Daniel Turner: Capitalism, prosperity, freedom are worth fighting for. We don't want to end up like Venezuela

Daniel Turner: Capitalism, prosperity, freedom are worth fighting for. We don't want to end up like Venezuela

October 7, 2019

Democratic candidates embrace socialism: Is this a winning strategy?

‘How to be a Capitalist Without any Capital’ author Nathan Latka analyzes the Democratic candidates’ embrace of socialism and how it may affect them in the 2020 election.

Science can be taught in a classroom, but full comprehension of it is learned in a laboratory. That is true of the social sciences too, and in the social science of economics, socialism is being tragically demonstrated in the laboratory of Venezuela.

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I hope America is watching and learning.

The rise of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in 2006 was marked by the same socialist language we often hear spoken by presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., both admitted socialists. Greed is the great sin against mankind, and everyone is greedy: corporations, billionaires. The state must determine what is one’s “fair share.”

Is ambition greed? Is prosperity, seeking a better life and maybe even more money, a vice? Free markets recognize that humans are motivated by self-interest and the capitalist system allows for rewards amidst the risks. Socialism fails, and will always fail, because it is not rooted in human nature.

Here’s an example: Oil dominated Venezuela’s economy. Thousands of citizens, with engineering, labor and corporate expertise, worked in it. They were paid well, some more than others, sure, and not all equally. But no one was there by force. Then Chavez fired them, executives and workers alike, and replaced them with 80,000 political supporters.

Did the employees that Chavez hired have any market incentives, such as the desire for financial security or independence, to take the jobs? No. Were they hired for the value they could create in the industry? No. Were they hired because of their knowledge or experience? No.

Is ambition greed? Is prosperity, seeking a better life and maybe even more money, a vice? Free markets recognize that humans are motivated by self-interest and the capitalist system allows for rewards amidst the risks. Socialism fails, and will always fail, because it is not rooted in human nature. 

In the eyes of a socialist, these new employees achieved the ideal: labor, not for capital, but for the collective. And without the cutthroat world of capitalism, these workers would now produce for the common good.

Greed was gone.

What is the result of socialist hiring practices, or dare we say “guaranteed jobs” with a “living wage”? The Venezuelan oil industry is dead, despite a huge labor force. Fuel shortages are rampant. Those who have a vehicle wait hours to fill the tank. Without energy the public transportation system has collapsed. Power outages are now commonplace, as is power rationing.

Venezuela, the nation with the world’s largest oil reserves, cannot produce energy for its own citizens.

Without energy, the electric grid and infrastructure collapsed. There is no agriculture, manufacturing or business sector. Farm equipment cannot sew or reap, and what little food is produced does not make it to market. Machines cannot make goods, and there is little to advertise, market or repair. Without energy powering the economy there are no clients, vendors, customers, suppliers. It’s a domino effect.

The once richest country in all of South America is now an economic wasteland.

Economists believe Venezuela has had the greatest economic collapse not brought about by war in nearly 50 years. But the economic collapse of Venezuela isn’t about numbers or statistics; it’s about people. The average citizen of Venezuela has lost 19 pounds from malnutrition. More than 10 percent of the citizens have fled. The hospitals have no medicine. The elderly have no hope. The children have no future.

Venezuelans remember a better life, prosperity, electricity and food. So, when they took to the streets to demand change, what did President Nicolas Maduro, hand-picked heir to Hugo Chavez, do?

He sent out the military, and all the world watched as the Venezuelan army ran tanks over its own citizens.

Socialism – a system counter to human nature, a system destined to fail – must be propped up by force. It is the same in China. In North Korea. In Cuba. Socialism cannot coexist with freedom, not when the state demands the goods of those deemed “greedy.”

Venezuela isn’t often in the news anymore despite its worsening crisis. We are focused on the 2020 presidential election, and dominating our news cycle are radical proposals like the Green New Deal and “Medicare-for-all.” Sadly, here, just like in Venezuela, people find this socialist utopia attractive. Politicians label everyone greedy and therefore deserving of a comeuppance that benefits the masses.

Like our European allies, Americans are not above falling for socialist beliefs.

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There’s no doubt that some in Venezuela wish they could go back and prevent the rise of Chavez, Maduro and socialism. Some must question what they could have done to educate the people about the benefits of capitalism and the joys of freedom. That’s a tragic hindsight.

We in America still have the chance to prevent it here. Capitalism, prosperity, freedom – these things are worth fighting for, and we must hope that we never wake up one day and see that America was lost on our watch.

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