21st Century Socialism

The New Model

"It might look great for a while, but we know these are formulas that don't work," said Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist who has written extensively about how to legitimize informal economies.

In co-ops and state companies, Chávez's policies have generated legions of devoted followers like Iris Pinto, 31, who said her life had been dull, mostly cleaning homes. Now she's at the shoe factory.

"He's a wonderful president, really socialist," she said. "President Hugo Chávez Frías gave us this opportunity, and it's been completely successful."

While a 45 year old Iris may not be bored when her primary diet turns to shoes, black, it is likely true that her economic ignorance only places her in the middle of the pack for the US Congress.

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