Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hugo Chavez. Stupid is as Stupid does

Funny thing about dictators, in their efforts to hide their failings, they often increase transparency and it's never pretty. In a WSJ Article today (Sorry, registration required), the Journal takes a look at Chavez's new land grab policies. The effect of his theft of 4.5 million acres from farmers is to put investment in the toilet. Farmers who don't invest in the land don't grow things or raise animals. Now Venezuela is in the unenviable position of 19% inflation due to a flood of oil revenues combined with prices controls and lower food production. Price controls mean that even if you choose to grow it, at 19% inflation, you can't afford to sell it. So farmers are choosing not to grow food. Those that do grow food need to charge a lot to offset inflation but they can't because of price controls. Oil money buffers Chavez's stupidity but oil alone won't keep Venezuela from becoming another dictator run backwater like North Korea.

Oh, that transparency thing, an independent firm says food production is down 8%. The government stopped publishing statistics on food production in 2005 and now promptly denies that food production is down. Yeah and no one wanted to leave the worker's paradise of the Soviet Union either.

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