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Center Left Presidential Candidate Bachelet Wins by Landslide

As expected, Michelle Bachelet was elected President of Chile in the December 15, 2013 runoff election. The center-left candidate was President during 2006-2010, a period of relative stagnation in Chile’s economy. The electoral landslide (62% in her favor) was not unexpected since the candidate from the Right, Evelyn Matthei, became sickeningly populist at the end of the campaign, making alienated rightist voters stay home in large numbers. Voter turnout was the lowest in history; fewer than 50% of registered voters voted.

While some fear that her radical feminist role in the United Nations has made her worse than she was before, many believe that she will continue to be a moderate leader. Her election further shows the need for more libertarian activism in Chile. Since the general election last month, there have been some worries about a leftward swing as the Left gained a lot of seats, almost enough to make some structural changes to Chilean policy. But I think the jury is still out as to how Chile will fare. Certainly, if radical changes are made and fail, there will be a greater opportunity for the Right to come back in four years. The most likely scenario is one of favor-brokering and rent seeking with crony capitalism.

2013-12-15 Chile Vote 2

Libertarian immigrants might be interested in knowing in which places (comunas) Matthei actually won. They might want to live where people are more like-minded. She only won in a few places in six of Chile’s 15 regions: little towns Camiña and Colchane in the 1st Region (regional capital Iquique, where she got 45% of the vote); Concón, Algarrobo, Santo Domingo and Zapallar in the 5th Region, with Viña del Mar being very close. In the Metropolitan Región of Santiago Matthei won (usually by a lot), not surprisingly, Vitacura, Lo Barnechea, Las Condes, La Reina, Providencia and Colina (Calera de Tango was close); in the 8th Region she won Pinto and Pucón in the 9th Region (where Lonquimay was close). In the 12th Region she won the tiny towns of Cabo de Hornos, Timaukel and Antártica. Other than the frigid areas in the cities listed above, these places are congruent with were most well-to-do immigrants would want to be, and any immigrant that favors liberty.

I was surprised to see the farming areas go so strongly for the center left this time around. Bachelet’s victory in mining areas of the north and south of Concepción was no surprise. Matthei did best in Northeastern Santiago, the Northwestern 5th Region, and not so bad in some places in the 9th Region. The only big regional cities where Matthei had a decent showing were Viña del Mar, Iquique and Temuco. The rest were a disaster. Honorable mention goes to the 22 comunas that mustered at least 43% for Matthei. These are:

  • Iquique (1st, 45%)
  • Papudo (5th, 44%)
  • Quilpué (5th, 43%)
  • Villa Alemana (5th, 47%)
  • Ñuñoa (RM, 46%)
  • Pirque (RM, 48%)
  • El Carmen (8th, 45%)
  • Tirúa (8th, 45%)
  • Curarrehue (9th, 45%)
  • Gorbea (9th, 48%)
  • Melipeuco (9th, 45%)
  • Temuco (9th, 47%)
  • Teodoro Schmidt (9th, 47%)
  • Toltén (9th, 48%)
  • Villarrica (9th, 48%)
  • Lago Ranco (14th, 45%)
  • Cochamó (10th, 47%)
  • Puerto Varas (10th, 47%)
  • Cochrane (11th, 44%)
  • Lago Verde (11th, 48%)
  • Río Ibánez (11th, 46%)
  • Caleta Tortel (11th, 46%)
  • Río Verde (12th, 47%)

Of these, I was quite surprised to see that smaller, but overall nicer communities like Puerto Varas, Lago Ranco, Papudo, Curarrehue and Villarrica (both near Pucón), as well as cities like Gorbea and Temuco, and perhaps Quilpué and Villa Alemana, did not outright go for Matthei. It is also evident from this election that the Right has lost its once strong grip on places areas surrounding Rancagua, Talca, Valdivia, Osorno and Puerto Montt. Very troubling results overall. Now more than ever we have something to work for!

The government reported that only 41.9% of registered voters actually went to the polls. This result is partly because the Left believed that they would win big (and did) and because the Right did not at all like their candidate. Thus the result was somewhat of a protest vote. A foreigner should certainly not come away with the idea that Chile is 62% leftist from the 2013 election. There are 6 popularly elected communists in the Congress. But there are far more than that who are libertarians. We must not lose perspective. The rightist parties chose a bad candidate and then chose not to vote for her.

