How Venezuela Gives Socialism a Bad Name

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/30/2014 01:30:00 AM
Living the socialist dream? Shortages of basic goods abound.
 It is hard to dislike the aim of socialism--egalitarianism in resource distribution among the plenty. However, years and years of experience with these regimes from the Soviet Union and all sorts of Marxist-Leninist offshoots demonstrates that, in practice, the opposite holds true. In China, for instance, the Communist Party elite--ostensibly the vanguard of the proletariat--hardly paved the way for more equitable distribution of wealth but merely concentrate political-economic power in the hands of a few.  It's the same story nearly everywhere you go.

The most notable current experiment in mounting a holy war against all things capitalist is Venezuela where the same rhetoric is evident: self-styled "champions of the people" expropriate all and sundry businesses by accusing them of hoarding and manipulating. A few months ago we had the tragicomic example of toilet paper making the country the butt of jokes internationally On a related note, we now have baby's diapers:
The falling oil prices that are providing relief to drivers around the world threaten to bring more misery to the life of Milagro Alvarez and millions of other Venezuelans, whose country depends almost exclusively on oil revenue. The math teacher has been getting up before dawn each day and rushing out to hunt for disposable diapers, one of scores of products that have been in short supply due to price restrictions and currency controls put in place by the socialist government long before the slide in petroleum prices.

"The government says we're a rich country, so why do we have to stand in line and beg to buy diapers?" said Alvarez, standing under a pink umbrella to protect herself and her 5-month-old daughter Annabeth from the blazing sun after three hours queued up in front of a Farmatodo store. Now Venezuela is suddenly a lot less rich, and many fear those lines will just get longer.
It is perhaps the ultimate indignity to have to scour stores for dipeys, but that's what's happening in the country that ostensibly has the world's largest petroleum reserves. As things get worse as fuel prices drop, Venezuela is trying to prove running dogs of capitalism wrong that default is inevitable. (This strikes me as odd since the whole point of waging global class warfare is to expropriate the expropriators as per Marx's famous dictum.) Anyway...
The government has called for an emergency summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to discuss cutting production to raise prices — a position that could face opposition by other cartel members. But it has given no hint of how it will make up for the revenue loss in the meantime. President Nicolas Maduro has assured Wall Street that the country won't default on its debt and has told poor Venezuelans that their social benefits are safe. "There'll be no catastrophe or collapse," Maduro said last week. "Venezuela has guaranteed all the resources it needs to keep prospering."
There is also the accusation that, price and currency controls aside, hard up officials and military men are actually among those responsible for creating these shortages:
President Nicolas Maduro's government said on Thursday it had taken over warehouses around Venezuela crammed with medical goods and food that "bourgeois criminals" were hoarding for speculation and contraband. The socialist government says businessmen and wealthy opponents are trying to sabotage the economy to bring Maduro down, while also seeking to make profits from hoarding, price-gouging and smuggling across the border to Colombia.

Critics say 15 years of failed policies of state intervention are to blame for the OPEC nation's widespread shortages, high inflation and apparently recessionary economy. They accuse nouveau riche officials and military officers of illegal business practices...Critics say Venezuela's security forces have been at the heart of the trade for years, and contend contraband will not go away as long as state subsidies and exchange controls create price disparities offering tempting opportunities.
I foresee a violent reprisal against Maduro and his fellow nutters, but I am less certain that they will succeed. In the end, you create your own hell voting for such riffraff in the first place. Once entrenched, well, they're pretty hard to remove.