Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Me, in favor of and against... free market think tanks

I believe profoundly in that our world is driven forward by the risk-takers operating in a free market. And as typical risk-adverse citizen it behooves me to fight for that to be happening.

And that is why even though I admire profoundly many free-market think tanks, their silence on two issues extremely important for me, drives me nut.

1st. I hate it that when free-market supporters imply that if only there was a free market supporter in charge of the government, he would be able to overcome the problems that the concentration of power in governments cause… like that of 98% of all my nation’s, Venezuela, exports going into the government coffers. That is intellectually dishonest of them!

2nd. I hate it when free-market supporters ignore the distortions in the allocation of credit to the real economy that risk-based capital requirements for banks produce, and have it in their minds, that someone should stop their banks from taking risks, so that their money is safe. That is also intellectually dishonest of them!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Hugo Chavez Revolution cheated the poor

And before “Chavistas” stop reading this let me point out that the title does not imply that Hugo Chavez, as a person, deceived the poor, all the time, since for sure he himself was also much deceived by some of his most dedicated followers.

So let me explain the Great Deception.

If there is one thing that the Chavez Revolution holds, is that it foremost works for the poor of Venezuela... and it congratulates itself with reports where the Gini coefficient evidences that inequality has declined in Venezuela. Well ... that is completely false unless you want to argue that this was achieved by impoverishing many of those who had something more.

But the Gini coefficient in itself contains falsehoods. As an example, its calculations, for “methodological" reasons, does not include the income of those who became rich via corruption and deviation of funds, like the “boli-bourgeois” (the new rich) and the “briefcase companies” (a name for those who have abused the foreign exchange controls)

And I can argue the Great Deception even stronger.

Imagine that the government had not directly given dollars to other countries or purchased services at inflated prices (Cuban doctors and nurses)

Imagine that the government had not given away the gasoline in Venezuela ($ 6 cents per gallon, € 1.5 cents per liter) and had sold it at its international price.

Imagine that it has not sold cheapo-dollars to those traveling abroad

Imagine that it has not sold cheapo-dollars for imports, those who benefit criminal importers, for instanbce those who over-invoice, or good faith importers, by providing very generous distribution margins ... and which all ultimately delivers only a tiny portion of benefits to the population which, precisely because it is poor, consumes less imports.

And imagine instead that all these resources just HAD BEEN distributed equally in cash among all Venezuelans.

In such a case, I assure you that the Gini coefficient would have shown a vastly larger, more real and more sustainable reduction of inequalities in Venezuela.

So you the poor of Venezuela and you the middle class in the process of being part of the poor in Venezuela, demand your share of the net oil revenues, in cash, in dollars.

And please, I beg you, stop being so naïve as to believe the story that some experts, no matter where they come from, no matter how beautiful they speak to you, know better than what you know what to do with an amount that can represent 150-250 dollars monthly for each one of you 

PS . Reading about some new government efforts to further indebt our country, I beg our students: “You, who would be the surest payers of this debt, declare that debts, incurred only to postpone much needed corrections are "odious", and that therefore you have not the slightest intention of sacrificing yourself by paying these.

How can one ask other countries for respect when one disrespects one’s own countrymen?

How can one ask for a multi-polar world while requiring a single-polar country?

How can a government which manages 98% of all the exports of the country, declare itself so innocent of its problems?

How can you say to sleep like a baby and wake up with such large bags under the eyes?

Do you think that Hugo Chavez would sleep happy as Maduro says he does, when so much unhappiness abounds?

Some countries have governments that washes brains, Venezuela has one which is brainwashed