Socialism kills more than war

Bad economic policies kill more children than war:

Recent reports that infants now die at a higher rate in Venezuela than in war-torn Syria were, sadly, unsurprising—the results of socialist economics are predictable. Venezuela’s infant mortality rate has actually been above Syria’s since 2008.

But it’s not all bad news.

The big picture, fortunately, is happier. The global infant mortality rate has plummeted. Even Syria and Venezuela, despite the impact of war and failed policies, saw improvements up to as recently as last year. From 1960 to 2015, Syria’s infant mortality rate fell by 91% and Venezuela’s by 78%. This year (not reflected in the graph above or below), Syria’s rate rose from 11.1 per 1,000 live births to 15.4, while Venezuela’s shot up from 12.9 to 18.6. Meanwhile, infant mortality rates have continued to fall practically everywhere else, and have declined even faster in countries that enjoy more freedom and stability. Consider Chile.

Chile’s infant mortality rate in 1960 was actually above that of both Venezuela and Syria. It managed to outperform Syria by the mid-1960s, but was still woefully behind its richer northern cousin, Venezuela.  In the early 1970s, Chile’s progress slowed to a crawl as its elite flirted with socialist policies. Once its government abandoned socialism and began economic reforms in the mid-1970s, the pace of progress sped up again, and soon Chile’s infants were safer than Venezuela’s. Today, Chile’s infant mortality rate is similar to that of the United States.

There is a lesson to be learned from these data points: economic policy matters. While Venezuela’s socialism has managed to kill more infants than a full-blown war in Syria, Chile’s incredible success story shows us that by implementing the right policies, humanity can make rapid progress and better protect the youngest, most vulnerable members of society. Today it is hard to believe that infants in Chile were once more likely to die within a year than their contemporaries in Venezuela and Syria. . . 

New Zealand is in no danger of following Venezuela’s downwards trajectory to complete disaster, but it is concerning that economic growth has slowed:

The economy appears to be slowing with today’s GDP figures showing economic growth in the past three months is the lowest in five years, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“Economic growth in the past three months of 0.3 per cent doesn’t even compensate for population growth. Economic growth per person, which reflects population growth, actually declined in dollar terms over the past three months.

“Despite all the Government’s talk of wellbeing, that means New Zealanders are becoming worse off.

“While quarterly numbers can be volatile and need to be read with caution, these latest figures do suggest a general slowdown from the economy the Government inherited from National.

“These results will cause embarrassment to the Minister of Finance after he was too quick to boast about the previous quarter’s result, which now appears to be an outlier.

“Despite the economy slowing, the Labour-led Government is projected to take an extra $17.7 billion in tax from New Zealand families over the next four years than was projected under National. That amounts to $10,000 less in the back pockets of the average household.

The announcement of another increase to the minimum wage without a change to tax thresholds will mean even more tax taken.

Any families on low wages will be little if any better off because any gain in their pay will be offset by abatements to Working for Families top-ups. It is better to earn more and be less dependent on government support but that will be cold comfort to people who are struggling.

“National believes New Zealanders deserve to keep more of what they earn. Unlike the Labour-led Government, we know that as a country we can’t tax our way to prosperity.

“New Zealand needs sensible and consistent economic policies that promote growth and reward hard work, as well as wise spending of taxpayer money.” 

Venezuela is an extreme case but the lesson is clear – tax and spend economic policies are no substitute for ones which promote economic growth and lessen the burden of the state.

Good economic policy is the necessary foundation for sustainable social progress.

16 Responses to Socialism kills more than war

  1. Andrei says:

    In Syria the war is/was one of guns and violence – the West surruptiously armed terrorists through proxies to indermine the legitimate Government who remains independant of Foggy Bottom

    The war against Venezuela is more economic in nature though extremely dirty tricks a played on the Venezuelan people like tainting milk destined for poor children

    Venezuela’s problems have nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with good old fashioned Imperialism where her sovereign Government will not hand over control of strategic resourcees to the rich of the Western world and find themselves sanctioned and everything they try to accomplish sabotaged

  2. Owen says:

    Andrei, you need to check the facts. Chavez became President of Venezuela and nationalised all the country’s main businesses in an attempt to rid the country of poverty and corruption. It was straight socialism and it failed badly. The most oil rich country in the world yet it now has the highest inflation and worst poverty.

