### Yes, the Problem is Socialism!

Almost every socialist regime has its admirers in the Labour party, Cuba, Nicaragua, Yugoslavia, Romania, even the USSR, at least up until their collapse and then the line is always the same "it wasn't real socialism". Venezuela is hardly an exception; now its reached a breaking point.

It was praised and held up as an alternative to "austerity and cuts" by Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingstone, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, Owen Jones and others. Now poverty has reached over 80 per cent, infant mortality has surged by ten thousand per cent, the minimum wage has fallen by three quarters, the homicide rate is over ten times the global average, inflation is over 900 per cent and the political class is reacting by reverting itself into a dictatorship, yet its the same excuse being trotted out.

"Hitler wasn't a real Christian", "Venezuela isn't real socialism" in the end it's the same argument.

Its almost hard to imagine that while sitting on the world's largest oil reserves and Venezuela having, two decades ago been one of the richest countries in Latin America (and one of the richest in the world as late as the 1920s) its now fallen to a state of tragedy, borrowing and begging until tax recites come in. The socialist governments under Chavez and Maduro seized private property, locked up opposition members, nationalized public utilities and saw through an almost 20 per cent decline in GDP last year, with imports down by over 50 per cent and a state-wide collapse in industry.

Still, there's a whole variety of crack pots who live in denial over Venezuela. Venezuela has a weakened private sector, yes but private enterprise is a necessary not a sufficient condition for greater trade, commerce and prosperity.

Today the country has the third most regulated economy in the world, price controls set below production costs make it unfeasible for small businesses to market staple goods, petrol is sold at well under market value requiring huge subsidies, the average Venezuelan has lost almost 20 pounds in the last year. Reports of zoos being raided for flamingo meat are not all that uncommon. It would almost be a joke had the cost not been all too human–this is invariably what socialism produces.

The poverty reduction and social programs are tied to political loyalties and since the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, funded through the countries oil reserves. Even before Chavez the country experienced a false boom which raised its currency and in conjunction with its socialist policies created its dependency on oil (as other Venezuelan-exports became very expensive) provisions under FIEM to counter expectant, falling oil prices were reversed by Chavez and the socialist regime.

Soon it became that even on a good year, Chavez's central planning of the economy ran a deficit, add to that the nationalization of oil companies and the break down of OPEC, oil prices became unstable. Rather than implement fiscal responsibility, the state borrowed huge amounts leading to unsustainable levels of debt.

That's not even the worst part–huge amounts of corruption exist in Venezuela–the supreme court is filled with partisan representatives of Chavez and Maduro, paramilitary groups are supported by the regime, opposition candidates are arrested at gun point, multiple different exchange rates exist so foreign currency can be sold on a black market. Calls for a recall referendum are denied, state control is extended over the media, the national assembly is filled with Maduro supporters with the power to rewrite the constitution, and on and on.

The consequences for ordinary people are catastrophic, grocery stores were left with empty shelves when PDVAL the main publicly owned importer of goods, tasked with distributing subsidized stock left tones of food to spoil in government owned warehouses. Soon enough people realize its virtually impossible to have a state that big without corruption, resulting in riots and other public demonstrations; PDVAL was being funded by revenue collected from those same petroleum operations. When oil prices dropped, there was no profit to be made in distributing the food, so it was left to spoil. So much for the inherent "selfishness" of capitalism.

Its not just food either, toilet paper is a commodity that no longer exists in the country, 80 per cent of medicine is no longer available sustaining a health crises and the state has since implemented a two day work week to save on electricity. This was all a socialist experiment gone right.

What Venezuela has taught us is that a country is not rich in proportion to its natural resources. Without the rule of law, the principles of justice and liberty and the enterprise economy to develop those resources its wealth is immaterial. As Churchill once put it:

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

1. Venezuela's dependency on oil is a result of socialist policies, price controls, over regulation, seizing private companies etc.

### Set Theory

This post is a very brief introduction to some of the basic concepts of set theory. Set theory is a branch of mathematical-logic, that has wide applications across disciplines. Its not just used in the obvious way of studying the foundations of mathematics by mathematicians but also in physics, social science, and even by philosophers as a theory of semantics for predicate logic (although you can do propositional logic without set theory).

A set is a collection of elements, or members; the notation for a set is specified by listing its components. So the set of even numbers can be represented a
$E: \left \{ 2,4,6,8 ... \right \}$$E: \left \{ x: x > 0 \wedge even\right \}$ Either of these notations is valid. Further, elements of a set can only be in that set, once. So   $E: \left \{ 2,2,2,4,4,6,8 ... \right \} = E: \left \{ 2,4,6,8 ... \right \}$ The notation used to indicate that something is an element of a set, is using the Greek symbol "epsilon". That is: $4 \epsilon S$…

### William Lane Craig and the Hartle-Hawking No Boundary Proposal

Classical standard hot Big Bang cosmology represents the universe as beginning from a singular dense point, with no prior description or explanation of classical spacetime. Quantum cosmology is different in that it replaces the initial singularity with a description in accord with some law the "quantum mechanical wave function of the universe", different approaches to quantum cosmology differ in their appeal either to describe the origin of the material content of the universe e.g., Tyron 1973, Linde 1983a, Krauss 2012 or the origin of spacetime itself e.g., Vilenkin 1982, Linde 1983b, Hartle-Hawking 1983, Vilenkin 1984.

These last few proposals by Vilenkin, Hartle-Hawking and others are solutions to the Wheeler-DeWitt equation and exist in a category of proposals called "quantum gravity cosmologies" which make cosmic applications of an approach to quantum gravity called "closed dynamic triangulation" or CDT (also known as Euclidean quantum gravity). I&#…

### Can inflation be eternal into the past?

Back in 2003 a paper appeared on the arXiv titled "Inflationary spacetimes are not past complete" that was published by Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin which has had considerable amounts of attention online. The theorem is rather uninteresting but simple and doesn't require a very complicated understanding of math. So I thought I'd explain the result here.

It's purpose is to demonstrate that inflationary models are geodesically incomplete into the past which they take as "synonymous to a beginning" but Vilenkin stresses that the theorem can be extended to non inflationary models so long as the condition of the theorem that the average rate of expansion is never below zero is met. These models too then are incomplete into the past. Consider the metric for an FRW universe with an exponential expansion

Where the scale factor is

Since the eternal inflation model is a "steady state cosmology" the mass density and the Hubble paramet…