Archive for February 6th, 2008

The Agrarian and feeding destruction by Carlos Machado Allison

February 6, 2008

Still at the beach, but other aren’t such as agricultural expert
Carlos Machado with this fine piece in today’s El Nacional on how the
Government did everything possible to insure the shortages we are now
seeing daily in Venezuela

The Agrarian and feeding destruction by Carlos Machado Allison

Picking fights with other countries or threatening with war if he
loses Governorships or City Councils will not solve the problem of
shortages that are affecting the country. They did everything possible
so that there would not be the irreplaceable milk, truly a crime
against humanity, while they wasted the oil income. Now they condemn
the people who live near the border to more shortages with stupid and
cumbersome measures that violate the freedom of movement of foodstuffs
towards Tachira and Apure.

The concept of “foodstuff security” managed by the Government is
wrong from A to Z and the results are there for everyone to see. Deaf
to any other idea, they began with endogenous development, when modern
countries try to produce for export. Then came the slogan of
self-sufficiency, something that very poor countries or those
incapable of importing or exporting try. To the treatise of wrongs
they added Exchange controls, the fixing of prices at the producer
level and the freezing of prices for the consumer, a formula tried and
failed across and along the planet. As if the above were not
sufficient to insure shortages they added the country leaving the
Andean Community of Nations and the Group of 3, not forgetting
violations to agreements aimed at free trade with the members of the
Andean group.

To the bottomless barrel of errors, they added a critical ingredient:
the weakling of the already precarious property rights, and to the
many non sensical parts of the Land Bill, they added the one on
agricultural marketing, while stimulating the invasion of land and
buildings, even using the armed forces to destroy productive
infrastructure. They created their own, costly and inefficient
Governmental system of distribution, transportation, cooperatives,
sugar processing plants, agricultural industries and as many porous
patches as were available. At the same time, they were tolerant with
criminals and we reached world record numbers in assassinations and
kidnappings, tragedies that also generate costs, which are passed to
consumers. Blaming producers and industries they promoted parallel
unions and organizations and financed the erosion of the system.
Thousands of millions were misspent.

Alter the perversion that fenced in cattleman and agricultural
producers, they went after the industrialists, the importers and the
distributors. They created, insuring that there would not be food for
the kids and the poor, all of the possible barriers for the free and
dynamic trade required to feed them, import licenses, new taxes, cash
registers that require id number and address, proof of being solvent
with Government institutions and any other piece of paper they could
think of. All of which makes it costly, difficult and slow to obtain
official foreign currency to import and distribute food. Populism led
them to increase the money in circulation, but not the needed
investments to produce more and generate more employment, infallible
formula to create inflation.

It all exploded in his face, the people will get even one day. They
now run around looking for milk, meat, oil eggs, black beans, flour,
yellow corn, sugar and sorghum, Imports jumped from US$ 1,5 billion to
US$ 5 billion and they are still not capable of satisfying demand. It
is not enough to adjust some prices, the bulls have left the corral
and only major changes will stop inflation from not dropping below 35%
and, on the way, that they lose half of the City councils and
Governorships.

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