Matt O'Brien, Washington Post: Venezuela’s death spiral is getting worse
Venezuela is stuck in a doom loop that's become a death spiral.
Its stores are empty, its people are starving, and its government is to blame. It has tried to repeal the law of supply and demand, and, in the process, eliminated any incentive for businesses to actually sell things. The result is that the country with the largest oil reserves in the world now has to resort to forced labor just to try to feed itself.
It gives new meaning to the revolution devouring its own.
How has it come to this? Well, Venezuela was always going to have a tough time when oil prices fell from $110 to $40 like they did the past two years. That's because it doesn't have an economy so much as an oil exporting business that subsidizes everything by making up 95 percent of the country's total trade revenue. Even then, though, the oil crash has hurt it much more than any other petrostate. To take one example, the International Monetary Fund estimates that Russia's economy will "only" shrink 1.8 percent this year compared to 10 percent for Venezuela. That's the difference between a run-of-the-mill recession and a complete collapse.
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WNU Editor: Matt O'Brien is stating the obvious.
Update: This is sobering .... Civilians feel less safe in Venezuela than in war-torn Syria, poll finds (Humanosphere).