The following blog post by Abigail Hall appeared on the Independent Institute’s blog on September 3rd, 2015. Below is an excerpt.

Some people look at the conditions in Venezuela and point to oil prices as the source of many of its problems. The Venezuelan government, led by President Nicolás Maduro, blames opposition leaders for the nation’s many issues. (He also blames Spiderman. No, really. You can read about it here.)

The maleficent actor here is the Venezuelan government. Who is responsible for inflation? The government, who is printing money so fast that inflation has reached triple digits. Who is responsible for the squatters (and as a result, the shortage of rental housing)? As I discussed in a previous post, it’s the government, who fails to protect even the most basic private property rights. Who are the protesters rallying against? The government.

The shortages are also the responsibility of the Venezuelan government. In an effort to control commodity prices, the government has put a cap on the price retailers can charge for particular products. While such prices may be attractive to consumers, they are too low for producers to earn a profit. This causes many would be suppliers to drop out of the market. The end result is surging demand and less supply.

The losers in all of this are the people of Venezuela. With the money in their hands constantly losing its value and a lack of basic goods, they are forced to wait in unfathomably long lines to get basic necessities. Even here the government is interfering. People are only allowed to get in the queues for food on certain days, as dictated by the last few digits on their ID cards. Once in line, people mark their wrists with their number in line in an attempt to avoid arguments over position.”

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