catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

The economist and the dictator

with 70 comments

(Brought up from the Open Forum)

I think sufficient time has passed for me to address head-on some recent predictable attacks from the usual quarters on the late and great Milton Friedman (see for instance this vile example).

I am still waiting for all those idiots pillorying Friedman for advising Pinochet on how to bring down inflation in Chile to also attack Friedman for advising the People’s Republic of China.

Questions for these Allende-lovers:
1) Are they racists?
2) Are people living under a military dictatorship better off living under high inflation than under low inflation? If there was an AIDS plague in Chile would a doctor flown in to advice Pinochet on how to reduce the incidence of AIDS also be morally culpable for Pinochet’s dictatorship?
3) If a doctor under my hypothetical subsequently praised Chile as a ‘public health miracle’ for bringing down AIDS infection rates, is he also praising the military dictatorship and everything it does? Oh wait a minute, these same people just love Cuba because it has so many doctors. And of course the Cuban way of addressing AIDS by sending people to concentration camps is just so much more humane than the sort of advice that Friedman must’ve given Pinochet for stopping inflation (i.e. print less money), right? Right? [sound of crickets chirping in the background]

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Written by Admin

November 19, 2006 at 10:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

70 Responses

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  1. Jason, it’s Leftwrites. Their middle name is vile. And of course they won’t criticise Cuba – that’d involve a moment of self reflection. The long and tortured debate we had here about exactly these issues is simply beyond them.

    Note, too, that the sensible lefty blogs like LP have left Friedman well alone.

    skepticlawyer

    November 19, 2006 at 11:34 am

  2. Disgusting.

    His critics bring up the Pinochet ‘connection’ in order to attack Friedman’s ideas; the implication being that the repression that took place under Pinochet was a necessary prerequisite for the ‘free market’. However, the fact is that Friedman provided the same advice on controlling money supply to other countries that did not engage in similar practices to Pinochet. It’s therefore fundamentally dishonest to claim that there is a correlation or causal link between Friedman’s policies and the behaviour of one of the many people that benefited from his advice.

    I would have thought that people on that side of the debate would stay clear of invoking these sorts of arguments to bash the dead; especially given there is a far greater and more significant correlation between oppressive and totalitarian regimes and their ideas.

    Amir

    November 19, 2006 at 12:07 pm

  3. I’m amazed to see my comment still there in your Ledtwrites link Jason. I usually only go there when I’ve had a few chardonnays. They’ve always “moderated” out all my comments previously. They really are the most disgusting people.

    whyisitso

    November 19, 2006 at 4:07 pm

  4. a comment made by people who probably had no idea of what Milton or the rest of the Chicago mob were actually doing indeed they probably didn’t understnd what they were saying let alone recommending!

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 19, 2006 at 4:32 pm

  5. Plenty of nut jobs over at John Q’s place http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2006/11/18/milton-friedman-a-brief-appreciation/#comments

    Dont forget that after leaving politics Thatcher worked for a tobacco company, another shill for the shrill folk to condemn.

    Where does one buy this moral superiority? I am in need of a top up.

    rog

    November 19, 2006 at 6:33 pm

  6. rog,

    I have seen just as much moral superiority from your lot!

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 19, 2006 at 6:44 pm

  7. He flew to a lot of places. He flew to New Zealand as well.

    But the place where he likely did the most good would have been Chile.

    Could have been a real bloodbath there if the Allende inflation had continued.

    Rather then such a great triumph.

    People look at the level of killing. But this is South America. In their part of the world Chile might be held up as a sort of humanitarian triumph.

    What country puts it to shame in that part of the world?

    GMB

    November 19, 2006 at 6:44 pm

  8. I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how Friedman was responsible for the actions of the Pinochet junta – guilty of the crime of association.

    rog

    November 19, 2006 at 10:30 pm

  9. Here you go:

    Amir

    November 19, 2006 at 10:41 pm

  10. That’s a useful summary of the issue – thanks Amir. The guy from the Economist is especially good on how the left tarred Friedman – and market reform – with Pinochet’s behaviour. Interesting, too, that the General needed some persuading – he wanted a nice controlled economy to boss about.

    skepticlawyer

    November 19, 2006 at 11:23 pm

  11. I have just finished working on economic issues in Latin America and lived there for three years. Chile is now in effect considered to be the exception to the rule – that LatAm governments impose populist, short – term economic policies, which result in catastrophic disaster every 10 years or so – viz tequila crisis 1998, Argentina’s collapse in 2001 etc etc.

    Chile achieved economic sustainability, but (as Alejandro Foxley pointed out in the YouTube piece) paid a high price during the transition period (underlining the importance of properly sequencing policy changes). And Chile also had a nasty military dictatorship at that time.

    The other LatAm countries also had the nasty military dictatorships, but also had crappy leftoid eco policies. They therefore now have the same legacy of human rights problems as Chile, but also badly underperforming economies, subject to boom-bust extremes. So while the poor suffered equally, they can’t look forward to a better future for their children, as the Chilean poor can. Chile is attracting massive FDI, and will continue to do so even if global interest rates rise. The rest of Latin America (not counting Mexico, a satellite economy of the US) is struggling to attract investment.

    Perhaps it was the fact that Friedman was so closely identified with the Chicago School that made him such a lightning rod for lefty criticism. And don’t forget, Raul Prebisch was an Argentine. I remember my high school economics teacher (like most 1980s Australia high school teachers an ex hippie) railing against Chicago in general, and Friedman in particular, all the while extolling the virtues of high tariffs, regulated economies etc etc. This caused me, like most teenage boys, to take an immediate liking to the thing my teacher despised. Thereupon began a heathy respect for the great Friedman.

    On a related note, I am always intrigued by the ability of economists to be held responsible for the wider policy failures of the governments they advise. I worked on Indonesian issues during the Soeharto era, and was constantly amazed at the opprobrium heaped at the feet of the “Berkley Mafia”. Interesting that there is no “Patrice Lumumba Uni Gang”, or that Marxist central planners (I can’t bring myself to call them economists) were not / are not pilloried for their role in sustaining East Germany or whatever.

    Can anybody name other groups of economists who are tarred with the sins of particular regimes ? The “UQ Conspirators” perhaps, responsible for the curious lack of appreciation that the rest of the world feels for Powderfinger ?

    jimmythespiv

    November 20, 2006 at 1:11 pm

  12. Answers to Mr. Soon’s 3 questions from an Allende “lover” (whatever the hell that means)

    1) Am I a racist? No. Does your question have anything to do with anything?

    2) This is a question from someone who has never felt the bootheel of a military dictatorship on their head. Low inflation, high inflation. It’s kind of moot if you’re being tortured, Jason. Believe me. Friedman is not morally culpable in Pinochet’s crimes, though the policies of the Chicago School were certainly a factor in the hardship that the chilean poor and middle class had to endure for so many years. Of course, we can disagree on this one. But I think I’m right.

    3) “If a doctor…blah, blah,…?” Well, no. Of course, I would guess that it would appear in bad taste to a lot of people to praise Hitler for doing such a splendid job on the German economy during his “tenure”. One of those things, you know. By the same token, consider someone who might admire some of the things the Cubans have done. Does it mean that they praise everything the Cubans have done?
    So many questions, so little time.

    cosmo

    November 20, 2006 at 3:58 pm

  13. “No. Does your question have anything to do with anything? ”

    Well yes. Why is Friedman being crucified by your mates for advising the Chilean government but not for advising the Chinese government which is far, far worse?

    “Friedman is not morally culpable in Pinochet’s crimes”

    Fine, so you agree with me. But I’m now confused. Are your mates angry with Friedman because he gave bad advice or because he gave advice which helped the government by helping them reduce inflation? Which is it? Because you can’t be arguing both at once.

    If you’re arguing that Friedman gave bad advice, then he wasn’t helping the government. So his intervention made no difference to the prospects of Pinochet staying in power or being toppled.

    If he was helping the government to successfully reduce inflation then at least the people are better off with low inflation, just as under my hypothetical a doctor sent in to reduce AIDS or infant mortality is still making the population better off. Or are you going to argue ‘If you’re being tortured it doesn’t matter if you have low infant mortality in your country’. Which is missing the point completely.

    Which is it? Are you people capable of thinking straight at all?

    “By the same token, consider someone who might admire some of the things the Cubans have done. Does it mean that they praise everything the Cubans have done?”

    Fine so you agree with me about Friedman’s praise for the economic management under Pinochet. Next?

    Jason Soon

    November 20, 2006 at 4:04 pm

  14. I don’t know who you refer to as “my mates”. I don’t condemn him at all for Pinochet’s crimes. Pinochet is the guilty party. Friedman was an economist that in retrospect got some things right and others not. Like a lot of human beings. I don’t personally bear any ill will towards the guy, but neither do I think he was such a great economist. My opinion, nothing more.

    As for Friedman’s advice, well, you’re the one who’s missing the point. Your “Which is it?” is a false choice. I am not arguing any of the strawmen arguments you put up. I suggest you read a little more on the type of people who came from the Chicago School, men such as Jose Pinera and Sergio de Castro.
    These were not apolitical technocrats there to do a job. Some praised what that murderer was doing. Most denied or purposely looked away from what was going on in torture centers such as Villa Grimaldi. And is it really a surprise? These were little rich boys, sent away to study abroad by their wealthy parents, (for who but the wealthy could afford such a luxury in Chile at the time?), the same who were hoarding foodstuffs and helping the rise of the black market during Allende’s regime, all of them intensely hostile to the Allende government, and by extension, its supporters. I would venture to say most of the Chicago Boys didn’t lose too much sleep over torture victims. They were, after all, just leftists and troublemakers, according to the General. Oh, they were tied up with Pinochet’s despicable regime allright. Which is something I would probably guess is not the case with China. Do you?

    THAT is why many people condemn the involvement of the Chicago Boys in Chile, besides, of course, the policies they inspired.

    I’m very capable of thinking straight, my friend.
    I suspect you are too, if you became better informed, at least on this matter.

    cosmo

    November 20, 2006 at 5:10 pm

  15. To GMB:

    “He flew to a lot of places. He flew to New Zealand as well.
    But the place where he likely did the most good would have been Chile.”

    The most good? Oh, you were probably living somewhere else at the time.

    “Could have been a real bloodbath there if the Allende inflation had continued.”

    Really. You know, some people are under the crazy notion that there actually was a bloodbath there. Must have been their imagination.

    “Rather then such a great triumph.”

    A “great triumph”? Is that what coup de’etats by traitorous murderers are being called these days?

    “People look at the level of killing. But this is South America. In their part of the world Chile might be held up as a sort of humanitarian triumph.”

    My oh my. Put on a white sheet lately? I mean, are the little brown rats south of the border even fit to have countries at all, in your opinion?

    “What country puts it to shame in that part of the world?”

