Wednesday, May 03, 2017 by JD Heyes
Though various leaders have tried implementing socialist and communist economic policies since they were first established by Karl Marx in the 1800s and refined by Vladimir Lenin in the early 20th century, they have never worked. The Soviet Union was perhaps the biggest experiment in communism that failed: Though it took more than 80 years, the fate of the U.S.S.R. was written well before the country collapsed, broke and broken, in 1991.
Venezuela appears to be the next domino to fall in the long line of failed socialist states, and its collapse will be as profound – but likely much more violent – than that of the USSR.
As reported by Foreign Policy, Venezuela is a bubbling cauldron of discontent and economic malaise. In the modern era, the country has been besieged by two radical Left-wing socialist “revolutionary” wannabes – first Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro – both of whom doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on state control of all economic policy. The results have been predictably disastrous:
Venezuela is not the first developed country to put itself on track to fall into a catastrophic economic crisis. But it is in the relatively unusual situation of having done so while in possession of enormous oil assets. There aren’t many precedents to help understand how this could have happened and what is likely to happen next.
There is, however, at least one — the Soviet Union’s similar devastation in the late 1980s. Its fate may be instructive for Venezuela — which is not to suggest Venezuelans, least of all the regime of Nicolás Maduro, will like what it portends.
The magazine goes on to largely blame Venezuela’s economic disaster on the decline of global oil prices, and while lower oil revenues certainly have contributed somewhat, the primary reason why Venezuela is failing is because the last two presidents have been committed socialists who have destroyed the country’s market-based economy. (Related: Read Venezuela to plunge into mass social unrest if oil prices stay low, warn analysts.)
Prior to the election of Chavez, and then Maduro (yes, they were both elected), Venezuela was what you might call the jewel of South America. It was the continent’s wealthiest country. But state management of the economy, which included price controls, redistribution of assets and other measures that killed competition and profits have led to massive shortages in basic items – food, clothing, medicine, even plastic to laminate new passports.
The government has placed controls on foreign exchange rates and prices of basic goods, which has created shortages and widespread corruption. Public spending has been unrestrained and nearly all private industry has been taken over by the Maduro government. The state-owned oil company, PDVSA, has been plundered.
A 100-bolivar bank note, the country’s largest, is now worth about three cents, inflation being so bad that the country’s currency is now worthless (800 percent this month).
“As desperation rises, so does the intransigence of Venezuela’s ‘Bolivarian’ regime, whose policies have ruined the economy and sabotaged democracy,” the Star Tribune notes.
In addition to a sky-high inflation rate, the economy contracted another 18.6 percent in 2016. The International Monetary Fund estimates that consumer prices will rise a mind-boggling 2,200 percent this year, thanks to chronic shortages of everything. Once South America’s most prosperous nation, it is now among the continent’s poorest. (Related: Read Venezuela’s socialist nightmare continues as pharmacies run out of medicine.)
Maduro’s approval rating is at 24 percent. He must now resort to arming some 400,000 special “militia” loyal to him alone in order to remain in power (private firearms ownership has been banned, by the way).
The pattern of socialism and communism is always the same: Economic decline, loss of freedom, rising authoritarianism, violence, collapse. Some countries adapt and recover (see China) ; most don’t (see Cuba). It can happen to any country, at any time – even beacons of liberty like the United States. All it takes is electing the wrong person who believes in a failed political ideology.
Read more stories about the consequences of bad government policies at Collapse.news.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.