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How do I listen to a podcast? I’ll discuss the results and your favorite episodes of the year, next week. Writer, reporter, and film producer Jim Epstein of Reason, whose recent crazy article on what is happening in Venezuela really fascinated me. And that’s our topic for today. It’s a thrill to be on my favorite podcast. And I also want to say right at the outset that I actually first heard about Bitcoin by listening to your 2011 interview with Gavin Andresen.
Jim Epstein: And I remember standing in my kitchen, listening to that interview, thinking, ‘This can’t possibly work. And, you know, over the course of 6 years, I, through a gradual evolution, including through my reporting on Venezuela, I’ve come around to the idea that’s it’s going to actually change the world. So, I also wish I’d purchased a few. Russ Roberts: You’re not alone there. I have a friend, a very wise adviser friend who mocks me constantly for my failure to purchase at that point. Hindsight is 20-20, though, and we don’t keep track of all the times we didn’t buy the things that didn’t go up.
We don’t do investment advice on this program, of course, so consult with your adviser for what the right activity is for yourself, those of you listening out there. Jim Epstein: The state of the economy is–I think the most important thing to mention is that for a long time, and for many cases now, still, the supermarkets are empty. So you can’t really buy food the normal way. And that has to do with price controls.
So, an enormous black market has grown up in food. So, it’s okay for the middle class. If you are poor, it’s particularly difficult. You can wait in line for a long time at a Venezuelan supermarket. Russ Roberts: And, there’s debate about how bad it is. Caracas, in the outside regions, in other parts of the country. Jim Epstein: Well, I guess I’ll first talk–so basically, what’s happening in Venezuela is that people are using Bitcoin.