Industrialization in Venezuela, 1936–83: The Problem of Abundance

  • Pablo Astorga
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


The first impression an extraterrestrial agent approaching the Earth would have of Venezuela is that the country differs from most of its continental neighbours in at least two aspects, one due to nature, the other to nurture; it has oil and it is not good enough at playing football; or to put it positively, it is not too bad at playing baseball when compared, for instance, to Brazil. Therefore he would wonder why a country that has so many roots in common with the rest of Latin America has developed different skills in sports. He would notice that the poor competitive level of football is not due to lack of aficionados; that the demand side does not seem to be the problem. With more careful observation based on a long-term view of this century, he would notice also that the country is a latecomer in terms of the development of its industrial capacity, but that at the end of the century it shows a similar structure and problems compared to other countries in the region. Then he would wonder why a country so rich in oil has come to the same result in the economy, if not in sports. This is the concern of this chapter: Why did an abundance of foreign currency generate much the same problems as scarcity of it did? Why did different circumstances lead to similar results? We will address this central question by looking at the economy and the history of the industrialization of the country.


Labour Productivity Real Exchange Rate Tradable Sector Dutch Disease Universidad Central 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • Pablo Astorga

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