Help Chile be a freer place by investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.

Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).

Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, 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 $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Changes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Free Trade Treaty)

I have written about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Treaty in an earlier entry. Chile already has good free trade agreements with all of the Pacific countries meeting to revamp and increase participation in the present Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty. Thus, it stands to gain little or nothing by ratifying a new or revised treaty, other than some minor benefits regarding shipments of agricultural products to Japan. The original members were New Zealand, Chile and Singapore. Brunei joined a few years later. Now Australia, Mexico, the USA, Japan, Vietnam, Canada, Malaysia and Peru want to join (image source). However, all negotiations in Salt Lake City are being held in Secret and hundred of representatives from major companies are present to lobby their causes. I smell a rat. The little gains that Chile will make pale by comparison to the sacrifices in other areas.

For residents and citizens of the Land of the Free, the story might be a little different. An avid reader of this blog and listener to the Red Hot Chile internet radio show named “Jim C.” sent me the apropos text below that might be considered by those who find themselves in that beleaguered country:

The major reason the trade deal should be avoided is because it is written by the banking cartel to bring individual freedom in all countries down to the lowest common denominator.   In the case of Chile the changes required would be to make Chile more like the USA in all the things we like least about the USA.   I think that right there is why we should be against whatever the secret text of the TPP says. Interesting to note that the US Constitution was also negotiated in secret.  In the end the best things about the document were the first 10 amendments that states added as a requirement to approve the deal after they saw what had been developed in secret.  In the case of the TPP there is no option for the players to debate openly and make amendments.

When one considers that Chile, New Zealand and Singapore–all top ten countries in the Economic Freedom of the World index and the Index of of Economic Freedom–put together a free trade treaty it is hardly surprising that the pat really did make trade “freer” between those nations. Now that the USA is involved, we can expect big-pharma, Monsanto/Pfizer/Bayer, big IT and other multinationals to start pushing their agricultural, intellectual property and prescription drug agendas as a prerequisite to free trade. This danger must be avoided by Chile. It is best for Chile to leave things as they are. What concerns me is that the “big boys” will sweeten the pie and offer Chile something on the side so that they stay in the game. And the new administration might just be tempted by such goodies to sign off on the deal and weaken Chile’s position. The main cause for hope I see in Chile is that there have been newspaper articles and television interviews which criticize the modifications to TPP and explain why Chile stands to gain little from any revised accord.

Help Chile be a freer place by investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, 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 $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Eighth Wonder of the World

According to a survey by USA Today, the majority of five million voters elected Torres del Paine national park in Chile’s 12th Region as the 8th wonder of the world. Those of us who have been there are hardly surprised. In fact, I have been saying for years that southern Chile is the most beautiful part of the planet, especially that national park and the western side of Lago General Carrera in the 11th Region running a close second, with honorable mention going to Lago Todos los Santos in the 10th Region.

The scenery on a sunny day is absolutely breathtaking. There are so many beautiful things there that make it special.

One can say that many places have one or two things with are outstanding, like Mount Blanc, Yosemite, Mount Cook or Banff. But I know of no other place in the world that offers so many different spectacular sites: glacier, five lakes each of a different color, waterfall, jagged and multi-colored glacier-encrusted peaks (with two very different main ranges), and interesting wildlife.

Torres del Paine is one of those interesting and wonderful benefits about life in Chile. It earns a 10 on the Cobin scale of natural beauty, with the other places mentioned earlier earning 9.9 and 9.7 respectively.

Chile has dozens of places over 9 and many over 9.5 on my scale, but Torres del Paine stands at the top. The voters in the USA Today poll certainly got it right. I try to get down there every few years and each time is just as worthwhile as the time before. Don’t miss it!

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.

Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).

Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, 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 $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

Introducing EscapeAmericaNow.info

For the past six years I’ve been blogging on Google’s free Blogger service. At first it was an experiment and sort of a hobby. But after a while demand grew, resulting in my consulting service as well as the visa and residency service. I’ve also had the opportunity to get involved with various real estate opportunities, helping many of you acquire property here in Chile.

Eventually this grew into more opportunities such as the Red Hot Chile radio show and our newest development, Freedom Orchard. The result was that my efforts were sort of spread out, as evidenced by the several links above, without a real central hub offering the services and opportunities along with pertinent and helpful information found in the blog.

