Unfortunately it seems like economists know a lot more about how not to bring about development rather than the opposite. We know that economic growth is harmed by things like political instability (civil wars, coups d’etat), random expropriation of profitable investments, uncertain and inconsistent policies in general. We are much less certain how to bring about economic growth though.
I am tempted to point to Nicolas Maduro as a perfect example of how to destroy an economy, although Chavez was well on his way to accomplishing that himself, so Maduro had a head start. I would recommend all policymakers look at Maduro and do the opposite.
Case in point. As the Venezuelan economy sadly goes even further into the crapper, here is what Maduro has been championing: socialist sneakers! In a humorous article, Fusion asks whether Venezuela is launching a new “Air Chavez”:
“Looking like an ’80s rapper in a retro Adidas jacket, Maduro this week unveiled a new Hugo Chávez-inspired ‘socialist sneaker,’ which looks suspiciously similar to a red Converse All Star classic. ‘These are the Chávez boots, look at them, these are the boots of Bolivarian youth socialism,’ Maduro bellowed.
It’s not clear whether the government is planning on producing these socialist sneakers or whether they are just being held up as some kind of ideal. But Fusion makes my point exactly (about priorities) when it notes that “the new shoes look like they’d be comfortable to wear for long waits standing in lines for shampoo, toilet paper, milk and other basic items that are becoming increasingly hard to find in Venezuela as the nation’s oil-dependent economy tanks.”
n.b. Adidas actually makes a shoe called the Maduro, but I doubt it was named after the yahoo in red above (although he is wearing an adidas jacket, so who knows!?)