Thursday, January 24, 2008

What's A Socialist Dictator To Do?

Would if the government decreed that gasoline can only be sold at 5 cents a gallon and milk can only be sold for, um, let's say 8 cents a gallon? Do you think by the time you got to the store there would be any left? Say it costs the producers 50 cents a gallon to make gasoline and 80 cents a gallon to produce milk. How quickly do you think a producer would make new supplies available if he were facing a loss of 45 cents and 72 cents per gallon respectively?


What is the "fair price" of good? I explained this in great detail in previous posts.
http://dougreich.blogspot.com/2007/01/moral-case-for-price-gouging.html
http://dougreich.blogspot.com/2007/01/price-gouging.html

Now, if you are a Socialist dictator or similarly, an American university professor, you may think that somehow the laws of economics don't apply to you. You might think that, somehow, your wish for goods to be cheaper than they are will come true. And of course, if your wish doesn't come true, you must jail and kill people:

http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/536641/1555965

Venezuela's top food company has accused troops of illegally seizing more than 500 tonnes of food from its trucks as part of President Hugo Chavez's campaign to stem shortages. The leftist Chavez this week created a state food distributor and loosened some price controls, seeking to end months of shortages for staples like milk and eggs that have caused long lines and upset his supporters in the OPEC nation.

Price controls are tantamount to socialism. If the government decrees at what price your property may be sold, in what sense do you actually own the property? You are merely a steward of the property on behalf of the state. What distinguishes one dictator from the next is only the extent to which he is willing to use violence to enforce such controls. As always, note that price controls (socialism) by distorting prices and causing shortages leads to economic chaos. As the chaos continues and its consequences are manifested throughout other parts of the economy, the government must resort to more and more violent means to enforce the price controls. It is in just this way, that socialism must lead to tyranny.

The highly publicised campaign has also included government crackdowns on accused smuggling, with the military seizing 1,600 tonnes of food and sending 1,200 troops to the border with Colombia.

Troops said they halted the transport of 350 tonnes of food to states along the Colombian border on suspicion of smuggling, he said. Another 165 tonnes were impounded in an eastern state on accusations of hoarding, he added.

He also threatened to expropriate companies selling food above regulated prices.
"Anyone who is distributing food ... and is speculating, we must intervene and we must expropriate (the business) and put it in the hands of the state and the communities," Chavez said during the inauguration of a new state-run market in Caracas.

And once Chavez "expropriates" these companies, how will he magically make the products cheaper than they are? Will the state brutally enslave its people ala the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the gulags of Russia, or the slave labor camps of China? Will the rivers suddenly flow with milk? Will he print more money and exascerbate an already runaway inflation? Just how will he make non-A an A?

The excuse for such brutally imbecilic evil is not ignorance. In fact its quite the opposite as Marxism is preached and lauded everyday on campuses all over the United States. The roots of these ideas are much deeper. As I have written many times, only when rational self-interest and the pursuit of happiness are considered morally good will individual rights and capitalism have a chance. As long as sacrifice is considered virtuous, the ruthless means will justify the ends of men like Chavez who will squeeze every last drop of blood from his sacrificial lambs. Tragically, the people of Venezuela will now be faced with a life and death struggle simply to obtain basic commodities like milk and eggs thus playing out the recurring theme of every socialist experiment and the theme of every attempt to make things not what they are.

3 comments:

AdamP said...

I think this post conveys the tragic essence of socialism better than any other I've seen.
Very eloquent.

Doug Reich said...

Thanks for the kind feedback - much appreciated

Celeste Styrene said...

The Chavster is not actually a dictator folks...just irritatingly popular (for you rugged individualist types) who just keeps getting voted in. Popular democratic socialism will always be more popular in poor countries than 'rational selfish capitalism' im afraid. I think the model to be follwed is Swedish Social Democracy with a healthy dose of capitalism and not American selfish capitalism.