chapter  2
21 Pages

Austerity Under Authoritarianism: The Neoconservative Revolution in Chile

WithRené Cortázar

This chapter analyzes several aspects of the relationship among objective economic restrictions, the ideology of the economic team, and the characteristics of the political regime. It argues that at some points in time economic restrictions tended to dominate the agenda. The authoritarian regime was certainly a necessary condition, but another necessary one was the presence of a large team of economists who had been trained in the neoconservative perspective for years, first at the Catholic University and then, after the military coup, at the University of Chile. A team of neoconservative economists has promised to build the conditions for a "free" economy under the patronage of a most repressive military regime. On September 11, 1973, the Chilean armed forces, led by General Augusto Pinochet, overthrew the Socialist government of President Sal vador Allende. In a country like Chile, with almost no unemployment compensation benefits, the social impact of high and persistent unemployment has been devastating.