Thursday, February 01, 2007

Venezuela: Booming Economy Doubles Most Incomes in Just 3 Years

Reading the constant harangue of US newspapers and Government describing the economic ruin and disaster Hugo Chavez is inflicting on his country, I went in search of something missing in all these pieces - actual facts. Fortuantely for me, I did not have to go any further than our friends over at Oil Wars.

They have posted a number of slides from a recent presentation made by the Venezuelan-American Chamber of Commerce (no lefty clique). The stats are updated to include all of 2006. For a sample of the slides available there, check out this graph of the Consumer Confidence Level in Venezuela. Going back to 1982, the important index of consumer confidence has never been higher than it is right now.

Among other interesting facts that fly in the face of the anti-Chavez propoganda is that industrial production is up 24% and that investors are planning more investment next year than last. Conventional wisdom, repeated in almost every newspaper article, is that investors are fleeing the country and that the growth of the economy is solely due to oil prices. We know that is BS.

Finally, I want to highlight the amazing poverty figures. While some (like Francisco Rodriguez) have the nerve to argue in prestigious media outlets that Chavez has done little to improve the lot of the poor majority, this slide should put that to rest.

What this slide shows is that the real income (inflation adjusted) for those 58% of persons earning low enough wages to be considered "Class E" (poverty level), has increased an amazing 130% since 2003. That means incomes have more than doubled for the majority of Venezuelans - those who needed it most - in just 3 years.

Oil Wars has lots more, including some suprising sentiments from the business community, updated today.



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