Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Because socialism

How badly can you screw up a country that is awash in oil and is a founding member of OPEC?  So badly that you have to resort to that old rallying cry of "The Americans are coming!"  Hot Air: "Venezuelan President Maduro says country is ready for American invasion."

P. J. O'Rourke wrote a great book called "Eat the Rich" that reviews economic disparities between countries.  In the chapter "How to make everything out of nothing," he notes that rocky, isolated Hong Kong with very few natural resources is one of the richest places on Earth.  On the flip side, "How to make nothing out of everything," he contrasts Tanzania which has plenty of farmland and natural resources, but is mired in poverty.

Venezuela is in this latter category.  The country is blessed with oil, natural gas, bauxite, gold and iron ore to complement a huge amount of arable land in a temperate climate.  What went wrong?  Money printing, price controls, and all the other accouterments of socialism:
It is incredible that in this day and age, a government could be so blind, stupid, and cruel toward its own people.  It’s one thing to teach this sort of nonsense at expensive universities, but another to put it in practice and ruin people’s lives.
Eventually, even an oil-soaked country like Venezuela runs out of other people's money.

No comments: