Prosperity Cities For Venezuela

Capitalists and capitalism can save the South American country.


Lovers of socialism didn't like my column last week. I wrote that Venezuela's collapse shows the cluelessness of celebrities like Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky, who'd praised Venezuela's leader.

Chomsky called me "an utter coward" for mocking him and said he expected "an abject apology."

He won't get one. As Venezuelan-born filmmaker Thor Halvorssen puts it, "Chomsky provided cover for a regime where 11,500 infants died from lack of medical care."

But assigning blame matters less than what should be done now. After the regime collapses, what comes next?

How about trying capitalism?

That's what Erick Brimen suggests. Brimen grew up in Venezuela, then moved to America, where he started NeWAY Capital, a firm dedicated to creating what he calls "prosperity cities," small places that create "the environment for success."

Venezuela desperately needs that. "Last week I helped my mother escape," writes Brimen. "The violence is getting too intense, and, in one of the most agriculturally rich countries in the world, it is… increasingly difficult to find food."

Capitalists like Brimen aren't just motivated by greed. They want to rescue others from the tragedy of centrally planned economies.

"Living in Venezuela made me realize the traditional approach to politics is too often ineffective," explains Brimen. "If successful countries, like Venezuela and Greece, can be turned into basket cases by demagogues promising things they can't deliver, we have a systemic problem… We must find a new approach."

His plan: Because it's usually impossible to convince central planners to give up power, just get them to give up a little bit of power, in one small location at a time, as an experiment.

Similar ideas have been pushed with different names—free trade zones, empowerment zones, charter cities—but I like Brimen's term: prosperity cities.

These are small places where government leaves people mostly free to pursue their own interests. Government keeps the peace, protects people's bodies and property, but doesn't impose high taxes or burdensome rules.

Hong Kong is a prosperity city. It was once little more than a rock in the sea near China, but because the island was ruled by the British when Communists took over the rest of China, Hong Kong became a haven for freedom-seeking people.

The British enforced rule of law—they punished people who stole or killed. But then they did something unusual, something wonderful, something politicians rarely do: They left people alone.

By doing that, the British allowed Chinese entrepreneurs to try new things. Free people created astounding wealth. By the end of the 20th century, Hong Kong had a higher per capita income than Great Britain itself.

So we know what works: rule of law, plus economic freedom. Yet billions remain in poverty because politicians won't allow them that freedom.

In poor countries, bureaucrats micromanage almost everything. Writes Brimen, "Resolving a dispute in Sub-Saharan Africa takes 655 days. It is no surprise Sub-Saharan Africa has remained mired in poverty."

Today Dubai could be called a prosperity city. Dubai is not free in all the ways I would like, but because the Dubai International Financial Centre is mostly free, it became rich in a decade.

Even the Communist Chinese experiment with free zones. "Shenzhen, for example, grew from a small fishing village to a metropolitan area with 16 million people largely because of the creation of a special economic zone."

Now Brimen wants to replicate that. "We target uninhabited areas near major population centers and infrastructure and collaborate with the host government to enact the necessary reforms for economic growth. … Instead of riots, there would be festivals. Instead of empty supermarkets, there would be feasts."

Puerto Rico could host a prosperity city. Instead of wallowing in debt and begging the mainland for handouts, the people of Puerto Rico would teach the rest of us lessons.

Likewise, the United States could turn Guantanamo Bay into a prosperity city, showing the Cuban people the power of freedom.

If freedom and markets worked well for Hong Kong, and a poor country once called colonial America, then why not liberate the whole world?


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  1. It’s a lovely idea — but until the Venezuelans decide they actually want this, then it’s a waste of time.

    If the city succeeds, why wouldn’t the government just steal the proceeds? It’s been done there frequently, so an investor would have to be insane to invest there.

    1. I mean, the poverty is largely tied to a government with no consideration for the concept of property rights. Until THAT issue is resolved, nothing can be done.

      What entity would spend billions to improve a situation to only have the government blame ANY problems on that entity and just seize it “for the people”?

      It’s not like Venezuela is lacking in abundant natural resources. They are just run by chimps with the support of enough people to make removal hard. It sucks…but, ultimately, it is none of my concern whatsoever, That country isn’t worth a dime of anybody’s money until they resolve their core problems.

      1. “They are just run by chimps with the support of enough people to make removal hard.”

        And unfortunately those people that support the government also have guns, a luxury item that opponents to the government don’t have. Just highlights the importance of the 2nd Amendment.

      2. You’re right.

        Ultimately it comes down to “extractive institutions” as described in “Why Nations Fail.”
        And socialism/communism/Marxism all favor extractive behaviors, as Jordan Peterson adroitly explains in his YouTube lectures.

        Or, we can simply read the “The Gulag Archipelago” to hear what real-world socialism did in the USSR from many irrefutable personal accounts of people who survived the murderous regime.

        black_listed is also right–the 2nd Amendment is crucial for the people to be sent to death camps en masse. But more important, and a common element of all the true stories in “The Gulag Archipelago” of how individuals and families were swept up by the secret police is that the people were like sheep or deer frozen in the headlights–almost all of them could not fathom their gov’t could seize them and sentence them unjustly to death. Even after they had been arrested, they were still in total denial.

        All of Venezuela’s people need to get super-cynical right now and stop believing the gov’t intends help them at all. They should simply assume and behave as if the Maduro gov’t intends to kill every last one of them, because it will eventually come down to that.

