Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Socialist Les Miserables in Venezuela

A mob of starving people advanced on the presidential palace chanting, “We want food”. They were met by soldiers and police dispatched by the tyrant from his lavish palace decorated opulently with a golden sun, giant rock crystal mirrors, sparkling chandeliers and towering oil portraits.

The scene wasn’t 19th century France, but 21st century Venezuela.

And if you are wondering why you haven’t seen it on the news, it’s because Venezuela is a Socialist disaster area that was once being used as a model by the left. Now it’s a place where the vast majority of people can’t afford basic food staples and a third are down to two or fewer meals a day.

Obama laughed and joked with deceased monster Hugo Chavez, who handed him a copy of the anti-American tract, “Open Veins of Latin America” that had even been disavowed by its own author. Obama called the book a “nice gesture”, but Eduardo Galeano, its author, had told an audience that the left “commits grave errors” when in power.

Venezuela, once a wealthy oil state, where the doctors offering “universal health care” have no medicine and starving people loot government stores looking for food, is yet another example. 50 people are dead in the latest food riots. Their graves are yet another “grave error” of the left.

Obama has not appeared too concerned at the meltdown in Venezuela. Unlike Syria, there are no threats of intervention to remove Maduro, Chavez’s successor, and the rest of the leftist regime illegally clinging to power while slaughtering Venezuelans, smuggling drugs and aiding terrorists.

When Hugo Chavez was killed by the wonders of Cuban medicine, a remedy that American leftists recommend to others while they obtain the best private health care for their own ailments, Obama offered a vague statement of support calling Chavez’s passing, “challenging”.

It was certainly that.

Chavez had been none too tightly wound; claiming that capitalism had destroyed life on Mars, that Jews run the world and that his cancer had been caused by America, but his successor, Nicolas Maduro is insane. Maduro claimed that his deceased predecessor appeared to him in the form of a “little bird” and on a subway wall. He showed off the photo of the wall on state television while crying.

“Chavez is everywhere, we are Chavez, you are Chavez," he insisted.

Hugo Chavez is indeed everywhere. His portraits cover Venezuela. They’re a lot easier to find than food. And these days Venezuelans are far more interested in finding something to put in their mouths.

The left-wing sociologist running the Venezuelan economy doesn’t believe in inflation. Last year he wrote a pamphlet in which he insisted that “Inflation does not exist in real life.”

Inflation certainly exists in Venezuela which has seen 500% inflation. The Socialist regime responded with price controls. When stores and farmers wouldn’t sell at set prices, soldiers were sent in to take them over. Crowds initially cheered all the subsidized products. But they wouldn’t be cheering for long.

After the fun of electronics stores forced to discount televisions at gunpoint, there were no more televisions. And no more cars. Then no more toilet paper, milk and other basic necessities.

The Socialist government tried to solve its money problem by printing more money. But it wasn’t able to pay for the money it wanted to print because of the inflation which officially did not exist.

Venezuela needs 10 billion bank notes in its new inflationary economy, more than America, and it can’t pay for them. Or pay for anything else. It can’t afford to import food and it refuses to pay fair prices at home. Meanwhile eggs, at the official exchange rate, run to $150, McDonald’s fries for $126 and a pound of coffee for $85. Socialists may not believe in inflation, but inflation believes in them.

No wonder the people are starving.

Teachers sell passing grades to students in exchange for milk and flour. Lines at government stores are endless and an entire economy has been built on buying and trades spots on food lines. Fingerprint scanners are used to enforce milk rations. And a heavy military police and military presence is required to stop mobs of starving people from grabbing the food as soon as it arrives.

The military elite receive special food privileges. In a country where bread and butter have become distant memories for many, the guns used to oppress the Venezuelan people are paid for with butter. And the people are fighting back. The government calls its crackdown on starving people “Operation People’s Liberation”. The people however want to be liberated from their socialist liberators.

When the Socialist regime responded to electoral defeats by rigging the Supreme Court and arresting the free market opposition, the street battles intensified. The “Liberators”, who have the luxury of eating butter with their bread, are fighting hungry men and women in the streets of cities. And sometimes it’s the socialist “liberators” who are forced to retreat from the true people’s liberators.

