Issues & Insights

Watch Venezuela’s Dramatic Economic Plunge Under Democratic Socialism

Economist Mark Perry has been putting together a series of intriguing animated charts to show changes over time in everything from recorded music formats, Social Security spending, to top manufacturing nations.

Over the weekend, Perry posted his latest animated chart, this one showing per capita GDP among Latin American countries. Pay close attention to the highlighted bar, which represents Venezuela.

As Perry notes, in the 1980s, Venezuela consistently ranked in the top tier and when Huge Chavez took office in 1999, it was No. 4.

In the early years after his rise to power, Venezuela rose to the No. 2 spot, but is now at the very bottom. At $2,548, Venezuela’s per-capital GDP is about a third of South America’s average of $7,866.

“The initial, temporary success of democratic socialism in Venezuela that was predictably followed by the precipitous economic decline illustrated in the visualization above provides a cautionary tale for those today in America who are attracted to the socialism being repackaged as ‘democratic socialism’ and peddled by Bernie Sanders and AOC.”

Of course, Venezuela is just the latest example of socialism’s failure. Despite the lure of “fairness” and “economic security” and “taking on the rich” — sound familiar? — every socialist country ends up in the same desperate ditch.

We might excuse young people for being ignorant of this history, since they are more vulnerable to socialism’s feel-good rhetoric. Plus, schools today are more determined than ever to brainwash students into believing that free-market capitalism is the great enemy of mankind.

But what does Venezuela’s collapse say about today’s Democratic party?

A recent Gallup poll found that 70% of Democrats say that socialism is “a good thing,” which is up from 57% a year ago, which was the first time more than half of Democrats embraced socialism.

Half of Democrats now say that government should be “primarily responsible” for the overall economy. Seventy percent say it should be primarily responsible for health care. Nearly two–thirds want higher education to be primarily the responsibility of the government.

Most Democrats are openly in favor of nationalizing the health insurance industry, which would effectively nationalize the entire health care system. What’s next?

We are not talking about the leaders of the party, or a few urban elites here, either. Gallup is polling rank-and-file Democrats across the country.

This is why even “moderate” Democrats like Joe Biden must now adopt policies well to the left of Barack Obama, and light years removed from New Democrat Bill Clinton. We know where these policies will lead. Just watch the chart above and see.

(You can read Mark Perry’s entire post on Venezuela’s collapse at his blog called Carpe Diem.)

— Written by John Merline

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  • this is a common mistake
    Venezuela is NOT the failure of socialism
    this is the actual goal of those who push it –serfs with them at the top of a feudal chain
    it is a mistake to confuse real goals with stated goals

  • Every single time….yet Bernie, AOC and others want it. Bernie is a millionaire a few times over….three big houses in Vermont….so…Bernie…open your homes to the masses…pay for everything for them….and AOC….I’m sure you could accommodate several illegal immigrants in your place in DC….and those oh-so progressives in California…with all those expensive homes….lots of room there too…right? I won’t hold my breath.

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