Stop Me If This Sounds Familar
November 28, 2018 9:47 AM   Subscribe

“The use of oil revenues to fund social programs and redistribute Venezuelan wealth did not play a principal role in the country’s economic crisis–if anything, the Venezuelan government’s failure to redistribute enough wealth to disempower the politically powerful entities it spent its dollars buying off that caused the tailspin.” Reactionary Misinterpretations of the Venezuela Crisis (Fellow Travellers) “Bearing in mind the revolution-counterrevolution dialectic, it is imperative to look at the role of the elite, whose power extends throughout much of the agrifood system, and who have exploited the current “crisis” to further consolidate their power while simultaneously seeking to dismantle redistributive agrifood policies.” The Politics of Food in Venezuela (Venezuela Analysis) “It’s not a proving ground for Capitalism vs. Socialism. It’s a story of corruption.” What Happened In Venezuela Isn’t So Simple (The Nib)
posted by The Whelk (32 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
Castro had it right, you have to just get rid of the wealthy or they won't ever stop trying to take their riches back.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:00 AM on November 28, 2018 [19 favorites]


I don’t see Venezuela’s collapse as a failure of socialism, so much as a failure of populism. Chavez tried to have it all (social welfare programs without increasing taxation on the rich) which isn’t redistributive, it’s just unsustainable. At the same time, he killed the golden goose by mismanagement of the state oil company. I believe that democratic socialism is achievable and sustainable. But regardless of ideology, populism isn’t. It involves saying things that people want to hear, regardless of practicality, and it normally cedes a lot of policy-making to the whim of a charismatic autocrat with an unjustified belief in his or her own abilities. That’s a recipe for disaster.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:11 AM on November 28, 2018 [28 favorites]


Of course Venezuela is all about corruption. Such lovely people stuck with a nasty set of problems. If Castro had had the level of oil wealth that Venezuela has, would he have been able to avoid the slide into chaos that Venezuela now suffers?

Today at work I am wearing a red shirt. It has no baggage. However, I cannot wear it when my office mate is in. He is from Venezuela, but emigrated to the US during the Chavez administration. This red shirt has a lot of baggage for him.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 10:20 AM on November 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


Thanks for posting this. I always felt that oil is a curse, not a blessing. I think if Cuba had oil, it would have wound up just like Venezuela.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:27 AM on November 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


these are really helpful reviews of the situation. thanks.
posted by entropone at 11:20 AM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I always felt that oil is a curse, not a blessing.

See also the resource curse and Dutch disease.
posted by Etrigan at 11:49 AM on November 28, 2018


Sweartagod, one more right wing nut bag friend says Venezuela proves socialism doesn't work, I'm going set them on fire. Venezuela only shows that a thin veneer of socialism can't hide the horrors of predatory capitalism more than anything else
posted by Redhush at 11:50 AM on November 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


holy shit.

everybody. don't theorycraft about venezuela and oil and stuff. go read the food article. go read the food article right now. It starts off slow, but when it gets going it gets going.