While the socialists route food through the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s CLAP committees to their own supporters, ordinary Venezuelans are hunting pigeons, and even dogs and cats in the capital.

Before the last election, Chavez said, “If I was from the United States, I'd vote for Obama.” And the two leaders do have some political and economic views in common. The fundamental difference is that it took Venezuela a lot less time to run out of “other people’s money” than America.

A few years ago, the left-wing site Salon was praising “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle” and suggesting that we should follow his example of nationalizing companies. “Are there any constructive lessons to be learned from Chavez’s grand experiment with more aggressive redistribution?” its author wondered.

Someone ought to ask the starving mobs redistributing government food while dodging bullets.

Venezuelan socialists used the familiar language of claiming that subsidies and free services were human rights. “Health care can’t be privatized because it is a fundamental human right,” Chavez once claimed. That should sound familiar. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have said the same thing.

But Venezuela’s universal health care has no actual medicine. Hospitals have no running water or soap. Victims arrive with gunshots and aren’t treated until they settle their bill. Babies die routinely.

And it goes without saying that there is no food.

“I doubt that anywhere in the world, except in Cuba, there exists a better health system than this one,” Maduro insists.

Considering how bad actual Cuban medicine is, he’s probably right.

Socialism killed Venezuela. The country has no food, no money, no power, no health care and no hope. Venezuelans were promised a better life through government. This is what they received.

There are lessons for us here and they are obvious ones. And that is why the media has minimized its coverage of a horrific crisis. The people chanting that they want food are not rebelling against unfeeling corporations, but a government whose economic policies many on the left had viewed as a model.

The popularity of Bernie Sanders is based on many of the same empty promises of freebies for all that made Hugo Chavez such a hit. Venezuela is a model of how well that works out in real life. Socialism is increasingly popular in America. Meanwhile in Latin America, socialism kills babies and drives starving mobs to demand food outside the presidential palace under the guns of the regime’s soldiers.

It’s an old story, but it’s also a new story because when we forget history, then we are forced to repeat it.


Alex in Montana said...

...and Argentina just got rid of their Socialist/Fascist government of the Kirchner's - both husband and wife who ran the place into the ground for the 4th or 5th time in 100 years but who is counting.

The new guy, Macri, is supposed to be a pro free market capitalist. Argentina wants one of its own to be voted the new leader of the OAS (Organization of American States) so it will not condemn Venezuela in exchange for a vote.

Latin America is a hellhole, but do you know why? From 700 AD to 1492 AD Spain and Portugal were run by Muslims who only knew how to 1)Steal 2) Murder people 3) make slaves 4) Rape woman and 5) force Islam down everyone's throats or make them dhimmis.

The conquistadors knowing virtually nothing else came to the Americas to 1)steal gold and silver 2)Make slaves 3) rape women and 4) Give them a language (Spanish or Portuguese) 5) and shove a religion down the natives' throats - Catholicism.

Costa Rica like the US and Canada had a different experience. The colonists did not come to steal and there was no gold or silver so you had to make it on your hard work. Did the natives suffer? Yes, if the wanted to remain stone age people but no if they realized a superior culture and took advantage of it. Thousands did just as the Germanic tribes did upon seeing Rome. Those Germanic tribes voluntarily cast their paganism aside became Christian and wanted their children educated and civilized.

Anyway the Christian North settled the America's one way (French, English and Dutch)and the Iberians (Spanish and Portuguese) just used their Muslim model they knew so well.

Think about that. Obama flunks history by equating the two models but then again he utterly lacks discernment and wisdom.

Anonymous said...

How can masses of people be so deluded? As babies, they believed in Santa, Tooth Faerie. Easy enough to include "Uncle Hugo". Children need to be comforted.

We Americans have been suckered too. F.D.R., just before WWII, bestowed us Four Freedoms: Speech and Religion, and FROM Want and Fear. Gosh, 1 and 2 are in the First Amendment. And what magic frees us from Want and Fear? Wait, there's more! Norman Rockwell even drew a charming picture of each Freedom.

