Quelle Surprise! Chavez's socialist policies in Venezuela are destroying its economy: It's a common experience in Venezuela, where the economy contracted 3.3 percent in 2009 and is expected to shrink further this year. Few business owners see a rosy future, at least in the short term. Jose Guerra, a former Central Bank economist, says state intervention in private businesses is hitting the economy hard. "The government is nationalizing, expropriating, or confiscating," he says. "They are not creating new wealth; this is wealth that was already created." If that weren't bad enough, another factor is hobbling the economy — an unprecedented energy crisis. Critics say a lack of investment, coupled with government ineptitude, left Venezuela without the electrical generation capacity it needs. The government blames a brutal drought. Whatever the reason, cities such as San Cristobal go dark every day — sometimes for four hours or more, as the government uses rolling blackouts to save energy. On a recent morning at Zambrano auto works, the compressors and power painters come on after a blackout. Workers have been at a standstill for an hour, says Jesus Yanis, who paints cars. He adds that he expects the power to go out again later in the day, for another two hours. The blackouts have hurt business, Yanis says. ... Economic Woes Threaten Chavez's Socialist Vision : NPR Yet more proof that eventually Socialism runs out of other people's money.