Also, while this is a labor of love, it’s really not a very profitable venture. Most of the information I’ve provided is free here on the blog, as well as on Red Hot Chile. We sell books to those serious about Chile and I get consultations that help offset the time and costs involved, but it’s really not a highly profitable venture.

In order to tick both of these boxes, as well as a few more, and offer a more convenient means for readers to access the services and books I’m able to offer, I’ve started this new site. As you can see, there’s advertising. The goal is for the advertising to offset the costs and time involved simply maintaining the site. In addition. we’ve consolidated our different services and books right here on the site. And to provide greater convenience, we’ve implemented tools that will help those of you who are interested to more conveniently initiate visa or consulting services. This helps us both out, really, by making it easier for you while providing a fairly straight forward means for me to make these services and my books available to you.

As you may have noticed recently, I’ve also set up my articles in a new newsletter service. If you’d like to receive my articles directly as they’re published, please fill out the form on the right side of this page.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading and supporting my efforts over the past five years. Your encouragement and faithfulness in reading has blessed me. Spread the word, and together we can help others see the opportunity for greater freedom that awaits them in Chile.

Sincerely,
Dr. John Cobin

Voting in Chile as a Foreigner

Some foreigners (non-citizens) can vote in Chile. They have to be permanent residents who have been in the country at least five years that are over the age of 18. Voter registration is automatic and goes according to one’s last known address.

You have to be in Chile at your designated precinct to vote. There is no absentee or internet voting, and currently no voting if one happens to be overseas on election day. If you have been in Chile for five years you may already be registered and just do not know it. [image source]

This fact about foreigners being able to vote is little known, and seems unusual by Northern Hemisphere standards. But in Chile, permanent residency is highly regarded, to the point where they have a real say in democratic processes.

Other than having to touch the soil once a year to maintain the status, permanent residents are treated in every way the same as citizens. There are regulations for voting that can be seen at this link and this one; and this other link describes the steps for changing one’s electoral address.

Check this link (enter your RUT number) to see if you are registered to vote and where you have to go to vote. The most libertarian presidential candidate this time around (November 17, 2013 election, and the likely second round in January 2014) is Evelyn Matthei, trained in economics, just in case you are wondering who to vote for.

Economics professor and administrator Franco Parisi is the second-best candidate, mainly on account of some of his economic policies, but he overtly favors abortion up to the 10th week of gestation which means that I would never vote for him. Matthei would accept some abortion but has vowed if elected to hold the pro-life line out of respect for her party’s strong position. Thus, given all the candidates, I think we can at the very least hold our noses and vote for Matthei, even though she also holds to some very irritating (vote-seeking) populism for minimum wages, gender gap income equality (which does not work), and stiffer rules for child support collection.

She holds herself out to be more of an interventionist than she probably is, in order to gain more votes. While not perfect, she is certainly far better than frontrunner socialist Michelle Bachelet.

     Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations. Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can login at www.overseasradio.com. You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the link provided on the ORN website (recorded show updated every Monday morning). Be sure, too, to visit www.allaboutchile.com for discussion and forums about the country.
     Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), 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 $49. If you have problems getting the book through the www.escapeamericanow.info or Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the 
www.escapeamericanow.info or Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 
    The www.escapeamericanow.info and Overseasradio.com websites also have Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Avoiding the Value Added Tax in Hotels

     There are a shrinking number of benefits these days to having an American passport and, although European passports are much better, they too can provide some unpleasant side effects in certain hostile countries. Sometimes, these passports require extra taxes Americans, Canadians, Albanians, Mexicans and Australians all get the privilege of paying the “reciprocity fee” at the Santiago airport (up to US$160), which is good for the life of the passport. So that fact is not a stellar benefit by any means.

Applying for residency in Chile is also much more expensive for Frenchmen and Englishmen (and many others) than it is for Americans (which is very cheap). These added fees are tantamount to another tax.

However, one thing that foreign travel documents can do for you in Chile is get you a 19% discount on the room rate in hotels. But be careful. Merely showing the passport at check-in alone is not enough, and the check in clerk will likely not tell you all that is required, because the hotel can deduct expenses against the value added tax (IVA); a portion of the tax becomes a form of revenue for the company. So they do not have much incentive to inform customers of the national policy.