But it all just SOUNDS so good!! As a kid, I studied perpetual motion machines. If I could just arrange the gears right, the thing would produce more energy than I put in. WOW!!! I really tried, but failed and failed and failed. Today, I don't gamble, invest with Madoff, or believe Socialism.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Yes, indeed, it is an old story. Yet our decadent, lonely, cocooned young people don't learn about it. Whenever the young people speak their phony platitudes about social justice, the adults around them erupt with applause. We are encouraging phony lies. We are feeding the beast. Our young people are so certain of their moral magnificence because they've rarely heard a coherent explanation of truth. Phonies are called "truth-tellers," and the real truth-tellers are called "mean." That's how you get Bernie Sanders' strength among young people. It's all fantasy, a revolution to defeat bogeymen.

I have a habit these days of allowing the young people I teach the opportunity to share their phony statements and silly declarations about how difficult their/others lives are, and "what must be done" about it all. So when they feel the Bern and make these obnoxious declarations and "non-negotiable" demands, I ask them a simple question:

"If I give you/them what you're demanding, then what happens? What is the impact on others?"

I promise you it is a potent weapon. "Impact on others? What others? What do you mean?" they ask. You get this blank astonishment. You are challenging their platitudes. Their platitudes are never challenged. You become a curiosity.

They simply have no idea what happens. They don't understand practical impact. They're expecting Santa Claus to take care of it. They cannot comprehend life (economic life especially) without the fairytale ending. They are on their phones and on social media all day, but they do not understand human interaction. They're not actually social. It's a digital mirage. Conversations are scary because the outcome is uncertain. They are a gaggle of vomiting human wants/demands, with no understanding of what is required to make these imaginings come to life.

They know precious little about humanity -- both the wonders and dangers of human potential. They believe they are special, and the world owes them a living, but they honestly do not know "who" the world is and what is required (both activity and sacrifice) to satiate their desires. "Sacrifice" is the most foreign word in the English language to them. "Real life" is a figment of their imagination, gleaned from the Glowing Box. Everything is free, and only "mean people" won't give you things. It's a fantasy world. There is no understanding of cause-and-effect outside a textbook. They are afraid of the world. They don't trust each other. They don't trust you. They know something is very wrong with the world, and they are scared. They are scared because no one has challenged them. No one has challenged their belief system. It's time to start doing so.

Show them cause-and-effect. Please. You'll be amazed by what you see, and you'll be glad you did. Once they get it, keep going with "And then what happens?" And then maybe, just maybe, they will see la revolucion in Venezuela as the natural, logical extension of the greatest lie ever told -- the one that goes back to the Garden of Eden -- the lie that is their human inheritance. That lie is: You can get something for/from nothing.

It's up to you, because I can promise you they're not going to learn any of this in school.

mindRider said...

One can think with nostalgia to the time when the South American political pastime was limited to one army colonel ascending to dictatorial power, stealing himself rich and than getting replaced by an other colonel aspiring the golden sun medals on a general's uniform and the fat bribes from United Fruit and or Standard Oil. The populace just as dirt poor as today but at least not feeling deprived of toilet paper as it never had any.

Marek Eyal-Fajtlowicz said...

Failed social systems may be judged by the rate of drop of jewish population there. Except of the situation where entire population is jailed and cannot leave ,like in soviet bloc in the 20 century. Jewish population in Venezuela has dropped from almost 45,000 in the seventies to somewhere between 7,000 and 9,000. Probably these also wish to leave but cannot being either too poor or jailed within borders of the country.
Jewish communities in France and Belgium are disappearing. From about 600,000 in France in the seventies to less than 300,000 in 2015. From more than 70,000 in Belgium to less than 20,000 in 2015. Reasons are many, depending on who asks and who answers. A reasonable Jew knows, however, the answer by heart. European civilization is falling and failing. Far from tragedy of Venezuela's citizens but still showing alarm indicators of accelerated process of decay. It is time to leave.

hmmm said...

thank you so much daniel, i am so grateful you have not grown tired of using your gift to educate. i often use your words because they are so exact in expressing what is our truth today (or i just forward your stuff on, saves typing!)

Infidel said...

