Pinochet’s economic legacy

Dan Grech Dec 11, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: By now, you may have heard that the former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, has died. Some of the numbers from his brutal regime: 17 years in power. 3,200 people were executed or just vanished. At least $28 million stashed in secret bank accounts. And, get this: Over a decade, Chile had the best GDP growth in Latin America. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Dan Grech reports.

DAN GRECH: Pinochet seized power in Chile in a 1973 coup. He then turned his country into a laboratory for free market reform. He removed trade barriers, created an independent central bank and privatized social security.

Professor George Grayson is with the College of William and Mary. He says Pinochet installed a team of economists trained under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.

GEORGE GRAYSON: And these so-called Chicago boys began to cut through the dense undergrowth of rules and regulations. They made the economy much more efficient. And as a result, Chile has enjoyed a sustained economic growth and its exports have been the envy of Latin America.

Even Pinochet’s worst critics admit his economic model has been a success.

It’s been 16 years since he left power, yet a variety of political parties that have taken over and have kept his economic reforms in place.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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