Is this the single most ignorant major news outlet story on Venezuela this year?

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Memo to the BBC: Looking at shortages in Venezuela and blaming the smugglers is a little bit like looking at a gunshot victim crumpling on the floor and blaming the blood.

Just so we’re clear, the way price controls generate shortages is among the best understood phenomena in all of economics: we’re talking first-week-of-the-first-semester stuff in a standard introductory economics course.

There is no mystery to this problem. No ambiguity. No real room for debate. It’s one of the few areas of genuine consensus in the economics profession. Ask 100 economists and 99 will tell you. (The hundredth may take some time getting back to you, but then Mr. Weisbrot is a busy man these days.)

(And yes, you get extra vileness points for toeing a authoritarian propaganda lie that conveniently scapegoats an embattled ethnic minority.)

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1 COMMENT

  1. He’s not “blaming the smugglers”. He can hardly be accused of being “ignorant”. Yes, some of the interviewees blame the “bachaqueros”, but the journalist does mention price controls as the origin of smuggling:
    “There are massive incentives to do so. The goods remain at a fixed price whilst inflation is crippling the rest of the Venezuelan economy. … Inflation is at 42.6% according to figures released by Venezuela’s Central Bank in July 2013, but is widely believed to be considerably higher. … Add to that a massive capital flight estimated by economic research firm Ecoanalitica to amount to $33bn in 2011, despite government currency controls aimed at curbing the problem. … Moreover, a fixed exchange rate is creating a huge black market demand for foreign cash. … Combine these factors and you find that a Venezuelan bottle of milk could be worth seven or eight times more if sold on the Colombian side of the border.”

    • The entire piece is organized around the idea that smugglers cause shortages. Sure, further down the page he pulls back and reveals some of the reasons that smugglers choose to cause shortages, but this “contextualization” of his explanatory arc never lets go of the central, vile propaganda lie.

      • I live in the UK and find the BBC’s reporting is decaying slowly but surely -it is not what it was 30 years ago. When we had the landslides in Vargas and thousands died, I recall that night one of the leading story on the 9 o’clock news (ahead of the Venezuelan tragedy) was that the lead singer of Oasis had been involved in a pub brawl -there you have it (the Americanisation of UK news). Good journalists are very scarce, and mostly found on the radio (John Humphrys on the Today show BBC Radio4, I am happy to pay my licence fee just for him -the rest are dispensable). By the way they are in no way unbiased (experts at framing I would say).

        • Agreed, except for the Humphries bit. He is only trying a bit harder now as more and more people find the BBC wanting.

          Agree with Francisco re the report, it is a classic and long running complaint I have about their online editing: they know most people don’t get beyond the headline and first few paragraphs so anything not on their agenda is lower down involving scrolling down which in today’s world and media is what fewer and fewer people do.

  2. There is no surprised in the inaccuracy of the BBC report. BBC, contrary to what you alluded to in one of your tweets and the surprise you express here most tomes is very biased. You may like to think that their middle east reporting is accurate. Yet from what I have gathered what you probably mean is that their other reports “accurately” reflect your opinion about the middle east. A more logical assumption, one closer to being true, is that all twit reporting is a reflection of their corporate guidelines which are aligned to certain interests. One is generally shocked when that bias aims its cross hair at a topic or situation close to ones heart.

      • Generally I admire your wit and mental prowess. Yet, when it comes to your own little biases, well then you are about as enlightened as any card carrying member of the 21st century socialist party sir!
        Still, your own reply is a perfect fit to itself ( err yourself?!) Touche!

        LOL, please don’t take your own opinions too seriously. Do accept some one to stary from your party line once in a blue moon….

        • Could smuggling be to blame for Venezuela’s food shortages?- No.
          Opinion: the title for this article is wrong, and borderline idiotic, and insinuates an idea that does not exist.
          Fact: Price controls cause shortages by means of deadweight loss (inefficient allocation of goods) which can eventually lead to smuggling.
          Opinion: Toro, this guy isn’t ignorant. I think he is worse. Based on the article, he understands well enough the concept of price controls, yet wrote an article with a misleading title and misleading body, fully aware of the discongruity: What a blithering idiot.

