Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jefes y Jefas?‏


I read the following on the web today and am interested in your opinion
on this program. Thanks.


/When Argentina faced a severe financial, economic, and social crisis
early this decade, it quickly created the “Jefes y Jefas” program in
which the federal government provided funding for labor and a portion of
materials costs for highly decentralized projects, most of which created
community service jobs. The program was targeted to heads of households
of poor families with children, allowing each to choose one parent to
participate in paid work. The program was up-and-running in a matter of
four months, creating jobs for 14% of the labor force-a remarkable
achievement. It helped to stabilize the economy and to pull it out of

Man... “Jefes and Jefas”. That’s the official story.
The other side of this story is that the program is administered by the local K leaders of the different neighborhoods and poor settlements, and its only given to the different bosses that round up people for the many K support rallies and marches.
Its’ well known and often the topic of news reports that for those that really need this help, its not available, only for the K foot soldiers.
Its common knowledge that in some cases for example, a local K boss will have several Jefes y Jefas plans to his name, or his wife and kids.
In other cases its collected by others, subordinates, but they have to give a % to the leader that got it for them.
It’s just another way of paying for the muscle and masses we see supporting the government on the rallies.
They pay these people to go to the marches, pick them up at the different “villas”, give then 20 or 30 pesos, sometimes even drug of booze.
But hey, its all “redistribution” of wealth. If you don’t want to redistribute your part of the problem, not the solution, correct?

Someone asked in a previous comment why I talk about politics in a survival blog. This is why. The wrong politics will ruin your country and cause the worst kind of disasters, the kind that last for decades, or simply forever.
Its not politics when having the wrong person in charge of your country means your salary only buys ½ the amount of food it got you last year. It’s clearly a matter of survival.
Avoid this by voting wisely and supporting politicians like Ron Paul.



Don Williams said...

1) I like Ron Paul (just as I liked Ross Perot) but I crack up laughing when Glenn Beck on Fox rants about "Socialism" taking over America.
2) In 1979, the richest 1 percent of the USA received 10 percent of the US national income for that year. Today, that 1 percent now receives almost 23 PERCENT. As the Financial Bailout showed, we Privatize the Profits and Socialize the Losses in the USA.
Welfare for the Rich.

3) It's important for a survivalist to know the facts -- and to realize that much of what he reads in the newspaper and sees on TV is a con:

See http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html


FerFAL said...

Don, that's Socialism at work!
Here the difference is even worse.
SOcialism is just speech, even in socialist countries. Everyone makes a crappy living and a very small elite makes obscene fortnues thanks to the "redistribution" BS the poor middle class wants to believe so badly.


Paraguay Insider said...

Socialism works well because the middle class pays the lower class so the upper class can live in peace.

Pete said...

The 'super' rich in America are not suprisingly socialist...the rules don't apply to them: they run the government in their favor. The graduated income tax (the more you make, the greater % you pay) is designed to discourage upward mobility in the middle class preventing competition; meanwhile, they incorporate their wealth making it exempt from taxation. It has also been recently noted now that we're approaching 'income tax filing day' and slightly more than half of the population pay no income taxes! That's the tipping point...in a Democracy, the majority that pays no taxes can now vote in favor of increases in taxes on the half that does pay...the half that doesn't pay are the recipients of those tax increases. What's to stop this country from now taxing and spending itself to death?

gaga said...

"Socialism is just speech, even in socialist countries. "

Thats quite right, but its also why you should ignore there concept as it purely a smokescreen by politicians ('elected' or otherwise).

There are ruling classes who run various countries with the express benifit of extracting as much money from the population as possible. The USA is an extreme example - apparently a democracy but in fact its a semi-dictatorship with like minded power brokers swapping power and favours amongst themselves.

Even Obama has shown he is part of the same game, the supposed socialist healthcare is primarily intended to reduce costs to businesses who are being sucked dry by healthcare costs. Right wingers seem obsessed about socialism when there is no chance of that every being allowed in the US - they simply fail to see the bigger picture.

