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Old January 10th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #1
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Chavez says he'll seize businesses that raise prices

Following the devaluation of the currency, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has not threatened to seize any business that raises prices. Does anyone else see Iran part II in Venezuela right now?

ref: http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...-update1-.html
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Old January 10th, 2010, 07:33 PM   #2
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Venezuela is a mess right now, inflation has been above 16% for the past 14 years, the estimate for 2009 is over 30%, oil revenue is dropping, and they are in a recession.

Chavez (became Pres in Feb 1999) is a socialist and he implemented price controls in 2003, nationalised several industries, and "influenced" other businesses to keep their prices unrealistically low. Obviously, this "big government" approach didn't work and he is being forced to loosen up his economy. It's going to be very painfull for Venezuela because Chavez isn't going to give up power willingly, so the economic changes are going to be very small incremental steps unless the system just collapses.

I was in Brazil and Argentina in the late 1980's, when the inflation rate averaged over 700%. Prices were not written down on menus or on merchandise because they went up almost daily. There was a lot of bartering and a large underground economy - unless you had American dollars. US dollars were like gold, $1US was worth a fortune.

I wonder what the US dollar is worth now?
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Old January 10th, 2010, 08:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave View Post
Venezuela is a mess right now
There is no doubt about that. Not surprising considering the big-government, protectionist policies Chavez has installed.

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Originally Posted by dave View Post
Obviously, this "big government" approach didn't work and he is being forced to loosen up his economy.
Not sure what you mean by loosen up his economy. He is placing more regulations on businesses with these price controls- don't really see how that is loosening it up.

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I wonder what the US dollar is worth now?
I looked that up when I posted this thread actually. According to Google it is currently as
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1 Venezulan bolivar=0.000466 USD
Unfortunate that the people are the ones that ultimately suffer even though they don't have much say in all of this.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 10:44 PM   #4
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1 thing I'll give Bush credit for, when he went on a nationalization spree, at least he bought out the companies instead of simply claiming them.

As a socialist I obviously support nationalization but not if it means robbing the owners. Buy, don't steal.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 10:54 PM   #5
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Buy, don't steal.
What money could the government buy anything with? The money is still the people's. If they print it- they take it through inflation. If they tax it, they take it through taxes.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 11:00 PM   #6
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What money could the government buy anything with? The money is still the people's. If they print it- they take it through inflation. If they tax it, they take it through taxes.
Well as a socialist, I'd also given the American People company shares, Public ownership and all. My point is Bush didn't go to AIG and say, "We own you now!" What he did do is buy 83% of the company.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 01:43 AM   #7
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Taking a very big picture view and playing devil's advocate here, wonder who is worse off economically, Venezuela or the United States? For me the difference is that the United States is an expert at presentation of its economic statements with the assistance of world renowned and savvy economists knowing how to present the accounts, so that large debt and huge expenditure sound as though the Government is in control of its finances? Technically the US is bankrupt, at least Venezuela has oil and lots of it, and the United States is a large importer of oil from Venezuela (fourth largest):
http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/p...nt/import.html
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Old January 11th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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1 thing I'll give Bush credit for, when he went on a nationalization spree, at least he bought out the companies instead of simply claiming them.

As a socialist I obviously support nationalization but not if it means robbing the owners. Buy, don't steal.
Socialism by its very nature robs people. It is based on 3 false premises: that a nations economy and society can be understood well enough to be controlled by a small group of elites forming a central governing authority; that the governing body will not be corrupted and will work for the good of the people; that people will work just as diligently under almost any but the most severe conditions.

The first one is simply conceit, the economy is not well understood, there are people that just think they understand it and can guide it.

The second is not true, people can be corrupted. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. There are many, many examples, including Venezuela, all of the old Soviet Block countries, even the USA.

