There is an old joke about communism muses about what would happen if the desert ever became communist. The answer is, “nothing for a while, and then there would be a shortage of sand.”  Communism and Socialism have failed spectacularly every single place they’ve been implemented and yet there remains a school of thought that government can run economies better than markets can.

Today’s example of a failed government command economy is found in Venezuela. This Latin American country sits on vast reserves of one of the hottest commodities in the world right now – Oil. The world runs on oil. Demand for this commodity causes people to go literally to the ends of the earth in search of it. Find yourself a patch of oil to sell and there will be buyers lining up at your door with barrels.

So, one would think that a country sitting on such wealth would have enough cash to provide basic necessities for its population. I don’t know about you, but one thing I never buy off the discount rack or bottom shelf is toilet paper. It’s a basic necessity of life. TP is right up there with alcohol, cigarettes, and booze in the hierarchy of things to hoard in the coming Zombie Apocalypse.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, Venezuela. There’s a nationwide shortage of toilet paper. That’s right, Dear Reader. Toilet paper.

The laws of supply and demand are not subject to the whims of government price controls. I submit that the demand for toilet paper is about as elastic as a steel rod. People want what they need and they need toilet paper in Venezuela.

President Nicolas Maduro, successor to Hugo Chavez, is now getting a lesson in basic economics. He blames “anti-government forces, including the private sector” for causing the shortages in an effort to destabilize the country.

Sound familiar?