    No excuses – just proof socialism is a disaster especially for the poor.

  3. Roj Blake says:

    So explain this to me –

    Capitalist USA has an infant mortality rate of 6.5 while the Socialist economies of Sweden, Norway and Iceland are 2.9, 2.6 and 2.1 respectively.

    Not Socialist India has an infant mortality rate of 39.1.Nigeria, the most prosperous African nation has a mortality rate of 69.8, whilst Communist Cuba comes in at a mere 4.4.

    Obviously it isn’t the brand that matters, it is how a community is managed, how health care and education are provided, how religion is shut out of medical care. it is about acceptance by the “international community” and whether or not a nation is being punished for toeing an independent policy.

    Socialism doesn’t kill, socialised medicine saves lives.

  4. Will says:

    I suspect that breaking those numbers down by race would yield interesting results.

    As for Communist Cuba, I seem to remember a Clive James quote, something like “The Soviet Union thought they had achieved free health care, but it ended up costing them everything they had.”

    There is no point in arguing with Commies, they will never ever learn.

  5. Andrei says:

    You people are dealing in slogans here

    Capitalism will not deliver heaven on Earth and nor will Socialism

    In Venezuela’s case it is a nation sitting on a desirable natural resources that people from other lands covet for themselves/

    So when Hugo Chavez nationalised the oil industry believing that the benefits of his nations natural wealth should be used to benefit the citizens of Venezuela most of whom a desperatly poor and always have been the most powerful nation on the planet initiated an economic war against Venezuela to punish the country and people (non Anglo Saxons who are getting ideas way above their station and not handing over their treasure to the 1%ers)

    Nothing new in this – it is the way imperial powers operate. Study the Suez crisis for example, or the opium wars

    The truth is that free market capitlsm is very good at delivering desirable consumer items but not so good at delivering health care and education for everyone

    In my opinion the world will be a better place when sovereign nations are allowed to work out their own destinies based on their own history and culture and not told what to do by the TransAtlantic Pirates who currently think they rule the world by divine right and technological superiority in the machinery of mass murder

    But realistically there is no prescription for paradise in this life despite what politicians tell you and the best you can do is be a decent person and do what you can to improve the lot of the less priveldged in your immediate environs

  6. Will says:

    True enough Andrei. Ever read the Melian Dialogue? “The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” It describes when the Athenian Empire (Delian League) became evil.

    All empires go this way, might becomes right. I too, believe we should just live in our own countries and work out our own destinies. Venezuela looks a lot like Iran to me after they Nationalised (stole) their oil back. But that does not excuse socialism. It is a failed strategy that always ends in ditches filled with emaciated corpses.

    Every time.

  7. Roj Blake says:

    Poor Will, learned a few slogans, but doesn’t understand concepts.

    Socialism does not kill, as I pointed out above, public goods such as socialsed healthcare, subsidised medicines, good education, save lives.

    Were they socialists who drove the the original inhabitants of Turtle Island to the brink of extinction? Are they socialists who are trying to destroy the remnant?

    I guess Augusto Pinochet was also a socialist. Remember him? He turned Chile in to a vast torture camp, authorised a terrorist attack on the USA and what was the result – Jimmy Carter met him. Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger went out of their way to court and cover up for him. Reagan’s administration flatly refused to condemn his regime’s human rights abuses. But even this has nothing on the fawning of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

    Right up until the dictator’s death, Thatcher openly defended Pinochet and his blood-soaked rule. When human rights abuses were brought up, she told people to look at Chile’s economic achievements. Yes, capitalists don’t care about people, only profits. No wonder people still spit on her grave.

    You have no idea what socialism is – you are just repeating the bedtime stories your drunken Tory Uncle told you.

