Book plug: Venezuela An agreement to reach development

August 20, 2006

Anyone that cares about understanding Venezuela and its problems should buy the book :”Venezuela: An agreement to reach development” a book which is a compilation of a bunch of academics who have been meeting for years to talk about these issues. The books has twelve authors, but in truth it is a collaboration of experts in a wide variety of fields. The book is a proposal with no intended political bias, it proposes solutions and suggests that we need a national agreemnet on some of them, which in itself goes counter to the style of this Governmnet which believes it knows it all.

I have read about half the book and I am impressed, these people know what they are talking about and have specific solutions to problems. I have laso learned a lot from reading it. It is filled with interesting data, most of it well known, but some of it new to me (Did you know that from age 14 to 15 school attendanec drops from 75.5% of the students of that age to only 21.85%?). The book also takes a look at the misiones and its impact.

The book does not cover everything, but is roughly divided in three broad sections: Social Policies, the economy and production and institutional reforms. I was particulraly struck by the fact that the conclusions on the economy of whta happened in the seventies, seemed to apply tomwhat is happening today: high oil prices are creating high Government spending, but private investment is not catching up and it si private investement the one that can create jobs. Except this time investment is even less.

I am more than half way through the book and recommend it to anyone interested in our problems. The book shows we have the experts, we just need Government to listen to them and not improvise. You can find it in most bookstores. There is also a website http://www.acuerdosocial.com, which I have had little time to explore

(I would like to thank Marino Gonzalez, who wrote a great chapter on health, for giving me and autographing a copy of the book, I m honored that he took the time to do it!)

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