Contours of Alternative Policy Making in Venezuela
The economic policies of the Venezuelan government in the last decade represent a significant departure from neoliberal orthodoxy. This departure consists of a focus on greater national autonomy, a return to some of the macroeconomic policies of earlier eras, and increased state involvement in the economy through interventions and social programs. While these policies have resulted in improved social indicators, they also have provided space for a set of "transformative" initiatives, including experiments with worker co-management, cooperatives, and participatory planning, all of which seek alternatives to the capitalist organization of the economy. Although the Venezuelan experience could be considered sui generis, especially with the economy's dependence on oil, a critical evaluation of the policies implemented in Venezuela would contribute to discussions on the alternatives to both neoliberal policies and capitalism in general. This paper provides an analysis of the break with neoliberal economic policies and of the transformative initiatives, as well as an evaluation of their achievements together with a discussion on their likely future path.