What began as rumors of state meddling in the food-distribution market in Venezuela were finally confirmed on Monday. The Nicolás Maduro government is compelling the country’s food producers to send up to 100 percent of their output to state-owned distribution centers and stores, in an attempt to solve the nation’s shortage problems.
This according to Pablo Baraybar, president of the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber (CAVIDEA), who explained that the National Agro-Food Superintendency — a governmental entity in charge of managing food distribution in the country — has ordered affiliated firms to send the majority of their products to PDVAL, MERCAL, Bicentenario supermarkets, and other establishments of the state-run network. In Venezuela, the national government manages the distribution of food. It’s the executive, through the ministries, who decides which stores in what part of the country will get the products.
Oil-rich Venezuela should be among the strongest and most civilized nations in Latin America, but of course it’s not: it’s a devolving hellhole of a socialist basket case. Meanwhile, Tim Worstall at Forbes writes to remind the Venezuelans what happened when the Soviets tried the same scheme:
My predicted outcome from this is that Venezuela is now one harvest away from serious starvation.
The point of this history stuff is to see what didn’t work and then not repeat it. Yet Maduro appears to be selecting the very worst public policies of the past as those that he will impose today. Confiscating the food off the farmers is just going to lead to no farmers and no food.
Someone really should tell the President about 1930s Ukraine.
But remember: socialism and communism have never really been tried yet!