Communist World News

The failure of Venezuela’s “hybrid socialism,” critics say

In Latin America on April 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm

CARACAS, Venezuela — Basic goods are becoming more scarce in Venezuelan shops as the government imposes rigid price controls to keep products affordable, the New York Times reports.

Many shops lack consumer goods such as toilet paper, beef, sugar, chicken, or milk, according to Datanálisis. The polling bureau said powdered milk could not be found in 42 percent of the stores, while liquid milk is even harder to find.

This is the consequence of the price controls imposed by the Venezuelan government that aims at keeping products affordable. The result is that prices are so low, businesses are unable to make a profit, and therefore produce less. Chavez defended this policy saying: “We are not asking them to lose money, just that they make money in a rational way, that they don’t rob the people.” More recently, it is reported the military has seized crops by farmers, which is reminiscent of the forced requisition of peasants during war communism (1918-1921) under the Bolshevik regime in Russia. Chavez has threatened to nationalise any company that is not capable of maintaining a proper production level to keep its products on the market.

An example of a declining industry is that of coffee. Prior to 2009 Venezuela was a large coffee exporter, but was compelled to import large quantities of coffee to compensate the decline in production. Price controls keep profits close to or below what it costs farmers to grow and harvest the coffee, compelling the farmers to forfeit on using production enhancing products to save money.

Critics assert that the shortages are a consequence of attempting a hybrid of a profit-driven capitalist economy and socialism. Many revolutionary leftist groups, including the Communist Party of Venezuela, have criticised or clashed with Chavez.

Source: 1

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