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What is hyperinflation and what is causing Venezuelans to starve?
Venezuela’s economic crisis has made headlines all over the world for the past few years. Hunger is widespread there. Unable to afford the small amount of food available in supermarkets, many Venezuelans have resorted to eating garbage to survive. Even zoo animals in Venezuela are starving according to a report by the Daily Mail, and people have been breaking into zoos to eat them. A recent survey found that the “food crisis has also created an education crisis, as more than 1 million children no longer attend school, mostly due to hunger and a lack of public services.” Moises Rendon and Mark L. Schneider of the Center for Strategic & International Studies provide a bleak assessment of Venezuela’s current situation, saying the country is suffering “an unprecedented man-made humanitarian crisis.” They say Venezuela resembles “a country at .. and notes some of its major social problems, including “extreme food and medicine shortages,” “rampant crimes in every city,” “constant electric blackouts,” and “looting and repression.” When you see and hear these stories, you can’t help but wonder what went wrong. How could a country that was once one of the most affluent countries in South America reach such a sorry state? One source of the misery in Venezuela is its out-of-control inflation, which we will examine in this episode of The Infographics Show, “Venezuelan Hyperinflation Explained.”
Before we discuss Venezuelan hyperinflation, let’s begin with a discussion of what hyperinflation is in general. Simply put, hyperinflation is very high, rapid, and continuous inflation. In a hyperinflation situation, the prices of goods and services in an economy quickly rise to a level so high that they become difficult to afford for most people. While experts cannot agree what that exact level is, economist Michael K. Salemi states that hyperinflation is generally used to “describe episodes when the monthly inflation rate is greater than 50 percent.” He gives the example that “at a monthly rate of 50 percent, an item that cost $1 on January 1 would cost $130 on January 1 of the following year.”
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