Government Success And Failure

Folks forget how governments can contribute to success and failure.  Michael J. Totten has a nice comparison:

When the Cold War ended, Colombia was a crime-infested war zone while Venezuela, its neighbor to the east, was an island of sanity and stability. Colombia is now one of the world’s hottest new tourist destinations while Venezuela is on the brink of collapse [we think he is being kind].

The murder capital of the world has moved from Medellin, Columbia to Caracas, Venezuela in a quarter of a century.  Chavez and Maduro had a daunting task to bring the economy with the world’s largest oil reserves to it’s knees.  Rigorously enforced socialism along with falling oil prices did the deed.  Reviving Columbia required more than the government.  Totten quotes the WSJ on government actions as well as partnerships that have revived Medellin and Columbia and led the WSJ to name it City of the Year.

Further south:

Brazil’s Senate is expected to go forward with a vote Wednesday to remove Rousseff [the Brazilian President] from office and subject her to an impeachment trial for misleading accounting maneuvers. Legal experts agree that impeachment is a legitimate instrument in Brazil, but some argue that the case against Rousseff is weak and politically motivated.

And continuing on to Argentina:

President Mauricio Macri this morning confirmed he will veto an emergency labour bill passed by the Congress, saying “it will lead Argentines to poverty.”

The game is afoot in the two biggest countries in South America.  Will the reformers be successful in reducing corruption and opening up those economies or will they just turn out to be a new set of cronies?  Venezuela and Columbia show the enormous variance that can happen.  Let’s hope for capitalism or market tested betterment if you prefer.



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