Igor Bubelov About Blog Photos

Chicago Boys

June 15, 2020

Chicago Boys is a controversial documentary which touches some extremely hard and deep questions. It also shows us how good economic policies can lift countries out of poverty. Economic reforms are hard and painful, and, although they tend to lead to the better outcomes for the majority of people, some people tend to get hurt in the process. That’s exactly what happened in my country of birth in 90-s and that’s also what happened in Chile in 70-s and 80-s, during the rule of Augusto Pinochet. He transformed Chile from a socialist shithole into a Latin America’s leading economy, but it’s also important to talk about the price of this economic miracle.

It turns out, the price is about 3,000 lives, at least. Augusto Pinochet killed a lot of people and destroyed a more or less functioning democracy. Was it a right decision? Taking down a socialist government before it starts a full-scale terror against its own population, as they always do, may help to prevent millions of deaths so breaking this system while it’s weak seems like a rational act, but it’s also obvious that the majority of those victims weren’t really a threat.

Here is the example. Western powers didn’t help Russia enough to defeat Bolsheviks during the civil war. That would have prevented a lot of suffering, needless to say it would also save a lot of money that was spent waging the Cold War. What I’m trying to say is it’s extremely important to consider the price of both options before making any judgments about certain decisions that were made in the past. People tend to face hard choices from time to time, and inaction isn’t always the best choice.

Of course, I don’t know many details but after watching that movie I remained convinced that those deaths were absolutely unnecessary. It seems like an emotional act rather than a rational calculation. Destroying a sick democracy? Why not, there is no point in maintaining a system that doesn’t work for a particular country in a particular period of time. Killing people for no good reason? That looks like a crime.

As history shows us, sometimes there is a good reason to suppress a group of people by all means necessary and people may be forced by their beliefs to embark on such gambles. DEA believes that the people involved in the drug trade are evil and pretty much everyone believes that terrorists are evil so there are always some groups which, in our opinion, are malicious and therefore deserve to be wiped out (as a preventive measure of course). It just doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to Chile, because those socialists were pretty toothless, and they clearly lacked popular support. It all looks like a consequence of mixing paranoia with centralized power. Russia also suffered from this kind of injustice during the Stalin’s reign.