Venezuelans are dying in huge amounts. Stossel: Venezuela was once the richest country in Latin America. It still has the world’s biggest oil reserves. But 20 years ago, Venezuelans voted for socialism. They elected Hugo Chavez. Some Americans were excited about that. Model Naomi Campbell visited Chavez calling him “a rebel angel.” Jimmy Kimmel: This is you and Hugo Chavez. Michael Moore: [laughing] Oh Michael Moore! Michael Moore! Kimmel: Really? He says, “help me write my speech.” He is one of the most important forces we’ve had on this planet. And even today, as Venezuela collapses, many Americans say, don’t blame socialism. Actually, blaming socialism for Venezuela’s riches to rags story is grossly misleading. Yes, Venezuela is going through an insane political crisis right now. But it’s not clear that that crisis has anything to do with their socialist policies. Stossel: This popular video, “the collapse of Venezuela explained” never once mentions “socialism.” Vox Anchor: “Oil prices plummeted in 2014 and Maduro failed to adjust.” Stossel: Media personalities suggest only conservatives say Socialism destroyed Venezuela. John Oliver: If you follow conservative media at all you might have seen it frequently painted as the inevitable dire consequences of a socialist government. Stossel: The problem isn’t Socialism, says John Oliver John Oliver: It’s a story about epic mismanagement. But mismanagement is what happens under socialist governments. It always happens because no group of central planners is wise enough to manage an entire economy. Even if they have good intentions, Stossel: the socialists eventually run out of other people’s money. The socialists solution then is to print more. [sound of money printing] That caused massive inflation. The nation’s failed economy is expected to hit 10 million percent inflation this year. Stossel: When business owners raised prices to keep up with inflation government often took away their businesses. Chavez [in Spanish]: What is this? Response [in Spanish]: A private business. Chavez [in Spanish]: Expropriate it. [crying businessman] Stossel: This man’s just had his business taken [crying businessman] Stossel: Socialist say government can run businesses better than greedy owners who just want profit. And even though that led to tyranny in Venezuela, and China, and Russia, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Cuba… There are plenty of socialist countries that look nothing like Venezuela. When I talk about Democratic Socialism I am not looking at Venezuela I’m not looking at Cuba. I’m looking at countries like Denmark and Sweden [Swedish folk music] Stossel: Oh yes, those counties do have bigger welfare programs than America does. but they are not socialist. They make a point of saying that. Here’s Denmarks prime minister Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy. Not only that, lately, they’ve reduced government control of their economy. They privatized the national phone system, and the railroads and they sold Copenhagen airport to a private company. It’s the same story in Sweden. Johan Norberg: We did have a period in the 1970s and 1980s when we had something that resembled socialism – a big government that taxed and spent heavily. And that’s the period in Swedish history when our economy was going south. [people cheering] Stossel: So Sweden reduced government’s role too. They even instituted school choice The Scandinavian countries that progressives call “socialist successes” Not only are they not socialist— They’re moving more toward Capitalism. [chanting in Spanish] Stossel: The silver lining in Venezuela’s collapse is that most Venezuelans who escaped their country’s socialism do understand what went wrong. In Florida, reporter Gloria Alvarez asked Venezuelan immigrants What do you think about socialism? That doesn’t work. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It’s never going to work. It’s never gonna work. Do you think that people once they get out of Venezuela, do they understand that the problem is socialism? I think that a great percentage of them do. The problem is the socialist system that they tried to make work but that has never worked, and will never work. It will never work as Ludwig von Mises wrote, “The champions of socialism promise the Garden of Eden, but plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man a subordinate clerk.” I wish progressives understood that. Since they don’t tragedies like Venezuela will happen again and again.