What

The Economist magazine describes the Ethiopian government as “one of the most economically illiterate in the modern world.”[1] This portrayal, albeit contentious, is not without truth. But, the government’s recent meddling in the coffee trade has to do more with the government’s “socialist-inspired” economic policies than economics per se. As if to prove this, Venezuela’s Chavez, another diehard socialist, just took actions similar to what Prime Minister Meles Zenawi did earlier this year. Last week, President Hugo Chavez accused the country’s largest coffee producers, Fama de America and Cafe Madrid, of smuggling coffee out of Venezuela to circumvent government coffee controls and vowed to nationalize they refuse to heed. Chavez was quoted as saying “if they give me an excuse, I’ll nationalize them.”[2]

What

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