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Free Minds & Free Markets

What Caused Venezuela’s Tragic Collapse? Socialism.

A vital lesson, as we confront calls for more regulation and government control in all aspects of our lives.

The collapse of Venezuela's economy is both horrifying and predictable, and the world needs to understand why.

Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, and it was once Latin America's richest country. Today, most grocery store shelves are empty, and Venezuelans are so hungry that they're killing zoo animals for sustenance. Toilet paper, diapers, and toothpaste are luxury goods. Venezuelan hospitals have disintegrated, children are dying because they can't get antibiotics, and the infant mortality rate is higher than Syria. The capital city of Caracas is the murder capital of the world, and just 12 percent of citizens feel safe walking alone at night, which is the lowest figure reported in the world.

The government blames slumping oil prices for the desperate situation. The real cause is the socialist economy. The government sets the price of staples such as rice, pasta, and flour, resulting in chronic shortages. Former President Hugo Chavez nationalized industries, confiscated property, and kicked out foreign companies. The government is trying to print its way out of the crisis, resulting in a 700 percent annual inflation rate. After a sham election, President Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of Hugo Chavez, is rounding up his opponents and putting them in jail.

Despite this, Maduro and his predecessor still have their defenders, ranging from Sean Penn to Michael Moore to Naomi Klein, who once signed a petition saying "We would vote for Hugo Chavez" and praised the autocrat in 2007 for creating "a zone of relative economic calm and predictability." In 2013, journalist David Sirota praised Hugo Chavez' "economic miracle," writing that the socialist leader had a "record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.

The real lesson of Venezuela's tragic collapse is that real socialism always leads to economic breakdown and political repression. Those of us in wealthier, freer countries need to keep Venezuela in mind as we confront calls for more regulation and government control of all aspects of our own lives.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Written by Nick Gillespie. Camera by Jim Epstein.

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  • ||

    When there are shortages in capitalist economies, people tighten their belts. In socialist economies, people tighten their belts, eat their belts and starve anyway.

  • Brandybuck||

    Never once seen a protest for price controls on toilet paper in a capitalist country.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    In Venezuela, the government just prints toilet paper.

  • colorblindkid||

    Nor a famine or even a food shortage (in peacetime) in over a century.

  • timbo||

    But corporations want to eat our children and kill our grandparents.

    Do you think a Marxists ever once could grasp, for instance, that the reason big governments fail is because they have no profit motive? That was rhetorical.

    Take healthcare for stupid tony. How can healthcare be free when all of those doctors, nurses, janitors, and medicinal providers, et al, have to make a living, want to improve their standards of living, and want the individual freedom to make more money and strive for profits in their own endeavors?
    I understand this is a waste of time but that very discussion on its base merits is all a stupid politician would have to do to debunk government sponsored healthcare or anything else for that matter.

  • SoCal Deathmarch||

    Venezuela isn't "real" Socialism. How do I know this? It isn't working. - Every Socialist

  • Tony||

    Kansas isn't real laissez-faire for the same reason, I presume.

  • Juice||

    Kansas? Laissez-faire? LOLOLOL

  • Tony||

    Laboratory of democracy.

  • Juice||

    *shrug* OK

    Not sure what your point is there, but Kansas is in no way laissez-faire.

  • Tony||

    It's as close as people are willing to get before they decide they've suffered enough.

  • Eric Bana||

    A government is not laissez-faire if it has a huge budget deficit. End of discussion.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Debt is just a promise to tax you later

  • esteve7||

    That's the best you got... Kansas?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Tony, are you trying to be clever? Don't. You're too stupid for that.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    "It's as close as people are willing to get before they decide they've suffered enough."

    Or move to Venezuela?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    They cut taxes. That is the entirety of the laissez-faire program.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    And Somalia is libertarian utopia.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Venezuela will soon become the new poster-strawman for libertarian government in action. Like Somalia, Venezuela just needs the socialist dictatorship there to completely collapse and leave the country in total ruin.

  • Tionico||

    ya got about four months to wait? That should be enough.

    Unless enough of the locals gather up enough spine to finally turn on their overlords.

    remember what happened in Nicaragua after Somoza had Pedro Chamorro murdered for speaking the truth in his newspaper. Things went rather wonky for a while, but when Somoza tried to shut down the unbelievably huge gatherings of the peasants and townsfolk to honour their fallen Friend Pedro, once they had mourned Pedro sufficiently, they turned on HIM... Somoza. He was forcibly removed from his palace, dragged off into the night, helpless, his own people abandoned him like the traitors they all were. The palace was ransacked, national strike for a few days, a new ruling junta was formed. Somoza's vast holdings, all stolen from the people in various ways, were returned, as much as possible, and he "disappeared" for a few years... no one really knew where he was or what he was doing. Until one fine early afternoon he was being driven through some hills in Paraguay, I think it was, and a rather large "missile" just "happened" to find his Mercedes..... He, his driver, guard, the Benz itself, were pretty well vapourised.

