Friday, November 1, 2013

Chile and Competition Part Uno

As I have learned more about Chilean competition policy I have learned more about Chile itself.  Its a country of approximately 17,000,000 of whom 6,000,000 live in Santiago and its immediate environs.  It has gaping wealth inequality that make the 1% versus the 99% look like Swedish egalitarianism.  A huge chunk of the economy is basically controlled by 20-40 intertwined and interlocked families and family groups.  The economics are intertwined with its history, a democratically elected hard left government led by Salvador Allende, an ugly military coup supported by the CIA and most of the Chilean elite led by Pinochet whose subsequent market reforms were egged on by "the Chicago boys" (their phrase not mine), a gradual restoration of democracy and alternating centrist governments of both the left and the right.  Copper mining generates enormous foreign reserve earning much of which are sued to pay for oil of which Chile has next to none.  Overall, I would call Chile a mid-major in terms of economic development and size.  Kind of the Wichita State or Butler of the OECD of which Chile is a proud but new member.

So what type of competition policy would exist or be ideal for such a country and economy?  Stay tuned for Parts II and III.  Now back to grading mid-terms.

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