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More Glittering Success for Latin American Socialism


Argentina and Venezuela may one day grow weary of being global laughingstocks and turn to sensible policies, but at least for now the socialist dream lives on.

The BBC reports that product scarcity has forced Venezuela’s “only wine maker” to stop selling wine to the Catholic Church, which is already suffering from a shortage of consecrated bread as flour is increasingly hard to come by and wheat is only imported from abroad. Milk, sugar and cooking oil have also been affected by the country’s currency controls and centralized control of the economy or, as the government likes to call it, the “opposition-led conspiracy.” On the bright side, however, the country’s crippling toilet paper shortage is now (temporarily) under control.

Not to be outdone, Argentina is facing an economic collapse of its own in which inflation, import taxes, and import restrictions have made goods either impossibly overpriced or impossible to find. Worse, the Economist reports, restricted access to foreign currency has forced ordinary Argentines to buy dollars on the black market at nearly double the official rate. Fortunately, many Argentines are exploiting a loophole which, if nothing else, will keep the airlines in business:

Economists attribute the [increase in travel] to a loophole that allows Argentines with credit cards to access attractive exchange rates abroad. “It’s not like a debit card,” explains Daniel Marx, who runs an economic consultancy called Quantum Finanzas. “You don’t need to have dollars in your account in order to pay for dollar-priced goods outside the country.” When an Argentine travelling abroad makes a credit-card purchase, the payment is converted at the official exchange rate—a rate virtually impossible to access in Argentina. Even though the payments are then hit by a 20% tax, the spread is much smaller than that between the official rate of 5.23 pesos per dollar and the black-market rate that recently spiked to 10.45.

This is only one of the bizarre economic policies wreaking havoc on Argentina. The quack economists now running the country into the ground will continue to try one eccentric experiment after another until the money eventually runs out.

Amazingly, Venezuela and Argentina have every abundant natural resource needed to make them two of the most prosperous places on earth. It’s almost as if socialism tends to end in poverty and misery, no matter how rich the soil at its disposal.

[Argentine and Venezuelan flag image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • bigfire

    Socialists in both country look at what Bob Mugabee have done with his country with envy on why they cannot bring that kind of paradise to theirs. They’ve tried very hard to realize that dream though.

  • Fat_Man

    “It’s almost as if socialism tends to end in poverty and misery, no matter how rich the soil at its disposal.”

    Socialism always fails. Always.

  • bpuharic

    One wonders how much evidence you actually need to convince people socialism is a failure. Decade after decade socialism is tried and decade after decade it fails. Happened to be reading an article in the “Nation” about the ‘resurgence of American marxism’. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    • Stephen

      Kipling addressed this in The Gods of the Copybook Headings when he wrote, “And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire…”.

  • Bill Dalasio

    I understand why so many want to say socialism is a failure. Like me, actually, you’re judging it by it’s ability to create widespread prosperity. And on that ground, it most certainly is a failure. However, if you judge it by it’s ability to secure the power of those in charge, it’s much less a failure. It consistently proves quite successful, actually. When the state controls the means of production, one’s ability to produce, and therefore survive, depends on the beneficence of the state. And of course, those in power have the added benefit of being able to cream off amounts so vast that the caricature of a robber baron would be envious in contrast.

  • teapartydoc

    Artificial scarcity is a hallmark of socialist policy. It can be used in extreme cases, such as in the early Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, to actually starve possible opponents genocidally, or as is usually the case, the scarcity can be used to pad the pockets of supporters who are granted special privileges in doling out whatever the scarce item is.

    • Inane Rambler

      Actually Stalin starved his population because he took the products of Russian agriculture and sold them on the global market in order to obtain foreign capital to assist in industrialization.

      It wasn’t an attempt at genocide, and you should understand history before commenting on it.

  • teapartydoc

    But things are great in Sweden, right?

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