Transformer (to Jason): I notice you don’t write about Latin America a lot.
I was hoping for Robert to respond to this article but would like your thoughts. I think the issue of inequality in Latin America is very deep. Conservatives like to blame the left and Communism (think Fidel Castro and the current Venezuela government under Maduro), but the situation is more complex.
Conservatives say inequality is caused by socialism and Communism? See what liars they are? Conservatives are the biggest shmucks. See? They can’t even lie properly. The best liars are at least somewhat believable. Conservatives are like the 13 year old pathological liar. He’s just a kid and you can safely dismiss almost everything he says. Seeing as they are such awful liars, why do so many people fall for their laughable, pitiful lies?
It’s the greed, right? Conservatives sell greed. They say support conservatism if you want to make lots of money or keep all the money you have. Support liberalism is you like being poor and having most of your money taken away and wasted on boondoggles and ne’er do wells, many of them disgusting criminals, and the rest at least repulsively amoral and stupid.
I guess if you are selling greed, stupid humans will believe everything you say. Tell him if he wants to be rich he will realize it’s pitch dark outside when it’s 95 degrees and high noon, and he’ll go outside and insist it’s true. Tell them he can keep all his money if he’ll only acknowledge that the sun comes up in the west and sets in the east, and he’ll swear they knew it along.
The truth is the opposite. The more socialism you have, the greater the economy. Venezuela before the crash was the most equal country in Latin America. Belarus and the Scandinavian countries are some of the most equal countries on Earth, with GINI indexes of 25-30, which is about where any country should be.
I admit that conservatives have their good points about their Latin American capitalism, but saying that Latin American inequality is caused by socialism isn’t one of them.
The more rightwing economics you have down there (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter), the more unequal things get. This is because capitalism is exactly how Marx said it was. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer is the natural, typical, expected, and totally ordinary outcome of any pure capitalist system. You could almost write a Goddamned mathematical law about it. I know you can plot it on a linear chart.
The only countries that split up their wealth in any sort of fair way other than, “Everything for the top 20%, and nothing for anybody else!” are societies that have seasoned and moderated their capitalism with ample helpings of socialism. Capitalism is great for growth and crap and distribution. Social is bad at growth and great at distribution.
I think it’s clear that some sort of mixed economies with private, cooperative, family, and public enterprises work best of all. And the commanding heights of the economy must be ruled by the state. This is one thing the Chinese got right. And incidentally, in Japan and even South Korea, it is much the same. And both of the latter countries model their economies in part on, believe it or not, Nazi Germany. There were a lot of terrible things about the Nazis, but their economy was not one of them.
In such a system, the state owns the commanding heights and has the last say in everything. And both quite-capitalist countries use state economic planning to guide their economy. So it’s not true that a planned economy does not work. When state and private actors work together to guide the economy of the country forward, the results are very good.