Sunday, January 3, 2021

Just Give People Money

I think it's helpful when thinking about economic matters to simplify and imagine a smaller group of people on a deserted island.

Let's imagine 100 families find themselves stranded on a large deserted island.  A cruise ship has sunk and nothing could be salvaged.  A tough situation, but they find that if the heads of household work on the necessities of life and a caretaker at home manages the kids they are able to provide just enough to meet everyone's needs.

The 10% of the smartest workers create some inventions that make work easier.  Now only 60% of the workers are needed to address just the critical needs.  The 10% that created the initial inventions get a privileged status.  They get to be called the "owners" of the machines.  Let's suppose also the 10% invent a system of money that is robust.  They create a sufficient quantity of money and set its value so that the remainder of non-owners are paid a wage.  The 60% address critical needs and the 30% start to focus more on luxuries.  Making spices to make food yummy, creating recipes.  Working on more inventions like stoves and washing machines or ways to make the work of the 60% more efficient.  Everyone is happy because there is more than enough for all, plus some additional wants are being thrown in.  The 10% get the extra awesome life though because they don't work any more.

Time passes and work becomes more efficient, especially with further inventions of the 30%.  The owners realize they could lay off another 10 families and maintain output.  If they lay people off then that's less they need to pay in wages, they can store more money.  So they go for it.  Now they find that their store of money is enlarging.  And also the laid off people are not consuming as much.  So there's a glut of stuff building up.  Which means every now and then the workers can be idled.  But when they are idled they consume less, which creates more idle time because less is produced when there is less demand.  And you end up with a larger and larger amount of people with free time and no job, but with a lot of unmet needs and wants because they are no longer collecting a wage.

One thing that you will see is that the laid off people just try to think of other things that could be created and sold in the market.  And they might achieve a successful product eventually and put themselves back to work.  But it does take time.  The stall is not good, the suffering they and their families endure is a grind, and as this process continues with more and more efficiency gains it does get progressively harder to do this as there is really only so much consumption the employed families and ownership families are going to want to engage in.

What's to stop the owners right after the layoff from just minting some more money and handing it to the unemployed people?  The only concern is inflation.  But inflation happens because there is more money in circulation than there are goods that people want to buy.  The inventors have created a system that allows you to create a book with the press of a button (like Amazon does now, it used to take a whole army of people to create a book).  The inventors have created 3D printers.  With so much efficiency in creating things and so many goods available the truth is the price associated with things is coming down, so if you just hand the unemployed person newly minted coins such that the total money matches what was being spent earlier on wages, I don't think there should have to be inflation.

This is kind of the system we are in.  We're just getting too good at creating things.  So a glut of things builds up, and this causes people to lose their job.  This causes suffering and intermittent contractions in the total amount of goods being produced.

It seems to me that the lack of money should not be an issue.  Money is literally created from nothing.  Money is just a tool that facilitates the activity (work and consumption) of people.  Money can be used to take all those idle people and put them to work doing things that are beneficial, even if they are not being demanded in a market driven by profit.  The money supply needs to increase commensurate with the increase in the number of goods being produced.  It seems to me that if it doesn't then problems are created.

How does China manage to have such high sustained economic growth?  They didn't even slow down in 2008.  The Soviet Union had continuous unbroken economic growth.  In the depths of the Great Depression in the US the Soviet Union was charging ahead and by 1936 they had gone from being the poorest country in Europe to a world super power.  I think they were able to do this because they understand this issue I'm describing.  As things get more efficient and a glut emerges they don't just have homeless people sitting around doing nothing.  They say "Hey, you know that money you used to make growing crops?  Now that we have machines we don't need that same work, but here's the same money as a salary, it's money we just created.  Start helping to build roads, bridges, apartment buildings.  Help build facilities where research can be done.  We'll put even more people out of work due to the gain in efficiency and they can then join you building all these things, and we'll see everyone's life get better really fast."  It's Ok to have more money flowing in the system anyway because more goods are being produced with less every year.  Since there are more goods available for purchase more money in the system chasing those goods does not necessarily cause inflation.  To avoid inflation we just have to ensure that economy continues to get more and more efficient, more and more productive, so that there is an expanding quantity of goods that the money is chasing.  So why not use the creation of additional money as an opportunity to put idle hands to work creating things that the world needs and wants?  Putting the idle hands to work is exactly how you ensure gains in productivity.  The idle hands can work on the things that will make the economy more productive, instead of sitting around in misery and hunger, being homeless.

