The end of the Pinochet dictatorship, in 1990, came with an implicit caveat: Military rule would end, but the socialist policies of Salvador Allende, the leftist president Gen. Augusto Pinochet had deposed in a coup, would not return. Subsequent governments preserved the extreme laissez-faire economic system imposed in the 1970s and 1980s.

But today, widespread public anger over the inequality and economic precarity that many Chileans see as a consequence of that system means that conservative economic policies may be more of a threat to political stability than a means of ensuring it.

... [But] the Chilean political crisis is not unique to Chile. It carries unmistakable echoes of a problem that is at the center of political conflict all over the developed world.

As free trade, new technologies, the rise of China, and other seismic changes have reshaped the world's economies, political divisions have emerged between those who gain from the current system and those who do not.


In much of Europe and the United States, onetime industrial towns declined as economic growth accrued to large, globally connected cities, instead. For many, even those who have seen modest objective improvements in their own standards of living, watching others surge ahead while they struggle has left them feeling angry and disillusioned. In many countries, trust in institutions is falling, surveys show.

The same economic changes have shattered longstanding political coalitions, weakening mainstream parties. Far-right populists and other outsider politicians have moved to fill the vacuum left behind.

And with no effective channels for public anger, mass frustration has erupted into protest movements like France's Yellow Vests and the demonstrations in Chile.''

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