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"The Fall of Chile Is a Warning to America"

March 23, 2021 Updated: March 23, 2021

Commentary

Back in the 1970s, the nation of Chile embarked on one of the boldest sets of free market economic reforms in history. The government called in the Chicago Boys, as they were called, led by Milton Friedman and other University of Chicago free market economists.

They were given a free hand to redesign the Chilean economic system with property rights, a low flat tax, privatization of the Social Security system and industry deregulation. In 1991, Friedman wrote that Chile now “has all three things: political freedom, human freedom, and economic freedom. Chile will continue to be an interesting experiment to watch to see whether it can keep all three.”

For four decades, the experiment worked better than anyone could have imagined. According to a study by economist Axel Kaiser for the Cato Institute: “Between 1975 and 2015 per capita income in Chile quadrupled to $23,000, the highest rate in Latin America. As a result, from the early 1980s to 2014 poverty fell from 45 percent to 8 percent.” Chile became one of the wealthiest nations in South America. And it happened in three decades, an eye blink of history.

The Marxists and intellectual class of Latin America always hated the free market reforms. They disparaged the Chicago Boys as “fascists.” They spent decades attacking the policies (with the stooges in the American media echoing their protests), even as Chile became the jewel of South America.

The Marxists invented a narrative of “inequality”: “The rich were getting richer, and the poor were getting poorer, and capitalism is evil.”

They infiltrated all of Chile’s cultural institutions: the media, the schools, the universities, the Catholic Church, the arts, the unions, and even the corporate boardrooms. They spread their poisonous creed of collectivism to the populace.

Is any of this sounding familiar to our situation today?

Eventually, the leftists pulled off a political coup. In 2013, the left won the Chilean presidency. The free market reforms were systematically replaced with “spread the wealth” platitudes. In October 2020, voters approved a rewrite of the constitution, and now property rights and the rule of law are in danger.

Chile is now in economic free fall. The poor are getting crushed. The rich are pulling their money out of the country. They have arrived at “equality”: Nearly everyone is suffering [https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-fall-of-chile-is-a-warning-to-america_3744646.html?utm_source=morningbrief&utm_medium=email&email=mrtnzfred@aol.com&utm_campaign=mb-2021-03-24]

 

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