Hugo Chavez, RIP

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RDP

"It's called a capital strike. It is the favourite action of oligarchies everywhere when faced with democratically elected left wing governments. They consider it short term pain for long term control."

Oligarchs everywhere, or people anywhere, do not like to create things only to have the creation taken away.  Imagine you grow a beautiful vegtable garden and the government comes and takes all the vegtables.  Would you plant again next year?

Or, you create a successful factory (invest a lot of time, money, and effort) and the government takes it away.  Would you create another one?  I think this is what you call a "capital strike".  

What if the government expropriated the fruits of your labour by taking 80% of your salary.  Would you not withdraw your services from the labour market?  Is this any different from a capital strike?

Geoff

RDP wrote:

"It's called a capital strike. It is the favourite action of oligarchies everywhere when faced with democratically elected left wing governments. They consider it short term pain for long term control."

Oligarchs everywhere, or people anywhere, do not like to create things only to have the creation taken away.  Imagine you grow a beautiful vegtable garden and the government comes and takes all the vegtables.  Would you plant again next year?

Or, you create a successful factory (invest a lot of time, money, and effort) and the government takes it away.  Would you create another one?  I think this is what you call a "capital strike".  

What if the government expropriated the fruits of your labour by taking 80% of your salary.  Would you not withdraw your services from the labour market?  Is this any different from a capital strike?

Oligarchs and "people" have conflicting interests and political agenda. In a nutshell, the oligarchs profit by exploiting the "people" (i.e. the workers). So, comparing a capital strike to a withdrawal of labour is a false analogy that whitewashes class conflict in the name of an illusory class consensus.

iyraste1313

(Saudi Arabia is doing just fine)...you've just got to be kidding...right...Saudi Arabia is burning through its reserve funds, built up over decades, cashing in its US treasuries, facing revolt and conflict amongst the royal families fighting over its depleting resources, while facing open revolt from its shiite population home of its fast depleting oil reserves......

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

RDP wrote:

"It's called a capital strike. It is the favourite action of oligarchies everywhere when faced with democratically elected left wing governments. They consider it short term pain for long term control."

Oligarchs everywhere, or people anywhere, do not like to create things only to have the creation taken away.  Imagine you grow a beautiful vegtable garden and the government comes and takes all the vegtables.  Would you plant again next year?

Or, you create a successful factory (invest a lot of time, money, and effort) and the government takes it away.  Would you create another one?  I think this is what you call a "capital strike".  

What if the government expropriated the fruits of your labour by taking 80% of your salary.  Would you not withdraw your services from the labour market?  Is this any different from a capital strike?

Imagine if you worked all day and you were paid less than it costs to house and feed your family. That is an actual reality in our world not your stupid examples that are pure bullshit fantasy.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

RDP wrote:

"It's called a capital strike. It is the favourite action of oligarchies everywhere when faced with democratically elected left wing governments. They consider it short term pain for long term control."

Oligarchs everywhere, or people anywhere, do not like to create things only to have the creation taken away.  Imagine you grow a beautiful vegtable garden and the government comes and takes all the vegtables.  Would you plant again next year?

Or, you create a successful factory (invest a lot of time, money, and effort) and the government takes it away.  Would you create another one?  I think this is what you call a "capital strike".  

What if the government expropriated the fruits of your labour by taking 80% of your salary.  Would you not withdraw your services from the labour market?  Is this any different from a capital strike?

Imagine if you worked all day and you were paid less than it costs to house and feed your family. That is an actual reality in our world not your stupid examples that are pure bullshit fantasy.

Very well put, K.

RDP

"Imagine if you worked all day and you were paid less than it costs to house and feed your family. That is an actual reality in our world not your stupid examples that are pure bullshit fantasy."

Do you think that those you purport to care about are better off or worse off under a devastated economy and soaring inflation?  This is an actual reality.  Typically, the poor don't fare so well in these conditions (The understatement is irony.)  It isn't the well connected who will end up in the mass graves.

