Training a Spotlight on Chiles Miracle

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From The New York Times. I'm Michael Barr. This is daily. Today she weighs free. Market reforms have been celebrated as an economic success story until they weren't the dailies any Brown speech. Hore colleague Amanda Tell about UAE in Chile. Capitalism itself is now on trial now. It's November fifty so Amanda Taube. Let's start back at the beginning of last month. What was going on and she lay? You've also let them be looking with Thomas into lettuce on October sixth. The Chilean the government announced that there was going to be an increase in the fares for the public transportation system. The Metro System on Jakko you Dole Communes Fulton Tila mingle chameleon alcohol. It was thirty pesos. which might not sound like a lot? That's about four cents in. US dollars by it were ordinary Chileans. who were already really struggling to make ends meet? It was just too much to bear soon. After the fair was announced it was actually high school all students in the center of Santiago. I started this kind of civil disobedience. Protest Movement okay. So let me be that Canto model. They started out by jumping turnstiles or holding gates open for people so they could avoid paying the metro fares altogether thanks spread to university students and there are a lot of university students incensio Julia was how large protests in recent years. That part was not surprising but then around the end of the second week of protest things changed and she lay student-led it land protests turned deadly this week week in Chile after violent protests broke out goes to the government nearly twenty people have been killed in the clashes and chilies always Edwards. testers begin to burn metro stations. Subways buses this and high rise. Buildings were set on fire. They did what some have estimated to be billions of dollars of damage to the metric system in Santiago the demonstrations of closed schools shutdown transportation and caused several stores and businesses. That suddenly there was just this general sense that things were completely out of control and really dangerous. Amanda what is driving these protests because it seems like the magnitude of them no longer matches the thing they were originally about which was dis- thirty peso fare hike so the problem is not the amount of money itself self necessarily but the feeling that they already really needed help from the government and instead of getting it here they were being squeezed we est further. Something that I've heard a lot as I cover protests and revolutions around the world is that they're often sparked by a small the increase in the price of daily necessities so food public transportation. The price of gas is often a big one. Something like an increase. Recent subway fares. If you're already really worried about basic necessities and then you have to pay that multiple times a day. It makes just feel inescapable so the fact that people title in Chile are upset about the subway fare. The small increase in the subway fare is really a marker a sign that there's something much deeper happening in Chile right. It's become sort of the crucial piece of evidence for a lot of people that the government is working for them that it's not aware of their lives and it's not trying trying to solve problems for ordinary people. And on top of that there was a series of scandals involving either corruption or tax evasion and by wealthy and powerful Chileans and that created this growing anger and a sense that the entire system might be illegitimate intimate that it wasn't just about distribution of money but about fundamental fairness and who the government was working for and who was taking it for granted. And what does the government do. We wouldn't have thought of this. The government did a few things. The Chilean President Sebastian Kenya. He said AH battle if this is a state of emergency now almost did a soccer mitch and then Pineyro Pineyro announced that they would cancel the subway fare increase but then when that didn't didn't quell the protests he said and get we're at war and what people heard when he said that was essentially that his government considered itself itself at war with the Chilean people who were protesting in the street and then he called the military to restore order and what that looked like was tanks rolling rolling down streets in the capital of Chilean Santiago military forces coming out fully armed and joining the police who were already in body armor already driving around in armored vehicles. And so you had all of a sudden these these images of tanks facing down Chilean college students in the streets and groups of protesters waving signs calling for political change and for a lot of Julian's particularly the ones who had lived through dictatorship Suddenly this incredibly traumatic moment of Chilean history seemed to be recurring. So walk me through that history. Where does it start? So that story really begins in nineteen seventy. When Salvador Allende who was a socialist was was elected president but because it was nineteen seventy and it was the Cold War? The United States was pursuing a policy of opposing socialism awesome and communism around the world distressed the plight of the Chilean people and the failure video of the government. They were very much opposed title. To his government. Government policies have failed the Marxist theory does not work among a free people and so even though he was democratically elected the United States backed a coup by the military removed him from office and installed a military attorney government led by General Gustavo Kenosha in his place on lacquer lacquer. And what happens when this new american-backed leader Pinochet takes over on the initial days of the military regime were incredibly brutal. In a timely were there between four and five hundred people were shot by firing squad in groups of ten to thirty three. They rounded up activists anyone who is seen as a leftist a potential agitator a potential threat to the military's control and power. Thirty three was the largest group that was led out to be shot inside the