28 August 2012

Socialism in Venezuela vs. Cronyism in Russia vs. ...

Hugo Chavez' socialist revolution has been championed by many Americans, who would like to see Chavez' experiment repeated in the US. Here is more about Chavez' revolutionary success in Venezuela:

It is clear that the Chávez regime has been squeezing every last penny out of the oil sector...the money hasn’t just been used for social programs, but also to fund Venezuela’s expensive foreign policy, as well as its efforts to cover up the results of poor policy, rampant cronyism, and the general mismanagement of the public sector. When things go wrong, Venezuelan citizens are the ones who pay the price for the state’s poor choices.

Three things seem likely at this juncture: first, no one will be able to trust whatever “investigation” the Chavez government undertakes. It will be an obvious whitewash. Second, conditions for oil workers are unlikely to improve. Third, the usual crew of Chavez defenders in the United States, desperate after all these decades of misery and failure to point to some place some where, where authoritarian socialism isn’t a dreary charnel house and economic failure zone, will struggle to convince themselves that things are just fine in Bolivarian Venezuela. _Walter Russell Mead
Chavez' is up for re-election, but with the total control he has seized over every aspect of Venezuela's government, elections in Venezuela may not mean the same thing as they mean in an actual democratic country.

Meanwhile in Russia, cronyism is alive and well, with the Pussy Riot safely locked up and no longer a threat to the state. Oil prices are high, and the Russia's crony classes are living well for now. But Russia and its cronies have many other problems that must be concealed from the public eye:
A recent government crackdown on Russian media, particularly online information portals specialising in health tips and harm reduction methods for drug users, has sparked widespread public opposition, with critics claiming that the 'draconian silencing' of public health advocates could worsen an already perilous health situation in the country. _Russia-Health

Besides suffering from a sub-par system of medical care and public health, Russia's men are being poisoned.

Largely due to cronyistic suppression of opportunity in Russia, the men of Russia have sunk to such a pathetic state that more and more Russian women have given up on finding a suitable mate.
"...Russian women simply have no interest in marrying Russian men,” says Irina Zhuravleva, the head of Russia’s census department at the Federal Statistics Service. A single woman herself, Zhuravleva says she “never had any interest in marrying a drunk...

The dating prospects are so grim, in fact, that Shpakova and many other Russian women of her generation are consciously deciding to stay single. Moscow alone boasts more than 3 million single women between the ages of 25 and 50, out of a population of 11.1 million (that’s three times the number of single Muscovite men). In Russia as a whole, there are 11 million more women than men, due in part to a century of bloody revolutions, gulags, and wars that drained the country’s male population. Add to that the fact that male life expectancy is particularly grim in Russia—on average, 59 years, as opposed to a woman’s 73 years, the largest gap of any country in the world—and you’ve got a serious demographic imbalance. _Simply Beastly

Russian males barely live long enough to claim a pension, on average.

Meanwhile, crony Russia is looking westward to socially democratic Europe, hoping to squeeze some wealth from the continent before the tight oil & gas revolution reaches European shores. But in the land of the ubiquitous welfare state and ongoing demographic collapse, poverty is returning to claim its due. In the land which China is counting on to re-start its moribund exporting enterprise, recession is setting in, and Euro leaders are doubling down on the foolish policies which led them to this state of affairs.

And in the US -- the only country that is actually capable of turning the global economy away from the abyss -- voters cannot decide. They cannot seem to choose between a failed US president who is leading their country more deeply into debt, despair, and demographic decline . . . and a former Massachusetts governor who was also successful in the private sector -- a man who -- unlike his opponent -- is bold enough to lay out a broad array of tangible plans for the nation's future.

We are seeing a world that is growing more unstable, with a dumbing down of electorates in the advanced world, and the ascendancy of corruption in Russia, China, India, in several failing states of Europe, and in Obama's America.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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