Without Government, Who Would Incite Food Riots?

Hungry people who have nothing to eat are engaging in food riots to grab groceries.

People go hungry without government. People steal for food without government. But when whole groups or a majority in a country are suddenly without means to feed themselves, that is usually a sign of “government at work.”

Venezuela is providing an obvious example. As the PanAm Post reports, “Looting Sweeps Venezuela as Hunger Takes Over: 132 Incidents Tell of “Desperation and Discomfort” Sinking In.”

It’s the law of the jungle in Venezuela, as shopping for groceries becomes an increasingly dangerous activity. As the shortage crisis worsens, more and more angry mobs are raiding the nation’s supermarkets, looting whatever basic goods they can find.

During the first half of 2015, the Venezuelan Observatory for Social Conflict (OVCS) registered no fewer than 132 incidents of looting or attempted looting at various stores throughout the country. In addition, Venezuelan consumers staged over 500 protests that condemned the lack of available products at state-run grocery stores, markets, and pharmacies.

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With an average of 14 protests per day, the unrest has Venezuela “trapped in a spiral of social and political conflicts that grow over the months, and which could become more acute due to the forthcoming parliamentary elections,” the observatory notes in its report.

On the other hand, the South American country has experienced a surge in protests over labor issues. The NGO reports that demonstrations over these issues increased by 50 percent compared to the same period last year, with 162 labor protests per month.

High inflation and the drastic decline in the value of the bolívar on the black market has hit wages hard. Venezuelans currently earn the lowest incomes on the continent, with a minimum wage of US$10.87 per month, based on the unofficial exchange rate.

I have no doubt that the socialist government of Venezuela has contributed to a mentality of entitlement that is contributing to these riots. When you build a government on the philosophy that people have a right to what they want or need, you can expect some uncivilized behavior. But this seems to be mainly about real hunger that the government has caused. Killing the currency is robbing everyone.

And why don’t we hear more about this in the news? Because, despite all their pretences, Liberals really do believe in a kind of “American exceptionalism.” We have seen evidence of such thinking in Greece, preventing them from believing they would really have to face economic consequences. When other societies are destroyed by economic reality, American Liberals think it was because of some inferiority compared to us. We will never have food riots. We’re too good for that.

But the economy works the same for everyone. Venezuela is a warning.