While one of the two leading Democratic contenders for President openly calls for socialism, let’s check in on how one socialist paradise is doing:
The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first.
The key word there is “completely.” Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela’s ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it’s hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever. Incumbents, after all, don’t tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It’s no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.
Inflation has gotten so bad that Venezuelans are now paying more than 1000 bolivars to the dollar on the black market. Which is why the government is flying in planeloads of money. As P. J. O’Rouke said of similar hyperinflation in Nicaragua’s own socialist paradise economy: “You have to go to Moscow University two or three times to make money worth this little.”
But with the opposition party having defeated the socialists in parliamentary elections, they can turn things around, right? Well…
Socialist president Nicolas Maduro has changed the law so the opposition-controlled National Assembly can’t remove the central bank governor or appoint a new one. Not only that, but Maduro has picked someone who doesn’t even believe there’s such a thing as inflation to be the country’s economic czar. “When a person goes to a shop and finds that prices have gone up,” the new minister wrote, “they are not in the presence of ‘inflation,’ ” but rather “parasitic” businesses that are trying to push up profits as much as possible. According to this — let me be clear — “theory,” printing too much money never causes inflation. And so Venezuela will continue to do so. If past hyperinflations are any guide, this will keep going until Venezuela can’t even afford to run its printing presses anymore — unless Maduro gets kicked out first.
But for now, at least, a specter is haunting Venezuela — the specter of failed economic policies.
Philip K. Dick once noted that reality is that which, if you ignore it, doesn’t go away. Socialists may not believe in hyperinflation, but hyperinflation very much believes in socialism…