In 2000, Venezuela's Annual Growth Rate was negative 7.2%
Now, I don't know exactly how the mathematicians and the bankers come up with these numbers, but I think we can all agree that Venezuela was in dire straights; starving people, homeless orphans huffing glue; it was a mess.
It was about that time that the IMF (International Monetary Fund), came to the recently elected President Chavez and said, "We're here to help your impoverished little country. We can give you a loan to get your public programs on track, and you can pay us back with your oil revenue...
Sign here, please."
But President Chavez could see the fire in the bankers' eyes and the way their mouths watered when the words 'oil revenue' oozed off their tongues. He looked around at all the other third world countries the IMF had "helped." He saw those countries straining to survive under the weight of crippling debts, and how the IMF had put so many restrictions on how the countries could use their loan money, that the leaders were powerless to truly lead their people to a better way of life.
"No, thank you" said President Chavez to the IMF. "I will find a way to help my people without making my country a slave of the western economic powers."
"You fool!" said the bankers. "You can't survive without us! We own the money by which your economy and every economy on earth is measured!"
"Then I guess we'll have to get rid of your money as well," said President Chavez to the bankers. "We will trade our oil for the services that our country needs."
"BARTER!!" The bankers laughed. "Okay then, Mr. Chavez. You go barter your oil! We'll be back when you learn how the modern economy works!"
Venezuela's Annual growth rate in 2006: 10.3%
The United States Annual Growth Rate in 2006: 3.2%