Venezuela is not socialist

Submitted by allred in Socialism

So with all the recent drama about Venezuela going around, I think it's time to reiterate something that many Leftists seem to have forgotten: Venezuela is not socialist. Venezuela's percentage of public ownership is between 30%-40% (by adding together percentages of Government Spending as percentage of GDP and Public workforce proportions, including cooperatives). This is about how publically owned a Social Democracy is - France for example is at 38% of the same metric. The United States is at 28%. Cuba, by comparison is at 76% - and while I do not agree with the economic-political organization of Cuba, it's clearly socialist.

Socialism is not a meaningful concept if it does not involve majority public ownership. Otherwise you are basically giving the Fox News definition of socialism where anything the government does = communism. The entire crux of socialism is that the quantitative transformation of public ownership into a majority is a qualitative change in the nature of the economic system from capitalism into socialism.

Hence Venezuela cannot by any reasonable definition be called socialist. And this is not a "no true scotsman" argument like the"USSR was really state capitalist" argument. No. There is literally no nuance needed here, the economy is and always has been under majority private control. It is and has always been capitalist. Call it overly-regulated capitalism or whatever but it is transparently not socialist for that simple reason. There can be no real debate about this when the economy is mostly private, capitalist, controlled.

Is Venezuela transitioning to Socialism? After 17+ years in power I find that doubtful considering they still do not have majority public ownership and have taken few steps other then taking full control of oil to doing so.

The point being: when people rant about how Venezuela is the "inevitable" outcome of socialism, point out to them how even by the most conservative definition it's not socialist.


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hiddengabber wrote

You're right but I doubt this can be explained to someone who thinks Hillary Clinton is a communist.


boom wrote

Imagine how far right you'd have to be to think that slave-owning war criminal is a communist.


pearl wrote

But plenty of people think Stalin was a communist.