In Venezuela, Atlas Shrugged is coming to life, with President Nicolas Maduro playing Mr. Thompson, the clueless, power-mad head of state.
Hugo Chavez died leaving Venezuela a mess. To recap: the state oil company has been pillaged. The budget is bust. Inflation is getting out of control.
His successor, Nicolas Maduro, has doubled-down on the new socialism. Price freezes cover basic products, and the result is shortages. The government prints money to cover its deficit, and inflation rises
over 50 percent a year. So: more price freezes!
In recent weeks, the government has announced freezes of the price of TVs and refrigerators. Now it is announcing price freezes on used cars
. Why cars? In the first place, new cars are already a shortage item, because there is a shortage of foreign exchange, thanks to, you guessed it, a price freeze. (The government has set the exchange rate to make imports cheap, and now there aren't enough dollars for all the things people want to import at those official rates.) In the second place, middle class people especially are buying cars as a store of value
because the currency is so debased.
If he could find a John Galt, Maduro would torture the productive genius for not making Bolivarian socialism work.
And the latest blow: widespread blackouts
have hit Caracas and elsewhere as the national power transmission system fails.
If he could find a John Galt, Maduro would torture the productive genius for not making Bolivarian socialism
Atlas Shrugs in Venezuela by Robert James Bidinotto (March 2007)
"In late 2002, Venezuela experienced a nationwide two-month-long work stoppage to protest the increasingly thuggish Chavez regime, drawing media comparisons at the time to the events described in Rand’s great novel. Today, investors are “going on strike” against Venezuela in their own traditional manner, by dumping their shares in Venezuelan firms, whose stock prices are plunging in global markets. And capital is fleeing the country. "
Is John Galt Venezuelan? by Thor Halvorssen (January 10, 2003)
"Chávez, a radical Marxist, was elected four years ago on a campaign promising to eradicate poverty and do away with government corruption. Since he was elected he has done away with the rule of law and private property while presiding over the greatest oil boom in Venezuela's history. Corruption and poverty have grown to levels unseen in the country's history."