Socialism, a blighted and useless relic

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Dear Editor,

It seems that rising unrest and turmoil in our socialist neighbour Venezuela are side effects of the ugly, predictable face of Socialism, as evidenced by the underreported realities of life in a country besieged by a bankrupt political ideology.

It wasn’t always this way in that mineral-rich tropical nation.

At the turn of the 20th century, Venezuela was one of the poorest economies in Latin America, but by 1970, the country had transformed itself into the richest nation in the region, with an economy that was larger than some other nations, including Greece, Israel and Spain. However, between 1978 and 2001, several economic factors led to a sharp reversal of that country’s gross domestic product.

Around that time, voters elected as that country’s president the popular Hugo Chavez, a committed revolutionary in the prototypical socialist mould, who, over the next fourteen years before his death last year, did manage to improve a number of economic conditions and factors for his people; but at an atrocious cost to the overall economy, which transformed from a quasi-free-market model to one essentially controlled by the Government. And that says nothing of his authoritarianism.

If it weren’t for the sonic boom in the global oil markets, Chavez’s reforms would have doomed the economy outright.

The erstwhile government of Hugo Chavez made substantial improvements in things like primary school completion, progression to secondary education, and so forth. But in the course of these achievements, he severely compromised the engine of Venezuela’s future prosperity: its oil fields. And over the long run, the poor cannot thrive if the economy is failing.

In fact, according to data, Venezuela’s single most important generator of GDP — oil exports — have fallen in recent years, and that is due in large part to Chavez’s revolutionary/socialist nationalization of the industry.

Government-run businesses tend to be far less efficient than those run by private companies with investors and profit motives. So, in the end, perhaps the poor aren’t doing as well as they should; or could it be that even basic supplies and consumer goods are in short supply because of the nationalization of so much of Venezuela’s industry.

The things that are in scarcest supply are actually what are needed by most of the population: flour, cooking oil, butter, milk, diapers etc. The situation is really tough for the population in regard to basic goods. The growing scarcities have spawned widespread and growing protests, which are being led mostly by students; but, as usual, the authorities that be are propagandised and wholly controlled. The media is blaming the shortages on unscrupulous businessmen whom it claimed are hoarding consumer goods, rather than blaming the shortages on the Government’s socialist policies.

Those in the Opposition blame a system that imposes price controls, the lack of money to buy imports, and problems in the supply chain.

As a way to avoid hours-long lines at supermarkets, we are informed, a barter system has sprung up, as they so often do in socialist economies.

Socialism, a blighted and useless relic of some countries, is currently like a millstone tied around the neck of every citizen of that Bolivarian country.

Yours faithfully,

Rooplall Dudhnath