  3. BBC et al, most of the times uses people that maybe are living in the country , or nearby ( it is awesome to read about a riot or something really awful in Caracas based in Bogota or RIO de janeiro!) and read the local newspapers and made a summary of the 500 or 300 words they are asked to do. Always the Ton of salt.

  4. I think the biggest flaw of the article is that it seems to imply that the fact that the government forces to sell the goods below production costs is one of many causes of the smuggling, when precisely the fact that you can smuggle the goods to the country and sell them for a spectacular gain IS the fundamental reason that the smuggling occurs, the incentive is just to great. This seems like the economic theory version that women who dress provocatively are to blame if they are rape.

  5. Smuggling in colombia is just another occupation , people will casually mention that so and so is in smuggling as if saying he’s in the business of selling beer .

    As cacr210 rightly says , the low subsidised or controlled prices of venezuelan products of course are, the reason why there is so much smuggling compounded by an skewed exchange rate which favours the Peso over the Bs., The corrup habits of Venezuelan officials doesnt help either . Still to blame smuggling for the shortages is remarkably silly. maybe it has an impact in some border places but hardly in the whole country . BBC is a news institution of high international reputation and presumably high journalistic standards . Why then is their reporting sometimes so off base, specially in Latin America . Is it that latin america doesnt interest the Brits public that much so they spread their resources thin when it comes to latin america or is it that there are people inside the corporation who have a sentimental attachment to leftist causes ??

    The piece itself was clearly not favourable to the regime , but Ive seen other pieces where i ve been surprised at the shoddiness of the reporting or at a pro Chavista slant thinly veiled by a purportedly neutral cover.

  6. Francisco,

    Did you see who wrote that piece? One of the countless independent journos who fight to get their stories written by BBC. These guys have no previous background on anything related to economics, not economics 101, I am sure during their journalism days not even an evening class of “international relations with a wee wee wee bit of economics policy”. They don’t even know whom to ask to get a grasp on the economy of a country.
    Even long-time journos from BBC were failing. Take the case of Will Grant.

    Foreign correspondents dealing with anything that requires a minimum amount of economic know how? Unfortunately, hard to find, much more so among those blokes who jump from one story to the next desperately hoping to one day get their scoop and cash some money.

    • Something about forests and trees…

      Who could or would argue with “6-CCS” (the ‘6 CC Slides’ of May 2013 on price, quantity, supply, demand and shortages) might not be the key takeaway. Similarly, criticism of the academic backgrounds of those serving the BBC with content on Venezuela may not be hitting the right mark. While various circles (concentric and otherwise) focus on controlling and limiting foreign news coverage of domestic situations (see http://www.cpj.org/internet/2013/04/china-decrees-use-of-foreign-news-must-be-approved.php) that there’s Venezuelan content within the international media at all is a promising sign, and; that the BBC is open to suggestions to improve the quality of its reporting doubly so. Given the sort of climate change in Venezuela that is causing a dangerous ‘liberty and media desertification’ the need for international media focus should be welcomed and encouraged to a greater degree.

      Certainly, the focus of the BBC analysis of late needs some deepening and some refinement — the story regarding shortages/indigenous tribe smuggling for survival is insipid and unfortunate. Yet the BBC has contributed several stories recently that bring forward for the English-speaking international community greater awareness of the depths to which Venezuela is sinking (See link below). Offering it and other Latin Desks (Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France Presse, Al-Jazeera, CNN, etc.) immediately available commentary, perspective and analysis is a basic 24/7 stakeholder and media relations requirement. Increasing the scope, the scale, the veracity and the utility of international media coverage on Venezuela is the key takeaway (in this instance). For example, one wonders why Borges or Capriles or Machado or even Naim are not quoted in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-23924372 and why the BBC resorted to quoting its own reporter: “According to the BBC’s Irene Caselli in Caracas, the finance minister’s remarks were an unprecedented analysis of the country’s economic ills coming from a top government official.”

