Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chavez loves the rich and wants to kiss them

Any one else see this from the Guardian? Welcome to the Chávez revolution - where the rich keep getting richer.

"A socialist revolution is supposed to be clanging through Venezuela but from this oasis of wealth in the heart of the capital it is inaudible, just like the traffic. "The revolution is blah blah blah. We don't feel threatened," said one of the trio, a shoe factory owner...

"The economy is surging at 9.4% and banks and credit card companies are reporting exponential increases in deposits and loans. Car sales are expected to more than double this year to 300,000, many of them luxury models, and property price rises rival Manhattan."

It's interesting because there is a very similar process taking place in Bolivia, where the leftist President Morales was elected last December.

His election saw new levels of foreign investment, and whilst some multinationals squealed a bit (like the oil companies) even they are pretty happy with the renegotiated contracts signed at the beginning of this month. Certainly corporations from other sectors, like those left wing fire brands the pharmicutical companies, seem to be overjoyed at the Morales government who is extending medical care beyond those who have the pocket book to pay for it themselves - and therefore openning up new markets for them.

All my old instincts tell me that happy rich people is a bad sign - but hang on - I'm not actually for the collapse of either economy and I'm certainly not opposed to poverty simply on the grounds that others are better off. Given that neither of these governments are likely to introduce anything resembling workers power or participatory democracy any time soon I guess I have a question... if the rich are getting richer, but the conditions of the poor are also improving - what's the problem?


me said...

some might say that the problem is that poverty is relative - indeed that is a central tenet of many a socialist thinker - becasue of the economic justice elements and also about how power is operated. So yes get everybody out of slums with no water and heating, but then who controls the wealth of a nation or it's pillars of control and information.

That's my view but i differ from mnay who pout that view in how i think it can be tackled.

I personally think that this form of power will not be overturned unles you ahve legislation in the hands of a political party that doesn't serve a particulr interest group. However for that party to get its hands on teh legislating power ( and thus pillars of control and information) it has to do some initial negotiaon with teh existing power.

An example might be that this party exists in the shape of the green party but that the green party needs to negotiate with exisiting power structures such as how the national media operates and peoples understanding of political party positions through the use of leadership structures in order to get there.

Phugebrins said...

There is a problem because a better situation is possible (that's becoming a cliche of the left, isn't it?). I mean, if manna falls from heaven, but capitalism's still gutting the poor, there's still work to do.

I mean, life for the poor here is generally better now than it was fifty years ago - but that doesn't mean we should be thanking our most recent dozen or so PMs.

Jim Jay said...

I think I'll do a proper post on relative poverty and standard of living as there's too much to say in one comment really - but just to say - I think that's a good point phugebrins about thanking PMs for changes in society...

...and to 'me' I'm sure how you could have a political party that does not serve a particular interest group - I think it's when the parties serve the interests of the eltes and the status quo I think the problem occurs.

Duncan said...

if the rich are getting richer, but the conditions of the poor are also improving - what's the problem?

I don't want to be a dull internet-based Marx quoting/paraphrasing robot but I think it's because there will be no peace while some live in palaces and others live in huts.