The collapse of Venezuela is an especially painful story in a world full of them right now. It’s an unimaginable economic failure in a resource-rich nation and it’s happening right under our noses in our own hemisphere.
For the past 21 years, The Heritage Foundation has published its annual Index of Economic Freedom, which looks at the economic freedom of countries throughout the world. In that period of time, Venezuela’s score has declined the most out of any country, going from 59.8 to 27.0 (on a scale of 1-100). It is now in second-to-last place, right behind Cuba and better only than North Korea.
The scope of the depredation brought upon the Venezuelan’s by their socialist, crooked government’s malfeasance is almost complete and I can only wonder how much longer it will continue. Today, I took some time to watch Stefan Molyneux’s excellent video from early this month on this topic. Even though I knew it was bad, hearing the Venezuelan interviewee lay out the specific conditions and what can happen to those who dare to try to bring attention it is heartbreaking.
From the video, I especially was aghast to hear ranchers who have beef to sell refuse to sell to the government since the currency is so worthless it’s not worth it to do so. Instead of selling beef to feed all the hungry people, it’s more profitable for the ranchers to sell the beef as….dog food. The ranchers aren’t evil, greedy cattlemen in the spirit of villains from an old Western. Selling their beef to the government for almost nothing would leave them to starve for lack of the beef and or the ability to buy more food.
No matter how bad, stupid, or insane you think centrally-planned economies can be they always find new ways to desolate their own countries in the most complete and frustrating ways. It’s not that they restrict choices so much as leave their people with nothing but bad ones.
Something has to be done, but I’ll be damned if I know what it is.