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Political Editors / Nov. 16, 2017

Venezuela: Riches to Rags

We know it's shocking to hear, but the socialist "paradise" can no longer pay the bills.

The appeal of socialism is the promise of class equality and an end to poverty. Unfortunately, it is the stuff of fairytales, but that hasn’t stopped people who should know better from singing its praises.

The latest example that proves to burst the socialism fantasy bubble onto the hard rocks of real world economics is Venezuela. In 2001, Venezuela was the wealthiest country in all of South America. Now, after 16 years of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro’s implementation of the socialist dream, the country is bankrupt. The government, controlled by Maduro since Chavez’s death in 2013, has finally admitted that it cannot repay its debts.

The simple fact is that socialists hate competition because it produces unequal outcomes for winners and losers, so they seek to kill the free market-based economy in favor of a non-market, government-controlled one. The trouble is in doing so they have also killed off that which motivates hard work and innovation. Fixed prices and artificial price controls limit the ability of an economy to rapidly respond and change to necessary supply and demand market factors. The world of economics is no more static than the weather.

The free market system is clearly the more just system, for it rewards the producer over the non-producer. Socialism does the opposite by punishing the producers and rewarding the non-producers all in the name of fairness and equity. The problem, as Margaret Thatcher so astutely observed, is that you eventually run out of other people’s money. And Venezuela has just run out of other people’s money.

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