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Feeling the Burn of Socialism in Venezuela: $150 for One-Dozen Eggs

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Not long ago, a video surfaced featuring Democratic Party candidate Bernie Sanders claiming bread lines were a sign of good times.

You know, it’s funny. Sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is when people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing. In other countries, people don’t line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

Well, it must be the best of times in Venezuela!

Here’s how Public Radio International described the scene just a couple of weeks ago:

It was around noon when a food truck rolled up to a Venezuelan state-subsidized supermarket in the town of Guarenas just east of the capital.

“But, to the fury of the long line of people waiting out front, the cargo wasn’t unloaded. Instead soldiers took it away.

“‘We want food!’ the crowd roared in protest, to no avail. Some tried to run after the truck.”

In fact, Venezuela is feeling the burn of socialism. The country has devolved into complete chaos. Inflation may well hit 1200% this year.

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The official price of eggs is 1,020 bolivars. Yes, the government maintains “official prices.” But Venezuelans can rarely find eggs at the government-run food stores. Maria Linares is a 42-year-old single mother who works for a government ministry as an accounting assistant. She told the Los Angeles Times she has to buy eggs on the street from vendors. Cost? Around 1,500 bolivars for 1-dozen eggs. That translates to $150 at the official exchange rate.

Linares spends almost her entire salary just buying food. She can find the best deals at government-run stores such as Mercal and Bicentenario. But to shop there, she has to line up overnight. Even then, she still often comes home with nothing – or things she doesn’t want:

The last time I bought food in a Mercal was three months ago. They sold me one kilo [2.2 pounds] of rice, a kilo of pasta, a kilo of sugar and a liter of cooking oil for 1,540 bolivars. But to buy the basket of regulated products, I had to buy a watermelon for 400 bolivars. I didn’t want the watermelon and didn’t have the extra money to pay for it.”

For the most part, Linares must resort to illegal street vendors called bachaqueros in order to obtain food.

The Venezuelan government is so broke it can’t even afford to print more money. But it did recently raise the minimum wage.

Could rampant hyperinflation in Venezuela provide a peek into America’s future? That seems far-fetched, but Bernie advocates many of the same policies that plunged the South American country into economic chaos and millions of Americans embrace that vision.

Tho Bishop recently summed up the situation in Venezuela for the Mises Wire.

The crisis in Venezuela is the most modern illustration of the horrific consequences of socialism and the devastating reality of hyperinflation. What makes this disaster all the more infuriating is that it could have been avoided with a basic understanding of history. We’ve seen the disaster of socialism and interventionism in various forms play out across the world time and time again with similar results, and yet new generations of central planners — backed by ideologically aligned intellectuals — are consistently able to fool people into believing that ‘this time will be different.’

Just remember, bread lines are a good thing.

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17 thoughts on “Feeling the Burn of Socialism in Venezuela: $150 for One-Dozen Eggs

  1. Buddyphil says:

    Is it socialism that’s the problem or is it corruption and the fact that income from oil is a fraction of what it’s been

    • Vered says:

      I just read this and decided to text my friend in Venezuela to ask if it’s true that eggs is $150.
      This was his response :

      Hello vered, is not true. A dozen is 1.8 $. That not sound bad, But if you think that the average salary is 40 $ monthly, is not so good.

      So, here you go, who can you believe anymore?
      Shocking.

  2. Mitchell says:

    Socialism, communism, capitalism are not problems by themselves. Government corruption is the problem in Venezuela, Government is the Problem in United States and Government is the problem in Puerto Rico, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Zimbabwe. The best laid out plans cannot withstand massive corruption on a scale so large it touches everyone.
    Peter is one of the most brilliant minds I listen to, however I really wish he would spend just a minute at the end of each interview, podcast or article informing the masses of what to do.
    99 Percent of everything you see and hear is designed to distract you from the Reality that government is the problem, they throw race relations, entertainment, religion blah blah in our face daily and none of you understand its the government that wants your black neighbor to rob you, and your white neighbor to fear the muslim guy,, its bullshit designed to distract you from their extreme overreach….

    • Andrew says:

      I feel like he’s pretty vocal about the over reach of government. He’s often said something along the lines of, “don’t fear corporations, they are just collections of people. Fear government. If you don’t like what a corporation does you can choose to not buy their good or service. You don’t always get that choice with government.” Obviously not a direct quote, but more of a paraphrase. He’s also pointed those that are mad at Wall Street because they buy politicians to direct their anger to the politicians instead. It may not be as direct, but I think he calls for a reduction in government fairly often and generally cites it’s propensity for over-reach.

