America: The New Venezuela? 10 Commandments for Saving the Economy

With a week to go until the election, voters are desperate for our next president to outline a plan to save the U.S. from becoming the next Venezuela. At the Pop!Tech conference last week, Juan Enriquez brought down the house with his 10 point manifesto for salvaging our economy. He wants your feedback.


With a week to go until the election, and the markets still bouncing around like an elephant on a trampoline voters are desperate for our next president — whomever he may be — to outline a plan to save the U.S. from becoming the next Venezuela.


At the Pop!Tech conference in Camden, Maine last week, Juan Enriquez, an expert in international debt crises, best-selling author (his 2005 book The Untied States of America: Polarization, Fracturing, and the Future — predicted how the current crisis would unfold), and venture capitalist, brought down the house with his 10 point manifesto for salvaging our economy.

The 10 Commandments for the President Elect is an urgent plea to our next commander in chief to take immediate action — in his first 30 days in office — or risk triggering an irreversible economic collapse that could take decades to undo.

Among Enriquez’s suggestions:
1.    Cut back the military by 3% per year for ten years.
2.    Cap medical costs at 18% of GNP.
3.    Take a cold, hard look at entitlements, including asking people who are 55 to 60 to work two more years, and those under 55 to work three more years.
4.    Triage support for companies: do not try and save dying whales.

Enriquez conceded that many of his ideas will be wildly unpopular with both Democrats and Republicans. But, he says, the alternative is too dire to be either gentle or partisan.

That said, he recognized that others may have better ideas. To that end, he’s opening his manifesto to the broader community and asking for ideas, edits, clarifications, and suggestions.  In short, he’s willing to open source his document in order to make it better.

To enable the collaboration, Pop!Tech has launched a wiki as a forum for a vigorous, non-partisan debate. You don’t have to have been at Pop!Tech to contribute.


In addition, the Pop!Tech is rallying the community to insist that elected officials  speak to Americans about our current crisis as responsible adults. Your comments are welcome here.

In 1989, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote this about Venezuela:  “Despite the extensive press coverage of the Venezuelan story in recent weeks, few of the stories have pointed out a key fact: Venezuela is by far the least deserving of the debtor countries. No other country has borrowed so much money to such little purpose; no other nation is as completely a victim of its own policies.  Venezuela’s ruling elite has grossly mismanaged the economy, creating a completely unnecessary debt crisis. But however unnecessary the economic crisis may be, it is still real.”

Sound familiar? Now’s the time to act, or risk having future economists write about our own ‘lost decade.’  

Juan Enriquez (2008) Pop!Tech Pop!Cast from PopTech on Vimeo.

About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.