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From a publication that even lefties can trust, The New York Times...


Venezuela’s Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say

Butchers have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal, fat shavings and cow hooves, the only animal protein many of their customers can afford.

MARACAIBO, Venezuela — Zimbabwe’s collapse under Robert Mugabe. The fall of the Soviet Union. Cuba’s disastrous unraveling in the 1990s.

The crumbling of Venezuela’s economy has now outpaced them all.

Venezuela’s fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say.

“It’s really hard to think of a human tragedy of this scale outside civil war,” said Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard University and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. “This will be a touchstone of disastrous policies for decades to come.”

To find similar levels of economic devastation, economists at the I.M.F. pointed to countries that were ripped apart by war, like Libya earlier this decade or Lebanon in the 1970s.


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/world/americas/venezuela-...


The good news... Why good? Think what happens when Maduro can no longer pay off the military and pay the Cuban for their support.


Venezuela Accelerates Gold Selling as Petro Dollar Fades

Venezuela has sold about $570 million worth of gold from its central bank reserves over the past two weeks. This was done in an attempt to circumvent U.S. Treasury sanctions designed to freeze assets of the Nicolas Maduro’s administration.

The central bank sold about 14 tons of gold recently, driving its reserves down to a 29-year low of only $7.9 billion. This brings the total to 23 tons of gold that has been sold since the beginning of April.


https://beincrypto.com/venezuela-gold-selling-petro-fades/

The petro would make sense if Venezuela had a vibrant oil economy but crude production is down below 800 K barrels a month from 3.5 million when Chavez took over. Only one refinery is still operational.



Venezuela Sells $570 Million From Gold Reserve Despite Sanctions

Venezuela sold about $570 million in gold from central bank reserves over the past two weeks, skirting U.S. Treasury sanctions designed to freeze assets of the Nicolas Maduro’s administration, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The central bank sold about 9.7 tons of gold on May 10 and an additional 4 tons three days after, the people said, driving its reserves down to a 29-year low of $7.9 billion. The proceeds will be partly used to fund imports through the country’s foreign trade office, according to one of the people.

A central bank press official didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the sales.

Venezuela has sold 23 tons of gold since the beginning of April, defying an economic blockade meant to stop the lucrative trading Maduro has been using to keep the military loyal to his regime. Last month, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control included the Venezuelan central bank its list of sanctioned entities.

Maduro has been selling gold to firms in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, as sanctions increasingly cut off his authoritarian regime from the global financial system. While he maintains a stranglehold on power on the ground -- including the military and government bureaucracy -- opposition leader Juan Guaido is using support from dozens of countries to slowly seize Venezuela’s financial assets abroad.


https://www.bloomberg.com/markets/fixed-income

Denny Schlesinger
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Shipping 23 tons of gold must itself be an interesting challenge ...
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Denny,

Did you permanently leave the country or are you just vacationing in Europe?
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Did you permanently leave the country or are you just vacationing in Europe?

I still have my condo in Caracas but I'm more than "vacationing in Europe." The solution for Venezuela, painful as it may be, is total collapse so they have nothing left to steal. Hopefully people will have learned not to vote "rojo-rojito" (red and redder). It's hard to believe that 20 years ago people were stupid enough to vote massively (70%) for a military man who had staged a failed coup that left lots of people dead. But then, Germans did the same in the 1930s. Believing in messiahs can be extremely harmful.

While I did not leave permanently, I'm liking Porto more and more! Today I noticed that most stores when they close do not have roll up shutter doors! Just glass! Says a lot about the sanity of the place. And they take their gardening seriously, beautiful greenery and flowers everywhere.

Denny Schlesinger
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none of those facts will keep the NYT from supporting those who want to bring the same failed system to the US
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none of those facts will keep the NYT from supporting those who want to bring the same failed system to the US

Mauser, C’mon. Don’t you know Venezuela’s problem was faulty implementation of socialism? I swear it can work if we just try again and make a few changes. I don’t know what those changes are, but I’m sure AOC has plenty on her mind.

Let’s just give it another shot. The ole college try. Just a few changes, and we will have found Utopia!