Deserves lots of comments, but need more time to think about it. The one thing that seems clearer is that some kind of price information is needed for an economy to function well. Price controls may have some limited uses in certain cases but overusing price controls can wreck an economy. Maybe that is one lesson that is clear enough from this disaster, although there are probably many other lessons as well. Anyway thanks, sorry I don't have a better comment :)

Johnny said...

I am going to speculate on what I think is going on in Venezuela with regard to food. Not social theory, just the particulars.

The country is still earning money on oil exports and it is highly likely that the revenues are more than needed to get enough food into the country. The problem is that with food priced way below what a normal market price would be, there is a very large financial incentive to steal the food out of the official distribution network and resell it on the black market. And this is in a society that is corrupt on a cultural level. Thus I suspect that supplies are adequate but the distribution network is so screwed up that it is not functioning. The likely problem is theft along with the political allocations of food.

Background to this is that Chaves priced food so low in the past that it no longer paid to be a producer. The in country production of food dropped and Chavez dealt with the problem by seizing the farms. The government proved to be so ineffective at producing food that most of the seized properties remained out of production.

The result of all this stuff is a double whammy. Little local production and a government that is apparently unable to implement a distribution network that works. Too bad the dumb head running the place cannot figure out that he is the problem and make some constructive adjustments

Infidel de Manahatta said...

This may be America in ten years if the young 'uns keep having a hard on for socialism.

Personally I think they should raise the voting age back to 21.

Anonymous said...

Major thanks, Eric! I've puzzled over the stark differences between North and South America. This accounts for the endemic machismo, corruption, filth. Seems cultures have DNA we can trace. EUREKA!

I'd be interested in your take on other countries with Muslim connections: Italy, Greece.


Anonymous said...

This is why we continue to fight. Like Jake Lakota said to Sugar Ray Robinson in Raging Bull "you never knocked me down" We only need to exist to win and win we will. Whittaker Chambers and David Horowitz get the blues but cannot stop. Chin up. Grab their belts and slug away.

Jack W said...

In some ways I hope all those college students who favor the commie/socialists, Sanders and Clinton and Warren, get their wish and can then chant "We Want Food" at the pallacial palaces where the commie/socialist Democrats reside. Poetice justice is a meal best served piping hot.

Jack W said...

Hope the college students who vote for Sanders, Clinton and Warren get their wish and experience life under the commie/socialists and can stand in front the palaces where these evil ones reside and chant "We Want Food." Poetic justice.

AesopFan said...

Alex in Montana said...
Latin America is a hellhole, but do you know why? From 700 AD to 1492 AD Spain and Portugal were run by Muslims who only knew how to 1)Steal 2) Murder people 3) make slaves 4) Rape woman and 5) force Islam down everyone's throats or make them dhimmis.

The conquistadors knowing virtually nothing else came to the Americas to 1)steal gold and silver 2)Make slaves 3) rape women and 4) Give them a language (Spanish or Portuguese) 5) and shove a religion down the natives' throats - Catholicism.

Costa Rica like the US and Canada had a different experience. The colonists did not come to steal and there was no gold or silver so you had to make it on your hard work. Did the natives suffer? Yes, if the wanted to remain stone age people but no if they realized a superior culture and took advantage of it.

I've seen this theory before and it certainly rings true to me. Spain continues to labor under the same heritage, having never participated in the European surge of industrial progress.
There was a time, I think, when each of the SA countries could have gone the other way, and some seem to vacillate back and forth, but socialism is fundamentally flawed in the same way Islam is: trying to enforce "righteousness" (regardless of the definition of that term)by the sword.

Oh, and "wickedness never was happiness" - to quote a prophet who was actually on the right track.

FuzzyBear said...

OK, but what if we allow Hitlery to gift them some state/nuclear secrets to be resold on the 3rd world market? We're all one people on this earth, and the Venezuelans have needs. We should stop hoarding national security.

rui said...

If only it was a banana republic, they'd have something to eat.
Ha ha, socialism!

Deguello said...

Successful economic/political ideologies incentivize more people to produce wealth; unsuccessful ones promote more people to consume wealth.

Charlotte said...

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Ohyan2912 said...

