Category Archives: Economics

Venezuela

Remember all those left-wing pundits who drooled over Chavez?

Chavez’s untimely death from cancer in 2013 saw an outpouring of grief from the global left. The caudillo “demonstrated that it is possible to resist the neo-liberal dogma that holds sway over much of humanity,” wrote British journalist Owen Jones. “I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people,” said Oliver Stone, who would go on to replace Chavez with Vladimir Putin as the object of his twisted affection.

On the Venezuelan regime’s international propaganda channel, Telesur, American host Abby Martin — who used to ply her duplicitous trade at Russia Today — takes credulous viewers on Potemkin tours of supermarkets fully stocked with goods. It would be inaccurate to label the thoroughly unconvincing Martin, who combines the journalistic ethics of Walter Duranty with the charm of Ulrike Meinhof, a useful idiot. She’s just an idiot.

Brutal, but fair.

[Update a few minutes later]

Venezuela’s slide toward civil war. Unfortunately, the government confiscated the weapons (which many on the Left would love to do here, if they could pull it off). So unless we smuggle some in to them, the war won’t end well for freedom.

[Update a while later]

An AP reporter finally leaves the country:

In the early days, the shortages seemed almost whimsical. My Venezuelan friends were used to going on Miami shopping sprees. When I made trips home, they asked me to bring back perfume, leather jackets, iPhones and condoms. I usually took two near-empty suitcases to carry back the requests, plus food and toiletries for myself. As the crisis deepened, the requests became harder to fill, and traced the outlines of darker personal dramas: Medication for heart failure. Pediatric epilepsy drugs. Pills to trigger an abortion. Gas masks.

And things were still somehow getting worse. The first time I saw people line up outside the bakery near my apartment, I stopped to take photos. How crazy: A literal bread line.

Then true hunger crept into where I lived. People started digging through the trash at all hours, pulling out vegetable peelings and soggy pizza crusts and eating them on the spot. That seemed like rock bottom. Until my local bakery started organizing lines each morning, not to buy bread but to eat trash.

This is the end state of socialism. They ran out of other peoples’ money.

Demonizing School Choice

won’t help education:

…it’s certainly fair to note that people opposed to desegregation decided that one way to solve the problem was to get rid of public schools, allowing racists to choose a lily-white educational environment for their children. Maintaining Jim Crow is a vile motive, and it can’t be denied that that was one historical reason some people had for supporting school choice.

Only the proper answer to this is, So what? You cannot stop terrible people from promoting sound ideas for bad reasons. Liberals who think that ad hominem is a sufficient rebuttal to a policy proposal should first stop to consider the role of Hitler’s Germany in spreading national health insurance programs to the countries they invaded. If you think “But Hitler” does not really constitute a useful argument about universal health coverage, then you should probably not resort to “But Jim Crow” in a disagreement over school funding.

If you think we can’t allow school choice because Jim Crow, then it would be just as logical to oppose minimum wage and gun control, because historically, their purpose has been to control blacks.

Lunar Cryonics

I accidentally started a Twitter conversation with Sandy Mazza as a result of this nice piece on markets being enabled by lower-cost launch, including space burial. I noted to her that it made no sense for the California Department of Public Health to be regulating it, and then mentioned that they shouldn’t have anything to do with cryonics, either. In the course of the discussion, I dug up an old piece I wrote for Cryonics Magazine back in 1990 (ctrl-F “Simberg” to find it). Given that things are finally looking promising for reducing cost of access to space in general, and likely the moon as well, I decided I’d resurrect it here. Note that I’ve been talking about the need for markets to drive down launch costs for three decades. Note also that it’s somewhat dated, in terms of its discussion of the NASP and American Rocket.

Continue reading Lunar Cryonics