Bolivia: Socialism Success Story
Venezuela is collapsing. There is no denying that.
Since their government is socialist, their collapse must be because of socialism. Or so we are told.
Once you accept that premise, Bolivia must also be collapsing too because they are also socialist.
Right-wing sources have already announced Bolivia's collapse.
Socialist Evo Morales has been president of Bolivia for over a decade.
Although he claims to be working for the people, his populist policies have been a major roadblock on Bolivia’s path to economic growth and development.
There's just one, tiny, little problem with this article - it's untrue.
Since 2006, Bolivia has been run by socialists every bit as militant as Venezuela’s. But as economist Omar Zambrano has argued, the country has experienced a spectacular run of economic growth and poverty reduction with no hint of the chaos that has plagued Venezuela. While inflation spirals toward the thousand-percent mark in Venezuela, in Bolivia it runs below 4 percent a year. Shortages of basic consumption goods — rampant in Caracas — are unheard of in La Paz. And extreme poverty — now growing fast in Venezuela — affects just 17 percent of Bolivians now, down from 38 percent before the socialists took over 10 years ago, even as inequality shrinks dramatically. The richest 10 percent in Bolivia used to earn 128 times more than the poorest 10 percent; today, they earn 38 times as much.
Per capita GDP in Bolivia has more than tripled from just $1,000 a year to over $3,200 over a decade, while seeing a quadrupling of the minimum wage.
So why has Bolivia prospered while Venezuela imploded? The difference was competence, not more or less socialism.
Venezuela ran large budget deficits every year, even as oil prices skyrocketed between 2005 to 2014...In the meantime, Bolivia was running budget surpluses every year between 2006 and 2014. This allowed it to draw down the public sector’s debt, which fell from 83 percent of GDP in 2003 to just 26 percent in 2014, even as Bolivia built up its international reserves dramatically, from $1.7 billion in 2005 to $15.1 billion at the end of the boom in 2014.
That happened even while social spending on health, education, and poverty programs increased by over 45 percent. The rate of illiteracy dropped from 13% to 3%. Cocoa production was dramatically reduced.
International borrowing costs have dropped so low that President Morales recently announced 'Total Independence' from the World Bank and IMF.
“During neoliberalism, Bolivia did not have the capacity of getting out of debt.”
-- Bolivian President Evo Morales
So an all-around success story.
Who could possibly be upset with a story like this? Oh, right.
The Bolivian leader accused Washington of supporting separatism in his country in 2008.
Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday accused the United States of funding opposition groups with at least US$4 million to destabilize his government.
“According to e-mails, between 2006 and 2009, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) poured at least four million dollars into separatist movements” in four of the nine regions of the country, said the left-wing leader.
He then noted on his personal Twitter account that Washington had paid this money to the opponents “who have committed terrorist acts in order to divide us (in 2008).”
...Morales also reiterated that Washington “had planned a coup against Bolivia” this year.