2014 August 28 Thursday
Venezuela Still Deteriorating From Socialism

Venezuela is still deteriorating. Drug supplies are going down. Alicia Torres deserves what she voted for but the opposition doesn't.

But even hard-core Chávistas aren’t convinced. “How much further can we sink?” says Alicia Torres, a 53-year-old housewife in Caracas who voted for Maduro in special elections last year and now regrets her decision. “I spend hours in line each day, waiting for products to arrive. Maduro is killing the country with his ineptitude.”

Chavez and Maduro did unsustainable boosts in government spending to make the lower class want to vote for them. The lower class isn't bright enough to understand their support was bought in a way that made the long term worse.

"It wasn't so hard two years ago," said Geraldine, citing the cost of a refrigerator that has risen to 22,000 bolivars from 1,700. "This all happened because Chavez died. He left us a president who doesn't know anything. Chavez knew how to get things done."

Will the United States some day reach the point where its voters and politicians will interact in a way that is as destructive as what is happening in Venezuela? Venezuela has the highest inflation rate in the world.

Annual inflation reached 60.9 percent in May, the fastest in the world, while gross domestic product probably shrank 2.1 percent in the second quarter, according to the median of economist forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

It is becoming harder for the more productive and skilled Venezuelans to flee. Airlines have cut half their flights to Venezuela due to currency controls on revenue. I bet some of the more skilled Venezuelans wish they had fled a few years ago before conditions got this bad. It is important to know when to flee. Many Venezuelans say they feel trapped in their country.

The talented people in messed up countries need a sort of Galt's Gulch country which imposes minimum IQ requirements for entry.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 August 28 07:42 PM 

Daniel said at August 29, 2014 5:35 AM:

>>Cutting imports, though, has resulted in growing shortages of basic foodstuffs, including coffee, milk, and corn meal, as well as medicines, spare parts, toilet tissue...

Toilet paper. They can't even make enough of their own toilet paper so they have to import it, no shitting (enjoy the pun). My friend is Venezuelan , and she tells me that the toilet paper shortage is the first thing that her relative harp upon when they call her. I love it.

Black Death said at August 29, 2014 7:17 AM:

According to Bloomberg, the bolivar has lost 95% of its value against the US dollar. That's at the black market rate, of course. Most airline flights have been cancelled because the government won't pay the airlines money they are owed. People feel trapped in the country, unable to get out:

The Caracas polling company Datanalisis found that one in 10 citizens—most of them middle- and upper-class Venezuelans between 18 and 35—are seeking to leave the country, more than double the number who sought to abandon it in 2002, which was marked by an unsuccessful coup attempt against then President Hugo Chavez and a paralyzing oil strike.

Travel agents are swamped with requests but turn customers away because there are no tickets to sell. Some travelers are left taking the bus, with trips to Lima, Peru, a five-day journey, now packed with middle-class Venezuelans who used to fly.

Many Venezuelans who want to leave the country simply can't. Tickets for short flights to other transit hubs in the region, such as Panama City or Bogotá, are difficult to come by.


Plus hyperinflation and a coming bond default, of course. Ah, the wonders of socialism!

I have a friend, an American, who travels frequently to South America (but not Venezuela, of course). He told me this, "Brazil is the new Argentina, Argentina is the new Venezuela, and Venezuela is the new Zimbabwe." Sad, isn't it?

Dan said at August 29, 2014 7:59 AM:

Smart political leftists who play into the class warfare for ideological reasons or to rise upward need to realize that they are what's for dinner. When the mob comes for the rich and middle classes, it won't matter that they were on the left.

"It is becoming harder for the more productive and skilled Venezuelans to flee."

The problem is people flee the left-ruined economies of the world and then vote left as soon as they arrive in their new destination, perpetuating the cycle. Just as blue-states flee to red states for jobs and get to work flipping the state blue.

Sgt. Joe Friday said at August 29, 2014 9:23 AM:

Venezuela's predicament is very much like Chile's under Allende, but I don't hold out any hope that a Pinochet-like figure will emerge to rescue Venezuela. Even if there was such an individual, the current occupant of our White House would probably do all he could to undermine him.

Jim said at August 29, 2014 11:56 AM:

Democracy does not work.

Wolf-Dog said at August 29, 2014 6:24 PM:

Jim, When a society is advanced enough and homogeneous enough, democracy does work, and it works extremely well. For example, even Switzerland, which is an odd combination of French, German and Italian ethnic groups that actually speak their own languages at home, still has a certain homogeneous political culture that is reinforced by their talents, and it has an extremely successful democracy that also happens to have (and forgive the obscene-sounding word) leftist features. The Scandinavian countries also have very successful economies despite their leftist attitudes, precisely because their mental horsepower and cultural homogeneity is adequate. You might still argue that the current immigration trends in the Scandinavian countries will make them like Venezuela in the future, but as long as the people residing in any country are competent enough, democracy does work.

