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How and why has the adoption of free market economic policies affected the consolidation of democracy?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Venezuela.
    1. Hugo Chavez, president of the Bolivarian Republic.
    2. Democracy as mainly institutional for Huntington.
    3. A comparative study of Polish and Venezuelan transitions to democracy.
    4. Globalization.
  3. Free market economic policies.
  4. The Punto Fijo system.
  5. Hugo Chavez's insistance on the socialist aspect of the regime.
  6. Poland, during the 1980s.
  7. Conclusion.
  8. Bibliography.

?Economic factors have significant impact on democratization but they are not determinative.? (Huntington 1991: 59). To Huntington, there is a clear link between economy and democracy as a form of regime, bond that few people could deny nowadays. Actually, this bond can be shown by the expression ?free market democracy?, which is used very often by different newspapers. By using this expression, people tend to bring democracy and liberalism, as free market economic policies, together, almost inseparable. No matter what country is studied, economy is always the most important point on the political scene. Everything is conditioned by economic policies, from social policies to military strategy, and ?GNP is the dominant explanatory variable? (Huntington 1991: 60). That is why it is not surprising to see that both Polish and Venezuelan leaders have recently taken major decisions regarding economy in their own country.

[...] Nevertheless, Balcerowicz had enough time to implement his free market economic policies and in two years, benefits were concrete: economic basket case of Eastern Europe in the 1980s, after 1992 Poland began to recover, posting 5.0 and 5.5 percent GDP growth rates in 1994 and 1995, respectively, and reducing the inflation rate to under 30 percent by 1995.? (Davisha and Parrott 1997: 66). Another reform led to the privatization of the media. This decision may appear only economical, but by setting competition into the media, the government gave more freedom to them and help the spread of democratic values into the Polish society. [...]

[...] Nationalisations, agrarian reforms, missiones (missions) which are a series of governmental democratic initiatives aiming at radically altering the socio-economic environment of Venezuela, all of these policies are opposite to free market economic policies represented by Punto Fijo. Chavez assumes he is leading Venezuela to a new form of democracy, rejecting globalization and neoliberalism. However, the reality is different: Venezuela is completely dependent of globalization because all the policies are financed by oil, which prices are very high thanks to globalization. [...]

[...] By making free market economic policies, Poland was leaving communism for market democracy, with all its advantages and drawbacks: advantages because globalization brings foreign investments and economic growth, and drawbacks because it can also maintain low incomes and create a crisis of the regime, weakening the new born democracy. That is why the European Union creates a protection very important for countries like Poland. In exchange for free market economic policies, European Union offers subsidies in order to limit the drawbacks of globalization. [...]

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