  8. Will says:

    Don’t be a dork Roj, you have no idea what I know. Pinochet is what you get when your back is to the wall and the threat of communism before you. The Devil and the deep blue sea. (You seem to have a thing for slogans, even though you don’t understand what one is.)

    Same with Hitler, Franco and Mussolini. It’s a state of emergency. Like Bolsanaro in Brazil, people only support this sort of rule when the alternative is socialist chaos.

    People like you never look for reasons or try to understand why events occur. You just try to rationalise the hatred that consumes you.

    Seek help.

  9. Andrei says:

    Pinochet is what you get when your back is to the wall and the threat of communism before you.

    Oh dear Will – I really thought you were smarter than that

    Pinochet is what you get when people from outside of a sovereign nation think the people who have constitutionally elected someone of whom they disapprove have made a mistake and then encourage and support the overturning of the result and constitution with VIOLENCE!!!

    And if you really think the ordinary people in Chile were better off because the USA and Great Britain threw their support behind a THUG who had unconstitutionally seized power you are seriously deluded

    I beleive the people of this country made a mistake last election but I also think it is better we wait it out until the next election to fix that rather than use violence and intimidation to overturn that result – don’t you?

  10. Tom Hunter says:

    Pinochet is what you get when people from outside of a sovereign nation think the people who have constitutionally elected someone of whom they disapprove have made a mistake and then encourage and support the overturning of the result and constitution with VIOLENCE!!!

    That’s what the West – led by the USA and Great Britain – did for decades against the USSR in order to destroy its communist government.

    The pre-2010 (or so) “Andrei” had no problems with that at all. In fact I’d like to think that any member of the Russian Orthodox church would have cheered upon seeing the Soviet flag pulled down on Christmas Eve 1991.

    I certainly did.

  11. Andrei says:

    The problem Tom, as history reveals, is that those who pulled down the Soviet Union had no interest in the welfare of the erswhile citizens of that former nation and were only interested in stealing as much as they could and impoverishing them – which is exactly what they did

    And of course the modern West is a far greater enemy of Christ and his Church than the Soviet Union ever was

    Right now Washington is surruptiously creating a schism in the Orthodox Church – not on your radar perhaps but certainly on mine

    Gay Pride parades, which now are held in front of Orthodox Churches in towns like NATO occupied Podgorica are in fact homages to Satan – Pagan Triumphs

  12. Roj Blake says:

    Don’t be a dork Roj, you have no idea what I know. Pinochet is what you get when your back is to the wall and the threat of communism before you.

    And there we were Will, talking about Socialism and you suddenly switch to Communism. That’s what You do when your back is against the wall and you are losing the debate.

    …you have no idea what I know.

    That is quite true, but I do know what you don’t know. And you don’t seem to know shit from sugar.

  13. Tom Hunter says:

    If it’s not evil Yankee Imperialists being blamed for Socialist failures it’s bureaucrats:

    Cash-strapped Cuba plans fresh austerity measures and will pressure the sluggish bureaucracy to tighten its belt and cut red tape to address weak growth, falling export earnings and rising debt.

    The communist-run country has more recently been hit by the economic collapse of its new sponsor and strategic ally, Venezuela, which began to send fuel and cash its way in exchange for doctors and medicine 18 years ago.

    Cuba’s Communist economy has always been a disaster. It was propped up for decades by the USSR – until their socialist economy collapsed. Then it was propped up by Venezuela – until their socialist economy collapsed.

    I see no evidence in the article that Reuters has detected a pattern here. In fact they don’t mention the word “Socialist” once, although they at least said “communist-run”. As one commentator noted:

    There is an element of black humor in Communist bureaucrats pointing the finger at waste and theft by bureaucrats. What was their first clue? Perhaps the fact that Fidel Castro stole his way onto the Forbes list of the world’s richest people who enjoy unearned income, a little way down from the Sultan of Brunei.

    My prediction: they’re not going to “surmount the crisis.”

  14. Andrei says:

    >Cuba’s Communist economy has always been a disaster.

