28 March 2019

Research pick: "Venezuela divided"

Venezuela is one of the world’s biggest oil producers. Is it any wonder that it is a political hotbed? Oil means money, money means power. Unfortunately, none of that seems to have led the country to a settled state. Initially, the discovery of oil led to development and industrialization. But, the wealth ended up in few hands and the poverty was widespread.

Venezuela has proven oil reserves amounting to 300 billion barrels, this is the largest reserve in the world. It also has extensive natural gas reserves and mineral deposits. And, yet this somehow led to extremely high inflation, economic recession and an energy crisis accompanied major politic upheaval which is ongoing at the time of writing but had changed considerably since the research paper discussed here was itself written.

Writing in the International Journal of Foresight and Innovation Policy, Nikolina Jankovic, Mariana Olvera Colin, Melissa Ari, and Agnes Haidacher of the University of Graz, Austria, explain how, as popular unrest rose, Hugo Chávez came to power. He declared war on capitalism and left a divided society and a country currently afflicted by a deep economic crisis. The researchers discuss this rise to power and roles of the various “actors” in the conflict.

The team concludes that the societal imbalances are largely the fault of political corruption. If corruption could be fought, then that would make an essential contribution to poverty alleviation efforts. Such a statement applies in whatever political situation a nation finds itself where there are unethical power struggles.

Jankovic, N., Olvera Colin, M., Ari, M. and Haidacher, A. (2019) ‘The divided Venezuela’, Int. J. Foresight and Innovation Policy, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp.5–18.

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