Recently, I have read an Economist article titled “Oil, missions and a chat show” (May 12th 2005) which basically looked at Hugo Chavez’s new twenty-first century socialism. I would post a link but you have to have an online subscription in order to see the article.
Chavez has created missions, which are social programs and worker’s co-ops, in order to realize his idea of the Bolivarian revolution. This means setting up health institutions, creating programs that teach adults how to read, building subsidized state shopping centers, and establishing co operatives that make shirts and what not. The state has also steadily increased its intervention into the market, creating a state owned airline, phone company, and TV channel in addition to the state owned oil monopoly. Politically, Chavez also has essentially expanded his power greatly. The article claims that “Mr Chavez now exercises complete control over all the institutions of the state.”I am not sure if Chavez’s intentions are good or bad, but it seems like Chavez is going to run
The article also points out the 1970s abysmal failure of General Juan Velasco in
Also perhaps on a somewhat related note:
What does anybody (if the Jefe is still moderating or anyone else checks up on this site occasionally--and hopefully they do because then I would feel like less of a nerd) think about direct import substitution? I believe this means that (in the spirit of Gunder Frank's dependency theory) that these economies need to excise themselves from the exploitative international economic structure that only seeks to extract all the wealth/resources from these Latin American countries. As a result they tried to subtitute imports with their own domestic industry to become independent. The context I heard it in seemed to suggest that this was bad. To the extreme, I suppose it is pretty bad. A single economy can't possibly produce all of the goods that they import. However, I do think that Gunder Frank's dependency theory has a lot of merit (although it may be a little defeatist) and at least some import substitution needs to happen, at least in critical industries. I mean, US steel is artificially propped up by the US government, isn't it? Hardly anyone is more vocal about free markets than the US. So the same can apply to these countries too. Or perhaps I am misinformed (which is entirely possible).