The have gotten exactly what Cuba, Chavez and Maduro want them to have. NOTHING! When the masses are gone then the elites will go after and eliminate the enforcers. This will continue to until the enforcers figure it out and lead an even more brutal rebellion. Think French Revolution.

Robohobo said...

We need to send the American Socialists to live in their Socialist Paradise Venezuela. Sanders, Shrillary, Fauxtahonthas Warren and Obambi along with Moochelle. They can tell us how wonderful it is, if they survive.

Infidel said...

Apparently paranoia has set in, and the government is liable to arrest you as a spy, if you are an American in Venezuela.

Infidel said...

Interesting story today about a horde of about 500 hungry women (mothers, middle-aged, a lot of them) broke through the national guard to cross the border into Colombia to buy food. The state can use the military to crush a horde of violent males, but can the soldiers bring themselves to use force against a bunch of helpless, defenseless women who are no threat to them, but just trying to get past them to buy food? Blunts the main tool the government has to maintain the tyranny.

Acton Ace said...

tHe DAWn of A Dyn
“Consider your origin: you were not born to live like brutes, but to follow
virtue and knowledge,” wrote the eminent Italian poet Dante Alighieri. It was
counsel given during a time, the late Middle Ages, when one’s origin was not
an uncommon consideration. Much of Europe, including Dante’s Italy, was
in political and spiritual crisis following the Crusades and had yet to find its
footing during the Renaissance, for which his hometown of Florence would
become best known. Dante’s counsel from his famous
Divine Comedy
certainly timely, even prophetic, given the state of his country at that time.
His homeland needed to—and would, shortly after his death in 1321—
return to its spiritual, classical roots.
Dante’s words were also timeless. They point to a transcendent truth:
that all collective progress is merely an outcrop of individual progress. For any
group of people—especially one as large as a country—to recover from any
crisis, its citizens need to return to the foundational virtues and knowledge
that establish all enduring human institutions.Chris Salamone works to improve the lives of young people around the world through his many philanthropic endeavors Like holding Leadership programs for high School Students. Chris Salamone is a noted attorney, entrepreneur, social worker and author or two best seller books, one of them is Rescue America which focus on restructuring America.

Infidel said...

Updates: oil production falling, apparently the boss doesn't understand economics well enough to realize the foreign oil companies aren't going to keep producing if they don't get paid.

Forced agricultural labor: one problem is that if noone knows how to grow food (like after the Kulaks were exterminated in Stalinist Russia), forced labor isn't going to be much use.

Well on the road to North Korea level: if the military is loyal, all the economic resources can be focused on that, and the peasants can be shot or starve to death.

Infidel said...

Reportedly the Venezuelan government is now using death squads working along side of police and military. I don't know if the story is legitimate, but in theory death squads would seem to be more or less inevitable at a certain stage of Socialism.

Anonymous said...

Socialists don't understand economics.
If they did, they would not be socialists.

currently said...

Only problem is we'll suffer with them. And they will still blame it on capitalism in some twisted way.

Anonymous said...

The Moors and the Spaniards invaded Sicily and much of their influence is still is still economically weaker than mainland Italy today. And corruption via the Mafia continues to keep the people under its thumb. I have two young cousins there (19 and 24) who are grateful for seasonal work in summer but who have never had a full time job. It is heartbreaking to watch.

Anneg said...

Alex, wow, you have some things confused. Argentina has for about 60 years had a fascist/socialist government. The government with collaboration from certain crony business owners, control all trade in and out of the country. Started after the Peronis golpe a. Totally unique, totally Argentine and totally screwed up.
Corruption is the single biggest problem in Latin America. I don't know where that came Spaniards didn't bring an Islamic culture to the Americas. They were good in some ways, horrible in others. Reason for some of the Cinquista was human sacrifice by indigenous. Cortez really did not like seeing his soldiers having their beating hearts torn from their chests and their bodies kicked down the temple steps. Btw, neither did the other indigenous tribes.
Finally, Venezuela. It has always been different because we bought their oil. Venezuelans, middle class, used to go to Miami grocery shopping. They put up with crappy government because they were comfortable. Now they are reaping what they sewed.
There are successes in LA you didn't bother to mention and I wouldn't count CR as one of the best.
Quit listening to full of nonsense Marxist professors.