    A similar fate could await Venezuela's present Thug in Chief.... though it took about three generations to get Somoza his due. Ya can only abuse the people so long. Then they collectively say "Basta. No más".

  • Sevo||

    "Unless enough of the locals gather up enough spine to finally turn on their overlords."

    Yeah, but they could turn on them to demand more free shit.
    Sorry, but the only lesson the V's seem to be learning is that Maduro isn't Chavez; they're still hoping for something for nothing if they just get the right guy in there.

  • Eric Bana||

    @Tony Kansas is a great example of why reductions in taxes without reductions in spending can lead to serious problems with deficits.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Tony is probably going after that Paul Krugman strawman that we think tax cuts will always increase revenue. It's almost as if they don't realize the Laffer Curve is a parabola (to be fair, some GOPers probably do campaign on this belief)

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Kansas isn't real laissez-faire because it's a failure of government.

    But not as big a government failure as Venezuela. At least in Kansas you can wipe your ass with real toilet paper.

  • Brandybuck||

    Of course it's not. Not talking about "real" laissez faire, just ordinary dictionary definition writ large. Do you even know what "laissez faire" even means?

    However, it CAN be demonstrated through the date that the more "laissez faire" an economy is, the more affluent the society that has the economy, relative to those economies around it. The same CANNOT be said of any form of socialism that vaguely follows the definition. We don't have a Real Socialism and we don't have a Real Free Markets, but do have had a few examples of partial socialism and partial free markets, and the extrapolation is not that difficult.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Why shouldn't the government set the prices for goods and services?

    Their ultimate bargaining power makes it all more efficient, don't you see?

    Why, for $1k, you could probably buy a Venezuelan village, people and all.

    Beat those prices with your "free markets." That's freedom, people.

  • Tionico||

    gummit don't have enough of our tax dollars to BUY everything to resell. And in the instances where they DO buy almost everything, or force everyone to buy it anyway, the weight of the bureaucracy is so huge funs the price WAY up there. WHY do government pay $125 for standard garden variety Stanley claw hammer, when I can buy exactly the same model at the local Home Cheapo, a twenty minute bike ride away, and open till nine PM, any day of the week, for $18?
    Nah, government are helpless when it comes to comprehending OR dealing with reality. There are very valid reasons why our Constitution only places a handful of specifically named and described areas of concern onto FedGov, specifically declaring that EVERYTHING ELSE is reserved to the States, or to the People of those States.

    FedGov have no business engaging in commerce.... or about thirty seven thousand seven hundred fifty four other things they do despite it being clearly forbidden them.

  • widget||

    Marudo is follower of Sathya Sai

    http://sathyasai.org/

    He's an eastern mystic as well as a clueless western socialist.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    The real lesson of Venezuela's tragic collapse is that real socialism always leads to economic breakdown and political repression. Those of us in wealthier, freer countries need to keep Venezuela in mind as we confront calls for more regulation and government control of all aspects of our own lives.

    I do. I keep in mind that putting an autocrat in power in a 3rd world country probably won't work out. It's a bad idea.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Price controls, though? Pure awesome.

    I ignore everything the dictator does, and just say "dictator." Nothing else to see there. Move along.

  • Paloma||

    Venezuela had authoritarian dictators but relatively an economically free economy until Perez Jimenez was elected. His socialism lite messed up the economy and enabled Hugo Chavez to be elected. Lesson: A free economy can sometimes exist with dictators, but a socialist dictatorship ALWAYS leads to dictatorship, and a harsher one at that.

  • Sevo||

    "I do. I keep in mind that putting an autocrat in power in a 3rd world country probably won't work out. It's a bad idea."

    So, wrong guy, imbecile?

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    Fun fact: Danish authorities point a military assault weapon at the heads of their citizens in order to extract 47.6% of their income. Venezuelan authorities do the same and only extract 20.9%. #BizarreLessonsofSocialism

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    And Venezuelans need 200% of their income to avoid starving.

    That's called generosity, people.

  • Juice||

    Did Denmark also seize entire industries and kick out foreign corporations?

