Venezuela is knocking three zeros off the bolivar, its currency, and renaming it the "bolivar fuerte" (strong bolivar). This is an effort to cope with rising inflation. Inflation has spiked in recent months due to Mr Chavez's very expansive fiscal policy, and capital flight following recent nationalisations. Mr Chavez will also reintroduce the locha, or half-quarter, which was phased out in the 1970's. Venezuelan children may see their pocket money go less far, but at least they will be mastering decimals.
Ahhh. The wonders of socialism!
You would think that this "charming", "passionate", and "intelligent" man might have learned from the economic debacles that socialism wrought in the 20th century. You would think he could look around the world and grasp that a country's embrace of socialist and communist principles is directly proportional to its level of poverty and misery. And that even in the so-called "advanced" and "enlightened" European Union (socialism lite), life is deteriorating.
And, in spite of the disastrous and traumatic effects of socialism and communism during the last century; despite the millions of people who suffered economically, politically, and personally because of the inherent sickness of these ideologies--no matter whether they are implemented by ruthless, oppressive dictators or by delusional do-gooders ; today there appears to be a revival of sorts going on, with opportunists like Chavez leading the festivities in this part of the world. They have managed to bury the horrors that socialism and communism wrought in the last century deep down in nether reaches of their unconscious--as if they had never occurred.
I have often wondered if the political left in the 21st century hasn't been suffering from some sort of bizarre group manifestation of a pattern of behavior Freud called "the repetition compulsion". This is a psychodynamic situation where a person repeats a traumatic event or something having to do with it over and over again in an attempt to deal with it. This time, the person says to himself, it will turn out differently.
It never does.
Venezuela's economy will hardly be on the fast track to improve over time by implementing tion Chavez' glorious socialist policies. Nevertheless, the compulsion dictates that he will use the worsening economic situation to enhance his rhetoric (and incidentally consolidate his own power) against the U.S.and Bush, who have already been set up as the external fall guy to blame for Venezuela's descent into further poverty. He may even designate some group internally as the culprit (you know, a group like the "Jews" or perhaps businessmen--he has some room for creativity here)
It won't be Chavez' fault; nor will socialism or communism be faulted--especially if Chavez can successfully whip the people of Venezuela up into a frenzy of projection and paranoia.
Ahhh. The wonders of individual and group psychopathology!