David Frum thinks our book is essential, so go buy it!

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David FrumAn exceedingly generous review of our book, by The Daily Beast’s David Frum. The money quote:

If [the authors’] telling is correct, whatever else Chavismo is, it’s not sustainable beyond the lifespan of Chavez himself. Without Chavez’s demagogic gift for distracting Venezuelans with his passions, his rages, and his buffooneries, the enduring reality of the petrostate will reappear – and reappear more hateful than ever, since its benefits are more concentrated than ever. When oil prices decline again, as they always do, Venezuela will be back where it was in 1998, only this time, with even less to show for it.

When that termination does occur, Caracas Chronicles the blog will be the essential guide; Caracas Chronicles, the book, the essential history of what went wrong.

1 COMMENT

  1. You guys are both young, and sure to go on to more success later in life, but I think we’ve just witnessed one of the golden milestones you’ll be telling the grandkids about. Well done! 🙂

  2. Yes, Frum is the kind of superior intellect that attributes Mexico’s fall in oil production to mismanagement, while failing to mentioning that their largest oil field (Cantarell) has peaked and is experiencing rapid and unavoidable decline.

    You can also discern his (lack of) intellectual credentials by reading his idiotic arguments for continued marijuana prohibition.

    It isn’t a great surprise that he buys the weak argument that Venezuela’s revolution is doomed by virtue of dependency on a practically unlimited resource.

    • Ummm, Yoyo, even employees of Pemex think that it is wasting a great deal of resources with twice as many people on payroll as necessary. I have spoken to several of them, who work not far from Monterrey, where I live. I’ve known them for 5 years.

  3. Yoyo’s comment suggest other questions : 1.-.why has venezuelan production never recovered from its 2002 levels, and why even today it continues to decline despite having the greatest oil reserves in the world and even when such production is handled by Pdvsa the roja rojita best managed oil company in the world,.2.- Does Cuba allow the free use of marihuana ,? is Venezuela considering such measure ??, why not ? 3.- If oil is forever the most valuable resource in the world why has its price fluctuations caused so many past debacles in the economy of Venezuela and other oil producing countries , does he really believe that it will never be replaced as a source of energy ?? Doesnt 100$ per bl oil portend technologies which are even now being perfected and which will make oil use marginal or obsolete ??

  4. “If [the authors’] telling is correct, whatever else Chavismo is, it’s not sustainable beyond the lifespan of Chavez himself.”

    So I guess we’ll know we’ll know whether or not the author’s telling is correct by the early morning hours of April 15th.

    “Without Chavez’s demagogic gift for distracting Venezuelans with his passions, his rages, and his buffooneries, the enduring reality of the petrostate will reappear – and reappear more hateful than ever, since its benefits are more concentrated than ever.”

    Total non-sense. But its clear where it comes from. The opposition can’t admit that anything ever improved under Chavez. That is simply the most basic tenet of faith of the Venezuelan opposition, and if one ever admits that something improved under Chavez then you are immediately given the boot.

    But then you wind up with a pretty apparent contradiction – if nothing as gotten better and the country is literally falling apart like the opposition always claims why has Chavismo kept winning elections? Not an easy question to answer – hence the statement that Chavez had a “demagogic gift for distracting Venezuelans”. When you are stuck with the lie that the live’s of the poor haven’t improved (which JN repeats yet again in the post immediately proceeding this one) then you really don’t have any choice but to claim Chavez simply hypnotized most of the country.

    “the enduring reality of the petrostate will reappear – and reappear more hateful than ever, since its benefits are more concentrated than ever.”

    It’s always fascinating to watch how easily people will believe something just because it agrees with their preconceptions. But if Frum had actually looked into to it he would have seen that Venezuela is far more egalitarian now than it was when Chavez came to power:

    http://www.indexmundi.com/venezuela/distribution_of_family_income_gini_index.html

    If the benefits of the petrostate are more “concentrated” than ever how do you explain the Gini co-efficient going from 49.5 in 1998 to 39 in 2011? I guess Frum got all his information from one book and the Gini co-efficient numbers somehow never made it into that book. This is a good example of why in a debate you should never get all your information from one side, even if it is the side you are generally predisposed to agree with.

