Chile emerged from military rule in the 1990s as a leader of free market economic reform and democratic stability, and other countries now look to it for lessons in policy design, sequencing, and timing. Explanations for economic change in Chile generally focus on strong authoritarianism under General Augusto Pinochet and the insulation of policymakers from the influence of social groups, especially business and landowners. In this book Eduardo Silva argues that such a view underplays the role of entrepreneurs and landowners in Chile's neoliberal transformation and, hence, their potential effect on economic reform elsewhere. He shows how shifting coalitions of businesspeople and landowners with varying power resources influenced policy formulation and affected policy outcomes. He then examines the consequences of coalitional shifts for Chile's transition to democracy, arguing that the absence of a multiclass opposition that included captialists facilitated a political transition based on the authoritarian constitution of 1980 and inhibited its alternative. This situation helped to define the current style of consensual politics that, with respect to the question of social equity, has deepened a neoliberal model of welfare statism, rather than advanced a social democratic one.
Introduction -- Capitalists, Neoliberal Economic Reform, and Democracy -- Import-Substitution Industrialization and the Breakdown of Democracy -- Gradual Adjustment Under Military Rule -- Radical Neoliberalism Ascendant -- Triumph and Collapse of Radical Neoliberalism -- Pragmatic Neoliberalism -- Pragmatic Neoliberalism and the Politics of Chile's Transition from Authoritarianism