Latin America

The Planned Economy

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Venezuelan jefe Hugo Chavez is seizing a shopping mall under construction in Caracas and replacing it with…something or the other:

"We're going to expropriate that and turn it into a hospital—I don't know—a school, a university," Chavez said to applause during his Sunday television and radio program, "Hello, President."

NEXT: Yes We Can Spend

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  1. “”We’re going to expropriate that and turn it into a hospital — I don’t know — a school, a university,” Chavez said to applause during his Sunday television and radio program, “Hello, President.””

    Ok, WHY?

  2. “President Chavez further said, ‘I read that von Mises guy about calculation being impossible in the socialist commonwealth, so we’ve decided to wing it instead.'”

  3. In other news, Chavez is a commie douche.

    Oh wait, that’s not news.

  4. Ok, WHY?

    From the main post’s AP story…

    “How are we going to create socialism turning over vital public spaces to Sambil?” said Chavez, who has nationalized Venezuela’s largest phone company, electric utilities and oil fields.

    From a separate story

    “The construction of socialism cannot deliver vital areas of the people to shopping and excessive consumerism,” said the Venezuelan President, who is trying to instill what he calls 21st Century Socialism in the oil-rich nation.

    (That second story also links to pictures of the mall and video of Chavez’s remarks.)

  5. [has to be said]

    Eminent domain, nationalizing “important” companies… we sure that Chavez isn’t in power in the US?

  6. I just hope whoever shoots this guy has a cool middle name.

  7. Are Chavez and Robert Mugabe pen-pals?

  8. I think someone is going of his rocker now that oil prices are plummeting. This is the recession’s silver lining. Plummeting oil prices means tools like Chavez, Ahmadinajad, and Putin all of a sudden find out they’re nation is headed towards bankruptcy since they planned their budgets around $150/barrell oil that they pronounced would last “forever”.

    Have fun when gas hits 99 cents a gallon this spring, assholes! It’s not over yet!

  9. Right, ’cause we all need more shopping malls. Schools and hospitals bad, shopping malls good

  10. @BDB-I gues the thought of impending poverty and misery in poor countries makes you happy.

  11. Nice to know you assholes have n’t changed in my absence.

  12. co,

    I’m not H. L. Mencken’s biggest fan, but in this context I feel the need to paraphrase Mencken:

    If you don’t like Dr. Quack’s Cancer Salve, you must be in favor of letting Uncle Julius die!

  13. BoscoH, I think there should definitely be a study done on the corrolation of using your middle name along with your first name and becoming an assassin. There definitely seems to be a large amount of three-named assassins.

  14. @MM-Believe it or not, Keynesian economics actually does work. Look at the 1940s and 1950s for reference. Of course, it would so terribly rock your little libertarian world that you’re not going to, and instead are going to ad hominem the argument.

  15. Can we get a moderator please!

  16. Are Chavez and Robert Mugabe pen-pals?

    Chavez really isn’t in the same league as Mugabe (or, for that matter, Omar al-Bashir).

  17. “concerned observer | December 22, 2008, 8:48pm | #
    @BDB-I gues the thought of impending poverty and misery in poor countries makes you happy.”

    It doesn’t. Which is why I’m glad to see those particular regimes have trouble.

  18. Can we get a moderator please!

    For what? Yes, C.O. is missing the point of the post. He is doing this deliberately, to get a rise out of people. You’re not obliged to take the bait.

    As far as I’m concerned, C.O. can troll all he wants, as long as he doesn’t return to his occasional habit of carrying on an argument with his Other Identity. If he does that I’ll blow the whistle.

  19. Believe it or not, Keynesian economics actually does work. Look at the 1940s and 1950s for reference.

    By all means, let’s look at the 1940s and 1950s, and do so without half-assed, post hoc explanations.

    Short version: Roosevelt kicked out the hard line new dealers around the start of the war, installed a bunch of businessmen to run the show, stopped his rampage against businesses because he needed them for the war effort, and then he died and was replaced by a far more moderate Harry Truman.

    Far from a triumph of free markets, but also far from a vindication of Keynesian economics.

    Next!

  20. @Jesse Walker-What the hell are you talking about an “other identity”? It’s not my fault that immature assholes think that spoofing is fun, or that HnR doesn’t have registration.

  21. as long as he doesn’t return to his occasional habit of carrying on an argument with his Other Identity

    Would it by chance be an OtherIdentity?

  22. @trollslayer-What a nice, fanciful version of history. Real version:
    1.Extreme laissez-faire economic policies lead to recession of 1929.
    2. Conservative economic policies deepen recession.
    3. New Deal Keynesian policies begin economic recovery.
    4. FDR backs off New Deal in 1938 by cutting spending, causing a new recession.
    5. World War II prompts the high level of government spending needed to shock the economy out of its funk.

