Sobremesa chronicles

the immorality of others
the immorality of others

(For this week’s sobremesa, Rodrigo chimes in re. the “morality” of selling your dollar allowance)

In Venezuela you get a yearly dollar allowance. If you use your allowance, nothing happens. If you sell your allowance, you could face jail time, and also be considered traitor to you Fatherland.

But is it morally wrong to sell what the State deems righfully yours? I know it is illegal, but let’s see how arbitrary that construct is.

From a policy view, the State, which is short on cash, wants to limit the access to those dollars, but it fears the consequences of doing away with the allowance entirely. In other words, the State doesn’t have enough cash to simultaneously honor commitments and give away dollars to Venezuelans.

The allowance has become a right to many. So, instead of removing it , it has created barriers around it in order to reduce its fiscal cost – folders, limits, audits. These are there to make sure that you spent your dollars in a “proper” and “lawful” way.

Let’s look at the lawful ways:

  • Dining can be marvelous as long as it is carried out outside of our borders. You can enjoy anything from a McDonalds meal for the modest sum of BsF 60, or you can go all-out and dine at the French Laundry (if you manage to get a table) for BsF 3600.
  • Go to the malls, enjoy the apparel. Visit that Mac Store. Buy to your heart’s content or til you reach your allowance cap. See, Venezuelans after all, are nothing but small children of the fatherland. But be aware that your allowance is only for overseas.
  • Go to Disney. By all means go to Disney. The Fatherland desires nothing but happiness for its children. And the Fatherland knows there is no happier place than Disney. Remember, Disney or any other experience that you may desire can only be fulfill, with your allowance outside of Venezuela.

You get the jest. Just take your money, get $100 for $5, but please – consume it somewhere else, in some other country, to benefit those economies from this oil wealth, which is such a burden.

What you must avoid is the thought of selling your allowance. If you happen to have this right, and willfully and in full use of your faculties, sell it to another individual for cash, then condemnation is upon you. Attempts to save it are also ruled out. You can certainly NOT use those dollars from selling your allowance and bring them back home to live off of.

But where is the wrong doing? To me, it is the same whether you spend your dollars overseas or within. In fact, one could say that using your allowance in Venezuela benefits the economy – bringing the cupo back home, if you will.

What’s wrong is to have such a fiscally unsustainable policy when the country’s economy is collapsing. The immoral aspect of rasparcupo isn’t raspar, it is the cupo.

So, there you go, like with drugs, it seems like authorities don’t mind the consumption as much as the selling. Is green lettuce considered a weed?