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The New-Old Economics of the Latin American Left

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Tags World HistoryPolitical Theory

11/17/2007

Re-nationalization, high tariffs, Keynesian monetary and fiscal "policy", and all the U.N.'s CEPAL recipe for disaster is back in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador. Having to say a lot on the subject, let me just begin with Hugo Chavez's proposal for an expiring, voucher-based currency. Besides being anything but original, it would take Venezuelans back to barter and small town self-dependency or just disconnected among themselves and ever more dependent on Caracas and its oil cashflow. The proposal is very explicit: the inhabitants of those towns won't be allowed to trade those bartering certificates for money. "And what do you call that?" he asks the audience, "Socialism, we are not here to make profits." Of course, long term planning will become impossible and the division of labor will suffer even more in a country were shops already are as empty as in Cuba, and political centralization will grow stronger. One can only wonder if there is true ignorance in the proposal or just plain malice from an egomaniacal tyrant who wants all important transations to go checked by his minions.

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