Whelk, thank you so much for posting this! Here's the bit that made my ears start perking up. it gets more interesting from there:
There are direct parallels between present-day Venezuela and Chile in the 1970s under Salvador Allende, where the U.S. strategy, in the words of Richard Nixon, was to “make the economy scream.” The United States employed the same methods of destabilization, including a financial blockade, and supported the right-wing counterrevolution, likewise manifested in shortages, lines, and street protests, among other forms of disruption. The depressed prices of Chile’s main source of foreign exchange, copper, parallels declining oil prices Venezuela. While the extent of U.S. involvement in Chile’s counterrevolution would not be fully understood until years later, when key documents were declassified, overt U.S. aggression toward Venezuela is already evident in the intensifying economic sanctions imposed by the Obama and Trump administrations, as well as an all-out economic blockade that has made it extremely difficult for the government to make payments on food imports and manage its debt.
Check out this interesting detail about the "food shortages":
First, it is important to look carefully at the food lines: their composition, their location, and what products are being sought. The people waiting in these lines have overwhelmingly been poor working-class women—an attack on both everyday life at the household level, as well as on the popular organization of the Bolivarian Revolution, in which women have played a key role. The lines have also largely formed outside supermarkets, where consumers wait to access certain specific items that have mostly gone missing from the shelves. These consist of the most consumed industrially processed products in the Venezuelan food basket, particularly precooked corn flour. The specific selection of these missing items—those deemed most essential to the population—tends not to make the headlines, and this points to a wider gap in media narratives. For while precooked corn flour has gone missing, corn-based porridge has remained available; milk powder disappeared from the shelves, but fresh dairy products like cheeses can still be found, and so on.
Why does precooked corn flour matter?
Ever since the first commercialization of precooked corn flour, one brand, Harina PAN, has become synonymous with the product—to the point that its name is used interchangeably with the generic term harina precocida. PAN stands for Productos Alimenticios Nacionales, National Food Products, and is a homonym of pan, bread. Despite the humble origins portrayed in the company’s marketing campaigns, its owners, the Mendoza Fleury family, come from a long lineage traceable back to the colonial elite, and have held key posts in both government and business for generations. Today they are among the most powerful families in the country and best known as the owners of Empresas Polar, the conglomerate that supplies the most widely consumed foods and beverages in Venezuela, particularly arepas and beer. Polar, a Venezuelan subsidiary of PepsiCo, is the largest private company in the country, with products reaching global markets, and it controls an estimated 50 to 60 percent of Venezuela’s supply of precooked corn flour.
And then there's this, which is immediately before the author turns to discussing parallels to the U.S.-backed counterrevolution against Allende in Chile.
Several other important factors point to holes in the dominant scarcity narrative. First, the same items missing from shelves have continued to be found in restaurants. Second, by their own accounting, private food companies, including Polar, continued to maintain steady production levels at least through 2015. In a 2016 interview, in fact, a representative from Polar spoke of the recent addition of new products such as teas and gelatins to their Venezuelan lines. Third, even before the government mounted a widespread response to the shortages (as described below), corn flour consumption levels among both higher- and lower-income sectors of the population remained steady from 2012 to 2015. Thus, while the shortages have undoubtedly caused tremendous anxiety and insecurity, and while accessing certain goods has become more time-consuming and complicated, Venezuelans have indeed found ways to obtain them.35 In addition to enduring the lines, another channel has been the underground economy, through which goods such as corn flour are sold at a steep markup. While individuals have turned such practices into business opportunities, private enterprises have done so as well, both by hoarding goods for speculative purposes and by smuggling them across the Colombian border. The regular discovery of stockpiles further suggests that goods have been intentionally diverted from supermarket shelves
Go read it! go read it go read it go read it!
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:53 AM on November 28, 2018 [23 favorites]


I mean I've come off like a loon in some recent threads railing about how capital will try to kill us when we try to institute reforms, like, people have been all "lol capital's not a monolith you're seeing pantomime villains who aren't there you're jumping at shadows be reasonable."

but you know what? I stand by all of it. capitalists know what they're doing and they know how to do it. they are well-organized and they know how to look after their interests. They get us with low wages. if they can't get us with low wages, they get us with high rents. if they can't get us with high rents — if enough leftists get enough state power to disrupt the low wage/high rent game — they get us with food shortages. and if they can't get us with food shortages, they get us with guns.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:56 AM on November 28, 2018 [19 favorites]


If Alberta was a sovereign country, I have no doubt that it would have ended up in the same predicament as Venezuela. Canada would have annexed it out of mere pity. But being mostly white and rabidly capitalist (even the socialists!) it might have inspired some small amount of soul* searching among the usual suspects.