 

Saudi Arabia is doing swimmingly well compared to Venezuela.

RDP

"Oligarchs and "people" have conflicting interests and political agenda. In a nutshell, the oligarchs profit by exploiting the "people" (i.e. the workers). So, comparing a capital strike to a withdrawal of labour is a false analogy that whitewashes class conflict in the name of an illusory class consensus."

In your view is there such a thing as an employee who isn't exploited?

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

RDP wrote:

In your view is there such a thing as an employee who isn't exploited?

You didn't ask me, but I'll answer anyway. No, no, a thousand times no. Employer/employee is an inherently exploitative relationship, even though some employers, like some slave owners, can be kind and generous. Chomsky explains it quite well in this short clip.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Imagine if you worked all day and you were paid less than it costs to house and feed your family.

Well, that's a growing problem for Venezuelans too.  Not necessarily because of a stingy corporate paymaster, but more likely because of a general shortage of staples, and galloping inflation.

Anyway, I'll chance being a pariah across the board and just say:

1.  I don't think "socialism" is the primary cause of Venezuela's problems

2.  I don't think "Chavismo" is the best solution for Venezuela's problems

Privatizing Venezuela isn't the answer, but neither is blaming everything on the Yanqui Bogeyman.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Your post Magoo is no real problem other than the problems inherent from sitting on a picket fence. I wish that one could point to a magic bullet to fix the global economy but there is no one size fits all solution. I personally believe that Venezuelan poor people have benefited from the year of the Bolivarian revolution and with the oil price collapse the poor would be suffering under a right wing government at least as much. 

iyraste1313

Saudi Arabia is doing swimmingly well compared to Venezuela.....

Venezuela is harbinger of the future...for all of us!! As the commodities and fossils crash...check out Newfoundland...Alberta...wait for our logging in BC to crash.....then their corporate managements, their banks and financial institutions including their ponzi scams in the markets

  I don't think "Chavismo" is the best solution for Venezuela's problems.......

The problem with Chavismo, is symptom of problems of the left generally, which haven't a clue how the system works...thinking social problems, better distribution of the wealth are solutions....Chavismo dedicated all its surplus in social services, housing etc....

instead of building socialist and community economy and technology to replace the poison of globalization.....

That's what now must be done here, everywhere!...Or we will sink along with the corporate structures and their governments!

The fact that no one in these threads is feverishly discussing this, is proof of my claim re the left! 

RDP

"You didn't ask me, but I'll answer anyway. No, no, a thousand times no. Employer/employee is an inherently exploitative relationship, even though some employers, like some slave owners, can be kind and generous. Chomsky explains it quite well in this short clip."

How about CEOs of large corporations (CEOs in many cases are not the owner but are an employee of the owners - think of the Royal Bank for instance), how about senior management, how about middle management, how about sales people making large salaries?  I could go on.  Are these employees exploited.

If the employee feels exploited are they not free to seek an employer who treats them fairly?  Do employers benefit when good staff leave?  

When a bad employee gets fired is it not a natural reaction to believe they were exploited?  Maybe those who believe that employees are exploited are bad employees.

ygtbk

Michael Moriarity wrote:

RDP wrote:

In your view is there such a thing as an employee who isn't exploited?

You didn't ask me, but I'll answer anyway. No, no, a thousand times no. Employer/employee is an inherently exploitative relationship, even though some employers, like some slave owners, can be kind and generous. Chomsky explains it quite well in this short clip.

I kind of liked the clip. Chomsky is intelligent and articulate, which makes it pleasant to listen to. I would add a few points that I think follow from Chomsky's presentation, although he doesn't make them:

1) If you're self-employed then you have control of your work and so you are not exploited (or at least not as much - he also seems to be saying that working for wages makes you exploited, and yet he acknowledges that being an MIT professor is a pretty good gig). This doesn't fit with the current view that self-employment = precarity.

