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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

Mostrando postagens com marcador Socialismo do seculo 21. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Socialismo do seculo 21. Mostrar todas as postagens

quinta-feira, 18 de maio de 2017

Venezuela: a construção do desastre - José Nino (Mises)

Home | Blog | Venezuela Before Chavez: A Prelude to Socialist Failure
Venezuela Before Chavez: A Prelude to Socialist Failure
05/04/2017José Niño
This is Part One of a two-part series. Part Two is here.

Venezuela’s current economic catastrophe is well documented. Conventional narratives point to Hugo Chávez’s regime as the primary architect behind Venezuela’s economic tragedy. While Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro deserve the brunt of the blame for Venezuela’s current economic calamity, the underlying flaws of Venezuela’s political economy point to much more systemic problems.
Observers must look beyond stage one, and understand Venezuela’s overall history over the past 50 years in order to get a more thorough understanding of how the country has currently fallen to such lows.

Socialism Before Chávez
Analysts like to point to rosier pictures of Pre-Chávez Venezuela, but what these “experts” conveniently ignore is that the seeds of Venezuela’s destruction were sowed during those “glory years.” Years of gradual economic interventionism took what was once a country bound to join the ranks of the First World to a middle-tier developing country. This steady decline eventually created an environment where a demagogue like Chávez would completely exploit for his political gain.

The Once-Prosperous Venezuela
To comprehend Venezuela’s long-term decline, one must look back at what made it so prosperous in the first place. Before the completion of its first oil field on April 15, 1914, Venezuela was essentially a Banana Republic marked by political instability. This was largely a consequence of its colonial past and the period following its independence from Spain. Despite gaining independence from Spain, Venezuela maintained many of its primitive political and economic practices, above all, its exclusionary mercantilist and regulatory policies that kept it in an impoverished state.
However, the discovery of oil in the early twentieth century completely changed the entire ballgame. The powerful agricultural aristocracy would be supplanted by an industrialist class that sought to open its oil markets to multinational exploitation and foreign investment. For the first time in its history, Venezuela had a relatively liberal, free market economy and it would reap countless benefits in the decades to come.
From the 1910s to the 1930s, the much-maligned dictator Juan Vicente Gómez helped consolidate the Venezuelan state and modernized an otherwise neocolonial backwater by allowing market actors, domestic and foreign, to freely exploit newly discovered oil deposits. Venezuela would experience substantial economic growth and quickly establish itself as one of Latin America’s most prosperous countries by the 1950s.
In the 1950s, General Marcos Pérez Jiménez would continue Gómez’s legacy. At this juncture, Venezuela was at its peak, with a fourth place ranking in terms of per capita GDP worldwide.

More Than Just Oil
While oil exploitation did play a considerable role in Venezuela’s meteoric ascent from the 1920s to 1970s, this only scratches the surface in explaining how Venezuela became so prosperous during this period. A combination of a relatively free economy, an immigration system that attracted and assimilated laborers from Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and a system of strong property rights, allowed Venezuela to experience unprecedented levels of economic development from the 1940s up until the 1970s.
As mentioned earlier, Venezuela was at the height of its prosperity during the military dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s regime. Like Juan Vicente Gómez’s regime, Pérez Jiménez’s stewardship of Venezuela was characterized by heavy political repression.
Venezuela’s capitalist structure remained largely intact during Pérez Jiménez’s tenure, albeit with creeping degrees of state involvement. Pérez Jiménez did introduce some elements of crony capitalism, pharaonic public works projects, and increased state involvement in “strategic industries” like the steel industry. Nevertheless, the Pérez Jiménez regime was open to foreign investment, let the price system function normally in most sectors of the economy, and did not embark on creating a profligate welfare state.

The Road to Social Democracy
Despite the prosperity brought about by Venezuela’s booming economy in the 1950s, Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s government drew the ire of many left-leaning activists due its heavy-handed measures. The tipping point came in 1958, when these leftist activists, working in tandem with a sympathetic military, successfully overthrew Pérez Jiménez in a coup. Pérez Jiménez would live the rest of his life in exile and would be a figure of derision among Venezuelan intellectual and political elites, despite the unprecedented economic and social development under his watch.
Following the 1958 coup, naval officer Wolfgang Larrázabal occupied the presidency briefly until general elections were held later that year. Notable social democrat political leader Rómulo Betancourt would come out on top in these elections and assume the presidency from 1959 to 1964. The Fourth Republic of Venezuela — Venezuela’s longest lasting period of democratic rule, was established under Betancourt’s administration. In 1961, a constitution was introduced, dividing the government into 3 branches — executive, legislative, and judicial — and establishing an activist role for the Venezuelan state in economic affairs.
This political order was further consolidated by the establishment of the Punto Fijo Pact. The Punto Fijo Pact consisted of a bipartisan agreement between two political parties — Acción Democratica (Democratic Action) and COPEI (Christian Democrats) — that laid the foundation for a social democratic political order and alternation of power between the two parties.
What seemed like a genuine move toward democratic stability, Venezuela’s Fourth Republic marked the beginning of a process of creeping socialism that gradually whittled away at Venezuela’s economic and institutional foundations.