Ron Paul or anyone who may interfere with the rulers has no chance of ever being allowed in power or affect any-sort of change.

Bones said...

Don went off the deep end a long time ago. It's certain he never ran a business or had to meet a payroll. His whiny anti capitalist ravings are just a cover to spout socialist/communist propaganda "supported" by an article published by a commifornia sociology professor (a leftist college professor in CA? Whoda thunkit!?!) Don doesn't seem to understand the difference between real free market entrepreneurship and the anti competitive corporate welfare perpetrated on the nation by the big corporate lobby.

Here's a link to a great WSJ article about the unintended effects of socialist experimentation in "old europe". By legally codifying job guarantees they've made the private sector wary of any new hiring, driving youth unemployment through the roof and stifled innovation.


Don Williams said...

1) You will notice that Bones at 5:19 AM hurled a lot of insults at me --but carefully AVOIDED addressing the FACTS that I cited and that were DOCUMENTED by the "leftist professor" to whom I linked. FACTS are not leftist or conservative --FACTS are FACTS.

2) If Bones thinks that our Superrich will dump $3.7 Billion into this year's political campaign for the privilege of risking their wealth by competing in a "Free Market" then he ain't thinking clearly.

3) Oh -- and as you submit your income tax return, remember that some of our richest corporations (GE, Exxon,etc) paid NO US income tax this year.

Although Exxon was happy to have Dick Cheney spend $3 Trillion of our tax dollars -- and the lives of 4500+ US soldiers -- protecting its business interests in the Middle East.

Did Dick find Saddam's nukes yet?

Don Williams said...

"Socialism", "Free Market Enterprise", etc are all myths. We have to have government to run a 300 million person country. The only question is: Who is the government working FOR?

There's a saying in Poker games: If you look around the table and don't know who the sucker is, then it is you.

Who's the sucker?

Don Williams said...

Re who's a sucker, here's a gentle hint:


Bones said...

Gosh Don, you're quite adroit at missing the point. I specifically mentioned the fact that corporate political donations screw up the free market. By the way, the Iraq war is over, we won and there's no oil in afghanistan. How do you square that with your "theories".

While you were crying and complaining about unfair taxes did you miss this one, too?

"47% will pay no federal income tax"


Bigger government is never the solution because it will NEVER be working for you. Look around the table Don, because the sucker is you.

dc.sunsets said...

@ Don:
"We have to have government to run a 300 million person country. The only question is: Who is the government working FOR?"

Care to prove this? Do "we" need a $2 trillion government? Do "we" need a Ministry of Plenty (see Orwell's 1984 if you miss the term) to centrally plan economic activity? Do "we" need a central bank issuing debt-based money in order to have stable prices and full employment?

Maybe you do, but I sure don't. As for Bones, there's a natural gas pipeline routing across Afghanistan that is to competed directly with NatGas transhipment in the old USSR under Russian management. Both invasions have, among their disparate constituencies, energy corporation interests and both are being run by Orwell's Ministry of Peace (remember, war is peace, slavery is freedom, ignorance is strength).

Read "War is a Racket" by Gen. Smedley Bulter. Nothing has changed in 80 years my friend except that now major industries exist solely to produce weapons of war (mass death). The only way to improve profits is to generate more demand, so all their lobbying efforts look like the California Prison Guards' Union backing 3-strikes-you're-in-for-life legislation. Follow the money. We have millions of people whose jobs depend on producing war materiel so logic dictates this places additional incentives for wars and invasions...just as predicted by Eisenhower.

Don Williams said...

Re David at 11:37 AM "Care to prove this? Do "we" need a $2 trillion government? Do "we" need a Ministry of Plenty (see Orwell's 1984 if you miss the term) to centrally plan economic activity? Do "we" need a central bank issuing debt-based money in order to have stable prices and full employment?"

1) At our high population densities, we can NOT feed, clothe, shelter, and provide water and medical care to 300 Million people without Big Capitalism.