*dubious premise: that any of them have anything resembling a soul.
posted by klanawa at 12:04 PM on November 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


ugh okay one more paragraph from the food article:
As one Venezuelan food sovereignty activist commented on the present situation: “In war, one must eat.” Responses to the challenges have taken many forms, and while a full discussion is beyond the scope of this article, we will give a broad overview. First, if everyday life is the main battleground on which present problems are playing out, it is also the frontline of resistance. When the shortages began, among the first lines of defense to be activated was a kind of parallel solidarity economy, involving the sharing and bartering of food and other essentials among neighbors as well as a reactivation of survival techniques from the past. These have included a reclaiming of traditional food preparation techniques—by necessity, as the foods missing from supermarket shelves were substituted with foods that remained locally available, thanks to prior public efforts toward food sovereignty: plantains, cassava, and sweet potatoes for processed starches, fresh sugarcane for refined sugar, and so on. Perhaps most emblematic of the early days of the shortages was the substitution of freshly ground corn for processed (precooked) corn flour in the preparation of arepas, as many dusted off their grandmothers’ grinders and put them to use. Simultaneously, unprecedented numbers of urban dwellers began growing what they could on windowsills, patios, and in community spaces, enlivening a nascent urban agriculture movement.
learn to cook from scratch. learn to grow food in gardens. it's revolutionary.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:18 PM on November 28, 2018 [12 favorites]


Oil is mostly a curse for a relatively poor country. In Norway an Iraqi dude showed up at the last moment and saved us from the Dutch disease.

posted by Dumsnill at 12:24 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


if they can't get us with low wages, they get us with high rents... food shortages... guns.

You forgot the incredibly expensive crappy healthcare system.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:45 PM on November 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


The problem of corruption is at the root of any comparison between capitalism and socialism. Is it better to have decentralized corruption with ruthless businesses or centralized corruption with rampant agency capture?

Both are destabilizing and debilitating. But one of the benefits of capitalism is that the corruption in our financial sector simply caused a recession, leaving a government able to react and attempt to mitigate the damage. As terrible and far reaching as the financial crisis was, it doesn't compare to the damage of a large failed state.

I'm not trying to advocate for Pure Capitalism. If the government doesn't do anything to help it's citizenry, it is the same as having no rule of law. There is an equilibrium.

But that equilibrium is most dependent on who we are as a society. Regulations passed without broad support from the population will quickly succumb to agency capture. Journalists and watchdog organizations are toothless if the public doesn't care. And the public's capacity to care is finite. So the rule of law is less an instrument of change, but an expression of change. Socialism thrives when their citizens are fundamentally good. But if citizens are fundamentally good, they'd have similar outcomes under a capitalist regime.
posted by politikitty at 12:51 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


politikitty: read the articles. it's not about the corruption of socialism vs. the corruption of capitalism. it's about capitalism attacking anything that threatens it.

start with the food one! it is the absolute best.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:00 PM on November 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't trust the food article. It heavily sources from government media. Telesur? Correo del Orinoco?The Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information? Venezuela Analysis itself was most funded by the Venezuelan government. Might as well trust Russia Today.
posted by zabuni at 1:26 PM on November 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


My mouth started watering in the food article when the Spanish general insulted arepas (which are delicious) and then the discussion of PAN made me feel pretty terrible for having much easier access to it in stores in Canada than it seems Venezuelans have.

However, the subheading "The Venezuelan food system has long been shaped by the pushes and pulls of capital, society, and the state." to the food article above a photo of several hands holding beans made my brain interpret the sentence as the Venezuelan food system being shaped by the PULSES or beans.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:40 PM on November 28, 2018


Thanks for the informative links! Corruption is the big takeaway for me.

I hate to repeat myself ad nauseum when it comes to this topic, but the crisis in Venezuela rests on the very Trump-like shoulders of Hugo Chavez, not on "socialism" per se.

Know-nothing demagogue? Check.
Rash decisions that make huge changes to the country and sending the economy into turmoil? Check.
Regular "fireside-chat" style communiques with the public that often devolve into incoherent rambling? Check. (Chavez:weekly show/ Trump: Fox News call-ins & chopper-talk).
Just anecdotally speaking, the Venezuelans I know personally all attest to this.
posted by ishmael at 1:47 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Polar, a Venezuelan subsidiary of PepsiCo

This is out right misleading. They own a Pepsi bottling company as a subsidiary.
posted by zabuni at 2:31 PM on November 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Chavez tried to have it all (social welfare programs without increasing taxation on the rich)

If you have oil, you can do that.

