Do not think about, write about or deal with human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.
Wherein we see another failure of socialism. It’s the lack of incentives and amount of government control, doncha know.
National Post – (Latest Edition)
Disaster in the socialist paradise
Life isn’t much fun these days in the world’s socialist paradise. Corrupt, dysfunctional, bankrupt, crimeridden, drug- infested and short of practically every basic commodity, Venezuela can’t keep the lights on, keep the government running or brew its own beer. Recently, six army officers caught stealing goats from a farm pleaded that they were hungry.
Venezuela has become the basket case of the Western hemisphere, a case study on how not to run a country and a living example of what happens when a left- wing government is let loose with Utopian economics. The cruel irony is that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves — 298 billion barrels — on which to build a pleasant and prosperous nation. Yet it recently began importing oil from the U.S., a country it has spent a decade deriding as a mortal enemy.
It’s a bitter fate for those who must endure it, but a telling one for anybody tempted to embrace the illusory idealism of left- wing economic theory. Seventeen years ago, Hugo Chavez came to power armed with vast oil resources and a populist program based on redistribution of wealth from the richest to the poorest.
Chavez died three years ago, having led the country to the brink of collapse while steadily increasing his own dictatorial powers. The selfproclaimed defender of the masses, a student of Karl Marx and admirer of Fidel Castro (and personal favourite of Naomi Klein), Chavez ended up an ally of Iraq, Iran and Libya and an implacable foe of the U. S., which he accused of backing a coup aimed at removing him from office.
While the country skidded toward penury, his daughter, Maria Gabriela, amassed a fortune estimated at $4.2 billion, safely spirited away in foreign banks.
Perfect socialist irony. The daughter was one of the altruistic wonders produced by Utopia.
During his years in power, Chavez was championed by the radical left for his proclaimed attachment to the poor and disadvantaged. But his government’s spending schemes only managed to empty the treasury while frightening away foreign firms and drying up investment. He seized assets without compensation, nationalized foreign firms, persecuted critics and set off an exodus of scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs and others, who took their drive, education and skills with them. He fired 19,000 people from the national oil company, even though oil exports produced 95 per cent of foreign earnings. Chavez used the money to subsidize everything from schools to health clinics to gasoline, which was great while it lasted, but when revenue from oil exports began to dry up, his successors were forced into draconian cuts that become harsher by the week.
Now the country is among the most violent and crimeridden in the world. Shopping malls, grocery stores and food trucks are targets of mass looting attacks. Four- hour blackouts are a daily occurrence, and the government recently put public employees on a two day work week to save power supplies. Many people use the empty days to stand in line for food. A food riot on Wednesday reportedly left two people dead; and the Venezuelan Chamber of Food recently estimated producers had only 15 days worth of inventory left. In a recent survey, 45 per cent of Venezuelans said they struggle to find the money to feed themselves. Everything from diapers to medicine is scarce, the biggest beer company announced it will shut down for lack of foreign currency to buy imported barley and inflation is so out-of-control the government can’t afford the cost of repeatedly supplying new loads of currency.
There is little hint of improvement down the road. In a December election, the ruling party lost control of the legislative assembly for the first time since 1999. A petition to force the recall of President Nicolas Maduro has garnered more than two million signatures. But Maduro is unlikely to go easily, and the government already claims efforts to oust it are part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.
Appalled by the level of the crisis, Pope Francis recently wrote a personal letter to Maduro lamenting the impact on Venezuela’s 30 million people. Contents of the letter were not disclosed, but prayer may be all the hope left for a country that was supposed to be saved by socialism. It’s a lesson for every country, no matter how wealthy or rich in resources, that Utopian economics are pleasant enough in theory, but dangerous in practice.
The apologists for this statist nonsense will undoubtedly have something to say about Venezuela’s implementation. The rule about socialist\communism is that, if it fails, it wasn’t implemented properly. Apparently it’s never been implemented properly. Spot the error in this logic. Socialism works except when it doesn’t.
Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.”
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies