Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Is the Venezuelan Circus our own Show

What's happening to Venezuela? Is democracy failing them or is it totally absent?
photo image of clashes between Venezuelan civilians and army soldiers
I agree with the contemporary idea that democracy is not for everyone; especially democracy the way Americans define it. History shows plenty of communities where democratic levels were weak, yet progress abounded. Just look at China today.
Also consider the fact that a high degree of democracy in a nation of ignorance will lead to great consensus but definite failure.
Thus, I feel that Venezuela's problems did not arise from its democratic level. But, while democracy isn't for all, food surely is. The real shame of the Venezuelan regime is that it has turned one of the best economies in Latin America into a circus. Whether suffering from a shortage of toilet paper or milk, whether today or fifty years ago, these regimes have yet to learn that central planning by bureaucrats never succeeds.
The worst that could happen now is for oil to drop in price. The country would then have to borrow more from a market already reluctant to buy their bonds. But such is the luck of oil economies.
Income from high oil prices made Chavez' economic incompetence look like brilliance. When the price of oil is high, the leader in place looks like a hero. When oil goes down, the boss gets excommunicated.
The only constant is the dependency on high oil prices and the cyclicality of the pain. If only these so called leaders would help the economy diversify while things are cyclically great, the result would be the opposite. Instead, they opt to spend surplus funds on things that keep them in power; things that do not improve national productivity.
American's are very familiar with the problem. Borrowing money from the Chinese to acquire Wal-Mart stuff to fill their closets is wasteful. Buying Wal-Mart stuff results in the accumulation of things that nobody wants to buy from us. We become the end of the chain.
image of a calculator, a pen and a few quarters placed over a business chartThe inverse took place during the fifties when any money borrowed went into business spending. Investing in businesses created things that others value. We were then an important part of the chain.
The formula is simple. Opt for saving rather than buying personal things; meanwhile invest aggressively in business for maximum results. While this article begins with a question about the source of Venezuela's difficulties, it is evident that the problems of Venezuela can easily replicate elsewhere; including the US. The only thing helping America is the fact that it is already diversified. Unlike Venezuela, the US has plenty of vibrant industries that have succeeded with or without government intervention. The problem for us is that, like Venezuela, our leadership is focused on the kind of entitlement spending that doesn't lead to the creation of things that others would want to buy. How does a union change whether others want to buy things from us or not? How effective is paying irresponsible teachers a higher wage when it comes to making our products more desirable? In either case the benefit is for either the unions or the irresponsible teachers only. They add zero value to our marketable products. In America, we are forgetting to curve personal spending and to invest in business first.
While I am not optimistic that Venezuela will recover any time soon, I am hopeful that we do. I would love to see us prioritize business investing once again.

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