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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The attraction of socialism

  Millions live with nothing, fighting for food and water, health and education and dignity, excluded from the mainstream economy or at the bottom of its steep ladder. Is it any wonder, then, that when a leader comes along and promises them food, education, a minimal subsistence income, perhaps even housing, that they jump at the call? Some of those leaders even follow through with those promises. If they are lucky, their revolutionary government benefits from external sources of income. That's the case in Venezuela (oil), Bolivia (gas), Peru (minerals), Brazil (just about everything). While much of the money is wasted on inefficient plans, endemic corruption or just plain stupid ideas, some of it is spent on those who need it. That helps to explain why many people, especially the poor and one-time powerless, support socialist leaders such as Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Lula da Silva, We need to understand where they are coming from before we can begin to tell them what we think is best.

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