Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little gringos 

Venezuela's consumption boom is showing no signs of petering out. If anything it is accelerating.

From today's El Universal we learn that between July 2006 and July 2007 retail and wholesale sales in Venezuela are up another measly 35%.

Sales of home appliances are up 111.6%, clothing is up 92%, food and drinks are up 22% (thank god they aren't what is up 111% - that could be ugly), motor vehicles are up 62% and tools and paint are up 30%.

These numbers come from Datanalisis which also tells us that 60% of the population think the country is doing well and 82% think their own economic situation is going to get better.

Of course, we also learn that in the same time period credit card debt has gone up 115% (I wonder if in Venezuela they issue credit cards with the slogan Patria, Socialismo, o Muerte on them?). Maybe instead of being referred to as "little Venitians" we should start calling them "little gringos".

Now getting somewhat more serious in a different article in the same paper we learn that most Venezuelans really are a LOT better off.

If you recall I have always fancied the graphs from Datos and AC Nielsen which show the real income of the poorest strata has gone way up - 130% since 2003 in fact.

However, I never had data which compared the income of social classes D and E (the poor and working poor) now to 1998 right before Chavez came to office. Well, now courtesy Datanalisis we learn that the REAL income of social class D has gone up 60% since 1998 and the REAL income of social class E has gone up 100% - that is right, it has outright doubled!!!

No wonder they like Hugo. If Bush had doubled my income I'd probably think the guy was swell too (unfortunately he only seems to have doubled the income of investment bankers and arms merchants).

But again, seriously, Venezuelans, and particularly poor Venezuelans, live MUCH better now than they did before Chavez came to power. That is undeniable (despite all the opposition liars who WILL try to deny it) and it is great. But now it is time to take this to the next level and make sure this standard of living can be sustained and even increased no matter what happens to the price of oil.


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