  23. Hey, I have a cool (or at least, unpronounceable) middle name and no intention of assassinating anyone until ammo prices come down.

    BTW, isn’t this when Lefiti comes on to defend Hugo Boss-for-life?

  24. What the hell are you talking about an “other identity”?

    I mean the identity that shares the IP address associated with the very first “concerned observer” post. And the second IP address associated with “concerned observer.” And the third…

  25. For what?

    Increased signal to noise ratio. Loads of threads have been derailed by lefiti etc recently.

    Some of the trolling stuff was amusing (e.g. “Neil” on the beer thread), but lefiti et al are just a waste of bandwidth and an annoyance.

  26. “How are we going to create socialism turning over vital public spaces to Sambil?”

    A government of the people and for the people, just so long as it isn’t by the people.

  27. Last line of the article: “The president did not say how much the government might pay the mall’s owners in compensation.”

    As if that’s going to happen. Why even mention it in the article? It just gives the reader the idea that some type of remuneration is likely to occur.

  28. What a nice, fanciful version of history. Real version

    Right, Herbert Hoover, right up there with Bastiat and Smith as a champion of the free market. “Conservative economic policies” – again, laugh test: Fail. Troll: successful like a cockroach.

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  30. Can we get a moderator please!

    What, Hit and Run has moderators now? Haven’t been here much for two months or so – I must have missed so much. 😉

  31. I mean the identity that shares the IP address associated with the very first “concerned observer” post. And the second IP address associated with “concerned observer.” And the third…

    His computer could be very promiscuous. Not that I’m judging; I’m very open-minded.

  32. To tear down a mall that’s 3/4 built and replace it with a public building is great stimulus.

  33. To tear down a mall that’s 3/4 built and replace it with a public building is great stimulus.

    I thought the point was to take the building intact having just been built with private dollars and re-purpose it to another use.

    Not that that’s much better than leveling the thing, but still.

  34. You guys are way smarter than me, so correct me if I’m wrong:

    Wasn’t the economic boom in the late 40’s and 50’s largely caused by the Marshal Plan?

    I mean, being able to say “I’ll be happy to loan money to your destroyed economy, but you have to buy all your products from me.” has GOT to do good things for the economy.

  35. troll slayer | December 22, 2008, 10:31pm | #

    “What a nice, fanciful version of history. Real version”

    Right, Herbert Hoover, right up there with Bastiat and Smith as a champion of the free market.

    TS: I am afraid that you are being far too subtle for the troll. I doubt he knows who Bastiat is. For him, that is truly a ‘thing not seen.’

    Jesse: Do I get a tip credit?

  36. Not that that’s much better than leveling the thing, but still.

    Sure it is. Chavez get’s a building without having to pay for it. If he does this often enough, it might even increase the amount of time he is in power.

    Granted, nothing is going to come of this. In all likelihood, he thought of this during his 4 hour Sunday propaganda session. He’s going to find out that there’s no money to do what he wants with the building and (instead of being a perfectly good shopping mall) its going to sit there and decay.

  37. “We’re going to expropriate that and turn it into a hospital — I don’t know — a school, a university,”

    a presidental palace…an army barracks…a dacha for a top crony

  38. @CO:

    Yes, because building more hospitals and schools is the best way to improve healthcare and education! Improved efficiency, training etc has nothing to do with it!

  39. “We’re going to expropriate that and turn it into a hospital — I don’t know — a school, a university,”

    Maybe Chavez should get his hand on those sage economists that Joe mentioned in another thread, those that can find out the “true” value of a public good . . . no matter what Chavez decides to build at the end.

  40. Believe it or not, Keynesian economics actually does work. Look at the 1940s and 1950s for reference.

    WHAT should I look for, C.O.?

  41. Francisco Torres,

    Clearly you need to get with CO’s program. Plan our way out of this recession! LOL.

    By the way, props to the beating you gave joe earlier.

  42. Damn! Screwed my own name up.

  43. Dello | December 23, 2008, 12:18am | #
    You guys are way smarter than me, so correct me if I’m wrong:

    Wasn’t the economic boom in the late 40’s and 50’s largely caused by the Marshal Plan?

    I mean, being able to say “I’ll be happy to loan money to your destroyed economy, but you have to buy all your products from me.” has GOT to do good things for the economy.