    Why don’t you tell us, since Chile is such a humanitarian triumph? I mean, in little brown people terms, of course. You know, they’re so lucky to have their big White brothers looking out for them and bringing them civilization. Otherwise, they’d just sit there, when they weren’t killing each other.

    cosmo

    November 20, 2006 at 5:59 pm

  16. Jason,
    I have been having a bit of a discussion with some of the leftwrites mob on the thread you brought to our attention – and they have actually been quite reasonable. I disagree with them, but the bald insults of Friedman seem to have gone and they are willing to engage. Maybe it is just because I am being moderate in what I say.

    Andrew Reynolds

    November 22, 2006 at 8:10 pm

  17. On this thread one can find all sorts of outrage about “bald insults” of the late and “great” Milton Friedman. The left is charged as being “unreasonable”, disgusting, etc. because of some “vile” attacks on Freidman and his policies. God forbid someone should say something bad about poor Milt. This is ironic.

    I read and commented on a thread started by SL about Salvador Allende. I saw the most vile of insults and charges being hurled at Allende, not the least of which were that he was a racist and anti-semite who also favored euthanasia of the disabled. This without any basis in reality. “Moronic”, “idiotic”, “thieving”, are some of the more affectionate terms applied to Allende in that thread by some of the contributors to this site, as well as by a host of commenters. Of course, no one but me seems to think this is also unreasonable, vile, and disgusting. On the contrary, I seem to detect a certain intellectual smugness, as if the left cannot engage in the same type of rational discussion as the paragons of logic on this site.
    Well, logic and reason were in short supply on that thread, and on this one as well. Read your own comments, and then ask yourselves whether or not you engage in the same type of thing that you accuse Friedman’s detractors of doing. I was pointed to this site as a moderate right wing one where issues were discussed with some balance and knowledge, and where discussions were not allowed to degenerate into namecalling. Apparently, this doesn’t apply when discussing Left wing icons. Then, you can smear as freely as you like, I guess.

    cosmo

    November 23, 2006 at 3:01 am

  18. That’s enough smearing from you, Cosmo Kramer.

    JC.

    November 23, 2006 at 3:14 am

  19. Ah, yes. JC. I believe you were one of the “intellectuals” in that thread. C’mon, say something funny again.

    cosmo

    November 23, 2006 at 3:35 am

  20. Cosmo
    FYI those charges against Allende first appeared in an ABC documentary and were reported in a mainstream newspaper. They are there on the public record whether you like it or not. In the original thread I was the one who asked GMB for evidence of this charge.

    And please point out where I or any of the contributors on this blog (e.g.. me or skepticlawyer or Rafe) endorsed the coup and slaughter that followed. Do point out where I called Allende ‘moronic’ or ‘thieving’ or ‘idiotic’.

    Jason Soon

    November 23, 2006 at 8:22 am

  21. The newspaper article is here.

    Der Spiegel is a quality paper. Farias is a good scholar. Yes, he may be wrong, but by the same token he blew Heidegger’s Nazi cover in a way that’s never been seriously refuted, and he has had the advantage of reading Allende’s thesis. And Allende’s favoured treatment of Rauff is a matter of public record.

    I suggest you read the earlier thread, especially my main post on this topic.

    skepticlawyer

    November 23, 2006 at 8:57 am

  22. ” Do point out where I called Allende ‘moronic’ or ‘thieving’ or ‘idiotic’.”

    That was probably all Bird.

    fatfingers

    November 23, 2006 at 2:35 pm

  23. SL, are you saying the allegations were a chile CON carney?

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 23, 2006 at 2:50 pm

  24. Cosmo Kramer says:

    “Ah, yes. JC. I believe you were one of the “intellectuals” in that thread. C’mon, say something funny again.”

    Cosmo, putting the word intellectual beside my name is idiotic.

    summary:

    Alll the those things you accused others of saying about Allende .. that he was ‘moronic’ or ‘thieving’ or ‘idiotic’, I agree with.

    I’ll say it right here. Pinochet on the whole was a force for good in Chile. Allende was a Castro loving/ Soviet Union supporting/ KGB supported flea bag. Both sides do evil things to one another in the Latin world as the Csatro regime proves. It just happened that this time the shoe was on the other foot.

    You can take you allende and shove him , Cosmo Kramer.

    JC.

    November 23, 2006 at 2:58 pm

  25. Cosmo Kramer says:

    “I seem to detect a certain intellectual smugness, as if the left cannot engage in the same type of rational discussion as the paragons of logic on this site.”

    Not smugness, Kramer. I would call it certitude. The only thing the left did right over the past 40 years was the civil rights movement in the 60’s. Since then it has been down hill all the way.

    JC.

    November 23, 2006 at 3:01 pm

  26. To Jason and SL:

    As to the public record of the charges, of course you are right. They are all over the place. Documentaries by ABC, newpaper editorials, the internet.

    What’s disturbing is that the very detailed refutations to those charges is not. One has to really dig to find them. They CAN be found, languishing in obscurity, as responses to the euphoric right wing bloggers who gleefully pronounced Allende a racist and anti-semite, inevitably cutting such threads short. It has been over a year since this refutation was issued, and Dr. Allende’s unedited dissertation published at the El Clarin website where I had the good fortune to read it when it was still up.

    And here I am, yet again forced to defend the reputation of an honourable and decent man against the same lies. I hope this will suffice for now, though I have other evidence I can post if you like. I shouldn’t have to though.

    For Jason, on the topic of calling Allende “thieving” or “moronic”, I will just insert a small quote from SL’s original post, where she also likens Allende to a “robber baron”(is that a thief?).

    “Jason and I were firmly on the side of the angels, pointing out that while Allende was a twit, he was a democratically elected twit,…”

    I don’t know if “twit” and “moron” are the same, but I think you get the point.

    To SL in particular: You wrote a post based on third-hand information and never even thought to question it. I am no lawer, but the first thing I did when I heard of those charges is look for a refutation. After I read the refutation, I looked for the refutation to the refutation, as well as the original text of Allende’s work, and his correspondence with Wiesenthal. It is extremely disturbing to me, though not surprising, that it is the libel that has stuck, and not the truth.

    Madrid, May 23, 2005

    PRESIDENT ALLENDE FOUNDATION
    Tel. 34-91.531.19.89
    Fax 34-91.531.68.11
    E-mail: 100407.1303@compuserve.com

    Press Release
    Subjects:

    1. Forthcoming appearance of the complete unpublished thesis of Dr. Salvador Allende to qualify for the Doctor-Surgeon degree at the University of Chile, in May 1933, entitled Mental Health and Delinquency.

    2. Warning regarding a text in circulation which libels Salvador Allende.

    I
    Forthcoming publication of university thesis by Dr. Salvador Allende

    The complete text will be published in June (it’s available at http://www.elclarin.cl, Hemeroteca, from May 23rd). In his thesis Allende examined the schools of thought which were then current (in 1933) in legal and crimininalistic medicine regarding personalities of delinquents and methods to prevent crime and rehabilitate the delinquent..

    The purpose of publishing the complete 1933 thesis is to provide a link, not known until now, which forms part of Allende´s consistent approach to principles of social and cultural progress by means of the development of political and economic democracy, respect for humanistic values and condemnation of all forms of racial discrimination and anti-Semitism.
    In this thesis, the young Allende refers to the observations of Lombroso, the Italian criminologist, about the supposed relationship between Hindus, Arabs, Gypsies and Jews and certain kinds of crime. Allende concludes that Lombroso has not shown that race has any influence on delinquency (“there is no precise data showing any such influence in the civilized world,” Allende maintains).
    The young medical student refers to the theses of the then famous endocrinologist, Nicolas Pende, on the Southern Italians, the Spanish and English in relation to thyroid activity. He coincides with the Spaniards professors Suñer and Jiménez de Asúa, in describing as insufficient, simplistic and one-sided the doctrines of the endocrinologist schools such as those which, referring to the thyroid and the thymus, see internal glandular secretion as the only explanation of crime.
    Allende cites within the category of “collective crimes” the nascent Nazi-Fascist movements, which, without mentioning them by name, he describes in this way: “the world economic crisis and existing political instability have created in different countries armed institutions in the guise of political parties that use extreme violence “.
    In his thesis, Allende attributes a criminal nature to some leaders of the masses who use force “to impose their principles on all else” Without mentioning Hitler by name, he describes that contemporary phenomenon in the following words.

    “So it comes about that these collective crimes lead to truly tragic consequences, when a psychopathological phenomenon develops in the masses which eminent psychiatrists compare to an insidious virus. A pernicious influence can be exercised all too easily on the masses by an apparently normal person who, in reality, forms part of an identifiable category of the mentally disturbed.”
    Allende then condemns the use of terror as a method of government:
    “History is rife with these examples, so we see, and so we can understand, with the help of psychiatry, how collective deviation is motivated by the irrational impulses of a leader. So it is that Robespierre and Marat amongst others have been diagnosed as belonging to certain pathological categories”
    Allende brings his thesis to an end affirming his trust in free will and in the human conscience of mankind:
    “We are fully in agreement with Mariano Ruiz-Funes when he says: ‘ If Taine is correct in saying that every man carries within himself a Phidias capable of sculpting supreme works of art but also of creating monstrosities, it is equally true that each society creates criminals or shapes men of superior virtues and, in both cases, whether on an individual or social basis, an ethical imperative determines that all activity should be of a transcendental nature. If that is not the case, be assured that our conscience will be burdened with the knowledge that we are in the presence of a mediocre sculptor, one that deserves our disdain.”

    II
    Warning of the libelous text circulating by Victor Farias
    The defamatory intention is exemplified in the treatment of the case of the Nazi military criminal, Walter Rauff.
    1) Farías’s silence on the fact that the Allende Government made possible the questioning of Rauff on June 28, 1972 at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Santiago by a German judicial civil official
    The declaration was taken in relation to the trial that continued in Germany against the SS official Bruno Streckenbach. The complete text of the declaration is published in Nizkor en http://www2.ca.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/r/rauff.walter/Rauff-deposition-translation

    2) He distorts the way in which President Allende sympathized with Wiesenthal, at the time explaining to him that Chilean law obliged the President to follow the 1963 ruling of the Supreme Court 1963 related to Rauff
    Here is how Simon Wiesenthal describes it in his book, Justice Not Vengeance :
    “But Rauff was lucky: under the Chilean statute of limitations murder charges cannot be brought after fifteen years, and when the Supreme Court in Santiago dealt with the case eighteen years had elapsed. By three votes to two the application for extradition was rejected. A judge from Hanover, who went to Chile to interrogate Rauff in the action against Pradel, returned with the conviction that it would only be possible to get hold of the Obersturmbannführer if a different regime came to power in Chile.
    Eight years later just that happened: the Socialist Salvador Allende became head of state. On 21 August I handed over to the Chilean ambassador in Vienna, professor Benadava, a letter to Allende, drawing his attention to the Rauff case. Allende relied very cordially but pointed to the difficulty of reopening a case when the Supreme Court had already handed down a judgment. I requested Allende to examine the possibility of having Rauff, who was not yet a Chilean citizen, deported: we might be able to proceed against him in a country with a more favorable legislation. But before Allende could answer my second letter there was a coup and Allende lost his life”.

