catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Friedman and Pinochet

with 21 comments

Brian Doherty sets the record straight on the late Milton Friedman’s association with the Pinochet regime:

    For years, the University of Chicago had a program in partnership with the Catholic University of Chile providing scholarships to Chileans to study at Chicago. Pinochet’s economic advisers were thus University of Chicago-trained, and known as the “Chicago Boys.” But Friedman’s only direct connection was when he was invited by fellow Chicago professor Arnold Harberger–who was most closely involved with the Chilean program–to give a week of lectures and public talks in Chile in 1975.
    While there, Friedman did have one meeting with Pinochet, for less than an hour. Pinochet asked Friedman to write him a letter about his judgments on what Chilean economic policy should be, which Friedman did . He advocated quick and severe cuts in government spending and inflation, as well as instituting more open international trade policies—and to “provide for the relief of any cases of real hardship and severe distress among the poorest classes.” He did not choose this as an opportunity to upbraid Pinochet for any of his repressive policies, and many of Friedman’s admirers, including me, would have felt better if he had.
    But that was the extent of his involvement with the Chilean regime—and it fit with a recurring pattern in Friedman’s career of advising with an even hand all who would listen to him. It was not a sign of approval of military authoritarianism. Friedman, in defending himself against accusations of complicity with or approval of Pinochet, noted in a 1975 letter to the University of Chicago school newspaper that he “has never heard complaints” about giving aid and comfort to the communist governments to which he had spoken, and that “I approve of none of these authoritarian regimes—neither the Communist regimes of Russia and Yugoslavia nor the military juntas of Chile and Brazil. But I believe I can learn from observing them and that, insofar as my personal analysis of their economic situation enables them to improve their economic performance, that is likely to promote not retard a movement toward greater liberalism and freedom.”

This assessment of the realities facing Friedman is perfectly consistent with my earlier post on this issue here.

Written by Admin

December 20, 2006 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

21 Responses

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  1. Jase,

    I have found the only people who make this criticism of Friedman never understnd economics anyway.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    December 20, 2006 at 3:47 pm

  2. Does this mean Rafe and Birdy will stop defending Pinochet now?

    Mark Bahnisch

    December 20, 2006 at 4:15 pm

  3. Why aren’t you defending him you ADONIS OF THE ANTIPODES (EDIT BY ADMIN)


    Why not hey?


    What are you doing here. If you are going to ban people like CL for no good reason you can just piss right off.



    December 20, 2006 at 4:51 pm

  4. I note also that Jeanne Kirkpatrick has gone to the great UN Security Council meeting in the sky !

    No doubt this will see ill rained down on Paul Volker’s head, since he was Fed Chairman at the time that she was guardian angel of LatAm right wing dictators.


    December 20, 2006 at 5:33 pm

  5. Hahahahahahaha

    Great editing for number 3.

    I just hope he got to see the original for a few seconds before you did the right thing.


    December 20, 2006 at 5:44 pm

  6. Spiv.

    After all this time you aren’t willing to admit she was right?

    Her attitude meant that communism had its wings clipped in South America so that all these dictatorships became more open societies.

    She was proved right and yet you still can’t find a good word for her just after her death.

    Her supreme vindication would not now be marred in any way had their been drug legalisation. Which is now the main thing funding those marxist lunatics.


    December 20, 2006 at 5:48 pm

  7. GMB,

    You misunderstand me- I was having a go at the “lets blame Friedman for Pinochet’s excesses crowd”. I have quite some regard for Ms Kirkpatrick, and agree with you that she kept communism at bay in LatAm. I think it is morally bankrupt to target Kirkpatrick, and Pinochet (and Friedman and Hayek) for being resolute at the time when the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan and introduced SS20s to Western Europe. In fact, I have mentioned Kirkpatrick’s death on the John Quiggin site, in order to stir up all the breast beaters.


    December 20, 2006 at 5:56 pm

  8. Sorry.

    Good show.


    December 20, 2006 at 6:45 pm

  9. Soviets invaded Afganistan in 1980. Pinochet came to power in 1973.

    US support for Pinochet hurt anti-communist course as their outcry regarding human rights abuses in the eastern block began to sound pretty hollow.


