Michael Shannon, 6/3/2015 [Archive]

Socialism isn't Helping Venezuela Much

By Michael Shannon

During World War II, the rule for convoys traversing the Atlantic was the group could travel no faster than the speed of the slowest ship. Otherwise cohesion would be lost and some ships left behind, with the stragglers prey to attack by shadowing German submarines.

The same is true for other group endeavors, like socialist economies that can grow only at the speed of the laziest group of citizens, lest someone fall behind and be left at the mercy of payday lenders. And so it is in the socialist paradise of Venezuela where economic growth has been non—existent for years.

Government seizure of private industry and socialist economic policies have resulted in a punishing inflation rate of 40 percent. Centralized economic planners have instituted price controls, in an attempt to undue the damage they caused, which only serves to create shortages, since businesses won't sell a product for less than it costs to produce it.

The only area where Venezuela currently leads the world is in queue management science. Queue management experts are able to keep consumers, trapped in long lines to buy necessities, docile and non—confrontational through the use of Disney—style snake lines, inspirational signage and water cannon.

Once they reach the head of the line, potential customers may be able to buy flour, cooking oil, butter, milk, cornmeal and diapers at government-mandated prices. Or maybe not, because the top—down economic managers in Venezuela have much more success producing lines than they do encouraging production of price—controlled goods.

There was even a shortage of toilet paper before the government imported 50 million rolls in an effort to head off the kind of emergency that even the World Health Organization isn't eager to tackle. Minister of Commerce Alejandro Fleming blamed the Charmin shortage on "excessive demand," which I can assure you were not caused by eating frijoles, because those are rationed, too.

One might even say Soviet—style rationism in Venezuela has you coming and going since there was even a shortage of coffins after box production dropped 30 percent.

But the shortage that may prove to be the end of the Chavez—Maduro regime is the current breast implant famine. There is nothing like a collapse in breast enhancement to make a macho Chavismo rethink his commitment to the Bolivarian Revolution.

CTV News reports that in the past Venezuela had one of the world's highest plastic surgery rates, which gave men something to look at while they killed time waiting in line. Doctors performed 85,000 breast overhauls in 2010 alone. But that was before currency controls designed to stop capital flight made importing personal airbags almost impossible.

Instead, doctors are using implants made in China that have — in CTV's delicate phraseology — "less rigorous quality standards." That's putting it mildly. I picture Chinese implants as either recycled from Falun Gong practitioners or made from old inner tubes filled with Won Ton soup.

But on the plus side, I've heard potential asbestos contamination makes for a great insulator.

Breast implants are such a vibrant part of the socialismo culture that pharmacies, other businesses and even politicians running for office have been known to hold raffles offering implants as the grand prize. In the U.S. I can't see Rick Santorum or Hobby Lobby doing this, but Bill Clinton is a possibility if he got to conduct the post—operative quality control check.

Strangely enough when it comes to superstructure enhancement one socialist paradise doesn't trust the other. Some Venezuelan doctors refuse to use Chinese cushions because they aren't subject to random government tests or clinical studies. These doctors fear stories of problems with Eastern enhancement could cause business to sag precipitously.

Shortages and medical qualms force women looking to improve their self—esteem to call multiple doctor's offices to see if their preferred size is in stock.If it's not, in marked contrast with shoe size decisions, the ladies almost always opt the larger model.

The late Hugo Chavez, socialist hero and author of the shortage, said the fixation on boob jobs in his country was "monstrous" and he wasn't referring to size decisions. For some reason Chavez overlooked the propaganda value in proclaiming Venezuela the safest society in the world, where women come with air bags pre—installed.

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©Copyright 2015 Michael Shannon, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of "A Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times." He can be reached at mandate.mmpr@gmail.com.

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