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Naomi Klein: How Socialism Protected Chileans from Earthquake Fall-out

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-04-10 06:22 AM
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Naomi Klein: How Socialism Protected Chileans from Earthquake Fall-out
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The Nation / By Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein: How Socialism Protected Chileans from Earthquake Fall-out
Wall Street Journal columnist makes an attempt to rewrite history that Chile's "free-market" dictator Augusto Pinochet can be thanked for preventing destruction there.

March 4, 2010 |


Ever since deregulation caused a worldwide economic meltdown in September 2009 and everyone became a Keynesian again, it hasn't been easy to be a fanatical fan of the late economist Milton Friedman. So widely discredited is his brand of free-market fundamentalism that his followers have become increasingly desperate to claim ideological victories, however far-fetched.

A particularly distasteful case in point. Just two days after Chile was struck by a devastating earthquake, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens informed his readers that Milton Friedman's "spirit was surely hovering protectively over Chile" because, "thanks largely to him, the country has endured a tragedy that elsewhere would have been an apocalypse.... It's not by chance that Chileans were living in houses of brick--and Haitians in houses of straw--when the wolf arrived to try to blow them down."

According to Stephens, the radical free-market policies prescribed to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet by Milton Friedman and his infamous "Chicago Boys" are the reason Chile is a prosperous nation with "some of the world's strictest building codes."

There is one rather large problem with this theory: Chile's modern seismic building code, drafted to resist earthquakes, was adopted in 1972. That year is enormously significant because it was one year before Pinochet seized power in a bloody U.S-backed coup. That means that if one person deserves credit for the law, it is not Friedman, or Pinochet, but Salvador Allende, Chile's democratically elected socialist President. (In truth many Chileans deserve credit, since the laws were a response to a history of quakes, and the first law was adopted in the 1930s). .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/story/145897/naomi_klein%3A_how...



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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-07-10 01:29 PM
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1. Thanks for posinting! nt
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