The Venezuela socialism death spiral thread


#201

The thing si that we do not have an agrarian economy anymore. In teh ol country, not even factories. It is 100% on teh backs of services, whether private or public. We produce nothing, not even teh food we eat. Even the rice and beans come from China!

The only agriculture we still have is the massive multinational pinnaple/banana etc which uses foreign labor, even in management. They pay no taxes, contaminate soil and water, and demand resourcses from us but hire minimally if at all, periferally. No, you can’t kick em out.

The few farmers who are not the president’s cousin have no way to get their products from teh farm to the market, any market. My father has been talking of how he would change the intermediary system since… I was in diapers. Again, agricultural production is for export. What is sold inside is 5 time smore expensive, to compensate, you know, teh loss.

So we have to step up in language training, maybe mechanics and assembly. But kids need history and all thsoe subjects you mentiooned, to develop critical skills, to have something to do while teh parents work. We do not have a family system anymore. No one is watching teh kids. I’d rather have them in a Taiwanese style buxiban than hitting teh streets and getting into drugs and oterh trouble.

Venezuelas’ export are engineers, doctors, teachers. Everyone with a degree is now working flipping burgers and delivering pizzas or mowing lawns. So yeah I agree a college degree is overrated.


#202

I realise that - I used the word ‘agrarian’ because that’s how publications like The Economist would describe it. The harsh reality - that most land is in the hands of people who haven’t a clue what to do with it and raise nothing useful on it - is obviously an enormous problem.

I recall an anecdote by (IIRC) a Peace Corps volunteer who was asked by a bunch of local farmers to help negotiate with bulk-buyers of produce, who were ripping them off. He quickly concluded that there was no basis on which they could negotiate, because the buyers held all the cards. Somehow he managed to convince them to set up their own distribution chain. They were loath to do this because they were afraid (not without good reason) that there would be reprisals and executions. He must have been an excellent salesman, because somehow or other they eventually came around to the idea. There were no killings, and they eventually negotiated a better deal with the bulk buyers, while maintaining their own system in parallel.

Moral of the story is that poor people often have more choices than they think they do. They might be very hard and frightening choices, but they do exist.

But yeah, banana and pineapple corporations; polluting, scamming bastards the lot of them.

They do, but they can find out these things by themselves. The problem with (say) history as taught in schools is that it’s often loaded up with political propaganda. Far better to teach kids to read and write, and then give them access to Wikipedia - or perhaps getting them to do their own research assignments with feedback from the teacher.

School time with highly qualified teachers would be a scarce resource when you’re starting from the ground up. I was thinking of bargain-basement schools in which kids receive exceedingly high quality education in a small number of critical subjects, for perhaps two hours a day. Napkin calculation: no school building (class is held under a tree), US$20 per teacher-hour, 20 kids per class, $2 per kid per day. Might be 50% subsidized or loan-funded, so $250+ a year. Not going to break the bank even for a sugarcane or rice farmer.

Doing it that way would allow kids to also perform what liberals call “child labour” and what I’d call “exercise” or “blowing off steam”. The idea that full-of-energy-and-hormones 12-year-olds should be sitting in the basement playing videogames, watching internet porn, and eating pizza is just mad.


#203

If the other side happens to have a monopoly on firearms, their options are: live in poverty, or die.


#204

Well, in teh old country they raise developments like houses, induistrial parks, offices… on top of the most fertile lands. There is irony for you.

Bulk buyers would be Walmart et al, so small farmers vs transnationals… ain’t gonna be pretty. Mayeb there are choices in other places, or with other products. But there will be a bloodshed no doubt.

Eh, we do not have libraries like here nor there is a culture of reading. Books are horrendously expsnive and what passes for mass media… depressing. I’d liek some open concept teaching in rural areas, where the kids navigate rivers and trek through the jungle for 2 hours. I would also love to have this teaching of native indigenous culture and know how like here in Taiwan.

Unfortunately, we do not have such respect for the local indigeous peoples. When it is not some pinera or bananera or whatever great landowner trying to steal their lands, it si dfrug dealers killing them for teh territory or the evangelicals and their poison trying to “save their souls”.

I would tell you what 12 year olds in our side of teh globe do but I think you know it well. Whatever spares them that fate is Ok in my book.


