Chavez Orders Rationing of Electricity

While Hugo Chavez spends wildly on a military build up and cracks down on free speech and the free press in Venezuela (here), he has ordered the rationing of electricity in the oil-rich country. Chavez blames not his policies but waste of businesses for the crisis.

Venezuela relies primarily on hydro-electric power for its domestic energy. Starting this week, electricity in malls, businesses and billboards will be rationed and authorities are speaking of hiking rates. There have been nationwide blackouts due to the shortage of energy. The economy in Venezuela has been shrinking and the country faces growing unemployment in the global recession, here.

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21 thoughts on “Chavez Orders Rationing of Electricity”

  1. Juila,

    Great post. We always like comments from the heart of the story. I certainly do anyway.

  2. Julia,

    Thank you. Your comments presented a point of view that I also found helpful.

  3. Julia_1984, Thanks for the contribution Julia, having someone speak from experience about a country under discussion that I have never visited (which is virtually all of them!) is always helpful to me.

  4. If we’re considering Canada, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany to be socialist now, then it seems to me we’re defining socialism down. I always thought socialism had at least something to do with nationalization of the means of production. I would consider the above four countries to be expanded versions of the New Deal economy.

    The best example I can think of for a socialist economy in a developed country is pre-Thatcher Britain. Let’s see — nationalized transportation? Check. Nationalized steel and coal? Check. Nationalized auto company? Check. And the result? A country held hostage by striking workers of monopoly nationalized industries. Cold houses in winter because the coal miners are on strike again.

    I’m not going to argue for unregulated capitalism, but I think the record (from the USSR through pre-Deng China, to 1945-1979 Britain), shows that socialism doesn’t work.

  5. Byron said: “Socialism/Communism doesn’t work, just another example and expected. The next rationing will be gasoline, bread, beef, toilet paper, and other of life’s necessities”.

    In Venezuela, gasoline was rationed back in 2002 during an oil strike and there’s a constant gasoline crisis in place like the Tachira state, right next to the Colombia border. Still no bread shortages, but since 2007 beef has been hard to find in many supermarkets and we had troubles finding toilet paper back in 2008. If we find it, we were only allowed to buy one pack per family. We also went through a major shortage of milk and currently we are having troubles to find bacon, chicken and we don’t have water service at least one day a week.

    I don’t know a lot about how US works, if it can be called facists, or communist, or socialist or wathever. I can only see it from the distance. But if my experience as a Venezuelan tells me something is that ideologies are sometimes only excuses some people make to hold more power at other’s expenses. Ccommunism or socialism, left or right, its the same. A few guys find an excuse to hold more power and we pay for the rest. So always be careful when someone says that the way he wants the world to be, is the way it should be.

    Hope this made sense and did not disturb your discussion. Regards

  6. Byron: “that light is prosperity. ”

    Some would argue a false prosperity. The same ‘public’ utility that charges me for my electrical usage and taxes me for its upkeep sells electricity to those empty business’ at a small fraction of the cost I pay and that same utility now wants a taxpayer guaranteed bond sale to expand its capacity to deliver all that cheap energy for wasteful use. There is no free lunch or at least there shouldn’t be.

  7. Byron,

    Oh yeah, Ford and Goodyear played their parts too. But do you see the nature of what you just said?

    “It all goes back to industry and government in bed together.”

    That’s fascism.

    We currently have things screwed up by profit motive – from education to energy policy.

    Take away the profit from those sectors of the market and have them run as not for profits as a public trust.

    Problem solved.

    What you complain about is repaired by properly socialized structures. It’s that very social responsibility component that ensures greater compliance toward the greater good over the profit of the individual.

    Social safety and support mechanisms should not be privately owned. If you cannot see that is where much of the conflict is coming from, I suggest you look harder.

  8. Buddha:

    “That is a result of lack of education. Just look at some of the trolls if you need an example of what a lack of education produces. There are some quality employees and future mates for your kids now, aren’t they?”

    LOL, I have no argument with your assertion.

  9. Buddha:

    It all goes back to industry and government in bed together. I think trains and even urban street cars (the ones that ran on electricity) were probably put out of commission by Messrs. Ford and Goodyear. Maybe John D. but he could sell gas as well as diesel so he probably did not care too much either way.

    I don’t think a goal of world peace is evil at all or that people have food and clothes and health care, I just think the delivery system (socialism) is flawed.

  10. The problem here is you don’t know exactly what you want other than to be left alone by the government, isn’t it Byron?

