We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The forces of ignorance are on the march

An article in New Jersey Online (NJO link here no longer works) reports that President Hugo Chavez‘s ongoing strategy of bankrupting Venezuela and ensuring only a moron would invest their capital there is gathering momentum.

Chavez says his land reform law will correct the injustice of only 1 percent of the population owning more than 60 percent of the country’s arable land. But business leaders says it violates private property rights by forcing farmers to conform to a national agricultural strategy or risk having their land confiscated. Fedecamaras is also protesting a law that requires the state-owned oil company to own a majority stake in all future joint ventures with private corporations.

Now this, boys and girls, is what is known as fascist economics. Nominal ownership is retained in private hands but de facto control over the means of production is in the hands of government agencies. The term ‘fascist’ is often used as an epithet meaning ‘bad guys’ or ‘statist’ but that merely devalues the term, leaving us with fuzzy stereotypes of Nazis á la ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Understood properly, fascism or ‘right-socialism’ is a form of socialism that concerns itself with control of assets rather than ownership. Often there is a mixture of outright left style nationalisations of ‘essential’ industries (such as oil companies), but a fiction of private ownership persists at lower levels.

To understand Chavez, and any number of other modern ‘socialists’ in Latin America, Europe or elsewhere, it is important to understand they are a mixture of left and right socialism… naturally modern socialists or ‘social democrats’ dislike being told some of their economic policies are fascist but there you have it. Whilst there is vast body of definitions of what constitutes fascism, most are written by self-described leftists keen to differentiate ‘nice’ socialism from ‘nasty’ national socialism/fascism. Yet as early as 1940, Fred Hayek in The Road to Serfdom exposed fascism for what it was… a variant of socialism. The often quoted slogan that ‘Fascism is late capitalism’ is not just wrong, it is incoherent. An economic system in which the means of production are allocated by the state’s commands, regardless of who ‘owns’ the bloody things, is not, by definition, capitalist, late or otherwise. The defining characteristic of CAPITALism is that CAPITAL is allocated via markets in accordance with the priorities of owner of the capital.

So let’s call Hugo Chavez what he really is: a fascist.

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