The human toll of Venezuela's descent into political chaos

AP / Ariana Cubillos

Venezuela's new constituent assembly, the body elected in a disputed vote on July 31, is scheduled to convene today for the first time, President Nicolas Maduro's attempt to impose strongman rule after more than three years of growing unrest. The trouble stems from low oil prices and massive economic mismanagement that have ripped away the country's financial safety net.

The human toll compares with the Great Depression, says Ricardo Hausmann, a former minister of planning in Venezuela and now an economics professor at Harvard, who tallied it up in a piece at Project Syndicate: