Why are Venezuelans starving?

© 2016 Jim Spence - It is a strange sort of a thing. America is pretty much the wealthiest country on the planet and yet fewer and fewer adults seem to understand why. We are now on at least our third generation of poorly educated Americans.
According to my favorite college professor Walter Williams, America is getting more uninformed every year. He cites a 2011 investigation by WSB-TV in Atlanta. The investigation found that, "More than 700 Georgia teachers had repeatedly failed at least one portion of simple certification tests they were required to pass before receiving a teaching certificate. It gets worse. Nearly 60 teachers had failed the test more than 10 times, and one teacher had actually failed the test 18 times. There were 297 teachers on the Atlanta school system's payroll who had failed the state certification test five times or more." And yet these people are paid taxpayer dollars to “teach” kids. It is the blind leading the blind.
Atlanta’s public education system is not an isolated situation. School teachers spend four years in colleges of education all over America learning so many things that are just not so. Accordingly, they do not understand wealth creation and they have no idea how America has achieved such high living standards.
Everyone loves to eat the economic fruit from America’s magnificent orchards, without any emphasis on understanding how economic trees produce such wonderful fruit. Wealth creation is not rocket science. Several thousand years ago human beings separated themselves from the rest of the animal kingdom thanks to superior intellect. It was our brain power that made us wealthy, not having more “stuff.”
Marxism, which is essentially a jealous theology, prefers to try to appeal to the simpletons. Socialists blame people who have more “stuff,” and assume they got their “things” by exploiting others, rather than by producing. To those who are inclined towards envy and jealousy instead of productive capabilities, the simplistic solutions of wealth confiscation and wealth re-distribution that socialism offers have great appeal. The only thing the ambitious Marxist politician need do, once he or she has convinced the masses that everyone’s “stuff” should be equal, is to get them to support policies that confiscate and re-distribute “stuff.” Democrats love this romantic goal. They use catchy names like“income equality” to describe state sponsored theft. It is as if they want us to believe that income is created by some sort of spontaneous combustion and that all fair minded people need do to solve economic problems, is spread the stuff around that already exists…….more “equally.”
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Walter Williams
Jonah Goldberg wrote a column recently that pointed to the fallacy of this view using the woeful example of Venezuela in 2017. Venezuela has more of a very valuable “thing” than any other nation on earth. The country is sitting on the largest proven oil reserves in the world. So the question that is begging to be asked is this: Why would a nation with hundreds of billions of dollars (if not trillions) worth of oil, have a population that is suffering from starvation and lawlessly violent anarchy?
Venezuelans are starving because the Marxists in charge there ignore the basic facts about wealth creation. Real wealth is not merely proven oil reserves. Wealth creation requires the intellectual capability to bring oil to market as well as a legal system that protects the efforts of the producers who do so. In socialist Venezuela, nobody knows or cares how to produce……especially the Marxists in charge there. Since Marxists have a mental block and think stuff re-distribution is the key, there is precious little stuff left for Hugo Chavez’s successor Nicolas Maduro to re-distribute. The country is bankrupt.
The pattern in Venezuelan is all too familiar in human history despite the fact that these patterns are almost never taught to Americans in our public education system. Like the Democrats in America’s decaying urban centers, Venezuelan Marxists are so obsessed with crushing business incentives they have run all of the productive people who know how to convert oil into cash out of the country. So while Venezuela still sits on huge pools of valuable stuff, the country has no ability to create wealth and the people starve.
The points here are simple. When anti-business types are in charge and do not encourage productive intellect, or productive activities, useful raw materials like oil or iron deposits become worthless.
Productive human beings have been combining the use of raw material, labor, and capital to raise living standards for all of recorded history. However, for at least three generations America has been populating the U.S. education system with teachers who do not understand these fundamental historical truths. If this trend in our education system continues, eventually it will lead to a catastrophic decline in U.S. living standards.
The tax reforms signed into law last week actually encourage wealth creation, innovation, and higher living standards for all. But don’t expect school teachers to extol the virtues of these policies. Most public “educators” are uneducated. They have no clue why Venezuelans are starving. They have been conned into thinking re-distribution and income equality are the keys to living standards instead of encouraging productive intellect.