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The economic disintegration of Venezuela is a powerful example how socialism fails. Even in a nation with massive oil wealth. This video from Reason tells the tragic story. I think long-run data is especially valuable when assessing a nation’s economic performance. And Venezuela definitely looks terrible when looking at decades of data on per-capita economic […]

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Every so often, I’ll grouse about media sloppiness/media bias, most often from the Washington Post or New York Times, but also from other outlets (Reuters, Time, ABC, the Associated Press, etc). Let’s add to the collection today by perusing an interesting – but frustrating – article in the New York Times about Venezuela’s near-decimated oil […]

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Fifty years ago, Venezuela was ranked #10 for economic liberty and enjoyed the highest living standards in Latin America Today, the nation is an economic disaster. Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro deserve much of the blame. Their socialist policies have dropped Venezuela to last place according to Economic Freedom of the World. Predictably, this has […]

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How do we measure the cost of Venezuelan socialism? Is it people eating household pets? Is it people dying of malnourishment? Is it women selling their bodies? Actually, it’s all of the above. And there’s plenty of additional evidence. All of which shows that more socialism results in more misery. Let’s review some examples. Venezuela […]

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I listed the collapse of Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship as one of my “hopes” for 2018. That didn’t happen, so I included the same hope in my list for 2019. But will it happen? David Asman seems very confident in this clip from a recent interview. I was a bit less hopeful. Or at least more […]

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With the surprising success of Senator Bernie Sanders in the last presidential race and the more-recent instant-celebrity status of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, some are wondering if the United States is about to enter a “socialist era”. I’ve criticized some of the proposals that are part of this movement, such as confiscatory tax rates and the […]

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I periodically explain that labor and capital are the two factors of production and that our prosperity depends on how efficiently they are allocated. But I probably don’t spend enough time highlighting how they are complementary, meaning that workers and capitalists both benefit when the two factors are combined. Simply stated, workers become more productive […]

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Ever since 2010, I’ve been pointing out that Venezuela is a horrifying and tragic example of what happens when the private sector in a country is almost completely suffocated by excessive government. And with the country now in a death spiral, you would think it’s a perfect time for further commentary. I sometimes wonder, though, […]

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I’m in China this week, giving various lectures at Northeastern University in Shenyang. My topic today was “Real-World Examples,” which gave me an opportunity to share many of the charts I’ve developed showing how market-oriented nations enjoy much more long-run success. One of the charts shows how Chile has enjoyed strong growth since it shifted […]

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Yesterday’s column looked at the continued government-caused decay of Venezuelan society. To put it mildly, it’s a very sad story of how pervasive statism can destroy a country. I also wondered whether leftists such as Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore, and Jeremy Corbyn will ever change their minds and (hopefully) apologize for giving aid and comfort […]

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As far as I’m concerned, everything you need to know about capitalism vs. statism is captured in this chart comparing per-capita economic output in Chile and Venezuela. Ask yourself which country offers more opportunity, especially for the poor? The obvious answer is Chile, where poverty has rapidly declined ever since the country shifted to free […]

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It’s now a pattern. I’ll come across a soul-sapping story about terrible suffering caused by statism in Venezuela and I think the country has hit rock bottom. Such as back in September, when I read about people literally starving. But then I will read another report about incredible misery and realize that the socialist regime […]

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In recent months, I’ve written two very lengthy columns about the deterioration of Venezuela’s evil government. And I’ve also looked at long-run economic data to show how statism produces awful results for ordinary people. But I sometimes think anecdotes are the most persuasive for the simple reason that ordinary people can relate. That’s why I […]

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I wrote a lengthy column yesterday on the horrific situation in Venezuela. As I thought about the suffering, especially among the poor, I wondered whether Bernie Sanders and Joe Stiglitz are still willing to defend that country’s barbaric government. And I also contemplated whether there are any comments from Jeremy Corbyn, Sean Penn, Jesse Jackson, […]

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What country has the world’s worst government? It’s not an easy question. There may be a different set of answers based on whether the focus is political oppression or economic mismanagement. Regardless of methodology, there are some nations that will probably show up on just about any list. Cuba North Korea Zimbabwe Today, though, I […]