The Socialist Origins of Venezuela’s Pro-Democracy Advocates
Venezuela’s current collapse did not happen overnight. It was part of a drawn out process of economic and institutional decay that began decades before.
When Venezuela returned to democracy in 1958, it looked like it was poised to begin an era of unprecedented prosperity and political stability.
However, Venezuela’s democratic experiment was doomed from the start, and one needn’t look any further at the political background of its very own founder, Rómulo Betancourt, to understand why it’s entire political system was built on a house of cards.
Rómulo Betancourt was an ex-communist who renounced his Marxist ways in favor of a more gradualist approach of establishing socialism. Despite evolving into more of a social democrat, Betancourt still believed in a very activist role for the State in economic matters.
Betancourt was part of a generation of intellectuals and student activists that aimed to fully nationalize Venezuela’s petroleum sector and use petroleum rents to establish a welfare state of sorts. These political figures firmly believed that for Venezuela to become a truly independent country and free itself from the influence of foreign interests, the government must have complete dominion over the oil sector.
Under this premise, a nationalized oil industry would finance cheap gasoline, “free” education at all levels, healthcare, and a wide array of other public services.
This rhetoric strongly resonated among the lower and middle classes, which would form the bulwark of Betancourt’s party, Acción Democrática, voter base for years to come.
At its core, this vision of economic organization assumed that the government must manage the economy through central planning. Oil would be produced, managed, and administered by the state, while the government would try to phase out the private sector.
Interventionism from the Start
Betancourt’s administration, while not as interventionist as succeeding 4th Republic governments, capped off several worrisome policies, which included:
  1. Devaluation of the Venezuelan currency, the Bolívar.
  2. Failed land reform that encouraged squatting and undermined the property rights of landowners.
  3. The establishment of a Constitutional order based on positive rights and an active role for the Venezuelan state in economic affairs
Betancourt’s government followed-up with considerable tax hikes that saw income tax rates triple to 36%. In typical fashion, spending increases would be accompanied with these increases, as the Venezuelan government started to generate fiscal deficits because of its out of control social programs. These growing deficits would become a fixture in Venezuelan public finance during the pre-Chávez era.

The Nationalization of the Oil Industry
While Betancourt did not achieve his end goal of nationalizing the Venezuelan oil industry, his government laid the foundation for subsequent interventions in that sector.
Thanks to the large oil boom of the 1970s, the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez capitalized on the unprecedented flow of petroleum rents brought about by the 1970s energy crisis where oil-producing countries like Venezuela benefited handsomely from high oil prices.
Betancourt’s vision was finally achieved in 1975, when Carlos Andrés Pérez’s government nationalized the petroleum sector. The nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry fundamentally altered the nature of the Venezuelan state. Venezuela morphed into a petrostate, in which the concept of the consent of the governed was effectively turned on its head.
Instead of Venezuelans paying taxes to the government in exchange for the protection of property and similar freedoms, the Venezuelan state would play a patrimonial role by bribing its citizens with all sorts of handouts to maintain its dominion over them. 
On the other hand, countries based on more liberal frameworks of governance have citizens paying taxes, and in return, these governments provide services that nominally protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens. The state is not the owner, thus giving the citizens a strong check against the Leviathan should the government overstep its boundaries.

Oil Nationalization: A Pig Trough for Politicians
Pérez would take advantage of this state power-grab to finance a profligate welfare state and a cornucopia of social welfare programs that resonated strongly with the populace. As a result, deficit spending became embraced by the political class and increasing levels of foreign and public debt would become the norm in Venezuelan fiscal affairs.
At this juncture, Venezuela’s economy became overwhelmingly politicized. Oil boom periods were characterized by an inflow of petrodollars that the state used for pharaonic public works and social projects as a means to pacify the populace.
In reality, no real wealth creation took place during these boom periods, as the state redistributed the rents according to political whims and usurped functions traditionally held by civil society and private economic actors. When politicians and bureaucrats oversee businesses, decision-making is based on partisan and state interests rather than efficiency and consumer preferences.
Although the nationalization of the petroleum industry did not result in an immediate economic downturn, it laid the groundwork for institutional decay that would clearly manifest itself during the 80s and 90s.

Venezuela: Forty Years of Economic Decline
This is Part Two of a two-part series. Part One is here.

The brunt of the blame for Venezuela’s current economic catastrophe should fall on Hugo Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro. However, this does not mean that all was well in Venezuela before Chávez arrived on the scene. The ideological and institutional seeds of the current crises were sown decades earlier. A rising tide of government interventions in the marketplace during the 1960s and 1970s would soon lead to a host of new problems for Venezuela.

The Oil Boom Party Ends
The 1970s looked like a never-ending boom period for Venezuela thanks to high oil prices. The then-President Carlos Andrés Pérez took full advantage of this boom to implement his lavish social spending program. Eventually, the boom period came to a crashing halt by the early 80s, and Venezuela had to face a harsh economic downturn.
Luis Herrera Campins would succeed Carlos Andrés Pérez’s government. From the start, he came to the realization that Pérez’s spending bonanza was unsustainable. In fact, Herrera had choice words for Pérez's policies, claiming that Pérez left him a "mortgaged" country.
Although Herrera was correct in his assessment of the Pérez administration’s fiscal irresponsibility, he would ironically continue more of the same cronyist policies as his predecessor. The chickens eventually came to roost as Venezuela experienced its very own “Black Friday.”
What once was one of the world’s most stable currencies, the Bolívar, experienced it’s most significant devaluation to date. Unfortunately, Herrera’s administration responded with heavy-handed exchange controls to stem capital flight. These controls would be administered by an agency called the “Differential Exchange Rate Regime” (RECADI), effectively creating a multi-tiered system of exchange rates.
Considerable corruption scandals emerged during the succeeding government of Jaime Lusinchi, as countless members of the political class would exploit the multi-tiered exchange rate system for their own gain.
Despite its abolition in 1989, RECADI would serve as a precursor to the byzantine exchange rate systems that the Commission for the Administration of Currency Exchange (CADIVI) and its successor, the National Center for Foreign Commerce (CENCOEX), would later preside over during the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s period of dominance throughout the 2000s.
All in all, Venezuela’s Black Friday devaluation marked the beginning of a lost decade of sorts for Venezuela throughout the 1980s that set the stage for subsequent devaluations, currency controls, and irresponsible fiscal policy further down the line.