2) If "working on command" makes you a slave, then it would seem that government can be just as exploitative as an employer - there's a lot of things that the government can force you to do. On the surface this seems to imply a libertarian/anarchist view (which is my understanding of Chomsky's politics, although I think he would say left libertarian). But he seems to also think that democracy solves this problem somehow, which I don't think is correct.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Your post Magoo is no real problem other than the problems inherent from sitting on a picket fence.

You figure I"m sitting on the fence??

I'm just suggesting that while naked capitalism isn't the answer, neither is the silly "quislings and traitors" theatre that Maduro continues to throw at the problem(s).

Quote:
I wish that one could point to a magic bullet to fix the global economy but there is no one size fits all solution.

The global economy certainly isn't helping Venezuela right now, any more than the drought is, but as noted above, lots of other countries rely heavily on oil exports, and they don't seem to be nosediving the same way Venezuela is.  They're also not dumping billions in new banknotes, selling gasoline for (literally) pennies, or imposing price controls on goods that barely even exist anymore.  And some of them seem to have set aside a little revenue for a rainy day.   Could that be part of it?

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

We disagree on the role of the American imperial regime around the globe. I believe any government that does not toe the Washington line is in danger of having its government undermined at minimum and more likely there is a distinct possibility of having a coup instigated or a having dissidents armed to start a civil  war. In Venezuela they have already seen a coup attempt against Chavez so like the old adage goes, just because your paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you.

I think that the opposition in Venezuela is not interested in the public good only the oligarchy that it represents. I  think that the socialist government has made many mistakes but those are being exasperated by a concerted capital strike and a campaign of media vilification. 

RDP

"I  think that the socialist government has made many mistakes but those are being exasperated by a concerted capital strike and a campaign of media vilification."  And starvation, deprivation and murder. 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

ygtbk wrote:

Michael Moriarity wrote:

RDP wrote:

In your view is there such a thing as an employee who isn't exploited?

You didn't ask me, but I'll answer anyway. No, no, a thousand times no. Employer/employee is an inherently exploitative relationship, even though some employers, like some slave owners, can be kind and generous. Chomsky explains it quite well in this short clip.

I kind of liked the clip. Chomsky is intelligent and articulate, which makes it pleasant to listen to. I would add a few points that I think follow from Chomsky's presentation, although he doesn't make them:

1) If you're self-employed then you have control of your work and so you are not exploited (or at least not as much - he also seems to be saying that working for wages makes you exploited, and yet he acknowledges that being an MIT professor is a pretty good gig). This doesn't fit with the current view that self-employment = precarity.

2) If "working on command" makes you a slave, then it would seem that government can be just as exploitative as an employer - there's a lot of things that the government can force you to do. On the surface this seems to imply a libertarian/anarchist view (which is my understanding of Chomsky's politics, although I think he would say left libertarian). But he seems to also think that democracy solves this problem somehow, which I don't think is correct.

Interesting comments, and I generally agree. Point 1 is particularly insightful in my opinion. Self employment was once the norm for all skilled workers. It is now reserved for the elite consultants to the Fortune 500 (very few), and the rejects from the skilled employment world (very many).

Regarding point 2, I think when Chomsky talks about democracy, he often means the sort of direct democracy implied by anarcho-syndicalism. He certainly does not think that what is called democracy in the U.S. today can solve most problems.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
We disagree on the role of the American imperial regime around the globe.

And most certainly on their "role" in the current Venezuelan situation.

Too much is just too obvious.

Is there rampant inflation because the government insists in printing more and more banknotes to cover their debts?  Or because Washington?

Is there a smuggling problem because the government prices gas at only a few percent of market price, and borders are porous?  Or because Washington?

Are secondary producers unable to obtain materials and equipment because of the government's bizarre, two-tier control over foreign currency?  Or because Washington?

Quote:
I think that the opposition in Venezuela is not interested in the public good only the oligarchy that it represents. I  think that the socialist government has made many mistakes but those are being exasperated by a concerted capital strike and a campaign of media vilification.

Perhaps they're not.  But I think the government's -- Maduro's government's -- biggest mistake right now is continuing to believe that they're the government in charge.  So Maduro keeps asking for more "emergency" powers of decree to fix the problems, but then all he does is blame MUD or the U.S. or shadowy and anonymous traitors for those problems, and maybe threaten a few producers with expropriation if they don't get off their asses and start making beer with the barley they don't have because Maduro won't sell them the hard currency necessary to import it.

I could probably even bless those emergency powers if he was actually using them to fix Venezuela's real problems, but I think that to him, Venezuelan Problem #1 is that MUD won the last election, and Problem #2 is they want to force a recall vote on his Presidency.

 

RDP

Another sunny day in Venezuela:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/49be3c89fe3d4ef990a944c323dffaab/mob-burn...

Rumour has it that the mob was supported by the imperialistic US government and the oligarchs although none could be found on scene.

 

RDP

Yet another failed socialist state.  Please explain how you (all socialists invited) would create a successful socialist society.

Unionist

RDP wrote:

Yet another failed socialist state.  Please explain how you (all socialists invited) would create a successful socialist society.

I would start by confiscating all wealth from hard-working taxpayers like you, distributing it among the Party faithful, and take it from there. Baby steps.

RDP

That is the Venezuelan model.  Doesn't seem to be working too well.

RDP

Within every leftist a totalitarian resides.

Unionist

RDP wrote:

That is the Venezuelan model.  Doesn't seem to be working too well.

Are you kidding? It's working so well that you can't stop posting about it! Even in a thread that politely asks you to let Hugo Chavez rest in peace.

Now you're scared of being murdered in the streets of Caracas because someone might think you look like a thief. Great story! That's exactly what we socialists want - to instil TERROR.

Quote:
Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution.

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Unionist wrote:

RDP wrote:

Yet another failed socialist state.  Please explain how you (all socialists invited) would create a successful socialist society.

I would start by confiscating all wealth from hard-working taxpayers like you, distributing it among the Party faithful, and take it from there. Baby steps.

NDPP

Washington's Coup-Making Strategy From Brazil to Venezuela

http://www.voltairenet.org/article192033.html

"...To carry out its coup-creating strategy, Washington today is eyeing Brazil to undermine BRICS and Venezuela to undermine the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. To destabilize Venezuela - the South Command indicates in a document that has been divulged, that it has to cause 'a scene that allows combining action on the street with a measured commitment of armed violence..."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
That is the Venezuelan model.  Doesn't seem to be working too well.

Are you sure that's "the Venezuelan model"?

Seems to me that most of the government's largesse was underwritten by heyday oil revenues, not unjust taxation.

RDP

Expropriation is the ultimate tax.  Expropriation takes away the asset, not just the income produced by the asset.  

ygtbk

Unionist wrote:

RDP wrote:

Yet another failed socialist state.  Please explain how you (all socialists invited) would create a successful socialist society.

I would start by confiscating all wealth from hard-working taxpayers like you, distributing it among the Party faithful, and take it from there. Baby steps.

I think the appropriate joke here is:

Those who learn from history are condemned to look on in horror at the actions of those who learn nothing from history.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Expropriation is the ultimate tax.  Expropriation takes away the asset, not just the income produced by the asset. 

Ideally, it's compensated at market value.  If not then I don't disagree with you, except to say that I don't really think that Venezuela's current problems are primarily due to expropriation.

Personally, I think that governments should consider expropriation as a last resort, and only when they're confident that they can maintain (or increase) productivity.  But that's just my $0.02 worth.

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Personally, I think that governments should consider expropriation as a last resort.

I don't see it as a "last resort" thing. The question of whether a government should expropriate should be based on whether something is properly a public service.

If it was just that the whole economy was falling apart, or even if it was a case of sabotage, the best this is is a stopgap measure.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The question of whether a government should expropriate should be based on whether something is properly a public service.

