Thursday, August 25, 2005


The Malignant Narcissism of the US press

To follow on to PW's mention of Scott Peck's People of the Lie, one of the current memes in the business press is that oil prices are high because there market speculation over "instability in Venezuela." This sort of flagrant public hypocrisy would be bad enough coming from any individual, but coming from people who are providing investment advice, they amount to malfeasance. Consider these points that might weigh in judging the stability of a country stable: 1. Government. The legitimacy of the vote for Hugo Chavez is almost unquestioned. The legitimacy of the vote for George Bush is widely questioned. Chavez handily survived a recall election in which his opposition had a huge media advantage. Could George Bush do the same? 2. Financial. Venezuela has balanced its budgets. The US is running massive government deficits. Venezuela has a huge trade surplus, becoming a creditor nation. The US is running a huge trade deficit and is becoming a debtor nation. 3. Social. Chavez is loved by the 70% of the population that is poor and hated by the 10% of the population that is wealthy. Bush's disapproval is approaching 60%, while his approval may have fallen below 40%. 4. Global. Venezuela is at peace. The United States is in an intractable war. Venezuela is widely admired among its peers in Latin America and is building ties to Asia. The US is increasingly disliked among its European peers, and is on a path to confrontation with Asia. Calling Venezuela "unstable" amounts to up-is-downism. It is Washington, DC that is unstable, so unstable that they want to assassinate an elected leader (and indeed overthrew him several years ago, but were checkmated by his superior planning). Financial advisors who obey their fiduciary duty should be advising investors to move investments out of this most unstable of nations, not printing what amounts to Administration propaganda.
This is what happens when otherwise-functioning minds are clouded by dogma. These are the same people who confidently predicted that the Euro would be scrapped by now.
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