2) And we cannot have Big Capitalism without Big Government to bail it out of the bad spots of the Kindleberger cycle from time to time. See "The Risk of Economic Crisis", Martin Feldstein, 1991. A forum of the leading economists of that time, many who whom are still prominent today (Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, Paul Volcker, etc.) In particular, read the paper by Hyman P Minsky foretelling this current collapse.

3) Proof? Show me ANY advanced nation with high population density that does NOT have a big and highly interventionist Government. As Darwin noted, successful organisms evolve, unsuccessful ones die.

4) The question is --who is Big Government working for? I think I can safely say that it has NOT been for the common citizen over the past 40 years.

5) The relentless acquistion by the Superrich of ever greater shares of the US income and wealth has been unceasing --regardless of which party has been in power. Because both parties work for largely the same Superrich men.

6) In the latest crisis, the Superrich have gotten $Trillions in undeserved wealth from the US Treasury -- whereas the Democratic grassroots has gotten its First Negro President. A fair trade, no?

Obama got $1 Million from Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs investors got a stock rising in price from $55 last year to $180 today, Goldman Sachs executives got $16 BILLION in bonuses, and the American People got 8 million unemployment slips and 1.35 bankruptcies.

dc.sunsets said...

Don, no theory of political science today posits that "the people" ever control a political system. What you seek is Utopia. Literally.

Large nation-states are dinosaurs. Read the works of William Lind (on line) for more on why.

Big capitalism under Big government is invariably Crony capitalism and always has been. The "robber barrons" of the late 19th century WROTE the Sherman Act, because only Big Companies with armies of lawyers can navigate a regulatory labyrinth they created. Thus did Big Business cement their advantages and lay the foundation for this mess today.

I differ markedly with your interpretation of capitalism. All capitalism is is the free market operating in an environment of secure property rights. No political system in history has ever protected property that well, and Big government requires BIG TAXES which are by definition massive violations of rights in property.

I'm afraid you are stuck in a false paradigm of the "now" as posited by the economists you cited who are court apologists and justifiers of the system that writes their paychecks. I heartily recommend you consider more of the information found on websites devoted to market-derived order such as mises.org, voluntaryist.com, and all the works of Murray Rothbard, Albert Nock, and others in the individualist anarchist tradition.

Don Williams said...

Re David at 9:53 AM: "I heartily recommend you consider more of the information found on websites devoted to market-derived order.."

Being somewhat pragmatic, I would prefer that you tell me how to come up with $3.7 BILLION to offset the same amount being dumped into US poltics this year.

As you said, government is NEEDED to protect property rights. But it never stops there -- and if you construct a massive institution to defeat the Nazis and fight a major nuclear war with the Commies, you will find that it doesn't go away after the enemy is gone or defeated.

As the Romans discovered after the fall of Carthage. Google "Punic Curse".

Plus some people find the Superrich Oligarchs to be more oppressive than the Government -- and Oligarchs don't need our votes or our opinions.

Don Williams said...

PS David, I really suggest you look at the book "The Risk of Economic Crisis" (Martin Feldstein). Particularly the article by Hyman P Minsky on the Financial Instability Hypothesis -- re how "Ponzi Financing" brings on economic collapse. Minsky notes how bubbles get created, why government intervention is needed to halt a downward spiral when they pop, and why government today has been able to avert a Second Great Depression. (The US government was only 3 percent of GDP in 1929 --it is around 25 percent now.)

Capitalist systems are far more UNSTABLE than we realize -- because we have grown up in an environment where the government was constantly working to protect the system.

Of course, in the longer term, that intervention has a huge cost -- $12 plus Trillion in debt. And I'm not sure if it is merely staving off the inevitable -- like a drunk skidding back and forth on a snowy road.

Another danger is globalization. Like the European Union, it is probably fated to collapse because it created an economic system without a corresponding strong government system to manage it. And collapses ain't pretty.

russell1200 said...

I agree with most of Don's points, I just don't agree with his recommendations.

Back when I did not have a lot of money and did not make a lot of money, what always surprised me is how expensive it was to live in the United States. Just the fact that you need a car to be gainfully employed in many areas creates a huge expense.

What I find odd is how expensive it is to live even in Argentina -looking ahead to the post that will 'appear' in a few days.

