Sunday, September 09, 2007

NPR Lying About Chile

I was driving around to some place or another and happened to be listening to NPR. And I do like NPR, they do put on some decent pieces and cover topics that I find interesting and are of importance to the international community, and I take it with a grain of salt because I know they're biased. But what I will not tolerate is when the government media outright LIES and then tries to push itself on the public as some kind of independent or objective media source. And I find it my obligation to point this out and make a record of it.

The story they were covering was how Chile may be the prime example of economic success (are you ready for the "but"?)


income distribution was uneven (oh the horrors).

Chile, in part due to free market reforms under Pinochet, and now today because of high commodity prices (copper) was experiencing an economic boom, but this boom was only being enjoyed by the easily-accusable villain, "the rich."

And what they do, always, ALWAYS without fail, is grab the one or two poor schumcks out of the tens of millions of people who had a run of bad luck to tow the line, "I haven't benefiting from the economic expansion."

It's probably the most overused play in NPR's play book.

If the statistics and figures don't show the story you want to tell, find the one or two people that have anecdote that does and then present that as the truth and reality of the situation.

And so, once again, it seems it's the people's responsibility to keep the government media in line and point them out to be the liars they are;

First off is the Gini Coefficient that measures income distribution.

Longitudinal data is hard to come by, but I found a report from the World Bank that cites the Gini coefficient has "worsened" in the past ten years in Chile (interesting how they somehow assume income distribution can be "better" or "worse," thereby implying improvement would be a more equal distribution, and following the logic a 100% equal distribution of wealth,ie-communism, must be ideal then). Regardless, this worsening of the gini coefficient had gone from 56.4 in 1995 to 57.1 in 2005.

To provide you with a visual aid I have charted this;

To quote Rush Limbaugh, "well yip yip yip yahoo!"

You've got to be kidding me? Yes, I guess if you want to claim that income distribution has "deteriorated" in the past ten years, you can say that mathematically, but a change from 56.4 to 57.1 is nothing, and probably not even statistically significant. Yet, we're supposed to believe that income distribution is horribly worsening in Chile, to the point that revolution is pending.

Another Jim Dandy chart is to show Chile in relation to the rest of its South American peers;

Oh the horror! It's really no worse or better than most of their peers. Matter of fact, they have more even distribution than South America's two socialist darlings; Bolivia and Venezuela (though in the pursuit of intellectual honesty, these figures do come before President Morales took over Bolivia, so it remains to be seen what income distribution would look like today)

Regardless, we can talk about "income distribution" all day, but in the end, it really doesn't matter. Because what really matters is whether real incomes are going up and that poverty is going down. And in Chile, this has been the case.

If the poor were receiving NONE of the benefits of this economic boom then poverty rates would not be dropping precipitously as they have been. Again, this shows you that if you really want to eliminate poverty, if you REALLY DO CARE ABOUT YOUR FELLOW MAN AND THE POOR then (and I'll say it again, because it doesn't seem like anybody on the left is listening) YOU WILL BECOME THE MOST ARDENT SUPPORTER OF CAPITALISM IN THE WORLD.

I don't know how much easier it can be, but how you can look at the economic history of the world and NOT conclude that the best thing for eradicating poverty is through free markets, then you are ignorant or have a vested interest in socialism. If you look at this and still advocate a Chavezian type of socialism or any type of socialism, then you don't care about the poor as much as you care about advancing your own little political ideology. It is one of the reasons why I have so little respect for leftists because on one hand they claim to be the most devout supporters of the poor, but on the other hand they are too intellectually lazy to actually go and study what brings about the elimination of poverty, let alone advocate it, let alone they actually FIGHT IT.

Sadly, the older I get it seems advocating leftist political ideologies is more of a make-myself-feel-good hobby than their practical, intellectually honest, and genuinely caring capitalist counterparts. Worse still I think about how many people are kept under poverty for a hobby.


Shakespeare's Fool said...

Thank you for the graphs and the analysis.

Well done.


(Even if I find it impossible to "read" the colors accurately enough to see the differences in the countries.)

Half Canadian said...

As much crap as he gets, can we acknowledge that Pinochet left Chile better off than Castro has Cuba, and Chavez will Venezuela?

Captain Capitalism said...

Yes, we can. And god bless Pinochet. The older I get, the more I find nothing wrong with killing communists as they have a tendency to kill more people than cancer.