The third is false, people work for a reward. The reward might be intellectual satisfaction, emotional satisfaction, or financial satisfaction. The vast majority of people work as a means to an end, and they achieve that end by receiving financial satisfaction from their work. Remember the grand old motto of socialism: to each according to his needs, from each according to his ability. Why am I going to bust my ass at work if all I get is a subsistance allowance?
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Old January 11th, 2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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Socialism by its very nature robs people. It is based on 3 false premises: that a nations economy and society can be understood well enough to be controlled by a small group of elites forming a central governing authority; that the governing body will not be corrupted and will work for the good of the people; that people will work just as diligently under almost any but the most severe conditions.

The first one is simply conceit, the economy is not well understood, there are people that just think they understand it and can guide it.

The second is not true, people can be corrupted. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. There are many, many examples, including Venezuela, all of the old Soviet Block countries, even the USA.

The third is false, people work for a reward. The reward might be intellectual satisfaction, emotional satisfaction, or financial satisfaction. The vast majority of people work as a means to an end, and they achieve that end by receiving financial satisfaction from their work. Remember the grand old motto of socialism: to each according to his needs, from each according to his ability. Why am I going to bust my ass at work if all I get is a subsistance allowance?
And none of that is socialism, you know that right?

1. Socialism, if I was to water it down to it's simplest explanation, is worker rule. No elites and no 'central governing authority' (just ask Dirk, he's an anarchist).

2. In state-socialism, the workers rule in a direct democracy. There is nothing to corrupt as the people decide what does and doesn't happen themselves. In anarco-socialism, there is no gov't at all and everyone basically works for the common good (I personally think that's a pipe dream but Dirk disagrees).

3. What do people work for now? Money. Why money? Because money buys them stuff. Socialism skips the money middleman. Dirk can better describe the free market in socialism then myself, so ask him. Basically there is more to gain from work under socialism then capitalism as under socialism people keep what they make (not necessarily the product itself, but maybe a house, car, money [before it's abolished], ect.). Under capitalism, a worker gets next to nothing and the rest is claimed by the capitalist as profit.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 06:54 PM   #10
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2. In state-socialism, the workers rule in a direct democracy. There is nothing to corrupt as the people decide what does and doesn't happen themselves.
In this statement you are wrong. What about the tyranny of the majority? There is a reason why the founding fathers wanted to establish a republic and not a democracy.

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3. What do people work for now? Money. Why money? Because money buys them stuff. Socialism skips the money middleman. Dirk can better describe the free market in socialism then myself, so ask him. Basically there is more to gain from work under socialism then capitalism as under socialism people keep what they make (not necessarily the product itself, but maybe a house, car, money [before it's abolished], ect.). Under capitalism, a worker gets next to nothing and the rest is claimed by the capitalist as profit.
Are you forgetting that money is something and money buys things as well? A worker of say a Ford motor plant probably does not want to own tons of cars for his work. Money is just a medium in which to exchange goods in a more efficient manner- it is an improvement to the traditional bartering system.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #11
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In this statement you are wrong. What about the tyranny of the majority? There is a reason why the founding fathers wanted to establish a republic and not a democracy.


Are you forgetting that money is something and money buys things as well? A worker of say a Ford motor plant probably does not want to own tons of cars for his work. Money is just a medium in which to exchange goods in a more efficient manner- it is an improvement to the traditional bartering system.
I did include money in that list...

But to use your Ford example... No wait, the UAW kind of messes that up. Lets use Microsoft. Say someone works at Microsoft. Depending on what they do they could be getting anything from min. wage to more money then I'll make in a year per month. In ether case (more so for the min. wage worker) they're getting payed less then what they're worth. Say a worker get's $50,000/yr yet can be shown to directly and indirectly be responsible for $1.5 million/yr in profits. Obviously they cant be paid their direct wealth + a fair % of their indirect wealth generation as Microsoft would go bankrupt. However, that worker could be paid their direct wealth generation plus stock. Microsoft would still be making a profit (albeit not as much) yet that worker is getting paid what they are worth. Add the fact that that worker would have a direct say in Microsoft's operations (and being a shareholder, no gov't meddling is needed) and you have a vague idea of what socialism would be like.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #12
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I did include money in that list...