Venezuela has oil. But instead of just taxing extraction for his programs, and leaving the oil company to run its own affairs, Chavez had to use managerial positions inside PDVSA as rewards for his supporters. So production nosedived. You can have the golden eggs. But don't mistreat the goose.
posted by ocschwar at 2:34 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


it's about capitalism attacking anything that threatens it

This is my biggest pet peeve, and the entire point of my comment. You're conflating capitalism as an economic system and capitalism as shorthand for greedy bastards with too much power.

These people are not capitalists. We just call them capitalists because in our capitalist system, that's the best way for them to wield power. When a different power structure and economic system is put in place, they exploit the weaknesses of that system to extract power.

Regulation is a two edged sword. It has the power to hold people accountable. But only when it has democratic legitimacy. It can't just be on the books, it has to be regulation that people generally agree is fair, reasonable and important enough to hold government accountable (which becomes harder when political parties are highly differentiated on many different axes). If it's not, the risk is not just "zero regulation", which isn't great. It's agency capture, which raises entrance costs to new firms that might threaten the status quo, and carves out new regulations that support unsustainable business practices and transfer all risk to the population at large.

That's not a function of capitalism. That's a function of socialism. Because all economies are mixed, and the policy question is always what the optimal mix is. The more corrupt a society is, the more risk there is that implementing socialist policies will lead to horrible policy outcomes.
posted by politikitty at 2:37 PM on November 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


>This is my biggest pet peeve, and the entire point of my comment. You're conflating capitalism as an economic system and capitalism as shorthand for greedy bastards with too much power.

These people are not capitalists. We just call them capitalists because in our capitalist system, that's the best way for them to wield power. When a different power structure and economic system is put in place, they exploit the weaknesses of that system to extract power.


I think it requires a bit of question-begging to define the optimal strategies under capitalism as being outside capitalism or somehow non-capitalist, especially when those strategies have been the ones that the successful capitalists have used from the start of the capitalist mode of organization. as Adam Smith put it, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.”

(I wonder how many people hear that in Leonard Nimoy's voice...)

It's dishonest to pretend that the tendencies established by a set of rules — the meta that develops under that set of rules, if you will — don't have anything to do with those rules, even when that meta goes against the "spirit" of the rules or whatever. And the rules established through capitalism — formal equality in the marketplace, competition between people legally (but not materially) equal — set up a meta where the optimal play for people with fortunes is to capture state power and then wield it against anyone who opposes them.

> That's not a function of capitalism. That's a function of socialism. Because all economies are mixed, and the policy question is always what the optimal mix is. The more corrupt a society is, the more risk there is that implementing socialist policies will lead to horrible policy outcomes.

Coming on the heels of your discussion of regulation, it appears to me that you're suggesting that state regulation of the economy, or state involvement in the economy, is in and of itself socialist. This is, well, not true. I think that might be one of the cruxes of our misunderstanding; you're thinking of socialism as statist (or of the state as automatically socialist) and capitalism as separable from the state, when as I see it neither statement is accurate.

Tell me if I'm misstating your argument. You appear to be saying that capitalism is a system wherein economic decisions are made through fair market exchange, rather than by overt state planning, and that any case of the wealthy ("greedy bastards with too much power," as you put it) using their market position to establish control of the state and chase out or suppress potential competitors is corruption, not capitalism.

Meanwhile, I'm arguing that market exchange under capitalist terms (where there is a division between those that have control over the means of production and can buy labor on the market, vs. those who don't own capital and have to sell their labor to live) inevitably leads to the concentration of wealth in a few hands and the inevitable capture of the state by the most ambitious of those few wealthy people; in short, that what you identify as corruption is an emergent effect baked into the rules of the game itself. The only potential solution to this problem, as I see it, is organizing toward economic democracy, i.e. the transfer of control over productive capital away from the people who own and to the people who work, by whatever means. Winning control over the state, or, indeed, keeping a state around at all, may or may not be part of that process. Likewise participating in electoral democracy may or may not be part of that process. (those last sentences contain the seeds of every argument between socialists, anarchists, and social democrats).

