Two Reports from Chile

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1942 ... November 27, 2019

The Neoliberal Miracle Under Fire

Carlos Torres

Unexpected turmoil erupted in Chile on October 18th, when high school students mobilized against a subway fare increase. On October 25th, another two million Chileans joined them in opposition to the impacts of neoliberalism in every aspect of life. They are in revolt against political, social and economic abuses stemming from the commodification of education, health, and retirement pensions.

The international media has published impressive images of the recent events, illustrating the result of years of accrued anger that began with the military dictatorship in 1973 when neoliberal economists, known as the Chicago Boys, used Pinochet’s Chile as a testing ground for their theories on the withdrawal of the state from economic activity. The state’s resources were transferred into private hands to enhance the free market and to further the privatization of common goods and social programs. Neoliberalism put an end to any tenuous forms of social cohesion in Chile.

The current state of social injustice and the profound gap between rich and poor are a... shameful platform on which the OECD country continues to expand. Chile ranks as one of the most unequal countries among a group of thirty of the world’s wealthiest nations. Another way to evaluate inequality is by examining the incomes of the richest and poorest citizens. In 2006, the richest 20 per cent earned 10 times more than the poorest 20 per cent, according to a government survey, while the average monthly salary was the equivalent of $750 CAD.

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