Friday, May 16, 2014

William Easterly's "The tyranny of the experts" should be required reading for any oil cursed citizen.

Autocrats and experts have been re-potentiated by Thomas Piketty book "Capital in the XXI Century", which opens up so many new opportunities to sell their expertise in the re-distribution of resources to end inequality. 
As a counterbalance, "The tyranny of the experts" by William Easterly, should be required reading for all those living the oil curse, a Petrocracy, because this book makes clear that the only experts allowed must be us, the citizens.
The idea that a few oiligarchs may know better what to do with 29 million share parts of oil revenues, than every citizen with his share ... is in the short, medium and long term simply absurd. With, in July 2014, 100 years of experimentation, we in Venezuela should have had enough!
Extracted and translated from El Universal
PS. Just as an example currently, June 2014, in this peculiar 21st Century Socialist Venezuela, normal milk, if you can get it, is sold at 278 times the price of gas... that sure must be an economic crime against humanity.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

EITI, go home!

The sad truth is that there are cases where a total transparency which makes it clear to the citizens how powerful their government really is, can, and in my opinion will, lead to an increase feeling among citizens that their destiny is not in their own hands and that they have to submit themselves to the will of the powerful guardians of the natural resource income.
EITI must therefore clearly identify when income from natural resources might strengthen governments to such an extent that citizens are inescapably living under a de facto autocracy, which makes it impossible for an effective democracy to function.
If EITI does not do that then it will be selling false illusions and in fact strengthening the ruling autocrats-petrocrats.
And if EITI does not do that then we have no choice but to ask… EITI, go home!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Friends of Venezuela, here is what you could really do to help Venezuelans

In Venezuela the government, on top of all the government authority invested in it, and on top of all its ordinary taxing power, is currently receiving 98% of all the nation’s exports, and deciding over its use.
Tell the Venezuelans that is a system of which you cannot possibly expect sustainable decent economic results, and of which you cannot expect that the government, sooner or later, will not assume an arrogant besserwisser attitude, by with which it begins to abuse its powers.
And if that can happen to “civilized” and educated government, imagine what could happen in the case of a primitive government.
Tell the Venezuelans that if they want to live in a nation, and not just in somebody’s good business, they need, as they did in Alaska, to wrestle the oil revenues away from the government and share these out, among all citizens, in equal parts.
Just think about how you would feel, as citizens, if your government received 98 percent of all of your nation’s exports?
Thanks, your help is appreciated. You see that it is not easy for Venezuelans to break out of something they have learned to live with and adapt to, ever since they are born and until they die.
And please, whatever you do, don't feed the Venezuelans with that bullshit that all their problems from this excess of government powers, is fixable by just adding some transparency and electing the right kind of people.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Creditors of Venezuela, read our Constitution!

In the same way there are international conventions that help foreign investors to collect what governments duly owe them, there should be agreements that help citizens not to be saddled with the payment of debts incurred by governments who violate their constitutions.
If the articles of incorporation of a company stated that it was not allowed to borrow more than 50 % of its assets, but its president is asking for loans that would take its debt to 100% ... it should be difficult to get a reputable law firm to issue a legal opinion stating that there will be no problem.
And, if constitutions are the statutes by which citizens defend themselves from the excesses of their governments; and if creditors expect citizens to sacrifice themselves honoring the debts of their country to which their governments have subscribed... I think citizens should be able to expect from potential creditors, to at least throw a glimpse at their constitutions, to see if these are met.
And it does not matter where the creditors come from, whether Wall Street, San Cristóbal or Cochinchina.
And it is not that I expect creditors to be aware of everything in our Constitution, such as if the expressed rights of indigenous people are complied with but, as a minimum minimorum, sophisticated financiers should be able to tell, detail, whether there is compliance of an Article 320 which states:
"The State shall promote and defend economic stability, prevent the vulnerability of the economy and ensure monetary and price stability, to ensure social welfare. The Ministry of Finance, and the Central Bank of Venezuela, will contribute to the harmonization of fiscal policy and monetary policy, facilitating the achievement of macroeconomic objectives. In exercising its functions, the Central Bank of Venezuela will not be subject to directives of the Executive and may not endorse or finance fiscal deficits."
And so! Can anyone who knows anything about finance, argue that our Constitution has been complied with? Of course not! And so, as a citizen, I here inform our creditors they better not come crying to me tomorrow looking for my support to get paid.
And all citizens of the world, messed up by their bad governments, should take the same attitude ... and we should show solidarity with them all.
And I'm not throwing out warnings after the fact... like would a bad payer. In "Odious Debt", March 2004, and "OdiousCredit", April 2004, I begged creditors to collaborate with citizens ...and nothing! And as salt in the wound Venezuela has paid them exorbitant interests. Well guess what? You can begin applying those high risk premiums to the principal owed... in order for us to at least confirm you your risk assessment.
And what fault of mine is it that the creditors did not read it? They should follow me on Twitter!
Having us Venezuela citizens recently been mocked by the OAS, that clubhouse of governments where constitutions are not even read, it is clear that we need the OCA, the Organization of American Citizens.
PS. There are many polls, but the one I would most like to see, is one that asks the participants of the 4F-1992 Hugo Chavez coup, whether what we now have in Venezuela is what they dreamed about.
PS. I am seeking a "democratic dictator" who would be willing to rip our oil revenues out of the hands of our Petro-state, and hand these over to the citizens. That would earn him a place in history, as the one who achieved the true independence of Venezuela.