  7. Me, I just love this quote :”The scarcity is not a problem of insufficient goods. The amount of food that arrives at the supermarket has tripled,” he says.
    “We are making many arrests now, as we have been told to do by our supreme commander, President Chavez. We are sure we can win this fight against the criminals.”

  8. I struggle with the logic from a purely financial perspective.

    I can see someone wanting to smuggle stuff out, like food, perhaps even a bottle of milk where they have an 700% gross profit. However, being a fan of rational choice and all, I cannot begin to imagine waiting in line for hours to smuggle something when I could just as easily go immediately to a gas pump, load up, and run it across the border for a much greater profit with much less time involved. What is the difference? Even if you are selling to a middle man, 35 times?

    You know these folk that are “selling” to intermediaries aren’t getting the 7-8 times differential. Is it really worth their time, even if they get 3-4 times what they paid after waiting for hours?

    If the gangs are anywhere near efficient enough to run a massive operation as is alleged, including the collusion of the police, national guard, etc., they’d not bother with food or other lower margin items and stick strictly to massive gasoline runs, which we have seen reported being done previously by the bachaqueros. Why bother with the small stuff when you can nail the big stuff with no problems?

    • Probably hundreds of thousands of people are dependent on smuggling across the border. They have their own mafias here and there. For most of them there is no alternative. They have time and they often cannot get into the other smuggling field.
      The military also become selective. They have to.

    • There’s no way to get accurate numbers. But I bet the issue is not that guajiros do lines for hours to sell the regulated products to bachaqueros as one of the intervewed women said. If I was a bachaquero I would bribe National Guards directly.

  9. I stopped taking BBC seriously, at least when it come to news on Venezuela, since one day I was watching a BBC report on TV and they were talking about crime in Caracas. They were trying to convey the idea that Caracas is not as dangerous as people say. The report ended with the words of some British guy who had visited Venezuela and said he felt safer in Caracas than in London.

    • Yes I saw that one too and almost choked on my Earl Grey! (I swear!) they should have a warning (like on TV when they show flash) when they write up sh***te of that calibre! ‘I feel safer in London than in Caracas…..” you couldn’t make it up!

      • You got mixed up. The guy said “… safer in Caracas than in London…”. I guess that sentence is so hard to process that is natural your brain refused to write it, and forced you to write it the other way around instead.

  10. I agree that both the premise and the headline amount to journalistic malpractice. But the main thing most people would take away from it, I think, is its incoherence.

    So, the government supplies three times as much food as before, but Venezuelans prefer to export it for profit, rather than consume it? And the government never thought of this consequence of its pricing policies? And they are pretty powerless to prevent it because the military and national guard are corrupt? And the criminals run everything?

    More than a defence of the regime, the story reminds me of a joke: “Chavez was a giant!” “Why do you say so?” “Because only a giant could have left that big of a pile of shit behind him.”

  11. I think it is a good article and really like it. Hilarious to see how spun out you guys get with a bit of BBC balance and originality

  12. Well I guess if it were true it makes a change from opposition flunkies getting foreign journos to buy into their whole story line. Reporting from the front line of a socialist, crime ridden dictatorship so well done him. Very brave and top marks. Sad you cannot credit his initiative, but of course! the dictatorship must have controlled him, taken over his mind. MINCI MINCI everywhere. .

    • ….so well done him ….?? …very brave and top marks……..?, kind of weird phrase construction . …..Is MINCI now hiring cheapskate local ‘help’ …..(payable in Bs) ?, Were have all those foreign old trolls gone ??

    • Are you that British guy (or gal) I mentioned in a comment above who said on BBC that London was a more dangerous city than Caracas?

  13. Brilliant. So you write in horror at seeing on TV comments on BBC suggesting Caracas is safer than London ‘The report ended with the words of some British guy who had visited Venezuela and said he felt safer in Caracas than in London.’ but now you not sure of the gender. Clearly not that memorable for you. Faux indignation shared by Jota – Jota when the BBC finally got the ambassador of the time into the studio (Roy C-M) and got transmission from Vargas landslides, then Oasis slid down the news agenda. You should really just all stick to Fox News.