    Telling people how to live and protecting the fabric of civilization are two different things. One need not tell people how to live to help them live in such a way as to ease suffering. Easing suffering of your fellow members of society leads to peace. Increasing suffering leads to war.

    There are only a very limited number of transactions that must be equitable to insure peace.

    Food and water – both must be available and safe. Nothing will start conflict faster than lack of either.

    Education – only an educated populace can run a civilization properly. Look at America falling down now and you can see everywhere the impact of declining quality of education. People are giving away their rights because they have no idea what they are let alone how to protect them. That is a result of lack of education. Just look at some of the trolls if you need an example of what a lack of education produces. There are some quality employees and future mates for your kids now, aren’t they?

    Transportation – We need to use diesel powered tractor trailers when trains would have and do perform better as a distribution mechanism? No. Our dependence on the dangerous truck driving industry which tears up our infrastructure is directly related to lobbying AGAINST rail by big oil. Trains don’t use as much of their “product”. Look into the history of how our rail lines have been pulled up and mismanaged. At the bottom, you find Exxon and their ilk.

    Health care – Don’t make me club you with Churchill again.

    Energy – Big Oil has been a miserable failure at anything other than starting wars and subverting our political processes. Too important to national security at not be nationalized after the actions of Cheney’s Secret Energy Task Force. THEY STARTED A FUCKING WAR FOR THEIR PRIVATE PROFIT. Evil bastards who deserve to die. End of story. ‘Nuff said.

    All of these enterprises brought into a not for profit umbrella of a social conservatorship – which is what a socialized ANYTHING is, a not for profit company run for mutual public benefit – is required for lasting peace.

    I want to know why that is evil, Byron. To protect the fabric of society and promote peace instead of being a slave to money? That sounds like a noble endeavor. Making maximum profits and damn the consequences? That’s suicide delivered by sociopaths.

  11. I don’t have a problem with this move to cut back on energy waste except that it doesn’t distinguish apparently between business’ that are open and functioning and business’ that are closed. When I was working the midnight shift or even now visit an all night grocery in my area (the only all night business open save a couple of gas stations) the stores in the strip malls and the big mall in my area are all lit up as if they were open.

    Off to the east there is an all night glow from downtown but few if any business’ are open downtown all night. I see that lovely picture of the world lit up at night and wonder how many of those lights are burning energy while no one is home. Using energy as a security measure or an advertising method is long overdue for a modification IMO.

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/images/sts-097_kidstation_project2000_earth_night.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/missions/sts-097/kid_earth.asp&h=325&w=650&sz=33&tbnid=h0SCmGUPGqV7dM:&tbnh=69&tbnw=137&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dearth%2Bat%2Bnight%2Bfrom%2Bspace&hl=en&usg=__–ZyO_JK0mLg2KvglV3liRANp8s=&ei=2htBS_-SNtPSnAfQkLWACQ&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=4&ct=image&ved=0CA8Q9QEwAw

  12. “Business is NOT a mecca for the ethically pure and your continued assertions that’s where the real talent lies is nonsense. People are in business because they want to make money: simple greed.”

    I have never said that business is a mecca for the ethically pure or that is where all the talent is. You find talented and ethical people in all walks of life.

    People are in business for many different reasons, some of which may be greed. Most people I know are in business because they don’t want to work for a corporation or they have a hobby they love that ended up being a business or they have a good idea they want to share with others or they want to make a bunch of money or both or all.

    Ask any small businessman/woman why they are in business and you will get a different answer from each one. Most corporate executives are decent people who have a huge amount of responsibility on their shoulders. Maybe some aren’t but then some college professors aren’t either and some social workers have ulterior motives as well.

    I am an individual, a free man and wish to remain one through the remainder of my life. Marxism/Socialism/Communism/Fascism, whatever you want to call it is not conducive to individual freedom at it’s core philosophy. Personally I would rather live in a country where economic and political freedom exist and be poor than live in a socialist utopia and be wealthy. I have no desire to tell my fellow man how to live.

  13. “Which also means your “free markets” here are an illusion. You think requiring the purchase of insurance from 4-5 companies under penalty of fine for non-compliance is either a free market or socialized medicine?”

    I think it is a crime to have only 4-5 insurance companies providing health care, and it is a crime perpetrated by government at the behest of those insurance companies trying to stifle competition. So now we ask government to fix a problem they created?

    Let’s see food costs in the 1960’s – 15-20% of household income. Health care costs 4-6% of income. Fast forward 40 years and it is almost the reverse. Why? Competition in food production and distribution and the absence of competition in health insurance. There are a few other things – liability protection being one of the biggest I would imagine.

