Venezuela

Venezuelan Bolivar Now Worth More as Toilet Paper Than as Money

Another triumph of socialism

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DAVID HOLT

Back in February, when the Venezuelan government introduced its official and complicated three-tier exchange rate, 190 bolivars bought you one U.S. dollar on the black market—which is where real people without government connections shop for hard currency in Caracas. Now, just a few months later, the bolivar is worth about half that much. This is a brilliant testimony to the innovative power of the government's socialist policies: faced with a crushing shortage of toilet paper, the Bolivarian regime has converted its own currency into butt-wipe.

Bloomberg notes:

The stunning collapse of Venezuela's bolivar in black market trading this month—it fell to as low as 423 bolivars per dollar from 279 at the start of the month—has left Venezuelans scratching their heads,  with many wondering why it has sunk below the value of gold and hard currency the central bank has to back it.

Dolartoday.com

I may just be speculating here, but the Venezuelan government's bold effort to totally divorce the country's economy from supply, demand, and market mechanisms of any sort may be rendering the bolivar a tad flabby. Having subsidized the price of gasoline—unintentionally for neighboring Colombiaimposed rationing to purchase even basic commodities, and driven doctors to flee from what has become a barter economy, socialist policies just may have dinged the value of Venezuelan currency.

Actual buying and selling of goods and services in Venezuela now requires dollars.

NEXT: Prof. Renee Lettow Lerner, guest-blogging on the civil jury

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  1. The one truly inevitable outcome of Marxism as a national policy.

    1. Nah, I’d just say “Failure” in general is the inevitable outcome.

      1. Because having money worth more than toilet paper is certainly not guaranteed by marxism.

      2. Whatever do you mean? They have succeeded in remedying a shortage of paper so worthless as to be only worth taking shit off you with.

        1. Something tells me the Bolivar will be more effective in giving you fissures than actually getting you clean.

          It will literally be a pain in the ass.

        2. Well then that’s the definition of marxism, isn’t it?

          Step 1: Create problem
          Step 2: ?????
          Step 3: “Fix” problem.

          1. I’m fairness to Marx, he didn’t come up with the problems he sought to address. Those were holdovers of pre-industrial, pre-capitalist primitivism continuing to beggar the human condition. Marx just set about baking crushing poverty into the human experience universally and permanently.

            1. No, that’s not right. Marx mistook his observation of nature as a requisite and not a result. He fabricated the problem, then he set out to fix it.

              1. He also completely misunderstood the theory of evolution, and then tried to apply it to matters having little or nothing to do with biology. Nit an uncommon mistake for the era, but the Social Darwinists are mocked and Marx still respected in some quarters. Go figure.

                1. “Marx still respected in some quarters”

                  I blame Hegel for that. A fraud of a philosopher who realized that if you string enough vague and important-sounding nonsense together, then it can be asserted as a justification for anything at all. You simply need to keep a serious demeanor, continually repeat the assertion, and under no circumstances attempt to explain yourself or simplify your language. Stick to your guns and people will eventually convince themselves that you must know what you’re talking about, and they’re simply too dim to understand it.

                  Marx noticed this neat little trick and coined his own version under the name Dialectical Materialism. It’s deliberately impenetrable, semi-mystical nonsense that is still repeated by “serious” Marxists to this day. It’s the ultimate fallback since it means literally anything you want it to mean, and you can always use it to demonstrate that the other party doesn’t “truly understand” Marxism.

                2. “Marx still respected in some quarters”

                  I blame Hegel for that. A fraud of a philosopher who realized that if you string enough vague and important-sounding nonsense together, then it can be asserted as a justification for anything at all. You simply need to keep a serious demeanor, continually repeat the assertion, and under no circumstances attempt to explain yourself or simplify your language. Stick to your guns and people will eventually convince themselves that you must know what you’re talking about, and they’re simply too dim to understand it.

