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Expansion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP): Impact on Chile

Some countries are truly bent on free international trade. Chile is one of them.On March 9, 2018, Chile signed the expanded and renewed TPP agreement, also called CPTPP—the acronym for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The original TPP agreement hammered out in 2016 had to be replaced by the CPTPP after the United States pulled out of the accord. The American government had demanded tariff protection for twenty-two of its key industries, a notion which the Trump administration would have only made more repugnant.

The other nations could not agree with the terms sought by the Land of the Free. That is because TPP—and now CPTPP—are quite simple agreements. Most tariffs, duties, value added taxes are eliminated immediately between member countries. Most related regulations are, too—although a few irksome ones are still included. However, the CPTPP is not a Behemoth document like NAFTA. It is, instead, rather simple.

The main complications in 2018 were found in that some countries will phase-in most tariff and tax reductions over four years, instead of immediately, with a few being phased-in over ten to fifteen years. As far as I could tell, Chile only phased-in tariff elimination for iron and steel products over a few years. Tariffs and VAT for nearly all items were eliminated on March 9, 2018, and a few other countries followed suit. Overall, considerable immediate relief is good, and waiting a few years for most of the rest to come into play is not too bad.

Since the participating country list is now longer, Chilean consumers will benefit from lower prices. Chile’s tariffs were already low, 6% across the board for new goods and 9% for used ones. Since 2005, Chile had connected with New Zealand, Brunei and Singapore to eliminate all trade barriers (i.e., import duties, value added taxes, and onerous import/export regulations) between them via the original TPP treaty. Chile already has separate free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union.

Now, in 2018, the list of CPTPP participating countries has expanded to eleven: with Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico and Peru now included—representing a total population of 516.7 million people and featuring eight OECD-members or otherwise developed small countries. Moreover, Taiwan, the Philippines, Colombia, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, South Korea, India and Sri Lanka have all expressed interest in joining CPTPP—which would bring the total number of countries to twenty-two—representing a total population of 2.6 billion people and featuring ten OECD-members or otherwise developed small countries. Thus, CPTPP is already a big nearly-free market and will probably get much larger.

Businesses also benefit from facilitated trade between these countries, no matter in which of the countries their headquarters is located. Furthermore, CPTPP features a mechanism whereby investors or companies have the right to sue foreign governments for treaty violations. CPTPP also significantly paves the way for pharmaceutical development and distribution among its members, likely providing great access to better healthcare for member countries and lower cost.

The least attractive parts of the CPTPP are its imposition of environmental standards imposed by radical ecologists (which most of the signatories were already doing anyway) and strict human rights rules, including damaging child labor laws. Both of those things will tend to increase poverty and dampen economic growth. Stricter intellectual property rights provisions will be applied as well. Nevertheless, albeit the CPTPP is pretty far from strict libertarianism, it is overall a libertarian-favored policy that should bring many benefits to people living in member countries, like Chile.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

An Error in the Thinking of Twentieth-Century Chilean Baptists about the State

Consider the following affirmation—what I would argue is an incredible error—written in the Chilean Baptist monthly publication La Voz Bautista (The Baptist Voice) during World War II (September 1943, exact author unknown, page 13). (Note that all italics in the following quotations were added by the blog software and were not contained in the original Spanish, translated into English.)

Civil government affects all members of the community, and is established for the good of human society as a whole.

The author also added, based on Romans 13:1-7:

The civil government has been divinely approved to promote the interests of, and good order in, society.

Does this interpretation of the sacred text include states run by the likes of Hitler and Hirohito, as well as Mussolini and Stalin? Or does it apply only to republics or democratic countries over the last 250 years, not being valid for the autocracies, monarchies and dictatorships that have existed during thousands of years of history? Does it include states led by Nero, Domitian, Diocletian, who persecuted the early church? Or the famous Roman Republic that oppressed the Jews before Christ?

For those Chilean Baptists, and others that would follow, the answer was apparently, “yes!” For instance, H. Cecil McConnell stated fourteen months later in La Voz Bautista (November 1944, page 20), for Sunday School material regarding Romans 13:1-6:

[The Apostle Paul] wrote precisely during the reign of the infamous Nero. However, he asked Christians to faithfully comply with the laws of the empire. He knew that some laws were bad and should not be obeyed, Nevertheless, taking everything into account, Roman laws served its subjects for good. The government may not recognize God, but, in some sense, it is always God’s servant in maintaining order over a territory. Any government is better than no government.

It is simply mind-boggling to read such a ridiculous view that people preferred living with state-led mass-murder of millions, along with extensive destruction of property and churches, and imprisonment of pastors, rather than political anarchy. Yet this is the sort of incredible sense that comes from misinterpretation of the Holy Writ.

Nevertheless, not all Chilean Baptists were beleaguered by this errant view. In the same publication twenty months earlier (La Voz Bautista, March 1943, page 3) another unspecified author had a clearer idea of the bad effects of nefarious public policies—especially for the early church and the society that existed when the Apostle Paul wrote Romans 13:1-7:

Every thinking man must pay attention to the drive, courage and dynamism of the Apostles and Christians who formed the early church. Moreover, those elements also make us think of the rapid and victorious progress of the work of the Gospel during an era fraught with impossibilities: insurmountable prejudices, absurd but deeply rooted beliefs, despotism, and domination of the conscience by political and religious powers.[emphasis added]

So what happened? Having seen the similar horrors of Hitler’s Germany and the Japanese empire under Hirohito, Chilean Baptists wrote these first two citations above (from September 1943 and November 1944) in defiance of the historically Baptist libertarian and political understanding (i.e., Christian Worldview) of Pastor John Leland, an activist Christian who was the major proponent of adding the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. Both Leland’s contribution and that of earlier particular Baptists in England had been noted the previous year by C. Almonacid B in La Voz Bautista (June 1942, pages 7-8):

The motto of democracy is: Freedom, Equality and Fraternity. What a wonderful slogan this is! Totalitarianism’s [e.g., Draconian rule by Hitler, Hirohito and Stalin; and, by extension, Nero, Domitian and Diocletian] is: persecution, dictatorship, tyranny, supression and terror. In the United States, the Baptists made the First Amendment to the Constitution, which says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This amendment was adopted in 1789. The one who introduced it to President Washington on behalf of the Baptists was John Leland, a distinguished Baptist preacher. It was accepted, because the request was fair. He was not taken to a concentration camp or prison, as is the case in all totalitarian countries today, where preachers are persecuted even for their fundamental Christian principles. The Confession of Faith adopted by the English Baptists in 1644, says Dr. Vedder, contains the first publication of the doctrine of liberty of conscience in an official document representing a body of associated churches.

Indeed, earlier writers for La Voz Bautista were hardly oblivious to history and its political realities. But what ignorance and doctrinal shame was demonstrated just months later! I am a Baptist, but I hope that neither my brethren today nor I will repeat the error of the Chilean Baptists of September 1943 and November 1944. Accordingly, I write this article with the intention of providing the correct, biblical interpretation of Romans 13:1-7] and how we should comprehend our relationship with the state and politics. Furthermore, I hope that thinking people from other religions will consider it, too.

The idea of the state embodied in the first two citations is a resurrection or re-formulation of the ancient divine right of kings doctrine (image credit), which definitely corresponds to Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and perhaps Pentecostal teaching. It belongs to any religion that wants to link state and church or that wants the state to impose godly morality on society, bring social justice, or to play a role in bringing the kingdom of God to earth (as theonomists do, or men like “Pastor” Soto in Chile do at present).

But in no way should a Baptist adhere to that doctrine. Baptists have always advocated the separation of the two things, since we have often been persecuted by the state. Indeed, many Baptist thinkers over the years have considered that the state is linked to Satan himself. For my part, as the Bible says, I believe that the state has been “appointed” by God (such as Cyrus, Hitler, Nero, et al.) and according to Revelation 13:1-9Psalm 2:2/Acts 4:26Revelation 19:19-21and others, is in fact linked to Satan.

Yet divine appointment does not in and of itself necessarily mean that the appointed thing is morally good. According to Isaiah 45:7, God brings adversity and controls evil. The words “good” and “evil” in Romans 13:3-4 may be defined according to the philosophy of the state, not according to the commandments or criteria of God. According to Romans 13:4, the state is the “servant” (in Greek: diakonos) of God in the same sense that Satan is. The state, in my view, is evil by nature whether it be run by the Left or the Right, although its worst manifestation is seen in revolutionary atheistic communism (from the extreme left). Consequently, the Left is worse than the Right in absolute terms. But the only biblical perspective is libertarian, something which has been historically Baptist.

I do not trust the state at all. It is an entity that generates corruption, wickedness and harm. The best thing one can hope to do by involving himself in politics is to reduce the damage that the state can cause his brethren or family, so that social conditions are set where “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:2). The state will never have anything to do with God’s redemptive plan, except in its use of sanctifying His chosen ones “for good” (Romans 8:2813:4). Therefore, I must insist that the natures of state and church are different.

The acts of Jesus reveal that He was a libertarian or neoliberal; He never asked the state for help in His task or to impose morality or spread the kingdom of God. In fact, Satan offered him the kingdoms of this world that had been given to the devil (Luke 4:5-6). The state since then murdered John the Baptist, Jesus, eleven of the apostles and innumerable martyrs of history. This is the reality of things, and that expectation is taught in Revelation 12:13-17 and other parts of the final book of the Bible. Jesus and the apostles Paul and John taught us, too, that in this world we will have tribulation, suffer persecution and often be imprisoned (John 16:332 Timothy 3:12Revelation 2:10), mostly by Satan-led states.

I never put my trust in the state to improve the quality of life. Public policies provoke or implement satanic ideas in our society. Accordingly, in no way should we accept the errant doctrine of the Chilean Baptists of September 1943 and November 1944 about the role and nature of the state, an absolutely beastly and Satanic institution that was responsible for the death of approximately 350 million non-combatants in the Twentieth Century alone. Something so obvious should be clear to Baptists of any age, but especially during the Second World War in 1943 and 1944!

Note: For further reading on the matter, please see my books Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006) and Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003).

See this article on Steemit (with link to the Spanish version).

