Monday, May 26, 2008

Chavez again...

To and fro on the economic consequences of Mr Chavez. Just a bookmark for me really.

[Update: Oh man, Weisbrot blows Rodríguez out of the water! How did that nonsense get published in Foreign Affairs in the first place??????]

[Update 2: via Simon in comments we discover that Rodriguez has a rejoinder. Weekend reading hopefully].

[Update 3: thank you again to Simon - Weisbrot responds again too. See Simon's thoughts in comments. I'm still inclined to think Weisbrot wins hands down].


Simon Bidwell said...

Hi Terence

Have just spotted your blog and am enjoying reading through the back pages.

But the plot thickens on the Chavez-Rodriguez-Weibsrot saga. I give some extra discussion here:

Simon Bidwell said...

Sorry, I'll make that a hyperlink.
Discussion here.

Simon Bidwell said...

Hi Terence -- thanks for the comments on my blog. The plot thickens still more: now Weisbrot has a rejoinder to Rodriguez.

Also picked up your link to the Nation article -- that is one of the best things I've read on Venezuela, and captures both sides of the story, while being basically sympathetic to Chavez.

For the record, after looking at both sides (twice), I give points as follows:

--speed of poverty reduction: advantage Weisbrot. I also thought the comparison should be with sustained periods of large growth, and in this respect could not see how Venezuela's performance was worse than any country I knew of.
--inequality: too abstract to call. That's an important point from Weibsrot that zero-incomes are usually excluded from this sort of data, but I think this is too macro-level a factor to yield much to short-term government policy anyway (see NZ)
--literacy and Mision Robinson: probably advantage Rodriguez. I follow Weisbrot's arguments, which are a little arcane, but having made claims about 'eliminating illteracy', the onus is really on the Chavez govt. to demonstrate this.
--social spending: probably advantage Weisbrot. In the most narrow definition, social spending has risen as a percentage of GDP, and more rapidly than other govt. spending. That's the main thing we ask -- although there are still questions about what that spending is achieving.

Then we are back into politics, and that's where the Nation article really rounds out the debate.

Will hopefully post again on this soon.