    These are Wiesenthal’s own words that refute the libelous statements of Farias’ undocumented text.
    There are reasons to suspect that Farías also had been able to falsify or to manipulate the text of the letter that he attributes to President Allende in answer to the one of Mr. Wiesenthal. He doesn’t publish a photocopy of the letter but rather a version that is re-typed by an unidentified person, without seal, date or registry number, with the heading “Ministry of Foreign Relations”, and, at the bottom, “President of Chile” after the name Salvador Allende Gossens. The three items are inconceivable in the correspondence of Head of State who wrote on “Presidency of the Republic” letterhead and always signed with his name only (without adding “President of Chile”). Letters all were sent with a date and a record number. Suspicion grows when Farías does not identify the source of documents, but claims that “I have found them in the file of the Dokumentationszentrum of Vienna”. A serious omission for an academic professional who does not identify the number of box and/or file where he claims to have found the document.

    3. Farías silence that Pinochet protected Rauff from those who wanted to put him on trial.
    Below you can read the letter from the Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, sent on November 23, 1997 to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu :

    “Simon Wiesenthal Center
    23 Cheshvan 5758
    23 November 1997

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    Jerusalem

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We recently learned that the Chief of Staff of the Chilean army and the country’s former president General Augusto Pinochet is planning a visit to Israel. Although he was invited by ‘Machshirei Tenua’, a private company, the visit nonetheless has serious public implications which have prompted this letter.

    General Pinochet served for many years as a dictator who purposely and systematically ignored the principles of human rights and democracy. During his presidency, many of his political opponents were murdered, among them numerous Jews. These facts are, in my opinion, sufficient cause to prevent his visit to Israel, but allow me to add an additional dimension related to the activities of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

    For years, General Pinochet granted a safe haven to Nazi war criminals who escaped to Chile, among them SS officer Walter Rauff who invented the gas vans in which hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered during the Holocaust in the Chelmno death camp, various parts of the Soviet Union and in Yugoslavia. Later Rauff served in Tunisia and in Italy, where he played an active role in the measures taken against the Jews.

    After the war, Rauff escaped from Europe and settled in Chile. I am well acquainted with the great efforts invested by the Wiesenthal Center and other Jewish organizations during the late seventies and early eighties to convince the Chilean government headed by Pinochet to extradite Rauff to the German authorities who sought to put him on trial. Pinochet, however, adamantly refused to accede to this request and defended the Nazi war criminals (who died in Chile in 1984).

    From a moral point of view, the State of Israel, as the national home of the Jewish people, cannot host individuals like Pinochet who caused so much damage, sorrow and pain to Jews. Your intervention is therefore requested regarding this painful subject in order to prevent the visit of the murderous dictator, defender of Nazi war criminals like Walter Rauff.

    Please spare us this embarrassment.
    Sincerely yours,
    Dr. Efraim Zuroff
    Director
    Simon Wiesenthal Center”

    4. Farías’ silence in the face of what is public and well-known, that Salvador Allende’s relationship as a youth and an adult, with all the creeds, beliefs and ethnic groups in Chile, without distinction, was always excellent.
    III
    Every one of Farias’ supposed “discoveries” and “findings” on Salvador Allende turn out to be a string of unsupported falsifications.

    cosmo

    November 23, 2006 at 7:07 pm

  27. JC says:
    “Cosmo, putting the word intellectual beside my name is idiotic.”

    Really. I couldn’t tell.

    “Alll the those things you accused others of saying about Allende .. that he was ‘moronic’ or ‘thieving’ or ‘idiotic’, I agree with.”

    Yes, yes of course. With your grasp of the facts, and your proven insight about this issue, this is devastating.

    “I’ll say it right here. Pinochet on the whole was a force for good in Chile. Allende was a Castro loving/ Soviet Union supporting/ KGB supported flea bag. Both sides do evil things to one another in the Latin world as the Csatro regime proves. It just happened that this time the shoe was on the other foot.
    You can take you allende and shove him , Cosmo Kramer.”

    And in one fell swoop, your keen intellect and rapier-like wit slays me. I am in awe, sir.

    “Not smugness, Kramer. I would call it certitude. The only thing the left did right over the past 40 years was the civil rights movement in the 60’s. Since then it has been down hill all the way.”

    Not smugness? Yes, you’re right. It is the certitude of the fool, who thinks he’s right DESPITE the facts. Now go get a clue.

    cosmo

    November 23, 2006 at 7:24 pm

  28. Ok Kramer
    Out with it. Tell us the facts you’re so certain of. And don’t slam the door as yoú’re running out.

    Explain why and where i am wrong

    JC.

    November 23, 2006 at 8:11 pm

  29. While you there Kramer, you may want to explain why Pinochet left office willingly and the Cubans have to wait until Castro is dead.

    You may also wnat to explain what you think of Castro.

    So stop it with the leftist projection, Karmer and come clean.

    Kramer. Understand one thing. If I had to choose between Castro and Pinochet I would choose to live under Pinocnet in a heart beat. And you?

    JC.

    November 23, 2006 at 8:15 pm

  30. I still stand by ‘robber baron’, cosmo. I made that assessment in relation to Allende’s ruinous economic policies. Socialist economics – which range from expropriation and printing more money to various forms of collectivization – are extraordinarily destructive. People who want to impose these sorts of policies are twits, and I think that was probably known by the early 70s.

    However, based on your information, it now seems there is an acrimonious debate on the worth of Farias’ work, much as there was when his research on Heidegger was published.

    This means I will now probably have to wade through Allende’s thesis and read Farias’ book. I’d be wary of making this assertion if it isn’t true, though:

    There are reasons to suspect that Farías also had been able to falsify or to manipulate the text of the letter that he attributes to President Allende in answer to the one of Mr. Wiesenthal. He doesn’t publish a photocopy of the letter but rather a version that is re-typed by an unidentified person, without seal, date or registry number, with the heading “Ministry of Foreign Relations”, and, at the bottom, “President of Chile” after the name Salvador Allende Gossens. The three items are inconceivable in the correspondence of Head of State who wrote on “Presidency of the Republic” letterhead and always signed with his name only (without adding “President of Chile”). Letters all were sent with a date and a record number. Suspicion grows when Farías does not identify the source of documents, but claims that “I have found them in the file of the Dokumentationszentrum of Vienna”. A serious omission for an academic professional who does not identify the number of box and/or file where he claims to have found the document.

    I doubt Farias would be involved in the deliberate creation of phony documents. It is too easy to prove. If there is a possibility he has, I suggest that interested scholars go forth and examine his source materials, as was done to David Irving. Irving’s trick is misquoting other historians and misrepresenting the origin of his documents. I’m not sure even he has tried the Dan Ratheresque line of phony National Guard letters, although he may have done.

    Finally, I made no comment on Pinochet’s relationship to Rauff. It doesn’t surprise me that Pinochet continued to protect him – various South American regimes protected large numbers of unsavoury Nazis from prosecution. Chile was only one of many.

    What interested me was Allende’s reason for doing so. Pinochet was a dictator. At the very least, his response to people who wanted something from him that he didn’t want to give was likely to be ‘f*** off’. Allende, however, fell back on constitutional arguments when many of his government activities were unconstitutional (expropriation, anyone?).

    I realise people on the other side of the house will argue in favour of expropriation (nationalization without compensation) on the grounds that wealth needs to be redistributed to the poor. It doesn’t work, despite the laudable ideals of those who often advocate it.

    skepticlawyer

    November 23, 2006 at 8:41 pm

  31. To SL:

    You and I will have to disagree on socialist economics. That is a topic unto itself, and one I will not tackle on this thread. I will, however, ask this.

    Who are the “twits”, SL? The ones who, aware that capitalism has had hundreds of years in Latin America to build a society and has left hundreds of millions in abject poverty, without access to healthcare or education, with no hope of a better future for their children, actually try to change things? Or the ones who want to maintain the same system that has failed for so long? It is apparently still hard for some people to figure out that banging your head against a wall doesn’t feel any better if you just keep doing it for a little longer.

    As for the acrimonious debate, there is no debate. Farias attributed Lombroso’s thoughts and words directly to Allende, knowing that Allende was merely quoting Lombroso. Just that in itself is cause to dismiss his book. I am glad that you are willing to wade through Allende’s thesis and Faria’s book in order to verify my information, but I am curious as to why you felt no such compulsion when you read about the charges against Allende. You say that you would be wary of making the assertion( though the refutation doesn’t make an assertion and only raises the suspicion on good grounds) that Farias falsified documents. Strange. You had no such hesitations when it came to branding Allende a racist bigot.

    As for Rauff, Wiesenthal speaks for himself. Allende’s reasoning was valid, and did not negate the possibility of other avenues to pursue against Rauff. I simply find this charge of Faria’s ridiculous. The German community that sheltered Rauff in Chile was notoriously anti-communist and hostile to Allende, as was Rauff, and it is strange to suggest Allende would go out of his way to protect him.

    As for Allende’s “violations” of the constitution, that is a debate within itself. I’ve had it many times with other people. Believe me, you’re not on as solid ground as you think. I would also like to point out that the politicians on the right that were branding Allende’s actions as “unconstitutional” during that time, had no problem trying to incite the army to pull off a coup d’etat and openly calling for the violent ouster of the government. When Pinochet and the Junta came to power, these same politicians thought Pinochet would then hand them over power after a short time. When they realized that Pinochet had no such intentions, none of them had the balls to utter a peep. Not a word about the “constitution” when he abolished congress and banned political parties, never mind when he was torturing and murdering people. So spare me any talk about the “constitution”. Allende did more to respect the constitution than any of the spineless cowards that, unable to hold on to power through electoral means, wiped their backsides with the constitution when it suited their aims, and didn’t display the courage Allende had in one finger when it came to defending it against a murdering thug.

    cosmo

    November 24, 2006 at 4:26 am

  32. To JC:

    “Ok Kramer
    Out with it. Tell us the facts you’re so certain of. And don’t slam the door as yoú’re running out.

    Explain why and where i am wrong”

    Everywhere, JC, everywhere. From the economy to Allende’s character to Pinochet himself. I wouldn’t know where to start.

    “While you there Kramer, you may want to explain why Pinochet left office willingly and the Cubans have to wait until Castro is dead.”

    Left office willingly? After he was dictator for 15 YEARS, you mean? After massive protests in the streets and worlwide condemnation in the mid-eighties, when the economic policies everyone here seems to admire so much brought the country to ruin? After making sure to change the constitution to protect himself and his fellow criminals from future prosecution of the crimes they knew they were commiting?
    After making sure his relatives and himself raped the national coffers and hid the money in overseas accounts? Yeah, he stepped down willingly alright.

    Cuba, and Castro, is another matter. It is an island, literally and figuratively, in the Americas. It has been under constant threat and surrounded by hostile governments for most of its existence under Castro. It has been the subject of a decades long embargo and other economic pressures from the world’s foremost superpower. It has suffered an attempted foreign invasion, and witnessed others on neighbouring countries. So I guess a certain amount of paranoia is justified and Castro’s hold on power seems more understandable, as does his continuing popular support in Cuba. I rarely hear the Cuban side of anything here, so I don’t know how many of the claims against the regime are true, and how many are made up by the Cuban-Americans in Florida that demonize everything about Castro’s regime. I will inform myself better and get back to you about Castro.

