The dream of the political left is to have a successful socialistic state. The idea of everyone having everything they need and everyone being financially secure is wonderful. The only problem is that is doesn’t seem to work in real life. Europe is an example of government spending to provide government benefits, but does not seem to be prospering. A few years ago, the political left thought Venezuela was going to prove that socialism worked.
An article appeared in Salon Magazine with the title, “Hugo Chavez‘s economic miracle” with the subtitle, “The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains.” Chavez’s early years were very successful. He served as President of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013. So what happened?
The article at Salon reports:
For instance, according to data compiled by the UK Guardian, Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double and both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved. Then there is a remarkable graph from the World Bank that shows that under Chavez’s brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted (the Guardian reports that its “extreme poverty” rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent just a decade later). In all, that left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America. Additionally, as Weisbrot points out, “college enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.”
Part of Chavez’s success can be attributed to the high cost of oil during that time.
However, the Venezuelan government began to take over private companies that were keeping the oil flowing. The government did not have the technical skill to continue to operative those companies successfully. (rightwinggranny) As the price of oil began to fall, there was no one to help increase the efficiency of oil production–the companies had been nationalized so there was no incentive. The free market was not allowed to work.
CBN News reported:
Venezuela, a country rich in natural resources, is the fifth largest exporter of oil in the world. Despite its assets, however, the economy is disintegrating.
Basic necessities are scarce, and inflation is skyrocketing, with some reports suggesting it could go as high as 700 percent.
“The people of Venezuela are suffering from violence, a world record of daily murders and random kidnappings,” European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said.
“They are suffering permanent shortages of food, basic goods, most medicines and medical care,” she continued. “Water is scarce and no longer guarantees the former sanitary standards. Even electricity is subject to frequent rationing.”
Socialism doesn’t work–when there is no incentive, people do not innovate. Even though it is not perfect, the free market is the only economic system in the world proven to lift people out of poverty and give everyone the opportunity to achieve. That is the history of socialism and the history of free market economics. I don’t know if the people at Salon knew that history and were hoping that Venezuela would be different, or if they didn’t know that history. Either way, the article misled anyone who does not understand economics.
Does the ignorance of economic policies and their consequences explain the acceptance of Bernie Sanders as a Presidential candidate?