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Business as Unusual: What the Chávez Era Tells Us about Democracy under Globalisation

Terry Gibbs
Third World Quarterly
Vol. 27, No. 2 (2006), pp. 265-279
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4017674
Page Count: 15
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Business as Unusual: What the Chávez Era Tells Us about Democracy under Globalisation
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Abstract

In the context of struggling neoliberal 'democracies', many analysts now promote an increased focus on poverty alleviation and the reduction of inequality through carefully managed redistribution. They often fail, however, to question the overall logic of 'efficient macroeconomic management' orientated towards market-based reforms. Therefore, these 'post-neoliberal' policies should not be seen as an overall structural shift in paradigm but rather as poverty management within the paradigm. The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, on the other hand, represents an all-out assault on neoliberal doctrine and its authoritarian elements, putting into question elite control of the economy. A key aspect of the revolution has been the effort to revitalise citizenship through the construction of mechanisms for public participation in decision making, particularly aiming at the poor majority. The dramatic transformations taking place in health and education policy in Venezuela are indicative of what can happen when poor communities are invited to participate in decision making.

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