Annals of Rigged Baselines

Loved this bit from Food Minister Carlos Osorio,

“In 2003, Misión Alimentación was launched with five shops and today we have 22,306 shops throughout the country, an increase of 439,000 percent”.

Oh, c’mon ministro, as long as your boasts are going to be in the hundreds-of-thousands of percents, you might as well go the whole hog…

“In 2002, just ahead of its launch, Misión Alimentación had zero shops and today we have 22,306 throughout the country, an increase of infinity percent”.

16 thoughts on “Annals of Rigged Baselines

  1. Osorio is the new standard for an intellectual in the revolutionary Venezuela. It is sad and disgraceful to see an ignorant like him making transcendental decisions for the country, but hey, that’s the 21st century socialism. Things like this always remind me of Fidel giving an interview circa 1982 when he admitted shamelessly, more than 20 years after their win over Batista, that they “did not know anything about economy” when they took power. Of course, they had “very good intentions”, but had no fucking clue on how create wealth and prosperity for the Cubans. Even more sadly, after more that 50 years of Cuban revolution they still have no fucking clue on how to create wealth and prosperity. This manga de mamarrachos that govern Venezuela are even worse than the barbudos of 1958. I doubt that the majority of them have any good intentions (although I guess some do) and I am certain that most of them lack the most basic education and experience to do their jobs competently. It is a total disgrace.

    On a different note, I saw Chavez today trying to play a guiro with a salsa group called Madera. It was painful to watch him trying unsuccessfully to get any rhythmic sound out of the percussion instrument. I know that Chavez is not a musician but I’d bet anything that one day he will tell an embellished story about the days when he played percussion for grupo Madera. Being the mythomaniac that he is, he will make that one of his epic experiences. Chavez is as good a president as he is at playing the guiro.

    Utterly incompetent.


    • I sort of wonder about that, though. Worldwide, there are 18,887 Starbucks shops…can there really be more Mercals and PDVALs than Starbuckses!?!?


      • Since 2003, there have been 2,920 days. His 22,306 stores come out to roughly 7.6 new stores opening … every day.

        Yeah, that’s totally believable.


        • I’m guessing the story here is that they started signing up pre-existing neighborhood bodegas and abastos as outlets for Mercal/PDVAL products, so more than launching stores that would involve adding their logo to stores that were there all along.

          Either that or the number is totally made up…


  2. Unlike many in government, at least he (or one of his staff) could do the arithmetic correctly, even if the premise is absurd. Chavez himself, has shown difficulties doing such calculations.


    • Did he, though? When I divide 22301 (22306 minus 5,t he total increase) by 5, I get a 446,000% increase.

      Maybe by demonstrating his bad math, presenting stats in a way that seems true enough to be believable, he’s angling for a job with the CNE? His answer is pretty close to true, though, which might be enough to rule him out. (I don’t know of any Chavista who wants error margins of less than 2% there. That is just TOO close for comfort.)


    • Yes, but it’s not about the arithmetic. Arithmetic has nothing to do with this. It’s about understanding what they are talking about. Anybody that talks about an increase of 439,000% is either a complete ignorant or a minister for the Chavez government (or as in this case, both). He would have sounded much more intelligent had he used the infinite percent suggested by FT. Besides, that’s perfectly correct arithmetic too.
      This reminded me of a Seinfeld episode called “The Soup”. Elaine is arguing whether the arithmetic is correct or not while Jerry is concerned about the absurdity of 439,000%.

      Jerry owes a meal to his acquaintance and when they are in a restaurant, the friend only has a soup, Elaine and Jerry are then trying to define whether a soup counts as a meal or it does not. They can never reach a consensus as they use different criterions in this “scientific” classification – Jerry is concerned with a social aspect, whereas Elaine focuses on gastronomy:
      ELAINE. What kind of soup did he get?
      JERRY. I don’t know. Consommé or something.
      ELAINE. Consommé? Mmm…
      JERRY. What?
      ELAINE. Well, that’s really not a meal, Jerry. I mean, if he had gotten chicken gumbo or matzo ball… even mushroom barley, then I would agree with you. Those are very hearty soups.
      JERRY. Elaine, you’re missing the whole point.
      ELAINE. What?
      JERRY. The meal is the act of sitting down with him. It doesn’t matter what you get. As long as he’s sitting at that restaurant, it’s a meal.
      ELAINE. Was it a cup or a bowl? (Jerry expresses disbelief) I’m just curious.
      JERRY. A bowl, okay?
      ELAINE. Did he crumble any crackers in it? (Jerry is getting upset, Elaine repeats her question forcefully) Did he crumble any crackers in it?
      JERRY. As a matter of fact, he did.
      ELAINE. Oh, well, crackers in a bowl. That could be a meal…


    • Yeah, but that chart used the fake government data that confuses employment with occupation. Unemployment in Venezuela, using the same definition as in all the other countries, is at least 30%.


  3. Instead of shops opened, can we see estimates of sales and employment figures?
    What is the average sales/day for each of these outlets?
    How many Chavistas are employed at each shop?

    Then what is the quality of the food? Is it of China origin and of questionable safety full of carcinagens? Would Hugo eat food from there? Is it fresh?

    Is a communist monopoly much worse than a free-market monopoly?


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