IMF to the Rescue?
Rising poverty rates, increased foreign and public debt, corrupt state enterprises, and burdensome regulations contributed to an environment of growing social tension and economic malaise throughout the 1980s. Venezuela’s previous growth miracle became an afterthought at this point. And it’s golden goose, oil, could not bail it out thanks to the low oil prices of the 1980s.
For Venezuela to right its ship, it would have to undergo painful fiscal reforms.
Ironically, it was Carlos Andrés Pérez that was entrusted with reigning in the excessive government largesse; the very same leader that established Venezuela’s profligate welfare state and laid the foundations for its collapse in the 1980s.
In 1988, Pérez campaigned on a platform that promised to bring back the splendor and prosperity of the 1970s. But once he assumed the presidency, Pérez realized that the Venezuela before him was on the verge of bankruptcy and crippled by excessive state intervention in the economy.
Under the auspices of the IMF, Pérez made a half-hearted attempt in reforming Venezuela’s broken petrostate. When broken down and analyzed, these reforms consisted of tariff reductions, tax hikes, flawed privatizations, and marginal spending cuts that ultimately did not address the underlying problems with the Venezuelan political economy — its flawed monetary policy, burdensome regulatory framework, and entrenched crony capitalist policies.
However, these reforms were too much for Pérez’s very own party, Acción Democrática (AD). AD was incensed by these reforms that hacked away at certain facets of the cronyist petrostate that it depended on to maintain its political power.
Of note, the phasing out of gas subsidies by the Pérez government — a popular social program that artificially kept gas prices low for the impoverished sectors of Venezuelan society — was used by the AD to channel discontent among the general populace.

Enter Hugo Chávez
Countless individuals would then take to the streets and protest the so-called “austerity” policies of the Pérez government. This eventually led to the infamous “Caracazo” incident in 1989, where the capital city of Caracas was engulfed in a series of protests, lootings, and riots. The government responded in a heavy-handed manner, leaving hundreds dead.
In the midst of the political chaos, radical groups took advantage of Venezuela’s political turmoil to advance their agenda. One of the most famous was then Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez´s group, Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200).
Chávez took advantage of the political disarray by consolidating an anti-government movement within the ranks of the Venezuelan military. This culminated in the failed coup attempts of 1992.
Even though Chávez was imprisoned for his coup attempt, Chavez’s agitation was enough to put the whole bipartisan Punto Fijo model into question. Eventually, corruption scandals and rising degrees of social unrest would whittle away at the Pérez administration’s legitimacy. The final nail in the coffin came when Pérez was impeached for corruption charges in 1992, thus putting the Punto Fjio model on the ropes.

Collapse of the Punto Fijo Model
Two coup attempts and the impeachment of Carl Andrés Pérez, marked the beginning of a tumultuous 1990s for Venezuela. The Venezuela of the 50s to 70s — characterized by its unprecedented economic prosperity and political stability — was starting to become a distant memory.
By 1994, the Punto Fijo model was in shambles as Rafael Caldera assumed the presidency under a new coalition, Convergencia (Convergence), of disaffected political parties.
Policywise, Rafael Caldera did not rock the boat. He pursued several of the IMF’s half measures, while not addressing structural problems such as the privatization of the oil industry, Venezuela’s downward spiraling monetary policy, and big business’s cozy relationship with the state. In addition, Caldera pardoned Hugo Chávez in 1994, rehabilitating him politically.
Thanks to the failed land reforms and housing subsidization polices pursued by the two major social democrat parties (AD and COPEI) during previous decades, major metropolitan areas like Caracas, Maracaibo, Maracay, and Valencia began to be populated by a growing subsect of impoverished Venezuelans. Chávez would tap into this low stratum of Venezuelan society and effectively turn them into shock troops for his campaign to radically transform Venezuela into a full-blown socialist state.

