‘The Chilean Wage’: Mining and the Janus face of the Chilean Development Model
Chilean economic history has been dominated by dependence on mining. The origins of the post-independence involvement of the country in the international trading system were founded on the nitrate boom in the late nineteenth century and the demise of this sector led to the growth of copper mining in the first half of the twentieth century. Export orientation remains the core of the national development model, in spite of attempts to weaken this link through structuralist Import Substitution Industrialisation (ISI) interventions from the late 1930s to 1950s. As a consequence of this resource dependence, it is difficult to separate the Chilean development model and mining policy. The state mining company CODELCO remains a key provider for public spending, an anomaly given the recent decades of neoliberalism, while 10 per cent of CODELCO copper sales were guaranteed for the military until June 2012 when the Ley Reservada de Cobre was repealed.
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