    • Delilah, the murder rate in Venezuela is around 70 murdered citizens per 100 000 inhabitants a year. Do you know what the murder rate of Britain is? Do you want to compare the murder rate of London with that of Caracas?
      Independently of Fox News or whatever your fixations: if any media outlet just prints out that statement about someone “being there” declaring that, that media outlet should at the very least publish the most reliable statistics about the murder rate in the country.
      Even using the incredible statistics of the Minister of “Popular Power for Justice”, we get Venezuela has a murder rate of 45 x 100 000. That is much lower than the 70 our statistics seem to show but still much much higher than the 1.2 in Britain.

      If someone cannot put those basic facts in a report about crime in Venezuela, that person should just go find a job in something else.

    • Chill out, my little leftist non-friend. They read the words of the guy on the screen. The guy himself didn’t appear in person on TV.

      And I hate Fox News as much as any reasonable person can, so don’t tell me to stick to it, or else you can go “stick” something up to you now where.

      • Funnily enough I think you and others are wrong about Fox News: just as the now hackneyed phrase “most trusted broadcaster” etc re the BBC is being found out because it is so patently untrue, so is the ‘Fox News right wing crap’ not true these days; OK some of the political programming and the debate shows/talk shows are over the top but the actual NEWS is perfectly good and I would say far less biased than NBC, MSNBC etc. In fact in the presidential debates Fox is the ONLY channel (yes, really) giving the same time and opportunity to all sides.

    • I suspect that BBC is a big place with a lot of nook and cranies , with a big spectrum of journalistic talents and non talents , with its boors, with its crazies and its brilliant guys , with its entrenched cliques and loose cannons so that the reporting can be uneven ,sometimes shoddy and sometimes brilliant . The thing is that its got such a high reputation that one is dissapointed when some of the reporting is less than credible , like the guy saying that he feels safer in caracas than in London (which of course is utter nonsense) .

      I do know that the regime’s press people pay a lot of attention to BBC’s reporting and will respond angrily at any sign that its being critical or adversarial to the regime . the BBC of course is wed to the notion that balance requires giving the govt’s concoted statements a dosis of credibility which obviously it doesnt deserve. Which sometimes makes it appear that its somehow on the govts side . The way some news are presented highlighting the govts position while downplaying the oppos view is suggestive of a carefully masked bias, typical of the leftist european pendejos looking enthranced at tropical revolutionaries whatever their actual misdeeds.

      Fox news is unabashedly clear in its conservative positions which is in a way more respectable than hidding your biases or prejudices beind a fachade of concerned neutrality. I still have a lot of respect for BBC and know that its reporting can have an impressive level of excellence , but being a human institution I sometimes fear that it does let its people fall into traps where getting along with histerical regimes is more important than totally objective and critical reporting .

  14. Oh heaven help you. I had heard this site was very tedious, abusive and riddled with the venom of the rich and no longer influential now marginalised from power and reduced to angry blogging. The report on crime did talk about the murder stats – that was the point of the piece. Go read it again. And on the BBC piece that getashrink saw but did not see, what you need to try and do is think about why someone might say they felt safer in Caracas than London, a city of 8 million where there were ‘only’ 10 murders last year. I have worked in Iraq, Afghan, Zimbabwe and Uganda (foreign places not in your geographical axis of Venezuela, Colombia or the USA) – all lower homicide rates than Venezuela but I felt less safe in Iraq’s Green zone than Sabana Grande. You guys really need to get a global perspective, think out of the box, drop the teleology and erm…not make stuff up. And I am so chilled. My chi is rampant

    • And of course there are certain streets/areas in London where one may be more unsafe than hiding in a cupboard in the cellar of a church just off Sabana Grande but of course anyone can make dubious and false comparisons.