P.S. John Leland was not alone. La Voz Bautista (August 1946), page 12 mentions another prominent libertarian Baptist from New Jersey, John Hart, who was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. “According to some historians, [John] Hart was not fond of politics, but he was an ardent patriot and was always willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the sacred ideal of freedom. Indeed, from the time that libertarian propaganda took hold, he took an active part in it and, in October 1770, at approximately 55 years of age, he was included as a member of the Continental Congress as one of its most ardent defenders of American independence. In that organization, this honorable patrician, this consecrated Baptist, had the privilege of being united with Washington and the rest of that great body of men, as one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.” Like John Leland, John Hart was not afraid to put 1 Corinthians 7:21-26 into practice.

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

A Grateful Immigrant

Some people are surprised to learn that not only did I immigrate to Chile, but I also renounced my American citizenship after I became a Chilean. Indeed, I prefer freedom, and with all its faults Chile is an even freer place than the United States of America. I do not mean to say that the Chilean state is good or without its faults; not at all. I am a libertarian and according to my experience, the theoretical framework of my Worldview, and the empirical results that I have seen many scholars come up with: all States are vile.

In Chile there is no justice, there is crime; it is a lying, dishonest, deceitful and distrustful society with an odious bureaucracy that is coupled with annoying hassles and hurdles to get anything done. People tend to be overtly selfish, especially when driving or shopping. A large percentage of professionals and tradesmen seem to be incompetent. The Marxist minority is disgusting and irksome. These things are annoying. However, there are dozens of excellent reasons to be in Chile: beautiful landscapes, good medical care, low taxes, privatization of pensions and former state-run enterprises, affordable housing (in Chilean First World places), the best anti-seismic construction in the world, good food, a large number of libertarians, little political correctness, scant radical ecology or radical feminist policies, a strong family focus, strong opposition to abortion, etc.

I left the U.S.A. and I eliminated my citizenship because I did not want to be linked with that state and I adopted the considerably less malignant Chilean one. I am certainly more optimistic about the future of Chile than that of North America. Chile is my homeland now and I am working to make it even more libertarian.

What do I think about the old country? Not much; I do not feel any moral obligation to liberate the U.S.A. from its evil, nor raise funds from here to free its serfs from their regulatory, tax and politcally-correct slavery. Am I a degenerate or indolent for not caring about fixing the big mess up yonder? I do not think so. Instead, I recommend that North Americans (and Europeans) come to Chile.

For me, life is clearly a struggle between good and evil, in general trying to help others be a little freer, even though my main desire is for Chile to move towards greater liberty. Such freedom is a strong magnet that will automatically attract oppressed immigrants—similar to Hong Kong in the Twentieth Century. My idea is not original, since during the Nineteenth Century and the first decades of the Twentieth, Valparaíso, Chile fulfilled that magnetic function. I want Valparaíso to regain that virtue during the Twenty-First Century so that, once again, the world’s oppressed, poor, ignorant and persecuted will reach its shores alon with the rest of the country.

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I am a grateful immigrant because Chile welcomed me on March of 1996 when I was thrity-three years old—without a job, with less than USD$10,000 in savings, with five children under eight years old (and another one to be born that July), and without being able to speak much Spanish. We all had a temporary visas when we arrived, obtained before boarding the plane, but nothing else of significant earthly value besides courage, resourcefulness, dedication and diligence.

In addition, I have been rather serious about promoting Chile to others. Since 2006, I have publicized and “sold” the country to many Americans (and several Europeans), with many of them having come down to stay (a few in conditions similar mine in 1996). Now, most of these folks speak, more or less, in Spanish. Many of them work here and are applying for Chilean nationality. I am happy for them and I hope they serve as great blessings for Chile.

With the help of some fabulous individuals (i.e., Chicago boys or, in one case, a UCLA boy) who trusted me and hired me even though I spoke Spanish poorly, boosted my career growth and later facilitated the development of some projects in Chile. I would be remiss not to mention and thank, in a special way, Álvaro Vial, who even signed up to be my personal guarantor, allowing to lease my first home in 1997, as well as Harald Beyer, Cristian Laurroulet, and later (in 2008) Francisco Labbé, among others.

In mentioning these fine men, I am not implying that I got work on account of favoritism. For instance, to get my first full time job in Chile I had to pass a “test” before being hired by the Finis Terra University. It consisted in me teaching a semester-long course (in English) about free market and public policy topics, for authorities and professors of the university. Thus, I earned the job based on my merits. I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity they gave me. Also, nobody claimed that I was going to take away the work of a Chilean that might have otherwise gotten my university post. Its authorities, with the exception of Adelio Pipino, were pro-immigrant.

Now, I want to help other immigrants as others have helped me—especially considering the great influx of immigrants that has arrived since 2015. Accordingly, I am especially happy to see Baptists (of which I am one) working with Haitian immigrants to learn Spanish and the Bible. I am libertarian in word and deed, and there is no man more naturally libertarian than a Baptist.

Unlike other Chileans who disdain immigrants, how could I be anti-immigrant after having such a good reception in Chile? I have been settled in the country for the better part of twenty-two years, working, paying taxes, participating in politics and active in church, writing 1,505 letters to the editor, hundreds of blog entries pertaining to Chile, and have been the subject of many press interviews. My language skills still leave something tp be desired. Yet, I was relatively comfortable writing this article in Spanish (having had people who helped me correct mistakes), before putting it into English. Another issue: note that my second daughter (Rachel) was born here, in Quilpué, on July 7, 1996 and is a Chilean citizen, too. I have another son who opted for nationality as well. For so many reasons, I have always felt welcome to Chile.

Álvaro Vial and Héctor Hevia (among others) told me that when they went to study at the universities of Chicago and Western Michigan, respectively, they were surprised by how well the gringos received them, willing to help and show kindness to an unknown foreigner. I must agree that the generosity and volunteerism of Americans is unparalleled in the world. (It is, after all, a country made up of once persecuted, oppressed and poor ignorant immigrants or their descendants, right?)

Upon seeing me in 1996, they told me that they were goig to take the opportunity to return the favor of what they had received in America by being generous and helpful to me, without expecting anything in return. At other times, different men helped me, too, especially in 2008 and 2015-2016. It is worth mentioning that Pablo Baraona, Hermógenes Pérez de Arce and super-libertario Álvaro Bardón nearly became my fans by helping me become yet another emblematic (or enigmatic?) Chilean libertarian who believed in the economic policies they envoked under Pinochet, and who showed his preference to live in these furthest confines of the world instead of the “fabulous” United States. I’m grateful for them too.

Blurb in <i>La Estrella</i> (The Star) of Valparaíso in January 1996 alerting people to the fact that the "<i>gringo loco</i>" was going to arrive.jpg

They put this notice for me at La Estrella in Valparaíso (January 1996). Mrs. Marta Ramírez (another fabulous person) answered and leased us a country house in Lo Hidalgo, between Limache and Villa Alemana. I am grateful again because he was interested in my case. From there, I launched my life in Chile. It has not been easy, but I have shown that you can achieve success as an immigrant in Chile.

Having considered the main provisions of the bill championed by President Piñera (April 2018) to modify Chilean immigration legislation, I think it will cause more distortions than solutions. Would it not be better to privatize the border? In what sense am I different from the Haitian immigrant so frequently despised today? My skin is white, my eyes are greenish, and my university and postgraduate education (coupled with my professional career) is far better than theirs. Are those the reasons why I was preferred? The differences I have with immigrants from Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela are relatively minor compared to the massive ones I have with Haitians—except that those folks already speak Spanish as their first language, unlike my unpolished drivel—wherein they beat me hands-down. All of that evidence leads me to believe that there is an immigrant prototype that the Chilean government under Piñera likes.

At any rate, I have empathy for the immigrants who have been coming to Chile since 2015. I hope that Chile is beneficial to them, and that they will consider becoming part of our pro-life libertarian political party (and perhaps ponder becoming Baptists, too!). Normally those who have fled oppression and social malice, having been persecuted by the Left, come to their new homeland willing to oppose the slavish, often violent and bloodthristy Left that beleaguered it. Just how beneficial would attracting so many new adherents that detest the Left be for the libertarian Right?

This article was published (in Spanish) by the popular, left-wing Chilean magazine The Clinic, on April 13, 2018.

Haz click aquí para ver la versión en español de este artículo.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

New Pro-Life Libertarian Party in Chile / Nuevo Partido Político Libertario Chileno a Favor de la Vida

Chile has many classical liberals or libertarians that are pro-life who have now formed their own political party: the Independence Party. Chile tiene muchos liberales clásicos o libertarios que están a favor de la vida, y ya han formado su propio partido político: el Partido Independencia.

This article is written in both English and Spanish. The idea is (1) to inform English speakers of an important new political movement in Chile and also (2) to help attract people in Chile to participate. If you are a citizen or permanent resident of Chile, and you agree with the platform (whether or not you speak Spanish), please sign the Party’s online form to join with us and show your support!

Español abajo.

English

Declaration of Principles of the Independence Party

Preliminary Statement: In accordance with Article 5 of Law No. 18,603, the Independence Party expresses its commitment to the strengthening of democracy and respect, the guarantee and promotion of human rights enshrined in the Constitution, in ratified international treaties and laws in force in Chile, and in life generally.

1- On the human being and the individual:

The person is an end in itself and not a means. As a rational being (when we say rational being, we do not say that its actions are entirely dedicated mainly to its own survival) he exists for his own effort and courage in cooperation with others, and not to be used by others. Being endowed with a volitional consciousness (free will), social relations must be based on free collaboration that is voluntary between subjects to be considered fair, while rejecting forced impositions by the state.

2- On the Chilean nation:

The Independence Party advocates a civic nationalism. We consider Chile a Western and Hispanic American nation, with major cultural influences coming from several human groups: the Indians, the conquerors of the Spanish empire, many other European countries (especially Germany, Britain, Italy, Croatia, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Portugal), the United States, and a large Orthodox Christian remnant from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine—that part of the former Ottoman Empire that is now called Israel. Chile is a country of immigrants, but it is also a country of indigenous people, former Spanish conquerors and other settlers, but now its culture and common traits are easily identifiable as the small differences seen across our long geography.