$200 a square foot for an apartment? Wow!

dc.sunsets said...

Hi Don,
Stick around, I think you (and the mainstream) are counting the chickens before they're hatched. In March 09 it was clear the first wave down was near an end (bearishness hit 97% by some measures of sentiment, a record) so a rally of 33% to 66% was almost certainly at hand. That rally would end with bullishness at peak levels (despite markets being substantially down from peak levels).

We're there. Tiny blips of lessening rates of decline are celebrated as proof of recovery. Growth in same store sales are described as growth even as sale tax receipts continue to collapse, revealing that same-store sales ignore the tsunami of STORE CLOSURES (closed stores disappear from the data!!). Check out this blog for more clarity on this:

If you believe that the asshats planning the economy can steer it, I hope you are fully invested in the stock market and stay that way for the next 24-36 months.

For a clear picture that their interventions yield no good success, only illusions, check here:

Even better here (note the DATE!!):http://www.elliottwave.com/freeupdates/archives/2008/03/11/The-Herbert-Hoover-of-the-Coming-Hard-Times.aspx

I'm quite familiar with Feldstein. Check here: http://blog.mises.org/8695/feldsteins-foolishness/
or here: http://mises.org/daily/280
or here: http://mises.org/daily/861

We may have to agree to disagree. You believe wise men can manage and choreograph the economic activity of millions of people. I see that the USSR failed.

The difference between us is that I know why, and it wasn't because they lacked brilliant people or that the vodka sucked. There is no third way, only the poles of freedom and control. Control yields misery, in all the ways that Butler Shaffer writes at http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/ebook/shaffer-ebook1.html

If you click through to nothing else, consider this: http://mises.org/daily/1367

Paraguay Insider said...

Hi David,

very good points you make there indeed.

One point to add to this discussion is the interest of big goverment. What is it?

Well if looking back in time and looking at todays big goverments we will find the exact same picture.

Big goverment is like a living organism with the will to survive and grow. Every crysis will be used to grow goverment. Wars will be started to grow goverment.

Not only will goverment get more and more powers over time it will employ more and more people.

Doing will have have fatal consequenses for the hosting nation. We can see all the great empires of the past crumbling into dust for one reason. They went broke because big goverment sucked them dry.

Now lets look at the world as it is today. The once great British-US Empire that span most of the world - USA: broke, England: broke, EU: broke, Japan: broke, Australia: broke, Canada: broke to list the most important provinces...all broke.

Does not look too good, does it?

Don Williams said...

Re Maldek at 5:48: "We can see all the great empires of the past crumbling into dust for one reason. They went broke because big goverment sucked them dry. "
1) There is a guy named Joseph Tainter, who looked at the collapse of past civilizations (Maya, Roman Empire,etc) and wrote a book named "The Collapse of Complex Societies". I have it on order, haven't read it yet, but Wikipedia has a summary. He thinks civilizations collapse because of diminishing returns -- and Big government becomes a heavy overhead too expensive to support.

He notes that collapse is not necessarily bad for the common citizen --that skeletons indicate that the inhabitants of Italy were better nourished once the Emperor's tax collectors had been driven away.

Book is available at Amazon. Summary is available here.


2) But I think free enterprise requires elbow room--low population density. As populations grow and sustaining them become more difficult, the Herd votes for security, order, and collectivism of one form or another.

Our giant corporations control every area of economic enterprise --and are run like the Soviet Union. Our billionaires are happy to use Big Government to oppress the commoner -- but what is not tolerated is Big Government attempting to control the predations of Big Money.

And the last thing the Fortune 500 wants is to compete against the small to average sized entrepreneur. The laws they write are not written to encourage that.

Don Williams said...

Yesterday, Ron Paul made the same point at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference that I made here on April 8 (post 1):
[NEW ORLEANS–Republicans and tea party activists are fond of accusing President Barack Obama of being a socialist, but today party gadfly Ron Paul said they had it wrong.