    • ” I have worked in Iraq, Afghan, Zimbabwe and Uganda”
      Oh, oh…otra pendeja sin fronteras que es llevada como una Diosa a los sitios de crisis, pero solo lo justo, sin conocimiento de historia o economía de la región, sin tener amigos allí de diversa procedencia y posición. Y viene con comentarios tan simplistas con “estos son ricos”, “esos son pobres”. Maquineísmo a más no poder.

    • This is really stupid, your understanding of statistics is really weak. You talk about perspective? Are we suppose to go “perspective” by comparing Venezuela with Iraq?
      We compare Venezuela with South America, you PSF!
      Venezuela’s murder rate (which is the one they have more difficulty in massaging) has tripled since 1998 whereas that anywhere else in South America (but for tiny Surinam and, I think, tiny Guyana) has decreased substantially.
      That is perspective!
      You remind me of the woman who said smoking is not that bad because her grandmother was smoking a lot and she knew someone else who never smoked and died of cancer. She probably would have said the same, “have some perspective”, without knowing what a joke she was by stating so.

    • I can think of a few reasons why a person may say that Caracas, a city where in 2012 there were more than 5000 murders, feels safer than London, a city with fewer than 100 murders the same year. But all those reasons come down to this:

      El tipo esta hablando lo que se dice es PAJA!

      Now, anyone has the right to talk all the “paja” he or she wants, but it is more than a bit disappointing to see BBC come up with something like that. I guess the “paja” weeders were on vacation that day.

    • Delilah,

      “all lower homicide rates than Venezuela but I felt less safe in Iraq’s Green zone than Sabana Grande.”

      Emphasis on feelings is not reliable in many cases.This is one.

      • true to dat, besides the fact that she probably is caraqueña so obviously one has to feel less safe on a foreign place than on your own… duh

        • Sorry I spoke too soon, Delilah trips to Uganda only means she is Cuban from the party…. Venezolana ni que vuela a nacer, le queda grande a la vieja porra

  15. ‘I do know that the regime’s press people pay a lot of attention to BBC’s reporting and will respond angrily at any sign that its being critical or adversarial to the regime’ Absolutely not true!! Where is your evidence that the state run broadcasting station of a minor European island is of interest to the Venezuelan government. You guys really are battling from the periphery of knowledge

    • Are you talking about Malta or Cyprus?
      The last time I heard, BBC was one of the main sources of information on international news by people in Europe – also outside the “minor European Island” (I ask you what is a major European island)

    • Delilah : I know someone with inside access to the govts press agency who told me of an episode he/she personally witnessed , some one I trust and have known for a long time . You know how in Venezuela govt organizations are a sieve in which everything gets to be known because personal relations count for more than ‘official duty’. Please dont refer to me as ‘one of the guys’ as I have my own information and views which may or may not coincide with that of the people who administer this blog . Are you ready to admitt that you are one of the govt hired trolls or are you a free lance aficionado ??

  16. Yep, as I was warned, abuse, incoherent arguments (‘we compare Venezuela to South America! – well use regional stats then not global databases!). All the reasons why you guys need to stick to hawking books based on blogs (kerpow, empiricism and scholarship out the door). Am off to find MINCI as they seem infinitely more powerful than I ever assumed.

    • Are we in a sour mood here a lot?! You betcha! Not only are we continually, openly, aggressively lied to by a government that has systematically taken apart, piece by piece, every significant element of constitutional government, due process of law, and the separation of powers in the interest of a tiny, well connected, CADIVI-swindling kleptocratic elite but we have to sit here and be lectured by the likes of you, Delilah, who waltz in spewing regime-championed propaganda lines as though you’d just fresh thought of them (“the venom of the rich and no longer influential now marginalised from power” – what does Andrés Izarra ghost write your vitriol!??!?) and tut-tutted about tossing scholarship out the door by someone who raves over the balance and originality of blaming a marginalized indigenous community for shortages that virtually every academic economist – good mediocre and lousy – agrees is caused by the same mindlessly destructive policies that already caused the same effects in every hell-hole communist dictatorship that tried them before this one!

