Falling oil prices caused Venezuelan crisis, not socialism: Marxist economist

As the collapse of Venezuela continues to cast a shadow on socialism around the world, Marxist economist Richard Wolff joined FOX Business Network’s Varney & Co. on Monday and blamed falling oil prices for the country’s civil crisis.

“Venezuela is one of a handful of countries that has two key facts to it. Number one, it has had for the last 50 to 100 years become dependent on one product, in this case petroleum, and number two, the price of petroleum over the last few years has fallen by half.”

Stuart Varney pushed back and cited Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship as bringing about the demise of the government and social system.

“Professor you know the truth here. Venezuela is not in the middle of a virtual civil war because the price of oil is down. Venezuela is in a civil war because a communist, socialist dictatorship is emerging, which is taken stuff off the people, given it to cronies, and completely ruined the government. Socialism has ruined them, you know that,” Varney said.

Wolff defended Venezuela’s socialist government by saying civil unrest is an inevitable part of introducing a new political and economic system.

“With [former Venezuelan President] Hugo Chávez and now with this government, they have tried and I’m sure they’ve made lots of mistakes, to change a country that had a tiny core of rich people at the top and a massive poverty and to transform that, and when you try to do that, it’s like making an omelet, you got to break the eggs, you got to have some trouble when you make a change like that.”

Wolff was unable to give a specific example, however, when asked by Varney to name a country that is closest to his “socialist paradise.”

“I don’t think any of them are…I don’t think any of them can be ranked like that, it makes no sense to me. Socialism is a change out of capitalism. It is something that you fight for…and people who live in capitalism are now more and more looking at a system that they think they need to change,” Wolff said.