Is Productivity to Blame for Venezuela’s Economic Turmoil?

Mariana Baquero, Honorbound, Period 2

Picture citation: Silva, Jorge, Reuters.com, accessed on December 5, 2015. https://cuslar.org/2014/03/13/us-role-in-2014-venezuela-uprisings/

Productivity is one of the main components of economic growth. Productivity explains why some countries are wealthier and more powerful than others are. In Naked Economics, Charles Wheelan defines productivity as “the efficiency with which we convert inputs into outputs”. With a GDP per capita of $53, 041. 98 in 2013 and high standards of living, America paves the way as the most influential country in the world.[1] Thus, many people wonder how America is able to uphold its powerful status. The answer quite simply is, because Americans are productive. As Charles Wheelan states, “the more productive we are, the richer we are”. Americans are better off now than ever before because Americans are good at not only producing material goods, but also intangible goods like healthcare and entertainment.[2]Therefore, Americans are able to live at a better standard of life than citizens of other countries are. However, many countries are not as fortunate and inventive. Most specifically, Venezuela, an oil- rich country in South America, the home of many hardworking people has suffered from large amounts of inflation, outlandish exchange rates, and scarcity of natural resources. Thus, could productivity be behind Venezuela’s deteriorating living conditions, dire poverty, and food shortages?

Since the beginning of the Chavez era in 1998, Venezuela has transformed from an oil-rich country to being named “the most miserable country in the world” by the Cato Institute for the past three years.[3] How can a country go from being wealthy and full of potential to one of the most dangerous countries in the world? Easy, the Venezuelan government blocks Venezuelans from being productive. Since his election in 2013, Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver, has discouraged many people and businesses from staying in Venezuela to fight for freedom and equality. For instance, since there is not enough money to pay teachers at public universities (keep in mind: all universities in Venezuela are public), teachers regularly go on strike, which means that every once in a while, they will stop attending classes until the government pays them. The absence of qualified teachers along with the lack of essential educative materials has worsened the Venezuelan education system. Since the quality of Venezuelan education has decreased, many young Venezuelans have been forced to emigrate, leaving Venezuela without a whole generation of intelligent young men and women. Without this critical talent pool and natural resources, Venezuelan businesses like Polar, Chocochitas, and Dia a Dia have been forced to shut down or under produce.[4] In addition, those in charge of these businesses have been personally threatened  and jailed by the government for being successful and promoting Venezuelan individualism. How can a country succeed when its leaders condemn progress and productivity? It cannot. Without educated business men, honest political figures, and talented young Venezuelans, Venezuelan productivity has significantly decreased, igniting an economic disaster.

As long as the Chavez era continues to exist in Venezuela, productivity will continue to decrease and with it, any hope for Venezuela to ameliorate its economic turmoil. There will be no Venezuelan businesses, foreign relationships, or increased standards of living with Nicolas Maduro and his puppets. As the Venezuelan government continues to discourage Venezuelan productivity, Venezuela’s economic growth will continue to deteriorate.

[1] “GDP Per Capita,” worldbank.org. accessed on December 5, 2016. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD

[2] Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010),

[3] Bender, Jeremy, “The 15 Most Miserable Countries in the World,” Businessinsider.com, published on January 31, 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/misery-index-cato-institute-2016-1

[4]De Masi, Victoria, “Venezuela Hoy: Cómo es el Día a Día sin Comida ni Remedios,” Clarin. com, published on February 7, 2016. http://www.clarin.com/viva/Venezuela-hoy-dia-comida-remedios_0_1604839641.html

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