I distinctly recall the Chilean coup of September 11, 1973 very clearly. I was attending a graduate economics course at Harvard University that was taught by a protégé of the University of Chicago’s Professor Milton Friedman. One of my fellow students was Sebastian Pinera, a member of one of Chile’s oldest families, a future billionaire owner of Chile’s airline LanChile, and since December 2009, the President of Chile. Back then, Sebastian had somehow gotten word halfway through our class that President Allende had been overthrown. He was jubilant — “We won!,” he cheered. Our economics professor apparently shared Sebastian’s delight. Like many other American economists, he viewed Pinochet’s overthrow as a great victory for the neoliberal economic doctrines that had been preached by for decades by leading Chicago economists like Professor Friedman and Arnold Harberger — at that point, still without much acceptance in First World countries. Both of them later consulted actively for General Pinochet’s junta — just like neoliberal Harvard Professor Michael Porter recently did for Libya’s equally horrendous Colonel Gaddafi.
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