    December 21, 2006 at 1:20 am

  10. Jason, that was a truly spectacular example of the noble art of ‘sooning’, I say.


    December 21, 2006 at 2:17 am

  11. Good point Boris.

    Lefties always bring up the fact that Allende was elected. So was friggen Hitler. So by their logic, we should have held Adolf to higher level of respect.

    it’s like fish in a barrel.


    December 21, 2006 at 3:05 am

  12. “US support for Pinochet hurt anti-communist course as their outcry regarding human rights abuses in the eastern block began to sound pretty hollow.”

    It hurt it only to the extent that the left bludgeoned us all with bullshit momentum.

    But in reality it hurt the left. Since Marxism was sustained by Historicism.

    And they weren’t used to the tide being turned on them. Once you turned back the tide on these guys it was a massive blow for them.

    Afghanistan was on an whole other level of cruelty.

    But once Reagan got in the communists didn’t get a single square metre more territory.

    Once Reagans buildup was underway he just reached out and took Granada off the commie map and the Russians couldn’t do a damn thing.

    With his speeches capitve peoples behind the iron curtain and in commie jails were pricking their ears up.

    So no way did Chile hurt the Americans after 1980.

    It was a victory.

    And at very low relative human cost.


    December 21, 2006 at 5:04 am

  13. Boris [on 9]
    You said “US support for Pinochet hurt anti-communist course as their outcry regarding human rights abuses in the eastern block began to sound pretty hollow”. Yes, that support for Pinochet on top of the betrayal of the Hungarian Revolution by the West in Oct-Nov 1956 would have hindered necessary reforms inside the Soviet Bloc until the late “Eighties.

    I have no love for Friedman and his ilk but he only gave advice to the Pinochet regime; he had no power to implement that advice.

    GMB [on 12]:
    I think you’ll find that it wasn’t just the vociferous obsessional Lefties who were hurt by US support for Pinochet.

    What I find so puzzling is, given the precedents of getting rid of Ngo Dinh Diem in South Viet-Nam, etc., that American spookery didn’t help Pinochet have a nasty accident – he had definitely passed his Use-By date by late 1976; it’s not as though there was a shortage of potential replacements who would have put a nicer face on their Regime Change ……

    Graham Bell

    December 22, 2006 at 3:37 pm

  14. Jason Soon {about GMB on 3]
    Off-topic of course …. but is there a Walkley or an AFI award or something for Editing A Blog? If not, there should be ….. 🙂 L-O-L (Sorry, Graeme, couldn’t resist it)

    Graham Bell

    December 22, 2006 at 3:46 pm

  15. It was a beautiful bit of editing (sooning), Graeme. No issues there from me.


    December 22, 2006 at 4:02 pm

  16. “It was a beautiful bit of editing (sooning), Graeme. No issues there from me.”

    Well I know that my sweetheart.

    But are you sure you are not part of the Henderson tribe?

    Are part of the Thompson tribe?

    And I said you were part of my tribe but my dad is still angry with the flowers in the trees.

    I went to the bottleshop.

    And I said to the hot looking girl,


    Well she thought it was funny. But thern when I said to her:




    December 23, 2006 at 12:03 am



    December 23, 2006 at 12:05 am

  18. I meant Graham, Graeme.

    There are too many men on this blog with the name Graeme, err Graham, err…

    …runs away.


    December 23, 2006 at 12:25 am

  19. skeptic. We just had our christmas party. Can you edit anything from yesterday?

    Goodness knows what damage I’ve done to the internet..

    I just hope I was only on for an hour or so.

    Free drink and all.

    I better check my sent messages. In the old days I’d pull out the phone and put it in a high cupboard.


    December 23, 2006 at 7:07 am

  20. What I meant is can you wipe anything from yesterday?


    December 23, 2006 at 7:08 am

  21. “I think you’ll find that it wasn’t just the vociferous obsessional Lefties who were hurt by US support for Pinochet.”

    I think you’ll find this is all a leftist myth.

    I didn’t see leftist-myth here until about 2 months ago.

    And thats only because I wasn’t looking.

    Government is a necessary evil. With the emphasis on necessary and the emphasis on evil.

    Once you let that torture and non-judicial killing business out of Pandoras box it aint never going to be pretty.

    But having said that he did as good as anyone in a like situation. And a lot better then we had the right to expect.

    He won.

    He won quickly.

    And you of all people would know just how bad wars can get if the good guys are not willing to win quickly.


    December 23, 2006 at 7:19 am

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