    And so has Haiti’s which has never been “communist” or “socialist” – in fact the situation for ordinary Haitians is far worse than that for ordinary Cubans

    Tom human beings are social animals and all great human accomplishments have occurred when poeple have world co-operatively together to acheive a common aim

    Improving the lot of humanity requires people of vision with the ability to marshal the available resources and inspire others to work with them to use them to raise people up and build a better world.

    And the people who are good at this and do it successfully are thin on the ground – your article says Castro was one of the richest men in the world. I have never have seen any evidence of this, this is claimed to demonize him. There were no private Jets, luxury yachts, he dressed and lived modestly

    The thing is as well as being social animals we are also greedy, deceitful and violent and where there are valuable resources there are also those who are willing to take them by force

    Look what happened in Libya Tom – an oil rich nation ruled by Qaddifi (who we have been taught to sneer at but like Castro lived frugally) and who actually used the oil revenues to build schools, hospitals, and Libya’s infrastructure (all now destroyed)

    Now Libya’s oil resources are in the hands of local warlords and guarded by Mercenary armies and the wealth derived from them flows to Western Multinational companies while the local warlords luxuriate in Gold Bath tubs. This has nothing to do with the merits or otherwise of Socialism but is a refelction of the fallen nature of humanity

    In the Congo there are large mines digging up rare earth minerals, extremely valuable for producing the electronics we enjoy. These mines are worked by slave labour, often children and are in the hands of warlords armed by the West – this would be something almost totally off most people’s radar and is an example of free market capitalism at its finest – but I can guarantee you that if a Congolese leader arose who sorted this out he would be considered a thorn in the side of the West just like Qaddifi. Castro and Chavez among others.

    Here is an interesting aside – in Bulgaria there is a factory manufacturing AK47s – they were licensed to do so when Bulgaria was part of the Warsaw pact. The Russian Federation long ago revoked the license and various Bulgarian Governments have tried to shut it down but been blocked (even fallen). You know what they are for – they are unattributal weapons used in conflicts such as the Congo and the ME usually distributed through Albania

    We live in a fallen and corrupt world, my friend

  15. Tom Hunter says:

    Look what happened in Libya Tom – an oil rich nation ruled by Qaddifi (who we have been taught to sneer at but like Castro lived frugally) and who actually used the oil revenues to build schools, hospitals, and Libya’s infrastructure (all now destroyed)

    Once again, you never used to believe this Leftist mythological bullshit, which was the common currency of the Left throughout the 1970’s and 80’s about Libya and its heroic, revolutionary leader.

    Of course once the Cold War ended Qaddafi realised he had to play kissy-face to the dreaded Western Imperialists, and this included opening up to visits from more than just invited Western Leftists. Here’s just one example of what open-minded people thus saw in 2004 once both Libya and the US allowed Americans to visit, and while he was still in complete control of the country he’d ruled since 1969.

    In the Land of the Brother Leader:

    My Air Afriquiya flight touched down on the runway next to a junkyard of filthy, gutted and broken-down aircraft in an airport otherwise empty of planes. When I stepped out of the hatch into the jetway, I came face to face with three uniformed military goons who scrutinized me and everyone else from behind reflective oversize sunglasses.

    The capital city of Tripoli was an asteroid belt of monolithic apartment towers. The streets were mostly empty of cars, the sidewalks empty of people. I saw no restaurants, no cafés, no clubs, no bars and no malls. Nor did I see anywhere else to hang out. Libya, so far, looked depopulated.

    We drove past a shattered former government compound surrounded by a lagoon of pulverized concrete that once was a parking lot. It was obvious when that thing was built. The 1970s were the 1970s everywhere, even in Libya.

    There were no towels in my room. The bathroom was, however, generously stocked with products, all of them packaged in green — the color of Islam and Qaddafi’s so-called revolution. The hotel gave me green shampoo, green soap, green bath gel, green toothpaste and even a green shoehorn and comb. All were clearly (and, I must say, unnecessarily) marked “Made in the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.”