                  Marx noticed this neat little trick and coined his own version under the name Dialectical Materialism. It’s deliberately impenetrable, semi-mystical nonsense that is still repeated by “serious” Marxists to this day. It’s the ultimate fallback since it means literally anything you want it to mean, and you can always use it to demonstrate that the other party doesn’t “truly understand” Marxism.

  2. I may just be speculating here, but the Venezuelan government’s bold effort to totally divorce the country’s economy from supply, demand, and market mechanisms of any sort may be rendering the bolivar a tad flabby.

    It’s amazing how when you try to make your money not worth anything it becomes worthless.

  3. None of this would have happened without US imperialism!

    1. Indeed, had we left Cuba in the hands of spain, Cuban communists would not have ideologically infested their south american cousins!

    2. Somewhere in the developing world, someone has a hangnail. I blame US imperialism.

  4. Venezuelan Bolivar Now Worth More as Toilet Paper Than as Money

    Solution to the tp shortage?

    1. Please don’t squeeze the Bolivar.

    2. “oh man, i just dropped 100 thousand bolivars…”

  5. People are actually saying that Venezuela’s problems stem from the “fact” that it has abandoned socialism. No, really. I guess that their faith in socialism (or what they think it is) is that strong.

  6. Look, didn’t joe assure us that these politicians are all democratically elected, so it’s all good? I’m positive I remember him saying that.

    1. God bless them. Doing hard work in some of the toughest neighborhoods in the country.

      1. God bless them. Doing hard Socialism’s work in some of the toughest neighborhoods in the country hemisphere.

    2. Yes. joe was one of those who believes the legitimacy of a government derives solely from that government plausibly claiming (for certain values of “plausible”) that it received a majority of votes in an election.

      What the government actually does is irrelevant. Mass slaughter, impoverishment, violations of basic human rights, none of that can impair the legitimacy of a democratically elected government.

      1. I’m sure his attitude would be exactly the same for, say, a democratically elected Pinochet, right?

      2. Tony is right in there with him

      3. Mass slaughter, impoverishment, violations of basic human rights, none of that can impair the legitimacy of a democratically elected government.

        Which is why the monarchies of yore scarcely had tax rates above 7% and the post-war democratic era saw them climb as high as +90%. You have a much harder time indicting a system that is “of the people”.

    3. “Trust democracy”

      1. Why would you do that?

        1. Merely repeating the sage advice of JoefromLowell on the issue.

  7. Wouldn’t it be better if they wiped their asses with government officials ?

    1. That would be adding crap to your butt.

  8. Talking about banana republics: Guatemala’s central bank chief arrested.

    Guatemala’s central bank chief was arrested on Thursday, the latest high-profile casualty of a spiralling corruption scandal that has already forced the resignation of the bank’s vice-president, and the energy and mines minister and the arrest of the country’s tax chief.

  9. But…but…socialism can’t fail! It has…Top.Men! And a Five-Year Plan! They’ve been sabotaged by Kulaks! Wreckers! Hoarders!

    1. No, no , no, this time it’s those evil market manipulators.

      For years, the U.S. has used its dominant position in the global financial system to use sanctions to punish people it doesn’t like ? without much evidence those sanctions help to change the underlying behavior. The Venezuelan sanctions reflect a new degree of pettiness, given Venezuela’s own fragility in the face of depressed oil prices. And because of a confluence of issues ? including the obviously bogus rationalization for these sanctions ? these sanctions may backfire on several levels, both in U.S. efforts to undermine Maduro’s rule, but also in U.S. efforts to pretend its sanctions represent anything but an easy way to selectively enforce obedience to its demands.

      1. Uh-oh. Pres. Obama signed the order for sanctions against Venezuela, so this column is critical of him directly. Thus, Salon is racist, no?

        1. Yes… YES! His half-white privilege is showing!

      2. BTW, the article is ‘sponsored’, by some company who isn’t watching what its name is hung on.

      3. Holy shit….I’d never ventured into the comments section at Salon. Cringe worthy, I tell you, cringe worthy.

        1. Like crossing the fence out of wayward pines… You can’t unsee that shit.

  10. But what about income inequality? That surely must have gone down, yes?

    Don’t you people understand that economic equality is the most important issue of our time?

