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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

The "Chicago Boys" Without Pinochet: Privatization and Protest in Chile

Diane Haughney, Ph.D. - Montessori High School at University Circle

Friday December 7, 2012
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

For anyone who thinks school vouchers would solve the U.S. education system's problems, perhaps you should take a look at Chile.

General Pinochet's dictatorship, established in Chile after the 1973 coup, is best known for two things. The first is the brutality of its repression. The second is its reliance on "free-market" policies promoted by the "Chicago Boys," a group of economists associated with Milton Friedman and the University of Chicago. Some of those policies, such as privatization of pensions, have been promoted as success stories (not particularly accurately) around the world. The Pinochet government's transformation of education by providing government vouchers to both private and public institutions received less attention from the World Bank, but was equally important within the country.

Pinochet lost power in 1990, and representative government returned. But much of the Pinochet regime's social policies continued, partly because it is hard to reverse such things (absent huge amounts of extra money) and partly because they served the interests of some social forces. For example, a large for-profit education industry developed, creating a dual-track private/public system in which the private schools select the better students and many parents cannot afford the funds they would have to pay on top of the vouchers.

Representative government over the past two decades has done very little about the problems. A set of student protests in 2006 (called the "penguin revolution" because of high school students' black-and-white uniforms) resulted in modest changes but did little to change the basic inequalities and inadequacies. In 2011 discontent burst out again in a wave of student strikes and demonstrations that continued into the Fall (in Chile, Spring) of 2012. The conservative government of Sebastian Pinera has offered more money for loans at lower interest rates, but no significant changes in the system. Demonstrations in September were met with teargas and truncheons.

We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Diane Haughney to learn more about the conflict and discuss its prospects and meaning.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest...

Diane Haughney, a native Clevelander, earned her B.A. and M.A. in Spanish from Vassar College and Middlebury College’s Graduate School in Madrid, Spain. While teaching at Blair Academy in New Jersey, she pursued her doctorate in political science at the City University of New York and won a Fulbright fellowship to conduct dissertation research in Chile on indigenous peoples’ demands for rights. She remained in Chile for eight years, working closely with indigenous organizations. Following her return to the U.S., Diane taught at Johns Hopkins University, Bates College, Xavier University, Bucknell University, and American University. She has published Neoliberal Economics, Democratic Transition, and Mapuche Demands for Rights in Chile (University Press of Florida 2006) and several articles. Recently Dr. Haughney returned to Cleveland, and is teaching Spanish and coaching cross country at the Montessori High School here in University Circle.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Tentative Schedule of Topics and Speakers for the Spring 2013 Semester

Jan 18: Making Sense of the Federal Budget Nonsense. Joe White, Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy

Jan 25: Learning from "Mad Cows". Professor Pierluigi Gambetti, Director, National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center

Feb 1: A (Really) New Middle East? Pete W. Moore, Associate Professor of Political Science

Feb 8: Casting and Counting Votes in Cuyahoga County. Steven H. Izen, Professor of Mathematics, and Kenneth H. Ledford, Associate Professor of History and Law

Feb 15: Israeli Politics. Dr. Guy Ben-Porat, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Administration, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Feb 22: TBD

Mar 1: University Circle Update. Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer

Mar 8: TBD

Mar 15: Spring Break

Mar 22: TBD

Mar 29: International Development Assistance in Public Health. Bill Goldman, retired foreign service officer with USAID.

Apr 5: TBD

Apr 12: TBD

Apr 19: TBD

Apr 26: TBD

Visit the Public Affairs Discussion Group Web Site.

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