... people do.
Wretchard the Cat made this intriguing point on Twitter a while back, referring to the Venezuelan economic collapse wherein blackouts across the country became the norm. As the socialists cut the pay for engineers to make a more equitable society, those engineers left the country. When things started to wear out and break down in the power plants, as all things do, there was no one left to repair them. They may have had the raw materials, but they didn't have the expertise any more. And thus, the lights went out.
Back at the dawn of the Internet, I found a website that was a news aggregator for stories from Africa. Probably because I thought the name of the country sounded goofy, I read all of the news coming out of Zimbabwe. When I started, Zimbabwe had a functioning economy and was an exporter of agricultural goods. They were doing pretty well.
When Robert Mugabe started to persecute the white farmers, taking their land and breaking their farms into small plots to transition to black-owned subsistence farming, everything began to collapse. The white farmers fled, mostly to England, and things spiraled downward. No longer an exporter, but still requiring foreign credit to buy fuel and machinery, the country went into debt and then defaulted. They printed ever larger denominations of money, but all they accomplished was to become a laughingstock and see their people die of malnutrition and disease.
Pondering our own, upcoming fiscal crisis and having seen how others recover from them, what strikes me is that a currency collapse wipes out savings, but it leaves you with your natural resources, physical plant and whatever human capital that doesn't flee and hasn't been debased. The first two are all well and good, but it's the third one that matters the most.
Japan became a global powerhouse without natural resources, but with tremendous human capital. Venezuela became a basket case with tremendous natural resources, but their human capital ran away. How about us?
We will need everyone to be their best when we finally run aground on the rocks of fiscal profligacy. Diluting our educational system in pursuit of racial idiocies is going to put us closer to the Zimbabwe / Venezuela camp. By the way, if you think this is an outlier, dig what we're doing here in San Diego.
I'm coming to the conclusion that we won't ever have the appetite for fiscal discipline because we prize compassion so much. We're going to have to get smacked in the face with a currency crisis to learn our lesson. When it happens, it sure would be nice to have a competent workforce that can dig its way out of the mess.