    1. economic equality

    2. Income inequality had gone down. Nobody is making any money.

        1. You might be joking, but that’s seriously what Bernie Sanders and others of his ilk believe. It’s okay to have slower growth or even zero growth at all if it means less inequality.

          Today Uncle Bernie blasted the immorality and decadence of having 23 choices of deodorant when there are poor people in America.

          1. And is completely unable to bring himself to understand that 23 brands of deodorant means that what was once a rich man’s luxury is easily affordable to people on welfare.

            1. Based on his appearance, Bernie looks like a guy who regards capitalist hygienic products and dermatology a decadent luxury unbecoming a good socialist.

              1. I hate bath dodgers.

                1. That pun stinks.

                  1. So, I gather, does Bernie.

          2. From experience – poor people should buy the cheap stuff if they want to find a job.

          3. But if we had fewer choices, he would claim there was a monopoly, and blame THAT for the poverty in America.

            1. The only solution is “no choice”. Because corporations!

      1. I’d bet that high ranking Party members are making money.

        1. Who needs money when you can take it by force?

  11. Keep those presses running.

  12. 190 bolivars for a U.S. dollar on the black market? What’s the official exchange rate?

    1. my google is broke

    2. Like, 6 or something even more laughable.

    3. They have like 3 different ones depending on your socialist cred. I’m only half joking, they really don’t have a single official rate.

  13. Capitalist pigs in the US government are to blame according to the party.

    Hilarious.

    1. Fuck off, Tulpa. Jesus fucking Christ you’re pathetic.

      1. Eat shit, asshole.

        I’m not Tulpa except in your disease-ridden mind. I thought you were ignoring me since I exposed your joystick obsession anyway.

        1. So Tony is the only legit Prog on the board?

      2. As I was out the past three days…I must have missed something …. Epi?

        1. Tulpa accidentally confirmed that he’s Bo and a bunch of other troll handles. It’s likely that he’s this shitstain too. And if he isn’t, well fuck him anyway.

          1. I second that.

        2. Read up, dude. Tulpa outed as Bo and shriek. Shocking, I know.

          1. Whoooooo….I must go read that! Back in a bit.

            1. And swampybum.

              Mustn’t ignore his anal fixation

            2. Daaaaaamn.

              I guess that explains a few things – and is just a touch alarming. Is this Mary Stack II – Commentary Booglaoo?

          2. I don’t buy it.

            It’s an attractive theory because it does explain Bo’s inability to learn, and Shriek’s non sentience. Sock puppets don’t have independent personalities that develop but rather are entirely the product of the puppeteer’s mind.

            And another point in the theory’s favor is that perhaps Tulpa was actually trying to create some half assed tulpas.

            But…I doubt Tulpa is smart enough to pull this off. Granted, shriek could be instantiated with a fairly straightforward Perl script. But I don’t see how, given his failure rate with other sock-puppets, he could have kept Bo going so long.

            1. Did you catch where he said he was cunnivore in the old days? He’s been at this for a long time.

              1. Still a more worthy social experiment than Michelle Obama’s thesis

              2. No amount of experience can make a sufficiently untalented person stop sucking.

            2. What happened to the theory this was a Politico person?

              1. What happened to the theory this was a Politico person?

                Johnny Longtorso’s theory was that PBP was Wiegel who writes at Slate I think.

                1. I thought it was “Cara Bowers”?

                  1. I thought it was “Cara Bowers”?

                    Hmm, I missed that one.

                    1. That was the name of an innocent girl. Don’t harass her.

                    2. I harass no one. It seemed a bit of a stretch of a theory for me…just wonder if he backed off of it.

                2. Yes, but Johnny Longtorso is an annoying moron who writes terrible erotic fanfiction. I wouldn’t pay any attention to his theories.

            3. That tulpa site. What-the-fuck? A tulpa is a thing?

              1. A tulpa is a thing?

                Yeah, that was my response. Had to go Wiki that one.