The preservation and improvement of our nation is not a racial or biological problem, neither military nor expansionist. Civic nationalism seeks conservation and CULTURAL improvement of what we understand today by “Chile”. We reject isolationism or racism in every way.

  1. On citizenship and the state:

Citizens must be free and equal in dignity and rights. We live in a mixed society, with a state that exploits the private productive relationships of people through high taxes and regulation. Tax measures and administrative measures are due to adequate levels of effectiveness and efficiency. We stand for privatization and the use of market-based regulation wherever possible to reduce taxes and government regulation.

4- On property as a natural right:

Life, liberty and property are natural rights that are antecedent to the State. The defense of property is the basis of a well-formed civil society, allowing personal development and the improvement of individual initiative and private enterprise.

A free individual must take responsibility for the positive and negative consequences of his actions. The fruits of his work, i.e., his property, must be protected from the consequences of the acts of others, and thus protected by justice, peace and social harmony.

5- On justice:

We understand by justice the recognition of the fact that people and nature cannot be changed or interpreted differently and according to the discretion of others, much less by means of public policy. It means respect for the truth in an incorruptible way, given that all human beings must be judged by what is and treated accordingly with equality.

6- On protective and subsidiary status:

The state or, better said, the government, must defend the property rights of the people, which are the expression of human nature, savings, capital formation and the preservation of life and happiness, must promote voluntary private solidarity and ultimately fulfill the subsidiary role focused on the population most in need to guarantee the minimum benefits for the healthy coexistence. In doing so, government should rely on private, charitable, philanthropic, mutual and market-based institutions as much as possible.

7- On the law and legislation:

The law is a declaration of the sovereign will of the individuals that make up the national community, spontaneously generated and antecedent to the state, either in the general sphere of the country or in each territorial unit with it scorresponding jurisdictions. Legislation is the artifically imposed rules or codes of conduct created by legislative bodies of the government or state.

Notwithstanding the above, Chile is a Republic where natural rights are fundamental and protected, namely: the rights to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. None of these rights may be restricted by majority vote or decrees by the executive or judicial power.

8- On national sovereignty:

The sovereignty of Chile lies in its people and is applied throughout its territory: Accordingly, it is important to review and submit to the democratic control of international treaties, pacts and agreements to which Chile subscribes.

9- On decentralization and cantonization:

In order to increase the degrees of freedom and responsibility of individuals, we believe that the delegation of decision-making power to the smallest organizational and territorial unit is important. We believe that the vast majority of administrative, valuation and tax matters correspond to the competencies of local communities. That is why we propose the cantonization as administrative structure of each territory, accomplishing as much decentralization as possible to promote efficiency and effectiveness. The current provinces will become autonomous political bodies to make decisions on issues of economic, social and regulatory relevance. We propose with this a confederated and cantonal Chile.

10- On trust in the family and community:

Given that human beings are eminently social and empathic beings, we believe in the family and the community (e.g., religious groups, neighborhood associations, sports club, and other institutions), as instances of participation and solidarity in which individuals may find support, help and mutually beneficial cooperation. We believe that the weight of “social action” falls on them instead of the bureaucratic and impersonal state.

We also believe that this makes the individual responsible for the positive or negative results derived from his actions. In terms of thinking, individuals must be free to believe and choose as they deem best, even if considered absurd or ridiculous to others, noting only that one may deny reality but not the consequences of reality. Man must be allowed to err, so long as he does not force his will upon others.

11- On free association, the right to discern and self-defense:

People should be free to associate with those they deem best according to their own criteria. No one can be forced to belong to an association. The members of each intermediate body (e.g., churches, companies, families, groups of friends, foundations, clubs, etc.) have the right to express their power to discern when accepting a new member. We oppose any legislation that attempts to prevent the exercise of this right unless it is a matter of national security. We oppose state intervention or involvement in marriage, the foundational unit of family and society, which should be left to private institutions or associations to define, determine and regulate. All people have a right to defend themselves, by force of arms if necessary, against any other human being or autocratic state that seeks to deprive them of their natural rights by force.

12- On the environment and privatization of externalities:

In order to fully develop human nature, we believe that it is necessary for people to live in a clean and healthy environment. Without prejudice to the foregoing, we understand that individuals have different preferences and visions regarding the type of environment in which they want to live. Recognizing the legitimacy of these differences, we believe that the free market is the mechanism to resolve them, through an adequate definition of property rights and the prices of externalities. We believe that public policies tend to make environmental problems permanent and only slightly improved, being subjected to the perverse incentives of interest groups, and that market-based solutions to environmental, population and natural resource problems are in every way to be preferred.

13- On the right to life and the free movement of peoples related to immigration:

We believe that every human being, whose personality or personhood cannot be infringed on or separated from him by public policy, has an inalienable right to life, from the moment of conception to death. Euthanasia of the elderly or infirm, or voluntary abortion, are acts of aggression against a person that must not be allowed, excepting only self-defense abortion in cases where the position of the fetus in the fallopian tube will with certainty kill both the mother and unborn child. All persons have the right to travel and should be welcomed into Chile as a means to improve our country’s population and development. However, it may be necessary to rely on market-based regulation (e.g., privatized borders, largely-privatized civil registry services and border security guards, private medical teams to isolate infectious diseases) to define the quantity and placement of immigrants.

14- On free-market policy alternatives and the use of force internationally:

Finding and providing solutions to policy problems are an essential feature of any political party. Thus, we propose the use of market incentives, market-based regulation, private initiative and historically favored rules like allodial property rights to encourage the development of remote regions, improve the quality of life, foment business and economic growth, protect residents from infectious diseases, and promote peace. National defense is important and Chile has a right to defend its citizens and their property against aggressors, but we oppose the opportunistic, expansive use of militarism or warfare to subdue other peoples. We all oppose all international entanglements with multinational social or political bodies such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of International Settlements, the International Court of Justice, and so forth. We oppose, too, the imposition of political correctness doctrines on individuals by the state, as well as state criminalization, regulation and other rules regarding what individuals choose to smoke, inhale, ingest, whether in the form of a drug, alcohol or food.

15- On the Party’s historical position:

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and Chile has not yet achieved full independence from state encroachment. The mission of the Independence Party is the unification of the Chileans in a collective process that allows the development of each individual in the country. It represents a rupture with world and national bureaucracies, at the same time being a renewed means to keep Chile open to the rest of the world. Peace with other nations includes trade and free migration that is not contradictory to our independence and sovereignty. As Chile has a strong history of receiving other peoples peacefully, we encourage migration processes that allow for healthy coexistence through market-based regulation, that ensure avoiding cultural and uncivilized clashes. From 1840 to 1930, Valparaíso was one of the economically freest places in the world, yielding a prosperity built on diversity of immigrants and free flows of capital and goods. We aim to restore this golden age of Chile, coupled with a furtherance of the social and political freedoms.

Note for the English version onlyValparaíso even enjoyed free banking from 1862 to 1879. To a lesser extent, similar freedom movements were observed in south-central Chile by European migrations (from 1860 to 1910) to the 9th (especially), 10th, and 14th regions—largely comprised of people fleeing religious (anti-Evangelical) or early-Marxist persecutions in their home countries. Punta Arenas, Santiago, Iquique and Antofagasta also flourished with the influx of immigrants, many of whom became fabulously wealthy. Such freedom is cherished by liberty-lovers today worldwide and showcased by other libertarian parties and libertarian think tanks around the world.

Only in the English version (proposed addition):
16- On financial regulation and banking: As an essential element of free enterprise, the banking, insurance and financial sectors must be freed from ties to the state, leaving their formation and regulation to market-based institutions. We support free banking and competing banknote issue, gold-based banking, and unregulated crytpo-currency activities. Financial accounts and transactions should be completely private and untaxed, both for Chileans and residents from other countries living in Chile.

We face an opportunity never before seen, where a group of Chileans is resolved, and thus decided to take the reins of history, to take Chile down the path of greater individual freedom and free markets.

Long live Chile!

Declaración de principios del Partido Independencia:

Declaración Preliminar: En conformidad con el Articulo 5 de la Ley Número 18.603, el Partido Independencia expresa su compromiso con el fortalecimiento de la democracia y el respeto, la garantía y la promoción de los derechos humanos asegurados en la Constitución, en los tratados internacionales ratificados y vigentes en Chile, y en las leyes.

1- Sobre el ser humano e individuo:

La persona es un fin en sí mismo y no un medio. Como un ente racional (al decir ente racional no decimos que sus actos enteramente lo sean si no que es su principal herramienta de supervivencia) existe por su propio esfuerzo y valentía en cooperación con otros y no para ser utilizado por otros. Siendo dotado de una conciencia volitiva (libre albedrío) las relaciones sociales deben basarse en la colaboración libre y voluntaria entre sujetos para ser consideradas justas, rechazando de esta manera cualquier tipo de imposición forzosa por parte del Estado.

2- De la nación chilena:

El Partido independencia propugna un nacionalismo cívico. Consideramos a Chile una nación occidental e hispanoamericana, cuyas principales influencias culturales provienen de varios grupos humanos: los indígenas, los conquistadores del imperio español, los colonos europeos (especialmente Alemania, Reino Unido, Italia, Croacia, Francia, Suiza, Bélgica y Holanda), Estados Unidos y del imperio turco-otomano provenientes de lo que hoy es Israel o Palestina y Siria. Chile no es fundamentalmente un país de inmigrantes (como lo podría ser Estados Unidos por ejemplo), es un país de indígenas, conquistadores y colonos, por lo que su cultura y rasgos comunes son fácilmente identificables pese a las pequeñas diferencias dadas por la larga geografía que nos aleja.

La preservación y mejora de nuestra nación no es un asunto racial ni biológico, ni militar ni expansionista. El nacionalismo cívico busca la conservación y el desarrollo de lo que hoy entendemos por “Chile”. Rechazamos de plano cualquier forma de racismo o nacionalismo étnico.

3- Ciudadanía y Estado:

Los ciudadanos deben ser libres e iguales en dignidad y derechos. Vivimos en una sociedad mixta, con un Estado que explota las relaciones productivas privadas de las personas a través de altos impuestos. Es por esto que deben reducirse las tasas impositivas y los órganos administrativos deben acercarse a niveles óptimos de eficacia y eficiencia con tal de servir a las personas de la mejor manera posible en materias que no pueden ser resueltas por el mercado.

