Recently, Socialist Governor Francisco Rangel of Bolívar, Venezuela, stated that in face of hard economic times, the country may have to resort to eating sticks and stones before welcoming a free market. Despite food shortages and hyperinflation, the socialist regime continues to cling to its religion of rigid state control (and to think socialists believe Republicans are uncompromising). The direct quote was:
“Let them take away whatever they want. We are capable of eating a stick, or instead of frying two eggs, fry two rocks, and we will eat fried rocks, ” he said, “but no one can beat us.”
Rangel believes that the hyperinflation is not a result of failed monetary policy on his party’s part, but sabotage by the opposition. Any person with two brain cells that aren’t fighting each other would realize that socialism has never worked any time it’s been tried, but in the eyes of the Venezuelan Government, the solution isn’t less socialism, but more. Sanders supporters take note; if after years of steadily raising state influence in the market, the end result is still not desirable, it’s not because you haven’t gone far enough. But what caused Venezuela to get into the mess it’s in right now?
If you’re someone who passed your 9th grade economics course, you probably realize that if a single entity (in this case, the state) has a monopoly on a good or service, it is allowed to set prices to whatever it sees fit while maintaining a low quality. Ceterus paribus, this could mean the state can keep prices of it’s goods in a way to maximize social welfare and give consumers the highest utility possible.
But, since this isn’t some kind of fantasy realm like Runescape, the prices for goods and services are dictated by the harsh economic law of supply and demand. When there is a large supply of something, the prices will fall because the demand for that good or service falls, a surplus. When there isn’t enough of something, the price rises because the demand for that scarce resource climbs, a shortage.
Venezuela was at first able to maintain the illusion that their oil was in high demand and thus they could continue their Marxist wet dream of a worker’s paradise. “Petro-socialism” was what allowed this to happen. But come time to wake up and face the music, the price off oil falls, and the centrally controlled delusion becomes a nightmare. The value of Venezuelan currency becomes negligible, artificially contracted prices are meaningless, and basic goods like a condom shoot up to $700. That’s when Socialism rears it’s ugly head. An especially ugly symptom of government failure came in the form of a shortage of food. Too much demand and not enough supply would naturally cause prices to skyrocket. But, since socialists do not learn from their mistakes, price controls were implemented to stop the inevitable rise in the cost of living. This act also destroyed any incentive for farmers to produce food, since they knew they’d be compensated unfairly and likely go out of business.
And go out of business they did. Once the central economic planning failed again, the food shortage worsened. Food became so scarce that supermarkets began resembling those of the USSR before it. But the command economy couldn’t be stopped, not even at this point.
The next step was to nationalize production entirely. The government saw the best option as taking produce from the farmers by force. Socialism is about peace and cooperation, after all. Sure, the first two attempts at central economic planning failed, but why not take it farther? That should work, right?
Well, after every desperate attempt to implement socialism has failed, citizens are now left to live in the stone age. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but they can make a pretty good meal if you’re a socialist. Leftists believe if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. But as for the rest of us, we realize if you try the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result every time, you aren’t likely to succeed; you are insane.
This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Chris Johncox, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC
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