Daniel Greenfield writes in his blog, Sultan Knish, Savages of Socialism,
In Venezuela, savvy shoppers are hunting down scarce supplies of toilet paper with a smartphone app. The smartphones, compact packages of electronics, are several generations more advanced than the white square, but they are available when the toilet paper isn’t, because unlike the toilet paper they aren’t subsidized and price controlled.
The sight of modern men and women hunting down toilet paper with smartphones seems like the Soviet Union as reimagined by William Gibson, but it’s a common enough outcome in an economy that is really a patchwork of uneven subsidies.
The Arab Spring was fueled by the social media apps of smartphones and anger over insufficient subsidies for staples such as bread and fuel. The smartphones may bring you the revolution, but it’s the toilet paper and bread shortages that set them off.
A society stuck somewhere along the way in the transition between Socialism and a free economy finds itself in these savage intersections in which high technology is available, but the basic needs which the underclass is bought off with aren’t.
These countries are caught in a philosophical trap. They realize socialism does not work yet they do not trust – nor understand- capitalism. They think they will select the best features of each and end up with the worst features of both. A planned economy does not work any better with a crony capitalist than it does with a bureaucrat or a tyrant. No matter how highly credentialed the planners are they can never know as much about the needs and desires of the people as the markets that serve the,