      It does tend to make one rather kvetchy, that sort of thing…you got us there…

    • Sorry, what’s your rationale? We should compare Venezuela with the whole world so that we see that countries with heavy US intervention are worse off? OK? without the “so that…”? Is that your rationale? And you call that coherent?
      You were not good at logic in school, were you?
      You need to compare Venezuela with countries ravaged by war in order to make Venezuela look better? And that is coherence?
      Really: instead, you should live in Venezuela but not in the East of Caracas, but in the West or in Southern Valencia or in Los Guayos or perhaps in Tocuyito.
      Do you want to use “global databases”?
      Do you know why Venezuela’s murder rate went up the way it did since 1998? Have you seen a chart of murder rate for Venezuela for a period of the last 80 years? I can send you one. Can you explain to me why Jesse Chacón, the brother of the man who turned into a billionaire in a couple of years and who was recently set free again, took Venezuela out of the data from UNODC?

      You really come very late here.
      La típica pendeja sin frontera que vive muy bien en Occidente y pretende saber algo porque hace, de vez en cuando, turismo privilegiado “de lástima” y pretende que trabaja para la sociedad.

      • Actually Kepler, she is not even suggesting you compare with countries with US Intervention and in the midst of a Civil War, because even under that comparison more people are killed in Venezuela, she is berating us for not being academic enough to her apparently very high standards , and at the same time asking us not to compare based on statistics or science, but on feelings, without a hint of seal-awareness of irony.

        • That’s exactly what she is saying. Using her rational I could say that if I go to Petare with 20 bodyguards that would make the barrio the safest place in the country because I would “feel” very safe. In fact, if the BBC were to interview me at that moment they would also proclaim to the world that Petare is the safest neighborhood in the entire world.

  17. I know, I do understand that you have lost all sense and reason because of the communism that people voted for. And I understand you must be cross no one believes your election fraud claims. BTW journalism is not scholarship so you lost me on that one. Andres Izarra?? dear me, Not waltzing. Venezuela is my disco and I have been stomping the glitter ball there since the happy days of 1983. But seriously now kids, I really do have work to do, so busy yourself printing these exchanges out and .. I know – try and flog them as a book.

    • Delilah, do you think Chavismo is somehow closer to “socialism” than Texas? (let’s not start with “Texas is not a country, you should watch less Fox”, be an adult for a minute)
      Than China? Than Britain?
      Chavismo is just a regime of thugs that do not believe in the division of powers, that are even more corrupt (and that’s a lot) than previous governments, that are full of people who have committed serious crimes (hint hint: Róger Cordero Lara, Ramírez Chacín), that lies through its teeth (illiteracy anyone?) and that cannot show much in spite of having profited from the longest oil boom in many decades.

      All the other countries with more or less comparable societies, degrees of development, etc in Latin America have outperformed Venezuela by far…
      and Chavismo is getting into a huge of debt now just to keep things running, in spite of oil prices over 100 $ a barrel.

      Are you really in Venezuela? Translating for the government among those useful idiots who live in Mérida and write for that site I always forget the name of?

  18. and there was no US intervention in Uganda and Zimbabwe Kepler. You have been watching too much Fox news. Is that what they told you?? bless

    • Delilah, you are a child. Had I left them out, you would have found some other crap like “Colombia is under US intervention” or whatever. You know those countries have been under a mess (by the way, Zimbabwe is led by someone Chávez considered a great democrat).

      Why do you keep referring to Fox? Is that your usual personal attack towards those who do not think like you?
      Do you shout that automatically? I don’t watch that program. In fact: let’s talk in other language than English…let’s see from where you get your sources.

      What was that about BBC not being worth it because it is a public channel from a minor European island? What do you want to do with that? Do you think anyone reading that crap will nod to you and say “indeed”? Whom do you think you are convincing or for whom that is a victory in a “debate”? Your little ego? I don’t need to tell you BBC is one of the key news outlets in the English world (apparently the only one you can follow, thus you being closer to your Fox obsession).

