Angry numbers produce angry people in Iran

Iran’s GDP per capita in 1979 was $2400, and in 2018 was around $5300. The US numbers are $11,700 and around $63,000. Iranians were promised a lot at the beginning of this story 40 years ago:

Iranians “were promised free electricity and a share of the country’s oil revenues every month. They expected to sleep snug in their warm beds at home in the winter, to stay cool in the sultry summers and to do nothing except spend their oil revenues and eat “chelo kebab”! So, they joined the fray and chanted, “Death to the Shah!” and “Death to America!” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had indeed promised his followers free electricity and cash from oil revenues.”

Instead, what they got, via the numbers above, was a decline in Iranian GDP per capita vs. US from 21% to 8% in forty years (with lots of money going to nasty warmaking). Lots of lessons in all this, and here is one from Angelo Codevilla: “Human beings can tolerate almost anything from rulers except demonstrations of incompetence.”

Takeaways: (1) a two thirds decline in relative GDP per capita over 40 years is nothing to write home about; indeed, it is something to riot about. (2) Finally, this story is utterly obvious, based on the dramatic numbers. Where is it being reported?

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