The ice cream index

Does the ice cream index have to say as much about Venezuela as the hemline-index said about 1920s US economics? Photo: Pawan Singh / The National
Does the ice cream index have to say as much about Venezuela as the hemline-index said about 1920s US economics? Photo: Pawan Singh / The National

Venezuela’s best known ice cream shop, famous for its range of 863 flavours, has temporarily closed due to a shortage of milk, highlighting the parlous economic state of a country that boasts the world’s largest oil reserves but is running out of basic goods.

This is a bitter scoop of bad news for Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s embattled socialist president, but he denies mismanagement. Whatever the truth, the ice cream shop’s closure can be taken as a measure of reality, a bit like the “Hemline Index” formulated by economist George Taylor in 1926. Indeed, the ice cream index could be a sweet sign, closer to home too.

The world will know Syria’s war is over when it can once again visit Al Hamidiyah souq in Damascus to indulge in the ice cream famously churned out by Bakdash since 1885. Last year, Bakdash had to open a store in Amman because few could get to the Syrian capital for its signature pistachio-covered Booza.

Published: December 28, 2014 04:00 AM

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