If Bernie Sanders ever became a serious candidate for president, either as a Democrat if Hillary Clinton gets indicted or as a standard-bearer of the Green Party if she does not, he will have to explain Venezuela. Venezuela constitutes the end game of socialism, where government control of the economy has destroyed the country as thoroughly as if it had been invaded by a foreign power. According to a piece in Time Magazine, shortages exist for 80 percent of consumer goods, including food. Electricity blackouts are now a regular occurrence. Long lines at stores, which were once a feature of the old Soviet Union, are now common. Hyperinflation on the scale of Weimer Germany has set in.

Two problems, related to government control of the economy, have pushed Venezuela to the brink of anarchy. First, the socialist government slapped price controls on most consumer goods as a way to appease more impoverished Venezuelans which constitutes its support base. The policy means that disincentives exist to produce such products, thus creating the shortages. Second, the country became too dependent on its vast reserves of oil for its export earnings and its government budget. When the bottom fell out of the price of oil, so did the revenues. Instead of creating a rainy day fund or investing in other export industries, the socialist government of Venezuela either allowed the money to be stolen or spend it on unproductive programs.

The country appears to be headed for a future that involves anarchy, famine, plague, and civil unrest unless it gets a regime change as soon as possible. Even if a new government which understands basic economic principles comes into power, it will be hard pressed to stave off a collapse. Venezuela will need lots of outside help to get back on its feet. Otherwise, it stands a good chance of being the Ethiopia or Somalia, two countries that collapsed in the 1980s and 1990s, of the 21st Century.

If pressed, #Bernie Sanders will probably claim that the problem with Venezuela is not socialism but that the wrong people were in charge. But the problem with socialism is that the wrong people always seem to be in charge, with results we are now seeing.   #World Politics #Foreign Affairs