Venezuela sure knows how to keep prices down, the government just orders retailers to sell TV’s and fridges at a loss due to the government induced 54% inflation rate. But unfortunately for Venezuelans they may not get much use out of their cheap electronics, as power outages have increasingly plagued the Socialist country run by Chavez successor Maduro. Some would call it irony that the power cut out halfway through Maduro’s speech about how great Socialism is, but not Maduro. According to him, the power outages were sabotage by right-wing extremists. Apparently Venezuela has the same problem that America has: they would be a utopia already if it weren’t for those damn obstructionist far right zealots!
“Be strong against this electrical war that yesterday’s fascists have declared against our people,” Maduro said in another address to the nation at about 11 p.m. local time.
When translated from the left-wing vernacular, “fascist” means anyone who I disagree with or wish to blame for the failure of my own policies. Fascism is a system of totalitarian government characterized by government control–but not ownership–over the means of production, so it is unclear how the opposition to Venezuela’s Socialist government could accurately be described as such. In reality the “fascists” who “sabotaged” the electrical grid were really socialists who have nationalized so much of the economy that no competent business would stay in Venezuela and be compelled to operate at a loss. Note the similarity of language and divisive tactics used in Venezuela compared to America: “War on electricity”. To quote Simon from Lord of the Flies “Maybe there is a beast… Maybe it’s only us”.
Never-the-less, Maduro must move Forward! So he will continue to realize the socialist dream of equality and utopia by cracking down on car prices, the same way he cracked down on electronics. Here, the socialist and fascist tendencies of the government are tough to tease apart, as sometimes companies are nationalized (AKA stolen) and sometimes they are just instructed how much they are allowed to charge customers (hint: not enough to turn a profit). Good thing America would never intervene in the car industry in the name of the greater good!
Maduro said that Venezuela will set new car prices, order prices lowered on used cars, and force used car prices to remain lower than new cars, which was being explained before the power outage in the speech about setting “fair” prices and “reasonable” profit margins. Of course profits are hard to come by while savings and salaries are decimated by 54% inflation caused by printing money. The price controls just cause shortages of goods, as there is no incentive to produce, import, and sell products at a loss. Already toilet paper and flour are scarce in the socialist country which has been intervening in the economy on a massive scale since Maduro’s predecessor Chavez became President.
Instead of reducing inflationary pressures, however, the price caps are likely to spawn a black market for the buying and selling of used cars much like the one that already exists for rental apartments, where regulations are also severe, said Asdrubal Oliveros, an economist at Caracas-based economic think tank Ecocanaltica.
“Cars are going to become even scarcer, and prices will rise further,” Oliveros said.
Still, Maduro and the Socialist government claim that price gauging and greedy businessmen are the cause of all their woes, ignoring the fact that businesses produce goods necessary for survival, and have been handicapped by government intervention at every turn. While cars are scarce, production has been well below capacity for years, showing that foreign investors and producers are reluctant to sink resources into a country that thinks nothing of nationalizing entire industries, and then running them into the ground. The difference between America and Venezuela is just the degree of socialist policies. America only kinda intervenes in the car industry, and only sets some prices. America also doesn’t print as much money at as fast a pace as Venezuela. But American politicians have no problem biting the hand that feeds by criticizing production the same way that the Venezuelan politicians do, and that should raise red flags to us all.