Pinch, Punch, First of the Month


As the world, our attention and the click-bait news cycle rumbles on, here is a reminder of the ongoing fight in Chile.


For decades, Chile has been a poster child for the radical, neoliberal project – its sole success story in the face of the former Soviet Union, East Asia in 1997, the EU, Pacific, Caribbean, Africa and, of course, the rest of South America. Indeed, it is not unusual to hear commentators like Niall Ferguson declare the wonder of Chile as easily worth the horror of Pinochet.


So, as the fight continues and the vested interests of the Washington Consensus, grown weaker by the year, look on in anguish as their mother, like Saturn, devours yet another one of her children, I thought I’d revisit and share an elucidating commentary from one of our sharpest economic observers.


Branko, take it away:


Branko Milanovic, ‘Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace’

Hegemony and the violence of objectification

Quote day! As I return to my blog, in supplication to my one or two followers after a long absence, I thought I’d strart off with this revealing line from Ayn Rand’s old friend, Big Al.


In 2007, Alan Greenspan, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, was asked by a Swiss newspaper which presidential candidate he was supporting. He said it didn’t matter:


“We are fortunate that, thanks to globalisation, policy decisions in the US have been largely replaced by global market forces. National security aside, it hardly makes any difference who will be the next president. The world is governed by market forces.”


By “objectification”, I am referring to a terrifying and violent form of horizontal power; the establishment of subjective, ideological beliefs – almost always closely aligned to the self-interest of their proponents – as ‘objective’, unquestionable facts.