July 29, 2019

Economists use beer as measure to document failures of socialism in new book

Dana Mathewson

I'm not sure whether to file this under Politics, or our new section Food and Drink. No matter, it's right here for you all to see.

With the hot-button word "socialism” sparking intense political debate as Americans brace for the 2020 presidential election, two U.S. economists have completed a global drinking tour – and a book already at the top of Amazon's "beer" category– warning that the socialist lure could lead to a drastic dry-up of the country’s adult beverages.

"Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World,” by Robert Lawson and Benjamin Powell, is billed as a "worldwide tour guide written in plain English” which takes readers on a not-so-luxurious expedition into three countries that have embraced socialism – North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba – using beer as an indicator of economic concern.

"In Cuba, there were only two types of beer, almost the same in alcohol content and both tasted like skunky Budweiser. In North Korea, it was just god awful,” Lawson, who is also the director of the William J. O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at Southern Methodist University, told Fox News. "And, in Venezuela, the country has basically run out of beer because the government planners couldn’t import enough barley.”

I'm tempted to say "they barely had enough barley," but somebody'd throw something at me. . .

 

In Lawson’s summation, why would employees of a government-controlled plant bother to go out of their way to seek out the resources, extra costand energy to produce 30 different types of beer or wine when it is easy to make two, and there is no incentive otherwise to excel?

"We were on the border of Colombia and Venezuela, and the Colombian side was awash with all kinds of beer. On the other side, Venezuela had nothing for sale and people had to cross into Colombia just to get the basic necessities,” said Powell, who is also the director of the Free Market Institute and a professor of economics at Texas Tech University. "It’s an important lesson for ‘Democratic Socialists’ in the U.S. to remember that (Hugo) Chavez came to power in free and fair elections, but socialism centralizes economic power and the system starts nationalizing farms, factories, even hotels. When oil prices were $100 a barrel, Venezuela could mask the dysfunction, but as oil prices went down over the last five years, they couldn’t hide the reality.”

[...]

 

The book, which is slated to hit shelves Tuesday in the hours before the second round of debates among the 2020 Democrats, was born out of the 2016 presidential campaign after the authors took issue with candidate Bernie Sanders using the label to "attract people to the cause.” In their view, he and other pro-socialistleaders have beenspreading misinformation.

"We wanted to clear up what the definition of socialism really is; (Sanders) points to Denmark, Sweden, Norway. While they aren’t free market and have high taxes, they are market-orientated and aren’t real socialist countries,” Lawson conjectured. "And, China is fake socialism, it has made a lot of reform when it comes to personal property rights. It’s crony capitalism, but that is a hell of a lot better than socialism.”

Even if you aren't a beer drinker, I hope you get the point. 

Here's the entire article: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/beer-measure-socialism-failures-new-book

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 09:56 PM | Comments (45) | Add Comment
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1 I'll drink to that!  Or not, if I'm in Venecubea (to coin a term for the three socialist hellholes.)

I remember the old days; the Soviet Union had absolutely horrible beer, and little of it was exported. I did taste a Soviet beer once; it was as generic and unappealing as it comes. Purely something to swill down.

And it should be pointed out that the wine industry fared no better under socialism. Hungary had been famous as a great wine country, but under the thumb of Marx it stagnated, and the great fortified wine Tokaji almost disappeared. Hungary is back to making great wines these days, now that the heavy hand of socialism is gone.

Socialism promises so much, but in the end it sucks the joy out of life.

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