    I can’t blame you for having this view as it is the one we are all taught in high school and college but
    like many other things, it serves as a reinforcement of a certain propaganda more than it does instruction.

    here

    Tyler Cowen, economist, has said that nations receiving the most aid from the Marshall Plan (Britain, Sweden, Greece) saw the least returns and grew the least between 1947 and 1955. Those nations who received little (e.g. Austria) grew the most.

    When he looked at West Germany’s economy from 1945 to 1951, German analyst Werner Abelshauser decided that foreign aid was not needed to start the recovery or to keepit going. Cowen found that the economic recoveries of France, Italy, and Belgium, started before the Marshall Plan. Belgium relied heavily on free market economic policies after its liberation in 1944, and had the fastest recovery. It also did not have the severe housing and food shortages seen in the rest of continental Europe. [1]

    No doubt, the Marshall plan did benefit corporations, as it represented the largest transfer of tax payer monies to them in the form of corporate welfare up to its time. However, don’t confuse this with the creation of wealth that only occurs with increases in productivity. This was a redistribution.

    Note: I looked up the original Cowen paper but had trouble finding it. Probably because it is late and I’m nursing a case of Insomnia.

  44. Hugo’s always good for a smile

  45. Concerned observer has to be a spoof.

    But I feel like playing this morning so I’ll take a shot at it.

    Noted with interest: Concerned observer, like joe, seems awfully hypersensitive about criticisms of Hugo Chavez. That doesn’t make sense, really, because I’ve been told that we’re supposed to regard American leftism and Chavez’ bizarre dadaist quasisocialism as completely separate entities with no relationship whatsoever. They aren’t even supposed to be on the same continuum. But if that’s true, why so sensitive, babydoll? Shouldn’t you just leap up and denounce Chavez in an even louder voice than your opponents’, the way I do to Bush?

    Also noted with interest: Concerned observer thinks that it’s good to arbitrarily steal a half-completed building that others have invested their time, effort and money into, because People Need Hospitals.

    It may be that my second observation explains my first. I’m not sure.

  46. Hey, Jesse, while I can make some pretty good guesses regarding concerned observer’s other identities, do you mind revealing them? It’s not like it’ll take the fun out of it–it just gives us another stick to beat the troll with.

  47. You’re not obliged to take the bait

    Jesse is indeed wise.

  48. Hey, Jesse, while I can make some pretty good guesses regarding concerned observer’s other identities, do you mind revealing them? It’s not like it’ll take the fun out of it–it just gives us another stick to beat the troll with.

    Maybe it’s just the lack of capitalization and shared ideology, but I always assumed that classwarrior and concerned observer were the same entity. Is it just me?

  49. Maybe it’s just the lack of capitalization and shared ideology, but I always assumed that classwarrior and concerned observer were the same entity. Is it just me?

    That seems to be a good guess. I’m just curious to see if my personal guesses are correct, and I think I might end up surprised, which intrigues me.

    Jesse did imply that c.o. was arguing, not agreeing, with his other identity. Which would sort of disqualify classwarrior:

    C.O. can troll all he wants, as long as he doesn’t return to his occasional habit of carrying on an argument with his Other Identity.

    And of course, the other question is: is Cesar at all responsible?

  50. Alan,
    I believe dello was asking if the Marshall Plan stimulated the US economy — how well it helped Europe is a separate issue.

    (And, not having seen the Cowen paper, at first blush I think his results may be affected by which countries were physically destroyed the most during the war. If you’ve taken a huge amount of Allied bombing, and you’re starting from nothing, faster initial GDP growth seems possible independent of how much US aid you receive.)

    Can economic stimulus in the Keynesian sense ever have a positive effect on growth? I don’t know, and I don’t think there’s any final consensus yet, but I have some doubts. Everyone’s favorite example — US growth in the 40’s and 50’s — is complicated by the fact that productivity also grew (wartime inventions, plastics, and a bit later the agricultural revolution.) I’ve never seen (and I think Tyler Cowen has also asked this question) one reasonably conclusive example of Keynesian economic stimulus actually working.

    I doubt concerned observer is a spoof — some people actually do write and think like that. Look, observer, if you are real: you wouldn’t really want to live in Venezuela. Think a little bit before defending ideas that harm real people.

  51. dbcooper,

    Greasemonkey
    Reason filter

    Do you own damn censoring.

    Whats a lefiti?

  52. Speaking of the reason filter, I finally added concerned observer to it. I dont know why I hadnt before.

  53. Rose,

    And, not having seen the Cowen paper, at first blush I think his results may be affected by which countries were physically destroyed the most during the war. If you’ve taken a huge amount of Allied bombing, and you’re starting from nothing, faster initial GDP growth seems possible independent of how much US aid you receive.

