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Contents

  1. Narratives of neoliberalism: ‘clinical labour’ in context
  2. The Notes Taken
  3. A Brief History of Neoliberalism
  4. Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History - The Bullet

Argentina's still robust trade union culture, contrasts strongly with the situation in Chile. The atomised labour movement there has its own history.

Narratives of neoliberalism: ‘clinical labour’ in context

Collective bargaining was allowed only at individual firm level, reducing any form of sectoral or national negotiation. Employer's capacity to depress wages while increasing both workloads and the length of the working day helped Chilean capitalism to boom in the s. Although the cycle of mobilizations activated Chilean society, the labour movement was so structurally debilitated by the dictatorship that it was unable to organise resistance against neoliberal reforms. Despite consecutive labour reforms, the balance of power remains clearly angled in favour of firms.

Almost two thirds of the Chilean labour force is working on short-term contracts or under other conditions of precariousness Sehnbruch , p. The number of contracts of indefinite duration has had a steady decline Union density and the incidence of collective bargaining have also shrunk considerably. While the unionization rate nationwide was Similarly, the percentage of workers involved in collective bargaining fell from The participation of workers in strikes is also minimal.


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While in , 1. Chile's profound structural inequalities, however, have meant that different vulnerable groups have become more likely to agitate.

The Notes Taken

The protests, in particular, mark a breaking point in this regard. Both the students on the streets, and the public in surveys, voiced opposition to private, for profit education, and the high levels of individual debt that go with it. This widespread expression of discontent has constituted a significant challenge to the neoliberal model. The belief that collective organization and protesting in the streets may affect politics has risen firmly in recent years, evincing new hopes for social change. Whereas business elites have constantly defended the capitalist modernization in Chile, renewing its justifications, the counter-offensive lead by the Kirchners and allies had further weakened neoliberalism in Argentina.

A further factor differentiating neoliberalism's fate in Argentina and Chile is the role of the capitalist class. Neoliberalism partly succeeded in Chile because the bourgeoisie, the strata destined to defend capitalism Schumpeter , was empowered by the market reforms, and, consequently, was better able to protect and justify the new market model. This did not come to pass in Argentina, where the dispersed business class never rose to such power, and were perceived as accomplices in the crisis. While divisiveness and internal competition have undermined the capacity of the Argentine business sector to build a common agenda, the politically connected capitalist class in Chile has been largely effective in defending a pro-business environment, at least until recently.

Business associations in Chile, gathered under the umbrella of the Confederation for Production and Commerce CPC , are powerful actors with significant capacity to coordinate divergent sectors e. Further, informal networks based on family relations, religious groups, college mates, chains of capital, and shared business interests connect economic elites Tironi ; Thumala The power of businesses and the right wing sector - overrepresented in parliament due to the binominal system — constrained further, more progressive policy changes.

Since the mid s, the market model become more explicitly and aggressively defended by the private sector itself.

These business circuits have renewed the justifications of Chilean capitalism, integrating and effectively transforming the criticism it has received — e. Different business centres such as ICARE and CEP, plus strong business associations play a key role in promoting a business agenda, offering technical support for regulatory lobbying in the Parliament. It is interesting to note, however, that the increasing awareness of Chile's structural inequalities has started to erode the unchallenged position of business. Different groups have become more likely to agitate for the improvement of their social conditions Undurraga Complaints against a profit-driven university system, corporate scandals involving price-fixing pharmaceutical retailers and unilateral renegotiation of unpaid debtors banks e.

La Polar, Cencosud all increased this sense of discontent. According to a UDP National survey, between and , confidence in large companies declined from The situation is starkly contrasting in Argentina. Business associations do not have the capacity to influence governance at industry level to anywhere near a comparable degree. Different factions defend their own business strategies, strengthening their particular political ties and promoting their own, often competing, economic interests Lewis This situation is not new.

Despite several attempts to build an economy-wide peak association, the inability to reconcile sectorial interests, and weak institutional capacity undermined these efforts Schneider The Kirchners also increased taxes on commodity exports, such as soybeans, meat, and wheat.

For example, the conflict between the government and the farm industry over hikes in export taxes retentions crisped the political environment. Conflicts with the adversaries to their post-neoliberal politics increased, reinvigorating political life. The credibility of the business class — alongside politicians and unions — is widely doubted in Argentina.

Their capacity to defend a business agenda and to justify their way of doing business is also limited. Corruption, low patriotism, and tax evasion are accusations commonly levelled at economic elites.

A Brief History of Neoliberalism

Successful entrepreneurs in Argentina tend to keep a relatively low profile. With the exception of the business media, they do not frequently appear in the public press commenting on current affairs. Businessmen interviewed for this study commented that it is not convenient for them to show off their success or to be too loud in defending their interests in the public domain. The Kirchners reacted ferociously, applying significant political pressure to Mr.

Three Minute Theory: What is Neoliberalism?

Coto who ended up renouncing the presidency of IDEA. He was subsequently the first employer to sign a price agreement with the government. Consequently, many businesses have been subjugated by the political power of the Kirchners, with the exception of some business friends of the government who have maintained privileges — to an extent.

The counter-reaction against market policies canalised by the Kirchner governments echoes the double movement of social protection Polanyi describes The Kirchners reinforced the activation of popular actors and enhanced the legitimacy of the state's right to intervene in structuring economic affairs. These changes have certainly generated their share of conflicts; disputes about the proper relationship between the state and the private sector remain lively Undurraga Despite the emphasis on a post-neoliberal narrative, it is important to stress that the Kirchner governments have maintained some continuities with the neoliberal slogans of the s, for instance they have largely preserves the fiscal equilibrium.

Many Argentineans prefer private services over state provided ones when it comes to education, health, and security, even in the lower-middle classes.

Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History - The Bullet

On the other hand, although the Kirchners succeeded in restoring broad confidence in state institutions, a number of outstanding problems continue to plague Argentinean society, such as insecurity and fear of crime, inflationary pressures, and deteriorating public services in health, education, and transport Kessler et al. In between these breaks and continuities, conflicts between supporters and opponents of the Kirchner project have gained new impetus.

In Chile, the rise of the mobilizations seems to mark the beginning of a new political cycle. Some argue that a post-neoliberal order may be emerging, an order that calls into question the core of the neoliberal model, i. The three promises of President Bachelet's programme — free education for all, tax reform and a new democratic constitution — aimed to respond to this new political cycle, moving away from orthodox neoliberalism towards a more social democratic model. Six months into Bachelet's administration, differences have emerged that distinguish the current government from what came before, though the shift has not been as marked as some expected.

Having said that, it would be hasty and unwarranted to consider the rising mobilizations in Chile as akin to the post-neoliberal reaction that characterised the aftermath in Argentina. Chile has not had any political or economic crisis on that kind of scale, nor has it experienced a political movement such as Kirchnerism, which has led a counter-offensive against the neoliberal model.


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Further, after 30 years of adjusting regulations the market model is deeply embedded in Chilean society; the ambivalent decade of Menem's neo-liberal experiment in Argentina produced no such result. A full version of that research was published in Undurraga Silva, eds.

Miami: North-South Center Press. Atria, F. Neoliberalismo con rostro humano. Santiago de Chile: Catalonia. El Otro Modelo. Santiago de Chile: Debate. Atzeni, M. Employment Relations in Chile and Argentina. In: M. Barry; A. Wilkinson, eds. Research Handbook of Comparative Employment Relations. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Auyero, J.


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Routine Politics and Violence in Argentina. The Gray Zone of State Power. New York: Cambridge University Press.