What Caused Venezuela’s Tragic Collapse? Socialism.

The collapse of Venezuela’s economy is both horrifying and predictable, and the world needs to understand why.
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Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, and it was once Latin America’s richest country. Today, most grocery store shelves are empty, and Venezuelans are so hungry that they’re killing zoo animals for sustenance. Toilet paper, diapers, and toothpaste are luxury goods. Venezuelan hospitals have disintegrated, children are dying because they can’t get antibiotics, and the infant mortality rate is higher than Syria. The capital city of Caracas is the murder capital of the world, and just 12 percent of citizens feel safe walking alone at night, which is the lowest figure reported in the world.

The government blames slumping oil prices for the desperate situation. The real cause is the socialist economy. The government sets the price of staples such as rice, pasta, and flour, resulting in chronic shortages. Former President Hugo Chavez nationalized industries, confiscated property, and kicked out foreign companies. The government is trying to print its way out of the crisis, resulting in a 700 percent annual inflation rate. After a sham election, President Nicolas Maduro, the handpicked successor of Hugo Chavez, is rounding up his opponents and putting them in jail.

Despite this, Maduro and his predecessor still have their defenders, ranging from Sean Penn to Michael Moore to Naomi Klein, who once signed a petition saying “We would vote for Hugo Chavez” and praised the autocrat in 2007 for creating “a zone of relative economic calm and predictability.” In 2013, journalist David Sirota praised Hugo Chavez’ “economic miracle,” writing that the socialist leader had a “record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.

The real lesson of Venezuela’s tragic collapse is that real socialism always leads to economic breakdown and political repression. Those of us in wealthier, freer countries need to keep Venezuela in mind as we confront calls for more regulation and government control of all aspects of our own lives.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Written by Nick Gillespie. Camera by Jim Epstein.

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48 Comments

  • ThisnThatPackRat

    Central control of the means of production = FAILURE. Private companies and individuals know how best to utilize resources. Socialism leads to dragging down any meritocracy in order to "equalize" outcomes. In the end everyone goes hungry.

  • jac jac

    im not for socialism, but the issue with this is you are kinda neglecting why it actually fell, flat out facism, the past 2 leaders have been…. worse than Putin, and the Chinese government has been ensuring they stay in power. you can have any form of government, and have it be like this if you have authoritarians and china backing the leads

  • Warren

    You didn't "explain" anything, just socialism is BAD. Sometimes this channel is good, others just tired old right wing propaganda. Make up your mind.

  • Ib Khan

    Utter BS. Bolivia and Uruguay are under socialist governments and are doing well. As always it is psychotic, incapable politicians who are ruining nations.

  • Ronald Buss

    Why is Venezuela in so much trouble? You certainly won't get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from the neoliberal media and their shills. Venezuela's new constituent assembly has changed everything for the US, and so it is mounting a propaganda campaign in earnest. Reason TV is biased. After years of CIA and NGO intervention in Venezuela it is still here.

  • Dan Law

    Those of you supporting capitalism are uneducated, ignorant, fools.

    Educate yourself on the difference between:

    Socialism and State Capitalism,

    Socialism and Communism,

    and

    Economics and Politics.

    When you can correctly identify the differences between them you will
    have a much better understanding of economic methods, and socialism in
    particular. You foolishly hate and condemn something that you don't
    understand. Additionally you speak on these issues as though you are
    educated and informed on these topics without even knowing the very
    basics of what the terms mean.

    When you have learned what the terms mean you will have a better
    understanding of what I write below.

    Usually what you will notice is that it is not the economic method used
    that creates the problems, but the increase in authoritarian politics.
    Capitalism is like the economic form of fascism, so when you combine
    fascist politics with capitalism (as you seem to think is what socialism
    is) you will have disastrous results.

    This also does not take into account that drastic changes will (at
    first) disrupt the economy, and society in a negative way, until the
    society has had a chance to adjust and adapt to the changes. Someone who
    has a life saving surgery may look and feel far worse than they did
    before having the surgery while they recover. This does not mean that
    the surgery was a bad idea, or put the person in a worse condition.
    Capitalism and Statism are like cancers that need to be removed, even
    though the life saving procedures may seem worse.

    I can teach you much more if you are interested, but for now that should
    be enough information to get you started down the right path.

  • chaaarlieee1

    No, socialism doesn't completely work because it goes against human nature. However, most developed countries have social programs. ITS NOT ALL BLACK AND WHITE YA IMBECILES. Socialism will never work in Latin America the way it does in northern countries because of it's culture and tendency to be corrupt.

