LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Venezuelan farms have begun feeding their workers — so they don’t faint from hunger.

“I have to make the decision between buying gallons of gas for my tractors or having enough food for my guys,” said Arzola, wearing a large-brimmed straw hat in the midday heat.

“They started to come to work so hungry they were almost fainting,” he said.

In a country where hunger has become so commonplace that Venezuelans have lost an average of 11 kilos, or about 24 pounds, the idea of farmers reducing their production sounds counter-intuitive and even inhumane.

But with Venezuela in a steep economic crisis — and no end in sight — farmers and farmworkers have found themselves making that difficult calculation as the cost of running a farm has jumped. Back in November, Arzola had to pay 80,000 bolivares — at that time, about 75 cents — for a liter of oil. Last month, the price shot to a staggering 1.6 million bolivares, or about $7. That means Arzola cannot afford to expand his business. If he does, he would not be able to feed his own workers.

If the workers are too weak to keep up the pace, Arzola’s farm would yield much less. In addition, the hungry workers, in order to survive, would look for work at a different farm that would feed them.

Socialism is about protecting the little guy from fat cats.