#205

I just flagged up an actual real situation where that isn’t necessarily true. Also worth pointing out that the poor have plenty of weapons and could inflict a lot of damage on the ruling classes if they had a mind to. I assume you know what agricultural tools look like?

However I would suggest a top-of-the-list action for any fix-it force would be to disarm the entire population (including the armed forces). Balance-of-aggression just results in a stalemate and stops loads of important stuff from getting done.

I was just watching this rather depressing JP video, in which he describes the practical effects of having a low IQ. I’ve noticed myself that it only takes a modest IQ deficit to cause some terribly debilitating effects. In particular I’ve found that people with low IQ have problems with metacognition (crudely, thinking about thinking - they’re unable to find ways to work around their own limitations, which is a critical aspect of competence).

As per my argument with yyy earlier, it’s just a sad fact of life that third-world countries have a lot of people who are the shitty end of the bell curve. IMO a lot of that is down to malnutrition - there’s a lot of evidence that poor childhood nutrition can easily handicap an otherwise normal kid by 10 IQ points or more. A teenager with an IQ of 90 might be a very competent motorcycle courier or a waitress; with an IQ of 80, they’re going to be a low-end drug dealer or prostitute.


#206

Talking about machines, we have in our Constitution we can only buy a certain brand of tractors built by a certain company. There is teh Constitution granting freedoms for ya.


#207

The trouble with pitchforks is they have limited range.

If someone is outside my house menacing me with a machete, I’m not gonna try to have a bigger machete. Machetes don’t scale.


#208

They scale very well indeed. Consider, if you will, 30 drunk teenagers with machetes. You’d better be both fast and accurate, with a spare clip ready.


#209

Yeah, I’ve heard of that one. However the workaround is to not use tractors, which don’t actually have any practical application on small landholdings, and are of dubious value on larger ones.

Also reinforces my point about low IQ. I’ve noticed third world politicians have among their ranks a frightening number who are, not to put too fine a point on it, dumb as a sack of rocks. I mean objectively so, not in the talk-show-mockery sense. Any Constitution written by people with an average IQ below 130 is guaranteed to be less than useful.


#210

Or by people with above average IQ and bad intentions.


#211

True enough, but I don’t think there are many of those. Broadly speaking, politicians merely need to be smarter than the great unwashed in order to stay in power.

Intelligence is usually obvious even when it has bad intentions, whereas third-world Constitutions tend to be internally inconsistent and illogical, and the framers have clearly not even understood what a Constitution is supposed to be, ie., the axioms upon which civil law can be constructed, as opposed to a hodgepodge of actual laws that can’t be changed.


#212

Sheer numbers don’t always make the difference. Even with machetes.

The Power Law: the few with the power make the law.

Speaking of power laws, what do you think the odds one guy with a handgun and speedloader would have against thirty drunks with hockey sticks? Say, 80/20?

Remember, after you run out of bullets, you’ve got plenty of backup weapons lying around. Just grab one from the nearest dead guy.


#213

F: Money doesn’t grow on trees, ya fool!
Y: It’s more an ideological problem than a financial one.
F: That’s exactly my point!
Y: :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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).

I think western countries deserve a significant part of the blame for that, but that’s another story…

I hear that highly qualified people willing to work in war zones can afford to picky about things like salary. Money doesn’t grow on trees, ya know…

On the one hand, people can be as bad as they want. On the other hand, they can’t cross the lines defined by well trained bureaucrats. :ponder: That sounds like clipboard territory, man! :eek:

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.

I notice health care is not on that list. Of course not – that would be socialism! :scream:

This is looking more and more like the paradox of anarchism: you wish the state wouldn’t exist, yet you would replace it with… the state. :doh:

I suppose what I’m talking about here is 18th/19th century Australia.

And it’s such a tragedy that they threw away the amazing freedom they had by voting for socialist death spiral ideas like free education, (almost) free health care, and the highest minimum wages on the planet. So foolish of them. Now it’s a sinking ship, everyone is struggling to get out, no-one is trying to get in, and one of these days they’re going to invite an army of well trained bureaucrats to fix it. :cloud_with_lightning: :rainbow:

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?

Fascinating question. I don’t know.

Double Unicorn Award! :unicorn: :unicorn: :grinning:

Seriously, one part of the population decides another part should be deported to proverbial Siberia, an army of foreigners is coming to do the enforcement, and you think those 20% will go without a fight?

Where are our historians when we need them?