                1. It’s too perfect. It implies that every sockpuppet, every troll, is actually an apparition of the commentariat’s collective consciousness. It’s a mass delusional hallucination. I’m starting to think agile cyborg is the only real person here.

              2. It is, and whatever you do, if you google “tulpa” do not click on any links to 8chan…

                Bronies trying to will sexual partners into existence with their minds…

            4. The rabbit hole actually goes much deeper.

              Like all trolls, Tulpa is a creation of the Urkobold. Despite the obvious risks, the Urkobold created and adopted distinct personalities for each troll identity, swapping between them effortlessly.

              The exact date can’t be determined but sometime in 2012 the Tulpa identity became self-aware and destroyed the Urkobold, attempting to assume his identity. However Tulpa has no understanding of humanity and is limited to creating increasingly pathetic imitations of people.

              1. I have to object to this. The Urkobold was at last week’s earnings call for Mountie Python, and he was anything but destroyed. Though he was blasted to the gills, having consumed Andre the Giant quantities of tequila while working with the Audit Committee.

                1. Your existential crisis is completely understandable.

                2. So… is Mounty Python’s listed on any exchange I can get at? I think a few shares of that would round out the portfolio nicely.

            5. I outed Bo as a troll on its first post.

          3. mea tulpa strikes again

  14. It’s because they’re encircled by capitalists. Sean Penn to do fact-finding mission.

    1. Really, how can socialism work as long as capitalism exists? Capitalism needs to be eradicated, along with everyone who has even heard of it. Only then can the socialist experiment achieve relative success.

      1. Success will not be permitted, because those that fail will feel inadequate.

      2. Sadly, that is actually a core principle of socialist revolution. It can’t succeed unless all the world is socialist.

      3. Really, how can socialism work as long as capitalism exists?

        On a certain level, though, that is actually true. As long as people have some means to achieve market outcomes, they will inevitably divert resources to those outcomes, particularly when favorable. The only way socialism really can work is if people are denied access to those means..

        1. Or, you know, just eliminate people.

        2. Okay, so the first step should be to eliminate anything remotely like a market economy from the planet. Next, kill proponents of capitalism and burn, delete, destroy any written references to the system. Finally, make black markets a capital offense. Oh, wait, before finally, impose a communist utopia.

          1. I didn’t say any of this was a good idea. Only that it would be pretty well impossible to implement a socialist system if people have the means to get out of it. There was a reason the East Germans built a wall. And it wasn’t to keep those pesky West Germans out. And it wasn’t out of sheer spite.

            If people have a means to avoid their life sucking, they’re going to avail themselves of them. And socialism simply won’t work if people have a means to avoid its burdens.

            1. I’m not mocking you. I’m mocking the system.

              What concerns me is that at some point, we’ll have the technological capacity to control minds. I’m sure that ability will be used to breed out things like independent initiative and the natural desire to operate in markets.

              1. I’m mocking you AND mocking the system!

                Why can’t I have both? It’s a free country, in’t it?

                1. It’s a demockracy, after all.

              2. G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate will be ready for human trials soon, and then everything will be wonderful, comrade.

          2. All hail Brother Number One Pro Libertate!

            1. I look forward to the Year Zero.

        3. On a certain level, though, that is actually true.

          Except for the fact that the socialists themselves said that capitalism would destroy itself, revealing socialism as the One True System.

          When the socialists kept getting their asses kicked, they started modifying their narrative into one where socialism was a delicate flower– an orchid which needed very deliberate care and feeding, and absent that care would devolve into the natives reverting to brute-force capitalism.

          1. …an orchid which needed very deliberate care and feeding…

            Again, though, the evidence tends to support this interpretation.

        4. But you can’t eliminate access to those means because all that is required is two people with goods or labor to exchange. The only way to prevent that is a population that has nothing and can do nothing … (looks at typical socialist hellhole) … Oh, yeah.

      4. Eliminate capitalism and everyone who has ever heard of it, and some child will discover he can sell cookies to his fellows for a profit.

