A fine read for those who insist "it can't happen here."
Venezuela’s current economic catastrophe is well documented. Conventional narratives point to Hugo Chávez’s regime as the primary architect behind Venezuela’s economic tragedy. While Chávez and his successor Nicolás Maduro deserve the brunt of the blame for Venezuela’s current economic calamity, the underlying flaws of Venezuela’s political economy point to much more systemic problems.
Observers must look beyond stage one, and understand Venezuela’s overall history over the past 50 years in order to get a more thorough understanding of how the country has currently fallen to such lows.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -- George Santayana
____________________________________________________ Economics puts parameters on people’s utopias. ~Peter Boettke "It's the voter's fault" is victim-blaming in its purest sense. ~Don The 'social contract' is to the politician what 'original sin' is to the priest. ~Don The vision of the helpful and protective state is the most pervasive and counter-productive ideology in the world today. ~Don ____________________________________________________
I think it's a very superficial read that, like most papers written by obsessively ideological organizations, sees everything as a nail that can be pounded with the hammer they happen to be carrying. In this case, it's "free markets good, socialism bad" so of course everything good that ever happened in Venezuela was because of capitalism, and everything bad is because of socialism.
Certainly Venezuela's socialist policies have not helped it, long term, but I find interesting how that essay sings the praises of Venezuela's prosperity and fast-track growth during those heady days of military dictatorship while only briefly acknowledging
Like Juan Vicente Gómez’s regime, Pérez Jiménez’s stewardship of Venezuela was characterized by heavy political repression.
Reading that interpretation of Venezuelan history, one gets the impression that everything was good in Venezuela (except for a little political oppression, a few helicopter rides, a few missing civil rights, nothing major in the grand scheme of things) until those whiny "leftists" came along and ruined everything.
Despite the prosperity brought about by Venezuela’s booming economy in the 1950s, Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s government drew the ire of many left-leaning activists due its heavy-handed measures.
This article gives a slightly more critical picture of Jimenez. He was the very archetype of a tin-pot banana republic dictator who looted and oppressed his own people and then fled to live out the rest of his life in luxury.
Oh, but he was in favor of "free markets" (for US oil companies) so that made him so much better than that commie Hugo Chavez.
C'mon, Don. You can dig up better. All of human history is not cleanly explained by choosing the path of prosperity and progress with free markets, or the road to hell via Marxism. Venezuela's problems are not solely an outcome of whether or not they made the "right" choice in political ideologies - I would say Venezuela is proof that capitalism or socialism in fact makes very little difference, at least to the common people, if the government and economic fundamentals are rotten. The Soviet Union would not suddenly have become free or prosperous if they'd abandoned communism, and the US, even if we went full communist, would not automatically descend into an impoverished dystopia. There is a lot more to whether or not any particular civilization thrives than whether or not they have free markets.