CARACAS, Tuesday September 13, 2005 | Update
Special for El Universal
The Chavez government is rapidly de-institutionalizing the three economic foundations of western civilization that evolved since the 15th century, namely: the right of anyone to own and use private property; a free market system bounded by law; and a free, regulated and dependable financial system.
Private enterprises and ownership are being invaded, expropriated, destroyed or confiscated by the State. The State retains property title while permitting politically dependent tenants or squatters to use or waste the property. Where the medieval Lord required labor from serfs to produce capital profits, the State starts with oil capital profits and requires only political servitude as rent for its theft.
Markets are distorted by subsidized state enterprises with the objective of bankrupting private enterprises. Banks holding domestic state bonds are falling under State control of their private assets. Law is used as a tool to legitimize the theft or concentration of private property by the State, or lacking that, to destroy the property. For example, half the nation's manufacturing firms of 1998 no longer exist.
Escalating insecurity is used as a tool to unravel civil society through fear and violence - thousands of official killings and tens of thousands of human rights violations fester in a permissive environment of State impunity. Those who can leave do so, as in New Orleans in the face of hurricane Katrina. Those who stay become serfs of the State or enemies of the State, as in the movie Sophie's Choice.
Domestically, this unraveling of western civilization's values will soon result in State control and ownership of all utilities, media, enterprises and landholdings in private ownership today. The State will do this either before or shortly after the 2006 presidential "election" where the votes will be secretly counted by its contaminated electronic machines.
Internationally, State oil resources are being used to extort political homage, or silence, in the face of revolutionary hegemony in Latin America - in effect, colonialism by other means. Because the roots of western economic institutions do not run deep in Latin culture, Venezuela's trip back to medieval feudalism looks like clear sailing from here.
Michael Rowan's column is published every Tuesday
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.