Venezuela arrests business owner because he somehow managed to acquire enough toilet paper to properly stock his employees’ bathrooms
According to this article from the Atlantic, in Venezuela, a labor union at a private business has a clause in its contract which says that the bathrooms must always have toilet paper. I agree with the union on this.
Since price controls caused a shortage of toilet paper, the only way the employer could get enough toilet paper was to illegally buy it on the black market for a price that was higher than the government controlled price.
Now the government is accusing the business owner of “hoarding,” and he could end up going to jail for it.
Interestingly, the article also says that the government might have seized his business if he had not properly stocked the employees’ bathrooms with toilet paper. Darned if you do, and darned if you don’t!
Venezuela Is Falling Apart
Scenes from daily life in the failing state
May 12, 2016
When a Venezuelan entrepreneur we know launched a manufacturing company in western Venezuela two decades ago, he never imagined he’d one day find himself facing jail time over the toilet paper in the factory’s restrooms. But Venezuela has a way of turning yesterday’s unimaginable into today’s normal.
The entrepreneur’s ordeal started about a year ago, when the factory union began to insist on enforcing an obscure clause in its collective-bargaining agreement requiring the factory’s restrooms to be stocked with toilet paper at all times. The problem was that, amid deepening shortages of virtually all basic products (from rice and milk to deodorant and condoms) finding even one roll of toilet paper was nearly impossible in Venezuela—let alone finding enough for hundreds of workers. When the entrepreneur did manage to find some TP, his workers, understandably, took it home: It was just as hard for them to find it as it was for him.
Toilet-paper theft may sound like a farce, but it’s a serious matter for the entrepreneur: Failing to stock the restrooms puts him in violation of his agreement with the union, and that puts his factory at risk of a prolonged strike, which in turn could lead to its being seized by the socialist government under the increasingly unpopular President Nicolas Maduro. So the entrepreneur turned to the black market, where he found an apparent solution: a supplier able to deliver, all at once, enough TP to last a few months. (We’re not naming the entrepreneur lest the government retaliate against him.) The price was steep but he had no other option—his company was at risk.
But the problem wasn’t solved.
No sooner had the TP delivery reached the factory than the secret police swept in. Seizing the toilet paper, they claimed they had busted a major hoarding operation, part of a U.S.-backed “economic war” the Maduro government holds responsible for creating Venezuela’s shortages in the first place. The entrepreneur and three of his top managers faced criminal prosecution and possible jail time.
All of this over toilet paper.
May 22, 2016. Tags: Communism, Economics, Hugo Chavez, News, Nicolas Maduro, Police state, Politics, Price controls, shortages, Socialism, toilet paper, Venezuela. Communism, Economics, Police state, Venezuela.