      3. Run by chimps? Oh no. It is run by a band of thieves disguised as politicians. But aren?t all politicians the same (liers, thieves, parasites) to a more or less degree?

  2. Welcome to the well-fed, intellectually honest group I call “Noam Chomsky’s Shit List.”

  3. It’s so sad that Noam Chomsky’s feelings are hurt. It is almost like supporting an authoritarian dictator is a bad thing in some people’s eyes.

  4. Lovers of socialism didn’t like my column last week.

    Truth causes butthurt. Film at 11.

    1. That’s because socialism didn’t ruin Venezuela! It was Chavism, you evil white male racist sexist shitlord!


      1. Some moron on Facebook tried to tell me that what’s going in Venezuela is not socialism but “capitalism in disguise.” Because according to him, any system that funnels money away from the people to the rich elites is capitalism.

        You just got to love it when progs redefine words so that they can still defend their bullshit ideology.

      2. My that was helpful and cleared any confusion a reader may have had.

      3. my comment was in reference to Get To Da Chippah’s spew.

    2. Sputniknews flash: “Liberal” Russia to trade Venezuelans food & prosperity for bananas, Josephine Baker Chomsky chorus girls.

  5. We target uninhabited areas near major population centers and infrastructure and collaborate with the host government to enact the necessary reforms for economic growth.

    I’ll be interested to see what it takes to bring the Venezuelan economy back to life, what that would look like. How would one go back to introducing the free market? How would the bol?var right itself?

    1. Would the free market really have to re-introduce itself? Plenty of people in Venezuela ran businesses before Chavez/Maduro destroyed the country. I think it would happen organically.

      Why worry about the bolivar? Just conduct business with whatever currency is available (plus obviously barter trading early on).

      1. Markets will return once government restrictions are removed. The current question is will it require a civil war to end the restrictions?

  6. Chomsky called me “an utter coward” for mocking him and said he expected “an abject apology.”

    In what forum? Does anybody know? I’ve googled and looked at Chomsky’s twit-feed and can’t find this. Personal communication?

    1. Apology? Stossel should tell Chomsky to lick his taint.

  7. Neither Capitalism nor democracy is going to flourish anywhere in Spanish America. The Spaniards put the kiss of death on them since Conquest. The whole enterprise is ruled by piss pot caudillos who only work to enrich themselves. They look down on any sort of manual labor and can’t form any co-operative civic institutions. They should have formed a United States of South America years ago but that’s out of character. As soon as they get a decent economy going they vote for the nearest socialist to loot the treasury. Chile is an example.

  8. RE: Prosperity Cities For Venezuela
    Capitalists and capitalism can save the South American country.

    Michael Moore is worth tens of millions of dollars as is Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky is worth about two million dollars which puts them in the one percent category.
    If these cheerleaders for socialism really are sincere, then they will give their money to the Venezuelan government and live there for the rest of their lives as ordinary citizens.
    But they won’t because they like all the benefits of being a rich capitalists without sacrificing any of their freedom or money to causes they believe in.

    1. Those three douchebags are proof that capitalism is the only thing that works. Only in a capitalist economy can you make money cursing and deriding the very system that made you rich.

      Those three assholes are also proof of the truisms: “a fool and his money soon part” and “Caveat Emptor”

      An army of dipshits with money, which only exists in mostly capitalist economies, are easy to persuade to give it all away to brainwashing filmmakers.

    2. Marx’s “Bourgeois Socialist.”

      From The Communist Manifesto:

      “The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society, minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat. The bourgeoisie naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best; and bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or less complete systems. In requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, and thereby to march straightway into the social New Jerusalem, it but requires in reality, that the proletariat should remain within the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie.”

  9. After listening to Chompsky discourse on the ethical correctness of the initiation of deadly force for altruism, Venezuela’s leaders leftly prohibited libertarian party depredations on their unanimous voter pool. Who is this Stossel who presumes to lecture his betters and overrule Bolivarista sovereignty by cowardly resort to factual evidence?

  10. I assume Chomsky wants an apology because he’s pivoted to calling Venezuela capitalist.

  11. Just remind Chomsky about when he denied the Cambodian Genocide, then tell him to do something anatomically impossible.

  12. “Capitalists and capitalism can save the South American country.”

    Politically, a bad statement to push.

    From a political standpoint, libertarians should be pushing a free market rather than capitalism which is but one form.
    It also lacks the negative connotations/views capitalism has for many people.
    In addition, it contains its own moral validity/proof – when you think about it.

    Free market (freedom of the market): A market based upon our civil right o freedom of association.
    Validity based upon civil rights as opposed to property rights.

  13. Amazing how often the left is wrong. . . hugely wrong. . .

  14. This proves to me Chomsky is a senile little bitch, I don’t take seriously anybody who says their a “anarchist socialist” yet does side jobs for the Pentagon. Stossel don’t apologize, fuck Chomsky.

  15. I would add that dollarization is a sine qua non. Several others and I succeeded in having the sucre replaced for the US dollar in Ecuador and the results have been much more successful that intended. For 17 years the rate of inflation has been slightly higher than in the US, the rate of poverty has been reduced and a reasonable rate of growth (that despite the government implementation of the 21st Century socialism) but above all prevented the government to finance its operations by printing money. There are quite a few studies showing how benefical has the dollarization in Ecuador, but also in El Salvador.
    Franklin L?pez Buena?o

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