In his dauntless, noble commitment to perpetually fighting back the tyrannical forces of supply and demand, Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro is upping the ante on punishing those unscrupulous private business owners that would dare to do anything so selfishly shortsighted as to react to changing market forces and actually charge prices high enough to keep themselves operational. Such moral bankruptcies are obvious grounds for imprisonment — at least in whatever socialist fantasyland Maduro is living in at the moment. Via the Financial Times:

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has intensified his crackdown on private businesses by jailing more than 100 “bourgeois” businessmen, the latest salvo in what he calls an “economic war” on alleged unfair pricing.

“I broke the spine of the economic war and the economic coup they were planning,” Mr Maduro said late on Thursday. “We have more than 100 of the bourgeoisie behind bars at the moment.”

In the past week, the president has sent soldiers to seize electronic stores he has accused of unjustified price rises, hoarding and speculation. Eyewitnesses say bargain hunters then flooded the shops and some looting was reported. Inspectors have been dispatched to about 1,400 other businesses. …

The government says unscrupulous businessmen belonging to the “parasitic bourgeoisie” have been raising prices of certain goods more than 1,000 per cent. Promising to step up an “economic offensive”, Mr Maduro announced that he was to set caps on businesses’ profit margins and extend controls to establish “fair” prices. “They are barbaric, these capitalist parasites,” he said.

The purveyors of this “economic war” on his regime, as ever, are the usual suspects: Shady and conspiratorial forces funded by the United States and his political opposition out to undermine his rule. Unfortunately, as the FT piece points out, only something between 5 and 20 percent of the population believe his various conspiracy theories, so it’s a good thing, then, that the government is about to grant Maduro special powers that will essentially allow him to rule by decree, the better to protect Venezuelans’ interests. Via the BBC:

Venezuela’s National Assembly has paved the way to granting special powers for President Nicolas Maduro.

Under the measures the leader would be able to govern by decree for 12 months.

The bill still needs to be revised by a special commission and debated for a second time, but correspondents do not expect significant changes to be made.

Mr Maduro says he will use it to tackle corruption and the economic crisis. However, critics fear he may use it to silence the opposition.

Silence the opposition? Why, he would never do such a thing! This is only about temporarily doing what’s absolutely necessary in order to expose the perfidious denizens of capitalist imperialism trying to destabilize the country, after all. More price controls!