In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, left, speaks with Nobel Prize-winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz during a meeting at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007.
Joseph Stiglitz, in Caracas, Praises Venezuela’s Economic Policies
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Caracas, October 11, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Nobel Prize winning economist and former vice-president of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, praised Venezuela's economic growth and "positive policies in health and education" during a visit to Caracas on Wednesday.
"Venezuela's economic growth has been very impressive in the last few years," Stiglitz said during his speech at a forum on Strategies for Emerging Markets sponsored by the Bank of Venezuela.
Venezuela, the fourth largest exporter of crude oil to the United States, has experienced the highest economic growth rate in Latin America in recent years, with fifteen successive quarters of expansion and looks set to close the year with 8-9% growth. Despite the high rate of growth, high public spending and increased consumer demand have contributed to inflationary pressures, pushing inflation up to 15.3%, also the highest in Latin America. However, Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001, argued that relatively high inflation isn't necessarily harmful to the economy.
He added that while Venezuela's economic growth has largely been driven by high oil prices, unlike other oil producing countries, Venezuela has taken advantage of the boom in world oil prices to implement policies that benefit its citizens and promote economic development.
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to have had success in bringing health and education to the people in the poor neighborhoods of Caracas, to those who previously saw few benefits of the countries oil wealth," he said.
In his latest book "Making Globalization Work," Stiglitz argues that left governments such as in Venezuela, "have frequently been castigated and called ‘populist' because they promote the distribution of benefits of education and health to the poor."
"It is not only important to have sustainable growth," Stiglitz continued during his speech, "but to ensure the best distribution of economic growth, for the benefit of all citizens."
Although Stiglitz praised Venezuela's "positive policies" in areas of health and education and policies to promote economic diversification, he assured that Venezuela still faces the challenge of overcoming structural problems associated with an economy overwhelmingly geared towards oil production.
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