26 August – 26 October 2018
The academic world is the natural habitat of half-baked ideas … You might think that the collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe would be considered a decisive failure for Marxism, but academic Marxists in America are utterly undaunted. Their paycheques and their tenure are unaffected. Their theories continue to flourish in the classrooms and their journals continue to litter the library shelves. Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
The Survival of the Left
Forbes (8 September 1997)
Nobel Prize winning economist and former vice-president of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, praised Venezuela’s economic growth and “positive policies in health and education” during a visit to Caracas on Wednesday. “Venezuela’s economic growth has been very impressive in the last few years,” Stiglitz said … “President Hugo Chávez appears to have had success in bringing health and education in the poor neighborhoods of Caracas …”
Joseph Stiglitz, in Caracas, Praises Venezuela’s Economic Policies
Venezuelaanalysis.com (11 October 2007)
By morning, three newborns were already dead. The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout of power swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward. Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns were dead … The economic crisis in this country has exploded into a … health emergency, claiming the lives of untold numbers of Venezuelans. “This is criminal that we can sit in a country with this much oil, and people are dying for lack of antibiotics,” said Oneida Guaipe, a lawmaker and former hospital union leader. But [President Nicolás] Maduro, who succeeded Hugo Chávez, … [said] “I doubt that anywhere in the world, except in Cuba, there exists a better health system than this one.”
Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals
The New York Times (15 May 2016)
… Educated liberal opinion is today more or less unanimous in its agreement that Marx’s basic thesis – that capitalism is driven by a deeply divisive class struggle in which the ruling-class minority appropriates the surplus labour of the working-class majority as profit – is correct … Liberal economists such as Nouriel Roubini agree that Marx’s conviction that capitalism has an inbuilt tendency to destroy itself remains as prescient as ever.
Jason Barker (Professor of Cultural Studies)
Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!
The New York Times (30 April 2018)
In Venezuela today, no independent government institutions remain to act as a check on executive power. The Venezuelan government—under Maduro and previously under Chávez—has stacked the courts with judges who make no pretence of independence. The government has been repressing dissent through often-violent crackdowns on street protests, jailing opponents, and prosecuting civilians in military courts. It has also stripped power from the opposition-led legislature. In May, Maduro convened a Constituent Assembly through a presidential decree, despite a constitutional requirement that a public referendum be held beforehand in order to rewrite the constitution. The assembly is made up exclusively of government supporters chosen through an election in July that Smartmatic, a British company hired by the government to verify the results, later alleged was fraudulent …
Human Rights Watch
Venezuela: Events of 2017
I just returned from observing my fourth election in Venezuela in less than a year … what I witnessed was an inspiring process that guarantees one person, one vote, and includes multiple auditing procedures to ensure a free and fair election … In addition, despite the real hardships in Venezuela — for which the U.S. is largely to blame — most of Venezuela’s poor are better off now than they were before the Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chávez and Nicolas Maduro. For example, over the past 7 years, the government has built 2 million units of housing for low-income Venezuelans. In a country of only some 30 million people, these units are now home to a large proportion of the Venezuelan population. The current government also has provided free health care and subsidized food …
Daniel Kovalik (University of Pittsburgh Law School)
The Real Venezuela Is Not What You Think
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (25 May 2018)
Word from Caracas is that locals have taken to scouring city streets for plastic garbage bags full of rubbish and, when they find them, emptying the contents so that they can resell the bags. This sounds absurd, but it is believable in a country where extreme poverty has spread like the plague. Human capital is fleeing. Oil production is plummeting, and the state-owned oil company is in default. The garbage bag, imported with dollars, is a thing of value. [The local currency is worthless; in mid-2018, Venezuela’s annualised rate of inflation exceeded 40,000%.]
If anything was more predictable than the mess created by Hugo Chávez’s Marxist Bolivarian Revolution, it is the pathetic effort by socialists to deny responsibility. The Socialist Party of Great Britain tweeted recently that Venezuela’s problem is that socialism has yet to be tried. It blamed the crisis on “a profit-driven capitalist economy under leftist state-control.” Even more preposterous is the claim by some academics that economic liberalism in the 1980s spawned the socialism that has destroyed the country. Learning from history is impossible if the narrative is wrong. So let’s clear the record: … Chávez … tripled down on socialism, exacerbating a long history of destroying capital that would lead to today’s disaster.
Mary Anastasia O’Grady
“Venezuela’s Long Road to Ruin”
The Wall Street Journal (10 June 2018)
There is a resurgence of socialism and socialist ideals within the modern Democratic Party. Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned the political world, in particular the rank-in-file Democrats, by defeating incumbent Joe Crowley in Tuesday’s New York primary. The Ocasio-Cortez win signalled the ever increasing leftward swing among national Democrats, a party undergoing a power struggle and identity crisis after Trump’s election victory in 2016 … [Ocasio-Cortez’s platform] mirrors [Bernie Sanders’] 2016 platform, calling for nationalized health care, universal jobs guarantee and getting America to 100 percent green energy. Many of Ocasio-Cortez’s ideas also mirror some of the policies of the socialist countries of Latin America.
As Socialist Support Soars In America,
the Price of a Cup of Venezuelan Coffee Reaches Historic Threshold
Zero Hedge (29 June 2018)
The Royal Commission Has Uncovered Much
But Will Change Little – and Might Make Things Worse
The mainstream seeks to strengthen managers’ control and weaken capitalists’ ownership; it also segregates shareholders and directors. Consequently, these days the typical major corporation resembles a staid passenger liner: the anointed luxuriate in first class and the benighted languish in steerage. When insiders run the ship aground (or strike an iceberg, etc.), they take reserved seats on comfortable lifeboats: outsiders, on the other hand, must take their chances and make their own way. In diametric contrast to the mainstream’s pathologies, and like Berkshire Hathaway, Leithner & Co. fuses ownership and control: the result is harmony. Mainstream corporate governance creates inherent and insoluble conflicts of interest; ours begets a natural confluence of interest. As one of our shareholders, you’re neither a client nor an employee – you’re a fellow-proprietor and business partner. The Company is, figuratively, a manoeuvrable yacht. Its shareholders own it: of these, Directors sail it and the others are voyagers. Thanks to Adam Smith, among others, over time it has steered a reasonably safe and steady course through occasionally rough seas.
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