by BEN KEW
29 Nov 2017
The minimum wage in the socialist country of Venezuela has crashed to under $2 a month as hyperinflation continues to shatter the country’s economy.
Breitbart News reported last month that, despite dictator Nicolás Maduro imposing five minimum wage hikes over the course of 2017, the minimum of 177,507 bolivares was worth just $4 a month.
Yet according to latest real value exchange rates, that figure is now just $1.83, working out at just over one cent an hour for a minimum wage job, the lowest in the world.
Venezuelans also receive a food ticket of 279,000 bolivares a month, bringing people’s total income to around approximately $3 a month, although most essential food products remain unavailable or unaffordable.
This month, Maduro confirmed that the government would release a new 100,000 Bolivar bill in a bid to solve the country’s currency crisis where people are required to use thousands of banknotes to buy the simplest of products.
However, the new 100,000 note, which is the highest denomination note released in modern Venezuelan history, is now worth just over $1 and is rapidly losing value.
The move comes less than a year after he tried to relieve pressure on consumers by releasing 500, 1000, 2000, 10,000, and 20,000 bolivar notes, although all these are now worth just a small fraction of a dollar.
While, 10 years ago, a 100-bolivar note could buy a television, it is now worth approximately 0.001 cents as a result of 99.99 percent hyperinflation. However, rates of inflation continue to accelerate amid political instability and a default on Venezuela’s debts as it edges closer to completely running out of money.
Further pressure on the country’s economy comes from the range of economic sanctions imposed by both the United States and the European Union, which primarily target the country’s state-run oil company as well as a number of high ranking government officials.
In recent weeks, the Maduro regime has turned to both China and Russia to offer debt restructuring packages to keep the country’s shattered economy afloat, although analysts believe this will do little to ease the overall debt burden, which currently stands at around $120 billion.
The unprecedented levels of inflation have now led the country into the worst humanitarian crisis in its history, leaving millions living in abject poverty amid chronic shortages of basic resources such as food, electricity, medicine, and sanitary products.
As part of his socialist “Bolivarian revolution,” the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez boasted of Venezuela having highest minimum wage in Latin America, equivalent to $372 a month.
However, inflation began to soar as early as 2007 and accelerated further after oil prices crashed in 2012. At its current rate, it will soon compare to Germany’s Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation crisis, which saw people using wheelbarrows to buy products and the introduction of a 100 trillion dollar banknote.