By Miguel Pérez Abad, President of Fedeindustria, the Federation of Associations and Chambers of Small Artisans, Small and Medium Industries and Businesses of Venezuela, a non-profit organization founded in 1972 and currently consisting of over 6,000 affiliates nationally.
Nowadays we aren’t remotely surprised when we see the developed countries, the so-called First World, taking measures that Venezuela began to take a while ago.
When President Chavez challenged his country and the world to think about the need to change politics, organizational models, and the way society functions, the dominant academic, intellectual, and political world shrieked out, calling it backwards, to use just one of the many often harsh names that were used.
Nevertheless, this political process, the Bolivarian Revolution, took on the task of changing the political, economic, and social structure of the country with a lot of conviction. The changes were made based on the principles of socialism, with variations and characteristics unique to Venezuelan reality.
Many Venezuelans declared and still declare their embarrassment, as they thought that our president was initiating an outdated model when he spoke of economic controls, nationalizations, and massive social assistance programs, which were considered unnecessary if economic growth was promoted in society, which, by the gracious work of the invisible hand of the market, would distribute wellbeing to the population.
Nowadays we aren’t remotely surprised when we see the developed countries, the so-called first world, taking measures that Venezuela began to take a while ago: subsidies, nationalizations, and greater control over the economy.
“Germany will assure that it is not dominated by foreign investment,” was a headline that at an earlier occasion motivated me to write an article about this same topic. The wave of nationalizations that followed the world financial crisis that was unleashed in the United States and Europe, demystified and ended the taboo that loomed over certain policies and decisions that, for those Venezuelans who self-identified as “advanced,” were inadequate.
The new gem that has been unearthed in the world financial system: the case of the massive scam carried out by the magnate known and respected in Wall Street, Bernard Madoff. Madoff managed to cheat the most pompous banks and investors of the world out of the measly sum of 50 billion dollars, forcing deep reflections on the part of those who continue to blindly believe in the free market.
Imagine if these folks (those scammed by Madoff), who have advanced degrees in finances and work with sophisticated software made to calculate and predict, were humiliated, what can be expected from the rest of us?
Without a doubt, the economic controls are necessary and indispensable. And the governments of the United States, Germany, Spain, and France finally understand that. Fortunately, Chavez, who they thought was mistaken, got a head start on them. Yes sir, from Venezuela and South America, the countries disparagingly called the Third World, many of these measures were already taken.
During the announcement of the president-elect’s economic team, Barack Obama made a few convincing comments that ratify the thesis of this article: “The regulators who were asleep as the wheel,” adding “this [Madoff] case demonstrates the urgency of the need for reform, which will strengthen regulation” of the financial system. Amen.
Translated by Spencer Earl