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Venezuela's Lost Human Capital (Chavez is causing a brain drain)

Old 01-28-07, 11:47 AM
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Venezuela's Lost Human Capital (Chavez is causing a brain drain)

When Karl Marx used the phrase "the means of production," he was referring to inanimate things like factories. He didn't understand that the real means of production is the human mind.

As Hugo Chavez brings Venezuela closer and closer to Marxism, the number of teachers, scientists, software developers, classical musicians, and other smart people who flee the country is increasing.



http://www.investors.com/editorial/e...54621701430577

Venezuela's Lost Human Capital

INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY

Posted 1/25/2007

Immigration: Leftists tout Hugo Chavez's trip down the socialist road as "reform" that rights past wrongs. What they never notice is that as property is confiscated and freedoms evaporate, talented Venezuelans are fleeing.

In 2005, over 10,000 Venezuelans sought permanent residence in the U.S., more than twice as many as who sought admission to the U.S. in 1999, when Chavez first took office. Of these, about a tenth were people fleeing political persecution for asylum.

As Chavez confiscates productive farms, sends red-shirted political rabble to take over apartments, shuts down TV stations, restricts government jobs and services to his friends, abandons the capital to crime, boosts Cuba's security presence, puts armed troops on every corner, launches neighborhood spying committees and forces Marxist indoctrination into even private schools, more Venezuelans find they can no longer endure it. They're leaving.

Venezuelan immigration to the U.S. has gone up more than 5,000% since 2000. Canada has seen a similar surge.

The U.S.-Venezuelan community, centered around the Doral neighborhood of Miami and in the "Little Caracas" city of Weston just north of it, numbers at least 40,000 and may be as high as 180,000, the Miami Herald reports. Houston and Calgary also have Venezuelan communities. In New York City, emigrants from the South American nation are opening chic Venezuelan restaurants.

Who's coming? Not farmworkers or day laborers. Sadly for Venezuela, we're getting the cream of the crop. The doctors working in department stores and teachers working in fast food places are among the many coming here who've had some opportunity to develop their skills as professionals and entrepreneurs.

Weston and Doral are full of business startups, beginning with Venezuelans who own bakeries and restaurants and other businesses. Most assimilate here swiftly. Among them also are software developers, advertising account executives, doctors, scientists, classical musicians and lawyers.


Our gain is Venezuela's loss. These newcomers represent the human capital of Venezuela, something that Chavez, grounded in Marxist materialism, can't understand. He views these talented people as political pawns — traitors.

A month ago, Chavez made a speech mocking those who leave, saying that if anyone didn't want to blindly follow his "revolution," he could "just go someplace else. Go to Miami." Plenty did.

Chavez talks a lot about Venezuela being a rich country, and extols its vast oil wealth. But the human capital he is throwing out is far more valuable.
It can't easily be replaced, and might never return.

Their skills are badly needed to clean up Venezuela's deteriorating oil fields, rebuild its crumbling cities and create jobs for its legions of poor citizens. Instead, Chavez is tightening the screws on freedom with a slumlord's tactic of making Venezuela as unbearable as possible to encourage those who can leave to do so.

He may think he can get away with this, but history is against him.

Germany, for instance, never recovered its world science leadership after the Holocaust devastated much of its talent base. Austria lost its cultural ferment for the same reason. Southeast Asian economies suffered after they persecuted their ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs. And Cuba, Chavez's ally whose brilliant emigrants have become stellar successes as Americans, itself sits in ruins.

Chavez and the left will falsely tout socialism's fairness and productivity. But right under his nose, growing numbers of educated Venezuelans are fleeing.

Pity. He's throwing away his country's biggest treasure. And, ironically, he's throwing it right into the arms of his biggest enemy — us.

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Old 01-28-07, 12:56 PM
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Not surprising at all. I've met a number of Venezuelans who are here starting over.
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Old 01-28-07, 05:02 PM
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Old 01-28-07, 05:39 PM
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Given history, there is simply no excuse these days for believing Marxism can be good for the masses. I can't believe Chavez actually thinks it is. At this point I don't think he gives a damn about the people; he has to be in it for the power and the billions a corrupt government leader can amass, with the former probably giving him a bigger thrill than the latter.
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Old 01-28-07, 06:48 PM
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Marxism?