Am I misunderstanding you?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:38 PM on November 28, 2018 [15 favorites]


Socialim fails, but good old social democracy works. Let's try that.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:42 PM on November 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


These people are not capitalists. We just call them capitalists because in our capitalist system, that's the best way for them to wield power.

Luckily, English already has a word for people who wield power under capitalism by using the power afforded to capitalists in a capitalist system. That word is "capitalist".
posted by Etrigan at 5:30 PM on November 28, 2018 [13 favorites]


But not true capitalists, I guess.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:32 AM on November 29, 2018


Meanwhile, I'm arguing that market exchange under capitalist terms (where there is a division between those that have control over the means of production and can buy labor on the market, vs. those who don't own capital and have to sell their labor to live) inevitably leads to the concentration of wealth in a few hands and the inevitable capture of the state by the most ambitious of those few wealthy people

This is the crux of our disagreement. I don't see that as an inevitable outcome of market exchange. I see that as an inevitable outcome of any society that believes wealth is finite, and has low trust and regard for those they believe are not part of their community. If you change the rules, and not the values, you will get Venezuela.

I'll readily agree there is a correlation between Democratic Socialism and a more collectivist sentiment among their citizens. But I believe most left leaning folks put the causation backwards. The system is capable of reinforcing itself by constantly affirming their values through the political and legal process. But I don't think it's nearly as durable and lasting effect as people believe. Every generation considers a large swath of legislation to be useless or outdated, and it takes social cohesion to decide if we're going to continue to care about sodomy laws or child labor laws.

Capitalists might be the problem. But that's a far cry from saying capitalism is the problem. You change the system, you're just changing the appropriate term to call the people who are ruining the world for the rest of us. Social change is far more important than political change. It's just that we don't really know how to measure social change, so our tendency is to use political change to keep score.
posted by politikitty at 2:18 PM on November 29, 2018


Luckily, English already has a word for people who wield power under capitalism by using the power afforded to capitalists in a capitalist system. That word is "capitalist".

So by definition, a similar person in a socialist system, like, say, Venezuela, wouldn't be a capitalist right?

Because I believe that proves my point.
posted by politikitty at 2:20 PM on November 29, 2018


It seems like one can argue that the counter-attack on Chavismo is what capitalism generally does to threats to its system, without actually supporting Chavismo or disagreeing with most of the criticisms of it. Revolutionary anti-capitalist movements are generally met with the same reaction: a revolt by wealthy and educated domestic citizens, and international attacks in the form of blockades, tariffs, currency and bond attacks, usurious loans, and all the rest that has been documented in by Klein, Chomsky, etc. That is clearly part of what has happened in Venezuela, and it would certainly happen here or anywhere else that an anti-capitalist revolution might manage off the ground. But that doesn't mean that this particular socialist revolution was successful or laudatory or would have worked absent such attacks -- both the attacks, and the innate weaknesses, can be true.

That said, the usual neither-side-ism (eg in the cartoon) does usually tend to emphasize one side more than the other. It's worth bearing in mind just how fierce the outright war between the rich and poor has been in Venezuela over at least the last three decades, from Chavez's attempted coup in 92 to the attempted coup against him by the elites in 2002, followed by years of recall elections and other constitutional battles, constant attacks by all the rich-owned media followed by his attacks taking over those media, the huge numbers of street protests by both sides -- and all of that is before the current decade that most folks focus on. An oil-funded soft-Cuba takeover was clearly a failure in its own right, but that doesn't mean that the capitalist counter-attack wasn't also vast, vicious, and effective -- not just internationally, but waged by every remaining member of the domestic elite against the Chavist system over the last two decades. It's cautionary tales all round.
posted by chortly at 10:29 PM on November 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


> So by definition, a similar person in a socialist system, like, say, Venezuela, wouldn't be a capitalist right? Because I believe that proves my point.

"if the powerful people doing a thing they're incentivized to do under a particular system were in fact different powerful people doing a different thing that they're incentivized to do under a different system, you'd call them by a different name. Check and mate, commies! Check. and. mate!"

