A piece on Democracy Now took me someplace this morning that I had no intention of going – but I must.
Amy Goodman was interviewing two influential people in the student uprisings in Chile - a movement that doesn’t get any press in the United States and without her report I would not have moved to the next level of my research.
The Chilean educational system is run on an ALEC model – privatized. Chile is/was run totally and completely for decades on an ALEC free market privatization model – fascism – and authoritarianism. More on that later.
But the snips that I am about to introduce is way too familiar in today’s USA and because of it – very scary.
The snips below are everyday life for Chileans. This is not some hypothetical crap being spewed by ALEC legislators - it is the example of destruction of a country caused by free market thinking.
We have to use the experience and knowledge gained from the Chilean free market experiment to stop the free market experiment from advancing in the US.
A few snips from the short Democracy Now interview (my emphasis):
And all of this is obviously because something is not working with this extremely privatized educational system.
NOAM TITELMAN: … very special educational system, which was imposed during the 1980s during the Pinochet dictatorship, which has one basic principle, and it’s that the market always works. And we found out that, obviously, it’s not that way always. And what we’ve seen is that, for example, while our public education is dying, we have only 36 percent of students going to public schools. Here in the States, it’s almost 90 percent. It’s really a very special example of how privatized can a state become. And all of this started accumulating a lot of problems, a lot of inequalities.
CAMILA VALLEJO: [translated] And that these circumstances would end in the privatization of basic rights and of basic goods, and that families would have to become indebted to procure these basic things, and that’s what led, really, in Chile to these massive protests.
And another person from the US was there during the student protest and made these comments in an entry online (my emphasis).
Chile is a heaven for multinationals seeking to invest in a country where the government doesn’t intervene in their affairs. It doesn’t matter whether they are from mining, forestry, fishery, agriculture or any other industry; multinationals manage the entire Chilean economy to their desire. And because the government has zero involvement, this has major consequences in the country’s social welfare. Chileans live at the mercy of the free market! Thus health care, housing or education have little to no support from the state.
The ALEC model
I soon realized I was witnessing a major social and political upheaval against the current economic system in Chile. … : it was time to end an educational system based on profits. This demand was leading them to question the entire economic model — one based on the neoliberal philosophy of free market approach to everything
Chile is the only country in the entire world that has left education up to the market. The current educational system is Pinochet’s legacy. He imposed a system in which schools and universities are driven profits; he ended of the involvement of the state on the education system. Each municipality is charged with running its schools now. This system created educational apartheid among Chileans.
Any change in the Chilean constitution means a change in how the free market controls the lives of millions of Chileans who have no say about anything. It means rethinking how the state should be involved in protecting basic human needs.
36% of Chiliean students going to public schools
Privatization of basic rights
“families would have to become indebted to procure these basic things,”
That made me want to find out more!
A little about Pinochet/Fascism/Free-Market Chile
He, and "the Chicago Boys" -- a group of free- market economists -- thought what had restricted Chile's growth was government intervention in the economy -- which reduced competition, artificially increased wages, and led to inflation.
Chile used the free-market model espoused by the American Legislative Exchange Council and it has been disastrous on their citizenry (kinda, the rich came out okay)!
In other words, after nearly 15 years of free market capitalism, real wages had still not exceeded their 1970 levels.
Thus the wealth created by the relatively high economic growth Chile experienced in the mid to late 1980s did not "trickle down" to the working class (as claimed would happen by "free market" capitalist dogma) but instead accumulated in the hands of the rich.
Per capita health care spending was more than halved from 1973 to 1985, setting off explosive growth in poverty-related diseases such as typhoid, diabetes and viral hepatitis.
The experiment with free market capitalism also had serious impacts for Chile's environment. The capital city of Santiago became one of "the most polluted cities in the world" due the free reign of market forces. [Nathanial Nash, cited by Noam Chomsky, Year 501, p. 190] With no environmental regulation there is general environmental ruin and water supplies have severe pollution problems.
So, for all but the tiny elite at the top, the Pinochet regime of "economic liberty" was a nightmare. Economic "liberty" only seemed to benefit one group in society, an obvious "miracle." For the vast majority, the "miracle" of economic "liberty" resulted, as it usually does, in increased poverty, pollution, crime and social alienation. The irony is that many right-wing "libertarians" point to it as a model of the benefits of the free market.
The Chilean model of overall free-market economy is CHILLING!
The Chilean model of overall free-market economy PROVES what we are sensing – that it is rigged for the 1% and screws the 99%.
We must look more closely at the free market history of Chile – cause based on what I’ve read so far – it does not work and it has been proven it does not work – and we have to make sure that it is not implemented in the USA.
… left to themselves, people will inevitably tend to pursue their interests through collective action - in trade unions, tenants' associations, community organisations and local government. Only the pretty ruthless exercise of central power can defeat these tendencies: hence the common association between individualism and authoritarianism, well exemplified in the fact that the countries held up as models by the free-marketers are, without exception, authoritarian regimes." ["The Continuing Relevance of Socialism", in Thatcherism, edited Robert Skidelsky, p. 146]
Chile is revolting - actively, not literally!
They are setting the example for the US.
The Chilean activists are showing us what our future could be if we do not take action.
We must take notice.
We have to stop the USA free-market slide into hell, before it gets any stronger.
The main way to do that is to GET RID OF ALEC!
That ALL ALEC members
Elected or re-elected
At the state and federal level.