In order to deduct the IVA you must do the following:

  1. Show the foreign passport, and many places will likely want to see your entry stamp in the passport or on the little paper you get at the airport to make sure that you are not really a resident of Chile masquerading as a tourist.
  2. Tell them that you want to have your rate exempt from IVA and
  3. Tell them you want to pay your bill in dollars, not pesos, even if by credit card.

If you do not do all of these things you will likely not get the discount. Also note that in smaller establishments the owners are often ignorant of the legislation that exempts foreigners from paying IVA at hotels. In those places you will probably be stuck paying the tax.

Knowing Chilean Culture: Al Sur del Mundo

     If you are interested in learning more about Chilean culture, and can understand Spanish, you should check out the famous television series that ran for years during the 1980s and 1990s. It is called Al sur del mundo and all of the many dozens of episodes (around 50 mins. each) are available on YouTube. The quality of Spanish language is excellent–hardly typical Chilean. The 1st episode aired in 1982 and the 100th episode ran in 2000. Chile (map) is a mixture of Indian cultures (Aymara, Atacameños and Changos in the north; Picunches, Diaguitas and Mapuches or Araucanos in central Chile; Yamanas, Llaganes, Cuncos, Chonos, Alacalufes, Onas y Huilliches in the south) mixed with Spanish culture, along with a good dose of 19th and 20th century European immigration from Germany, England, France, Italy, Croatia, Switzerland, Israel and the Christian Arab World (Syria, Palestine and Lebanon). [image source]

     Much of Chile was significantly impacted by these waves of immigration. The German influence is widely seen in the south from Temuco to Puerto Montt, and even to Coyhaique, as well as in Valparaíso. British influence is seen in Valparaíso, Antofagasta and Iquique. Just about every major immigration has impacted Punta Arenas and Santiago. Nowadays, Chile has more than a quarter-million foreign residents from other Latin American countries and about 60,000 from First World countries: the United States, Spain, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Australia, South Korea and a few more from many other places. These new arrivals are more consumers of culture than creators of culture. At any rate, Chile is somewhat of a melting pot and the appearance of people is more European than most other Latin American counties (Argentina and Uruguay excluded). Many of the customs are quaint and colorful. Cultural awareness is certainly desirable for any prospective immigrant. The series also gives one a glimpse of the varied topography and scenery in Chile.

     Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations. Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can login at www.overseasradio.com. You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the link provided on the ORN website (recorded show updated every Monday morning). Be sure, too, to visit www.allaboutchile.com for discussion and forums about the country.
     Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), 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 $49. If you have problems getting the book through the www.escapeamericanow.info or Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the 
www.escapeamericanow.info or Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 
    The www.escapeamericanow.info and Overseasradio.com websites also have Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy  (2009) 

Using Sport Jackets in Chile

     North Americans and Europeans stand out in Chile for a number of reasons. One of the most prominent reasons is the way they dress. Americans tend to be particularly sloppy, according to Chilean standards, wearing sweat pants (for instance) outside of the gymnasium. They also go out with wrinkled clothing and wear notably bright colors that may not even match. A Chilean never wants to draw attention to himself by the way he looks, smells, how loud he speaks, or by what he says (especially if it shows rudeness, lack of education or culture). Chileans seek to be accepted and loved by everyone; included in the group and appreciated. In Chile, people want to present themselves as respectable, if not put on airs, when they are seen in public. Boisterous Argentines are, for example, intolerable for their speech. No Chilean would want to be like an arrogant Argentine. They want to appear humble instead, and they do so by making saying many nouns in forma diminuitiva (that is, ending in –ito or –ita). Chileans pick on certain dress standards as well, and have adopted a number of odd prejudices or beliefs. They have a slang expression, a lo gringo, which means that one goes without underwear. While it is not clear why they think that North Americans (or Europeans) do not wear underwear, they must have got the impression at some point from somewhere. And Chileans do not want to go out into the world a lo gringo. [Image source]


