The Venezuela socialism death spiral thread


#181

It’s either gross stupidity on a massive scale, or hacked electronic voting machines.


#182

Communism in Russia was doing fine, until they run out of pre-communist era money. In china they had to change the economic system to avoid the same fate. Cuba is a great place to live if you’re a tourist or your family name is Castro. Zimbabwe wasn’t too bad while they had money from those “evil invaders”, then it became shit. South Africa might join the club in the not too far future.

It’s a great system if you have some pre existing wealth to waste in order to gain power!


#183

I’ve thought a great deal about the logical conclusions and I’m trying to discuss them with you. If you’d rather just toss out false equivalences (eg., race vs. poverty) and a general misrepresentation of what I’ve said (eg., poor people should be put in concentration camps and denied education) I don’t see the debate going anywhere.

In my world, yes it does. I explained it in one sentence: a poor person is someone who behaves in such a way that he will inevitably have no money, ever, and will be miserable and resentful about it.

In the world of academics, it’s horribly complicated. People make entire careers out of defining poverty. So what do YOU reckon it means? Don’t say it means “having no money”: if that definition worked, a lot of earnest beardie types would be out of a job.

For those without all the time in the world, I’ll try to boil this down to bullet points:

  • If you are hardworking, ambitious, honest, have sensible goals and aspirations, and treat other people with a basic level of respect and kindness, you will not be chronically poor. Even if you lack money due to external factors, the situation is likely to be temporary: you will find some resolution, simply because that’s the sort of person you are.
  • If you cheat, lie, steal, have no regard for yourself or others, endlessly blame your problems on anybody or anything except yourself, and have no interest in becoming more than you are today, you’ll be poor forever.
  • In between those two extremes are a whole bunch of variations.
  • If you decide to be poor, the chances are that your choices will have a negative effect on others, including those who don’t want to be like you. People who are hardworking, ambitious, etc., will find it much harder to remain so, because your behaviour thwarts the potentially positive outcomes of their behaviour.

TL;DR: the cause of poverty (or the persistence of poverty) is poor people, as I think I’ve said before. A certain critical mass of poor people (as per my definition above) can set up a cascade of more poverty. It’s like Thermal runaway.

If you don’t like discussing my views, let’s discuss yours. Do you think you are poor? If not, what factors caused you to be not-poor? Please don’t just say it’s because you weren’t born in Venezuela.

Let’s put this another way: would YOU have voted for Hugo Chávez? If not, why not?


#184

This is starting to look like Peterson vs. Newman. I’m sure you know which role you’re playing. :grin:


#185

Great. The problem for me is, trying to explain why I find your ideas silly is like trying to explain why I find Victorian ideas in general silly – there isn’t enough time, and I tend to think the reasons should be blindingly obvious by now, at least to intelligent people like you. Thanks for reminding me that more elucidation is still needed.

There are many reasons why the 19th century didn’t survive, and the fact that the earth stubbornly kept revolving around the sun is only one of them.

From earlier in this thread:

What you DO with the perps is a whole different question, since in countries like Venezuela, they’re probably about 10-20% of the population instead of a manageable 2-3%. You’d have to literally build a country within a country where the incorrigibly criminal could go and live out their preferred lifestyle choices of bashing each other over the head and stealing from each other, until such time as they get bored with it all, or die.

It’s not a concentration camp. They just aren’t allowed to leave. A minor detail! :rainbow:

I don’t have time to dig up your education reform plan right now, but it’s basically abolish state schools and let philanthropists decide which children are worthy of scholarships. Yes, I call that denying education.


Re “poor”:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/poor

Show me a dictionary that says incorrigible for number 1, and I can probably show you a rather ancient publication date. :face_with_monocle:

…then you are probably religious.

Do you think you are poor? If not, what factors caused you to be not-poor? Please don’t just say it’s because you weren’t born in Venezuela.

My planet’s history is complicated. Let’s just leave it at that.

Let’s put this another way: would YOU have voted for Hugo Chávez? If not, why not?

As I said, I don’t have a solution for Venezuela – I’m just pointing out the flaws in other people’s solutions. If you’re looking for a Chavista, I can’t help you.

Incidentally, did you notice @tempogain just admitted he would vote for his sworn enemy the Donald, if the alternative were @rowland? I’m not going to start calling him a Covfefist because of that. Most people “have a price”, so to speak. I bet there are even scenarios in which you would vote for Jerry C, I would vote for a Rowland-Jotham ticket (if I were American), and @Dr_Milker would vote for Hillary! :scream: Wait, no, actually I think he would kill himself first. :cry: But most people would choose self-preservation.


