I saw headlines last week that the world was on fire and on the brink of disaster, primarily facing citizens of Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela. The world isn't on the brink of disaster, and in fact most of the world is moving along day-by-day in an attempt to make life better. Actually, the biggest financial news of the week reflected that the world is on the move, and should only become a better, richer, and more peaceful planet (until China can build its navy, but that's an issue for much later). Facebook acquired 'WhatsApp,' a message service company with 55 employees for $19.0 billion, and it's all about reaching 450 million people, and soon-1.0 billion people; mostly outside of the United States.
For centuries, the nations in the headlines these days have shared a history of erratic governance, corruption, and failed economic policies that never allowed them to grow as nations.
Today let's take a look at Venezuela as a failed nation, and as a cautionary tale on the rule and long-lasting destructive legacies of megalomaniacs.
Running Out of Other People's Money and Your Own Oil Supply
"To be Venezuelan today is to live on the edge of the apocalypse, convinced it will happen tomorrow"
Poet, screenwriter and Hugo Chavez biographer
Apologists for the Venezuelans, who emerged under Hugo Chavez, point out that the country has the thinnest income-inequality gap of all of Latin America, which proves the point that such a measurement is misleading when it mostly reflects shared misery. Why would a nation that saw its oil exports surge to $60.0 billion annually (2011) from $14.4 billion (1999) be on the edge of an apocalypse? How could a nation where extreme poverty catered to 8.5% of the population from 23.4% have a murder rate of 13,080 per 100,000 up from 5,968?
It's rather simple. This is a nation that's missed opportunities, and shot itself in the foot guided by a megalomaniac whose tools of intimidation were mixed with gift-giving and demonization. Hugo Chavez hated the west so much that he kicked out companies, and engineers capable of pumping billions more of God's gift to that nation for friends, that included Saddam Hussein, Robert Mugabe, Qaddafi, Assad, Iran, and business partners in Russia and China.