     I have commented beforehand on certain requirements for women’s clothing to avoid being considered “slutty” or low class, but men normally get off much easier with far less scrutiny. In most formal or business events, a man’s attire is basically the same: a dark suit with a light shirt and a decent tie. But beware of using sport coats and slacks (called an ambo outfit in Chile). If you show up to a formal event, such as a wedding, with a sport coat you will likely be the only one there that has one on. Chilean men by and large do not wear them. They wear full, dark suits. The ones with no suits or who only have a shirt and tie on, are typically lower class people who do not normally wear a suit or even own one. The same thing holds true in most business events. The only time one might see a man wearing a sport coat is when he is teaching a class at the university, mainly in some hippy or artsy discipline–although full suits are far more common in some faculties, too–and perhaps some informal events. (Note that most university professors that I have seen do not wear a coat and tie of any kind.) Low-level professional posts also might exhibit men with sport coats, but you will be hard-pressed to find businessmen, lawyers, accountants and bankers wearing one. At any rate, if you want to play it safe in formal events and meetings, stick to full dark suits that will be appropriate in any setting.
     On a related note, one will never see a Chilean man (other than workers in agriculture, fishing or mining which require very durable clothing and lots of washing) that wears blue jeans or khaki pants to work, as is common in the Northern Hemisphere. Chilean men prefer darker slacks in general. Light colored pants and jeans are for the beach, parties, recreation, etc., or might even be associated with homosexuals in some settings. I do see khaki pants worn by fellow professors at casual events, so there is some informal use of such clothing even in some business settings. But they are hardly the norm. Sneakers, tennis shoes and boots are not seen worn by people working in offices either. Dark leather or leather-like shoes are commonplace. Even on hot days, shorts are worn by virtually no one in the city other than kids, a few college students, men on their way to the gym or foreigners. Obviously you will see them worn at the beach. Otherwise, wearing shorts in town will be a clear giveaway that you are not Chilean.
     If you simply do not care, and will not in any circumstance conform to some ridiculous Chilean dress standards or customs, fine. No one will hold it against you. Gringos get a pass on most anything, other than farting or burping in public. However, nonconformity in dress will identify you as a gringo, which may or may not be convenient or the best situation for you in public. Think about it. When in Rome it may be better to do as the Romans do.

     Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations. Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can login at www.overseasradio.com. You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the link provided on the ORN website (recorded show updated every Monday morning). Be sure, too, to visit www.allaboutchile.com for discussion and forums about the country.
     Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), 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 $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

Inequality and Income Gaps in Chile

     The income “gap” between rich and poor matters little, as well as the commonly used statistic to measure it called the Gini coefficient (Spanish version). Imagine a simple graph where the X-axis represents time in years and the Y-axis represents real personal income (one could also use wealth instead). With a blue line one can trace the development or change of the upper class’s income (known as the ABC1 group or class in Chile) and with a red line representing the income of the middle, lower middle and lower classes (classes C2, C3, D1, D2 and D3 in Chile). Note that the graph below is hypothetical and the data are only referential. 


     What is most important is not the distance (or gap) between the lines, but the slope of each line (especially the red line). If both lines have a positive slope, as is the case in Chile, society is much better off financially and the gap width is not very relevant. In many countries with more interventionism to “fix” market failures that produce income inequality, which also have many poor people, such as Brazil, Bolivia, South Africa (all with a relatively high and therefore “bad” Gini coefficient), along with places like India, Indonesia, Sudan and Venezuela (with “mediocre” Gini coefficients), the blue line has a positive slope while the red line is flat or rises very little. This situation is appalling because it indicates that the rich are getting richer while the poorer people (middle and lower classes) are staying just as poor or only slightly better off. (Image sources: 1st, 2nd and 3rd).