    • “So I guess we’ll know we’ll know whether or not the author’s telling is correct by the early morning hours of April 15th.”

      No. We’ll know after a few months of Cuban St Nicolas.

      “But then you wind up with a pretty apparent contradiction – if nothing as gotten better and the country is literally falling apart like the opposition always claims why has Chavismo kept winning elections?

      No contradiction there, apparent or otherwise. There is more than enough evidence of the lying, stealing, cheating, demonisation of any naysayer, distraction, deflection, subversion etc that went on to keep the loyal voting-fodder enthralled DESPITE the county falling apart (not literally OW, that’s just silly)

    • GINI coefficient is linearly related to population incomes. This means that the GINI coefficient can improve in a more or less concentrated petrostate depending on the proportion of the state income changes versus the population income changes. For example, in a petrostate nation with a GINI going from 50 to 40 with a 100billion USD government income would be a much less concentrated petrostate than the same GINI change with a 1trillion USD government income.

      Given the close to 5-fold oil price increase after a single fold covers all costs, leaving 4 folds for pure development, the mere 10 point difference in GINI for Venezuela is the perfect example of a greater concentration of petrostateness.

      OW, you’re back to your math-based mind games? Seems desperate hearing from you so much all of a sudden back where you lost all credibility? Were you asked to come back during campaign period to see how you could meddle?

  5. OW the blind Chavez groupie was so much more entertaining than OW the disappointed fellow traveler.

    CAP won in 1988. Go ask him about how sustainable that was.

  6. Compared to the rest of Tea Party right, the far right, the farther right and the 4th Reich Repugs Mr. Frum is brilliant but that’s not hard to do for a so called moderate but just really somewhat conservative former Canadian who as a 14 year was a member of the left New Democratic Party their.He just signed on to the brief before the US Supreme Court supporting gay marriage ala Clint Eastwood.
    But he is counting on your analysis which has been pretty shaky at most times and as for the Capriles Disaster Tour now taking place, I am willing to say he might lose by more than 15%, for now.

    I will say that there are problems coming down the pike though, I was against the devaluation but not for the same reasons as y’all.
    But take a look a this.
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/venezuelan-economic-and-social-performance-under-hugo-chavez-in-graphs

    not so bad as compared to the rest of the world economic crisis, eh…

    Cort

  7. “if nothing as gotten better and the country is literally falling apart like the opposition always claims why has Chavismo kept winning elections?”

    I’ll believe that weak argument when the CNE board is composed by independent and not partisan people, I’ll believe that when all elected functionaries (included the president) resign right before they choose to run for reelection, minimizing the risks of ever using the taxpayer money for their campaigns.

    Why are you so afraid of? when you have to resort to the mandatory national broadcast for more than the allowed campaigning time. When you harass the people that shows support to the opposition candidate, harass the people that funds the political ads. Why are you so afraid of if you are so confident that will always have the majority of the people ruling out in your favor.

    We haven’t been racing a fair race, at least since the parliament election in 2010, so that’s why I have reasons to believe that Chavez wouldn’t won the past election in otherwise fair conditions.

    • “If nothing has gotten better…why has Chavismo kept winning elections?” Excellent point, which Marxists should think about with respect to the inability of workers to see the inevitable collapse of capitalism. “If everything is so bad, why do pro-capitalist candidates keep winning elections”?

    • Can you explain
      “haber usurpado la identidad de una funcionaria”
      Is she being held for misuse of a government account?
      Sounds pretty serious. Additional links to the news are welcome

  8. I am really happy for you guys, but David “Axis of Evil” Frum as endorser may get the wrong type of traffic to your blog

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