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Posts tagged socialism
12:22 pm - Thu, May 23, 2013
52 notes

** To wit:

As Dan Gross explains, the Venezuelan T.P. shortage is a fairly textbook case of well-intentioned safety-net planning run amok. Venezuela wanted to make sure toilet paper and other basic staples were available to the nation’s poor during a period of high inflation. Rather than simply subsidize purchases with an American-style food stamp program, it implemented strict price controls, putting a ceiling on how much manufacturers could charge consumers for basic goods.

Those price controls lowered producers’ profits and took away much of their incentive to produce. And combined with fairly strict currency controls that have made it harder for Venezuelan companies to receive foreign supplies and equipment, the result has been “shortages of staples like milk, meat and toilet paper,” as the Times put it last year.

Socialist logic at its finest.

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4:30 pm - Wed, Feb 27, 2013

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2:12 pm - Wed, Feb 13, 2013
2 notes

There are now reports of severe food shortages in Venezuela, including milk, bread, sugar, poultry, dairy products and cooking oil. Vice President Nicolás Maduro—running the country in the absence of ailing President Hugo Chávez—has threatened Venezuela’s businessmen with unspecified punishment for “hoarding food.” Last week the government devalued the nation’s currency, bringing even more misery to consumers.

None of this should be surprising. Shortages are inevitable when socialist governments interfere with free markets through price and other controls. Then government officials blame the growers, manufacturers, distributors or retailers that the government itself is bankrupting.

What do Mr. Maduro’s threats portend for Venezuelans? For clues, examine the recent history of other socialist or Marxist governments including Cuba, the model that Messrs. Chávez, Maduro and their chavista disciples proudly admit to follow.

First the population cannot find food to eat and thus protests spread. Heads of households buy scarce edibles on the black market, trying to feed their families but becoming de facto lawbreakers in the process. The government denounces the shopkeepers and protesters as “counterrevolutionaries” and “agents of American imperialism.”

People and money flee the country, beginning with the job creators: financiers, investors, professionals, the highly educated, entrepreneurs, managers and eventually the workers and peasants in whose name the “revolution” is carried out… .

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3:53 pm - Wed, Jul 11, 2012
48 notes

Obama the Socialist? Not Even Close

"Cuckoo’s Nest" director Milos Forman:

WHEN I was asked to direct “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” my friends warned me not to go anywhere near it.

The story is so American, they argued, that I, an immigrant fresh off the boat, could not do it justice. They were surprised when I explained why I wanted to make the film. To me it was not just literature but real life, the life I lived in Czechoslovakia from my birth in 1932 until 1968. The Communist Party was my Nurse Ratched, telling me what I could and could not do; what I was or was not allowed to say; where I was and was not allowed to go; even who I was and was not.

Now, years later, I hear the word “socialist” being tossed around by the likes of Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others. President Obama, they warn, is a socialist. The critics cry, “Obamacare is socialism!” They falsely equate Western European-style socialism, and its government provision of social insurance and health care, with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism. It offends me, and cheapens the experience of millions who lived, and continue to live, under brutal forms of socialism.

My sister-in-law’s father, Jan Kunasek, lived in Czechoslovakia all his life. He was a middle-class man who ran a tiny inn in a tiny village. One winter night in 1972, during a blizzard, a man, soaked to the bone, awakened him at 2 in the morning. The man looked destitute and, while asking for shelter, couldn’t stop cursing the Communists. Taking pity, the elderly Mr. Kunasek put him up for the night.

A couple of hours later, Mr. Kunasek was awakened again, this time by three plainclothes policemen. He was arrested, accused of sheltering a terrorist and sentenced to several years of hard labor in uranium mines. The state seized his property. When he was finally released, ill and penniless, he died within a few weeks. Years later we learned that the night visitor had been working for the police. According to the Communists, Mr. Kunasek was a class enemy and deserved to be punished….

Marx believed that we could wipe out social inequities and Lenin tested those ideas on the Soviet Union. It was his dream to create a classless society. But reality set in, as it always does. And the results were devastating. Blood flowed through Russia’s streets. The Soviet elite usurped all privileges; sycophants were allowed some and the plebes none. The entire Eastern bloc, including Czechoslovakia, followed miserably.

I’m not sure Americans today appreciate quite how predatory socialism was. It was not — as Mr. Obama’s detractors suggest — merely a government so centralized and bloated that it hobbled private enterprise: it was a spoils system that killed off everything, all in the name of “social justice.”

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7:07 pm - Thu, Jul 5, 2012
102 notes

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11:12 am - Tue, Apr 24, 2012
1 note

Dept. of Bolshevik Nostalgia

Timothy Noah, Slate:

Why should we care about income inequality? A century ago, the answer (at least for the ruling class) was, “Because if we don’t, there will be a violent socialist revolution.” Today we don’t have to worry about that so much, for some reason, so we need to address the question more directly.

