johnson on allende

The Chilean coup by Pinochet (1973) supplanted the rule of Allende. Allende’s rule had been utterly disastrous. From Paul Johnson’s Modern Times:

But Allende was a weak man with a divided, part-revolutionary following, which quickly slipped from his control. While he embarked on a programme of wholesale nationalization, which isolated Chile from the world trading community, the militants of his Left wing were not prepared to accept any of the restraints of constitutionalism. They launched ‘People’s Power’, consisting of Peasant Councils which seized farms in the countryside and Workers’ Assemblies which occupied factories…

At the time Allende took over, in January 1971, inflation had actually fallen to about 23 per cent. Within months it was hyperinflation. In 1972 it was 163 per cent. In the summer of 1973 it reached 190 per cent, by far the highest in the world.9 2 This was before the quadrupling of oil prices: the Allende inflation was entirely his own doing. In November 1971 Chile declared a unilateral moratorium on its foreign debts (i.e., went bankrupt). The banks cut off credit; capital fled; with the farms in chaos, producing little, the factories occupied, producing less, exports vanished, imports soared, then vanished too as the money ran out. The shops emptied. The middle class started to strike. The workers, finding their wages cut in real terms, struck too. The official price structure became irrational and then irrelevant as the black market took over. The Left began to smuggle in arms in July 1971 and began serious political violence in May the next year.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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