4- La propiedad privada como Derecho Natural:

La vida, la libertad y la propiedad privada son derechos naturales anteriores al Estado. La defensa de la propiedad privada es la base de una sociedad civil bien conformada, permite la creación de riqueza, el desarrollo personal y potencia la iniciativa individual.

Un individuo libre debe hacerse responsable de las consecuencias positivas y negativas de sus actos, incluyendo de los frutos de su trabajo.

5- Justicia:

Entendemos que la justicia implica que las personas y la naturaleza no pueden ser cambiadas o interpretadas de manera diferente y según el arbitrio de algunos. La justicia significa el respeto por la verdad de una manera incorruptible, siendo el ser humano juzgado por lo que es y tratado en consecuencia.

6- Estado protector y subsidiario:

El Estado debe propender a defender los derechos de propiedad de las personas, que son una expresión de la naturaleza humana, debe promover la solidaridad privada voluntaria y soluciones de mercado y en última instancia cumplir un rol subsidiario focalizado en la población más necesitada garantizando las prestaciones mínimas.

7- Sobre la ley:

La ley es una declaración de la voluntad soberana de los individuos que conforman la comunidad nacional, ya sea ésta en el ámbito general del país o en cada unidad territorial y de la correspondiente jurisdicción.

Sin perjuicio de lo anterior, Chile es una República, y por ello los derechos naturales y fundamentales tales como los derechos a la vida, a la libertad y a la búsqueda de la felicidad no pueden ser coartados por leyes de la mayoría.

8- De la soberanía nacional:

La soberanía de Chile radica en su gente y se aplica en su territorio, debido a lo anterior nos parece importante revisar y someter al control democrático los tratados internacionales, pactos y acuerdos que Chile suscribe.

9- Descentralización y cantonización:

Con el fin de aumentar los grados de libertad y de responsabilidad de los individuos, nos parece importante la delegación de poder de decisión a la unidad organizacional y territorial más pequeña; creemos que la gran mayoría de los asuntos administrativos, valóricos y tributarios corresponden a competencias propias de la comunidad local, es por esto que proponemos la cantonización como estructura administrativa de cada territorio. Las actuales provincias pasarán a ser organismos políticos con autonomía para tomar decisiones en temas de relevancia económica, social y regulatoria. Proponemos con esto un Chile confederado y cantonal.

10- La confianza en la familia y la comunidad:

Siendo el ser humano un animal eminentemente social y empático, creemos en la familia y en la comunidad (grupo religioso, barrio, club deportivo, etc…) como instancias de participación y solidaridad en los que los individuos pueden encontrar contención, ayuda y apoyo. Creemos que recae en ellos el peso de la “acción social” en lugar del Estado burocrático e impersonal.

Creemos además que esto responsabiliza al individuo de los posibles resultados positivos y negativos de sus acciones. En términos de pensamiento, los individuos deben tener la libertad de creer y elegir lo que ellos consideren mejor, aunque esto sea considerado absurdo o ridículo para otros, considerando que uno puede negar la realidad pero no las consecuencias de la realidad. El ser humano debe estar permitido de errar siempre y cuando no imponga su voluntad sobre otros.

11- De la libre asociación y el derecho a discernir:

Las personas deben ser libres de asociarse con quienes estimen mejor según su propio criterio. Nadie puede ser obligado, forzado o inducido a pertenecer a una asociación. Los miembros de cada cuerpo intermedio (empresas, familias, grupos de amigos, fundaciones, clubes, etc…) tienen derecho a expresar su potestad de discernir al momento de aceptar a un nuevo miembro. Nos oponemos a cualquier legislación que intente impedir el ejercicio de este derecho a menos que se trate de un asunto de seguridad nacional. Nos oponemos a la intervención del Estado en el matrimonio, la unidad fundacional de la familia y de la sociedad, cuya determinación y regulación debería dejarse en manos de instituciones privadas o asociaciones.

Todos los seres humanos tienen el derecho a defenderse, por las armas si es necesario, contra otros seres humanos o contra un Estado autocrático que busque quitarle sus derechos naturales por la fuerza.

12- Medio ambiente y privatización de externalidades:

Con el fin de desarrollar plenamente la naturaleza humana, consideramos que es necesario que las personas puedan vivir en un ambiente limpio y sano Sin perjuicio de lo anterior entendemos que los individuos tienen distintas preferencias y visiones respecto del tipo de ambiente en el que quieren vivir. Reconociendo la legitimidad de esas diferencias creemos que el mecanismo para resolverlas es el mercado mediante una adecuada definición de los derechos de propiedad y de los precios de las externalidades.

Creemos que las políticas medioambientales del Estado son soluciones marginales que tienden a hacer que estos problemas medioambientales sean permanentes ya que generan incentivos perversos en ciertos grupos de intereses. Por lo mismo, creemos en soluciones de mercado a problemas, medioambientales y de asignación de recursos naturales.

13- Sobre el derecho a la vida y la libertad de movimiento con respecto a la inmigración

Creemos que todo ser humano, cuya personalidad o persona no puede ser transgredida o separada por políticas públicas, tiene derecho a la vida, desde el momento de la concepción a la muerte. La eutanasia de los mayores y enfermos o el aborto voluntario, son actos de agresión contra personas y no pueden ser permitidos salvo en casos de defensa propia cuando la posición del feto en las trompas de falopa provocará con seguridad la muerte de la madre y del niño que está por nacer.

Creemos en el derecho que de las personas a migrar y creemos que estas deberían ser bienvenidas a Chile como una forma de mejorar la cultura y el desarrollo del país. Sin embargo, para definir la cantidad y la distribución de los inmigrantes, promovemos soluciones de mercado tales como la privatización de las fronteras, la privatización del registro civil y de los guardias y personal médico en las fronteras y siempre en conformidad con la decisión soberana del pueblo chileno.

14- Sobre el libre mercado y el uso internacional de la fuerza

La búsqueda y la promoción de soluciones a problemas políticos es la función principal de cualquier partido político.

Respecto del desarrollo de regiones remotas, de su calidad de vida, de su economía y de su seguridad, proponemos el uso de incentivos de mercado, de la iniciativa privada y de los derechos alodiales.

La defensa nacional es importante y Chile tiene el derecho de defender a sus ciudadanos y su propiedad contra agresores. Sin embargo nos oponemos al uso oportunista y expansionista de la fuerza militar para someter a otras personas.

Nos oponemos al involucramiento con entidades políticas o sociales internacionales que limiten la soberanía de Chile, tales como las Organización de las Naciones Unidas, el Fondo Monetario Internacional y la Corte Internacional de Justicia entre otros.

Nos oponemos a la imposición de doctrinas de lo políticamente correcto, que no son otra cosa que formas de autocensura.

Nos oponemos a la criminalización y la regulación de substancias que los individuos elijan fumar, aspirar o ingerir. Sin embargo entendemos las repercusiones sociales que esto conlleva y por lo tanto entregamos parte importante de la toma de estas decisiones a las comunidades expresadas en sus cantones.

15- Posición Histórica:

El precio de la libertad es la eterna vigilancia y Chile no ha logrado una independencia plena del Estado y de organismos y entidades foráneas. La misión del Partido Independencia es la unificación de los chilenos en un proceso colectivo que permita el desarrollo de cada una de las individualidades que lo componen.

Representa una ruptura contra las burocracias mundiales y nacionales, al mismo tiempo que una fuerza renovadora y abierta al mundo. La paz con otras naciones incluye el comercio libre y la inmigración lo cual no debe estar en contradicción con nuestra independencia y soberanía.

Chile tiene una larga tradición de recibir a otros pueblos de forma pacífica. Creemos y promovemos procesos migratorios regulados que permitan una coexistencia sana mediante soluciones de mercado que eviten choques culturales y civilizatorios.

Entre 1840 y 1930, Valparaíso fue uno de los lugares económicamente más libres del mundo y su prosperidad se construyó sobre la inmigración y la libre circulación de bienes y capitales. Buscamos restaurar la era dorada de Chile y avanzar las libertades sociales y políticas queridas por amantes de la libertad en todo el mundo.

Estamos ante una oportunidad nunca antes vista, donde un grupo de chilenos resueltos ha decidido tomar las riendas de la historia para llevar a Chile por la senda de la libertad.

¡Viva Chile!

Este artículo está escrito en inglés y español. La idea es (1) informar a los hablantes de inglés de un importante movimiento político nuevo en Chile y también (2) ayudar a atraer a personas en Chile para que participen. Si usted es ciudadano o residente permanente de Chile, y está de acuerdo con la plataforma del Partido Independencia, firme el formulario en línea del Partido para unirse a nosotros y mostrar su apoyo.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Chilean Ethnicity and Ancestry: A Somewhat Surprising Mixture

A lot of things are surprising about Chile, especially its natural beauty. Relatively few people seem to be aware of just how stunning the coastal and mountain/lake landscapes can be. The same is true about Chile’s ethnicity, ancestry and culture, which is decidedly European and certainly not Mexican or Central American (e.g., the tacos and burritos in Chile might disappoint you!). Indeed, along with the other two “southern cone” countries, Argentina and Uruguay, Chile is racially far “whiter” and culturally far more European than any other place in Latin America.

That aspect of Chile is due to the fact that between 15% and 29% of its people are direct descendants of Europeans. Note that while those percentages are far higher in Argentina, and even in Uruguay, they still have had quite a significant impact on Chile. And the diversity of Europeans that have come to Chile is somewhat surprising, too. Mostly, one hears about the British and Germans who came. But there were many other sizable, important immigrant groups from places like Switzerland, Austria, Palestine, Armenia, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Holland, Belgium and Croatia.

