Venezuela's new economy czar Luis Salas is tasked with controlling what is believed to be the world's highest rate of inflation, reports Reuters.
President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday tapped the 39-year-old as vice president for the economy amid soaring consumer prices and chronic product shortages.
He has a tough task ahead of him. A late 2015 Bloomberg headline: Venezuela sees 85 pct inflation this year.
So what does Venezuela's new economic czar think about this?
"Inflation does not exist in real life," he wrote in a 2015 pamphlet called "22 Keys to Understanding the Economic War." "When a person goes to a shop and finds that prices have gone up, they are not in the presence of 'inflation.'"
Salas has argued against the idea that the printing of money causes inflation . He insists prices rise primarily because corporations seek excessive profit margins.
The appointment of Salas appears to signal a break with the Socialist Party's promises for market-friendly reforms last year, which ended in aborted efforts to liberalize cumbersome currency controls.How bad could it get in terms of controls and socialist oppression under Salas?
His designation augurs a further tightening of state controls in a country where supermarket lines routinely stretch for blocks...
Salas' numerous online essays are written in flowing academic prose featuring caustic turns-of-phrase such as "speculative-parasite-vulture capital" or "global war of the planetary plutocracy."
Few offer specific policy proposals. One list of ideas for economic policies for 2016 published on Salas' blog includes a recommendation that economic policy should be "coherent" and "should not be passive but rather active and on the offensive."...
He has held up as an example of success the 2013 "Dakazo" in which troops took over a group of businesses including electronics retailer Daka and ordered them to slash prices.
"The first thing we can conclude is that prices can be controlled and speculation tied down if there is a combination of state guarantees and mobilization of the people," Salas wrote.
Pedro Rosas Rivero at America 2.1 gives us a clue:
. The new cadre of economic advisors comes from a hard-left fringe within chavismo, as scary as that sounds. If their policy proposals are enacted, they will bury Maduro and chavismo under a mountain of worthless paper money. But not before unleashing havoc and pain on our economy and society.
The most prominent of The Undertakers are Tony Boza, Luis Salas, and a Spaniard linked to Podemos, Alfredo Serrano. The first two have been around chavismo for years, without gaining much influence. They held posts in obscure government institutions and universities, appearing frequently in the chavista media, and writing books and pamphlets on the “economic war”. Salas just broke into the limelight, as the new Vicepresident for Economic Policy and minister without portfolio for Economic Productivity...