Waylaid Dialectic

June 10, 2010

Wither (Bolivarian) Socialism?

Filed under: Social Justice — terence @ 3:18 pm

Eons ago, on my old blog, I uttered the following lament:

And at the end of the day this is what bugs, as well as fascinates, me about the whole Chavez phenomenon. Once you get close enough towards the Centre (and particularly the centre of the US foreign policy establishment) it’s like some weird tractor beam operates which drains the pundit of any form of capacity for unraveling contradiction or displaying subtlety. Chavez is bad. Everything he does must be bad!

Meanwhile, if you travel away from the centre you don’t have to get too far to the left before a competing tractor beam starts up and leaves you surrounded by a bunch of people to whom Chavez is a revolutionary hero who couldn’t possibly do anything bad. Onwards the revolution etc.

You’d think that the first cold war would have removed everyone’s enthusiasm for blind idealism. The whole Chavez debate suggests not – quite a few people out there are just itching for the sequel.

The rest of that post was mostly directed at the anti-Chavez squad. And so, in the interest in fairness, the following is for all those on the radical left who think that Chavez is teh revolution incarnate.

From VoxEu – trends in inequality in Latin America.


If Bolivarian Socialism was so wonderful, and so clearly preferably to the incrementalism of Lula and Bachelet you’d think that the first thing we would see would be a more rapid reduction of inequality than elsewhere…

Wouldn’t you?

[Update: corrected the spelling mistakes – thanks Andy!]

[Update 2: or maybe I’m just totally wrong: see this – http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=3016 ]


  1. You mean Venezuela, right? Bolivia’s president is Evo Morales!

    Comment by Andy — June 10, 2010 @ 6:27 pm

  2. Thanks Andy – corrected that: Bolivian should be Bolivarian. Both derived from Simón Bolívar but one being, obviously, the name of a country, and the other being Chavez’s term for his ideology. And me being the world’s worst speller too…

    Comment by terence — June 10, 2010 @ 7:05 pm

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