    “Kramer. Understand one thing. If I had to choose between Castro and Pinochet I would choose to live under Pinocnet in a heart beat. And you?”

    I only wish you had lived under Pinochet for a while as an average citizen. You would realize some things. Yes, you would. Since I know less about Castro’s regime, I take him.

    cosmo

    November 24, 2006 at 5:13 am

  33. Until the Chicago Boys instituted neoliberal economic policies in Chile, no South American country was particularly capitalist.

    I think you’ll find a mess of dictatorships – both left and right – and a preference for autarky rather than free trade. Many of Cuba’s woes are as a result of Castro’s autarky as opposed to the US blockade. I suspect you’ll also find plantation economies where protection suits local business elites who are almost inevitably hostile to free trade.

    Many wealthy people in the third world want a government that is pro-business, and frequently, governments of the right deliver this thinking they are helping the economy. A pro-business government (particularly one in a country with a plantation economy) will be more efficient than a socialist one, but will still be much less efficient than a genuinely liberal economy.

    What people on this site advocate is pro-market economic policies, not pro-business policies. Pro-market policies are about competition. Many business leaders in the third world like protection (aka hiding behind a wall of tariffs), and are quite happy to trade personal freedom in exchange for fleecing consumers generally and the poor specifically to maintain their position.

    This is borne out in Pinochet’s case. Only Friedman personally was able to persuade him to allow the Chicago Boys to have a relaively free hand. They were not able to do so. He was quite happy to piss in the pockets of local business elites in exchange for them saying ‘how high?’ everytime he said ‘jump’.

    I’m also very familiar with Farias’ work on Heidegger, have lived in Germany and also covered the David Irving libel trial when I was living in the UK. I am reasonably familiar with how historians go about examining and using source documents, and doubt in the extreme that Farias would engage in fabricating material. Der Spiegel was a regular read where I lived, and I found its journalistic standards to be very high indeed.

    I stand by ‘robber baron’, and think that Allende’s expropriation was unconstitutional, pure and simple. Of course Pinochet was ‘more unconstitutional’. He was a dictator. He led a military coup. He killed his enemies. To compare the two on these grounds is to engage in the tu quoque logical fallacy, and to assume that I support one at the expense of the other, which is why I considered Allende in isolation.

    Unlike many on the left, I do not expect my ‘heroes’ to be ideologically consistent across time and space. If Allende was once into eugenics but later changed his mind, then that would be consistent with many other people from all sides of politics who saw what Hitler and Stalin did with eugenics and so understood where it would lead. All heroes have feet of clay. They do so because they are human.

    I also have an interest in the various rationales for protecting high-level Nazis from prosecution because I have published widely on the subject. Pinochet probably liked Rauff personally. Allende’s refusal to sent him to Israel or Germany for trial is more complex, and hence more interesting, particularly in light of his politics.

    skepticlawyer

    November 24, 2006 at 8:42 am

  34. Cosmo
    If what you say is true, why do you think capitalism has worked well everywhere but in Latin America?

    Go look up Hernando de Soto. He has a lot to say about this. Capitalism can’t work if it isn’t extended to the common man and woman e.g. by making it easy for them to set up their own businesses.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hernando_de_Soto_%28economist%29

    What you had in Latin America was capitalism for landlords only, most of whom simply inherited the pernicious contempt for productive work of their aristocratic Spanish forebears.

    Latin America seems to be only good for producing ‘coups’ and revolutions. That’s what I associate it most with anyway. Most of their finest minds are more interested in political street theatre than anything else. Call me a Max Weber acolyte but I think the ‘Latin’ in Latin America explains a lot of this. It’s not a place I particularly admire, I have to confess.

    Jason Soon

    November 24, 2006 at 8:53 am

  35. To SL:

    “Until the Chicago Boys instituted neoliberal economic policies in Chile, no South American country was particularly capitalist.”

    Sorry, but with all due respect, this sounds ridiculous. If I accept this, then surely I can argue that the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, etc. were not particularly socialist either.

    “I think you’ll find a mess of dictatorships – both left and right – and a preference for autarky rather than free trade. Many of Cuba’s woes are as a result of Castro’s autarky as opposed to the US blockade. I suspect you’ll also find plantation economies where protection suits local business elites who are almost inevitably hostile to free trade.”

    I think you have a lot to learn about Latin America. Of course you will find dictatorships. And you will find 99% of them were of the rightwing, CAPITALIST variety. Now you must ask yourself why. Who has benefited? Who continues to prolong this situation?

    “Many wealthy people in the third world want a government that is pro-business, and frequently, governments of the right deliver this thinking they are helping the economy. A pro-business government (particularly one in a country with a plantation economy) will be more efficient than a socialist one, but will still be much less efficient than a genuinely liberal economy.”

    I don’t know what you mean by more “efficient”. I do know what these economies have done to the vast majority in Latin America, and it hasn’t been good. How much more time would you like people to wait for the miracles of capitalism to come save their children from malnutrition, disease, and illiteracy? The Chicago Boys had 15 years to experiment in Chile. The country was a shambles. And they had Pinochet onside, the local business elite onside, the international lending and development agencies onside. Everything Allende didn’t have, and five times the amount of time. One can only imagine what could have been if Allende had been given a chance.
    There were mistakes made by the Allende government, sure. But he was commited to pulling Chile out of the endemic poverty that afflicts so many countries in the region. Such measures as the nationalization of copper, the litre of milk given every day to every child in school, the land reform that was absolutely necessary if the country was to go forward economically, the focus on worker’s rights, all of these would never have happened under a capitalist government. You cry about how “unconstitutional” some of the expropriations were, yet I don’t think you’ve stopped to consider what the situation was at the time for the rural population, and that the changes needed in land reform would never have been accepted willingly by the landowners and latifundistas that were also part of the same parties that were blocking Allende’s every move.

    “What people on this site advocate is pro-market economic policies, not pro-business policies. Pro-market policies are about competition. Many business leaders in the third world like protection (aka hiding behind a wall of tariffs), and are quite happy to trade personal freedom in exchange for fleecing consumers generally and the poor specifically to maintain their position.
    This is borne out in Pinochet’s case. Only Friedman personally was able to persuade him to allow the Chicago Boys to have a relaively free hand. They were not able to do so. He was quite happy to piss in the pockets of local business elites in exchange for them saying ‘how high?’ everytime he said ‘jump’.”

    The Chicago Boys were at work within year of Pinochet taking power. They had a free hand. They had every advantage over Allende. They wrecked the economy, and a lot of lives along with it. That’s what pro-market policies did in that country.

    “I’m also very familiar with Farias’ work on Heidegger, have lived in Germany and also covered the David Irving libel trial when I was living in the UK. I am reasonably familiar with how historians go about examining and using source documents, and doubt in the extreme that Farias would engage in fabricating material. Der Spiegel was a regular read where I lived, and I found its journalistic standards to be very high indeed.”

    I am not discussing the standards at Der Spiegel. I am not discussing Farias in relation to Heidegger. Or the Irving trial for that matter.
    And while I appreciate your familiarity with the methods of research used by historians, I think you’ll agree that it has never prevented some from taking liberties of interpretation and sometimes telling a tall tale or two. Like I said before, Farias deliberately misrepresented Lombroso’s words as belonging to Allende. That has nothing to do with “methods”, unless you are talking about methods of character assasination.

    “I stand by ‘robber baron’, and think that Allende’s expropriation was unconstitutional, pure and simple. Of course Pinochet was ‘more unconstitutional’. He was a dictator. He led a military coup. He killed his enemies. To compare the two on these grounds is to engage in the tu quoque logical fallacy, and to assume that I support one at the expense of the other, which is why I considered Allende in isolation.
    Unlike many on the left, I do not expect my ‘heroes’ to be ideologically consistent across time and space. If Allende was once into eugenics but later changed his mind, then that would be consistent with many other people from all sides of politics who saw what Hitler and Stalin did with eugenics and so understood where it would lead. All heroes have feet of clay. They do so because they are human.”

    Nice bit, if Allende HAD been into eugenics.

    “I also have an interest in the various rationales for protecting high-level Nazis from prosecution because I have published widely on the subject. Pinochet probably liked Rauff personally. Allende’s refusal to sent him to Israel or Germany for trial is more complex, and hence more interesting, particularly in light of his politics.”

    Allende was acting under Chilean law, and was not given a chance to pursue other options because he was killed. Not really that complex. Maybe you could ask why so many Gestapo and SS ended up serving in the intelligence services of Western nations.

    cosmo

    November 27, 2006 at 10:22 pm

  36. “Until the Chicago Boys instituted neoliberal economic policies in Chile, no South American country was particularly capitalist.”

    Sorry, but with all due respect, this sounds ridiculous

    Kramer, you dill. She’s right. She meant that they were closed economies. 50 famlies in each country owned most of the monopolies. In other words they were socialistic, like Australia and New Zealand were before reforms, although to a much less degree.

    to be honest the rest of the stuff you wrote is just economic illiteracy and standard leftist sludge all dressed up to look pretty. It’s too late take it all apart.

    JC.

    November 27, 2006 at 11:14 pm

  37. I was going to put up some snark about looking up ‘efficiency’ in a microeconomics textbook, JC, but decided that would just be a snark.

    Oh, and while he’s at it, ‘autarky’, ‘plantation economy’, ‘closed economy’ and ‘monopoly’. Hint: Nazism was autarkic, not capitalist. So was Franco. So were most of the fascist dictatorships in South America. Modern North Korea is an example of leftist autarky. The two are not hugely different.

    Pinochet wanted to be autarkic at the outset, but Milt and friends persuaded him this was a bad idea. Mainly Milt, though.

    skepticlawyer

    November 27, 2006 at 11:41 pm

  38. What the heck. It’s quiet and I have some time.

    “Until the Chicago Boys instituted neoliberal economic policies in Chile, no South American country was particularly capitalist.”

    Yes, that’s right. They were statist in every way.

    “Sorry, but with all due respect, this sounds ridiculous. If I accept this, then surely I can argue that the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, etc. were not particularly socialist either.”

    You can accept anything you like , Cosmo Kramer, but the analogy is stupid.

    The Sovs, China, and cuba are communist because they fall under the category of sludge.

    ““I think you’ll find a mess of dictatorships – both left and right – and a preference for autarky rather than free trade. Many of Cuba’s woes are as a result of Castro’s autarky as opposed to the US blockade. I suspect you’ll also find plantation economies where protection suits local business elites who are almost inevitably hostile to free trade.””

    Sure, businessmen hate competition because it forces them to do better, so they gop rent seeking to the government o prevent competition. We know this , genius.

    “I think you have a lot to learn about Latin America. Of course you will find dictatorships. And you will find 99% of them were of the rightwing, CAPITALIST variety. Now you must ask yourself why. Who has benefited? Who continues to prolong this situation?”