  • Dillinger||

    yeah but the chicks...

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Denmark's citizens, when asked, believe their own personal tax burden to be about 33%. The lesson, of course, is that hiding costs is a great way to stay in power

    Besides, Denmark is a free market economy with a massive welfare state. They compensate for the high tax burden by being more business friendly in things like regulation

  • Galane||

    Fast food workers in Denmark make the equivalent of $20 USD per hour. The country has no minimum wage law. However, just the income taxes at that pay level knock it down to $12 per hour take home.

    Then there's all the other taxes and fees and living expenses that have to come out of that, along with the higher prices for stuff, caused by the high wages and taxes.

    $20 an hour in Denmark is no better, likely worse, than $7.25 in the USA.

  • Sevo||

    Robespierre Josef Stalin|8.10.17 @ 4:15PM|#
    "Fun fact:"
    Our lefty shitbag can cherry pick data and is stupid enough to believe the resulting claim!

  • Paloma||

    20% of nothing is still nothing.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Yep, because zero, times any other number equals FAG!


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSeZxjLhxV4

  • colorblindkid||

    But this isn't REAL socialism, dummies. It is just evil capitalism masquerading as socialism so that nobody wants to try socialism again.

  • JWatts||

    "But this isn't REAL socialism, dummies. It is just evil capitalism masquerading as socialism so that nobody wants to try socialism again."

    No, the Leftwing Meme is that it isn't Real Socialism. It's just third world Authoritarianism and an example of the Resource Curse.

  • scooby509||

    Or... the Resource Curse was what caused Real Socialism. Since we already know socialism will always fail, we should try and figure out solutions to the resource curse so countries can avoid socialism in the future.

  • Tony||

    Venezuela is the only model American liberals support. Europe, Canada, and many prosperous countries in Asia either don't really exist or are actually examples of the success of libertarianism, somehow.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Progressives never support price controls. This is known.

  • Tony||

    We support whatever needs to be done to achieve the desired effect.

    Just like everyone else including libertarians, except libertarians don't believe in the value of evidence.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    I get it: it's all subjective and objective, simultaneously.

  • Dillinger||

    who the f decides the desired effect and why do you listen to them?

  • Tony||

    And I'm the one who gets called a postmodern relativist.

    People want to be fed, housed, clothed, healthy, entertained, and happy. Most of the time. Let's do what achieves those ends and see what happens.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    It's pretty simple and self-evident, when you think about it.

  • Dillinger||

    i call you tony.

    Let's do what achieves those ends

    we diverge on the government not being required for the "whatever needs to be done" part.

  • Tony||

    Which is public policy all the same. If your Five Year Plan is better than my Five Year Plan, let the evidence show it. Would you change your mind if it didn't?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    As long as your plan is based on reality, and not BS hypothetical fantasies that can't possibly happen, and that you have no control over. Really: who has time to waste on that?

    OK: you go first: what's your plan for the Trump administration?

  • Tony||

    What happens to the Trump administration is in the hands of the special investigation.

    My hope is that they stay in power, avoiding nuking anything or otherwise doing major damage--except to the Republican brand.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    We have no Five Year Plan. That's the entire point

  • Entelechy||

    That's because under capitalism, Naomi Klein gets a six year book contract.

  • Tony||

    Your Five Year Plan is to let the status quo prevail for the next five years.

    Or, depending on how you define doing nothing, letting everything collapse from neglect.

    Surely it couldn't involve passing repeal laws and cutting taxes and making government smaller. Because that would be a fucking plan.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Your plan is shit Tony. In fact, every time you assholes plan for everyone else, it's always shit. People are better off planning for themselves. That you think your tiny little mind is capable of planning everyone else's life would be laughable if it were not so offensive. I have easily ten times your intellect and I'm not qualified to run everyone else's life.

    You should just stop trying to think and go back to being a glory hole attendant.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    You left out work and produce something of value. That's the key difference between Venezuela and Denmark.

  • Paloma||

    Except when none of that happens they double down on the stupid and blame Yanqui imperialism.

  • Domestic Dissident||

    People want to be fed, housed, clothed, healthy, entertained, and happy.

    And I guess nobody in America is any of those things. You belong in a mental hospital, Krugscum.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    How could we possibly have any of those things without our betters in government providing them for us?

  • Tionico||

    LAZY people want to be fed, housed, etc. on someone else's sweat.

