Socialist Utopia Update

Monday, December 04, 2017

The New York Times, fresh off celebrating a century of Communism, makes  an astonishing report on living conditions in Venezuela. Here are a few highlights:

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, known to joke about how great for one's sex life starvation is. Really. Page the Times! (Image via Wikipedia.)
A self-described bibliophile -- "my life is literature," he said -- [Carlos] Sandoval is one of Venezuela's foremost literary critics and a professor at two of the country's finest universities.

Yet, Mr. Sandoval can no longer afford to buy books.


This is an economy in which even the hourly rate in a parking lot recently ticked upward in the two hours it took a shopper to run some errands.


The economic turmoil has put families -- poor and affluent alike -- at the intersection of some very tough choices, bred a stressful uncertainty about the course of any given day and turned the most basic tasks into feats of endurance.

"Something so simple as taking money out of a bank machine or buying a coffee or taking a taxi has become a race for survival," Mr. Sandoval said.


Like many poor Venezuelans, she has been gradually eliminating meals from her daily routine. She is now down to one, dinner, which usually consists of little more than rice and beans or pasta.


David, like many Venezuelans, spends a lot of time waiting in line to buy basic goods -- when they are available. The other day he awoke before 5 a.m. and stood in line for nearly two and a half hours to buy a canister of cooking gas. By the time he got to the front of the line, the supply had run out.

As he told the story, he seemed neither annoyed nor angry. Just resigned. "It's like something from a movie where you become accustomed to something that you shouldn't be accustomed to," he said. "Standing in line erodes the mind, erodes your thinking, the capacity to create."


[T]o buy a pair of shoes, I have to put together two biweekly paychecks and hope that a light bulb doesn't break," he said.
I meant to add "to them" to my description of the report. The word "socialism" doesn't come up a single time in the entire article. That fact, coming as it does from the same quarters who fling around terms like, "climate denier," is hardly astonishing to me.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

A splendid post, Gus!

Thanks to Bernie Sanders, who cites Scandinavian countries as examples of success, more Americans revel in pointing out 'decent qualities' of socialism, "relatively high living standards with low poverty, long life spans, and narrow income distributions — everything the Left would like America to have." - Nima Sanandaji | July 26, 2016,; "The Nordic Democratic-Socialist Myth"

Perhaps the clearest examples to be made in Nordic countries comes from resource-rich (like Venezuela) little Iceland. Iceland maintains the longest average life span for Nordic people but it has the most limited welfare system.

Scandinavian countries do not set minimum wages which must be negotiated between unions and employers while Icelandic nurses, doctors, and commercial pilots, for example, often go on strike. The primary responsibility for determining unemployment benefits rests with unions rather than government agencies. While unions and employers negotiate wages and unemployment benefits, the right to hire and fire remains with employers. - Ben Miller | April 19, 2016;; "Scandinavian socialism would not work in the United States"

What happens to slackers and those who lose jobs? Do unemployment benefits go on forever? The state steps in and finds public jobs, as menial as necessary, such as restroom attendants and parking meter monitors. - What incredible opportunities for self-improvement and career advancement!

Painting socialism in a favorable light benefits greatly from the ignorance fostered in many public schools. Baiting U.S. voters to adopt incremental socialist policies risks ceding the world's most enviable liberties, capitalism's legacy of ever-greater human achievements and ever-higher benchmarks that limit socialist experiments to in second and later scores.

Gus Van Horn said...


True, the socialism over there is watered-down, but that doesn't explain the recent increase in the popularity of socialism (or its extent) here, as my earlier posts on the celebrations of the Communist centenary indicate. I see the problem as almost everyone being in agreement that self-sacrifice is moral, and that many see collectivist systems like socialism or communism as the proper application of that idea into practice. That explains both (1) the rather impressive fact that so many people seem to glaze over at the mention of past and present failure of socialism, convinced as they are that people haven't tried hard enough or have corrupted it, and (2) conservatives, like the present Congress, who sneak in (think repealing the personal ObamaCare mandate) or avoid altogether (repeal all of ObamaCare) real free market reforms because they haven't the moral conviction to decry the "ideals" behind leftist political measures. (It's also why they stick only to "doesn't work" and blanch when the "noble" ideals come up.

I even see it in your comment.

"What happens to slackers and those who lose jobs? Do unemployment benefits go on forever? The state steps in and finds public jobs, as menial as necessary, such as restroom attendants and parking meter monitors. - What incredible opportunities for self-improvement and career advancement!"

Why should the government force anybody to subsidize anyone else for a day, be it in the form of make-work, forcing someone to hire him, or straight money?