    There was no booze (it’s banned), no soda, no water, no juice in the mini-bar. A burn the size and shape of a deflated basketball was seared into the carpet.

    Look at the photos he tool. Exactly what you’d expect from the usual personality cult despot in a one-party state who controlled the oil and other wealth and regularly boasted of his popularity with his people. But there’s no evidence there of the money actually being used to build schools, hospitals and infrastructure – unless rubble counts as such.

    All this in 2004. Long before any “Western” interference.

    A frugal man? FFS Andrei I realise you’ve turned but are you really that ignorant about Qaddafi’s hedonistic lifetstyle? He didn’t exactly hide it from anybody, right down to his Michael Jackson style uniforms and his all-female supposed bodyguard!! As the writer points out, Qaddafi dedicated an entire floor to himself at the national museum. Does that sound like the act of a frugal and humble man to you?

    The reporter finally manages to shake his rather bored minder, and finds a shopkeeper to talk to.

    “Do Americans know much about Libya?” he said.

    “No,” I said. “Not really.”

    He wanted to teach me something about his country, but he didn’t know where to start. So he recited encyclopedia factoids.

    Ho hum, but then it gets interesting – and remember this article was written in 2004:

    “Oh, come on,” I said. “Comment away. I don’t live here.”

    He thought about that. For a long drawn-out moment, he calculated the odds and weighed the consequences. Then the dam burst.

    “We hate that fucking bastard, we have nothing to do with him. Nothing. We keep our heads down and our mouths shut. We do our jobs, we go home. If I talk, they will take me out of my house in the night and put me in prison.

    “Qaddafi steals,” he told me. “He steals from us.” He spoke rapidly now, twice as fast as before, as though he had been holding back all his life. He wiped sweat off his forehead with trembling hands. “The oil money goes to his friends. Tunisians next door are richer and they don’t even have any oil.”

    “I know,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

    “We get three or four hundred dinars each month to live on. Our families are huge, we have five or six children. It is a really big problem. We don’t make enough to take care of them. I want to live in Lebanon. Beirut is the second Paris. It is civilized! Women and men mix freely in Lebanon.”

    Meh – the usual for such places. But you can see that the revolt against Qaddafi in 2011 came out of the people – not as a result of Western Imperialism.

    Or Satan.

    But I get the reasons why you have to indulge in all this re-writing of history and excuses and rationalisations for pricks like Castro and Brezhnev and the rest that your family escaped from to New Zealand. You’re not a true believer like Roj above.

    The reason is your love of Mother Russia, and your faith in Vladimir Putin.

    Vlad is everything that Qaddafi, Chavez and others were, and so of course he has to defend what they did and how they acted, and how everything bad that happened to them was the fault of the Evil West.

    There is nothing he now says that you don’t swallow hook, line and sinker. Pathetic. We live in a fallen and corrupt world? No shit! Once Vlad’s gone from the stage you’re going to find out just how fallen and corrupt Mother Russia became under his leadership.

  16. Andrei says:

    I am no leftist Tom Hunter and I also know there is no paradise on Earth where peace and perfect justice prevails and never will be

    Michael J Totten. who you quote, is a cheer leader for the Neo Cons and American exceptionalism

    But the USA like every other Nation on the planet has its own internal problems – there are people in the USA living in third world conditions and it has the highest rate of imprisonment on the planet for example

    And while Libya under Qaddafi was no paradise either Qaddafi did use Libya’s oil revenues to try and address the problems Libya faced with some success . In fact Libya under Qaddafi became the African Nation with the highest standard of living and the lowest rates of illiteracy on the continent. Those are facts my friend. But now it is a nation in chaos after its infrastructure was destroyed in an illegal and totally immoral bombing campaign and that too is an undeniable fact

    Hugo Chavez, like it or not, was elected multiple times under the Venezuelan constitution which was adopted by referendum – and if the people of Venezuela by majority support his policies at the ballot box who are you to try and dictate how Venzueala should manage its own internal affairs and resources or to support anybody else who does?

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