  19. What conflicting inner demons plague our newest PSF, Delilah! Must be one of those I-haven’t-had-my-alfalfa-sprouts day, where she doesn’t know whether to play the academic card, or pretend poverty with the I-feel-your-pain-my-poor-people-of-Venezuela schtick. If only she could tap her glittery Mary Janes and be back on British soil, whence she could be cross all day for any imagined slight against her deeply-held political convictions.

  20. If I recall correctly, there was another BBC rant post and I dared to say the guy was a commie with an agenda or something on that like to have Kepler coming like the bully he is to tell me to stick to Fox News, that BBC journalist have no agenda, only Fox News people. But like Bill Blass said, at least Fox News is open about their agenda.

    I feel sorry for some of you guys who are so troubled by this BBC article it’s kinda painful to watch the disappointment. The reality is, like I said before on that other post, that BBC have many che-guevara tshirt wearer journalists and, like any communist who doesn’t live in Cuba or the former Soviet Union but in California or Europe, they live in la la land thinking about the utopia of the communist life. Can’t get it. Yet. They don’t know what is to go to a store and see the shelves empty. When my friends and family from Venezuela come and visit all they want to do it shopping and stock up, and all they say is how cheap it can be, comparing to Venezuela where you find nothing, and if you find something, it’s super expensive and kinda shitty. They talk about how much food, how much this, how much that. Sight seen? No time sorry. I totally get the anguish.

    The harsh reality for some of you (who hate conservatives sometimes with a good reason) is that one of the best friends of the opposition of Venezuela is indeed, Fox News. The other news services, many times cannot agree on criticizing the Venezuelan government… also for a good reason. It messes their template ya know.

    • Feathers,

      You were never ever capable of explaining in just one, two sentences what you mean by “agenda” here, how that agenda was written or planned. No, you didn’t. I asked you to be concrete. You avoided the subject altogether.

      As I said: BBC is a huge organisation. There are lots of people there, they have their preferences, each of them.

      As for Fox News: what difference has it made for Venezuela? Has someone fallen down, have liberties increased, anything? Please, be concrete.

      • Somebody who knows it all and still doesn’t known the meaning of the world agenda? People have personal agendas, no need to be written or planned on a conference room. And actually you don’t need to be a brain surgeon to read between the lines when reading certain news about Venezuela, for example, the “Caracas feels safer than London” or the other guy I think NYTs who went to Venezuela and talked wonders about it and nothing to be concerned. Anybody knows it’s not true, so there is a reason on why that person wrote what they wrote.

        As for Fox News, be concrete as in?…. sorry but I am afraid they are not gonna do the work than we Venezuelan people have to do, but at least they are very supportive of it, more than other news services. You wanna argue that? Because we can. I don’t have all day but I can argue.

        • Feathers,

          BBC is not a person. There are many thousands of people working there. Apparently, you don’t really understand the concept of agenda.
          Here, under 2)
          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agenda
          Are you saying that there is a consensus in BBC to favour the Chávez government? Do thousands of BBC employees somehow communicate through secret looks and agree on a “leftist” or pro-Chavismo policy towards Venezuela? Or one to “damage” the US, as you seemed to hint?
          You are the one who has big understanding problems, the same way as you were once defending creationism.

          • “Are you saying that there is a consensus in BBC to…” No I never said that not this time not the other and you keep insisting on that I said that. People have agendas, like I said before and they don’t have to come from a board of directors. Just their believes. No need to give them the look, if you were no Venezuelan you would be one of them for what I can tell about you. You are the one not getting it.

            Me defending creationism? Hello I am very Catholic. If you don’t know what Catholics believe on that respect please check your extensive collection of books. For somebody who always quoting (books) and you don’t know about general culture it’s just a little of a letdown. I could have defended other’s people right to say whatever they want to say (creationism or whatever) and not be harassed by bullies like you and other liberal idiots, that I can see I said.

            I just love how Kepler and I have seen this a lot in other people, everybody who thinks a certain degree to the right suddenly are extreme religious right wings baptist from the south. Not even taking in consideration that some of them are very supportive to the cause of the opposition in Venezuela. At least show some courtesy to the creationists, eh.

