Monday, January 25, 2010

Who's socialist in Latin America?

Gallup has some interesting numbers from Latin America.  Basically, Latin Americans consider themselves much more socialist than capitalist (though having them as dichotomies is problematic) but also approve of U.S. leadership more than Venezuelan leadership.  Paraguayans consider themselves the most socialist, and Mexicans the least.  Uruguayans consider themselves more socialist than Venezuelans do.

Yet even in countries that are supposedly Hugo Chávez satellites, such as Ecuador, 35 percent approve of U.S. leadership, and 33 percent of Venezuelan leadership.  On the flip side, despite all the talk of a rightward tilt, 22 percent of Chileans approve of Venezuelan leadership.  And 35 percent of Venezuelans even approve of U.S. leadership!

So we end up with the unsurprising conclusion that in the aggregate, Latin Americans very often want the state involved in the economy and, like most people in the United States, do not simply want free market capitalism.  But the Venezuelan model does not necessarily appeal to them.

12 comments:

boz 10:49 AM  

Then again, Latin Americans may have realized Hugo Chavez isn't much of a socialist. He's "more Mussolini than Marx" as the Economist put it.

As a side note, the article is from January 09 and the numbers are from late 08, so they're over a year old. Not sure if it matters for perceptions of socialist vs capitalist, but other polls show perception of the US improved in 2009.

Greg Weeks 10:52 AM  

True--I should have made the date more explicit.

Slave Revolt,  4:04 PM  

Well, to state the obvious, look at who paid for the poll, and how the sampling is engaged. In most countries, the elites control the news media, and they daily denigrate any politics or economics that threatens their undeserved, oligarchic priviledges. No surprise there.

Boz, as a backer of neoliberal capitalism and elite rule around the world, it is not surprising that you would advance the Chavez as dictator meme. But it would be helpful if you would give an actu set of arguments that support your likening Chavez to a Mussolini.

Bit we know that when you spew rightist, Latin American teaparty tripe you will not be challenged by the folks that support the Monroe Mockterin.

Anonymous,  4:55 PM  

It's taken a while for Latin America to decide to grow up, but it seems to finally want to do so. Luckily the crazy left is now simply harming its own citizens, rather than acting as an example for anyone. And that's great news.

Slave Revolt,  8:51 PM  

Well, Anon, I guess you mean by 'grown up' is cow-towing to policies that rape the resources of the region and keep the majority of the population alienated from the politics al and economic arena. Just what the death squad democracy entails.

You get a rightwing coup in Honduras and a Pinochet Jr. Squeaks by in an election in Chile, and you think that the rest of the Americas are seeing the world through you anti-democratic frame of reference.

Not so fast big fella, your deluded frame of reference is informed by the oligarch bubbles frothing forth from the bottle of champange pAssed your way by your squalid masters.

The people of the regions of the Americas that have languished for decades under your type of neglect were never invited to the master's party--yet they are forced to pay the bill and they suffer the hang over.

In the end, Uribe and Pinera will never be respected as having a sane and humane vision or politics al program.

Word on that.

Justin Delacour 9:33 PM  

the Venezuelan model does not necessarily appeal to them.

But this construction implies that people have something approaching perfect information about what the "Venezuelan model" is. I think it would be more accurate to say that peoples' perceptions of the "Venezuelan model" do not necessarily appeal to them.

Anonymous,  10:16 PM  

I suspect the reality of the Venezuelan model doesn't appeal to them. You know, the destruction of institutions, turning Caracas into a crime-infested dump during an oil boom, a major electricity crisis in an energy economy, th highest inflation in the region, etc...

What kind of an idiot would look at Venezuela as a model for anything?

Justin Delacour 10:37 PM  

I don't even believe in the concept of a national "model," so I'm not here to debate that point. I would suggest, however, that "the reality" of Venezuelan politics is much more complicated than anonymous' post implies. If it were as cut and dry as anonymous' post implies, Chavez wouldn't have had the support of electoral majorities for as long as he has.

Whatever its faults, Chavismo has presided over a sizable reduction in the level of poverty and inequality. ECLAC's data indicates that the country's level of inequality is the lowest in South America by far.

And Caracas was crime-ridden long before Chavez came around.

Simple caricatures of a country's politics won't lead to any actual understanding as to why Chavismo has been around for as long as it has.

Anonymous,  10:44 PM  

If Chavez couldn't reduce poverty after presiding over the biggest oil price boom in modern history you'd have to wonder if he was alive. That's not much of an accomplishment. The key question is, is it sustainable or will the few accomplishments disappear when prices go down?

We are already seeing the impact of chavez's terrible policies in the energy sector as well as in the availabilty of basic foodstuffs.

And no, Caracas was not the crime disaster it's today.

Justin Delacour 11:37 PM  

If Chavez couldn't reduce poverty after presiding over the biggest oil price boom in modern history you'd have to wonder if he was alive. That's not much of an accomplishment.

Relative to what? Relative to what the opposition would have done if it were in power? Those are the relevant questions.

If the Venezuela opposition had been in power, I doubt very seriously that Venezuela would have the lowest economic inequality in the region today.

And no, Caracas was not the crime disaster it's today.

That may be true, but Caracas was nonetheless a pretty dangerous place long before Chavez came around.

Vicente Duque 10:16 AM  

Very Simple Rules to save Latin America from Poverty :

1) Do not elect "vitalicious" presidents that are "necessasry" and "indispensable". Do not believe in Saviour Heroes riding White Horses ( as in statues ).

2) Do not believe that the State can manage all the Economy better than Private Initiative. Do not believe in Governments that are continuously controlling prices and producing scarcity ( in the middle of Great Demagoguery ). Do not believe in States that expropriate and destroy the work of people that have suffered a lot to raise a business firm.

3) Do not believe in Caudillos or Leaders that use continuous Verbal Aggression, Verbal Offense, Vulgarity and Gross Behaviour everyday, including Verbal Aggression against foreign nations to hide the Domestic Problems.

4) Work Hard, do not believe in "Free Lunches", Subsidies, Santa Claus Economies. Do not believe that Papa Noel or the three Kings of the Orient are going to give you everything for free.

5) Be entrepreneurial without expecting too much help from the State. In economies that depend only on a Natural Resource for Exports, people become extremely lazy.

I have heard many stories of Perfect fools, ignorants and idiots without any experience in business that are awarded millions of dollars in loans because of supporting the caudillo.

Those loans are never repaid and the new businesses always fail in profitability.

6) Sign "Free Trade Agreements" as much as possible. If the Trade Agreement fails and you only import, then you can enter into talks with the other nation and rescind the Pact or Contract if necessary - No Problem !. There should not be pacts for Eternity !!

I am assuming that you sign pacts with Friends ( in Economic System, Politics, etc ... ) and not with Enemies.

Don't be a coward in Trade - Cowards in Commerce are going nowhere !

The Future of Foreign Policies :

Prophesizing.com


Vicente Duque

leftside 7:22 PM  

The most interesting thing is that more people describe themselves as socialist than their own country, which means most (except 1 country) would want their country to move leftward.

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