Thursday, 1 July 2010

Employment in Venezuela: a very bad joke

The Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas de Venezuela is not a normal institute for national statistics like the German Federal Statistical Office Institute or the British Office for National Statistics. The INE is basically a propaganda organisation that churns out numbers for Chavismo to use. There is no independence from the central government. Chávez and his team call the shots, they want nice numbers.

Chávez has recently repeated over and over again that Venezuela has a lower unemployment level than Spain, the EU in general or the United States. On the recent Hard Talk BBC interview the former coup monger said Venezuela is in recession just because of the US's economic woes and lower oil prices in 2009. In reality oil prices were low in 2008 but in 2009 they were already up again to levels much higher than in the eighties or nineties. If you are part of the 70% of Venezuelans who have no cable TV or Internet connection or access to Globovisión from living in Caracas or read the couple of critical newspapers with a very limited circulation, your information about how Venezuela's economy compares with that of the outside world is based on stuff like this:

I took it from the INE site, but basically the regime repeats that kind of information on the national radio and on the only national-wide TV stations that anyone can get without cable or satellite dish: those of the government.

Still, if you look a little bit - at least for now - in the INE site, you will detect some interesting data. You will find out about what percentage of "employed people" are actually what Venezuelans called "informal workers", people who are street vendors, pirate taxi drivers and the like. They have no dole money, they simply have to do anything to survive. They pay no taxes. Actually, most legal workers in Venezuela don't pay taxes either because they earn too little. I plotted the data again using the INE data and some from economist blogger García (here, Spanish).

You get a very different picture, don't you?
Spain is in a real mess right now. I don't want to say where Venezuela is.

A person with a "job" in Venezuela


  1. Both data would suggest that Venezuelans are determined to find employment. It would be foolish to believe that the Venezuelan people support Chavez because they are lazy, as some (predominantly right-winged) Americans claim. Chavez has made some bold moves that were radical to the free-market world. He is rather audacious and committed to reform in a way that is extreme, but not genuinely evil, though proponents of capitalism would like us to believe that. He has some noble endeavors which have proven to be difficult, such as reclaiming the resources that should belong to Venezuela. I do not claim to be an expert, but I imagine Chavez would love to see the people of Venezuela all working legitimate jobs.

    1. Venezuelans who don't have a "beca" have to find a job or starve. What I am saying is that unemployment in Venezuela is much much higher than what the military government claims to be.
      Chávez hasn't been audacious anything. You are stating things that are very fluffy without any argument.
      The measurements Chávez has taken have made us much more dependent on oil exports, have destroyed a lot of jobs in the manufacturing sector, have produced more and more corruption than ever.

      Chávez did not nationalised oil nor gold, unlike what the Chávez propaganda makes you believe. He has only profited from the high demand and low demand of oil - read China's capitalist development. He has expropriated a lot of companies and fields that have become now rubbish. As the whole money policy is completely crazy - based on flooding the market with money and causing the highest inflation in the Western hemisphere, as corruption has taken such extreme levels and as Chavismo has used imports to weaken national producers who may make people less dependent on the State - which for Chavistas should always be the current government - local production has collapsed. Now it's better to import chicken and fish and oranges from the USA than produce the stuff in Venezuela. Talking about "independence".

      Finally: it is curious how you talk all the time about Chávez and don't realise there is no revolution when everything depends on a caudillo.


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