First milk, butter, coffee and cornmeal ran short. Now Venezuela is running out of the most basic of necessities - toilet paper.[...]
One supermarket visited by The Associated Press in the capital on Wednesday was out of toilet paper. Another had just received a fresh batch, and it quickly filled up with shoppers as the word spread.
"I've been looking for it for two weeks," said Cristina Ramos. "I was told that they had some here and now I'm in line."
The shortages are not difficult to understand. Price inflation is raging in the country as the central bank aggressively prints money and the government has responded by instituting price controls. The inflation rate in Venezuela was recorded at 29.44 percent in April. Force prices below market prices, which is what price controls do, and supply disappears.
AP even gets this:
Economists say Venezuela's shortages stem from price controls meant to make basic goods available to the poorest parts of society and the government's controls on foreign currency.
"State-controlled prices - prices that are set below market-clearing price - always result in shortages. The shortage problem will only get worse, as it did over the years in the Soviet Union," said Steve Hanke, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University.