Anibal Romero, a Professor at Simon Bolivar University published this article yesterday in El Nacional which you can find in his website in Spanish. There are many ideas in it which I agree with, including the disdain for knowledge by most political leaders, as well as the the disdain for the ability of the Venezuelan people to build a first rate country. It may be a consequence of The Devil’s Excrement or perhaps the fact that politicians only seem to learn about politics. The question is why is it that we have not progressed much in 30 years, including the last eight and why is it that models such as Chile’s or some Asian countries are not even considered when our politicians attempt to innovate on economic systems? Why do we always look to copy failures and reject successes?
Commune or Microsoft? by Anibal Romero
In precise terms, the social experiment that is taking place in Venezuela constitutes a historical regression, which is a jump towards the past. All of the proposals of the so called XXIst. Century Socialism have been pre-configured, in a much more serious and elaborate form, in the utopian socialists of the XIXth. Century, in the works of authors like Owen, Fourier, Webb and Saint Simon, among others, who Frederick Engels criticized because they fantasized too much. Perhaps the only original contribution from Venezuela has been the project of the “vertical chicken coops”, which seems also destined to engross the catalog of socialist failures.
It does not fail to cause some pity the efforts that the Venezuelan regime is making to insure that this whole experience, as ruinous as it is a tragicomedy, ends up in an economic collapse of incalculable proportions. While in China and India hundreds of million of people embrace a capitalist economy and generate wealth and prosperity at huge velocities, the Venezuelan President-whose ignorance can only be superseded by his temerity-still believes that China is socialist and that communes and “social production companies ” may have a different destiny than the most ignominious failure. Chinese and Indian families compete with ferocity to educate their kids and send them to the great universities of the United States, so that they later come to their countries and develop academic centers as excellent or even more, but in revolutionary Venezuela the Government decrees the return to the commune and dreams of companies that will advance without profits.
Such primitivism, crude and cave-like, manifests both the infinitely poor mental quality of those that currently have in their hands the destiny of Venezuela , as well as an overlapping even if concealed disdain for the popular sectors of the population. In other words, I am saying that behind the supposed compromise towards the poor and defenseless of the country, the revolutionary regime hides a profound contempt towards the capacity of the people to better themselves and leave behind the pathetic state in which the majority of Venezuelans survive in. In fact, both the Venezuelan Government and the opposition, and I am referring specifically to the political “leaders” on both sides, do not trust the people and their aptitudes to stop being a third world and pre-modern conglomerate.
That is why, on the one hand the Government here urges people to return to communal life, while in China and India, to emphasize these examples, people want to emulate Microsoft. On the other side, and continuing its inexhaustible course of blunders, the opposition can not think of anything better than propose something that they call “social democracy”, attempting as always to compete in that terrain with Chavez, who will always have all of the advantages. The shortage of ideas and the absence of courage to articulate another ideological political message, different to the diverse versions of socialism, is the fundamental cause of its failure.
To tell you the truth, you can rack your brain and find it hard to understand why in Latin America in general- with one or two exceptions- and in Venezuela in particular, we have such a hard time learning the formulas that lead to the prosperity of Nations. We are always avoiding them and take refuge in the consoling fable of “we invent or we err”, a task that has already given us two centuries of disenchantments.