Anneg said...

Latinas, usually and traditionally don't believe either Santa or the tooth fairy. Problem is, at the root, corruption.

Anonymous said...

Socialism leads inevitably to lots of dead people, and prisons full of people who pointed out the bodies.

Lee said...

> and shove a religion down the natives' throats - Catholicism.

It might be just me, but I do think Catholicism is better than tearing the hearts out of live people on a pagan altar.

Anonymous said...

Does Hugo's daughter still have that 4+ billion dollars that fell into her bank account?

Anonymous said...

Best post of the day. To summarize: There is no free lunch. We are all free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions.

Philip Sargent said...

Very good anonymous!

Philip Sargent said...

This is an excellent post because its message comports with much of what we see going on in our school system, K through 16. Possibly the problem is parental compliance with the current pc orthodoxy, indifference, or too-busy-to-care laissez-faire approach to their children's education. Whatever it is, it is not a good thing for the future of our society.

Philip Sargent said...

Actually this is a very good illustration of what happens when countries become exclusionary. When the Spanish royalty threw out the Muslims in the 8th century (probably not a bad idea), they also threw out the Jews (a very bad idea). Over the centuries Spain remained an exclusionary, hierarchical, extractive society both economically and politically. Its standard of living seriously lagged Europe over the next millennium as it failed to embrace the liberal and inclusive ideas that led to improved living standards in most countries of that continent. Spain was a case of arrested development because of its illiberal aristocratic governing oligarchy.

Philip Sargent said...

That would be Jake LaMotta.

AesopFan said...

Pithy and true.
Of course, the goal of socialism is never economic -- it is always and only power.

Anonymous said...

They want to be Socialists BECAUSE they understand economics.
They know what happens every time Socialism is tried.
They lie abut it, but they can't not know.
Economics and History say Socialism means there will be billionaire parasites and thug enforcers with absolute power over hordes over starving serfs.
They want to be the parasitic thugs and to make other people into starving serfs.
These are not well-meaning bumblers.
The good intentions are a lie - an excuse to get what they want.

If it is stupid to attribute to malice that which is most likely stupidity, surely it must be malice to attribute to stupidity that which can only be malice.

Unknown said...

'“Chavez is everywhere, we are Chavez, you are Chavez," he insisted.. .'

Your empty bellies are Chavez!

Infidel said...

Problems are due to violations of elementary principles of economics, yet the Big Chief has chosen a Marxist economist as his economics advisor, who is making things worse.

Infidel said...

One of the interesting things about Venezuela is that Bitcoin usage there is increasing.

Infidel said...

El Jefe's latest brainstorm is to somehow raise the price of oil to $70 a barrel. The odds seem pretty good that he doesn't understand the laws of supply and demand.

Anonymous said...

"Spanish royalty threw out the Muslims in the 8th century"
Umm ... It took a little while longer than that. 1492, the end of the 15th century, is when the Jews and the Muslims were thrown out.

Infidel said...

I can see more clearly now where Venezuela is headed, using Cuba as a model: total state control over the economy, with El Jefe using military force to stay in power.

That helps explain why that Marxist "economist" has so much influence.

The left would like to do the same here, of course.

Infidel said...

Incidentally, I still follow (somewhat) events in my old city, and the "progressives" there are ruining everything that I helped accomplish when I was there. Killing the goose that laid the golden egg, like democrats are ruining or have ruined many cities in USA, bringing us down closer to the level of Venezuela.

Infidel said...

Another factor in a Venezuela type situation that I was just reading about, is that it is the better educated, more productive, professional classes that are most likely to leave the country (60% want to leave currently). That means that even after reforms, there wouldn't be as many productive elements in society as previously, and it takes awhile for such immigrants to come back, if they ever do. So society overall would be at a lower level than previously, even after reforms.

Infidel said...

The math is really interesting, close to hyperinflation, combined with a collapse in GDP. Even a small 1% decline in GDP is very bad, I was reading today that the decline is more than 6% or so. I've never really thought about what it means when a radical collapse in GDP is combined with hyperinflation (better check the news to make sure I have the story right).

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