From the Seattle PI: Despite Chavez, Venezuela Economy Not Socialist
Since 2007, Chavez has nationalized and expropriated companies in sectors he deems strategic, including the oil industry, cement, telecommunications, electricity, steel and food. But economists note that those businesses make up a relatively modest share of the economy.
And the balance between public and private sectors remains nearly identical to when Chavez took office in part because the private sector grew faster than the government between 2003 and 2006, when the economy was booming.
Last year the private sector accounted for 70 percent of gross domestic product, including 11 percent in taxes paid on products, according to Central Bank estimates. The public sector was 30 percent, a slightly smaller share than when Chavez was elected in 2008.
By international standards, Venezuela has long had a large public sector because it includes the oil industry. By comparison, the public sector in Sweden accounts for 25 percent of GDP, and in United States less than 14 percent.