Paul's Here

Venezuelens Experience Justice

6 posts in this topic

Ayn Rand wrote this over 30 years ago.

But this type of inflation is more complex and harder for people to understand than the economic one, particularly since the first is the basic cause of the second. It is in the name of altruism—of self-sacrificial help to others—that the ravages of government spending have been perpetrated, in every country that tried such policies; without the belief that self-immolation is their moral duty, the victims would not have stood for it. Today, we are witnessing the burst of the balloon of altruism, which was being inflated for centuries, yet our public leaders keep cursing the sins of ambition, ability and selfishness as the cause of our plight, and demanding more sacrifices as the cure.

Now the Venezuelans are learning their price controls and inflation lesson. Venezuelans Struggle to Find Food

The lines formed at dawn and remained long throughout the day - hundreds upon hundreds of Venezuelans waiting to buy scarce milk, chicken and sugar at state-run outdoor markets staffed by soldiers in fatigues.

President Hugo Chavez's government is trying to cope with shortages of some foods, and the lines at state-run "Megamercal" street markets show many Venezuelans are willing to wait for hours to snap up a handful of products they seldom find in supermarkets.

"You have to get in line and you have to be lucky," said Maria Fernandez, a 64-year-old housewife who was trying to buy milk and chicken on Sunday.

The lines for basic foods at subsidized prices are paradoxical for an oil-rich nation that in many ways is a land of plenty. Shopping malls are bustling, new car sales are booming and privately owned supermarkets are stocked with American potato chips, French wines and Swiss Gruyere cheese.

Yet other foods covered by price controls - eggs, chicken - periodically are hard to find in supermarkets. Fresh milk has become a luxury, and even baby formula is scarcer nowadays.

The shortages are prompting some Venezuelans to question Chavez's economic policies while he campaigns for constitutional changes that, if approved in a Dec. 2 referendum, would let him run for re-election indefinitely.

Some government officials accuse producers of keeping basic goods off the market to profiteer or to sow discontent among Venezuela's poor, Chavez's core supporters.

Economists say the factors behind the shortages are numerous, including surging demand due to economic growth.

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The government's price controls are also "totally divorced" from reality - in some cases below production costs - making it unprofitable for suppliers to sell their products at official prices, said economist Pedro Palma of the Caracas consulting firm MetroEconomica.

More investment is needed in agriculture, but the government's agrarian reform effort - assuming control of vast farmlands and offering them to poor farmers - has made traditional producers reluctant to invest, he said.

Importers also face hurdles. Currency exchange controls imposed in 2003 require state approval to obtain dollars at the official rate. Those without it turn to the black market, buying dollars for about three times the fixed rate.

To compound the problem, Palma said, some of the products Venezuela looks to import, such as milk and sugar, are scarce internationally.

Many Venezuelans in line at the Megamercal said they were grateful to Chavez for subsidized markets offering prices far cheaper than commercial supermarkets. But they also complained of struggling to find milk, chicken, sugar and cooking oil elsewhere at prices set by the government.

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"I arrived at 6 in the morning to get in line," said Doris Bastida, 32, a mother of four who wheeled an infant son in a stroller. She had been waiting for about four hours when she reached the entrance.

"What am I going to do? I don't have anywhere else to go," she said. Powdered milk is sold by black market street vendors at $4.50 or more for a 16-ounce container - about twice the regulated price and four times the price offered by the state markets.

Bastida said she still believes in Chavez and plans to vote in favor of his reforms "so that things will get better." Plus, she said, if "everyone votes 'No,' they're going to take the Megamercal away from us."

(my emphasis)

Seems like Atlas Shrugged has turned to reality in Venezuela.

Justice does exist in the world, whether people choose to practice it or not. The men of ability are being avenged. The avenger is reality. Its weapon is slow, silent, invisible, and men perceive it only by its consequences—by the gutted ruins and the moans of agony it leaves in its wake. The name of the weapon is: inflation.

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Senor Chevez probably thinks that oil makes him immune from what has happened to Senor Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

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I have become convinced that the only reason socialists exist is to prove capitalism is the only system that works. :D

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I have become convinced that the only reason socialists exist is to prove capitalism is the only system that works. :D

Excellent point. I hadn't thought of it that way. I now have an answer to the question, "What's a socialist good for?" :D

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I have become convinced that the only reason socialists exist is to prove capitalism is the only system that works. :D

Excellent point. I hadn't thought of it that way. I now have an answer to the question, "What's a socialist good for?" :D

Soylent Green??

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I have become convinced that the only reason socialists exist is to prove capitalism is the only system that works. :D

Excellent point. I hadn't thought of it that way. I now have an answer to the question, "What's a socialist good for?" :D

Soylent Green??

How environmentally friendly you are!!

:D

I'd be afraid to eat it, but I would feed my dog with it.

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