#186

The reason, as far as I can tell, is that you simply attach some convenient label to ideas you don’t like (‘Victorian’, ‘racist’) etc., so they can be dismissed out-of-hand, rather than being considered on their own merits. The Victorians might have had some silly ideas, but they also had some very good ones. They invented an empire-wide logistics system, for example, that was in many ways more efficient than the one we have today. The empire itself, of course, wasn’t one of their smarter ideas: purely from a practical point of view, it required more upkeep than it delivered in benefits.

Sure they’re allowed to leave, as long as they don’t leave with the intent of robbing and killing other people. Neither was I suggesting a concentration camp. It would be pretty much like any other settlement, except that the inmates - sorry, residents - would have a rather larger police presence to settle their endless petty bickering and blood feuds. Far from being denied education, there would be a lot of it available (for a modest price), teaching useful skills like house-building, farming and food preparation, and how to interact with other people without wondering how to rob them.

If you assume that education is something that rains from the sky in abundance, and is absorbed by osmosis with no effort required from the person being rained on, with no prospect of the Scarcity of the Commons raising its head, then I suppose you would.

Back in the real world, where valuable things are finite and inherently hard to obtain, the phrase “pearls before swine” springs to mind. I was merely suggesting that those who genuinely want education will make some modest effort to get it, whereas those who do not … won’t, and there’s little point forcing them to do something they’re resolutely against and that cannot benefit them.

If you’re not interested in putting forth YOUR ideas and are only here to ridicule others … well, you’re a couple of inches away from being one of those Nordic things that lives under a bridge. Your arguments would be 10x more compelling if the logic behind them led inexorably to concrete solutions.

Funnily enough I was having this conversation with friends last night. Effective self-preservation almost always involves co-operation with others. Setting up an us-vs-them scenario is exactly why some populations are wiped out under duress. Like I said, poverty is about behaviour first of all: someone who sees everything as a zero-sum game WILL be poor, and there’s a good chance he will make everyone else around him poor. Having no possessions etc is the symptom, not the disease itself.

I asked about your personal experience of such things just to illustrate the point.


#187

I didn’t call you racist. It was a rhetorical comparison.

The Victorians might have had some silly ideas, but they also had some very good ones.

Of course they did. But I call your ideas Victorian because they resonate with popular beliefs of the era: poverty is a sign of moral weakness, trying to educate the poor is pearls before swine, work is the curse of the drinking classes, and so on.

It’s actually a bit unfair of me (to the Victorians), because they abolished or paved the way for abolition of many of the things they’re remembered for.

Finleytopia, where even bad guys are well cared for! :rainbow: If you’re serious about this, let’s hear from people who’s knowledgeable about expropriation, ethnic cleansing, “internment camps” and so on.

Far from being denied education, there would be a lot of it available (for a modest price),

It’s free – meaning you’re free to pay for it! :rainbow: :money_mouth_face:

The greedy peasants are bleeding us dry, the solution is to kick their kids out of school… Honestly, Fin, it’s boring. Fruit of the week boring. Anyone interested can dig up that thread, wherever it was.

Ridiculous ideas don’t deserve to be ridiculed unless you have the answer to everything?

My idea is to analyze bad ideas until they fall apart. If we learn from each other’s bad ideas, maybe we’ll come up with better ideas. :rainbow: :unicorn:

Your arguments would be 10x more compelling if the logic behind them led inexorably to concrete solutions.

Sorry, I’m not divine.

What’s all this socialist claptrap? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Like I said, poverty is about behaviour first of all: someone who sees everything as a zero-sum game WILL be poor, and there’s a good chance he will make everyone else around him poor. Having no possessions etc is the symptom, not the disease itself.

In the modern world, if you run a country like a banana republic (i.e. a third world basket case), it will be poor.

When the developed countries collapse from the tyranny of all that free tuition and lack of child labor, give me a shout.


#188

I know. I meant you were labelling certain ideas as racist so that you can dismiss them as without merit or foundation. Arguing that Venezuelans are inherently inferior to (say) Colombians and are therefore poor would be racist. Arguing that that may have certain self-harming traits - at this moment in history - is just an observation.

So what does that prove? All you’ve done is applied a label without conveying any useful information. If you think that, for example, excessive drinking doesn’t cause harm and/or that the poor tend to have a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol, spell it out.

It’s actually a bit unfair of me (to the Victorians), because they abolished or paved the way for abolition of many of the things they’re remembered for.

I seem to recall you calling for the full weight of the law to be applied to people who give others a lift to work in exchange for money. In my world, leaving a car unused (ie., NOT giving your neighbours a lift to work) is a horrible waste of resources and economic opportunity. So possibly your views on the punishment of actual crimes - say, theft, disturbing the peace, extortion with menaces, and suchlike - are equally skewed. I think such people should be removed for civil society. I just don’t want them locked up in prisons. Excuse me if that makes me a Nazi.

