Zuñi-ordani-nomics 101

El Método SAZ...
El Método SAZ…

Old lefties have a soft spot for pseudonyms. J.V. Rangel is Marciano, Teodoro is Simon Boccanegra, everybody knows about those. But recently, Felipe Pérez alleged that our own Economic-Policymaker-in-Chief Jorge Giordani has been using the pseudonym Simón Andrés Zúñiga to let the crazy rip on Aporrea.

Reading Zuñiga’s pieces tends to confirm our very worst fears about the precariousness of the government’s thinking about the economy. Zuñi-ordani comes across as deeply dogmatic, unabashedly radical, and incapable of thinking about the economy rationally. He genuinely seems to imagine that his job is to wage a battle to the death with the private sector. At the same time, he can’t hide his fear of the pragmatists inside the administration, and of the real threat to the government that the bolibourgoisie represents.

Take this ditty, dated October 10th, 2013, under the charming title “La batalla por la renta petrolera: el tipo de cambio como apariencia.”

What jumps out at you first is Zuñi-ordani’s bizarre, ongoing sense of victimization. The guy who has pretty much made all high level economic policy decisions for a decade, driving the bulk of the private sector out of business via nationalization/crazy policy-making, the guy whose word is law, seems to see himself in the role of scrappy underdog, an embattled David sticking it to the big, bad capitalist Goliath.

This, in itself, is a terrible sign. Zuñi-ordani seems to think the main economic policy challenge facing the country right now is to accumulate still more power in the Executive branch, power with which to wage the “Economic War” against the financial bourgeoisie that, against all odds, he seems to treat as an actual analytical category rather than the for-the-gallery propaganda line we all naturally took it for.

But the part that really caught my eye is this amazing graf where Zuñi-ordani tells us what he really thinks about calls for a modicum of exchange rate sanity:

Por el lado de los promotores  del desmontaje del control cambiario, se definió un polo formado por las propuestas del grupo de los ex-ministros (Felipe Pérez, Víctor Álvarez y Gustavo Márquez). Ya habrá tiempo de confrontar ideas con este sector, que se limita a hacer análisis económico desprovisto de referencias a la confrontación de clases. Moverse en el mundo irreal de los modelos de los economistas convencionales, es lo más parecido a soltar a un elefante en una tienda de cristales. Optar por el desmontaje del control de cambio e ilusionarse con el modelo de bandas cambiarias, es una ingenuidad política que puede favorecer a la correlación de fuerzas de los representantes del capital. [emphasis added – the sentence can be translated as “To believe the unreal world of conventional economists’ models is akin to letting an elephant loose in a crystal shop.”]

In that one sentence in the middle, Zuñi-ordani gives the game away: his off-hand dismissal of all model-based economic thinking underlines so much of the reason that we estamos como estamos. Here’s the guy who runs Venezuela’s economic policy out and out telling us that he will not, as a matter of principle, think through the rational incentives his policies create, or their outcomes.

It’s little wonder, then, that no one with an even rudimentary grasp of the ways out-of-control money creation fuels inflation and inflation fuels the parallel exchange rate will be let anywhere near the levers of economic policy making. That kind of thinking, remember, is strictly verboten. Because it might, y’know, generate all kinds unforeseen adverse consequences, sort of  like an elephant in a crystal shop. And Zuñi-ordani is all about avoiding unforeseen adverse consequences…

And how about this lovely riff, which came after the Nuevo Heraldo published rumours of a rapprochement between Venezuela and the IMF?

El golpe económico avisa.  Estemos alerta.  La matriz de opinión que tratarán de impulsar los sectores conservadores y sus infiltrados, es que “es inevitable, con esta inflación y este desabastecimiento, con esta política económica, caer en las manos del FMI”. No sólo dirán que es inevitable, sino que es recomendable. Dirán que “hay políticas económicas equivocadas”, metiendo en un solo saco las políticas económicas de Chávez con las que se vienen aplicando desde Febrero de este año.  Se aprovecharán del desorden, y de la anarquía que han producido los diferentes grupos de poder que conviven en el Gobierno.

En todo caso, como lo hemos denunciado en artículos anteriores, reafirmamos que ya está en marcha un proceso de desmontaje del proceso político chavista a través de la implantación de un modelo de crecimiento basado en las exportaciones y en la inversión extranjera. Esta “tercera vía” se está construyendo desde operadores bien ubicados en el Ministerio de Finanzas y en el Banco Central de Venezuela.  Plan de ataque que cuenta con el apoyo de la artillería pesada del Capital Financiero Internacional y, por supuesto, con el respaldo de algunos sectores de la banca nacional.

Las organizaciones populares y revolucionarias, constituyen el reservorio moral de esta revolución.  De ellas depende si este sueño se “va a bolina” con una capitulación o, por el contrario, continuamos siendo una de las experiencias rebeldes más importantes para la historia de nuestro país y para el mundo.  Esa tremenda responsabilidad que llevamos sobre nuestras espaldas nos exige denunciar y evitar esta capitulación. Mientras tanto, por si acaso, vamos pintando las pancartas que digan: ¡NO al FMI!  ¡No a la entrega al capital financiero internacional!  ¡Que renuncie el Ministro de Finanzas y demás negociantes! [Emphasis in the original, which reads “No to the IMF! No to submitting ourselves to international financial capital! The Minister of Finance and other negotiators must resign!”]

There is tons more where that came from, btw. Dozens of screeds. This post only scratches the surface. So feel free to jump into the cesspool and add any especially horrifying nuggets in the comments section.

Caveat Lector: I have no idea if Simón Andrés Zúñiga really is the Monk’s nom-de-blog on Aporrea. Certainly, nobody seems to have ever heard of Simón Andrés Zuñiga outside his Aporrea column. Google fails to turn up a photo. If he is a real person, he seems to have done nothing, ever, that left a Google trail, other than write for Aporrea.

On the other hand, Zúñiga’s writing style and substantive positions make the charge terrifyingly easy to believe. And if Simón Andrés Zúñiga’s columns really are a direct line into Giordani’s thinking, we are an order of magnitude more screwed than we even realized.

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