Nationalizing Cement Plants while Privatizing Schools

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Here’s a crazy thing:  turns out the Chávez government – you know, the same one that has managed to nationalize everything from black bean imports to cement manufacturing – is slowly, gradually privatizing the school system.

According to the government’s own data, the proportion of children in mandatory education going to private schools has risen every single year since 2003-2004, from 16% then to 21.5% in 2010.

Amazingly, there are actually 671,000 fewer children in state-run schools now than there were 6 years ago, even tough there are 241,000 more 0-19 year olds now than there were seven years ago. The private system has picked up some of the slack – creating 380,000 new places – but not all.

It’s easy to forget now – so easy to forget it’s virtually always forgotten – but the reason Latin American countries back in the late 1980s and early 1990s were urged to privatize state owned enterprises wasn’t out of some unrestrained man-crush on the miraculous virtuous of capitalism. It was so they could focus on their core competencies: stepping back from things markets do well and states do badly so they could concentrate on things states do well and markets do not-at-all.

Things like, say, free compulsory education.

Que neoliberal, ¿no?

1 COMMENT

  1. Indeed. And I wonder if the revolutionary honchos at the Supreme Court, the leaders of the PSUV etc send their children to state schools like the prince of Belgium and like most top politicians in very capitalist Western Europe do.
    No, they don’t for they know ou state schools are even worse than when Chavismo came to power.

  2. Amazingly, there are actually 671,000 fewer children in state-run schools now than there were 6 years ago… Could this be related to increase in income?

    … even tough there are 241,000 more 0-19 year olds now than there were seven years ago.

    The last census was in 2001. So what’s the source of those numbers?

  3. Has there been any breakdown in discipline in the public schools, which might prompt a move towards private schools?

      • There’s also the fact that public schools are well known to be little more than shameless diploma mills and even more shameless political brainwashing stations.

        There’s literally no actual intention to teach children anything other than to love Chavez and to believe the twisted version of Venezuela’s history they halfheartedly try to peddle. And there’s literally no way for the children to fail no matter how lazy or dumb they are.

        There’s a good reason they eliminated the Prueba de Aptitud Academica (the equivalent of the SAT) and they are so adamant in eliminating (and qualifying as racist) any kind of entrance test in private universities: a child that goes through the chavista public “education” will be very lucky if he knows how to spell his own name by the time he graduates from high-school.

        • Don’t be so sure about private schools being better either.
          I mean sure, Loyola, La Salle, etc. are good, but there a plenty of private diploma mills too!

    • That would be WordPress.com shamelessly monetizing my work – sorry, but I don’t see a penny of that!

      BTW, if you create an account and log on to WordPress the ads go away.

      • You should think about self-hosting and start monetizing your own blog! Btw, you should also test the age range of those who dislike the new look… Maybe the older crowd finds it too difficult to read?

    • I am selling my vote in the poll on whether to keep the new layout or not.

      Interested parties submit your bribes no later than 10:30 PM EST July 26.

      Preference given to food based bribes.

    • I think I like it, too, but something MUST be done about the ginormous left-hand margin, and especially how large the left indent is on replies to prior comments.

      By the way, I hardly think education is at the top of anyone’s list of “things markets do well and states do badly.” But the irony is noted. Though I suspect there are some in the government trying to figure out how they can nationalize private schools, too.

  4. Life is full of little ironies…

    The inept attempts at Socialism and Social – whatever in Venezuela, past and present, virtually guarantee future privatization. Simply because the “public” service becomes dysfunctional.

    Schools, police (private security), health care, name your area. There would be private highways if they weren’t so conspicuous.

    I would also not give much about the nationalized cement plants, nationalized electricity, or even PDVSA, if their previous evolution is an indication. These will eventually end as private as the rest. Simply because the “public” enterprise becomes a dysfunctional money pit.

    I only don’t envy, rather admire the people who will have to pick up the pieces after all ends. They won’t win popularity contests and they will be endlessly demonized all over the world.

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