by Claudio Grass, Claudio Grass:
Over the last years, Venezuela has become a modern poster child for the failure of socialism and with good reason. It offers an abundance of lessons and stern warnings for many western nations, but it also provides a very insightful and relevant reminder for individual investors too.
Economic, social and human costs
Within the space of 5 years, a combination of plunging oil prices and extreme socialist policies have brought the country to its knees, together with its increasingly desperate citizens. Despite the fact that Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil deposits and is also rich in coal and gold, the country today faces one of world’s worst humanitarian crises, according to the UN. Its downhill path began with the Hugo Chavez presidency, during which billions were pumped into populist programmes. This economic mismanagement, the push for nationalization and centralization and ultimately the country’s descent dramatically accelerated with the election of its next socialist President, Nicolas Maduro.