Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Socialism in Action - Part 2

Hugo Chávez tears a page from Robert Mugabe’s daybook.

(NYimes)

Faced with an accelerating inflation rate and shortages of basic foods like beef, chicken and milk, President Hugo Chávez has threatened to jail grocery store owners and nationalize their businesses if they violate the country’s expanding price controls.

[..] Public spending grew last year by more than 50 percent and has more than doubled since the start of 2004, as Mr. Chávez has channeled oil revenues into social programs and projects like bridges, highways, trains, subways, museums and, in a departure for a country where baseball reigns supreme, soccer stadiums.

[..] Shortages of basic foods have been sporadic since the government strengthened price controls in 2003 after a debilitating strike by oil workers. But in recent weeks, the scarcity of items like meat and chicken has led to a panicked reaction by federal authorities as they try to understand how such shortages could develop in a seemingly flourishing economy.

Entering a supermarket here is a bizarre experience. Shelves are fully stocked with Scotch whiskey, Argentine wines and imported cheeses like brie and Camembert, but basic staples like black beans and desirable cuts of beef like sirloin are often absent. Customers, even those in the government’s own Mercal chain of subsidized grocery stores, are left with choices like pork neck bones, rabbit and unusual cuts of lamb.
“The left is back, and it's the only path we have to get out of the spot to which the right has sunken us, ... Socialism builds and capitalism destroys.”

Hugo Chávez

2 comments:

Jake said...

So Chavez wants to takeover the distribution of food. What's left for the government to own? He has already eradicated all forms of private enterprise and has enacted rule by decree power over the elected National Assembly. I'd say that Venezuela has now officially crossed the communist threshold and can now add the hammer and sickle to its flag.

Mark said...

Chavez's ignorance of basic economics is beyond amazing.

Price controls do not work. They never have. And when businesses (not surprisingly) refuse to sell goods for less than they bought them, they're accused of "hoarding" and of being "speculators." (Every situation has a Marxist slogan attached.)

While I pity the Venezuelan people to some extent, they voted in this tactless thug more than once, and now they are stuck in a dictatorship.

Enjoy the fruits of socialism!