    They were right wing, but they were capitalist, unless giving a monopoly to Pablo Fuente down the road because he’s your mate can be defined as capitalist. But we’re talking about a free market set-up.

    ““Many wealthy people in the third world want a government that is pro-business, and frequently, governments of the right deliver this thinking they are helping the economy. A pro-business government (particularly one in a country with a plantation economy) will be more efficient than a socialist one, but will still be much less efficient than a genuinely liberal economy.””

    You mixing up economic terms here, Kramer. Wealth comes with efficiency. You seem lost in a morass of wrong definitions.

    “I don’t know what you mean by more “efficient”.

    I’ll say.

    “ I do know what these economies have done to the vast majority in Latin America, and it hasn’t been good.”

    You sure are right here, Kramer.

    “How much more time would you like people to wait for the miracles of capitalism to come save their children from malnutrition, disease, and illiteracy?”

    How else do expect to get it, Kramer? By stealing it?

    “The Chicago Boys had 15 years to experiment in Chile. The country was a shambles. And they had Pinochet onside, the local business elite onside, the international lending and development agencies onside. Everything Allende didn’t have, and five times the amount of time. One can only imagine what could have been if Allende had been given a chance.”

    I don’t. The best thing he did was put a bullet in his own head. Allende was an idiot. A dangerous idiot.

    ”There were mistakes made by the Allende government, sure.”

    Kramer. He fucked up…. badly and that’s why he may have suicided.

    “ But he was commited to pulling Chile out of the endemic poverty that afflicts so many countries in the region.”

    How did he propose to to that genius? By stealing other people’s assets.

    “ Such measures as the nationalization of copper, the litre of milk given every day to every child in school, the land reform that was absolutely necessary if the country was to go forward economically, the focus on worker’s rights, all of these would never have happened under a capitalist government.”

    They did Cosimo. They did. That’s why Chile is the richest country in that hellhole of socialist crap.

    “You cry about how “unconstitutional” some of the expropriations were, yet I don’t think you’ve stopped to consider what the situation was at the time for the rural population, and that the changes needed in land reform would never have been accepted willingly by the landowners and latifundistas that were also part of the same parties that were blocking Allende’s every move.”

    Right. So Allende was a thief and you’re trying to hide it by nonsense.

    “What people on this site advocate is pro-market economic policies, not pro-business policies. Pro-market policies are about competition. Many business leaders in the third world like protection (aka hiding behind a wall of tariffs), and are quite happy to trade personal freedom in exchange for fleecing consumers generally and the poor specifically to maintain their position.”

    Agree. So why write the other stuff, Cosimo Kramer.

    This is borne out in Pinochet’s case. Only Friedman personally was able to persuade him to allow the Chicago Boys to have a relaively free hand. They were not able to do so. He was quite happy to piss in the pockets of local business elites in exchange for them saying ‘how high?’ everytime he said ‘jump’.”

    Write this again Kramer, you lost me after the word, This.

    “The Chicago Boys were at work within year of Pinochet taking power. They had a free hand. They had every advantage over Allende. They wrecked the economy, and a lot of lives along with it. That’s what pro-market policies did in that country.”

    Sure did wreck things, dreamer. That’s why Chile is doing so well compared to Cuba.

    ““I’m also very familiar with Farias’ work on Heidegger, have lived in Germany and also covered the David Irving libel trial when I was living in the UK. I am reasonably familiar with how historians go about examining and using source documents, and doubt in the extreme that Farias would engage in fabricating material. Der Spiegel was a regular read where I lived, and I found its journalistic standards to be very high indeed.””

    And the point is?

    “I am not discussing the standards at Der Spiegel. I am not discussing Farias in relation to Heidegger. Or the Irving trial for that matter.
    And while I appreciate your familiarity with the methods of research used by historians, I think you’ll agree that it has never prevented some from taking liberties of interpretation and sometimes telling a tall tale or two. Like I said before, Farias deliberately misrepresented Lombroso’s words as belonging to Allende. That has nothing to do with “methods”, unless you are talking about methods of character assasination.”

    Come again?

    ““I stand by ‘robber baron’, and think that Allende’s expropriation was unconstitutional, pure and simple. Of course Pinochet was ‘more unconstitutional’. He was a dictator. He led a military coup. He killed his enemies. To compare the two on these grounds is to engage in the tu quoque logical fallacy, and to assume that I support one at the expense of the other, which is why I considered Allende in isolation.”

    Allende was stealing. He was wrecking the economy and it was a good thing he suicuded when he did. It was the best thing he did for the people.

    ”Unlike many on the left, I do not expect my ‘heroes’ to be ideologically consistent across time and space.”

    I never do either when it come to leftists. At least we agree here Cosimo.

    “If Allende was once into eugenics but later changed his mind, then that would be consistent with many other people from all sides of politics who saw what Hitler and Stalin did with eugenics and so understood where it would lead. All heroes have feet of clay. They do so because they are human.””

    Good, so now you’re starting to see reason. Cosmo. You’re now associating Hitler, Stalin and Allende. Good for you, Krames.

    “Allende was acting under Chilean law, and was not given a chance to pursue other options because he was killed. Not really that complex. Maybe you could ask why so many Gestapo and SS ended up serving in the intelligence services of Western nations”

    Here we go, the old leftist throwawy line. This time the SS is running Western intel. Does it ever stop with these dweebs? Does it ever stop?

    Kramer, just practice coming in and out of the door, Doofus, you’re better at it.

    JC.

    November 27, 2006 at 11:45 pm

  39. Ummm, JC, you might have got Cosmo and me mixed up. Some of the time he was quoting me, and you’ve accidentally requoted me as well.

    skepticlawyer

    November 27, 2006 at 11:56 pm

  40. “I was going to put up some snark about looking up ‘efficiency’ in a microeconomics textbook, JC, but decided that would just be a snark.”

    Fortunately, not all of us are slaves to neoliberal microeconomics or the textbooks that teach it, so efficiency can mean something else. Maybe you should read more.

    “Oh, and while he’s at it, ‘autarky’, ‘plantation economy’, ‘closed economy’ and ‘monopoly’. Hint: Nazism was autarkic, not capitalist. So was Franco. So were most of the fascist dictatorships in South America. Modern North Korea is an example of leftist autarky. The two are not hugely different.”

    Your paternalistic attempt to play with semantics is laughable. An economy can be closed, but still very much fit the definition of “capitalist”. Word games to try and disassociate your brand of “capitalism” from its basic tenets don’t work. You can specify different types according to concentration of wealth or how it’s accumulated, but it is still capitalism. If the means of production are privately owned, production is guided, and income distributed, through the operation of markets, it’s capitalism.

    “Pinochet wanted to be autarkic at the outset, but Milt and friends persuaded him this was a bad idea. Mainly Milt, though.”

    Pinochet was not an economist, and had little clue about what he wanted in this respect, other than to hand back everything Allende had nationalized. Friedman and the boys wanted a lab to try their little theories, and Pinochet wanted to crack skulls. Each conplemented the other. Great marriage.

    cosmo

    November 29, 2006 at 5:04 am

  41. To JC:

    JC SAYS: “Kramer, you dill. She’s right. She meant that they were closed economies. 50 famlies in each country owned most of the monopolies. In other words they were socialistic, like Australia and New Zealand were before reforms, although to a much less degree.”

    I RESPOND: So you agree with SL that a closed economy can be either left or right, and then promply label the economies under rightist dictators “socialistic”. The mind boggles.

    cosmo

    November 29, 2006 at 5:21 am

  42. HEY JC:

    When you can figure out who you are arguing with, I’ll respond to your illiterate nonsense.

    BTW, “suicided” is not a word, right wing dictatorships are not “socialistic”, autarky and capitalism are not mutually exclusive, and I think everyone can see who the doofus is.

    I won’t bother to quote you. I wouldn’t want you to end up arguing with yourself, entertaining as the prospect might be.

    cosmo

    November 29, 2006 at 6:39 am

  43. Cosmo, I don’t generally post reading lists for commenters, but by the same token if someone recommends something worthwhile to me, I will say so. Now I’m quite happy to read both Farias and Allende in an attempt to work out exactly what is going on here, and I’ve said so elsewhere on this thread.

    I’m not doing it just now, however, because we are coming to the end of the court year here in Australia and I am currently flat out like a lizard drinking. Once the courts go into recess, I’ll have some more time.

    You were quite happy to throw insults around about peoples’ lack of knowledge, all of which I wore in good part because this is a libertarian site and we don’t moderate. However, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, and your ignorance of basic economics is notable.

    Just because you disagree with a field of enquiry doesn’t mean peremptorily writing it off. I dislike much postmodern philosophy, but that hasn’t stopped me reading the likes of Foucault and Derrida in order to broaden my mind and learn something new.

    Your comments about economics indicate that you haven’t even bothered to start with something as basic as Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist. I strongly suggest that you take the time to read outside your area of expertise. You may actually learn something.

    skepticlawyer

    November 29, 2006 at 8:55 am

  44. As I understand the situation in Chile, Allende came to power as the senior partner in a coalition where the other partner was not in favour of the strong socialist policies such as nationalisation of private industries. Allende then embarked on his program in defiance of his agreement with the coalition partner.

    He never had a mandate to nationalise and he had no right to remain in office when he attempted to do so.

    Actually the theft of private property is a crime even if a majority of voters are in favour of it.

    Rafe Champion

    November 29, 2006 at 11:16 am

  45. “I read and commented on a thread started by SL about Salvador Allende. I saw the most vile of insults and charges being hurled at Allende, not the least of which were that he was a racist…..”

    Well thats RIGHT Cosmo.

    He was facist filth.

    Now just slow down Cosmo.

    On thing at a time.

    Lets get a little LASERLIKE here instead of spraying-it-everywhere.

    Now just small bites Cosmo.

    Tell me your point of view.

    GMB

    November 29, 2006 at 4:23 pm

  46. rog:

    “I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how Friedman was responsible for the actions of the Pinochet junta – guilty of the crime of association.”

    cosmo:

    “Pinochet was not an economist, and had little clue about what he wanted in this respect, other than to hand back everything Allende had nationalized. Friedman and the boys wanted a lab to try their little theories, and Pinochet wanted to crack skulls. Each conplemented the other. Great marriage.”

    There you go.

    Mark Hill

    November 29, 2006 at 5:41 pm

  47. To SL:

    YOU SAY:
    “Cosmo, I don’t generally post reading lists for commenters, but by the same token if someone recommends something worthwhile to me, I will say so. Now I’m quite happy to read both Farias and Allende in an attempt to work out exactly what is going on here, and I’ve said so elsewhere on this thread.
    I’m not doing it just now, however, because we are coming to the end of the court year here in Australia and I am currently flat out like a lizard drinking. Once the courts go into recess, I’ll have some more time.”

    I SAY: Fair enough. Just don’t make up your mind until you do. It might also help to read some of Cesare Lombroso’s work.

