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Why Is Venezuela Plagued With Starvation And Chaos?

I was listening to Glenn Beck this morning, and he mentioned John Oliver in some way denying that Venezuela’s current chaos is actually related to its going full socialist.

You know, for the life of me I just don’t get how these people on the left refuse to look at what socialism has done to civilization, from the 100 million+ dead during the 20th Century to the lack of progress in Cuba, the starvation in North Korea, the many dying in the hospital hallways in England. I think that a lot of people really don’t know what socialism actually is, and believe the myths and fairy tales associated with the label.

When the people of a society were freed from the thefts and restrictions imposed on them by the State they pursued their own interests without fear, they created and invented freely, they established mutually beneficial contracts, they served the needs of others, and society progressed and prospered naturally with that freedom. The example is the U.S. especially from the second half of the 19th Century to the early 1910s.

Sadly, many people don’t view that way of life positively (even though most of them have been living it here in the U.S.!) because they were brainwashed to believe that government controls over the people were necessary. They believe that the government must be empowered to take people’s earnings for redistribution, the government must impose regulations and restrictions on people’s economic activities.

In other words, many people believe that freedom from those government controls is a bad thing, even though actual history tells us that that very freedom is what raised the standard of living of most people in society.

What happened in Venezuela? The government seized control and outright ownership of food production and distribution. Those authoritarian controls are what cause distortions in markets and food shortages. The empty store shelves are directly caused by those government controls. Here in the U.S., the means of food production and distribution are privately owned, and the managements and calculations are handled by the privately owned companies and their managers. Just go into any grocery store and you’ll see well-stacked shelves of many, many choices for food.

History proves that freedom creates prosperity and raises the people’s standard of living, while authoritarian government seizures and controls of industry and production reduces prosperity and lowers the people’s standard of living. There are other things going on in Venezuela besides “socialism,” of course. The Venezuelan regime has devalued its currency. Government central banking and out-of-control money printing are also relevant factors here.

For more info, see Jacob Hornberger’s recent article on the calculation problem in Marx’s socialism.

See Ryan McMaken’s 2014 article on the calculation problem. He cites Ludwig von Mises’s book, Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. McMaken also discusses Venezuela in this article.

See Steven Horwitz’s article on Venezuela being a socialist calamity.

And see this 2013 article by Matthew McCaffrey and Carmen Elena Dorobăț on inflation, shortages and social democracy in Venezuela.

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