Soaring prices. Food and water shortages. Long lines. Police in riot gear. The breakdown of normal economic life and the complete loss of trust in politics.
Welcome to Venezuela.
Have you heard much about the country’s woes? My guess is: probably not. Why?
Because Venezuela’s experience is a complete repudiation of the socialist claptrap being peddled by Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. It’s too embarrassing for their enablers in the mainstream media to publish the fact that if you take socialist ideas to their logical conclusion, you don’t get peace, equality, wealth and justice.
You get soaring prices. Food and water shortages. Scarcity, violence and death.
Apologists will blame Venezuela’s troubles on the collapse in the oil price, which the government was using to subsidise its socialist dreams. Others will blame embargoes or “neoliberalism” itself. In fact, the ivory tower elites at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) embarrassed themselves this week with a poorly aimed broadside that blamed inequality on a hodge-podge of ideas which it lumped together as “neoliberalism”.
Capitalism has done more to lift people out of poverty than any other system of organising human affairs in history. That’s because it’s based on mutually beneficial trade and the fundamental human drive for self-improvement. Let people trade and invent and innovate and experiment, and generally life will get better for most people.
Try to control freedom, redistribute wealth, punish innovation and regulate enterprise, and you get what you have in Venezuela: genuine human misery, suffering, the destruction of human potential and violence. If you genuinely support each individual human being’s opportunity to improve his life, then you’re a capitalist – not a socialist.