    • jrj90620 says:

      Of course, any govt that uses it’s power to steal from some and give to others is corrupt.How could it be anything else.

    • al says:

      I second what Mitchell wrote – I could not express myself more succinctly.

    • Daniel says:

      Socialism and government are one and the same. It is impossible to have socialism without the coercive force of the government. Besides, the state is a legalized institution of corruption, so blaming the government of corruption is like blaming a duck being a duck.

  3. jtleslie says:

    Yes socialism is the problem and stupidity. Does anyone know the cure for both? If you do, please share it. Because if you do not the entire western world is facing economic collapse.

  4. Steve says:

    Corruption is the problem??? You’re kidding right. The problem with you socialists is that you believe socialists can’t be corrupt. The whole point is that a huge government that controls everything will CORRUPT everything. I’m pretty sure those giddy socialists running that country into the ground aren’t standing in food lines and are fatter than ever. 100 years of socialist failures and yet you still believe. Unbelievable

  5. Kevin says:

    Socialism and Communism are corruption at their highest form. They are specifically designed to take the hard earned money from everyone and enrich only those in power and leave everyone else equally destitute and dependent on those in power.

  6. jrj90620 says:

    What socialism?How many true socialists do you know?Certainly not Obama,who stays at a $5K a night vacation residence in Hawaii.Not Oprah,who has at least 5 mansions.Not Letterman,worth over $300 Million,who has a huge ranch.These aren’t socialists.The hippie communes of the 1960’s were socialist,where everyone voluntarily signed up to share with one another.What we have in all these countries,calling themselves socialists is actually fascism.It’s govt with massive power,where citizens use that power to take from some,against their will and give to others,to buy votes.

  7. Scott says:

    You Americans make me laugh. Your answer is already in place, it’s called your constitution. Why don’t you all read it. Having a republic instead of a democracy means the rights of the individual are above the collective. Which means you already have laws protecting your property rights your money, freedom of speech as well as gold and silver only as money. Don’t you realise your founding fathers went through all these problems with the English and put the constitution in place so that it didn’t happen again. All you had to do was stick to it and you wouldn’t be in this corrupt mess. It’s sad that a lineup has to give you a history lesson.

  8. Felix Markman says:

    Of course Socialism is the problem. Centralization and bureaucracy will never bring down the price of eggs. They can only bring them up through introducing market inefficiencies.
    Obviously, the situation in Venezuela is a combination of Socialism and corruption. But socialism = corruption!

  9. John Dillon says:

    As I understand it the free market in a commodity allows its production at the amount and price people are willing buy and spend. In competing for the customers’ money the quality is driven up and the price down. Producing more than can be sold is wasteful and producing less than can be sold misses a chance to earn money. If the customers do not like a supplierproduct they can choose another. If people change their mind and want more or less the suppliers soon find out and adjust. It is not perfect because sometimes people cheat and steal. Is my understanding of the price mechanism incorrect?
    Does it operate in the real world? Now, let me think.

  10. Jason says:

    Basic needs such as milk, rice, wheat, flour, salt, sugar, and important nutrients for children be distributed through centers run y religious institutions through a ration card system. Foreign goverments must put aside their political positions and contribute for such needs on a short term basis. The worst thing that will happen is see the government fail and the country plunged into anarchy or civil war. Some of us who disagree with the politics of that country will like to see that happen. However we may be witnessing the possibility of a global economic depression rearing its ugly head.

  11. Jake says:

    It is mind blowing to me that Americans actually think that Socialism and Communism can be a good thing. Where do these people live? Most of our only problems with our Republic form of government is Socialist and Communists constantly attempting to corrupt the way our government and free society works, then after they have distorted the effects of our Constitutionally formed government, they point to those effects as reasons why it does not work. But it is their corruption they are pointing to. Of course we will always have lies and corruption, but that we can deal with if Americans become more vigilant.

  12. “You know, it’s funny. Sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is when people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing. In other countries, people don’t line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

    Ah, the “either-or” logical fallacy. A socialist politician tells us that the only available choices are standing in line, or starving. I guess he forgot the option provided by the free market: plenty for all.

    I bet he wouldn’t be doing any standing in line, nor would his family.

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