Scenes from the Last Chapters of Atlas Shrugged

I have always read Atlas Shrugged not as a character story (and thus I don't get bent out of shape by the stiff black and white characters) but as a story about the world itself changing and crashing under socialism and cronyism.  As such, my favorite scene in the book is the hobo's tale of the socialist experiment on the 20th Century Motor Company.

Anyway, the final chapters of the book are full of more and more outrageous state interventions that build to a point that they are hard to believe anyone would actually ever try such things.   Unbelievable, until one looks at Venezuela

Venezuelans soon may need to have their fingerprints scanned before they can buy bread and other staples. This unprecedented step was proposed after Maduro had the brilliant idea of proposing mandatory grocery fingerprinting system to combat food shortages. He said then that "the program will stop people from buying too much of a single item", but did not say when it would take effect.

Privacy concerns aside (clearly Venezuelans have bigger, well, smaller fish to fry) there was hope that this plunge into insanity would be delayed indefinitely, as the last thing Venezuela's strained economy would be able to handle is smuggling of the most basic of necessities: something such a dramatic rationing step would surely lead to.

Unfortunately for the struggling Venezuelan population, the time has arrived and as AP reported over the weekend, Venezuela "will begin installing 20,000 fingerprint scanners at supermarkets nationwide in a bid to stamp out hoarding and panic buying" as of this moment.

The government has been selectively rolling out the rationing system for months at state-run supermarkets along the western border with Colombia where smuggling of price-controlled goods is a major problem.

On Saturday, President Nicolas Maduro said that seven large private retail chains had voluntarily agreed to install the scanners.

Last month the owners of several chains of supermarkets and drugstores were arrested for allegedly artificially creating long queues by not opening enough tills.

It gets better: Maduro also accused Colombian food smugglers of buying up price-controlled goods in state-run supermarkets along the border.

What a mess.  An entirely predictable mess.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "An entirely predictable mess."

    Predictable to the point that one has to wonder if the mess wasn't the primary intent in the first place.

  • donald

    I love how they said that the major chains volunteered. I'm sure they did. About as much as anyone volunteers to do anything under threat of arrest or seizure. I feel bad for my friends family down there.

    Bloomberg reports Army Storms Caracas Electronics Stores, Shoppers Follow

    The government-ordered military occupation of a Venezuelan electronics chain has brought out a reserve force in its wake: a line of shoppers that stretched for three blocks from a store in eastern Caracas today.

    “You have to take advantage of the government regulations because it was too expensive to buy before,” said Maryorie Cacique, 33, as she stood in the line with her three children in hopes of getting a 90 percent discount on an air conditioner in the army-occupied Daka store.

    Black Market

    “There are no economic reasons for the shortages and price increases we are seeing,” Maduro said late yesterday in a national address in which he read the Koran, Bible and Torah. “This is not because of a lack of dollars. It’s political.”

    Chief price regulator Eduardo Saman said Nov. 9 on state television that it’s illegal for stores to raise prices on existing inventory. The government has set prices for everything from medical services to flour.
    Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2013/11/venezuelas-hyperinflation-anatomy-army.html#CDytFWbXmSDcxL5j.99

  • J_W_W

    The funny thing is that while progressives have predicted many bad things due to climate change, their predictions never seem to come true.

    However, almost all of the predictions conservatives and libertarians made about Venezuela are coming true.

    Interesting...

  • http://onthenorthriver.wordpress.com John the River

    So what is the plan after the stores inventory is looted. Oops, sorry, I mean sold at gunpoint at a price not tied to costs or profit. What store would restock under those conditions. Will the army then march the store owners, at gunpoint, to the wholesaler to buy more inventory. And if the store owner no longer has the funds to buy (since he only got back 10 cents on the dollar from his inventory) will the army, at gunpoint, force the wholesaler to dispense more stock without full payment? Then the wholesaler phones his supplier, if that supplier is in the country and refuses to ship to the warehouse will the army then visit him? At some point (quickly I'd imagine) the only remaining source of merchandize is foreign suppliers. What does the army and the government of Venezuela do then?

  • Nimrod

    If you're a marxist then this isn't predictable at all. That's kind of the problem with marxist economic theories... Predictions made based on them aren't valid, and the faith followers are both constantly astonished and constantly looking for anything but their religious theories to blame.

  • joshv

    No, I think these people honestly believe that they are doing good things by setting prices, and they don't believe that price setting is causing the issues they are experiencing.

  • Nimrod

    Regarding the readings from books of religious scriptures, my guess is that it has something to do with this: http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-13-number-4/latin-america-imprisoned-liberation-theology

  • Philip Ngai

    I wonder how much all those fingerprint scanners will cost.
    Will there be a central database to authorize and record purchases?

  • skhpcola

    That leftists disown the failures of their rancid ideology is well recorded throughout history. Of course, they always have good intentions (and a lust for power and control and moral preening), so they stumble from one prescriptive and extreme solution to another. When there is strong opposition, they do these things incrementally, when there is low or no opposition, they ramrod that shit right through. Thus we get OzeroCare, which is guaranteed to break our healthcare system, but that is the stated goal of these assholes. What they aim to achieve is single-payer, with the federal government in charge of all healthcare.

  • Heltau

    I wonder how long dc has known about this?
    I bet somewhere inside obummer admin. there are people working on this to spring it on us when mexafornia finely runs out of water and all the crops are dead out here.