(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Reason hosted a debate between Stiglitz and Easterly on the role of markets in reducing poverty. A questioner from the audience asks Professor Stiglitz to address his endorsement of Hugo Chavez in 2006 and 2007 in a respectful but direct fashion around minute 51. Eventually after a fumbling attempt to claim that some aspects of the Chavez program were good, Stiglitz admits that in the end while Chavez rhetorically embraced higher and more inclusive rates of economic growth, in the end “he didn’t know how to do it.”
Venezuela sits atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves but production is in free-fall along with the overall economy. Starvation and hyper-inflation run rampant, and the country’s economy dives ever deeper into a humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, a group of Texas wildcatters have a single region outproducing the country with the largest proven reserves despite the fact that we’ve been drilling in that region for a century. Friedman once said that if you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara they would produce a shortage of sand. This was not alas much of an exaggeration.