ON THIS DAY: Pinochet Takes Power in Chile, 1973

Image Credit: BBC

On September 11th, 1973, Augusto Pinochet assumed the rank of President of Chile immediately following a Coup against the communist regime lead by Salvador Allende.

Before Pinochet took over, the Allende regime nationalized over 600 businesses, stifling competition and stomping on property rights. Under Allende, hyperinflation took place, and Allende implemented protectionist policies, which led to sanctions from the rest of the world.

Under Pinochet, however, education was privatized. Healthcare was privatized. Pensions were privatized. Nationalized industries (with copper as a notable exception) were privatized.

Despite Pinochet’s despotism, he was removed from office in 1990, but most of his economic policies (which were largely inspired by Milton Friedman) remained intact. Milton Friedman even talked about what happened in Chile as an example of when “free markets did work their way in bringing about a free society.”

Now that I’ve filled this article with fluff, let me get to the point. There are a lot of people who do not read articles. They merely look at the title, make assumptions, and then comment some ridiculous drivel about how we should change our name to “Alt-Right Hangout” or “Statist Hangout (which is actually a terrible insult when one thinks about it. The term “statist” has no real negative connotation in modern society. Up your game, people),” or they just prove their ignorance by making comments that completely miss the point.

Did Pinochet’s economic reforms help Chile? Yes. Was he perfect? No. When he abdicated, poverty was at 45% (much of this, however, was the market recovering from Allende’s communism). Under Pinochet, the people of Chile lived under Martial Law. That’s not okay. In addition, the Pinochet regime killed as many as 3000 people. The US Government also played a role in eliminating Allende, and as a non-interventionist and advocate of decentralization and self-determination, I can’t condone such interventionism.

In conclusion, Pinochet had decent economic policies (he should have read more Mises and less Friedman); Pinochet took out a communist regime; but Pinochet also had his own flaws.

Also, buy a hat.