Letter: The free market versus socialism

India sets an interesting standard

To the Expositor:

I see that my August 18 letter (‘Climate skeptic counterpoint to The Expositor’s August 4 editorial,’ Page 5) has flushed Kamarad McPhail out of his turnip patch to respond. Predicably, as is his trait, he immediately creates a logical fallacy in trying to establish the impression that I made statements about space travel in general, and that all space travel was “safe.” I simply pointed out that the editorial in question made false claims about the recent space travel of Jeff Bezos. The Bezos craft was propelled by a typical rocket engine burning liquid nitrogen and the exhaust was nothing but water. My only point was to correct the obvious misstatement in the editorial.

McPhail then goes full on rabid in his depiction of US military activities. His stance is understandable as the US won the Cold War leading to the collapse of the USSR, his spiritual homeland. If we polled ordinary citizens of the former East Block countries, their take on the US military would be in stark contrast. I refer to places like the Ukraine, East Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the list goes on. He claims that there is an obvious connection between capitalism and the degradation of the environment. As with all statements like this there is a simple test that will indicate quite the opposite. Compare the conditions between East and West Germany immediately following the collapse of the USSR. The living conditions of the average East German were appalling. Every measurable factor from environmental issues to living conditions and food security would imply that the people there suffered extensively. There weren’t many West Germans shot attempting to clamor over the wall into East Germany!

And of course, no McPhail post regarding economic theory would be complete without the mandatory reference to Naomi Klein. The same Naomi Klein that has never written or uttered a coherent thought regarding economics. The same Naomi Klein that stated that “Venezuela is a place where citizens had renewed their faith in the power of democracy to improve their lives.” Here is a critique of ‘The Shock Doctrine’ printed in The Los Angeles Times: “it portrayed capitalism as a sort of global conspiracy that instigates financial crises and exploits poor countries in the wake of natural disasters. But Klein declared that Venezuela had been rendered immune to the ‘shocks’ administered by free market fundamentalists thanks to Chavez’s 21st Century Socialism which had created a zone of relative economic calm and predictability.” 

There has been a conspicuous silence from Klein and other “useful idiots” in the face of the Venezuelan calamity, not surprising when one looks at how the situation is unfolding as a result of the economic collapse of the country. A study in the Lancet published in January 2019 found that the infant mortality rate in Venezuela has been steadily rising since about 2009 after a long period of decline and in 2017 alone it increased by 30 percent. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, as of May 2019, about 3.7 million Venezuelans have fled the country or about a 10th of the nation’s population. The inflation rate is currently around 3,000 percent, where in places like Canada, we get anxious when it nudges close to two percent! In short, a situation that would take a University of Chicago economist more than a year or two to sort out.

As a contrast to Venezuelan situation, consider India. Since it initiated a shift to a predominantly free market economic system, all indications are that the human conditions for the average person in India have improved significantly. Where once famine and hunger were the norm, India is now a net exporter of food grains and the 2020/2021 crop yields set records. I will detail the India story in another post as it is most interesting.

Shane Desjardins