Venezuela

An NPR story this morning about the Venezuelan economic crisis reminded me of this table of per capita GDP in 1950 (in current dollars):

# 1 United States: $9,573.00
# 2 Switzerland: $8,939.00
# 3 New Zealand: $8,495.00
# 4 Venezuela: $7,424.00
# 5 Australia: $7,218.00
# 6 Canada: $7,047.00
# 7 Sweden: $6,738.00
# 8 Denmark: $6,683.00
# 9 Netherlands: $5,850.00
# 10 Belgium: $5,346.00

Now part of this doubtless stems from the damage caused by World War II to many other countries; and it may well be that the old GDP numbers are distorted in various ways. But the comparative decline of Latin America in the second half of the 20th century (in some measure reversed in some countries, but not Venezuela, in the last few decades) — coupled with the comparative rise of East Asia — has been pretty striking.