Ideological Rigidity -> Mismanagement -> Corruption -> Repeat

1980s Romanian Joke: “Q: Do you know what they used to light houses with before they had candles? A: Electricity!”

My usual process when I sit down to write for a foreign audience is to ask myself: what features of the Chávez era are entirely evident to Venezuelans but hard to fathom for outsiders? To the extent that I manage to chip away at those lacunae, I think I’m doing my job.

This week, over on the IHT, I try to get at the multiple feedback loops between ideological rigidity, mismanagement and corruption, and the way they cripple the government as it tries to manage a complex 21st century society.

The now-chronic electric crisis is, when you think about it, a perfect illustration of that:  the problems created by ideological rigidity (in the form of frozen electric rates) are amplified by a basic inability to manage a complex technological system and then deepened by corruption, turning what ought to have been a tricky-but-resolvable problem into an administrative quagmire that the government then has to patch up a realazo limpio.

It’s probably mission impossible to try to illustrate that in 700 words. But what can I say? I enjoy a challenge…

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