Tulio writes: Wait, I thought you’re always complaining about how right-wing Chile is??
It isn’t really rightwing. But it isn’t really leftwing either. It’s just another massively screwed up Latin American craphole where nothing much works.
These are all very screwed up countries. Chile has one of the worst inequality ratios on Earth. It is often held up as some rightwing economics success story. However, it has been ruled by formally socialist parties for a good decade now. But they may be limited in what they can do. Chile had a good social democracy set up even before Allende came in, and that is how you get the good health figures.
Still it is a stupid, lousy country where rightwing demonstrations are attacked by leftwingers, and leftwing demonstrations are attacked by rightwingers. Fascist and Communist/socialist mobs regularly engage in wild street battles.
The rich live in the hills in huge houses with barbed wire, high walls, dogs and guard dogs. But every night the poor creep up from the poor neighborhoods below to steal from the rich.
The state for whatever reason has not funded public schools well in a long time, and most of them are falling apart. Students stage protest-riots a couple of times a month, and they are often violent. The South is inhabited by Indians who despise the government, live in serious poverty and are in continuous revolt.
The Pinochet regime that the Right cheers so much simply engaged in a mass transfer of money from the bottom 2/3 of the population to the top 1/3 of the population. The vast majority of workers lost out bad. The army is very rightwing and still wields tremendous power, and the Right is still a huge movement, as radical, violent and fascist as they were under Pinochet. The Left was armed in the recent past, even after Pinochet resigned. They tried to kill Pinochet several times and once almost succeeded via an ambush in a mountain pass that killed and injured many of his entourage but left Pinochet unscathed.
If Chile is the Right’s idea of a dream state, the Right is out of their mind.
This is your Rightwing Paradise, your Rightwing Dream State.
Guess what? It’s a craphole.
In recent years, a large section of the population has gone over to a sort of free market worship – Libertarian – radical laissez faire philosophy which they openly espouse. They are basically like American Republicans. This philosophy is despised in most parts of the globe with the exception of the US and a few other places, but it has taken hold in Chile.
However, the Left is also huge and has not been effected by the Greed Rush. They are very militant and radical. Society is completely polarized, and the poor and the rich want to kill each other.
I just want to pour cold water all over this “Chile Miracle” nonsense.
It is true that the Left has formally been in charge for most of the last decade, but I assume that they are limited in what they can do by the military, fear of the radical and violent Right and especially the dictates of the IMF and World Bank. Bottom line is the Left has not been able to get a lot done in Chile in recent years. Those schools are not falling apart because the Left refuses to fund them.
The Radical Right Chile Project that the Right lies about and insists has resulted in mass prosperity in Chile did anything but. Pinochet initially had some good economic growth for the first half dozen years of his rule. A ways into Pinochet’s first term, around 1980, some idiots called “The Chicago Boys,” radical libertarian acolytes of Milton Friedman out of the University of Chicago, decided to use Chile as a laboratory for their crazy radical libertarian economic projects. In 1983, this resulted in a major crisis, as radical neoliberalism always results in a crisis sooner or later (see Bank Crash 2008). All of the gains of the early Pinochet years were completely wiped out, and the economy in 1983 was at the same level as when Pinochet took power in 1973.
The economy lay in ruins, but there had been a major transfer of wealth from the lower classes to the upper, so the Chicago Boys were at least successful in that part of their project, and this is always a side effect of any Chicago Boys project. The reverse Robin Effect of radical neoliberalism is not a bug of the system, it’s actually a feature. This is how the system is supposed to work. Pinochet did not know a lot about economics, but he was not an idiot, and he got some sense and threw out the Chicago Boyz. Some sane economists came in and made major changes in the economy, reversing much of the radical libertarianism and instituting a much larger role for the state in the economy. This much more leftwing economy is what Pinochet was operating under for most of his regime.
By 1990, when Pinochet left power, the economy had grown significantly, but all it did was grow out of the crash that the Chicago Boys had put it in back up the level where it was just before the Boys come in.
This is the “Chilean economic boom” that they talk about, a major climb out of a massive economic hole that the libertarians created with their own policies. The “Chile Miracle” was simply this more leftwing program which caused very high economic growth and managed to reverse all of the losses of the neoliberal crash early in his term.