If democracy is only as good as your electorate, socialism is only as good as your management team. Hugo Chavez's management team did the hardest part of organizational change: They inspired their people to dream big and take bold measures. Most large organizations rot from the inside for decades or even centuries and nobody emerges to distill the disparate grumblings of the people. Unfortunately his management team also lacked the know-how to execute their vision.

Did Venezuela have the resources to transform themselves into a rich and thriving socialist utopia the likes of Finland or even Switzerland? Yes. They had untold oil resources, a robust professional class, and clearly the political will. So what happened?

Clearly they were ill prepared for the steps they took. An internally diversified economy might have been able to sever itself from the rest of humanity and produce materially higher wages and a better quality of life for its people. It's difficult to imagine a country that is literally the best in the world at making everything that money can buy, but it's possible. Venezuela was not that.

Venezuela had oil and soccer, and a few other things. Before excommunicating the world it should have ensured at least that food and toilet paper were taken care of, but they didn't even have that. They also seemingly failed to notice that they were exporters and would therefore suffer from restricting foreign exchange. In terms of management mistakes, this is tantamount to forgetting that people eat and shit. But why did they want to cut themselves off anyway? Nothing about Socialism necessitates isolation...

If you read Jamie Dimon's letter to investors prefacing JPM's 2015 annual report, you would have noticed therein generalized admonishment of Bernie Sanders, using Venezuela as an example of what happens when well meaning socialist idiots take over. I question the inverse, which is, what happens when evil smart people take over, as they took over Jamie's own company? BTW Whose head was worth $9BN? Whose ass was saved from jail with that petty fine?

But I digress.

The point is that Venezuela shouldn't be used as an example of the essence of socialism any more than big banks should be used to signify the essence of Capitalism. And Wall Street has become the synecdoche for Capitalism, which Bernie repeats ad nauseum. Wall Street isn't even Wall Street anymore and Capitalism isn't any more inherently corrupt than socialism. Capitalism as a logical system just has the wrong ontology, that's all.

To be continued.