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Atlas Shrugs in Venezuela February 15, 2007

Posted by federalist in Government.
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The left was thrilled when Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez stood in front of the United Nations and encouraged the world to read Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony.  Meanwhile, Chavez seems determined to follow the script for economic ruin laid out by Ayn Rand:  Today’s news from Caracas almost reads like a plot summary for Part I of Atlas Shrugged:

[A]n increasing number of professionals, many of them from the oil industry, are looking abroad for work, driven away by President Hugo Chávez’s effort to extend state control over the economy, and by inflation verging on 20%.

Since his re-election in December, Mr. Chávez has pursued an agenda of “21st Century Socialism,” painting a future of “communal cities” and state-run cooperatives dedicated to production, not profit.

“Chavez’s electoral triumph and the radicalized discourse has increased the desire to emigrate,” said Luis Vicente Leon, the head of Datanalisis, a Caracas polling firm.

Not everyone is dissatisfied. Mr. Chávez, who first took office in 1999, has gained a broad base of popular support among Venezuela’s poor, largely by spending billions of dollars on social programs. And a newly rich class of Venezuelans with close connections to the government is likely to stick around as long as they can continue to profit from Mr. Chávez’s rise.

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