    Let's NOT do what achieves that end, as it amounts to theft. On WHAT basis do YOU and your goons come round knocking up my door to take what I have worked for at gunpoint, cart it off, and GIVE it to someone else far more capable than I now am to get a day's work for a day's pay. I KNOW what will happen if we try and "schieve those ends". Whatever is subsidised, we'll gt more of it. the larger the subsidy the larger the increase in that thing.

  • rxc||

    I prefer to feed myself, house myself, clothe myself, go to see the doctor of my choice when I decide that I need to do that, chose my own preferred type of entertainment, and be happy with myself, as I am, instead of being happy because I am part of a group that tells me what to be happy about. I prefer to work to earn the means to accomplish those ends, and to enjoy the fruits of my work.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    "We support whatever needs to be done to achieve the desired effect"

    Said like a true Marxist. This is why command economies devolve into mass murder. The murder is justified to achieve the desired effect

  • Sevo||

    Ooops.
    Shoulda read farther down.

  • Tony||

    Read the rest of the post you fucking nematode.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|8.10.17 @ 11:36PM|#
    "Read the rest of the post you fucking nematode."
    Lame attempts at walking back stupid on steroids don't interest me, you fucking turd sucker.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The highest and best use of Tony is to harvest any useful organs and mulch the rest.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|8.10.17 @ 4:25PM|#
    "We support whatever needs to be done to achieve the desired effect."

    The ends justify the means.
    Mass murder? Why not?

  • notJoe||

    "But the gulags and basement interrogation centers will wither away when we achieve the New Soviet Man!"

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "We support whatever needs to be done to achieve the desired effect."

    Sometimes you need to break a few eggs.
    /Tony Mao

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Hong Kong and Singapore are successes of the free market

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    Not to mention that some of the sharpest declines in global poverty have taken place in China and coincide with the tiny degree of liberalization that they've allowed, paradoxically something that has allowed the "Communists" to stay in power far past their expiration date

  • OM Nullum gratuitum prandium||

    Re: Tony,

    Venezuela is the only model American liberals support. Europe, Canada, and many prosperous countries in Asia either don't really exist or are actually examples of the success of libertarianism, somehow.


    Sometimes you write opinions and arguments that are very smart and very sensible. Other times you spew inanity that makes you sound like an absolute fool. Alas, this time is not like the former.

    Europe is not a country. But putting that aside, most European governments or Canada's or even those in Asian countries do not expropriate the means of production. Those that do, suffer: Spain, Greece, Italy, etc. Venezuela's government decided to go full socialist (compared to before when it was socialist-ish) and expropriated businesses and manufacturing factories, which quickly became cesspools for politicking, militant unionism and inefficiency. The government also made it very diffcult to trade by controlling international currency making it impossible to buy currency. And price controls, lots.

  • Sevo||

    "Sometimes you write opinions and arguments that are very smart and very sensible."

    I have yet to see such.
    Tony's posts are, AFAICT, either outright lies, misdirection, strawmen, and so forth. I have never once seen Tony offer an honest argument.
    Tony is a prime example of lefty liars; they never do otherwise.

  • Wizard4169||

    Tony has brief periods when his meds are in balance and the stars align, and he actually posts something coherent and sensible. Of course, these posts are greatly outnumbered by the inane and mendacious ones, so I can see how you might have missed them.

  • Sevo||

    I have to admit to missing such.

  • Eric Bana||

    What caused Venezuela's Tragic Collapse?

    The unfettered free market, of course.

  • Jerryskids||

    Socialism - like every other system of organizing society - starts from basic premises of human behavior. If everybody were good and decent and loved their neighbor, socialism would work just fine. Capitalism, which starts from a basic assumption that human beings are greedy bastards, somehow seems to have done more good for more people as an unintended consequence than socialism has done through good intentions. So do socialists admit they're wrong in their assumptions about human behavior or do they just start killing all the bad people until only the good ones are left? China started down the killing off all the bad people road, now they've changed course a little and look what's happened. Maybe there's a lesson there?

  • Eric Bana||

    If everybody were good and decent and loved their neighbor, socialism would work just fine.

    I disagree. The price mechanism allocates resources efficiently. Without the price mechanism, socialism does not work fine at all.

  • Brian||

    It's important to remember: "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need."

    Socialism theoretically defines itself as slavery. On paper. Before you even get to the difficulties of reality or human nature.

    Gee: I wonder why the theory turns out so bad in practice.

  • Eric Bana||

    Good point.