People really need to stop confusing Chavez rhetoric with what is really happening in Venezuela.

Last edited by eXcentris; 01-28-07 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 01-28-07, 07:09 PM
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Run to the hills! Teh Marxists are coming!
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Old 01-28-07, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
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A c-man of few words.
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Old 01-28-07, 07:44 PM
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Old 01-28-07, 07:52 PM
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i'm just glad i have a step by step course to read in the newspaper to learn how dictators seek power legally. Augustus Ceasar, Hitler and others got power just like Chavez is doing now.
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Old 01-28-07, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
Millions of Venezuelans are indeed running.
Oh my god, millions are running! If about 10,000 have gone to the US in 2005, where did the rest go to?

Population: Roughly 27,000,000
Growth rate: 1.38%
Net emigration rate: Zero (2006 estimate, according to the CIA world fact book)

By "running" you mean jogging right?
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Old 01-28-07, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
i'm just glad i have a step by step course to read in the newspaper to learn how dictators seek power legally. Augustus Ceasar, Hitler and others got power just like Chavez is doing now.
Man this thread is turning into comedy gold.
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Old 01-28-07, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Man this thread is turning into comedy gold.
Much like the boisterous hilarity of a countrywide suppression of freedom.

Last edited by movielib; 01-28-07 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 01-28-07, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
What's funny is some are so blinded by ideology they won't recognize Venezuela's slide into totalitarianism.
You using those words is the epitomy of irony.
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Old 01-28-07, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by movielib
Much like the boisterous hilarity of a countrywide suppression of freedom.
Did you care about "rights" and "freedom" when a minority of rich white corrupt capitalists elites were sodomizing the 85% of poor "brown" Venezuelians on a daily basis?

Would you care to backup your claim (ok, belief) that Chavez doesn't really care about the masses with facts and figures? I bet you can't.
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Old 01-28-07, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Did you care about "rights" and "freedom" when a minority of rich white corrupt capitalists elites were sodomizing the 85% of poor "brown" Venezuelians on a daily basis?
I care about rights and freedom always. I hate Castro but that doesn't mean I didn't hate Batista.

Would you care to backup your claim (ok, belief) that Chavez doesn't really care about the masses with facts and figures? I bet you can't.
There's no way to know what's in Chavez' mind. If he does care about the Venezuelan masses and thinks he's helping them he may be well-meaning but he's wrong. If he doesn't care he's corrupt and evil. Either way, the country is not being helped.
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Old 01-28-07, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by movielib
I care about rights and freedom always. I hate Castro but that doesn't mean I didn't hate Batista.
Fair enough.

There's no way to know what's in Chavez' mind. If he does care about the Venezuelan masses and thinks he's helping them he may be well-meaning but he's wrong. If he doesn't care he's corrupt and evil. Either way, the country is not being helped.
He is helping them. A cursory look at economic/social indicators would back up that claim. Whether you agree or not with his methods is another story, but you can't deny the results.

And for the record, I'm no unconditional supporter of Chavez. There's plenty you can criticize him on without using distorsion and outright lies.
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Old 01-28-07, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Marxism?

People really need to stop confusing Chavez rhetoric with what is really happening in Venezuela.

What has Chavez done that Castro, a Marxist, is against?
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Old 01-28-07, 09:16 PM
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good thing now there is chavez and his friends to become rich of everyone else instead rich white capitalists. what an improvement
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Old 01-28-07, 09:28 PM
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Grundle, threads like these are becoming incredibly repetitive. The thrust of libertarianism throughout the ages has only produced societies of immense wealth and productivity. I don't think that will ever get through to the heads of socialists who think that the solution to economic problems is to have someone else fix it for them, and hand them the keys to freedom on a silver platter. Of course, history agrees, especially when you consider that they were always wrong. ALWAYS. The only time I saw marxism successful was on an episode of Survivor.
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Old 01-28-07, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by grundle
What has Chavez done that Castro, a Marxist, is against?
Google "Venezuela economy" and start reading.
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Old 01-28-07, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Google "Venezuela economy" and start reading.
so what exactly has he done? venezuela is still dependent on commodity exports. at least china is moving to a 21st century information based economy
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Old 01-28-07, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
He is helping them. A cursory look at economic/social indicators would back up that claim. Whether you agree or not with his methods is another story, but you can't deny the results.
Well, Cuba was able to improve its literacy rates and health care but that was only by pouring most of its meager resources (and the subsidies from the Soviet Union until those ended) into those limited areas. Its economy was, and still is, a shambles and has no hope of recovery under the present system. The Soviet Union was able to do it for a time with its military and its space program. A few very limited improvements, especially at the expense of everything else, do not a success make. Even with the extra benefit (over Cuba) of its huge oil reserves, I don't see how Venezuela will do much better in the long run (although they may hold out a little longer) on Chavez' nationalizing, economy destroying course.