It’s only boring if you insist on holding the argument with an imaginary Finley inside your head. Anyway, didn’t you start on this? I was just replying to your objections.

Couldn’t agree more. However your posts contain more emoticons than rigorous analysis.

But presumably you have SOME opinions on how things ought to be, if you’re so sure about how they ought NOT to be?

You just wiped out your own argument. You probably didn’t notice, but it’s like this:

  • Poor countries have no functioning economy, ie., limited immediate funds and a dangerously brittle environment for creating credit.
  • They have to choose VERY CAREFULLY what they spend money on. If something doesn’t deliver guaranteed returns, it shouldn’t be funded.
  • Education is extremely expensive. The people you educate should therefore be capable of producing an economic return for the country.
  • People who are not prepared to invest in their education - by making some sort of effort to BECOME educated - are not going to benefit from being herded into schools. There must be some barrier to entry, not because the poor should be punished but because something valuable is only valued if it’s hard to obtain. Making people pay, even in some small way, is the minimum necessary entrance exam.

#189

Not sure what you mean.

My point is that I don’t like to ignore the lessons of history, which is what I believe you’re doing.

(In case anyone’s confused, Finno is referring to the monster-sized thread about Uber.)

Don’t get me started again! :no_no:

So possibly your views on the punishment of actual crimes - say, theft, disturbing the peace, extortion with menaces, and suchlike - are equally skewed.

Ooh, you really want to get me started on all the nasty things Uber is accused of…

I think such people should be removed for civil society. I just don’t want them locked up in prisons. Excuse me if that makes me a Nazi.

Oh, maybe I get it now: you want a Norwegian style “anti-recidivism” strategy, sending convicted murderers to picturesque islands and so on. Is that it? (No joke.)

There’s much to criticize about prisons in general, but when you talk about expropriating the land of a vast number of people (and after what kind of process?), it sounds like ethnic cleansing. Even if your intent is pure, how would you get people to buy it?

Reinventing the wheel is, for me, boring. I’m in favor of education reform in general, but if I need to explain why basic education should be free (for children), I lose interest.

Don’t insult the unicorns, man. If you provoke them, they will shower their love and magicalness on you! :astonished: :unicorn: :heart:

That’s between me and Discobot. :robot: :zipper_mouth_face:

I realize this thread was originally about Venezuela, but my criticism of your education reform plan refers mostly to how you explained it in the other thread, i.e. developed countries should not provide it. Of course 2nd/3rd world countries can’t simply copy everything that 1st world countries do, and you can’t eat textbooks (or laptops), but education is an investment. Countries (developed or not) ignore it at their peril.

There must be some barrier to entry, not because the poor should be punished

Yet that’s exactly what happens. Johnny can’t go to school. He needs to put food on our table. Really, what century is it now?

There must be some barrier to entry, not because the poor should be punished but because something valuable is only valued if it’s hard to obtain.

:rofl:

I valued clean air, even before I came to this planet and discovered smog. I value it more now than I did before, but if you tell the government to charge me for it, that won’t be well received.


#190

(incorrect posting position in thread)


#191

Are we talking about public schools in the US?

I got a decent education. I also went to school. But not both at the same time.


#192

Interestingly, developed countries have the answer. Look at Germany: education is also work training. You get out of high school with a skill, not just a degree. This skill helps you find a job that can support you as your skills are necessary and can be traded for money.

I agree with the cargo cult schools and go one further example on how the elite depletes the education: in the old country, the public school system has 90% failure. Kids have no jobs and do not want to get jobs. Drug trade and prostitution gives you more money. Paternity enforcement laws mean you have 3 kids with 3 different father’s and you are set for life. Cost of living is overly inflated due to money laundry and as a result, everything from a basic meal to medication costs twice to 5 times more than its poorer neighbors … or even Taiwan. There is a fiscal crisis and yes, they want more taxes for the middle class, while millions have been siphoned to personal accounts of the political elite. Right now, prospects are dire, with a turn to any extreme likely next election.

Yet the elite has managed education as its piggy bank. To this day, any teacher in the system needs a patron, a padrino. Positions are appointed politically linked. Payment too, to the point that to this day they cannot enforce a common electronic system of payment. Twice they tried: once, the computers were sabotaged, the second time destroyed…in the ministry of education headquarters. That is right, goons came in and simply smashed them. Meanwhile, we joke about teachers who spend months even years without payment, due to an obsolete system.

So how can we tailor education to the needs of a growing country? We cannot even teach sexual education thanks to well funded protest groups. Ask me where that money comes from. Nope, look North. Give you a hint: same ones who defend creationism in schools.

No me ayudes compadre.