What this entails is setting aside the system that prioritizes profits and free markets.  That creates giant swaths of able bodied people willing and able to work, but unable to make it happen, or at least stalled in their ability to make that happen.  Plan the economy.  There are plenty of things that need to get done.  People need to get educated.  They need good roads, nice cars, health care.  We need renewable energy, or a carbon free source of energy (fusion).  Put people to work doing things regardless of what the market and what Wall St profiteers think.  The system we have is creating large numbers of people willing and able to do things that would make all of our lives better, but we're acting like the money supply can't be enlarged.  It can be and it must be.  More money is needed to reflect the additional things that humans are creating more efficiently every day.  Just mint more money and put people to work.  There is so much to do, we shouldn't let the fiction that money is limited prevent us from doing it.

That's the way it seems to me.  What am I missing?  Didn't our government just create something like $10T from nothing as stimulus?  And what did they do with it?  Most of it went to the rich.  It has gone to back corporate debt and to fund military adventures, things that don't directly benefit the population.  A bit went to the poor.  So the money supply needs to be expanded and we have a choice about how we stimulate the economy as we do this.  The choice in America is to give it to the rich, who won't spend much more, keep the idle hands idle and give just enough to the poor so they don't go crazy.  This is a recipe for slow economic growth.  It seems to me there is no good reason for it to be like this.

These thoughts were partly inspired by this discussion of Modern Monetary Theory.  Also this one.

Friday, January 1, 2021

What Is Socialism

Recently I've been watching commentary from Caleb Maupin that has me questioning some of my assumptions about what socialism means or what it should strive to be.  I got interested in Maupin after discovering that he's saying some things that I've come to realize over the last couple of years.  The first is that socialism works.  Really well.  It's absolutely bizarre that libertarians and others say things like "Socialism never works."  It flies in the face of reality, almost like you couldn't be more wrong.  Here's a commentary from Maupin discussing some of this.  If you are one of those people that says socialism never works, watch from the time stamp until about 32 minutes and see if you can avoid slipping into a state of cognitive dissonance.  Because if you can you might just be cured of this lie.

In any case Maupin has also shared some texts from Marx and Engels that suggest they do not have the same vision for the path forward that those who call themselves socialists in America have, and I just want to share those texts here.  Below is an excerpt from the Communist Manifesto.  The caps are mine for emphasis.  It's a statement about how we transition from a capitalist world to the world that Marx envisions, one of complete abundance and freedom.

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, BY DEGREE, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to CENTRALISE all instruments of production in the hands OF THE STATE, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE.

Now, who in the world does this sound like today?  Which nation has SOME power in the hands of the state, a centralized plan, and rapid increase in productive capacity?  That's China.  China, who pays massive homage to Marx all the time, who is lead by the Chinese Communist Party, who has 5 year economic plans and what it considers a dictatorship of the proletariat.  And yet on the left so many act like China isn't socialist, or act like the Soviet Union wasn't socialist.

Let's go further, here's some discussion from Engels.  First I'll set a little context. He is talking about how in former times there were no classes of people because the productive forces were primitive. All people must work to provide the minimum requirements for survival. Imagine a hunter gatherer society barely scraping by.  With time there are advances in efficiency so that it is not necessary to require all people to work in order to meet essential needs.  This leads to the emergence of classes. Some must continue to perform the work functions and stay as working class and some enter the bourgeoisie class that manages the affairs of society, direction of labor, state, law, science. As the efficiency of production advances further we reach the critical point where class divisions are actually a hindrance to continued growth.

