Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Was Venezuela Real Socialism?

The latest reports from oil-rich Venezuela have their official rate of inflation approaching 10,000%.

People are struggling to survive, capital controls are in place, people who can flee the country are doing so – serious violent crime is escalating in volume and severity.

The leader and his lackeys have rewritten the Constitution and he now wields dictatorial powers.

Starving people are eating zoo animals, if some of the more extreme reports are to be believed.

However, the Left claims that this isn’t REAL socialism.

Well, it appears to be failing in EXACTLY the same way as all previous iterations of socialism, no?

And haven’t Maduro (and Chavez before him) referred to themselves as socialists?

And while things seemed to be going well, there was a distinct shortage of Leftists arguing with them. Indeed they were queuing up to point out how well socialism was working there.

And that’s the key, surely – the Left agreed that Venezuela was a socialist success story in the early Chavista phase (before they ran out of other people’s money), started to claim the economy was being interfered with by third parties once it started to fall apart, and are now insisting it wasn’t real socialism anyway.

So it looked like socialism at the beginning, quacked like socialism in the middle, and is walking like socialism now at the end.

What did the Right say about Venezuela? It was a disaster waiting to happen.

How would this disaster unfold?

Price controls, inflation, starvation, government tyranny and finally either violent revolution or deathcamps.

Because it was socialism, and that’s how it ALWAYS fails.

What did the Left say? It was a joyful rejection of neoliberalism.

What actually happened? People are eating their pets.

If it wasn’t real socialism, why is it failing in the exact ways that socialism always does, and how were the Right able to predict it?

How will we know if the Sahara ever becomes socialist?

First, Owen Jones will joyfully laud it as a rejection of neoliberalism.

And then the sand shortages will begin.

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6 years ago

The other question is how are we to tell, just by listening to those proposing real socialism, and without doing the experiment, that this time it’s different. After all they are making the same promises as their predecessors. I view socialism as an attempt to scale up to national level a system of government that works for a family, but has never been made to work for a community larger than three thousand ( and it only works at that larger scale when all the people are selected ). Of course the fact that it works at family level might… Read more »

6 years ago

Yes. It is socialism no matter what its name is. The government laid claim to all the wealth in the nation, even the full production of a toy factory so the government could make the Christmas gifts itself. Suddenly there wasn’t any, and all the news out of this oil Mecca is people are adapting to complete poverty.

Pat’s question is important: Can we use this episode to help people see through it, the next time someone proposes the very same thing?

(Alex, “price controls [and] inflation” were not what Chavez/Maduro did; they were the reaction to what they did.)

6 years ago

Bloke and his missus are parading their socialist credentials down the road and spy a dog turd. Being true socialist, she bends down, sniffs it and touches it and declares it smells and feels like shit. He then tastes it and assets it also tastes like shit (He knows this cos of his wife’s cooking). Both announce to the street, ‘Thank God we did not step in it!’

6 years ago

P.S. Came across this . Evidently, socialism is alive and well, and successful, in Bolivia.

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