      • PS And actually I did explained myself really well the first time, that “never capable” lives only on your having a hard time to comprehend brain 😀

  21. Honest question…why do you guys waste time humoring these mentally ill Chavistas that frequent this blog? I mean, they’re so off their rockers they come to an opposition-friendly blog to argue with people they’ve never met and never will meet. They are small and powerless and irrationally angry. So they come to the internet and troll the lot of you. So why do you keep humoring them by responding in turn?

  22. The fact that there is a consensus among economists, or better said, that you think there is a consensus, over price control just goes to show that economics is one of the most ideologically led disciplines out there with little tolerance for “heterodoxy”, paradigm changes and questioning (really the basics of a healthy scientific field) even if the recent financial crisis shacked it a little bit.

    This supposed “consensus” over price control is not based on empirical evidence (because there are empirical evidences of the contrary, such as with Vietnamese rice: http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/8828/ ) as much on what economists suppose rational behavior is or should be. But the fact is, social reality is always more complex than this simplified scheme a lot of economists have in mind ignoring history, institutions, relations of Power and how economics are embedded in the rest of society which constitute much more than just “externalities”. It is also based on an ignorance of non-orthodox economics, let alone other social sciences, which is why a book such as John Galbraith’s “A theory of price control” is rarely mentioned.

    Though of course it doesn’t change the fact that there are indeed shortages here in Venezuela, but ready made ideological explanations (whether supposed “sabotages” or a supposed mechanical consequences of “anti-market” policies) just obscure and blur reality rather then help understand it. These are things that should be properly investigated, looking at the different actors at play, the institutional and historical logic behind their actions and so on. Of course this is hard, you need time and resources, and it’s much easier (and politically productive) to produce ideologically driven papers on places such as this blog, el Universal or pro-government outlets.

    • The fact that there is a consensus among climate scientists, or better said, that you think there is a consensus, over greenhouse gases just goes to show that climate science is one of the most ideologically led disciplines out there with little tolerance for “heterodoxy”, paradigm changes and questioning (really the basics of a healthy scientific field) even if the recent climategate crisis shacked it a little bit.

      Stop to think that finding a case of a defensible, non-shortage producing price control program is such a vanishingly rare event you can actually sell an academic paper about it!

  23. Interesting point, except that: the scientific fields associated with climate change, whether more centered on geology, the atmospheric sciences and so on generally accept dissensus, questioning when it is done within their fields and paradigm shift. Even if imperfect, this is how science works, it’s basic epistemology. There is no ultimate truth, just drives to be a little “less false” each time through constant questioning and the production of empirical data which will be peer controlled. The “climategate” is something else since it was produced by actors who evolve outside of the scientific field and do not abide by it’s rules (mostly “experts” paid by oil conglomerates and political institutions) who tried to accommodate said field to the interests of their employers.

    It’s often the opposite with the economics field, since – except for marginal issues – they are immune to scientific questioning; which is why on the one hand they completely ignore “heterodox” economics or other disciplines such as economic anthropology, but on the other hand maintain strong ties with the business and political fields, towards whose demands to produce “knowledge” they are very receptive (of course not all economics are homogeneous, it depends on the university, the place and so on) .

    The only recent change that I have personally observed and read about is the introduction of experimental cognitive sciences within the field. Because since the crisis the orthodox economics field did not have the Power anymore to go on with their irrealistic rational choice theory… Of course they are still completely oblivious to history, institutions and the impact of non-economical and utilitarian phenomenons on economics but it’s still a start.

    Back to price control: I fail to see how showing empirical work contradicting the ideological perception that price control mechanically produces shortages be an example of the contrary…… I must have missed something here.

    PS: Sorry if all this sounds a bit aggressive, it’s really not the idea and I actually think that this is one of the most eloquent Venezuelan opposition platforms out there (why in English though? I think, but it’s just an opinion of course, that part of the reason why the Venezuelan opposition hasn’t been able to win more hearts in the face of so many Chavista shortcomings is due to it being so mentally colonized….. having an English language opposition platform really doesn’t shift things in another direction).

    Have a good afternoon.

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