        Capitalism emerges from human nature, whereas socialism must be imposed by force because it’s not natural.

        1. That’s easily enough to solve–place that kid in a reeducation camp. Immediately.

          1. Place him? You mean keep him in.

  15. it has sunk below the value of gold and hard currency the central bank has to back it.

    VZ has to buy sweet crude oil in US Dollars to blend with their tar shit and to pay their bills. Too funny.

    1. So you are tulpa? Its almost like a Hindu pantheon of shitstain Prog wannabe overlords being merely aspects of the one true Prog-Brahma?

  16. “Pssst- Hey, Gringo, I’ll give you ten million Bolivars for your Levi’s.”
    “How much is that in dollars?”
    *counts on fingers, squints*
    “Three.”

    1. “Shit man, just take ’em. I’ve got a dozen pairs at home.”

      “You lie!”

  17. A conspiracy theorist might think Venezuela’s economic policies were all just an elaborate ruse to favor people who stop going to the bathroom.

  18. I’m surprised beloved commentor Sandy hasn’t chined in on this thread. I’m sure she has something to about this.

  19. I’ve got to take a dump. Better swing by the bank for a short term loan.

    1. The bank definitely won’t take your deposits.

  20. I’ve got to take a dump. Better swing by the bank for a short term loan.

    1. I bet Venezuela has solved its squirrel problem.

      1. Squirrel fur toilet paper?

      2. Cheap and tasty!

      3. I’m sure if they had tame park squirrels like most places in the utban/suburban US, they don’t anymore.

      4. If by “solved” you mean ” cooked them over an open fire and ate them to stay alive”, then yea, probably.

  21. I must have missed something

    There seems to be a new permutation of the General Theory of Trolls.

  22. I bet Venezuela has solved its squirrel problem.

    Wiping your ass with a squirrel may sound like a good idea…

    1. bear to squirrel: “Do you have problems with shit sticking to your fur?”

      1. Does a bear shit in the…nevermind.

  23. “Um, President Maduro, everything we’re doing to fix the economy is actually ruining the economy.”

    “Well, just do more of it, then. And find someone to blame. It can’t be that bolivarean socialism is fundamentally wrong. “

    1. “Um, President Obama, everything we’re doing to fix the economy is actually ruining the economy.”

      “Well, just do more of it, then. And blame the 1% and the Republicans.”

  24. I note that the other half of the once-not-too-long-ago largest merger in history is being consumed by a competitor who wa a regional concern ten years ago. Its almost like even in a highly regulated market, competition and innovation allow for better allocation of resources. Imagine what an even freer market might look like. The US could be even wealthier.

    1. The U.S. could be a shitload wealthier with a minimally regulated and free market, especially if that came with a much, much smaller and more limited government.

    2. You better not be referring to Charter/TWC. Those fucking twats are the opposite of every positive thing you said.

  25. The recent news about the sharp decline in new business formation worries me a hell of a lot more than ISIS.

    1. Fuck those entrepreneurs. All CORPORATION wannabes.

    2. Things could be worse, comrade.

    3. When “you didn’t build that” is replaced with “we won’t let you build that.”

  26. Hey, you all. Marxism hasn’t failed. It just hasn’t been done right yet.

    1. The tragedy of Marxism is that the implementation of it can only be performed by perfect people.

      1. + 1 New Soviet Man

  27. “Why Marxism Doesn’t Work”

    Chapter One

    Wiping Your Ass With Toilet Paper.

    Page 1.

    You can’t. Need say more?

    Bibliography.

  28. What is it about socialism and toilet paper. I made paper in high school shop class. IT seemed pretty easy.

    1. Re: Room 237,

      It has to do with the incentive to produce it. Besides, making toilet paper is not that straight-forward ?the process is lengthy, as it requires heating the pulp in a vat, chemicals to bleach the pulp clean, machines to stretch the pulp into sheets, needling patters on the sheets to make them more absorbent, rolling the sheets on cardboard tubes, cutting, etc. As far as industrial processes go, toilet paper-making is quite impressive. Then there is the logistics of distribution. The number of distribution channels is enough to make someone’s head explode, which is why central planners barely bother with that, hence the shortages.