This point is now reached. Their political and intellectual bankruptcy is scarcely any longer a secret to the bourgeoisie themselves. Their economic bankruptcy recurs regularly every 10 years. In every crisis, society is suffocated beneath the weight of its own productive forces and products, which it cannot use, and stands helpless, face-to-face with the absurd contradiction that the producers have nothing to consume, because consumers are wanting. The expansive force of the means of production bursts the bonds that the capitalist mode of production had imposed upon them. Their deliverance from these bonds is the one precondition for an UNBROKEN, CONSTANTLY-ACCELERATED DEVELOPMENT OF THE PRODUCTIVE FORCES, and therewith for a practically UNLIMITED INCREASE OF PRODUCTION ITSELF. Nor is this all. The socialized appropriation of the means of production does away, not only with the present artificial restrictions upon production, but also with the positive waste and devastation of productive forces and products that are at the present time the inevitable concomitants of production, and that reach their height in the crises. Further, it sets free for the community at large a mass of means of production and of products, by doing away with the senseless extravagance of the ruling classes of today, and their political representatives. The possibility of securing for every member of society, by means of socialized production, an existence not only fully sufficient materially, AND BECOMING DAY-BY-DAY MORE FULL, but an existence guaranteeing to all the free development and exercise of their physical and mental faculties — this possibility is now, for the first time, here, but it is here.

So we get this contradiction in capitalism of what might be called the glut. The absurd state where there is no consumption because there is too much stuff. Society is suffering under the weight of it's own productive forces. Like during the housing crash. People lose jobs because there are too many homes. And for this reason they can't afford a home. It would be like if I lost my job because there are too many cars produced.  We have such an abundance of cars that I lose my job, which is in automotive design. Now I can't buy a car because there are too many cars.  It's an insane contradiction, and when you burst the bonds of a system for profit that creates conditions where people can't buy cars because there are too many cars, now you can REALLY accelerate the productive forces.  Why should we let the need for a profit hold us back from making more and more things that could be beneficial to humanity? Breaking these bonds creates a constant acceleration of productive forces, leading to a life that materially is more full each day, ushers in that final stage of human development, a state of complete freedom for all, where now you only work because you feel like it, but the productive forces are so efficient you don't even need to work at all if you don't want to.

For Marx the goal is to increase the productive capacity of humanity so much that ultimately you exit socialism and enter communism (I'm using modern terminology here, not necessarily Marx's terminology, but this is the idea he is describing), which is a stage of maximum freedom. Do whatever you want, all your needs and wants are provided, you can work if you want, or not, and in the end there is no need for a state or for money even because there is no reason for fighting since everyone has everything they would need and more. China's goal is to increase the productive capacity of humanity so much, including neighboring countries, that conflict between them becomes less likely, and ultimately we reach a stage of hyper-abundance where class status and coercion are no longer a thing. Socialism is that transitional stage from capitalism/feudalism to communism where you might have some profits, you might have some billionaires, you will have some inequality for a period, but then ultimately that goes away and everyone has everything they want.

But as I say, many on the left don't see it that way, especially the left in the US.  They talk shit about places like China or the Soviet Union.  And this annoys the hell out of leftists in other countries.  Here's a great commentary from a Vietnamese woman.  You know what Americans?  You haven't achieved shit.  We can't even get a floor vote on Medicare for All, and even if we did and won Biden would veto it.  We can't even bring health care to our country in the middle of a pandemic.  We are living in a country that is rampaging to maintain imperialism throughout the world.  We can't even contain Covid.  Where China is bringing critical medical equipment to poor parts of the world we are bombing and starving them.  Where China sends it's military out to plant trees to address the climate crisis and has planted tens of billions, the US is tearing up climate agreements.  China is leading the world in solar, wind, and hydraulic energy development.  China is working on carbon free fusion energy.  China has just completed the most dramatic poverty reduction campaign in world history.

