Last month the country became the first South American state to join the OECD…

Invenstor Business Daily

It’s not like Chile was born lucky. Only 30 years ago, it was an impoverished country with per capita GDP of $1,300. Its distant geography, irresponsible neighbors and tiny population were significant obstacles to investment and growth. And its economy, dominated by labor unions, wasn’t just closed, but sealed tight. In the Cato Institute’s 1975 Economic Freedom of the World Report it ranked a wretched 71 out of 72 countries evaluated.

Today it’s a different country altogether. Embracing markets has made it one of the most open economies in the world, ranking third on Cato’s index, just behind Hong Kong and Singapore. Per capita GDP has soared to $15,000. Besides its embrace of free trade, other reforms — including pension privatization, tax cuts, respect for property rights and cutting of red tape helped the country grow not only richer but more democratic, says Cato Institute trade expert Daniel Griswold. “Chile’s economy is set apart from its neighbors, because they have pursued market policies consistently over a long period,” he said. “Free trade has been a central part of Chile’s success.”

The marvels of trade liberalisation on display once again. There is a sense of rising anti-globalisation in this country and we need more stories such as this one in our newspapers and editorial pages (not just the WSJ).

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