Friday, September 15, 2006

Some Amnesia with That Chile?

In the series on left-leaning governments in South America (see previous post), NPR presented a piece on Chile which was problematic to say the least. At one point Julie McCarthy states that, "now age 90, Pinochet has faded from the public scene, but the memory of his rule has not." She notes that over 28,000 were victims of torture during his dictatorship, but fails to mention that one of the proud parents of the dictatorship was the CIA which maintained a close working relationship with its murderous offspring.

Also disturbing is when McCarthy asserts, "the dictatorship ended in 1990; it was brutal; it also laid the foundation for Chile’s remarkable growth today." I think not! Greg Palast has an excellent critique of this canard. His analysis is born out by the reporting on NPR which mentions that much of Chile's economic growth can be attributed to the high price that Chile's copper fetches on world markets. Even a writer for the Miami Herald in 1998, concluded that much of the Pinochet economic moves were disastrous for Chile.

After spending much of the 1980s studying the Chile tragedy, it is really heartbreaking to listen to NPR's silent coverup of the US' prominent role in creating and sustaining the torture state of Pinochet's Chile, and perhaps even worse to hear the dictatorship (and its eager economists from the University of Chicago) lauded for whatever economic successes Chile may be having.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

They did a better job with saturday morning's segment on Mexico. It was still somewhat slanted and (typically) lightweight, but at least they talked to Mark Weisbrot who gave a solid straightforward summary of the region's growth (lack of) since adopting the Washington Consensus economic policies(and, in the case of Mexico, NAFTA).

Mytwords said...

Yes, I would agree with you on the Mexico piece.

Anonymous said...

oh, another thing that occurred on saturday morning... the odious (as Salon has called him) phony sad-sack Scott Simon interviewed former NSA director Ret. Army General William Odom on Iraq. One rarely hears from Odom outside of obscure policy journals or Democracy Now!, so that was a refreshing breath of fresh and honest air. [This was later balanced out by Simon's unctuous interview with Chris Smithers]

... you know, plenty of people like Thomas Powers and Odom talked about what a disaster this Iraq war was going to be on NPR prior to the invasion, and their predictions have neatly matched the outcome. It would be nice if NPR would replay their interviews from 2002-2003. (yah right...)

David Green said...

see this link:

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-chichile.htm

Introduction:

Many people have often wondered what it would be like to create a nation based solely on their political and economic beliefs. Imagine: no opposition, no political rivals, no compromise of morals. Only a "benevolent dictator," if you will, setting up society according to your ideals.

The Chicago School of Economics got that chance for 16 years in Chile, under near-laboratory conditions. Between 1973 and 1989, a government team of economists trained at the University of Chicago dismantled or decentralized the Chilean state as far as was humanly possible. Their program included privatizing welfare and social programs, deregulating the market, liberalizing trade, rolling back trade unions, and rewriting its constitution and laws. And they did all this in the absence of the far-right's most hated institution: democracy.

The results were exactly what liberals predicted. Chile's economy became more unstable than any other in Latin America, alternately experiencing deep plunges and soaring growth. Once all this erratic behavior was averaged out, however, Chile's growth during this 16-year period was one of the slowest of any Latin American country. Worse, income inequality grew severe. The majority of workers actually earned less in 1989 than in 1973 (after adjusting for inflation), while the incomes of the rich skyrocketed. In the absence of market regulations, Chile also became one of the most polluted countries in Latin America. And Chile's lack of democracy was only possible by suppressing political opposition and labor unions under a reign of terror and widespread human rights abuses.

Conservatives have developed an apologist literature defending Chile as a huge success story. In 1982, Milton Friedman enthusiastically praised General Pinochet (the Chilean dictator) because he "has supported a fully free-market economy as a matter of principle. Chile is an economic miracle." (1) However, the statistics below show this to be untrue. Chile is a tragic failure of right-wing economics, and its people are still paying the price for it today.

David Green said...

Chile: The Laboratory Test

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-chichile.htm

Introduction:

Many people have often wondered what it would be like to create a nation based solely on their political and economic beliefs. Imagine: no opposition, no political rivals, no compromise of morals. Only a "benevolent dictator," if you will, setting up society according to your ideals.

The Chicago School of Economics got that chance for 16 years in Chile, under near-laboratory conditions. Between 1973 and 1989, a government team of economists trained at the University of Chicago dismantled or decentralized the Chilean state as far as was humanly possible. Their program included privatizing welfare and social programs, deregulating the market, liberalizing trade, rolling back trade unions, and rewriting its constitution and laws. And they did all this in the absence of the far-right's most hated institution: democracy.

The results were exactly what liberals predicted. Chile's economy became more unstable than any other in Latin America, alternately experiencing deep plunges and soaring growth. Once all this erratic behavior was averaged out, however, Chile's growth during this 16-year period was one of the slowest of any Latin American country. Worse, income inequality grew severe. The majority of workers actually earned less in 1989 than in 1973 (after adjusting for inflation), while the incomes of the rich skyrocketed. In the absence of market regulations, Chile also became one of the most polluted countries in Latin America. And Chile's lack of democracy was only possible by suppressing political opposition and labor unions under a reign of terror and widespread human rights abuses.

Conservatives have developed an apologist literature defending Chile as a huge success story. In 1982, Milton Friedman enthusiastically praised General Pinochet (the Chilean dictator) because he "has supported a fully free-market economy as a matter of principle. Chile is an economic miracle." (1) However, the statistics below show this to be untrue. Chile is a tragic failure of right-wing economics, and its people are still paying the price for it today.

Anonymous said...

It funny leftists are alway telling us that they have laid the pre conditions for growth. In Chile Allende's economic reforms are what led to Chile's current economic position. In India it was Nehru, in China was it Mao?. In Ireland it is the education policy of the leftists. But the strange thing is that there is not one single socialist/nationalization scheme that has made a country rich. All countries that have followed socialism have been unbelievably poor and as soon as they switch to capitalism they magically become rich.

Maybe the simpler explanation is that socialism just doesn't work and capitalism does. If Allende's policies are so great why didn't Chile achieve its miracle during his time?

Mytwords said...

Can anonymous below provide some citations about leftists claiming credit for economic growths in China, India, etc?