I've come to believe I have been misled by American leftists to think that socialism is about living in a shack, wearing rags, walking everywhere, maybe riding a bike.  Historically it appears it has more been about hyper-abundance, the exact opposite of what so many of the American left preach.  In fact it is capitalism that is holding back the advancements in economic growth, it is socialism that will set them free and cause the rapid growth, like we saw in the Soviet Union, like we see in China today.  Here's how Lenin put it.

This expropriation will make it possible for the productive forces to develop to a tremendous extent. And when we see how incredibly capitalism is already retarding this development, when we see how much progress could be achieved on the basis of the level of technique already attained, we are entitled to say with the fullest confidence that the expropriation of the capitalists will inevitably result in an enormous development of the productive forces of human society. But how rapidly this development will proceed, how soon it will reach the point of breaking away from the division of labor, of doing away with the antithesis between mental and physical labor, of transforming labor into "life's prime want"--we do not and cannot know.

This is the historical understanding of the transitional period after capitalism but preceding the period of the stateless, moneyless, classless society that Marx and Engels envision.  It's not running around in the woods in a loin cloth.  It's more like space ships and robots.  This vision of socialism is what drives places like China, Vietnam, Libya (before Qaddafi was murdered), Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela.  These are poor countries that have had stunning success making the lives of their people better, and they are driving to make them better still.  This is a more hopeful and optimistic view of the world that I think western leftists need to consider.  The fact that we have achieved so little for such a long period of time in comparison should give us pause.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

What I've Learned from COVID and Our Election

Some truths that I believe have been exposed over the past few months:

1-We do not have democracy in the US.

We have a system that is more like what exists in Iran.  The Ayatollah selects candidates that are acceptable to him that have slight differences.  The people are then permitted to make a selection among them.

Bernie Sanders was not acceptable to the Ayatollah.  The appearance of democracy is there to convince people they believe they can choose him.  But Shadow Incorporated is tallying the votes in Iowa and you never really get to be sure what happened.  Bernie may have gotten more votes, but Pete won.  The establishment ultimately will converge on a narrative that prevents a Sanders victory (he can't win, Biden can) and that will have a big impact.

If Bernie had been able to overcome this and win more delegates this wasn't going to matter.  The establishment was clear that they would have disregarded the will of the voters.

The big assist is the establishment media.  Imagine if Bernie had spent a whole month falsely claiming he had been arrested with Nelson Mandela?  Imagine if there was a credible accusation of rape against him?  What if Bernie was as confused as Biden?  What if Bernie was on video awkwardly sniffing the hair of little girls and women?  They attack Bernie because anonymous twitter fans are mean.  We're supposed to just trust Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow when they say Bernie's followers are much worse.  It won't matter that after the fact this will be disproven.  You can try to resist this.  It can be overcome in theory.  In practice though all the money you donate, the canvassing you do, the time you spend on the phone calling supporters, I'm coming to the point where I feel it is wasted.  We must fight with one hand tied behind our back.  I don't see that we can win.

2-Even I'm surprised at how inept the US response is.

We're the richest most powerful country in the world.  We were given plenty of advanced warning about this epidemic.  Frankly China's response was astonishingly swift (see this discussion of their overall timeline.)  The virus was spreading there for 2 months before they even knew it was human to human transmissible (January 15).

And yet China with a GDP/capita about 1/3 of ours was able to get in front of the epidemic and in about 2 months was able to bring their economy back online.  With their extremely dense population centers and massive public transportation.  In the middle of the biggest travel period of the year, in a time of year that is cold with higher transmittance rates for airborne illnesses.



Frankly I'm embarrassed.  But smart people saw it coming.  They knew we're going to have people that just won't go to the doctor for fear of the bills.  Like this.  We have a garbage system, and if this doesn't get people to ask some questions and demand some change I'm not sure what will.

