6-11-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Berned in Venezuela

News outlets are reporting that dumpster diving is becoming commonplace in Venezuela's socialist paradise:

Jhosriana Capote, a vocational student, comes to the trash heap to supplement her pantry. She recently completed an internship with a Coca-Cola subsidiary.

"I used to be able to find food, but not anymore. Everything is lines," she said after an evening picking through the refuse.

Dumpster diving isn't a new phenomenon in Venezuela, but it is a growing one. Venezuela was once South America's richest nation, but a fall in oil prices combined with other economic problems has sparked desperation. [bold added]
Other economic problems? Like, oh, I don't know, central planning? Not according to this piece. Author Fabiola Sanchez actually credits Hugo Chavez with slightly reducing poverty while he was still alive, and reports what the current gang in power blame for the current stage of this train wreck. Nowhere will you find one scintilla of doubt about the rightness or efficacy of the system in place there.

When I read stories like this, I often have a thought like, "Sanders supporters deserve to be airlifted to the streets of Caracas so they can experience the tender mercies of socialism first-hand." But I can't see many of them profiting from the experience for the same reason this journalist hasn't. Too many people have been bombarded with the idea that taking money from "the rich" is good and that central planning is effective -- and not even exposed to the alternative even when raised in the abundance created by the mere shadow of that alternative. Most will go on thinking that socialism hasn't been tried hard enough, or that opponents or corrupt leaders of that inherently corrupt system are to blame.

Weekend Reading

"From a psychological point of view, nobody can advocate or condemn divorce across-the-board except in cases of outright abuse or neglect." -- Michael Hurd, in "Facts & Confusion Over Kids and Divorce" at The Delaware Wave

"The polite setting of boundaries makes for genuine relationships without make believe." -- Michael Hurd, in "Your Time Is Your Property, and So Is Mine" at The Delaware Wave

"[E]nabling a political-religious ideology that supports human slavery and degradation does not sound like progress to me." -- Michael Hurd, in "ISIS Teaches Zuckerberg a Lesson" at Newsmax

"America can't afford to import a system that continues to fail around the world." -- Paul Hsieh, in "Three Tales of Health, Technology and Freedom" at Forbes

"What [the lonely] should be thinking is something like, '... There have got to be some people out there who value the things I do.'" -- Michael Hurd, in "Loneliness Is Not Inevitable" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Several readers asked me to clarify the difference between short-term compromise and all-out self-sacrifice when it comes to relationships." -- Michael Hurd, in "The Pros and Cons of Compromise in Marriage" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Government authoritarians are actually weak, unprincipled, mediocrities who can be defeated when the virtuous assert themselves and withdraw their compliance." -- Michael Hurd, in "Phasing Out Income Tax Phases Freedom Back In" at Newsmax

"LaSalle's book is also interesting in that it paints a picture of the changing status and character of male characters in Hollywood between 1929 and 1934..." -- Edward Cline, in "Review: Dangerous Men" at Family Security Matters

Same Old Dog, Same Old Tricks

This sounds like the Microsoft I fired twenty years ago:
Frankly, this entire episode has been indefensible, with Microsoft introducing a non-stoppable, non-hideable [sic] advertisement on several hundred million PCs from around the world. And then upgrading that advertisement to thwart those who do seek to remove or hide it. It has changed the language of the ad, made no clear cancel choice available, and jammed it into the "recommended" updates that auto-install via Windows Update. If you read this site, listen to Windows Weekly or What the Tech, you know how bad things are. It's been a constant refrain.

Well, I've had it.

Last week, Microsoft silently changed Get Windows 10 yet again. And this time, it has gone beyond the social engineering scheme that has been fooling people into inadvertently upgrading to Windows 10 for months. This time, it actually changed the behavior of the window that appears so that if you click the "Close" window box, you are actually agreeing to the upgrade. Without you knowing what just happened.
Likewise, their recent "embrace" of open source has also only reminded me of "extend, extinguish" in the context of its other recent behavior. A company that depends on shenanigans, rather than superiority, to gain and keep customers is not one I admire.

-- CAV


Kyle Haight said...

Eating your seed corn (as the socialists led the Venezuelans to do) always seems to work really well at first. You've got all this food! Eat up! You don't notice the problem until planting season comes around, and at that point it seems logical to blame the people currently in charge rather than the system. After all, the system is the same one that was working fine before -- the thing that changed is the people.

Identifying the role of the system in creating the breakdown requires the use of economic principles. The people capable of doing that already fled the country.

Gus Van Horn said...


That is a succinct way of stating the problem.