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Venezuela sends in troops to it's only toilet paper plant!

Santagranddad

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I was only half listening to the news when I heard that Venezuela's National Guard had been sent into the country's bog roll manufacturer, following earlier national shortages. Didn't know whether to laugh, cry or be overwhelmed by feelings of empathy.

It seems a little unreal that an oil producer has a problem with toilet tissue supplies, I mean how many rolls would you get on the world market for a barrel of crude?
 

genesisone

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I may not have this quite right, but here's my understanding of the situation: the Venezuelan government has gotten too involved in price-setting. Manufacturers are simply refusing to produce goods at lower than market value.

The same sort of thing happened with sugar when we were in Paraguay in the early 1980s. There were strict controls on the price of sugar, much below the real value in an true open market. Suddenly, it became next to impossible to find sugar. We were lucky to get more than a cup or two at at time. Yet you could drive out into the countryside and see acres upon acres of sugar cane. They finally made a deal with the producers and things came back to normal. Price went up a bit, but I don't recall that it was an exorbitant leap.

But back to Venezuela: it appears that the government would rather have the armed forces run the factories than make a proper deal with the manufacturers. That, as expected by us outsiders, isn't working, so the government is having to import millions of rolls of toilet paper to avoid the appearance of a shortage, and thus of the need to raise prices.
 

Santagranddad

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Enlightened I am now, thank you. What a shower they have in power in Caracas. My sympathies are with the people having to deal with a basic need in such a situation.

Perhaps some desperate person there has had to resort to smuggling cocaine, Paris Police reporting that they found 1.3tonnes of pure cocaine in 11 suitcases off an Air France flight on 11September, 2013. (BBC reporting today).
 
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