We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Well, it's not really a Venn diagram. A Venn diagram must show all possible intersections of the selected sets, whether empty or not. As there are people who lack a strong need for intellectual consistency and are not liberals, leftists or socialists, that should be a circle should extend beyond the other two. Or the intersection should be labeled liberals, leftists, and socialists who lack a strong need for intellectual consistency.
Nobel Prize winning economist and former vice-president of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, praised Venezuela's economic growth and "positive policies in health and education" during a visit to Caracas on Wednesday.
"Venezuela's economic growth has been very impressive in the last few years," Stiglitz said during his speech at a forum on Strategies for Emerging Markets sponsored by the Bank of Venezuela. Venezuela, the fourth largest exporter of crude oil to the United States, has experienced the highest economic growth rate in Latin America in recent years, with fifteen successive quarters of expansion and looks set to close the year with 8-9% growth.
Unfortunately for the claims of the Nobel Prize winning economist, closer examination of the data indicates that those alleged Chavista accomplishments are not what they appeared to be- even back in 2007. In the case of "positive policies in health and education," Stiglitz fell for Chavista smoke and mirrors. In the case of economic growth, Stiglitz was guilty of cherry picking data, as economic growth from 1998-2006- Chávez was elected in 1998- was unimpressive.
Consider "positive policies in health." Stiglitz was probably referring to the Health Missions, with all their Cuban physicians. What were the overall effects of these Chavista programs? The gold standards for assessing progress in public health are Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality. How did Chavismo do in improving Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality? In 1998, Venezuela ranked 6th in Latin America in Infant Mortality- the same rank it held in 2006. Similarly, in 1998, Venezuela ranked 9th in Life Expectancy in Latin America- the same rank it held in 2006. That indicates that Chavista Venezuela did about as well as the Fourth Republic [1958-1998] in improving public health, when compared to other countries in Latin America. So much for the Chavista narrative that "Things are so much better now than under the Fourth Republic."
In terms of health care improvements from 1998-2006, Venezuela's improvements were about average compared to the rest of Latin America (Romance-language speaking countries). You didn't hear Stiglitz crowing about "positive policies in health" for other countries in Latin America. By 2013, the year Chávez died, Venezuela's rank in Latin America had slipped to 12th in Life Expectancy - 9th in 1998 and 2006- and 10th in Infant Mortality- 6th in 1998 and 2006.
On October 28, 2005, the Venezuelan government announced that the country had been declared “Illiteracy-Free Territory”1, marking the success of the two-year old national literacy campaign Misión Robinson.
An evaluation of the claim found otherwise. From the above link:
We evaluate the success of the Venezuelan government’s latest nation-wide literacy program, Misión Robinson, using official Venezuelan government survey data. Controlling for existing trends in literacy rates by age groups over the period 1975 to 2005, we find at most a small positive effect of Robinson on literacy rates, and in many specifications the program impact is statistically indistinguishable from zero. This main result is robust to time series analysis by birth cohort, and to state-level difference-in-differences estimation. The results appear to be inconsistent with recent official claims of the complete eradication of illiteracy in Venezuela, but resonate with existing research on other adult literacy programs, which have usually been expensive failures.
The Chavista government had claimed that UNESCO had declared Venezuela an illiteracy-free territory. A Venezuelan blogger contacted UNESCO to check out this claim. UNESCO denies Venezuela literacy claim.
Stiglitz's claim of "positive policies in health and education" does not hold up to examination. Stiglitz fell for Chavista smoke and mirrors.
Consider "the highest economic growth rate in Latin America in recent years." Sitglitz was correct that from 2003 to 2006, Venezuela had impressive economic growth, from $11,681 in 2003 to $16,419 in 2006, as the World Bank reported in GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $) The low figure for 2003 is a consequence of the PDVSA strike. The PDVSA strike was a consequence of Chávez's takeover of PDVSA. It is difficult to paint Chávez as a victim here, as in his 2004 "Memoria Y Cuenta" address- equivalent to our State of the Union address- he admitted that his goal was to provoke PDVSA. Which he did- which means that Chávez, instead of being a victim of the PDVSA strike, was complicit in the strike.
'If one looks at overall economic growth in Venezuela from 1998- the year Chávez was elected- to 2006, the record is not so impressive. GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $)
That is 5% per capita growth in 8 years. From 1998-2006, Venezuela ranked 15th in Latin America in the increase of [i]GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $)[i].
Stiglitz was guilty of cherry-picking economic data.
When a Nobel prize winner in Economics made claims about Chavista Venezuela that AT THE TIME OF HIS CLAIMS involved either cherry-picking data or falling for Chavista smoke and mirrors, that doesn't speak very highly of his analytic abilities.