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Back in 2015, I mocked Venezuelan socialism because it led to shortages of just about every product. Including toilet paper. But maybe that doesn’t matter. After all, if people don’t have anything to eat, they probably don’t have much need to visit the bathroom. The Washington Post reports that farmers are producing less and less […]

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I periodically list people who have suffered horrible abuse because of despicable actions by government. At some point, I’ll have to create a special page to memorialize these victims. Something like the Bureaucrat Hall of Fame or Moocher Hall of Fame, though I haven’t figured out a good name (“Victims of Government Thuggery Hall of […]

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Nations usually don’t suffer overnight economic collapse. Indeed, Adam Smith was right about the ability of a country to survive and withstand lots of bad public policy. But at some point, as a nation gravitates in the wrong direction on the statism spectrum, it goes from prosperity to stagnation to decline. Which is sort of what […]

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I wrote last year that Venezuela was entering the “fourth circle of statist hell.” How else, after all, can you describe a government that is so venal and incompetent that it resorts to confiscating toys in an effort to strengthen its hold on power? I also wrote last year that Atlas was “shrugging” in Venezuela. […]

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It appears that Venezuela is on the brink of collapse as it enters the fourth circle of statist hell. And the death of Cuba’s long-time dictator gives hope that the people of that island nation may soon escape communist tyranny. Moreover, one certainly hopes that the lunatic leadership of North Korea’s brutal regime won’t last […]

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Earlier this year, I borrowed from Dante’s Inferno and created the Five Circles of Statist Hell. At the time, I suggested that Venezuela was on the cusp of moving from the third circle (“widespread poverty and economic misery”) to the fourth circle (“systematic and grinding poverty and deprivation”). Since we now know that children in […]

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Maybe it’s just because I’m a wonk, but it seems that comparing long-run growth rates in various nation sets up a slam-dunk argument for the superiority of free markets and small government. Whether it’s North Korea vs. South Korea, Cuba vs. Chile, or Ukraine vs. Poland, nations with bigger governments and more intervention inevitably decline […]

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The economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is the predictable result of statism run amok. And I will confess a bit of Schadenfreude has suffused my columns on the topic. I very much enjoyed mocking leftists who have tried to rationalize Venezuela’s economic collapse. I gleefully compared Venezuela’s long-run stagnation with South Korea’s long-run economic […]

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I feel sorry for the Venezuelan people, but I’m perversely glad that the country is collapsing. That’s because it’s nice to have proof that Margaret Thatcher was right when she famously warned that the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money. To be sure, we already had proof from […]

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Venezuela is falling apart. Decades of bad policy have produced economic stagnation and misery. On the other side of South America, Chile has enjoyed comparatively strong growth since reforms began in the 1980s. Can we learn lessons by comparing these two nations? Yes. More than five years ago, I compared three decades of data to […]

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According to a “Happy Planet” index put together by some leftists a few years ago, Venezuela is supposed to be one of the world’s best nations. But I strongly suspect that the vast majority of these people would be horrified if they actually had to live there. That’s because Venezuela is proving that Margaret Thatcher […]

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Over the years, I’ve had many arguments about economic policy with my statist friends. I put them into three categories. The completely unreasonable statists blindly assert, notwithstanding all the evidence around the world, that bigger government and more intervention are actually good for growth. The somewhat unreasonable statists acknowledge that bigger government and more intervention […]

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Last year, I shared some libertarian humor relating to Valentine’s Day. This year, we’re going to be a bit more on the wonky side. Using roses as an example, we’re going to explore how the invisible hand of the market produces amazing results. Here’s a great new video from Marginal Revolution University. Narrated by Professor […]

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I’ve written a couple of serious posts about the death panels at the VA’s government-run health facilities. I think it’s particularly important to understand that the problem has nothing to do with funding levels. Instead, it’s about the chronic inefficiency of government. But sometimes mockery is more effective than analysis, and this Remy video, produced […]

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Rankings can be very useful tools, assuming the methodology is reasonable and the authors use robust data. I’ve cited many of them. For a big-picture look at economic policy, the Economic Freedom of the World is the best ranking, though the Index of Economic Freedom is also quite good, and the Global Competitiveness Report also […]

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