And for the record, I'm no unconditional supporter of Chavez. There's plenty you can criticize him on without using distorsion and outright lies.
Of what distortions and lies am I guilty?

Last edited by movielib; 01-28-07 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 01-29-07, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
And for the record, I'm no unconditional supporter of Chavez.
Support by proxy?
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Old 01-29-07, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by movielib
A few very limited improvements, especially at the expense of everything else, do not a success make.
Very limited?

Recently a well known economist wrote a piece about Latin American economies, noting that "the spectrum of economic policies in the region in the last few years has spanned the entire range from pragmatism to populism...At the very far left corner there is the extreme radical populism of Venezuela's Chavez."

An examination of Venezuela's recent economic performance suggests that the country's economic policies actually fall into the pragmatic camp, not the populist one.

A look at macroeconomic indicators shows that the economy is performing well. Economic growth has been the fastest in Latin America for each of the past two years. In the first quarter of 2006 growth continued apace, registering 9.3%. Yet in the midst of the economic boom, inflation has been halved. This year, at least one forecaster expects Venezuela to experience its lowest inflation in 18 years though it will still be one of the highest in Latin America. Declining inflation in the midst of an economic boom, while not unprecedented, is atypical and suggests pragmatic economic management.

Factoring in social indicators, Venezuelan economic performance looks even better. Unemployment has been steadily dropping, reaching 10.1% in April 2006 (NOTE: it is now at 8.4%). In 2005 the government's index of social wellbeing reached its highest level in 10 years. Incomes of the poor doubled in the past two years. The poverty rate, which had been increasing for most of the past twenty-five years, has been dropping. In fact, the World Bank recently noted that "Venezuela has achieved substantial improvements in the fight against poverty."


Critics tend to credit increasing oil prices for the resurgence of the economy and dismiss the government's economic management. As the petroleum sector accounts for roughly one-third of GDP, around 80% of export earnings, and over half of government operating revenues, there is no denying that Venezuela's fortunes depend on it. However, a boom in the price of a commodity can be a mixed blessing, which introduces a special set of challenges, called the "Dutch disease" or "resource curse." Many observers of the Venezuelan economy tend to ignore these challenges.

One potential effect of the "Dutch disease" is a rise in inflation, resulting from a rapid increase in the money supply as the windfall from higher commodities prices is passed into the domestic economy. With Venezuelan inflation dropping and approaching an 18 year low, the economic managers seem to have navigated around that shoal.

An alternative effect of the "Dutch disease" is an overvalued currency, which stimulates an import binge, making domestic producers uncompetitive, leading to a recession in sectors, such as manufacturing, exposed to foreign trade. Although imports have risen significantly in the past two years, the numbers need to be put in perspective. First, the simple fact that imports are growing much faster than the economy is not by itself a cause for alarm. In fact, rapid import growth has been typical for Venezuela during periods of economic expansion, just as rapid declines occur during economic contractions. Second, imports as a percentage of GDP are well within the range recorded during the 1990s, a period of modest economic growth. Third, much of the growth of imports is attributable not to consumables but to capital goods, such as machinery, parts, and equipment used for future production. Moreover, the Venezuelan manufacturing sector is healthy, having grown 9.1% in 2005, which suggests that the economic managers are successfully holding off any onset of the "Dutch disease".