"For some reason…" 

It’s a complete mystery!

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9:33 am - Wed, Jan 11, 2012
8 notes

Yes, it’s true that unlike some Republicans, Democrats don’t “enjoy firing people.” They enjoy “investing” your money in exploding electric vehicles, bullet trains and other highly unprofitable but morally satisfying economic misadventures. Venture socialism is certainly empathetic.

Venture capitalism, on the other hand, happens to be useful.

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9:27 am - Thu, Nov 17, 2011
5 notes
The wealthy but uncharitable socialist … ceases to be a mystery once you understand relative prices. Voluntary charity is costly to the giver, but voting for charity … is virtually free.

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1:17 pm - Thu, Sep 15, 2011
3 notes

Yes, They Are Convincing Themselves

Thoseboringpolitics recently asked:

Here’s my question to everyone who participates in this name-calling-fest: Why? Honestly, how is it constructive? Who are you convincing? Yourself? Do you need to convince yourself by calling others who may disagree with you “scumbags” or “oppressors” or “retards”?

The answer is: Yes, they are convincing themselves.

"Politics is kind of a team sport," as former DNC chairman Tim Kaine once put it. And as Jonas Kaplan, a UCLA psych professor, put it five years ago, “in the political process, people come to decisions early on and then spend the rest of the time making themselves feel good about their decision.”

In short, we pick our side — and then look for reasons.

Hence: confirmation bias. Evidence that our side is right? Reblog without a second thought! Evidence that our side is wrong? Quick! Find some information to disprove it!

Hence: Ignoring our own side’s foibles while scrutinizing the foibles of the other side. Notice how conservatives are digging into the Solyndra scandal, while liberals are more interested in Rick Perry’s cozy ties with a Merck representative? Notice how Dan Quayle’s “potatoe” gaffe proved he was a total idiot, while Obama’s “57 states” gaffe proved nothing other than that he was tired? (Or was it the other way around?)

Hence: the fascination with the diabolical influences behind the other team’s politicians — whether it’s Barack Obama and Saul Alinsky, or the Bush administration and the Straussian cabal.

Hence: subtly different ways of describing the same thing. When Side A rehashes old ideas, it is just cobbling together a “greatest hits package drawn from the Republican hymnal.” But when Side B does the same thing, it is deploying “a very tested set of strategies.”

Hence: Name-calling, when people are short on time or simply lack the vocabulary or resources to gin up more sophisticated arguments as to why they were right all along. If the other side is a bunch of scumbags, then obviously we made the right choice when we cast our allegiance with our own side … all other evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

From an evolutionary-psychology standpoint, this all makes perfect sense. Maintaining our hostility against those who are not part of our in-group is a good strategy to safeguard the tribe’s resources and protect our offspring. Today, of course, we play in-group/out-group games all the time in sports**. And of course politics. As UC San Diego prof Gary Jacobsen put it in 2008, “Party identification is part of your social identity, in the same way you relate to your religion or ethnic group or baseball team.”

We are all cavemen still. It’s harmless enough, in sports.

______

** (see The Onion’s excellent commentary, “You Will Suffer Humiliation When The Sports Team From My Area Defeats The Sports Team From Your Area”)  …

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2:55 pm - Mon, Sep 5, 2011
731 notes
cognitivedissonance:

John Steinbeck understood the bootstrap myth is just that - a myth.

 Actually, it is not a myth. A quick look at the Forbes 400 list finds some inheritors and some investors, but an awful lot of people who got very rich via their bootstraps: Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner…
And when it comes to people like Steve Jobs and Page/Brin, just think how much richer they have made all of us in the process.

cognitivedissonance:

John Steinbeck understood the bootstrap myth is just that - a myth.

 Actually, it is not a myth. A quick look at the Forbes 400 list finds some inheritors and some investors, but an awful lot of people who got very rich via their bootstraps: Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey, Ted Turner…

And when it comes to people like Steve Jobs and Page/Brin, just think how much richer they have made all of us in the process.

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11:48 am - Sat, Sep 3, 2011
71 notes

distressedpatriot:

Milton Friedman- Greed 

One of my most favorite videos.

This comment on it from youtube sums up my thoughts completely:

“He (Milton) was man of integrity. I have never seen him slander someone. Maybe contradict their opinions but he never insults their intelligence or their back round. He was such a fantastic man. Thank you Milton, you did more than teach us about Economics… You taught us about ourselves.”

(Source: , via standforliberty)

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8:59 am - Fri, Aug 12, 2011
3 notes
Note Trotskyite in lower left. Funny how things never change! (The cartoon, btw, is from the Chicago Trib, circa 1934.)

Note Trotskyite in lower left. Funny how things never change! (The cartoon, btw, is from the Chicago Trib, circa 1934.)

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