#193

I can’t find the article now, but a few years ago when Thailand was in will-they-or-won’t-they-have-a-civil-war mode, iirc it was The Economist that explained the country’s relative stagnation since the AFC as being due to not taking education seriously, compared to neighbors like Malaysia and Vietnam. The gist was, while other developing countries loaded up on skills & knowledge to build their economies, Thailand encouraged its people to stay the same. It was more an ideological problem than a financial one.

When China was just emerging from its “lost years”, it could have listened to Jotham types who wanted (and still want) it to spend centuries industrializing. Instead, they listened to this guy (and his wife).

Now here we are a few decades later, and their AI sector is booming. It wouldn’t have happened without huge investments in (still very problematic) education, plus replacing certain leaders who weren’t ambitious enough, economically speaking.

That’s borderline hate speech! :rage: Watch it, fella. :no_no:

I should add that some humans still don’t value clean air even after experiencing both extremes. So while your theory that scarcity is the mother of value seems logical from some angles, I just don’t see it as a reliable guide for policy.


Film your Marxist Professors
#194

I think we have to lose something dramatic, say, the oceans, before we as a species strat treating nature with respect. She sends occasional memos in the form of nasty viruses, but we do not seem to get the message.

I think that when the older generation that still believes in that crap taught at school between renewable and non renewable resources kicks teh bucket we may stand a chance. Hope it is not too late by then nor that they have indoctrinated the future generations as well.

There has been a lot of talk in Latin America about opening up El Tapon de Darien. Literally, this wall of jungle is stopping land traffic between North and South America. I pray they never will be able to do it. We should be planting more trees, getting more air clean. For starters.


#195

image


#196

We need a bigger carp.


#197

…and thankyou for the Fish Icon :smiley:


#198

Nature should treat us with more respect.


#199

There’s our Daily Rowlandism™! :grinning: I was wondering when we’d see it.

(No rainbow for this one, obviously.)


#200

This is precisely my point. You seem to be tacitly acknowledging my assertion that motives and memes are critically important in determining outcomes. Funding and reach of (say) education is irrelevant if the intent is not there.

Most third-world countries attempt to copy Western institutions with zero understanding of their underlying purpose (or perhaps a deliberate corruption of those institutions to serve the needs of the ruling criminals, depending on your level of cynicism). Hence the emergence of “license Raj” systems, full of rubber stamps and meaningless bits of paper, and schools-that-are-not-schools. Icon’s description hits the nail on the head:

My army of bureaucrats would include a large contingent of world-class (Spanish-speaking) teachers. 95% of the local teachers would be either fired or re-trained.

I would add to Icon’s comment that the skill set required in third-world countries is radically different to the skill set required in (say) Germany. A peasant kid could benefit enormously from learning reading, writing, arithmetic, and manual skills. Science, geography, literature … possibly not. Or not in school hours, anyway.

If you have a largely agrarian population, many of whom are keen to keep the kids on the farm cutting sugarcane, the number one priority would be either (a) teaching people how to farm properly or (b) if they are not interested in learning how to use the valuable resource they’re squatting on, getting that land into the hands of people who are.

And on that topic:

Sort of but not really. I was suggesting a place where people could be as recidivist as they like, if that’s what makes them happy. I’m all for letting people do what they want as long as they are not shielded from the inevitable consequences. Want to stand in your neighbour’s yard at 3am singing “My Way” while waving a machete and a bottle of moonshine? Normal people will be upset and frightened if you do this. A smaller number (20%?) will come outside with a bigger machete and inform you about your best immediate options for survival.

So what you do is you put all those 20% together in the same place - preferably with a peacekeeping force and some robust local bylaws to prevent things escalating too far - and the people who enjoy that sort of life can stay there, while those who don’t can learn to behave like adults and rejoin civilisation.

The flipside would be minimal interference in one’s life except to the extent necessary to keep the peace and raise funds for bare-minimum public services (say, police, water/power, and transport). Want a nice house? Build one. Too lazy to build a house? Fine, live under a tree. Entirely up to you.

Certain adventurous types might actually go there voluntarily to start businesses. I suppose what I’m talking about here is 18th/19th century Australia. Deportation was unnecessarily cruel, but it didn’t have to be. The fact that it was applied for the most minor crimes would have had a drastic effect on the society of the time. How much impact, do you think, deportation had on British culture, which was once hopelessly corrupt and crime-ridden and is now, um, somewhat less so?

I know - I’m skating over the genocide of native Australians. However I’m talking here of sending convicted criminals to a different part of their own country, preferably somewhere not already occupied by others.

Process would be police and courts, which I think is a fairly uncontentious proposal. There would be no ‘expropriation’. I suppose ‘eminent domain’ might apply, but since third-world countries never bother with land titling systems, I don’t see this as a big issue. Again, the original proposal (not mine, the one from a couple of weeks back) would be to have a fix-it team invited in by popular consent, not descending on Venezuela as armed occupiers or colonizers.