Here is the unemployment chart of the Swiss democracy, which has no raw materials.


CamelCaseRob said at August 30, 2014 5:16 AM:

We don't even HAVE Democracy in the U.S. All our institutions have been subverted or taken over by Elites who are the children of Elites who were themselves the children of Elites. These people have great sympathy for the dysfunctional lower-classes and will do whatever they can to destroy the middle-class in order to make themselves feel better. This disconnected-from-reality Elite is the number one problem the U.S. has.

Jim said at August 30, 2014 12:48 PM:

CamelCaseRob- What about Obama?

CamelCaseRob said at August 30, 2014 2:47 PM:

Jim - Obama is one of the elite. His grandparents were financially well off and he was provided access to elite schools at every level. That's not to say he is as elite as his daughters will be, but it doesn't take that long to move into the elite, witness Chelsea Clinton. Once they get you separated into separate schools and those Lefty professors get ahold of you, it is all over.

CamelCaseRob said at August 30, 2014 2:48 PM:

Jim - Obama is one of the elite. His grandparents were financially well off and he was provided access to elite schools at every level. That's not to say he is as elite as his daughters will be, but it doesn't take that long to move into the elite, witness Chelsea Clinton. Once they get you separated into separate schools and those Lefty professors get ahold of you, it is all over.

Sgt. Joe Friday said at August 30, 2014 3:28 PM:

Let's look at the non-elites among our presidents for the last 80 years: Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. Truman's presidency was an accident, as was Johnson's. So was Ford's and you could even argue that were it not for Nixon, Carter would have had no realistic shot at the presidency, so count that one as an accident too. I don't count Clinton as non-elite, because he attended Yale and was a Rhodes scholar, so he'd already been given the nod, so to speak, for a higher station in life.

So that leaves Reagan, who the elites and his own party's establishment hated. The non-elites rarely get their chance, absent an assassination or other calamity.

All this suggests that the two parties' nominees in 2016 will be: Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Jim said at August 31, 2014 6:44 AM:

CamelCaseRob - Obama was twice elected president. So much for democracy.

Pat Hines said at August 31, 2014 4:07 PM:

Randall, the USA is not doing so well with capitalism. Besides there is no socialism in Venezuela really and you know it. I'm assuming you know the meaning of the word socialism while most Americans don't, just as they don't know about the atrocities perpetrated by Pinochet in Chile, nor how Allende was democratically elected.

All in all, Venezuelans seem happier with Maduro than we have been with any of our last two presidents. Maduro has a greater acceptance rate than Bush and Obama put together, and he was voted president democratically. Chavez was the president with the greatest acceptance rate of all the Americas. Latin America has been leaning socialist for decades, so how is that surprising or new? The problem is that Maduro just like Chavez refused to play ball with our silly rules.

By the way, we could also quote some other countries that really are socialist and are also doing better than us as we speak. We can also talk about capitalist or right-winged countries doing like crap, but I think you already know that. Let's be fair Randall.

Randall Parker said at August 31, 2014 4:54 PM:

Pat/Ron (but really you and I know who you are),

You didn't want to post under an pseudonym you've used in the past and couldn't even be troubled to remember the same name twice?

No socialism in Venezuela: state-owned companies are socialism, no? State-set prices (which in Venezuela's case are set below the cost of production for many products) seem like socialism to me.

Venezuelans seem happier: which ones? The ones that spend hours each day in lines and who can't buy toilet paper?

Les said at September 6, 2014 4:59 PM:

Venezuela still deteriorating? What about Russia deteriorating from its Soviet days that never stopped? Bad ass economic systems appeal to corrupt mofos and mafia dons.

Erisguy said at September 7, 2014 5:08 AM:

This isn’t because Chavez died, it’s because Chavez lived.

Check it out said at September 8, 2014 5:14 PM:

Many progressives came to power in Latin America together with the debacle of national rights, which were then stunned by a great failure, which is connected to the failure of neoliberalism, and failed to adequately respond immediately. There's a change of seasons and they are profound changes with a major shift of power relations in countries like Ecuador for example. It is a change from a bourgeois to a popular state. This change in Latin America has been consolidated through the governments of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Lula da Silva in Brazil, Morales in Bolivia, Bachelet in Chile, Tavares Vasquez in Uruguay, and Correa in Ecuador.

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