Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Once again, totally messed up priorities 

I have to say, it's bad enough industry in Venezuela is in decline and has been now for a year and a half with no relief in sight. It is bad enough that the government insists in keeping policies that make virtually any manufacturing in Venezuela uneconomical.

But there seems to be an almost irrational hatred for the manufacturing sector.

As has previously been discussed here the government has already ordered large scale reductions in output from the steel and aluminum industries in the east of the country due to the drought induced electric crisis. I have already criticized this as these cut backs on wealth generating sectors of the economy when there are non wealth generating sectors they could make cuts in is crazy.

However, it has now gotten worse.

In today's edition of Panorama we see confirmation that the government actually is willing to shut down all basic industry in the country.:

Sobre el ahorro de consumo en el sector público, Rodríguez declaró en un periódico nacional que “si tenemos que cerrar las empresas básicas de Guayana, porque se está secando el Guri, pues habrá que cerrarlas. Lo otro es dejar al resto del país sin electricidad, y eso no es posible”.

The energy minister says they'll entirely shut down the basic industries if they think the Guri might lose too much water.

Any rational government that was trying to have the country progress, if it thought that things were so bad it could come to that, would already have ordered all air conditioners in the country off (at least in all government offices, shopping malls, private offices, universities, etc), would order stores, restaurants, and malls to close completely for at least 3 days per week, would start turning off street lights, would have banned Christmas lighting, etc., etc. etc. (and WTF: why haven't the bingo parlors already been completely shut down until this crisis if over?????)

But instead of doing those things (and they look like they are already back tracking on the nothing of a sacrifice they asked of the malls) they are willing to take down a huge portion of what little industry the country has and wipe out hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars of wealth.

[As an aside - even their proposal that malls and other businesses can run normally if they get their own generators is crazy. What will power those generators? Oh, that is right, practically FREE gasoline and diesel from the Venezuelan government which in turn will lose the government yet more in revenues. Does anyone in the government even think about this?].

I really don't know what more to say about this insanity. There seems to be either one of two causes for this non-sense:

Either they just plain can't stand industry and want it wiped out.


Given a choice between - what is politically expedient in the short term by not imposing much sacrifice on the public but does greatly impact industry or leaving industry alone to keep producing but taking measures which the public will feel and which will annoy some people - they always choose the former.

Take which ever reason you like. They both suck and the government clearly has a really bad set of priorities.


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