paul w. drake
Peter Winn and his coauthors have the audacity to challenge the most success-
ful economic experiment in Latin America since the 1970s. They do so by
examining the human underside of the glowing aggregate data. While conced-
ing numerous vaunted achievements from 1973 to 1998, these scholars argue
that many workers in a wide range of sectors su√ered from Chile’s neoliberal
‘‘miracle.’’ They also contend that this market-oriented model had a di√erential
and sometimes worse impact on women. At the same time, they expose the
damage to the environment. This book is not, however, merely an exercise in
‘‘victimology,’’ for it emphasizes the agency and resistance of labor as well as its
mistreatment and misfortune.
Winn deserves credit for questioning the conventional wisdom about Chile’s
economic triumphs. He also makes a valuable contribution by showcasing the
innovative and gracefully written research of a talented new generation of Chil-
eanists. Most unusually, he has produced a remarkably integrated, cohesive,
and coherent collection, not simply another patchwork of loosely related arti-
cles. Just as Chilean capitalists have imposed discipline on their workers, so
this editor has on his authors.
As the paragon of neoliberalism in Latin America, Chile is the crucial test case
for the consequences of those market-driven policies for the working class. It
has been hailed as the shining example not only for Latin America but also for
other parts of the world. If the ‘‘Washington consensus’’ on the free market has
produced economic and social well-being anywhere, it must be in Chile, which
has been on that path longer than any of its neighbors.
In the wake of the hemispheric economic downturn at the end of the 1990s,
discontent with neoliberal economics mounted throughout the region, but least
of all in Chile, which, despite declining from its earlier boom, continued to
outperform other countries. Moreover, rising disillusionment with open mar-
kets did not spawn any clear alternative formula, least of all in Chile, which
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