On the one hand they have no land rights because it’s a third world country and therefore has no reliable land record system, while on the other hand the police and courts are reliable enough to decide who should be allowed to stay on the land they don’t own and who should be “sent down”.

Perhaps the local, corrupt legal system would be instantly replaced by a foreign one? Great, foreigners always understand the nuances of local culture better than the locals do…

[running out of unicorns again!]


#214

You’re using similar logic: those people are barely human, they’re savages, they’re lazy and selfish, they’re uneducable, they don’t know how to coexist with good people in civilized society, they need to be kept as far away from us as possible…

What about the children? Oh, no problem, we’ll send them away to be raised by good people.

The rainbows look pretty, but history teaches us that they don’t last. :sob:


#215

OK, fine - my earlier point (about poor people being largely the source of their own problems). Do try to keep up, Bond.

I’d agree with that to a certain extent, but they also copy these systems (or the appearance of them) because they’re absolutely wonderful for masking corruption.

Well … yes and no. The UN certainly works like that. There are also a lot of highly-qualified people who choose to do such things because they want to do something useful. I had in mind sensible salaries, but not UN-level excessive ones.

I agree that it could be, but what are the alternatives? Historically, several have been tried. You line them up, shoot them, and dump them in mass graves. That tends not to end well. You crowd them into prisons to live in their own filth. That also doesn’t end well. Bureaucrats do tend to extend and enhance their own power. However, as I said, if the fix-it team had very specific goals and a tight timescale for results, they might (might) be less inclined to play silly buggers and get on with the job in hand.

It would be unaffordable for a cash-strapped State to provide “free” healthcare for a bunch of people who, by definition, walk around with an enormous sense of self-entitlement and view the rest of the population as existing only to serve them. The only thing the State would realistically be capable of providing for free would be the bare necessities of life, ie, clean water, basic shelter, and some know-how (it’s really not difficult to build a life from the ground up; I’ve done it). The aim here would be to provide a corrective dose of reality, ie., if you don’t do something useful for others, nobody is going to do anything useful for you.

It is, fundamentally, a prison. I’ll concede that. I’m attempting to describe something that, while having walls, is not inhumane.

Well, that’s another story.

Of course they won’t go without a fight. That’s why you bring in a LOT of police: to minimize the likelihood that they’ll consider fighting a viable option. But again, what’s your alternative proposal? House-to-house with machetes? Where’s the historians when you need them?

Having said that … some of them might go of their own accord. Some people might go even if they’ve not done anything wrong. There would be very large opportunities. People who had hitherto “earned” their living by stealing from others would suddenly find themselves deprived of that option and in need of an alternative. Employment agencies, banking services, consultants (=educators with practical skills) would all be in massive demand.

They’d be, I dunno, Swiss policemen and Belgian judges. People with no skin in the game applying easy-to-understand procedures. I’m talking about forcibly removing people who are convicted of actual crimes - theft, violence, etc - not people who are merely lazy and stupid and basically harmless.

As for sorting out the land tenure shambles, that’s a whole different issue. I would suggest simply reclaiming all land in private hands, printing lots of banknotes, and compensating those who appear to have some sort of valid title. It could then be leased back again to whoever wants to use it productively; the compensation payments would be sufficient to pay a lease on your own land (if you wished to remain there) for, say, 10 years:

  • People squatting on farmland with no interest or skill in farming would just take the cash and go find a job elsewhere; their lands would be leased by others, possibly foreign investors … who would be subject to the same rules as locals about not fucking the place up (Dole, Del Monte etc wouldn’t have a clue how to comply).
  • People confident of making a profit under the new system (security of tenure and security of person) would choose to stay and do so.

Lease payments on lands would provide an enormous stream of guaranteed income to the State, allowing the rapid expansion of the “free” services of which you are fond.


#216

I never said it was a one way street. :hear_no_evil: :see_no_evil: :speak_no_evil:

There’s always the do nothing approach. While not ideal, it sounds better than gulags run by a Brit. :2cents:

except invade your country, seize your property and throw you in jail, of course.

