According to Slate’s Raul Gallegos, Hugo Chavez has run Venezuela’s state run oil company into the ground to the point where it is now paying its suppliers with IOUs. Gallegos characterizes this as a lesson in “oil wealth mismanagement,” but I think it can also be viewed as a lesson in mob rule. Chavez is an authoritarian, but he is still needs to win elections. Chavez may rely on fraud and general thuggery to win his elections, but he also needs the support of the mob, which he bought by stripping Venezuela’s oil industry. The result has been steady decline. Considering how Obama has been handing out the money in this country, we may be creating the conditions for our own version of mob rule. Perhaps the Venezuelan example should serve as a warning for us.