For whatever reason, Latin America has embraced socialism.
There has just been one exception: Chile.
In the early 1970s, Chile was suffering annual inflation of 140% and declining GDP under socialist President Salvador Allende. Later that decade, Chile’s economic policy would be heavily influenced by the “Chicago Boys,” a band of libertarian and conservative economists from the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman.What happened next has rightly been deemed the “Miracle of Chile,” as the country far outperformed the rest of the continent.
Chile’s economic performance contrasts most starkly with those nations that adopted socialism over liberated markets.
As the Dollar Vigilante summarizes it:
After attempting a coup, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected president of Venezuela in 1998. In Chile, The Communist Revolution came shortly after the 1964 elections. The rise of communism ended the reputation of Chile as South America’s most stable state and one of the oldest democracies in the Americas alongside the United States, which had been a point of pride for the Chilean middle class.Despite frustrations with the wealthy and the institutional elite during the early 1960s, by the middle of the 1970s the powerful Chilean middle class had grown even more sour on the Communist Party and the country’s poor economy, which had been strong prior to 1958.
Following a devastating famine in 1979, mass riots plagued Chile in the early 1980s and right-wing guerilla movements as well as mainstream opposition began to emerge. By the end of the Pinochet era in 1990, Chileans had had enough of communism and fascism and gravitated back to a more capitalist, free market system.
As history shows – the results are pretty clear on which system works. The only people who didn't get the memo appears to be the geniuses over at Salon.com.