  • flyfishnevada||

    I sort of agree with that. That's why socialism-lite works in some countries, like Scandinavian nations. They're generally all alike, have similar values and can agree to some extent where all their tax money should go. Their citizens can tolerate some level of confiscation and control because they generally get along. We'll see how long that last now that they're being flooded with immigrants. All those new values and customs probably won't jibe well with the status quo.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Especially when every one of those immigrants is a vicious intolerant violent muslim who dreams of a life in a 7th century caliphate.

  • scooby509||

    That's why socialism-lite works in some countries, like Scandinavian nations.

    It works because those countries are not socialist.

    The definition of socialism is very convenient, if you go by usage. If I were to claim some big government programs were socialist or even "socialism-lite", the proponents would say, "those aren't socialist, obviously, you don't understand socialism."

    But Bernie Sanders will point at free-market economies that have a lot of big government programs and claim that socialism can work. (Possibly "democratic socialism" or "socialism-lite" or some such qualifier.)

    FWIW, I agree with the Danish PM that they simply have a hybrid economy. Socialism has three aspects: economic, structural and revolutionary. A large number of big government programs don't qualify as economic socialism, you simply don't have the means of production owned by the workers. It's somewhat structurally socialist in that it's a top-down approach to organizing part of the economy. But it's also not predicated on the principles of revolutionary socialism.

    Having a big, intrusive government isn't socialism, and it's simply not valid to count countries that are able to waste lots of money on bullshit government programs as proof that socialism can work. It just proves that relatively free markets are able to generate loads of money that there's enough left over to spend it foolishly.

  • Wizard4169||

    Actually, socialism can be quite effective. At least in small groups with strong authoritarian leaders, which was the basic default human society for most of our history. There are two big problems, though. First, it tends to suppress most innovation. Humanity changed very little in our first 200,000 years. The second is that it doesn't scale very well at all. Once the group grows beyond a certain size (about 150), it quickly becomes dysfunctional. It was only once humans learned to interact more-or-less peacefully in larger groups that civilization began to take off. Markets centered around voluntary exchange, backed by some basic rule of law, are the best ways yet discovered to promote human flourishing. Being a human myself, that's something I'm in favor of.

  • frankania||

    That is right...small groups like extended families for example.

  • scooby509||

    Actually, socialism can be quite effective. At least in small groups with strong authoritarian leaders

    Socialism is very effective in corporations, militaries and other such organizations. Socialism has a mission (the revolutionary aspect) it has a structure (the top-down organizing principle) and it has distributive economics.

    That works pretty well in a large firm because it limits transaction costs within the firm. Everyone agrees what they're working on, there's little risk in trusting others to do their job, etc.

    But look at what life is like for a person in a firm. You apply for a job, or sign up for the military. Most people are rejected at this point as being unfit for one reason or another. If you get the job, you work there, and as long as you're on board with the mission, life is good. If you break rules or get old or sick, you're fired or retired.

    All of that is fine for a firm, as being kicked out or rejected is reasonably painless: you go back into the larger society.

    But this is why socialism is so brutal when applied to the nation state: there is no larger society to fall back to! If you're not on board with the revolutionary mission of your socialist state, your ass is going to the gulags. And, of course, the whole top-down model and distributive economics don't even scale well to a large corporation, let alone an entire country, so there are always loads of counter-revolutionaries that need murdering.

  • marz62||

    You've got some of that backwards. China has massive and growing inequality and growing social unrest due to same. Capitalism creates winners and losers on a massive scale; massive inequality and deprivation for many -- obscured for a time if a middle class is allowed to grow and expand (through correct, progressive taxation). 'Human nature' is "pro-social" (do some research) and begins in infancy (babies will instinctively share with strangers who lack). On a supra-social level (where corrupt governments operate), the greedy few (oligarchs) create and maintain a system rigged to their advantage and perpetual power/wealth (from tax loop holes to estate tax repeals). While SOME degree of capitalism (i.e., economic freedom) is important to preserve SOME individuals rights, overall, we live in a fairly socialist country (which the right is seeking to destroy; tear down the socialist New deal gains of FDR and the Great Society programs of LBJ)...and we would devolve into a economic feudal state, or revolutionary state, if it were not so.