The Failure of the Social Democratic Era
It is undeniable that Venezuela’s social democratic consensus delivered sub-optimal results. From 1958 to 1998, Venezuela’s per capita GDP growth was a paltry -0.13 % indicating that the Venezuelan populace grew faster than the wealth produced in that time frame. In his book, Introduction to Economic Growth, Charles I. Jones classified the Venezuelan case as an example of a “growth disaster.” Venezuela was one of two countries in Latin America that suffered negative growth during this 40-year period, the other being Nicaragua, a country that suffered a costly civil war and was under the rule of a socialist government.
Chávez capitalized on this stagnation by launching a campaign against the bipartisan political consensus that ruled Venezuela at the time. Branding himself as a “Third Way” candidate, Chávez sought to provide an alternative to the perceived corruption of the Punto Fijo political order.
Despite the rosy rhetoric, Chávez was surrounding himself with hardened Marxists and other collectivist figures that were hell-bent on subverting Venezuela’s already fragile political order. Little did the disillusioned voters that cast a ballot for Chávez know what they were about to get themselves into.
Chavismo: Interventionism on Steroids
While Chávez may have been correct in pointing out the corruption of the old Punto Fijo order, he would ironically continue many of its failed policies throughout his regime, amplifying their disastrous effects and implementing them in a tyrannical fashion.
Currency controls, expropriations, price controls, and the use of the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, to finance lavish social spending programs were fixtures of Hugo Chávez’s socialist economic policy.
In addition, Venezuelan political institutions were completely eviscerated, media outlets were suppressed, and political activists were subject to numerous human rights violations under Chávez’s heavy-handed rule.
Chávez had the luxury of high oil prices from 2003 to 2010 to finance his socialist schemes and channel the petroleum rents to consolidate political support in the short term. But once oil prices plummeted, the laws of economics reared their ugly head and the system began to unravel in no time.
Even with Chávez’s death in 2013, his brand of tyrannical socialism has continued unabated under the rule of his successor, Nicolás Maduro.
The Venezuela that stands before us is a failed state. In an atavistic sense, Venezuela has returned to its 19th century state as an increasingly fragmented, political backwater.
Time will tell if the Venezuelan nation will continue to exist as a cohesive whole, or if certain sectors of Venezuelan society decide to blaze their own trail and start to break up the country.

Lessons Learned
If Venezuelans want to restore Venezuela to its once prosperous state, they must look back and understand the genesis of Venezuela’s current crisis.
It is myopic to pit the blame solely on demagogues and believe that things will be perfectly fine once the “right people” are put in charge. Political events like the rise of Hugo Chávez do not occur in a vacuum. Astute observers of political economy must analyze the overarching institutions and policies that create the type of political environment that enables authoritarians like Hugo Chávez to come into power.
The Venezuelan case serves as a strong warning to many a European country with crumbling welfare states and growing social discontent. Sooner or later, unsustainable transfer systems are bound to collapse and social disorder ensues.
Left unchecked, socialism only creates a vicious cycle of interventionism that leads to more chaos and misery. To reach the light at the end of the tunnel, Venezuela must completely abandon socialism and embrace the capitalist path to prosperity.

quarta-feira, 10 de setembro de 2014

Venezuela: solo malas noticias (InfoLatam)

Das três matérias que se pode ler sobre a Venezuela, no informe diário (10/09/2014) de InfoLatam, todas elas são negativas.
O que se pode fazer?
A realidade do país é muito triste, trágica mesmo, e não se pode fazer muito coisa, pois o Estado mafioso ali implantado dispõe de muitos recursos e de todo o apoio dos companheiros no continente, a começar dos cubanos (de inteligência, de espionagem, de dominação), da Unasul (uma entidade que já nasceu falida) e dos seus outros companheiros espalhados aqui e ali.
Justamente, a principal matéria trata desse Estado mafioso já plenamente vigente.
No Brasil temos uma associação mafiosa tentado fazer o mesmo, e só não faz porque (ainda) não pode, não porque não queira.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

El legado de Chávez

El Universal, 10/09/2014

Por Maria Teresa Romero
(El Universal. Venezuela)-. “Todo mandatario pasa por la evaluación popular. Ninguno escapa al escrutinio histórico; más aún si el líder fallece y si se trata de uno que ha fungido de héroe político, militar, religioso o ideológico. Aunque no siempre la historia sobre una persona o hecho que sobresale entre otros -para bien o para mal- dice la verdad, casi siempre termina por imponerse la historia que más se acerca a la verdad.
Sobre Hugo Chávez y su gestión se ha escrito mucho nacional e internacionalmente. Valdría la pena hacer un registro de los textos a favor y en contra, cuántos se fundamentan en estudios serios  y analíticos, cuántos desechan las investigaciones y se nutren de lisonjas.
En esa cuenta no debería faltar el trabajo del historiador estadounidense Ari Chaplin:
 El legado de Chávez: la transformación de una democracia a un Estado mafioso (2013).
No es un libro que lo favorece. Para nada. Es un estudio crítico, agudo, que demuestra cómo y porqué el legado chavista es nefasto.  Pero lo importante es que se basa en una investigación profunda y sistemática, con argumentos sólidos, y llevada a cabo desde la perspectiva de un catedrático que analiza la realidad del Socialismo del Siglo XXI con la distancia necesaria para ser bien evaluada.
Fernando Mires, uno de los pensadores latinoamericanos más importantes de la actualidad, resume el libro con estas palabras: “Partiendo de la excelente denominación acuñada por Moisés Naím, la de “Estados mafiosos”, Chaplin demuestra, combinando la narración historiográfica con el análisis sociológico, cómo detrás de la fachada ideológica del chavismo se esconde un proceso que tiende a la demolición de los valores y de las instituciones políticas los cuales a pesar de algunos deficientes gobiernos que lo precedieron, pervivían en Venezuela. En otras palabras: de acuerdo a Chaplin la contradicción fundamental ya no es en Venezuela entre democracia y totalitarismo, sino entre democracia y Estado mafioso”.
Este estudio deja asentada una triste verdad de nuestra historia patria”.


Venezuela economía
Inflación venezolana llega a 63,4 % interanual
El Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) informó que la inflación de agosto cerró en 3,9 % y alcanzó el 63,4 % interanual, y sumó 39 % en los 8 primeros meses de 2014.

