The information revolution

Lots of interesting stuff is being written about Venezuela these days, so we might as well highlight some of the best.

I really liked Javier Corrales’ take on the events: this was a pushback against informational asymmetry.

In Corrales’ tale, autocracies create informational asymmetry, i.e., some people are immune from scrutiny, while others face everwhelming doses of it. This asymmetry allows the government to remain popular even after it really shouldn’t be.

Maduro took this imbalance to new extremes. What happened in Venezuela was a revulsion against that.

“By voting so overwhelmingly for the opposition — and with the largest turnout in a legislative election in 16 years — Venezuelans have started a process of rebalancing the country’s asymmetrical system of audits. For the first time since chavismo came to power, they are demanding that the powers-to-be verify that ministers do their jobs fairly, that the budget is spent according to established rules, that the president follow the law, and that the law reflect the wishes of more than just one man and his cronies.

What we are witnessing is an uprising against asymmetrical information. Venezuelans have taken to heart Amartya Sen’s dictum that the beauty of democracy is its ability to “generate information,” not just about what voters want, but also about what states do. The fact that the opposition won in even traditional bastions of chavismo (e.g., the states of Barinas, Falcón, Monagas y Trujillo) shows how widespread this movement has become.

It’s a thought-provoking piece, well worth your time. (Oh, and he throws some love at our very own Anabella)

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