HillcrestBlog by "San Diego News Service" (619) 757-4909

"San Diego News Service" covers hard news, features and reviews for local and national print media, and maintains, "HillcrestBlog." Address: 3907 Georgia St., #15, San Diego 92103-3548. Our editor is Leo E. Laurence, J.D., Copy Ed.: Martin Brickson. Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California. Call news tips to (619) 757-4909 (days), Nights: (619) 220-8686 (fax also). leopowerhere@msn.com Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Thursday, October 16, 2008


San Diego -- "(G)overnment bank-investment schemes are routinely called nationalization programs," writes Steve Lohr of the New York Times News Service.
"But, that is not likely in the United States, where nationalization is a word to avoid, given the aversion to anything that hunts of socialism," Lohr wrote on Oct. 14th.
Yet, the U-S-A has used the socialistic method of nationalization several times in his history; with railroads, coal mines and steel mills.
Now, it is taking a large financial interest in banks because it is deemed "in the national interest."
But, isn't that still socialism, many are asking?
"There are a number of examples of nationalizations which have occurred recently, most notably in Venezuela," says economics Professor Jim Gerber at San Diego State University (SDSU). He also serves as the director of the SDSU Center for Latin American Studies. He was interviewed exclusively by San Diego News Service.
"There are also historical legacies of companies, like the Mexican National Oil Company, (but) they are of a much earlier era
"In Latin America, (the nationalizations) are mostly for ideological reasons. They are not in response to a crisis, such as the nationalizations in the U-S right now," Prof. Gerber explained.
"A nationalization is a situation in which the government takes control, ownership of a private entity, such as a bank or a manufacturing firm," Prof. Gerber added. There are also partial nationalizations, but they are still they essentially the same economic - and often socialistic - device.
"In the current situation, American firms that are receiving investments by the government, the government becomes a stockholder in a sense (but) there are other private owners as well.
"The term 'nationalization' in this case is kind of a unique situation that doesn't really fit what is happening in Latin America.
"There was an example in 1982 (in Chile), between the time of the military coup in 1973 and the beginning of the Latin American debt crisis in 1988.
"In 1982, when the crisis became deep and extremely severe, all the banks were nationalized for a short period of time.
"That is very similar to the U-S case (now), although (in) the U-S, the government's position is much more tentative than the Chilean government was, or than the European governments are (now), particularly the U-K government," Prof. Gerber added.
"People are saying (these U-S banks) are being nationalized because of the insertion of U-S government capital. That allows the U-S government to have a significant say in the activities of these previously, entirely, private enterprises (banks, etc.)," Prof. Gerber said.
Still, there are many today who are worried that the Bush administration is moving too fast towards a socialistic solution to the current, economic crisis.
Copyright, 2008, by journalist Leo E. Laurence, J.D., leopowerhere@msn.com (619) 757-4909


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