stadium. They were arrested and imprisoned in the National Stadium which gives you a sense of the scale of these roundups that it was a stadium full of protesters there beating people physically to death to get information or because there's they don't like him on one of them? We saw the most famous of them was a man called Victor Hara who was a musician but he was really more of a national cultural figure. Who for a lot of people embodied Chilean identity and yet one popular song called El Dorado debuted beer and passed which means the right to live in peace? He was arrested tortured orchard by the military the crushed his hands and then mocked him saying tried to play the guitar. Now then they killed him his body. It was riddled with bullets and then dumped a few days later in a poor neighborhood on the edge of Santiago just left on the side of the road named Victor Hara I think became symbolic for a lot of Chileans of the brutality of the military regime into the Ben And how does the US respond to this given that it had a hand in the rise of this dictator. This was the Cold War and this was one part of their Cold War foreign policy away to protect what they saw as US interests against against the potential rise of communism around the world and the United States recognize Pinochet as the legitimate government of Chile and was very supportive of his regime. So for the United States this was an opportunity to pursue a goal that many in the US government Vermont had had for a long time which was to get Chile to adopt more free markets economically conservative policies. And they had been pursuing this for a while through this program that was almost like an exchange program where they encouraged sometimes he'd for Chileans to come to the United States to study economics at the University of Chicago. The question is which system has the greatest chance for enabling poor people to improve their lot led by Milton Friedman who was the kind of most famous thinker of the movement at the time on there the evidence of history speaks with a single voice the freer the system. The better off the ordinary poor people have been and the group of Chilean Chilean economists. who had come to the? US to study as the US had hoped they went back to Chile brought their policies with them and tried to influence the government's economic policies. They started to be called the Chicago. Boys they were known for having adopted this really kind of Lazy Fair Extreme Free Market in view of how things ought to work and once Pinochet took over their policies became the foundation of economic plans that he pursued. That is why. The operation of the free market is so essential not only to promote productive efficiency but even more to foster harmony harmony and peace among the peoples of the world. We'll be right back. The daily is supported by net flicks presenting the Irishman from Academy Award winner. Martin Scorsese a saga of organized. Crime in postwar America told through the eyes of Frank Sharon and spans decades and chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history. The disappearance of Legendary Union boss. Jimmy Hoffa rolling stone calls it an epic masterpiece Masterpiece Academy Award Winners Robert Deniro Al Pacino and Joe Patchy Star. The Irishman now playing in theaters available in afflicts November twenty seventh. Hi I'm Scott I'm Vaughn and we make all the videos over at NYC. Cooking thanksgiving is coming up and it is the biggest day of the year for us at NYC cooking this year we set out with cameras is to record. Our columnist Allison Roman as she cooked Thanksgiving meal for ten of her closest friends. I'm making a regular size Thanksgiving in a very small kitchen. She treats Thanksgiving like a party. She doesn't set her table. Defrost my Turkey on a sheet. Pant in my bathtub. Her drinks are served also in the bathtub. She makes the menu that she wants wants to make. I don't have potatoes menu because you and I don't like sweet potatoes and if you don't want sweet potatoes on your menu you don't need to put sweet potatoes on your menu at MIT cooking. We want out to provide that inspiration for you to build your own menu. Shape it to your taste your cooking level and your ambition so just head on over to N. Y.. T. COOKING DOT com slash Thanksgiving and get inspired. She's coming out boy feel like I'm having a baby obviously never had a baby. I know this is not as hard as having a baby. ooh And what exactly were those economic policies that the Chicago boys were finally able to implement under Pinochet Jay so they were really the basket policies that we now know as neoliberalism. The idea was that the government was supposed to get out of the way of the free market so oh state-owned enterprises were privatized. Pension system was privatized. The education system was partially privatized. There was a real reduction in in regulations cuts in taxes it was essentially the remaking of the economy along the lines that the most influential free market economists had imagined in their research at the time. So this is a kind of extreme version of a free market economy where you remove social safety nets and allowed the market to take control exactly and these ideas were pretty prominent in a lot of parts of the world at the time Margaret Thatcher was influenced inspire them in the UK. Ronald Reagan the United States. But they didn't go. Nearly as far in implementing them the United States still had social security. The U K. You still had the national health system but in Chile instead of incremental changes are incremental reforms. They really kind of went for it. And in one thousand nine hundred eighty they wrote and imposed a new constitution and these ideas were really interwoven throughout the constitution in order to kind of lock in these reforms. And what effect do these policies have. Do they do what the Chilean government had hoped they would do. In many ways yes. Inflation was down. The economy grew and Chile became a richer country than its neighbors in Latin America. And many people saw this as as Juliet by all odds the best success story in Latin America Today Best Success Story a Latin America. They