  • airmark02

    this is old school propaganda bull shit ~
    does Libya ring a bell here …?
    funny how we spent 50 years stepping on that evil socialist Cuba
    but found nothing wrong with Amerikan capitalist's running Haiti & a dozen other countries into the ground?
    Must be because predatory Capitalism works so well ~

    oh yes …lets see
    destabilization of a sovereign country in 5 easy steps

      1 ) OIL ~ have lots of it …..
     2 ) piss off the American Empire & their minions
    3 ) scream Socialism or some nonsense
      4) have the IMF & their G8 World Bank Gang Fuck with You
      5 ) bring in the  CIA & psy ops jackals to reek havoc

  • Chad Sweeney

    Corruption. Has nothing to do with Socialism. It's what happens when you put a small group of elites in charge and wash your hands of all social responsibility, and it's happening in the capitalist hub of the world right now; USA. Stop blaming socialism.

  • sail1999

    Hugo Chavez wasn't a socialist, he was a thief. Before Chavez, the Venezuelan presidents would raid the treasury, Chavez stole the banks as well as the money. He also nationalized any business that turned a profit. He was involved in the drug war, allowing the Colombians to use its airfields to transfer cocaine to bigger planes that could make the trans-Atlantic flight to Europe. Blaming everything on socialism is irresponsible. Socialism may be flawed but it works in the Scandinavian countries.

  • Montgomer

    Lets be honest socalism is not what messed up Venezuela. There are many onther successful socialist countries like Canada for example. Venezuela had many deeper issues like a highly corrupt government and the entire economy was built on the high oil prices so when oil prices dropped so did the economy, not to mention there corrupt politicians regulated oil industry and the money coming from it

  • scorpioman92

    Your analysis is bullshit. The cause of the problems in Venezuela is our CIA who has been instigating trouble there since the Administration of George W. Bush when he had President Chavez kidnapped with orders to kill him. After being held captive for a few days, Chavez convinced his captors to release him and spare his life.

  • Toni Z

    Why dont you talk about Venezuela before Chavez and Maduro, i thought reason tv was a little smarter then this, Any simple proof you need is explained in a long american documentary made by Oliver Stone explaining the history of america and maybe then you will realize what the real problem is.

  • Michael Epstein

    The main problem is not socialism. The main problem are the dynastic plutocratic families, the corporate oligarchs, and the international banksters, many of whom are zionists (like the neocons and members of AIPAC) and/or members of secret societies, who are wreaking havoc upon the People of the world.

  • LORD SAIYAN

    just because execution of socialism is bad doesnt mean socialism is bad as a whole thus my dislike for the video. modern economies will only move towards a mix hybrid of socialism and capitalism which is the optimal solution.

  • John Salsa G

    Dahhhh. It's the oil!!!!! How do the rich get richer when you share it with the poor? You can't have that, it may get noticed by the have nots in rich countries.

  • narlycat

    don't try to put the blame on socialist policies, Venezuela is a basket case because Madurno decided to monetize their debt just like the Federal Reserve wanted to do here in the USA. And that is centralized banking and dishonest weights and measures. Plus the oppressive state is nothing to desire either. But with Trump as President that is probably coming to America unless we stop him. You can't print away your debt, that's what happened to the Wiemar Republic in Germany in the 30s and the Wiemar Republic was a genuine democracy. We need more regulation on Wall Street and don't you ever forget it. Don't fall for this Ronnie Reagan trickle down pee on the poor propaganda. The corporate bastards still want to make slaves of us all.

  • John

    You don't put money into the life vending machine and out pops things- it takes the actual ppl to do them.  And it only takes a few ppl to do the things that can benefit everyone.  Socialism is logical with our production advancements.  Otherwise, 99% of us can just die because the 1% doesn't need us.  And that's not very friendly.

  • GiveMeAbreak Please

    You asked "What Caused Venezuela’s Tragic Collapse? and I said in vein the hegemony countries, the devil crooks destroying this mighty nation, destroying innocent kids, innocent families and elderly people —–Justice will prevail one day for all victims under the USA and their crook, con, cold hearted and criminal allies——-

  • manmachine30

    Funny how ReasonTV always bashing the socialistic ideas but unable to analyze the cause what our country dis to other countries to forge "capitalism" savage capitalism. Little they know that Latin America will always be ruled by a few families oligarchs. I agree that Maduro must go and Chavismo died with Chavez. But again Latin America will be always owned the few and the masses will be still the masses eating the leftovers from their colonial masters.

  • The Shepherd

    This is real "Vice news" this guy is lying through his teeth global oil prices cut state income by almost 70% to pretend thats not why the social economic programs have been affected is laughable

  • Mal Vader

    I just found an statement from Hugo Chavez: mentioning that the ones that Crucified Christ have became the ones that own the world richness. Now I wonder why all this shit over Venezuela.

    Please, you get your conclusions……

  • John Cullen

    This isn't a problem. This is a socialist utopia. All the bottom feeders will remove their genes from the gene pool and the rest of us intelligent "folks,"(read with the Obama accent) can go about our lives making the world a better place. Actually the sad part is my Philosophy teacher made us read Klein, hate Friedman and praise socialism and I was the only person willing to call out her and the teachers bullshit. This is hilarious the same twats literally want to destroy an entire country yet they got mad Milton turned Chile into an economic powerhouse. Hot fuck people were really this stupid? God damn I want to hang, draw and quarter them all!