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Expropiation of Assets in Venezuela - Essay Example

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This paper argues that expropriation is clearly a wrong step. Studies have shown that any expropriation occurs most often after investments were made in the exploration and production phases of an industry, especially in extractive industries like mining and oil. …
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Expropiation of Assets in Venezuela
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Download file to see previous pages The legal definition of expropriation is the taking away of private property in favor of the government for public use in the greater interest of the public. Any vital industry could be subject to expropriation whenever the government sees it fit to do so but this move is also very highly controversial since it runs against the sanctity and protection of private property. It runs counter to an economic principle that business enterprises is better left to investors and that government's business is to support and stay out of the way of business enterprises. It is always a subject of contention because of another issue, which is just compensation. Private property could be taken away by force of government edict, without or very little form of just compensation to the previous owners. The question of proper and correct valuation is also a very serious issue during expropriation as the investors need to get their money back.
The compulsory seizure of private property could be applied to any property or to an industry considered as vital to the national interests. The state has always exercised three very important powers for it to govern effectively: police power, the power to impose taxes and the power of imminent domain. The last pertains to the right of the government to take away any property in the greater interest of public benefit, such as taking away privately-owned land to expand a road network, for example, or force people to move to a different location because of plans to create a dam and the place would soon be underwater. It is done all in the name of economic progress or for public safety. However, in the case of expropriation, it is an entirely different matter altogether. This paper argues that expropriation is clearly a wrong step. Discussion There are instances when expropriation is justified, such as during wartime condition in which the government needs to act quickly in the exigency of the situation. In this case, it is clearly justifiable to do so because the national interest is at stake. Failure to act would be the equivalent of gross negligence or the abdication to perform a public and civic duty. History is also replete with instances in which expropriation took place with most of them falling under this justifiable classification of protecting the national interest for the greater public good. An industry considered as vital to the national interests' such as the transport industry, the mining industry, the communications industry or the health industry could be expropriated but a move to do so must be justified to the public and to the investing community. Any expropriation will surely send shivers to investors who now would think twice about committing their money. The difference between the power of imminent domain and expropriation, when it is exercised by the government, is that the former is seen as lawful while the latter is unlawful. The first instance involves a certain process to be followed, such as proper notification of the party involved and providing for just compensation. The second instance is often very abrupt and does not require the government to justify its actions of expropriating private properties. In other words, it is simply just an act of confiscation and seizure by the government. When people started living in organized society, there is an implicit agreement in the people giving up certain rights in favor of the State for the right of being government by that State for their benefit. This is necessary because without this social contract, societies would be chaotic as no one will be able to enforce laws designed for an orderly existence. However, there are also limits imposed on the State and one of the most sacred principles in the modern society is the right to own private property. It is always protected by the laws of any nation. Expropriation is controversial in the sense ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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