Venezuela prensa
El diario más antiguo de Venezuela dejará de circular por falta de papel
El diario más antiguo de Venezuela, El Impulso, suspenderá su edición impresa a partir de la próxima semana por la falta de papel e insumos como consecuencia del control de cambios que limita las divisas.
[ver artículo completo...]

terça-feira, 2 de setembro de 2014

Venezuela: o socialismo do seculo XXI em sua etapa ridicula (e ultima?)

Os bolivarianos já são ridículos em si. Mas eles conseguem se aperfeiçoar...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida 

Venezuela: Chavismo cria sua própria versão do 'Pai Nosso'

'Não nos deixe cair na tentação do capitalismo', diz um trecho da oração chavista, o mais novo golpe de oportunismo populista do presidente Maduro

Veja.com, 2/09/2014
O presidente venezuelano Nicolás Maduro
O presidente venezuelano Nicolás Maduro (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters/VEJA)
“Chávez nosso que estás no céu”. Parece uma piada de mau gosto, blasfêmia, mas é a primeira frase da ‘oração chavista’, a mais nova criação do governo de Nicolás Maduro para tentar perpetuar o chavismo na Venezuela – reporta nesta terça-feira o jornal La Nación. A prece chavista foi apresentada oficialmente nesta segunda em um evento do Partido Socialista Unido da Venezuela (PSUV), atualmente no poder. A mais nova peça do populismo rasteiro de Maduro pode soar como piada, mas é cínica o suficiente para mesclar o chavismo com a oração mais popular do catolicismo, a religião de mais de 85% dos venezuelanos.
Em um teatro em Caracas, com a presença de Maduro, a oração marcou o encerramento – e o ponto alto – do evento governista. “Chávez nosso que estás no céu, na terra, no mar e em nós/ Santificado seja o teu nome, venha a nós o teu legado para ajudar pessoas de aqui e ali”, entoou em tom solene a deputada chavista Maria Uribe. "Dê a nós a tua luz para nos guiar todos os dias/ Não nos deixe cair na tentação do capitalismo, mas livra-nos do mal, da oligarquia, do crime de contrabando, porque a pátria, a paz e a vida são nossas/ Por séculos e séculos, amém/ Viva Chávez”, termina a oração.
O evento governista, focado para discutir os “desenhos do sistema de formação socialista”, começou na quinta-feira e teve a participação de cantores e poetas que dedicaram suas peças para o falecido presidente Hugo Chávez e a chamada revolução bolivariana. No encerramento, além de Maduro, estiveram presentes também ministros, governadores e outras autoridades chavistas. O presidente, em seu discurso, disse que a “revolução está em uma fase que exige cada vez mais valorização da educação".  
"Quando nos perguntamos quais valores devemos construir e onde devemos fazer esses valores, só tem uma resposta: é preciso formar os valores de Chávez na luta diária na rua, criando, construindo revolução", disse Maduro, que prometeu fazer em breve “grandes anúncios” sobre o seu governo.
País com a maior reserva de petróleo comprovada do planeta, a Venezuela atravessa uma severa crise econômica, com escassez de produtos básicos, inflação de mais de 60% ao ano, entre outros problemas. Maduro acusa setores ligados à oposição venezuelana e conservadores dos Estados Unidos e Colômbia de promover uma "guerra econômica" contra seu governo. O país atravessou uma violenta onda de protestos entre fevereiro e final de maio devido à inflação, à falta de produtos básicos – como papel higiênico, açúcar, farinha ou leite – e à altíssima violência que provoca em média 65 mortes por dia no país. Os protestos foram repreendidos e resultaram na morte de mais de 40 pessoas, além de mais de 700 feridos.

segunda-feira, 25 de agosto de 2014

Socialismo venezuelano: a melhor licao de economia que voce poderia ter, gratuitamente...

Eu sempre achei o finado ditador Hugo Chávez um excelente professor de economia.
E sempre disse que o manual dele, um pouco diferente dos text-books americanos de iniciação aos estudos de economia, não deveria chamar-se Economics 101, mas Economics 010, para sinalizar que todas as aulas do "Profesor Chávez" deveriam ser aprendidas pelo seu exato oposto.
É o que este articulista está mais ou menos dizendo...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

The Venezuela Case Study In How Not To Help The Poor

Tim Worstall
Forbes, August 24, 2014
Venezuela under Chavez and now Maduro is an interesting case study in how not to go about trying to aid the poor. What they’ve done is interfered with market signals in an attempt to make certain items cheaper for the poor to purchase. The net effect has been that these same items are now unavailable to anyone at all. Unless they’re actually trying to run a cult of enforced consumer denial, something I rather doubt, their policies are therefore not having the desired effect. The interesting question is why?
I don’t, many people, don’t worry quite as much about inequality as do many on the left. That’s OK, be a boring world if we all thought the same. However I’m entirely willing to agree that trying to make life better for the poor is not an ignoble goal: it’s one I share actually, however much I might be fairly dry in how we go about doing so. But can we agree that a policy which creates a nationwide shortage of toilet paper, a policy intended originally to make toilet paper more affordable to the poor, is not a policy that has worked?
In fact, can we agree that the basic policies being followed in Venezuela simply don’t work at all?
The President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has announced plans for a major mandatory fingerprinting system to combat the increasingly dire food shortages and rampant smuggling afflicting the Latin American state.
He said the fingerprinting system would be similar to the one the country uses for voting and was intended to stop Venezuelans buying too much of a single item. Venezuelan authorities report up to 40 per cent of the goods the country subsidises for its domestic market are smuggled to Colombia and sold at higher prices.

