Category Archives: Venezuela

Even if Corbyn loses, millions will have voted for this

Labour’s frightening manifesto

Reading it, Dalrymple realises

how close Britain might be to a catastrophe that would make the Brexit episode seem of minor importance.

If Labour wins,

the party will inaugurate a quasi-totalitarian government. Chávez-admirer Jeremy Corbyn’s deputy, John McDonnell, is an admirer of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky, whom he has described as the greatest influence on his worldview.

Labour, Dalrymple notes,

lives in a world in which, when you increase taxes, your tax receipts rise in exact proportion to the percentage increase: the taxed do not change their behaviour.

If Labour were elected and tried to put its proposals into practice, there would be

  • capital flight
  • capital controls
  • loss of confidence
  • complete absence of investment
  • forced investment (requiring ever higher taxes)
  • government control over the economy to pay for it
  • emigration of anyone who can earn a living elsewhere

The ensuing chaos and degradation

would swiftly exceed anything previously seen in the UK. The prospect of a military coup, with the support of a large part of the population, would not be far-fetched; nor, if in the meantime the government had managed to suborn or dissolve the armed forces, would be a slide into Venezuelan conditions, in the name of social justice.

The socialist menace

Britain’s Labour party, writes Dalrymple, wishes to provoke a general election, which it believes that it would win. Were it to do so,

it would bring to power people who admire the Venezuelan model and believe in confiscation as the path to universal prosperity.

They would make Brexit

seem like a minor detail in the history of British difficulties.

Brexit bungled. Corbyn coming!

New red dawn

Britain braced for full socialisation

Thanks to the Brexit imbroglio, writes Dalrymple, England

could soon be Venezuela without the oil or the warm weather. The stunning incompetence of the last two Tory prime ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May, might result in a Labour government, one led by Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has long admired Hugo Chávez for having reminded him—though not the people of Venezuela—what governments can do for the poor and the achievement of social justice.

A demagogue and a terminal bore

Chávez bestrode his country like a colossus inflated with gas

Resentment, notes Dalrymple,

is the nourishing broth in which demagogues like Castro and Chávez grow and thrive. The worse they make the situation, the better their explanation for it. We were right all along! See what they are doing to us! Since resentment is self-reinforcing, the demagogues are always sure of at least some support, however obvious the disaster they have wrought.

Dalrymple says that he is not prescient, far from it, but

I knew from the moment that Chávez took power that his rule would end disastrously. Whatever the parlous state of the country at the time he took power, he could only make it worse. (I reviewed a book by one of those fools whose wishful thinking flits like a butterfly from revolution to revolution and from radical to radical, and who took Chávez at his own estimate.)

A disaster from which Venezuela will take generations to recover

Chávez

was the kind of leader who could produce a shortage of saltwater in the Pacific. It was only appropriate that he should so have admired Bolívar that he named his ‘revolution’ after him, for Bolívar’s life ended miserably and his plans were utterly set at naught. ‘He who serves the revolution,’ said Bolívar at the end of his life, ‘ploughs the sea.’

Dalrymple points out that Chávez was

a charismatic nonentity, a terminal bore whose mind was stuffed with cliché, verbiage, and resentment. He bestrode his country like a colossus inflated with gas. He never said in a minute what he could say in an hour; if he had a fundamental belief, it was ‘I speak to an audience, therefore I am.’

His constant appeal

was to resentment, the most sustainable of all emotions. (It can last a lifetime and, being easily transferred, is heritable).

Chávez’s

resentful charlatanry, his patent-medicine-salesmanship of quick political and economic solutions, was a disaster for his country from which it will take generations to recover.

The moral and intellectual idiocy of Jeremy Corbyn

England faces another civil war

Dalrymple points out that the next British government might easily be formed by an admirer of Hugo Chávez, on the occasion of whose death Jeremy Corbyn stated: ‘Thanks Hugo for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world.’

Anyone who considers a man like Chávez worthy of admiration will not, says Dalrymple,

be alarmed—rather, the reverse—by any gulf in society that his ignorant economic policies will produce, a gulf far exceeding any within living memory.

Moreover,

his most fervent support comes from people so wedded to their own Original Virtue that they feel they are properly the arbiters of what may and may not be said and are therefore justified in resorting to violence to enforce their prohibitions.

Dalrymple warns:

One of the problems of this, apart from its sheer moral and intellectual idiocy, is that it will eventually call forth equal and opposite violence.

England’s shambolic economy

The economic auguries for the UK, writes Dalrymple,

are poor, though not only, or even principally, because of the European Union’s hostility. Britain is unlikely to be able to take any advantage of life outside the European straitjacket because its own political class is in favour of straitjackets that are no better, and quite possibly worse than, the European ones.

The present prime minister, Theresa May,

is very much a statist, indistinguishable from European social democrats.

The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, who has a strong chance of taking over from May,

is an unapologetic admirer of the late Hugo Chávez.

In light of this, Dalrymple notes that

it is hardly to be expected that foreign investors will place much trust or confidence in an isolated country whose next government might very well

  • weaken property rights
  • impose capital controls
  • increase corporate taxation in favour of supposed social justice

It would not take very long, Dalrymple points out, to turn England into

a northern Venezuela: a Venezuela without the oil or the tropical climate.

Dalrymple lists some of Great Britain’s economic weaknesses:

  • a large and persistent trade imbalance, because Britain does not produce enough of what the world wants and cannot easily be made to do so
  • a large national debt, about the same size as that of France, but without a highly functioning infrastructure such as France’s to show for it
  • household debt which is among the highest in the world

For many years, Dalrymple comments, UK economic policy

might as well have been presided over by Bernard Madoff.

Subsidies spell poverty

Ineducable

Ineducable

If Hugo Chávez had studied the history of Nauru, writes Dalrymple,

he might have learned something and not led his country to its present plight, though in fact he was probably ineducable, since reality was his greatest political opponent.

Raising standards of living by means of subsidy

ends in tears, not to mention poverty, especially if those subsidies are extensive.

The economics and politics of Venezuela

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 22.14.00Few countries, writes Dalrymple, are so impervious to experience as Venezuela, which has the world’s largest proved oil reserves (source: US Energy Information Administration, 2013 ranking).
This gift of God has been turned into a curse; for whenever the price of oil goes up, the government distributes largesse by means of subsidy to the populace (though not, of course, without considerable defalcation or malversation on its own part).
Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 22.16.52Whenever the price of oil goes down,
the subsidies have to be withdrawn, either by means of price rises or general shortage. Either method results in discontent, conflict and a political crisis; and then scapegoats have to be found by whoever is in power. The Venezuelan pendulum swings between hubris and paranoia.