Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Venezuela: Capitalism gets its way

It's a familiar story. 

Leftwing party pledged to bring in pro-worker reforms gets elected enthusiastically. Puts into practice some of the promised reforms which do actually benefit some workers.  Begins to ignore that under capitalism profits and profit-making have to have priority as that's what drives capitalism. So, economic problems (shortages, inflation, unemployment) develop, causing popular discontent. A majority of voters turn against the leftwing government and boot it out, electing to power an openly pro-capitalist party pledged to putting profits before people.

It's true that, in the case of Venezuela, the leftwing government survived for a record 16 years but that was because it was able to finance the pro-worker reforms out of oil rents but, when the price of oil (and so the rent income) fell they were sunk.

Lesson: you can't make capitalism work in the interest of the workers, even though you can bring in some temporary pro-worker reforms. In the end the economic laws of capitalism assert themselves as people don't see any alternative.

The problem is that the leftwing never learn from the history lesson.  They always repeat the same mistakes over and over again, and workers spend their whole life oscillating like a pendulum from left-to-right and right-to-left.