Chile’s New World story is not entirely different than America’s: people escaping oppression or looking for better economic opportunities. That fact is most certainly true of the vast majority of Latin American immigrants that have arrived since the 1990s, but it was also true from 1850-1950 for Eastern European Jews, Palestinian refugees, Armenian and Greek genocide refugees, German libertarians, anti-communist eastern Europeans fleeing the Soviets, Russian Molokans (non-Trinitarian Pentecostals) looking for religious liberty, persecuted Baptists seeking relief, and myriad poor central European farmers, miners or fishermen that fled their aristocratic homelands in search of peace and prosperity. Many thousands of them found a new home in Chile. The same is true for well-to-do European and Asian merchants and professional that settled in Chile, hoping to find fortune and opportunity in a new land full of natural resources.

The table below summarizes Chilean ethnicity and ancestry information. The sources of information were articles encountered on the internet, as well as Wikipedia. I found rather large differences in figures between sources, so I have reported the findings as ranges. Please do not take this article as either good history or good science. It is neither thing. The objective is to provide those interested in Chile with a general idea of the topic, based on presumably reliable and easily accessible sources. There are also cultural elements today which collaborate the figures: ethnic clubs, ethnic firemen in Valparaíso and Santiago, ethnic schools, tombstones in Valparaíso and Punta Arenas cemeteries written in various European languages, and a variety of European last names. The impact of Far Eastern immigration has been far less, but there are still notable traces, especially seen in Chinese “malls” and restaurants.

As I have said repeatedly, those who plan to come to Chile as a freer, saner alternative to Northern Hemispheric empires and vassal states would do well to learn something about Chile’s culture and history. That history has been changing in the 21st Century with hundreds of thousands of black immigrants from Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, as well as hundreds of thousands more from other parts of South America, especially Peru and Venezuela. In just two years, 2016-2017, 150,901 (net) Venezuelans and 144,589 (net) Haitians immigrated to Chile. Those migrations will change Chile’s national skin color a little more, making it less “white” and more diverse. Chile is changing, mostly for the best, and newcomers should be apprised of where Chile has been and where it is going. I hope that this article has helped facilitate that quest at least a little.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Turning a Blind Eye to the Evils of One’s Homeland

In spite of recent positive election results in Chile, there are still many people who refuse to consider immigrating to this country on account of its national sins and defects, apparently ignoring the magnitude of problems where they presently live. For instance, in response to my previous blog entry (December 2017), a man posted on Facebook: “Regardless of who is in office Chile is still not a safe place to live. lying and stealing are rampant everywhere. Stealing from their neighbors and then bragging about it is part of their culture. Piñera or anyone else cannot change that.”

Nevertheless, this man’s perspective is riddled with questionable logic and seems to be turning a blind eye to the evils of his own land. There is no doubt about egregious extent of lying, stealing and cheating in Chile. I have written about such repugnant practices extensively. Yet, no place on earth is perfect. We must choose places that serve up the least amount of badness. And most people cannot afford Hong Kong, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Andorra or San Marino, nor do they want to live out their days on a small island somewhere. So what place is better than Chile for most people?

The dismissive Facebook comment begs the question: are things really better anywhere else?

I mean, Chilean dishonesty may top the list of notable evils compared to all other countries, but that commentator apparently forgot that other countries have problems that are at least as bad if not far worse: abortion, political correctness, warfarism, welfare statism, quantitative easing (central bank intrusiveness), Draconian business regulation, high murder rates, violence and police brutality, drone killings, NSA surveillance, family court and DSS/CSD atrocities, confiscatory taxation (along with Gestapo tactics), EPA mandates, radical ecology policy, political correctness, and much more. Chile comes in remarkably low on all of those scores.

So, why is the gainsayer willing to put up with all those evils just to avoid having to deal with rampant lying, cheating and stealing? Pretty selective in his sin avoidance/intolerance, no? He seems to be making an implicit decision that Chile’s negative aspects are far worse than a whole host of other evils. It also seems like he is making up excuses for why he wants to stay in a far eviler place than Chile.

Denial is a prevalent trait among Northern Hemisphere dwellers. I recommend that my readers unshackle themselves from such denial. As Ayn Rand famously said, you can deny reality, but you cannot deny the consequences of reality. You doubtless see all the warning signs. Why take the chance?

A more insightful comment was posted elsewhere: “Given Chileans are as dishonest and backstabbing as you suggest, I don’t understand how the average North American or European could ever integrate and live comfortably. Violent crime is rampant in large American cities (trust me, Chileans would faint in parts of Detroit or Baltimore!), but watching our backs at every corner for slick, well-dressed scam artists is quite another matter. Any advice on how to cope? Do Chileans ever take genuine, good-natured interest in foreigners, or is it almost always a ploy?”

There is no easy way to cope in Chile other than to train yourself to not take people at their word or trust anyone you have known for under a year. So, while difficult, it can be done. Also, a reasonable minority (maybe 10%) of Chileans are nice, trustworthy people, at least in my experience. Remember, too, what your alternatives are staying in the U.S.A. Consider the previous points that should be useful in shaking up your thinking and clarifying what you need to do. Chile may be bad, but probably everywhere else you can think of is worse. And that is the stark reality we face in a fallen world.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Recent Trends in Chilean Immigration

Chile is a great country to live in; just ask its nearly 500,000 immigrants (3% of its population). That figure is likely to double by 2025 as even more immigrants pour into the new El Dorado on account of its economic prosperity. According to La Migración en Chile: Breve Reporte y Caracterización, or report on the characteristics of Chilean migration, since 2001, Chile has become the leading migrant destination in Latin America. This trend has also held true for First World immigrants this century, with significant increases in South Koreans, French, Germans, Dutch, Austrians, Czechs and Americans, with honorable mention going to British, Italian and Japanese immigrants.

Although the percentage of First World (OECD) immigrants from places like the U.S.A. and Spain sharply declined during the now outgoing Bachelet administration, it should reverse itself now that the leftist threat has subsided and President Piñera will be back in office, and Latin American and Caribbean immigration has not stopped soaring—and that trend continues. No country in Latin America has experienced a higher boom in immigration recently than Chile. Although the lion’s share of immigrants are workers in their 20s, 30s and 40s, they are not entirely uneducated. In fact, the Chilean government states that the average education level of an immigrant is higher than that of a Chilean citizen—a fact which bodes well for Chile’s economic future.

Furthermore, many immigrants will take any job. I personally have met Venezuelans fleeing the horrors of life under Maduro in once-prosperous Venezuela. Many of them are now working as maids, auto mechanics and electricians in Chile, having earned university degrees from their homeland in education, construction engineering, and industrial engineering, respectively. They are also earning wages that are perhaps 10% lower than Chileans earn.

Such is the cost of being a refugee and one reason I have always advocated getting a second passport (besides the Chilean one). One never knows when things can turn bad and it becomes necessary to leave. How much better is it to arrive in a new place as a citizen rather than a refugee?

According to Población Migrante en Chile, roughly translated as “immigration yearbook,” published by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peruvians still comprise the largest immigration group, making up 27.5%/21.2% of total initial visa applications approved/applied for in 2016. They are followed by Colombians (17.8%/17.7%). The Colombian case is interesting since I would say, along with many others, that Colombia may be the second most desirable place to go to in Latin America, neck-and-neck with Panama. Yet the “market” indicates that large numbers of Colombians would rather live in Chile, a figure which has continued to increase dramatically in recent years—even surpassing Bolivian immigrants—implying that Chile is a far more attractive place.

Bolivia comes next (17.1%/13.3%), which, along with Peru, has easy connectivity with the far north of Chile. Indeed, while the Santiago area attracts 61.6% of new, legal immigrants, the far north (Antofagasta, Calama, Iquique and Arica) attracts an impressive 23.3%, especially remarkable when compared to only 4.0% for Valparaíso/Viña del Mar (Chile’s second largest metropolitan area). They are followed by Haitians (5.8%/16.0%), Venezuelans (5.7%/14.7%), Argentines (4.8%/3.7%), many from the latter two countries being professionals, then Ecuador (3.1%/3.0%), Spain (2.6%/1.4%), the U.S.A. (2.5%/1.4%) and Brazil (1.7%/1.2%). Some of the Spaniards and Americans are freedom-seekers, but most are either retirees or working professionals coming down to work for a few years and then return to their home countries.

Note the figures (percentages) represent requests for initial, temporary visas. The country rankings are somewhat similar when considering applications for permanent residency, with Bolivians leapfrogging Colombians, and Haitians falling below everyone (2.0%, just ahead of Brazil), followed by strong rises in applications made by Argentines, Spaniards and Ecuadorans. The U.S.A. dropping out of the top ten at that stage (reflecting that most Americans in Chile come for short-term assignments with their firms then go back), being eclipsed by other nations, even the Chinese (2.3%) which are on the rise at this stage—along with people from the Dominican Republic. About 10% to 12% of new immigrants settle in wealthier sections like Las Condes or Providencia; most of the rest live in poorer or lower-middle-class sections of Santiago and cities in northern Chile, indicating that the great majority of immigrants are not wealthy, nor qualify as upper-middle class.

I remember how unusual it was to see a black person in Chile during the 1990s. Nearly everyone stared at Negro visitors on the Metro out of curiosity. In 2008, I mentioned in an Escape America Now blog entry that Chile has very few black people. That has totally changed since 2015—especially in the last year. Blacks from Haiti and Colombia are now seen everywhere. There is no institutionalized welfare state in Chile, so these people come to work, even though Colombian women often end up being prostitutes. They are seen doing menial cleanup jobs, heavy lifting and loading, house cleaning, and selling candy at intersections with longer-wait stoplights. The Haitians hardly speak Spanish.

From 2015 to 2016, the number of Colombians applying for visas increased by 40.7% (28,361), Haitians by a whopping 419.0% (35,277), and Venezuelans by a remarkable 323.7% (30,751). Working as much as we do with immigration services for our clients, we have every reason to believe that these large increases skyrocketed even further during 2017. At immigration offices in downtown Santiago, the line to enter (since 2017) now stretches around the block, largely full of immigrants from these three countries. Note that the figures cited do not include illegal or undocumented immigrants, whose number is surely significant, especially from Peru and Bolivia.