3-Establishment Democrats do not care about anything but their own power.

What's great about Trump is like Homer Simpson he says out loud what he a smart person would keep to himself.  We know he's narcissistic and he's not good at hiding it.  For instance I watched this interview with Hannity.  He's concerned about letting the Covid patients that had been out of country into our country because it will make our numbers look bad.  A smarter politician would think that but keep it to himself.  You're supposed to appear to be more concerned about people's safety then any potential negative perception that comes from a meaningless scorecard, the number of people in America with corona virus.  But it's kind of nice that he tells us what he's thinking.  The truth is laid bare.

But it's sad to say Democrats think similarly.  This amazing report details how Democrats pushed for elections in the middle of this pandemic knowing that it would kill.  They did it because Biden is currently up in the polls and they want to close out the primary to ensure Sanders is blocked.  They go so far as threatening states with a reduced allotment of delegates if they delay their primary out of concern for the health of their citizens.

What about women's rights?  Democrats were very concerned about the rape allegation against Brett Kavanaugh.  What about Joe Biden?  Nah.  It's not even worth talking about.  In fact Biden surrogates are going back in time and deleting their past Kavanaugh tweets.  They have never cared about women's rights, they have never cared about gay rights, they don't care about environmental matters.  They adopt positions that are useful for obtaining votes and will abandon them as needed in service to power.

They are not different from Trump, they are just better at hiding it.  Malcolm X nailed this many years ago, I think he captures it perfectly.


4-Capitalism is savage.

In the city of Las Vegas, currently filled with empty hotel rooms, the homeless sleep in the parking lot.  An empty hospital sits unused because the owner and city can't come to terms.  The maker of an $11K ventilator threatens to sue because volunteers spent $1 on 3D printing materials to create a valve that saved lives.  Reports are that Trump is trying to gain exclusive access to a corona virus vaccine being developed in Germany.  They assure us it would be "affordable."

This type of capitalism is being forced on others.  Iran's health service has been devastated by sanctions and they are struggling with the corona virus.  But the US has tightened sanctions in the midst of this.  Sanctions in Venezuela are very deadly and dangerous during this pandemic.  Recent action by the US is to put out a mafia style indictment, offering to pay people up to $15M to provide information that can help lead to his arrest.  Bombing runs are ordered on Iraq.

In contrast China is sending plane loads of medical help to nations around the world.  In the US media China sending help is proof that they are evil.  Cuba is sending doctors and even taking in foreign sick people.  No apparent concern for how this will make them look statistically.

I understand how the owner of a building needs to make money, that hotels have constraints.  I'm not viewing this as proving that Americans are evil people.  We have a system that leads to action though that produces an evil outcome.  China has a system that is producing a positive outcome, whatever motives people want to attribute to them.  We have to be willing to think about that.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

I Have No Patience For These Snowflakes

Color me surprised, and yet not surprised, at this absurd focus on "mean" Bernie Bro tweets and comments.  This is a non-story.  The corporate media has a difficult time going after Sanders on policy because his policy positions are very popular.  And he's been consistent.  He wasn't against the war and supporting gay rights when it was popular only.  He did it when it was hard.  He hasn't been fighting to protect social security and the environment only recently when it was more politically popular.  He did it when it wasn't easy, when triangulators like Biden and Clinton wanted to be thought of as moderates and friends to Republicans, and they wanted the adulation of the corporate media.

So they focus on the fact that some people online are mean.  This is not news.  Everyone knows what the comment section of Youtube looks like.  Everyone knows how toxic it can be.  It's not for everyone.  If you don't want to be subject to that I understand.  But stay out of the public discourse on politics.  Don't criticize Trump.  There are people that like him that will call you names, attack you.  That's life.  If you want to get in the ring and throw punches expect punches to come back.  Some will be below the belt.

