July 7, 2008


Chávez in danger (Stephanie Blankenburg, 07 July 2008, New Statesman)

[T]he November regional elections come at a time, at which the internal tensions and contradictions of the Bolivarian Project to transform Venezuela from a rentist oil state into a productive and participative developmental state are coming to a head: Chávez has little more than four months (and perhaps even less than this) to come up with a solution to a very difficult equation.

One central variable in this equation is the private business sector. On 11 June, Chávez announced a series of economic measures to revive private sector participation in long-term productive investment projects.

Stopping short of “pro-market” measures, such as a devaluation of the Bolivar and a wholesale lifting of capital controls, his olive branch included the abolition of a recently introduced tax on financial transactions, a government finance initiative for public-private investment projects and a significant flexibilisation of capital controls for imports worth up to US$50,000 by already registered companies. In addition, Chávez also announced a wide-ranging programme of subsidies for small agricultural producers.

The smirking faces of the leading members of Venezuela’s business community – mainly bankers - lined up in a neat row to face their president, said it all: They are not falling over themselves to take up the offer, and they don’t have to. Sky-high profit rates in the financial and service sectors make relatively lower and much more long-term returns from productive investment unattractive.

Poor Cindy Sheehan, first Saddam, now Hugo?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 7, 2008 8:26 AM

When did "flexibilisation" become a word?

Posted by: Earl Sutherland at July 7, 2008 9:01 AM

Or "rentist" for that matter? None of my dictionaries show it. Does being a "Lecturer in International Political Economy in the Economics Department at the School of Oriental and Social Studies (SOAS), London." give you the privilege to make up words as necessary?

And is being "rentist" good or bad? I assume bad because most "-ist" words from the Left do seem to be pejorative.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 7, 2008 12:04 PM

Cindy gave Jesse Jackson a big hug. I wonder how Jesse is thinking about that now?

Posted by: Mikey at July 7, 2008 6:52 PM

I guess "rentier" sounds too effete?

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at July 8, 2008 1:01 AM
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