But to use your Ford example... No wait, the UAW kind of messes that up. Lets use Microsoft. Say someone works at Microsoft. Depending on what they do they could be getting anything from min. wage to more money then I'll make in a year per month. In ether case (more so for the min. wage worker) they're getting payed less then what they're worth. Say a worker get's $50,000/yr yet can be shown to directly and indirectly be responsible for $1.5 million/yr in profits. Obviously they cant be paid their direct wealth + a fair % of their indirect wealth generation as Microsoft would go bankrupt. However, that worker could be paid their direct wealth generation plus stock. Microsoft would still be making a profit (albeit not as much) yet that worker is getting paid what they are worth. Add the fact that that worker would have a direct say in Microsoft's operations (and being a shareholder, no gov't meddling is needed) and you have a vague idea of what socialism would be like.
Ah, I misread that one part. Ok, but the thing is under a free market system, if a worker is willing to work for a certain wage, why should you care (even if you think he deserves more)? It is his choice to work like that. Furthermore, the UAW isn't something to brag about here as they are largely at fault for the big three's financial problems.

I think the important part in this whole debate though is that all of us (me, you, and dave) are for less government intervention and we all also oppose Chavez's way of doing things. We aren't all talking about the statist socialism that is talked about in the news today, as you seem to oppose that too.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 07:20 PM   #13
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Ah, I misread that one part. Ok, but the thing is under a free market system, if a worker is willing to work for a certain wage, why should you care (even if you think he deserves more)? It is his choice to work like that. Furthermore, the UAW isn't something to brag about here as they are largely at fault for the big three's financial problems.

I think the important part in this whole debate though is that all of us (me, you, and dave) are for less government intervention and we all also oppose Chavez's way of doing things. We aren't all talking about the statist socialism that is talked about in the news today, as you seem to oppose that too.
I hate the UAW. In fact I hate all unions, the idea of trusting my rights to a bunch of elites over having a direct stake in policy making is, in my view, just as bad as being unprotected. Especially with most unions taking in dues and giving 0 protection to the workers or else (and the UAW falls into this category) gives so much to the workers while not even considering the viability of the company they work for that they ultimately screw over the workers by causing the company that employs them to fail.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 07:48 PM   #14
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And none of that is socialism, you know that right?

1. Socialism, if I was to water it down to it's simplest explanation, is worker rule. No elites and no 'central governing authority' (just ask Dirk, he's an anarchist).

2. In state-socialism, the workers rule in a direct democracy. There is nothing to corrupt as the people decide what does and doesn't happen themselves. In anarco-socialism, there is no gov't at all and everyone basically works for the common good (I personally think that's a pipe dream but Dirk disagrees).

3. What do people work for now? Money. Why money? Because money buys them stuff. Socialism skips the money middleman. Dirk can better describe the free market in socialism then myself, so ask him. Basically there is more to gain from work under socialism then capitalism as under socialism people keep what they make (not necessarily the product itself, but maybe a house, car, money [before it's abolished], ect.). Under capitalism, a worker gets next to nothing and the rest is claimed by the capitalist as profit.
In socialism, people do not keep what they make. There is no private property, everthing is owned by the community.

The slogan "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is the classic statement of socialism popularized (but not first utterred by) Karl Marx in 1875. Who decides what a persons needs are, what a persons ability is, and how to handle underperformers? Who decides the needs of the population of New York versus the needs of California? As soon as a person or group is given the authority to make those decisions - at any level - you have the start of a ruling class of elites.

This is a good explanation of socialism and the problems it encounters in the real world:
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Socialism.html
Its on a pro-capitalism web site, but the article is very good in its assessment of socialism.

The idea that all people will own everything equally, and all will have an equal say in running the nation is a farce and has been disproven at many levels from the people that live in government provided housing and don't take care of the property because it isn't theirs, to the USSR.

How is such a system going to work on a practical level? Are you going to have a nationwide vote on everything? Impossible. People are going to be appointed/elected to make decisions, and right there, you have the basis of an elite and central governing authority.

In capitalism, people are rewarded based on their effort and contribution to society.

As a successful capitalist pig, I'll use myself as an example. Eighteen years ago, a co-worker and I quit good jobs (my pay was about $60k a year) and started our own company. It was difficult. With a wife and 3 young children, my income dropped to $7200 during the third year of operation. Try living off of that with a family of 5. My partner and I gave up our paychecks to pay employees, and all of our time was spent trying to make the business a success. Now it is a success, I make a lot of money, and that is my reward for all of the pain my family and I went through. And the government and society benefit as well from the jobs I created and the taxes the company and those jobs pay to the government.

Would I have worked as hard under socialism, just to live like my neighbor who is my friend and a nice guy, but worked a typical 8-5 job and spent his evenings at home watching tv? Hell no. I would have worked an 8-5 job and gone home each evening.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 07:53 PM   #15
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As a successful capitalist pig, I'll use myself as an example. Eighteen years ago, a co-worker and I quit good jobs (my pay was about $60k a year) and started our own company. It was difficult. With a wife and 3 young children, my income dropped to $7200 during the third year of operation. Try living off of that with a family of 5. My partner and I gave up our paychecks to pay employees, and all of our time was spent trying to make the business a success. Now it is a success, I make a lot of money, and that is my reward for all of the pain my family and I went through. And the government and society benefit as well from the jobs I created and the taxes the company and those jobs pay to the government.
The American dream- love to hear those stories. And I completely agree with you- so long as the process is made of people doing things on their own will, who cares if the end result does not mean everyone has equal wealth? Equality in wealth is not a good thing as all people will never work equally as hard or contribute equally to society. Furthermore, even in an unequal distribution such as capitalism, the lower end tends to be better off than the all-equal beings of an egalitarian society.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 08:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave View Post
As a successful capitalist pig, I'll use myself as an example. Eighteen years ago, a co-worker and I quit good jobs (my pay was about $60k a year) and started our own company. It was difficult. With a wife and 3 young children, my income dropped to $7200 during the third year of operation. Try living off of that with a family of 5. My partner and I gave up our paychecks to pay employees, and all of our time was spent trying to make the business a success. Now it is a success, I make a lot of money, and that is my reward for all of the pain my family and I went through. And the government and society benefit as well from the jobs I created and the taxes the company and those jobs pay to the government.