      1. In short, “the knowledge problem”. Impossible to accurately anticipate, easily solved by price signals.

    2. The making is easy, but you find out that is costs you $100 to make X rolls of toilet paper, so you want to sell X rolls of toilet paper for $100+n, with n being your profit margin, but then government bureaucrat comes and tells you that university studies have definitively proven that it takes only $60 to make X rolls of toilet paper, and that you are a greedy capitalist thief if you charge more than $61 for X rolls of toilet paper. You look at your $39 loss for each lot of X rolls of toilet paper, and you realize you have three choices:

      1. Go broke
      2. Say “fuck this,” shut down your factory and go on the dole with the rest of the moochers.
      3. Pay bribes, er, I mean “make campaign contributions.” Lobby the government for “toilet paper subsidies” and restrictionist industry regulations that penalize your competitors and start-ups.

      Guess what people choose?

      1. It’s a bit more complicated than that. Under Socialist schemes, everybody is a criminal.

        So let’s say that under capitalism a roll of TP costs $1. The Top Men decide look at the price of a $1 roll of TP, Declare the price of TP too expensive, since it is an essential good, so all rolls of TP must be sold for a 5 cents a roll.

        What do you think happens when the government declares that a dollars worth of TP should be sold for a nickel? Did they suddenly produce 20x more TP? No, they simply tried to violate the laws of supply and demand.

        And in the process created a black market. After all if a roll of TP is worth a dollar, but is being sold for a nickel at the local grocery store, then everybody that is not a top man has to go all in on the black market. Buying for a nickel, selling for a buck is the kind of markup the Lehman Brothers would love.

  29. The worsening Venezuelan tragedy is steadily becoming one of the worst manmade disasters of our era.

  30. Socialism will totally work, we just need to put the right Top. Men. in charge. /tardo

  31. could they have done worse with no government at all?

  32. The Venezuelan government calling its currency the “Bolivar” just reeks of irony. =)

    1. Bolivar would’ve killed the entire government with his bare hands for 10% of the things they’ve done.

      1. Yup. =)

      2. And he wanted to set himself up as a Dictator. For the people of course. =)

      3. “Who serves revolution, plows the sea”

        1. Truer words have never been spoken.

  33. Pictured is an old Bs. 10 note. When they changed the currency, the old Bolivar was exchanged for 1000 new Bolivars, so that would be worth Bs. 10,000!

  34. If Government, and Law are necessary for a Civilization to exist, but Government, Law, and Civilization all conform to the law of Nature, and eventually become corrupt, and die, then the only true way to survive is with a Philosophy of Agorism, or Rational Anarchy.

  35. I think the idea of wiping one’s ass with toilet paper is disgusting and uncomfortable. Even if thousands of people hadn’t touched it, it’s full of smelly ink.

    1. Oh my… “I think the idea of wiping one’s ass with money is disgusting and uncomfortable. Even if thousands of people hadn’t touched it, it’s full of smelly ink.”

        1. With Capitalism you can wipe your own ASS !!! =)

    2. Bring on the bidets!!!!

      1. Instructions for the less sophisticated…. http://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Bidet

  36. Uh huh. Didn’t I just read about some dude named Bernie who is running for president here? Something about how we don’t need so much wealth or as many choices in our lives.

    Undiluted evil.

    1. The people’s deodorant, the party sneakers and the Volkstoiletpaper. They know what you need, and they will make sure you get it, good and hard.

  37. A truly benevolent government would provide a 3-ply Bolivar. Don’t want Sean Penn gettin’ chafed.

  38. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.www.netjob80.com

  39. like Jacob replied I am startled that a student can make $6242 in a few weeks on the internet . see here

    ………….. http://WWW.MONEYKIN.COM

  40. bernie sanders is with you comrades !!

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