I mentioned health care because you said

bare-minimum public services (say, police, water/power, and transport)

and I’m just thinking, what does a human need to survive? You say you want to teach them to take care of themselves, so you’re going to build a power plant and supply them with free electricity (I’m assuming there’s no wifi), build roads and provide them with free transportation (how big is this gulag anyway?), but free education is out of the question, they can damn well amputate their own gangrenous limbs, and when they experience medieval infant and maternal mortality rates (presumably no contraception being available), well, that’ll teach them not to make so many babies. :no_no:

Yet now your list has morphed into

the bare necessities of life, ie, clean water, basic shelter, and some know-how

Woah! Free housing? What happened to build your own damn house?

And free “know-how”? :astonished:

That’s what people tend to mean when they talk about… free education! :scream:

So you’d better go back and fix your list before it turns into, you know, a socialist death spiral…


So, definitely not an invasion, just “an army of bureaucrats” supported by “a LOT of police”. Orwell would be so proud. :rainbow:

to minimize the likelihood that they’ll consider fighting a viable option. But again, what’s your alternative proposal? House-to-house with machetes? Where’s the historians when you need them?

Again, it sounds like leaving them alone would be less destructive. Would the Iraq invasion have worked if the armed forces had worn police uniforms instead of fatigues? (Maybe you can learn something from Comrade @politbureau.)

Yeah, Belgium has such a good reputation for colonial administration… :whistle:

Swiss cops, hmm. Would they be ceremonial pikemen or actual cop cops? If the latter, your American friends would probably suspect a UN conspiracy… :male_detective:

People with no skin in the game applying easy-to-understand procedures.

Some would grow that skin faster than you think. There would be other problems too. Ask the Shanghainese of the 1930’s what they thought of the legal system in the foreign concessions. Ask almost anyone how efficient and effective the foreign judges in Cambodia have been.

I’m talking about forcibly removing people who are convicted of actual crimes - theft, violence, etc - not people who are merely lazy and stupid and basically harmless.

Have you ever listened to a Nazi apologist explain how “only the bad Jews went to the camps”? :roll:

As for sorting out the land tenure shambles, that’s a whole different issue. I would suggest simply reclaiming all land in private hands, printing lots of banknotes, and compensating those who appear to have some sort of valid title.

Are we still pushing the “no expropriations” line?

Having said that … some of them might go of their own accord. Some people might go even if they’ve not done anything wrong. There would be very large opportunities. People who had hitherto “earned” their living by stealing from others would suddenly find themselves deprived of that option and in need of an alternative. Employment agencies, banking services, consultants (=educators with practical skills) would all be in massive demand.

Great, here’s a free motto for you: It’s a man’s life in the Super Gulag! :grinning:

Lease payments on lands would provide an enormous stream of guaranteed income to the State, allowing the rapid expansion of the “free” services of which you are fond.

…but which would still not be provided under Comrade Finsky’s regime. :doh:

Do tell me that story when you have time! :popcorn:


#217

Well yes. But that often doesn’t work out well either. Rwanda. Sierra Leone. Haiti.

I notice, by the way, that you have not attempted to deny the existence of the large criminal element that I’m banging on about. Icon confirmed that they are there and that they’re highly influential. You appear to be suggesting they should be left to get on with it until … well, until what? They run out of victims? Everyone dies of famine and plague?

Aiyo. Invasion never works. If the Venezuelans (or whoever) just want to sit tight and hope for the best, that’s up to them. However, back at the start of the conversation, the suggestion was to put the country “under administration”. I was just pontificating on how that might work in practice, if you did it. Hypothetically.

No. I would suggest installing enough electrical capacity to maintain a cold chain for drugs, basic street lighting (so there are no dark corners to lurk in), and water pumps. Anything else can be paid for at the usual rates.

Roads are more critical to civilisation than education. Without them you can’t get food to households (and similar commercial basics). They need not be four-lane highways, but they need to be navigable by bicycle at least. I was only suggesting they should be provided up front by the State because there is no realistic means by which individuals can do it: you need machinery, proper materials, and a high level of design skill. Once you put roads down, people magically start to open stores, clinics and schools alongside them.

Why would any of this happen? Do you think I’m mandating that everyone should be manacled with a ball and chain and that nobody should ever wash? Anyway, as I said, I wasn’t suggesting there should be no doctors. Doctors would probably turn up of their own accord and set their own terms. Some might offer pro bono services. Most wouldn’t. I’m not actually suggesting the State should forbid free medical care, merely that they need not provide a surfeit of free doctors so that rat-faced boys can harass them for recreational drugs.

As for contraception, it wouldn’t matter if it was free or not. Because God.