Critics have charged that the government is wasting the country's newfound wealth on foreign adventures instead of investing in the economy. It is indisputable that the government is using its wealth for political purposes, such as refinancing Argentina's IMF debts. On the other hand, refusing to repatriate the windfall is precisely what allows the country to overcome the challenge of the "Dutch disease." Furthermore, moving assets out of the United States and into other countries can be viewed less as an adventure than as an astute way to hedge against the eventual decline of a severely overvalued dollar.

Some observers claim that Venezuela has only two types of presidents: those with oil revenues and those without. While this has been true historically, several indicators suggest that Venezuela is becoming better prepared to compensate for a cyclical decline in oil prices.

1. The current account balance is solidly positive. Currency reserves reached their highest levels in sixteen years, and one forecast expects them to increase by more than 40% in the next two years.

2. External debt, already low by Latin American standards, has been steadily declining and is now estimated at 30.8% of GDP. (NOTE: Unlike Rafael Correa, the newly elected president of Ecuador, who plans to renegotiate the foreign debt, Chávez has made every effort to meet Venezuela's obligations with foreign lenders.)

3. The government has made a series of moves to protect export revenues by increasing its share of oil revenues.

These figures suggest that Venezuela has the reserves and borrowing capacity to replace earnings from oil in the event of a cyclical decline, which few are predicting at this point.
Furthermore, Venezuela has taken steps to prevent such a collapse by maintaining an active role in OPEC, pursuing a satisfactory price floor. By contrast, some leading opposition figures criticize the government for maximizing price instead of production, a move which could trigger an oil glut and price collapse and damage the economy.

Several domestic economic policies reinforce the pattern of economic pragmatism:

1. The large investment in public infrastructure, resulting in a 40% increase in government construction spending in the first trimester this year, can be seen as much more than a jobs program or short term stimulus. A recent study shows that investment in public infrastructure in Venezuela gives the government a good return on investment as well as being a significant driver of long term growth.

2. Though heavily dependent on oil revenue, the government has improved tax collection from non-oil sources, which resulted in a budget surplus for 2005, despite significant funding of social programs.

3. Increasing investments in public services, such as education and health care, are essential to the development of productive work force and were key recommendations of a 2001 World Bank Report on Venezuela. Although Barrio Adentro and the various missions are framed as populist in nature, they are also critical to long term economic growth.

Of what distortions and lies am I guilty?
Not you specifically. However, offense but by saying "he doesn't care about the masses" and "a few very limited improvements" you are showing me you don't know much about this topic. However, a "grundle Chavez thread" pops up every couple of weeks and it's invariably filled with nonsense, distorsions and lies. And it doesn't matter how many facts and figures I post in these threads (as I've done coutnless times), you can bet that they will be ignored and forgetten by the agenda pushing "let's fight evil socialism" posters, and that the same crap will be posted in the next thread. It's damn annoying and further proof that when it comes to certain topics, rational and intelligent debate on this forum is impossible.

Last edited by eXcentris; 01-29-07 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 01-29-07, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Very limited?
They have vast resources. They will coast on them awhile. But when you nationalize private businesses you destroy incentive for anyone else to invest in your country. Many of the best people are going to leave. It's happened many times before and why Venezuela will be any different I don't know. I'm willing to just wait and see. If Chavez (or another like him) is still running things ten or twenty years from now, let's take a look then.

Not you specifically. However, offense but by saying "he doesn't care about the masses" and "a few very limited improvements" you are showing me you don't know much about this topic. However, a "grundle Chavez thread" pops up every couple of weeks and it's invariably filled with nonsense, distorsions and lies. And it doesn't matter how many facts and figures I post in these threads (as I've done coutnless times), you can bet that they will be ignored and forgetten by the agenda pushing "let's fight evil socialism" posters, and that the same crap will be posted in the next thread. It's damn annoying and further proof that when it comes to certain topics, rational and intelligent debate on this forum is impossible.
I didn't say he didn't care about the masses. I said anyone should know from history that Marxism doesn't work. It's hard for me to believe he really doesn't know that, and if so, I say he's in it for the power and the money. But then, I am seeing everyone does not know, so maybe you are right and he really does think his policies are helping. As I said, we'll see in ten or twenty years if he or others like him are still around.
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