    YOU SAY:
    “You were quite happy to throw insults around about peoples’ lack of knowledge, all of which I wore in good part because this is a libertarian site and we don’t moderate. However, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, and your ignorance of basic economics is notable.
    Just because you disagree with a field of enquiry doesn’t mean peremptorily writing it off. I dislike much postmodern philosophy, but that hasn’t stopped me reading the likes of Foucault and Derrida in order to broaden my mind and learn something new.
    Your comments about economics indicate that you haven’t even bothered to start with something as basic as Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist. I strongly suggest that you take the time to read outside your area of expertise. You may actually learn something.”

    I SAY:
    I take issue with two things here. First, I did not insult you. I have read your bio, and though I might not agree with your view of the world, I can still learn from it and respect it. In retrospect, stating that your comment “sounds ridiculous” and that “you have a lot to learn” about something was not called for. For this I apologize. I don’t apologize for my comments to JC, as the insults started on his end. In the interest of fairness, I would like to note that he has received no chastising whatsoever for unprovoked insults such as “Kramer”, “doofus”, “dill”, etc. I don’t wish to engage in this type of debate, but I will give as good as I get if the other party is allowed to hurl insults.

    Second, your inference of ignorance of neoliberal economics is based on what? Please point out what I said that leads you to conclude this. While I may not suscribe to Friedman’s or Hayek’s views, or particularly follow Adam Smith, I am well acquainted with them. However, my reading has taken me in all sorts of other directions as well. Economic theories abound, and there are quite a few people who present a different perspective to traditional economics. I will not claim to be an economist, and I thank you for the recommendation, but I have read far and wide outside my area of expertise, including different economic systems.

    cosmo

    November 29, 2006 at 7:02 pm

  48. To Rafe:

    YOU SAY:
    “As I understand the situation in Chile, Allende came to power as the senior partner in a coalition where the other partner was not in favour of the strong socialist policies such as nationalisation of private industries. Allende then embarked on his program in defiance of his agreement with the coalition partner.”

    I SAY: Allende came to power as the candidate put forth by a coalition of six parties, all of which put forth a unified 40-point program, in which nationalization of large strategic industries was THE major feature. There was no “partner” that objected to nationalization, and no “agreement” that Allende supposedly broke.

    YOU SAY:
    “He never had a mandate to nationalise and he had no right to remain in office when he attempted to do so.”

    I SAY:
    He was elected by the people, with a vote percentage that is common in democracies. His program was not a secret. That he had “no mandate” and “no right to remain in office” because he tried to implement the platform for which he was elected is your opinion. By this logic, no government would be able to do anything unless it had the support of 51% of the population. This is unrealistic in most multiparty democracies.

    YOU SAY:
    “Actually the theft of private property is a crime even if a majority of voters are in favour of it.”

    I SAY:
    So is watching children die of malnutrition and preventable diseases because the elite social class of a nation opposes the economic growth of the country and extending its benefits to their fellow citizens.

    cosmo

    November 29, 2006 at 7:30 pm

  49. Cosmo, why do you think the current administration in Chile has kept on much the same track of economic policy? (Like the Labor government that followed Thatcher in Britain).

    What is your view of the mandate that Allende had for his coalition government? Do you accept that he was a partner in coalition and that he did not have the support of the other partner for nationalisation?

    Rafe Champion

    November 29, 2006 at 7:35 pm

  50. What did you LIKE about Allende cosmo?

    Keep it simple fella.

    GMB

    November 29, 2006 at 7:43 pm

  51. To GMB:

    YOU SAY:
    ““I read and commented on a thread started by SL about Salvador Allende. I saw the most vile of insults and charges being hurled at Allende, not the least of which were that he was a racist…..”
    Well thats RIGHT Cosmo.
    He was facist filth.
    Now just slow down Cosmo.
    On thing at a time.
    Lets get a little LASERLIKE here instead of spraying-it-everywhere.
    Now just small bites Cosmo.
    Tell me your point of view.”

    I SAY:
    My point of view? On what, in particular? Saying Allende is fascist filth, FROM MY POINT OF VIEW, is wilfully ignoring his writings , his record politically, and based on nothing other than your opinion. Read the refutation to the racist charges I posted.

    Neoliberal economics, FROM MY POINT OF VIEW, were an unmitigated disaster for the poor and middle class in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America.

    What else would you like to know?

    cosmo

    November 29, 2006 at 7:44 pm

  52. Now hold on there Cosmo.

    Now what do you like about Allende?

    GMB

    November 29, 2006 at 7:50 pm

  53. Cosmo Kramer

    “….. your inference of ignorance of neoliberal economics is based on what?”

    Its based on your ignorance of neo-liberal economics, Kramer. Isn’t that obvious?

    “Please point out what I said that leads you to conclude this”

    Read what you said. it ill be obvious Krames.

    “While I may not suscribe to Friedman’s or Hayek’s views, or particularly follow Adam Smith, I am well acquainted with them.”

    Which makes things even worse, krames. That’s because all of what they said has gone over your head.

    “However, my reading has taken me in all sorts of other directions as well.”

    yea. It’s making our head spin with this swill Coso.

    “Economic theories abound, and there are quite a few people who present a different perspective to traditional economics”

    And those theories are….? Go ahead Kramer tell what these pet theories of yours.

    “I will not claim to be an economist,”

    that’s obvious.

    “but I have read far and wide outside my area of expertise, including different economic systems. “:

    Which just goes to prove that you ought to be more critical of what you read, Coso because it’s getting in the way.

    “Allende came to power as the candidate put forth by a coalition of six parties, all of which put forth a unified 40-point program, in which nationalization of large strategic industries was THE major feature. There was no “partner” that objected to nationalization, and no “agreement” that Allende supposedly broke”

    Oh yes, the majority of people were in total support of expropiation. What an iditoic statement to make. Are you saying they supporting his thieving actions?

    “He was elected by the people, with a vote percentage that is common in democracies. His program was not a secret. That he had “no mandate” and “no right to remain in office” because he tried to implement the platform for which he was elected is your opinion.”

    No. It’s is our opinion that he wasn’t elected to steal. The thief was doing he best to steal everything he could. You think this is fine. Further proof that what you’re reading is nonsense and that you should start again, Krames.

    “By this logic, no government would be able to do anything unless it had the support of 51% of the population.”

    No he isn’t saying that, Kramer. That’s you wrongly thinking he is. You don’t comprehend well do you? He is saying that no matter the public support, stealing is stealing.

    ” So is watching children die of malnutrition and preventable diseases because the elite social class of a nation opposes the economic growth of the country and extending its benefits to their fellow citizens. ”

    just babbling nonsense.

    Do what GmB said and answer his points Kramer.

    Please correct any typos

    JC.

    November 29, 2006 at 7:52 pm

  54. ” Neoliberal economics, FROM MY POINT OF VIEW, were an unmitigated disaster for the poor and middle class in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America. ”

    Other than Chile experimenting for a shrt time, where in Sth AM have the precticed free market economics?

    Point in the direction Kramer. You are a dill aren’t you.

    JC.

    November 29, 2006 at 7:56 pm

  55. This, for a start, Cosmo:

    I don’t know what you mean by more “efficient”

    Then there’s this:

    Your paternalistic attempt to play with semantics is laughable. An economy can be closed, but still very much fit the definition of “capitalist”. Word games to try and disassociate your brand of “capitalism” from its basic tenets don’t work. You can specify different types according to concentration of wealth or how it’s accumulated, but it is still capitalism. If the means of production are privately owned, production is guided, and income distributed, through the operation of markets, it’s capitalism

    And this:

    autarky and capitalism are not mutually exclusive

    That’s a fair bit of evidence you need to take an ECON101 course. If it’s any consolation, five years ago, so did I. And it was a revelation.

    I didn’t hammer JC because he didn’t have a go at me. Libertarian site, Cosmo, people have to stake out their own defences. If people get really septic, one of the staff writers here will ‘soon’ them (check out the ‘rules’ page to see what this means), but very rarely delete or rebuke.

    You did, however, pass comments on my expertise, and JC’s (he’s a very successful trader, btw, which takes no small amount of skill). You probably think that his success is built on the backs of the poor. It’s not, but heh, whatever seems reasonable for a cheap shot at the time.

    I am not paternalistic, have never been paternalistic, and am not about to get into the habit of being paternalistic. If I make a comment about something, it’s generally because I’m in a position to make a comment about it. If I’m not, I won’t.

    Many of your sources were drawn from the Allende Foundation, a charity (quite legitimately) devoted to preserving Allende’s memory. I spent most of last year working as legal and media officer for a major charity, and believe me, charities can spin with the best of them. So I’m cautious. And I know my limitations. Do you?

    skepticlawyer

    November 29, 2006 at 7:57 pm

  56. Cosmo.

    Dude?

    What did you like about Allende?

    GMB

    November 29, 2006 at 8:02 pm

  57. To Rafe:

    YOU SAY:
    “Cosmo, why do you think the current administration in Chile has kept on much the same track of economic policy? (Like the Labor government that followed Thatcher in Britain).”

    I SAY:
    Fear is why. Fifteen years of brutal dictatorship has traumatized the country, and people are still aware of what happened when changes were attempted in the past. Many in Chile have become apolitical altogether, and just worry about scratching out a living. The Army is still an insular institution dominated by an elitist officer corps recruited from the upper class. When Alwyn took over from Pinochet, the Army made sure everyone still knew who was in charge by public shows of defiance and contempt for the civilian leaders, and occasional threats that if the civilians didn’t toe the line, 1973 could easily be repeated. Subsequent governments have all walked this tightrope, trying to implement policy without pissing off the Army and the upper class that controls it. Bachelet will be no different.

    YOU SAY:
    “What is your view of the mandate that Allende had for his coalition government? Do you accept that he was a partner in coalition and that he did not have the support of the other partner for nationalisation?”

    I SAY:
    Allende had the support of a vast number of people when it came to a lot of the changes he wanted to implement. Don’t forget that the Christian Democrats, a party with huge national support at the time, had begun land reform, including expropriations, in 1967. Allende merely continued this policy in his program, albeit in an accelerated manner.
    As well, the nationalization of copper was unanimously approved by congress, a sign of how much support this measure had in Chile.

    Finally, Allende was not a “partner in coalition”. He was a single candidate put forth by a coalition. He won the election. What “approval” did he need from this alleged “partner” you keep talking about? Where did you get this information?

    cosmo

    November 29, 2006 at 8:13 pm

  58. “Fear is why”
    .

    That’s why they just elected a leftist president, Kramer. Chile has the higherst standard of living in Sth Am. Something you’re not prepared to acknowledge which par for the course for a leftist like you. Admit that, Kramer. Admit Chile is the wealthiest coutnry per cap in Sth Am.

    Allende wasn’t voted in. he was selected by Congessional plebicsite as he got around 35%of the presidential vote. This is hardly a majority, doofus.

    It means in fact that the MAJORITY of the people never voted for this idiot.

    JC.