Venezuela has been running short of basic goods like toilet paper, soap and cooking oil for over a year.
The basic goal was to reduce inequality in the country. Could be an admirable goal, certainly it’s not an ignoble one. It’s the method they used which was so catastrophic. They decided that the prices of certain goods should be fixed so that the poor could afford them. And price fixing has its problems.
If you fix the price below the market clearing price then immediately there will be a shortage of those goods. Simply because that market clearing price is, by definition, the one at which enough producers wish to produce and the same number of consumers wish to consume. So if you fix milk, toilet paper and cooking oil at lower than market prices demand for them rises, supply shrinks and you get shortages. This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s not greed and it’s not even the CIA: it’s just the basic effect of fixing prices below the market clearing ones. The same is true, in opposite, if you fix prices above market, as the European Union did with agricultural production. Fewer people want to eat the more expensive food and farmers everywhere squeeze the last calories possible out of their fields. You thus end up with lakes of milk and wine, mountains of butter and beef. As the EU did. Again this isn’t a conspiracy nor is it the CIA: it’s just that you’ve set prices above market clearing prices.
Of course, you can solve this by fixing prices at the market clearing prices: at which point why are you bothering?
All that followed inevitably followed from that first flawed decision. The smuggling over the border into Colombia (who wouldn’t smuggle petrol when it’s 10 cents a gallon in one country and $4 in the next?), the empty shelves, the refusal of producers to lose money at the newly mandated lower prices. They all stem from that first deluded decision to fix prices in the first place.
But say we still want to reduce inequality but now realise that price fixing isn’t the way to do it? What should we be doing?
That’s easy to answer: poverty is not having enough money. So, if you want to alleviate poverty give the poor some more money. Then they can go and buy that toilet paper, cooking oil, milk, at the price which someone is willing to produce it at.
The initial goal in Venezuela, let’s reduce inequality, was fair enough in itself if your political ideals run that way. It’s just that the methods they tried to use were nonsensically stupid. And it’s not as if they didn’t have fair warning. Food prices were low all over the Soviet bloc for most of the 20th century and Chavez’s best pal, Castro in Cuba, had used the same methods. And the Soviet bloc and Cuba were, were known to be and were visibly proven to be notably free of easily available food all the while they followed that policy.
If you want to make the poor less poor then give more money to the poor: don’t screw with the markets.

My latest book is “20 Economics Fallacies” At Amazon or Amazon UK.

quinta-feira, 21 de agosto de 2014

Venezuela: socialismo surrealista entra em sua fase cubana, deracionamento "cientifico"

Venezuela limita compras em supermercados privados

Governo quer impedir que pessoas comprem o mesmo produto duas vezes na mesma semana. Medida desastrada é paliativa e pune a população
O presidente da Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, decretou na noite desta quarta-feira a instalação de um mecanismo de “controle biométrico” para limitar as compras de produtos e alimentos nos supermercados e mercados públicos e privados do país. “A ordem já está dada, através da superintendência de preços, para que se crie um sistema biométrico em todos os estabelecimentos e redes distribuidoras e comerciais da República”, disse Maduro durante mensagem em rede nacional de rádio e TV. A regulação do consumo nas redes públicas já vinha sendo aplicada sistematicamente na Venezuela desde o início do ano, mas é a primeira vez que o governo Maduro interfere nas redes privadas de supermercados do país. Em 2010, o então presidente Hugo Chávez desapropriou as lojas da cadeia de supermercados Exito, do grupo francês Casino.
Com a escassez crônica, o mercado negro – mantido por pessoas que estocam produtos básicos para revendê-los – na Venezuela é uma alternativa aos supermercados estatais vazios, porém limitar o consumo não é uma medida que ataca a origem do problema: a péssima gestão econômica do país. Há ainda outra questão problemática na medida anunciada por Maduro, pois limitar o consumo em redes privadas é um ato ilegal, que interfere na administração e nos possíveis lucros das empresas. A medida desastrada ainda penaliza justamente a parte mais afetada pela escassez, a população.
O mecanismo utilizará leitores óticos de impressões digitais para reconhecer cada comprador de produtos básicos. Segundo Maduro, “o sistema biométrico será perfeito” e servirá para evitar o que chamou de “fraude” envolvendo milhões de litros de gasolina e toneladas de alimentos subsidiados pelo governo, no momento em que a Venezuela enfrenta a falta de diversos produtos básicos e uma inflação anual que supera os 60%.
O sistema visa a impedir que uma pessoa compre o mesmo produto duas vezes na mesma semana, em qualquer supermercado das redes governamentais e privadas da Venezuela. Vários funcionários do governo Maduro indicaram que no prazo de 90 dias haverá um “programa piloto” para iniciar a venda controlada de produtos básicos no país “de maneira ordenada e justa”.
Maduro também anunciou “um sistema de referência” que processará a informação de tudo o que for distribuído e armazenado “para todos os produtos e insumos que movem a economia do país”. O presidente ordenou ainda o “confisco, de maneira imediata, de todos os elementos” utilizados para contrabando, incluindo galpões e veículos, que serão revertidos para os programas estatais de alimentos. Maduro convocou as forças militares e policiais para deter todos os envolvidos em desvios e contrabando.
O sistema de controle de compras é a mais nova tentativa paliativa de Maduro para combater a escassez causada pela ingerência econômica de seu próprio governo. Desde março, as compras na rede estatal de supermercados – com preços subsidiados – são possíveis apenas dois dias por semana e com limite de produtos por consumidor. Os venezuelanos interessados são fichados e recebem senhas, que funcionam em sistema de rodízio. Nas segundas-feiras podem comprar aqueles com as senhas terminadas em 1 e 2, 3 e 4; às terças e quartas-feiras são os dias para os finais 5 e 6, 7 e 8. As quintas e sextas-feiras são reservadas aos consumidores com senhas que terminam em 9 e 0.
A Venezuela atravessou uma violenta onda de protestos entre fevereiro e final de maio devido à inflação, à falta de produtos básicos – como papel higiênico, açúcar, farinha ou leite – e à altíssima violência que provoca em média 65 mortes por dia no país. Os protestos foram repreendidos e resultaram na morte de mais de 40 pessoas, além de mais de 700 feridos.
Fonte: Veja
G1, 21/08/2014 06h38 - Atualizado em 21/08/2014 06h38