“In the technical sense, in the economic definition, he is not a socialist,” the Texas Republican said to a smattering of applause at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

“He’s a corporatist,” Paul quickly added, meaning the president takes “care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country.” ]


The Republican Members of Congress at the Conference probably hastened to add: "Not that there is anything wrong with that". heh heh

Don Williams said...

In January 2000, the S&P 500 Index was around 2000. Today, 10 years later, we have borrowed over $6 Trillion and dumped it into the US Economy. Yet our S&P 500 index is at 1194, well below where it was 10 years ago.

If that ain't diminishing returns, I don't know what is. But a FEW people have gotten much richer-- and those are the few who evidently matter. ANd they have no reason to change things --or let us change them either.

We are spending almost $40 per gallon for Middle Eastern gasoline -- counting the roughly $38 per gallon we pay on our income tax to support military operations in the Middle East.

I am sure enterpreneurs could come up with far better and cheaper ways to run a car --but they will never get the chance. Because the market price of the gasoline at the pump will be kept at $2.75.

dc.sunsets said...

Hi Maldek,
To add to your comment, political philosophers who were big names in the Enlightenment (the philosophy that supposedly animated the American Revolution) largely saw the state as a parasitic organization of men. Murray Rothbard, the father of modern libertarianism, called it a gang of robbers, noting that everything that people think they must depend upon government to provide would be better provided in a free market.

How defenders of political systems can criticize Microsoft or the 19th century "trusts" as "monopolies" yet cozy up to the public school monopoly, the military monopoly, the police monopoly, and the court monopoly is a form of childish cognitive dissonance I'll never understand. They are like citizens of the old USSR: "If our government doesn't make cars, we'll be forced to walk everywhere!"

People's interest in political systems waxes and wanes. Bastiat noted 150 years ago that there are two ways to get what you need and want in this world: you can labor and produce and trade in a mutually voluntary system (the market) or you can steal and use force (political systems). Today in the West people have deluded themselves to think it moral to go to the voting booth and vote for the criminal who promises to steal your neighbor's money (taxes) and deliver the benefits to you.

H.L. Mencken called each election "an advance auction of stolen goods."

Millions of people labor each day to justify and hide this evil truth and most people are simply too shallow-minded to see through the lies.

Sounds like Rome in Nero's time.

dc.sunsets said...

Hi Don,
Regarding the winners and losers in our politically saturated society, I completely agree with you. It is always the case to me (and can't be otherwise) that political systems favor the wealthy elites who run them. This is why I conclude that reducing the saturation of society by political management is how us regular folks enjoy more of the fruits of our labors. We do this as individuals by turning our back on it as much as possible without going to jail.

If you define "government" as a system for providing the order people need to have a complex, division-of-labor economy that yields our wondrous living standards there are 2 kinds: 1) political government and 2) economic government (AKA organizations yielded by the free market). You follow the latter every day because even if laws didn't prohibit them, there are activities you simply would not do because you're a decent person. Most people are like this, and only a tiny fraction are true sociopaths. Ironically, it's the sociopaths who are most attracted to the power that comes with political office or one of the enforcement agencies.

Today we have an ongoing banking crisis because people (erroneously) think they were "protected" by deposit insurance and promises like Social Security, Medicare, etc. People didn't care what their banker did with their deposits; the "government" was watching things, right? Wrong, of course.

There are fully-fleshed out ideas on how all necessary functions we attribute to political government would be provided FAR better, and at FAR lower prices, by firms competing in the free market. Instead of the monopolies under which we suffer, monopolies always co-opted by the richest sociopaths among us (to be among the political elite you must be both rich and sociopathic, because being just one of these does not lead to the moral depravity and ability to offer campaign contributions and non-monetary inducements to the ruling clique), we could have systems that must always serve their customers or they go out of business and their capital is redistributed to firms succeeding in serving customers.

Contrast this with political government, where failure results in bigger budgets.

