Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The erstwhile socialist paradise of Venezuela is falling apart.  Strategy Page leads with:
In Venezuela annual inflation hit 45 percent, the highest it has been in five years. This sort of thing is making the country increasingly unstable. Venezuela is supposed to be a socialist paradise by now. But like every other attempt at this use of centralized economic planning and control it has only resulted in more poverty and growing shortages of basics. Some newspapers have had to stop publishing, or go with much smaller papers, because of a widespread shortage of newsprint. Some states in Venezuela are introducing rationing and more aggressively going after hoarders (and blaming the shortages on them although, if you do the math, hording is obviously a result of the shortages not the cause.) Unemployment is climbing because the attempts at centralized economic control make it very difficult to run a business and create new jobs. Businessmen and entrepreneurs continue to flee the country, many going to neighboring Colombia where the economy is booming. About a third of Venezuelans still believes in the Chavez dream of a socialist paradise and blame the continuing failure of the plan on internal enemies and plots by the United States. But as the economic problems get worse and neighboring nations (like Colombia and Brazil) prosper under free market policies, more and more Venezuelans reluctantly change their minds.
The U.S. has two big potential calamities that are both quite close to home: Venezuela and Cuba.  Both of them are likely to implode, though I wouldn't care to make a prediction other than “within the next 50 years”.  When they do, there will be refugees by the millions, and aid by the billions.  And a lot of liberated people, thoroughly indoctrinated in the failures of socialism...

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