It is unbelievable to me how much time Warren and Maddow spend on this topic in her interview after ending her campaign.  Of course publishing people's home addresses and phone numbers is terrible.  But this kind of thing is going to happen to people on Bernie's side, to people on Warren's side.  I look at it a lot like late hits you see in the UFC.  What Jorge Masvidal did to Ben Askren was horrible.  But it's going to happen.  If you don't like it don't get involved in the fight business (I wouldn't.)

What is another level of absurdity are these people who refuse to vote for Sanders because of the mean tweeting Bernie Bros.  Here's a Biden surrogate who says she will not vote for Sanders over Trump if he's the nominee.  She is a super delegate.  She had a "horrible" experience in her mind.  She tweeted an edited video of Bernie saying nice things about the subway system in the Soviet Union, how the metro stations are beautiful (which is absolutely true).  His criticisms were taken out, so it makes him appear to be an apologist for Soviet communism.  Glenn Greenwald offered a modest tweet in rebuttal.  This led to Sanders supporters attacking her.  They called her a racist and a bitch.  Oooohhh.  It was so bad she felt she needed to resign her position as treasurer of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats.  Vanity Fair explains how much of a victim she is with this article.  The subtitle indicates that she "didn't survive with her job."  She resigned, her job was not taken from her, and it was an unpaid volunteer position.

Again, I'm not condoning what was said to her, it is wrong.  But we do have free speech in the US.  Bernie cannot prevent this.  A lot of Bernie supporters are angry people I suppose.  Many are probably outsiders.  A lot of us think Bernie gets unfair treatment in the media and this is aggravating.  Some overreact.

But people are dying from lack of health care.  The planet is on track to not be habitable for humans for large areas of the globe.  There are so many issues that are far more important than the mean tweets coming from Bernie Bros.  The corporate media is making this an issue because it's hard to get after Bernie on policy.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Election Thoughts-Something is Wrong

I'm pleasantly surprised by the success of Sanders once again in this election cycle.  Will he win the democratic nomination?  It certainly looks like it.  People are talking a lot about how the establishment could steal it from him.  It's possible, but my instinct tells me they won't go to that far.  He'll win the nomination.

Even more surprised than me is the establishment.  Here's a great video watching through time as MSNBC variously downplays him, acts like he has no chance, only to come to the horrifying realization that he's becoming the front runner.  Today is the day after the SC primary and the media is delving back into fantasy land thinking Biden can stop him.  This guy.  I don't see it.

A lot of the establishment thinks Bernie won't be able to beat Trump.  No way the population will go that far, they say.  As if universal health care is so bizarre, or raising the minimum wage.  What is true though is that Bernie is a departure from the way we currently do things.  He's different.  He's change.

But isn't this obviously what the electorate wants and has wanted for quite some time?  The ruling class I think understood this in 2008 when they offered up Obama.  Obama wasn't really much of a change.  But he felt like change.  A black president is at least superficial change.  But I think people were a bit disillusioned with Obama.  He wasn't real change.  Hillary I think once again demonstrated that the ruling class knew that change is needed.  They tried the superficial "first woman president" method that got Obama elected.  But it was against Trump.  Whatever you think of Trump he's real change.  Real change beat superficial change.

And now we're 3 years into Trump and while there has been change I don't think it's the kind of change people were looking for.  I think this Ted talk is insightful in terms of recognizing that we have systemic issues that cause depression and anxiety.  Our problems are not the result of illegal immigrants, Muslims, minorities.  This is Trump at least offering the population some kind of answer for their problems.  He's attacked these groups, but it hasn't made life better for ordinary people.  I think at a deep level people understand that something needs to change still.

And that is why I think all the data we have, imperfect as it is, is telling us that Bernie would be among the best positioned to beat Trump.  Further I think if he does win and is able to successfully implement his agenda his popularity will skyrocket.  Because not only would this mean change, it is the kind of change that I think will help Americans start addressing their serious problems.

