1.5.16

WAS THE VICTORY DIVIDEND A RESOURCE CURSE?

Belmont Club contemplates the Venezuelan collapse, then draws parallels to what's going on in the United States.
"Countries that rely on natural resource exports may tend to neglect education because they see no immediate need for it. Resource-poor economies like Singapore, Taiwan or South Korea, by contrast, spent enormous efforts on education."  The more reliant a country on found wealth the more vulnerable it is to the siren song of revolutionary firebrands and apocalyptic ideologies.

The resource curse duly gave Venezuela the expected succession of corrupt and incompetent governments.  But when the Venezuelans sought relief from the ordinarily corrupt governments in a Marxist named Hugo Chavez, they found it was possible to go from bad to worse.  A Marxist government, disastrous in itself, was supercharged by the culture of corruption and the availability of ready money. The joint effect was disaster.
The broadly shared prosperity of the late 1940s and 1950s that the idiot left did everything possible to mock until it was gone had in common with the resource curse a reliance on found wealth (well, the absence of competing industrial bases that had been bombed, or subject to communist planning) and a neglect on education bordering on anti-intellectualism.  Thus, Venezuela.
The lights didn't go out in Caracas all at once.  The wiring was stolen bit by bit; the turbines had been neglected year by year; the engineers had departed plane by plane until Earth Day came down like a shroud and without apparent end.
Closer to home, ominous signs proliferate.

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