The Development of Venezuela's Popular Economy, Pt. 1
May 21st 2009, by Jan Ullrich – Venezuelanalysis.com
Part 1: Experiences and LegislationVenezuela has experienced five years of continual economic prosperity. Its gross domestic product almost doubled between 2003 and 2008. Poverty significantly declined, and the shift of the GINI-Coefficient represented a large reduction in inequality . While those macro-economic indicators are recognized by most critics of Venezuela's economic policies, the qualitative economic development of the country is the subject of polemical discussions from different scientific, political, and ideological points of views.
Certainly, the Chavez government has broken with the neoliberal agenda of the preceding decades. But has it developed instead a shift toward a participatory and democratic economy as the core of 21st Century Socialism? The new "Law for the Development of a Popular Economy," which I will refer to as the Popular Economy Law in this article, could be counted as a step toward a participatory and democratic economy, because it promotes the democratization of the relationship between communities and production and consumption. The concrete experiences of "Solidarity Exchange Groups" that were defined in this law and established in ten communities across the country illustrate how the relationships of communities to production and consumption could be re-organized.
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