Would I have worked as hard under socialism, just to live like my neighbor who is my friend and a nice guy, but worked a typical 8-5 job and spent his evenings at home watching tv? Hell no. I would have worked an 8-5 job and gone home each evening.
Under socialism you could of done the same thing. Small business isn't contrary to socialism (hell, it was a constitutional right in the Soviet Union, at least at 1st). You (as evidenced by your post) think that socialism means giving everything in equal amounts to everyone. This is incorrect. Let me use the same quote, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." This means that the harder someone works and the better the quality of what they produce, within their physical and mental abilities, the greater the reward. So say some slacker is just milking it for all it's worth. In capitalism they'll get payed (maybe fired if they keep it up but they'll still be getting payed until that point). In socialism that 'worker' will keep their job... They just won't get payed (why pay someone for doing nothing?) until they stop slacking and hit the grind like everyone else.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 08:11 PM   #17
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So say some slacker is just milking it for all it's worth. In capitalism they'll get payed (maybe fired if they keep it up but they'll still be getting payed until that point). In socialism that 'worker' will keep their job... They just won't get payed (why pay someone for doing nothing?) until they stop slacking and hit the grind like everyone else.
Who decides whether or not their work was adequate? What if the worker feels like he did an adequate job, yet those who pay him don't? If they refuse to pay, he was essentially forced to work as he got the job thinking he'd get paid. Forced work=slavery. No thank you.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 08:28 PM   #18
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Who decides whether or not their work was adequate? What if the worker feels like he did an adequate job, yet those who pay him don't? If they refuse to pay, he was essentially forced to work as he got the job thinking he'd get paid. Forced work=slavery. No thank you.
Well it wouldn't be forced any more then it is now. Don't want to work? Don't, just don't expect any money aside from gifts. And pay would be based on the profit generated by them. For example say an auto-worker helps build 500 cars, all sell for a total of $1.3 million and based on the work they did (say they worked multiple sections on the assembly line over the course of building the cars plus pulling overtime) it can be shown that $75,500 of that can be attributed to them. Under capitalism that worker would have had to work for a year to make that while under socialism they'd only need to build the 500 cars and would get payed $70,000 (the rest being profit) and $5,000 worth of stock. No say it took 3 months to do that and all cars were sold by the end of the year, that's $307,500 and $25,000 worth of stock by years end. I'd think that worker would be far more motivated to work then for the $85-100,000 they would have gotten otherwise and the company would still be making $25,000 in profits. That might seem low until you realize how few cars that really is for a company like Ford which sells millions. Yes profits would drop (by a lot) but the company would still be profitable and the workers wouldn't be getting ripped off.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 11:00 PM   #19
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Well it wouldn't be forced any more then it is now. Don't want to work? Don't, just don't expect any money aside from gifts. And pay would be based on the profit generated by them. For example say an auto-worker helps build 500 cars, all sell for a total of $1.3 million and based on the work they did (say they worked multiple sections on the assembly line over the course of building the cars plus pulling overtime) it can be shown that $75,500 of that can be attributed to them. Under capitalism that worker would have had to work for a year to make that while under socialism they'd only need to build the 500 cars and would get payed $70,000 (the rest being profit) and $5,000 worth of stock. No say it took 3 months to do that and all cars were sold by the end of the year, that's $307,500 and $25,000 worth of stock by years end. I'd think that worker would be far more motivated to work then for the $85-100,000 they would have gotten otherwise and the company would still be making $25,000 in profits. That might seem low until you realize how few cars that really is for a company like Ford which sells millions. Yes profits would drop (by a lot) but the company would still be profitable and the workers wouldn't be getting ripped off.
Some of your numbers aren't even close to realistic though. But I understand you are just using hypothetical numbers, so I won't dwell on that too much. What I will refute is the point you are making.

How would you figure in the salaries of people who do not actually build the product? Say the executives, accountants, marketers, advertisers, etc. They don't each have a number of cars they make. I guess just give them all a cut of each car? And what about shareholders? Surely the 25k or whatever profit is not going to rest well with the millions of people who have invested in the company. Are you really suggesting we end public trading, or maybe we can give them a cut of each car too? And all of a sudden your worker's aren't making that absurd 300k (again hypothetical) a year.

Also, should the people who have gone through years of school and training really get paid the same as the guy who slacked off all his life and just walked in and got this job? Pay grades should exist to honor skill sets- those who are unskilled would naturally make less than the more scarce, skilled workers so long as there are more unskilled workers than skilled workers.

I am guessing you are on board with Dirk's whole co-op idea. That is fine, but you also need to realize that is possible in a free market capitalist system if that is what people want. Furthermore, such a co-op system might make it hard to raise the vast amounts of capital needed to create large factories and things unless you are willing to take more money from some to start up than others. But then, you will have different levels of ownership- much like today's corporation.

And also, if you are for the co-ops, would you force everyone to go in co-ops to make your vision of socialism true? I am guessing not. What if some people would rather just stick with the corporations of today? The beauty of free market capitalism is that it allows for private forms of egalitarianism and socialism. On the other hand, an egalitarian system or a government-enforced socialist system, does not allow a capitalist system to exist.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 11:05 PM   #20
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I'm hitting the sack. Once I'm not suffering the effects of sleep depravation, I'll post something meaningful.

Until then, bye.
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