  • Sevo||

    Where, oh where do we call marz on this pile of bullshit?
    1) "Capitalism creates [...] deprivation for many"
    Marz immediately admits he's an ignoramus regarding history in general and China's recent history in particular, so let start by pointing out that marz is stupid enough to post transparent bullshit.
    2) "On a supra-social level (where corrupt governments operate), the greedy few (oligarchs) create and maintain a system rigged to their advantage and perpetual power/wealth (from tax loop holes to estate tax repeals)."
    So marz immediately thereafter admits it is not capitalism, but 'corrupt governments', but still blames capitalism rather than the corrupt governments.
    3) "While SOME degree of capitalism (i.e., economic freedom) is important to preserve SOME individuals rights, overall, we live in a fairly socialist country (which the right is seeking to destroy; tear down the socialist New deal gains of FDR and the Great Society programs of LBJ)...and we would devolve into a economic feudal state, or revolutionary state, if it were not so."
    Followed by one of the most imbecilic non-sequiturs yet posted here.
    Marz, let's be clear. You Are Full Of Shit.
    Oh, and fuck off.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin||

    @Tony: The problem with libertarianism is that it just hasn't been implemented by real libertarians.

  • Brian||

    The problem with socialism is that it's just been implemented by too many socialists.

  • Sevo||

    Besides which idiots like commie-kid are still cheer-leading for it after at least 100,000,000 murders.
    You can't invent stupid to that degree, it has to be born-in.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "@Tony: The problem with libertarianism is that it just hasn't been implemented by real libertarians."

    No, its never been implemented AT ALL. You leftist assholes are always in the way.

  • Sevo||

    "The government blames slumping oil prices for the desperate situation."

    Maduro isn't alone in his mendacity; it's never the fault of poor governance:
    "Setbacks put affluent Moraga in fiscal straits"
    [...]
    "Now, as Moraga looks for ways to raise revenue, it has limited options because of Prop. 13.
    California voters approved the measure in 1978 to protect homeowners from skyrocketing tax rates."
    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bay.....721736.php

    Moraga's had nearly 40 years to get its affairs in order, but the poor pols are just dying under the inability to raise taxes.

  • flyfishnevada||

    No! It was the greedy capitalists. Just give them a chance. Sure, socialism has a pretty bad track record but they'll get it right...eventually. All they need is more money and if a few hundred thousand people die, well, who gives a shit. The state is all that matter, right?

  • Roger Knights||

    The government blames slumping oil prices for the desperate situation. The real cause is the socialist economy.

    Another cause is that the engineers running the oil wells and refineries were replaced by
    reliable
    (but not technically) party members.

  • timbo||

    Tony,
    I am so glad you comment on this site. You are the absolute microcosm of every stupid Marxist on the planet. You must teach at a US University.

    I am also convinced that you don't really exist. Rather, you are an invented foil for the intelligent discussion that happens on this website.

    Your insane and idiotic rationale should stand as a text book argument against the state and a prime example for the utter and inevitable failures of Marxism.
    Give me an example of a socialist country that is not headed towards bankruptcy. And you cannot use Denmark or Sweden or Finland as they are not successful examples. In fact those utopias have long since abandoned their untenable policies and have made reforms to get away from what was clearly not working. They are still socialist but they are moving away from, not further embracing the structure because the writing is on the wall. They will still fail by the way. Collapse is a process, not an event.

  • Wizard4169||

    Actually, the Scandinavian countries aren't socialist; they're capitalist (Hyper-capitalist, if anything; Sweden ranks higher than the US on many measures of economic freedom) with massive welfare states. When they tried something closer to actual socialism, their economies threatened to crater. Since they were dedicated to their generous welfare states, they freed up the economy, because a mostly free market economy is the only system capable of producing enough wealth to sustain those welfare programs. This model more or less works, but as their populations become more diverse and social cohesion declines, the system is going to come under ever-greater strain, and will almost certainly force a choice between radical change or collapse.

  • Brian Whittle||

    Helping people strive for better and making good, Unfettered socialism without a real goal, spending billions on stuff that doesn't forward any goal stupid and wasteful

  • John B. Egan||

    Sad to see people jump on the 'See! I told ya! Socialism is bad!' band wagon. Venezuela's problems were not the result of Socialism, and this present coup is not a furtherance of Socialism.

    Venezuela's attempt at Socialism was a direct result of a popular uprising against money grabbing by the upper classes, corruption at all levels, and onerous debts and requirements by the World Bank (which is doing the same to Italy and Greece BTW), and of course, the collapse in the price of oil, which is their major export. The very popular Hugo Chavez tried to wrestle control of his country for the good of the people. He failed. Nice try.

  • Sevo||

    John B. Egan|8.11.17 @ 5:46PM|#
    "bullshit, followed by more bullshit with added bullshit"
    You got lost on your way to somewhere which loves your bullshit. The door's over there; so long.