In the same way that Chile discriminates against 51% of the world’s countries by making it much harder for them to come to Chile, the ease of getting a visa once in country also varies according to Chile’s revealed preference for First World or professional immigrants. For instance, the average wait time for the initial temporary visa for Venezuelans is 63.2 days, with Americans slightly behind at 65.2 days, followed by Argentines (66.9), Spaniards (70.3), and Brazilians (74.2). However, the wait times are much longer for people from countries that send poorer people: Peruvians (152.7), Colombians (133.9), Ecuadorians (119.3), and Haitians (99.4).

Chile needs immigrants. Nowadays, Chilean women produce only 1.9 children on average, which is not enough to replace the country’s population. And immigrants, especially educated ones, tend to be a boon to the economy (Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, 1996). Moreover, Chile’s demographic makeup is changing racially and politically. Skin color is not quite a white as it was a few years ago. And people from Venezuela and Argentina, and possibly Argentina and Brazil, are likely to support anti-left, anti-communist candidates, given the fact that they fled countries that have been beleaguered and damaged by them. That fact bodes well for libertarians and constitutional conservatives in Chile, since we may expect a rightward or freedom-minded political shift over the coming decade. (Remember that one may vote in Chile after achieving five years of permanent residency.)

Overall, therefore, we should welcome the recent demographic changes caused by immigration to Chile. Even the government, employers and even huge labor unions agree. Chile has passed the “market test,” as growing thousands pour into the territory seeking a better life. Is not that a good indicator for you? While you ponder the grave situation you face in the Northern Hemisphere, now is as good a time as any to consider setting down roots (or at least a “Plan B” residence with visa) in Chile. Visit Escape America Now to find out more about or residency and consultancy services. You will be welcomed and well-liked in this country situated at the end of the world.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Speedy Online Service in Chile

I never thought I would see the day when email would show signs of becoming a dinosaur, but it seems like other social media and certain cell-phone-based applications are becoming the preferred media for general communications and business around the world. Most of the world uses WhatsApp now–at least outside of the USA (SnapChat, etc.) and China (WeChat). In Chile, businesses advertise their WhatApp numbers as preferred means of contact. Supposedly ultra-private Signal has been making great inroads, too, eating away at WhatsApp’s market share a little, further cementing this category of communication’s phenomenal rise.

For the first time in decades my regular monthly cell phone bill has dropped to USD$11. I am just not using the thing to make many voice calls any longer, and I do not use that much data away from Wi-Fi zones or at home. I barely speak 100 minutes per month on the cell phone outside my home. I do make other calls from my landline, since I mostly work from home now. I spend a few extra bucks a month for my internet provider (VTR) to give me a cell-phone-enabled landline, which is cheaper and more convenient than using cell phones at home. VTR won the 2017 OOKLA speedtest award for Chile, apparently dominating its six competitors with average speeds being at least twice as fast.

My cell service (Virgin Mobile) gives me unlimited WhatsApp use (non-voice) with my cheap “antiplan” and I find that the overwhelming majority of my daily communication for business, church, friends and other contacts is done via WhatsApp. Sure, I still use email, but it is no longer the most important communication medium for me.

The internet itself is the only consumable that has increased more than WhatsApp in my life. I now generate even more of my income from internet-based activity than ever before. Whether it is IT, crypto-currencies, day trading, blogging, editing/proofreading, or teaching English online, more people than ever are generating portable, tax-advantaged incomes over the internet. Who would have thought that such a world would have existed in the mid-1990s when I first left the Land of the Free?

Speaking of the internet, I thought it would be worthwhile mentioning how extremely pleased I have been with internet speeds in Chile, a country which has had fiber optics installed everywhere for over three decades. So long as the service is connected correctly, we can easily attain plans that feature 160mbps to 320mbps download, and 8mbps to 15mbps upload, in any of Chile’s major population centers. The monthly cost is usually somewhere between USD$55 and USD$65, which includes the aforementioned landline phone. Basically, all newcomers to either Santiago or Viña del Mar (which is probably 98% of them) can enjoy fantastic, reliable internet connectivity. Data services on cell phones, and the hot spots they can create are also decent and often very good.

Admittedly, I have not been in the United States (thank God) for going on ten years. So I may not really be able to “feel” the difference in connectivity speeds between here and there. But as far as I can remember, Internet service speeds and quality have been better in Chile than the Land of the Free since the end of the Twentieth Century. Newcomers and more recent clients that I have interviewed on the subject confirm that the same is still true. In fact many cannot believe that I get speedtest.com download numbers around 180mbps. I could pay another ten bucks a month and get over 320mbps, but why? I will just use the savings to pay my ever-declining cell phone bill. For what I use the internet for, I probably would never notice the difference between 180mbps and 320mbps anyway.

When it comes to Europe, especially Italy, which I seem to visit once or twice a year, I have had more recent comparative data for internet speeds. I also have experience from my occasional visits to Germany, Spain, Switzerland, France and other parts of Europe. Maybe it is just bad luck, but wherever I stay up there I am lucky to get between 2mbps and 10mbps (download or upload). Indeed, my internet connection in Chile is vastly superior. Now, I am sure that if I had been staying longer term in Milan or Munich I would find great access to the internet somewhere, but it is simply does not seem to be as widespread as it is in Chile. I hear from others that China and Japan also have generally better connectivity speeds than southern/central Europe or North America. Perhaps they do.

Nonetheless, I was looking at Speedtest’s global rankings of 131 countries for internet download speeds by either fixed or mobile services and was actually surprised that Chile is ranked as low as it is: 47th (fixed broadband) and 66th (mobile data). The United States is 9th/45th. Italy is 51st/35th. Germany is 24th/43rd. China is 22nd/24th. Hong Kong is 2nd/26th. Japan is 14th/55th. I guess my travel experience, that of the family in the USA and clients and newcomers I know, is not indicative of general reality elsewhere.

However, I think a more plausible explanation is that Chileans opt for lower broadband speeds for economic reasons. Although Chile is a lower-end OECD country (30th out of 35), not everyone here is willing to pay US$60 per month for internet service. For people in Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway, that cost is a minuscule part of average monthly income. I am sure the opposite is true in smaller cities in Italy, where many people “squeak by” on monthly incomes under 1,500 Euros, and perhaps the same holds for block apartment dwellers its larger cities there. Does the same dynamic likewise prevail in America and Canada, where so many North Americas live on less than US$2,000 per month? Maybe massive use by businesses and big city dwellers skew the statistics in those places? My guess is that per capita GDP is highly correlated with average sustained internet speeds. Unlike America or Italy, Chile only has one big city that generates business-related internet usage.

Accordingly, Chile’s internet speed rankings are plausibly lower on account of consumer choice rather than technological limitations or barriers in the country. Therefore, the upper classes, not to mention nearly all immigrants from “First Word” countries, will have no problem whatsoever attaining Hong Kong-level performance in Chile’s larger cities. As a result, newcomers who depend on the internet need not worry that they will have difficulty getting connected in Chile.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Important New (Mostly Bad) Legislation in Chile

Besides the imminent opening of the new Metro Line 6 in central Santiago, and the fabulous season-end flop of the Chilean national soccer team, along with the upcoming presidential and congressional elections on November 19, 2017, hardly anything has been more polemical than the controversial, new legislation that has passed, which has been recently affirmed and is now being implemented by the Chilean Left. Indeed, the Left is making its mark before losing power, and the resulting tattoo is bad for Chile.

First, the least-pernicious change: as of September 2018, Chile will have a 16th region. The new region of Ñuble will be split off the north end of the 8th Region (Concepción) and will thus be comprised of only about 440,000 inhabitants. Nearby regions have almost twice that amount. The provincial capital will be Chillán. It is still unclear how this new region will benefit the Left, other than that it creates a whole new level of bureaucracy and wastethings that leftists typically love—and this new region will have its own legislators—although it is unclear that they will be from the Left, given that the central valley farm belt towns do not tend to vote leftist.

Second, Chile is no longer a pro-life country, at least not in legal practice. The Left has successfully subverted the Constitution. The Chilean Constitution of 1980, Chapter 3, Article 19, Paragraph 1 says that, “La constitución asegura a todas las personas el derecho a la vida y la integridad física y psíquica de la persona. La ley protege la vida del que está por nacer.” That affirmation means, “The constitution ensures all persons the right to life and their physical and mental integrity. The law protects the life of the unborn.” [Emphasis added]

Yet, in spite of Chile’s constitutional provision to protect life from the point of conception, the Left rammed a bill through the Chilean Congress that permits abortion in the three cases of (1) the life of the mother being in jeopardy, (2) the baby being deformed or defective and (3) rape. The Right challenged the new legislation in constitutional court and just recently lost. (Chilean judges tend to be leftists.) As a result, just like in the United States, the Constitution simply does not matter. By extension, Americans should be put on notice that even obtaining a right to life amendment to the U.S. Constitution would have little or no effect on saving the unborn in the face of leftist meddling and manipulation.

What’s worse, the rule allows women to self-declare or self-proclaim that they were raped, without evidence, in order to obtain an abortion. They do not have to report the rape to the police, ask the fiscal (District Attorney) to prosecute the named aggressor or be certified as having been raped by a doctor (with a sample of residual semen and DNA taken). Chilean culture is full of lying and mistrust, of course, and thus this new legislation has virtually achieved the same openness toward abortion on demand as found in North America, China and Europe.

The policy is a real tragedy for Chile and liberty, as innocent unborn human beings can now be slaughtered with impunity. The fact that a child’s father is a horrible man (or even a criminal) should not lead to the unborn human being compelled to die, in order to adjudicate the crime of another. Doing so is inherently cruel and certainly anti-libertarian.

Obviously, the mother should be compensated by enslaving the perpetrator for 18 or 23 years, or more, once the legal facts are established and the accused is found guilty. But killing an innocent party for the crime of another cannot be just. The internet has many videos and articles featuring adults that were generated as a result of rape. I suggest you watch one or two of them. Nevertheless, the rape issue matters little in the Chilean case, since the “rape” exception is just a leftist ruse to permit a backdoor means of limitless abortion on demand.

There is some hope that the rule will change once the Right is back in power and once Chileans realize that the rule allows de facto abortion on demand. At least very few, if any, “doctors” are stepping up to the plate to start the murderous racket so far. Abortion is not widely approved of in Chile. Even so, one of the things I have liked most about Chile as a libertarian has been trashed: very negative news indeed.

