by Carmen Elena Dorobăț
The role of the economist—to point out the unsuitability of central planning as a means to attain the level of welfare all countries seek—Mises characterized as a “thankless task, [as] most people are intolerant of any criticism of their social and economic tenets… [and] do not understand that the objections raised refer only to unsuitable methods and do not dispute the ultimate ends of their efforts” (Mises 1944, i).
But in circumstances such as the ones in Venezuela today, this task is both thankless and utterly disheartening. A series of recently published photographs and a Reuters inquiry present a heartbreaking summary of the current situation in the South American country, three years into Nicholas Maduro’s regime that followed and continued the 14 years of Chavez’s socialist welfare programs. Other stories of the struggles of the once-middle class show that Venezuela’s future looks grimmer than imagined in 2013, when the current events were just beginning to unfold.