your attempt to evade a great and obvious evil, is a direct and violent threat against me.

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I still think the worst mistake George W. Bush ever made was not backing the coup that, all too briefly, ousted Chavez earlier this decade.

You could be right, but I think non-involvement is always better. By back do you mean 'acknowledge diplomatically' or 'support financially/militarily'. The first I think would have been okay to maybe not so okay - unlike the example of Honduras, I'm not sure the coup against Chavez was all that proper in the context of their government. The second would be very inappropriate.

My understanding is that about half (%30-40) of Venezuelans are against Chavez, but the greater plurality of the uneducated poor like his populism and handouts. Let them resolve their own crisis.

I'm all for letting them emigrate here should things get really bad and they choose that as their last resort.

Chavez hasn't been appointed dictator for life yet, has he? Didn't he fail that election? Isn't he presently term-limited? As for the society, if we do see the train wreck then maybe the populism will lose its appeal? At that point their society will get better, so it is a triumph.

Chavez is more annoying to American than anything. Let him be marginalized, let Venezuela do its thing.

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