Third, the famous binomial parliamentary election system in Chile has been replaced, both houses of Congress have been redistricted, and the number of diputado and senado seats have been increased by approximately 30%, from 120 to 155 and 38 to 50, respectively These changes will likely favor the Left by removing the binomial protection of minority interests.

Under the new system, individual parties will continue to form coalitions. The highest vote-getter in each coalition will serve as a benchmark, with the second place candidate being assigned a value of one-half of the benchmark, the third place candidate a value of one-third, the fourth place candidate a value of one-fourth and the fifth place candidate a value of one fifth of the benchmark. This method was developed by D’Hont.

After the final scoring is tabulated for all coalitions, the score sheets are merged and winners are assigned from each coalition. Since some places in Chile are dominated by the Left (mainly) or the Right, one can expect that the benchmark value for the favored party will be so high that the opposition parties will hardly be able to have their top vote-getters exceed 50%, 33%, 25% or even 20% of the favored party’s benchmark figure. Thus, in some places, it is evident that four or five seats (maybe more in some congressional districts?) will go to the dominant coalition’s candidates.

New senator counts: Smaller regions will have only two senadores: 15th (Arica), 1st (Iquique), 3rd (Copiapó), 16th (Chillán), 11th (Coyhaique) and 12th (Punta Arenas). Middle-sized ones will have three: 2nd (Antofagasta), 4th (La Serena), 6th (Rancagua), 8th (Concepción), 14th (Valdivia) and 10th (Puerto Montt). Larger regions will have five: the Santiago Metropolitan area, 5th (Valparaíso), 7th (Talca) and 9th (Temuco). One-half of all senators and all congressmen are elected during each presidential election cycle.

New congressmen counts: Extreme northern and southern regions will have only on district with three diputados: 15th (Arica), 1st (Iquique), 11th (Coyhaique) and 12th (Punta Arenas). Of the remaining regions, smaller-sized ones will have one district with five of them: 2nd (Antofagasta), 3rd (Copiapó), 16th (Chillán) and 14th (Valdivia). The 4th (La Serena) has one district, too, but with seven diputados. Middle-sized regions will have two districts with varying numbers of congressmen: eight in each of the two for the 5th (Valparaíso), five in one and four in the other in the 6th (Rancagua), seven in one and four in the other in the 7th (Talca), eight in one and five in the other in the 8th (Concepción), seven in one and four in the other in the 9th (Temuco) and five in one and four in the other in the 10th (Puerto Montt). The Santiago Metropolitan area has seven districts, two with eight congressmen, two with seven, two with six, and one with five.
In total, there will be 29 congressional districts across the 16 regions of Chile (as of September 2018), of which 7 (24.1%) pertain to the Santiago metropolitan area. The Santiago metropolitan area has 30.3% of all Chilean congressmen, the 5th Region (Valparaíso/Viña del Mar), 10.3%, and the 8th Region (Concepción/Talcahuano), 8.4%. Some fear that the new distribution and gerrymandering will benefit the Left, but it is still unclear how, except that they might possibly pick up extra seats in heavily-leftist areas of the country under the D’Hont system.
The system does benefit libertarian independent candidates significantly, since they can gain a seat in Congress with just 11% of the vote in the largest districts of Santiago and the 5th and 8th regions, and 25% in the smallest districts, with 13%, 15%, 17% or 20% needed in districts with sizes in between. Under the previous system, independents needed 5% more votes (e.g., 30% in smaller districts) to have a shot. It would be nice to get a true libertarian in the Chilean Congress from central or northeastern Santiago, Viña del Mar, Concón, Temuco, Villarrica, Pucón or San Pedro de la Paz!
Fourth, a stupid new gender rule has been imposed upon political parties and coalitions, requiring that all coalitions have at no more than 60% of their candidates from one gender. Noncompliance will result in all the candidates from the offending coalition being removed from the ballot. As a special incentive, the government (taxpayer) will award UF500 (US$21,400) to a party for each female candidate that it successfully gets elected. In addition, the victorious woman will get a prize from the state of UF0.01 (US$0.43) for each vote she received, which may be used to reimburse campaign expenses. This sort of blatant feminist public policy is nothing less than sickening, and bodes poorly for Chile.
Finally, here is a legal change from back in 2014 that I have not gotten around to reporting until now: personal bankruptcy is now possible in Chile. Before that year, only companies could file for bankruptcy protection. Bankruptcy may be declared once every five years. I view this as a positive step, especially in a country where credit card and personal/consumer loan (“signature”) debts can all now be secured eventually by real property. That’s right: there is no such thing as unsecured debt in Chile insofar as banks and credit institutions are concerned. By charging exorbitant interest rates for such products, those institutions get to have their cake and eat it, too.
On balance, other than this last bit of bankruptcy legislation, none of these new rules bodes well for Chile. Even though the country stands head and shoulders above other nations of the world in terms of possible ex-pat destinations, it appears that it should now be knocked down a bit.
Time will tell if the new 16th Region and the new parliamentary election rules will end up being negative or positive on balance. The first test will come during the November 2017 elections. We will also see if the evil or stupid abortion and feminist policy rules stand up under the expected right-leaning government to come. So, do not be so quick to cross Chile off your list of country candidates. Other places are still much worse. And some things might actually improve in Chile yet! Thankfully, the current mood is very anti-Left.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Note on the First World Status of Chile

Is Chile a First World country? During the Cold War Era, the term “First World” referred to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe, which were industrialized and had a large and growing middle class. The “Second World” referred to communist countries, especially in Eastern Europe, but by extension also in Asia, and even Cuba, perhaps. The “Third World” was basically everywhere else, mostly poor and/or oppressive countries run by a few wealthy families in Africa, southern Asia, Latin America and most Pacific and Caribbean island nations.

Note that in the compounds where the rich live within the Third World, the environment may look like the First World for a few blocks or even several square kilometers. Such is the case in cities within countries like India, Brazil, South Africa, Bolivia, Peru, Panama, Malasia and Thailand. Nevertheless, the limited existence of a high standard of living for those fortunate 1% or 2% of the population does not elevate the country out of its Third World status.

Since the end of the Cold War, the world’s political landscape has changed, and such terminology has fallen out of favor. But I still like using it. Hence, in my writings, I have chosen to hijack the term Second World and redefine it as something in between First World and Third World. The concept was accordingly morphed to refer to those countries that have a lot of urban blight and old or ugly buildings and infrastructure, but also have a significant and growing middle class with some disposable income. As a result, in countries meeting those criteria, there is very little hunger, nearly everyone has shoes, as well as access to technology (e.g., cell phone), education and basic medical services.

An online search for the term First World reveals that the word technically means, “the highly developed industrialized nations often considered the westernized countries of the world.” Beyond this definition, however, Wikipedia actually has a pretty good, embellished meaning that better relates to the modern-day scenario: “the definition has instead largely shifted to any country with little political risk and a well functioning democracy, rule of law, capitalist economy, economic stability and high standard of living. Various ways in which modern First World countries are often determined include GDP, GNP, literacy rates and the Human Development Index.” Obviously, this definition precludes the inclusion of countries like Cuba, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Belarus, etc. However, it also allows for the inclusion of countries like Chile, Israel, South Korea, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, all of which have large and growing middle classes, and possibly even opens the door to soon let in places like New Caledonia, Mauritius, Bahamas, Namibia, Turkey, Mexico and South Africa.

Building on that paradigm, in my book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, I argue that Chile is (by many standards) a First World country, especially in its central part, which includes Santiago and Viña del Mar-Concón. That rationale does not mean that Chile offers the same standard of living as Japan, Hong Kong, Western Europe, Canada, Australia or the United States. However, Chile does share some common features with them, a fact that is reflected by Chile being the only Latin American country to have qualified for the USA’s “visa-waiver program” and that it is no longer eligible for World Bank or IMF aid (like its neighbors). Chile’s standard of living and quality of life continues to rise, too, along with its amenities and infrastructure quality. Indeed, Chile has great, private inter-urban highways and the strongest, most earthquake-resistant, buildings in the world. Both things are hearty pluses for the country.

The case for Chile’s “first-worldliness” is underscored by its inclusion among the ranks of the formidable 35 OECD countries of the world. The OECD website states,

Today, our 35 Member countries span the globe, from North and South America to Europe and Asia-Pacific. They include many of the world’s most advanced countries but also emerging countries like Mexico, Chile and Turkey.

Excluding small island countries and minor, rich, enclave countries in Europe (e.g., Monaco, San Marino, Andorra), the OECD list basically includes the wealthiest 20% of all countries in the world, in terms of economic, political, social and legal development. Not surprisingly, Chile is ranked 30th in terms of GDP, and enjoys the company of Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Portugal, Greece and Estonia just ahead of it, and Poland, Hungary, Turkey and Mexico just behind it. All of those countries, excepting perhaps the last two, are widely considered to be First World countries. Why then should Chile not be?

Chile is certainly not the Third World but, admittedly, most of it would certainly fall into the Second World category if it were carved up. Nevertheless, judging from my travels to OECD and other countries, Northeastern Santiago, Viña del Mar-Concón, Pucón, Zapallar and Puerto Varas would all qualify as First World areas of Chile, with parts of the Concepción and La Serena metro areas making a run for it. That means that the majority of Chileans live in or next to First World environs. By extension, I think it is not unreasonable to place Chile marginally into the First World category.

Stating this fact does not mean that Chile’s standard of living is like that found in countries with much higher GDPs, like the United States, France, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, etc. All First World countries are not equal. One need only to compare most of Italy, Greece and Portugal with the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria to see that reality born out. The same is true with the United States, Australia and Canada, which have vast internal, socio-economic differences: bustling and beautiful major city centers surrounded by pockets of degraded neighborhoods or slums, and many shanties, mobile home parks or rural areas that can only honestly qualify as Second World sectors within First World boundaries.

Not all Americans, for instance, live in Manhattan, Michigan Avenue (Chicago), Boca Raton, Santa Barbara or Beverly Hills and make six- or seven-figure incomes. The great majority of Americans live in small towns, rust-belt, run-down inner-city slums (e.g., Watts, south Chicago, Detroit) and rural areas, mostly in the South or Southwest, where many earn less than a couple thousand dollars per month. American poverty is common and often abysmal in the aforementioned places. Over 20% of Americans receive welfare, not counting Social Security recipients.