That seems reasonable.

But what about when the owner of a company won't "hop to" when the government says?  What if they stop making beer on the flimsy pretense that making beer requires barley, or stubbornly refuse to sell goods at below cost?  What's a government to do with those traitors?

6079_Smith_W

Well seeing as it is a government that only works two days a week because they can't keep the lights on, there is a limit to how many of these pokey businesses they can just take over . Sometime before they run the entire economy they are going to stretch themselves too thin.

If it was something deemed essential (and food could be) they could levy fines, or even step in and appoint a temporary manager. But expropriation under these cirucmstances seems not quite thought through. Or more for show.

Though one would think those hospitals would be a bit higher priority than a beer factory.

 

RDP

Small business is the engine of all economies.  Some small businesses turn into large business.  If the government has a strategy of expropriating some large businesses, do you think this would encourage or discourage small business creation?  Small business creators are already assuming enormous risk.  An expropriation strategy pursued by government is one more, rather large, risk factor added to the equation of small business creation.  Plus, as evidenced by the inefficiency of the now state owned Venezuelan oil company, who know better how to run the business; the creator or a government bureaucrat?  

RDP
6079_Smith_W

"The creator"? What, they made the oil?

If public ownership is so bad, why is it that the cheapest phone rates in Canada are in the one province which still has a public utility, and in the one next door where a formerly public, now private phone company has a special deal so they don't have to pay their fair share of tax? Seems a small business person is smart enough to jump on board that opportunity:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/wireless-black-market-offers-cheap-pla...

The disaster in Venezuela is not because of any inherent difference between public and private ownership. It is a combination of a government which happens to be corrupt and has no idea what it is doing, and international business and government interests who have been doing whatever they can to sabotage the situation there and get their hands on one of the world's largest deposits of oil.

So please stop trying to sling that nonsense. Right now we are watching our ideological government trying to carve up the well-running public companies that our tax dollars built and sell them on the cheap. Think I am wrong? Compare the cost of registering a car (if you can) on the east coast to what it costs here in Saskatchewan and tell me how great private enterprise is. Great for ripping of the consumers and cherrypicking for profit, but that is about it.

And the economic and ideological war going on down there doesn't change that wider reality, even though it is the new poster child for bad socialism.

 

 

 

RDP

Please point to the poster child for good socialism.

6079_Smith_W

Standing right next to the poster child for good capitalism. As ideological nonsense goes, both are equally tiring.

Can we get back to talking about Venezuela?

 

RDP

http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKCN0YO2M9?pageNumber=1&virtual...

Chants of "we want equality" have been replaced with chants of "we want food & water".   One can live without equality...tough without food & water.

No worries...government officials promise things will improve.  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, I would agree there's probably more they could do with regard to food.

I'm not sure about water, though.  Capitalism isn't doing much better with the drought in California.

FWIW, I think the big question in Venezuela right now is whether or not the Supreme Court will give the go-ahead to a recall referendum this year, or whether they'll intentionally drag their feet at the behest of the government.  The opposition seems to think that if they don't, that will be the match that sets off the powderkeg, and they may not be wrong.

RDP

https://www.yahoo.com/news/deaths-arrests-looting-erupts-venezuela-11090...

 

Gov't officials were wrong.  Things are not improving.  Why does socialism never work?

ygtbk

Totally not scary to fingerprint people wanting to recall Maduro. And yet they are willing to take the risk.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/venezuelans-fingerprinted-bid-drive-president-162712415.html?ref=gs

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, they need to know who's a patriot and who's a traitor for the purposes of food distribution.

Quote:

Venezuela is putting neighborhood committees linked to the ruling Socialist Party in charge of distributing basic foods amid increasingly violent unrest over chronic shortages that have battered the socialist government's popularity.

...

But the country's opposition is slamming the plan as a discriminatory rationing system that will worsen hunger and could give Socialist Party sympathizers the power to withhold food from government critics.