For me the most important thing is it means the planet would have a chance.  I'm not sure if we are too late, but I think we are not.  If we organize and focus we can prevent catastrophic damage.  Sanders means we'd have a president that would at least try.  That's real change.  We desperately need it.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

100 Million Dead From Socialism

Socialists need a better answer when critics raise this issue.  "But that wasn't REAL socialism" or "I only mean Denmark."  There is some validity to these replies but for a lot of people I think this isn't good enough.  We need to address it head on.  That's what I intend to do here.

Any system will produce avoidable death.  The question is whether the socialist system produced more death than the capitalist system over a comparably sized population and time period.  I would submit that it hasn't come close.

If we accept the 100 million figure from 1917 to 1990 that is about 14 million dead every decade.  If that makes socialism a failure what do we do with 1.8 billion dead in India alone under British capitalist domination from 1765 to 1938.  That's over 100M every decade.  For 17 decades.

And it wasn't accidental death that the British worked to avoid and mitigate, as in China during the Great Famine.  The Great Famine is regarded as a failure of planning and management, not a deliberate effort to starve Chinese peasants.  The British actively starved people.  This article talks about how the British conducted experiments to see how few calories the people could survive on, then implemented that knowledge throughout the country.  They report of human skeletons walking around doing the work required by the British.  Churchill knowingly diverted food away from Indians he knew were starving, and said it was their fault for breeding like rabbits.

China and India achieved independence at about the same time, with India pursuing a more soft capitalist approach with a fair amount of government intervention in the economy and China pursuing a more aggressively socialist agenda.  China did suffer the Great Famine, but also had some success in terms of rural education, health, and food programs.  The result was 39 million excess deaths per decade in India as compared to China.  This again exceeds all deaths attributed to socialism from all countries.

We're talking about one country and the death toll dwarfs that of all of socialism.  We haven't touched on Vietnam, Iraq, Guatemala, Indonesia, East Timor, Kenya, the Congo, Korea, Iran.  If this is our metric capitalism is an incredible failure.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Faux Concern for Venezuelans


When a country elects a government that US policy makers don't prefer the response often involves things like sanctions and embargoes.  Our government collectively punishes people for voting the wrong way in a free election.

The goal is to cause collective suffering.  This in turn can lead to a change in government if the people either blame the government for the suffering or simply give up and elect the government preferred by US investors to stop the pain.

Sanctions can approach genocidal levels.  In fact in Iraq two consecutive directors of the UN Oil for Food Program resigned because they regarded it as genocidal.  Madeline Albright was confronted with the magnitude of the collective suffering.  At the time of this question it was thought to be 500 thousand children starved.  She said it was worth it.

In Venezuela it's been extremely harsh.  Blocking insulin and malaria medication?  Now we're implementing additional measures to prevent their efforts to feed their own poor?  This is atrocious.  Jeffrey Sachs estimates 40K dead Venezuelans already.

US propagandists want people to blame the Maduro government for this suffering.  But nobody would fall for that, right?  I mean, maybe you might fall for that the first time it's tried, maybe the second.  Or third.  But again and again and again?  Humans can't be that naive.  Can they?

Of course they can.  Here's my friend HP.  He's so upset to see suffering Venezuelans and ANGRY that people don't finally come to realize how terrible socialism is.  Even though Venezuela is not a socialist country.  I'm baffled.  And so is Jeffrey Sachs as he reveals in this interview.  Remember, the sanctions are designed to produce this outcome.  We see the outcome.  We don't recognize sanctions as the cause?

Meanwhile in Bolivia the president and candidate who won the most votes is pressured to leave the country.  His VP is arrested.  A right wing politician who's party won very few votes has assumed the presidency and has signed a measure permitting the military to put down protesters by lethal force.  Which they are now doing.  And in Venezuela Juan Guaido, who recently attempted an overthrow of the elected Maduro government with the support of the US, the country imposing collective suffering on Venezuelans, is still campaigning for insurrection across Venezuela.  Guess which country is described as a dictatorship?