  • Flinch||

    The Chavez problem preceded oil price collapse: in seizing/nationalizing assets paid for by foreign investments [and then shoving the companies out of the country] I see stupidity. Did he really think all that was going to run itself because he could get a law passed? Farming is simpler: you can see how the crop is doing. But an oilwell? Pressures and output fall off in a logarithmic fashion over time, and you can't just always put in bigger chokes to boost production as it just makes the problem worse and can kill a well in short order where months of useful service could have been had. On top of that, they all behave just slightly differently, which makes production part art on top of the science. Failure was guaranteed, and the message sent internationally was to avoid ANY investment in Venezuela on account of the governments proven ability to engage in grand theft.

  • scooby509||

    Sad to see people jump on the 'See! I told ya! Socialism is bad!' band wagon.

    Yeah, it's also sad that many of us are also on the "See! The sun rose in the east again, turns out the Earth is spinning on its axis" band wagon.

    Venezuela's problems were not the result of Socialism, and this present coup is not a furtherance of Socialism.

    Some of Venezuela's problems predated socialism. Socialism, as a political-economic theory, claims to solve these sorts of problems. It has utterly failed to solve them, and then created a whole new mess of problems, to include starvation, crime, corruption, poverty and now likely despotism.

    The very popular Hugo Chavez tried to wrestle control of his country for the good of the people under the rubric of socialism and enthusiastically cheered on by socialism boosters at the time. He failed. Nice try.

    You can't show a single positive development due to socialist thought in Venezuela. We can show many extremely negative developments, such as socializing private businesses and driving out businesses, class warfare, clamping down on personal freedoms, etc.

    And there are still the corpses of 100 million people slaughtered by their own government, plus countless more lives destroyed in poverty and war to show that socialism is the single most evil invention in all of human history.

  • Empress Trudy||

    The NYT has of course blamed Trump and Jews.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    For being big on diversity, the left sure hates the jews.

  • scooby509||

    Don't forget that leftist regressives in college administrations also discriminate against Asians, just as their prog forerunners did with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    I believe they fear that the Chinese students will play joke, and put pee-pee in their coke.

  • mjerryfuerst||

    Complete ownership of the means of production never works. Only a radical fringe in the U.S. would want such. But socialism and prudent regulation are very different. To gain a good understanding of this i read the book "Saving Capitalism," by Robert Reich

  • marz62||

    Simplistic crap. Venezuela's current state of economic turmoil is not due to "nationalization" of industry (the usual sour grapes claim by the global industrialist class), but is partly the result of their failure to permit outside investment and diversify/strengthen their nation's export industries (such as coffee and chocolate -- two high demand/value crop commodities -- for starters). What precipitated the most recent economic downturn in Venezuela (and a few other developing world, oil-rich nations, like Nigeria) was/is the fracking (and recovered oil) boom in the US...a boom which directly led to the dramatic decline in the price of oil per barrel (along with Saudi Arabia's refusal to cut production to buoy the price). The Chavez/Maduro government failed to anticipate this decline and then failed to adapt flexibly to it (such as opening up the country to more foreign investment -- arguably, and expanding its exports). Right wingers and libertarians should hold back on the "told you so" finger-waving and instead look for practical (policy-driven) ways to remedy the situation (or at least begin the process)...which -- if left to its own festering devolution -- could very likely impact surrounding nations in ways that are dangerous and difficult to predict, or control.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Curiously, foreigners are hesitant to invest in countries in which the government seizes industries that don't work the way they want them to.

  • Sevo||

    marz62|8.11.17 @ 8:05PM|#
    "Simplistic crap"

    Yes, you post a lot of it.
    Fuck off.

  • scooby509||

    The Chavez/Maduro government failed to anticipate this decline and then failed to adapt flexibly to it (such as opening up the country to more foreign investment -- arguably, and expanding its exports).

    It's almost as if a big, centrally controlled, political organization like a powerful central government is...

    ... inflexible.

    Who could have seen that coming?

  • swampwiz||

    The problem with the way that Marxism has been implemented (at least for the initial go-round in any country, as reformed Marxism such as is practiced in Red China & Vietnam seems to be doing well) is that it has always dealt with the rentier-cronyist system of commercial infrastructure by installing the state there, but of course the state introduces its own problems if it is not careful. I suppose that this is because Marx preached that the bourgeoisie is the enemy that must be controlled.

    I think, however, that the better system is to let the bourgeoisie continue with what it has been doing, and instead achieve redistribution by taxation and handouts - i.e., the way that the late, great libertarian economist Milton Friedman advocated - as it preserves the Invisible Hand's power to economize. The beauty of this is that if any entity achieves an adverse exploitative position, a healthy portion of its profits gets recycled.

