Brazil's Bolsonaro chooses the Chicago Boys for a Trump-sized economic boom

Like President Trump, Brazil's likely new president, Jair Bolsonaro, is openly embracing free-market economics – the hardcore Chicago Boys kind that was last seen transforming Chile into a first-world country.  The real stuff.

I'm going to argue that that's big, really big – not only because Brazil is a leftist sump of longtime culturally embedded socialism and dependency - but because hardcore free-market economics, the kind that turned Chile from a Venezuela-style hell-hole into a true first-world economy in a mere decade or two, has long been a dirty word in Latin America.

Bolsonaro doesn't care.

That is a demonstration of how tough and how Trump-like he actually is.  Because for years, the left, led by leftist clowns such as Naomi Klein, have had the upper hand in demonizing these powerful free-market ideas as they controlled the 'narrative.' Bolsonaro's stance is a sign that times may be finally changing. But for years, since the left could never win economic arguments based on the merits, they've launched their attacks ad hominem style, criticizing free-market ideas for their association with the Pinochet military government of Chile, which was the government the Chicago Boys worked with, though they would have worked with anyone, and their results would have been the same.  That abuse has always been nonsense, given the results, and little more than the work of Castroite propaganda and its offshoots, but it's also the very reason why the region has so much trouble climbing out of its hole.

Say you admire anything about Pinochet's free-market economy over there, and watch your career go down the drain.

This guy in Brazil isn't like that.  He's immune to the withering criticism of the left because, heck, he admires Pinochet.  He's out front about it.  Try to demonize a guy like that.

Bolsonaro actually admits he doesn't know much about economics.  Bloomberg notes that that's actually a strength, because people who do understand economics can have a free hand, while politicans who claim they do tend to make messes.  Pinochet didn't know anything about economics, either, if you read his autobiography.  All he knew was what produced results, and that was all he cared about. Sure enough, Chicago Boys economics – the same thing President Trump is embracing now – produces results – big, huge, transformative results.

Here's a recent picture of the man, posing with Jose Antonio Kast, the openly free-market presidential candidate in Chile, whose party made an impressive showing in his country's last election.  The two are holding up a cover of the Economist, which hailed Chile's top rating as the country with the highest upward mobility.  If you are born poor there, you have the tools to get out of it because of the Chicago Boys and their Chilean Model of private savings.  There's no reason to ever stay poor.

That's the power of free-market economics, which is the work of the Chicago Boys.

If Bolsonaro is serious, and the signs are growing that he is, any Chicago Boy memoir, whether that of Hernán Büchi or José Piñera, will readily describe how difficult it is to transform a socialist economy into a free-market economy, even in a presumably easy military government.  It wasn't easy at all, as oppositions from all quarters form, laws must be dismantled by the wheelbarrowful, and special interests compete on historic and beyond-economics considerations.  But when it happens, the result is breathtaking.

With Bolsonaro looking set to win in Brazil, a Chicago Boys result could be breathtaking.

Like President Trump, Brazil's likely new president, Jair Bolsonaro, is openly embracing free-market economics – the hardcore Chicago Boys kind that was last seen transforming Chile into a first-world country.  The real stuff.

I'm going to argue that that's big, really big – not only because Brazil is a leftist sump of longtime culturally embedded socialism and dependency - but because hardcore free-market economics, the kind that turned Chile from a Venezuela-style hell-hole into a true first-world economy in a mere decade or two, has long been a dirty word in Latin America.

Bolsonaro doesn't care.

That is a demonstration of how tough and how Trump-like he actually is.  Because for years, the left, led by leftist clowns such as Naomi Klein, have had the upper hand in demonizing these powerful free-market ideas as they controlled the 'narrative.' Bolsonaro's stance is a sign that times may be finally changing. But for years, since the left could never win economic arguments based on the merits, they've launched their attacks ad hominem style, criticizing free-market ideas for their association with the Pinochet military government of Chile, which was the government the Chicago Boys worked with, though they would have worked with anyone, and their results would have been the same.  That abuse has always been nonsense, given the results, and little more than the work of Castroite propaganda and its offshoots, but it's also the very reason why the region has so much trouble climbing out of its hole.

Say you admire anything about Pinochet's free-market economy over there, and watch your career go down the drain.

This guy in Brazil isn't like that.  He's immune to the withering criticism of the left because, heck, he admires Pinochet.  He's out front about it.  Try to demonize a guy like that.

Bolsonaro actually admits he doesn't know much about economics.  Bloomberg notes that that's actually a strength, because people who do understand economics can have a free hand, while politicans who claim they do tend to make messes.  Pinochet didn't know anything about economics, either, if you read his autobiography.  All he knew was what produced results, and that was all he cared about. Sure enough, Chicago Boys economics – the same thing President Trump is embracing now – produces results – big, huge, transformative results.

Here's a recent picture of the man, posing with Jose Antonio Kast, the openly free-market presidential candidate in Chile, whose party made an impressive showing in his country's last election.  The two are holding up a cover of the Economist, which hailed Chile's top rating as the country with the highest upward mobility.  If you are born poor there, you have the tools to get out of it because of the Chicago Boys and their Chilean Model of private savings.  There's no reason to ever stay poor.

That's the power of free-market economics, which is the work of the Chicago Boys.

If Bolsonaro is serious, and the signs are growing that he is, any Chicago Boy memoir, whether that of Hernán Büchi or José Piñera, will readily describe how difficult it is to transform a socialist economy into a free-market economy, even in a presumably easy military government.  It wasn't easy at all, as oppositions from all quarters form, laws must be dismantled by the wheelbarrowful, and special interests compete on historic and beyond-economics considerations.  But when it happens, the result is breathtaking.

With Bolsonaro looking set to win in Brazil, a Chicago Boys result could be breathtaking.