    That wouldn’t explain Austria, really.

    Wasn’t Austria largely untouched, due to its location vis-a-vis allied bombing, its bloodless conquest / Anschluss, and the fact that it was never a contested theatre for the advance of either the allies or the Red Army?

    One other odd point, to the board at large – I never realized that Sweden got Marshall Plan funds. What the hell for? They weren’t a belligerent. They were a pro-Axis neutral, getting rich off exporting ore for German gold. They had no war damage to rebuild, and no scars of occupation to paper over. Why not just send Marshall Plan funds to Franco while you’re at it?

  54. robc, thanks for pointing it out. Assume that this is the reason.com hit and run userscript in question:

    http://herzogravenproductions.com/incif/

  55. BTW, even if you dont want to filter, the incif script is handy because it will fill in your name etc for you.

    Prevents posting under a joke name that you meant to just use once.

  56. Wait a minute…
    No capitalization, roundabout elocutions…

    Concerned Observer is dhex!

  57. C.O. can troll all he wants, as long as he doesn’t return to his occasional habit of carrying on an argument with his Other Identity.

    Thanks for confirming, Jesse. I had suspected that the latest batch of trolls where the sock puppets of other, regular posters.

  58. He is doing this deliberately, to get a rise out of people. You’re not obliged to take the bait.

    Thank you.

  59. Jesse,

    Some people do share internet connections (and thus IP addresses) even in this day and age. Perhaps CO just has another Reason fan for a roommate.

  60. Aresen: Sorry about that. Hat tip!

    Chubulor: I don’t think that’s the case here, especially after c.o. reached for the spoofing defense rather than the roommate defense. (Unless this is a You’ve Got Mail/”Pina Calada Song” sort of situation where they’re arguing about economics online and making sweet, sweet love all night, each one never dreaming that his lover and his foe are the same.)

  61. this is a You’ve Got Mail/”Pina Calada Song” sort of situation where they’re arguing about economics online and making sweet, sweet love all night, each one never dreaming that his lover and his foe are the same.)

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  62. Okay. Here are my guesses:

    MNG is CO and classwarrior. I wasn’t around for Cesar so I can’t count him.

    Joe seems to be real and no one else. No one does battle on these threads like him.

    LoneWacko is a stand alone troll.

    Edward, Neil, and Lefiti seems to be some middle aged Jewish worker who is having a mid life crisis.

    Juanita seems to be a combo of posters.

    I invite all to give their guesses.

  63. One other odd point, to the board at large – I never realized that Sweden got Marshall Plan funds. What the hell for? They weren’t a belligerent. They were a pro-Axis neutral, getting rich off exporting ore for German gold. They had no war damage to rebuild, and no scars of occupation to paper over. Why not just send Marshall Plan funds to Franco while you’re at it?

    Sweden is physically close to Russia.

    QED.

  64. The president also has urged Venezuelans to shed their materialism and their taste for designer clothes, sport utility vehicles, Scotch whisky and plastic surgery.

    Luxuries? We ain’t got no luxuries. We don’t need no luxuries! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ luxuries!

  65. How dare you say I am a combo of other posters! You libertarian drug fiends are really messed up. I am a real person with real feelings, trying to protect this world from crazies like you!

  66. Nada: Neil was Cesar. More importantly, Joe and MNG are not trolls. They come here to argue in good faith.

  67. More importantly, Joe and MNG are not trolls. They come here to argue in good faith.

    Sure about that?

  68. Juanita seems to be a combo of posters.

    Nay, nay I say.

    Though spoofed on occasion, there is only one true Juanita, the love of my life. Unrequited
    love gives me the uncanny ability to immediately tell if a poster is the temptress Juanita or a fake.

    Trust me this once.

  69. Juanita | December 23, 2008, 3:00pm –

    The real deal.
    E-mail me, my internet love.

    Although you are with someone else,
    I want to have my say
    Without invading your domain
    Or scaring you away.

    I respect the choice you made
    And all that you decide,
    But I would just like you to know
    I want you by my side.

    As a lake deep in a wood
    Awaits a cool, fresh breeze,
    I will wait, a patient eye,
    While you do as you please

  70. Jesse Walker,

    Damn! I was throwing joe in there as a joke(I rarely agree with him but I admire his ability to throw the whole argument under a bus rather than admit defeat) but I was so sure MNG was posting as others! My apologies to all especially J sub D. Just don’t let Juanita catch you abusin’ drugs, mkay.

  71. Economist is my libertarian conservative alter ego (or am I economist’s left-populist alter ego?). In reality, I’m not a psychotic left populist or a libertarian conservative. I just have a sick sense of humor.

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