In his ongoing attempt to shore up his suffering public support ahead of the municipal elections looming in December, Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro declared last week that the government was temporarily taking over a popular chain of electronics stores in order to put an end to the type of seedy price-gouging and business speculation that are obviously causing Venezuela’s many shortages of consumer goods and more than 50 percent annual inflation rate. More price controls and government intervention are just the ticket, he maintained, for ensuring “fair” and accessible prices for all Venezuelans — so what could possibly go wrong?
Well… (h/t ZeroHedge):
The looting and violence, obviously, are absolutely not the result of the perverse incentives the government is putting in place, Maduro claims, but rather are the work of nefarious opposition-planted instigators. Via the AP:
Maduro, in a nationally televised address, charged that opposition agitators had infiltrated the long lines that have formed in several cities and were trying to stir up violence. He said he was deploying tens of thousands of volunteer civilian militiamen to assist security forces in crowd control.
“Be calm, these products will stay where they are,” Maduro said, adding that under no circumstances would he allow companies to gouge consumers again. “There’s no need to sleep outside store doors. Nobody should despair. Nobody should get anxious.” …
This week the government is expanding its crackdown to businesses selling clothes, shoes and automobiles, all of which have seen prices shoot up in tandem with a sharp drop in Venezuela’s bolivar currency on the illegal black market. …
Among those waiting since Saturday night in a five-block-long line outside the JVG electronics shop in eastern Caracas was Robert Cox. Cox said he opposes the government, and disagrees with the abrupt way Maduro slashed prices, but he added that couldn’t afford to let pass by the opportunity to restock his home the latest appliances.
“If I weren’t here, someone else would be,” he said.
Economics is hard.