Communist, socialist, social democracies, and all other forms of political government are always run by such sociopaths who use their power to enrich themselves, parasitically, on the host of society. [Capitalist government is an oxymoron, as capitalism is synonymous with the free market, private-property order and is thus incompatible with political control.] This is why all political revolutions are immediately co-opted by parasites, from the American Revolution (which was overthrown by a coup at the Constitutional Convention that produced the Constitution of 1787) to the French and Russian Revolutions (which were co-opted by the most vicious elements of society, especially the latter).

I can't recommend Nock's "Isaiah's Job" essay enough. Written in 1936 and widely read, it clearly shows why political processes are always doomed to screw the masses of men (they ask for it) and how the few members of the "remnant" who understand this will always be a minority.
or in written form:

Don Williams said...

Hi, David
I don't necessarily disagree, but i am a realist. We have over 100 countries around the world, no? Point out to me where any country in the past 100 years has set up an economic/political system as you describe --and which has survived. Including surviving a aggression from without.

Indeed, most of our 7000 years of recorded history indicates that most of mankind has lived under a warlord or dictator of one kind or another. Even representative republics have been few --and often overthrown by the pressures of war.

Paraguay Insider said...

"Indeed, most of our 7000 years of recorded history "

7000 of recorded history....you are right, but considering we now know at least 3 cities (thanks to satelite technology) with over 1 MILLION inhabitants dated 40 000 BC our history goes back much longer.

Anonymous said...

Don Williams wrote: "Hi, David
I don't necessarily disagree, but i am a realist. We have over 100 countries around the world, no? Point out to me where any country in the past 100 years has set up an economic/political system as you describe --and which has survived. Including surviving a aggression from without."

Start with http://mises.org/daily/1121. Then take your pick of the articles at http://royhalliday.home.mindspring.com/history.htm.

dc.sunsets said...

Hi Don,
The nation-state in its modern form arose, according to Lind et. al., from the Treaty of Westphalia almost 400 years ago. Its raison d'etre was to provide order from the chaos of constant European warfare.

After 4 centuries the tree is rotted to the core. The nation-state is now the greatest threat to order and peace. Nukes could not exist without nation-state concentration of nation-state resources. Without the huge nation-state there would be no way to concentrate (by force) the resources needed for warfare on the scope and scale we see today. Only in the time of nation-state aphelion do we see warfare not for land or assets but over ideology, warfare where we have reverted to killing people (barbarism of old times) instead of acquiring stuff (see "Democracy, the God that Failed" by Hoppe for more on this).

Something's broken in Western Civilization. Reform is impossible because institutions cannot ever be reformed. We are in the early stages of transition, and what will come of it is unknown. Getting there will be painful, hence why any of us are perusing Fernando's blog for insights on how we can best prepare and manage the times that may come.

Don Williams said...

Sorry, David, but your examples prove my point: Iceland circa 1000 AD, Somalia of today.

There is NO example of a Liberatarian nation capable of defending its land and people from modern day armies with modern day weapons. And which also feeds and maintains prosperity for its people.

Even if you could somehow create one via a Convention, it would be conquered within 10 years and taken over by its neighbors.

Yes, Big Government works like a criminal gang --like the Aryan Brotherhood. But you haven't followed that line of thought to its conclusion.

dc.sunsets said...

Sorry Don, you're missing my point (intentionally?).

You look at what was and project that trend into the future indefinitely. Where you see inevitability, I see end-stage sclerosis.

I don't know what comes after our 400 year life cycle of the nation-state, but I know a decaying structure when I see one. The bottom line is that a system of providing for defense and adjudication of disputes (courts) via competing market-based firms is entirely possible.

The only thing impeding it is the mindset you demonstrate, boiled down to a belief in the permanence of the now.

I also note: How exactly has the vaunted U.S. military "defended" the USA by 1) having a de facto open border policy and 2) growing to consume half of all productivity while pissing off half the planet's populations via invasion and occupation? Have Europe's militaries "defended" those lands? In a generation most of Europe will be populated with Muslims who are culturally alien. Europe as we know it will disappear, replaced by a hybrid culture bearing no resemblance to what was there before. Is that defense, just because tanks didn't cross the river?

If that's your "defense," pardon me...I pulled a muscle because I was laughing so hard.