Can You Find the Hidden Word to Explain Venezuela’s Escape Economic Collapse?

nyt-socialism

 The New York Times Can’t.

WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao — Nicholas Case reports: The dark outlines of land had just come into view when the smuggler forced everyone into the sea.

Roymar Bello screamed. She was one of 17 passengers who had climbed onto the overloaded fishing boat with aging motors in July, hoping to escape Venezuela’s economic disaster for a new life on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

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Can you guess what word NYT’s Nicholas Casey failed to use even one time in his report on Venezuela’s economic crisis?

Stephen Green

Afraid of the authorities, the smuggler refused to land. Ms. Bello said he gruffly ordered her and the others into the water, pointing toward the distant shore. In the panic, she was tossed overboard, tumbling into the predawn blackness.

But Ms. Bello could not swim.

As she began to sink under the waves, a fellow migrant grabbed her by the hair and towed her toward the island. They washed up on a rocky cliff battered by waves. Bruised and bleeding, they climbed, praying for a lifeline: jobs, money, something to eat.

“It was worth the risk,” said Ms. Bello, 30, adding that Venezuelans like her, “are going after one thing — food.”

Maria Piñero at an empty grocery store in La Vela, Venezuela. “I’m nervous,” she said. “I’m leaving with nothing. But I have to do this. Otherwise, we will just die here hungry.” Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.

[Read the full story here, at he New York Times]

But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.

Now a second diaspora is underway — much less wealthy and not nearly as welcome.

Well over 150,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the last year alone, the highest in more than a decade, according to scholars studying the exodus.

Hundreds of Venezuelans lined up at a grocery store in La Vela in September to see if food would be delivered.Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

“It’s hard to see a solution to this problem because hunger is involved. Venezuela doesn’t have enough food for its people, so some are coming here.”

— Mayor Altemir Campos

And as Mr. Chávez’s Socialist-inspired revolution collapses into economic ruin, as food and medicine slip further out of reach, the new migrants include the same impoverished people that Venezuela’s policies were supposed to help.

“We have seen a great acceleration,” said Tomás Páez, a professor who studies immigration at the Central University of Venezuela. He says that as many as 200,000 Venezuelans have left in the last 18 months, driven by how much harder it is to get food, work and medicine — not to mention the crime that such scarcities have fueled.

“Parents will say: I would rather say goodbye to my son in the airport than in the cemetery,” he said.

Two would-be migrants waiting for the boat that will take them from Venezuela. Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Desperate Venezuelans are streaming across the Amazon Basin by the tens of thousands to reach Brazil. They are concocting elaborate scams to sneak through airports in Caribbean nations that once accepted them freely. When Venezuela opened its border with Colombia for just two days in July, 120,000 people poured across, simply to buy food, officials said. An untold number stayed.

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But perhaps most startling are the Venezuelans now fleeing by sea, an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.

“It has all totally changed,” said Iván de la Vega, a sociologist at Simón Bolívar University in Caracas. About 60 percent more Venezuelans fled the country this year than during the year before, he added.
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Why Luxury TVs Are Affordable when Basic Health Care Is Not

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Monopoly products and services go up in price, while competitive ones go down.

Imagine this. You are feeling under the weather. You pull out your smartphone and click the Rx app. A nurse arrives in 20 minutes at your home. He gives you a blood test and recommends to the doctor that she prescribe a treatment. It is sent to the CVS down the street, which delivers it to your door in 20 minutes. The entire event costs $20.

“Medical care prices are up 105% in the last 20 years. This contrasts with the television industry, which is selling products that have fallen 96% in the same period.”

Sounds nuts? Not so much. Not if health care were a competitive industry. As it is, medical care prices are up 105% in the last 20 years. This contrasts with the television industry, which is selling products that have fallen 96% in the same period.

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Take a look at this chart assembled by AEI. It reveals two important points. First, there is no such thing as an aggregate price level, or, rather what we call the price level is a statistical fiction.

[Read the full text here, at Foundation for Economic Education]

Second, it shows that competitive industries offer goods and services that are falling in price due to market pressure. In contrast monopolized industries can extract ever higher rents from people based on restriction. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: For the First Time Ever, Both Parties Are Abandoning Free Trade

“I think what’s most interesting is that fact that, if the Republicans are now abandoning free trade, for the first time ever in our memory, we’re having a presidential campaign where neither side is for free trade, which I think bodes really badly for our allies abroad…”

“They’re looking at a race where the country, with both parties, is now moving against free trade. They’d always assume that the United States would be the one country that would rise above the most narrow economic nationalism and save the idea of free trade. That’s not going to be true come January 2017, and that will change the whole international landscape…”

Read more

Source: National Review


Petro-Economics: Ukraine Crisis Amplifies Call to ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’

 (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

(Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Chriss W. Street writes:  Russia’s invasion of Crimea is a tipping point event that will further spur the American oil boom. The European Union (EU) and United States in 2008 threatened to slap economic sanctions on Russia for invading Georgia. But after a while the criticism faded and threats of sanctions were quietly dropped, because the EU is almost entirely reliant on Russia for energy supplies.

While oil production cut America’s trade deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars, the greatest boon has been in tapping America’s immense natural gas reserves.

A similar situation is unfolding today as the EU and U.S. are again making empty threats that they will stop exports of Russian oil and gas as punishment for invading the Ukraine. But due to the latest humiliation by the Russians, a consensus is emerging that will demand the United States and its North American partners “drill, baby, drill” for national security.

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Twenty years ago on January 1st, the United States, Mexico, and Canada implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement. The volatile Persian Gulf at the time supplied 35% of U.S. oil, and most “experts” argued the world was approaching “peak oil” extraction point where supply would then dwindle rapidly. Although many Americans label NAFTA a failure, it was highly successful in generating greater economic cooperation to prioritize and develop North America’s vast energy resources.

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