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Is Venezuela a Rentier State - Essay Example

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In the paper “Is Venezuela a Rentier State?” the author focuses on recent characterizations of Venezuela, on its overwhelming reliance on oil for the economic structure of the country. Theorists have gone as far as terming Venezuela a ‘Rentier’ State…
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Is Venezuela a Rentier State

Download file to see previous pages... The question of whether Venezuela derives significant portions of its economy from oil is without a doubt true; Corrales (2006) even characterized President Hugo Chavez as one of the world’s most powerful CEOs, in regards to his sale of oil to the United States. The Venezuelan government can also be seen to embody Rentier characteristics: Chavez has been successful in centralizing power through an elimination of intermediary government structures; he has allowed rampant crime to persist; and has allowed highly questionable election processes. While these actions can be seen to be highly indicative of a populace that ceases to intervene because of an abundance of oil money and reduced taxes, the reality of the situation is more complex. Indeed, it’s been argued that rather than Venezuela’s political structure being allowed by the citizens out of apathy in the face of reduced taxes, it has occurred because of a systematic effort on the part of Chavez to scare the citizens into submissions and acceptance of more lax governmental standards. Corrales (pg. 9, 2006) compares this mentality to the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, “The more insecurity that citizens face—the closer they come to living in the brutish state of nature—the more they will welcome state power.” In this regard, it’s not the oil money that has influenced the populace, but the calculated manipulations on the part of Chavez and his regime that have trained the population into acceptance.
When investigating the plausibility of democracy surviving in situations outside the United States, one must agree on what democracy means. If it is the communal rule of society through group consensus, as embodied in elected officials, protests, and free speech than Democratic rule is not only an element of Americanness, but a lynchpin of much of the European Union, as well as Australia, Israel, and Canada. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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