We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Venezuelan economy: in transition towards socialism?

by Eric Toussaint from CADTM

The evidence that the author presents clearly indicates that the answer to the question posed by the title is negative. The argument that Chavez has always used to transform Venezuela from a capitalist nation to one that is described as "socialism for the 21st century" is that he would build popular economic institutions from the bottom up that would ultimately replace capitalist ownership of the economy. Thus the transition would be a peaceful, gradual one.

However, it appears that this lawyer's observation may be relevant:
...lawyer Luis Britto aptly summed up the situation: “We live in a dual society, and in a fable I wrote I explained that if one tries to set up a mixed system with hens and foxes in one single henhouse, then the following week, there will only be foxes left, and then they will eat the farmer.”
See also this article for a searing critique of the Bolivarian Revolution.

For remedies to the defects that Toussaint sees in the Bolivarian Revolution, read his next essay entitled, "Suggested paths to 21st century socialism in Venezuela".