The typical socialist, in trying to defend the undefendable ideology that is socialism/communism, will try to argue that capitalism is “selfish” and “bad for the people” and that, by contrast, socialism/communism is “selfless” and “good for the people”, as the people are “put first” over businesses, etc. This is an outright lie as history has shown time and time again. But in the modern era, nowhere is it more true than in the hellhole that is Venezuela, the socialist country that was suffering BEFORE the pandemic forced its already broken businesses to be locked down and its people to be out of work.
To get a good sample of what it’s like to live in a socialist hellhole like this, let’s turn to Christian Caruzo, a Venezuelan citizen who recently wrote an op-ed for Breitbart News about the current situation in the country.
Caruzo talks about how, despite (or because of) numerous and exponential increases in the country’s minimum wage (a wage which most people, if they don’t work in the dwindling private sector, are paid), most people can hardly afford to make a sandwich for themselves.
His piece is titled: “Socialist Venezuela, Where Everyone Is A Millionaire And No One Can Afford Eggs”.
He begins: “The Bolivarian Revolution has raised the minimum wage over 50 times throughout the past 20 years. As of May 2020, it’s been set at 400,000 bolivars, plus a 400,000 socialist food ticket bonus, bringing it to an astounding total of 800,000 bolivars per month.”
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? People being paid nearly a million bolivars every month, surely, everyone is a millionaire and must be living in paradise! Well, a simple-minded socialist might believe that this is heaven on earth, but reality is far different because of one thing: hyperinflation.
I’ve made this point before elsewhere, but I will make it again: in the Disney movie The Incredibles, a movie about a superhero family, the main villain of the story’s big plan is to give everyone access to technology that essentially emulates super powers. In his own words: “And when everyone’s super, no one will be.”
In essence, his evil plan is to make official superheroes irrelevant and nothing special, because everyone will have the ability to be super-powered and “be a hero”.
The same basic principle applies to economics: when everyone is a millionaire, no one is. And that is the current situation in Venezuela, where despite the fact that they are all paid seemingly large sums of cash at the minimum wage and everyone is usually a millionaire in their currency, it’s all practically worthless because of hyperinflation.
Something tends to have value when it is rare. It’s how demand works. If there is a ton of supply of something, such as a particular currency, then demand for that currency goes down and its value falls as well. It’s why you can’t just print ungodly amounts of money to pay for things like the Green New Deal. The more you print, the less value the dollar has.
Venezuela has been having to print more and more because of the wage “increases” they have made and hyperinflation kicks in. That 800,000 bolivar per month sounds good until you realize that that amounts to roughly $4-5 a month.
All of a sudden, the socialist dream seems more like a nightmare, because it is. Here in America, Leftists are arguing in favor of a $20 an HOUR minimum wage. They were just done arguing and passing a $15 an hour minimum wage (all of a sudden, $15 is still not enough, apparently) and not long before then, they were arguing in favor of $10 an hour.
Without going into detail about how idiotic this is and how bad it is for both businesses and employment, keep in mind that this country can afford to have such wages because of the value of our currency. Really makes you think about how blessed we are in this country to have the wealth that we do and how we shouldn’t take it for granted.
In any case, like I said, Venezuelans are usually paid $4-5 a month under minimum wage. Despite the promise of a socialist utopia where everyone is wealthy, except for the people who already were wealthy because socialism is all about revenge to these people, the reality is that everyone is DIRT POOR. And make no mistake: it’s by design.
The purpose of socialism isn’t to benefit the people, but to control them. A poor populace dependent on the government to survive is less likely to fight against the government. Despite the displeasure of the overwhelming majority of Venezuelans with the current leadership, they can’t do anything, not only because they don’t have the weaponry to stage a revolution, but because their very survival, and that of their families, is tied to the government giving them money, little as it may be.
Another factor that has contributed to the dire situation is price controls by the government. Caruzo, in his article, shared some pictures of food and the prices that they go for. In order to buy a little more than half a pound of the CHEAPEST ham and cheese he could find, he had to fork over more than 600,000 bolivars, or three-quarters of a month’s salary at minimum wage (he didn’t specify if he was on this wage, but millions of Venezuelans are and he also noted some of his own financial struggles).
In order to buy bread, he had to pay over 259,000 bolivars, bringing his total up to nearly 900,000 bolivars. In order to make himself some sandwiches, Caruzo has to pay more than an entire month’s minimum wage. JUST to make sandwiches. Never mind all the other expenses such as rent, electricity (if he has any), other food in general that he might want to eat, clothes, masks to protect himself from the virus (which has also screwed the country a lot), etc.
The cruel irony of it all is that the government considers all of these minimum wage increases to be a GOOD THING, given a propaganda poster that Caruzo shared which boasted of the number of times the regime approved minimum wage increases since the revolution, with six of them coming in just the year 2018.
Now, I am not surprised that the Venezuelan government would try and promote itself as doing no wrong and that the wage “increases” are “good”, but most of the people in Venezuela have to see all of these supposedly “good” things, all of these “good” wage “increases” and see how they and their fellow citizens and residents are living and think “something isn’t right here”.
Raising the minimum wage over and over again is irrelevant if the value of the currency goes down and people find it harder to afford things. Caruzo even noted that “Around mid-September 2019, I purchased the same type of bread… except that the price at the time was 38,800 bolivars, not 259,700 bolivars. If we go by an average exchange rate at the time it was produced, it gives you roughly $1.75. The minimum wage at the time was 40,000 - $1.80.”
In other words, while the minimum wage increased, and by a lot, between mid-September of last year and the time that it was raised again, it was entirely useless because hyperinflation brought the price of bread sky high as well. You have to pay most of your monthly salary in order to afford bread, regardless of whether the minimum wage was at 40,000 or 800,000.
I would hope that most people, even the most ardent supporters of socialism in this country (aka people who don’t know what socialism actually is) would realize why that’s a problem.
Now, a socialist might try and argue “if the government controlled the prices, then they wouldn’t go up so much and it wouldn’t be so expensive.” Except that, as I said before, the government DOES control the prices. But profits still need to be made, at least somewhat, in order for production to still exist. If the government forced pre-wage-increase prices on products in a post-wage-increase economy, the producers would lose a lot of money very quickly and would lose the incentive and ability to make such products.
Basically the only thing that would drive a revolution is a people desperate enough with seemingly as little to lose as possible. Push people far enough and they will push back. The socialist government’s plan is to make the people poor enough that they can’t fight back but not so poor that they feel they would have nothing to lose by fighting back. This is the balance socialist governments seek, which is why they can never go full-communist, lest the entire economy goes to ruin, their people revolt and their power is jeopardized.
But like I said, I would hope people would realize how bad this is and how much of a nightmare the socialist “dream” actually is. The only people that benefit in a socialist country are people in the government and the 1% (both tend to be one and the same), while the rest of the people suffer in controlled misery.
Socialism isn’t for the benefit of the people. That’s an outright lie, as history has shown time and time again. The people of socialist Venezuela have definitely not benefited under socialism. No, socialism is only ever to the detriment of the people, which is why it cannot be allowed to take hold of this country (more than it already has).
“It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.”
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