Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun May 6 11:13:33 MDT 2001

Julio Huato:
>I didn't mean to provide a complete analysis of the Sandinista failure.  I'm
>not qualified for that.  But, regarding your comments, growth rates depend
>on the starting point.  If the starting point is low, small absolute changes
>translate into large growth rates.  When the Sandinistas arrived in power
>Nicaragua's GDP was very low.

Actually, the more important question is income distribution. GDP was on
the increase during the worst years of the Somoza dictatorship as well,
when cattle ranching exploded to satisfy the demand for beef exports. In
Nicaragua, the more important measurement is caloric intake, health,
education, etc. All these things showed dramatic improvement.

>That is no assessment of NAFTA, but it seems I
>don't need to give my opinion about NAFTA since you already decided for me
>what that is.

George Snedeker surmised that you could provide figures that showed
dramatic improvement under NAFTA, just as I provided data that demonstrated
economic contraction and poverty. So perhaps the truth in some
postmodernist fashion can not be discovered. In any case, why don't you
make the economic case for NAFTA? As Mine pointed out, your posts are much
richer in Marxist homilies than actual data.

>resources.  Obviously, the military effort drained a lot of the energy of
>the Sandinista government, even if at first -- if I remember correctly --
>the US (under Carter) was not backing up the contras as it did later (under
>Reagan).  The fact is that when the task is to obtain more from a unit of
>resource (labor time), then the brute force public-planning approach runs
>into trouble.  But with a voluntarist frame of mind, this is immaterial.

Brute force public-planning? This hardly describes Nicaragua, which bent
over backwards not to alienate the anti-Somoza bourgeoisie that had
supported it. In fact, the Moreno-ites and the Maoists in Nicaragua tried
to overthrow the government because of its alleged reformism. Nicaragua was
a mixed-economy that was based on an armed working class and peasantry. It
took initiatives comparable to Kerala in India. It never tried to dictate
to the myriad of small to medium sized agricultural and retail firms. This
is the reality of Nicaragua. The economy collapsed not because of brute
force public-planning but because of imperialist aggression and Soviet

Louis Proyect
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