The Peoples World (CPUSA) is just as eager to run “free market” experiments through the mud just as I am always eager to point out the failures of “communitarian” economics (oxymoron). The difference is that they need to create their “facts”, I do not. The basic formula for this deception is quite simple and it only fools the truly ignorant who have abandoned logic and reason.
The tactic is simple; start your argument/debate/opinion with a current issue, say it was involved in any principle of a “free market” then point out any and all problems caused by that so-called “free market”
Too busy creating the facts to actually research the topic
The latest example appeared in the Peoples World on Friday by John Wojcik titled “Kyrgyztan; a ‘free market’ disaster” in which the author shows how easy it is to play fast and loose with the facts. Of course getting anyone to agree with your point only confirms the ignorance of your audience. Ready? Lets debunk some communists!
Mr. Wojcik’s assumption is that the collapse of Kyrgyztan was the direct result of “forced” liberalization at the hand of the WTO. Wojcik goes on to say that “The policy has left the country with a few wealthy autocrats and devastated the lives of the overwhelming majority of its people.” He is correct that the country was in a constant state of autocratic control; he is also correct that the divide between the wealthy and the poor was a near indestructible force. However, what Mr. Wojcik doesn’t get into is how and why this happened (It couldn’t be done honestly because he would have to condemn communism and actually admit that there was no “free market” principles ever successfully practiced in Kyrgyztan)
Liberal logic and economics
(its scary that they even attempt this)
(From Mr. Wojcik) “Kyrgyzstan, in 1998, became the first former Soviet republic to be accepted into the World Trade Organization.”
In the next paragraph he states that “numerous” reports confirmed that the country was well on its way to be a capitalist success story. Then he immediately cites a report (in 2002) from a Moscow based journalist, who writes for a publication no one has ever heard, of citing [sic] the failures of a forced economic plan and “how forced democracy” resorted in a return to autocratic rule. Duh. This is the same result throughout history; a “forced” economic plan has a 100% failure rate since the beginning of [civilized] time. Ironically, does Mr. Wojcik realize that by using that reference he has just contradicted his claim that Kyrgyztan was a “free market”?
The Moscow based journalist claims that “Entry into the World Trade Organization didn’t do a single thing for Kyrgyzstan.” He is correct, he is also correct in this statement; “Worse still, its experiment with democracy, which according to the dogma preached by the fundamentalist neo-liberals is supposed to walk hand in hand with free markets, has, since joining the WTO, been abandoned for the usual Central Asian autocracy”.
So what really happened?
Kyrgyztan’s troubling break from Communism and attempt to establish a democracy (in the 1990’s) led them to more restrictive regulations than they had even under the former Soviet Union. The regulations I speak of were not limited only to “free trade” but rather every aspect of day to day life. This eventually led to revolution (multiple times since its break from Soviet control; i.e. 2005 Tulip Revolution and this years revolution) But none of these far reaching restrictions enforced by bureaucrats were ever reformed or abolished…they grew. A year after the 2005 Tulip Revolution: “Local entrepreneurs still complain of bribery, bureaucracy, and an ineffective tax system, while foreign investors worry about political instability”
“So far our government has been using Soviet methods to fight corruption,” he commented. “They publicly accuse some official [of bribery], punish him, and send one or two to prison. But it is the system itself that is corrupt.”
And at the end of that same 2005 article:
“The EIU report predicts a further deterioration of Kyrgyzstan’s economy amid the government’s inability to reassert control over the country, to create jobs, or to raise living standards.”
Only used for "favors" in a democracy
This week Gary Thomas dove into the problems leading up to the new revolution and lo and behold we find out again that government corruption once again is a major factor in the destruction of the country’s economy. What was the tipping point? Government announcing a 200 percent rate hike in utilities. Do Governments control utility prices in a “free market”?
Kyrgyztan native Alina Lepeshkina Walker, produced a study for the McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis (2002) in which she addresses all of the major areas of concern and how they have affected the nation. Not one sector receives a favorable rating nor does it reflect anything like a “free market” experiment. I’ll highlight a few of her findings here:
(As of 2000) 90% of television and 70% of print media were government controlled and working for the incumbent Akaev (came to power and formed “The Supreme Soviet” after the collapse of the Soviet Union) campaign. Not only couldnt other candidates get their message to the people but right before the election and right after the next favorable candidate was arrested. She summarizes the current state of Kyrgyztan’s dire situation; The only country[former Soviet territory] that was most committed to multi-party democracy is “now responsible for arbitrary arrests and crackdown on independent media”
The Law and the Judicial system
There is a saying in Kyrgyztan “What cant be bought for money, can be bought for more money.” This applies to traffic stops as well as court cases.
Funding for education was, and still is, largely dependent on aid from other countries. “After declaring its independence, Kyrgyzstan continued the legacy of Soviet-era education system the main idea of which was to educate all of its citizens.” She also finds that “But even though the education is available to most, the quality of it is low. One of the most prevailing reasons is low pay for instructors. Teachers educated during soviet times usually have the knowledge but lack motivation to effectively impart that knowledge to their students. Currently there is a brain-drain where brightest people are trying to leave the country.”
So I would like to ask Mr. Wojcik something; What principles and practices of a free market were ever in place in Kyrgyztan? If there ever were any they were crushed by the majority rule style “democracy” that you and your party of historical failures advocate for.
By attaching the involvement of the WTO and “free market” in your article does not make your claim true. Kyrgyztan has repeatedly failed long before the WTO and failed multiple times after. The only common denominator in the equation has been the tribalism of “democracy” leaving entire nations subject to the arbitrary whims of the bureaucrats needed to run a system of corruption.
So, according to the CPUSA’s logic, a country who has never practiced any aspect of the free market is obviously a failure of the “free market”. What scares me is that this rationale makes perfect sense to the left.