The same thing happens in Italy, where large earners live in Turin, Milan and Rome, but myriad small towns and rural areas are chock full of families squeaking by on under 1,500 Euros per month. Such widespread income disparities or pockets of poverty do not disqualify America or Italy from being considered First World countries. The average or per capita measure is used to rank them. The same logic applies to Chile.

Chile is First World, but situated in a lower rung of the group. That fact is not in dispute. Accordingly, newcomers will have to make some adjustments. One newcomer recently remarked to me, “Bottom line–we will have to adjust to the lower standard of living or leave. That’s all there is to it.” Actually, he will learn over time that the upper middle class in Chile actually lives at a higher standard of living in Chile than in the USA or Europe. Here people from that class can afford household servants, private schools for their kids, better-quality vehicles, beach/lakeside second homes, country club memberships and specialized medical care that can only be afforded by the upper class up yonder.

Newcomers simply need to be patient and learn to break into this rung. They cannot see soon after arrival what the benefits will be, but they should ask themselves: “Why is it that the upper classes here do not try to live in North America or Western Europe, even when a great number of them hold American, Canadian and especially EU passports from Italy, Germany, Sweden or Spain, as well as their Chilean ones? It is at least in part because their standard of living and quality of life is higher in Chile than it would otherwise be up yonder. They have goods and services here that they could not dream of up there. That is why so many expats that come to Chile under contract with mining or agricultural firms try to stay on in country after their contract ends.

Anyone who claims that comunas like Las Condes, Vitacura and Reñaca-Concon are not First World has obviously not traveled much, even to non-glamorous parts of the USA or Europe. As an OECD country, Chile is classified among the world’s wealthiest nations, and noticeably more so every year. I see it more now compared to when I first arrived in 1996. If Chile continues to grow the same for the next two decades, it will surpass many other countries on the OECD list. Still, the USA is presently a richer country than Chile; no one is denying that fact. But how many wars, central bank disasters, EMPs, nukes, plagues, etc. is the USA away from facing more widespread poverty? Chile is mercifully free from those threats.

Indeed, Chile has already exceeded most other OECD countries in some things. It has far better internet connection infrastructure than any other country I have been to, including the USA, Spain, Germany, New Zealand and Italy. After ousting the communists in 1973, Chile installed fiber optics everywhere. Other countries are still catching up. Chile also has, hands down, the best and strongest buildings in the world. Indeed, building quality (excluding the finish work) is much better in Chile than in the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Western Europe. Neither of those credentials are unimportant. In addition, Chile has some of the most modern mining and port facilities in the world. The only place in the Western Hemisphere with superior medical care to the top Santiago “clinics” are the top places in the USA and maybe the Einstein system in Sao Paulo. The same may be said of some spots in the UK and Germany, and perhaps France and Japan, too. That fact is huge. One never knows when he will need good medical care.

Cell phone service in Chile is as good as in Europe and better than in the USA. It is top-notch in Chile. The intercity highways are on par with the richest OECD countries, too. People rightly complain about the poor quality of city streets in Viña del Mar, and rightly so, but their condition does not make Chile less than First World. Bigger First World cities like Naples, Italy have roads that are at least as bad. Supermarkets and super centers or malls are at least as modern in Santiago and Viña del Mar as I have seen in the USA and Western Europe. Santiago has a modern, fast and convenient international airport. These are just a few important indicators. If I were to spend a few hours pondering, I could come up with other things. Chile also copies some of the best things found in other OECD countries, such as magnetic, inclined moving walkways that grab onto the shopping cart’s wheels, and a system of red/green lights over parking lot stalls in larger garages that let drivers know if there are open stalls available in any given row.

Some newcomers complain about air conditioning and heating systems. While air conditioning is largely unnecessary in almost any part of Chile, with the possible exception of west-facing apartments in Santiago, heating is needed in most places. Most modern buildings have central heating but some do not, since locals prefer to use cheaper floor heater units instead. Nonetheless, even in this preference, Chile is not different than many other OECD countries.I have lived in Chile the better part of 22 years and have never needed or wanted air conditioning in either northeastern Santiago or Viña del Mar. Ditto for ceiling fans. If either were needed, Chileans could easily import them.

The Santiago summer heat is possible to beat by just opening the windows in the morning and closing them in the afternoon. (The maids are used to coordinating this effort.) The only apartments that one will see with air conditioning units are directly west-facing ones, which always sell for less on account of this feature. Some apartments are designed without central heating since it is expensive and many people prefer to save the additional cost for central heating and simply bring their own US$250 Toyotomi (Japanese, kerosene) or other portable heater. However, that fact does not mean that apartments in Santiago are without heat. doing without heat is a choice people make. Indeed, I have central heat where I live in Viña del Mar. So, one can get it.

A newcomer once complained, “Outside of Northeast Santiago  there are shanty towns everywhere. Toilets don’t work right (don’t flush the paper). There is no toilet paper in public bathrooms, every house has to have its own dungeon-like security setup. There are homeless dogs everywhere. That’s my definition of Second World.” While some of these aspects admittedly discredit claims to Chile’s first-worldliness, they generally do not. Remember that relatively few OECD countries a perfect in every category of modernity, anti-theft measures, infrastructure, wealth and overall prosperity. Protective gates and fences, for instance, are also commonplace in First World Europe.

He also complained about oppressive relative costs for tolls, energy and other items, generated by taxes or monopolies in Chile. That idea is certainly true when it comes to gasoline and certain regulated monopolies, including notaries, real property recorders, along with electricity, water and natural gas providers. However, any observable relatively higher cost of certain goods and services, whether due to being taxed by government or corporate “tyranny” (even if such a thing did exist in a market economy), has nothing to do with whether a country is First World. Spend a little time in Western Europe, Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong and you will see very relative high prices for things and yet still those places are still very First World. Newcomers that state that high relative prices are part-and-parcel of the Second World are  non-economists using economics jargon in a nonsensical way.

Let me comment further on some of the claims of this newcomer. First, there are shanty towns in Chile, but they are no worse than those found in the rat/drug-infested Bronx, inner-city Detroit, Oil City, Pennsylvania, the miles of slums along the West Virginia/Kentucky border, “rust belt” slums, shanties in many parts along the Mississippi River or in many Arizona/New Mexico Indian villages. Ditto for many places in Europe, especially Portugal, Greece and Italy. Being “First World” does not mean the near absence of shanties, but it does imply far fewer of them over time. What Chile bears is nothing compared to what countries do in the Third World, like Bolivia and Brazil and, other than external appearance, generate not much worse living conditions than the non-seismic-safe, centuries-old edifices in poorer areas of Italy, Portugal and Greece.

Second, homeless dogs are definitely a point against Chilean first-worldliness, although Chileans think that euthanizing them in the other First World counties shows then to be in fact brutal regimes; ditto for abortion other than “in a few exceptional cases.” Third, people steal the toilet paper and that frequent situation is why one must “carry his own” unless he uses a pay restroom (better). Doing so is a total hassle but the absence of toilet paper has nothing to do with whether a country is First World. All public restrooms in pubic places in Europe are paid, too. Note that not being able to flush toilet paper due to inadequate sewer infrastructure (not the toilets themselves) does certainly indicate something less than First World, but it is the only thing on his list that is clearly so. Let’s hope the situation in Chile improves. Until then, we must grin and bear it.

I have done what I can to help my reader understand what to expect in terms of standard of living in Chile. What I said about costs and infrastructure is accurate. I pull no punches with regard to Chile and I have the relevant university degrees and extensive travel experience to back up what I am saying. When Chile needs to be slammed I do so, but I am not going to level untrue or unfounded claims at it based on incorrect definitions of things like “First World” or judgments about the features of the OECD group of countries. Chile has its problems but so does every country.

For newcomers reading this article, I suggest that you just be glad you are in a safe place in the Southern Hemisphere and learn to make the best of it instead of complaining a lot or throwing out sweeping, unsubstantiated claims. You did, after all, choose to come to Chile because you felt considerable uneasiness about living in the old country. As bad as Chile might be, it is probably still much better than a FEMA camp or a false-flag zone, no?

Prewar Germany, England and France were jewels, too. A lot of it soon became rubble, with all the associated carnage among their previously-thriving populations. Do you really think that the same thing cannot happen again in Western Europe or in North America? If you think that the risks of staying in the old country are too high, and have come to Chile to “escape,” then I suggest that you learn to be an optimist and adopt a positive outlook. No one likes to be making a go at something new and difficult, and to be frequently bombarded by whining and nagging people, reminiscing about how things were better in the old country. Chile is going to be what we make it.

I do not worry about being in my Chilean building if and when there is an 8+ Richter Scale earthquake. However, I would be very worried if I were in California or Italy by the prospect of such a large earthquake (and yet they are still First World places, too, no?). My food quality in Chile is better than in other First World places (and yet they are still First World, too, no?).

There are other things that I enjoy in Chile. I get to have an ocean view and can grow organic blueberries in my backyard. I have lots of avocados coming on the tree now, too. I have a gardener that tends to things. My view makes me smile every day. My internet almost always flies (over 170mpbs download and 8mbps upload). I have far more here than I ever had in the land of the free or Italy. I am content with what God has provided and hope to make more improvements. Can you say the same where you live?

Friendly last word to newcomers: Try not to focus on negative things. It does not help to do so. We know they are here in Chile. But there are a lot of positive things, too, right? Do you fear jack-booted thugs breaking down your door by accident one night and shooting you? How about a “terrorist” bombing/shooting/stabbing/vehicular homicide? Or a family court stealing all your assets and filching your children? Is there any concern that the feds might steal your retirement savings? Will the EPA or FCC use you like a guinea pig? Is there a chance that you will be fired for not being politically correct enough at work? How about chem-trails, GMO foods, possible radiation? While, I am not sure about the true extent of any of those threats, I am confident that I do not face them here. It seems to me that all of us in Chile have a lot more to be thankful for than many are willing to admit. I hope you will agree and put on a positive attitude moving forward in our adopted First World country.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

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