Venezuela “President” Hugo Chávez has put his government strongly behind efforts to combat price gouging, which in this context means selling a good for more than the government’s permitted price. The policy has had the usual effects: shortages of ordinary consumer goods and queues reminiscent of Soviet-style communism.
The New York Times reports, “With Venezuelan Food Shortages, Some Blame Price Controls.” Obviously those “some” are greedy capitalists and their economist lackeys, but Chávez isn’t buying into such corrupt and self-serving claims by economic elites. Instead, “[Chávez and his ministers] blame unfettered capitalism for the country’s economic ills and argue that controls are needed to keep prices in check in a country where inflation rose to 27.6 percent last year, one of the highest rates in the world.”
That’s the ticket: the more problems the government creates, the more reasons the government claims it is needed to solve problems.
HT to Paul Walker at Anti-Dismal, who offers a curated selection of quotes from the article.
MORE: A news story from 2010, “Venezuela closes price-gouging shops.”