barbie

Venezuela – a great place for business (if you’re an accountant)

Yesterday was not a good day for businesses operating inside Venezuela. First, the government decided to expropriate significant parts of Polar, Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi. The government claims the factories and distribution centers, located in Caracas’ working-class district of La Yaguara, were built on land they need for public housing. Never mind that the government is broke…

solar-parity

Repent! Repent! Grid Parity is Nigh!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hearing dire warnings that unless Venezuela got its act together, it could just plain miss the short critical window of opportunity for monetizing its vast oil resources. “Other” technologies would inevitably catch up and make oil as irrelevant to the future as Whale Blubber was to our…

SantaBarbara

Santa Bárbara

It’s 6:30 PM, and it’s already pitch dark in Maracaibo, courtesy of Hugo Chávez’s tantrum that led to a change in the time zone a few years back. I’m having dinner with an old high school friend at the shore of the lake. The warm, humid July breeze brings with it a mixture of dust and nostalgia. We’re…

Asdrúbal logo

Economists as detectives

While I was in Caracas, I spoke to economist Asdrúbal Oliveros about what it’s like to be an economist in a country with, essentially, no economy to speak of. I wrote my latest Transitions piece about our talk. The sirloin: In order to come up with his numbers, Oliveros relies on a web of contacts…

imf2

F-Rod and Hausmann at it again

The weekend negotiations between Greece and her creditors was quite the spectacle. One of the many lessons we can draw from it is that it’s really hard to be a left-wing populist when you’re presiding over a bankrupt economy. Sooner or later, you have to face reality. Speaking of Maduro … when will Venezuela have to face…