It’s not like socialism has failed much in the past.
Below is a list of socialist countries that have succeeded:
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Venezuela was a strong man government masquerading as socialism. Europe has a number of countries which are more genuinely socialist.
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Venezuela was a strong man government masquerading as socialism. Europe has a number of countries which are more genuinely socialist.

That didn’t take long. Just a few more changes is all we need for socialism to work.

Head going in sand now if I can find a spot not already taken by a socialist.

This was a good article from the other day in Forbes.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveforbes/2019/05/07/capitali...

A.J.
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Don't read that poster, and that quote is a good example of why. There are no true socialist states in the EU. There are Nanny Welfare States there. But mostly their economy is stagnant . Why is it that Lefties here refuse to even admit the dictionary definition of Socialism which involves government ownership of the means of production.

from that link

What about the "socialism" of Scandinavia and Europe? They are not socialist in the sense that the government owns and runs the economy. Many of these countries have elaborate welfare programs, restrictive labor laws and overtaxation. But all this is beginning to change.

What self-styled American socialists overlook is that countries like Sweden have been scaling back government. Sweden has been cutting taxes. It has no inheritance tax, and it allows school choice, which is anathema to Bernie Sanders and his ilk. As for the rest of the EU, the average rate of economic growth since the crisis of 2008 has been minuscule, less than half that of the U.S.
Note that like earnings the compounding effects of faster growth really add up over a generation or two, the children and grandchildren of present voters in most EU countries will pay the price

The Swedes tried Socialism. It did not work, so being sensible rather than emotional they gave up on it and settled instead on a Welfare State. Which seems to work OK for them but they are a far more homogenous society than the US and less welfare might have worked even better.

https://reason.com/2019/01/02/sweden-isnt-socialist/

https://www.barrons.com/articles/the-myth-of-nordic-socialis... .

Countries need to give up on Socialism, it never works. They also need to carefully balance the need for security (Welfare State) with the efficiency of pure Capitalism(economic growth) to find the best balance.
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Who is actually arguing in favor of socialism? The most I see are people who are in favor of particular programs which might be characterized as socialist, just like there are many programs now in the US which are ultimately socialist. If you don't agree with a particular existing or proposed program, say so; don't tilt at some fictional socialist windmill like anyone was actually advocating that.

Moreover, citing Venezuela as an example of socialism failing is a far, far bigger distortion than pointing at limitations in Scandinavian socialist programs as evidence of why they aren't evidence that one can have more socialism than we do and still function ... and even have people happy about it. A strong man government is simply not an example of a socialist government and how it doesn't work.
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It's hard to believe that 20 years ago people were stupid enough to vote massively (70%) for a military man who had staged a failed coup that left lots of people dead. But then, Germans did the same in the 1930s. Believing in messiahs can be extremely harmful.

Butterfly effect. Sometimes when the masses emotions' dictate behavior possible repercussions are never even considered...
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The story of Venezuela is horrible and tragic. My good friend here in Mexico has been stranded here since his Venezuelan passport expired last year and he is unable to get a new one. He just received his Mexican citizenship this month, so soon will no longer be stranded. He is one of the lucky ones.

This is a response to the notion that lefties are crazy or malicious because the want to turn the US into Venezuela. There is another angle. It can be argued that Venezuela's downfall is not due to socialist policy, but rather to systemic corruption. A lot of countries have "socialist policy" and have not collapsed. Even the United States has Social Security, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and Medicare, which are all socialist policies through and through, and quite popular for that matter. Personally, I think it's important for a country to have a fair balance of socialism and capitalism. Socialism without the free market becomes totalitarianism. Unrestrained capitalism leads to slums and degrees of inequality that are entirely untenable. The body politic's job is to find the right balance.

The people who see socialism as the cause of Venezuela's collapse see Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and AOC as a clear and present danger to the United States. People who see systemic corruption as the cause of Venezuela's collapse are more likely to see Trump, Barr, and McConnell as the true dangers to the republic.

Here's an article about the systemic corruption point of view.
https://psmag.com/ideas/corruption-not-socialism-brought-dow...
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