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From Left to Right: the Changing Identity of the Chilean Political Class

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This article examines the changing role of important sections of the Chilean political elites, from a Keynesian and Marxist cultural political and economic ethos, to a post-modernist set of values profoundly influenced by the ideas of free markets and state withdrawal, as proposed by Hayek and Friedman. From strong support for, and identification with, the role of the state as agent of change, social justice and social mobility, significant sections of the Chilean political class have come to accept the globalisation of the world economy and its determination of internal politics. Values such as solidarity and equalitarianism have given way to individualism and selfishness. Whether these changes reflect genuine commitment or tactical adaptation remains to be seen, but they are likely anyway to undermine the legitimacy of the democratic regime which replaced the 16 year dictatorship of the military under General Augusto Pinochet. The lack of real alternative societal models does not augur well for the fragile Chilean democracy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1996

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