Friday, October 05, 2007

Venezuelans Evaluate Socialism and Capitalism

Gallup corroborates what we have known all along given Hugo Chavez's popularity: most Venezuelans love socialism, because it serves them better than capitalism.
On many issues affecting day-to-day life, Venezuelans are nearly twice as likely to associate socialism with positive outcomes, as they are to associate them with capitalism. When Gallup asked respondents whether "more freedom to think the way one wants" better describes socialism or capitalism, 43% say socialism, compared with 26% who say capitalism. Venezuelans share similar views about under which system there is more peace and social calm (44% for socialism vs. 23% for capitalism), and under which system there is less crime (42% for socialism vs. 22% for capitalism).

Venezuelan Views of Socialism and Capitalism

A similar pattern emerges on issues related to governance. Forty-three percent of Venezuelans say the country has more sovereignty under socialism, while 24% say this is true of capitalism. The same holds true on the issue of corruption, with 42% saying corruption gets fought under socialism, while 21% say this happens with capitalism. Forty-four percent perceive more justice for people under socialism, compared with 21% who perceive this about capitalism.

Forty-nine percent of respondents say socialism offers education opportunities for all, compared with 21% who say the same about capitalism. Venezuelans also perceive that there is better quality of education with socialism (45%) than with capitalism (25%). Nonetheless, when Chavez initially talked about education reform during his first term, several thousand parents and teachers demonstrated against a decree to allow education officials to fire teachers and administrators who disagree with any changes.

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Forty percent say more wealth gets produced under socialism, compared with 28% who say the same about capitalism. Forty-six percent say wealth is better distributed under socialism and 22% say under capitalism. Venezuelans are nearly evenly divided about which system affords more people with opportunities to make money; 35% say socialism and 34% say capitalism. Roughly 4 in 10 Venezuelans (41%) tell Gallup there is more inflation and a high cost of living under capitalism, compared with 27% who say the same is true about socialism. (Patricia Guadalupe, "Venezuelans Tend to View Socialism More Positively Than Capitalism," Gallup, 5 October 2007)
What is noteworthy is that Venezuelans believe not only that socialism meets their social and economic needs better than capitalism but also that socialism gives them "more freedom to think the way one wants" than capitalism, contrary to what liberalism has us believe. Socialism of the 21st Century has achieved solid hegemony in Venezuela in the Gramscian way.

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