  • SlothB77||

    This is an important point. The fake news isn't reporting why Venezuela collapsed. The fake news refuses to explain why Venezuela is in crisis. They don't want people to know socialism caused this.

  • Flinch||

    They mostly aren't reporting on it at all. Every day there now is a food riot waiting to happen. Don't transport any food products there in anything but a fully enclosed/locked truck or your load isn't likely to be on the trailer when you get there.

  • Craig J Bolton||

    This seems to be a typical mantra of the contemporary "libertarian" right. The problem is still socialism. Now, admittedly, there are only about three (or four, if one counts the PRC) socialist nations left in the world, so the problem really can't be socialism. But THE PROBLEM is somehow still socialism. Sigh.

    Let's try to get it right for a change. THE PROBLEM is still the same problem that existed when Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations in 1776. It isn't socialism. It is monopoly. Take for instance medical care in the US. The Right insists that the problem is "Obamacare" which needs to be "repealed and replaced." Instead, the REAL problem is the cartel structure in American medicine that turns around the AMAs chock-hold on the creation of new doctors and the chock-hold of existing doctors on medications. You eliminate those two problems and you won't have nearly as great a demand for "socialized medicine." You continue to ignore the real problems and you eventually will have REAL socialized medicine.

  • Flinch||

    Yes, we can blame socialism. But sharpen focus a little to see a more fundamental picture: when you fully centralize power, there are too many voices to listen to and it becomes impossible to meet the needs of people even if there is good intent standing on reasonable theory. So what of socialism? It hastens the demise, like meth takes a twenty something man or woman, and has them going on 50 in the space of a few short years, that's all.
    People [and a few major religions that have stood mute in the face of the big lie] must be dissuaded from placing any moral equivalence between pickpocket politics [using the government to rob your neighbors] and charity. It's simply not true: socialism breaks the bond that would take place under charity, as the recipient does not know who to thank, and the "giver" [aka victim] is prohibited from mentoring, well wishing, or any other positive interaction that lasts longer than a meal in the belly. Socialism makes life dull and grey, and turns vibrance into coarseness in every country it's been tried. The true believers will never admit to this of course, hence the new boogey man is the sky itself, using a ruse called 'climate change' to push a world tax into place so they can have a shot... at doing this to the whole world. Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results? Well... we know how that goes.

  • scooby509||

    I've generally shot it down with a hyperbolic rant along the lines of, "no, real charity is spending money YOU earned on a cause! Real sacrifice is when you VOLUNTARILY go without something because your CONSCIENCE directs you! It's not remotely charitable to demand that everyone else pay for your charity! It is not virtuous of you to conscript other taxpayers into your personal crusade! And when you're bragging about forcing other people to do charitable things that you won't spend one minute or one cent doing yourself, you have officially reached peak hypocrisy!"

  • m.EK||

    It is authoritarianism. The ability for a government, whether elected or some other method to Make rules and call them "laws". Rules are rules, Law is discovered and will essentially create a RESPONSIBILITY FOR FREEDOM.
    The best I've seen is Richard J Maybury's two rules coined in the book "Whatever Happened to Justice". "Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach on other persons or their property".
    Essentially LAW was never described or defined. With NO codification of "the law" (9th Amendment) or the Common Law (many of the Founders were Common Law lawyers) what seemed obvious to the people of that time seems to be a baffling mystery to people of these times.
    How much "history" (even the "kodochrome" that is taught in schools and the media) is required for people not to see that allowing authority unlimited power is a fools errand? That the United States is a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC UNDER LAW seems to have given ground to democracy or mob rule!
    Yes, socialism is probably the label for Venezuala.
    The Founders were trying to get away from the "Better Management Theory of Government". This is the reason for the three competing branches. This is the reason for the first 10 amendments being pointed at the government and not the people.
    Codify LAW
    Hold the Oath takers to being Oath keepers
    Stop the statist jury tampering

  • scooby509||

    None of this answers an underlying question: why did Venezuela descend into socialism? What problems were politicians trying to address and why did people think socialism was a plausible answer?

    This seems to be fairly common in petro-states and the depressing possibility is that even if the country manages to avoid collapsing entirely into despotism and somehow recovers, it will still have the petro-state curse and may go the socialist route again in the future.

    There's more discussion of this phenomenon. If these countries with vast of certain resources are very prone to socialism, what can be done to help them avoid it?

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