    November 29, 2006 at 8:26 pm

  59. Cosmo
    I see you’ve deftly avoided the implications of my question. Is is the case that capitalism doesn’t work in South America but seems to work in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and Asia (to the extent that it’s allowed to operate there) or is it the case that it’s never really been tried?

    Land reform is I believe quite compatible with capitalism. Taiwan implemented land reform as a lead up towards installing its very successful brand of capitalism. Uncompensated takings of property owned by highly efficient non-absentee owners on the other hand is just foolish.

    Jason Soon

    November 29, 2006 at 8:45 pm

  60. Cosmo, socialism does not work, as demonstrated in the USSR, so why would you want to have it in Chile?

    Tony Blair threw socialism out of the UK Labor platform and persisted with the economic policies that were put in place by Margaret Thatcher.

    You may have read widely in economics but you don’t seem to have learned anything.

    Rafe Champion

    November 29, 2006 at 8:46 pm

  61. To SL:
    YOU SAY:
    “This, for a start, Cosmo:
    I don’t know what you mean by more “efficient”
    Then there’s this:
    Your paternalistic attempt to play with semantics is laughable. An economy can be closed, but still very much fit the definition of “capitalist”. Word games to try and disassociate your brand of “capitalism” from its basic tenets don’t work. You can specify different types according to concentration of wealth or how it’s accumulated, but it is still capitalism. If the means of production are privately owned, production is guided, and income distributed, through the operation of markets, it’s capitalism
    And this:
    autarky and capitalism are not mutually exclusive
    That’s a fair bit of evidence you need to take an ECON101 course. If it’s any consolation, five years ago, so did I. And it was a revelation.”

    I SAY:
    The comment about “efficiency” I made was sarcasm. You stated that pro-business economies in Latin America are more “efficient” than socialist ones. As I said before, I know perfectly well what this term means in neoliberal economics. I was sarcastic because in the context of what those economies had done in the region, efficient is an ironic term to use.
    As for autarky and capitalism, maybe we are working with different definitions of “capitalism”. For if you say that autarkic economies can be of the left or the right, then there must be something that differentiates them as such. What is that something, SL?
    I know for a FACT that the term “autarkic capitalism” exists and what it describes.
    Your suggestion about an economics course I took many years ago, and my suggestion to you is to go beyond what is taught as mainstream economics in most universities, which is the neoclassical model. You may find all sorts of revelations.

    YOU SAY:
    I didn’t hammer JC because he didn’t have a go at me. Libertarian site, Cosmo, people have to stake out their own defences. If people get really septic, one of the staff writers here will ’soon’ them (check out the ‘rules’ page to see what this means), but very rarely delete or rebuke.
    You did, however, pass comments on my expertise, and JC’s (he’s a very successful trader, btw, which takes no small amount of skill). You probably think that his success is built on the backs of the poor. It’s not, but heh, whatever seems reasonable for a cheap shot at the time.”

    I SAY:
    Yes, I did comment on your expertise, and I apologized for the way I did it. As for JC, as succesful a trader as he might be, it doesn’t seem to help him much in this case. Maybe if we were discussing the stockmarket, he might be more coherent. And no, I don’t think his success is built on the backs of the poor.

    YOU SAY:
    “Many of your sources were drawn from the Allende Foundation, a charity (quite legitimately) devoted to preserving Allende’s memory. I spent most of last year working as legal and media officer for a major charity, and believe me, charities can spin with the best of them. So I’m cautious. And I know my limitations. Do you?”

    I SAY:
    The Allende Foundation in Spain issued a rebuttal which outlined the claims of Farias and why they are false, and deliberately so. This is what I posted because it is straightforward. What I also did was read Allende’s unedited thesis in order to verify the Foundation’s claims. I have also read the Der Spiegel piece and excerpts from Farias’s book.

    You caution against spin by the Allende Foundation. My question to you, which I asked earlier and you did not acknowledge, is why you yourself did not exercise the same caution after reading the charges in Der Spiegel. Are publications such as Der Spiegel free of spin? You say you covered the Irving trial. Shouldn’t that have made you somewhat skeptical, as befits your moniker, as to what the intentions of researchers such as Farias may sometimes be? You seemed quite content to accept the claims at face value and not bother to look any further into it before declaring Allende a racist.
    So yes, I know my limitations. It’s the reason I checked the claims out. And if you really knew yours, you would have checked the charges out as well.

    cosmo

    November 30, 2006 at 6:56 pm

  62. JC:

    To your post #53:

    I am familiar with Friedman, etc. It hasn’t gone over my head. Rather, it seems that you’re easily impressed. I am critical of what I read. You, on the other hand, seem very willing to swallow what you were spoonfed.
    As to your comments about Allende’s expropriations, you don’t seem to have a clue what you are talking about. The CD party under Frei had already begun a land reform program years before, with an absolute majority of the electorate. Tomic, the CD candidate who ran against Allende in 1970, had a nearly identical platform that included nationalization of specific strategic industries and the continuing of land reform. So yes, genius, the majority were in favor of the changes Allende proposed.

    To your post #54:
    Try Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Costa Rica, among others. While coherence of policy did not reach the level of the Chilean experiment, they tried the same type of policies. Let’s just say it worked so well that 3 out of these 5 now have left wing governments, and the other two were both a manual recount away from having them as well. BTW, what’s a “dill”?

    To your post #58:
    Chile can elect “leftist” presidents because the military and the rich have made sure they cannot change much, or threaten the status quo, while at the same time giving people the perception that there is “democracy”. Like I said, you’re easily impressed. Yes, Chile has the highest per capita income in the region. Which isn’t saying much, considering the economies to which it is compared. It also begs the question of why the other countries that implemented the same policies didn’t have quite the same results.

    YOU SAY(I’M QUOTING YOU HERE, SO DON’T ARGUE AGAINST YOURSELF):
    “Allende wasn’t voted in. he was selected by Congessional plebicsite as he got around 35%of the presidential vote. This is hardly a majority, doofus.
    It means in fact that the MAJORITY of the people never voted for this idiot.”

    I SAY:
    Perhaps your can point me to where I claimed he got a majority. Besides your imagination, I mean.
    Maybe you need a refresher course on how these things work. If you have 3 people running in an election, and one of them gets more votes than the other two, he is the winner, and is said to have been elected.
    The Chilean Congress, when there was no candidate with an absolute majority, held a vote to pick from the top two candidates. The candidate with a plurality was traditionaly picked. In 1958, Alessandri, the right wing candidate, was voted into office with only 32% of the vote.

    Comprende?

    Anything else?

    cosmo

    November 30, 2006 at 8:39 pm

  63. At the moment, Cosmo, I’d still trust Der Spiegel and Farias more highly than a charity dedicated to protecting the named individual’s reputation.

    Now, a little lesson in economics:

    1. Nationalisation, while economically daft, at least keeps the semblence of legality, because those who lose their property are compensated. The degree of compensation varies, of course. Australia’s constitution stipulates ‘just terms’, which the High Court in this country has interpreted as ‘fair market value’. The US has the principle of ’eminent domain’, which is similar.

    2. Expropriation, by contrast, involves takings without compensation. If anyone did this to me, I would do all in my power to make sure the person responsible finished up minus the piece of his anatomy that controls the other bits (ie, his head).

    Stealing by the state is robbery writ large. It is no solution to injustice, because it does nothing to solve the problem, instead creating a new group of impoverished people – look no further than Zimbabwe. The blacks were poor and remain poor; the whites are now poor, or leave the country and take their expertise with them. Everybody loses.

    And I don’t know where you learnt economics, but autarky and captialism are very different creatures. I wasn’t taught standard neoliberal economics at UQ (indeed, my ECON101 lecturer was an open-minded socialist), but the idea of linking fascist autarky with capitalism is voodoo economics.

    Autarky means trying to ‘make everything at home’, thereby destroying any reliance on international trade. War-time economies are usually forced to develop a measure of autarky, but only up to a point – which is why Britain suffered so during WWII when German U-Boats kept sinking their merchant fleet.

    Many fascist and communist regimes see autarky as an opportunity to thumb their nose at the rest of the planet. Except it doesn’t work. Either the war-footing characteristic of autarky drives a war economy into war (Nazi Germany, Francoist Spain, various other nasty right-wing regimes), or it impoverishes the country (Cuba, North Korea, China before Deng).

    That Pinochet didn’t choose the autarkic route is remarkable, and something I still don’t fully understand. Allende was certainly heading in that direction, albeit more slowly than the likes of Castro.

    skepticlawyer

    November 30, 2006 at 9:19 pm

  64. To Jason Soon on your comment #59:

    Capitalism hasn’t “worked well everywhere but in Latin America” as you say in an earlier comment. In case you haven’t noticed, 3/4 of the planet still lives in abject poverty. And there is not a lot of socialist governments to blame anymore. Moreover, the places that have mature capitalist economies got there implementing very different policies from the ones being urged on the Third World by the IMF and the World Bank now. The Asian economies were also different from the neoclassical model being peddled around as some sort of magic formula for success. What a farce. It hasn’t been tried? Sure. And REAL communism was never tried either.

    Your characterazation of the land reform under Allende as “uncompensated” is false, as is your description of the latifundistas as ” highly efficient, non-absentee landlords”. They were inefficient in land use, as shown by the fact that large quantities of food had to be imported, and later shown by the tremendous improvement in land productivity after Frei began his limited land reform. This inefficiency is common in the Spanish hacienda and latifundio system. Moreover, the landlords of the large estates would all go to the cities or towns, where they had other business interests, or spend long periods out of the country. For their “efforts”, the 3%
    of agricultural landowners considered to be latifundistas (owners of
    vast amounts of agricultural land) appropriated 37% of the income
    generated in that sector, while 71% of rural families received only 33%
    of the income. Hardly the formula for a country that needed almost a miracle to pull itself out of underdevelopment.

    Neoliberal policies reigned supreme in Chile for over a decade, totally unopposed, which is much more than I can say for Allende. They were a disaster, and the Chilean “miracle” was a hoax.

    cosmo

    November 30, 2006 at 9:44 pm

  65. Cosmo, what sort of hours do you keep, brother? Your email addy says you’re posting from Canada (although you may be on holiday…) It must be a pretty uncivilised hour over there just now. It’s 9pm where I am now.

    skepticlawyer

    November 30, 2006 at 9:59 pm

  66. To SL:

    YOU SAY:
    “At the moment, Cosmo, I’d still trust Der Spiegel and Farias more highly than a charity dedicated to protecting the named individual’s reputation.”

    I SAY: That’s fine. You will find that trust is often misplaced.

    And now, a little lesson in economics for you:

    1. Nationalisation is not necessarily “economically daft”, as you put it. I will quote a good article from American journalist Greg Palast (who studied finance under Friedman, ironically) which summarized many of the ideas I had on the Chilean “miracle”.