Venezuela limita compras em supermercados

Será instalado um mecanismo de controle 'biométrico', segundo presidente.
País enfrenta a falta de diversos produtos básicos e uma inflação de 60%.

Da France Presse
O presidente da Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, em imagem de arquivo. (Foto: Arquivo / Reuters) 
O presidente da Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro,
em imagem de arquivo. (Foto: Arquivo / Reuters)
O presidente da Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, decretou na noite desta quarta-feira (20) a instalação de um mecanismo de controle "biométrico" para limitar as compras de produtos e alimentos nos supermercados e mercados do país.
"A ordem já está dada, através da superintendência de preços, para que se crie um sistema biométrico em todos os estabelecimentos e redes distribuidoras e comerciais da República", disse Maduro durante mensagem em rede nacional de rádio e TV.
O mecanismo utilizará leitores óticos de impressões digitais para reconhecer cada comprador de produtos básicos.
Segundo Maduro, "o sistema biométrico será perfeito" e servirá para evitar o que chamou de "fraude" envolvendo milhões de litros de gasolina e toneladas de alimentos subsidiados pelo governo, no momento em que a Venezuela enfrenta a falta de diversos produtos básicos e uma inflação de 60%.
O sistema visa a impedir que uma pessoa compre o mesmo produto duas vezes na mesma semana, em qualquer das redes governamentais da Venezuela.
Vários funcionários do governo Maduro indicaram que no prazo de 90 dias haverá um 'programa piloto' para iniciar a venda controlada de produtos básicos no país 'de maneira ordenada e justa'.
Maduro também anunciou "um sistema de referência" que processará a informação de tudo o que for distribuído e armazenado "para todos os produtos e insumos que movem a economia do país".
O presidente ordenou ainda o 'confisco, de maneira imediata, de todos os elementos' utilizados para contrabando, incluindo galpões e veículos, que serão revertidos para os programas estatais de alimentos.
Maduro convocou as forças militares e policiais para deter todos os envolvidos em desvios e contrabando.

quarta-feira, 26 de fevereiro de 2014

Venezuela: finalmente, chegou ao socialismo, nao se sabe de qualseculo...

América Latina

Supermercado estatal é o retrato da falência da Venezuela

Maior vitrine da estatização da produção e distribuição de alimentos agoniza. Quando há produtos, uma simples compra leva horas