RDP

For a laugh, go back to page 1 and read the posts.  Any lessons learned here?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, gird your loins, because Fidel Castro isn't getting any younger, and when he dies lots of folks are going to say nice, respectful things about him.  Not ecause he was perfect, or Cuba is perfect, or socialism is perfect, but he did some big stuff.  So did Chavez, really.  And some terrible stuff too, but there you go.  If Tom Mulcair can eulogize Thatcher, then surely Chavez can't be off limits.

RDP

I don't mind the eulogies.   Nothing wrong with respecting the deadThe false belief that Socialism can provide is what bothers me.  The false belief that Socialism even comes close to providing human happiness when compared to capitalism under a true democracy is what bothers me.  Venezuela is yet another failed socialist state and this is a failed state sitting on a mountain wealth.  Time after time we get these examples yet few learn.  Even the US has likely lurched left for good.

Chavez had the good fortune of starting the revolution.  Things can seem pretty good at the beginning.  But ultimately taking from the talented and hard working leads to bad things.  The talented and hard working stop working when you take what they produce.  Then you are left relying on untalented and not so hard working to run the economy.

I've got news for Socialists.  Every economic system is "trickle down".  At least under capitalism, something trickles down.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

Capitalism is trickle up to the corporate balance sheet and trickle out to the tax haven. The only things which 'trickle down' come from the government, (welfare, health care, etc.) which capitalism refuses to pay for. 

ygtbk
Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The false belief that Socialism even comes close to providing human happiness when compared to capitalism under a true democracy is what bothers me.

I agree with you in at least some small measure.  By the time any socialist state gets to where everyone must call each other comrade, and portraits of the (likely dead) Dear Leader cover every wall, that state is probably not doing so well, by any indicator we want to use.

But at the same time, when we look at countries that ARE doing well, it's hard not to notice a bunch of socialism mixed in with the capitalism.  So I don't think it's that "socialism cannot work" so much as "K00ky socialism cannot work".

It's a mistake of induction to apply the outcomes of a very specific, idiosyncratic policy like Chavismo to the much more general, non-specific case of "socialism".  It's like saying that all vegan food tastes terrible because you ate a vegan meal once and didn't like it.

Quote:
Chavez had the good fortune of starting the revolution.  Things can seem pretty good at the beginning.  But ultimately taking from the talented and hard working leads to bad things.  The talented and hard working stop working when you take what they produce.  Then you are left relying on untalented and not so hard working to run the economy.

Except that Venezuela didn't finance their revolution by way of a 99% tax on the rich, they financed it with oil, back when that was possible.  Was it their tragic mistake to nationalize oil?  Didn't seem to work out so badly for Norway -- their Sovereign Oil Fund is the world's largest jar of pennies set aside for a rainy day.  Personally I'd argue that the problem for Venezuela isn't that they took over the oil, it's that they spent the money like sailors on leave, and now they don't have any.  Not because they've run out of oligarchs to "steal from" but because oil,  and theirs in particular, isn't as lucrative as it used to be.

Quote:
Venezuela is not doing well. Recalling Maduro would be a baby step, but probably a necessary one.

An actual recall (i.e. to choose a new President) would at least give the electorate an opportunity to make a choice.  If Maduro and his Supreme Court manage to drag their heels for another six months then I'm not sure how replacing Maduro with whoever Maduro hand-picks to be replaced by is going to comfort the voters any.

RDP

"Capitalism is trickle up to the corporate balance sheet and trickle out to the tax haven. The only things which 'trickle down' come from the government, (welfare, health care, etc.) which capitalism refuses to pay for. "

 

Up to the corporate balance sheet out to the employees as wages, out to shareholders as dividends, out to other companies for purchasing supplies and equipment, into the bank as savings that the bank lends out to other budding entrepreneurs that hire employees...This is how an economy grows. 

The employee only has power when the economy is booming and employers are begging people to work for them.

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