    “Freed of the dead hand of bureaucracy, taxes and union rules, the country took a giant leap forward … into bankruptcy and depression. After nine years of economics Chicago style, Chile’s industry keeled over and died. In 1982 and 1983, GDP dropped 19%. The free-market experiment was kaput, the test tubes shattered. Blood and glass littered the laboratory floor. Yet, with remarkable chutzpa, the mad scientists of Chicago declared success. In the US, President Ronald Reagan’s State Department issued a report concluding, “Chile is a casebook study in sound economic management.” Milton Friedman himself coined the phrase, “The Miracle of Chile.” Friedman’s sidekick, economist Art Laffer, preened that Pinochet’s Chile was, “a showcase of what supply-side economics can do.”

    It certainly was. More exactly, Chile was a showcase of de-regulation gone berserk.

    The Chicago Boys persuaded the junta that removing restrictions on the nation’s banks would free them to attract foreign capital to fund industrial expansion.

    Pinochet sold off the state banks – at a 40% discount from book value – and they quickly fell into the hands of two conglomerate empires controlled by speculators Javier Vial and Manuel Cruzat. From their captive banks, Vial and Cruzat siphoned cash to buy up manufacturers – then leveraged these assets with loans from foreign investors panting to get their piece of the state giveaways.

    The bank’s reserves filled with hollow securities from connected enterprises. Pinochet let the good times roll for the speculators. He was persuaded, as Tony Blair said this month in another context, “Governments should not hinder the logic of the market.”

    By 1982, the pyramid finance game was up. The Vial and Cruzat “Grupos” defaulted. Industry shut down, private pensions were worthless, the currency swooned. Riots and strikes by a population too hungry and desperate to fear bullets forced Pinochet to reverse course. He booted his beloved Chicago experimentalists. Reluctantly, the General restored the minimum wage and unions’ collective bargaining rights. Pinochet, who had previously decimated government ranks, authorized a program to create 500,000 jobs. The equivalent in Britain would be a government program for 4 million workers.

    In other words, Chile was pulled from depression by dull old Keynesian remedies, all Franklin Roosevelt, zero Margaret Thatcher. (The junta even instituted what remains today as South America’s only law restricting the flow of foreigncapital.)

    New Deal tactics rescued Chile from the Panic of 1983, but the nation’s long-term recovery and growth since then is the result of – cover the
    children’s ears – a large dose of socialism.

    To save the nation’s pension system, Pinochet nationalized banks and industry on a scale unimagined by Communist Allende. The General expropriated at will, offering little or no compensation. While most of these businesses were eventually re-privatised, the state retained ownership of one industry: copper.

    For nearly a century, copper has meant Chile and Chile copper. University of Montana metals expert Dr. Janet Finn notes, “Its absurd to describe a nation as a miracle of free enterprise when the engine of the economy remains in government hands.” (And not just any government hands. A Pinochet law, still in force, gives the military 10% of state copper revenues.)

    Copper has provided 30% to 70% of the nation’s export earnings. This is the hard currency which has built today’s Chile, the proceeds from the mines seized from Anaconda and Kennecott in 1973 – Allende’s posthumous gift to his nation.

    Agribusiness is the second locomotive of Chile’s economic growth. This also is a legacy of the Allende years. According to Professor Arturo Vasquez of Georgetown University, Washington DC, Allende’s land reform, the break-up of feudal estates (which Pinochet could not fully reverse), created a new class of productive tiller-owners, along with corporate and cooperative operators, who now bring in a stream of export earnings to rival copper. “In order to have an economic miracle,” says Dr. Vasquez, “maybe you need a socialist government first to commit agrarian reform.”

    Of course, you are free to check out the claims put forth.

    2. Expropriation is not necessarily done without compensation, and in Chile compensation was given. What is widely criticized are the illegal takeovers of farms incited by far left groups such as the MIR, which did almost as much damage to the Popular Unity program as the right did.

    YOU SAY:
    “Stealing by the state is robbery writ large. It is no solution to injustice, because it does nothing to solve the problem, instead creating a new group of impoverished people – look no further than Zimbabwe. The blacks were poor and remain poor; the whites are now poor, or leave the country and take their expertise with them. Everybody loses.”

    I SAY:
    First, you have to define what the probem actually is. In the case of Chile, land reform was a necessity that was obvious to everyone, regardless of political stripe because the country could not move forward without it. Through Alessandri, to Frei, to Allende, land reform was a recurrent theme. The difference was that Allende actually went and did it, and at a much faster pace than Frei. There was compensation given, and the land redistribution put in place was instrumental in the modest economic successes the Chilean economy has enjoyed recently, as I tried to point out when I quoted the article.

    YOU SAY:
    “And I don’t know where you learnt economics, but autarky and captialism are very different creatures. I wasn’t taught standard neoliberal economics at UQ (indeed, my ECON101 lecturer was an open-minded socialist), but the idea of linking fascist autarky with capitalism is voodoo economics.

    Autarky means trying to ‘make everything at home’, thereby destroying any reliance on international trade. War-time economies are usually forced to develop a measure of autarky, but only up to a point – which is why Britain suffered so during WWII when German U-Boats kept sinking their merchant fleet.

    Many fascist and communist regimes see autarky as an opportunity to thumb their nose at the rest of the planet. Except it doesn’t work. Either the war-footing characteristic of autarky drives a war economy into war (Nazi Germany, Francoist Spain, various other nasty right-wing regimes), or it impoverishes the country (Cuba, North Korea, China before Deng).”

    I SAY:
    If by “autarky” you mean “totally self sufficient”, true autarkic economies are rare, and Cuba is not one of them. Cuba does trade with as many as will trade with it. The embargo, US pressure on potential trade partners for Cuba, and Cuba’s exclusion from the OAS are the things that have prevented Cuba from trading more with the rest of the globe and impoverished the nation, not Castro’s policies. And I am confused as to how Franco’s Spain is included in anything here. Autarkic policies by Franco never took Spain to any war, and the war that brought Franco to power, the Spanish Civil War, was not the result of Spain previously being autarkic.
    If, on the other hand, the context of the word that we are concerned with here is not the total absence of trade, but rather the limiting of foreign trade, I will point out that autarkic trade regimes have appeared at key times in almost all developed economies.

    While respecting your opinion, I must point out that you are addressing the wrong word. I know what autarkic means well enough. What I want to know is what you define as “capitalism”, for that is the key to what I am trying to get across to you. Surely you have a working definition. We both know what autarky is. We can both see that it can apply to both left or right regimes. You said so yourself in a previous post. So how do we distinguish a left wing autarky from a right wing one?
    The link I make is entirely consistent with my working definition of “capitalism”. Simply saying it’s “voodoo economics” is not a refutation.

    YOU SAY:
    “That Pinochet didn’t choose the autarkic route is remarkable, and something I still don’t fully understand. Allende was certainly heading in that direction, albeit more slowly than the likes of Castro.”

    I SAY:
    Pinochet was ignorant of economics, and went with the first thing that was whispered to him by people he thought were not. He didn’t “choose” anything. Where Allende was heading we’ll never get a chance to find out, and Castro’s Cuba cannot seriously be considered autarkic considering the barriers imposed on it.

    cosmo

    December 1, 2006 at 5:37 am

  67. SL:

    The hours I keep are ungodly at times, to be sure. I cannot sleep sometimes until 3 or 4 AM. Rather than sitting in front of the TV hoping sleep will come, I’d rather spar with my political opposites. It’s much more fun. You are an intelligent person, and have challenged me well. It is the whole point of these discussions for me. I don’t enjoy preaching to the converted, and the level of discourse on the left is sometimes frustratingly poor as well. By discussing these things with others who think very differently, I hope to see the flaws in my own thinking.

    cosmo

    December 1, 2006 at 5:56 am

  68. Cosmo.
    Dude?
    What did you like about Allende?

    GMB

    December 1, 2006 at 10:43 am

  69. “Capitalism hasn’t “worked well everywhere but in Latin America” as you say in an earlier comment.”

    Everywhere there are strong private property rights. Ireland, Switzerland, USA, Australia….Japan…Thailand….

    “In case you haven’t noticed, 3/4 of the planet still lives in abject poverty. And there is not a lot of socialist governments to blame anymore.”

    Partially. Our Governments are socilistic too. There is unwarranted, ignorant opposition to GM and other sorts of technology. Third world nations inflict outragreous tax rates that destroy incentive (try 89% after 4000 UDS in Ethiopia). Ag subsidies hurt poor countries, industrialisation by central planning and import substitution was a failure in the near east, export orientated industries emerged and prospered after trade liberalisation.

    “Moreover, the places that have mature capitalist economies got there implementing very different policies from the ones being urged on the Third World by the IMF and the World Bank now.”

    Please elaborate – austerity and privatisation reforms seem the norm.

    “The Asian economies were also different from the neoclassical model being peddled around as some sort of magic formula for success. What a farce. It hasn’t been tried? Sure. And REAL communism was never tried either.”

    The Asian economies failed and collapsed when they set prices, exchange rates and had centrally planned innovation. Look cosmo, “real communism” is an impossibility because the authoritarian socialist Government needs to give up power to a proletariat which will cooperate and self-Govern, and will distribute and produce goods as the socialist Govenrment did, without price signals. The absence of prioce signals adds another layer of impossibility.

    “I am familiar with Friedman, etc. It hasn’t gone over my head. Rather, it seems that you’re easily impressed. I am critical of what I read. You, on the other hand, seem very willing to swallow what you were spoonfed.”

    What exactly is your criticism cosmo? Mind you, most of the economists here are not spoon fed and are bloody inquisitive, with interests in public choice theory, Austrian economics and philosophy.

    “It certainly was. More exactly, Chile was a showcase of de-regulation gone berserk.”

    This is not analysis, this is an assertion. What does de-regulation gone beserk actually do? Why is it so bad? How does it create malaise?

    “In other words, Chile was pulled from depression by dull old Keynesian remedies, all Franklin Roosevelt, zero Margaret Thatcher. (The junta even instituted what remains today as South America’s only law restricting the flow of foreigncapital.)

    New Deal tactics rescued Chile from the Panic of 1983, but the nation’s long-term recovery and growth since then is the result of – cover the
    children’s ears – a large dose of socialism.”

    Please show immediate and long term GDP and price responses, not the assertions made by a journalist about a policy that has failed everywhere else in the world.

    “For nearly a century, copper has meant Chile and Chile copper. University of Montana metals expert Dr. Janet Finn notes, “Its absurd to describe a nation as a miracle of free enterprise when the engine of the economy remains in government hands.” (And not just any government hands. A Pinochet law, still in force, gives the military 10% of state copper revenues.)”

    Indeed. Precisely why Friedman failed. Good analysis.

    Please explain why the criticism of new deal policies are wrong in theory and why it “worked” in Chile and no where else.

    Mark Hill

    December 1, 2006 at 11:09 am

  70. Third world nations inflict outragreous tax rates that destroy incentive (try 89% after 4000 UDS in Ethiopia).

    Tax is of central importance in elliviating poverty. Ethiopia looks like a low tax nation on the face of it (revenue = 13% of GDP) however taxes that fence in growth such as the one quoted above reveal that GDP ratios don’t tell the whole story.

    terjepetersen

    December 1, 2006 at 11:54 am


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