     Envy is not worth much; it changes little in the real world. Those on the red line wishing they were on the blue line (or being upset with those who are) will not make members of either class any happier. Moreover, coveting the wealth of the upper class satisfies few in the long run; plunder through taxation and interventionism hardly has improved the economic reality of the poor. As seen in Chile, the poor do far better when the rich are left alone and left to implement their economic goals and plans unmolested. What is necessary for economic prosperity is to promote policies that produce increasingly wealthier people that are able to buy the goods and services offered by classes C and D, and employ them, a process which over time results in increasing the salaries of the lower and middle classes. Would you rather live in a country with “less equality” (according to Gini), that sees wages triple in twenty years (which has happened in Chile), or one that is “more equal” and yet has seen stagnant wages for these classes? Surely it is better to live in a country with 17 billionaires on Forbes’ list of richest people in the world, and a clearly growing middle class, than one with only 3 billionaires. Such rich people invest in their country, at least when it has decent economic policies that protect property rights and keep taxes low like Chile does, and promote economic growth and well-being for everyone in the long term. The fact that Chile has been successful is largely on account of such policies. Liberty is a far better agent for economic improvement than envy, covetousness and confiscation. 
     Chile has progressed wonderfully, even though its Gini is “bad” (similar to the U.S. and Japan, which also have relatively high and therefore unflattering Gini coefficients), and people in Chile realize that economic life is better now than it was years before. Forty years ago, Chile was an economic basket-case. Now it is the envy of the region and, at least for libertarians, it is the envy of much of the world. According to what was reported in an article in El Mercurio (Saturday, 28 September 2013, page B7), we can applaud Chilean policies which have generated positively sloping blue and red lines in recent years, with the red line’s slope being the more positive of the two. 
     Compared to just five years ago, there has been an increase of 0.1% in the number of Chileans earning over 6.6 million pesos per month (US$13,077), and an increase of 0.75% more workers that receive wages in excess of 2 million pesos per month (US$3,961). Thus, the trend and slope of the ABC1 blue line has been upward. As if that were not encouraging enough, the red line’s upward tendency is even stronger and has been really impressive: 4.2% fewer Chileans earned under $546,000 pesos per month (US$1,080) in 2013 than did so in 2008 (a salary mainly of those in classes C3 and D1 ) and, even better, 0.8 % more Chilean workers now earn between 1.2 million and 2 million pesos monthly (US$2,375 to US$3,960), representing a large segment of classes C2 and C1. 
     What does all this mean? It means that people are getting rich in Chile and that the middle class is growing fast. People are climbing out of poverty rapidly and increasing their ability to save or consume more. All of that is good for business and good for overall prosperity. Thus, forget about the Gini coefficient and its index. Chile shows why income (or wealth) gaps are not as important as rising slopes of income levels over time. The biggest challenge for Chileans now, other than their own economic ignorance, is to somehow not pull down their economic achievements by electing leftists (like Michelle Bachelet) as either President or as members of Congress. Such candidates will debilitate Chile by implementing interventionist policies to (supposedly) produce greater “equality” (as defined by the Gini coefficient) and thus flattening the slopes of both the blue and red lines.
     You can be part of this unraveling story of prosperity in the Southern Hemisphere. Your place of refuge in Chile is in Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations. Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can login at www.overseasradio.com. You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the link provided on the ORN website (recorded show updated every Monday morning). Be sure, too, to visit www.allaboutchile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

     Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), 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 $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.

     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

90 Common Slang Words in Chile

     Chilean Spanish is tough, and not for the faint of heart. One of the most difficult aspects is trying to master or just get the hang of even one-fifth of the slang words and phrases used in Chile, most of which are not used anywhere else. Look at pages 2 through 4 in this edition of Las Últimas Noticias to find out what I mean. Read and look up the 90 slang words it lists, such as “¿qué onda?”, “hacer la pega”, “chao, pescao”, “andar meado de gato”, “cachái”, “está pedido”, “Condoro”, “mojarse el potito”, “estamos fritos”, “rallar la papa”, “dejar como chaleco de mono”, “flaite”, “peinar la muñeca” and “patas negras.” There are around 3,000 slang words and phrases in the famous little lexicon (which you should get) called How to Survive in the Chilean Jungle 2 by Brennan and Tabaoda. Everyone wanting to come and live in Chile should have this book and read it regularly. After you are done with that 90 word exercise, try to see how much of the comedian at this link you can understand. He is making jokes or fun of sayings surrounding Chilean Independence Day (September 18th). Have fun! 
     Note: do not be discouraged. Native speakers from Chile do not understand the comedian perfectly, even though they do know nearly all the slang in the newspaper. Foreigners who speak Spanish as their first language are perplexed by both things, and people like me who have lived in Chile a long time (including those with Chilean spouses) will struggle to know 20% of the slang words and understand more than one-half of what the comedian is saying. So you are in good company. Nevertheless, Pimsler and Rosetta Stone simply will not cut it for fluency in the Chilean tongue.


     On a brighter note, your place of refuge in Chile is in Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can login at www.overseasradio.com. You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the link provided on the ORN website (recorded show updated every Monday morning). Be sure, too, to visit www.allaboutchile.com for discussion and forums about the country.


     Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), 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 $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.

     Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to jcobin@policyofliberty.net and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly. 

    The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.

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