Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Consequences of Neoliberalism: The Chilean Case

The New York Times is running an interesting article on the prospect of building dams in Southern Chile for power. The article does a wonderful job of outlining the ways in which the laissez-faire approach of neoliberalism in Chile is affecting the environment and local communities. What is particularly illuminating is the fact that the problems facing Chile today are legacies of Pinochet's dictatorship, and reveal a hesitancy of more recent, leftist governments to move fully away from such privatization efforts and policies, or to even try to reverse some of the privatization and assume greater state responsibility. Once again, just as it does with its growing problems in the area of privatized social security (problems have only become more apparent since 2002, when this article was published), Chile serves as a double example, providing boundless hopes to many developing countries while even revealing that the consequences of neoliberal policies can extend well beyond foreign debt or growing gaps between the wealthy and the poor, and all of the problems of race, labor, and migration that accompany such changes.