Sketches Of Written Dreams | Relative Wealth IV

In the previous publication it defined according to international standards what the lower, middle and upper classes are. In this publication I will deal with how in Venezuela these terms go beyond the conventional, and are re-interpreted by society because of the humanitarian crisis that arises in the Latin American country.

In spite of these definitions of classes already established by scholars of sociology, political science and economics, in Venezuela there is a very different concept of what social classes are, and of which factors reflect wealth and economic possibilities. In Venezuela, according to studies carried out in 2017, more than 80% of the Venezuelan population lives between extreme poverty and poverty (according to the aforementioned parameters). Therefore, in a country where not having money to buy meat or sausages is the norm, the concept of wealth is very distant from yachts, mansions and late-model cars.

We could say then that the lower class in Venezuela is composed of people in extreme poverty, who suffer from considerable malnutrition because of their inability to buy food, and those people in a situation of poverty but who, devoting substantial hours of their day, make massive queues to purchase products at prices regulated by the entities of the State; in this way and through barter or chambalaque, people are able to organize themselves to meet their food needs moderately.

In the middle class are the working people who, in the absence of time available to make these huge queues in establishments where they sell basic products, are forced to go to a parallel market where they can acquire products irregularly thanks to arbitrators known locally as “bachaqueros” at prices ranging between 1000% and 10000% above their price regulated by the State.  This working class has the possibility to offer in a market with a galloping hyperinflation and to be able to supply its refrigerator achieving a balanced feeding, but not varied. The consumption of goods and services such as: trips to the cinema, consumption in restaurants, bars or cafés; is extremely limited to the little budget remaining after food purchases in the parallel market.

Now… if that is what is considered to be the middle class… Where are the “rich” of Venezuela? Well, the answer is that they go from people who can afford the same consumptions as a normal middle class in another country, to people with a capacity to acquire luxuries very easily.

The social gap in Venezuela resulting from the enormous amount of corruption lying in every bureaucratic structure of government and factual forces has created a privileged social class that has come to be called “plugged in” by Venezuelan society. These people can freely arbitrate in a regulated currency market and make multimillion-dollar fortunes distributed throughout tax havens around the world. The network of money laundering around fictitious companies and front men, covers the planet earth and the denunciations for banking crimes appear in at least 3 continents of the planet earth.

This is how in Venezuela, for the poor man who has cheese in his fridge is a millionaire, for the one who has cheese, an exit to a restaurant is an enormous luxury, and the one who can go to the restaurant reads in his smart phone the 10 digits frozen in the account in a Swiss bank of a public employee with high position.

Wealth is relative, and in this country, the distortion is more than evident.

 

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Músico, flautista, arreglista y escritor. Since 1995. Caracas, Venezuela

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