Venezuela: You Won’t Believe The Crap Hugo Chavez Spent The Bolivarian Revolution Oil Money On
THIS is a story to really take the cake. So, Chavez in Venezuela, decided to start spending the oil money on improving the society. OK, that’s a good idea. But then we come to what he actually started spending the money on. Like a farm with no water. No, really:
Work on William Lara, the rural version of the Steel City, stopped last year after about $120 million was spent on clearing the land and building the first 176 houses.
The construction will resume after the government figures out a way of bringing water to the site 125 miles south of Caracas, Agriculture Minister Yvan Gil said.
“This is a technical problem, that our specialists are working to resolve,” Gil, 41, said in an interview in his Caracas office on April 10. “The project is advancing.”
That’s a pretty big thing to overlook when you’re planning a farm, where the hell’s the water going to come from?
There’s another example in the country as well. As we know, Chavez brought in price controls on basic foods. The argument was that the poor couldn’t eat well so limit prices and the poor will be able to eat well. It’s just that price controls never, ever, work. If you set prices below the market clearing price then you end up with shortages. This will, I’m sorry to have to say, always happen. If you set prices above market clearing prices, as our own EU used to do, then you get vast mountains of overproduction. And if you set prices at those market prices then what the hell are you wasting your energy for?
The basic aim, the idea, that Venezuela’s oil money should be used for the benefit of the poor of the country was just fine. But once you’ve decided to do that you shouldn’t spend it on silly things. Don’t build a farm where there’s no water. If you want the poor to be able to afford food don’t try to control prices, just give the poor more money.
My complaint about Chavez isn’t that he was pro-poor, or anti-US, it’s that he was an idiot in what he actually did.