Samanic Possession

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100778_Ra0RUKhumVFfk5JIt’s nice to see we’re not the only ones enthralled by Eduardo Samán, the old/new Consumer Protection Agency head who’s quickly become a favorite hate figure for the Venezuelan opposition. ProDaVinci’s Angel Alayón also looks on in fascinated horror, as Samán holds forth on the principles of socialist economics for El Nacional. 

Reporters – ¿Por qué no acepta el argumento de los comerciantes de aumentar precios para cubrir costos de reposición?

Eduardo Samán – Un comerciante siempre prevé que un producto va a venir más caro y al aumentar el precio está provocando inflación.

R– ¿Qué pasa si no cambia el precio y el producto le cuesta más caro cuando lo tenga que reponer?

ES– Él se estaría descapitalizando, pero hay una cosa que se llama bancos, que nacieron en el capitalismo y sirven para capitalizar.

R– ¿Está diciendo que se le pida prestado al banco?

ES– Claro.

R– ¿Se estaría endeudando?

ES– Para eso son los bancos. Para prestar dinero.

R– Pero a lo mejor la empresa no quiere endeudarse ni pagar intereses.

ES– Todo eso se calcula en la estructura de costos.

Isn’t that fantastic?! Eduardo Samán thinks Banks are to the private sector what PDVSA is to the public sector! Selling at a loss? No biggie…just get an endless supply of magic money from somewhere! Easy peasy…

It’s sort of fun to puzzle through what that conversation between the butcher and his bank manager is supposed to go like:

Butcher- Sí, por favor, I’d like a loan. See, beef is costing me Bs.40 per kilo to buy, but I’m only allowed to sell it for Bs. 27.29 a kg. Could you lend me the difference?

Bank Manager- Sure, no problem: how are you planning to pay us back?

Butcher- Oh don’t worry: Eduardo Samán told me prices are going to start falling soon so, just as soon as my procurement costs go below Bs.27.29, I’ll be able to pay you back from the difference!

Bank Manager- Oh no problem then, I can see this loan’s virtually risk free…

I think what makes Samán such a compelling figure is the way he combines a rampaging, near-total inability to grasp how actual economies work with a naïve, almost child-like determination to share his limitless ignorance with anyone willing to lend an ear. In its own way, it’s almost touching…

Listen, near-criminal incompetence from chavista officials ain’t exactly news at this point, but Samán is different. He’s like a medium granting us direct access to the cesspool of half-digested non-sequiturs posing as an ideology that makes up the chavista collective unconscious. Now that Chávez is gone, we sort of need him.

Combine all that with a terrifying measure of real policy-making power and Eduardo Samán is a kind of embodiment of exactly how and why the country is fucked under chavismo.

1 COMMENT

  1. You really got to love this guy. But to be honest, I think he was renamed to his post as a smokescreen to get us distracted.

    • Everything that’s been happening lately is a smoke screen

      Snowden, Maburo’s travels, SICAD, Saman, etc., etc.
      The list is endless.

      Nothing will change the fact that the country is falling apart.

      Here in Margarita we have a huge problem with transport to the Island. Conferry has collapsed with a 7 hour trip to Margarita twice a day. There is no longer a ferry express which used to take 2½ hours.
      We were promised a new ferry for August but, of course, it hasn’t shown up.
      The Island has many shortages not the least of which is beer.
      Prices have skyrocketed to unbelievable levels. Transport trucks have to wait 4 or 5 days to get to Margarita and this cost is being passed on.

      Tourists have a huge problem getting here. Besides the lack of ferrys the airline system doesn’t seem to be working with all airlines running hours late.
      It’s almost impossible to get to Margarita in August let alone in other times.

      Then when the tourists do get here they are subject to electrical cuts – last night 2 hours from 9 to 11 here in Playa El Agua, a large tourist center. This just after it was announced that a previous problem had been resolved & everything was back to normal. It’s now been 4 years that they have been trying to resolve Margarita’s electrical problems with no success. It’s almost like they forget that the population increases during vacation periods.
      “Oh, what a surprise. More people have shown up! Didn’t count on that. Better come up with more excuses. Let see, we used the undersea cable last week, let’s tell them it’s a large cable that needs maintenance” etc., etc.

      • Remember that Conferry ,was expropiated as well? Ok it was not wonderful. It was a monopoly…but still, CONFERRY is a state owned company!

  2. I suppose they were not able to ask him if the “estructura de costos” does not require also the calculation of inflation.

