On 11th January 2010 Chile accepted membership of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) proof that Chile is one of the strongest democracies in the world. It is the first country in South America, and 31st overall, to be a member of the international organization. The fact that it has been accepted into the Paris-based club ahead of Brazil, the continent’s emerging political and economic powerhouse, is a source of pride for the Andean nation.
The OECD was established in 1961 with a mission to bring together governments “committed to democracy and the market economy,” to encourage sharing policy experiences and to promote economic growth and development.
Such a transition from developing to developed country last happened more than a generation ago eg. Ireland and South Korea. No one is exactly sure of the timing for Chile. But economists say this country of 17 million will become the first Latin American country to switch categories sometime in the next decade. For much of the 20th century, Chile’s copper-based economy staggered between by boom-bust cycles. Today, Pinochet-era reforms such as a policy of privatisation and low import tariffs remain in place. While Chile made the largest savings in the region – see below:
Chile consistently ranks as the least corrupt government in Latin America and under new president Sebastián Pinera one wonders if there will be many changes to the free-market policies that have cemented Chile as a beacon of economic stability in the emerging world. However, there is no doubt that the private sector will be very prominent in furthering economic growth in the world’s top copper producer, promising to revamp government businesses and introduce further tax breaks to create employment.