Diego Braga Norte, de Caracas
Foto 1 / 11
Imagem de Hugo Chávez recepciona os clientes que perderão horas tentando encontrar produtos em um supermercado estatal desabastecido
Imagens de Hugo Chávez recepcionam os clientes que perderão horas tentando encontrar produtos em um supermercado estatal desabastecido - Diego Braga Norte/Veja.com
Filas de horas, escassez de produtos básicos, segurança militar, esteiras rolantes que não funcionam, lojas fechadas e muitas caras amarradas dos consumidores: eis o retrato do Hipermercado Bicentenário, na capital Caracas. O que era para ser a maior vitrine do sucesso da estatização da produção e distribuição dos bens de consumo acabou abarrotado de pessoas que esperam em longas filas para comprar basicamente óleo, farinha, papel higiênico, leite, margarina e frango – produtos que precisam ser estocados, pois não se sabe quando estarão novamente disponíveis nas prateleiras.
Nesta terça-feira, Ynda Caballero, de 28 anos, estava na fila com a filha de dois anos. Ela disse que o mercado estava cheio devido à chegada de alguns produtos que costumam faltar. O açúcar tinha acabado de chegar e seus fardos estavam expostos em uma área aberta, sem que houvesse tempo nem mesmo para colocá-los nas gôndolas. Na ausência de papel higiênico, muitas famílias optam por guardanapos. O frango já estava acabando. A reportagem de VEJA não flagrou pessoas comprando produtos que poderiam se encaixar na categoria de supérfluos, apenas carrinhos repletos de itens básicos.
Para José Carrasquero, professor de ciência política das Universidades Católica e Simón Bolívar, o desabastecimento é fruto, principalmente, da má administração do governo. “O governo estatizou muitas empresas alimentícias, que hoje não operam satisfatoriamente. Em janeiro, o índice de escassez atingiu 28%, o mais alto da história”, diz Carrasquero. “De que adianta os preços serem subsidiados se não há produtos nos mercados?”, questiona o professor, referindo-se aos preços mais baixos dos supermercados estatais.
Luís Vicente León, presidente da consultoria privada Datanálisis, uma das maiores do país, afirma que o governo tentou suprir sua ineficiência na produção e na distribuição de alimentos com importações, mas fracassou. “A Venezuela não é uma boa pagadora e não tem mais crédito internacional, ninguém quer vender nada para nosso governo”, explica. Para ele, se o país continuar trilhando esse caminho, o racionamento de bens de consumo (que já começou em alguns estabelecimentos estatais) será inevitável. A parcela da população que será mais afetada é justamente a de menor poder aquisitivo.
O índice de escassez é formado por uma cesta de vários produtos e é medido mensalmente pelo Banco Central da Venezuela (BCV). Em comunicado oficial, a instituição assinalou que “o nível de escassez do mês de janeiro está associado, principalmente, à falta de matérias-primas e materiais de montagem em alguns setores, como o de automóveis, que não estão diretamente relacionados com as necessidades essenciais da população venezuelana”. Mas a tentativa de minimizar o problema cai por terra quando verifica-se que o indicador específico de escassez de alimentos básicos registrou 26,2% em janeiro. (Continue lendo o texto)
Foto 1 / 36
Manifestante segura um cartaz em frente a policiais da guarda nacional em frente a embaixada de Cuba em Caracas, na Venezuela - 25/02/2014
Manifestante segura um cartaz em frente a policiais da guarda nacional em frente a embaixada de Cuba em Caracas, na Venezuela - 25/02/2014 - Jorge Silva/Reuters
Sob o olhar de Chávez – O estabelecimento mais parece um dos antigos supermercados da Alemanha Oriental. Além das prateleiras vazias, chama a atenção no Hipermercado Bicentenário a decoração com uma iconografia que remete ao caudilho Hugo Chávez, morto em março do ano passado. Pôsteres do coronel estão espalhados desde a entrada do estacionamento, passando pelas esteiras rolantes e lojas do centro comercial que funciona no primeiro piso do complexo – a área abriga uma praça de alimentação e serviços como ótica, farmácia, salão de beleza, lojas de roupas. Nesta terça, os estabelecimentos estavam às moscas.   
Os consumidores têm de enfrentar duas filas para fazer compras. Uma apenas para subir ao andar do hipermercado e outra já no local, para andar por entre os corredores. Depois, para pagar, mais filas. E na saída, claro, outra fila – dessa vez para a conferência da nota fiscal com os produtos nas sacolas, para evitar furtos. Toda a segurança – ostensiva, diga-se – é feita por militares fardados. Apesar da aparente confusão e superlotação, as pessoas são amáveis entre si e chegam a fazer troca de produtos, como dois pacotes de café por um de farinha. Procurado pela reportagem, o gerente do Bicentenário mandou dizer que não estava autorizado a falar com a imprensa.
Inaugurado por Hugo Chávez em 2012, o hipermercado é controlado pelo Ministério do Poder Popular para a Alimentação e já nasceu atrasado, pois o bicentenário da Venezuela foi comemorado um ano antes, em 2011. Alardeado por oferecer 80% de produtos nacionais a baixo custo, o local, segundo o cliente José Lopez, funcionou muito bem por alguns meses, mas decaiu. “Era bom, eu vinha com minha família, não tinha filas. Já faz uns meses que está assim. Sou soldador e perco o dia todo fazendo compras em vez de trabalhar”.

As estratégias dos venezuelanos para enfrentar o desabastecimento 

O jornal venezuelano El Mundo elencou as formas que os cidadãos encontraram para tentar comprar ao menos itens básicos que desapareceram das prateleiras dos supermercados

1 de 5

Montar guarda dentro ou fora das lojas

Os venezuelanos fazem rondas na porta dos estabelecimentos comerciais para aguardar a chegada do caminhão que abastece o local com produtos alimentícios e de primeira necessidade. Há aqueles que até compram um café e leem um jornal enquanto conversam com os outros “caçadores” de produtos.

Venezuela: a herança maldita de Chávez 

Hugo Chávez chegou ao poder na Venezuela em fevereiro de 1999 e, ao longo de catorze anos, criou gigantescos desequilíbrios econômicos, acabou com a independência das instituições e deixou um legado problemático para seu sucessor, Nicolás Maduro. Confira:

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Criminalidade alta

A criminalidade disparou na Venezuela ao longo dos 14 anos de governo Chávez. Em 1999, quando se elegeu, o país registrava cerca de 6 000 mortes por ano, a uma taxa de 25 por 100 000 habitantes, maior que a do Iraque e semelhante à do Brasil, que já é considerada elevada. Segundo a ONG Observatório Venezuelano de Violência (OVV), em 2011, foram cometidos 20 000 assassinatos do país, em um índice de 67 homicídios por 100.000 habitantes. Em 2013, foram mortas na Venezuela quase 25 000 pessoas, cinco vezes mais do que em 1998, quando Hugo Chávez foi eleito. 
Apesar de rica em petróleo, a Venezuela é o país com a terceira maior taxa de homicídios do mundo, atrás de Honduras e El Salvador. Entre as razões para tanto está a baixa proporção de criminosos presos. Enquanto no Brasil a média é de 274 presos para cada 100 000 habitantes, na Venezuela o índice está em 161. De acordo com uma ONG que promove os direitos humanos na Venezuela, a Cofavic, em 96% dos casos de homicídio os responsáveis pelos crimes não são condenados.