No matter how many times the story of collectivization gets told, it always ends the same:
Farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour have been told to supply between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of their products to the state stores. Shortages, rationing and queues outside supermarkets have become a way of life for Venezuelans, as their isolated country battles against rigid currency controls and a shortage of US dollars – making it difficult for Venezuelans to find imported goods.
Pablo Baraybar, president of the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber, said that the order was illogical, and damaging to Venezuelan consumers.
“Taking products from the supermarkets and shops to hand them over to the state network doesn’t help in any way,” he said. “And problems like speculating will only get worse, because the foods will be concentrated precisely in the areas where the resellers go.
He pointed to statistics showing that two thirds of hoarders – or “bachaqueros”, giant ants, as they are nicknamed in Venezuela – buy their goods from the three state-owned chains, to resell at a profit.
“Consumers will be forced to spend more time in queues, given that the goods will be available in fewer stores.”
Nationalization is never for the benefit of its ostensible beneficiaries.
The link comes from Forbes’ Tim Worstall, who says that “Venezuela is now one harvest away from serious starvation.”