By Carlo Maffat | Nevada Watchdog
LAS VEGAS — In the 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, threatened by anti-business regulations and the collapse of their companies, scores of prosperous business owners abandoned their fortunes and went into hiding. John Galt, the central character, persuaded them to relocate to a region where their efforts would be rewarded, leaving the rest of society to their fate.
Now, it seems Galt is in Venezuela.
Clorox, the manufacturer of home cleaning products, recently closed its doors and joined the list of companies that have left the South American country to escape the crackdown of the heavy-handed Venezuelan government.
ADIOS VENEZUELA: Clorox leaves the OPEC nation because of too many restrictions
Since the populist regime decided to freeze prices three years ago, the company has operated at a loss. In response, the firm shut down operations and laid off all 447 of its employees.
Soon after the closure, the Venezuelan government ordered the company to restart operations and put the jobless back to work. When Clorox refused, the government seized the plant in what it called a “temporary occupation.”
Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza has begun a criminal investigation and intends to throw the book at the company for abandoning ship and leaving its 447 workers jobless. He also sternly warned other firms this type of behavior “violates human rights and won’t be tolerated.”
In a country where the president himself refers to big business as “bourgeois parasites,” it’s no surprise companies want to get out and find a friendlier place to hawk their wares. Add to the hostile business climate, rigid price and currency controls, which have led to skyrocketing inflation, and you have the perfect conditions for a mass exodus.
Imagine a world where a few bunches of carrots will run you $19, a Big Mac over $14, and a pair of sneakers upwards of $1,200.
According to Reuters, shortages and hyperinflation are the norm in this Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries nation.
As Venezuelans come to grips with the unintended consequences of their government’s decisions, its worth remembering that whether it’s Caracas or Detroit, ‘profit’ isn’t a dirty word. Where ever there’s profit, there is value added. Where ever there isn’t profit, there is deficit. In Clorox’s case, deficit looks like 447 jobs gone forever.