Socialists often brag how their activism — through unions — gave the modern world its five-day workweek. One could spend a book picking at this boast, but no need: it’s overshadowed by the latest.
A socialist country has just reduced the workweek to two days! Hooray for socialism!
Or, no cheers at all. For this epochal move occurred in Venezuela, the “world’s worst performing economy,” with an inflation rate soaring to 720 percent and an absence of food, toilet paper, and . . . electricity: “President Nicolás Maduro will furlough the country’s public employees,” Nick Miroff writes in the Washington Post, “who account for a third of the labor force — for the bulk of the week, so they can sit through rolling blackouts at home rather than in the office.”
It’s only government employees who get the five-day weekend. And this is not a sign of socialist efficiency (heh heh), ushering in a Marxist utopia.
Another nation ruined by socialism and technocracy!
But not just any nation. Venezuela can boast one of the largest oil reserves in the world. If Norway and Alaska and desert sheiks can milk their underground deposits and distribute goodies to their people, why cannot Venezuelans manage it?
Because they extended socialist planning beyond a kleptocratic sharing scheme. Experts had advised them decades ago to build the world’s largest hydroelectric dam, live off low- or no-priced electricity as well as oil sales. Today, oil goes cheap . . . and there’s a drought, too little water behind the dam.
Now Venezuelans are trying to burn oil to generate electricity — mostly without success. Socialism has it all — rampant corruption and catastrophic inefficiency.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
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