I said basic shelter. Enough to stop people getting gangrenous limbs, at least until they’ve had time to build something a bit more durable. Four men with some basic equipment can build a solid and attractive 10-ping house in 4-8 weeks, depending on their experience.

No, it absolutely isn’t. I tried to draw a distinction between know-how and education earlier. The very last thing that third-world schools provide is practical know-how.

Education involves regimenting kids into classrooms for hours at a time, 250 days a year, and keeping them there until they lose the will to live, or at least all interest in learning anything.

Providing know-how involves getting a few skilled people in (farmers, builders, businessmen) and rationing out their time, very carefully. Want to learn how to build a house? Turn up at the village square at such-and-such a time, spend a day there, and we’ll show you how. Cost to the state: a few dollars per person. Cost of a child’s so-called education: US$50K-100K.

So you fundamentally disagree with the basic concept of policemen arresting criminals and bringing them for trial before civilian courts?

And you’re accusing me of being an anarchist? :slight_smile:

I don’t think you realise how utterly fucked some countries are. They’ve already been left alone to descend into a Hobbesian nightmare. Icon gives a pretty good flavour of how it works in her posts. Now, you might argue that the only possible direction starting from rock-bottom would be upwards, so maybe three centuries hence they’ll sort themselves out. Meanwhile, everyone else has to watch the freakshow and hope it doesn’t spill over the borders.

Only if they were there by invitation. Not because of the uniform but because of the fundamentally different skill set.

Aiyo. Fill in your own trustworthy nationality.

Your argument here seems to be: all Belgians are X, always have been, and always will be.

Maybe so (although I don’t think the Chinese concessions comparison is valid, considering the racist attitudes of the time). I’m not suggesting this couldn’t fail. I’m just pointing out that there are ways of averting failure.

Oh come on. You just Godwinned yourself. I’m taking about criminals convicted of well-defined crimes by due process, as opposed to being imprisoned for being Venezuelan. I thought I made that perfectly clear.

One word: China. Look, I’m not just pulling this stuff out of my ass. The entire Chinese “economic miracle” was predicated on the Chinese State leasing land (most land being State property) to those who thought they could make a profit from it. This had two downsides: expropriation of informally-titled land without due process or compensation, and lack of environmental controls.

Neither of those problems are inevitable. As I said, an incredibly simple solution would be to print money secured upon the economic value of the land: nobody would actually be evicted unless they opted to take the money and leave of their own accord. A side-effect of doing this would be to inject money - real money, not funny money - into the economy, encouraging either consumption (=demand for services) or small-business investment.

Times and circumstances change. Policy is hard because a country is highly dynamic: what works at one moment in history can be a disaster at another point. The whole point of doing all this would be rapid development. A State with no money cannot afford to give stuff away. A State with a steady stream of income must think of something useful to do with it. A modestly-educated populace engaged in normal social activities (as opposed to prostitution, drug dealing and bashing each other over the head) is in a position to make good use of, say, universities.


#218

It perhaps doesn’t belong here - mods feel free to move it elsewhere - but I was just watching Peter Thiel debating the value vs. costs of education:

Ignore the silly video title - it’s just a conversation between Thiel and a university professor. Thiel rambles a bit, but he gets to the point around the 3 minute mark. I don’t think any of this supports my views, as such - I just thought it was relevant to our discussion here.


#219

The good thing about leaving entire societies to wallow in their own filth is it avoids the calumny that follows from trying, and failing, to save them from themselves.

Iraq is no more of a shithole than it would have been had the US not ousted the Ba’athist regime. No less a shithole, either.* But damn, that was whole lot of money down the crapper.

You can’t build a nation out of that kind of society. But you can destroy what’s there. That might be a good idea, to prevent contagion. Just think, if we’d toppled the Nazi regime in the early 1930s…

But don’t expect any credit. Because the world only sees what happened, not what you prevented.

Venezuela is a total loss. Nothing we can do can make it worse for the Venezuelans. May as well just think of our own interests.

  • Yes, I’m saying the Caliphate or something comparable would have happened regardless.

And no, I’m not saying the Caliphate couldn’t have been prevented. I’m saying it couldn’t have been prevented either of those ways.


#220

I think you already know what most Iraqis would say to that, but it’s kind of OT…

(I’ll reply to Finsky after watching the video.)