called it. The miracle of Chile Milton. Friedman was very proud of it more than willing to share in the credit for the extraordinary job that our students did down there and these policies let's see state. They were maintained by the subsequent Democratic governments. Even those that were sent her left so from the outside Chile looked looked like the Chilean miracle was continuing but it turned out that four Chileans all of that economic growth came with an asterisk and end. That Astra's was that as the years went on. It was true that the country's economy was growing but a lot of those gains accruing to the very rich middle-class lands porch lands. Were not seeing their lives improve and in fact the country's weak social safety net was making that even more difficult. So for instance instance the retirement plan after it was privatized. It took a long time before the first generation to participate in that plan started retiring in large numbers burgers and when they did in the last few years it became clear that the consequences of this plan were poverty for for a lot of chew as elderly. And I mean that in the most literal technical sense. The median payment under the private pension program is less than the poverty line for or one person in Chile that means that fifty percent of people are at that or less and the minimum payment the payment that the government will guarantee not as long as you have paid into the system for twenty years which is a big if is even lower works out to about one hundred thirty. US dollars a month which is just not enough money to get you very far in Chile. So this idea that by privatizing these systems you're letting the market take care of what the government cannot that has really not panned out. That's right and so. When the current President Sebastian Theon Pierra who has continued to really embrace these right wing? Neoliberal economic policies announced that they were raising the metro fares. I by thirty pesos. Four cents that felt to a lot of people like the final Straw. The last thing that it just confirmed to them that the government didn't have their interests at heart. It might have stopped there. You had the president not taken the step of calling the military out into the streets because that was what really confirmed for a lot of Chileans that as a common chant and you know slogan of the protests said. It's not thirty pesos. It's thirty years that made a lot of people feel like they were not just protesting the metro hike. They were not protesting the specifics of retirement policy. They were protesting thirty years in which they felt that they had still been kind of trapped under the shadow of the dictatorship because its policies policies. Were still reaching out and affecting their lives so I flew to Santiago to find out how much do people really think they are out there. Because of thirty years of economic policy and the legacy of the dictatorship when I got to did she lay and was reporting on the ground. Something that was immediately striking to me was how it was just everywhere. The legacy of dictatorship was not subtext. Texts literally texted we're not everyone grimacing those who are dead scrawled graffiti on buildings and written on protesters signs and on their t shirts with pictures of Victor Hara and quotes from his songs ritual within plus plus the Torah. This was something that people very consciously and dairy directly connected to the legacy of the Pinochet Regime God is spent a few days just going to his many protests events in many parts of Santiago as I could and throughout all of the protests that attended really they were talking about the changes that they wanted to see including the changes to the constitution solution which was just this remarkable and extremely unusual scene to see regular people. They brought their dogs. They brought their toddlers. They were sitting on the floor or somewhere eating snacks. Having a very serious conversation about what elements of the constitution would need to be changed the mechanism that should be. I used to change it. And what would make it legitimate. And how possible would it be for Chile to rewrite its constitution. How much is this? Just a pipe dream of these protests. It's seeming more possible than ever so President Pinera in the last couple of days has said that he would be willing to start the process of coming up with a new constitution but that hasn't satisfied the protesters because one core demand that they have love. Is that the constitution come from civil society groups and individuals and regular people rather than just the politicians and then president Pinera has said that he wants Congress to be the ones to come up with a new constitution so that people are saying we want to be involved in this rewriting of the constitution that does actually leftover from the dictatorship and the president saying okay. Yeah we'll rewrite the constitution but you can't be involved and they're saying that they think that that the government institutions don't have enough legitimacy to be the ones to come up with the new constitution that if they do it that won't solve the problem of its illegitimacy in there. Is I think the broader context here that that we really need to pay attention to is that she lays system was essentially an expert from the United States. These were ideas that were embraced raced in the US. So much that our government encouraged and exported them all over the world and she lay took those ideas and ran with them. mm-hmm in some ways it worked but now decades later for starting to see the results of that experiment. So what's happening. In Chile goes to the question. The countries all over the world are asking which is basically it's more capitalism always better better or is there a point when capitalism goes too far and what's happening in Chile is one answer to that question. Amanda thank you so much. Thank you Did yet Ningbo so Joe In in the real real the leading reseller for authenticated luxury consignment consign. Men's and women's luxury fashion fine jewelry watches art art and home. The real real makes it easy. 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