> Revolutionary anti-capitalist movements are generally met with the same reaction: a revolt by wealthy and educated domestic citizens, and international attacks in the form of blockades, tariffs, currency and bond attacks, usurious loans, and all the rest that has been documented in by Klein, Chomsky, etc. That is clearly part of what has happened in Venezuela, and it would certainly happen here or anywhere else that an anti-capitalist revolution might manage off the ground. But that doesn't mean that this particular socialist revolution was successful or laudatory or would have worked absent such attacks -- both the attacks, and the innate weaknesses, can be true.

God, so much yes to that. I hope some day we get to have a real conversation about Venezuela here. I have to admit I'm a little embarrassed by how eager I am to see parallels to Chile's Allende years in Venezuela's current situation, even though, well, Maduro's no Allende.

> It's cautionary tales all round.

What sucks (I mean, aside from everything) is that a bunch of real lives and real political struggles have to be reduced to just being cautionary tales about how capitalism's immune system works, and about how not to throw a revolution. like, we already know how capital counterattacks, and that it's very good at running those counterattacks, and also we already know that personality cults go sour and turn vicious, and yet historical contingencies mean that we get to watch the whole shitty story play out again and again and again.

Natalie Wynn (ContraPoints) identifies as a "very pessimistic socialist," which I'm increasingly coming to believe is the only reasonable position in our grim world.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:16 AM on November 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


On further thought, one reason I find myself bit reluctant to take the neither-side-ist position is that it seems logically redundant (overdetermined?) that its usually deemed the case that both the revolution itself was inherently flawed, and that the counter-revolution was vicious and effective. All these revolutions fail throughout history for such similar apparent reasons, judged by historians to be doomed both by their innate self-destruction and the external destructive forces arrayed against them. But that seems a bit much -- why aren't there more examples of revolutions that were totally healthy but destroyed by external forces, or that were ignored by external forces but destroyed themselves totally on their own? (Again, I'm not talking about truth here, but about how even left-leaning historians present things.) No: it's always both counter-attacks and personality cults in tandem, destroying both from inside and out. Either that's a funky coincidence, or both processes are something like historical laws, or one is actually the effect of the other. I suspect it may be all three to various degrees, but I see the third scenario described much less often -- how the counter-attacks are not just a reaction to the revolution, but the revolution's "innate" cult-of-personality/corruption weaknesses may be in turn effects of the counter-attacks.
posted by chortly at 6:45 PM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


chortly: oh absolutely, we are completely on the same page there. it's the big unsolvable problem. If your revolution doesn't develop some sort of centralized command and control, all the revolutionaries end up getting gunned down in a couple of months, paris commune-style. but developing the centralized control you need to weather the counterrevolution requires deeply held popular support , requires a mass of people who value freedom enough to starve for it, get shot for it, and, not least, follow orders for it. And maybe the only way to develop that intensity of popular buy-in fast enough is by assembling a cult of personality.

well and what's more, even if you don't assemble a cult of personality, the counterrevolution will likely accuse you of having a cult of personality anyway.

I don't think politikitty's comments in this thread have been particularly useful, but if there's something we can salvage from them it's a sense that developing the populace's value system is absolutely necessary to stage a revolution worth staging. But not developing our shared valued system toward the depoliticized liberalism that politikitty seems to support, but instead toward a sort of... I don't know what. Toward a disciplined anarchism? We'll be free when the bulk of us figure out how to recognize our own value as humans, how to systematically reject the authority of people who hold power because they hold property, and also how to act strategically in concert to defend our mutual humanity against capitalists, generals, and other slavers.

It's just, it's a hell of a challenge to raise a generation of brave smart joyous pirates when capital knows full well how and why to suppress all of our natural tendencies toward piraticism, intelligence, bravery, and joy.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:59 PM on December 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


holy shit.

everybody. don't theorycraft about venezuela and oil and stuff. go read the food article. go read the food article right now. It starts off slow, but when it gets going it gets going.


I finally got around to reading this one (if you think 8 days to read a Mefi article is bad, you should see my stack of books) and I have to agree, this is a fantastic, nuanced article and is basically the exact rebuttal to "socialism is bad because Venezuela" that I've been hunting for.

My thanks as well, The Whelk.
posted by ragtag at 5:14 PM on December 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


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