February 14, 2014

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: “The suddenness of Venezuela’s collapse should have come as no surprise because downfalls are inherently abrupt.” Take note. Plus: “Welcome to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, a country with the fifth largest oil reserves in the world and absolutely broke. It’s a remarkable achievement for Chavismo. A just-wow moment. Socialism is useless at everything except for smashing things in record time. There it excels. It’s hard to imagine that as late as the 1980s Venezuela had the highest standard of living in Latin America. But then in 1960 Detroit was the richest city in the world in per capita income. Now it’s well … Detroit. . . . One reason why Japan recovered relatively quickly after the Second World War was while the massive aerial assault leveled Japan’s cities it did not destroy the cultural and social institutions of Japan. When the smoke cleared the Japanese were still there and they rebuilt. By contrast destroying culture is so much more lethal. Detroit was untouched by the war. Not a bomb fell on it. But years of public education worked their magic. It dismantled the culture and social institutions which once built its factories.”