The One about John Galt in Los Llanos

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Kejal Vyas and Carlos Becerra have a brutal, engrossing feature about what happens to a small community in Portuguesa, when the government seizes the assets of a big local employer, and replaces it with nothing.

Photo: WSJ retrieved.

When Smurfit Kappa’s paper plant in Ospino, in the middle of the Venezuelan plains, was taken over by the government, its workers knew to brace for the worst. The resulting story is catnip to WSJ-readers, but also absolutely must-read journalism: a kind of libertarian fevered-nightmare made flesh.

Hundreds of employees, who counted on the Irish company for transport, education, housing and food, continue to show up at work. They take turns protecting idled heavy machinery from looting that has become rampant as Venezuela plunges into hyperinflation and economic chaos.

Their hope: that someone—anyone other than the Maduro administration—will come and restart operations.

“Help, we need a boss here. We’re desperate,” said Ramón Mendoza, a Smurfit forestry division worker for 17 years. “We’re so scared because we now know that all the government does is destroy everything, every business.”

Readers know I’m far from a libertarian — but man, this story…