Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Crazed Keynesian on the The Chávez Way

Robert Skidelsky, biographer of Keynes and member of the British House of Lords has a commentary out on the reign of Hugo Chávez. The commentary is pretty solid when it comes to the facts. Among the facts:

  • The annual rate of price inflation in Venezuela is now at more than 20%.
  • In early 2013, the government was forced to announce a 32% devaluation.
  • Cronyism was rife and the murder rate tripled, partly owing to corruption in the police and the justice system
  • Chávez’s petro-diplomacy sometimes took bizarre forms, like providing cheap bus travel for Londoners to please London’s left-wing mayor, Ken Livingstone
Beyond the facys, it is all downhill for Skidelsky. He calls the environment that caused these results: The Third Way. What does he think about this "third way"? Bizarrely he concludes about the declining Venezuelan economy:
And what about the Third Way? In the aftermath of the collapse of communism, Chávez’s mix of anti-Americanism and state activism seemed merely eccentric. There could be no alternative to free markets and the neoliberal Washington Consensus – or so it appeared. 
But the rise of China, the relative decline of the United States, the long boom in commodity prices, and the Western financial collapse of 2008 have created space for political and economic experiments. Chávez took advantage of that opening, and Chávezism may well prove to be a significant phenomenon far beyond its Latin American homeland.
Got that? He seems to suggest Chávez economic policy may be the wave of the future. To reach this conclusion, Skidelsky must ignore the 25% plus price inflation, a 32% currency devaluation and a tripling of the murder rate. He also has to ignore the fact that the decline of the US is because of ever intensifying interventionism, not free market policy and, with regard to China, he has to ignore the phony growth fueled by government money printing and regulations, where now more than 60 million vacant apartments exist.

I think even if I were a Keynesian, I would be embarrassed to put together the commentary Skidelsky did. There is simply nothing attractive about The Chávez Way. It should be buried along with Chávez.


  1. I always figured that mentioning 'third way' was code for fascism amongst the leadership of socialists.

  2. These people are evil. They cannot be too stupid to see how reality and their policy differs.