I have just read a concerning report in The Guardian about Venezuelan attempts to fight corruption with corruption by taking steps towards dictatorship.
The Venezuelan General Assembly has granted it’s President, Nicolas Maduro, emergency powers of decree to make laws without consulting Congress for up to a year, in a bid to strengthen government control over the economy, as Maduro goes after businesses he accuses of sabotaging the Venezuelan economy.
This is a man who recently instructed the military to seize or occupy dozens of electrical appliance stores, slash prices and arrest hundereds of business owners that he accuses of artificially inflating prices (sound like a familar practice?) I can only wonder what he will use these new powers for.
So far his actions have proved popular among Maduro’s working class supporters and even some opponents and Maduro has pledged to keep prices low in a number of industries, limit profit margins to 30% and actively tackle corruption. All of which sounds like reasonable promises to make. I am just dubious about the methods being used.
I am by no means a staunch capitalist and was only having a discussion last night with work colleaguea about the horrid greed and ridiculous profit expectations of big business in this country and how something needs to be done about the ever increasing abuses of capitalist society. The most criminal of all examples being the energy companies whose greed knows no bounds as they force people to choose between eating and heating. I was incredulous when these companies cried out, in response to Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze energy prizes, stating that such an act would prevent them from being able to invest in infrastructure – I assumes this is because it would mean cutting into their £4 billion annual profits which simply won’t do of course. The other example we were discussing was the supermarkets who claim to slash prices when really what they mean is “here is the price but we’re going to artificially increase it for two weeks of the year so we can tell you that we’re doing you a favour”.
It seems that capitalism today means raising the price of essential goods and services to extorniate levels in order to increase profit margins as much as possible even if that does mean bankrupting or even killing your customers. All the government seems willing to do about it is lower the taxes that they don’t even pay anyway! I have a lot of sympathy for any attempts to limit the greed and corruption of big business as I think it is far too prevalent in all corners of the world but I don’t think government corruption is the way to do it.
As if military occupation of businesses wasn’t worrying enough, the method by which Maduro gained these emergency powers is a pure example of unashamed political corruption. Coveniently, just in time for the crucial vote that awarded Maduro his emergency powers, an opposition congresswoman had her right to immunity from prosecution over corruption charges removed allowing a supportive legislature to replace her giving Maduro the crucial 99th vote he needed to gain the power of decree he desired. How very convenient indeed.
Has the power of big business really got to the stage where only the corrupt are willing to tackle its corruption by using corruption of their own?
To read the source article from the Guardian take a trip here: http://gu.com/p/3kgfz
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