From an opinion piece by Bret Stephens in today’s WSJ:
Since coming to power 14 years ago, Mr. ChÃ¡vez has manufactured dependency on a scale unseen elsewhere in the post-Soviet world. He has nationalized farms, steel mills, cement factories, telecoms and the assets of foreign oil companies. His government subsidizes everything from oil to milk. Government spending, much of it on cheap housing, has risen at a blowout rate of 30% in the past year alone.
The result? Chronic shortages of everything from oil to milk. A 24% inflation rate. A homicide rate that in 2011 clocked in at 67 per 100,000 peopleâ€”nearly five times the rate in Mexico. Latin America’s lowest growth in GDP per capita over the past decade, despite record-high oil prices. Constant devaluations. The diversion of an estimated $100 billion in recent years to a slush fund controlled exclusively by Mr. ChÃ¡vez. Rolling blackouts. A credit rating on a par with Ghana’s and Bolivia’s. The steady degradation of the country’s once formidable oil company, PdVSA.
The only bright spot, according to the BBC, is that Venezuela “now boasts the fairest income distribution in Latin America.” Isn’t that wonderful?
Sounds like an example that would be found in an economics textbook (or in Basic Economics). bottom line: these results shouldn’t surprise anyone.