    Why has laser eye surgery become one of the more successful procedures both in terms of cost and technology? It isn’t covered by insurance plans. Competition and people are spending their own money on the procedures.

  14. No.

    What we have here is now apparent.

    It’s pure fascism. We don’t have properly socialized jack shit. We have a bunch of programs set up for maximum abuse by corporate patrons.

    Which also means your “free markets” here are an illusion. You think requiring the purchase of insurance from 4-5 companies under penalty of fine for non-compliance is either a free market or socialized medicine? Then you are not paying attention. That’s plain garden variety fascism. And that’s what the Senate wants. Well fuck the Senate and their graft logic.

    And

    “No one individual or small group of individuals can determine the necessary levels of various commodities and goods and services required for a well functioning economy.” Ok. That’s plain ridiculous. See mespo and my comments on republicanism. Unless you think representative republicanism is a bad idea too. You don’t want democracy in the pure form either. What is it that you do want, Byron? Because so far you are steering right into the course of fascism. Business is NOT a mecca for the ethically pure and your continued assertions that’s where the real talent lies is nonsense. People are in business because they want to make money: simple greed.

    Your complaint, however, is EXACTLY why socialism works where it works : a small group are working for the interests of ALL, not just themselves. Their systems incentivize them to do the jobs they were elected or hired to do instead of lining their own pockets with “campaign contributions” from corporations. They are paid to do their jobs and punished for crimes and poor performance. Here? They are incentivized to cheat lie and steal. All to curry favor with some asshole not elected to squat but a corporate board. Well I didn’t vote for ’em (nor would I, business has proven to be the WORST place to recruit actual leaders in this country). I’ll bend to their will when Hell freezes solid. Socialized medicine would save money and lives if we made sure the Senate keeps their greedy hands off of it. And the best way to make sure the Senate (and government as a whole) is working for the interest of CITIZENS and not corporations is to make lobbying for cash illegal. Money and uncontrolled greed are ruining our government. Money that comes from corporate donors who abuse the system to their benefit when they shouldn’t have a say in government at all except to pay taxes and appeals to the civil and criminal courts.

    As to the “serious people”? Many are just like me. They’d rather chop off an arm than kiss some CEO’s ass for a bribe that means I have to be his creature instead of working for my constituents. All our problems are directly linked to campaign finance. The job of governance is treated like a get rich quick scheme in this country. I assure you. That IS the wrong way to do things unless you want eventual chaos.

  15. Socialism works in countries like France, Sweden and Germany because they have some semblance of free markets which support government expenditures. In other words these governments work within the framework of a market economy.

    We don’t have capitalism in the United States we have a bastard mix of socialism, communism, fascism and capitalism. I postulate the socialistic, fascistic and communistic parts of our economy are the problem. In other words government control and/or strict oversight/regulation of the means of production is the problem.

    No one individual or small group of individuals can determine the necessary levels of various commodities and goods and services required for a well functioning economy.

  16. Anytime I hear a negatively spun story about an official enemy of the United States, I need to question how close to the truth it is. See Chomsky and Herman’s excellent book Manufacturing Consent.

  17. Socialism works just fine when not combined with a dictatorship.

    You are once again making a false equivalency argument.

    Communism doesn’t work. Historical fact. It dismissed human nature.

    Neither does free market capitalism. It doesn’t dismiss human nature. It appeals to the worst of human nature.

    Both are illustrated by recent history.

    But socialism is neither. It’s both.

    It’s the middle path.

    But it works fine in countries like Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, etc.

    Just not in Venezuela under Chavez.

    That’s because he’s controlling the economy not to the benefit of all, but the benefit of the narrow few. Now where have I heard of that happening before?

  18. Socialism/Communism doesn’t work, just another example and expected. The next rationing will be gasoline, bread, beef, toilet paper, and other of life’s necessities.

    When are they (communists) going to give up and admit it doesn’t work? I know, I know Marx said that small implementations are doomed to failure. I think Marx was wrong, if it doesn’t work on a small scale it wont work on a large scale. Capitalism does work on a small scale and it works on a large scale.

    Will you (communists) be happy if it fails world wide or will you say that the world was not enough and we have to expand to Alpha Centauri?

  19. And in reality whats the difference between the US and ______? We suppress Free Speech. We limit people rights in Court. We do and are capable of what Hugo is charged with, just on a global plane.

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