    Another question would have simply been: what country has been transformed from a “capitalist” economy situation into a successful socialist country…just as simple as that.
    Of course, he will say “we will be the first ones”…or he might say the Soviet Union, it just collapsed from something else…oh, dear, this guy is really terrible

      • A Soviet Minister would tell you that you would have to eradicate the private market and that the State should handle all meat supply to eliminate that evil capitalist profit. Spectacularly Wrong as this may be, that at least is more coherent than saying that there should be a private market operating at lost to keep the prices down.

          • I’m not that sure. I think he truly believes that private businesses should ruin themselves by selling at a lost and that Banks can lend and print all the money they want to anyone without going bankrupt, and they just don’t do it because they are capitalist villains.

          • Indeed.
            Francisco is right this guy has no clue about economics in general and he seriously think he can teach something.

            Still, I would find it magnificent if our journalists and opposition politicians read a little bit of communist ideology, of what Marx, Lenin and a few others said, that they read at least one single bloody book about history of communist countries…then they would be able to argue much better.
            Los chavistas realmente hablan sin ton ni son.

          • I think that’s one of the most patent deficiencies in these interviews is the lack of context. Mr. Samán, but when AD set price caps in Venezuela the result was the same . But Mr. Samán in the communist states you are taken as a model there was no private market because no one would operate a business for loss. But Mr Samán, did you know about a little wall that fell in 1989?

  3. The interview was far to indulgent. I’d ask that if a butcher has to work at a lost to built the motherland why doesn’t he work for free or pays INDEPABIS to work there.

  4. I still dont get how such a mororn gets such a visible post in a government that should be worried about its image and stability.

    To me, his appointment means that they are not even remotely worried about the stability of the goverment.

  5. “…how such a mororn gets such a visible post…”
    Because they are ALL such a morons.

    Here’s a definition from “The Free Dictionary”
    mo·ron (môrn, mr-)
    n.
    1. A stupid person; a dolt.
    2. Psychology A person of mild mental retardation having a mental age of from 7 to 12 years and generally having communication and social skills enabling some degree of academic or vocational education. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive.

  6. So….how much Saman is there in Maduro?

    Is Maduro as muddled in his thinking? Or clear about what has to be done, but paralyzed by fear, because his “revolution” is filled with Samans?

    (Not to mention The Brazil Effect).

  7. I can understand why a prominent and long-serving official of one of the most corrupt and incompetent regimes on earth might sincerely hold these beliefs.

  8. A “hate figure”? How can you “hate” that? Hate is reserved for people who are malicious. Mere gross incompetence can only engender pity and scorn. The “hate” should go to the people that appointed him.

    • We hate people because ignorance is a choice. he chose to be ignorant he chose to repeat in a position where he already know he was incompetent

  9. The success of their economic policies are on full display for the rest of the world, in PDVSA. They’ve bloated the payroll with nonproductive employees, incompetent managers make decisions based on politics rather than science or economics, etc. Of the product, 1/3 is given away for free, another 1/3rd is sold below market price, and the other sold at world market price with the goal of bringing the end to capitalism by bankrupting the West. They stay afloat by borrowing on future product, and not paying suppliers or services. Its worked for 14 years, so why not use the same policy for the rest of the economy? It’s a beautiful revolution..

  10. Elizabeth Fuentes ‏@fuenteseliz
    Saman, y usted por qué no lanza el rumor de que no habrá más devaluación para ver si la inflación baja? Eso sería chevere…@samanedu

    • Saman actually said that, when he put comerciantes/the economy to the “acid test”, he would bring inflation down to zero. He believes what he says, he’s as crazy as he looks, and Maduro is as stupid as as he does (Forrest Gump dixit).

  11. Too bad the reporter missed the comeback of the century:

    ES: Para eso son los bancos. Para prestar dinero.

    R: No se quien le dijo eso, señor Samán, pero lo que tengo entendido es q los bancos prestan dinero cuando existe la posibilidad de recuperarlo, junto con un interés razonable. Si no existe posibilidad creíble de recuperar el capital, generalmente ellos no prestan dinero. A menos claro está, de que lo hagan porque el Estado les apunte una pistola en la costilla

  12. It would be wonderful if we had a system like they have in the US where prospective appointees can be called to congressional committees to be grilled on what they know and dont know , this guy would have never made the grade !!

    • Sorry, the mp3 for the interview is not posted yet. The above link is for a different interview. The interview link will be “The Polarized Mind with Kirk Schneider” was for
      Tue, Jul 16, 2013 — 10:00 AM and will be posted soon.

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